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Nunu the Jungle Yeti: Early Game Ganking, Late Game Tanking

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Guide Layout:

Summoner Spells
Champion Spells
-Skill Order
Item Build
Starting in the Jungle
Using Your Ult
I Just Love The Bush
Getting The Enemy Excited
They Go Both Ways
Premature Zerofication
Wine And Dine Them
Use Protection!
I Just Can't Keep It Up
General Tips


Hey all, I feel like nunu's been missing out on the love lately. He's an underrated hero who really shines when put in the right hands and can be intensely fun to play. He's arguably one of the best early ganking junglers in the game and is rivaled only by warwick in speed and ease of jungling. Not to mention he's a Yeti (well okay, he's really a small child HUMPING a Yeti, but that doesn't sound anywhere near as cool).

This is a guide for a jungling Nunu based around ganking early and often (first ganks go off at level 3 at the latest). This is a tanking support Nunu, who late game concentrates on getting off good ults, making the enemy blow their cds on him and chasing/kiting the enemy. This is from the perspective of myself, a 1600s+ player who loves Nunu and has an average K/D/A ratio of about 1:1:4 with him (2.8-2.7-12.1). He is also my most played champion by a decent margin.

So, how do you play the Yeti?


Your masteries as Nunu revolve around improved jungling and tanking for your team. This means a defensive build. The best build I've come across is 1/21/8

The choices are pretty obvious (excepting the lack of utility mastery).

I choose tenacity and imp smite over utility mastery for two main reasons. One, blue and red buffs are nowhere near as important for nunu as for most junglers. With careful use of visionary (your passive) you should have no mana problems, and lizard helps but is just icing on the cake. Secondly, I rarely get red and blue buffs after level six except if stealing from the enemy jungle. Nunu is great for ganking with red buff and ice blast, but ice blast alone rocks for ganking. And who doesn't want your twitch to have that red buff? After my initial ganking phase I always make an effort to give blue and red to my team's carries, not hog them for myself. Regardless, late game I find Tenacity makes a huge difference, and early game imp smite gives the perfect timing for those early ganks and improves jungling efficiency.

(Edit: Reasoning behind lack of utility mastery)

-1/1 Improved Smite

-3/3 hardiness, 1/3 Resistance, 4/4 evasion, 2/2 defensive mastery, 1/1 nimbleness, 2/3 harden skin, 4/4 veteran's scars, 3/3 ardor, 1/1 tenacity

-3/3 perseverence, 1/3 good hands, 4/4 awareness

That's the exact build I use. You can always change it around a little bit, but the most important things are 21 points into defense, the 5% experience increase and improved smite.


-Full Marks of Desolation (Armor Penetration Red), Full Seals of Resilience (Armor Yellow), Full Glyphs of Focus (static Cooldown Reduction Blue), and Full Quintessences of Fortitude (Health)

I choose armor penetration runes over magic penetration for two reasons. one, this makes for much faster jungling especially early on, and you want to gank as early as possible on Nunu. Second, a surprising amount of Nunu's damage is physical. Especially early to mid game Nunu hits very hard, and with lizard buff it just hurts that much more.

Cooldown reduction blue means more consuming more often, as well as slightly quicker iceblasts. Armor of course means less damage from jungle minions. And health means, well, more health (this helps a lot with ganking early on too, between consume and your high health it's pretty much impossible for the enemy to turn the gank into your death).

Summoner Spells:


A few different combinations work well with Nunu. Most important is smite. If you are not running jungle nunu, while it CAN work, you should be ashamed of yourself. Nunu is too good of a ganker and jungler to be wasted laning. If your team already has a jungle you can almost always pick a more useful champion for the team, but as a jungle few are more useful.

The second summoner spell I like to use is flash. Flash lets you get into place for those extremely important ults, get that one ice blast needed onto a running enemy so your team can get them, or of course gtfo of a dangerous situation.

Why not ghost? Why, an excellent question good sir! Nunu already has a fantastic movement speed increase, and flash is so much more useful for positioning your ult.

Other summoner spells aren't really worth mentioning, who needs a heal when you have consume? Ignite on a Yeti? You'll just singe your fur. Revive? Lol.

