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Nasus Build Guide by N A Jar of Ninjas

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author N A Jar of Ninjas

Hail to the CANE! A Comprehensive and Detailed Guide

N A Jar of Ninjas Last updated on October 18, 2016
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Team 1

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #5 in
Top Lane
Win 52%
Get More Stats

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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 0

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 12

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 18

Threats to Nasus with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Yorick A very easy match up due to the fact that his ghosts help you stack your Q. As usual passively farm until you have a glacial shroud and a sheen. You can easily kill him if you have these two items and your ghost available. Just have care for his ult as he can come back to life and still assist a gank from his jungler.
Hecarim His Q and W push the lane hard and wither kills his passive AD in a duel. He will never win against you and the lane will become yours. Beware his team fight presence as it can alter the tide a of a team fight if timed right.
Kassadin LOL! What kind of siege minion are you?!
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This is still a work in progress but I decided to publish to get feed back for CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. This is a detailed guide and as such I try to give a lot of information about choices and why. If you don't like to read then this is not a guide for you. Please don't be rude by down voting or being abusive if you disagree with something. Give me useful comments/directions only please! I will be working on this weekly until I feel it has been completed. Thanks!

Hello everyone! Welcome to a guide for, my main champion, Nasus! I started playing back in the middle of Season 2 and Nasus was the first champion I bought. Since then I have mained him through thick and thin and spammed him in normal's, team-builder and draft normal's and ranked. I ranked Silver 4 in season 4 and Silver 3 in season 5. I only ever did the placements hence I never got any higher but I might try to go much higher this year. With this in mind, I've played Nasus against nearly any match-up you can think of many times and have an extensive knowledge on what works, what doesn't and the many misconceptions that surround him. I've put decent amount of time into this guide based on my experience, so my descriptions are fully fleshed out and realized. Now without any further delay, I give you my comprehensive guide to the Curator of the Sands!

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Pros / Cons

+ Naturally tanky
+ Fantastic sustain passive
+ Infinite scaling AD on Q
+ Great 1v1, 1v2 and 1v3
+ Built in dive/anti-dive tools
+ God-like mid/late game
+ No true counters
+ Great objective taker
- Weak early game
- Farm dependent
- Lacks abilities with mobility
- Hard CC can shut you down
- Easily kited in team fights
- May cause tunnel farming
- High farm doesn't = win

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greater mark of hybrid Penetration Marks- greater mark of hybrid penetration In my opinion these are the best choice for Nasus. They increase the overal damage of all his abilities and scale extremely well into mid and late game. These require you to have good last hitting mechanics and are recommended for the experienced Nasus player.

1st Alt- greater mark of armor penetration Really good choice if you can't afford the hybrid set. These only really help your AA and Q damage making them slightly inferior to their hybrid cousin.

2nd Alt- Greater Mark of Attack Damage Ultimately I do not feel these are the best option unless you are jungling. Personally I think it's better to learn to last hit well, then trying to compensate with these. To each their own.

3rd Alt- Greater Mark of Armor A great choice if facing a hard lane where survivability is paramount. This paired with Greater Seal of Armor or Greater Seal of Scaling Health will help you be extraordinarily tanky and very hard to kill.

4th ALt- Greater Mark of Magic Resist Same idea as their armor cousins. Pair these with health seals or magic resistance seals to negate early game damaging AP top laners like Rumble or Vladamir.
greater mark of hybrid Penetration


Seals- Greater Seal of Scaling Armor These are far superior to flat armor seals. They exceed the flat armor seals at lvl 7. What makes them work so well on Nasus is his innate life steal allowing him to remain healthy even with lower starting armor. This is of course if you are able to last hit and stack Q.

Alt 1- Greater Seal of Scaling Health Great against AP bullies, tanks who come top that do magic damage or true damage dealers like Fiora or Darius. These scale very well into the mid/late game as well because as you near the 200 mark for armor or magic resist, with items/runes/masteries, health becomes more important to surviving.

Alt 2- Greater Seal of Health A good starting option if you want flat health early but they become lackluster at lvl 7. Again these are better for the non experienced who want a safer early game.

Alt 3- Greater Seal of Magic Resist or Greater Seal of Scaling Magic Resist You can take either of these if the other team is comprised of 4 -5 magic damage dealers. They will help negate a ton of damage early on paired with magic resist glyphs. Remember scaling runes are always superior in the long run.


Glyphs- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist One of the best choices for late game Nasus as we do not usually buy a lot of MR items outside of Spirit Visage and Mercury Treads. Great against AP tops or Fighters who deal mixed damage.

