Rammus Build Guide

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Rammus, the AP Tank

written by Tomberscar

Rammus Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    This guide will be about how to build an AP Tank Rammus. I made this guide, because AP Tank Rammus is a very strong build, and I don't think I saw any other guides for it. With this build you will have an easier time carrying your team than normal as you will be still be tanky, but have high DPS, and will have greater pushing power.
    This build is very fun, yet it is still viable. It is like playing normally as Rammus, but you will be able to destroy teams if they don't focus you down quick enough. I am confident that you can make this build and still tank for your team, if you do not feel confident enough to try out this build and tank, then have another teammate choose another tank while you offtank.
    If you are ever playing Rammus and you just don't think that your team has the DPS to beat the other team, or you simply have a surplus of gold early on, you should try out this build as this is definitely a build about snowballing and early game domination.

    I have found that this build really shuts down teams filled with AP champions and AD carries, because most of those two groups would only build defense into late game. If you are going up against an AD heavy/tanky DPS team, I would actually recommend that you play Rammus non AP. Basically, use your own judgement of the enemy team to choose when this build will be effective or not.

    So lastly, I hope you enjoy this guide.

    Note: I changed a majority of my guide to be based around jungling over laning (it just makes the most sense). This guide may still be considered incomplete, but I feel satisfied with it as of now. If you would like me to add any sections or have any corrections/errors to point out, feel free to comment.
    Last Edited: 1/31/12

  • Abilities

    Spiked Shell
    This is your innate ability, or the ability that you start with. It converts 25% of your armor into Attack Damage. It is a strong passive and will keep your AD high, so you will have both good AD and AP damage output.

    Powerball is a great ability for both Offense and Defense. It scales +1 Damage per AP, and this build will usually have around 150-250 AP, so this will be hitting people for around 500-550 damage late game. This ability will help you initiate fights, slow the enemy team, and escape from fights when needed. Try to take advantage of the speed boost from Powerball combined with Ghost to quickly escape or initiate fights.

    Defensive Ball Curl
    Defensive Ball Curl is what will allow you to build AP early on without worrying about taking too much damage. This ability will give you the armor and Magic Resist needed to tank during fights while also reflecting damage and giving you bonus damage from Spiked Shell.

    Note: When I first made this guide, Defensive Ball Curl had a .25 AP ratio which was pretty convenient. Unfortunately, Riot took out this "bug" and an easy 30-40 bonus damage to the W was lost.

    Puncturing Taunt
    Puncturing Taunt is what makes Rammus stand out from the other tanks. The taunt will single out an enemy and force them to attack you while you reflect damage back with Defensive Ball Curl. Make sure to prioritize certain enemies during the teamfights, watch for heroes who channel their abilities or the AD heroes who are killing your teammates.

    This ability is what makes the AP Rammus build so strong. Tremors gains +.3 damage per AP, which at first, doesn't seem like much, but it pulses 8 times so it can hit someone for 2.4 times your AP. With increased damage, you will also have an easier time destroying turrets.

  • Items

    Note that these items are all useful to this build, but you should choose which items to build based on the situations that you are in.
    These Items are core to this build as they will get you high AP while giving you tanky stats:
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Abyssal Scepter, and Zhonya's Hourglass
    But this is how I usually build:
    Early Game
    Philosopher's Stone and/or [item=Heart of Gold]
    Ninja Tabi / Mercury's Treads
    Sunfire Cape
    Abyssal Scepter
    Zhonya's Hourglass
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter
    Banshee's Veil

    Other good items:
    [item=Force of Nature]
    Guardian Angel
    Aegis of the Legion
    Randuin's Omen
    Quicksilver Sash

    Elixir of Fortitude

    You can choose either Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads, it really depends on what the other team has: if they have too much CC take the Mercury's Treads, but you will be spending an extra 350 gold and this build is pretty expensive.
    Note: You can build whichever boots that you'd like, even Sorcerer's Shoes if you want, but building either of the tank boots would be the best choice. It is completely up to you and preference though.