Champion Spells:


Visionary (Passive):
After 7 attacks, Nunu's next spell has no cost.

The Yeti takes a bite out of target minion, dealing heavy damage to it and restoring his own health.
Cost: 60 Mana
Range: 100
Cooldown: 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 / 10 seconds
True Damage: 500 / 600 / 700 / 800 / 900
Health Restored: 125 / 180 / 235 / 290 / 345 (+1 per ability power)

Blood Boil:
Invigorates an allied unit by heating their blood, increasing attack speed and movement speed for 15 seconds. If cast on an ally, Nunu also gains the effect of Bloodboil.
Cooldown: 15 seconds
Cost: 50 Mana
Range: 700
Attack Speed: 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 %
Movement Speed: 11 / 12.5 / 13 / 14.5 / 15 %

Ice Blast:
Nunu throws a ball of ice at an enemy unit, dealing magic damage and slowing their movement speed by a percentage and attack speed by 25% for 4 seconds.
Cooldown: 6 seconds
Range: 550
Cost: 75 / 85 / 95 / 105 / 115 Mana
Slow: 40 / 45 / 50 / 55 / 60 %
Magic Damage: 85 / 130 / 175 / 225 / 275 (+1 per ability power)

Absolute Zero:
Nunu begins to sap the area of heat, gradually slowing all nearby enemies. After 3 seconds, he deals massive damage to all enemies caught in the area. Can be cancelled for less damage.
Cost: 150 Mana
Area of Effect: 675 (estimate)
Cooldown: 150 / 120 / 90 seconds
Magic Damage: 625 / 875 / 1125 (+2.5 per ability power)

Skill Order:

Ice Blast
Ice Blast
Blood Boil
Absolute Zero
Ice Blast
Ice Blast
Ice Blast
Absolute Zero
Blood Boil
Blood Boil
Absolute Zero
Blood Boil
Blood Boil

This skill order is to maximize your slow and damage early game as much as possible, while maintaining jungle efficiency (2 ranks in consume is all you really need to jungle efficiently, especially after its recent buff). Blood Boil at level four allows you to keep up with people once they've obtained their boots and continue your ganking. If you have a strong physical character who seems to be carrying a game it can be worth it to get bloodboil ranked ahead of ranks in ice blast (people significantly underestimate the effect Nunu's Blood Boil can have on a character like twitch).

Item Build:

-lvl 1 boots +3 health pots
-Mercury Treads or Ninja Tabi (depending on enemy team comp, but almost always will be merc treads)
-Banshee's veil

After Banshee's it really depends on the enemies composition. Heavy or mixed attack damage? Sunfire Cape here we come. Pure magic damage? Hello Force of Nature. Usually by this point though the game is over or near over and your team's fate has been decided. Spirit Visage is another great item for Nunu and a good alternative to the expensive Force of Nature. It's cheap, provides MR, cooldown reduction and a buff to your consume.

The only situation in which you don't want a banshee's veil is if the enemy team has no interrupts (stuns, throws, silences, whatever) for your ult whatsoever. This will and should never happen, and if it does your team has already won so it doesn't matter anyway. Banshee's is the most important item for a Nunu, it lets you get your full duration ult off at most and makes then enemy blow more cds on you at the least.

Aegis of the Legion is also a good item on Nunu, and your team will love you for it. Careful getting this if the enemy teams damage ends up being mostly of one type (fed twitch or annie) as it can set you back a little on your focus on resistance to that damage type. This is especially true if the enemy is predominantly physical as you already still have to grab the banshees which doesn't help significantly versus attack damage.

My average item build is usually something along the lines of:

-Mercury Treads
-Banshee's Veil
-Sunfire Cape

Games usually don't allow for much more than that, but if they do it is usually either another Sunfire (this helps with damage as well and tower diving) or Force of Nature.

Potions potions potions! Do not forget those sexy elixirs. 75% of games, once I've gotten my three primary items I will try to get one elixir of fortitude and one elixir of brilliance. These make a huge difference and can be just what is needed for that final push with your team. Wait to pop them right before a major team fight or tower dive and prosper.

