Nasus Build Guide by mnemesis
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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.
This build is for maximum sustain in lane, meaning high health through pots in the beginning and mana regeneration and base mana through the first purchase of tear of the goddess on first trip back. Tear is the ONLY 700 gold item that gives you both base mana and mana reg, the promise to grow to 750 base without buying another item, and it is cheap, allowing it to be bought first trip back. In a nutshell this item allows for the 'spamming' not of spirit fire, but of wither, which in itself will harrass and interdict zoning attempts, three burst nukes, farming, kiting, etc. The ONLY way nasus can control better players is by solving his mana problems early (note the two early mana crystals AFTER tear of the goddess). Players will also note that on the core build CDR is only 30%, and Shurelyas is not core. You will not build the other 10%, you will max cdr by killing their jungler or stealing red buff. The emphasis on this build is against better players Nasus will get less farm on his q; if allowed to free farm Nasus does not need to build one ad item other than sheen proc; if you are having no problems in your lane at beginning, then build Hyfes; muramana gives the equivalent ad value of about 60 q farms: This build is meant to lesson Nasus' dependency on farm and increase his offensive/support/ganking abilities in mid game through the use of teleport, before team fights break out.
Goal: Nasus Tier Two Top Ranked
Nasus is rated bottom tier amongst top lane champions. I've been playing for about 6 months and am ready to start playing ranked with Nasus at top lane, but I'm up against a wall: Nasus has a bad rep. He is dissed, hated, and underestimated by opponents and teammates alike, and in queue other players will opt out when i go in for top; or they will say 'are you sure you're good top?' and offer to trade lanes with you before the game's even started. The objectives of this guide are 1.) to improve and change the way people play Nasus, and 2.) to put Nasus in tier 3 by March, Tier 2 by Summer, and in December at the World Championships in Peking a team will choose Nasus as their ringer and he will carry them to Victory. Well, we have no time to lose! Let's get started...
Why is Nasus bottom tier? We all know the answers to this:
1.) He is one of if not the weakest early game champions because he has one attack which he has to build through farming last hits on his Q; and he is 'easily' zoned and countered by a handful of champions that can counter his farm. In order to rise up in tier, Nasus will have to counter these champions: Teemo, Olaf, Rumble, Riven, Akali, and the list goes on....I believe that Nasus can counter any other Melee, and with the build, tactics and strategies in this guide he can break even with any champion, and if he breaks even, he wins his lane.
2.) He becomes a Troll. When you play Nasus do you find yourself telling your teammates: '5 more minutes!' while your mates are screaming for aid? Do you ask for a gank more than once? Do you measure the possibility of victory on whether the morale of your team will sink so low that they might quit before you become a hyper carry? Then, you're a troll, and we've all been there. You want to be able to one-hit the girls and kill them. It's terrible, because your enemies think you're weak, and/or your comrades hate you. Well, if you're a Troll, I can heal you! I can cure you of this obnoxious malady! Walk this way...
I'm actually going to go out on a limb here and say you should just use the primary glyphs top side. Let's face it: nobody is completely happy with Nasus' glyph selection. If you change anything you will have to change your item build or be lopsided. The enemy team will probably send you a melee, a hybrid, a yordel, or olaf. Olaf is the only one i would change glyphs on to percent health seals and either health reg or mana reg glyphs. The way you will beat these players though is through good tactics which I will get into, and maxxing mana early so you can drive them crazy with wither. Why health reg quints? Nasus base speed in 3rd Season is in the top tier so movement is not so crucial early; life steal quints though they scale well are almost useless against a better player because they will not let you tap minions for life steal, especially early; this build does not include shurelyas so no health reg item will be bought; you have to try these quints, they work early and all the time.
I build Nasus as tanky as possible. The new masteries for season three have pushed me completely out of the offensive bracket, and I did not go quietly into the night. In fact these masteries are pushing Nasus more and more toward Utility, and I've heard of a few teams trying Nasus out as a bottom support. I will never play him as a bot support, and when they put a curly blonde wig on Nasus and have him shoot slowing flowers out of his...arse...then I will quit. Now that I think of it though, this illustrates why Nasus is effective as support: its because combined with an ad carry Nasus will dominate the lane, with, what? Wither...it's an easy first blood. The Defensive masteries explain themselves: sustain. The reason why I have six in utility is simply because his summoner spells fit exactly into summoners insight, and I need the mana reg, and mastermind clicks like a lock tumbling into place with teleport, flash, and the boot enchantment distortion. I've been thinking about this and may go
Okay, three weeks ago I would have seen Tear of the Goddess and tried to find a better guide. But I'm convinced this is the only way to make Nasus viable.
