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-   -   Optimizing Amumu as a tank in competitive plays (http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=37332)

atlantisssss 12-17-2009 05:42 PM

Optimizing Amumu as a tank in competitive plays
An effective use of Amumu as a optimal tank

Introduction: the utility maximization of a tank

I will skip the skill description, how to use them correctly, etc. I assume that the readers are familiar with this champion in most ways. Masteries are also personal choice. Most use of 0-21-9 or 9-21-0 would suffice.

As we have seen in the first tournament finals video and many competitive game plays, Amumu is certainly one of the best tanks in the game. Although the recent change of cleanse severely compromises the overall effectiveness of his ultimate, Amumu’s unique skill set of AOE damages, damage reduction, a stun, and an AOE disable make him a formidable, if not the best disabling tank in the game. This guide will follow a sunfire cape build, as I believe that sunfire cape is well fit for Amumu, synergizing with his second skill, despair.

What roles does Amumu, or any tank serve in a team? It is a commonly accepted idea that a good tank should have AOE disable that he can use; using the tanking capacity to jump into the middle of the enemies, use the AOE disable, create a chaos among the enemy, and then hopefully, the enemy will focus fire you. As a tank, your objective is to take as many hits in the team fight as possible, until the moment you die. Theoretically, it may be better that you take EVERY hit in a fight until you die; your armor and magic resistance, along with your health, should make it more efficient for your team for you to take as much damage as possible. This allows your squishy damage dealers to stay alive and shred the enemy champions.

Malphite is a superior initiating tank by a large margin. Nunu, with the recent modification of cleanse, is a superior AOE damage dealing tank. Alistar is a much more useful early game due to the AOE stun available at level 1. Frankly, Amumu’s ultimate, which deals quite a small damage and a 2.5 second AOE snare, is not such an overpowered skill, especially with cleanse. I came to believe that optimal utilization of Amumu is to build a persistent damage-dealing tank that is tempting to attack for the enemy team.

The common weakness of all disabling tanks, is that after their initial AOE strike (malphite ult-ground slam, alistar pulverize-headbutt, Nunu ult), they are not important targets of attacks due to their low damage output. It is logical to target the squishy DPS carries and mages than to target a malphite who already spent his ultimate. Malphite may be the best initiator due to his “bowling ball of doom”, but after his initial strike, the enemy has very little incentive to target him, making his tanking capacity obsolete. Therefore, the way to optimize a tank’s effectiveness is to provide the enemy with the incentive to focus fire you. I believe that persistent damage, rather than burst damage, should be better for this purpose.

Finally, how is it possible for Amumu to do this? The answer is his second skill, % per second life drain, synergized with sunfire capes. Sunfire cape, combined with despair, drain 5% or so health of most champions with Amumu’s presence alone. This AOE damage is not something to be ignored, and the continuous use of tantrum, along with Amumu’s positioning (you should be close to your enemies, preferably in the middle of them) makes Amumu a tempting target in a team fight. Remember; using this strategy successful will generally result in terrible K/D ratio, as I found myself rarely having more kills than deaths using this. However, this maximizes your usefulness in a team fight and the likelihood of your team winning the team fight.

General item build and Justifications

1.Doran’s shield: while many people would (correctly) suggest buying a blue crystal or red crystal as the starting item in order to build catalyst the protector, I felt that I generally perform better early game with a Doran’s shield. Remember, if you intend to engage in a level 1 fight, a red crystal may serve you better, as it grants you about twice as much health. However, Doran’s shield is in fact a superior laning item, as the tiny amount of armor and health regen is not something to be overlooked under level 6. After many trials, I have found myself generally starting with a Doran’s shield and a health potion. Health potion is often considered to be a superior substitute for a health regen item; for its price, it serves the same purpose more efficiently.

The goal of the early laning phase is to remain in your lane without pushing nor being pushed until you gather 890/1240/1940/2090 Gold. Each of these numbers are the amount of gold necessary to purchase Chalice of Harmony and Basic boots/ Boots of Speed/ Mercury’s treads. Remember: Doran’s shield allows you to stay in your lane longer before your initial shopping trip. I believe that reaching level 6 before your first trip home is quite important.

