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Nasus Build Guide by Haedrix

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Haedrix

S4 Comprehensive Nasus Guide

Haedrix Last updated on May 18, 2014
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Standard / Serious


Alternative / For Fun

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #4 in
Top Lane
Win 53%
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.



Offense: 6

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 21


Utility: 3

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Welcome to my comprehensive Nasus guide for Season 4!

The left half of the tabs for the builds are designed for the standard meta and can be used for Ranked while the right half are more aimed for Normals, ARAMs, and other for fun game types.

Why pick Nasus?

Well for starters, Nasus does really well against the standard Top Lane meta right now. Most of the currently popular Solo Tops are tanks who can't do much to stop Nasus from Q-Farming in the laning phase. Dr. Mundo, Singed, Shen, Malphite, and many other champions of this archetype are all out-scaled by Nasus and cannot pressure him early very well. In addition to this luxury, Nasus brings many noteworthy things to the table such as infinite scaling, percentage health damage, an Attack Speed Debuff, a Movement Speed Slow, Armor Reduction, AoE damage, and is a tanky front liner.

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About the Author

My IGN on NA is Phaetox. I was Platinum in Season 3 Solo Queue and I placed in Platinum this season as well. I have over 2600 Normal Wins and have played LoL since it was in beta.

I am the Head of Coaching for the DWAI Gaming community, do casting for tournaments and scrims, and am the captain of DWAI Auxiliary.

DWAI Gaming has a community base in both NA and OCE, holds prized monthly tournaments, offers coaching, has a team of streamers and casters, sponsors teams, has weekly community events, and is overall a friendly community that strives to provide members with a comfortable environment to play League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Minecraft, and many other games.

If you are interested, check out any of the following links to seek more information:

DWAI Gaming's Website

DWAI Gaming's Twitch Channel

My Twitch Channel

My Youtube Channel

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Pros / Cons


  • Free damage steroid on Siphoning Strike that allows him to build full defense and still have relevant damage
  • Infinite damage scaling on Siphoning Strike
  • % max HP damage from Fury of the Sands
  • Good Area of Effect damage from Spirit Fire, Fury of the Sands, Iceborn Gauntlet, and Sunfire Cape
  • Mixed damage (harder to itemize against)
  • Tank steroid via bonus max HP from Fury of the Sands
  • Innate sustain due to Life Steal on Soul Eater
  • Heavy Movement and Attack Speed Slow on Wither
  • Superb split pushing potential due to AoE damage, an Auto Attack reset, a large Auto Attack damage steroid, and good dueling capabilities past mid game
  • Can contribute to a strong front line in a team composition
  • Can solo Dragon at Level 6
  • Strong farmer in the Jungle
  • Shines in extended fights and long drawn out skirmishes

  • No gap closer / gets kited easily
  • Weak early game
  • Bad lane match ups Top
  • Sub-par ganks as a Jungler
  • Does not bring any engage potential to the team composition

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Champion Abilities & Related Advice

Soul Eater is your passive and grants you sustain for free which is something that every tank and solo laner desire. It grants you Life Steal so you do have to get Auto Attacks off in order to utilize it but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. The nice thing about this passive is that the Life Steal will become more valuable as the game goes on thanks to your Q increasing in strength over time.

Siphoning Strike is one of the best damage steroids a melee champion could ever ask for. You gain permanent damage from simply farming! This means that you don't have to itemize to deal damage. You can build straight tank and still keep up with other bruisers late game thanks to infinite scaling from this ability. You get more stacks for last hitting tank minions or large monsters so try to be conscientious of that in order to get the most out of your time spent farming. While you will probably have to take free harass here and there in order to maximize your Q-stacking potential, the sustain from Soul Eater, Doran's Shield, and your Mastery Points should be plenty to keep you healthy enough to continue farming.

Wither is your main source of utility and anti-carry potential. It has a massive Movement Speed and Attack Speed Slow that will cripple any Auto Attack reliant opponents. Another nice thing about this ability is that it serves as a strong disengage tool since most opponents will not all-in you if they are affected by Wither. You can also use it to deter the enemy Jungler from getting on you if they attempt a gank.

