Nasus Build Guide by Ekki
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Example finished build
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.
Threats to Nasus with this build
|Shen||As soon as you get Spectre's cowl it's a farm fest. Don't underestimate his damage too much though.|
|Wukong||Not much damage and can push lane with his E.|
Hello, my name is Ekki. I've been playing LoL since season 1 and I got to level 30 mid-season 2. I'm a casual gold-tier player (got to platinum V, still feel gold-tier though) from the LAS server that enjoys farming a lot and stomping my enemies. Having said that, I present you:
The Q-rator of the sands
Nasus is a purely farm-reliant champion that becomes a beast in late game if farmed correctly. He has infinite scaling, meaning he can keep amplifying his damage as long as he keeps farming, and compensates this late game power with an early game overall weakness.
With this in mind, you should know that every matchup will somehow be a counter during laning phase. Life is a struggle for early game Nasus.
This guide focuses on farming as many Siphoning Strikes as possible while being useful for your team, so it will explain more about splitpushing and farming optimisation than teamfighting.
I tried to use as little specific language as possible, but some acronyms should be internalised, so I made a short index.
- CC: Crowd control. It refers to anything that slows, stuns, roots or turns you into a frigging rabbit.
- AoE: Area of effect (can refer to damage or CC). Anything that deals damage or applies CC over an area (instead of to a single target).
- CDR: Cooldown reduction. The stat that reduces the amount of time between your spells.
- aa: Autoattack. Your basic attacks.
- MMR: Matchmaking Rating. It's a number only known to Riot that defines who you are matched to and the amount of LP you win/lose in ranked matches. You might know it as ELO.
Pros / Cons
Example all-around rune page:
Greater Mark of Lethality
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist
greater mark of armor penetration is a pretty standard mark. Nasus won't scale at all with AD/attsp and deal lots of physical damage no matter what you build.
You might use Greater Mark of Armor if you feel like going full defensive mode. As minions don't have armor, this doesn't screw with your farming, only when trading damage.
9x Greater Seal of Scaling Health for noticeable health in mid game since you will be rushing Frozen Heart most of your games.
Greater Seal of Armor and Greater Seal of Health are also good choices.
6x Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction for more Siphoning Strike stacks (and round CDR numbers). They will provide the best scaling you will ever get from a rune. I know they are expensive, but if you really want to squeeze all of Nasus' potential, you'll need them. If you don't have them you can run 4/5/21 masteries and still get to 10% CDR.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist to help against AP champions (the most annoying ones overall for Nasus).
If you want you can run 3x Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration and/or 3x Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration to compensate for the lack of mana regen in the mastery tree.
2x Greater Quintessence of Armor+1x Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist are the generic quints I get, for some all around defense.
You can very well use Greater Quintessence of Health, Greater Quintessence of Health Regeneration or even Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction (together with 9x Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction you get to 20% CDR with runes+masteries). The health options are great if you have lots of rune pages and want to adapt to a counter in a ranked/draft game. The cooldown runes may force you to take a different build path to not exceed the 40% CDR cap, so have that in mind if you use them.
You can also pick Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage if you want an early buff to autoattack damage. Notice that greater quintessence of armor penetration gives a ****py amount of stats for the spot it takes (only worth 2 greater mark of armor penetration), that's why I would go with AD instead in quints.
I like to run 4/26/0, to compensate that early game weakness. You can very well run 21/9/0 or even 0/9/21 (with 5 CDR) or whatever is in your mind, as long as you remember that it should reflect your playstyle and capitalize on Nasus' traits. You like harassing your enemies and killing them as soon as you have enough stacks? Go 21/9/0. You like having enough mana and movement speed? Don't have enough IP for CDR runes? Go 4/5/21.
Ghost really helps sticking to targets while you Siphoning Strike them. Can be used instead of Flash.
Teleport is a must have on Nasus, since it's useful for
It's an overall useful spell and better than Ghost for escaping. It can work if someone is running away with low hp while Wither is on cooldown.
