Tank Nasus - AD
This guide focuses on surviving the laning phase of the game with quickness and health regeneration while passively farming. Nasus can and will turn into a Hyper-Carry if you succeed in doing this. Therefore, it’s important to itemize accordingly. This guide will give you the tools by maximizing your CDR without sacrificing tank.
For those not familiar with Nasus: He can best be described as a top lane Off-Tank. The unique part of the Keeper is that he does not scale with attack damage or ability power much at all, but rather farm. Even when built full tank a heavily farmed Nasus will kill and put out more damage than anyone. We could even consider him somewhat of an Assassin. This is because if you are able to locate someone alone on the map, they are as good as dead with little chance of getting away due to Wither and built-in CDR. Needless to say, Nasus is a top notch 1v1 champion. If you are a person that has patience, hope, and a thing for being an unkillable wrecking dog: You need to play Unkillable Nasus!
The Ultimate Nasus Tutorial
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Pros / Cons
+ High Damage
+ Fast Base Speed
+ Top 1v1 Skill Set
+ Anti-Carry Due To Wither
+ Strong Pusher
|Nasus is a quintessential bruiser having good defense through items and ultimate while also maintaining high damage from abilities. His inherit quickness and scaling damage ensure he does well into the late game.|
+ No Dash Escape
+ Lacks Damage w/o Farm
+ Only 1 Single Target CC
+ Kiteable in Team Fights
|Nasus suffers from quick games, or in situations where he is forced to fight in the early game. His one crowd control, while strong, does not work well in AOE team compositions. Given his lack of instant mobility, enemy CC is an issue.|
When To Pick Nasus
I feel Nasus has more laning options than others do, but there's no question that he should be picked with discretion. This is because Nasus has a fragile early game and it can be exploited if you aren't careful. If you aren't sure how a lane against a champion may go, keep these things in mind.
Generally speaking, Nasus prefers a few things in his lane enemies:
- 1. Melee (To be in range of his attacks/ultimate and have no ranged harass)
- 2. Mana (Limits the amount of harass that can be given to Nasus)
- 3. Auto Attacks (Nasus is a direct counter to AA champions with Wither)
Soul Eater: Passive
Nasus drains his foe's spiritual energy, giving him a natural 10 / 15 / 20% life-steal.
ExplanationThis passive is very good, and has only gotten better with the nerfs to life-steal. It allows you to lane against much stronger opponents until you are farmed enough to kill them. If you leave a fight low on health and are confident no enemy is near to kill you, go ahead and keep farming and reach max health in just a few seconds. That works wonders for continual Q-stacking.
Siphoning Strike: Q
Cooldown: 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 / 4
Cost: 20 Mana
Physical Damage: 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 (+ 100% AD) (+3 [+6] per enemy killed by Siphoning Strike)
Active: Nasus' next attack within 10 seconds will deal additional damage. Siphoning Strike permanently gains 3 stacked damage whenever it kills an enemy. This bonus is doubled to 6 stacked damage if the enemy killed is a champion, big monster or big minion.
ExplanationThis is the ability Nasus is most known for. It starts out being very weak in the early game, and gains strength continually as you last hit minions with it. Always be mindful of last hitting with this ability until it becomes second nature. Siphoning Strike resets your auto-attack, and also damages towers with the farm you've accumulated. Given the low mana cost feel free to use it for counter-harass early, and once damage is attained, harass of your own. With the recent buff it has received Nasus can stack it faster than before and is a viable jungler.
Cooldown: 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 / 11
Cost: 80 mana
Slow over 5 seconds from 35% to: 47% / 59% / 71% / 83% / 95%
Max attack speed slow: 23.5 / 29.5 / 35.5 / 41.5 / 47.5%
Active: Nasus ages his target, slowing their movement speed by 35% with an additional slowing effect increasing over the duration of the spell. The target's attack speed is also slowed by half the amount, initially slowed by 17.5% and increasing over the duration. If the duration of Wither is reduced, the added slowing effect is applied faster.
ExplanationYou're going to love this ability. While Nasus may not have a gap-closer, he does have this amazing slow that allows him to catch his enemies. Wither also happens to make summoners rage about the length and cool down of it. It's very strong and shuts down any auto-attack champion from doing damage. You will need this to survive ganks, so get used to casting it quickly and running away. In higher ranks it can be cast almost continually, as 40% CDR gives you a low 6.6 second cool down on a 5 second ability. There is a high mana cost to this so use it with caution in early game.
Spirit Fire: E
Cost: 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130 mana
Initial Magic Damage: 55 / 95 / 135 / 175 / 215 (+ 60% AP)
Magic Damage Per Second: 11 / 19 / 27 / 35 / 43 (+ 12% AP)
Total Magic Damage: 110 / 190 / 270 / 350 / 430 (+ 120% AP)
Armor Reduction: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40
Diameter of AoE: 800
Active: Nasus unleashes a spirit flame at a location for 5 seconds. Enemies caught in the area are dealt a burst of magic damage. Additionally, enemies in the area are dealt magic damage each second and have their armor reduced while on there and for 1 extra second.
ExplanationFairly simple ability that has good team fight potential. It has modest damage, and a good 40 armor shred that will help your carries do damage. Feel free to cast this on someone after you slow them so your Siphoning Strike will hit hard as possible. It's also a high mana cost ability that can not be spammed. It should be saved mostly for ganks and will rarely be used in lane. Remember to use this on brush that may contain enemies if you suspect there could be some lurking around, it will give you vision.
Fury of the Sands: R
Cost: 150 mana
Health Gained: 300 / 450 / 600
Max Health to Magic Damage Ratio Per Second: 3% / 4% / 5% (+ 1% per 100 AP)
Total Max Health to Magic Damage Ratio: 45% / 60% / 75% (+ 15% per 100 AP)
Total Magic Damage Possible (to a single enemy): 3600
Total Bonus Attack Damage Possible (from a single enemy): 229.5
Diameter of AoE: 350
Active: Nasus becomes empowered in the sandstorm for 15 seconds, gaining bonus health, and 50 bonus attack range.
ExplanationOne of the better ultimates in the game. It gives you health, does good damage, and converts 6.375% of the damage done into bonus attack damage for himself. That damage gain may seem small but I promise you it isn't! If you sit in a crowd of champions with this on you will easily exceed 300 damage. Combine that with your already high damage from farming and you are now putting out carry level damage. If you make use of this skill wisely it can make teams target you before anyone else, and that's a good thing. It is also useful for baiting someone to dive you under tower.
The skill order follows a pretty simple format. As always with champions, you want to rank up Fury of the Sands first. It's a powerful ultimate and shouldn't be skipped over. Next, we want to level our Siphoning Strike 2nd to lower the cool down. This is not only to reach a higher stack, but also put out sustained damage in fights. After that, Wither is our next major ability because it protects Nasus in lane and gives him an opportunity to trade damage. This ability is widely considered to be the best slow in League of Legends so don't underestimate it. Finally, the last ability we can level is Spirit Fire. Aside from the strength of our other abilities, it makes sense to level it last because it's mostly useful for team-fights. It provides a wide AOE armor shred that can be a significant difference in each fight.
Before we talk about the game itself it’s important you learn a key Nasus skill: Lane Control. Controlling the lane is one of the most important skills you can have as a League of Legends player. This is because it can have a profound impact on a champions scaling, and no other champion is this more important for than Nasus. While he does scale extremely well, starting off is not always straight forward for Nasus players because of his initial low damage compared to other champions. If you’re thinking, “How can I win a lane with no damage?” rest assured it’s very possible and hard to stop Nasus when he is played well.