The first build is important. In the higher games because nasus is a tank and has flash, he will be the one to ward the river if your team starts at bottom. Because of this ward you cannot buy dorans, should not buy flask(a half-measure by any name), and should not buy that ju ju bead or whatever its called. You should buy pots. Nasus is the only one who can do this and get away with it and i'll tell you why: Because every last hit on a minion added to his q is worth more than twice the gold to nasus than it is to other players: each 3 points added to q is 34.5 gold worth of attack damage. So, Nasus can get a massive amount of sustain by eating gold in the form of pot and get away with it early. 10 health pots are 1500 health; on a tank this is huge sustain. You then need two or three mana pots too, in order to whither (discreetly).
For the second trip, you do not want to go back to base until you have 850 gold, period. From the second trip back the first thing you want to do is get two wards every time, first. Don't buy anything until you have two wards in your inventory. So: 850, two wards, Tear of the goddess...teleport back up top.
Third trip, optimal is 2700 gold. The build above is for against Teemo. You want mercs, you want wardens, and you will prob still have two wards, and you want a mana crystal. You have to buy what you need, so don't follow any build like its in stone. The object is simply to get as much mana as possible early, and harrass and interdict your opponent so that you're driving him crazy, not the other way around. This build needs three mana crystals: build the other two as quickly as possible.
Okay, I left out what is truly optimal against Teemo early. That is: Tear, Mercs, wardens mail, and NINJA TABI...i almost never get two boots because of cost, and the speeds don't stack, but if you get the cash this is optimal, and you can say enchant the tabis with distortion, sell them when you need the slot, then enchant the mercs with clarity or even captain for optimal pushing, team fights.
A word about building Manamune: The reason you're building this is because you will probably not get your q fed like you want. Muramana gives you about 60 minions worth of q in the form of attack damage. Its value once it is completely built and fed is TWICE what you paid for it.
A word about the AP build. I will get into this in detail in the tactics section, but if you do get the farm you need, you should try building seraphs embrace. This is the best AP build I've ever seen on Nasus, and i invented it! it will give you more multikills and your spirit fire is just amazing combined with your ult because this build gives you over 300 AP...simply amazing. Even more than muramana, this item is worth more than twice the gold that you paid for when it hits max, and it gives you the best shield in the game for team fights. I love this item...
About the optionals:
Twin shadows: if you have two assassins on the enemy team, like akali and the clown, or if teemo is the best you've ever seen, you want to get this and maybe sell it after team fights begin. You need this against akali...i think it was made for her...against her.
Banner of command: never bought it, but if you need that extra ten percent.
Shurelyas: Hyfe's build (Thanks Hyfe!)
Rod of Ages: This is the other option to try to cure mana ills...if you can find a build that makes sense and has this item in it, please tell me, because this item can put Nasus at over 400 ap, and will max out his ult.
Yoyo's: This item is very tempting if you can't get your q fed. It has everything Nasus needs...do i buy it?...no
Last Whisper: against armour late game, yes
Black Cleaver: word is it got nerfed...not for Nasus
Eleisas: Very interesting...not for you...well, if it still had tenacity it would be core...the passive for your summoners is completely wasted...buy it if you can afford it...can you afford it?...no. One more thing: after level 8 nasus does not need health regeneration. With spirit visage his life steal is %40, all he has to do is hit four minions and he's full health.
Warmogs: No for the above reason. Nasus does not need health reg late game...never buy this item for Nasus.
flask: is certainly helpful early to mid and pays for itself after third trip back, then sell it.
Locket of iron: i do not like its active. Again for the 10 %...not for this build.
Oh yeah i almost forgot. You'll notice that the final build has Randuins and Ryalai's...I will get into these items in the tactics section, but Randuin's has pretty much become core on my Nasus because of its anti-kiting properties, and it active SLOW. Combined with Ryalai's these items give Nasus SIX Slows in a team fight, count them, can you find the sixth? What this means...do you know what this means?...Nasus can be Doglike.
This is the most important chapter, but i gotta go (these guides take forever!) Will publish this and see if i get any responses).