Playing Rumble: What Have The Pros Done At Worlds?

Rumble has been a major talking point at the 2014 World Championship — Ever since he emerged as a successful counter to the previously dominant Maokai in the opening game between Korea’s Samsung White and China’s Edward Gaming.

However, he’s not a simple pick, and if you’ve not spent some time mastering the champion (he has the 6th most deaths of any champion at Worlds) you’re likely to have a bad time. So let’s dive into how the pros play Rumble by looking at his performance in the World Championship.


Worlds Pick/Ban Numbers

Rumble was played 15 times in the Group stages and banned an additional six times, giving him a Group participation in 42% of the total games.


He was commonly viewed as a counter pick to Maokai, facing off against the Twisted Treant in lane seven times in the Group stages and an additional three times in the Quarterfinals.

It’s hard to say whether Rumble is actually a counter to Maokai in a 5v5 environment, because you have the rest of your team available to make up for any potential weaknesses as well as lane swaps to contend with.

However, in solo queue, Rumble does well against Maokai because he’s got great sustained damage from a very early level. He can bully Maokai during his weak pre-Rod of Ages phase and he can follow Maokai’s incredibly strong level six teleport with his own devastating Ultimate. Additionally, as we’ll see a bit later, Rumble’s main item (Liandry’s Torment) synergizes very well against Maokai’s first item purchase.

Worlds Match-Ups

Rumble is primarily being used as a counter or a deterrent to Maokai, but he has also seen success against Lulu, Ryze and Kayle.

With 12 wins from 21 picks, he holds a 52% win rate, which isn’t that high, and he is actually 4-6 against Maokai at Worlds.


Rumble’s best match-ups are against Kayle and Lulu, boasting a 4-0 and 2-0 win rate respectively, while he has a losing win rate against Ryze at 2-3.

Ironically, it’s actually better to pick Maokai AGAINST Rumble, based on these stats

Balls and Ackerman have played The Mechanized Menace the most with four games each, both going 2-2, while TSM’s Dyrus and SSB’s Acorn are the only players to play more than one game and win them all with two wins each.

Rumble has been banned 11 times at Worlds. Dyrus has drawn the largest number of bans on him with five, including all four Quarterfinal match-ups against SSW, while Balls only drew a single ban, despite his perfect record with the champion coming into the World Championship.


Looking at all of the games played in the Group stages and Quarterfinals, we can see some patterns emerge with the pro’s rune choices:

  • The Pros pick Magic Penetration Marks (Reds) — Except for one game by AHQ Prydz (4x Mpen, 5x Hybrid Pen)

  • They pick Defensive Seals (Yellows) Normally Armour, Health, Armour Per Level or HP Per Level

  • They almost exclusively run flat MR Glyphs (Blues). — Balls ran AP/Level once against Samsung Blue

  • They always run AP Quints

What this means for you, as a player, is that you can tailor your Seals and Glyphs to the champions you are facing in lane, but should focus your Marks and Quints towards aggression

The most common Rumble rune page at worlds

The most common Rumble rune page at Worlds


Rumble works best running 21/9/0 masteries, though there was an isolated case in which Balls played 9/21/0 against Kayle.

Defensive Masteries

Most Rumbles take the same 9 defensive points:

Rumble Defensive Masteries at Worlds

These are the best points you can invest in this tree to increase your early survivability.

It might seem effective to take enchanted armor, but realistically, you aren’t going to be building a large number of resistances so the bonus resistances granted by this mastery won’t actually amount to much.

Offensive Masteries

There is some debate to the most effective offensive masteries for Rumble, but they mostly end up similar to the following build (Note you need more points in the tree than i’ve listed, see below):

Rumble Offensive Masteries at Worlds

This is a fairly core set of points for an ability champion and helps promote the early game with early AP and cooldown reduction, as well as increasing late-game damage with %AP and %Penetration.

