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Nasus Build Guide by LordLink1

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League of Legends Build Guide Author LordLink1

Nasus - The Bender of the Cycle

LordLink1 Last updated on February 20, 2013
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Top Lane
Ranked #5 in
Top Lane
Win 52%
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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: 0

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 9

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Greetings on behalf of the True Hound of Hell

So welcome to my Nasus build everyone. Here you will find my take on the endless, amazing talents of The Big Dog. You get alot of takes on Nasus with various build ideas. I've been maining him for a very long time, if not the longest of all the champions in the league and I think I'm finally ready to give you all what I have to offer.

My first props go out to my man Hyfe who pioneered the potentials of Nasus and showed me some serious points on mastering such an amazing champ. My recommendation for you if you choose to learn a very awesome play style of Offtank Nasus. You can find it on

Note: This is NOT a one-way street guide to this champion. You'd have to be a fool to consider building this champ as ONLY tank or ONLY DPS. I'll be covering the 4 major styles I've learned to make this champ work for.

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The Lord of Life and Death {Why Play Nasus}

So what makes Nasus such an ideal choice for a champ.

Awesome laner. He holds his own in many situations.
The passive life steal takes a point out of the equation for the DPS style of Nasus.
Can keep a lane from being pushed or force the team back with Spirit Fire. Or save a huge wave of a lone lane from being taken.
He trumps ALL other DPS. Wither will completely shut down any major AD champs.
He excels at ganking. Again with Wither shutting off attack speed and movement speed.
Team fight threat. His ult turns everyone against themselves.

Early game, prone to kiting.
Very slow, you MUST account for his movement speed with certain items.
Very 1v1 style of fighting. You have to manage your targets well and plan ahead before engaging.
MANA HUNGRY! To master Nasus one must be aware of the mana bar. If you spam all four keys in row, you'll most likely have no blue left.
Burst damage champs will ruin your day early on.
Situational challenge, you must learn when to push and pull

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What Tattoos Does the Big Dog Bear? {Runes}

Runes are all about your own speculation. Take Nasus for your own and play him in the most comfortable way possible. I RECOMMEND that if you are fresh with Nasus , start with the typical

Greater Mark of Desolation x9. This will give you adequate dmg potential throughout the game and give you better farm potential for your siphon strike.

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration x 9. Nasus needs mana to hold his lane. Some call this a heavy draw back and claim that this makes him not viable higher ELO. Whatev's. You spam spells, you get crushed on mana. Plain and simple. This holds true for all champs with a mana bar. Once you learn to master his mana costs you will be able to switch his blues for something more valuable to his lane phase, when you have to horribly powerful bursters mowing you down from afar.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist x9. Until you realize how much its sucks for Nasus to be kited, AD or AP. You'd best take some precaution. Remember, Nasus will ALWAYS be a garbage early game champ, no matter who you lane against. So don't go warcrying into the fray with 3 of you spells up and think "I'm gonna melt these kids!" You'll die. Promise.

My normal rune page after a multitude of games has led to liking this one the most so far. Armor pen reds, mana regen per level yellows, and mana regen per level blues. This is because I solo top as Nasus nearly every single game. This set up makes him a sustainable laner for nearly every one of the main stay solo top champs I.E. Irelia, Alistar, Singed, Cho-Gath.
Oh, for a nice little tidbit, this rune page lets you solo top Mordes effectively.

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Techniques for the Guardian of the Books. {Masteries}

Not much to this. 0-9-21 every time, no matter what the build. No point in getting anything in Offense because he does not have enough early game potential for any of these to matter. You want early game sustainability to handle the scrubs who just run the straight crit page and laugh behind their fat tummies at how 'noob' you are.

Any questions? No? Good!


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The Fangs of the Real Beast from the East. {Abilites}

Siphon Strike - The more you kill minions with this, the more powerful it becomes, not much more to it. Last hit with it every chance you get. It procs on hit effects so keep that in mind when you build your offensive items. Its damage also effects towers, remember that in your pushes. Because its an on-hit effect, it can't be dodged, making you a viable counter to Jax in 3s.