While it looks like "just raw stats", it actually allows Nasus to build just tank+ Trinity Force and still have a whole lot of sustain. Notice that Siphoning Strike's bonus damage also counts for lifesteal, making Nasus pretty much out trade anyone by the end of the laning phase.
This is what defines Nasus, and gives him his infinite scaling. Notice that:
1) It doesn't give you more stacks when you kill several minions with Ravenous Hydra or Iceborn Gauntlet.
2) Only the basic damage (not the spell damage) splashes with Ravenous Hydra, hence why you shouldn't build that item.
3) Critical strikes only multiply your AD damage, not the bonus from the spell.
4) It resets your autoattack timer and doesn't have a cast time, making it possible to do an autoattack and instantly cast this spell to deal more damage. This is CRITICAL and shold be done consistently and subconsciously by any Nasus that wants to be good.
A generic gap closer that also gives some decent brawling potential with its attack speed debuff. Use it whenever you want to chase someone and save it for the adc or whoever you want to kill in a teamfight/1v3. It has no cast time, so its animation can be cancelled without any problems. You may put a couple of points on it on levels 8 and 10 if you are having trouble with an autoattacker (like Jax) or if you're against Hecarim. Try to Wither your enemy before your jungler ganks you to ensure a successful gank.
A great damage amplifier. You will certainly notice the difference between landing a well farmed Siphoning Strike inside it or outside it, as its armor reduction is noticeable (and your damage is huge), so max it second. It has a small cast time, so you will have to wait until you listen the sound it makes to know when you can make your autoattack->Q. Try to not use it very often as it drains lots of mana, and you don't want to run out of it to keep farming your Siphoning Strike. When you do farm with it though, remember that it significantly pushes the lane if it hits multiple minions that will stay inside it, and that it also screws your undertower farm if you cast it when they are hitting the turret.
Fury of the sands:
A good survival tool. It's really important at lvl 6 to survive against fight-changing ultimates like Garen's Demacian Justice or Darius' Noxian Guillotine. This is why you should be ESPECIALLY cautious when your opponent gets to level 6 before you (try to notice when he's level 5 and about to level up too).
It also gives you bonus attack damage if you're dealing damage with it, based on how much damage you make, so you can use it early on a 1v1 to slowly shift the balance of a fight. It has no cast time, so use it whenever you want inside your combo. Max it as soon as possible, like with any ultimate.
|You want to max Siphoning Strike as fast as you can to increase your stacks, and Spirit Fire after that to maximize your damage output and trade potential.
Pick your ult at levels 6, 11 and 16, as with most champions.
Some situations will need you to upgrade your skills in a different order. You might need to have Spirit Fire at level 2 or 3, or put a couple of points to Wither at level 8-10 against Hecarim, for example. Even in the most extreme of cases, the ult and Siphoning Strike's priorities remain unchanged.
Crystalline Flask + 3 Health Potion gives you enough sustain to hold your own even against heavy bullies and use just enough spells before backing. I wouldn't recommend Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion unless you are against Pantheon, but it's a viable start.
Against an easy lane you can swap one Health Potion for a Mana Potion to keep farming a bit longer.
- Glacial Shroud has cooldown, mana and armor, which makes it perfect against AD champions.
- Spectre's Cowl is great against ap poke, even though it doesn't give cooldowns. You might want to buy Kindlegem (to build into Spirit Visage) instead if you are already ahead by your first back.
- Sheen gives great damage amplification and eases your last hitting. Also helps win trades. I wouldn't recommend buying it unless you already bought a CDR item (options at first back are Kindlegem and Glacial Shroud).
If you buy some of the above and end up with ~400 gold you can buy Boots of Speed for sticking potential and going back to lane faster if Teleport is down.
- Frozen Heart is your best friend when it comes to armor. You get mana, armor, CDR and an aura debuff. It can't get much better than that. Even against AP lanes, try to buy Glacial Shroud before finishing your first magic resist item.
