Dominion Rammus guide/discussion.

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In honor of free week, opening this discussion.

Rammus is one of the most feared champs in dominion, yet there is rarely any general consensus on how exactly he should be played and what to build (other than useless 1 liner comments).
He is generally considered overpowered due to his combination of mobility, decent damage output, and high survivability. He has the highest win rate of any champion in dominion (57% I believe)

I've found he acts as a force multiplier. If your team is ok, he makes them good. A good team becomes incredible. These are all wins. But if your team is bad or worse, then Rammus tends to suck.
I can't think of a time when Ive seen an awesome rammus that did great, yet his team sucked. Whereas this happens all the time on less team-oriented champs like Xin, Wukong, Sion, Vayne... heck, most of the dominion champs.

Keep this in mind when playing him. You need to be willing to have some teamwork... he isn't a lone-wolf champ.

Stuff Rammus Wants:

*Armor - Besides mitigating damage and the fact that most champs are physical on dominion anyways in general, armor scales with 2 of rammus abilities:

a) Passive. For every 4 armor (60g worth), he gets 1 AD (40g worth). Thats a really nice ratio, comparable to JAX and KAYLE's old passives. I'm a bit surprised they havent replaced it.

b) Defensive Curl. Every 10 armor (150g) adds 1 return damage per hit.

* Health - With a tendancy to stack armor and a free 120 armor/MR clickey, adding health is the best way to increase his Effective Health most of the time. Itemization for health is a bit tricky though.

* Magic resist - Rammus generally wants at least some extra MR. He will typically have 50ish base MR plus 26 runes@18, plus 6 mastery. 1 extra item is generally all he needs. In theory, Rammus is a counterpick vs a heavy AD team. In practice of course, he is quite strong and gets banned or 1st picked always.

* Cooldown Reduction - Rammus can be effective as a 1 shot wonder, where he powerballs in, taunts, curls, ults. That is usually enough to contribute quite well, although if the fight continues past his ability timers he will be kind of useless for a while.

Sadly, I don't remember which of his abilities begin their cooldown...if its when you START it (like his Ult I think), or when you END it (powerball).
Can anyone give some feedback on that? It makes a significant difference for analysis.

* Move Speed - Any increase in base MS is multiplied by his powerball. Other movespeed effects are added (like MS quints, etc)

------so-so stuff ---------------

* AP - Rammus has a 1.0 AP on Powerball and 2.4 max on Ult. Not bad, but I don't think its enough to justify AP. Especially when armor both mitigates and increases offense. But it's not terrible to get an item with AP on it, assuming other nice properties.

* AS - Rammus does wind up with decent AD due to armor. AS is thus tempting. But with no crit, rammus won't have enough of an autoattack to really ramp up significantly. I'd avoid this approach.

Items to Consider:

* Thornmail - I am starting to think this is mandatory if they have any autoattackers. Unlike your Curl, this is PERCENTAGE based. You pay 500g for the damage effect and 1500g for the armor.
Vs some mage that autoattacks you for 100, this is pretty weak returning 30 damage, while your Curl returns about 85 damage.
But, consider a carry that deals 400 average (easily doable with IE and PD alone due to crit multiplier). Even with 300 armor you'd eat 130 damage and only return 85. Thornmail would return 120 back to them in addition.
Since Thorn returns RAW damage it is incredible at overcoming lifesteal. A 400 dmg carry will only deal 130 to you lets say, but return 120 just from thornmail. Thats equal to about a -90% lifesteal for them, NOT just 30%!

* Boots of Mobility - Pretty much a shoo in because it affects BASE move speed, which gets multiplied by Powerball. Great synergy with his high mobility already and is really strong for the first Top battle since you can almost cap before they can even arrive, putting more pressure on the bad guys.

* Sunfire Cape - Armor and Health are good stats but you pay a lot for them due to the 800g Aura. Aura is fine, but I don't think its your best bet. However, consider getting just a GIANTS BELT as needed as a health booster then sit on it. If you ever happen to run out of room, you can upgrade to Sunfire. Ditto with Rylais. You could always get 2 Giants belts and sit on em.

* Frozen Heart - Very cost effective. Fantastic armor, great CDR, and early mana is even helpful to keep rammus fighting. The main problem is that it competes with Thornmail and neither has any MR or health which you kind of need. If you wind up vs mostly AP or even physical casters, consider Heart. Not sure you can work in both Thorn and Heart. Aura IS a bit counterproductive but I think it does more good than harm.

* Aegis of Legion - Well rounded defense. Covers magic resist nicely and boosts health some. Great sharing, though its not super cost effective. You pay full price for the benefits basically.

--- Marginal/Possible items -----
* Abyssal Scepter - Vs heavier AP or with AP allies. Tons of MR and the anti-MR aura is exceptionally good since you are NOT in the back unlike your mage allies. It also boosts the hell out of your own damage. AP is not ideal but Scepter is pretty cost effective already with the aura.

* Spirit Visage - Another choice for MR. NOT cost effective particularly but has all the stuff you want. Light MR, decent health, some CDR.

* Odins - One of the better health sources if you need the MR. You will be absorbing a decent amount of damage and be close range so its Active is kind of useful. Not super cost effective though. I'd prob take SV or Aegis instead.

* Frozen Mallet - I'd avoid this, though Ive seen it taken. VERY inefficient when used as just a health booster. Snare isn't all that necessary. Just get 2 giants belts for much cheaper and have more health.

* Randuins - One of the few decent armor sources with a big health booster and some CDR. Passive is a bit counterproductive. Active is decent though your Powerball and Taunt do most of that for you.

CDR, Health options: (if you want to go with high CDR approach)
* Spirit Visage as discussed.
* Reverie - 2300g for 330health, 15% CDR. turbo booster. mostly useless HP5/MP5
* Soul Shroud - 2300g for 520 health, 10% CDR, shares the CDR.
* Zekes - 2145g for 250 health, 15% CDR. Shares AS/lifesteal aura.

I haven't really come to a solid conclusion on a GENERAL PURPOSE build yet. Any suggestions?

So far its: 3(ad)- 21 - 6 (good hands,speed). 9(AD/CDR/magic pen) - 21 is an option too.

+ Boots of Mobility (1000g), cloth(300), 1 health pot.
+ Giant's Belt (1100)
+ antimagic mantle(400)
-> Thornmail (1700)
+ Spirit Visage (1100)
+ Frozen Heart (2600)
+ Giant's Belt #2 (1100)
-> Sunfire Cape (unlikely, 1500)
-> Rylais (very unlikely, 1900)

That puts me up 30MR, 200 armor, 1100ish health. 38.2% CDR. Cost: 9500g [not including the 2 last upgrades]

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Nice post!

I find Rammus just needs to react to whatever team comp he is facing, especially in dominion where you can see many varied team comps. However, your general build seems just fine and your emphasis on getting early hp is spot on!

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Thanks man. I appreciate the bump too. I was starting to think that not a single **** was given in the entire forum. ;-) Surely there have to be a few new people that want to try Rammus during free week and wanted a quick kickstart tutorial. Maybe not... I would have put in Dominion forum but people there were real schmucks last time I posted my take on a champ.

I agree with you. I had to alter the build a fair amount last nite. I was against an all kiting team with mostly AP (blind pick). I took Frozen Heart, skipped Thornmail entirely which is rare, then took SV and 2 giants belts and a negatron.
That still gave me solid health, strong armor and MR, plus the maxed CDR. So I think the general build is pretty solid and it was long enough that I was able to complete the Sunfire cape.