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Nasus Build Guide by firerebel

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author firerebel

Dominion Nasus

firerebel Last updated on March 28, 2012
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hi I'm FireRebel(TakinTheHeat) and this is my guide to playing Nasus on Dominion.
Nasus is a highly overlooked champion when it comes to Dominion. Many people consider Yorick an absolute must ban character, yet Nasus will destroy him and many other characters in a bot lane scenario. I decided to write this guide for a couple reasons.

1. There wasn't a Dominion Nasus guide yet. That is how underused he is.

2. I want people to stop whining about Yorick, and learn to counter pick him instead of wasting a ban. So many times I've lost games because someone like poppy or urgot who are truly overpowered and mostly uncounterable went unbanned. He isn't that great.

Also, please read my whole guide. At least skim the important sections(items/runes/general tips)! I put many hours of editing and writing things that I can't cover with the cheat sheet into my multiple sections below. You will miss out on key things if you don't!

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General Tips

Protect your minions. You can beat any melee character and most ranged ones if you follow this rule. What do I mean, exactly? I mean what I say. Keep them alive. Zone out the enemy with E. Spirit fire is big enough to hit all the minions and your enemy if you do it right. Attack him if he decides that you aren't a threat and wants to kill your minions. Why is it important to do so? They hurt. They really ****ing hurt. Even late in the game, Dominion minions RAPE. If your enemy is melee, they won't be able to get near you if you stand in your minions. They contribute to capturing points TREMENDOUSLY. If you can channel on a point for 2 to 3 seconds(lets say thats all you have before an enemy gets to you), and have 3-4 minions attacking it as well, it will decap.

Be wary of ganks. If you lose bot, your team might have to lend you a hand to get it back, and they might need that hand at top, and then you lose top, and then they are free to gank you at bot because they can defend 3v4 at top pretty easy because your team sucks.. and the cycle CONTINUES! Okay thats probably exaggerated a little bit, BUT REALLY. DONT GET GANKED! What are the signs that you are going to be attacked soon? The easiest one, but also the hardest to act upon in time, is your normally passive lane opponent being unusually aggressive. If you are vs a Sivir who is usually cowering when you even walk towards her.. and now she wants to trade blows.. there is probably a LeBlanc on the way to take your virginity. However, because you are so confident, your brain is going to be slow to realize this. You must train your brain to go "THIS ISN'T RIGHT EXHAUST WITHER SHURELYAS GHOST ULT RUN".

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Where do I go as Nasus in Dominion?

There are little to no scenario's where you shouldn't go bottom lane in Dominion. There just aren't any benefits to you or your team really if you go Top. Sure, you can deny the point a little with spirit fire but you are too low level to do any damage. You don't have cooldown reduction yet so you can't Wither spam, you aren't tanky yet, and Spirit Fire doesn't deal good damage yet. You really need to go bottom to get your levels up and some items under your belt before you leave bottom. In games where I'm consistently holding their bottom point, I'll stay there all game. But if I'm just stalemating and could be doing something better because I'm farmed, however, I'll usually ask one of our weaker teammates to hold bot while I go do something better. Staying bot until about 15 minutes and then going and fighting means a gold advantage of about 3k. Its pretty significant.

If you do just HAVE to go top for some reason, start with Prospector's Blade and Boots.

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Skill Sequence

This comes first because I am breaking a rule among Nasus players - Not farming my Q to the max.

The skilling order is

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
This seems controversial, but there are a few good reasons why I did this. For one, Spirit Fire is just amazing. People really never see how good this skill is because normally, late in the game is the only time you see it maxed. This is when people have good resists and are generally tankier. Spirit Fire pushes extremely well. It also zones your enemy, and is great harass - but really only early on. That is why we max it first. At level 5, it will do a whopping 205 instant damage, is nearly impossible to dodge, and most of the time you can hit all of the creeps as well. It will deal a combined amount of almost 400 damage to an entire creep wave. So this pretty much sums up my first point - Spirit Fire is amazing and overlooked, as is Nasus. You are probably wondering how, if Spirit Fire is this amazing thing why hasn't someone posted about it? Well, thats mainly because it takes tons of mana to use. However, with Frozen Heart/ Sheen and the massive mana regeneration bonus from the map buff, this isn't a problem. Even spamming it with max cooldown reduction.

