Nunu and Willump quick-start guide: Runes, abilities, items, and counters

Snowball fight!

Image via Riot Games

The brand-spankin’ new Nunu, affectionately named NewNu by the community, arrived yesterday in League of Legends.

He’s incredibly fun and somehow even goofier than the old Nunu, despite the strange waddling walk animation and disco build going away. Technically, the champion’s full name is Nunu and Willump, rather than Nunu, because the goal of the update was to make the duo feel like best pals and less like a giant yeti monster piloted by a silent, creepy child.

Well, we’re pleased to announce that after trying out the pair of pals several times on the PBE and now in the live game, they’re just as satisfying to play as they look. If you’re excited to dive into the action with a gigantic snowball, check out our quick-start guide, which includes rune builds, abilities, items, and more.

Runes

Image via Riot Games

Predator

Screengrab via Riot Games

With NewNu, there are really only two rune choices you can run. The first of these is a Predator build, and this is probably the most popular of the two. Why? Because it makes you super fast while piling up a giant snowball to ram into a mid laner’s face. It makes the impact of the gank incredibly satisfying, and because of that, you can definitely try it out. We’re not entirely sold on it, though, and we think there’s a better, more reliable option.

Aftershock

Screengrab via Riot Games

The Aftershock build is our favorite. Landing hard crowd control on an enemy mid-gank is fairly easy, so it’s nice and reliable, and it makes you incredibly tanky. The Relentless Hunter rune in the Domination sub-path is nice, too, because it gives you a bit more power to invade and counter-gank in classic Nunu fashion. For a bit faster camp clear, you can swap out Domination for Precision as a secondary path.

Abilities

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  1. Q
  2. E
  3. W
  4. R

Or:

  1. Q
  2. W
  3. E
  4. R

The optimal ability build maxes Consume first, moves onto Snowball Barrage, and closes on Biggest Snowball Ever! The secondary build maxes out the big bad snowball before the barrage, but we only recommend doing that if you’re running the Predator build and you need the extra power. Stacking Snowball Barrage first in any other circumstance provides much-needed dueling and gank power past that initial burst when the fight starts.

Items

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Core

Screengrab via Riot Games

As long as you’re playing tank Nunu and Willump (which you should be doing), these are your three best friends. The speed boost from Dead Man’s Plate helps out your big, fat snowball ganks and the Spirit Visage boosts your Consume. If you want to play AP, build a Runic Echoes, a Morello, and an Hourglass, and then ignore the rest of this section.

Boots

Screengrab via Riot Games

Nunu and Willump are tanky, so buy one of the tanky boots to fit your needs.

Situational

Screengrab via Riot Games

These are the situational items that you’ll typically choose between once the core and boots are purchased. Our personal favorite is Warmog’s Armor, which can trigger from the health you have thanks to your core items. Another solid option that isn’t on this list is the Adaptive Helm, which is very useful against AP-heavy teams.

Counters

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Nunu and Willump have only been out for a single day, so they haven’t exactly settled into the meta yet. That being said, it’s a little difficult to find which champions counter them the most, but we have a solid understanding of which types of champions work against them to theorycraft with.

Willump is a big, slow yeti that bumbles into fights with a lot of power, but not a lot of speed. He’s supposed to feel weighted and heavy when he hits people, and he certainly does. That being said, champions with high mobility that can dodge Nunu’s Snowball Barrage tend to be able to kite him more easily than anyone else. Willump loves enemies that he can slowly waddle up to, like juggernauts, immobile mages, and some tanks. Champions like Kayn, Vayne, Ezreal, and Rakan, however, should have an easier time against him by bobbing and weaving around him.

No, Leona doesn’t counter him by melting the snow with the sun. That would be silly—and hilarious.