Nasus Build Guide by Godliekz
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.
Hi im Godliekz and this is my first guide here on Mobafire.
English is not my native language but i will try as hard as i can, so bare with me!
In this guide i will focus mostly on how to build up your Nasus to become a wrecking beast by surving your laning phase with some passivly farming. If you can do that, you will turn into a hyper-carry.
And if you're not familiar with Nasus he is best desribed as an off-tank.
Nasus focuses on building himself tanky, and can still dish out the largest amount damage due to his Siphoning Strike stack, he doesnt scale that good off AD or AP, rather farm. And in the end of this guide you will be playing Nasus with style and stacking those Q's.
When you should pick Nasus
You can pick Nasus against almost every top champ, with some dicretion ofcourse. There is a couple of things you should absolouty pick Nasus
1 If the champion is Meele ( so you can easily hit him )
2 Mana [ You really dont want to meet people with no mana cost or no mana pool )
3 Auto Attack ( With your Wither you are a counter to every AA reliant champ, such as Tryndamere
And if the enemy picks a top champ you like to play against, because it's easy or whatever, you should by all means pick Nasus, as he will dominate mid-late game, he's a pure wrecking machine if well farmed.
Team compositions are still important, so you want all the crowd control on your team and as a little crowd control on the enemy team, beacuse you're easily kited in teamfights, but that's when Ghost shines, you just run through and Wither the carries, and there is nothing more frustrating then a carry that cant dish out damage.
Pro's / Con's
Let's see what Nasus excels at and what nasus is weak at:
* High Damage
* Anti-Carry due to Wither
* Strong Pusher
* Top 1v1 skill set
* Fast tower clear
* Needs farm to deal high damage
* Single target CC
* Easily kited
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Nasus runes should be geared primarily towards helping to solve his problems by strengthening his early lane sustainability and providing more tankiness. There are a few good choices in most of the rune slots, so go with what you are comfortable with or can afford. above I have provided some recommendations for each rune slot. Note that Quints on Nasus are probably the most frequently changed aspect of this guide, as I am constantly trying new things and modifying my rune set up, but for now Life steal quins are the those who turned out best due to his passive Soul Eater
As for the masteries, is the same as the runes, you want to focus tankyness and sustain torwards your lane, and luckily for us Nasus players, this season's tree is great, you should at all cost put 21 points in the defense tree.
The other 9 points you can put into either offense or utility or a mixture of both.
The reason I choose to go into offense over utility is because I think in the end 8% more armor pen to make your Qs hit harder late game is more beneficial than what you'd get from utility. The 9th point in utility (increased buff duration) is not very useful to you as it is pretty rare that you are being given the buffs (blue will normally go to your jungler/mid, red normally to the jungler early/mid and the ADC late).
I choose to put my 9 extra points into offense ultimately for the +8% armor pen. The rest of what you put your points into in offense is not all that important. I put 4 points into deadliness to make it a bit easier to last hit when your Q is down since your base AD is so low. You would want to put pts into sorcery for the CDR.
As far as the points in defense, these should be pretty self-explanatory. Swap your hardiness/resistance depending on whether you are facing and AD or AP lane. The most important things to get in the defense tree are durability/vet scars, unyielding/block, and tenacious. As long as you get those, you can spec the rest to your personal preferences as to what you think is the best setup.
I like to start with Rejuvenation Bead 1x sight ward and some pots to go. The extra health regen along with your life steal in the rune page and the life steal from his Soul Eater is just marvelous start, the enmy will have a hard time pushing you out of lane.
You can also start with Cloth Armor and 5x [health potions]] for the assasins top laners you will meet, also builds quickly into a Warden's Mail if you decide to go for a Randuin's omen
For your first back you should get a Glacial Shroud for the cdr and armor, but if facing a ap top laner go for a early Spectre's Cowl, whatever you decide to build just remember to build it up in mid game.
Overall I feel Nasus' players have a wealth of options for early game. Also, with the addition of boot enchantments. Nasus players can have better split pushing and team fighting ability.
Lets take a closer look at the items i've chosen for my Nasus and why i've chosen them.
Mercury's Treads: This is overall the best, gives the Tenacity and some tankiness to Nasus.
Boots of Swiftness: You can also pick these if the enemy team has much slows, and the slows are in the way for you to chase the carries.
Frozen Heart: Gives you CDR, Armor and mana, which you need, especially the cdr, it also keep the attack speed down on the adc or even the top laner if its attack speed reliant. you can switch this out for a Banshee's Veil gives good stats aswell, but you're going to build a Spirit Visagelater and it will be more usefull for you rather then the Banshee.