- Dead Man's Plate is a good armor choice when you need more health than armor. The passive is good for roaming and gives you a slow when the stacks are capped. I personally only pick it if the enemy adc isn't buying much critical damage (blue Ezreal? Not really common), as I'd rather have Randuin's Omen, but it's still a very viable choice.
- Randuin's Omen is good for its active and the critical damage reduction it gives. You should buy this if the top/mid laner has crit chance.
- Thornmail only if the enemy has a fed adc or just lots of physical damage. As you should buy Frozen Heart before this, you shouldn't worry about the armor scaling, but never buy it if you don't have a big health item already finished.
You will more often than not buy at least two of these items, especially if you pick Mercury's Treads as boots.
Never build Sunfire Cape as it's good to draw fire to a full tank, but you will already be taking focus due to Siphoning Strike's damage, so it would only screw your farming and give subpar stats.
Ohmwrecker can help fighting undertower or finishing a damaged turret, but it's a tricky buy. I only buy it when running 20% CDR runes+masteries in normals and going against an AP top, so I rush Spirit Visage, then the Kindlegem for Ohmwrecker. Notice that this means you can't buy Frozen Heart.
- Banshee's Veil is great against heavy CC teams.
- Spirit Visage is good overall, as it gives you CDR and lifesteal amplification. I buy this item for CDR 90% of my matches.
- Locket of the Iron Solari if the other team has lots of AoE magic damage.
If you're going to pick two of these, try to pick Banshee's Veil and one of the other two, to avoid going over 40% CDR.
Guardian Angel helps a lot late game, when death timers get big. Your tanky build on top of tons of damage makes this item really useful if you're fed. Only get this item as a 5th or 6th item.
I don't find myself building Warmog's Armor very often, but it gives overall defense against all kinds of damage (except %max hp damage), so you can pick this for a full-tank build.
Righteous Glory helps you get face-to-face with whoever you want killed, on top of a decent amount of health. If you have a support/jungle that can use it you might want to opt-out of this item though.
Trinity Force over Iceborn Gauntlet because of the passive from Phage being useful for farm-walking and better overall stats.
Last Whisper is the best choice if the other team has heavy armor. It is mandatory if you have a lot of stacks, since the other team will build armor and you may need to shred their tanks.
Youmuu's Ghostblade if you're at 30% CDR by fullbuild and the other team isn't too heavy on armor you can pick this. The active is pretty sweet too.
You got to 400 stacks by the 20 minute mark with 5 kills? The 30 minute mark came and you are starting to farm champions? Buy Frozen Heart, Trinity Force, Last Whisper/ Youmuu's Ghostblade and Infinity Edge as a fourth item for maximum disrespect. You won't be stacking much as champions give less stacks/minute than minions, so I don't recommend it.
- Mercury's Treads is often the best option, as most teams have at least some form of CC and you probably won't buy two magic resist items.
- Boots of Swiftness works against heavy slowers with little CC. They're also slightly faster than the rest of the boots, but only marginally.
- Ninja Tabi only if either their team is full ad without slows or you're against both jungle and top AD with reliance on autoattacks (like yi, jax, rengar). They can also work against heavy hitter fed adc's like Draven.
Trinket upgrades used to be an end-game buy most of the time, but with their current 250 gold cost they are a good deal even during mid-game.
ALWAYS remember to change your Warding Totem for a Sweeping Lens around your second back to base, unless you know you will need one of the upgrades of Warding Totem (like against Akali). This is vital against a Teemo, since the Sweeping Lens deactivates his Noxious Trap for its duration.
- Oracle's Lens most of your games by late-game. It's good to clean baron / dragon and against the ocassional stealth enemy.
- Greater Vision Totem against stealth teams. If there are 2 of: Akali, Shaco, Twitch, Kha'Zix, Rengar, Talon; you should pick this upgrade. If there is just one of them but it's really fed pick it too.
- Greater Stealth Totem if you go full splitpush or if your support isn't putting enough wards. There is no way to make this decision before having to swap to Sweeping Lens, so try to switch back and upgrade as soon as you notice that you'll need this.
Elixirs are great buys for late-game. Don't feel afraid to buy one of them after the 30 minute mark, but remember that they don't stack, so you can only choose one of them.
- Elixir of Wrath is best for teamfights, as it'll increase the lifesteal from your Siphoning Strikes. Notice that it's balanced to include physical damage from abilities that normally don't apply lifesteal, but unfortunately, you have none.
- Elixir of Iron should be picked instead of Elixir of Wrath whenever you DON'T have Mercury's Treads. You know, unless the other team literally doesn't have any hard CC.
- Elixir of Ruin is best for splitpushing. The health is good, but the main reason why you pick this is the bonus damage to structures. You might be able to 3-Q turrets with this and a well charged Siphoning Strike.
As I started to play solo-top Nasus I noticed I often didn't know which item I should build next. You shouldn't be thinking what to buy next, or you might lose precious farm. So I made this section, to reduce the thought needed when buying items. This is intended for new Nasus players, so I won't consider being extremely fed, nor experimental or niche items.
> > > > /
Against magic damage top
> > > /
Against hybrid damage top
(AD Fizz, attack speed Teemo, Warwick)
> > > > /
> > > >
*Start with either Glacial Shroud or Spectre's Cowl depending on their main damage source, then build sheen and after that build the other, for their secondary damage source.
> > > / > > >
Against %HP damage dealers
( Elise, Dr. Mundo, Kog'Maw, NOT Vayne)
> > > / > > / / >
Against champions that deal %HP damage you should build more defenses at this stage. Later in the game you must still build health. Vayne DOESN'T COUNT FOR THIS, her %HP damage is true damage, so it's pointless to buy defenses.
Defense if you're behind, Last Whisper if you're ahead. Upgrade your trinket around this part.
Never build Thornmail if you built Last Whisper, as Guardian Angel is by far better if you have those. Warmog's Armor if you built tanky and you get to escape alive from most teamfights. Notice that Thornmail works wonders if you already built a Warmog's Armor as a 5th item.
Example finished builds
Against low CC and heavy AD (e.g. Zed mid, Darius top, Volibear jungle, fed adc).
Against heavy CC, heavy AP and invisibility (e.g. Sejuani jungle, Leona support, fed Akali mid). In this example, you would have to build Kindlegem quite fast, to get to 40% CDR before too late in the game.
Got really fed against a team with good CC, bought Greater Stealth Totem to splitpush because their teamfight is too good.
As I said before, early game is a struggle for Nasus, as every single champion that goes top will have a chance to harass you. Knowing that, I will list some tips to ease your laning and sometimes even winning early trades.
1) Hide behind your minions. This one sounds pretty obvious, but it's something that can always be improved. Remember that minions deal a ton of damage early on, and they will focus whoever attacks you or is closer once a minion dies. Knowing this, punish whoever goes through the wave trying to keep you out of experience range. Riven just Q'd to get close to you? Autoattack+Q her and your minions will make the trade go in your favor. If there is risk of getting damage when going to farm, just don't go, and wait until they are closer to your turret.
2) Freeze your lane outside of turret range. While having your enemy push surely helps you, having your minions killed by the turret isn't really good. If a bunch of enemy minions are coming towards tower and your wave won't make it in time you can get close to draw their attention without taking too much damage and make them follow you towards tribush (if you are on red team) or towards the outer wall (if you are on blue team). This will give your minions slightly more time to come and help you position the freezed lane wherever you want.
2.B) If your enemy isn't there when a flock of minions comes to die under your turret, you can get in and out of the bush yo keep them dancing without taking any damage at all. Your enemy will try to attack you if he is nearby while you do this, and you will take a ton of damage (your enemy's plus the minions' damage), so only do this if he isn't present in your lane.