Starting in the Jungle:

-Start at the wraiths. Smite the big one, white hit one of the small ones down and when it dies consume the third and white hit the last down.

-Run down to golems and consume/white hit one down. You will level and have iceblast, that and another consume will deal with the second golem. You might use a health pot here.

-Now do lizard. Consume immediately and use ice blast any time you have a free spell cast. Kill lizard with smite. This should bring consume off cooldown just in time to use it on the last small guy and you will be around 3/4 mana if you did it right. You will be level three. Use a health pot to top off your life as needed. While not using consume with smite to last hit lizard is slighty risky, few enemies expect such an early lizard and even when warded you do lizard often too quickly for them to respond. Using consume immediately lets you consume again before ganking, meaning you will be full life with a health pot.

-Now gank wherever looks good. From this point on you concentrate on ganking. Get Blue buff whenever you have the time and jungle in between ganks. In most games I'll have three or four assists/kills by level six or seven.

-Tell your allies that you will be ganking early! If they don't expect it they can't be prepared for it, may push their lanes too hard, etc.

-You should be able to dragon anytime after lvl 5 with consume and smite. Generally I will dragon after my first or second successful gank though. Once you've killed that pesky Garen don't be afraid to get the laner(s) to help you do dragon. There's no shame in getting help with dragon :P


-Level 1 boots combined with ice blast and red buff make for extremely potent ganks at level 3, when most people don't expect ganks for another 2-3 minutes. Also, those annoyingly hard to gank heroes like Kassadin and Nidalee can't yet get away from you and don't stand a chance. Even if you fail to kill them you can give your lane a strong advantage in beating them down and forcing them to play defensive.

-Nunu makes for a great tank mid to late game, and one that can't just be ignored because of his ult.

-Excellent chasing ability. Blood Boil + Ice Blast means anyone will be hard put to escape you and your chosen ally.

-Excellent buff for attack damage heroes. Blood Boil on a fed Twitch or Ezreal can make a huge difference. Always use bloodboil on the attack damage champion (unless helping another champion to run away)!

-Great clutch heal, there are almost always minions nearby. Don't forget to use consume when you are low in a team fight this has made the difference between dying and living more times then I can count.


-Can be frustratingly dependent on the rest of your team. This Nunu simply won't work if your teammates are too sissy to attack when you gank or follow you into a tower dive. You can absorb all their damage, blow their cds, deal out a good amount of overall damage with a well placed ult, and gank all you want but you can rarely finish anyone off on your own.

-Banshee's veil is an all but required item. Even if their team is heavy attack damage you need that banshee's veil if you want any hope of getting off an ult.

Using Your Ult:

Some of the most important tips for Nunu regard using his ult. Getting a full duration ult off on the enemy can make a huge difference, even with nothing but tanky items it does significant damage, and if you position yourself right you can take out 1/4 to 1/2 of three or four of the enemy champion's health. Absolute Zero isn't just about damage though, in fact it isn't even predominantly about damage. A good ult will win a teamfight.

I Just Love The Bush:

First off, use bushes! Bushes are your best friend. if you have an ally running from the enemy, go into the bushes ahead of where he is running and wait for them. when they get close start ulting. The only warning the enemy has is the slow and few ever notice it (when in the bushes they can't see the big red circle your ult gives off). Once they can see you it's too late to interrupt it and they can't escape. This can turn your carry running for their life into your carry cleaning up their team.

Getting the Enemy Excited:
Second, use your ult to make the enemy team blow their cooldowns on you. If they blow their load on you they won't have anything left for your teammates (in this case your team should prefer sloppy seconds). This is how I initiate most team fights, especially late game: I run in, often using flash to get directly in the center of their team and immediately start my ult. Not only does this slow them, allowing your team to close on them and chase them down, most teams will panic and throw everything and the kitchen sink at you. Guess what? Your carries now have free reign to do their thing without significant worry of retribution. From this point on just slow whoever is being focused or is running and Blood Boil your carries.