Warmog's Armor: This item enhances your ability to survive by increasing your effective health. Effective health is considered the amount of health that a champion has plus 1% per unit of defense as extra health due to damage reduction. In other words, effective health is the amount of damage the enemy needs to kill the champion. Suppose a champion has 2000HP and 100 armor. They would have a 50% physical damage reduction. Therefore, it would actually take 4000 damage to kill them. For a better understanding you can use this formula:
Physical Effective Health = Max Health × (1 + (Armor / 100))
Spirit Visage: This is a must buy it gives you everything you want in a MR item, also gives you extra life steal, especially against ap laners such as Vladimir and Rumble
Trinity Force: After the buff on Triforce from 2 patches ago (?) it has been amazing on Nasus really every champion can build triforce and deal tons of damage, Your Q will hit a lot more then it normally would wihout the triforce, i would say this item is also a must buy, due to also this is the only damage item you will most likely be buying.
Being flexible in Nasus' build is important, especially early game where he can be denied. You won't always have enough gold for Glacial Shroud, or perhaps even want it if you're struggling in lane. Feel free to build Chain Vest, Cloth Armor, or Negatron Cloak as needed. Sheen and Glacial Shroud are luxury items and should be treated as such.
One thing to keep in mind when looking at tank items is the game armor mechanics. Stacking armor is never viable much beyond 200. Therefore, it's wise to invest in some health items. Since there are plenty of both in the build you may try to toy around with the last item slots.
For your last and 6th slot you can really just mix around, on what the team needs or you need, if you endure a lot of damage in late game, perhaps some more health, or even a Guardian Angel as i prefer. you can also build a Ravenous Hydra if you're tanky enough or they aren't focusing you at all ( which they shouldn't )
Ravenous Hydra is a strong 5th or 6th item, especially against multiple melee enemies. If you can afford the purchasing of one tank item, this would replace it. Obviously, there are some things to keep in mind here. You may not want this if your team is behind, you are the main tank, or your other items have not been purchased. This item excels at team-fights and further enhances Nasus ability to put out sustained damage and survive. Do not purchase this in laning phase, as you do not want to push your lane or even building any high cost damage items, the cool thing about hydra tho, is that if you Q one minion and the 2 around dies along with it, you will get all 3 minions for your stacking. Lastly, the item active resets your auto-attack giving you a free triple hit and thats great with the triforce procc.
Other Defensive Items
Other Offensive Items
This is not what i recommended in the ability section above, but this is another way to max your skills, the reason why you learn your Spirit Fire so late is because there is no need for you to use the spell early due to high mana cost and you dont really need to be that offensive early game, the more points in your Siphoning Strikeand Wither early will lower the CD on Siphoning Strike and higher slow precentage on your Wither which i mean is great in the early games for farming, and if a possible gank comes you can perma slow.
TeleportI believe Teleport is a strong sumonner spell on Nasus to even think of passing up, it let u return to your lane in the early stages and you wont miss out on so much xp and farm, and thats very important on Nasus, since most of your enemy top laners will harass you and deny you as much as possible. outside the laning phase teleport also gives you the chance to split push/stack your Siphoning Strike and teleport to a fight if there will be one.
GhostGhost is a favorite of mine i use on Nasus, because it gives you prolonged increased mobility and chasing power rather then miniscuse blink. But if you're used to flash then by all means, go for it.
Still good, and will allways be good untill they remove the ability to jump walls and obstacles, if you prefer flash over ghost, then take it, i've many times activated Q and flashed into a low health enemy, happy times ^_^!
Exhaust is a strong pick if your team lacks it, if your support is picking Ignite for some matter above Exhaust, then you should take it, as its strong for Nasus aswell, if you prefer something else above Teleport then Exhaust is the go to spell, reason why is the synergy you get with Ghost, and the extra slow you can put out, No one can escape you.
Here's a look at Nasus with TP in action
In this guide it's all about Nasus top, where he belongs, where he's the most usefull to the team, he can also go jungling, in this season jungling Nasus has become really strong, but thats a totally different story :)
During the early game, your ONE and ONLY goal is to SURVIVE and FARM. Remember that getting all the last hits you can, and as many as possible on your Q, is much more important to you than engaging the enemy. In fact, you want to engage the enemy as little as possible, as the odds are they can put out much more damage early game than you can. If you are solo top you should be free to max Q and farm it (pretty much the only exception to this would be if you find yourself in some strange circumstance where you are 1v2, in which case you might need to put points into E). Learning how to lifesteal off creeps, avoid or at least negate the effectiveness of enemy harass, and Q farm effectively will take practice. Obviously, some lanes may prove to be much more challenging than others.