Alt 1- Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction or Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction Decent only if you plan to get a Iceborn Gauntlet, which will synergy well with a high health and resistance build. For the jungle build these are also ideal as you need that lower cool down to grab as many stacks as possible with limited number of creeps and time to clear before needing to gank. Otherwise with the alternate core build of Trinity Force Frozen Heart and Spirit Visage there is no reason to take these. If you do go this route then take only 6 of the scalling and use the other 3 for some magic resist or armor or go straight CDR and use a quint spot to round out your 10%.


Quints- Greater Quintessence of Life Steal These are always a good choice in any match up. They enhance your already terrific sustain and will be useful all game long. I typically take two of these and grab one Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed because I like to hit every minion possible but feel free to grab all 3 in life steal if you do not care for a little extra attack speed.

Alt 1- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed Kiting is Nasus's natural enemy and moving faster can get you out of the way of skill shots and help you stick to targets. Remember, though, Nasus excels at shrugging off small to medium harass damage and I typically find these underwhelming once team fights break out. If you and your team are absolutely stomping the enemy team then you won't notice this and it becomes a small disadvantage at best.

Alt 2- Greater Quintessence of Armor or Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist Either of these will help you shrug off the harass from certain lane bullies. These will help you be safer in lane especially from long range poke champs who can get at you when you are under turret or behind your minions.

Alt 3- Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction Same concept as the glyphs. Take 3 of these to get 7.5% CDR and then you only need 3 in glyphs to get to 10% with the remaining slots going to armor or magic resist. Again this is to support the Iceborn Gauntlet path.

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Top/Mid Nasus
This is a great set up for Nasus. One of Nasus's greatest greatest strength lies in his ability to sustain through harass, cc and skirmishes. With this set up you are augmenting his sustain and inherently tanky nature to survive the early game and be a force of destruction and fear to the enemy team late game.
This setup can be used Top or Mid lane. Yes I said "Mid" because certain AD assassins who like to go mid love squishy mage's with no sustain... Trust me the aren't happy when they see a Nasus in this lane.

Another great way to set him up would be to run 0/12/18. With this set up you will have an easier early game to last hit and stronger team fight presence with the health and mana regeneration from Dangerous Game . By taking Merciless it is possible to let go of your hybrid pen reds and take 5% AS and scaling or flat damage. This build is more centered around helping your team than just yourself.

Jungle Nasus
Please refer to the second build in regards to masteries for the jungle. They differ slightly and are augmented more towards a utility and assist play style then a "run em down and kill em!" play style. The only thing that really should be interchangeable, based on play style, is the keystone mastery. Grasp of the Undying or Strength of the Ages are both good. Grasp is geared more towards dueling and ganking and strength is centered on being more of a shield and peeler for your team. Both have merits and shortfalls decide what roll you wish to fill and pick based on that.

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Summoner Spells

No excuses for not taking this one. Nasus is weak early game and teleport is essential to getting back up to lane ASAP if he has to early recall. Remember it is better to recall early and get another piece of a defensive item then to give an early kill. Mid to late game this can get you into a fight on the other side of the rift or help you secure major objectives with your team. It's usefulness is hindered only by lack of map awareness.

I will almost always take ghost as my second spell. Sometimes your lane opponent will get cocky trying to harass you in your minion wave, you trade back and get them down to 1/4 of their health, they are low on mana and they flash. You pop ghost run them down and get an easy kill! I probably have this happen every other game as Nasus around the time we both hit lvl 6. Ghost not only gives you incredible chase potential but also ignores unit collision allowing you to close the gap quickly. Plus it is on CD significantly less than Flash.

Flash is like a good knife. It has about a thousand uses and all of them extremely useful in their own right. Flash can be used in so many ways I can't really describe them all here but it is a great way to close the gap to get wither on a priority target or escape a bad situation like an enemy J4 Cataclysm or a team mate Anivia's Crystallize that cuts you off on the wrong side with the entire enemy team. Yes this has happened to me by a friend, a total troll who I hope reads this, who's one failed wall got me and three other players killed losing us the game. Always evaluate the other team's picks and decide which spell will be more useful to you in the long run.

Other options

Welcome to the other options for summoner spells on Nasus! Yeah this is it! All that you see below are other viable options....

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Soul Eater Passive- This passive it what makes Nasus so frustrating for your enemy lane partner. At lvl 1 you have 10% life steal, with runes and masteries you will start with about 18% life steal, making your enemies life a living hell to push you out of lane especially as this applies to your Q damage that goes up infinitely with every kill. Eventually by lvl 13 you will have 20% life steal, not including your runes and masteries, making you damn near immortal.

Fury of the Sands R- Obviously always take your Ultimate when available. Besides giving a substantial boost to health, damage and AA Range it does percent max health damage, giving you a massive edge in 1v1 fights early and providing excellent damage in the middle of a team fight for mid and late game.

Siphoning Strike Q- ALWAYS max your Siphoning Strike First. Besides the fact it is your main damage source it gives you infinitely scaling damage allowing you to crush your opponents in lane.