They Go Both Ways:

Third, use your ult to separate the enemy. If you see a chance don't hesitate to use your ult as a method of splitting your enemy apart. if you make three go off one way and two the other it just makes it that much easier for your team to pick a group and clean it up.This can be as simple as jumping into the middle of them and ulting (everyone tends to run for the nearest available exit) or putting yourself in between two already slightly separated groups)

Premature Zerofication:

Fourth, feel free to cancel your ult early! Too many Nunu's insist on seeing their ult to its full duration or fail to realize it still does a percentage of its damage when cancelled (the amount depends on how long you channeled for). if two of the three people in your ult are about to run out of its radius and it is 3/4 done, cancel it and let them feel the pain. Then you can continue your chasing and Ice Blast them to death.Think that Ashe is about to flash out? Cancel your ult and throw an Ice Blast to stop her from escaping. About to die? Cancel your ult and flash outta there. Frankly, a full duration ult is rare. Maybe one in three of four of my ults is full duration, and that is with very careful positioning and planning.

Wine And Dine Them:

Fifth, wait for the right moment! If the enemy Shen has his taunt up and Sion has his stun and Warwick has his ult, wait until Shen has taunted and Sion has stunned. Then act fast, get in there and ult. With your Banshee's on, waiting until their interrupts are down can be devastating for them. Take your time, let your enemy set it up for you and you will get what you need. Champion's like Shen and Sion get too excited in back and forths all the time and blow their interrupts when they shouldn't. Use that to your advantage.

I Just Can't Keep It Up:

A problem many Nunu's have sadly. The fact is, too many Nunu's use their olt frivolously. Nunu's ult defines him as a character, Nunu IS his ult. This means no blowing your ult without serious consideration. Please god don't killl a large wave of minions with your ult because it looks so very tasty (even I admit to beign guilty of this in my early days of playing Nunu). Just try to get the last hits and ice blast them down, or let that raging Sivir get all the kills. Early game, while you're still in the ganking phase feel free to use your ult on a single enemy, but late game save that ult for team fights of three or more (of course if you can guarantee a kill on two people with your ult that would otherwise escape, that would be worth it).

The hardest thing about Nunu's ult is, well, the amount of things you have to consider when deciding to use it. There's a reason this has become easily the largest section of the guide. At any one time you have to consider your visibility to the enemy, the enemies pathing, your allies condition/ability to clean up, your own chance of survival, number of interrupts the enemy has up, whether your banshee's is up or not, your enemies positioning, your team's positioning and your enemies summoner spells (did they all just use flash? Do they all have ghost up?). The ability to maximize the effectiveness of Nunu's ult is what separates the truly invaluable Nunu's from the Nunu's that have made everyone cringe when they see him picked in champion select.

Use Protection!:

Lastly, your ult can be used as a deterrent. You are your allies protection. Throw yourself in between a running ally and the ghosting enemy and start ulting. Rarely will anyone run into the ult, even if they can just jump in and stun you. This can be extremely useful for stopping multiple enemies from routing your low health allies if you are late to the battle or managed to remain relatively high health. Try not to do this too often though, usually ice blast will suffice and you want your ult up for those all important team fights.

General Tips:

So, just some general tips on how to play this type of Nunu. First off, this is a very aggressive playstyle. There is a lot of tower diving, a lot of chasing and a lot of ganking. You are the initiator, if you want all the glory of getting the kills don't play this character. If you are not gonna play aggressive do not play this character. You are there to ensure your team wins the team fight, but you shouldn't get too many kills yourself. For example, my last five games as Nunu I went 3-0-13, 4-0-10, 1-0-12, 3-5-15 and 3-1-22.

Oh yes, jungling. Consume is the single greatest jungling ability ever. Think of it like smite on crack. Consume is fantastic for stealing that enemy junglers buffs. Consume his red or blue, Ice Blast him and get the hell outta there with Blood Boil. Also, Consume mobs during teamfights to keep up you health. This will save your life more than once.

If you're not careful mana can be an issue for this playstyle of Nunu, especially early on (usually don't have blue buff until level four or five). To avoid mana problems try to only use Ice Blast (your most mana-intensive spell) when your free cast is up and use
Consume and Blood Boil when it is down. This applies any time you don't have blue buff early game.