While it may be tempting to use this ability freely, it's important to know when to use it and when to save it. You don't want to waste it just to help engage a team fight if your team already has strong enough engage without it because then you may not have it up to reduce the enemy ADC's DPS. If the enemy ADC is shut down and there is a strong enemy bruiser looking to dive your carry, then you may want to switch your priority target for Wither to that individual. Analyze each game as a stand alone situation to determine the best use of the ability.

Spirit Fire deals AoE damage and reduces Armor. This can be a great utility spell if used properly. It can help increase the physical damage of you and your teammates via the defense shred while pumping out magic damage. The fact that it deals magic damage is noteworthy because it helps Nasus bring mixed damage to the table, making him harder to itemize against. The AoE damage and Armor Shred also make it a great tool for Jungling.

Fury of the Sands is one of the coolest abilities in the game. It turns Nasus into an ominously over-powered Anubis for a pretty decent period of time. During this ultimate, Nasus gains AoE % max HP damage, additional attack range, bonus health, and bonus attack damage. In addition to all of these steroids, it also just simply makes him look bad ***.

Don't use it too early!

Activating this ability blatantly telegraphs your intention to fight though so be careful about using it too early against teams with strong disengage. If your team motions to engage, the enemy team will generally have the game sense to try and bait out your ultimate before using cool downs to disengage. Try to wait until you are sure a fight is happening to use it.

Don't use it too late!

Another important thing to notice though is that the damage and utility the ability provides are extremely important. We've all seen the Nasus players who don't turn their ultimate on until they are already low health in an attempt to "heal bait" enemies into a bad situation. This tactic generally does more harm than good. Just set up advantageous situations beforehand and control the environment in which you want to use the ability. If you have to use it defensively, don't be afraid to pop it early. There are many common situations where players save their ultimate to "heal bait" and get nothing out of it where they actually could have just simply used the ability right away and turned the fight in their favor. Enemies will be much more hesitant to chase you down if you are dealing massive AoE damage and are tankier from the bonus health. They'll either let you go, use excessive cool downs on you which should give your team an advantage in the ensuing fight, or they'll commit to chasing you but get whittled down over time from your persistent AoE damage and become over extended and out of position due to their shrinking health bars.

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Summoner Spells

Ghost is generally better than Flash on Nasus. He has no instant engage ability that he needs to Flash in range of opponents to land for surprise factor and you can cover more distance over the course of the fight with Ghost than you can with Flash. [[Ghost is also on a shorter cool down which means you'll have it up more often to escape ganks / chase down opponents.

Teleport is the best secondary spell for Nasus as a solo laner. You're not focusing on kill potential so there is no point in taking Ignite and you want to be able to split push / farm off to the side as much as you can without having a negative impact on your team's skirmish potential so Teleport is a must.

Smite is of course for Jungle Nasus. This also might be the only time I would suggest running Flash over Ghost since it gives you the capability of blinking over walls to attempt to steal Buffs, Dragon, Baron, etc. with Smite. I usually still run Ghost though.

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Skill Sequencing

Solo Top / Mid Standard

As a Solo Top / Mid your primary objective is to maximize your farm on Siphoning Strike as much as possible. Maxing it first will decrease the cool down and increase the base damage to make it easier to last hit with.

If you're against an AS oriented champion like Irelia, Fiora, Tryndamere, etc. you may want to max Wither second over Spirit Fire. You'll play against other tanks in the Top Lane more frequently though which means the Armor Shred on Spirit Fire will be more useful.

Jungle Standard

Spirit Fire's AoE + Armor Shred will help you clear the Jungle much faster than maxing Siphoning Strike. Last hitting with your Q may feel awkward at first but once you do a few games the clearing pattern will start to feel more natural and you'll get used to the weaker damage early game on it.

Some people wait until Level 4 to put a point into Wither but I highly recommend grabbing it at Level 3. Yes having a 2nd point in Spirit Fire early can increase your clear speed but it means you are useless if you need to counter gank or defend against enemy Junglers invading.

You can also use this skill sequencing for AP Nasus if you actually have some Ability Power early, as your Spirit Fire can dish out some pretty significant damage. Definitely max Spirit Fire first for ARAMs too.

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3x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
9x Greater Mark of Attack Speed
9x Greater Seal of Armor
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

These runes give you the fastest clear time and will make your ganks the strongest. The Movement Speed lets you get around the map faster as well as run into lanes to gank since you have to gap closer. The Attack Speed will also help you apply Red Buff with your Auto Attacks more frequently.