2.Chalice of Harmony: Although there is a widespread consensus that HP and Mana items, namely Catalyst the protector, is superior to the regen items, such as philosopher’s stone and chalice, I have found myself in need of regeneration more than total mana for Amumu. Especially during the laning phase, as I use despair in early levels for farming, I find the mana regeneration more necessary than the overall mana pool. The total mana pool is unquestionably more important for burst damage mages, such as annie and veigar. However, understand that most of Amumu’s damage output results from damage over time, simply from Amumu’s presence near the enemies. In order to fully utilize despair in the early stage of the game (this is almost a built-in madred’s bloodrazor with AOE), I find chalice very useful. In addition, for a sunfire cape build, Amumu will lack magic resistance; 40 magic resistance in addition to good mana regen seems quite cheap for 890 gold.

3.Boots – generally Mercury’s treads or Boots of speed: This is one situational choice that you need to make in the game. Generally, if your early game performance has been towards your team’s favor, Boots of speed should be the boots of your choice. If the enemies have more than 2 slows or more AP oriented than physical damage, then you must consider Mercury’s treads. With Mercury’s treads and Chalice, Amumu should have around 100 magic resistances, which is a decent magic resistance to have; magic resistance has diminishing returns.

Here is a case for the boots of speed. Amumu exerts the most damage output by staying close to the enemy champions with his despair and sunfire cape effect. Therefore, being able to slightly outrun your enemies can drastically change the total damage output of Amumu in a team fight, especially if it ends up dispersing you are one of the few champions with enough health left to do the clean-up. The positioning is the greatest determinant of Amumu’s damage output. Therefore, roughly 10% better movement speed that the boots of speed grants is quite important. The statistics of my records – I have played roughly 50 games as Amumu prior to writing this guide, testing mercury’s treads and the speed boots- show that my total damage output is about 15~20% higher in the matches that I use the boots of speed than mercury’s treads. Of course, there is the variable that I get mercury’s treads in the games where I have harder times. Nonetheless, unless the enemy has many slows to obsolete the effects of your speed boots, I recommend speed boots above mercury’s treads.

4.Sunfire cape – Sunfire cape is actually the main damage output item in your shopping list. Out of all of the champions currently in the game, I believe that Amumu is the best fit to use the sunfire capes in effective ways. In combination with despair, sunfire cape exerts formidable damage output that makes Amumu’s total damage output sometimes comparable to the carries.
Here is an example: at around level 11 (about 20 minute mark, when you will likely be able to afford your first sunfire cape), most champions will have around 1500 health, give or take some catalysts. Amumu’s despair (let’s assume for this case you have put 3 levels into it, giving him about 3% life drain per second.) Again, the exact numbers are not so important, since different champions with different items and rune configuration will have quite some different health/magic resistance. Amumu’s damage output per second is: 40 + 1500 * 0.03 = 100 per second. Assuming that the enemy has some magic resistance, let’s say that Amumu deals about 60~70 damage per second. This may seem negligible, but remember: this is a persistent AOE damage that comes purely from your presence alone. You will be continuously slamming on E for tantrum and occasionally auto attack as well.
With ubiquitous heals and health items (due to the rise of catalyst), most team fights last quite some long time (more than 5~10 seconds). In this case, your total damage output from simply standing in the middle of your enemies can almost sum up to 1/3 of several enemies. Combined with your ultimate, bandage toss, and tantrum, your presence can easily overwhelm many squishy carries, who are tempted to focus fire on you; if they do, you will likely be shut down quite quickly, as you will likely jump into the middle of the enemy team. However, if they do, your team’s squishy carries will hopefully shred the enemies in the <5 seconds of chaos that you will create with your ultimate and tantrum spam.

Some people argue that after 2 sunfire capes, it is better to buy an abyssal scepter in order to maximize the damage output. However, sunfire capes are superior tanking items due to more health. I came to conclude that magic resistance is not as important, for the enemy mages will likely be more considerate in targeting their spells than the enemy DPS carries; if the mages target you, that is good. The goal of this build is not to maximize your damage output, but to maximize your usefulness as a tank. The damage output of sunfire capes and despair serve as the incentive for the enemies to target you instead of your squishy carries. Therefore, the tanking capacity is always more important than your damage output.

