Snowballing the Game: How To Play Nunu Like Shrimp
Fri 22nd Sep 2017 - 8:00am
Lee "Shrimp" Byeong-hoon showed us his Nunu in the middle of July, towards the end of 2017 NA LCS Summer Split. He did so well in the following games and the rest of the playoffs that many consider Nunu to be one of Shrimp's signature champions.
In the regular season, Shrimp ended up with 4 wins and 1 loss, an incredible 80%. In the playoffs, Shrimp managed a 66.7% winrate with Nunu, bringing the total to 75%. The interesting thing to note here is that Nunu isn't a popular champion at all. Shrimp played 5 of the 8 games where Nunu was picked in the normal season and was the only jungler to pick up Nunu in the playoffs.
Let's examine how Shrimp plays this champion and helps bring the team to victory.
Nunu's strength comes mostly from controlling objectives and keeping the map in check. This allows the game to be snowballed from any angle, whether it be a state of parity, dominance, or trailing. Playing catch-up with Nunu is far from impossible, but it's quite an ordeal.
When asked in this interview with inven, Shrimp had this to say:
"Nunu is easy to play because all you ever do is farm. He’s not strong for ganks, so play around laying down vision. As long as a Nunu doesn't fall too behind in the early it's all about how much my teammates can survive in the early to mid game on their own. (Laughs) Nunu is easy for me to play, and since our team wants me to play Nunu, I'm already ready to play Nunu."
One of Nunu's biggest criticisms is that he doesn't do much for the team early on in the game. If the game gets out of control before Nunu can establish an oppressive map presence, it can certainly become difficult because Nunu's strongest qualities are not of ganking or damage output.
However, that doesn't mean Nunu is weak at all in the early game. During ganks, Nunu offers a surprising amount of utility. His Blood Boil brings a ton of power to the laner and Ice Blast not only Slows (movement speed reduction), but also Cripples (Attack Speed reduction) the opponent. This makes trading a very bad option for the enemy. His survivability with Consume also quite deceiving.
Here we can see that Nunu pressures the enemy bottom lane quite hard, forcing some Summoner spells and getting the enemy very low.
Although they fail to secure First Blood, Team Dignitas is unperturbed. The gank is effective, because the enemy bottom lane is too low to contest any objectives. Nunu is able to stroll over to Dragon and take it uncontested. This dragon happens before the 6 minute mark of the game.
Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho is able to draw three people top and even survives the dive! Shrimp on Nunu is able to grab Dragon for free.
Now that power has been established between both teams and items are starting to be completed one after the other, map control and vision are vital. As long as the team doesn't lose too much footing around the map, Nunu can maneuver around a get a good hold of the open objectives.
Lae-Young "Keane" Jang prevents a big gank in the midlane. Shrimp is able to grab Rift Herald uncontested.
This is what a good snowball looks like. Gold advantage and map control from objectives translates to more power, and the objectives themselves help roll down towers. Team Dignitas is able to trade an Outer Turret for an Inner Turret and the opponent is forced to back off or else risk losing an Inhibitor Turret. It takes 4 opponents to even out the map pressure from Twitch and Nunu.
In this instance, the team is all together and Nunu has to burn the objective down as quickly as possible so the team doesn't get engaged on. Keane throws out a nasty wall to cut the enemy off just in time. If the enemy team isn't with Gragas, there is no way they can pressure Nunu off, and therefore there is no way for the enemy to get the objective. It's very hard for Gragas to beat the Consume + Smite from Nunu.
Here's another scary point in the game for Nunu. Although he is tanky, his effectiveness is dependent on how well the midgame had gone. With a big lead, the team itself will be strong enough to run rampant with gold/item advantage. However, if the game stayed relatively even or reasonably close, there is a big chance that the team will be at a disadvantage during teamfights.
Here's how Shrimp deals with the late game.
A lot of the later stages of the game involve a big teamfight or a big objective that blows the opponent team out of the water. Nunu can take advantage of these moments extremely well.
The team is unafraid to start objectives. Usually, the team that first pulls the trigger on an objective is able to set up properly, but is open to getting engaged on due to lower health bars or is afraid of getting the objective stolen. Nunu's Consume excels in countering both these situations. Consume is able to constantly keep Nunu topped off, so the team stays healthy. Also, the massive damage from the skill synced up with Smite makes it nearly impossible for the opponent to time a steal properly.
The enemy is therefore under a ton of pressure to either take a bad engagement or leave and not risk fighting.
In the fight shown, Nunu is able to start Baron, jump off to deter the enemy, reset with Adrian's Monsoon, reengage Baron, and then finish the Baron. All of this while staying nearly topped off in health and ready to fight. Nunu comes in with a huge Absolute Zero and the team clean up and go for the win.
As seen above, the objectives are a key fighting ground in the late game. Nunu not only helps grab the objectives, but also does a ton of work with Absolute Zero. Here are a few examples of Shrimp's ultimate usage.
The placement of the Absolute Zero is incredibly important, so it is usually coupled with Flash to create the biggest impact. The ult forces enemies to either burn crowd control to end the channel, move out of the range while being increasingly slowed, or eat a huge nuke. This damage is devastating to the more fragile opponent champions (1375 +250% AP at max level) and usually also knocks a chunk of health off of tanks.
In that last gif above, it is important to note that Tristana was barely alive and in the radius of Absolute Zero. The enemy Alistar is forced to Headbutt Nunu away in order to save the carry at that moment, but the rest of the team is easily able to now dive in worry-free of crowd control.
Then, after an objective or a teamfight, the team is free to push. Nunu's health pool is big enough to tank most turrets and Blood Boil will be able to cut through the health on turrets. Look at how Shrimp just eats tower shots like it's no big deal. The team is able to push down every tower in the midlane and take the inhibitor.
Nunu is a strong jungler in the right atmosphere and in the hands of the right jungler. Although his style is mainly accepted as defensive, his objective control and late game teamfighting needs to be done carefully and precisely. As shown by Shrimp, a good Nunu can snowball the team to victory.