Nasus Build Guide by D1337
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Just to be clear, this build has an extremely boring, repetitive, and tedious early-game.
If you don't know how to lay low and farm early-game, you will fail.
Pretty much any champ you lane against will rock you hard early on... The reason for this lies in the rune build, paired with the fact that Nasus's early-game is weak at the best of times.
This rune build will do absolutely nothing until you pick up some critical strike chance (Infinity Edge), which you wont end up getting until quite late in the game (depending on your farming/sustain skills).
However! If you can manage to safely farm your Q through early/mid-game, you will knock the $hi7 out of anyone's @$$ late-game.
The key is accepting that you have one mission and one mission only from the start of the game, until about the time you complete your trinity force; FARM "DAT Q"!!!
I usually try to make sure my "dat Q" has about 300+ bonus damage from last hits before I attempt to leave my lane or kill anything.
The beauty of this strategy is that if you are successful in staying under the enemy team's radar until you're good and ready to drop bomb Q's on some hoes, they wont see it coming! They will think you're a harmless half-****** who wouldn't leave top lane until 20-30 minutes in, up until you Teleport down from the heavens and one-shot the enemy's carry!
The runes are essential to this guide, I discovered that no champ can use these runes to their full potential better then
Nasus, the ultimate late-game champion.
So if you don't have the crit damage runes, either get some, or try a different build.
As for the Glyphs, I have them configured this way so that at lvl 18 they give +8.01 cooldown reduction(CDR).
Combined with the cooldown reduction from the masteries you will end up with 20.01% CDR at lvl 18.
Combined with Frozen Heart, your CDR will be maxed at lvl 18, with minimal wasted stats (0.01 CDR).
Strange masteries I know, here I will explain the reasoning behind the more unusual ones, the rest I believe to be rather self-explanatory.
The masteries are configured to get the critical damage from Lethality to stack with the crit damage runes , and cooldown reduction(CDR) from Sorcery, as well as the CDR/level from Enlightenment to stack with the CDR Glyphs .
(see runes for reasoning behind the CDR masteries)
I chose Butcher from offense tree to help with farming "dat Q".
My decision making where items are concerned is based on the strategy of having relatively no offense early/mid game, the idea is to get decent sustain early on via the lvl 1.
Boots of speed and 3x Health potions, as well as Philosopher's StoneGood ol' Philly Stone and/or Chalice of Harmony.
I build these sustain items to give me the ability to stay in lane for long periods of time, farming "dat Q" for as long as I can.
Coupled with Nasus's passive Soul Eater, Nasus's sustain/farming abilities are amazing.
I usually only build the chalice if my opponent in top lane does significant magic damage such as Jax, Singed, Teemo, or Mr. Vladders.
Just to be clear: when I find it necessary to build the Chalice of Harmony, I do so with absolutely no intent of building it into an Athene's Unholy Grail, I merely use it for the mana regen and sell it during mid to late game when it is no longer of much use.
I do the same with my Philosopher's stonePhilosopher's stone.
Sight WardSight Ward's are useful early/mid game to secure a safe lane phase, so that I may farm without fear of being ganked at any time, if they do try to gank me, I see them coming, and re-position myself accordingly.
Late game wards on Baron, Dragon, and scattered around the jungles will win games.
Wards = good!
As for boots, Mercury's Treads are a must-have for Nasus, because I plan on being the scariest bad@$$ in the fight, I also must plan on eating the majority of the enemies crowd control(CC) to the face in team fights.
This is significant because my boots of choice Mercury's Treads have a stat called tenacity, which reduces the duration of all crowd control(CC) effects on me.
Also, during lane phase it's essential to have boots early on to escape ganks and to make the most of the mobility advantage I gain from Wither.
Sheen works great with "dat Q", because using "dat Q" triggers the passive effect on Sheen, causing my next auto-attack to not only deal bonus damage from the effect of my "dat Q", but also deal bonus damage equal to 100% of Nasus's base damage.
This make's farming "dat Q" much easier, as I can pretty much one-shot any minion.
Frozen Heart is another must-have item, because the rune/mastery build is configured to maximize cooldown reduction(CDR) at lvl 18 with a Frozen Heart, this way, only one item is required in order to hit Max CDR, enabling me to devote all of my other item slots to more deadly stats.