    Philosopher's Stone is a great item to build while laning or jungling. Start with a Regrowth Pendant and then the Philosopher stone is only 365g which is easy to get. Most of your mana problems will be solved, as long as you aren't spamming too much. Also, Rammus has no built-in way to heal himself so the health regeneration is very nice too.

    [item_text=Heart of Gold] is another useful item to pick up. This will give you a good boost in HP and also bonus gold per 5, which will help fund this expensive build. This will be a good placeholder for other items, or you could even turn it into a Randuin's Omen if you want.

    Sunfire Cape will be the item to build against DPS heavy teams. You can build it to solve your early HP problems, and the armor it gives will also give you around 11 damage. This item will shut down DPS based teams, but against tanky teams, the damage output from this won't be very significant. One of the main reasons that I build this item because of its high damage output early on and farming potential, but as the game goes on the damage from this is negligible and if you look at the item itself, the 800g to build the item is basically just paying for the Immolation damage. So keep that in mind when buying this.

    Abyssal Scepter is the perfect item to build when playing against AP heavy teams. This will increase your damage output by a ton, reduce the enemies' Magic Resist for you and your whole team, and give you plenty of Magic Resist. Abyssal scepter is a strong item, yet it is often tough for casters to get the aura on the targets in the back. It is easy for a tank to apply the aura to a majority of the enemy team, because they are usually in the middle of the battles.

    Zhonya's Hourglass is a great item to have for this build: It gives you a decent amount of armor, a great amount of AP, and has one of the best active abilities in the game. You might want to try rushing a Zhonya's Hourglass if the enemy team is dealing high physical damage. The biggest problems about this item is that it is so expensive, and doesn't offer any Health/Bulk. Despite the cons, this is well worth the cost and will help you destroy the other team during the team fights. It is very frustrating to try focusing someone ten to have them pop the Hourglass on you, so think about how annoying it will be for the other team. You must be cautious when using this item, because the enemy team may just hop all over your team while you are frozen. Of course, you can use it to save yourself when needed (i.e. Karthus/Vlad and their delayed ults.), and you can rush into the middle of an enemy team, use tremors and then hourglass to cause a good amount of damage and cause confusion in the other team.

    Rylai's Crystal Scepter will help you complete this AP Tank build. You should try to have some armor and Magic Resist from your other items before building this, so hopefully you won't have to worry about how this item gives you no damage mitigation. That is why this build is so good at destroying AP champions. Most AP champions rush high AP or Health, but rarely build defenses (Not that a DPS is supposed to be building tanky, but i am just pointing out that most build as 'glass cannons'). With this build, you will have AP, but still be able to take hits. You always have the option to rush this item, but as it just gives out flat Health and no defensive stats, I wouldn't recommend this. I have tested this out, and all of your abilities will proc the slow. Even the damage from Defense Ball Curl was applying the slow effect, i'm just unsure whether it was the 35% slow or the 15%. The slow seems pretty minimal, but it will help your team catch stragglers and if you are being chased, you can attempt to slow down your pursuers with Defensive Ball Curl/Puncturing Taunt.

    Banshee's Veil is always a good item to have, but remember that this is a very situational item. If the enemy team is full of auto attackers, then this item won't be as useful compared to armor based items. It will give you more Health and Mana so you won't be as squishy, plenty of Magic Resist and a really strong passive ability. Banshee's Veil has  a very powerful passive, and it will most likely be up for each teamfight so if the enemy team's initiation is a little too powerful (Blitzcrank, Amumu, Skarner, etc.) then try picking this up. I find that I haven't needed to build this item much, because building as an AP Tank is a pretty solid anti AP build, yet the shield will always be helpful.

    [item_text=Force of Nature] will be a good choice if the enemy team has many casters or ranged DPS. This item will give you plenty of Magic Resist and also gives you an 8% movement speed boost, which will help when chasing and fleeing. The health per second from [item_text=Force of Nature] is pretty useful when you are outside of fights healing, but don't rely on it too much during fights, 0.35% of your max HP per second will only go so far.

    Guardian Angel will help your damage mitigation even more, although remember that this item gives no Health or Mana. The revive is nice, but just remember, late game 750 HP isn't very much. This item will help you if you are on a killing spree, because you might be able to escape fights and stop the enemy team from getting any bounties on your head.