Solo Lane

3x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
9x Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
9x Greater Seal of Armor
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

This is the most common Solo Top Rune Page for Nasus. The Armor Penetration helps scale his infinitely growing base damages scale well while the Movement Speed helps him get in range to farm and then get out of range of harass quickly. The extra quickness also helps him escape ganks and run over carries in team fights.

Of course, if you are against an AP opponent I would suggest running the flat blues instead of scaling via 9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist.

3x Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
9x Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
9x Greater Seal of Armor
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

This is the second most common Solo Top Rune Page for Nasus. You may need some extra sustain in order to survive the early game and Life Steal can do just the thing! I recommend running Life Steal quints against melee opponents who harass heavily.

If you're laning against opponents are will try to zone you from a ranged aspect then you might want to run Health Regen instead of Life Steal with 3x Greater Quintessence of Health Regeneration.

3x Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
9x Greater Mark of Armor
9x Greater Seal of Armor
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

This is the Rune Page I run against Renekton and Riven. The extra Armor will help you mitigate their early pressure while the extra Life Steal will help you sustain against them. Of course you can also run this against other heavy AD champions such as Fiora and Tryndamere.

3x Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
9x Greater Mark of Magic Resist
9x Greater Seal of Armor
9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

I would run this page against AP opponents in Mid and occasionally a few AP opponents at Top.

3x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9x Greater Seal of Armor
9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist or Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

The idea of "AP Nasus" may seem troll but you don't actually have to build AP. Simply just running Magic Penetration can increase the damage from Spirit Fire, Fury of the Sands, and Sunfire Cape pretty significantly.

You can swap the Movement Speed for Life Steal if you need it for sustain.

3x Greater Quintessence of Hybrid Penetration
9x Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
9x Greater Seal of Armor
9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist or Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Hybrid Penetration Runes follow the same concept as running Magic Pen. They increase your base damages from all sources which can marginally improve your overall DPS as a tank. I actually recommend Hybrid Pen Runes over just Magic Pen but in order to do so you have to sacrifice the Movement Speed or the Life Steal you would normally get from Quints. If you're fine with that then feel free to run Hybrid Pen. It's a surprisingly good idea on a lot of the tanks in the game!

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This is the standard Jungle Mastery Page for Nasus. The page is aimed towards improving clear time, providing utility, and bulking up defenses.

Solo Lane

This page is for running Nasus in a Solo Lane. The points are aimed towards sustain, defenses, and improving your capacity for farming.

You can alter this page to better suit your specific needs in your lane match-up. For instance if you are laning against someone like Tryndamere or Yasuo that you know is going to build Critical Strike Chance against you then I would suggest swapping the points from Resistance and Evasive over to Hardiness and Reinforced Armor to decrease Critical Strike Damage.

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Starting Items

Doran's Shield start for a Solo Lane and Hunter's Machete start for Jungling.

Some people like to start with Boots of Speed and 4x Health Potion for a Solo Lane but this leaves you vulnerable to a 1v2 lane swap. Doran's Shield is much better if you get stuck against an ADC & Support.

Early Game Purchases

All of these items can help Nasus to survive early lane pressure. Glacial Shroud and Spectre's Cowl can be a potent combination to increase your durability and resource sustain. Each item builds into something you'll want in your core build for late game regardless so just pick and choose between them based on cost efficiency and what will serve to best counter your match-up.

Standard Itemization Options

Spirit of the Ancient Golem is the obvious choice for Jungle Nasus. The Health, CDR, and Tenacity are great. This one is pretty self explanatory.

Iceborn Gauntlet is Riot's gift to Nasus. The Armor, CDR, extra Mana, AoE damage, and the slow it provides are all more desirable tank stats than what you get from Trinity Force. On top of that, Iceborn Gauntlet is also cheaper than Trinity Force. I cannot count how many times I see players rush Trinity Force and Frozen Heart when you can literally get everything you want from that item combination for HALF of the gold spent by getting Iceborn Gauntlet.

Spirit Visage, Sunfire Cape, and Randuin's Omen is the core items on almost every tank in the game right now. This set compliments your kit perfectly as Nasus. They give you great HP, Armor, MR, CDR, and utility.

