Nasus Build Guide by Holisyn
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.
First time guide writer, please let me know if there are things I'm missing or your observations. Obviously I'm writing from my own experience in-game and yours may vary. Also note that I am only at summoner level 28 but I've had a good amount of success with Nasus in the random queue so I thought I would share what I've learned for others to use.
I'll do my best to keep this guide up to date and to include feedback issues that I can test out myself to prove/disprove.
Some corrections to the above numbers. Something isn't calculating correctly and the dodge % chance here should be 14% rather than 12%. The defense mastery "Evasion" 2% seems to not be adding to the Ninja Tabi 12%. Once Manamune has the full mana charge your attack damage will be closer to 228, not 184. Lastly, I'm unsure what math is taking place for the Force of Nature health regen, but my own calculations put the total regen around 115.77/5 seconds rather than the listed 88.7/5 seconds.
Pros / Cons
Good harass OR zoning
Solid sustainability throughout the match
Can tank or brawl, as needed
Simple playstyle, easy to learn
Negative healing really hurts Nasus' sustainability
Great for switching lanes quickly to defend a tower and/or push an undefended enemy tower.
Very much early game usage, and late game it will be helpful for your team more than yourself, after getting your mana problems will be over.
Other good options:
If you're not planning to push very early game then Flash may be a better option for you than Clarity. It will help you in baiting pursuers into an ambush or escaping an ambush yourself when your team is not close enough to engage.
Will be helpful if you plan to harass and kill your lane opposition rather than just push them back and only take the kill if they get too aggressive. If this is your play style then I suggest doing so after level 4 when you have a point in .
Other summoner spells will all have some benefits, but of special note is which is just a longer cooldown version of your own spell and should not be taken.
This guide is set up assuming you start every game ready to tank. Sometimes someone in the random queue will say they're going to tank, that's fine, let them. If all goes well with them tanking then your "Brawler" build will do just fine, but if they turn out to be too timid for the task of tanking then you just do it yourself. This is why the "Brawler" build starts with exactly the same items, masteries and runes as the "Tank" build does. After you pick up
is when you make this decision.
When opting for the Tank build, the is your swing item. If you're facing a team with a lot, meaning 3+, of hard AD champions, like then you will want to change it out for a after the . If you're facing a heavy CC team, champions like , then you will want some Tenacity and will replace it with an Elisa's Miracle also after but will have bought the Philosopher's Stone after your . Some other good alternatives, depending on how your game is going by this point, would be for if you're getting picked off as you reach your team or during team fights where you could help more with a second chance or a for a bit more Magic Resistance + that obnoxious first spell absorption feature.
In the "Brawler" build, you will need to sell your before purchasing the , and you can buy the for either the or before the finished item.
Lane pushing and harass/zoning
This seems to be where the majority of Nasus players fail and, I suspect, is why I get a lot of comments like "I always see bad Nasus players, but you're a good one!" and "Why aren't other Nasus players doing what you do?". Many guides and people seem to want you to take first and level that heavily, maybe this is due to recent changes in Nasus' skills since the tooltips here still don't reflect the initial damage of that makes it such a strong harass spell now.
Anyway, speculation aside, this is how I do what I do and it is the reason I take as my secondary summoner spell. I burn through mana quickly in the early game.
Let the enemy minion wave get settled into place to fight your own minion wave, this often gives your lane opponent a chance to decide where they want to stand as well. After the enemies are all settled you choose a place to drop your , which has an enormous area of effect. Depending on where the enemy champion decides to stand you will have a few choices to make.
1. If they stand in the middle of the creep wave then all you do is drop your Spirit Fire on their head, it will hit them and all the minions together. This is the best case scenario and if the opposing champion does it repeatedly then you will know they're probably not going to pose any problems at all to you.
2. If they stand outside the minion wave, to either top, bottom or behind, then you will need to choose to either push harder or harass them. Both are good choices and will really be up to how you want to play, but a couple of things should be noted in this case.
A. If they're stepping to the top or bottom they could be luring you into a skill shot or
a gank from the river on that side.
B. If they're staying behind the minion wave, they could be luring you into a gank or
into range for a spell of their own, which usually isn't a big problem. If they're
hitting you with a spell and then not pressing, just auto attack some minions to regain
your health. It wastes their mana and frustrates them, which sometimes leads to
mistakes on their part and kills for you.
C. If they're standing so far away from the minion wave that you can't hit at least 3
minions and the enemy champion, then just hit the minion wave and focus on pushing.
If this continues, then you will likely soon have a level advantage on that champion
since they're not getting the same experience you are.
3. Once your is laid go ahead and auto attack the minions. Don't
start worrying about last hitting until level 2 when you have .
Once you have your Siphoning Strike just use it when you see that minion you just hit is
close enough that a second, immediate, auto attack will finish it off. You won't be
leveling your Siphoning Strike again for a while, so the only real damage bonus you will
be getting from it is the +3 per kill, which will add up.
A. If the enemy champion decides to stand in the Spirit Fire instead of running out, which most do, then ignore the minions and pound on that champion. They may not realize that, in addition to the damage they're taking every second, the Spirit Fire is reducing their armor, letting you hit them harder and get more health back.
4. Once you have pushed your lane to the enemy turret, get in there and take a couple of shots on the turret itself, assuming you have some minions to take the shots rather than you. When doing this, remember to NOT do anything to the enemy champion, just ignore them. Don't drop a Spirit Fire on incoming minions, the enemy champion could step in, take a second of minimal damage and get the turret to start shooting you. Don't Wither the enemy champion to slow their attacks and don't pop your Fury of the Sands either, since it does damage. Keep in mind that you won't be getting health back from hitting the turret and get out with time to spare, don't push your luck, you will have plenty of chances to do this.
A. Some things to keep in mind when employing this strategy: Know what your enemy champion can do to you if you're not hitting them back. Hard AD champions can easily punish you for just standing there hitting a turret and ignoring them, this usually won't work well. Champions with snares can mean that you should stop hitting that turret sooner than you normally would, lest you get trapped there taking turret hits when you should be leaving. Champions with on-ground effects, like Malzahar and Morganna should be treated with respect when beating down their turret, don't stand in the fire, and in the case of Morganna, either trick her into firing off her snare and then go in to pummel the turret, or don't do it at all with her standing there.
5. Some champions to be wary of:
A. Mordekaiser. Harassing him only works well if you beat him to the cast. Meaning eating away at his shield won't do much good, but casting your Spirit Fire before he gets a spell off to create shield points will still do the job.
B. Katarina. She has no mana to worry about and her throwing knife spell that bounces will also reduce your life steal hits. Taking 1 hit from the knife spell isn't a big deal, just stay in and keep attacking the minions to slowly recover health. If she pushes the attack then you need to either get out or get her, use your best judgment here. If she's been harassed well then you can probably take her out, but if not then it could be a closer fight than you want.
C. Miss Fortune and Tristana. Both are typically built AD and have a healing penalty skill. If they shoot you with that skill get out of range until it wears off, then get back in and eat up some minions to heal, or if they are close enough hit them instead. DO NOT take that skill hit then stay in their range so they can keep auto attacking you.