Rolling Over the Competition: An In-Depth Guide on Nunu and Willump (2024)

In the meta of League of Legend's waning Season 10, hard-hitting AD champions such as Kha’Zix and Graves are taking the forefront, with aggressive play and carry mechanics being valued over more supportive roles. However, one champion who I believe still maintains an absolute strength over other junglers in terms of the (excuse the pun) pure snowballing this champion provides to their laners is Nunu and Willump. The tag-team duo have one of the most surprisingly strongest early games known to League of Legends junglers, and can definitely be utilized to the benefit of your laners! This Nunu guide should help you play the ultimate Nunu and Willump jungler.

Tips and Tricks

The thing to remember about Nunu is his very basic combo: W-E-Q-R. People underestimate the usage of his E specifically (Snowball Barrage) and how good it is for initiating crowd control. Make sure not to press your R twice right off the bat; it will automatically start the cast, and you will just cancel your ult and do minimal damage. When you use your W, don’t underestimate just how far your “Biggest Snowball Ever!” will go; when casting W from the center of the map, you can travel all the way to the respective top and bottom lane bushes, with the snowball then rolling all the way to the lane. Basically, you cover a lot. Additionally, don’t forget to ult in a bush if possible when baiting: enemies will not notice the ult circle (they’ll only see themselves being slowed), which can result in a devastating amount of damage being dealt.


Early Game

Now, there are two ways you can play Nunu in the jungle. Regardless of how you start the game, you want to ward the enemy buff camp adjacent to the one you are going to start at. If you start blue side at blue buff, you want to buff red. Note: if it is too unsafe to do this (ex: if there is an enemy Kayn who you know is going to start raptors), warding the river bush is also acceptable. The point of warding is just to get a good view on where your enemy jungler is going to be at level 3, the level at which most junglers are going to be attempting an early gank.

If you want to be more safe, you want to start Q and start at Blue before taking down Gromp (make sure to smite!) and heading to wolves to get to level 3. At this point, you can probably try ganking mid by running down the lane with your W (don’t underestimate just how strong a Nunu is at level 3.) If the gank is successful, you can head to red buff before taking the respective crab next to it. After this, you want to just maintain a solid pathing route centered around who you want to gank. Let’s say the matchups are Garen vs Quinn in the top, Zed versus Syndra in the mid lane, and Caitlyn and Morgana versus Ziggs and Brand in the bot lane. Because both your mid lane and bot lane are in favorable matchups, you’re going to find yourself pathing towards top lane a lot more.

Of course, there’s a much more fun way to play Nunu, a way that I call the “Cheese” method. Although you will start at a massive disadvantage in terms of CS, you could be rewarded with two separate lakers hard-stomping their lanes, resulting in an easy win. Your path is Blue with Q -> Instantly leveling up W and ganking either lane that is near you (if you start blue side, it’s going to be top or mid; if red side, it’s mid or bot). The secret behind this cheese is that by the time you take your blue buff down and have both Q and W up, everyone else will still be Level 2. As a result, your gank will be extremely powerful. Let’s say you gank your Garen, and you successfully get a kill on Quinn. You rotate down to Gromp and wolves before ganking mid. This style of jungling is extremely dangerous, as it involves having good laners, something that could be completely missing in solo queue. But with this style, you find yourself only taking 1-2 camps before looking for a gank; don’t be afraid to return back to a lane up to 2 more times after the original gank.

Mid-Game

Nunu is the king of objectives; there is no way that you can get outsmited if you combine both your Q and your smite. Let’s say you just hit Level 9, and you want to get the second dragon. Your Q deals 980 true damage, and your Smite deals 600 true damage. Together, that’s 1580 true damage. Even at Level 18, Smite only does 1000 true damage. You should be out-smiting every other jungler in the game; use this to your advantage by aggressively pushing for objective control. Due to your Q having a low cooldown (a maxed-out Q at Level 9 has an 8 second base cooldown), taking monsters such as Rift Herald or an Elemental Dragon is easy.