Ward ward ward! As soon as you can grab wards for the enemy jungles red and blue buffs, and get a ward on dragon too. This lets you get there in time to annoy the hell outta their jungle by stealing every last one of their buffs. Nunu may not need either buff to efficiently jungle, but they don't hurt and other junglers DO need them. With smite AND consume it's hard NOT to succeed stealing them.

A note on running into an enemy in the jungle/bushes/rivers . If that pesky warwick runs into your jungle at level four or five and you're at half life or that Shen chases you through the river, don't run! Kite his ass with lizard and Ice blast, consuming mobs for health along the way. You can kill him this way or just slow him until your team gets there. Ping where you are kiting him/them to and your team can help you kill them. Turn running for your life into a kill. Anyone that runs into a Nunu's territory deserves the death they will likely receive.

The ward slayer! Consume can be used on wards. If you have an oracl'es to deal with that twitch or shaco then consume wards as you pass. If you're doing well grabbing an oracle's (even if they don't have a stealth) can be worth it just to consume all their wards at dragon, Baron and the jungle. If they always seem to know where your team is get that oracles and deal with the problem. Also, watch for new wards being put down. Every once in a while a ward will get put into that bush you are sitting in. Don't just sit there looking pretty for it, act quick and consume it before it disappears.


Hmmmm, well that's about all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure this guide is all over the place, as it is the result of being tired and bored.

Hoped I've helped someone out playing my favorite hero in the game!

Questions/comments/suggestions appreciated.

Bigmantree out.

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This spot is reserved for further information and tips on dealing with specific champions as Nunu. This won't address all champions, but will try to pay attention to the most commonly played counters to Nunu and champions Nunu counters. It will be added to over time. If there are specific champions you need help with feel free to ask and I will attempt to address them.

Just smile and nod as the mentally deficit alchemist that got turned into a puppy tries to convince himself he can hurt you. If Warwick attacks you in your jungle kite him with Ice Blast and Lizard while pinging for your team or simply chase him down as he limps away. Don't forget to consume mobs while kiting and chasing to maintain your health advantage.

When in team fights bait Warwicks ult with a well placed Absolute Zero. Making him use it on you and not your Ashe is a good thing.

At the same time, if you are trying to get a good damage ult off then wait until you know his is on cooldown or he is too low life to do anything.

Against a Warwick you can go jungle crazy. When your minions are all dead run into his jungle and do his, steal his lizard, or just harass him. Make sure to ward his buffs so you know when to go! Get one of your carrys to join you and get them those valuable buffs or get a Warwick kill. The poor mutt simply can't escape Nunu's Ice blasting and kitabilty, with no CC other than his ult.

Another of Warwick's strengths is his chasing ability, with blood scent and his q he can chase and tower dive low health targets easily. As Nunu you should be constantly slowing Warwick when he tries to chase. Between Ice Blasting the puppy and Blood Boiling your escaping ally Warwick can't do much of anything.

Twitch is a bit of a mixed bag for Nunu. He is an attack damage hero who has long range and high damage but no real escape ability beyond his stealth.

First, be careful while jungling. Mostly be careful at level one. One of the nice things about starting at wraiths is most people don't expect it of Nunu so usually nothing much to worry about there, but Twitch can be a nasty surprise before you have Ice Blast.

Once you have Ice Blast you are largely worry free from twitch ganks in jungle. Just make sure to stay above half life (you should always be anyway) and be careful if you fall lower. If Twitch pops out on you ping like crazy and Ice Blast kite/chase him as much as possible until your team gets there. If you have your ult and are at 75%+ health just jump on him and get a free full duration ult off if he has used or doesn't have flash. Full duration ult at any point early to late mid game will easily take 50%+ of the rat's life. Don't do this at low life though, as he can just sit in it and kill you while you attempt to embrace the heavens. Also, remember, Twitch doesn't have any significant heal whereas Nunu has consume. A consume can often turn a Twitch gank into a Twitch death.