However it’s the points off of the core of the trees that have provided the variation between different players:

Mastery  Number of Picks
Double Edged Sword 12
Butcher/Feast 6
Expose Weakness 8
Spell Weaving 3
Dangerous Game 8


It can be argued that Double Edged Sword is a weak mastery for Rumble given that he is short ranged, so he will likely take the extra 1% damage, but it is a large increase in damage. The other choices are more up to your playstyle. If you have trouble last hitting with Rumble you can pick up Butcher/Feast or try to abuse your early killing power to sustain yourself through teamfights with Dangerous Game.

Item Builds

Starting Items

Rumble Start Items WorldsMost of the pro players started with Doran’s Shield — However, Dyrus, Balls and sOAZ went for a Ruby Crystal start in four games. The decision to do this seems to be playstyle based, as sOAZ and Balls picked both a Doran’s Shield and a Ruby Crystal start against Maokai and Kayle.

Doran’s Shield gives you a stronger early game before your first back, but will delay your Haunting Guise — Which is a considerable power spike in lane.



Sorcerer’s Shoes. They were build by EVERY Rumble player at worlds.

First Item


Every single player built a Haunting Guise as their first item regardless of what item they were building next. It provides everything Rumble is looking for and makes him a very potent duelist in lane.

After this there was some build variation, but it provides a good point about Rumble.

After completing his Haunting Guise, Rumble can build for his team

  • If your team needs the damage or you are planning on bullying your lane opponent, build your Guise into a Liandry’s Torment. This was the most popular build with 11 of the 21 games seeing a first item Liandry’s.
  • If there are strong AD threats, like Zed, Yasuo or Rengar, then build a Zhonya’s Hourglass. This was the second most popular build — with 5 of the 21 games seeing Zhonya’s first.
  • If the enemy are running a double AP comp, then you can build Abyssal Sceptre. Only three games saw a first item Abyssal Sceptre.
  • There was a single case of Rylai’s Crystal Sceptre first, but I wouldn’t advise it.

Second and Third Items

After completing Liandry’s Torment, most pro players went for a Zhonya’s Hourglass followed by a Void Staff. This is the offensive core of Rumble and allows him, and his ult, to destroy teamfights.

If you started Zhonya’s Hourglass, then the pros would advise a Rylai’s next, followed by a Liandry’s. As a word of caution: There weren’t a lot of games that went Zhonya’s first and those that did were usually quite early losses, so they therefore tended to build additional tankiness rather than damage. Zhonya’s into Liandry’s is still a strong build if you’re ahead but you should be gunning for a Liandry’s first.

Following the Abyssal Sceptre route, always lead to a second item: Liandry’s Torment and then on to a Zhonyas/Rylai’s, depending on the team composition.

Always keep in mind the other team’s build. Void Staff is a HUGE damage increase against MR.


Rumble is back and he is burning up the competition — Though he is still struggling to win games against the powerful Maokai. He is primarily used to counter Maokai or dissuade a Maokai pick, giving his team significant strength during the crucial 10-15 minute window. Use this time to your advantage and snowball for the win.

The pros are in agreement about many things concerning Rumble, like his runes and masteries. However, he has enough small niche parts to his early game, like seals, that allow some customisation to show skill with the champion and separate the good from the great players.

Don’t forget Rumble needs a lot of practice, to maximise your damage with Flamespitter, learning how to use his abilities to last hit under the turret and manage his ‘Heat’ mechanic. I wouldn’t dive straight into ranked games and expect to be able to counter Maokai from the first moment in lane.

(Times shown below are video time, not game time)

  • Great ult at 24:13 to do damage to Lulu and stop her escape (helped by Noname’s kick)
  • Great Rumble ult at 29:12 that helps zone Fnatic from the fight to kill Fnatic’s jungler and secure the dragon.
  • 39:30 shows a brilliant follow up on Mor’s hook from the whole of LMQ, locking people down on the Rumble ult

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Esports and Blogs Manager for Cloth5.com. I'm a Plat 5 all around player, I know I should pick a role but it's too much fun playing all of the champions! Add me on Fridgecake or Yawnedeverywhere and i'd be happy to have a game. Currently playing Hearthstone, Gangsters 2, GTA 5 and Football Manager. Follow me on twitter @C5Fridgecake or check out my stream

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