So, basically this’ll just be a guide for how to play Rammus jungle. I’m a Diamond 3 jungle main, and Rammus only really started seeing play in solo queue again recently despite being strong the whole time. He’s a very strong solo queue jungle pick at pretty much every MMR I’ve played at (which is up to low D1).
Runes: x3 Attack Speed quints, x9 Attack Speed marks, x9 flat armor seals, x3 flat MR glyphs / x6 scaling MR glyphs. You take the AS quints and marks for a total of +29% AS, and you do this only because it significantly increases your jungle clear time and Rammus’s jungle clear time is horrible without them. Rammus’s passive gives him bonus AD based on his armor, and his W gives him additional armor. So AS runes synergize very well because his AAs will hit harder with armor and especially hard with his W activated. Remember this when you’re ganking because you need to be AAing as often as possible! The flat/scaling MR is preference–I like the little bit extra in case of a level 1 fight but it’s not a big difference either way.
Masteries: I like 4/23/3, taking the 4 points in AS in the Offense tree, the 3 points in MS in the Utility tree, and your standard jungle/tank masteries in the Defense tree. Rammus benefits a lot from MS, so the +1.5% is nice. I prefer AS quints over MS quints because faster clear = less damage tanking = more/better ganks, but the MS is still nice.
Skill Order: R>E>W>Q. Take your W at level 1 for improved clear, and your Q at level 2 for the same reason. Take E at level 3 and max it first–additional points increase the duration of your taunt and Rammus is all about his taunt. Don’t use your E on jungle monsters unless you have blue because its clear speed increase is marginal and it’ll just make you OOM. Q is a one point wonder. You want to max your W second because of how tanky it makes you. Don’t be afraid to use your R to clear buffs, big minion waves, take turrets, or do dragon/baron if you don’t anticipate a fight before it’s back on CD. Its sustained damage is really good, it does damage to turrets, and its CD is relatively short.
Items: SotAG/Mobis/Homeguards are your bread and butter. The order you get them is somewhat preference and somewhat how the game is going. In general, if you’re doing well, you want to get Mobis/Homeguards faster. If you’re doing poorly, you want to get SotAG faster. It’s kind of feast or famine; if you’re doing well, you can afford to build mobility because you won’t be super squishy without SotAG and your ganks are more effective when ahead so you want to gank more often with Mobis/Homeguard. If you’re behind, your ganks aren’t as effective and you need to just focus on not dying and getting some extra gold from jungle monsters. My general build path is Machete -> Quill Coat -> Mobis -> SotAG -> Homeguards. Use your Q the moment you’re leaving spawn every time! This is especially effective with Mobis/Homeguards, it doesn’t take more than a few seconds to get to a lane with them and your activated Q.
After you’ve gotten SotAG/Mobis/Homeguards, your build is pretty flexible but always full tank. One noob trap people fall into when building Rammus is just getting a ton of armor. Health is actually the best purchase you can make on him because of the free resistances he gets from his activated W. In general, against a team whose physical damage threats are doing well early I will rush Sunfire Cape. It increases your clear time significantly and your damage in ganks/teamfights. If a magic damage threat on the enemy team is doing well I’ll rush Banshee’s Veil. BV is100% core on Rammus if the enemy team has any significant source of magic damage because of the spell shield it gives you. The spell shield can stop a critical CC/snare from the enemy team that would otherwise prevent you from engaging a good fight with your Q->E engage. I’d say I buy Sunfire Cape/BV in 90% of my games with Rammus.
After those items it’s pretty situational. If they have strong auto-attackers like Yi, Trynd, Lucian (his passive), Thornmail is good if you’ve already built some health. Randuin’s is great as well for general tankiness and the slow which, with your Q, can help you catch targets. Spirit Visage if the enemy team is very AP heavy just gives you more health/MR which is always good. Warmog’s is good as well.
Rammus is not as item-dependent as a lot of other junglers and because of that you should spend most of your time trying to gank and getting vision control instead of farming. If smite is up and you don’t see a gankable lane do a camp. If it’s down, look for a gank or get some vision. You win games as Rammus by getting your team ahead early/mid and using your strong engages to win them fights mid/late. My typical build path throughout a game is something like this (buying a ward on every back):
- Machete start
- Quill Coat
- Giant’s Belt
- Sunfire Cape
- Spectre’s Cowl
- Banshee’s Veil
- Giant’s Belt
- Randuin’s Omen
- Rammus’s ganks post-3 are very strong. Get a good angle on your opponent, activate your Q and go in to lane. Land the Q, tauntimmediately, and then activate your W. If you’re level 6, activate your R the same time you activate your W. Don’t wait to taunt and give them the chance to flash away between your Q and your E.
- If you’re uncertain of whether or not you’ll be able to catch the enemy with your Q but you know that you and your teammates will be able to kill them if you do catch them, flash+Q/E everytime. This can be risky theoretically because Rammus is weak to counterganks (against most junglers) but counterganks in solo queue are not super common and you’re better off 9 out of 10 times making the aggressive move yourself.
- Don’t go HAM ganking top at 3:10 after your first round of buffs. Rammus is actually pretty squishy early in the game and if you overextend while tanking minions this is pretty much the one time all game that you can bet the enemy jungler will come turn the gank. Rammus losing double buffs early is really bad.
- If you’re going to play Rammus, try to get your team to either pick or ban Morgana and Janna. Those two support champions make it very hard for you to gank their lane or engage teamfights later in the game. Morg can just shield whoever you would taunt and now you can’t taunt them, or she can land her snare on you before you get there. Janna can slow you, knock you up, and even if you do manage to taunt an enemy she can just ult you away immediately and heal whatever damage you did to that person. Lulu is the same (can slow you, can poly you, can ult the person you taunt to keep them alive) but she’s not played often and nobody really picks her as a counter to Rammus, so don’t worry about it.
- Later in the game, try to establish good vision control and use your Q/Flash to engage favorable fights. What makes Rammus such a good champion for solo queue is how strong his picks/engages are. (1) Your taunt lasts forever, (2) with Sunfire Cape/activated W and R you do a lot of damage to your taunted target without building any damage items, and (3) your activated W means you’re not at risk of dying yourself while you’re engaging the fight. So anytime your team is in position, activate your Q and Flash/taunt an enemy carry to straight up win a fight.