So how does Nasus win a lane without damage? Simple, he abuses his starting lifesteal via Soul Eater endlessly to maintain the lane and farm his Q-damage. It is hands down one of the best passives in the game and is the universal key to Nasus being able to lane effectively. This passive can be utilized because of the way minions serve Nasus during lane. If it weren't for these three facts Nasus would not be able to lane at all.
1. They allow for self sustainment via passive.
2. They damage opposing champions that try to stop you.
3. They hold lane position.
In addition to his passive, lane positioning and freezing are also important to understand. For someone with no dash or escape, being able to farm at or close to turret is the best position you can be in as a Nasus player. This is because Nasus has a couple of defensive manuevers with his Wither and Fury of the Sands that make him a good defender. Since the tower has good early game damage, it alleviates Nasus main weakness and forces enemies to think twice about diving for a kill. Therefore, our goals are to make farming at tower a reality when possible. How do we do that?
Unfortunately for enemies, harass given to Nasus usually results in the lane pushing to Nasus side of the map. Since harass is almost guaranteed in order to try and stop Nasus from farming, this situation tends to happen a good bit. It is due to the game mechanics of allied minions attacking enemy champions when they either harass or are out of lane position on Nasus’ minion wave side. This in turn makes enemy minions stop taking damage and push the wave. It can also be due to abilities that have area of effect damage, such as Darius’ Decimate. Champions with this type of damage usually fair worse against Nasus for this reason. Once the minions are headed toward Nasus’ turret it’s advisable to try and tank the damage just outside of turret range as much as possible without endangering yourself. This is easier to do as the lane progresses but can be virtually impossible very early on. Either way, as long as Nasus is under turret protection he has a high chance of success.
There are many enemies that are aware of this Nasus tactic and will try their best to avoid this situation. Sometimes they will even intentionally miss multiple CS just to ensure the wave comes away from Nasus side in order to get camped by the jungler. This is obviously both good and bad for Nasus. Under ideal situations you either have a ward available, can farm nearby jungle monsters, or are in need of returning to base anyway. There are even times the jungler insists on camping top and pinking wards you may put down. Let your team know this is happening and farm/gank elsewhere the best you can until the wave arrives back at tower range. It is generally not advisable to call your own jungler for a 2v2 fight at top lane. Nasus will most likely lose any confrontation early on.
Also, you may be wondering how you’re supposed to farm under turret against champions with ranged poke, such as Jayce or Vladimir. While these type of champions do present Nasus with a unique problem, you shouldn’t fear laning against them. Nasus is the best anti-poke champion in the game. He excels at shrugging off small to medium damage harass. Even if substantial poke can successfully push Nasus out of the lane, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t able to farm a good bit before having to go back to base. This is why Nasus players like to take Teleport. They can go back to base, heal, buy more armor, and then force the enemy to whittle him down once again. This is not an easy task for opposing champions to do, especially if they are mana users themselves. So basically, Nasus gets to a point where he has such a large amount of armor, health, and sustain that he can not be forced from lane at all. In addition he also becomes near ungankable with the amount of defenses he is acquiring. This is the ultimate farming conditions for Nasus to be in as he has essentially won all lane control away from his enemies.
I can’t stress this enough: You have to farm constantly with Siphoning Strike. Do not go for kills. Do not gank other lanes. Do not play aggressive. Do not do anything else. There are only two exceptions to this rule.
1. Your jungler is ganking for you.
2. Your team is challenging dragon and absolutely needs you to teleport down.
Generally, if things are going well and you are farming contently you DO NOT want ganks in your lane. This is for multiple reasons. Having a gank means I spend time trying to do something else other than farm. It pushes the lane. It takes away from Nasus’ very limited mana pool early on. And also, Nasus strength does not come from getting kills. While kills certainly help, getting them is not top priority like it might be for other lanes. All of this being said, ganking for Nasus can be a guaranteed kill depending on who is top, and who is jungling. What I mean by this is: Nasus’ wither combined with a Red buff gank or Ultimate is incredibly strong. However, it helps considerably to have a jungler that doesn’t have to depend on Nasus for damage(not farmed yet). A good example of this would be Fiddlesticks, or Master Yi.
If things are not going well in the lane, chances are good that an unconventional top is what you’re dealing with and will need a gank. An example of this would be Urgot or Cassiopeia. While these are hard to lane against early, they are easily killed with ganks due to being squishy and having limited escape abilities. Call for Jungle support constantly if this happens and you will both be fed.
One thing to keep in mind when laning is that if the lane becomes heavily pushed, go ahead and farm the top Golems or small creeps at blue. Maybe even take blue if the team agrees to it. Not only does this let you get farm more safely, it keeps the jungler from seeing you pushed and making his way top. The less time that the lane is pushed with you over extended the better.
Regenerating Nasus health is the key to his laning. One thing that helps with this is double hitting. Nasus can do this because Siphoning Strike resets his auto-attack. If you have health missing and need to hit a creep close to the enemy, double hitting him will reduce the overall harassment given to you. Also, keep an eye open for creeps that have drifted close to you away from the enemy. Auto attacking this creep as much as possible before the enemy comes will help your sustainment.
If the enemy is bent on attacking you with area of effect abilities such as Garen’s spin, make him push the wave by always walking through or at least near the creeps. A pushed lane is Nasus’ best friend because he can farm under tower better than most. Remember that the melee creeps take two tower hits and can be SS. The ranged after 1 tower hit. And of course if SS is on cool down feel free to auto-attack the ones near death.
Do not concern yourself much about your enemies creep score in the early game. There isn't much you can do to deny them, but it also doesn't really matter. Why? Because Nasus scales far and away harder than any other champion. Give Nasus just 60% of another champions farm and he will likely destroy them.
There are some champions that will push as hard as possible and try to take your turret to start roaming early. When this happens it's important that you try to protect it while farming under it. Don't let an enemy just hammer it down in 5 minutes if they are pushing hard, such as Singed. Wither them if mana is plentiful, and attack them under the turret for free hits. If you do this enough they will become very susceptible to ganks and back off. In the event the turret becomes so low that the enemy can knock it down with just a few hits while your defenses are still low, it can no longer provide adequate protection for Nasus. In this situation it is likely better that you allow them to take it and continue farming close to the next turret.
Welcome to the part of the game where Nasus can be on the offensive. That's correct, no more passive play. It may take some games to get a feel for when this part begins because it's not always the same. However, make no mistake this is Nasus' time to shine! You will notice that you can start pressuring your lane out, and likely take their tower. There are times, though, that if I'm doing well I will leave the tower standing a little longer to bring them back top for another kill.
During this phase it's important to look for opportunities to help your team succeed. After all, you've put the pressure on them early game so why not return the favor. Do not concern yourself as much with last hitting everything with Siphoning Strike. It's still important that you gain damage on it throughout the game, but more important that you put pressure on the enemy team with Nasus' wonderful pushing abilities and be with your team to secure objectives.
Also, be mindful of your build during this time of the game because you will be needing to counter more than just your lane now. Feel free to add magic resist or armor if none has been built yet, and look to add health behind already purchased armor you may have.
Finally, be looking for ways to support your team. If there is heavy pressure in mid-lane, roam down to help defend it. Likewise you could also counter-gank bottom lane or help do dragon with Fury of the Sands. Options are plentiful at this point, just be sure you make use of them while keeping an eye on top lane.
All that farming is done, now for some team fights. This is where many Nasus players will literally see a reversal of the game. The team may be dramatically behind in kills when you show up to help. But woe is the enemy at this point because you’re ready to bring the pain.
Do not initiate unless you catch someone well out of position and Wither them for your team. Once a fight has commenced, ALWAYS seek out the carry and wither them. You don’t have to necessarily catch and hit them if you are also being CC’d because they are useless anyway. But it’s important that you take any opportunity to do so if it presents itself. They will probably die in 2 or 3 shots of a well farmed SS.