    Thornmail is the item you'll want to shut down physical DPS. It only costs 2000g to make, which I think is one of its highpoints, but be careful as this will not give you any other stats besides +100 Armor. This is a good item to have, but Defensive Ball Curl will already be reflecting good amounts of damage, so I wouldn't recommend this, but you can get this item if you really feel that you need the armor. Thornmail is good for early game turret diving.
    Readers may disagree with my opinion here, but I personally hate it when I see an enemy Rammus's rush Thornmail as their first/second item. Taunting someone and reflecting damage isn't going to matter if you die in 5 seconds. Although it is an item which truly shines on Rammus over other champions, make sure that you have built up some health beforehand. 

    Aegis of the Legion, like Thornmail, is another good and cheap item to build. It will give you a little bit of everything needed to tank, and buff up your team.

    Randuin's Omen is an expensive item, but it could easily fit into this build as it usually leads to more aggressive gameplay. It will give you some Health and a good amount of Armor, to be honest, the Cooldown Reduction is a nice little bonus, but you will barely notice 5%. The on-hit passive is very strong, but what makes this item amazing is the active ability. Unlike the Rylai's Crystal Scepter, enemies will really notice the slow from this item. It can once again help to get fleeing enemies or to stop the enemies from reaching your teammates.

    Quicksilver Sash is a very strong anti AP item. It gives you plenty of Magic Resist, is cheap, and its active ability is extremely powerful. This item is extremely underrated, and most people will pass on it. This item can remove all Debuffs from your character, including suppression efffects, Nocturne's Paranoia, Mordekaiser's Ultimate, etc. This would be another great choice for tanking, but remember that this item should only be built against AP heavy teams, or teams with lots of CC.

    Chalice of Harmony is a very cheap, yet effective item. It will do what you need it to do, give you plenty of mana regeneration and will also give you a nice boost to Magic Resist. I personally don't pick this item up, but it's still a good earlygame choice.

    Elixir of Fortitude will be another quick and cheap way to solve your early game Health issues. Sure, this item isn't going to make you unkillable or anything, but you and your oponents should definitely notice the increase in Health. The effect from this will last 4 minutes, and will linger even if you die, but only get these if you feel that you need them, as these can be a good money sink.

    Once again, you can switch around the Abyssal Scepter and the Zhonya's Hourglass based on if the other team is heavy on AD or AP.

  • Runes/Masteries

    This is an example build:  http://leaguecraft.com/masteries/0000000000000000010324321010300010310400001 
    This is a build set up for jungling, and for executing swift ganks on enemy champions. You may disagree with some of the points that I have in the mobility talents, but this AP Tank Rammus build is all about snowballing, so I have found that getting initiator and swiftness an help you secure the kills and gold that you will need. 

    Possible Laning Runes:
    I don't attempt lane Rammus very often, since he is very strong in the jungle and if I want to lane I have better options, yet here are some possible runes for laning as AP Tank Rammus.
    9x Greater Mark of Insight
    9x Greater Seal of Resilience
    9x Greater Glyph of Focus
    1x Greater Quintessence of Insight
    2x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude
    Some alternatives to the runes listed above could include:
    Greater Seal of Defense 
    Greater Seal of Evasion
    Greater Glyph of Shielding
    Greater Glyph of Warding
    Greater Mark of Desolation 
    Greater Quintessence of Desolation  For maximum magic damage output, you can try to get the 9x Greater Mark of Insight and the 1x Greater Quintessence of Insight, because with an Abyssal Scepter, you will have around 30 Magic penetration and most champs will have around 30 base Magic Resist.
    You can try any rune combination available to you, but overall, I wouldn't suggest laning as Rammus.

