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Nasus - from puppy to Anubis

Last updated on December 11, 2010
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Top Lane
Ranked #27 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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 0

Here we are, in another guide in how to play nasus. The information you may found here will be the labour of reading some existent guides about him, as well as some time spent in maining him for some weeks. Some reestructures will be made later, torwards to more aesthetic, but the fundamental will be present in here.


To put it simple, this guide will tell how i make nasus a dps/tank (or tough) champion inside a team. I'll be explaining some aspects in his gameplay, why i do this and not the other way around, how usefull are his skills, what you should be doing with X or Y... etc. Well, i gotta say i suck at introductions, and you might be aware of other suckinesses throughout the guide, but i hope in the end it will be useful.

Pros & Cons

+ good farmer
+ good pusher
+ imo, best solo-laner
+ can take lots of punishment
+ can escape from a gank after pushing a sidelane

- mana issues
- not best tanker, nor DPS.
- exaust/blinds might give you a bad time, since Q is his most important source of dmg.


Soul Eater - Nasus drains his foe's spiritual energy, giving him a natural 10/15/20% lifesteal. The lifesteal value increments at levels 1,6, and 11.

I've heard some ppl commenting how useless this skill is "in a tank", and couldn't stop thinking on his stupidity. This passive, so to say, is the "hardmode" equivalent to garen's passive, meaning this is the one that will make you stay in the line without having any HP problems, good harrass counter, and actually take even more punishment in teamfights, unless you get blind...

Siphoning Strike - Nasus's next attack will deal an additional 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 damage (+100% of ability power). Siphoning Strike permanently gains 2 damage whenever it kills an enemy.

Most important source of dmg to non-minion targets, though it requires some work from your part. Last hit, last hit, last hit as most as you can without compromising ur position, and ratio. You'll know you made a good job when the game is over, and u made at least 80 stacks of dmg (unless game is over at 25min mark). Also, remember to use it on towers, as it works.

Whiter - Nasus ages his target, slowing their movement and attack speed by 35% and reducing it further by 3 / 6 / 9 / 12 / 15% each second for 5 seconds.

The anti-carry spell, the runaway catcher, the escape mechanism for when u screw up a bit (not lifesaver btw). Important spell on nasus, specially to catch running enemies or reducing effectiveness of Physical-based champs.

Spirit Fire - After a brief delay, the target area becomes desecrated. Enemies in the area have their armor reduced by 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 and are dealt 20 / 34 / 48 / 62 / 76 (+20% of ability power) magic damage each second.

one of the most important spells on nasus. It will be with SF that you'll hold the lanes during early game. Without it, nasus is almost nothing. Farming skill, zoning skill, debuff skill, well... AoE DoT skill. use and abuse of it in early game, and success will be guaranteed in so many ways that the enemy team will blame themselves for loosing.

Fury of the Sands - Nasus becomes empowered in the sandstorm for 15 seconds, gaining 300 / 450 / 600 health. While the storm rages, he drains 3 / 4 / 5 (+1% of ability power)% of nearby enemies' health each second (240 damage max per second) and converts it into bonus attack damage.

Powerfull skill in nasus arsenal. A good nasus appears when he knows exactly when to use it (still trying to reach that perfection xD). it will make you more tough in teamfights, and will also cast fear on the enemies, whether they choose to run, or stay in the fight and eating up 5% of their hp as dmg for the next seconds. Also good to prevent some1 from getting a kill on the last moment, an ignite, or a karthus rape.

to end this part of the abilities, ill explain some details on the skill upgrade. to start with SF(e), i max it only till lv4, then give the last lvl on lv 18 for a reason: SF on lv4 is more than enough to farm minions, without killing them, which means you can lasthit more of them with SS(q), and also land more auto-attacks, meaning you will heal much more thoughtout the laning phase, negating any or almost any harrassment the enemies might put on you. Even though i said wither can be your escape mechanism, its more of a "2 more seconds in lane..... RUN"; in other words, you know the enemy is coming, but you can still be in that place for 1-3 more seconds to land one last SS, or leave a SF farming more minions, start your retreat, and if you see some1 that could become a potential threat, u put a wither on him and remove any of his intention to get a kill. I normally make this more than 3 times in a game, so it actually might be worth the risks for more gold/dmg stacks

