Nasus Build Guide by NateKiller
AD Item Detail + Notes
AP Item Detail + Notes
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!
Pro's + Con's
Fast Base Speed
Top 1v1 Skill Set
Anti-Carry Due To Wither
No Dash Escape
Lacks Damage w/o Farm
Only 1 Single Target CC
Kiteable in Team Fights
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)
It's my opinion that Nasus should always be selected if you have a favorable lane matchup to farm in no matter the team compositions. This is because a farmed Nasus can rip through and shut down any enemy ADC in team fights. This is significant because that is the source of most of a team's damage. Almost every team has to have an ADC, and nothing is more frustrating for them than to sit there not putting out damage.
Having said that, it does help when both teams contain certain team compositions that can help reduce the effect of Nasus main weakness. The important words here are : Crowd Control. Nasus needs all the crowd control and initiation he can get from his team, and the least amount from the enemy team. This is because Nasus can be kited hard in team fights if no one can be locked down. If at all possible, having champions like Amumu in Nasus' team will greatly enhance his ability to kill.
When these things come togethor, you'll notice Nasus has "god-like" games because his ability kit is made for carrying late. Simply put, Nasus is THE counter to all attack damage carries and high HP bruisers.
Soul Eater: Passive
Nasus drains his foe's spiritual energy, giving him a natural 14 / 17 / 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, 50 bonus attack range, and 100 bonus cast 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. In addition, be looking for ways to support your team. If they are being hit hard with magic damage, rush a Runic Bulwark to soften the effect of it.
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 Ult on, lay down the Spirit Fire on everyone and SS the nearest target or whoever is targeting your own carry. If you find that your Wither is off cooldown, 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.
Clarity While Nasus certainly has mana hungry skills early in the game, that shouldn't be a major issue for his laning when done properly. Also, this spell does nothing for his survival in lane. There's really no reason to take this, and it's not recommended.
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. While there are multiple ways to start a lane, there are 2 in particular that I like to do.
The first is double Rejuvenation Bead and 4 health pots. This start coupled with Nasus' starting lifesteal will give you plenty of sustain. Keep in mind this start keeps the standard mastery page setup with extra gold. The second viable start includes Cloth Armor and 5 health pots verses some of the pure AD lanes. For this start I recommend taking points out of Wealth and putting them into Intelligence and Biscuiteer .
Generally we still want the Philosopher's Stone for the mana regeneration and gold. It's not a large investment and I recommend getting it on the first go back if the lane is manageable. It is possible to lane without this item so don't feel pressured to get it in heavy damage lanes like Riven and Darius. Just remember to upgrade it in mid-late game in time for it to be consumed or sell to make room for other items.
Overall I feel Nasus' players have a wealth of options for early game. Also, with the addition of boot enchantments like Distortion, Nasus players can have better split pushing and team fighting ability.
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 This item provides a slow to help with kiting, solid AOE damage, much needed cool down reduction, and a decent amount of armor for tanking damage up close.
• Runic Bulwark Nasus needs to be very tanky in order to do his job well, and the highest magic resist item in the game does that for him and his team. This is a solid item that should always be purchased by someone, and who better than Nasus who is tanky enough to stay alive with it?
• 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.
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. It 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.
Other Viable Defensive Items
Other Viable Offensive Items
There are several viable mastery pages that Nasus can use based on preference. The one I use most is listed below. when looking at these it's pretty obvious Nasus does well with certain statistics. He needs to cover his weaknesses of kiting, and early harassment. While I believe the defensive tree is quite good, I love what I get from the utility tree even more.
Wanderer - Nasus always needs movement speed. Whether this is used to get back to lane, chasing, or farming, it's useful throughout the game.
Meditation - This helps solve Nasus' very extensive mana issues. It won't let you spam, but will definately allow a longer laning between base trips.
Mastermind - Pretty self explanitory, and all around useful throughout the game for offensive and defensive purposes.
Greed - These are highly profitable points. For a standard 30 minute game they will give you 360 gold for all four points.
Vampirism - Good masteries for sustain game play. These actually turn into +4 when a Spirit Visage is added. Nasus can make use of both forms of sustain, so what's not to like?
Wealth - This allows me to start with an extra HP pot early game with some gold left over. We can never have too much sustain early game, and this provides just that.
Pickpocket - Might well be the best mastery point in the game. If you just hit a champion once a minute for 30 minutes you would get 150 gold. Now imagine hitting them more than that. I realize that Nasus doesn't really harass champions in lane but they do harass him. So why not let them pay you for it by returning a small amount of harass back?
Intelligence - Nasus needs all the cool downs he can get early game for his Siphoning Strike stacking. This allows him to have a good amount of that early in the game and are more efficient than the ones in the offensive tree. If you feel the extra sustain is not needed for easier lanes, feel free to take points out of wealth and put 3 points into this.
Nimble - This point just begs Nasus to put a point in it. I love moving around fast with the dog and I think you will too. It helps with kiting, laning, ganking, and farming all throughout the game and is hard to come by. Don't go deep in utility without having this.
Durability - Gives us some good defensive health but we really take it so we can have the next mastery.
Veteran's Scars - A solid point in health for surviving early game ganks. You need this.
Hardiness - Top lane has many hard hitting AD champions. Take this to help mitigate some of that damage.
Resistance - Only one point in it, but you can feel free to swap the numbers with armor when facing an AP top lane such as the feared Rumble.
Other Masteries to consider:
The remainder of the defensive tree doesn't add up to a whole bunch in my opinion but there are a couple nice things I will mention.
Reinforced Armor - Good late game damage reduction. While this is a good mastery, I'm concerning myself with just being able to make it to late game.
