Nunu - Bringing Control Jungling Back to its Roots

A lot of players have fond memories, and by fond I mean terrifying, of Jungle Nunu in the old jungle. Jungle players remember the amount of intestinal pain they felt when they saw Jungle Nunu on the enemy and prepared for one torture filled game. Certain junglers were not even allowed to exist as long as Nunu was still open as a champion choice. Then Nunu was nerfed rather harshly and repeatedly just before the jungle remake. He struggles in the jungle thanks to his single target nature and because the jungle scales in a way that slaps Nunu in the face.

His issue in the new jungle, as already stated, is that he's all about single target clearing. His consume is great and all but it has a staggering cooldown and didn't one shot the main monsters of the camps like the Mother Wraith, Big Brother Golem and Dad Wolf (they were given family context so you can feel bad next time you kill them) and then basically did nothing to them once they started to scale. He was stuck wasting a bit more time on camps and running his buffs down. Needless to say he lost a lot of speed and sustain because of the Jungle Remake.

He could still go around and be a counter jungling beast no lie but hell these buffs didn't necessarily fix his problem just gave him some lovely reasons to be picked up again.

This is where I go and say that people are giving consume's power increase too much credit while ignoring the awesomeness of visionary and the minimum damage on dragon and baron by consume!

Back in the old jungle and even in the jungle remake there was never really a reason to level Nunu's consume past one rank. Every rank increase adds negligible amounts of power to it compared to the benefits of Snowball and Bloodboil (before it was nerfed). It was Nunu's one point wonder and even after it got buffed it likely still is. You leave consume at rank 1 in favor of leveling your other abilities. You can't necessarily sacrifice snowball as it is your ganking tool and bloodboil is your team utility ability. Then when they slapped the minimum damage to dragon and baron there was even less of a reason to rank it up.

Now with the latest Nunu (buffs and nefs) you could justify sacrificing bloodboil for Consume and just running around and being a jerk but I'd say that's pending how important your bloodboil is for your team. Nunu is one of the few junglers that can solo dragon pretty easily at level 5 with consume rank 3 and blue buff. If your team wants delicious and quick dragons then you could justify it.

However as I had hinted at that isn't what brought new life to his counter jungling. I mean the consume damage change on the epic monsters played a big role in upping his control on them but not necessarily his counter jungling. The visionary change was a subtle but epic change. There is no lie that Nunu was/is a pretty reliant blue jungler. His god douchebag level can only be accessed with the mana and cooldown reduction that blue offers. If he was denied his blue or was taking a more creative non-blue path then he'd have to be super careful with his mana else he could be caught and hindered or worse. With visionary set to only 5 slaps to activate it saves him a lot more time since he doesn't have to wait for it be up to use an ability and he can even cycle his spells in a way as to be able to never burn any mana yet use them just as they get off cooldown. You can jungle without mana and just rely on visionary but you'd want to have some mana on you just in case someone intrudes on you and you have to bail. Having visionary more readily available helps you conserve mana better while invading.

Anyhow onto the main course of this blog post. So Jungle Nunu is a powerful counter jungler as we all know but does he really have what it takes to return as a power pick in the jungle? I can honestly say... I do not know and a few other players I've talked to with better pedigrees than me can say they feel the same.

Now I have played several games with Nunu and they have too and they tell me it's just roflstomps here and there. That's awesome and all but they have yet to try it in super serious face mode games like they've told me. I can say that my Jungle Nunu games went so well and so viciously sad because people honestly do not know or remember how to deal with Jungle Nunu. It was soul crushing when my teammates didn't know how to deal with Nunu and failed to take my instruction and let him walk all over me in one game. Though it's also funny to see some failure Nunus no doubt. It's interesting to see how people fare against old school control junglers.

I've detailed it before in an earlier blog post what a control jungler used to be. An old school control jungler dominated the map and applied global pressure by roaming. They didn't necessarily go for kill ganks on the laners but they made sure the laners felt unsafe thanks to map denial and because the enemy jungler was giving their opponents wards they had no idea were being placed. Old school controllers also hunted down the enemy jungler and pushed him around to attempt to take them out of the game. Sure Nunu may become underleveled or underfarmed because of his roaming but the enemy jungler was in such a worse state that when it came to team interactions they were simply taken out of the game.

The hard part is determining whether that can still be done. See the new control jungling revolves around outpacing your opponent to the degree in which you either outfarm them or outgank them. You pressure the enemy jungler out of their jungle to assist their teammates and hope you catch them off guard or they do something stupid. New control jungling is like racing a person and hoping that if you go fast enough you force them to go faster and lose control of their vehicle while classic control jungling was a dance off and you kept trying to one up the other jungler.