Wither - Single target attack speed and movement speed debuff. In my opinion one of the best in the game, it can cancel a Ghost for 5 seconds of its duration and it stops major DPS from crushing in a teamfight. It can set up for some really good ganks and aids in chasing down a straggler after a 5v5.

Spirit Fire - A radial AOE the size of a full minion wave that clears that same wave at Level 4. It provides an armor debuff for all who stand within it. Use it for safe farming against dope aggressive champs or hard range AD's. Learn when to place when teams commit to a fight or someone barrel rolls for you thinking they'll blow you up. One thing a new Nasus player will attempt is to use it to get "easy" gold in a lane. The ironic thing is that it contradicts what you want to do with Nasus. He he more powerful the more you farm the Q, so take E as you need but know that you're losing Q potential when you spam it.

Fury of the Sands - Hurray! You are now Anubis of the Sands. 15 seconds of pure powerhouse AOE that pulls that health from your enemies and makes it into your base attack damage. You gain an extra portion of health of the duration of the the ultimate. Consider it like a shield or a heal upon proc of the ability. It takes a few tries to realize when to use it and how to use it. There are so many instances where a defensive pop of your ult will save you from ganks and dives. Its duration is long so be sure to use it for as much of its worth as you can. A team fight means all five of those champs are giving you extreme bonus damage. Know your potential as you engage a team.

One must learn adaptability when playing the Hound. Your lane setup decides what skills you must take. Solo top vs a melee? You should do quite fine with maxing Siphon Strike first. Got some horrible ranged harass or a gay Morde who thinks he's pro? Start getting that Spirit Fire to work for you. You should almost always go Level 1 Siphon Strike, Level 2 Spirit Fire, Level 3 Wither, and then max accordingly.

As any guide will tell you, Nasus is only as strong as his Siphon Strike lets him be. The better you last hit with it, the more of a Hell Hound you'll be.
Learn when to take a last hit and when to farm from the safety of your Spirit Fire.
If you lane's getting pushed, drop your E and let your minions rock their way back to mid lane.
Want to starve them from gold? watch your Level 4 E give you free minions and an easy push. Everything is about balance with Nasus, I can't stress this enough.
Nasus is a good champ because he rewards for good playing.
If you don't play smart with him, you'll feed every game.

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Tools of Hades Harbinger! {Items}

Okay, this is gonna be the FUNNNNNNNNNNNN page!
To learn the ways of the Hound Form you must be ready to adapt to any situation.
Nasus is never built one way, as is any champ most of the time.
The item build that I have listed here is one that I find handles most situations pretty well.
In a true, well made ranked game you have Solo Top Melee, Solo Mid AP, Duo Ranged AD Carry/Support Bot, and Melee Jungler.
3 of the 5 enemy members are AD typically, making the feature item build here very viable. Most of AP's will not combo kill Nasus.
If you have the health, you can take the blunt of the assault, leave them with no cooldowns, and blow them up.
The 2, G per 5 items will typically never be built into any of the their respective items, but they let you build so much quicker than any other lane making it impossible to catch up early to mid if you farm well.

Sheen - The Trusty Right Arm of the Dog. In all fairness, Sheen is not needed as early as it seems in the build. But it's fairly cheap for what it allows Nasus to do and allows you to farm the creeps even easier, deal twice the damage, and looks pretty cool! Note: The longer you can lane without Sheen, the better off you will be. Relying on it to farm your Siphon Strike means you need to work on your last hitting, it's the reason Nasus is "Recommended".

Boots are situational. Get what are needed in the moment. Large CC? Merc Treads. Auto-attacking giving you the blues? Ninja Tabi. Versus a Poppy? Boots of Swift (Lawl).

