This League of Legends Season 10 Ultimate Nunu guide is the only guide that you will need in order to play Nunu jungle. This guide will include builds, combos, counters, synergies, keystones, and runes.
Nunu and Willump are an unexpected pair that had sorrow and despair in their lives. One lost his mother and only has a flute and his mother’s songs to remember her, and the other is full of rage, as soldiers killed his civilization leaving him as the only survivor. From the power of the gem, Nunu acquired the power of making his imagination real, and now he can deliver heavy snowballs and surging snows out of nowhere. The pair is a force to be reckoned with in the Summoner’s Rift, and are ready to face any kind of enemy.
This guide was written by our team of writers along with the help of Challenger player, Zaga, who is an expert in everything Nunu. He is considered by many to be the best in the world at this champion and you can find him streaming on Twitch.
Nunu Overview Infographic
We put together a Nunu overview infographic that has the best builds, runes, strengths, weaknesses, combos, skill orders, counters, synergies and anything else that you need to quickly learn the basics of Nunu. Make sure to share with your friends and check back here to get the latest updates. We will be updating this infographic as changes happen so check back often!
Who Is Zaga?
Zaga is a challenger jungler and Nunu main on NA. He’s been playing League since S2, been challenger since S7 peaking at 907 LP, and has been rated #1 Nunu globally on 3 separate accounts. He’s a personal trainer and the head coach at SLU Esports, and has a passion for helping people be the best they can be, whether it is in fitness or esports. Watch him deliver the Biggest Snowball Ever in the Summoner’s Rift!
Table of Contents
Why Play Nunu?
Before we start on the Ultimate Guide to Nunu we first want to tell you why you should play him. His overall strengths and weaknesses are as follows:
- GREAT OBJECTIVE CONTROL!!
- Solid clear speed and sustain.
- Can 1v1 most squishies if even slightly ahead.
- Good cross-map mobility.
- Tank god.
- Can solo baron at 20 minutes.
- Low overall damage. Team-reliant.
- Loses against tank killers and duelists.
- Missing the snowball can ruin a gank or be a death sentence.
- Healing reduction is a hard counter.
- Average-subpar late game.
- Tunnel dashes have a fixed distance.
These champions give Nunu a hard time in-game due to having a kit that can stop Nunu from doing what he wants to do. Here are some of the biggest issues and how you can try to overcome the challenges they bring.
Kindred is considered a counter because they can easily dodge your abilities. They can use Q (Dance of Arrows) to tumble away from your W (Biggest Snowball Ever!), so it’s very difficult to knock them up. They can kite you and effortlessly outduel you even when they are behind. Your ultimate (Absolute Zero) can also be completely negated by their ultimate (Lamb’s Respite), which makes it even harder for you to bring them down. Avoid 1v1s with them. Try to approach them with an ally that has great CC and use your passive (Call of the Freljord) to boost their MS and AS to beat them.
Olaf is considered a counter because he is an anti-CC champion and will beat the hell out of anyone in front of him. His Q (Undertow) makes it easy for him to clear camps faster than you do. He also never loses a 1v1 because of his passive (Berserker Rage) and his W (Vicious Strikes), that speeds up his auto-attacks and heals him at the same time. Avoid facing him head-on and focus on teamfights where you get to aid your allies and make them stronger and faster with your abilities.
Kayn is considered a counter because he is a versatile jungler that is difficult to mess with. Similar to Kindred, he can dodge your W (Biggest Snowball Ever!) with his Q (Reaping Slash) and easily play around you by going through walls using his E (Shadow Step). He can become a tank killer, knocks you up, and quickly heals himself in teamfights. He can also turn into an assassin that instantly deletes your carries. Try to position yourself where you can assist your carry, especially when Kayn turns into an assassin. When he is Rhaast, focus on waiting for his abilities to be on cooldown before trying to all-in.
These champions work well with Nunu and should be considered being picked alongside him if possible. Here are some of the biggest synergies and how you can abuse them.
Pyke works well with Nunu, as Nunu is able to hold down enemies for him to damage them. Your CC lets Pyke hit his skillshot CC for free. Most enemies will not survive a CC chain from these two champions. After locking them down with your E (Snowball Barrage), Pyke can easily Q + E the target and stun them. Then quickly use R (Death From Below), which gives free ult kills for Pyke = more money for the team.
Kennen works well with Nunu because he has an insane CC chain/ultimate wombo combo that lets your team wipe the enemy team fast. His ability to dash in with his E (Lightning Rush) and initiate a 5-man stun with his ultimate (Slicing Maelstrom) and W (Electrical Surge) makes it easier for Nunu to land a fully channeled ultimate (Absolute Zero), which is very effective against the enemy team.