If you’re finding it hard to reach the carry just be sure you’re in the thick of everything with your ultimate on, lay down the Spirit Fire on everyone, and strike the nearest target or whoever is targeting your own carry. If you find that your Wither is off cool-down, locate the carry again immediately and throw it on them. If they are dead or out of the fight, wonderful, choose another target that is auto-attack based and put it on them instead.
One thing to keep in mind is to not have tunnel vision and chase the carry out of the fight while your team is being destroyed. Not only does this waste your Ult damage, but it wastes SS damage you could put out for your team. I am guilty of this sometimes and it’s easy to to do if you’re not careful.
If your team has a successful fight and has an opportunity to push towers, do not hesitate to join them. Nasus Q-farm also damages towers making him one of the best pushers in the game. He can literally solo a tower within seconds.
This part of the game can overwhelm some champions whose scaling have fallen off completely. Luckily, that isn't Nasus since he can scale indefinately. It's my firm belief that while you may be one of the strongest champions on the map, especially 1v1, this time of the game is dominated solely by carries and their ability to shred the enemy team due to penetration. This is a concern for you because we spent good amounts of gold piling up that armor and health. With the amount of resistances we have built, carries are virtually the only ones with enough damage to bring you down. Therefore, it is to your advantage that your team be able to kill them as quickly as possible. Another thing to note: We may no longer be able to lean on Wither to shut the carry down because they probably have built a Mercurial Scimitar. Due to this problem it is your hope that either you have an assassin that can take them out, or someone with enough crowd control to lock them down.
Remember, Nasus is one of the most capable champions you can have late game at the bruiser position. If you have made it this far, your team is fortunate to have someone like you available. Make sure your presence is known, and be confident that you can lead them to victory if given the opportunity. Part of playing Nasus is enjoying how much power you have at this time in the game, so do it.
How much farm do you need? As a general rule of thumb, I like to have +200 and my Sheen before becoming aggressive in the lane. At this point it's possible to force many opponents out of the lane by yourself. For an average lane, having this at 20min is good. If you by chance have an awesome lane and end up with close to +400 by this point then you're primed for a God-like late game. With this amount of farm you can rest assured the enemy will lose any 1v1. Once your at this farm level proceed to push your opponent out, take his tower, and join your team for fights.
Don't be alarmed if your behind these farm levels. Some enemies are very capable of zoning Nasus and it will happen to you eventually. Either ask for ganks to remedy the problem, or just get whatever farm you can and heal back up at base for another round. Under no circumstance should you contest the enemy and give up kills trying to farm.
If they happen to take your turret and you are behind in farm, just continue to lane relatively close to your next turret. The enemy will be forced to over extend trying to stop you setting up kills for the team.
If you're behind, it's important that the team you're on try to hold out on team fights while you continue to farm an extra 5-10 minutes to catch up. This is the sacrifice of losing the lane unfortunately.
Teleport Teleport should generally be taken to lane effectively. This is because it synergizes with the type of game Nasus wants to have. There is nothing more important to Nasus than farm, and this ability gives him the opportunity to attain it in several ways. Have you taken too much damage to keep laning? Go ahead to base and teleport back in time to catch the minion wave at your tower. Does your team want to do an early dragon? Nasus' ultimate is one of the best abilities to do dragon with, and teleport makes it possible and still get back to your lane. Remember, Nasus has a weak early game but that doesn't mean he can't help get kills. If you notice bottom lane is pushed with your teams ward behind them, go ahead and teleport gank down and get a double kill. Lastly, this ability allows Nasus to split push the entire game, allowing Siphoning Strike to become overwhelmingly strong. So as you can see, this is an important spell for Nasus and is highly recommended.
Ghost Ghost is a wonderful summoner because it enhances Nasus' ability to kill and escape dramatically. As I've said, Nasus can be kited hard and nothing solves that issue more than flat out speed. You will also need it to survive many of the ganks you will be receiving on top lane. Don't underestimate this skill!
Flash Flash is a highly used spell that I have started using more to survive early ganks and reach carries in team fights. It is recommended for those that prefer it. Nasus is not a burst champion so it doesn't quite have the same killing ability of Ghost. However, every bit of mobility is welcomed and it certainly can't hurt. When taking Flash go ahead take Ghost along with it. Flash has such a long cool down and we really need to escape and be more mobile than it can provide. This is because good players will try and punish your lane to keep you in check. No one wants to see carry Nasus, so do this to protect yourself. I will mention that there are certain enemy compositions where taking this spell is imperative. If you are playing against a jungler that can absolutely destroy your laning phase with CC such as Jarvan, or Rammus while laning against a heavy damage lane such as Riven; you need to take this spell to avoid feeding.
Optional Summoner Spells
Exhaust This is a good ability that I don't use on Nasus. It doesn't enhance his laning very well, and considering our Wither(which does the same thing but better) is up almost immediately after it wears off would make this redundant.
Smite This is a jungling spell to ensure you get neutral buffs. This is optional because it is viable to jungle with Nasus. Although you may not always use it to secure jungle objectives because of farming potential, it is still needed for major buffs such as baren and dragon.
Not Recommended Summoner Spells
Heal is an ability that has taken some serious nerfs when considering solo lanes using it. I can no longer justify taking it, even though it was once a wonderful baiting, and defensive tool. I feel it is now reserved for supports since the ability now gives allies 100% of the total heal.
Ignite Ok, let me just point out that if you are playing Nasus to kill early game, you are doing it wrong. This spell is essentially made for snowball champions that need kills to be relevant late game. This is not Nasus. He does not need kills to be relevant, and only needs to survive and farm through the laning phase of the game. In no way does this help you achieve that goal. Not recommended in most cases.
Revive The idea is to not die. I don't currently consider this a viable summoner spell outside of dominion, and taking it will make your team think you are trolling.
Cleanse Certainly a strong spell on some champions that are hindered by ignite like Nasus. But as nice as it is to have, it's not recommended because other spells are stronger on Nasus. If I were to take it, it would have to be against a heavy crowd control team, and be paired with Ghost.
Clairvoyance You need survival spells, not team support spells. Do not take this.
Barrier Decent defensive spell with good sheilding. My gripe is that it only lasts for 2 seconds. If I'm concerned with being dived I'll either ward properly, or not let myself get low enough to need this by using teleport to lane. Also, Nasus has good anti-dive tools built into his kit via ultimate and Wither.
There were a few changes to the starting items for Nasus in S4. While there are multiple ways to start a lane, there are 3 in particular that I like to do.
The first viable start includes Cloth Armor and 5 health potions verses some of the pure AD lanes. This coupled with the new mastery buffs from Culinary Master and Alchemist will ensure you have plenty of sustain early in the game when Nasus is weak. This is especially useful for not getting blown up early by someone like Riven.
The second start involves getting a Doran's Shield and 1 health potion. This isn't as good to me because you can be pushed out fairly easily. What I like to do is pair it with extra gold from utility and get 3 potions. This gives you a huge amount of sustain and defense to maintain the lane with and make use of the Doran's regeneration.
The last start contains Crystalline Flask and 4 health potions. This is clearly a pure sustain focused start that I think works best against mages such as Vladimir and true damage like Olaf. Upon the first back you can opt for Doran's Shield or magic resist. If at all possible try to work the magic resist into a Spectre's Cowl very quickly.
A closer look at each item and why Nasus works well with it:
• Mercury's Treads These are the best source of Tenacity for Nasus, and also increases his tankiness as well.
• Iceborn Gauntlet Since this item was introduced it has been a favorite of Nasus players for multiple reasons.
For a basic summary of what it brings:
• Armor - Nasus needs this to tank damage for his team.
• Permanent slow – Kiting is the bane of Nasus and this helps solve that for him and his team.