Skill build
1.Tantrum – overall damage output and farming capacity of tantrum is better than the other 2 at lv 1.

2.Bandage toss – This is a skillshot stun that can be useful. Just in case it is needed in the laning phase, I take one level of this skill at level 2.

3.Despair – this is the most important skill in Amumu’s skill set in my opinion. After level 3, I rotate between despair and tantrum, ignoring bandage toss.



6.Ult – well, obviously



9.… you get the picture. Max out the bandage toss last.

Early Game

There is not much I would like to say in this part; staying in lane while last hitting minions is a common sense, using tantrum to ensure last hits is also a decent idea. Against other melee champions, hitting them with auto attack or tantrum to agro the minions may sometimes help you gain the cool down of tantrum to last hit multiple minions, so if used wisely, deliberate minion agro can be helpful. Amumu is not quite useful early game; in low level fights, you won’t really do much. Amumu reaches his potential around level 12, when his despair and tantrum are maxed (especially despair). Also, Amumu’s damage output is severely dependant on sunfire capes, so early engagements are not so recommended. Of course, if your lane opponent has 200 health left, bandage toss – auto attack – tantrum combo him by all means; if your lane mate can land one nuke or an auto attack, that would be a kill. However, I recommend that you stay defensive and last hitting as long as possible.

I do not see jungling Amumu as the most effective form either; jungling should be shared by all of the team mates, likely during the shopping trips to the base. Heading to the jungle and leaving your lane mate alone in the lane may cause a pushing disaster that I am generally unwilling to risk. Generally, I like the strategy of taking a moment off the lane to jungle the golems/wolves and returning to the lane immediately, with the rest of my teammates doing the same thing. After level 6, or your first shopping trip, sweep the wraith camp if your solo did not do it already. It is always better to take EVERYTHING in your jungle as a team, as long as it does not result in your towers being pushed.

Approaches to the team fights
Let’s skip the common sense part (clairvoyance, jump them before they jump you, wait for your initiator, etc) and head straight to the function that Amumu should serve. Generally, people like using the bandage toss to jump into the crowd and immediately using the ultimate. Well, this used to be the best approach, allowing Amumu to be an initiator in the team fights. However, with the ubiquitous cleanse, this strategy is somewhat obsolete.

So, you have 2 options; bandage toss at the beginning, or save it for a more crucial moment. These two options have some tradeoffs, since an initial bandage toss will allow you to position yourself more easily. Of course, if you save it, you can stun a low-health enemy near the end of the team fights. This is largely situational, so do whatever that seems like a better fit.

One thing to keep in mind is that your enemies are humans and that they do not always have lighting fast reflexes. If you suddenly bandage toss into them and land your ultimate, you may catch many of them off-guard and they may be late casting cleanse. Also, making all of your enemies waste their cleanse on your ultimate is generally beneficial for your team.

Although I have stressed the importance of jumping in the middle of the enemies and making them focus fire on you, this serves no purpose if the rest of your team is not in the position to immediately attack. As long as most of your team can immediately follow your lead and attack the enemies, you should jump into the middle of them. If your team has a better initiator like malphite, follow his lead by all means. However, it is fine if you find the opportunity to bandage toss their carry to initiate the team fight.

For the duration of the team fight, stay in the center of their team. With the despair and sunfire cape, the individual members of the enemy team will have incentive to move away from each other. If they position themselves too far from each other, they will lose the focus of their fire power, as well as allowing your team to focus one of them more easily. I suggest than you constantly move around in seemingly random pattern, generally rubbing yourself against their squishy carries. Even if you are killed in the process, if you can drive their main damage output source away from the team fight, it is likely that the rest of your team will have an easy time. Your goal, of course, is to convince as many of your enemies to attack you instead of your squishy carries. If they make the logical choice of ignoring you, then they will suffer more from your presence than ignoring any other tank. Either way, Amumu is optimizing his use as a tank.

I am somewhat uncertain about purchasing a banshee’s veil at this time, since the new cleanse makes it somewhat unnecessary. I would appreciate everyone’s insights as to building a banshee’s veil. Generally my logic is that even if the enemy team is AP-focused, the sunfire capes and their damage output should be the main focus of the build. Since a tank with no damage output can be ignored at a low cost to the team, building a tank with a persistent damage output would increase his usefulness by increasing the incentive for the other team to attack you. Overall, the continuous use of despair and sunfire cape makes Amumu one of the best farmer in the game after his first sunfire cape (he can simply walk by a wave and tantrum to kill an entire minion wave). As long as you maintain the farming superiority against your enemies, your tanking capacity will be sufficient to stand a significant amount of hits.

