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How can I play Rammus better in competitive play?

I realize that's a really broad question, so I'll get more specific. When I was first playing League of Legends I discovered that Rammus is a ridiculously effective noob stomper; I easily won a dozen games in a row with him in the level 10-20 range. Once I got to higher levels and espeically ranked games, though, I ran into problems.

  1. I die way too easily early game. Rammus has pretty low MR without his W or any items, and has no real escape mechanism unless you have flash off cooldown. I often go to gank and end up dying just as we get the kill. How can I avoid these deaths and gank more effectively?

  2. I feel like I have essentially no utility unless I can taunt the other team's carry in a team fight. Yes, I can initiate with Powerball but often times that just leads to my death when the enemy carries are too well protected. How can I initiate in team fights more effectively?

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Best tip I can give you without providing an answer is to look at the other teams damage(AD/AP) and item selections, then get gear accordingly. I would love to always build Thornmail on Rammus, but sometimes getting and stacking MR is more useful. –  Brian Aug 3 '12 at 22:27
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Rammus' great strength comes with the element of surprise. If Rammus isn't in your face, and he isn't powerballing, then he's not scary.

First, the general Powerball gank-tip: start charging it before you actually go in to gank. It takes some time to get spinning, but lasts for quite awhile. If you just press Q and charge on in, you give your opponent precious escape-time. Figuring out the timing on this is critical.

Second, wards. Namely, destroying their's. Rammus late-game can be something like Fiddlesticks; if you can get the jump on them from a surprising position, you've really got something. Have an oracle's on your team (either you or your support) and clear out those wards. Leave them guessing.

Third, scaling MR blues. Rammus needs MR, and these provide a healthy chunk.

Fourth, effective team communication. When Rammus goes in, he goes in. He isn't getting back out. If your team is not prepared to jump in after you, you're going to have a bad time.

Fifth, make use of your early-game advantage. Rammus is FRIGHTENING during the laning phase. If you manage your Powerball correctly, and your lanemate has any CC at all, you're pretty much guaranteed a kill. Gank frequently.

Sixth, give your lanemates the kills, whenever and wherever possible. Don't ever let a kill get away, but if the opponent is certain to drop, give it to your lanemate. They can put that extra gold to much better use.

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To be perfectly honest, though, Rammus is in a bit of a bad state right now. There are plenty of other jungling-initiators who just plain do his job better. I can't think of any real reason to pick Rammus over Nautilus, say. –  Christopher Berman Aug 3 '12 at 22:55
    
Yeah, after the nerfs of a few months ago he doesn't seem nearly as strong. I'm not sure why they nerfed him that much. I still like to play him, though... –  Aaron Brown Aug 3 '12 at 23:30
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