If the enemy can out damage you and is trying hard to harass and zone you, the best thing you can do in the first few levels is let them. Don't pick a fight early or go suicide mode for last hits. You may miss some early last hits, but its better than getting baited into an early engagement and giving up first blood. Stay back, eventually the lane will push, and you can try to pick off last hits under your tower. Once you get to level 3 or 4 and have a point in each spell, you can begin to farm a bit more aggressively. Auto attack minions whenever possible to regen hp. If the enemy is a melee champ and tries to engage on you, just wither, auto+Q, and walk away. Do not get in prolonged engagements, just Q and walk away, as you will lose almost any war of attrition this early. Ask your jungler for some early pressure if you are really struggling. Your jungler coming up, blowing an enemy summoner, and maybe just zoning them for a wave or two can be HUGE for you in terms of getting a foothold on the lane.
Don't foget that you have teleport if you are getting harassed too hard. It's better to back early and blow your TP to get back to lane that it is to give up a kill. In fact, you should be taking advantage of the fact that you have TP to back early for items (the sooner you get your Shroud the better). It is fairly common for a top laner to use their first TP on their own lane. After that, be looking for opportunities to use your TP in other ways, such as counter ganking bottom, or fighting for dragon.
If at all possible, try to push your lane with SF and autos before you back. Unless you have just been severely injured and are emergency blue-pilling, you can generally push the lane a bit, buy, and then walk back without missing much xp. After your first TP back, don't TP if you can make it back without missing many creeps, as its better to hang onto it for an emergency back or in the ways mentioned above.
Learning how to lane properly with Nasus against different champions just takes practice and experience. Just remember: do not overestimate yourself early. Play like a sissy, don't fight when you don't have to, and farm farm farm. The majority of the champions in the game can beat you in an early engagement, so play it safe. Take a look at the champion match-ups section further in the guide for a bit of info on how to lane against some of the common solo top champions.
Once you have your Boots of Swiftness/ Mercury's Treads, Glacial Shroud/ Spectre's Cowl, and are working towards your Trinity Force/ Spirit Visage you should be fairly safe in the lane and could even begin trying to push the tower if you choose. Keep in mind that around now is the time for tower pushes, dragon battles, group roaming, etc. You will want to try to save your TP for dragon fights, clutch buff invasions, etc. Unless your team needs you in these situations, however, you should still be permanently farming your Q top. Once you get your CDR items is the critical time for your Q farming and the point at which you will really be building up the most bonus damage.
Don't forget about your early Baron potential with Nasus. Once you hit lvl 11 you can grab a surprise early baron with 2 of your allies. Just tank it with your ultimate and spam E and Q on cooldown on it. Use the buff to your advantage and push up a storm.
If you're lucky to end up in late game as Nasus you should at this point be a beast, 1 hitting, 2 hitting the carries, putting the perma slows with Wither and just deal crazy damage with your Siphoning Strike, push up those towers and win those teamfights, as Nasus there isn't a chance of loosing in late game.
all item purchases are situational at this point. Build what you need to counter the enemy threats. Analyze and determine who is dealing the most damage to you and build accordingly, or if you want more damage yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, a well played Cho is somewhat of a threat early game. The good thing is he suffers from the AOE pushing effect and will likely be at your tower constantly if he chooses to harass you. However, don’t get careless! If Cho hits 6 before you do, be alert that his combo hits very hard and he will burst you if given the opportunity. Also, Cho is like Nasus in that he makes for good ganks on his lane. If you are pushed into his territory without ward, be afraid. Other than that, build some early MR and it becomes a farm fest. You can potentially kill him if he’s careless and builds AP and no armor but I wouldn't count on that happening. Being hit with rupture and silence over and over again is a good deterrent and makes for a hard kill.
