Build Guide by DaFistofGork
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Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Welcome to my first guide, starring everyone's favorite nymphomaniac, Rammus! Following that awkward statement (see the Journal of Justice for an explanation), let's dive down into what makes Rammus the rolly-polly ball of destruction. My play style uses Rammus as what I believe are his best attributes, tanking, focusing down squishies, and tower pushing.
Rammus gains additional damage as his shell becomes reinforced, converting 25% of his armor into damage.
This passive is what allows Rammus to both take down towers and remain a threat in team fights. Any armor item gives you a decent boost in damage. When you go spinning into an enemy team, you're not done after mashing every hotkey. Rammus stays in there and puts on the hurt.
The damage bonus is actually decent; every Chain Vest gives you 11.25 damage.
Rammus accelerates in a ball towards his enemies, dealing 100/150/200/250/300 (+100% of AP) magic damage and causing 28/36/44/52/60% reduced movement speed to nearby enemies on impact.
Cooldown - 10/10/10/10/10 seconds
Cost - 80/90/100/110/120 Mana
*Rammus cannot activate Powerball while curled.
This ability is what makes Rammus an armadillo, as well as a terrifying initiator. Seeing a speeding ball come hurtling at you from the bushes is enough to make most heroes hesitate, if not run.
Though nerfed slightly in a prior update when the speed was cut by 15%, Powerball is still...powerful. The ability accelerates, and it takes some practice to dodge around minions. When it makes contact with an enemy unit, Powerball also briefly knocks them up (hey-oh!), which ends all channeling spells.
Defensive Ball Curl
Rammus goes into a defensive formation for 6 seconds, increasing his armor and magic resistance by 50/75/100/125/150 and returning 26/32/38/44/50 (+0.10)*(armor) magic damage to attackers.
Cooldown - 14 seconds at all levels
Cost - 50 Mana at all levels
*Rammus cannot activate Defensive Ball Curl while rolling.
This ability is the "tank" ability of Rammus, letting him shrug off massive amounts of damage. When synergized with Puncturing TauntPuncturing Taunt, it can return a noticeable amount of damage to a DPS carry. It also lets Rammus take down turrets fairly quickly; at level 5, Rammus gains 150 armor to shield turret damage, as well as 37.5 damage from his passive.
Puncturing TauntPuncturing Taunt
Rammus taunts the unit into a reckless assault, reducing their armor by 10/15/20/25/30 and forcing them to attack Rammus for 1/1.5/2/2.5/3 second(s).
Cooldown - 12 seconds at all levels
Cost - 50/60/70/80/90 Mana
Range - 325
This powerful CC effect is what makes Rammus so scary in any team fight. When he initiates with Powerball, Rammus can then proceed to force one enemy Champion (or minion, so don't misclick!) to attack him, effectively removing them from the battle for a lengthy 3 seconds. At level 5, it lasts 3 seconds - very long in "game time." With it, Rammus can "leash" a melee champion. Leashing is a great tactic early game if you can drag a hero into turret range. *Note - This only really works for melee heroes! A ranged hero (aka Caitlyn) will just turn and attack you and not be forced to chase after you.
Rammus creates tremors beneath him, dealing 65/130/195 (+30% of AP) magic damage per second to nearby units and structures.
Lasts 8 seconds.
Cooldown - 60 seconds at all levels
Cost - 120 Mana at all levels
Range - 300
Tremors can deal a good amount of damage in any engagement, and with a low CD you shouldn't worry about whether you'll need it for a future fight. Don't hesitate; pop it whenever you engage. Be sure to note that this also damages turrets - combined with Defensive Ball Curl and Spiked Shell, turrets tend to melt away.
Pros / Cons
Extremely strong tank
Good at destroying towers
Strong map movement
Consistently banned in Ranked matches
For runes, I like to use a powerful tank rune page.
Marks tend to be the weaker choices for Rammus; you can go Greater Mark of DesolationArmor Pen or Magic Pen. I suggest the latter, because your abilities dish out magic damage.
I like to use armor seals, whether it's Greater Seal of Defenseleveling or base. Leveling provides greater long-term benefit, but if your play style is more aggressive early game you may want to get the quick boost.
Another option would be mana regen per 5, but I find it unnecessary overall. A careful eye on your mana bar should cover that issue.