Wither - This skill hard counters any attack damage focused character in the game. Ranged Carries - They can't kite you because one attack takes almost 2 seconds to perform. Oh, did I mention their feet are glued to the floor? They are naturally squishy because they rely on their kiting, so they are food for you. Melee AD - Won't be able to fight you because of the attack speed slow. Can't run away either, so they don't have much of a choice. What is the best part about this skill? It's spammable. A 1.8 second downtime with max cooldown reduction. I get "That slow is ****ing OP" at least once every few games.

Fury of the Sands deserves a small subsection, I suppose. What is it? It is Nasus's ultimate. Upon activation, Nasus morphs into a giant version of himself. He will gain 600 maximum HP - which WILL heal you if used. He will have an aura of sand swirling around him that damages nearby enemy units per second based on their max HP. Approximately 6.375% of this damage is turned into free attack damage. It isn't uncommon to see numbers such as +150 to your AD when you use this. If you are fighting someone in their minions, oh it only gets better.

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Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
9x Greater Mark of Critical Chance
9x Greater Seal of Defense
9x Greater Seal of Armor
9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Lets talk about why these are my choices for runes.
Armor pen - Really standard. I should say, really, THE standard for characters that deal physical damage. Not much of an explanation needed(however, see below to my explanation of crit runes).

Crit Chance - Somebody really smart on the league of legends did the math and crit chance is on par with armor pen at every stage of the game. Plus, it has the advantage of being more 'random'. So, why don't people run Crit chance all the time? Because it doesn't affect skills. Well, most skills. It works on nasus's Q, his only AD skill, so there really is no disadvantage to taking these of armor pen. I'm just not stupid enough to have crit chance in my cheat sheet, thats begging for downvotes. People are idiots :)

Both sets of Armor Runes - Armor is great. Being more tanky is wonderful. I chose the per level runes because of the accelerated leveling and the fact that you start at level 4(before any real fighting is done) on Dominion. It is really up to you as to which to use, it won't make a big difference either way. Late game vs Early game.

Both sets of Magic Resist Runes - Magic Resist is great. Being more tanky is wonderful. I chose the per level runes because of the accelerated leveling and the fact that you start at level 4(before any real fighting is done) on Dominion. It is really up to you as to which to use, it won't make a big difference either way. Late game vs Early game.

Health per level runes - Health is nice. It lets you take more damage vs magic and physical damage. Free health crystal from nine seals. Best rune.

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Why the defense tree on a game mode like Dominion? To put it bluntly, this is a guide on how to defend/cap the bottom point while killing your enemies by thrusting your body up against theirs. Both of those require tanking lots of damage, so.. lets break it down.
Defense Tree

Tier 1
Resistance - Free Magic Resistance, 'nuff said..
Hardiness - Free Armor, 'nuff said..
Tier 2
Durability - Health per level to back up that free resistances.. nuff said.
Vigor - Health regen, but mostly filler.
Tier 3
Veteran's Scars - Another free 30 flat health. Why is the defense tree so good to us?
Tier 4
Initiator - Not amazing since they made it only work while above 70% health, but hey, movement speed is great.
Enlightenment - Two points into this to cap off our cooldown reduction. 3 points would be a waste.
Tier 5
Honor Guard - % Damage reduction. Not much, but really this is just icing on the cake as is..
Tier 6
Juggernaut - Okay so we can't run, fight him, and now he has MORE hp AND now we can't disable him!?! /surrender