Wither W- Easily the best and most available slow in the game. This ability will make any auto attacker cry or immobile carry wet themselves as you barrel down on them. Wither will also save your life if you get an aggressive AA champion trying to lock you into a fight you can't win yet. If you have a very favorable match up or an AA reliant opponent with little CC then Wither will be best to max third.

Spirit Fire E- The only time to max this over Wither first is if you are jungle Nasus or vs an armor stacking tank top. It will help you clear much faster and safer in the jungle or cut through a tank's armor in lane. The armor shred and damage also works well against squishy champs or duelers. It cuts deeply into their ability to sustain while making you and your allies hit harder but it will hinder your chase potential with fewer points being in wither. Your choice really on what you think is best to max first.

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Core Items

Ah! The great contender vs Trinity Force. There is a very active debate on which item is best built out of sheen for Nasus and the camps are usually pretty divided depending on who you ask. Honestly any choice is purely speculative and pure preference of the player. *Edit* I've changed my opinion recently on this item and feel it is of equal if not a better contention pick vs Trinity Force. I tend to do better against coordinated teams with IBG and find it easier to buy other core items faster which are crucial in the faster winning Meta This item is incredibly effective and I just can't ignore the results. I also prefer this in the jungle over TF, mostly b/c of limited gold resources but if you can get into SS range the slow field can help your lane mates stick to your target and net you or them a kill.

Spirit Visage is always a must even against a full AD team. Why you ask? Because even though the magic resist is not entirely needed everything else it gives us is just too good to pass by. You get 10% CDR, 500 Health, 150% base health regen and (most importantly) 20% increase to all forms of sustain. This items can let you heal a massive amount of damage back very quickly, as long as you have something to hit, with a single stacked Q.

A remarkable item for both lane pressure and team fighting. This item gives and impressive 55 AR, 125% Base Health Regen, 55 MR and a passive that gives you 20% increased movement speed near towers. This helps with Nasus's kiting issues, bulking up his defenses all while having great synergy with SV and DMP. However its active is almost worth all the defensive stats. Careful placement of the Void Gate will cause massive chaos to a lane that the enemy team will not be able to ignore. It lasts a really long time and will push and destroy towers without you being present and will passively net you gold! It is also great if the enemy team is pushing to one of your team's towers hard. Placing this behind your turret will help keep the pressure off until your minions or team mates can arrive. A truly wonderful item that works against nearly any team comp and sits very well in Nasus's arsenal.

Even after its nerfs, Frozen Heart is still a crucial component of Nasus's build. You will want to build this first against an AA dependent, AD match up if not going for Iceborn Gauntlet, besides giving 20% CDR it gives 90 Armor, 400 Mana and -15% Attack Speed against enemy champions with 1000 units of you. This gives Nasus one of his first large power spike in the game, basically allowing you to farm and take the enemy tower easily even if taking harass.

I am not going to go into all the reasons why this item is so good on Nasus but the most important thing is its raw uncompromising power. This item gives Nasus a huge amount of kill potential and ability to pursue his enemies. There are many who argue that the stats are wasted or that the crit chance will ruin your stacks. None of this is true. By the time you finish this item you should already have around 500-600 stacks anything extra is just icing on the cake after this point. The crit chance also gives you a wild amount of damage from a single Q, it is not uncommon to have critical strikes well over 1000 damage. Trust me this is one of the best damage items on Nasus. *Edit* Unfortunately with how quickly games are moving and the inclusion of so much true damage and % health shred, TF is less optimal unless you are able to get ahead early. It simply takes too long to build and games are usually decided by the time you can buy it.


These are the best source of tenacity and magic resist for boots. If the enemy team has several stuns, snares, roots or knock ups then these are going to be your best friend!

Absolutely indispensable against AA reliant enemy team comps without much hard CC as they give you 30 armor. They also have a nifty passive of ignoring 10% of the damage of AA against any champ.

AKA= Swifties!
Paired with Dead Man's Plate and Trinity Force you will be zooming everywhere! I would only get these if you and your team are ahead.

Best Final Buy's

I'm not even sure where to begin with this item but I build in 90% of my games with Nasus. It makes you tankier, faster, increases damage output and gives you another slow. Seriously, what is not to love here? This can be completed before Trinity Force if you need the survivability over damage.

More of a niche pick in the current season due to Dead Man's being so GD good in almost any match up. However the stats are impressive for the price and crit reduction and attack speed reduction can ruin a fed marksman's day. Definitely a worthy buy over Dead Man's in the right situations.

Again a fantastic item that just screams to be built on Nasus. Sterak's gives us a massive boost to defense with it's large health pool and shield based on 30% of your max health. The 25-50% extra base AD doesn't hurt either. Never a bad buy on Nasus but I would probably not buy it any earlier than your 5th or 6th item.