    8x Greater Mark of Alacrity
    1x Greater Mark of Desolation
    9x Greater Seal of Resilience
    9x Greater Glyph of Focus
    3x Greater Quintessence of Desolation

  • Skilling Order

    Jungling Skilling Order:

    Powerball is a very strong ability, starting at 100 damage and going up by 50 each rank. The rank-ups aren't as high as some other champions, but keep in mind that this ability is on a short cooldown, AoE, and is one of the key components to ganking. With Powerball early on, you can punish people who overextend and while Defense Ball Curl is useful, I feel that the additional damage output and armor+magic resist per rank is minor enough that you don't need to max it right away. If you would like to, you can max the W over the Q, but always max out the E first as his Puncturing Taunt is what defines him.

  • Summoner Abilities

    My Choice:


    Other Good Summoner Abilities

    Okay, now I will briefly go over the summoner abilities.
    Ghost is a great summoner ability for every single champion. It will help you initiate fights, chase enemies, and escape from fights. A way to catch turret huggers off guard is to wait for them to come close, then use Ghost to quickly run in and taunt them. I like to wait in a bush for 1-2 seconds to let my Powerball gain speed, then I use ghost and rush in to quickly initiate fights.

    Teleport is usually my second choice for lane Rammus. You may be wondering why Teleport? Well that's because most people would overlook Teleport and take Flash on Rammus. Flash is a useful Summoner Ability, but I think Teleport is more useful for helping the team. With Teleport you can stop the enemy team from pushing, aid your team whenever they need help, and you can also Teleport to help unattended minions push a turret. A useful trick is to start Powerballing in your fountain, then right away Teleport to a ward, minion, Teemo's mushrooms, etc. but be careful, as they can see teleport's animation through the fog of war. You should have 2-3 seconds to Powerball into an enemy, even if you miss or the Powerball's duration ends, you will still be at full mana, but will have to wait for the 6-8 second cooldown.

    Smite is a must have for any jungler and team. Smite is almost mandatory on Jungle Rammus. Because of the fact that he has no sustain, he needs to kill the high damaging Neutral Minions quickly to stay healthy for ganks. I have jungled without smite on Rammus before, but the Red Lizard and Blue Golem are a pain to kill. Remember that you should  only take Smite if you are jungling...in most cases, it is a waste to take when laning unless you do aggressive counter jungling. If you are told by anyone that Smite isn't needed, just ignore them, because they have probably never seen a baron/dragon steal or counter-jungling in action.

    Flash is a very useful Summoner Ability. This is very fun on Rammus, as you can do many tricks with it. Some that come to mind would be Powerballing towards an enemy guarded by minions and hopping over the minions. Another would be to taunt any melee champon who is turret hugging and then flashing out, as this will drag them away from the turret and give your team the chance to kill them. Flash is also useful for escaping ganks and any encounters. For laning, if you want to use Flash then go ahead, it isn't a bad ability, but I prefer Ghost and Teleport. For jungling, Flash isn't a bad choice, but I still prefer the high movespeed/ignored collision from Ghost.

    Cleanse is another useful ability when tanking. It will remove Crowd Control effects and will reduce the durations of newly applied Crowd Control effects for 3 seconds. With S2, Cleanse got a pretty huge buff, as it now removes summoner spell effects. This will be help you do your job tanking, as you will be able to go into the enemy team and even if they stun or silence you, you can just use this. If you want to use this ability, but don't want to lose your other Summoner Abilities, you can try buying a Quicksilver Sash, as it basically has the same effect (besides the lingering 3 seconds of resistance), but removes more than Cleanse .

    Exhaust was, for me at least, unexpectedly powerful on Rammus. I accidentally took it one game, and I destroyed the other team with this. If you can do the Rammus trick to taunt someone into your turret and then exhaust them, you can do surprising amounts of damage. This will also help you and your teammates focus on the enemy team's carries without worrying about much. This ability will help you chase, escape, and kill enemy champions, but this and Ignite are definitely for a more aggressive playstyle.

    Ignite is always useful to have on a team. It will do True Damage to any enemy unit, and reduce their healing and regeneration by 50%. This will definitely help will early game ganks and late game kills, but it is already one thing to be building AP, I think you should just trust that your DPS will be able to do enough damage. Take this if you want a more aggressive playstyle, but unlike Exhaust, this ability will basically only benefit yourself.