• CDR – Nasus kit is utilized best with max CDR and Glacial Shroud offers that at an early stage.
• Spell-blade – This is best used on champions with spam-able abilities like Nasus’ Q.
• Mana – Nasus can easily run out of mana on an extended team fight. This helps solve that issue.
But is Trinity Force better than Iceborn Gauntlet on Nasus? To answer this I first looked at the full build compared to my normal IBG build in terms of raw power. Here is what I found out...
• TF build has significantly less effective health.
• TF build leads to pro-longed chases without Frozen Mallet.
• TF build has less peeling power or utility
• TF build has a much less powerful mid-game due to items depending on each other.
Let me explain that last point. A typical Nasus player will want to purchase IBG and Spirit Visage early. These two items are so vastly efficient on Nasus that it's very possible for him to walk into team fights mid-game and carry via low cool-downs, high damage, high peeling power, and fairly high resistances.
With that in mind let’s say we instead want to purchase Trinity Force. In doing so, we have to purchase armor early against an AD lane or MR against an AP lane. If we go the armor route our best options for Nasus would be Randuin’s Omen or Frozen Heart. Gold well spent, but the problem is it leaves gaps in things we truly need where IBG fills them all. The better item of the two is Randuin’s Omen but buying it can leave us with no CDR. Frozen Heart gives CDR but is much less tanky and has no slow for kiting. Neither of the items have damage to boot.
If it were an AP lane we would be in a somewhat better situation since we can start out with Spirit Visage, but then what? We could possibly rush Trinity Force after that but be left with no utility such as a slow or max CDR. In order to get any slow at all we'd need another 3.3k for Frozen Mallet. In other words, we again end up needing multiple different items to fill the shoes of IBG.
Additionally, Gauntlet has the potential to out damage Trinity Force in some instances. Since Nasus is generally peel focused by the enemy it can cause Nasus to hit multiple champions with the AOE on the passive. If only two can be hit it will result in a 250% proc.
tl;dr The build path is significantly worse for Trinity Force, and the full build isn't worth the price of that loss. I say keep buying IBG in most cases
• Banshee's Veil Nasus needs to be very tanky in order to do his job well, and this item helps him do that against balanced teams with magic damage and crowd control. This item can easily be replaced with other damage or resist items as needed.
• Warmog's Armor This item enhances your ability to survive by increasing your effective health. Effective health is considered the amount of health that a champion has plus 1% per unit of defense as extra health due to damage reduction. In other words, effective health is the amount of damage the enemy needs to kill the champion. Suppose a champion has 2000HP and 100 armor. They would have a 50% physical damage reduction. Therefore, it would actually take 4000 damage to kill them. For a better understanding you can use this formula:
Physical Effective Health = Max Health × (1 + (Armor / 100))
• Randuin's Omen This provides good armor and health, as well as a supplemental attack speed slow. If the carry is going to target you down first, at least they won't be doing it as fast. The wardens mail it is built from is easy to attain early, making this item a logical upgrade.
• Spirit Visage Much like the Iceborn Gauntlet, this item feels like it was made for Nasus. It has everything we want in an MR item, and even gives Nasus additional life steal. This is a must buy, especially in AP lanes like Vladimir and Rumble.
• Zeke's Herald This item provides a very wide AOE buff to your team. It just so happens to be highly efficient and contain many stats that Nasus needs, namely CDR. If facing a heavy AD team it can be substituted for Frozen Heart. The reason it's not defaulted to this is because it would leave you too heavy on armor. Since armor has diminishing returns it would be an inefficient purchase. Also it would be another large mana investment that, when combined with IBG, is unnecessary. The health and AOE buffs fit the tank build better in most scenarios.
Being flexible in Nasus' build is important, especially early game where he can be denied. You won't always have enough gold for Glacial Shroud, or perhaps even want it if you're struggling in lane. Feel free to build Chain Vest, Cloth Armor, or Negatron Cloak as needed. Sheen and Glacial Shroud are luxury items and should be treated as such.
One thing to keep in mind when looking at tank items is the game armor mechanics. Stacking armor is never viable much beyond 200. Therefore, it's wise to invest in some health items. Since there are plenty of both in the build you may try tinkering around with the last item slots.
There are multiple viable options for the last couple slots and really it rests on how the game is going and what the team needs are. Most of the time I feel like Nasus needs more tank items to absorb the punishment he has to endure late game and I listed our best options in the build. Which one to choose is a matter of what type of damage you are taking. If damage isn't a problem and the enemy team is being locked down well, go ahead and build a Ravenous Hydra or Blade of the Ruined King. They can give Nasus the ability to carry games especially when he has the advantage.
Ravenous Hydra is a strong 5th or 6th item, especially against multiple melee enemies. If you can forego the purchasing of one tank item, this would replace it. Obviously, there are some things to keep in mind here. You may not want this if your team is behind, you are the main tank, or your other items have not been purchased. This item excels at team-fights and further enhances Nasus ability to put out sustained damage and survive. Do not purchase this in laning phase, as you will push the lane and miss Q-farm. Lastly, the item active resets your auto-attack giving you a free triple hit.
Blade of the Ruined King is also a decent late game item giving Nasus even more life-steal to tank with. It buffs Nasus' already substantial life-steal with attack speed ensuring he will be hard to bring down in fights. Having this item should bring you close to 50% life-steal when combined with Spirit Visage. Additionally, using the active on a nearby enemy will bolster Nasus health considerably and help alleviate some of his kiting issues. Since this is armored health, Nasus can actually make better use of the active than a carry could.
Other Viable Defensive Items
Other Viable Offensive Items
There are multiple viable mastery pages that Nasus can use based on preference. When looking at these keep in mind you want to bolster his early game sustain and focus our defense when possible to maximize our chance of success. The page I'm currently most fond of is:
I've found that running this page gives me a solid chance to win despite who the enemy decides to send top. There is a good amount of early game regeneration supported by boosted health potions. Surviving for the first back is extremely critical for Nasus and this will ensure you do just that. Once defenses are in place the regeneration scaling of the utility lifesteal will ensure you can maintain the lane into mid-game.
If you are not fond of this page there are some alternatives that are pretty standard for Nasus. The most notable one is 9/21/0. I consider it good as well, but you'll find the proper amount of sustain lacking in some instances. This is particularly true against heavy mana users such as Ryze where you'll need to overcome the "mana hump" to maintain the lane. This is basically a point to where you will have consumed all of the enemies mana and can now farm in peace.
Explanation of some masteries:
Block - This is pretty standard damage reduction aimed at the early game. Works exceedingly well on poke champs like Nidalee.
Recovery - Adds decent sustain to our lane phase. We can never have enough of this.
Unyielding - More damage mitigation that is good vs anything. It's also aimed more toward early game, and that's a good thing for Nasus.
Veteran Scars - This is a small health buff that can likely save your life in an early gank. Believe me when I say Nasus is a huge target for those and it is an expected thing to happen.
Oppression - This is a wonderful damage mitigation that works well with Wither, IBG, and Randuins passive.
Juggernaut - Here we have a scaling health buff that is more directed toward the later game once we build health. Nasus does often and can always use more health for tanking damage.
Hardiness - This is a must have for any AD lane Nasus may face.
Resistance - As above, this is a must have for any AP lane Nasus may face.
Perseverance - Similar to recovery, but scales much better throughout the game.
Reinforced Armor - This is a major damage reduction against AD carries in the late game. If at all possible do take this as Nasus consistently takes the brunt of a carries damage.
Evasive - This is very good against some AP champions, in particular Rumble where most of his damage is AOE based. If facing such a lane you need to take this.
Second Wind - This is simply another sustain buff, especially with very low health. I'd argue if your health is that low you may need to go back to base, but the buff does ensure Nasus will be just a tad harder to finish off. It is also useful for recovering quickly after a gank or dive.