This is a fairly decent lane for Nasus. Without jungler help there's nothing he can do to stop you from farming. Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful. He puts out very high damage and you will find yourself recalling a good bit against him. Be advised if this champion gets a couple early kills, his scaling will allow him to rush and kill you in one encounter. Do not let it get to this point, and be wary of early ganks. The trick is to keep the lane pushed to your side and call your jungler for an easy kill. If the jungler is a complete failure and doesn't show up, Darius will try to harass you down with Apprehend and Decimate. Try to dodge these at all costs but if he chunks you very low just go back to base. Always maintain enough mana for your entire kit to be used. There is a good possibility he will dive you and these need to be available when that happens. Darius doesn't have an escape skill, and that ultimately is his downfall. Rush heavy armor and transition into health with a Randuin's Omen. Once you have some armor and Q-stacks, start to punish him with one auto-attack+Q. Your life-steal will wear him down eventually. Come mid game you will start to dominate him unless he has multiple kills.
This was a very challenging lane before her damage and mana nerfs took effect. Since that time, Elise is very prone to running out of mana trying to push Nasus out of lane with Neurotoxin. If she builds mana in an effort to maintain pressure she will lose out on damage that will already be lessened by our MR stacking. This results in her ultimately being useless at stopping Nasus from farming. Without help, Elise will lose this lane fairly hard. Killing her is not out of the question. She doesn’t have much of an escape beyond her one Cocoon. Just remember to have enough health to tank plenty of tower hits in the event she casts Rappel under a turret.
Here is another very good early game to be careful of. Be prepared for many Parrrley’s to the face. It’s important that you don’t get yourself whittled down too low when he does this to you. Gankplank is not a bursty champ but if you’re out of position and he uses Remove Scurvy through your Wither it will feel like he is due to the passive Grog Soaked Blade. Given that he’s a mana using melee character, he can only win this lane with help. However, one thing to look for is if he is given blue buff or builds a tear if godess, your laning is likely to be a good bit harder. Follow standard armor itemization and Nasus should be OK.
This is a fairly easy lane if you can survive the first few levels. He will likely be pushed to your tower trying to harass you down. Just be prepared to go through pots and maybe an early recall. After you acquire some armor it should turn into a farm fest. Therefore, once you acquire some Siphoning Strike stacks, check his armor. If he’s not building any go ahead and start returning damage, especially if you have Sheen. It’s very possible for you to push him out and possibly dive him. You will need plenty of mana and Ghost available to do this, however. Garen is quite fast and can remove your slow with Decisive Strike, so remember to move after each auto-attack to stay ahead of him. Unless their jungler gives you special treatment, I can’t see Nasus losing this lane.
This lane follows a different path than many others due to the nature of Jax’s abilities. You will have an easier time than most lanes early game. However, you need to take advantage of this quickly and farm as much as possible. When Jax hits level 6, Nasus is going to struggle from the constant burst Jax has. It may take some recalling but you need to survive this onslaught. Rush a Frozen Heart and be cautious. If he jumps you behind your creep line, Wither him and return damage with Siphoning Strike. He can’t dodge those and it will force him to relax his harass since he has no innate sustain and can’t keep taking damage. Ultimately, if you can avoid feeding him and farm moderately, the lane is yours. He will eventually lose trades before mid game and will die to you in any straight up fight. You will likely need Ghost to kill him due to his stun/jump.
Fairly easy stuff right here. His abilities push the lane hard and use mana to maintain. Unless fed from some other means, he doesn’t have the damage to successfully push you out. The real danger with him is his combo stacked with a jungle gank. Ward as needed, go with a standard tank itemization and you’ll do fine. Just remember to double hit with Siphoning Strike when he comes in on you. He needs to pay for having no sustain. You can kill him eventually but will need Ghost to do so.
Get ready for an endless stream of Seismic Shard’s. This guy is more annoying than dangerous. He may eventually force you out of lane a couple times due to his harass. However, unless he receives help, he has little hope of making a kill. Build early magic resist, don’t let yourself get too low on health, and it turns into a farm fest in which you always win. Chances of killing him are usually remote due to the nature of his build. If he happens to go AP, you have a chance.
Welcome to the true-damage king. This guy will force you into a build path that is a little different than other lanes you will face. Lucky for us, most of the items Nasus players like to build contain health. I’ve found that Olaf is extremely tough early. He will likely level his Reckless Swing first for maximum damage and use this on you each time you try to last hit. It’s important that you take every opportunity you can to sustain yourself on minions between his cool downs. Also, don’t be afraid to take damage trying to farm. It is to your advantage that you do this to ensure your own safety at tower, and to maintain your farm levels. This is a winnable lane, and you can possibly kill him before mid game. You will likely need Ghost in order to do that because of his Ragnarok removing your Wither. Rush early health to maintain the lane, and build Sheen once your farm level is sufficient enough to kill him.