This guide is in no way complete or “correct”. There may be a superior way of playing Amumu. I always appreciate other people’s inputs to this. Thank you for reading.


Reep 12-17-2009 05:47 PM

I see you're formatting now, I suggest you Bold key points, such as items, terms, certain phrases like "Laning Phase" "Conclusion", etc.

Seaka 12-17-2009 05:51 PM

They also nerfed Cleanse, so you might want to rethink some parts of strategy and the banshees veil, as even if it eats a stun, its useful for keeping you in the middle of the fight as it were.

zastrozzi 12-18-2009 07:25 PM

While I think that you have a lot of good points in the guide, I think that you are wrong in a few areas.

First and foremost, I don't know why anyone would get Despair at level 3. Let us do some math. We can take another level 3 tank and give him the extremely common Ruby Christal to see how much damage Level 1 Misery would do.

Alistar with a Ruby Christal has 990 health at level 3. That means that your level 1 Despair deals 22 raw damage. However, Alistar also has 30 magic resistance. Subtract the 22 damage from the adjusted 1287 hp for 1276 and then divide it by 1.3 for... 981. At level three, even against a tank with the optimal gear for it, Despair is only dealing 9 damage per second. That's not even one damage per mana! Of course, it goes up if you tag the tank with a Cursed Touch, but you still don't cap 2 damage per mana. And this means you need to tag them with your auto attack.

Combine this with the fact that Amumu only has 340 mana at level 3. And the fact that Despair only reaches out 250 units, which is 2.5 melees of distance. And the fact that Despair will be dealing less then 5 DPS to surrounding minions. And the fact that unless you are fighting a melee character, you need to cover the ground all the way over to effect the hero. And the fact that at this stage of the game, the enemy can just walk away, you have no way of slowing them down.

I very rarely get Despair before level 8. Tantrum is your bread and butter, and Bandage Toss is a long ranged stun that increases by 30 damage per level and cools down faster. At low levels, the 30 damage is better then time spent with Despair on, and it doesn't cost extra mana to do.

The next thing that I have to argue with you about is the fact that you dismissed the Abyssal Scepter. Again, the math backs it up. Let us say you are fighting the same Alistar Tank at level 10. For the sake of our sanity, we'll just make him naked. You open up with bandage toss, then auto attack for Cursed Touch, then Tantrum, all with Despair up. It will take 4 seconds and we will use your skill build.

With two Cloaks, you have 62 damage from the Bandage Toss, followed by zero MR. The cloaks deal 240 damage each, Despair deals 205 damage, and Tantrum deals 150 damage. Total damage: 896

With a Cloak and a Scepter, Alistar starts at MR 10 and you have +70 AP. Bandage Toss deals 137 Damage. Then you touch him, so his MR is -20. The single cloak deals 288 damage, Tantrum deals 222 damage, and Despair clocks in at a whopping 360 damage. Total: 1007.

While the extra cloak increases your raw damage, the bonus AP and reduced MR increases Amumu's overall DPS. And this isn't even considering the fact that friendly champions can use the Abyssal Scepter's aura to increase THEIR dps, as well. If you catch someone with this quick opening combo, then Ultimate while Nunu ults, you are probably going to kill whatever is in the AoE.

Also, remember that you get diminishing returns with extra armor. While the current metagame is very focused on physical DPS, you need to remember that with no MR, a magical DPS Champ like Fiddlesticks will Flambe you before you make a difference in a team battle.

I'm writing an Amumu guide to take a closer look at Amumu's versatility, so I won't ramble on any further, but sufficed to say, you are not truely optimizing Amumu's power.

BeakOr 12-19-2009 03:38 AM


Originally Posted by zastrozzi (Hozzászólás 419609)
I very rarely get Despair before level 8.

Have fun soloing golem/dragon.