Fleet of Foot - One of Nasus greatest drawbacks is being kited. This helps alleviate that.
Meditation - Nasus has some of the highest mana costs in the game aside from his Q. You'll be glad you had this during the lane phase.
Strength of Spirit - It's not much early on, but more scaling sustain for only one point is welcomed. It works well with Ice-borne Gauntlet naturally.
Alchemist - This basically gives you an extra 75 health going into the lane with 5 potions.
Vampirism - You may see a pattern here, but this is also more scaling sustain for Nasus to lane with. It will leave you with 19% life-steal at level 1.
Culinary Master - This gives you an extra 100 health and 50 mana with 5 health potions.
Runes will likely be your most changed throughout each Nasus game. This is because you can focus your defense extremely well here. For example, are you facing a heavy AP? Grab some flat MR glpyhs and scaling health seals. Being flexible and having multiple pages ready to play with will be important to your success. Also, knowing why your using each rune is important as well. Here I've listed your best options to choose from.
• Greater Mark of Armor Penetration(1.28 Armor Pen): These give the most damage late damage.
• Greater Mark of Armor(0.91 Armor): There are times against heavy AD lanes that you want to take these, such as Darius. They are viable so you may want to try them.
• Greater Mark of Magic Resist(0.77 Magic Resist): I highly suggest running these against heavy AP lanes such as Rumble. You will be glad you did.
• Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist(2.7 MR): I want the CDR more, but they are solid runes for those who need it facing AP lanes.
• Greater Glyph of Magic Resist(1.34 MR): Take a full page of these against hard early game ability power damage such as Rumble.
• Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction(.83 CDR): Use these to finish off any needed CDR in your build after using the more efficient scaling version.
• Greater Glyph of Armor(.7 Armor): Use these to add further frustration to any pure AD champion such as Zed or Riven.
• Greater Seal of Magic Resist(.74 MR): Use these for heavy ability power lanes such as Rumble. Combine with MR glyphs for maximum effectiveness.
• Greater Seal of Scaling Health(1.33 HPL): Use these with a resistance focused Glyph to give Nasus a solid late game presence.
• Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed(1.5 %MS): These are a life saver throughout the game and give Nasus the edge when chasing and escaping. For someone with no gap closer or natural escape, they work very well.
• Greater Quintessence of Health Regeneration(2.7 HP5): These don't scale very well at all, and they aren't something I use. However, they do work well early game so if you want to try them it's an option.
• Greater Quintessence of Armor(4.26 Armor): These can be taken against hard AD lanes such as Riven and Darius. They don't scale as good as life-steal but can be used to keep from getting blown up early pre-6.
• Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist(4 MR): These can be used against hard AP lanes such as Rumble. I usually prefer life-steal over these but they are certainly a viable option in specific lanes.
|Contrary to popular belief, a well played Cho is somewhat of a threat early game. The good thing is he suffers from the AOE pushing effect and will likely be at your tower constantly if he chooses to harass you. However, don’t get careless! If Cho hits 6 before you do, be alert that his combo hits very hard and he will burst you if given the opportunity. Also, Cho is like Nasus in that he makes for good ganks on his lane. If you are pushed into his territory without ward, be afraid. Other than that, build some early MR and it becomes a farm fest. You can potentially kill him if he’s careless and builds AP and no armor but I wouldn't count on that happening. Being hit with rupture and silence over and over again is a good deterrent and makes for a hard kill.|
|This is a fairly decent lane for Nasus. Without jungler help there's nothing he can do to stop you from farming. Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful. He puts out very high damage and you will find yourself recalling a good bit against him. Be advised if this champion gets a couple early kills, his scaling will allow him to rush and kill you in one encounter. Do not let it get to this point, and be wary of early ganks. The trick is to keep the lane pushed to your side and call your jungler for an easy kill. If the jungler is a complete failure and doesn't show up, Darius will try to harass you down with Apprehend and Decimate. Try to dodge these at all costs but if he chunks you very low just go back to base. Always maintain enough mana for your entire kit to be used. There is a good possibility he will dive you and these need to be available when that happens. Darius doesn't have an escape skill, and that ultimately is his downfall. Rush heavy armor and transition into health with a Randuin's Omen. Once you have some armor and Q-stacks, start to punish him with one auto-attack+Q. Your life-steal will wear him down eventually. Come mid game you will start to dominate him unless he has multiple kills.|
|I don’t see this guy come top very often, but each time he hasn’t been a real threat. The main concern I see with him is ganks. He has a terrific perma-slow with Infected Cleaver that can ensure kills for the jungler. Ward yourself carefully if the lane is pushed. Chance of killing him is slim. His speed, slow, and health regeneration will usually ensure he gets away.|
|This was a very challenging lane before her damage and mana nerfs took effect. Since that time, Elise is very prone to running out of mana trying to push Nasus out of lane with Neurotoxin. If she builds mana in an effort to maintain pressure she will lose out on damage that will already be lessened by our MR stacking. This results in her ultimately being useless at stopping Nasus from farming. Without help, Elise will lose this lane fairly hard. Killing her is not out of the question. She doesn’t have much of an escape beyond her one Cocoon. Just remember to have enough health to tank plenty of tower hits in the event she casts Rappel under a turret.|
|The first few levels against this girl are a real terror. Luckily, we have plenty of pots to run through and we counter her very hard as the lane progresses. Max Wither, rush Warden's Mail, and be aware of the jungler. If someone like Amumu is able to lock you down while Fiora drops everything, you’re in big trouble. It will take some practice but be aware of her Riposte. In lane you want to try and bait this ability out so you can Siphoning Strike her. If going all in and want to kill her, be sure to auto-attack the shield, then follow with Siphoning Strike for maximum damage. This lane turns very one sided after a while, and she will have to roam.|
|Here is another very good early game to be careful of. Be prepared for many Parrrley’s to the face. It’s important that you don’t get yourself whittled down too low when he does this to you. Gankplank is not a bursty champ but if you’re out of position and he eats oranges through your wither it will feel like he is due to the passive Grog Soaked Blade. Therefore, abuse Teleport when needed. Given that he’s a mana using melee character, he can only win this lane with help. However, one thing to look for is if he is given blue buff or builds a tear, your laning is likely to be a good bit harder. Follow standard AD itemization and Nasus should be OK.|
|This is a fairly easy lane if you can survive the first few levels. He will likely be pushed to your tower trying to harass you down. Just be prepared to go through pots and maybe an early recall. After you acquire some armor it should turn into a farm fest. Therefore, once you acquire some Q stacks, check his armor. If he’s not building any go ahead and start returning damage, especially if you have Sheen. It’s very possible for you to push him out and possibly dive him. You will need plenty of mana and Ghost available to do this, however. Garen is quite fast and can remove your slow, so remember to move after each auto-attack to stay ahead of him. Unless their jungler gives you special treatment, I can’t see Nasus losing this lane.|
|In most circumstances this is going to be a good lane for Nasus. Every so often you’ll meet a superior Irelia that can make things a tad difficult, but even then it’s still possible to farm and become stronger than her before mid game. The idea here is to not get into an auto-attack battle while her true damage is active. Staying mobile and using Wither when she has Hiten Style on will go a long way towards reducing her damage. Irelia carries an assortment of damage types so itemizing against her isn’t always straight forward. However, I think the best solution is to rush some armor and follow immediately with health to counter Hiten Style’s true damage. In addition, Irelia is a terrific farmer in lane and scales decently into mid-late game. She won’t be stronger than Nasus by a good margin, but her low cooldown gap-closer will give any team’s carries serious problems. Depending on her build she can be quite tanky and hard to catch due to Ionian Fervor. Wither is quite strong on Irelia’s damage output so if the carry is dead she makes a good second target.|