Philosopher's Stone - What a great item. It it usually, if not always, the perfect starting item to build into with Nasus. Provides you with extra health regeneration reinforcement on top of mana regeneration. The gold per 5 is obvious for quicker farm and can build into a well to-do tank item for some extra durability if that's what you wish. I'd noramlly sell it later game for a quicker finish to one of his major items.

Heart of Gold - What used to be such a good item is still pretty viable since I go for a finished Randuin's mid game anyway. Some more health buffering and the gold per 5 effect.

Trinity Force - If you are doing really well and your team has not fed, this item makes perfect sense to get next. HOWEVER if the situation is reverse, you'd do well to get a more tankier start to help you get a steady lane without being forced out. If you play the Trinity Tank Nasus then you can probably survive without get the Force too early.

The next items come with what you need to counter the power of the other team. If the deeps are heavy your Omen will make you absolute bane in their side. If you hate those pesky Annie bombs that keep getting chucked your way, your Veil will suffice quite nicely. Both of them items add to Nasus overall health as well, which makes a difference in the later stages of the game.

Randuin's Omen - This "tower shield" as I like to call it, is probably the best tank item in the game, in my opinion. Aside from lacking magic resist, the Omen is in fact exactly what it says it is, a harbinger of then end. It gives armor like Sunfire Cape without drawing tower agro when you are pushing, it provides good health regen like Warmog's without sacrificing resistance it gives health like BOTH, and cool down reduction and attack speed debuff like Frozen Heart.

Banshee's Veil - I prefer to get this mostly vs any team with a caster, maybe two if I'm doing well. Its the second highest magic resist in the game, give you mana and health, and a bubble that stops a casters combo every 45 seconds. The bubble itself doesn't amount for much in a team fight, but if you use it wisely, you can disrupt some good initiations on the enemy team. Use it to step in front of an Ashe arrow, or a Morgana snare.

Atma's Impaler - This is the item I choose to take, and the reason why I focus on hp based items with good resistances mixed in. Once you get to the Impaler in your build, you will have flat 3000 health to work with if you are level 18. This will give you a modest boost of base attack, plus armor, plus crit chance. This is where you really start to become afraid of Nasus, especially if you are a melee deeper. The crit chance makes your Q a terrible sight to behold and the increased damage output means you get to whammy towers even harder and faster.

I don't think I even have to explain Tank Nasus. If you don't know how to tank a champ you probably shouldn't be playing this game. Build to counter the most major damage sources on the team and be ready to eat the assault in every team fight. Most will tell you that Nasus isn't true tank because he lacks the initiation of a Rammmus or a Shen. I call Nasus more of a Supporter Tank like a Taric or Alistar in that you keep a lane even or shutting down their DPS with Wither. In most cases, I won't pure Tank him, because it really is a hindrance of his potential.
NOTE: Nasus is not designed to be a main tank. He is an anti-carry meaning that his whole purpose is to seriously bruise the main dmg dealers and still come out of the fight.

DPS Nasus is a shaky idea because his only true DPS outlet is his Q burst and the fact that he's not an early game terror like Garen or Xin. But the truth in this is that if you play well and patiently with Nasus you will be rewarded in the end. The beauty of a DPS Nasus, is that he has a lot of DPS utility built right into him.
1.) He trumps all other DPS (minus Yi) with his Wither.
2.) Passive Life Steal make one item slot free for a better item.
3.) His Spirit Fire at level 5 is pretty much a Black Cleaver proc at its max for 5 seconds.
4.) Any DPS who wants a piece of you HAS to fight on your AOE's, making your ultimate most effective, making you deal bonus damage, and out DPS them.

Remember that the major item build I have listed on this guide is what I call an "Anti-carry" build. Its designed to make you beefy enough to withstand major dmg for the opening of a team fight and lets you 3-hit-crit the AP and AD carries.