The premier anti-mage item with its massive 500 health 70 MR and 100% base health regen. It's passive spell shield will completely negate one spell from from an enemy.This is especially damaging to burst champs who rely on chaining their whole kit together to do damage. In reality though if they only have one decent damage dealer who is AP you may still not end up going for this as the shield is only good for blocking one ability every 45 seconds so it is not as effective as some other options.

As Nasus we typically like building items that give us health with armor/magic resist, not damage and resistance. However this item has some great features which make it a great choice against mages and tanks. First it offers some terrific offensive stats with armor penetration and some extra AD. Where it shines, though, is with it's excellent shield passive, procing off of how much magic damage you receive and giving you a significant boost to life steal/spell vamp until you leave combat. Once again this is a better item when you are ahead or if they have a few AP tanks that are causing trouble.

I love this item on a well farmed Nasus as you can basically one shot a squishy target or melt tanks for your back line. In rare cases on my first back I will buy Executioner's Calling. (Don't do this if you can't buy at least one CDR item first as it delays your stacking by a large amount) If you have a Dr. Mundo, Garen or Singed in your lane then these will help if you have to go toe to toe with them earlier than you'd like or if your jungler refuses to come help you stop them from proxy farming.

Alternative Choices (Generally Not Recommended)

This item is not bad on Nasus if your team lacks a natural tank and it falls on you to pick up the mantle. The burn passive helps with pushing to towers faster but if you take enemy champion agro the burn will target them and net you the agro from their turret so split pushing is less of an option with this item. By buying this item you are committing to being a presence in team fights. Do not buy if you are planning to afk/ split push lanes. Can also be good to shut down the healing from Garen and Mundo as it will proc on them resetting Garen's Passive and cutting into Mundo's sustain from ult.

It's not horrible on Nasus but it is not really great either. It's a much better item on Garen or Mundo because of their crazy high static health regen features. I'd say the situation you'd want this in is if the enemy team has three or more true damage dealers on their team.

I won't lie, the passive move speed near turrets and the active makes diving under turrets pretty fun however that's about where this item's usefulness ends. The rest of it's stats are rather lackluster and with our core items we waste that 10% CDR. ZZ'Rot is far superior to this in almost every way, while still giving you the bonus movement speed near turrets and gives you a much better passive for both offense and defense.

Now this thing feels like it would be great on Nasus, that 20% CDR almost seals the deal. Taking a closer look though we see that this item just can't give Nasus what he needs. The health and AD are nice but the passive is far too slow to stack with Nasus as he has only one ability to help proc this effect other than his normal AA's. Plus taking this removes Frozen Heart and there really isn't anything else to fill that gap in mana we desperately need. You could go IBG and BC but then lose out on SV due to wasted CDR. I don't personally think that this is worthy trade in the long run.

This can be a good way to adrenaline your innate life steal and make you hit really hard and the bonus shield is ok too. Often times though this is more of a troll pick and is rarely helpful unless you just wanting to punish a team that has fed you ten kills by mid game.

Don't do it! I've seen Nasus players take this and yes it kinda works but it is a trap item. If you get focused this item offers nothing to help you get out of it except a single target activated slow.

Yeah life steal is good, so is health and so is AD. Again though these items are traps and offer far too little in defensive properties to be of real benefit. The passive cleave effect can lose you stacks and push a lane more than you'd like. If you were going to opt for one I might consider Titanic Hydra only because we build so much health that the passive could do a lot of damage and only as your LAST item. That said I've seen these items rarely work but the situations were exceptional.

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Creeping / Jungling

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Special Thanks!

Thank you to NateKiller and his guidance and discussion with me. He took the time to engage through my several long ***/annoying messages and gave me advise on how to be a better Nasus player. His guide "Unkillable Nasus" is probably the best and most informative guides on Nasus and was a huge influence in helping me write this guide.

Thank you to Wickedsmack a real life friend who has trudged through Summoner Rift with and against me to better my Nasus playing. Also nothing is funnier than him raging about how broken Wither is. Thanks m8y!

Thank you as well to jhoijhoi on her excellent guide for coding and writing a guide. Trust me when I say this guide would have been much uglier than it is now without her resource.

Lastly thank you to all the summoner's I have played with and against who were gracious in defeat and humble in victory. Many of whom shared their wisdom on how to play Nasus better if I struggled or gave me tips if I did well and where I could improve.

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- Updated my preference on Trinity Force and Iceborn Gauntlet. Including Rune choice and item builds.

-Added Alt Runes to the Rune section.

-Edited the champion match-up section and added info on playing against Volibear.

-Match up section complete!

-Updated Items in cheat sheet.
-Added ZZ'Rot to Core Items and made a section for it.