Rammus Build Guide by Alay
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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.
Hello all! Rammus was the first champion I ever played, the first I ever purchased, and to this day my favorite champion. For me, it's been a very long road of trial and testing different builds, strategies, and patterns to learn how to squeeze every ounce of umph from this armadillo. I want to share this knowledge, and maybe even learn some new stuff my self along the way. There's a few things to keep in mind when reading this guide:
- Rammus is a tank. You can build any champion any way, but at the end of the day he was designed to tank, and it's just what he excels at. This guide is designed with that in mind (Some silly builds with short explanations will be added too for that pubbing fun.)
- Rammus is a powerful jungler. He's better off in the jungle than in a lane, because he's designed to gank. This guide will be focusing on jungling almost exclusively.
- These are from my experience, my testing, and my opinion. If something works for you, and you like it better, then do that! This game is about strategy, and strategies change.
It should be noted as well, that the primary build being discussed is the first one displayed above. The second page is to record what the current "meta" build is for Rammus that players in the high ELO are running--you might enjoy/find more success with that.
Updated 1/17/12: They nerfed Rammus a smidge, but he's still great. Changed Ninja Tabi section.
Updated 1/5/12: Updated main page to show Avarice Quints, they're simply best.
Updated 12/13/11: Added some new stuff/corrections here and there.
Updated 12/5/11: Changed over to 0/21/9 masteries. Works out better with the jungle update and all that. Route is still pretty much the same.
Updated 12/1/11: Adjusted masteries again to what I'm currently using. A good revamp will come when they finally balance the jungle. Also added a second page with the offensive Rammus build a lot of people have been favoring.
Updated 11/24/11: Added Shurelya's Reverie to Health items section (missed it before, derp.) Updated the masteries again to what is currently working best for me, and added a note in the runes section about gold per 10 quints.
Updated 11/16/11: New Masteries/summoner abilities.
Rammus Abilities Overview
Q: Powerball. Powerball is your mobility, and it's one of the reasons this champion is so potent. When activated you will slowly speed up to your maximum speed. It gives a small knockup effect and a slow on your target when you collide. It's useful for an early game nuke against enemy champions and creep camps, but it's also a real mana hog. The scaling is kinda meh into the late game, so it falls off quick in damage output.
W: Defensive Ball Curl. This is your sustain ability. When activated Rammus curls up, gaining a fair amount of armor and magic resistance. You'll also return some damage when you're auto-attacked (like a mini-thornmail.) It's important to realize that this skill is pretty much the highest skill cap ability on the little guy. The more you play, the more you'll learn when and when not to curl, predicting spikes from AP mages. It lets you get away with some silly things sometimes.
Puncturing TauntE: Puncturing Taunt. Taunt makes Rammus an amazing tank. At max level you will be able to hold someone attacking you for three, long, painful seconds. The ability also lowers their armor rating, so your team hits a little harder. This ability, when combined with the slow, makes Rammus such a great ganker.
R: Tremors. A low cooldown/high reward ultimate. When activated Rammus does AOE damage every second for 8 seconds--best part is it hits towers! The cooldown is short enough that, with a little CDR, you can blow it on a creep camp or a minion wave without worrying too much about not having it.
For Runes, I would suggest Flat Armor Seals, Scaling Magic Resistance Glyphs, Gold/10 Quints, then either Attack Speed Marks, or Armor Penetration Marks. Flat Armor Marks are also viable. I've seen some players use scaling MP5 seals mixed with flat armor ones, but don't really like them personally--better to use Philosopher's Stone or Catalyst the Protector for mana regen while you donate blue. Flat health quints will work, but are less optimal.
For Masteries, with the update to jungle creeps on 12/3, going back to the 0/21/9 has shown most success for me. Lets you clear fast, efficient, and without taking much damage at all. Useful late game as well. 21/0/9 is also a viable setup if you want to be very aggressive early, and plan on building an atmogs/attackspeed build.
Smite: Required for Jungle Rammus. Don't ever jungle ANY character with smite, whether you can clear like a champ or not. Smite means securing your objectives (dragon/baron) and not getting them stolen.
Flash: Probably has more utility on Rammus than most champions, because you can flash over creep waves during powerball to prevent interrupt. I'd say it's non-negotiable.
AS Marks, Armor Seals, Scaling MR Glyphs, Gold per 10 Quints, 0/21/9 masteries, 5x health potion + cloth armor start, first point in W. Wolves -> (Leash from team) Blue -> Wraiths -> Red -> Golem -> Wolves or wraiths -> Gank. Heart of Gold, Boots of Speed asap. Core build is Randuin's, Banshee's, and Mercury Treads with an optional Wriggle's.