In team fights you will usually want to dive straight for Twitch and Ice Blast him so the rest of your team can focus him. The presence of a Twitch also increases the usefulness of using your ult as damage, so watch for those important CC cooldowns on the enemy Shen's and Galio's.

The thing to be careful about with Twitch is that he can really Dish out the damage against a Nunu. Because you have to rush that Banshee's for your ult you usually don't have much in the way of Armor until mid to late game. This means when other heroes are tickling you Twitch can hit you like a truck. Just be careful and don't think he won't hurt just because the others aren't.

Last, BUY ORACLES. This is your job and you need to do it. It will help shut down twitch so much it's ludicrous not to do it. As a tank you shouldn't be dying much anyway, and Oracle's also allows you to consume all those pesky wards.

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Junior Member


Jungling without utility mastery? errrrhhhh...

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Jungling without utility mastery? errrrhhhh...

Yeah, I originally used utility mastery but the extra defensive talents are extremely noticeable. I also generally have so much control of the enemies jungle I can just steal or grab their buffs when mine go off. You could always take 1/2 utility mastery instead of imp smite if you wanted but I've never had a problem without. Besides, after level 6 you want to give the buffs to your carries not take them for yourself. With his passive and reliance on consume for jungling the buffs aren't nearly as important for Nunu as for most junglers.

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Senior Member


Good Guide.

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Senior Member


I still can't believe nunu sits so low on tier lists everywhere. He is an AMAZINGLY fast jungler. He's faster than WW even. I also don't think I've ever been afraid of running into an enemy jungler either. With a super low CD snare and a MS increase you can kill or escape from anything. Not to mention uber buff security/stealing with Q and smite. They must all be thinking of fail ap nunu.

One comment on the ult late game though. Mid game and early game its absolutely for ganks and kills. Late game you SHOULD use it before interrupts are blown. Nunu makes up with his lack of CC by being a CC magnet. Open a fight with your ult and you can be sure every single interrupt they have is coming into you. Whats better? those sion stuns on you or the ashe you've been feeding BB to?
EDIT: you covered this, must have skipped over it. My bad.

Also as far as skill order goes. I go Q E Q W E R. Fast rank of W helps cleanup faster in the jungle(we all know it takes nunu longer to kill the 2 caster adds than it does to kill the actual golem) and is much better for your lvl 4 gank after golem. I've had a lot more success with ganking when I have a point in W. You don't even have to give it to someone, just self cast in the bushes so you're guaranteed to get a catch.

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Senior Member


+1, amazing guide, been looking for something like this.

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I still can't believe nunu sits so low on tier lists everywhere. He is an AMAZINGLY fast jungler. He's faster than WW even. I also don't think I've ever been afraid of running into an enemy jungler either. With a super low CD snare and a MS increase you can kill or escape from anything. Not to mention uber buff security/stealing with Q and smite. They must all be thinking of fail ap nunu.

One comment on the ult late game though. Mid game and early game its absolutely for ganks and kills. Late game you SHOULD use it before interrupts are blown. Nunu makes up with his lack of CC by being a CC magnet. Open a fight with your ult and you can be sure every single interrupt they have is coming into you. Whats better? those sion stuns on you or the ashe you've been feeding BB to?
EDIT: you covered this, must have skipped over it. My bad.

Also as far as skill order goes. I go Q E Q W E R. Fast rank of W helps cleanup faster in the jungle(we all know it takes nunu longer to kill the 2 caster adds than it does to kill the actual golem) and is much better for your lvl 4 gank after golem. I've had a lot more success with ganking when I have a point in W. You don't even have to give it to someone, just self cast in the bushes so you're guaranteed to get a catch.

You raise some good points. I actually should have had bloodboil lvl 4 really. I'll put a note in there with that option (I'd feel bad just changing it). Yeah, easy to miss stuff in that wall of ult info, I'll try and clean it up with subsections at some point. There's just so much to consider there >_<

AP and laning Nunu's just make me depressed, especially when I don't get to play it because of them O_O

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bump +1

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As a personal opinion, I disagree with starting out with boots, as if I get Amplifying tome I could golem at 1. This tends to get me a faster jungling as I have fast CD and more mana.