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-   -   Theory: Counter-AD: Thorn-PD Rammus (http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=2669736)

PracticalPotato 10-11-2012 10:52 PM

Theory: Counter-AD: Thorn-PD Rammus
Since noone's paying attention to this, it'll mostly be a resource for myself. However, I'll continue to update.



AD Assassin, Melee Tanky DPS, Anti-AD, Ganker, Mixed Damage

Rammus is kind of going underplayed. Rammus as a jungler is very very reliant on ganks, since his clears aren't the best and he is prone to counterjungling. This Rammus build would be perfect for fighting most conventional AD Bruisers who go top. It will also be an AD/magic damage assassin capable of locking down single opponents. Defensive Ball Curl and defensive items keep you tanky while you can't be ignored due to your damage.

This is focused on maximizing your passive (25% of armor = bonus AD), your Defensive Ball Curl (increase armor and MR by 40-120 depending on level, returns magic damage on attacks with 10% of armor = bonus damage), and your taunt (taunts and reduces armor). Your damage is mixed due to magic damage reflect and heavy autoattacks, while you stay decently tanky due to Defensive Ball Curl and some defensive items.

However, due to the lack of MR items in the core build, mages will prove an issue, especially in lane. Later on, DBC and HP helps enough with mages. It is recommended that this build be used only in Draft Mode as a counterpick.

UNEXPECTED BONUS: This build is perfect for backdooring due to the high amount of armor (for tanking turret hits) as well as Rammus's ult, which hurts turrets.


Marks: ArP: I take ArP because even though Taunt reduces armor, 1. People take Armor runes, 2. Taunt is leveled second
Seals: Flat Armor: Definitely. Armor is standard, and you even get an AD boost from it (a few points, but it certainly does help anyway)
Glyphs: MR/Lv: MR/Lv will help deal with spellcasters later on in-game
Quints: ArP: Same as Marks


I've been using mostly defensive masteries to try to give myself as big of a defensive boost as possible. It helps, especially in lane, and lets you tank even more damage. The 21st mastery in defense is very very helpful.

I haven't tried these yet, but I want to. It seems like I'd do much more damage. In the defensive tree, I would probably take 3 in armor, 2 in reduced minion damage, 3 in health regen, and 1 in minion damage reflect.

Rammus has a few options in terms of summoner spells.

Flash: This has become pretty standard on champions, and it's one of the most versatile ones you can get. Quick, split-second repositioning is very useful. It's very useful on Rammus specifically because you can flash over minions or champions and Powerball straight into your target.

Exhaust: Since you're fighting ADs most of the time, Exhaust will further your domination over them. You're a killer, and if they can't kill back, your job is half done already.

Heal: Heal can be very useful, especially in lane to bait someone in. Rammus is able to quickly DBC + Heal to make himself very much more resilient, and Tremors does a ton of damage. If they decide to run, Taunt will keep them at you. Even more effective with Exhaust.

Ghost: I haven't tried it yet, but Ghost seems like it would be quite useful for Rammus. An insanely fast Powerball boosted with Ghost and PDs will leave enemies unable to react, and it can help you keep up in longer chases. I'm kind of on the fence here though. (It's kind of like Shurelya's with its bonuses.)


Start with Cloth armor and 5 hp pots. The laning phase will be either hell or cake depending on who you fight. Take a point in Defensive Ball Curl and brace yourself. Play passively unless you know you can trade well. At this point, you might be farming at your turret. Don't worry about it.
NOTE: When you trade, save your Taunt for when they're starting to back out. This will usually mean they used their main ability combo already. Since you should have tanked it with Defensive Ball Curl, you can keep the exchange going.

I think leveling like this is optimal: R > W > E > Q

Pick up boots (ninja tabi at some point), obviously, but as soon as possible, buy a Thornmail. This will work fantastically with Defensive Ball Curl and taunt, and they should be pretty scared of trying to trade with you.. At this point, you should be doing decent damage with the armor from Thornmail and Defensive Ball Curl added as bonus AD, and the damage reflect from both, so remember that Taunt makes your autoattacks hit harder (it reduces armor).

From Thornmail, masteries, runes, Ninja Tabi, and Defensive Ball Curl, your passive gives ~80 AD. You're going to want to capitalize on that extra AD, so turn yourself into an assassin-tank. DPS needs Crit, AS, and AD. You have AD, so buy a Phantom's Dancer and enjoy the AS and crit. Now that you fly across the map, go ahead and powerball everywhere, taunt that guy standing alone in top lane, and destroy him. Buy a second Phantom's Dancer for more AS. Your AD could use it.