    Heal has gotten much stronger with the start of S2 and shouldn't be overlooked. It can be a life saver when you are in a tight spot, or you can bait out enemies then use it to overwhelm them. When it comes to jungling, you shouldn't need to rely on this, and overall I feel like the other abilities are much stronger picks.

    Promote is an interesting new summoner spell. It is great for pushing lanes...and I think that's all I can say about it. I wouldn't recommend this for jungling, so if you ever want to use this, use it while laning. Promote can combo well with teleport, but keep in mind that this ability will have almost no benefit to you in a teamfight.

    I may add on about the remaining abilities, but I think that you should only be focused on using these.

  • Final Build Example

    This build will be for a more tanky early game, which will still end up with you getting the Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Zhonya's Hourglass, and Abyssal Scepter.
    Most people won't see this AP Tank build coming, but you will definitely notice the extra damage and items effects kicking in.
    Just play the game as you normally would, this build shouldn't be hindering your early-game, but it will really start to pick up as this is an mid to early late game build.
    The reason I decided that this is an 'early' late game build is that the completed build will only leave you with 250 AP, which will allow you to destroy anyone who isn't building tanky, but the damage slowly falls off. Midgame most DPS champs won't go out of their way to build tanky, but endgame is usually when people begin to build some Banshee veils or other defensive items.
    One of the biggest problems I might see with this build is that you get no cooldown reduction from these items, but I am usually able to grab the blue golem buffs to compensate for this.

    New Full AP Build
    I found that in some games, I built pure AP for fun, and this item build is very solid.
    ,,,,, and

  • Pros / Cons

    High AoE DPS
    You will be tanky
    Good Initiation
    Can 1 v 1 others
    You can still protect your team
    It's very fun

    Low early game Health
    Expensive buildDamage falls off when up against tanky teams

  • Jungle Strategy

    I used to have a laning strategy, but since S2 came out I have only used Rammus in the jungle. So this will be a small guide giving tips on my usual jungle route with my Armor Pen. + Attack Speed runes.

    Rammus is fairly flexible with his itemization when it comes to jungling. I have jungled successfully starting with Boots of Speed, Cloth Armor, and Regrowth Pendant (picking up Health Potions with leftover gold). Recently, I have been starting with  Regrowth Pendant and I turn it into a  Philosopher's Stone when possible. 
    Start with your Defensive Ball Curl and wait by the wolf camp. Get in a melee attack then activate your Defensive Ball Curl before the wolves hit you back. Clear the camp and head to the Blue Golem. Repeat the process of attacking first, then using Defensive Ball Curl and right after you smite the Blue golem, pick up  Powerball and quickly use it to kill the remaining lizards. If you want to go faster, you can use the powerball to travel to the wraith camp slightly faster, but manually turn it off right as you pass by your turret so the cooldown comes back in time to kill the wraiths. When you get to the camp, melee the big wraith, then quickly use your Powerball and then Defensive Ball Curl before the wraiths can retaliate (this won't kill the camp, but I like to see it as 'free damage' as you get the camp down without taking damage). At this point, I usually skip the Red Lizard and move to the small golems. Do the same strategy as the wraith camp to kill the camp, and by the time that you are done the smite should be back or almost back to kill the Red Lizard. Repeat the killing process, and smite the Lizard then gank a nearby lane if possible. At that point, your progress should be close to where the other jungler is, if not ahead of him because Rammus is a quick jungler.
    Jungling on Rammus isn't too difficult, you just need to watch for when enemies invade and make sure that your Health doesn't get too low. You can buy wriggle's lantern if you'd like, but 

  • Working in the team

    The most important thing to remember with this build is that you are not building straight DPS. You won't bee one shotting or taking down the enemy team, but you will definitely notice the increase in your DPS. You are still supposed to be the team's tank, so make sure that you do your job and protect the team.
    A good way to initiate a team fight would be to Powerball into the enemy team, use Defensive Ball Curl, use Tremors, then Puncturing Taunt on whoever needs to be focused down first. Just remember that as this build is meant to be a higher DPS build, you are sacrificing some early game tankiness for the damage.

Do you have your own
Build Guide?

Submitted by Tomberscar

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