Lux works well with Nunu because she can 100-0 a bound enemy with her burst. Her Q (Light Binding) can root targets to then pop them with her E (Lucent Singularity) and her R (Final Spark). You can also channel your R (Absolute Zero) to slow enemies down and kill them with Lux.
Nunu Summoner Spells
Nunu’s recommended summoner spells are Smite and Flash. These are the basic spells for any jungler in season 10. Nunu’s Q (Consume) combined with Smite makes it harder for enemy junglers to steal an objective from you.
Nunu Runes And Keystones
Nunu’s recommended runes are Aftershock, Font of Life, Conditioning, and Revitalize on Resolve as primary, and Triumph with Tenacity on Precision as secondary. Aftershock bursts enemies whenever you CC them. Font of Life provides healing to your allies, Conditioning gives you more resistances, and Revitalize increases the healing of your Q (Consume). Triumph is great to heal you quickly after a teamfight, and Tenacity reduces any CC effects on you, making it easy for you to assist allies and set up ganks.
This rune pages will be using +1-10% CDR, +6 adaptive force, and +15-90 additional health for the extra stats.
Nunu’s recommended items change depending on the situation, however, the following items will give you a good idea of what to build in different situations.
Nunu starts with Hunter’s Talisman and Refillable Potion. These give you more damage against monsters and mana regeneration to keep spamming abilities.
Stalker's Blade - Cinderhulk is core on Nunu, as it gives early game tankiness and burns nearby enemies with magic damage. Red and blue Smites are both good, it just depends on your playstyle. Just keep in mind that blue Smite allows you to instantly proc your passive (Call of the Freljord) and can slow someone down just enough to lock them into a CC chain you would have missed otherwise.
Warmog’s Armor is core on Nunu because it provides an insane amount of health and health regeneration. It is a perfect item for Nunu, as his goal is to peel as much damage as he can for the team and regain HP as fast as possible to reset and knock enemies up with snowballs.
Knight’s Vow is core on Nunu, as this item allows you to protect your carries from instantly dying from assassins and mages that target them. It provides 40 armor, 10% CDR, and 250 HP. You are designated to protect the strongest damage dealer on your team, and that is why you are using this item. Keep them alive as long as possible and the fight will be in your favor.
Use Mercury’s Treads when playing against a lot of CC or AP-heavy champions.
Use Ninja Tabi when playing against AD-heavy auto-attackers.
Offensive Situational Items
If you want to reach your allies faster, you can build Dead Man’s Plate. This item builds up momentum, which increases your movement speed and blasts its stacks when you hit your next auto-attack, dealing extra damage to your target. It is a great way to add more damage to Nunu while being a tank that peels damage for his allies.
If you want to decrease your cooldown, you can build Kindlegem. This item adds 200 HP and 10% CDR that helps you spam more abilities to aid your allies in skirmishes. This increases your chance to win teamfights and have a better positioning when taking objectives and enemy turrets.
Defensive Situational Items
If you are having a hard time against AD-heavy team compositions, you can build Thornmail. This item gives 80 armor and 250 HP. It also provides passive “thorns” that reflect basic attacks and inflict grievous wounds to enemies. On top of that, it reduces the enemy’s attack speed by 15%, which offers a greater chance of winning fights.
If you want to reduce the magic damage you receive from AP-heavy champions, buy Adaptive Helm. This item provides 10% CDR, 350 HP, 55 MR, and 300 mana. It also restores mana when you are being damaged and vice versa. The great thing about this item is it reduces consecutive damage from the same ability, which is amazing against champions like Cassiopeia, Teemo, etc.
If you want another item to reduce magic damage but uses the Kindlegem you bought early on, then you can build Spirit Visage. It offers magic resistance and helps you spam more abilities for your team.
Full Build Example
An example full build for Nunu can consist of:
- Stalker’s Blade – Cinderhulk
- Mercury’s Treads
- Warmog’s Armor
- Spirit Visage
- Knight’s Vow
This is the most recommended build path for Nunu, as this build will make it a huge pain for any team to kill you while supporting your utility tank playstyle. You could run this build every game pretty successfully. Tank items are very situational, and the most optimal items will change from game to game. Overall these items will give you the necessary tankiness to peel for your allies while they deal heavy amounts of damage to the enemy team.