Your next buy should be defensive. You have a ton of armor and they're starting to wail on you with magic or true damage. Health is the main concern, so buy either a Frozen Mallet or a Sunfire Cape. Sunfire will be great in a teamfight as you lock down the ADC as well as providing some more armor. Frozen Mallet gives more HP and some AD included (yey) and slows opponents who can outlive your taunt attacks. However it's more expensive. Your call.

WARNING: Mages do more damage to you than ADs, though Defensive Ball Curl will help tons to blunt their combos.

This is the main build that should serve you well in most games.


With Defensive Ball Curl giving you 120 MR, your MR should end up at least 180 during the curl. That's a pretty solid number, but if spellcasters are really giving you a hard time (or are CCing you through Curl), the relatively new Maw of Malmortius may be the item for you. With built in MR and a Magic Shield, it's a good buy against spellcasters. It also gives you AD! A more defensive item that will do you good is Banshee's Veil. Banshee's gives you some much appreciated health as well as MR. It has a bubble shield that works great against combo casters. I would recommend getting either of these items AFTER the first Phantom's Dancer. the PD and Thornmail are essential for early game damage. Afterwards, continue with the build as normal.

This section will deal with specific enemies that you may face top lane.

Fiora: Easy
Ok, she's just all melee all physical all the time. She can't counterattack you whatsoever, because the moment you turn on DBC, she'll hurt herself trying to hit you. She can't do anything in lane except attempt to last hit (keyword attempt).

Fizz: Medium
Fizz is really rare. I don't see him mucn. Since he does magic damage, your armor will be less effective. However, his Q dash WILL hit Thornmail, and he's very melee so you can taunt alot. He'll be difficult to face early on. Try to bait him into using his skills to attack you then gank him with your jungler.

Irelia: Easy
Irelia has been long feared in top lane. She has her own heals and deals plenty of burst damage. When defensive and receiving a gank, she can stun you. She does true, physical and magical damage. And she's a wimp. Your DBC will blunt both magic and physical damage, and most of her damage (and all her true damage) is dealt through autoattacks, making the damage reflect destroy her. If she opts to Equilibrium Strike you alot, she'll run OOM. If she decides to farm passively, she's 100% melee, so stay near the minions and Taunt her.

Jayce: Medium
Jayce is a ranged/melee hybrid, so he'll mostly be staying in ranged form when fighting top lane against you. His Q ball doesn't do alot of damage unless it's run through the gate. By this time you should have activated DBC to reduce the damage. He is ranged, so Taunt opportunities are rare, but he's still AD and your armor should help tons.

Mordekaiser: Hard
Morde primarily deals magic damage, so he's difficult already. Morde also has a giant shield that'll be hard to break through in lane. You aren't going to kill him, but see if you can't lock the minion waves in front of your tower. He pushes alot.

Rumble: ohgodwhy
It's best to not even. Rumble is a nightmare to fight. He's a bruiser AP, which means he's already going to be impossible to fight. Flamespitter will prevent you from getting any farm, and Electro Harpoon can zone you pretty hard. The only pro is that he pushes pretty hard with Flamespitter, but it's less so than Mordekaiser (deals 1/2 to minions) and he can harpoon you instead. You need ganks. Get them, have your jungler get Oracle's and babysit you.

Teemo: Medium-Hard
Teemo deals both magical and physical damage and is ranged. He'll be pretty hard to beat, but he IS squishy, so make the best of it. Try to get ganks on him early before his shrooms come up, else get an oracle's elixir (yes, for lane). His damage is primarily dealt with autoattacks. If he's building DPS, build normally. If he's building AS/AP or On-Hit, Thornmail may be put off for an early Hexdrinker. If he's building AP, be cautious. an oracle's is absolutely necessary, and Hexdrinker may be bought. Watch out for his blind no matter what build he's doing.

Vladimir: Give up now.
Vladimir is probably the worst champ to go up against. He doesn't push as hard as Morde or Rumble, he's more ranged than both, is tanky, and has sustain. If he gets ganked, he flower-pools back to his turret. You're not winning this lane. You're not going to be useful whatsoever.

Wukong: Easy
Wukong deals physical damage, but you should be careful about his decoy clone. He'll probably try to bait your taunt on it. Use taunt while he's flying at you instead. If he tries to autoattack, he dies. If he tries to use spells, he'll go OOM and push alot (since 2 of his abilites are AoE).

Added Sunfire Cape to increase HP and help balance armor and HP a little more.
Added a speculative, incomplete rune page.
PLAYTESTED: Added more solid rune page and updated ingame play. Added Masteries. Added Frozen Mallet as possible Sunfire replacement
Added Enemies section based on testing
Updated Enemies section
Added situational MR items.
Added Summoner Spells section

PracticalPotato 10-12-2012 01:32 PM

I give all my posts one self bump.

