Guide to Rammus-The Armadillo
Why play Rammus? What are some play-style traits that would make you
well suited to this character? What item/skill/rune/mastery/spell
choices should you take in most situations? What are some key
techniques and the centerpieces to killing people and saving allies
with this hero?
Those are the things I hope to address and hopefully
lead you in the right direction in playing this amazing, yet sometimes
underrated and underplayed hero!
Since playing this hero and learning the ropes, I've gone Godlike in essentially every game, and as of this writing, have only lost one game out of at least 15-20 that I've played with Rammus, and that was due to it being 3v5 from feeders leaving at level 5. (even then, I scored 22 kills and only 3 deaths) Which brings me to my next point: I'm not a top end player, or at least, I havn't played against many top end players. I don't really feel I've even had a chance to, I generally just play with friends,and my micro abilities just come from 4 years of dota and playing competitive cnc kane's wrath.
But, you don't care about me bragging randomly about my k/d ratio or past experiences, and you shouldn't. you just want to know how to play Rammus.
-Rolley Polley Powerspin of Awesome
-Amazing anti carry tank
-High Damage in late game with correct build
-Excellent tower pushing ability with his ultimate
-Taunt is simply one of the best moves in the game
-Attack animation is great for last hitting
-Moves force you to get in the fray and be attacked
-Not suited to non-aggressive play-styles
-No incredible burst capabilities(which doesn't matter because you can chase to no end sometimes)
-Mana dependant hero with a low mana supply(which we will address)
-easily countered by Crowd Control Spells; i.e stuns and roots, (Cleanse will help this)
With the Armor Penetration ability stacking with your armor reduction
from taunt, early game you do HUGE damage with your auto attack once
you've taunted someone, and there simply isn't a better choice in the
reds. Definitely could change once they alter the runes a bit though.
Generally I tend to go with health per level runes, mainly because my
item build doesn't give an intense amount of health and mainly focuses
on damage mitigation. However, feel free to go magic resist if you feel
your facing a lot of casters lately. Dodge actually could also work, as
it will stack with your Ninja Tabi and bonuses from the Defensive tree,
but I would usually go for health generally over anything here.
Clarities are simply the best choice here. They work AMAZING with
chalice, which is one of the core item choices in my build. Combined
with clarities and this item, 9 times out of 10 you will not have mana
issues, which is one of the key functionalities of the way I play
Generally I go two blacks for armor and one for starting health.
Combined with the +60 health in the mastery, this gives me 100 bonus
health and a nice heap of armor for not only lane-staying power, but an
increase to damage for a better ability to last hit. This is key, as
generally you won't be harassing much. (though I get first blood very
Ghost and Cleanse. Every time. Ghost stacks with your speed increase from powerball, making escapes amazingly easy, and also getting into teamfights in the nick of time effortless also. You will always be in the frontline, and cc is one of the only main counters to Rammus, and obviously cleanse counters this.
Currently 0/21/9 is simply the only thing you should be going as
Rammus, picking up the talents that give armor, health, and any damage
mitigation bonus you see, (i only get 2/3 in magic resist) Also
obviously take the reduced cooldown on cleanse, you will need it. The
4% reduced damage is just a complete mitigation stat that cannot be
ignored for any other 21 point bonus. As for the 9 points into utility,
take the improved ghost, good hands, experience gain and increased mana
Powerball-Rammus curls into a ball which accelerates towards his foes, crashing and dealing damage to minions and champions around the impact. Powerball has many uses, including chasing down fleeing opponents, fleeing from combat, crossing the map quickly, and interrupting channeled spells. Some players use it as a deterrent by curling into powerball next to a tower they are defending. It is dangerous to get too close when Rammus is in this stance, so it often delays a push until help can arrive.
Obviously Rammus's signature move. You will use this frequently, and is KEY to initiating ganks, saving allies, escaping, chasing enemies, transporting from point A to B, and even farming. The mana cost is relatively low, and the cooldown is great, generally 11-12 seconds after you finish using it. It's important to remember that it can unintentionally hit creeps, and the hit-box is rather large. Many enemies will surround themselves with creeps when you enter this stance, but with proper micro you can weave your way through them to catch your foe. Use this in a combination with ghost to reach speeds of 1000 ms, or in combination with ghost AND an ally ability (such as Zilean's haste) to reach speeds of 1400 ms! Rammus moves so fast in this state that you can travel 3/4 of the width of the map before the spell ends. INTENSE!
Defensive Ball Curl-Rammus goes into a defensive form, vastly increasing his armor and magic resistance, and returning damage to attackers. Some players build Armordillo for armor, which, when combined with this, makes his Spiked Shell cause a lot of damage.