Like my seals, I choose between leveling or base MR glyphs. In this instance I favor the base boosts more, because spells can dish out some high damage early to Rammus.
For Quints, Greater Quintessences of Fortitude should be a no-brainer.
For Masteries, I use 3/6/21. I max out the Utility tree so I can capitalize on my summoner spells,
Ghost. To fill it, I get reduced death timer, XP boost, and mana regen and gold per 5. My remaining masteries go into base boosts for Armor and MR, as well as the small offensive AP boost.
Why not the defensive tree? Or at least dodge and nimbleness?
I avoid taking dodge runes/masteries, and therefore Nimbleness, for one reason: damage. While the survivability may be tempting, Rammus should have enough survivability from his items and Defensive Ball Curl. By forcing a carry, especially DPS, to smash uselessly against your armored shell, you will be returning a large amount of damage from a combination of Thornmail and Defensive Ball Curl.
For an example, if a physical damage source would deal 200 damage to you, a level 18 Rammus with using Defensive Ball Curl and Thornmail would be returning 30%, or 60, as well as a base 50, plus 10% of your armor. With just Thornmail/Curl and base armor (total of 340), that's an additional 34 damage. Therefore, for every 200 damage physical strike against him, Rammus can return 144 magic damage. Odds are that a carry will have minimal MR, thereby letting you capitalize on a portion of this. But to be fair, we'll round it to Rammus returning 100 magic damage while taking 200. But then your massive 340 armor reduction kicks in. At around 75% reduction, Rammus is now receiving 50 damage while dishing out 100.
As a tank, why would you ever want to avoid this situation? Getting dodge runes is just allowing that Yi to survive longer. Punish him for his impudence of attacking Rammus!
Personally, I think that Flash is an amazing spell on Rammus, with numerous applications. It also competes with Ghost as the go-to escape mechanism.
Powerball/Flash across minion waves
Powerball/Flash to opposite side of enemy champion
Taunt/Flash at turret
Tremors/Powerball/Flash to initiate a team fight
Your second spell slot is up to personal choice. I like running Ghost, as it allows me to quickly change between lanes and run down heroes. A Rammus with Ghost and Powerball should never let a nearly-dead hero escape. My other option would be Fortify, to make sure your turrets survive.
Spells to Avoid
Rally - Again, it has it's uses, but because Rammus is flying around the map so often, Rally loses it's effectiveness. You can drop it when you go spinning in, but it is easily taken out as you fly into the center of everything.
Cleanse - If you're being targeted by the other team with CC effects, don't worry about it. Odds are you can take it better than all the other targets on your team. If you've been hit with a stun, then a teammate is still running around doing damage. Well tanked.
Teleport - With Powerball, it shouldn't be needed. You can just spin there fast enough. With Ghost or Fortify, you shouldn't have any problem getting to a turret in danger.
Heal - Decent, but you should have enough healing that it isn't necessary. And the "surprise Heal" shouldn't factor in; if a team is focusing you so hard that you would want Heal, your teammates should be laughing their heads off as they mop up half-destroyed squishies.
Clarity - Though you may have mana problems, most of Rammus's spells cost relatively low mana. The spell slot is just better served with something else.
Revive - No. You're the tank. Why are you dying in the first place?
Tanking items are always situational, but there are some that I prefer for almost every game with Rammus. There are always exceptions, where a team might be all magic damage (horrible) or all physical damage (Rammusgasm!).
Judging on the enemy team, there are several options.
1 - My personal favorite is a Regrowth Pendant and a Health Potion. With your combination of runes/masteries, you should have enough base armor and MR to deal with early game damage. The pendant should give you enough regen that you can help a laning partner harass with Powerball or even Puncturing Taunt. Pop that potion when you've had to tank that early taunt for a teammate.
2 - Another option can be Boots of Speed and three Health Potions. Though I personally don't use this starting build, it helps you travel between lanes and initiate for those early kills.
3 - Doran's Shield is also a good option. It gives good hp, decent regen, and a small armor boost, which means boosted damage too! If you really want to go for those last hits, I recommend this. Overall, I feel like it slows down your item progression by not upgrading into anything.
By the time you shop for your next set of items, hopefully you've managed to stay in your lane for a while. Rammus is durable, so do your best to tough it out and farm up as much as possible. Rammus has a tough time farming in the lane, which is why I recommend that, after you get boots, I strongly advise getting Sunfire Cape. This gives a substantial boost to armor, hp, damage, and provides Rammus with an easy farming method through the aura. Skip this only if the opposing team is very magic-heavy.