Almost 200 views and no comments? I'd like to hear some feedback, thoughts, anything.

Amatzikahni 10-12-2012 02:58 PM

If I'm doing decently as Rammus, I go Mobility Zeal then start my defensive items (and possibly upgrade to PD). If I'm doing poorly, I'll grab Merc and skip the Zeal/PD. The Zeal/PD gives crazy movespeed and attack speed which significantly increases ganking power and makes you a crazy zoner in teamfights. I end up taking their ADC down to ~25% health by myself in a few seconds then I run back and taunt targets off my ADC while we win the teamfights.

For some reason (either my playstyle or it really works), I find that the early PD makes Rammus amazing. But about Thornmail? Well, it only works during the taunt and doesn't give you any health, so you end up having over 300 Armor with DBC active and only 1600 health, so you're actually really squishy despite all the defense. Grabbing HoG and Sunfire gives you much more defense and offense than Thornmail does unless you're fighting an ADC 1v1.

PracticalPotato 10-12-2012 03:23 PM

I chose the thornmail early because it gives so much armor for so cheap. It's a significant boost to damage (magical and physical) as well as a good defensive item anyway. You pointed out that Thornmail would be effective in 1v1 AD fights, but since I'm laning top, it'll give me a fantastic edge against the AD bruisers that you usually will encounter there.

I kind of feel like this build (in a teamfight) is one where I'm a little less of a tank and more of a bruiser, going for the high-damage opponents (namely AD) and locking them on you for 3 seconds as you wail on them with your preposterous armor.

At any phase in the game, you can also take down opponents who are alone very quickly, even if they're under a turret, since Taunt gives you a 3 second window where they can't get away.

Thanks for pointing out that I have like 0 HP though -.- How I missed that, I have no idea.

Mambazo 10-12-2012 03:58 PM

You severely overestimate the duration of your taunt. You say 5 seconds in one post, 6 in another. At max rank it is THREE seconds. Can be reduced to about 2 with a pair of merc treads. Just saying.

Magus Crow 10-12-2012 04:01 PM

I typically take a bit different route with Rammus:
Merc Treads, Randuin's Omen / Frozen Heart, Wit's End, Frozen Mallet, Sunfire Cape, Atma's.

Try rolling him out with Move Speed Quints to cover for mobility problems.

Yes, I know. There isnt any Thornmail in there to up the return damage on the taunt but I really feel that the damage reflection here is pretty overrated as it returns magic damage and you have nothing that's cutting through MR anyway. Even with your taunt unless the opposing team is running multi ADCs I just dont feel that running thornmail is beneficial enough compared to the benefits of Frozen Heart or Randuin's Omen.

PracticalPotato 10-12-2012 04:33 PM

Not sure what I was thinking. Fixed.

@Magus Crow
This is honestly just another one of those things. The rammus build you threw out is pretty conventional, I felt like trying something else out with him. I've been playing him every free week he was out, but I never really felt like I'd buy him. This is just a new idea, and I feel like it should work pretty decently.
Also, regarding "you have nothing that's cutting through MR anyway", you're doing both types of damage. Your autoattacks are a source of physical damage, so if they have MR, you still have physical. If they have both... well that's an inherent problem with all mixed damage, but I'd still get ArP.

SuperSobotka 10-12-2012 05:14 PM

i dont think i would ever build PD or zeal on rammus

philo and hog are good choices, so is kindlegem (for sherys eventually). CD reduction is really nice on ram.

aegis costs 900 gold less then PD which benefits your whole team as well as rammus.

i dont really play him anymore since mao/ali just seem better in the jungle.

PracticalPotato 10-12-2012 05:20 PM

Why wouldn't you build PD or zeal on Rammus? if it's a preferential choice, then alright, suit yourself. If not, then why?

Philo and HoG would slow down my Thornmail, which I need if I'm going to be doing anything early-mid game. CDR wouldn't benefit me as much as more damage, since I'm supposed to be doing damage.

Aegis of the Legion is a completely different item from PD. I could say that Rejuvination Beads are cheaper... Besides, Aegis doesn't benefit this build at all. If you paid any attention, I'm not being a tank.

This isn't a jungle guide. This is a toplane guide, so take your junglers and shove them... somewhere safe so they don't get hurt. Though I guess you could take this to jungle, it's not the point.

SuperSobotka 10-12-2012 05:26 PM

oh didn't realize it was a toplane rammus, ouch.

how are you going to save up for a thornmail if you have no gold per fives and your going to get denied cs pretty fast since like you said, rammus has a horrible laning phase. i can't really see it working. you would get shoved out of lane pretty quickly at lower levels, then get under leveled then top lane will just be able to destroy you.

i guess it could work if your jungler camped your lane, but that could be said about any top

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