|Here is one of those lanes where you definitely want to think about taking Flash as a summoner spell. I haven’t noticed that Jarvan is all that hard to lane against, but he has some of the best crowd control in the game for making successful ganks with Cataclysm. Ward carefully, and I don’t see Nasus losing this lane. Jarvan is much more likely to run out of mana than to push you out of lane. He can be hard to kill with his Golden Aegis shield and slow coupled with Dragon Strike pulling him away from you. Therefore, be sure Ghost is available when going all in on him.|
|This lane follows a different path than many others due to the nature of Jax’s abilities. You will have an easier time than most lanes early game. However, you need to take advantage of this quickly and farm as much as possible. When Jax hits level 6, Nasus is going to struggle from the constant burst Jax has. It may take some recalling but you need to survive this onslaught. Rush a Warden's Mail and be cautious. If he jumps you behind your creep line, Wither him and return damage with Siphoning Strike. He can’t dodge those and it will force him to relax his harass since he has no innate sustain and can’t keep taking damage. Ultimately, if you can avoid feeding him and farm moderately, the lane is yours. He will eventually lose trades before mid game and will die to you in any straight up fight. You will likely need Ghost to kill him due to his stun/jump.|
|Fairly easy stuff right here. His abilities push the lane hard and use mana to maintain. Unless fed from some other means, he doesn’t have the damage to successfully push you out. The real danger with him is his combo stacked with a jungle gank. Ward as needed, go with a standard AD itemization and you’ll do fine. Just remember to double hit with Siphoning Strike when he comes in on you. He needs to pay for having no sustain. You can kill him eventually but will need Ghost to do so.|
|This champion has terrific early game damage, is partially ranged, can heal herself, and has a ranged slow . This sounds good against Nasus in theory but the few weaknesses Kayle has against him are quite substantial. The majority of her damage is AOE meaning she will push the lane. She also relies profoundly on auto-attacks to put out her damage with Righteous Fury, thus rendering her countered by Wither. Due to this, the lane can become heavily one sided before mid game. Manage her cooldowns and regenerate health as needed from minions. In addition, check her build to see what type of damage she is itemizing for and build accordingly. Without jungler help, Nasus wins this lane quite consistently.|
|This might be one of the hardest early games you have to face. Lee Sin is an early game monster with good sustain and shielding. Trying to push him out of the lane is mostly out of the question until close to mid game, so don’t even try it. The only saving grace you have here is that his Tempest pushes the wave fairly hard if you are near minions and helps to dodge his Sonic Wave. For a clear idea of what happens: His pre-6 combo consists of him walking up to you with Tempest, followed by a few auto-attacks, and followed by his Sonic Wave into another auto-attack. If he’s able to land all of it, you won’t last long. If played correctly it’s likely you will be farming under tower, and that is your hope. Rush some armor and things will start looking much better. If he doesn’t kill you early, he loses the lane badly. However, still be aware of him kicking you into his jungler.|
|Get ready for an endless stream of Seismic Shard’s. This guy is more annoying than dangerous. He may eventually force you out of lane a couple times due to his harass. However, unless he receives help, he has little hope of making a kill. Build early magic resist, don’t let yourself get too low on health, and it turns into a farm fest in which you always win. Chances of killing him are usually remote due to the nature of his build. If he happens to go AP, you have a chance.|
|Here is another lane you won’t see very much but it’s one of my favorites because of how easy it is to win. Mordekaiser is a strong laner, but he suffers hard from his AOE harass with no escape. Think of him like an AP Darius, but worse. He may push you out of lane a few times due to harass but there is no way he is going to stop you from farming completely. If he chooses to harass, farm under the tower and call the jungler for an easy kill. Mordekaiser is very squishy early game, has no crowd control, and needs his items to become a force. Do not let it get to that point and punish him with coordinated ganks that will more often than not succeed. He should not win this lane and even if the jungler fails to help, you will overtake him before mid game. Follow AP itemization and rush kill him once you have the upper hand.|
|This girl is considered a very safe pick for a solo lane. As such, it takes patience and careful laning to win this matchup. The real problem here is that she is ranged, has good sustain, and an ability to kite like no other. Don’t even bother trying to catch her, it’s not going to happen. Even with a gank there is a high probability she will escape. Luckily, her damage is just modest and if you play safely you can farm pretty well against her. She has a tendency much like Teemo to wear Nasus down with auto-attacks so don’t let yourself get to low or she will try to pounce on top of you for an execute. The good news is she can’t out-scale Nasus and has a horrible team fight presence. While Nasus won’t destroy this lane like he can some others, he won’t lose it either.|
|This is a fairly tough lane for Nasus and will stretch the limits of what you can sustain through. You are certainly going to need plenty of pot help early game. If Nunu comes to lane with a full AP page expect enough Ice Blasts to build a snowman with. He will hit you with this repeatedly and heal back any type of harass or minion damage given to him through Consume. Fortunately, his harass is pretty mana intensive so if you can survive the damage long enough it’s likely you can lifesteal everything back. The problem is until that happens you are going to be quite vulnerable to ganks and even his ultimate if you get low enough on health. Due to this dilemma I recommend taking Flash in this lane. Trying to escape his slow and ultimate with only Ghost is near useless, especially in a gank situation. Having said that, the lane is quite winnable and I expect Nasus to kill him at least once before laning is over. Rush some early magic resist/health and Nasus should farm well.|
|Welcome to the true-damage king. This guy will force you into a build path that is a little different than other lanes you will face. Lucky for us, most of the items Nasus players like to build contain health. I’ve found that Olaf is extremely tough. He will likely level his Reckless Swing first for maximum damage and use this on you each time you try to last hit. It’s important that you take every opportunity you can to sustain yourself on minions between his cool downs. Also, don’t be afraid to take damage trying to farm. It is to your advantage that you do this to ensure your own safety at tower, and to maintain your farm levels. Note: After his rework I don't feel this is a winnable lane. I suggest avoiding Olaf at all costs. His 0 mana cost true damage, perma slow, and anti-wither kit just dumps all over Nasus right now. In my opinion, he needs a mana cost nerf to the true damage to keep his lane in check.|
|Be prepared for many Spear Shot’s to the face. Like all other AD casters, he is going to try and whittle you down enough to burst you. Remember to farm and life-steal as much as possible without pushing the lane and rush some early armor. If Pantheon decides to Aegis of Zeonia behind your minion wave, be sure to return damage in the form of one auto-attack +Q. The auto attack in this case is simply to remove his Aegis Protection and bring pain behind it. Pantheon has no innate sustain and cannot take significant damage in lane. Also, he is a mana based champion so keep an eye on this to see if you can continue laning or not. It can be very one sided after you attain enough gold for armor and Sheen. Therefore, he should die to you before mid game.|
|This would be a tough lane if it weren't for the fact he pushes the lane quite hard with a couple of his abilities: Cull the Meek and Slice and Dice. Be sure you stand near minions when facing this guy to ensure the lane comes to you. It’s imperative that this happens for your own safety. Burn through your starting pots while farming up enough gold to attain some armor. Once armor is attained you have almost won the lane. Renekton’s scaling is very lackluster and falls off harder than most. However, he is very good at lane pressure with his light sustain, and manaless abilities. Abuse teleport as needed (low mana, low health, high gold) to ensure you stay level with him. He can only win if you are careless early, or he has help setting up kills. Also, it’s possible to kill him before mid game but you will need Ghost if he dashes away.|
|Let me start by saying you should not be facing this match-up if it is top lane. He will wreck you. This is for a few reasons. Rengar has: no resources to burn through, high single target damage, sustain, and a constant gap closer from top bush from which to harass with. All of this comes with very little minion wave push. This basically means there's no course of action for Nasus except to die. I would suggest either trading lanes or going jungle if you are picked into this matchup. I'm aware Rengar is up for a rework so this may change in the near future, but as of now avoid this guy.|