This guide will be making the assumption you have a general idea of the role of a jungler, what the buffs do, and a good idea of how much xp each camp gives. It will focus more on strategy.
Jungle Rammus starts pretty much the same way always; 5x Health Potion's, and a Cloth Armor. Pop a point in Defensive Ball Curl. You'll want to start waddling your back end to blue buff. This is where the game starts dictating your build and jungle order.
Oh yeah, it's worth noting that since your first point is going into Defensive Ball Curl, trying to invade is a pretty bad idea--just play defensive, you'll start invading later.
If the other team doesn't gank at blue:
Talk your team into a strong leash, Then start auto attacking blue. When the leash ends, activate Defensive Ball Curl and keep auto attacking. If you're below 75% health before it's ready to smite, start running your first potion. When the blue golem is low enough, smite it, and put your second point in Q.
From there, powerball to wolf camp, make sure to hit them all, then activate defensive ball curl and start attacking the big wolf.
Walk over to wraith camp, powerball so you hit all of them, then curl and attack the big one. You'll be either running your first or second potion while on wraith camp.
Walk over to red camp, powerball, defensive curl, and start attacking the large one. You'll be running your second and third potion here usually. Smite when he's low enough. You'll be level three by now. You can either put a second point in W for a safer, easier, and cleaner jungle so you have a better time during early-mid game, or you can put a second point in Q if you want to get very aggressive early--though it's a bit risky!
Mini-golems is the last on your jungle tour. Powerball into them, curl, and you know the rest. After mini-golems, you'll go and kill wraith camp again (same way, focus big one and curl.)
From here, you'll be level 4, and can put your first point into E so you're ready to gank! Now comes the toughest question of the game for you: Do you gank now, and try to make that over extending champion pay, or do you recall and get boots before you gank? The quick gank is incredibly powerful on Rammus--he's even capable of jungling fast enough to out level middle. However, without boots it's harder to pull out. Run that 5th pot and go gank if you decide to, or blue pill back and pick up a ward, some potions, and boots.
If the other team ganks at blue:
If you end up losing the safety of a blue, you may want to adjust to a safer jungle. I generally go with a Wolf Camp start, smite blue wraith, clear wraith camp, double golems, back and buy a vampiric scepter, then do the standard jungle line above. You'll probably be forced into a wriggle's here. (Read below)
Your goal early game will be to get a heart of gold somewhat fast, have enough wards to stay safe, potions to stay active, and map presence enough to help your team. It's a hard balance to keep. The second major choice of the game is your early game build. Ideally speaking, you're going to want a Heart of Gold, a Catalyst the Protector, and Boots of Speed. The Heart of Gold gives you a strong health backing (Rammus' biggest issue) and some gold generation while you're out of the jungle. The boots of speed are enough to keep you up with your opponents and ganking them. The Catalyst is your main sustain, and opens up so many options for Rammus (most importantly, an early Banshee's veil, and the ability to give your blue to middle mage for pretty much the rest of the game.)
The major choice in this is if you want to get aggressive early, and possibly pay for it later, or have a stronger mid game with a slower early. This choice can be summarized in one sentence; Do I get a Wriggle's Lantern or not?
Wriggles is an amazing item for a jungler, and can speed up the jungle of Rammus by quite a bit. It allows him to take a solo dragon in a realistic amount of time (Not that you ever should). Invade a little better. Do more early damage. Have an extra free ward, and health sustain through your jungle. The down side is, you have later defense items, and Wriggles does practically nothing for you past the early game--the sustain it gives is out-shined by the armor/health regen, the damage it gives is outdone by your armor bonuses to damage and the fact that you're a tank, and the small amount of armor it has is pointless over other better tanky items.
A lot of people swear by wriggles and would buy it every game. Others would say it's a horrible item on him. It's neither of these, because it's an amazing item in some situations, and a horrible one in others. The choice of if you buy it or not and how useful it would be is really summarized by an "It depends." When and when not to go the Wriggle's route is something that you can only really grow to feel through game experience as Rammus.
The Mid Game and You
Basically, your goal is to get to three items: Banshee's Veil, Randuin's Omen, and Mercury Treads. With this you can slap around anyone, have great health to back it up, be credit to team in fights, and still scary 1v1. The order in which you upgrade your Catalyst, Heart of Gold, and Boots of Speed are dependent on what's going on in the game, who's getting kills and what their team composition is. If it's an ability power heavy team, the quick Negatron Cloak is a no brainer. If they have two ranged carries that got a couple kills under their belt, Randuin's is a better choice. If you're getting CC'd to death, Treads is probably a better choice. It really comes down to who you want to pick a fight with, and who isn't much of a thread.
