Nasus Build Guide by Khair ad Din
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I have been using Nasus as my main champion since I had enough IP to purchase my first champion on League of Legends. I feel Nasus is an extremely powerful champion, but is underrated due to the fact that not many people know how to properly use him. I will attempt to show the way I feel Nasus is played best, as an off-tank/AD destroyer.
I feel I should start by saying this build is NOT meant to be used as a pure tank! If you are attempting to use this build as the teams main tank you will upset a lot of allies and embarrass yourself in the process.
The way I play Nasus is to jump in (possibly initiate), wreck the opponents and take damage away from your squishy allies (because you SHOULD be targeted). However, he is NOT capable of sitting in battle absorbing everything in his vicinity like tanks such as Alistar and Rammus.
So let us get started learning how to play Nasus: Using The Beat Stick.
Pros / Cons.
One of the fastest champions in the game (based off game starting statistics).
Insane end-game damage output with minimal items.
Great survivability with minimal tank items.
Life-steal passive allows Nasus to lane easily, for a long period of time.
Great pusher, capable of wrecking turrets solo.
One of the best 1v1 champions, regardless of opponent, and can handle 1v2 as well.
Requires a lot of farming
Ranged damage is not effective Spirit Fire
Single target CC
MUST be farmed well. If Siphoning Strike is not farmed, Nasus will lack damage output.
Greater Mark of Desolation: Only viable marks for Nasus being a melee champion. I feel any other mark is a complete waste.
Greater Seal of Armor: Helps early game lane sustainability and tankyness. I choose these over the per level ones because I feel the flat boost is a greater advantage early game, than compared to having 18 more armor (if you do the math) late game.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Increased tankyness. I choose the per level ones this time because early game your magic resistance is higher than armor, and the extra resist endgame I find to be more vital because it is harder to stack magic resistance items.
Greater Quintessence of Health: Another early game tank rune. Nasus is actually a bit squishy early game, so the HP boost will definitely help, end game it helps in boosting Atma's Impaler.
Greater quintessence of desolation: I have been using these more often, and I like the extra boost to armor penetration if you feel you have enough survivability without the HP runes.
I have posted the mastery tree on the quick references for the newest tree, I will go into detail later about what and why! Got class soon hehe.
: A great spell I almost always take. Easy escape/chase capabilities.
: I choose exhaust because of it's ability to completely shut down someone when combined with Wither. If their champion escapes you with these two slows, then you have serious problems.
: Pretty much the standard summoner spell. I don't find it as useful on Nasus because he was no CC besides Wither, which is typically used when people run. So I don't feel the small range is worth it just to "surprise" someone. I will never tell you to avoid this spell though as it is popular and effective (just not my preference). Replace Ghost with this.
: Many Nasus players love Teleport for its capability of jumping into lanes quickly, especially early game when farming of Siphoning Strike is key. I however feel lane awareness and skill make up for the need of this. I rarely take it, if you do, remove Ghost. However, if you are Solo top, TAKE THIS!
: Another vital tool for Nasus, Although it is more of an early game spell, where Nasus should be focusing on farming..
As for other spells, Cleanse is viable if you decide to skip the Mercury's Treads and the Eleisa's Miracle because you will be extremely susceptible to CC. Otherwise I do not recommend any other summoner spells.
Item Order And Explanations.
: Allows for early game survivability in the lane along with a Health Potion just in case.
Philosopher's stone: Early game sustainability. Allows you to stay in lane longer and farm, which is crucial, and some valuable extra gold.
: Don't really think I need to explain this choice, movement speed is key early game when farming is imperative.
: Vital item to any Nasus, it's passive combined with Siphoning Strike is devastating to opponents, grabbing it early will boost your damage far beyond what most champions can handle at this point in the game, and if you're bad at timing your last hits, it'll help keep Siphoning Strike farming.
: My personal choice for boots on Nasus. Most teams will have some form of CC, which Nasus is very susceptible to. If you skip these, grab Ninja Tabi (full explanation in Alternative Item Choices)
: An extremely underrated tank item, it gives armor, magic resistance, and a nice boost to your allies. However, if someone on your team is also planning on grabbing this then go for something else! I'd say grab the Warden's Mail to start the Randuin's Omen.