|This lane is absolutely critical pre-6; more so than usual. If she can successfully kill Nasus early her scaling potential will allow her to snowball out of control. This will make Nasus' life-steal near useless by taking more than half health each combo. On the flip side if she's unable to make the kill she will become utterly useless after armor is acquired and easily killed due to her wanting to build damage. While her abilities are on cool-down, be sure to hit a few minions to life-steal from to supplement your health pots. You are safe to do this as long as the lane is coming to you, which it should be. Rush heavy armor early, grab Sheen, and Riven is worthless the entire game. She is a pushing machine and will be at your tower if she’s trying to kill you. Once you attain about +150-200 and Sheen, bash her face in. She should die to you at least once before realizing she can’t win the lane. The only way she wins is with jungler help. You may think about working some armor glyphs into your build here. Also, be aware of her starting red pot, and receiving a very early jungle gank. They have a high chance of success here so keep your finger on the flash button and miss farm that would put you in a danger zone.|
|There are multiple issues with this match-up, and I’ll go over them briefly. He has no mana for you to sustain through. He is ranged ability power, making your Wither mostly ineffective. To make that even worse he has a gap closer and long range slow. This makes him impossible to kite. The only thing good about Rumble is also the worst thing. He pushes the lane hard from his Flamespitter. The problem with that is even though the lane can be pushed, he can still harass you under tower when you try to farm. While this is a concern, it is more manageable now that he's taken some nerfs. Also, this is a lane you definitely want to take flash in. Using it wisely we can essentially make Rumbles ult give no damage. With the new itemization of Spectre's Cowl and Doran's shield this lane can be won. Play carefully and manage Rumbles cool-downs whenever possible to farm. Once we attain some farm and magic resist it can be possible to push rumble from the lane or kill him as it approaches mid-game.|
|While he may not pose much of a threat to Nasus in lane, his global presence can be overwhelming in comparison. Nasus is locked in lane early game and has to be careful about which skirmishes he chooses to join. Shen has no such problem and will give the rest of your team hell with Stand United while you farm. Be mindful of this and alert team mates when he reaches level 6. One trick that can help is casting Wither on him before he teleports away so he'll be slowed when joining the fight. Also, ward yourself if there is a high damage jungler. Shen’s taunt can ruin Nasus’ ability to kite ganks. Although Shen is normally quite tanky, he can be killed if his ultimate is down. Nasus wins this lane easily but may be playing catch up with his team if Shen has been altering fights early on.|
|This is a decent lane for Nasus to farm in. However, keep in mind Singed is going to make your life hell in team fights with his tremendous crowd control and tankiness. You need to rush standard AP itemization and avoid his Poison Trail at all costs. He is likely going to try harassing you down with it in addition to his Fling. If you managed to play safe early and farm, there is a small chance you can kill him before mid-game if you whittle him down and abuse life-steal. You will definitely need Ghost in order to do this. Be mindful when chasing Singed not to stay in his poison. Ward well when pushed as you do not want a high damage jungler on top of you with the amount of crowd control Singed can put down. Lastly, it’s important that you let the team know when Singed roams the map. He can be a real problem pushing your lane in only to gank mid and bottom while you farm contently.|
|This champ thrives on killing squishy carries with little to no resistance. Needless to say that isn’t Nasus by a long shot. Talon may be one of the easiest matchups you can face. His harass with Rake uses up his limited mana, and does pathetic damage early game. If by chance he appears on top of you with Cutthroat go ahead and return harass. When coupled with minion damage he will have hurt himself pretty bad and doesn’t have the luxury of getting it back like Nasus can. Talon can only win this lane with help and will struggle heavily as the game progresses. He is easily killed if you can land Wither right before his Shadow Assault. Given the fact he may have juked you hard, it’s wise to have Ghost for killing him.|
|This is not going to be an easy lane. With that out of the way, it's not an impossible task and can be done. Played well, there is little reason a Nasus should die to Teemo. Why? Nasus has two backup plans that Teemo can't do much about: Wither, Ultimate. In my experience you will struggle heavily early game and he will out-farm you moderately. If we were playing any other champ besides Nasus you might be in trouble but thats not the case here. You can have well below his farm level and still win this lane. Again, stay behind your minions and pick your last hits wisely. You want to limit his opportunity to hit you at all costs. If he's good he will place himself close to the creep wave and guarantee himself multiple hits on you each time you last hit. This will eventually wear you down but you should be able to farm decently without death. It may take a little longer to win this lane because of the farm advantage he has early. However, if you hang strong to get about +200 on Q, you can start winning trades and force him out of lane for good. Like all Nasus lanes, try to freeze the wave at tower and abuse the power of your wither for a jungler kill.|
|Although he’s a ranged manaless AP, it could be worse. His damage is modest but consistent. You should be able to lifesteal through his harass with pot help early game. When you go back, pick up your Spectre's Cowl and begin to rush Spirit Visage, Mercury's Treads and a Sheen. These three items will allow you to continue farming and start to put the pressure on. Farm up 100-200 on Q then feel free to return harass and make him pay for trying to stop you. If he gets anywhere close to half health on your side of the lane while you’re close to full, check your mana level to ensure you can handle a fight. You generally want at least half your total available. If it’s there, let the Dog out. Pop everything including Ghost, and Q into his face. He will likely try to blood pool under the tower but that’s not a problem. Stay on him!|
|This isn’t a champion you may see much of but rest assured he’s very viable and hard to kill when played well. Wukong’s early game damage is quite good and he carries a strong burst when he hits 6 so don’t get too low on health. Play safe and rush heavy armor to maintain the lane. The good news is Wukong has a few issues that keep him from dominating you. He can run out of mana fairly easily when trying to harass you down, he has no innate sustain, and he’s melee. You need to abuse these traits to your advantage. Also, even though there is no way to dodge his skills, be sure to stay near minions so he will push the wave with the small AOE he has on Nimbus Strike. Lastly, ward yourself if the jungler is a threat. Wukong’s full burst coupled with most any type of help is assured death. It’s possible to kill him before mid-game, but you can’t let yourself get juked away by Decoy.|
|There was once a time when Yorick was a challenging top lane for Nasus. That time is over, and Yorick is nothing more than a supplemental farm distributer. Yes, you can farm his gouls to stack Siphoning Strike. Not only is this suggested, but it’s recommended to decrease his lane presence. If he’s bent on harassing you, just last hit minions for gold and save Q to last hit his gouls. This will decrease the amount of damage he can do to you, and subsequently give you more farm overall. Don’t be careless because you are still much weaker than him early, but I don’t expect this lane to be very challenging and he can be killed before mid game.|
|Be ready for a huge sustain war here. Zac will constantly punish you with repeated magic damage abilities while sustaining through his Cell Division. Due to this it's advisable to rush a Spirit Visage asap. Overall, Nasus has a much higher sustain than Zac and will get considerably better throughout the game. It is possible, albeit hard, to kill Zac through health attrition if you can walk over his blobs. However, you will need Ghost to do this given the huge range of Elastic Slingshot. Be mindful of his passive bringing him back to life when trying to dive him. Given Zac's limited damage I expect Nasus to win this lane consistently.|
|Here is another strong assassin that really strikes fear in carries. Unfortunately for Zed his laning is rather lackluster against sustain champions, including Nasus. Most of his lane may consist of safe distant farming, or hard pushing depending on their play style. Although neither way is a real threat, be sure to call MIA's since his roaming can easily result in kills for him. The one real moment that Zed can make a play on Nasus is when he hits six first while Nasus is missing a considerable chunk of health. He does carry massive burst in the early game if no armor has been purchased. Therefore, be on high alert before going back the first time. Once modest farm and armor is attained Zed will be purely defensive and should die fairly quickly in a straight up fight. This is due to his normal build of AD glass cannon. He can be slippery to catch with Living Shadow so be sure to have Ghost available when going in on him. I expect Nasus to always win this lane, but you can expect your teams carries to still be afraid with Zed having free farmed through the early game.|
How Is Nasus Countered?