Ok, I understand that this champ is considered to be a Nasus counter pick by some. However, i haven't lost to many Riven's, so i don't believe this is a hard counter at all, just a bit harder. I’ve played many Riven matches including gold level ones and most of them were not considered “counter level” hard. This lane plays out very much like Garen lane. Just play safe and farm the best you can. While her abilities are on cooldown , be sure to hit a few minions to lifesteal from to supplement your health pots. You are safe to do this as long as the lane is coming to you, which it should be. Rush heavy armor early, grab Sheen, and Riven is worthless the entire game. She is a pushing machine and will be at your tower if she’s trying to kill you. Once you attain about +150-200 and Sheen, bash her face in. She should die to you at least once before realizing she can’t win the lane. The only way she wins is with jungler help.
This is not going to be an easy lane. With that out of the way, it's not an impossible task and can be done. Played well, there is little reason a Nasus should die to Teemo. Why? Nasus has two backup plans that Teemo can't do much about: Wither, Fury of the Sands. In my experience you will struggle heavily early game and he will out-farm you moderately. If we were playing any other champ besides Nasus you might be in trouble but thats not the case here. You can have well below his farm level and still win this lane. Again, stay behind your minions and pick your last hits wisely. You want to limit his opportunity to hit you at all costs. If he's good he will place himself close to the creep wave and guarantee himself multiple hits on you each time you last hit. This will eventually wear you down but you should be able to farm decently without death. It may take a little longer to win this lane because of the farm advantage he has early. However, if you hang strong to get about +100 on Q, you can start winning trades and force him out of lane for good. Like all Nasus lanes, try to freeze the wave at tower and abuse the power of your Wither for a jungler kill.
There was once a time when Yorick was a challenging top lane for Nasus. That time is over, and Yorick is nothing more than a supplemental farm distributer. Yes, you can farm his gouls to stack Siphoning Strike. Not only is this suggested, but it’s recommended to decrease his lane presence. If he’s bent on harassing you, just last hit minions for gold and save Q to last hit his ghouls. This will decrease the amount of damage he can do to you, and subsequently give you more farm overall. Don’t be careless because you are still much weaker than him early, but I don’t expect this lane to be very challenging and he can be killed before mid game.
Recently i've met a lot of Zac's top lane, and this lane is pretty hard in my opinion beacause he won't really back off from harassing you with Stretching Strike and taking those minion damages, mostly because most Zac players think's that aslong as they got their Cell Division up and can constantly heal up with their blobs. My tip here you should abuse your Teleport here, and rush a Spectre's Cowl and ask for ganks, as you will be pretty weak lane to even try to fight him with a jungler with you, you can still die, so i recommend you having some tanky items and atleast 100 + dmg on your Siphoning Strike and your Fury of the Sands.
I will add more match ups later, but just to put it out there; all match up are fairly the same, around 100-150 Q dmg you will be winning trades.
In teamfights you want to Wither the apc or adc and just Ghost after him/her,it's your job to hunt these poor champions down as you will be at this point 2-3 hitting them. If you so may have a assasin on your team such as Kha'Zix, Rengar, Zed and so on to get them,you can stay guard on your adc and apc with wither and just hit around with your Q. But remember to hit your Fury of the Sands if you get focused, you don't wnat to die without putting out some Q's.
How much farm do you want? you want atleast around 100-150 Q dmg, Which is like .. 50-60cs, you also would like some of the tanky items such as Glacial Shroud(If against AD top)/ Spectre's Cowl(If against AP top)and perhaps even Trinity Force
Nasus Siphoning Strike is what you use to farm with, it's an empowered Auto Attack, so you want to use this ability to kill the minions with, also enemy champions if possible. Small minions grants you +3 Damage to your spell and the bigger minions will give you +6 damage to the spell, so prioritize the bigger minions if possible. On another note if you're against champions like Teemo his blind will be interrupting your hit as Siphoning Strike is an empowered Auto Attack.
So just keep that farm up, and you'll be a wrecking machine before you know it!
All in all, Nasus is a great champion with loads of potensial, wether it's pure tank, or off-tank, you should really mix with the build, as its not the best out there, but its a really good one, and it's pretty decent against most top laners.
I hope you enjoyed my guide, please leave any comments in the commen section and I'll try to get back to everyone! And if there is anything i should add or rewrite please say so.
- Godliekz ( Eu West )
04/10/13: Rewrote some section due to, too much similiarites to a different guide.
05/10/13: Added Zac to Match up's