Only after completing this do I finish up my boots. Usually Powerball is sufficient for movement purposes; either you're laning and farming/pushing, or you're ganking with Powerball. Personally I prefer Mercury TreadsMercury Treads, but other options include Boots of Swiftness or, for a bit of humor, Bezerker's GreavesBezerker's Greaves. Merc Treads give a touch of MR, as well as helping take care of that pesky CC. Boots of Swiftness help in traveling to/from/between lanes and positioning Powerball, and Greaves tend to help with pushing and using the damage from Spiked Shell to it's maximum. I don't recommend getting Ninja Tabi because the dodge passive actually hurts Rammus (see reasoning above, under "Masteries").
Following this, I recommend getting a Negatron Cloak. Rammus is particularly weak against magic damage, because he scales armor better to synergize with his passive. The Negatron Cloak is definitely recommended if you've started with a Regrowth Pendant.
At this point, items are situational. Unless your enemies are almost entirely attack damage, you should finish off your Force of Nature. This gives great health regen, MR, and a small movement speed boost.
One of my absolute favorite items with Rammus is Thornmail. Thornmail gives Rammus 25 damage, along with 100 armor and an amazing passive. By using both Puncturing Taunt and Defensive Ball Curl on an enemy DPS, you're now dishing out a ton of damage in return. In all likelihood, it's more than they're doing to you. Nothing is funnier than seeing a Tryndamere pop his ultimate because you taunted him and then laughed.
Randuin's Omen - Randuin's is a good tanking item; it provides decent health, a ton of armor (and therefore damage), CDR, and a good activated ability. My only reservations come from the passive; if it triggers, then a hero attacking you will get less attacks in, thereby taking less damage. It's a small price to pay.
Guardian Angel - Since it's nerf, Guardian hasn't been overly terrific. However, if you have some allies still in the neighborhood, Rammus can be durable enough to revive from the passive and either get the hell outta there via Powerball, or stay and drag down the remaining enemy champions with Defensive Ball Curl.
Leviathan - Though stack items are always risky, Rammus tends to be durable enough that you may get enough assists and a random kill or two to make this worthwhile.
Warmog's Armor - The health boost and regen is always good, but this item it a tad too expensive. Rammus is better served getting resistance items than hp, but you can always convert your early Regrowth Pendant into this instead of a Force of Nature.
Again, Rammus can be built to fit most situations. He functions best when massing armor, though it'll almost always be necessary to grab some MR and hp along the way. Try fooling around with the standard tank items and find some that fit your play style.
Grab your starting items, then wander on off to a side lane with a buddy. Rammus works well with almost anyone, but he prefers someone that can dish out damage to an enemy that's been taunted. Try to avoid the solo lane; Rammus can't harm minion waves enough to keep them off his turret early game, without having to burn through a lot of mana.
When you're laning, go for last hits. You should have enough armor/regen to handle most harassing, but if they're getting consistent hits off or nukes, hang back. You can sweep up the creep kills at the turret.
Gauge your opponents' skills. If they're overly aggressive, try for the first blood. Rammus deals a good bit of damage, and at level 4 his combination of spells can anchor a low-level hero for enough time to allow an ally to get some serious damage in. If they are strong pushers, try to get a flash taunt by the turret.
Always be willing to assist an ally. Rammus is the team tank, not carry. Let your ally farm up a little more while you go help out another lane if they're being pushed. Gank, get a kill or chase off the enemies, then return to your lane.
Q (level 1), then: R > E > W > Q
Mid game starts for me when I first go back to shop. In a standard game, I can hang out in a lane long enough to farm up a Giant's belt and Boots. This is the start of your Sunfire Cape. You should at this point be around level 7.
Pick your strategy. You can choose to return to your lane and attempt to push with your new speed and hp. Your newfound toughness should be enough to take some hits from enemies. If you can gain an advantage in your lane, you can push towards their turret. If you get a turret without heroes around, engage anti-turret Rammus: activate R and W, then bash on it. Even at low levels (7-10), Rammus can deal some serious damage to turrets. If a hero is there, be aware that if you deal any damage to him (via Defensive Ball Curl or Tremors) you will aggro the turret.
