Nasus Build Guide by Trueblade
Not Updated For Current Season
Solo Top Nasus for Smashing Yo
This is my first guide ever, so hopefully it'll help someone discover the rediculousness that is Solo Top Nasus. He's a great solo top champion that is EXTREMELY underused, and with the recent buffs, he's been made even better.
Pros / Cons
+Fun to play
+Great built-in sustain
+Extremely difficult to gank
+Easy to learn
+Can easily snowball out of control
+Smashes squishies in a few hits while nearly never dying
-Very farm reliant
-Easy to ks with
-Easily pushed back by poke
-Sometimes over-pushes a lane
Soul Eater, Nasus' great built in sustain that keeps him in lane for far longer than his opponents, allowing him to get much more CS and farm his Q.
Siphoning Strike is the entire reason Nasus can be so tanky, yet can dish out such punishment. It augments your next attack to do additional damage. Basically, every time you last hit with Siphoning Strike, it gains 3 damage permanently. If you farm up enough, and with Trinity Force/ Sheen/ Iceborn Gauntlet, it can do massive amounts of damage. His q can gain an infinite amount of damage, so in theory, Nassus has the 2nd highest damage potential on the game, second to only Veigar, the only other champ who permanently gains damage.
Wither, Nasus' built in exhaust, slows movement and attack speed by a bit at the start of the duration, and massively slows towards the end of the duration. You can use to allow yourself to get into poking range with your Q, then run away. It is also used in teamfights to massively cripple AD carries, and to slow fleeing foes so you or your team can finish them off.
Spirit Fire is Nasus' least useful ability, but it still can be useful given the right circumstances. Spirit fire drops an AoE hotspot for 5 seconds that does a small amount of magic damage, as well as lower armour by a little bit for a small amount of time after they leave the hotspot. It is mainly used for lowering armour in teamfights, farming a wave of minions faster, and keeping your foes distant or forcing them to walk around. Most people will not willingly stand in Spirit Fire, even though the damage is low, so you can use it to keep your enemies from pushing lanes, changing movement paths, etc.
Fury of the Sands is Nasus' ultimate, it gives Nasus a health boost for 15 seconds as well as draining health from the enemies around him and converting a small fraction of the damage done into Attack Damage. It's great for when you need a little burst of health so you can escape your enemies, initiate a teamfight, or shut down their Ad carry.
A lot of these are rather obvious, but for the new player, this may be of some assistance.
Simple Harass (Low Mana):Wither, to make sure they don't run Siphoning Strike, run away.
Killing a low armour target (AD carry, AP carry, support):Wither, Siphoning Strike till dead, using Wither every time it's off cooldown. If you're not farmed up very much or are unsure if you can kill with just that, toss in a Fury of the Sands
Killing a stationary high armour target/high health target:
Drop your Spirit Fire on the enemy's head, keep Wither applied as much as possible, and just Siphoning Strike until the enemy is dead, or too scared to give you any more trouble.
Fury of the Sands right before you run in, make sure your team knows to follow (This is a rather major step that, if skipped, can lead to death and much irritation). Go straight for their highest damage, and procede to Spirit Fire and beat the crud out of them with Siphoning Strike. Make sure to Wither their most threatening AD, or if you are at the stage where they are all running away in terror from the power that is Nasus, make sure to Wither whoever's falling behind.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Seals and glyphs of armour to help counter the usual top champs.
Quints of movement to help farm your Q and outspeed (without boots) a lot of top champs with boots. AD quints also work if you're good at last hitting, and want the extra damage.
I take flash JUST so I can make sure I can get some kills with my Q. It's really situational, but having flash means you can escape over a wall, follow somebody who's flashed over a wall, or flash into range to wither or exhaust while chasing. It's a great spell for every champion, really.
Ignite is a more offensive option for Nasus, he does have a built-in exhaust, so Ignite is great if you just want to kill your enemies that much easier.