The issue here in lies that the old jungle was difficult in itself. The old jungle would beat your ass if you screwed up and most junglers were burdened with taking cloth armor to start with. Only in rare cases were junglers able to take boots or a vampiric scepter or some other item. Nunu was a super special case of awesome in that he could take boots AND a ward in his early jungle without a problem even BEFORE leashing existed. He simply had a giant build advantage over junglers. With his item advantage he could outmaneuver most of his opponents, dupe them, pressure them wherever they went and simply be an agonizing tormentor. Even the laners couldn't do much to respond to him as they weren't mobile either. Assist my jungler? Nunu will be gone by the time I get there and even then he'll just scamper off. Nunu scampering off still happens now but it isn't as ridiculous as it was before.

But now there are junglers with ridiculous clearing speeds, insane mobility, insane clearing and even junglers with the ability to catch and kill Nunu. Some may say that "oh these Nunu buffs will bring him back!" but they forget that power creep also can be a sort of indirect "nerf" to Nunu. Nunu is like other old school junglers (like Trundle) in that they were gods in their time because of their natural advantages but now those advantages mean squat and their place is questionable. The mobility power level increase over each patch certainly hurts old schoolers.

As I said earlier I do not know if Nunu will be a viable COMPETITIVE jungler. I'll leave that to those who are actually in that level. I can say that I cannot really give him a proper placement yet about his jungle status as I feel people should wait and see if Jungle Nunu still works after people remember how to deal with him and if he can apply his old school control jungling against the new junglers.

One last issue lies in Nunu's transition. Now the builds I am saying that are available are strictly to Jungle Nunu. Whether AP Nunu or whatever works is not a concern here. In terms of jungling Nunu can survive solely on gold items and then transition into a support character. He can justify going a bit into the bruiser role but he doesn't farm well enough like some of the main control junglers now to be able to do that. He's a jungler that will transition into the role of support while others like Mundo and Shyvana (also control) will become Tank/Bruisers. It isn't to say that it makes Nunu bad it just makes him different than the standard we have now and because of that it may take time to see where his viability ends up as picking him as a jungler forces the team to make up what they lost somewhere else.

So in short - Jungle Nunu is awesome, he's still a giant douchebag and requires a team to slap down but we must be patient and give it more time to see if we can declare him a god jungler again.

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  • #18 Garanthion

    I have yet to try him in a ranked game be ause I want to be really good with him before I try, but every game I've played as him after reading the post and watching the video has led me to amazing nuns games. Thank you stonewall for your amazing insight on jungling.

  • #16 Nash19

    Well I didn't play LoL before Riven was released so I'm still relatively new to the game but I heard he was considered OP back then, a friend of mine told me he was banned or picked 24/7 in Dreamhack 2011.

    I've been playing a few games as Jungle Nunu and while I did well, those games were only normals and didn't feel very serious. I'm not sure I would pick him over Jungle Alistar in case I'm looking for a support jungler.. Also Alistar turns into a tank if needed.

    As mentioned I'm not sure about how Nunu can invade people such as Mundo or Shyvana. He does have single target power but they both clear small camps way faster than him.

  • #12 Stinglock

    So glad he's getting some love again, I missed seeing nunu in the jungle and he's one I've always been wanting to use but he never seemed up to the job.

    Nice triple post horsie lol.




  • #14 FleurDeLiz

    Noscript does not play nice with this site and I thought the posts weren't going through. :


  • #11 FleurDeLiz

    I don't really see him being a god again. Even in his prime he was a pick that forced a team to comp around him essentially being a peel-bot in the late game. Now you have junglers that can be just downright SCARY when mid/late game hits, Mundo chief among them but he's far from the only one that scales decently with a little gold.

    And then you have the picks like Nautilus that don't really give a shit how hard you counterjungle them, they're STILL more useful than Nunu come late game.

  • #7 Nizbel

    People are used to seeing support Nunu, hence, used to a lot less damage. I always found I could land a lot of cheese kills from mid and top laners, simply because they weren't scared or underestimated me. Now with the recent buffs people are catching on how strong he is.

    I've also tried playing a bit more on the AP side, equipping some Magic Pen Runes, it slows down your jungle, but it boosts your jungle duals and ganking damage. Walk into a lane, shoot a snowball or two then leave. Rinse and repeat from lane to lane. Doesn't really matter if you can't get a kill, it'll give a huge advantage to your team.