Passive - Call of the Freljord
Increase the attack and movement speed of Nunu and a nearby ally when you hit a large monster, champion, or structure. Nunu also hits enemies in an AoE cone on auto-attack while this is active. This passive is great and is overlooked far too often. The cooldown is separate per target, so as long as you are hitting more than 1 target in a teamfight, it should always be active. You should be actively looking to trigger this passive as often as you can during teamfights. Because of the on-hit splash damage granted by this buff, you can hit every small monster in a camp while simultaneously attacking the large monster. This lets you trigger the Hunter’s Talisman burn on every target in the camp, which will drain their health slowly and keep you healthy while speeding up your clear. Just make sure that you position yourself in a way that every target is in front of you.
Q - Consume
This is Nunu’s bread and butter ability. Bite your target and heal for a massive amount of health. This ability deals insane true damage to minions and monsters, and is ideal for counter-jungling quickly or taking down Drake, Herald, Baron… You essentially have an extra Smite available every few seconds, making you one of the best champions for objective control in the whole game. It is important to remember exactly how much damage this ability deals to monsters at each level (340/500/660/820/980), so when you combo Q with Smite you can take objectives without worrying about the enemy team stealing them. It is also important to note that there is a delay between pressing Q and the damage showing up on the target, so to really prevent steals, your Q should be used about half a second before Smite.That way the damage from both abilities hits at the same time. Fun side note: the healing and damage of this ability scale with health. More health = more damage!
W - Biggest Snowball Ever!
My absolute favorite part of Nunu’s kit, and arguably one of the most fun abilities in the game. Roll a snowball that increases in speed and size as it travels, dealing damage to enemies hit and knocking them up. The bigger the snowball is, the more damage it deals and the longer it knocks enemies up. On cast, this ability slows Nunu by 50%, but it quickly makes up for it by granting you slow immunity and an insane amount of movement speed by the end of the channel. THE MOVEMENT SPEED FROM THIS ABILITY IS NOT AFFECTED BY THE MOVEMENT SPEED CAP. This means that by the time Homeguards activate you can easily get halfway across the map using this ability from fountain. You can steer and turn the ball, with a turn rate that increases exponentially as you hold the turn, making it possible to drift through just about any part of the map while avoiding terrain in the hands of an experienced drifter. The base damage of this ability is also insanely high on early levels. While a small snowball will not do very much, a fully charged snowball with only 1 point in the ability will deal enough damage and provide enough CC to lock down a kill on just about any laner early/mid game. This ability is crucial for Nunu, as it is what allows him to perform successful ganks, traverse the map quickly, and clear as efficiently as possible. You should be starting almost every camp with an almost fully charged snowball, as it will deal insane damage to all monsters in the camp and proc Hunter’s Talisman on all of them at the same time. You can get a snowball from each camp to the next if steered properly, but it will take some practice. I highly recommend spamming the ability in the practice tool to really get the hang of it.
E - Snowball Barrage
Throw 3 small snowballs in the direction of the target, dealing damage. Can be cast 3 times before going on cooldown, for a total of 9 snowballs. Enemies hit by 3 snowballs are slowed and marked as Snowbound. 3 seconds after the first cast, enemies in range of Nunu who are Snowbound will be damaged and rooted. Because this ability doesn’t really deal much damage at all, you should be looking to use it for the root, or to proc your passive on targets that are too far to auto-attack. This ability is great for setting up big ultimates. In teamfights, you should be looking to use this ability to root as many enemy champions as possible to make sure you have plenty of time to channel your ultimate before they are out of range.
R - Absolute Zero
Gain a shield and sap heat from a circle around Nunu for up to 3 seconds, slowing enemies. Then deal damage and reapply the slow to all enemies still in range when the channel ends. This ability is very reliant on your positioning and timing. It will do next to nothing in terms of damage if it is not charged, but can nearly one-shot enemies if it is allowed to fully charge. Look to use this ability while enemies are under CC or after they use their own CC/movement abilities. Your channel will be canceled if you are hit by hard CC or silenced, so make sure you aren’t channeling on top of a champion that can instantly cancel your ultimate unless their abilities are definitely on cooldown. A well-timed and positioned ultimate is more than enough to win a teamfight by itself 99% of the time. Note: don’t be afraid to use your ultimate just for the shield if you are about to die and don’t have time to charge it, sometimes this can save you and turn a fight.
Ability Skill Order
The skill order for Nunu is R – Q – E – W. It is important to max Q (Consume) as quickly as possible for fast and healthy clears and objective control. If you really want to, you could max W (Biggest Snowball Ever!) before E (Snowball Barrage), but E seems to be the optimal choice.