Also, the armor and passive aura increase my survival by quite a lot, and when I combine the aura from Frozen Heart with Wither, I can pretty much nuder/defang any enemy attack damage(AD) based foe.
Reminder: Maximizing cooldown reduction(CDR) early on is essential to the strategy of this guide, which entails a whole lot of farming "dat Q", reducing the cooldown of "dat Q" will enable me to use it more often, as a result of using "dat Q" more often, I am able to increase its damage at a faster rate, therefore making the snowball effect of this build roll just a little faster. :)
Infinity Edge is also a must-have for this build, because the entire build is based around stacking critical damage to achieve insane critical strikes with "dat Q".
Infinity Edge helps in multiple ways:
Critical Strike Chance- increases the chance for all of Nasus's basic attacks and "dat Q" to critically strike, dealing 200% damage (under normal circumstances, but with this rune/mastery build, we add +51% critical strike damage = 251% critical strike damage)
Critical Strike Damage- This is where the build gets ridiculous, Infinity Edge adds +50% critical strike damage which, when coupled with the crit damage from the runes/masteries of this build totals +101% critical strike damage.
Meaning all of my critical strikes at this point now deal 300% damage, because all champions base critical strike damage is 200%.
Trinity Force is also part of the core-build, and an all around awesome item.
You gain an additional 50% base-damage bonus added to the sheen's old effect, as well as pretty much every stat Nasus could possibly benefit from:
health, attack damage, crit chance, attack speed, movement speed, and the chance on hit to slow enemies... what could be better?
Maw of Malmortius is for the magic-resist/spellsheild, as well as the passive AD increase.
This item is not part of the core build, if there are no threatening magic-damage-dealers on the enemy team then you may be better off replacing Maw of Malmortius with a Warmog's Armor, and/or an Atma's Impaler.
Last Whisper is only necessary assuming the enemy team is stacking armor to counter you, build this if you see more then one of any of the following in the opposing teams item slots:
Otherwise, The Black Cleaver should work nicely, as well as reducing your targets armor for your allies and granting you additional attack damage(AD) and attack speed(AS).
If you aren't doing so well, and want to build more defensive items, I recommend the Warmog's Armor and Atma's Impaler combo.
Guardian Angel is also a strong item, I like to save my R-Fury of the Sands (Ultimate) until after my Guardian Angel has been triggered to increase my chances of survival, and surprise any enemies hanging around with the expectation of an easy kill.
Q - Siphoning Strike, AKA "dat Q": The entire build revolves around abusing this ability to the fullest extent, if you don't understand why, don't play
W - Wither: this is my primary means of escape/deterrence, and when used in unison with Ghost provides the ability to catch or escape (sometimes both) any foe, with the exceptions of Olaf and Master Yi, due to their irritating ultimates.
E - Spirit Fire: Meh, it sunders enemy armor in an area.
I use it in team fights and when I'm trying to maximize my damage output.
Avoid using this to clear lanes, because you want to do your best to last hit all of the minions with "dat Q" if possible.
R - Fury of the Sands (Ultimate): Very effective tool for baiting baiting people to tower dive me, as well as late game surviving team fights.
It's AD increase is amazing late game, because of this, if you want to set a record for highest crit, it's going to be during your ultimate (preferably when surrounded by enemy tanks and/or Baron Nashor).
Nasus has the potential to hit harder then any other champion in the game, this build is designed to maximize his late-game potential, once the item build is complete and I have a good 300 to 500 bonus damage on my Q - Siphoning Strike, AKA "dat Q", I can carry the team by simultaneously tanking and dealing insane amounts of damage.
I designed this build originally in an attempt to find a way to carry 4 useless team mates out of the bowels of elo hell.
Unfortunately I discovered that most games in elo hell aren't going to make it to the to the late game where Nasus and this build truly shine.
When To Pick Nasus
Generally in ranked you don't want to pick
Nasus unless you're quite sure that the enemy teams solo top champion has already been picked, and isn't a hard counter to
Hard counter's include Teemo, Fiora, Darius... and many many others.
As long as you are confident that you can farm effectively through their harass you should be okay.
Just remember, you are a weakling early game.
Late game syndrome is the worst with this build, because I have literally taken on all 5 of the enemy at once by myself, one shotting both the AD carry and the AP carry within the first 5 seconds of the fight, and continued on to get a quadra-kill before the last enemy finally took me out.
So just keep in mind; endgame you're unstoppable, early game you're garbage.