Tier 1
Summoner's Insight - Summoner spell mastery. Mandatory. Whether you use Ghost and Flash or Ghost and Promote, you NEED this.
Good Hands - Not great, but what else is there? Could possibly let you be the guy who saves the game by a fraction of a second. It happens, you've seen it I'm sure. Maybe this will make the difference, but for me it only gets two filler points.
Improved Recall - I value this one point wonder more than 3 % reduced death timer. Doesn't matter though, do what you like.
Tier 2
Swiftness - Free movespeed. Scout is useless, no wards in Dominion. Meditation is nice but between the massive mana regen and max mana obtained by my item selection and the buff from the map, this isn't needed. At all.
Tier 3
Runic Affinity - This is an interesting mastery. It increases the duration of speed shrines and quests, which can be quite useful. Its up to you whether to get this or the ghost mastery.


Tier 1
Summoner's Wrath - Only here for the Ghost mastery. Get Runic Affinity instead if you want.

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Summoner Spells

Ghost and Exhaust are my choices. When playing a bot lane champ, you need to be able to escape ganks, and secure ganks. Both of these spells allow you to do that in both situations. Very flexible. Ghost and Promote is my second most highly used combination. However, there aren't many that don't work. You can do pretty much any combination of the following spells.

Ghost I tend to take this almost every game. Speed is good in Dominion, for many many reasons. Catching that guy back capping your team. Running away from a gank. Participating in a gank. It's one of those universal spells that can be used in any situation to your advantage and the cooldown is decently short.

Exhaust Can be used offensively or defensively, and this makes you very flexible. When used offensively, it prevents them from dealing almost literally any damage to you when combined with wither, and it stacks with your E for almost 50 armor reduction. When used defensively, you can now slow up to two enemies enough to get back to your tower. Example - You are being ganked because you push like hell. Wither the enemy with the best CC. Exhaust the other enemy if he can keep up and apply some sort of cc to allow the other guy to catch back up. Otherwise, just run. Still cant get away? Pop Ghost and Shurelya's Reverie and laugh. In best case scenario, Fury of the Sands for 600 hp> Wither highest cc enemy> Exhaust lowest cc enemy>Pop Ghost and shurelya's reverie. There's damn near nothing in this game that can catch you after that. Once you are semi safe under your point, you can harass the enemy long enough to allow your team to show up, hopefully.

Promote What does it do? It creates a super minion that has massively increased health, damage, and resists. Why is it good? Well, we play the role of a bot lane defender/pusher. This big guy is really good at building up a huge wave of minions as he will tank all the damage, and then you have a giant wave of 6-7 caster minions and 4-5 melee with a few cannon minions. What does this spell? Death to any melee character who tries to intercept it and certain decap. Decap? Its when you neutralize a point. A good wave of minions can do this solo while you spam Spirit Fire and harass the enemy as he tries to beat them off. Once his tower isn't bothering you, you can run up and give him the stick! This also brings us back to one of my tips, protect your minions. Minions on Dominion ****ing HURT! When one of your enemies decides that he is going to fight you on a damaging -40 armor aura in the middle of your minions(its far more common than you'd think. It happens at 2100 dominion elo all the time.), he is going to die. Even late in the game after your enemies have armor, they still do decent damage.

Revive is a good choice as well. If you do manage to somehow die with all of your items abilities and summoner spells working for you, you are now back at their feet with +400 health. Nothing wrong here, just has a really long cooldown, and feels extremely clutch. I don't take it often, but I won't tell you not to.

Garrison Never used. Can't comment on it, but its kind of annoying when an enemy has it and they interrupt a capture with it. So, I guess it has that going for it. Clarification- I in no way see this as a bad spell, it has its uses top when you are sieging. It effectively makes their turret useless, which is good, but I don't see what place it has in a bottom lane scenario. There shouldn't be too many situations where you are fighting the enemy on their turret. But hey, if you've had great experiences with it, take it!