: The bread and butter to Nasus, it gives everything a Nasus could ask for.
: Fantastic late game item with it's active, easily will annoy all of your opponents while you're in the middle of them using the beat stick.
: Great item to regenerate health with your built in life leech, boosts magic resist, and helps move you even faster. My personal favorite item for magic resist.
: You are already extremely survivable, and now you come back to life if you somehow get yourself killed. Your opponents are just shaking their heads in disbelief over your dominance at this point.
Alternative Item Choices.
: If you skip Mercury's Treads this is your next choice. However, please note Riot is removing dodge from the game, keep an eye on what they do with these boots as they may become obsolete.
: Only viable in my opinion if you skip the Mercury's Treads, which if you do, this item is almost a must.
: Pretty standard item if you're needing the magic resistance, it's passive can definitely save you multiple times as well.
: Awesome armor, awesome against ad champions.. Not much bad can be said about this one.
: Many love this and Atma's Impaler combo which is very powerful, I just feel other items benefit Nasus much more.
: A very viable option. Nice armor, mana increase for further Spirit Fire spamming, and an aura that will help when you're in the middle of the enemies beating face.
If you have a jungler, ask for the solo lane, Nasus is amazing at solo top and you will be free to farm you Q without having to share!
The best way to use Nasus in my opinion is to build up the Siphoning Strike as much as possible early game, and ONLY using Spirit Fire when absolutely necessary. If done properly you will never run into mana issues. Most people have problems with Nasus and mana because they spam his Spirit Fire, which is devastating to his mana and quite useless.
As far as battling champions, I find it funny that most champions ignore Nasus, feeling he is not top priority and not a high damage champion.. BIG mistake. I have had huge success with Nasus in 1v1 situations, and he can initiate and finish with ease. My typical fight combination looks something like this:
Jump into the fight and drop your Spirit Fire, followed by an auto attack and then Siphoning Strike, which will reset your auto attack making you strike again quickly.
If your farmed well their life should be decimated, and opponents typically start the retreat. Hit them with Exhaust and continue to attack with auto's and Siphoning Strike followed by Wither if needed. If Spirit Fire is ready then start the initiating combination again, and watch them die and cry.
I choose to use Exhaust before Wither because with the Cripple boost their armor is lowered, which makes you hit harder, thus making the fight end quicker, but you can switch the order if you prefer to save your summoner spells.
TEAM FIGHTS: Depending on the situation I play team fights differently. The best way to know what to do is to know the opponents, and you allies abilities, and adjust the order of skills accordingly. For instance, if an Amumu on your team jumps in and uses his Curse of the Sad Mummy you may want to turn on your Fury of the Sands first to start hitting them with your aura, then use the combinations explained earlier.
ANOTHER NOTE ON SPIRIT FIRE: If you are being focused, or if someone attempts to fight you and you fight back PUT THE Spirit Fire ON YOUR FEET! It will make the most out of the armor debuff and damage it produces per second.
: I left this aside seperately because it has many different uses. The above example of being with an Amumu is one. Another is to wait until you are close to dying, pop this ability, and finish off the unsuspecting opponent. Learning to use this skill in many different situations is a big difference between average and pro Nasus players.
10/25/2011 - Completely renovated the entire build and page.
10/31/2011 - Changed the color scheme around to make it easier on the eyes. Added more to the Gameplay section based off of recent games.
11/4/2011 - Added Guardian Angel to alternative item section.
11/7/2011 - Changed the Summoner Spell picks and explanations, and added more to gameplay.
11/16/2011 - New Mastery Tree
11/28/2011 - Guardian Angel in main build
If you actually read through everything you are now ready to be a devastating Nasus. Please check back in periodically as I will be making adjustments based on my game experiences.
Constructive criticism is very appreciated, as well as general ideas, thoughts, or anything you'd like to share. PLEASE stay positive. Oh, and comment to vote.
Khair ad Din