    Still I think the best start is, MS Quints, AS Reds, Boots start. Simply is amazing for his whole kit. Another one which is fun is using all the Gold Per 10 runes and masteries and simply playing like normal and you won't feel as behind from roaming so much.  

  • #6 dcgreen

    I have been trying to pick up jungling recently and Nunu is one I just don't understand. If I see the enemy pick one I just play Mundo and try to outpace their invading. Nunu's frequently stomp my teams though.

  • #4 dreammorpheus

    Uhg. I hate this guy. I was completely alright with never seeing him again. Even if you manage to beat Nunu, he still likely made you miserable and gutpunched your ability to carry from the jungle. Personally, I don't see his tricks working so well on a lot of the more mobile modern junglers like Lee Sin, Riven, and Jarvan.


    Did you see the Eve spotlight Stone? I am actually very excited about remake jungle Eve. There might be a new jungle game entirely next patch. I think she's gonna shake things up really nice, and Nunu might be more attractive if the jungle meta shifts off of God-King Mundo.

  • #5 Kantuti

    I'm more looking forward to Twitch tbh, although i'm not sure about his ultimate rework. But having attack speed buff always at full duration should go a long way to help his clearing speed, which was dreadful before even with wriggles.

  • #2 Kantuti

    Yeah, i dont know about him. Tried playing it a bit, his old power is back, you can roam like crazy again, but somehow he doesn't sem to make as much impact as before the nerfs. 

     I think you hit nail on the head: while he did get the much needed boost,  the real nerf to his power are the new champions and re-imagined old ones. He basically is like Trundle now - great jungler, but not so great jungle pick. Even if you walk all over that Maokai or Nautilus , their superior transition is going to bring them back into the game, while you'll just stand there not contributing much. 

    Compared to Shyvana, or Mundo, or even Skarner - meh.  

  • #8 Yaamahri

    Uh, if you have read Stonewalls stuff you would see that he still says Trundle is an AMAZING jungle pick. He's tanky, almost impossible to 1v1(looking at one of the few champs who can actually win vs. Lee early game) and scales into late game better than almost every other champ because of his kit. But enough about Trundle.

    I have run AP jungle Nunu a few times since the buffs, and his damage output is seriously scary, with just an early RoA you can strike terror into people because of the 1.0 scaling on Ice Blast.


  • #13 Kantuti

    Quote from Yaamahri »

    Uh, if you have read Stonewalls stuff you would see that he still says Trundle is an AMAZING jungle pick. He's tanky, almost impossible to 1v1(looking at one of the few champs who can actually win vs. Lee early game) and scales into late game better than almost every other champ because of his kit. But enough about Trundle. I



     What are you even talking about. Trundle falls off in long games harder then most champions in the game, he basically doesn't exist past 30 minute mark. In terms of picks he is also outclassed by a lot of champs.  Its even mentioned in this post about Nunu, lol. 

  • #15 Yaamahri

    Read Stonewall's latest posts. He redacts his statement that he is clearly outclassed. Why? Cuz he realized Trundle can take blue at lvl 1 without smite with no leash and still have enough health to go counter jungle. Also, he DOES scale better because he 1. Steals the enemy carries AD and 2. Steals the enemy tank's tank stats. The only downside he has is that he has to run down people instead of being like Riven who gets to BROKEN(get it :3) wings or dash up to someone and then stun them.

  • #17 Kantuti


    I have already said he is great jungler, he is just a bad jungle pick, do you understand what the difference is? He simply has no real place in team.

    And again, if Trundle scales well... with what exactly? His Q has awful scaling, his AD steal is flat, his W is flat, his E is flat, his ult only scales well assuming enemy tank is doing well, but i would rather prefer enemy tank to do badly.  Compare it to Riven or Lee Sin that have several skills scaling higly off AD (and still fall off in very long games) and you'll see the difference between good and bad scaling.


  • #1 HumbleSky

    SW thank you for this! I love reminiscing on old jungle Nunu - it was basically what I learned the game around, and then they remade the jungle before I got anywhere near understanding Nunu's unique gameplay. I just want to point out there's a typo in the first para, where it is say instead of saw. But then the 2nd paragraph confuses me. You say it's about the old jungle - but it seems your talking new jungle (cus of Big golem etc) instead. I hope you update for clarity. I love these new written analyses. Good work.

  • #3 StonewallRoG

    thanks for noticing that - I fixed it

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