Nasus is countered by teams that are overly aggressive early game. This can include in his lane, or as a whole taking objectives. Since Nasus doesn't have much to offer, good teams take advantage of this to gain a heavy lead.
It is noticeable when facing good opponents that Nasus tends to get his lane camped by the jungler. This can be a good thing or a bad thing for Nasus' team depending on how he handles it. If he can escape the gank on his lane, the minion wave will usually make its way back to Nasus side where he wants it. In addition to that, all of this pressure Nasus inherits is taken away from the rest of his team. However, if the ganks are successful and Nasus feeds, the results can be disastrous for him if the game is ended quickly. This is an important thing to note because Nasus WILL come back from being camped if given the chance. It doesn't really matter if he dies 1 time or 3 times, he will eventually overtake his top lane opponent in power. Do not allow Nasus to free farm, and if he chooses to do so, take map objectives with the team.
Also, don't allow yourself to be led by the masses that say Nasus needs 30+ minutes of farming or he's worthless. This is completely false. Nasus only needs to farm 10-15 minutes to start becoming a force of his own. Be aware of this, and coordinate with your team to take him down.
Jungle Nasus Mini Guide
Jungle Nasus has become a very popular pick in LoL and as such needs to be mentioned. The reason he has become good in this role is because of the new found buffs Riot gave him to large jungle monsters. With that buff in place coupled with a mana buff to his Siphoning Strike, Nasus' farm potential is flat out better than even top lane can provide. In addition to that, he has amazing ganks with Wither, and transitions very well into late game despite limited gold and kills he may have.
Nasus is not a perfect jungler. He has weaknesses that include low early game damage, slow first time clear speed, and of course being kited in ganks. Because of these flaws it is advisable to make lane picks to soften these areas for him. Try to pick someone with good damage and fair amounts of crowd control. Some appropriate examples of this type would include: Riven, Morgana, Ryze. Some bad examples of this would include: Malphite, Shen, Mordekaiser.
This is a pretty standard start for most junglers because of the extra damage and sustain. It also builds into the much needed gold items.
Itemizing for Nasus in the jungle is a little more challenging than top lane. We are somewhat limited by starting with a machete to complete the jungle. We also have to factor in every lanes damage early game and build accordingly as opposed to countering one lane exclusively. With that in mind lets look at our best jungle item choices.
Spirit of the Ancient Golem - Still a decent jungle item despite some stat nerfs thanks to the gold income. Pretty safe thing to buy on any bruiser really, including Nasus.
Wriggle's Lantern - Gives some decent clears and gold income but is pretty lacking in combat stats. Play with caution when using this.
After either of the jungle items is complete it's a good idea to continue building Nasus' core tank items that he'll need to survive such as IBG, Randiuns, Banshees.
There seems to be some disagreement among the community as to which skill should Nasus max in the jungle. There are many high level players saying it should be Spirit Fire first. Well, let me just humbly say that I completely disagree. I see this all the time when I watch streams and other high level games and there's just no way I can justify it. Not only will we end up with less damage on Siphoning Strike, but it also destroys your sustained damaged. Simply put, a Nasus that maxes Spirit Fire first is way less threatening. It's no coincidence that when I watch these Spirit Fire levelers they typically won't even have 200 damage by 20 minutes. And then even if they were on par with damage like expected, the Siphoning Strike is on such a high cool-down it cuts the sustained damage in half. This is especially true if we factor in the many auto-attack resets that a low cool down 'Q' provides. So with that said, feel free to try out both ways and see what works for you.
Nasus doesn't have any special gap closer or a way to gank over terrain so we'll be looking for overextended lanes that aren't warded. Remember, Nasus has little burst and tankiness early; so getting kills can be hard to attain if the lane you're ganking has mediocre damage as well. Due to this, having red buff on pre-6 ganks will go a long way towards enhancing any early kill potential. Sometimes it may be necessary to use Ghost in order to keep the red buff applied to enemies to secure the kill. Also, Nasus needs a good flanking position for ganks to go well. If one isn't available, Ghosting into the lane from tower can be an option as well.
Once Nasus reaches level 6 the true power of his jungling can be shown. You should be working toward a Spirit of the Ancient Golem or another tank item and picking up a pink ward when possible. The ward in this case will not only give Nasus a clear ganking path but also open up Dragon control for you team. With the extra tank item and health from our ultimate we can now perform a dive on vulnerable lanes. Always be sure to grab turret aggro when doing this for your team and get out in time to survive.
Nasus has some of the best Dragon control in the game. As soon as he reaches level 6 he can solo dragon with ease. This is where the pink ward we purchased earlier comes into play. If you spot an opening to take dragon, feel free to pop your ultimate and take it quickly. It should take about the length of Fury of the Sands to kill without help.
Things To Remember
1. Farming with Spirit Fire -In lane, this is almost never recommended. However, if you are in the unique position of having plentiful mana and not wanting to risk your lane position; it can be used sparingly. This is typically done in situations where the lane is coming to you and the jungler may be on top of you ready for a gank. The best way to go about doing this is to make sure your position of the Fire hits as few creeps as possible so it doesn't push the wave. Here is an obvious example of that.
2. Wall Withering -Don't forget that Nasus' Wither can be cast over walls if he has vision of his enemy. Since Nasus doesn't have an ability to scale walls, this may be one of your few ways to help a team mate. Spirit Fire can also be cast over walls, but instead of needing vision, it will grant you temporary vision. Chain these two abilities together and you can catch enemies by surprise!
3. Maximizing Life-steal -Lifesteal heals you by the same amount no matter how much damage you actually do to the enemy/minion. What I mean is, lets say a creep has exactly 1 health. If I Siphoning Strike this creep to farm him I will receive the full amount of life-steal as if he had enough health for all of the damage I could have done. This can be important to remember when trying to sustain yourself in lane. It is always better to auto-attack a creep down to little health and finish him with Siphoning Strike in order to maximize life-steal and minimize lane push.
4. Chasing With Animation Canceling -This is something you'll be doing very often as Nasus and as such you should become exceedingly efficient at it. If you aren't sure what I'm referring to a quick search online will provide plenty of resources. The jest of the idea is to enhance your auto-attacks and movement; both of which are crucial for melee champions that may have a small window of opportunity to do damage.
Thank you all for reading, and I sincerely hope this guide has been a pleasure. I will be adding more content and match-ups periodically to keep the guide updated. I love feedback and welcome your questions on anything you see here.
I'd also like to give special thanks to:
NETRO - For creating an incredible Nasus video and allowing me to be a part of it. Drop by his channel and check out his other work here: NETRO
jhoijhoi - For sharing her guide making expertise and style with us all, including me. If you'd like to learn more visit: Making A Guide
1/23/2014 - Added coding/formating to matchups chapter.
2/16/2014 - Edited TF and Jungle builds.
2/28/2014 - Edited and renamed Tank AP Masteries. Added mastery notes. Placed lore in spoiler.
3/5/2014 - Added Atma's Impaler to viable offensive items.
3/7/2014 - Edited TF build masteries.
4/14/2014 - Edited runes to adjust for balance changes.
5/25/2014 - Updated various chapters and builds. Published.
5/27/2014 - Edited TF build mastery.
5/29/2014 - Added Stream chapter.
7/13/2014 - Changed starting items for tank builds. Moved one mastery point.