Build Guide by alphaJackal
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
First and foremost, let me say that this build is an experiment and a work in progress. I will amend it as I find better methods and tactics.
Nasus is one of my favorite champions. He can have superb damage without sacrificing durability. He has a variety of playstyles and builds, and just a plethora of uses that can all be rewarding. This build centers around increasing Nasus' physical damage while also tending to his armor and magic resist. Nasus' true strength, in my opinion, does not center around one particular area, but his ability to do decently in many areas at once. Nasus almost demands to be hybridized. As such, I am not focusing everything in one area. As a pure DPS, Nasus doesn't have the damage output of superior DPS characters such as Master Yi, Tryndamere, Jax, etc., and as a true tank, Nasus isn't going to stand alongside Rammus, Shen, Mordekaiser, etc., in terms of tankiness. What you can expect from this build is a sturdy champion who has quite a bit of physical damage.
Runes and Masteries
I chose Armor Penetration Marks because of how reliant Nasus is on physical damage. It works well with his Spirit Fire as well, giving plenty of armor reduction and penetration total so that you don't have to worry about it in your item build.
Armor Seals are handy with most melee champions, simply for the added durability. Your increased armor in conjunction with their reduced armor will help you stand your ground against true DPS champions.
I've decided to switch out the AP glyphs in favor of flat CDR due to the nerf to Frozen Heart. You technically only need 8 of them to get the missing 5%, but extra early CDR is probably worth more than the benefit of any other singular glyph. You can also choose to buy CDR per level glyphs, and that will only require 6 slots to get the needed 5%, leaving slots open for something else that you deem useful.
For Masteries, I go defensive just because it adds to your naturally sturdy attributes, and makes you hard to kill. The 9 in utility are mostly for awareness, which always helps, and greed is a nice boost when there's nothing else that's urgent for you to use the last point on.
I've reworked some of the items after playing Nasus some more lately. Seeing as this build is entirely focused on Siphoning Strike, I get as much early CDR as possible. I used to delay the full Frozen Heart, but lately I haven't, and I've found that my average bonus damage for SS per game has risen by about two hundred due to the earlier CDR. After that, Sheen into Trinity Force is next. Note, Sheen is a really nice item on Nasus, and it'll make it a lot easier to last hit with SS, but it isn't as necessary as the CDR from Frozen Heart. Only get it before Frozen Heart if you're really having trouble with your last hits. The Frozen Mallet remains where it was. Some might consider the slow redundant, but even though it is a stronger slow, and guaranteed as opposed to % chance, the main reason the item is there is because it gives that last little push in making Nasus extremely survivable in the midgame. Force of Nature comes next, and depending on the enemy team, it can be acquired earlier if you see fit. It adds some lovely movespeed and survivability. Now, the last item was a bit difficult to pick. By the time you've gotten this far in the build, you're already pretty tanky with some nice damage output. In the end, I chose Stark's Fervor because the mix of lifesteal and armor reduction adds a nice bit of extra oomph plus some survivability. You can choose to switch it out for a Guardian Angel or an Infinity Edge as you see fit though.
Skills and Spells
Siphoning Strike - This is the centerpiece of this build. This is not a super-farmer Nasus build. This build centers around last-hitting with Siphoning Strike as much as possible. You should have at LEAST 300-400 damage by endgame (Since switching to an earlier Frozen Heart, I've been consistently getting around 600 bonus damage minimum per game), if not more, added to Siphoning strike from last-hitting. Also, his passive is absolutely heavenly for staying in lane. Natural lifesteal does wonders for an AD champ. If you cannot last hit with this skill, immediately switch to a different build. This depends on constantly improving Siphoning Strike and if you're getting zoned out of your lane, you need to switch tactics.
Wither - This is a wonderful, wonderful skill. It is very important for chasing and escaping. Use this on their CC'ers first, and then if there are none, aim for the ones doing the most damage to you while trying to escape. While chasing, this is great to keep squishies or low-health champions near you while you use your Siphoning Strike enough to kill them.
Spirit Fire - A good farming ability, but if you're not careful it can drain your mana fast. It provides good armor reduction, a really good thing for an AD-focused champ. Don't let this skill kill your mana enough to inhibit your last hitting with Siphoning Strike. It's the lowest priority skill. Be sure to drop it in teamfights though.
Fury of the Sands - A terror. Having a percentage of your health leave each second really hurts, especially without magic resistance. The extra AD is good as well. One of the most vital parts of this ult is the extra health. It can save your life while you're running, or if you see a Karthus ult incoming. Don't be afraid to use this to save your life. It's very good at doing just that, and it's also very good when combined with wither, trapping enemies in the radius of the ult.
Ghost - This actually complements Wither nicely. You shouldn't have any problem with people escaping while this is ready, plus, extra escape ability.
Teleport - Great for ganking, great for emergency support. I love this spell, and I take it with many of my champs just for how versatile it is.
The most important thing here: last hitting with Siphoning Strike. If you don't do this, you will be powerless. Taking a lane with a farm-heavy champion might hurt this a little if you don't make some sort of agreement not to starve each other beforehand. You want to spend in much time in lane as possible to get those last hits. It cannot be emphasized enough how important this is. You need at least 300-400 bonus damage for Siphoning Strike by endgame.(EDIT: I've found it's pretty easy to exceed 600 bonus damage, and not really all that difficult to get to 700. Don't be lax in your SS last hitting ever!) This means at least 100 to 130 last hits, although more is quite possible and quite preferable. When possible, grab mana buff. It'll help a lot in the early game. However, don't be greedy with it. You will only ever need it in the early game, and by late game it will be ALMOST COMPLETELY useless to you. If there's a caster who needs it, they always get priority on it.
An important thing to remember: YOU ARE NOT AN INITIATOR. Despite being pretty sturdy you can still can't stand up to 5 people at once, and you do too much damage to sacrifice yourself that easily. When in battle, one of your primary functions is to slow the high-damage squishies and kill them, which isn't that hard if you don't initiate. Your 1v1 capabilities are decent, with a moderately high damage output and good durability. You should be able to eat the average squishy alive, although bloodrazors might hurt a little due to your naturally high HP. The important thing to remember is to not let yourself get kited, which is easy for a ranged champ to do to you. The most important thing to remember is that you are very capable of escaping most champions. Do not be afraid to run, or to use hit and run tactics. If things get too hot, use wither and book it. If you play cautiously and don't take too many risks, you should be able to rack up a decent amount of kills and assists.
In conclusion, don't expect a legendary every game, farm Siphoning Strike, and play cautiously, and you should be able to hold your own against most champs. This build is still an experiment, and if anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to them.