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I get this item for several reasons. I get it because it gives tons of starting armor. This is important because it allows you to take less damage when you decide to go in and get a last hit with Siphoning Strike or when you are just harassing the enemy champion. Minions hurt like hell in Dominion, and can easily do 500 points of damage early on. If your enemy is AD, thats just a bonus. I get this item for the mana. It's the cheapest viable mana item for Nasus, and it also gives armor and a nice chunk of cdr to help you make use of the new found mana. I get this item for the cooldown reduction because it's integral to this build. You NEED to have your Fury of the Sands up any time you get ganked. You NEED to be able to spam Wither on your enemies and clear waves and harass with your Spirit Fire. And last, but not least, it lets us farm Siphoning Strike pretty effectively without leveling it too much. Which is great. The last reason I start with this item is because I can afford it from the very beginning of the game. Simply buy your Sapphire Crystal, your Chain Vest, and a Health Potion, go cap your bottom point, and recall. You will have the exact right amount of gold to do so after 1-2 seconds at base and then you rush to lane and nothing was missed. You get this item first every game regardless of who your enemy is or you will fail due to lack of pushing power and lack of mana and probably.. lack of health because of the minions destroying you.

I get these boots because they are amazing. They give movement speed 2, which is the most common so you will be on par with or above(thanks to movement speed quints and our mastery set up) even people who have Boots of Swiftness. I think my movement speed once I finish these is 429. I get them because they provide magic resist, a stat this build is admittedly short on, and the main reason I choose them over any other boot is the tenacity. Lets be honest, tenacity is amazing. If you've ever played Irelia, you know just how good it can be, so we get as much of it as we can and we get it in our second item. And again, be honest for a second, all the other tenacity items SUCK. Majorly. Especially for Nasus, and even on a carry they aren't that appealing.

[*] Berserker's Greaves - No, not even on my more dps focused build would I get these over Mercury's Treads. Yes, they are cheaper. Yes, they give a bit of attack speed. However, attack speed is a stat that Nasus doesn't need at all! His most highly damaging skill, his Siphoning Strike resets your auto attack for you, it just really isn't necessary on him.

[*] Ionian Boots of Lucidity - No, we already have maxed out cooldown reduction due our other items.

[*] Boots of Swiftness - We already move at 429 with just speed 2 boots, this is overkill.

[*] Boots of Mobility - Again, overkill. Except this time, you lose the extra movement speed when you enter combat and now it's like you bought a pair of Mercury's Treads that don't have magic resist or tenacity. Trust me, you are innately fast and you don't need these.

[*] Sorcerer's Shoes - To be honest, if Mercury's Treads weren't in this game, I'd buy these. You do a ton of damage with your Spirit Fire spam and your Fury of the Sands passive effect, so these are actually viable. But Mercury's Treads DO exist, so don't get these.

[*] Ninja Tabi - These are your only other option, in my opinion. If you are versing an entire team of auto attacking ad characters, with low amounts of cc, go ahead and grab these and laugh at them.

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Who should I pick Nasus against in bottom lane?

There are few enemies who can beat you if you will counter build appropriately. I'm going to go through the top bottom laners as picked by RealWolf M, in his tier list found here.

Cassiopeia is a very tough lane to handle as any melee character let alone one without a hard gap closer. I highly recommend picking someone else to deal with this one, but if you do get stuck against her, there are a few things you can do to make it easier. One of the easiest things to do is to get your Odyn's Veil earlier than normal. Zone hard with Spirit Fire and ask for ganks frequently. She's squishy and easily killed. Besides that, you just have to out play her. Dodge her spells, don't try to 1v1 her from full hp if she has her ult up, etc.

Maokai is very easy to beat. He pushes hard, but can't take you on in a fight. He does low damage after his first combo and hes not really a dps. Just deal with his pushing early with Spirit Fire and run up and beat the hell out of him after you get a few items under your belt. Get an early Negatron Cloak to help counter his damage.