If you don't/can't push, watch for ganking opportunities. Rammus can travel quickly between lanes (don't be afraid to Ghost). Start accruing assists and gaining money for your upgraded boots and Sunfire Cape. Once you have these, you should be able to farm without difficulty. Approach a minion wave, without allied minions, press W, and Rammus will be able to walk through their corpses with minimal damage.
In the late game, you should be the tank that causes fear in both enemy champions and turrets. Participate in ganks and team fights at every opportunity. You are the initiator; gather your allies, pop Q, then lead the charge. Make sure you don't overextend; Powerball can give some new players a bit of a shock when they realize that they initiated far too ahead of their teammates.
Isolate the enemy carry in a team fight, and make sure that your allies can either focus him/her down, or can ignore him/her for a couple seconds. If the carry is stuck attacking you while their team vanishes, they will quickly become ineffective. If the fight breaks out without the enemy carry, or you can't reach him/her, watch for channeling spells. Rammus can give enemies fits by stopping powerful ults before they get to reach their potential. Particular targets with powerful channels are: Warwick, Galio, Caitlyn, Anivia, Fiddlesticks, Ezreal, Karthus, Miss Fortune, Nunu, Urgot, and Malzahar. Remember that you can stop channeling with both your taunt and Powerball.
Following a successful teamfight, if you still have reasonable hp, check for lanes that can be pushed. Rammus is very good at running off with Powerball to push a lane while his allies push another. Don't forget that your healing should help a lot along the way, so don't wuss out when you have less than perfect hp.
At all times, remember: you are Rammus. You are a spiked, spinning ball of destruction that spreads chaos through CC effects and area damage. Play aggressively late game; Rammus can tank massive amounts of damage when he's using Defensive Ball Curl.
These are just some simple strategies and tactis that you should be trying to implement that didn't really fit under the "Gameplay" category.
1. Power Ballin' - Whenever you leave the spawn platform, use Powerball. If you activate it, then begin to move towards a lane, your mana will have recharged most of the way. The speed boost will get you to the inner lane turret. It's just a simple way of traveling around quickly and efficiently.
2. Flash Ball - If you have Flash, you can combine it with Powerball very well. Activate Powerball and let it speed up for a bit. Odds are, when an enemy sees you powerball they'll begin trying to dodge. Surprise them by running for them, then flashing over the minions and hitting them in the back.
3. Flash Taunt - By combining Puncturing TauntPuncturing Taunt with Flash, you can deal huge damage to a weak hero. Wait for the enemies to push and begin attacking your turret, then flash over and taunt one immediately. When you take a hit, the champion will aggro the turret, causing them to take the full damage from a turret while they're taunted.
4. Leashing - A more complex form of the flash taunt is to taunt/flash taunt a melee hero, then immediately run back towards your turret/team. A melee hero will be forced to try to attack you and will therefore unwillingly chase Rammus towards impending doom. Generally, ranged champions can ignore this effect, as their attacks have enough range to not have to move very far to continue attacking. For maximum fun, try dragging someone into something painful - Veigar's Dark Matter, or Galio's Idol of Durand.
5. Powerball/Taunt Combo - Rammus has two powerful CC effects, so make sure you make full use of them. If you initiate with a Powerball, try to hit your target from the rear. The ability will bump them slightly towards your team. If you taunt an enemy, don't Pwerball immediately. Wait for the taunt to run it's full duration, then ram them with a Powerball at the very end for maximum effect.
6. Defensive Ball Curl/Powerball - Don't forget that these two abilities cannot be used at the same time. A fun property of Defensive Ball Curl, however, is that it can be ended early. If you Powerball into an enemy, then curl/taunt, you will deal some serious damage. However, if the hero begins to escape while you're still in Defensive Ball Curl, end it early so that you can activate Powerball and run them down. Rinse, repeat.
7. Jungling - While I personally don't jungle with Rammus, it's not difficult to do. Be sure to maximize Defensive Ball Curl if doing so, and use Powerball to set up as many ganks as possible. When using Powerball on jungle creeps, you must ram the back of the spawn box - for golems and Dragon, you have to click pretty far behind where they stand to ram them.
Hopefully this guide has been beneficial to both new and experienced Rammus players. Remember that you are one of the greatest tanks in League of Legends; get in there and wreak havoc.
If anyone asks if you want to gank an enemy, remember Rammus will always answer with one word: