Nasus Build Guide by Furber
This build has been archived and is for historical display only.
PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
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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.
Hello. As many of you may have noticed, from around 11/6/11 to 11/19/11, my builds were all archived. I did this because I am done playing League of Legends. I enjoyed the game for the year and a half that I played it, but with many new games I've been looking forward to being released soon, I decided it was time to part ways with LoL. At first, I figured I was done with mobafire too, so I archived all of my guides. I didn't want to have to deal with them anymore. Then I started thinking about how many people my guides have helped, and how many people might depend on my guides/builds, so I was leaving them in the dark when I suddenly archived my builds. I thought that I could at least leave my guides up as a gift to the LoL community in exchange for the fun this game has given me. Unfortunately, I do not plan on regularly checking my guides, so comments may take a while for me to respond to.
I hope you all enjoy the guides that I provide and I hope they are helpful.
***Updated as of 11/19/11***
Nasus was the second champion that I bought, after a long time of playing him as my main tank, I have decided to create a guide for him. While some people insist on building Nasus as a DPS champion, I find he is more of an asset to the team as an off-tank. His main source of damage output comes from Sheen + Siphoning Strike. I level up first, as it is important to farm last hits with it as much as possible. Next I get wither, I find it to be helpful if you need to protect an ally's escape or help chase down an enemy. Spirit fire is good for weakening other tanks, it lowers armor, however it is easily avoided. Spirit Fires should not be used to farm, they are extremely costly with your mana, and you will find yourself b'ing for mana constantly if you insist on spamming Spirit Fires. Even with runes and chalice/tear, spamming Spirit Fires is not the way to go. Something that was recently changed about Nasus is that his Q resets his autoattack. What this means, is that if you press Q after autoattacking, Nasus will instantly autoattack again, with Siphoning Strike being used. Essentially with this, you can 'double hit', which aids in timing last hits, as well as hitting turrets or champions more efficiently.
Additional note: I had a random surge of downvotes that dropped my rating down by like 7%, I would very much appreciate your help in raising my rating back to what it previously was. :)
Life Steal passive allows survival in lane
Very effective single-target slow
Can absorb alot of damage
He's a dog
No hard CC
If Siphoning Strike is not farmed, Nasus will lack damage output
Give'em the stick!
Passive: Soul Eater.
Nasus drains his foe's spiritual energy, giving him a natural 14 / 17 / 20% lifesteal..
Pretty decent passive. This helps you survive. You should be able to keep your hp up in the laning phase very well, unless they have a ton of harassment. When your Q is farmed high and you have Sheen/Trinity Force, keep in mind that hitting a target with Q can give you a small burst of hp, this can save you in some situations.
Q: Siphoning Strike
Nasus's next attack will deal additional damage. Siphoning Strike permanently gains 3 damage whenever it kills an enemy.
Cooldown: 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 / 4 seconds
Cost: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 Mana
Extra Damage: 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110
Siphoning Strike is Nasus's primary source of damage output. While at first it may seem weak, if you farm it properly it can deal heavy damage later in the game. Siphoning Strike resets Nasus's autoattack, meaning that even if you've just used an autoattack, if you click to use SS, he will use it immediately. You can use this to double hit, making it easier to farm SS, as well as hurt enemies. Double hitting is effective at chipping away at turrets.
My high score for farming Q is as follows: +477 at 31 minutes
Needless to say, you will be putting out a TON of damage if you're farming this well. Soon I will upload a video demonstrating how and when to farm Q as Nasus. I will also explain why not to farm too much with E, and why you should save last hitting for Q.
Nasus ages his target, slowing their movement and attack speed by 35% and reducing it further each second for 5 seconds.
Cooldown: 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 seconds
Cost: 80 Mana
Extra Slow: 3 / 6 / 9 / 12 / 15 %
Wither is an incredibly effective single-target slow. It makes chasing a breeze. In a team fight, throw it on the enemy carry or caster, your team can effectivly focus them because they cant get away. It can also be used as an escape tool. Wither is an accelerating slow, by the last tick, it is essentially a root. If an enemy catches turret agro, wither them and they may take more hits from the turret. Like Spirit Fire, Wither will eat up your mana during the laning phase. I recommend you only use it when it is necessary. It is also great to use just for shutting down an enemy carry, like an exhaust. It drastically reduces their attack speed and the slow leaves them vulnerable.
E: Spirit Fire
After a brief delay (0.5 sec cast, 0.5 delay), the target area becomes desecrated. Enemies in the area have their armor reduced for 7 seconds and are dealt magic damage each second for 6 seconds.
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Radius of AoE: 400
Cost: 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130 Mana
Area of Effect: 400 (estimate)
Armor Reduction: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40
Initial Magic Damage: 55 / 95 / 135 / 175 / 215 (+0.6 per ability power)
Magic Damage Per Second: 11 / 19 / 27 / 35 / 43 (+0.12 per ability power)
Spirit Fire is not an ability for damaging. Its main use is the armor debuff, in a decently large AoE. You can screw tanks like Rammus and other armor stacking champions. It is important that you and/or your allies fight the enemy(s) while they are on the SF, so as to maximize its effect. SF costs a good bit of mana, so if you plan on spamming it in the laning phase, you better plan on b'ing for mana a lot. When placing SF, put it behind our enemy in the direction they would retreat too, but still having them inside the circle. SF is also a good scaring technique, even though its damage is pitiful alone.
R: Fury of the Sands
Nasus becomes empowered in the sandstorm for 15 seconds, gaining health. While the storm rages, he drains the health of nearby enemies each second (240 damage max per second) and converts it into bonus attack damage.
Cooldown: 120 seconds
Cost: 150 Mana
Area of Effect: 350 (estimate)
Magic Damage: 3 / 4 / 5 % (+0.01% per Ability Power) of max health
Health Gained: 300 / 450 / 600
Nasus's ult makes him a god. You can tank more effectively as well as put out more damage. Throw this on in team fights when the fight is initiated. An important fact to remember is that when you use your ult, you immediately gain health. If you are about to die, use this like the summoner spell Heal. Also remember that because it gives you more AD, your life steal passive will help more. In addition to gaining stats and having a little aoe sand storm around you, your figure becomes larger. This means you can more easily block skill shots to protect your teamates, and the enemy will have a hard time getting around you. Another thing to keep in mind is not to ult if you have reduced healing from ignite or something. You will heal yourself for less.
Additional note: Because this ability gives Nasus +600 HP, Nasus can focus his tank build mostly on Mitigation, and less focusing on HP, because he already gets great HP from his Ult. This is why Warmog's/Frozen Mallet are not that great choices for tank items for Nasus.
These summoner spells are in order of most recommended to least recommended
Ghost: Ghost is good for escaping/chasing enemies. Also it goes well with his ult, enabling you to move around the fight quickly. Nasus is very easily kited so Ghost is an important spell to get.
Exhaust: Exhaust followed by or preceding Wither makes for a very lengthy slow. Also the blind-ish part helps against champs like Tryn and Yi
Teleport: Teleport helps you get around the map quickly. If you see an opportunity to farm Siphoning Strike if a large group of minions has formed, you can go farm it and teleport back to your team if you feel that a fight is about to break out. Also helps against backdoorers
Cleanse: Cleanse gets rid of a CC that's on you (not suppression though). This helps because a CC'ed Nasus can't do anything.
Flash: Flash can be used in place of ghost. It's good for chasing/escape.
Ignite: Ignite can help you get that little bit of damage in to ensure a kill. It also can be used to counter champions like Dr. Mundo.
Clarity: Clarity is good to have if you're having serious mana issues.
Clairvoyance: This is good for checking things like dragon or baron. It also can have other uses too.
Heal: Heal helps you tank more damage.
Fortify: Fortify helps defend turrets. It's better for champions with a Taunt, but it still can work for Nasus.
Revive: Revive is kinda dumb...I guess you can use it if you're really into this spell. It can only be used when you die (something you shouldnt want to do :P) and it has a very long cool down. Just not worth getting, there are much better choices.
Rally: Rally is also , other options are much better.
Smite: Although Nasus does have the potential of jungling, I find he's better in the lane building off-tank instead of more towards DPS.
Masteries: I go 0/22/8
I go mostly into defense for tanking, and get some utility for mana purposes. I skip Ardor because in my opinion, it does not benefit Nasus very much.
Note: Points moved from Perseverance to Good Hands
Points moved from Expanded Mind to Awareness
Items - Standard build
I start with Regrowth Pendant, and a hp pot. It helps your lane survival. If you want a head start on another item, you can get another item and potions.
Next, buy a philosopher's stonePhilo Stone, if you need some MS get early boots before philo. Build Mercury's Treads because you will get CC reduction and some MR. Nasus needs merc treads because CC is especially good at making him useless. You can also get Ninja Tabi if there are a lot of autoattackers on the enemy team.
Your early build typically looks like this:
Next I build Glacial Shroud. The armor helps you tank, the mana makes him less mana hungry when using and , and most importantly, the CDR helps you farm Q better. I wait to build it into a Frozen Heart till later, but if you are struggling against autoattackers, you can get it sooner. Next, I buy the Nasus item, Sheen. This will increase your Q's damage by even more, which by this time you should pretty much 1 hit kill the caster minions. Sheen is one of the most important items for Nasus. The passive makes your Q much stronger, which helps farming it as well as using it in battle. You will eventually turn this into a Trinity Force.
Now your build should look similar to this:
Next, if I need more HP and Armor, I build a Sunfire Cape. If they have alot of AP, I build a Banshee's Veil. After you buy that item, usually get the other of the two that you were going to pick up. Now you can finish your Sheen into a Trinity Force.
An excellent end item is Guardian Angel. Getting it after your other items makes it so that not only are you hard to kill, but they have to kill you twice. Another great item to get last is a Force of Nature. This will add to your MR and the MS will be very helpful. With all this HP regen, you can go ahead and sell your philosopher's stone. Finish your Glacial Shroud into a Frozen Heart, unless you do not need this item. Get it if you need more Armor and if the enemy's AD champions are becoming a problem, it will slow their AS.
Various end game builds can look similar to these
All-Around (The Main Build):
Leaning more towards Armor:
Leaning more towards MR:
An additional tanky/dps build is as follows (thanks to effnroggy for suggesting this build):
Other items/builds include:
Against a team with tons of autoattackers, a Thorn Mail is always a good idea. Force of Nature is also a good MR item. For a DPS Nasus build, get Sheen built sooner, and get Tear of the Goddess asap. Build up mana from farming with Q and thenmake it a Manamune. Frozen Heart will give good mana which can aid in your Manamune's converted mana to AD. If you want more life steal, I recommend a Stark's Fervor, or a Blood Thirster. If your enemy is stacking armor, you should build a Last Whisper. For the MR build, merc treads and chalice are good. Then I rush BV, followed by FoN, you can get Sheen whenever. Finish it off with GA.
There are a few other items that other Nasus players consider getting. I will give my opinion on these items.
Warmog's gives you a lot of HP, which is nice to have as a tank. All in all a good item, I just choose other items instead.
This item has been nerfed quite a bit so it's not as good as it used to be. It's not bad though, I just get other items instead. Gives good armor/hp, and an active/passive that can slow enemies.
Good for tanky dps to get once they've racked up a lot of hp. Put this on a more dps type nasus, especially if you've got a lot of hp.
This item gives good HP to help you tank, with a little bit of damage and a slowing passive. however, I feel like wither is a long enough slow, the passive of Frozen Mallet would not be needed. I find that there are better items that focus on tanking if you want this item for its HP. For damage, Phage should be built into Trinity Force along with your Sheen.
Marks - You can get straight Armor, or Armor Pen, depending on if you want to tank or DPS more.
Glyphs - You can straight MR, MR/lvl works too. CDR also helps Nasus for more Q farming.
Seals - I get Dodge Chance, some mp5 helps too. Armor seals are also an option
Quints - I get flat HP, other tanking quints are optional
Ability Level Sequence / Game Play
Early Game (lvl 1-6)
Grab Q as your first ability and regrowth pendant + hp pot. It's good to lane with a dps or caster, preferably ranged; you can also solo top, but know that Nasus does very poorly against ranged in a solo lane. Nasus can (and should) lane very passively. Against certain comps,he can be more aggressive, and certain other comps will be able to deny and starve him of his last hitting. Make sure you get as many last hits with Q as you can, I cannot stress that enough. With the recent buff to his Q, last hitting to farm Q is extremely rewarding. There is a certain point in the laning phase where Nasus can become dominant. Once you've got merc treads and chalice, your Q should be around lvl 3 so its CD should be relatively short. You can afford to be more aggressive. Remember to utilize your passive to stay in the lane. Nasus takes harassment to the chest. You should not have to b for hp very often, if at all. Also remember to wither enemies that get turret aggro.
Mid Game (lvl 7-13)
You should be getting your Glacial Shroud then working toward whatever item will benefit you next. Q should be around +100-150, if not then it's time to start working harder on those last hits. If you want to gank a lane, run out of the bush with Ghost, Wither the enemy and Exhaust him if you need to. You should be able to tank turrets to an extent, so you and your allies can get the kill. Ult if needed. In skirmishes, stay in front and remember to double hit your target (autoattack immediately followed by Q). Wither the target or use Wither to help a team mate get away. If you ult, you should be committed to the fight, so as not to waste it. Assuming Q is farmed well enough, you should be able to 1v1 squishies, your life steal passive mixed with a powerful Q (especially if you have Sheen) will allow you to fight well 1v1. If your ever passing through the jungle, don't hesitate to grab some last hits on the wolves or wraiths.
Late Game (lvl 14-18)
You should be on the way to completing your build. Q should be any where between + 250-500. Having Q farmed this well will essentially make you a powerful off-tank (instead of needing to buy DPS items). Although farming is still important, make sure you are with your team in case a fight breaks out. You can hit turrets hard with your double hit. Try to throw in a double hit every time your minion wave reaches the enemy turret. Although you are an off-tank, your main role is tanking. A good way to scare off an enemy squishy is to Wither them and then double hit them. You can choose to chase them, but make sure your team doesnt require you to be tanking during that time. Throw Spirit Fires down, by lvl 5 Spirit Fire has good armor reduction, which will help your team dominate squishies and even deal good damage to their tanks. Remember, Q does have the potential to crit, so the Trinity Force can help in that sense too. With Q heavily farmed and having a TF, I've dealt as much as half a squishy's HP in one hit, around 1300 damage.
Spirit Fire vs. Siphoning Strike
Many Nasus players choose to upgrade E over Q. I believe the reason for this is so that they can farm better. At lvl5, E can kill the caster minions and almost kill the melee ones. You can kill the melee ones with Q to finish them off.
This is where my argument arises. Why farm with E to get gold, when you can farm with Q to get gold AND more damage output? The way I see it, every time you kill a minion with something other than Q, and Q is not on CD, you are sacrificing potential damage output.
Many Nasus players would argue "well I only need 1 or 2 levels in Q and I can farm it perfectly. If you don't level Q up quickly, your CD will impede your Q farming. I level it for lower CD, and so that it deals more base damage, which makes it easier to last hit with. I doubt you will be able to farm +477 Q in 31 minutes when it's only upgraded to level 1 or 2.
Spirit Fire is not a very reliant farming tool. Yes, it will hurt the minions, it is an AoE DoT, the minions will not move off of it, so they will die. However, being a DoT, there is no way to ensure that it will 'last hit' the minion(s). The Armor reduction will actually help your own minions deal more damage to the enemy minions, which makes it even easier for your last hits to be stolen by friendly minions.
When my Q is on CD and I need to make sure I get a last hit, I just auto attack. It's not that difficult, just wait until the minion is very low and then smack it. You don't need Spirit Fire to kill minions when Q is off CD, auto attacking is a more reliable way to ensure you get the money for last hitting when Q is on CD.
Lastly, Spirit Fire costs a **** load of mana compared to Q. At level 5, Spirit Fire costs 130 Mana, compared to Siphoning Strike's 40 mana cost at lvl 5. I would find it pretty difficult to manage spamming Spirit Fire only for the purpose of farming minions (enemy champions are not going to stand on it). Mp5 would be extremely important to ensure you can do this. By the time I get philo, I am comfortable with using a lot of my abilities more often, because Q doesnt cost much mana, and I don't have E very highly upgraded, so it doesn't cost too much mana at that point either.
Opinion on Builds <-- This will Help you decide which to use
Build number 1 is the most common one I choose, it is a balance of tanky elements with a balance of dps coming from the Trinity Force. In my opinion, it is the best general build for Nasus, however as a tank, you must know what to build in order to effectively tank the enemy team. If you are facing an AD team, a BV will be of little use. Against an AP team, Thorn Mail or Randuin's won't help much. You must be able to adapt to the situation. That being said, a Nasus focusing on building DPS is rarely needed. If you have 2 other tanks it is ok, but as far as the DPS role goes, there are far better options than Nasus. If you are the only tank, be prepared to build almost entirely tank items. TF could be one of the last items you buy.
Added Spirit Fire vs. Siphoning Strike section
Changed up the builds a bit
Added Q farm highscore
Fixed Skill Sequence (had 6 points in Wither, 4 in Spirit Fire)
Updated Item Choice section
Added a note in Abilities section about his Ult
Fixed several errors/typos. Thanks to RayneCoat for pointing them out :)
Fixed the part about Mercury's Treads and Whither, since they fixed this problem in a patch a while ago. Also added Last Whisper into the dps heavy build, and added it as an option for the main build if your enemy stacks armor. Thanks to Darius23 for these suggestions.