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Rammus Build Guide by MrGlHf

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League of Legends Build Guide Author MrGlHf

Thorn in the Flesh (Rammus S3)

MrGlHf Last updated on January 17, 2013
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Jungle Role
Ranked #7 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 0

Honor Guard

Defense: 30


Utility: 0

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Rammus appears to be a distant relative to the hedgehog-turtle and his favorite word is YEAH.
He can be the << Thorn in the Flesh >> of his foes. While Rammus' opposition tries to remove the thorn, watch how one after the other shoots himself in the foot...

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Pros / Cons


  • Very high mobility (Q)
  • Excellent at chasing, escaping and surviving (Q+W)
  • Good at initiating team fights (Q) defending carries (E+Q) and interrupting channels with his CC (e.g. Katarina, Malzahar) Puncturing Taunt
  • Takes down turrets quickly (R does damage to structures) and his taunt (E) is very dissuasive to tower divers Puncturing Taunt
  • Due to his high armor values he excels at tower diving and tanking
  • One of the tankiest champions in LoL: W gives +120 Armor/MR for 6s at max level. Rammus beats most melee and AD champions in an even 1v1
  • Can (should) go full tank build and still do considerable damage
  • Wrecks AD carries

  • Ultimate not as disruptive/strong as those of other tanks (e.g. Amumu, Malphite)
  • Somewhat vulnerable to armor reduction and true damage (e.g. Vayne, Vi, Wukong). Although this weakness applies to most tanks.
  • Not the fastest jungler. Bad jungling when out of mana.
  • Weak minion killing/pushing without either ulti or minion aggro combined with W
  • No innate sustain

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  • Butcher is not needed for early jungle and becomes negligible after a few levels
  • Except Runic Affinity the utility tree would not offer much for a hefty investment of 9 mastery points
  • Three points in Tenacious plus Golem will total 44.75% CC reduction
  • Putting 1-3 points into Meditation can be considered

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Rammus receives 25% of his total armor as bonus attack damage. The 3 armor quints give him 12.78 extra armor which translates to 3.195 AD (equivalent of "1.42 AD quints for free").

His damage is both physical and magical, so hybrid penetration runes fit perfectly. Two Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration hybrid penetration runes give higher stats than 1 of each specialized penetration runes.

With these 9 hybrid penetration runes Rammus is at 8.1 armor pen and 5.58 magic pen. The magic penetration will not speed up the jungle, because monsters (except dragon and baron) have no MR, but it will be useful later. Armor penetration is a bit lower than with specialized runes (8.1 vs 11.52), however still overshooting the weakest monsters (lesser wraith/wolf with 5 resp. 6 armor).

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Smite is the standard choice for junglers not only for clearing speed and the extra 10 gold Summoner's Resolve grants on each use.

It sometimes allows a quick steal of buffs or even dragon/baron. At the same time it makes it more difficult for the enemy team to use the same trick against you. This is the reason why one tries to use smite in the last moment, when it kills the monster (e.g. before a lucky of the enemy can steal dragon).

Flash has proven to be a very flexible spell on Summoner's Rift. Both offensively and for evasion. Ghost is an alternative, but in many circumstances it would put Rammus way over the second movement speed soft cap at 490.

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Three Core Items

Unsurprisingly all 3 core items grant armor, exploiting synergy with Spiked Shell and Defensive Ball Curl. But that's not all:

The all-in-one starter item for our jungle tank. Health, armor and some mana/hp regeneration. This new jungler item also grants Tenacity, a must-have for every tank.

Because Spirit of the Ancient Golem already gives tenacity, Rammus can pick Ninja Tabi (1000g) instead of the more expensive Mercury's Treads (1200g). The passive further mitigates damage from basic attacks and thus has synergy with Puncturing Taunt.

Normally you get 100 armor plus some damage reflection for 2200 gold. Rammus gets an additional 25 AD, +10 damage refelcted on his W . He can force up to 3s of auto-attacking with his Puncturing Taunt taunt. This is an item with exceptional value for Rammus! A ton of bang for the buck.

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The items above are only those which I consider core on Rammus. Usually it is viable to purchase them in that order, because they offer excellent synergy. Golem, Tabi and Thornmail give you 155 bonus armor, which translates into 38.75 bonus AD.

Thornmail in conjunction with W+E will allow you to dish out a high amount of burst damage, especially against champions with high AD (resp. AutoAttack-DPS), which should be your primary targets anyway.

Of course going for this build straight away will leave you a bit vulnerable on the magic side, when your W is not ready. Also your effective HP (with and without W) could be higher, if you had purchased some HP e.g. a Warmog's.

On the other hand I rarely face survivability issues after finishing Thornmail. When the enemy team really insists on taking Rammus down first, they'll regret it more often than not (reflected damage and their skills on CD).

Once you have finished Thornmail, turret aggro won't be much of an issue. Furthermore if you have a healer in your team, he'll be happy to see his heals actually restoring a good chunk of your health bar.

Ok, let's assume the match was going well and you finished the core build above. Where do we go from here? There are several interesting options, among others:

  • Homeguard enchantment on boots
  • Aegis into Runic Bulwark
  • Guardian Angel
  • Warmog's Armor

Decide depending on the opposition and whether your support champ already picked Aegis. Homeguard Enchant on boots is cheap (475g) and just ridiculously fun and useful on Rammus.

Runic Bulwark adds the needed extra MR+HP and thus makes him a very well-balanced tank. It provides a strong aura for your team and may earn you more assists.

Guardian Angel adds even more resistances on top of the relatively small health pool, nevertheless it then makes him an exceptionally unattractive target. Even against several foes camping your corpse, 30% health plus W and Q (maybe flash), will give you good chances to deny a kill or even continue to fight.

Warmog's Armor causes effective physical health to shoot through the roof and gives Rammus the sustain for longer fights of attrition.

Sunfire Cape has good stats, but I would not recommend it for Rammus. Pulling nearby minion and monster aggro will stop your Powerball if you bump into them, so it can potentially ruin ganks and escapes. Furthermore getting turret aggro because an enemy has taken damage from the Cape's AoE can be detrimental.

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Skill Sequence

All of Rammus' skills have the same CD independent of level. Rationale behind skill point allocation:

Same movement speed, same duration, same knock back, same slow duration, more damage, stronger slow at increasing mana cost. Scaling with AP.

Same duration, more armor and magic resist, more damage returned, at constant mana cost. Scaling with armor (10%).

Puncturing Taunt
Longer taunt duration, more armor reduction, increasing mana cost. Not scaling.

Maxing W will allow you clear the jungle quickly while taking little damage, be much more tanky in fights and have more mana e.g. for using Q purely for mobility. Why max E next instead of Q? This is what Rammus gets comparing the two skills at level 1 and at level 5:

  • Powerball : +200 magic damage (+100% AP), +20% slow
  • Puncturing Taunt Puncturing Taunt: +2s taunt duration, +20 armor reduction

Increasing the taunt duration from 1s to 3s appears much more useful to me. For getting team kills as well as protecting your carries.

Furthermore once W is maxed, Rammus' own damage output benefits quite a lot from 0.5s increased taunt duration per level. Especially if you can taunt a target with high attack speed.

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Creeping / Jungling

  • Clear camps by bumping right into the monster's face with Q , activate W just before the monsters land their first hit on you. Try not to use Q while W is still active (waste of damage and mitigation).
  • Usually take Puncturing Taunt taunt at level 3 - you may need it sooner than expected.
  • In solo queue it may be best to go straight for blue buff. Wolves first has the risks of: 1) missed last hits for mid/top lane 2) a delayed invade/harass/fight at blue you don't want 3) waste of time and/or pots. In a premade team all kinds of strategies can be viable.
  • If you suspect a counter-jungle at red (e.g. Shaco loves this kind of stuff) inform your teammates and bring the lizard to the far end of the brush, so you and your mates can see the enemy jungler in time.
  • Avoid taking too much risks before having at least 850g to buy boots and a spirit stone. Dying early would set you back by a lot.
  • Usually I farm the jungle and say hello to the mid lane dude once or twice. Then either go back to shop or camp in a brush bot lane. For a good bot lane gank communication with the support is key - he can tell you where he suspects wards and maybe even bait them out of a pushed lane.

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Team Work


  • As a tank you shouldn't be afraid to take a leadership role.
  • Depending on the concrete situation, defending your own carries resp. attacking enemy carries is more important
  • Knowing when to initiate and when to let the enemy initiate requires some experience.
  • Sometimes there is a stalemate of one team besieging and the other defending a certain turret. If time is on your side, then just wait, otherwise you have to act.
  • Taking the initiative is often better than reacting to enemy actions.
  • Having said this, counter-attacking can be the best defense, but only works if the counter-attack targets an objective of higher strategic importance
  • The relative importance of the many resources/objectives in LoL varies over the duration of a match. The main resources/objectives are: gold, global gold, experience, time, turrets, monsters, buffs, inhibitors, minions. Experience and gold lose their value in the (very) late game. In the mid/late game the long respawn times often have more strategic weight than the bounty for the kill/assist(s).
  • The quality of your play cannot be calculated based on your score

  • Rammus can use his ultimate to take down towers quickly.
  • Ask the bot-laners which brushes are warded. Often the most effective way to gank is to hide and wait in one of the brushes beside the lane.
  • When the AD and support do damage to the turret to take it down, it is often wiser to wait and stay hidden, because the enemy jungler/AD is more likely to make an over-aggressive move near the turret. They usually don't expect you to be there waiting doing nothing (instead of damaging the tower).
  • Keep an eye on aggressive pushes on turrets and overextending teammates. Be ready to cover their backs.
  • Scenario: you are the last man standing and 3-5 enemies try to take down your mid inhibitor turret. Your teammates respawn soon, but not soon enough to save the turret. Here the right play is to tank+taunt them all under your turret. This usually means you will die, save the turret and get some or all of them low.
  • Scenario: your team has been aced and 3 enemies have survived with a decent amount of hp. They are going for baron. You will be the first one at baron (powerball/homeguard), teammates following in about 5 seconds. Usually you can and want to engage 3v1 at baron immediately or just a few seconds in advance of your team. This can put them in a lose-lose situation, even if they manage to kill you. Often they'll lose because they killed you.
  • When the opposing team overextends or besieges one of your turrets 5v4 consider Powerballing from behind or the side right into the enemy carry. Depending on situation/reaction also use W, E and R to make the squeeze perfect. If they flee though the lane, they will walk through your ult. If they attack you, they'll all be low. Catching them off-guard can net your team many kills - well worth dying for.
  • With the match going on, the enemies will "learn" the association Powerball means initiaton / trouble / "poor me getting taunted and focused by all". Use this to your advantage. Use powerball to scare them off a tower. As a deterrent. Use it to gauge their own perceived strength in a hypothetical imminent team fight.

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Open Questions

  1. The 3 points in the mastery "Legendary Armor" give +5% Armor/MR. His W grants up to 120 armor for 6s. Is Rammus' passive calculated before or after the % increase in armor?
    (Assuming level 9 with maxed W, plus Golem, Tabi, runes, masteries he gets to 260.67 flat armor. Take 5% bonus = 13 armor --> +3.25 AD)

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Ranked Play

When facing teams with high % armor reduction champions (e.g. Wukong, Vi) or true damage (e.g. Vayne, Irelia) consider delaying or skipping Thornmail and going for HP+sustain with a quick Warmog's.

Corki is less of a problem, as he only reduces a maximum of 40 armor and may well kill himself in the process. He does 10% of his AD as true damage though.

Vayne is probably the worst of all AD carries to face as Rammus (and as tank in general). She has true damage and % true damage . Whether you build health or armor - she shreds both. Best solution (as you may have guessed) is to get rid of her.

Wukong is especially dangerous since his 30% armor reduction is applied almost immediately and lasts for 3s. Furthermore his ultimate causes knock up, which isn't affected by CC reduction.