Relentless - Decent points spent, though I can't help but think. Does it really matter if I'm slowed by 50% or 35%. Either way will I reach what I want? My guess is no, maybe you disagree.
Tenacious - This sounds better than it really is because of how tenacity is multiplied. You'll actually only get about 10% more tenacity, which is nice.
• 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 only take a few of these because I want the CDR more, but they are solid runes for those who need it. If so, I would assume you use an Elixer of Brilliance to cap CDR at that point.
• 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 Quintessence of Life Steal(2 %LS): These further enhance your laning sustainment and are very popular among Nasus players.
• 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.
This will be an ongoing section on each champion you may face top lane. I'll be adding each day to this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. This is a winnable lane, and you can possibly kill him before mid game. You will likely need Ghost in order to do that because of his Ragnarok removing your Wither. Rush early health to maintain the lane, and build Sheen once your farm level is sufficient enough to kill him.
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 lifesteal 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.
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.
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. Due to this inherent problem, he will whittle you down enough for a dive or force a recall. I only recommend this lane if your jungler is committed to helping you with a pushed lane. If the Rumble is of lesser skill you have a chance, but otherwise you simply will not survive this without help.
Stand United while you farm. Be mindful of this and alert team mates when he reaches level 6. 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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, albeit not as much in Season 3. 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.
Itemizing for Nasus in the jungle is a little more challenging than top lane. Although we'd want the same items, the gold is just not there and 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.
Both of the above starting items will work for Nasus. The key difference here is that the 5 health potions are safer, but more costly. Also, with only 1 health potion it is key that you get a decent leash from your lanes to be able to finish the jungle. Even with the leash however, 1 health potion will leave you fairly low and easy to counter gank. You need to decide on which to go with based on the enemy team/jungler and weigh the risks.
1. Spirit of the Elder Lizard: This is a very good and efficient item that gives Nasus the ability to dual other junglers early on, increase clear speed, and give greater potency to his ganks. For the money it's a decent option.
2. Mercury's Treads: This is still the best boots for Nasus if he doesn't build SotAG. Early magic resist and Tenacity are too much to pass up.
3. Frozen Mallet: This is one of the best anti-kite items in the game. No one is going to escape a Nasus with this, period. While it is rather expensive, it does provide a good amount of utility and health for tanking. I am of the opinion that Nasus needs atleast 1 anti-kite item in his build. If you are not going to build Iceborn Gauntlet this is our next best item to fill that role.
4. Spirit Visage: This item maintains it's usefulness in the jungle rather well by being relatively inexpensive and quite efficient due to Nasus' passive. Never a bad item to pick up unless in an all AD enemy comp.
5. Randuin's Omen: As if Wither and Frozen Mallet weren't enough, this item is icing on the kiting cake. A Nasus with this is to be feared while providing ample utility and tank. This is an expensive item so if you're able to grab one coming out of the jungle it will make a significant difference.
6. Warmog's Armor: Much like Spirit Visage, this item is never bad on Nasus. While the regeneration stats are mostly wasted with so much life steal, getting this ensures carries can't just burst you down.
7. Locket of the Iron Solari: This is a very inexpensive item for gold starved junglers and supports. It may not be slot efficient in the late game but it's hard not to justify as an early purchase. Every stat it gives can be used effectively making it a good pickup.
8. Runic Bulwark: This is a very good, well rounded item that can be beneficial to any team. If the support is not going to build one, Nasus can always make use of this.
9. Spirit of the Ancient Golem: This is likely the best first item for Nasus right now. It works well and gives us the ability to buy other kinds of boots aside from Merc-Treads.
As evidenced by the above items, there are many good item paths to take. When considering each purchase, just remember that Nasus needs at least 1 or 2 tank items before team fights are happening. If the early game is a complete disaster or are getting counter-jungled hard, you may think about skipping Elder Lizard till later in the game.
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.
After the Eldar Lizard is finished be looking for possible gank opportunities. If you opted for the one health pot start you may likely decide it's too risky and continue farming the jungle and head back for your first purchase before ganking a lane.
More content coming...
The enigmatic creature known as Nasus came to the League from a faraway world, and served as part of a vast and learned desert empire. There he was a respected and enlightened individual, having been made the Keeper of the Great Library. However, he was also part of a race of animalistic creatures that served as the rulers and protectors of the people. Unfortunately, there were others of his kind that believed they were more than protectors. They were under the egotistical delusion that they had ascended to become gods. War on Nasus's world was never more than a breath away, as these deluded others sought to enslave the people and establish a totalitarian sovereignty. In the midst of a heated battle, just as Nasus was about to slay his treacherous brother Renekton, he was pulled through the cosmos to a summoning circle in Runeterra.
At first angered that he had been taken just as he was about to cripple the enemies of his people, Nasus' advanced intellect won out when he heard the pleas for mercy from the summoners. He learned that Runeterra was also filled with its own brand of injustice. This danger was no less threatening than what he had fought against at home, and champions were needed to protect the people of this world. Heeding the call, Nasus chose to take his place in the League of Legends, knowing that his brothers and sisters would carry on the fight back home. These days, he is the Curator of the Sands, feeling most at home in the crumbling ruins of the Shurima Desert. However, recent disturbing news has reached the Keeper's ears - rumors that perhaps his brother had not in fact been left behind. If this were the case, the destruction of Renekton would quickly become Nasus' main priority, before this world too faces the threats of his brother's forked-tongue and endless ambition.
"The Curator of the Sands, though contemplative, is not to be trifled with."
Thank you all for reading, and I sincerely hope this guide has been a pleasure. I will be adding more content and matchups periodically to keep the guide updated. I love feedback and welcome your questions on anything you see here.
Miniguide: Nasus Jungle
By Gott der 7 Meere
Jungling with the Jackal: How to jungle Nasus