Summoner Spells

I normally take:
- exaust: Yep, nasus already got a good phys champ debuff, why another?? well, if a team is poor on exausts, another one might do the trick, since it will enable you to reduce effectiveness of 2 targets in an important teamfight. But it is understandable if you get another summoner spell
- teleport: if you play nasus good, your only problem will be mana starvation, so one 1st trip you might do is the one to get chalice of harmony, and use teleport back and pretend you never left the lane, which is what will happen since mana starvation will be removed from equation. also usefull to switch sidelanes, surprise enemies, get back to action when needed, etc

others i might suggest:
- ghost: good to chase enemies that are running, also to run from the problems in certain times.. well the typical reasons that other champs might need its use
- cleanse: for CC heavy teams, or simply to remove the other nasus' cons, being that one the blind from teemo, or exaust. Sometimes those ones comes when they see my nasus doing too much dmg
- clairvoyance: if you're soloing a lane, this is worth for map awareness. I take this one over exaust when i know our team will have a jungler, or theirs....


the one i put here is forwarded when a team has a strong physical dps output. i start with a meki pendant to help on the mana issue, and 2 health pots (thought i normally dont use one of them). when farm is enough, i go back to base to get a chalice of harmony, and teleport back and continue my busyness. Well as i said, since its forwarded for Pdps, i get a ninja tabi and a randuims omen, specially with the slow active. the dps items start with a sheen (even before any defence item), turn it into triforce later on in the game, plus a bloodthirster. triforce synergises very well with nasus, however i dont like the idea of a bloodthirster.... main reason for the bloodthirster is to have another boost in your attack, but the lifesteal extra looses a bit in this champ... same happens for black cleaver if we consider SF, or infinity edge, if we consider the fact that %crit isnt taken in cosideration for the build... if a battle prolongs, you can sell chalice for another defensive item, though i consider an HP one.

if a team is more built towards casters, a mercurys' threads is an obvious substitute for the ninja tabi, and the FoN over randuim. As possible items to throw into this build, you can choose a banshee's veil or guardian angel, instead of getting bloodthirster sooner (more tanky/utility setup), or get a warmogs sooner, instead of a randuim/FoN, though i must say i had poorer results when i've got that HP item instead of the defensive one.


there are 2 things to be taken into account when playing with nasus:
1- you had a good match if you managed to get at least 80 stacks in your Q skill
2- you're a good nasus, if you didnt let your tower reach 50% hp till mid-game

point one is easy, and you might have already read in other nasus guides: the more you lasthit with Q, the stronger it is later in the game. why my point 2? IMHO, a good nasus will manage to outfarm, zone enemies, and leave the tower unscratched, all thx to SF(e), even if he his solo-lane vs 2 enemies. Another guide made by DavidSS (Nasus: The Tank of the Sands) depicts very well in a video how to use SF during lane phase, how to farm minions (thus preventing them from reaching/scratching the tower), and zoning the enemies. If you manage to zone them, you will do only slight dmg to them, but you will prevent them from getting last-hits, thus no income for them (and more for you!). Also remember not to get SF to lv5, so that you can give a better use of your passive, autoattacks and SS-lasthits.

if you take a solo lane, with a jungler in ur team, you still can keep the enemies from landing a single struck on ur tower, but try to use it as your 2nd partner. zoning will be more difficult, but not impossible. Coordinate with your jungler to strike the two enemies in your lane and kill one of them or both! Btw, As a nasus, you know u'll have done your job perfect if you have taken down their tower :)

even if this guide is for a dps/tank hybrid, when you reach mid-game you should be doing the job of a tank, meaning u should be building torwards a randuim/FoN. However, dont distract too much on teamfights, and try to push sidelanes, farm minions, and stack your SS(q) skill. This is when teleport summoner spell starts to get important, so use it wisely, and prefferably not to run away.

at this pooint, u must have the defencive item complete, triforce aswell, and if everything is pperfect u must be building torwards a bloodthirster, or one of the other aforementioned items. you'll be able to take alot of punishment, dish out good dmg (if you did a good job stacking ur Q skill) enough to be a ppotential threat, with an annoying ultimate and annoying wither. you can initiate battles, though if there's another competent tank, it might be best to let him initiate. Placing SF during a teamfight will be very important due to its armor debuff, which in turns makes your Q hit even harder aswell. Wither on carry, at start of the battle, to reduce its effectiveness, but also on runners, so your team can kill him, or even you. Also, the use of your ultimate will be crutial. For example, a too early placed ultimate might actually make their team to avoid engaging, thus wasting it.

Hope this guide was enough for you. Most of info here you might actually find in other guides, thought my main priority was to enforce the fact that his laning phase is very important, whether for nasus, but specially for the team aswell. This guide migh still get a small rewrite, but the main idea will still remain :)