Nunu Power Spikes
A power spike is when a champion reaches a level or builds an item that makes them a lot stronger than other champions in the game. Nunu’s power spike is when he reaches level 3, which is when you have all 3 of your main abilities, and can kill just about any champion on the map with a fully charged snowball chained into a root. Assuming you are even with the enemies or ahead, at level 5 you have 3 points in Q (Consume) and can take objectives very quickly without losing much health. An extra 660 damage Smite at level 5 makes it near impossible to contest an objective that Nunu is taking, which makes securing a few early objectives really easy, as long as you start them at the right time. At level 6 you have your regular CC chain, 3 points in Q, and an ultimate (Absolute Zero) capable of one-shotting just about anyone at this point if fully charged. You should be looking to take advantage of this right away by trying to land a high value gank immediately. At level 9 you should have 5 points in Q, granting you insane sustain and an extra 980 damage on top of Smite. Every objective now belongs to you.
Cinderhulk, Warmog’s Armor, Bramble Vest, and Spirit Visage are all big power spikes. Cinderhulk provides that nice Sunfire passive, Warmog’s Armor grants an insane amount of health, Bramble Vest makes it really hard for heal-reliant auto-attackers to deal with you, and Spirit Visage makes your healing even stronger while adding some much-needed health and cooldown reduction. If you have just Cinderhulk, Warmog’s Armor, and Spirit Visage, you can solo Baron.
W + E + R Combo
There are not many champions able to survive this combo, assuming your ball and ultimate are fully or at nearly fully charged.
Point Blank W + Q Combo
There is animation after crashing W (Biggest Snowball Ever!) that briefly prevents Nunu from casting other abilities. What most people are not aware of is that you can actually cancel this animation by casting snowball on top of your target so it instantly crashes, and then casting your next ability IMMEDIATELY after. This is great for instantly taking Rift Scuttler, or getting that extra little burst of damage while ensuring that you can get your Q heal off before you die in a fight. It can mean the difference between living or dying in a fight, or securing or losing Rift Scuttler. Rift Scuttler takes more damage while it is under hard CC, so using this combo instantly bursts the crab for most, if not all, of its health.
Max range E + Flash + R Combo
If you are not quite in range to root someone that is running away, but you have marked them with E, you can Flash into the Snowbound enemies before your root goes off, locking them into a fatal ult.
Jungle Path of Nunu
These routes provide the best ganking potential Nunu can have as a jungler.
Nunu will go Blue Sentinel > Gromp > Wolves > Raptors > Red Brambleback > Rift Scuttler > Gank. Healthy clear that sets up your camps to reset efficiently, while letting you land some early, game-changing ganks.
Nunu will go Red Brambleback > Raptors > Wolves > Blue Sentinel > Gromp > Scuttle > Gank. Same reasoning as the last path, you are just doing it on the opposite side and focusing your top and mid side.
Nunu will go Red Brambleback > Blue Sentinel > Gromp. This path gets you a fast level 3 with both buffs for a super early/powerful gank. If you need to be in a side lane ASAP, this is the path for you. You can also do Blue, Red, Golems, gank, but it takes longer and you won’t have as much health.
Important note: Nunu is great at counter-jungling, and it is something that you can look to do all game long, starting at level 1. Just make sure you have an idea of where the enemy jungler is before going deep into their jungle.
How To Play Nunu
In the early game, your goal is to get to level 3 or 4 and look to influence as many lanes as fast as possible. Try to set up camps so that your clear is linear and not bouncing back and forth. Linear clears are always going to be more efficient than running between both sides of the map on repeat. Try to establish priority in the mid lane or bot lane to set up an easy Drake, and then transition into doing the same on the top side of the map for an easy Rift Herald. Focus the most on influencing snowbally matchups, or helping to enable the champs on your team that will be able to carry the game with resources.
When playing Nunu in the mid game, keep farming as efficiently as possible, but double down on objective control. Stack Drakes, get the second Rift Herald, and start looking to set up win conditions for your team. Take control of important sections of the map that will allow you to secure objectives later. Take the enemy jungler’s camps whenever you can get control of their jungle, as it is easy for you to clear camps. Focus heavily on putting resources onto your carries, as they will bring most of the damage for your team.
- Split-pushing – 99% of the time you should not be split pushing on Nunu. The only time this might not be the case is if you have Rift Herald and everyone is all the way across the map, in which case you may be able to take out 1-2 towers by yourself while they are distracted.
- Objective control – Nunu has the most effective abilities to clear jungle camps and big buffs like Dragons, Barons, and Rift Heralds. Utilize your Q + Smite combo, as most junglers can not time your damage with your Q (Consume). This will give you lots of opportunities to provide important stats for your team and increase your chances of winning the game.