Often I find myself repeating the same question when I have to pick what item I commit to: "Who am I most afraid of on the other team right now?"
This isn't a question of what to worry about if X or Y happens, but at this exact moment, who is the scariest champion on the field. More often than not, this buying pattern has worked out for me.
Once mid game rolls around, you should be less worried about ganking for kills and more about pushing down towers, and getting team fights going. Your damage will start dropping off at about this point, so it's time to become more of a true tank. If you can get a mage to blow their load on you at the start of a team fight, you've done your job quite well!
Taunting targets is also much more of a hard choice now. The AD carries are usually the best choice, because you can curl and poke them back, but holding a mage from bursting while your team nukes them can also be the difference maker. Above all, communicate, ping, shout at your teammates who you're going to make life hell for!
Item Guide and my 2 cents on each (AKA The Late Game)
After the mid game, what you go for is pretty much up to you and what you feel would suit your team best. Health stays an important aspect of Rammus, since he has very low innate health, though your Randuin's Omen and Banshee's Veil should cover most of what you'll totally need to have.
Aegis of the Legion: A really good team item, but better on an off-tank/support than on Rammus. I generally don't buy one, and it's not the best option after the early/mid game.
Frozen Heart: This can be good in certain situations, but the lack of health on it really hurts. Mana tends to be a lesser problem in the late game, and it's just so expensive. I think out of all my games played, I've maybe bought this once for Rammus. The synergy between Randuin's Active/Passive and Frozen Heart should not be underestimated though.
Guardian Angel: A fun item, but not one I generally go for. The passive really isn't worth it much for a tank, because generally you'll either get out alive, or will die almost last. The stats are also priced expensive, so you're better off with other items.
Sunfire Cape: Another overcosted item. The aura isn't really that useful for Rammus, but if you really desperately need more health, I'd turn to this before something like a Warmogs. Randuin's is simply cheaper (with the Heart of Gold lead up), gives more, and is overall more useful.
Thornmail: Thornmail is one of those reserve items, like the Quicksilver Sash (explained a few paragraphs down) that should be kept in the bag of tricks. Generally speaking, it's not that useful on Rammus because it doesn't give any health, and only a lot of armor--essentially you'd be buying a very expensive passive for him, but that passive can recover a game! It should be brought out when a hyper-carry starts hyper-carrying a little too good--Tryndamere, Master Yi, and Kog'Maw can all get a few kills too far ahead and start demolishing house. With Thornmail, you can pretty much taunt, curl, and shut them down completely for a quick focus explode. However, it should generally only be bought when an AD carry is wrecking even through your Randuin's.
Zhonya's Hourglass: Not worth it on Rammus, unless going for an AP tank build (read towards the end.)
Magic Resist Items:
Abyssal Scepter: It's at best okay on Rammus. The aura can help your team and make you hit just a tiny bit harder, but the AP is barely worth it, and there's better MR items.
Force of Nature: probably the best go-to item if you're against a very AP heavy team, or they have a really fed nuker. The passive from it doesn't help Rammus so much because he has low health, but the movement speed, huge MR and health regen are pretty sweet. This is probably one of the best choices for late game against a comp with two nukers or one fed nuker. It will keep you in the game much longer.
Hexdrinker: Never actually tried it. Don't think it'd be very good for him since Attack Damage is pretty meh, and past the early game it falls off hard.
Quicksilver Sash: It's that item you rarely get, but should often ask yourself "Should I have a QSS?" The ability to cleanse can save your rear a lot, and it's a very cheap and effective MR item. It shuts down champions like Veigar very hard too. I'd only recommend if the situation calls for it.
Spirit Visage: A tiny bit of MR, some CDR, and a healing buff. Not overly useful, but the situation where it's nice does come up in very very rare cases.
Wit's End: A poor item if you're straight tanking, a godly item if you're doing a tanky-DPS Atmogs build.
Frozen Mallet: Lots of health, but only really useful if you're doing a tanky-dps Atmogs build.