Given Nasus' high sustain, this (In my opinion) isn't as useful as other summoner spells, but there have been times when I have been solo top against two opponents who easily out harassed me and pushed me back. Teleport is great if you're 1v2 top and feel you might get pushed back, it lets you zip right back into lane, making sure your tower doesn't get pushed while you otherwise would have to run back.
This is a great multi-fuctional first item. It gives a whopping 100 HP, as well as health regen, and lowering the damage of basic attacks. (With the masteries and runes I usually use, I can, without boots, outspeed many top lane champs, with boots, so I generally don't get boots first) The health from Doran's Shield makes you a lot tankier very early in the game. The armour also adds tankiness. The health regen is useful alongside your passive for sustain. And last, but not least, the damage reduction of basic attacks is VERY helpful against many top lane champs who rely on autoattacks. It's just all around a great item.
Philo stone is great for Nasus, it gives him much needed mana regen, as well as added sustain from the health regen, and even more gold income over time. And it builds into an item that's great on Nasuss.
This is probably the hardest decision you will ever have as Nasus, what will you do, Tabi or Merc Treads? Generally, if the team has too much CC for your liking or have heavy AP, take Merc Treads. If they have heavy AD, take Tabi. It's really a judgement call, use your common sense.
Mana plus armour? YES PLEASE, SIGN ME UP! Nasus badly needs mana to spam his Q. The armour is good for making sure you don't get murdered by those AD solo tops.
I generally prefer Iceborn Gauntlet over Trinity Force because it gives armour, cooldown reduction, mana, and a little bit of ability power. Get this or Spirit Visage after your boots depending on whether you're against AD or AP in Top. The slow is absolutely superb, especially in team fights, or when your whither is off cooldown.
Spirit Visage gives you Magic Resist, a smidgeon of health, CDR, and increases his innate lifesteal. I usually prefer Spirit Visage over Banshee's Veil just because of the CDR and sustain.
More health and armour. The passive also works great for farming creeps (though it will sometimes mess up your Q last hitting, but very rarely) and syncs well with your ult.
Finishing Item Touches
This item is great if your bot support isn't getting Runic, or not getting support items, or there is no bot support. Runic Bulwark's aura is great in teamfights.
If the enemy team is doing way too much magic damage, Banshee's is a decent fully defensive choice.
If you need some magic resist, but also want a little more damage from your Spirit Fire, Abyssal Scepter is an acceptable choice. It's also good if you want to help your AP a bit by lowering enemies' magic resist.
A rarely seen item, but useful nonetheless, it gives mana, magic resist, mana regen, and can remove all disables on an ally and heal them for a little bit. If you can remember to use the active, and need the MR and allies are getting themselves killed, Mikael's Crucible is a fine choice.
Dying too much? Losing out on kills because you die before you can get them? Have no fear, Guardian Angel is here to save the day. Really only get this if you feel you're dying too much and not being able to participate in team fights because of it. It gives a little MR and armour, and revives you with a decent amount of health every 5 minutes. It can be used in tandem with Fury of the Sands to pretty good effect. Get into a teamfight, take out as many enemies as you can before you die (making sure not to use your ult), then let Guardian Angel res you, activate Fury of the Sands, and come back with a vengeance.
This is good if you're fed and you don't feel like Mikael's Crucible would be as useful.
This is always great on nasus, it builds from an earlier item you should have gotten. It gives a bit of health, some CDR, and that wonderful active that lets you chase or escape with your allies with ease.
I have just recently started getting BT on Nasus. Now before you reject it entirely, know that it, alongside Spirit Visage, gives Nasus a total of 46% lifesteal. With your Q, you can heal a very large chunk of health every few seconds, and it gives a bit more AD.
Gives less lifesteal than BT, but it also allows you to hit many targets with autoattacks. Not usually a thing I get on Nasus, but a choice nonetheless.
This is a good choice if you decide to go more offensive, I have found that without any armour pen, Nasus does low amounts of damage. This usually isn't a problem, but, if you want to be chunking tanks as well, this is a good choice.
A more offensively, but still support-ish oriented item, you can assist your AD carries as well as yourself, it allows them free choice to get Last Whisper instead. The cooldown reduction is useful if you're not already at 40%, and the health is nice.