Nunu will always be a frontline tank for the team, but his most important skill is to obtain objectives. Keep stacking Drakes. If you have been doing this all game, you’ll be finishing Soul at this point, which can be a huge win condition on its own. Set up and take Baron whenever possible as soon as you have your item power spikes. Look for a snowball engage on enemy carries and root them for your team to beat down. If your team is winning, and you are engaging fights, you can usually afford to put your effort into locking down the enemy team so that your team can finish them off. If you are behind, or the enemy team is engaging, look to peel for your carries while helping to set up whatever kills you might be able to pick off.
Nunu Tips And Tricks
- Don’t forget about vision. Establishing and denying vision are two really easy ways to carry a game. Use Sweeper or Control Wards to clear out vision around objectives, making it even harder for the enemy to contest you.
- Look for steals. As Nunu, you are one of the best champions at stealing neutral objectives. Take advantage of that. Flash over a wall and Q + Smite a low health Baron. Walk-in and claim that 4th drake. You shouldn’t do this for every objective, but you can definitely afford to at least attempt it for big ones.
- MEMORIZE HOW MUCH DAMAGE YOUR Q AND SMITE DO AT EACH LEVEL. Be prepared to do some quick math before you start an objective to figure out exactly when you can use the Q + Smite combo to finish it off. If you are too early or too late, you risk missing the combo and potentially losing the objective.
- Don’t be afraid to look for 1v1s on squishies. As Nunu you don’t typically deal a whole lot of damage, but you can absolutely 1v1 a squishy champion with your ultimate up if you play it well. There is nothing more satisfying than the barrage of question mark pings that tends to follow Nunu taking down the fed enemy ADC 1v1.
- Have fun with it. Experiment a little bit. The easiest way to get better is to play aggressive and not worry about making mistakes. Mistakes are infinitely more valuable than successful plays when it comes to learning. Occasionally, you are going to crash your snowball into the wall or miss Smite. There is nothing wrong with that.
These below videos are great gameplay examples for how to play Nunu. Coming soon.
Frequent Mistakes/Noob Traps
These are things most Nunu players do that shouldn’t be done at a high-level ELO.
Mistake #1 – Not occasionally giving up objectives/camps. Going for big steals is good! Suiciding for an objective that is not important to begin with is not!
Mistake #2 – Making games longer than they need to go on for. You do not have the damage to kill everyone late game, and it will eventually become very hard if the rest of your team does not outscale the enemy.
Mistake #3 – Instantly recalling every time you win a teamfight. Take an objective, push lanes, steal some camps. Look for ways to snowball the small advantage you just created, and create an even bigger one.
Mistake #4 – Forgetting about the multiple uses of your abilities. Your snowball doesn’t always have to be huge to be useful. Sometimes the instant knockup is all you need to secure a kill. Your E (Snowball Barrage) doesn’t have to be for chasing people down. Aim it behind you while running away. Poke enemies under tower while sieging to keep them away while proccing your passive on your teammates.
Mistake #5 – Letting your teammates get in your head. It is easy to be negative and toxic in the League. That doesn’t make it beneficial. Occasionally you will make mistakes, or your teammates will make mistakes, and that is totally ok.
Similar Champions To Nunu
Listed below are some champions you can use to replace Nunu in the jungle. They are also ready to face enemies head-on for their allies and deliver amazing damage against any enemy. When Nunu isn’t available because he is either banned or picked by the enemy team, knowing these champions will give you a variety to choose from, safeguarding your LP from going down and keeping your games awesome.
Great in the late game. Multiple crowd control. Extremely tanky. Maokai is the tree summoned to protect the forest. His ability to spam saplings and slow targets is impeccable. He setups a colossal wall that binds enemies while he deals damage to them. He can be the tank jungler you need to catch the enemies with ease and push them back to your allies in no time.
Catches enemies off guard. Anti dash. Great CC. Poppy may be small, but she packs a punch with the hammer she has. She can deliver heavy blows and charge enemies into walls, stunning them. No opponent can dash away with her Steadfast Presence. If her allies are in trouble, Keeper’s Verdict is ready to throw any opponent away from them.
Hypercarry. Great mobility around bushes. Long-range burst. Nidalee excels in the jungle, pouncing over walls and taking camps from the enemy jungler. Her ability to throw a long-range javelin is exceptional, shocking enemies because of her insane amount of damage. If you want a jungler that carries her team to victory, then look no further and pick Nidalee for your composition.
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