You basically become this terror with a giant snowball, rolling all around the Rift and constantly ganking your lanes and poking at your enemies. The point is for your enemy to type into all chat “jg diff” and mean that you are ganking more than their jungler. It’s not just because ganking more can result in your lakers power-spiking much faster; it’s also psychological warfare against the enemy jungler.

The mid-game is thus where Nunu finds himself at his strongest; although you are pretty strong at all points of the game, your natural scaling means that from around 15-35 minutes, you are one of the strongest junglers (provided that you aren’t 0/4). By constantly rotating and soaking damage (your early-mid game items built should be your jungle item, Enchantment Cinderhulk, plus a Dead Man’s Plate and boots), you find yourself serving as extremely strong utility. It is here where Nunu shines the most; as an extremely fast, pretty tanky monster who runs around the map feeding his teammates kills.

Late Game

Nunu starts to fall off towards the late game, but only in the sense where his stats are not as strong in the late game as they were in the late game. It’s here where your skill as a Nunu player really begins to shine; it’s your ability to land your snowballs, find good ults, and to learn how to run in and out of the battlefield by utilizing your Q successfully in order to perform well for your team. You should reliably be drafting Nunu when you have hyper carries who can capitalize on the CC you dish out (Lucian, Darius, etc.), so your entire role functions as a mini support. Other than this, you should be running around the map constantly: warding important jungle spots, calling out summs, and generally working towards objectives.

Matchups:

EASY:

Nocturne: You just run over this poor guy. Not much to say, you’re not going to be exactly destroying him in 1v1s but you provide enough CC to counter his kit so that your top or mid laner can help finish him off.

Amumu: His engage relies on front-heavy CC, and your snowball acts as a deterrent. Additionally, the move speed boost you get should be enough to knock him off. From there, your pestering with your Q and Es should be enough to get rid of the mummy.

Udyr: What’s he going to do? Auto you to death? When your entire kit is centered around freezing and stunning the person you’re 1v1ing up close?

Graves: Nunu is a particularly great pick against Graves; not only can you match the early game aggressiveness, but when Graves begins to inevitably fall off duty to his auto-attack inconsistencies, you will be there to establish dominance.

Ivern: Ivern’s ult produces an extra minion for Nunu to Q to death, and Nunu’s entire kit allows him to run circles around Ivern and beat his head in.

MEDIUM:

Master Yi: It comes down to how good the Yi is; a good Yi will be able to utilize his Q to dodge your W and his W to counter your E, while a bad Yi will run straight into the snowball and just instantly get pummeled to death. Assume that the other jungler is better, however, and play safe around the Yi until you can figure him out more.

Wukong: A good Wukong can utilize his ult to stop your ult, a much stronger trade considering Wukong’s ult’s reliance on CC to make it effective versus your ult requiring a huge damage payoff.

Volibear: While you don’t win any 1v1s against Volibear, you are able to zone out the bear via your E stun and your Q heals until your teammates can come in and help sustain damage.

HARD:

Nunu’s hard matchups are unique in that they all have the exact same reasoning as to why they are hard to play against: they have multiple spells to counter your most important CC spells (W and R) and can cancel your spells enough times to knock you out as a contender. Instead, I’ll just list out these champions, because they play pretty similarly against a Nunu: Xin Zhao, Vi, Zac, Elise, Kayn, and Skarner. These five junglers can put an absolute pain in your pathing.

RIP:

Hecarim: If you pick Nunu into Hecarim, you are essentially giving up free LP. Hecarim’s early game can compete with Nunu, but unlike Graves, Hecarim has the CC and the speed to match Nunu. With his E allowing him to be one of the few champs to outrun a full-speed Nunu and his ult directly cancelling Nunu’s own ult, he functions almost as a stronger, more focused Nunu. Don’t pick Nunu into Hecarim.

Shaco: You are a big giant monster; he is a small little clown. The maneuverability of Shaco combined with how slow certain Nunu snowball turns can become is a devastating combo; in addition, the boxes can fear Nunu out of his snowball cast and a quick box can fear Nunu out of his ult.

Build

Keep in mind, Nunu has a separate itemization that comes out of playing AP Nunu mid, a play popularized in Season 10 after his newest buffs to his AP ratio in 10.13. In the jungle, however, his build is relatively precise.