Very useful defensive technique. Use it immediately after taunting a foe to increase your resistance and your damage output. Also use this when targeted by huge finishing nukes that are obvious (lich's ultimate, ryze's ultimate, etc.) to drastically reduce the damage done. It's important to remember that while this is active, you are unable to use your powerball skill, and vice versa, obviously.
Puncturing Taunt-Rammus taunts a foe into recklessly attacking him, causing the foe to have lower armor for the duration of the taunt. This is an example of a soft synergy in our skills. Puncturing Taunt is strong by itself, but does have some synergies with Defensive Ball Curl (damage return) and with Powerball (if you knock someone into a tower, then taunt them, you can keep them on the tower).
Simply put, this is one of the best skills in the game in my opinion. Silences, snares, lowers armor, completely neglects pushes at times due to the nature of towers, saves allies. This move will net you about 90% of your kills, at least it does for me. The main advantage of leveling this skill (in the same way you level fear for fiddle) is the duration. 3 Seconds is an INCREDIBLY long time to be forced to attack an enemy, and with combination from Thornmail and Defensive Curl, they will be doing great damage to themselves, not to mention the fact that they are forced to be in range of your tremors and are being hit decently hard by your auto attack. I generally start fights with this move after initiating with powerball, but then save it for the right moment, whether saving my ally or finishing a kill.
Tremors-The earth rumbles beneath Rammus, dealing damage to nearby units and structures. This acts as a siege mechanic, forcing enemies to face you while you are pushing a tower.
Awesome farming, pushing, killing, and tower killing mechanic. Don't be afraid to use this on a huge wave of creeps for farming, it IS worth it. The Cooldown is low, (60 sec) and should be ready by your next teamfight. This move has saved me numerous times in very strange ways. For example, when tower diving for a kill, I generally only approach it with an enemy low health and solo, AND with the tower at low health. Why? Pop tremors, tower goes down while I'm taking out the enemy, removing me from risk. This, stacking with sunfire cape, is just an awesome damaging tool in teamfights. Use it in every multiple hero engagement.
Spiked Shell (Passive)Converts 20% of Rammus' armor into damage. This inherently makes Armordillo a strong anti-physical tank. By stacking armor, Rammus not only gains toughness vs DPS carries like Ashe and Tristana, but sees a significant increase in damage.
This passive is the very reason why you stack armor on Rammus, because of the damage increase that comes with it. This has me hitting for upwards of 230 late game, which hurts, especially when combined with the damage from tremors, sunfire cape, thornmail, and defensive curl.
You HAVE to max Powerball and taunt early, for what should be obvious
reasons. So many builds I've seen with Rammus only take one point of
taunt early, only sticking to the 1 second crummy taunt, when obviously
the biggest increase in effectiveness is the length! 3 Second CC which
can make the difference between life or death for you, your allies, and
your enemies? Yes please. Simply put, 90% of my kills are from the use
of taunt, and at least 50% of my ability to save allies comes from it.
Only one level of Defensive Curl is needed early on to mix well with
your combo of powerball-taunt-curl-tremors. You simply cannot ignore
increasing the levels of the other two skills.
So this is the real reason you read this guide, be honest.
This is also basically where nearly every Rammus, whether guide, suggestion, or player, goes wrong. First of all, let's examine some things that Rammus players generally think is the best idea, and why those are awful
Stacking Sunfire Capes
Words can simply not express how this truly annoys me more than any other suggested item build in the game. The point of getting a sunfire cape is to increase your stats, and to increase your farming ability. Yes, it is an incredible item, but on Rammus, getting more than one is completely redundant. Your sacrificing important item slots for other items that will greatly assist you in killing power and survivability, MUCH more than sunfire cape will. Also, its damage is reduced by magic resistance, so if anyone gets any period your damage output on heroes from sunfire will be completely negated. One is all you need to have superb pushing and farming capabilities.
Boots of Swiftness vs Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads
Yet another annoying trait of many Rammus players. Instead of going for the amazing armor and dodge benefits that come from ninja tabi, or the awesome cheap resist and slow/stun reducing power of merc treads, every player I've ever seen goes for boots of swiftness. This could be due to the fact that it is a recommended item, which is fine, but lets not forget that we have Powerball as our movement technique! Yes, boots of swiftness increases that speed, but you don't need it! Powerball easily with Ninja tabi reaches speeds of 700 ms at its top clocked speed without any other assistance, and the early respective bonuses is huge with your role as a tank.