HeyJon 12-19-2009 06:58 AM

Amumu bandage toss is still broken. Despair doesn't work sometimes :/

Xiaro 12-19-2009 10:58 PM

zastrozzi - What rune build do you use and what is your build order?


zastrozzi 12-20-2009 08:39 AM


Originally Posted by BeakOr (Hozzászólás 420964)
Have fun soloing golem/dragon.

I don't mean to offend, but why are you doing either of those things? I mean really, Amumu is not a carry. He should be helping someone who can win the game take out the dragon, not hogging it all for himself.

While he is a mage, he is pretty mana efficient, so he doesn't really need the Golem buff as much as, say, Viegar. And besides, Amumu is no longer good enough at level one to take out the Golem on the first spawn.

Finally, is the golem buff good enough at level 6 to warrant a serious DROP in dps? Despair simply does not do enough damage until late game to justify leveling it.

As far as rune build and masteries go, please remember that I am still a noob. I've just been playing a lot of Amumu recently and doing some deep thinking about the role of tanks. I'm planning on going 0/21/9 eventually, but as it is, I'm simply putting my points into defense and going from there.

Runes present an interesting issue. I've been really putting some thought into going 100% CD reduction. Hear me out on this one. Curse of the Sad Mummy, while a very effective spell, has a rediculous cooldown of 180/160/140 seconds. The Glacial Heart is an excellent tanking item and provides 25% CDR. If you can squeeze 15% CDR out of runes and masteries, you can slice off 72/64/56 seconds off it. That means you can suddenly use your ultimate in EVERY TEAM FIGHT. This is very cool. Having a bandage toss ready every 6 seconds is nice, as well.

As far as build order goes, I like:


Items are a little bit up in the air right now, which is going to go into my guide, but I like:

Doran's Shield
-Scale Mail
-Giant's Belt
--Sunfire cloak
L2 boots (typically the L3 movement ones)
-Blasting Rod
-Negatron Cloak
--Abyssal Scepter
-Cloth Armor/Sages Ring
--Glacial Shroud
-Scale Mail
--Frozen Heart

After that, I just experiment and counterpick items. Typically I just stack more Sunfire Cloaks, but that is certainly not optimal.

EchoRex 12-20-2009 08:52 AM


Originally Posted by zastrozzi (Hozzászólás 424696)
I don't mean to offend, but why are you doing either of those things? I mean really, Amumu is not a carry. He should be helping someone who can win the game take out the dragon, not hogging it all for himself.

Because Amumu leaving lane doesn't cause the other team to go hunting the same way a carry leaving the lane would do, and spamming his skills while running Despair is mana intensive even with a Chalice, plus cool down reduction for your primary/secondary initiation champion is awesome.

Despair scales, a single point in it even, is better than maxing Tantrum a level quicker.

zastrozzi 12-20-2009 11:22 AM


Originally Posted by Echo7 (Hozzászólás 424726)
Because Amumu leaving lane doesn't cause the other team to go hunting the same way a carry leaving the lane would do,

People aren't going to go look for a jungling tank because a tank with no one to tank for is *not doing his job*. Amumu is best in team situations, having your team floundering around while you prance about the jungle is sub-optimal for them, and most definitely sub-optimal for you.


Originally Posted by Echo7 (Hozzászólás 424726)
and spamming his skills while running Despair is mana intensive even with a Chalice, plus cool down reduction for your primary/secondary initiation champion is awesome.

Now, here is where you lose me. Despair is a low level mana-hog, so you need to get the golem buff to support it and you need Despair to take down the golem? Why not just... not take Despair and stop mashing your abilities? Also, the Chalice shouldn't exactly be a priority for Amumu, as he needs actual tanking items to do the job he was designed for.


Originally Posted by Echo7 (Hozzászólás 424726)
Despair scales, a single point in it even, is better than maxing Tantrum a level quicker.

The fact that Despair scales is kind of the problem. At low levels, nothing except the neutral creeps have enough HP to justify using Despair. If you aren't planning on Jungling (why should the tank be jungling again?), Despair eats up mana and DECREASES your DPS at low levels.

In the end, there are only two Golems on the map. If you are really the best character to grab the golem buff, then by all means, go ahead. However, I have yet to be in a game where the team would be better served by me claiming the golem buff over the DPS/Support/Carry/etc.

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