Shurelya's Reverie: So meta. More health, more regen for mana/health, and some CDR! The gp5 leadup makes it relatively cheap for what it does, and the activate helps your team a lot. It's a great item to stick in your bag of tricks, especially if you get a Philosopher's Stone at some point.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: An expensive, and often times silly pick, it's actually crazy potent on Rammus! Health is one of his biggest issues, and this item patches that up very nice. The AP on it doesn't do a whole lot for you, but the slow on magic damage is insane! Powerball slows targets to a near crawl, while anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves inside your tremors tick will feel like they walked in super-glue. Defensive Ball Curl procs also cause the on-slow effect, so in a team fight if someone is stupid enough or unfortunate enough to attack you, they'll be slowed as well! This item is a really hidden gem for the champion, and is slowly being something I strongly consider after my usual core is done.
12/13/11: I buy this item after the above core if I'm really far ahead--otherwise, it's not worth buying on Rammus, since it's a cleanup item instead of a real strong tank item.
Rod of Ages: A very expensive item, and not wholey useful for him. The only reason this should ever be used is if you're going for an AP Rammus nuker, which is more of a goofy/gimmick build than a real one.
Warmog's Armor: This item comes down to a decision in building. it's incredibly expensive, and with Rammus' poor farming abilities, it's very long to build up. However, if you're going for this item, you'll probably want to do a straight health tanky-dps build to make it viable. This progresses you more from a real tank into a damage dealer and a pain to kill. I'd suggest skipping this for the most part.
Why Not Ninja Tabi?
After the Ninja Tabi update, it's now a very viable contender for boots. Similar to Wriggle's Lantern, the boot choice is going to be one of the pace settings for the game.
The biggest pro for Ninja Tabi is that it's dirt cheap. You can easily buy it on first back, then go hit a lane with level2 speed and power ball. The down side is that the passive from it, and the tiny armor, are both much less substantial in most cases than Merc Treads will be.
As such, if you want to go very aggressive early, the Tabi are a very smart way to get an early advantage when hitting lanes. If you're more worried about late game, then the Treads are the better choice. It's also worth noting that getting Treads if you're not going for a faster MR item, and their team has more than one mage (Ryze top, for example) is a pretty sound choice.
Since the new update, Tabi is now a great candidate on Rammus! Learn to use both boots, and which works better for what situations.
Boots of Swiftness are horrible, and Boots of Mobility are even worse.
Welp, that's my rough guide. It's by no means thoroughly detailed, but it should cover what you need to know to play the champion and start learning the ins and outs. If you're looking for more of a general Rammus guide on moves and skills, there's a great guide by Bguggs that should be easy to find on google. Before I end this, here's a quick rundown of things to always keep in mind when playing:
- Always make sure you have a good idea of where your opponents are, and are safe enough. Don't whine "No MIAs!" if you die from overextending like an idiot.
- Always make sure dragon is warded! Pink ward preferred.
- Make sure Baron is usually warded mid game, and always late game.
- Don't ever let anyone tell you that you should always get X item on Y champion. The only thing you should ever buy on every champion is wards ;)
- Did I mention warding is important? Well it is.
- When you die, ask yourself "What did I do wrong that I could have changed" before you say "WHY IS [other player on team] SO HORRIBLE?!" You'll learn more that way.
- Remember to have fun, it's a game!
- Warding is important.
12/13/11: Top rated guide on Rammus on Mobafire with an 88%! Thanks so much guys =]
Some Different Builds
Tanky-DPS Rammus: Warmog's Armor, Atma's Impaler, Ninja Tabi, Frozen Mallet, Sunfire Cape. Scare squishies and hit like a bulldozer!
AP Nuker: Rod of Ages, Zhonya's Hourglass, Abyssal Mask, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Rabadon's Deathcap, Sorcerer's Shoes. Powerball so silly, Tremors hits like a truck. Unfortunately, you have the resilience of a piece of thin paper. But at least you can turn gold and shiny!
Straight Health Tank: Shurelya's Reverie, Warmog's Armor, Force of Nature, Spirit Visage, Mercury's Treads, Sunfire Cape. Why die, when you could simply not instead? Sure you won't contribute much more than just being nigh impossible to kill with your 4000 health, 200+ mr/armor, and stupid-fast health regen. A fun way to play in unranked, where pub stomp players will get super mad if they can't kill you and focus you! Uh-oh, your team died and you're getting 5v1'd? Reverie+powerball away and lololol in all chat, sure to inspire some angry enemies! (And possibly teammates...)
Meta as sh*t: Warmog's Armor, Atma's Impaler, Wit's End, Phantom Dancer, Ninja Tabi, Philosopher's Stone.
What's currently considered by most to be the "best" Rammus build in the jungle by a lot of player. The idea is to use natural W steroid to make yourself tanky, while you build health and crit/as. It's different, I dunno how else to really put it. I prefer to be more tank than offtank/dps, but it might work out for you.