If you want more damage than with your usual Iceborn Gauntlet, then triforce is a good choice. It gives a little bit of everything, and has a higher damage proc than Iceborn Gauntlet. And more movement speed, yes please! So if you want to be dealing more damage and are underfamed, this is a good choice, I just rarely use it.
Top Match-Ups (Under construction)
Laning against Akali can be a little tough, if she's scared, she can just Twilight Shroud and run away. The best way to fight her, is to make sure you Wither her before she uses Twilight Shroud. If Akali uses Twilight Shroud, I generally drop Spirit Fire on top of it, every once in a while, Akali will run out of stealth just so as not to be in the AoE. If Akali's low enough, you can just ult inside her Twilight Shroud, and that will either scare her out of it so you can Siphoning Strike her, or the ult will kill her. She also has a dash in the form of her ult, Shadow Dance.
Cho can have wicked burst early game, so be careful. Generally, as long as Cho doesn't hit you constantly with Rupture, you'll be fine due to lifesteal. He can also silence you, so a good Cho will know to silence the Nasus that's trying to get another creep for his Q. Cho's ult does a bunch of true damage, which can easily be countered by stacking health. Cho can get pretty tanky, and he can deal loads of damage, so you want to shut him down early and get your Q farmed. Cho will sometimes overpush lanes, letting you free farm your Q underneath your turret. Also, ganks against you will be fairly strong, so make sure to ward smart.
Darius can be trouble if fed early on. He can easily harass you with Decimate when you try to go in for a creep, and he can pull you to him with Apprehend, as well as slow you with Crippling Strike. If you want to kill him, make sure you're close to him when he decimates, it will deal less damage if you're right in his face. Try not to get harassed too much, and make sure to Wither Darius if he gets too close. Once he gets his ult, you're gonna have a handful. If he gets 5 stacks of bleed on you, and you're low, exhaust Darius IMMEDIATELY, or he will dunk you with Noxian Guillotine, which can do enormous amounts of true damage. And above all, don't feed the Darius. Once he gets fed, it's over for everybody. For items, if I'm having trouble, I generally rush Warmog's Armor or Sunfire Cape, since Darius does both physical damage (with his attacks, Decimate, Crippling Strike) and magic damage (bleed), as well as true damage (ult), so usually stacking health is most helpful.
Bottom line, you're not going to be able to kill him alone. End of story, don't try, just farm up your Q as much as you can. Sadism will make it nearly impossible to kill after level 6, and you likely won't be farmed up enough to do any damage before. So just ask for ganks, and get help. Make sure to dodge his Q, if he misses his Infected Cleaver it severely hurts his health early game.
Fiora can be a pain, as she has a bit of sustain just as you do. Her passive, Duelist makes her sometimes deceptively hard to kill and helps her heal back up just from trading with you and auto attacking minons. Just poke her constantly with your Q. Lunge lets her dash to you, and she can use it twice, so she can catch up pretty easily. Riposte parries the next basic attack and reflects magic damage back to the attacker. This is why Fiora is great against Nasus, she can simply Riposte his Siphoning Strike. You're going to want to try and make her thing you're going to Q her, then simply autoattack her, and THEN Q her after she parries the autoattack. Burst of Speed gives Fiora a rediculous amount of attack speed, and if she hits anything with autoattacks or Lunge, she gains movement speed. Whenever Fiora uses Burst of Speed, Wither her and it will severely cripple her. Blade Waltz, Fiora's ult, makes her untargetable and does damage to random champions around you. If she uses it on you alone, it can be dangerous in conjunction with ignite and her other skills. Just try to survive when she ults, and bop her on the head with a Siphoning Strike. If you have trouble, you can rush armour early.