3) Learn when to autoattack the minions. If you see that your enemy is pushing HARD (he has 2 minions more than you) you can autoattack to set up Siphoning Strike stacks. That way you will ensure the lane doesn't get pushed too much (undertower) and can farm Siphoning Strike as soon as it is off cooldown. This last part is specially useful for race-farming.
4) Learn to farm undertower. I don't understand how there are people with level 30 accounts that don't know this. Every caster minion that takes 1 hit from tower will have about 2 autoattacks (aa+Q) of hp and every melee minion that takes 2 hits from tower will have around 1 autoattack (just Q) of hp. Sometimes this won't happen and melee will take 4 shots and casters 3, but I think this is due to the minion stat growing being weird (try to notice this beforehand to adjust your undertower farming).
Knowing this is both basic and essential for a good Nasus player. Don't hit a melee minion that's taking turret damage just once to let him be impossible to farm after the first shot. Don't Q a caster minion before he takes turret damage. Once you understand this (it's pretty simple) you should factor in your own minion's damage and try to farm whichever minion is being attacked by the tower. Farming the minion that's just about to be killed by the tower gives the rest of the minions 1 turret shot more of time to live, and gives YOU a bit more of time to farm more.
Thanks sedwt for the idea for 2.B.
By mid game you will either be winning trades or have already lost your tower. Maybe both. There are a bunch of different things you can do in this stage of the game:
A) Stay farming in your lane. By this time you should be farming as soon as Siphoning Strike is off cooldown, probably one-hitting the caster minions. Still, always try to farm low-hp melee minions first. You will push your lane, but only steadily, and if you get overextended remember to keep an eye on the map and put some wards. Try to take down the outer turret, but only attack the middle one if you see 4-5 enemies are bot/dragon. The jungle will surely gank you if you start to get too many stacks.
Only do this if your teammates can handle themselves. If your lane enemy is fed and roaming or if one of their carries got severely fed you'll have to try to help your team instead.
B) Try to take down all the turrets in your way. If you are around 400 stacks by minute 20 you will want to capitalise on it. One way to do it is force-pushing your lane and trying to take down everything in your path. You may be able to win 2v1 or even kill someone 3v1, and your teammates should take advantage of that by taking dragon and pushing their lanes. Even if pushing hard, remember to try to farm as much as possible.
Only do this if you are severely fed. Getting to 400 stacks around minute 20 or being able to kill your lane enemy AND jungler are good indicators of this.
C) Ganking other lanes. Wither is a great ganking tool, and against champions relying on movement speed to escape it's a certain kill. You'll mainly be doing this via Teleport in bot lane once they already started a fight.
Do this whenever you see an opening (enemy Leona landed a Zenith Blade and bot is pushed or there is a deep ward // bot is being ganked by your enemy in lane or jungle and they're all low on health // your lane is pushed and there is a Malzahar pushing mid).
D) Teamfighting. This often happens if an early dragon gets out of hand, and there will surely be a ward where you can Teleport to take part in the bloodbath. Other than that, don't stick to your team until later in the game.
Late game is your domain. If you aren't over 400 stacks by the 30 minute mark then something failed in your laning. Either fully read my basic knowledge section until you internalise every single technique or go to another guide, one that tells you how to be useful with 300 stacks at the 30 minute mark.
You should be able to kill the adc or apc in 3 Siphoning Strikes, but their CC tanks/mages will be a problem. This sometimes means running from a juicy Caitlyn if their Leona is right behind her.
It is of MAXIMUM importance to keep your Teleport up and only use it to get into a teamfight. DO NOT use it on a minion to splitpush (unless you plan on winning or taking an inhibitor and running before the other team revives), DO NOT use it to help in a lost teamfight that will be a 1v4 when you get there, DO NOT use it to chase. Save it so you can splitpush and use it if a teamfight is about to happen.
If you don't have Teleport up, you should stick to your team, farming whatever is around them (jungle creeps, minions, wards) and trying to push together and do other team stuff like taking objectives and teamfighting.
Supposing you have Teleport up, you should be splitpushing top or bot (you should use it if a teamfight happens), and back before someone appears. If someone appeared it is because either:
A) They are undertower. You might be able to kill him if it isn't a tank nor has too much CC. If you can't, just head walking towards your team and see if you can rush a 4v5 before whoever stayed in your lane comes.
B) There is more than just one of them (!!!). Late game Nasus is known for being impossible to kill in a 1v1, so the expected thing to happen is that more than one champion came to kill you. You might be able to kill one, two or all of them, but don't risk it if you can just run away. This would also mean that your team has less than 4 champions pressuring the 4 of them, and they may take a turret or dragon / baron . Anyways, you should ward to prevent this from happening by surprise, and go back as soon as you see 2 men on their team missing.
Well, the game is taking long to wrap up. Every outer tower is down, making splitpushing pretty hard. After 40-50 minutes of the game you should stay with your team at all times. Also, get a Guardian Angel already, or change it for another item if you lost the passive recently, chances are the game won't last long enough to reset its cooldown.
Basic knowledge for advanced Nasus players
Nasus doesn't have very deep mechanics, different spell orders for different situations or wombo-combos. He is a ball of stats that only has one skillshot, and it can't be missed. What differentiates a platinum tier Nasus player from a bronze one is generic knowledge applicable to any champion. Knowing how to lasthit, knowing how to stand in lane, knowing who to target in a teamfight, knowing where to go after the enemy's adc died, knowing when to use Teleport to gank instead of saving it to go back to lane and farm. This is why there is no "secret" to a good Nasus, just some tips that slowly add up to give you an advantage. This tips may also be useful for most other champions, since they are very generic.
Listen to the sounds of your skills.
Like a good dog, the sense of hearing is very important to optimise your combos. You'll react faster to the sound of your Spirit Fire than to the visuals. Same goes for your autoattacks. As you should often do the autoattack+ Siphoning Strike combo, and attack speed varies (so you can't know it by heart), this will give you precious miliseconds that sometimes make the difference. You'll notice that every skill has a distinctive sound, making this really easy. Don't think much about it, as it should become natural.
Autoattack + Siphoning Strike.
Right after you do an autoattack, the "cooldown" of your autoattack starts to count. Siphoning Strike is one of those abilities that resets this timer and allows you to land two consecutive attacks (this can be practically instantaneous if you're good enough). It will add a whole autoattack of damage, which will also translate into slightly more lifesteal. It's like Sheen, but free. Not doing it is a severe waste of resources. Notice that you shouldn't do this to a minion if it might die from the autoattack (try to know how much damage your autoattacks do).
EVERYTHING can be farmed.
Like, seriously. Jungle creeps, wards, towers, inhibitors, Summon: Tibbers, voidlings from Zz'Rot Portal, Yorick's ghouls, Kalista's Sentinel,
the nexus etc...
Once you have enough stacks to one-shot caster minions, or autoattack+Q melee minions, and you have Phage, you can literally farm while walking, and even reach your destination faster. This doesn't require any actual skill, just remembering to autoattack+Q every farm-able thing that crosses your way and quickly click wherever you were going to keep walking with the movespeed buff from Phage. The small razorbeaks from the camp next to mid lane are the easier ones to one-shot, and if the krugs haven't been cleared after the first clear (sometimes happens) the small one will die in one hit.
I regularly hear stuff like "but I got it anyways", "it's just a bit more of health", when doing suboptimal things on League. Being suboptimal means doing something that could have been done with less resources. Like drinking a Health Potion when you only miss 100 health or losing one minion because you did a lousy undertower farming. If you want to be a good Nasus player this has to stop. You're not relying on doing good combos or having better mechanics than your opponent. All you have is your optimisation capabilities. You might have noticed that every single tip I listed here sounds like a dime that won't help that much. It is just that. But doing it 100 times on every game is how you make a difference and get 50 stacks more at the 15 minute mark and win your trades, eventually snowballing to
get even more stacks win the game.
FAQ: How many stacks should I have?
A question that's asked by most new Nasus players. It doesn't have a single answer, but you can have a general idea of how many you should have given certain conditions.
First of all, I'll list different "tiers" of stacks at different minute marks.
10 min: T1) 50 T2) 100 T3) 150 T4) 200
20 min: T1) 200 T2) 250 T3) 300 T4) 400
30 min: BAD) 300 OK) 400 GOOD) 500 GREAT) >600
40 min: BAD) <400 OK) 500 GOOD) 600 GREAT) >800 *
*After 40 minutes you should have around 500 stacks, no matter how bad you did in lane, because the numbers start to normalise at that time, since someone that lost lane kept farming while someone that won went to fight and lost potential stacks.
I didn't label the early tiers "BAD"/"OK"/"GOOD"/"GREAT" because there are modifiers to them. If you used Teleport, helped bot and took dragon after that you'll naturally have less stacks no matter how well you farmed. If you went against Pantheon or the other jungler ganked you a lot you'll obviously have a harder time farming.
T1 corresponds to BAD, but it's OK if you had enemy jungle camp, a hard counter in lane or used Teleport to gank.
Same for the rest of the tiers:
T2 -> OK, or GOOD if you had constant difficulties
T3 -> GOOD, or GREAT if you had constant difficulties
T4 is always GREAT, and you surely won't reach it if you're struggling in lane.
Road to 1000 stacks
"Can I get to 1000 stacks?" Yes, you can. It's not simple, and it partly relies on luck.
Nasus trying to get to 1000 stacks.
I like to say you either get to it before 40 minutes or the other team gets demoralised and surrenders. But it can happen after that, mainly if you're against a decent Vayne and/or you're struggling to win the game. The thing is, if you're struggling to win the game you won't be able to farm freely and will get stacks slowly (everyone will try to kill you being alone and if you're with your team you won't be able to farm more than 2-3 minions before they clear).
First of all, the conditions have to be appropriate. You need a distracted enemy jungle on early game and a decent team on your side that won't do anything too stupid being just 4 for ~30 minutes. Also a passive lane enemy that lets you farm until you get to 200 stacks by the 12 minute mark.
Once you are that fed, and if the conditions are still right, just keep farming. You HAVE to get to 400 stacks around minute 20. Use Teleport on your turret to go back to farm faster. Farm while your opponent punches you to no avail. Kill the jungle and your enemy when he ganks you with 300 stacks. Try to avoid poking your enemy with Siphoning Strike, it will make you look like a threat. You aren't there to kill him, you are there to FARM.
Over 500 stacks by min 20. Pre-rework Gangplank felt like he could free-farm if he didn't poke, and this happened.
Not hitting your enemy for a long time kind of hides the amount of stacks you have, as they can't relate it to visible damage. Your enemy should be bad enough as to not know that 300 stacks are too many stacks to have around minute 15.
If the game keeps going, and you rushed all your CDR items, plus a Last Whisper (everyone will be building armor, and you will ocassionally have to kill them when they gank you so you can keep farming), you can get to 1000 stacks around minute 32. Just hope they don't surrender when you're at 970 stacks (don't tell them "don't surrender, I'm at 990 stacks", they will troll you) and keep farming.
Good luck, and have a good farm-fest.
I got to 1000 stacks! Did I win the game?
NO! Not even close to that. Sure, you have an enormous head-start, but in no way having 1000 stacks means the game is won. If you get bursted by a fullbuild Vayne because your team doesn't have peel or the other team has enough CC to keep you far from their squishies you will not be able to use those 1000 stacks at all. If the other team didn't surrender by now, chances are they have enough teamfight potential as to deny you.
Also, remember to buy a Last Whisper if you're too stacked, because it'll allow you to actually shred their tanks. 1000 stacks is a lot but you can't deal a decent chunk of damage to a Trundle with Randuin's Omen and Thornmail without penetration.
Unless you don't mind losing, don't relax and actually try to participate in a well initiated teamfight, so you can draw the focus while the other team dies or kill the other team if they try to focus anything else.