Skarner is very easy to beat. He only does good damage if hes allowed to auto attack. And you, being the awesome Withering Nasus you are, will not allow him to do so. Frozen heart + wither means an average of 85~% attackspeed slow on whoever you are fighting. That, and the fact that he absolutely has to be in melee range to deal damage means your Fury of the Sands and Spirit Fire are going to be hitting him constantly. Easy to beat.

Soraka is very very very hard to beat. I'd say impossible if the enemy soraka counter builds you efficiently. She has massive survivability if she builds mostly tank items like a bot soraka should. Extremely annoying silence, but at least its down to 1.625 second duration
instead of 2.5 because you are a good player and bought Mercury's Treads. You deal almost all of your damage in melee range, so you have to go up and let her Starcall you if you want to deal any damage to her. This means that she is going to be stacking massive Mr reduction on you the whole fight and dealing more and more damage as she goes. Her W heals for a decent amount and gives her 80 armor. She can ult on top of that to heal her whole team and restore her own hp. And, if shes really wanting to be a *****, her build is going to be something like this: Boots of Mobility, Frozen Heart, Thornmail, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Rabadon's Deathcap, Abyssal Mask. I mean really, what do you expect to do against that? Not win, that's for sure!

Urgot is one of the others you probably won't beat(If they are good!). I thought that I could handle this guy as Nasus, I had done it before after all. So I get into a game all confident, and I actually am winning for awhile. I rushed my Frozen Heart and he couldn't deal much damage to me, I played well and dodged his nades etc. He got his damage items, and it got closer, but I'd still win if I played smart! I capped him a few times but my team was busy so I could never hold it for long. After his Manamune and Last Whisper, he finally gets a Thornmail. That was when it went downhill. After that, he got a Frozen Heart. So not only was he penetrating massive amounts of my resist due to his grenade, he had last whisper, and two of the best armor items in the game. I lost that game. So what I'm trying to say is, if you are low elo, and you yourself are pretty good, you can probably beat Urgot with Nasus. But if he wises up and builds even a Thornmail, you are going to be in a tight spot.

Yorick is actually really easy to beat. What Nasus counters most is ad champions that need to be in melee range to fight you. I don't count his ghost harass as a fight, by the way. I mean when he intends to kill you. How does Nasus do this? Wither, Spirit Fire, and Fury of the Sands. Wither will reduce his auto attacking damage to almost nothing. If he intends to kill you, he will be standing on top of your face spamming ghouls. You simply drop Spirit Fire and enjoy the -40 armor debuff. Let's look at Nasus's ult. It deals percentile magic damage for 15 seconds, at rank five it drains 5% of their max hp per second. Okay FireRebel, I see how that racks up, but is it really enough damage to kill him? WAIT YOUNG ONE! I WAS NOT FINISHED! You see, your ultimate also converts 6.375% of the damage dealt into AD. Yep. Against a 2200 hp opponent, you will gain 7 AD per second simply by standing by him. Nice right? Still not finished! Don't forget that Yorick is going to use his ultimate on himself. Yep, that means now you are hitting 2 enemies with 2200 hp. So thats 14 AD per second. Oh, we forgot the ghouls! They do have low max hp, though. Let's be modest and say they add 6 ad per second all together. That's 20 free AD per second! That's 300 after 15 seconds! Of course, there is the factor of magic resist! So lets say he has 50% magic damage reduction. Okay. Now its 10 ad per second. 150 free AD, still not shabby at all. But then there is the factor of the minions in the lane.. What if you get him to fight you in those minions?!?! It could be 50 ad per second, if the wave is big enough.

I've gone on for long enough about that, I figure. Last reason Yorick is easy to beat is because his ghouls home in on you.. and you can farm your Siphoning Strike off them. Lol.

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Nasus is a hard counter to Yorick and many other bots. I hope this opened your eyes or at least helped you learn something about Nasus.

Leave me feedback!