This should be pretty straightforward, you're going to take many Parrrleys to the face, but you can lifesteal it right back up. Just don't let him get kills early, farm up and you'll be fine. Gangplank's passive, Grog Soaked Blade. can slow you a small amount, but generally it's not an issue. Gangplank likes to be a meanie and Remove Scurvy your Wither, so don't expect it to do anything most of the time. Gangplank's E, Raise Morale, can increase his and allies' AD and movement speed. His ult, Cannon Barrage will usually be used to try and finish off you or teammates or slow to save his teammates or himself. It's global, so just know he can drop it anywhere he feels like it.
I've always had trouble with Garens, but if you survive the first few levels, get your Q farm, and shut him down early, you should be good. He's just a giant pain in the ***. His passive, Perseverance makes him recover health if he has not been hit for a while. A single hit, no matter the damage well reset the cooldown, so you can keep it off by dropping a Spirit Fire on his face. He'll generally be a pain and Decisive Strike every chance he gets, silencing you so you can't return damage with your Q. It also removes all slows, so he can be very hard to kill. He can just take a Wither to the face and walk away like nothing happened. Courage generally doesn't help Garen very much, it just lowers his damage taken and CC duration. Just be aware and try not to Siphoning Strike Garen when Courage is up. Judgment, one of the things that makes me HATE Garen, can be very annoying, it can harass you majorly. If you see Garen start to spin, Wither him immediately and walk away, you really don't want to be taking it to the face, it can hurt. Demacian Justice is Garen's ult, it is what makes him so dangerous, it deals magic damage, so simply building armour doesn't work all the time. Just be careful and know how low you are, so you can exhaust him when he ults if you're scared, and know how much it can do.
I have yet to fight an Irrelia as Nasus, but I'll say what I can about her nonetheless. Irelia's passive, Ionian Fervor, reduces cc for enemy champs nearby. This means that while your wither will not last as long, it will increase to the max slow faster. This also means it's better to CC her when you're fighting her alone, as the more enemy champions that are nearby, the lower the cc duration on her. Irelia's Q, Bladesurge dashes to the target and does damage. It refreshes if it kills a unit, so she can dash to one of your minions, kill it, then dash to another almost dead minion, etc, etc. Just be aware she can chain dash if she kills the minion every time. Hiten Style gives Irelia her sustain, as well as making her attacks deal extra true damage if activated. This is the sole reason Irelia can be devastating. This is relatively easily counter by stacking health. Irelia's Equilibrium Strike can be a pain if you have more health than her. It slows if you have a lower health than Irelia, and stuns if you have a higher health percentage. Irelia's ult, Transcendent Blades flings damaging blades in a straight line up to four times. It also heals her for a percentage of the damage done, healing more if blades pass through enemy champions. So, to fight Irelia, just farm, whack her over the head every once in a while, ask for ganks, don't die, and you'll be good.
The only reason Jarvan can be annoying is because of his passive, Martial Cadence. He can chunk you for a decent amount of health using no mana at all, and it makes stacking health to counter him not work as well. It deals physical damage, so it can be reduced by armour. Dragon Strike deals damage in a line and knocks up all enemies in the path to his standard if Jarvan contacts the standard with it. It deals phyiscal damage, so it can be reduced by armour as well. Golden Aegis shields Jarvan and slows surrounding enemies on activation. Demacian Standard's passive grants Jarvan passive attack speed and armour. Its active drops a standard in an area, does magic damage to enemies in the area, and applies the passive to allies and himself near to the standard. Cataclysm deals magic damage and creates impassable terrain that traps enemies. This is another reason Jarvan can be strong, it deals magic damage, but it still scales from AD. It also makes Jarvan very hard to tower dive and makes it very easy for him to tower dive if the enemy has no Flash. When I fight Jarvan, I make sure to conserve my flash for when he ults. For countering Jarvan, HP and armour are good choices, such as Randuin's Omen or Sunfire Cape. Just know how much damage he can do, and that he can and WILL dive you if he wants to.
Thanks for reading my quide. As this is my first guide, things may not be as neat or professional as they should be. Also, I may not completely finish this for a while because the chapters keep switching around for no reason, and it takes time to move all the correct walls of text back to their corresponding sections and irritates me to the point I do not wish to continue working on the guide.