So, here is the appropriate build:
Starting: Doran's shield+health potion
Ninja Tabi (or Mercury's Treads depending on the team)
Aegis of the Legion
Thornmail (may choose to go warden's first)
Warden's Mail (or Banshee's Veil depending on the team)
Dorans shield gives you a nice armor, health, and health regen bonus early game, which is all you need originally in your lane. Health potion just in case you are getting harassed greatly. With chalice, you simply have 0 mana problems 90% of the time. When you do, they are quickly resolved due to the nature of the item. Ninja tabi or Merc Treads is obvious, reasons posted above. With the current way the meta-game is looking, Mercury's treads are used a lot more lately. Sunfire cape after for exellent farming ability, and health and armor bonuses. Aegis of the Legion is just an amazing item for its cost, and imo should be gotten by every tank, every game, no matter what. Thornmail has perfect synergy with your defensive ball curl, and in late game will eat carries for breakfast. Even in mid game, people are hitting upwards of 150 ish, making them hit themselves for around 60-70 damage per strike. It also gives great damage to your auto-attack. Warden's Mail gives needed hp regen, and an awesome synergy with your taunt. After the oppenent is done attacking you, they have a good chance to be instantly slowed by 35%, allowing you to continue hitting them with tremors and giving you more time for your cooldowns to refresh. Also stacks with the reptile neutral bonus, which slows them to a snails pace. However, if your facing a large amount of casters/disables, you have to get bashee's veil instead.
Alternate burst damage build given by KurAm:
After i get boots of swiftness and soul shroud, i start to build up abysall scepter. After scepter, if the game even lasts that long, id go. For my runes i stack a page of -cooldown (the static runes, its like 14.88%) and then -cooldown talents, with flash and heal as my summoner spells. I can ult every like 30-40 seconds at max rank, and my roll ends up doing tons of damage, as well as my ult (and the thorns on my curl gives tons extra dmg). PS, roll gets 1:1 AP so it can get very strong. Also with flash, if enemies surround themselves with creeps, i can just flash on them and the roll hits them, then i taunt/curl/ult combo to totally wreck them. By the time taunt is over, they start to run, and my Roll is already coming off CD again (thanks to the -CD runes/masteries and soul shroud.). The only thing wrong with my build is soul shroud isnt enough mana regen early on.
I've seen this in action, and though I usually bash sunfire stacking, it works really really well because of the cd reduction on your ultimate.
Warmogs, Ninja Tabi, 2x Sunfire Capes, Frozen Heart, and Soul Shroud. 3 Sunfire Capes if someone else on my team gets the Shroud
6.In Game Strategy
Focus on last hitting and moderately keeping your lane pushed with occasional powerball usage on creep waves. This can also help you farm very well, and can give you great lane control. Once level 4, it isn't a bad idea at all to go for a kill on an overly aggressive player. The armor decrease at this level is nice, as it usually drops players to 0 armor, making your attacks hit very hard. Combined with Powerball, I've gotten first blood solo in the majority of my games to silly players. Also, if anyone EVER tries to attack your tower, taunt=death or waste of flash. Period. I've almost never not gotten a kill from someone or made them waste their precious cooldowns on their spells once they move to close to the tower. Taunting them not only reduces their armor and snares them, but it forces the tower to attack them also. Abuse this whenever you can.
This is generally the time where Rammus shines the most. Focus on ganking heroes, team pushing, and Powerballing across the map for superb map control and keeping all of your lanes in check. Combining this with sunfire cape for quickly annihilating creep waves, you should outlevel players quickly. Always go for the neutral buff given by the Reptile for an incredible damage over time spell that stacks with sunfire and slows the opponent down, giving you many easy kills. Use rank 2 of Tremors to quickly annihilate towers, and don't be afraid to tower dive if your sure of the kills. Your armor will reduce the damage of towers by up to 75% in mid game, which is simply puny damage.
The game is generally over by this point, either way. If you played well and had much success with pushing and ganking, then its nearly impossible for the team to swing back. Their only hopes of doing so is generally a carry who is nicely farmed/fed, and luckily you are the answer to this. A well stacked master yi can't penetrate your armor, unless they have multiple black cleavers, and they are still going to be damaging themselves greatly due to thornmail and defensive ball curl. Stick to the plan generally of your mid game strategy, except be more cautious, as people are much more in line with Rammus's capabilities by this point.
Rammus is by far my favorite hero, and is currently extremely balanced in my opinion. He takes keen choices concerning your item, skill, rune, mastery build, and general play-style. These are things I addressed in this guide, and can be taught; However, Rammus also takes some decent intuition on when and how to use your skills, and how to manage the time you are given to push multiple lanes due to your great mobility, what spells to cleanse, These are things that cannot be appropriately taught in a guide, and simply require experience with the champion, knowledge of the game, and just plain ability to play well. So, as a final recommendation in my guide, get out there and play Rammus!
Happy Rolling and good taunting,