Start

Hunter’s Talisman: Nunu relies on his spells to be doing lots of damage, making Hunter’s Talisman the stronger pick.

With your remaining 150 gold, I actually usually run two control wards: Nunu does not really need the Refillable Potion that is recommended, seeing as how both his Q and Smite allow for really solid health management.

First Back

Skirmisher’s Sabre: I take this over Stalker’s Blade because movement speed is not something that you need to be removing from the enemy; you already have that covered with your W. As a result, what you actually require is the damage reduction + extra true damage that the Sabre gifts.

Bami’s Cinder: In addition to helping to clear certain camps quickly (Nunu usually has trouble dealing with raptors in the early stages of the game, due to his E only hitting one target at a time), it also leads perfectly into his core.

Core Build

Enchantment: Cinderhulk: Besides the itemization of combining the Sabre and Bami’s, it also helps massively with the health boost and the passive.

Dead Man’s Plate: Synergizes wonderfully with Nunu’s need for Health and Armor, alongside the movement speed boost that ramps up alongside the W speed boost and the slow applied once crashing into enemies with your snowball.

Spirit Visage: Your standard MR item, this allows Nunu to combine his passive healing and the healing off of his Q to become a sustain god; you are unkillable with Spirit Visage.

Randuin’s Omen: This armor item allows you to become a CC legend; you’re wading through the enemies, letting them focus their fire on you while you heal up with your Q and Spirit Visage. In doing so, they become slowed, with your Randuin’s active allowing you to lock down everyone.

Gargoyle’s Stoneplate: This is the last item of the five core items you should be building, but in the later stages of the mid game + the late game, Gargoyle’s is an extremely underrated item. Although the damage reduction is annoying, the Stone Skin passive and active allow for Nunu to soak up incredible amounts of damage.

THE 6TH ITEM:

Hextech Protobelt-01: Although much stronger in his AP Nunu mid kit, this item synergizes extremely well with Nunu overall. Using this right after his snowball allows Nunu to close the small gap between his enemy and himself when he lands his snowball, further damaging his opponents and allowing him to Q faster. Buy this when you start racking up more kills and find yourself dealing lots of damage.

Adaptive Helm: Buy this if their hard carry is an AP mage who has become fed. While this won’t necessarily stop a 12/0 Syndra from utterly destroying you, it will allow for the Adaptive Helm passive and MR increase to give you a fighting chance.

Knight’s Vow: My personal favorite of the additional 6th items, buy this if you have a hypercarry on your team who you can help provide damage sustain. This is the most likely buy you will get if the game is going well enough; slapping this bad boy on your 10/0 Sylas will allow for you to soak up even more damage in return for some free LP.

Runes

Although Phase Rush is an okay keystone to run on Nunu (it allows for extra cheese with the movement speed boost), Aftershock runs the strongest with your kit.

<img src="https://i.imgur.com/4qUnhZY.png" alt="Nunu &amp; Willump Build Guide : Vapora Dark's Grandmaster Jungle Nunu Guide Season 10 :: League of Legends Strategy Builds" width="534" height="258" />

A deeper dive: Aftershock combines so strongly with your W that it seems insane to take anything of else. Font of Life also strongly interacts with your W, allowing your fellow champs to heal when they focus the champion you just hit with your W. Conditioning gives you extra Armor and MR, which is always appreciated, and Revitalize boosts the strength of both your Q and R. In the second tree, running Sorcery runes (Celerity and Waterwalking) work extremely well with Nunu’s early game aggressiveness.

Skill Order

It’s always going to be the same. Take your Q level one, your W level two, and your E level three. Max your Q first, then your E, then your W.

Summoner Spells

Smite: Do I have to explain this?

Flash: My go-to secondary spell for 80% of my fights, and only because flashing into the dragon pit and using both your Q and smite in a surprise attack is a huge game-winning play.

Ghost: An extremely underrated spell, Ghost synergizes well with your kit enough to where it shouldn’t fail you. However, I choose to run Flash more often than Ghost because Nunu’s entire kit revolves around gathering speed; if he has that speed, what is the point of adding a couple extra bits of Movement Speed?

Best of luck with your Nunu adventures!

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