Items for this build of Nasus is pretty self-explanatory. DPS is the opposite end of tanking, build to kill, kill, kill. A thing to remember about DPS Nasus is that his Q procs on hit effects making critical strikes disgusting. The build listed will pretty much give you crit strike every other attack in most cases. Just remember not to rely on luck to kill someone with Nasus. His Q also makes his next proc auto-attack indodgable so keep that in mind when you have loser Jax who thinks he's boss jumping on your face.

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Gifts from those Who Leash the Beast. {Summoners}

Flash and Teleport for your solo top lanes. Flash is simply the escape to have for nearly every champ in the game and Nasus is no exception. Casting Wither is almost an instant spam of flash and if you plan to really get that kill, you had better be able to go right over that wall behind them too. Teleport gives you free roam to keep up with minion farming and still b when you need to get your shopping on. Or if your bot lane fails you can go to save the tower and keep the fools below at bay. It also helps greatly in a late game to stop lame back door champs from getting cheap tower kills.
Any other spell is really a matter of speculation. If you 2v2 bot in a normal queue you could bring something more supportive like Exhaust or Cleanse when there are a lot of hard CC or if you plan to jungle which I don't always recommend with Nasus.

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Leading the Wolf's Pack. {Team Fights}

Nasus lacks full initiation like a main tank so you probably shouldn't be running in head first every 5v5. The tricky thing about Nasus is that he falls in between the "everyone ult that carry" and " Nasus is a tank, don't even bother". Nasus is a threat in every team fight when his early game is played properly. Letting him roam free is a pretty dumb idea but one that you technically have to do because the carries are always the priority in nearly every case. So what do you do when they ignore you? Make use of every squishy near by. Slow the ad carry trying to gun for your ranger and honk him a few times with your Q. If the fight is a cluster bomb in the jungle drop your E and make people have to fight on it for the kill. Make the most of your ult when most of the enemy are near you, the more souls you absorb the more powerful you ult becomes during its duration.

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There is a Beast who Prowls the Forest...{3v3}

Nasus in 3v3 is often a skeptical thing amongst most players. Because Nasus is a later game champ, doesn't offer much to an early game, and is not too beefy to withstand that broke harass from an Akali or Garen , he's not often a high tier pick on the Twisted Treeline. HOWEVER, the ironic thing about this statement is that the Treeline is where all my Nasus skills began! I learn the utmost importance of Nasus lane phase, how to handle all sorts of various harassment, picking up creeps to maintain my Q farm and exp when I'm getting a hard zone, and taking control of buffs in the jungle or countering respectively.
I drop my Heart of Gold when building in 3v3 unless I'm deliberately building a Raduin's Omen because I wont get much of a chance to make use of 2 Gp5 in the Treeline because the game ends so quickly.
A major point when playing Nasus in 3v3 is simply his Wither. Why is this? Well, if you're used to playing normal games at all, you will find most games are dominated by noobs who can't seem to stop playing Tryn/Jax/Xin/Singed/Akali/Garen, you know the like. Nasus is a champ that can put these scrubs in their place really quick, but you have to know how to use him in each scenario.
Another major gimmick with Nasus is the same ALL games whether is be 5v5 or 3v3 is that you must have competent teammates who wont feed the other side while you get your farm and passively become the best champion in the game. This being the only real draw back to playing Nasus in 3's he is still as rewarding as he is solo top in 5's.

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Do not let the White Wolf Feast!

PT 1 PT 2

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The Early Game Nasus

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Devour the Tower!

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Angels Now Fear to Tread...

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You Cannot Tame the Beast {Melee vs Range}

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The Cycle of Life and Death Continues...

This guide is only the beginning of what I'm bringing to the Nasus gameplay. I'll have some of my videos posted of my playthroughs and some notes about ranked play and a jungle set up.
Remember the biggest part of Nasus is thinking in the long run. Play smart for the win, not pwnage and "You will live. They will die."

Please comment, I'd love for some feed back and votes!
I'd appreciate the trolls to stop down voting because they can.
You're ruining the experience of the site. Especially when most of you don't even try it.