Warmog's Armor is usually the last item you build. It's a good way to round out your build with some massive HP and Health Regen stats. You can opt for one of the other items depending on the situation though.

Guardian Angel is a great item if you are pulling the enemy team's focus fire. If you are the last one being killed every team fight though, then GA will do nothing for you. It may also deter enemies from focusing you which sounds nice but it is actually the opposite of what you want since your job as the tank is to pull aggro.

Locket of the Iron Solari and Banshee's Veil are your options if you need extra Magic Resistance. The former brings more utility to your team while the latter is a much better defensive item in regards to just your tank stats. I've actually found myself building Banshee's Veil as a 6th item quite frequently. The Health Regen it gives you while fighting is great and the spell shield and MR definitely come in handy.

Alternative Itemization Options

Trinity Force is good on Nasus but it's more expensive than Iceborn Gauntlet and you're giving up Armor, extra Mana, CDR, AoE damage, and an AoE Slow for Movement Speed, AD, Crit Chance, AS, and a small amount of HP. Overall, Iceborn Gauntlet gives more stats that tanks desire, is cheaper, and increases your sustain / split pushing better. Of course, if you're going melee AD Carry Nasus then feel free to get Trinity Force. If you're playing Bruiser Carry Mid Nasus you can get Trinity Force as well since you don't need as strong of sustain in the shorter lane Mid and you'll want to bring more single target damage to the table to have a higher impact on the mid game.

Frozen Heart is a good item for tanks in general and has decent synergy on Nasus. The AS Debuff goes well with his Wither and it grants a larger Mana pool, more Armor, and 20% CDR. Generally speaking though you shouldn't build it as anything except a last item. It gives you more of what you already have in your kit or get from Iceborn Gauntlet, Spirit Visage, Randuin's Omen, etc. Also, by the time you build it you'll already have plenty of Armor from Iceborn Gauntlet, Randuin's Omen, Sunfire Cape, and Ninja Tabi. At that point, you'd likely get more Effective Health from building an HP item rather than an Armor item.

Thornmail is nice in theory but it's almost never a better purchase than Frozen Heart. It also has the same de facto issue as Frozen Heart in that by the time you'd purchase it you will generally already have enough armor. Of course, if you're against an all AD team maybe you can trade Spirit Visage for Frozen Heart and then buy a Thornmail on top of it just to be annoying.

Ravenous Hydra adds more Life Steal and AoE damage to your kit. It's good in theory but it's just generally better to build more defense in the standard meta than it is to build extra offense. Nasus already has infinite scaling on Siphoning Strike and great base damages. Of course you can combine Fury of the Sands, Iceborn Gauntlet, Sunfire Cape, and Ravenous Hydra for some pretty epic and cheesy AoE damage.

Liandry's Torment is actually a surprisingly good purchase on Nasus in the right situation. You deal a lot of AoE magic damage and have slows from Wither, Iceborn Gauntlet, and Randuin's Omen to help proc the doubled damage. It gives you more %HP damage which can be good if you need more anti-tank and have to peel bruisers off of your carries. Most of the time that isn't your role in a team fight though. The majority of games you will be acting as an anti-carry and will be running over the enemy back line, where Liandry's Torment is not going to help you much.

Infinity Edge, Youmuu's Ghostblade, and Last Whisper are the semi-troll melee AD Carry items for Nasus. Don't get them in ranked or when your teammates want you to be serious. It can be fun when you're smurfing or playing with friends though.

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Counters / Match-Up Advice (Mainly Top Lane)

Garen has always been annoying to face as Nasus because he can silence you off of Q-Farming. He is a champion without a resource and has innate Health Regen on his passive which can help him pressure you out of lane. The best advice I can give you for this lane is to activate Siphoning Strike early before you get in range to last hit with it. Once you've activated it you can still last hit with it even if he silences you. Just don't wait until you're in range and the minion is about to die before you activate Q. You'll want to rush a Glacial Shroud most of the time so that you get Armor to mitigate his damage and Mana to help you sustain against him.

Pantheon has huge early pressure against you and can harass you quite heavily. Play safe for the first few levels and you should be fine though. Unless he goes Manamune he won't have the Mana sustain to continuously harass you down. Run 3x Greater Quintessence of Health Regeneration since you'll need some form of sustain that doesn't rely on you getting autos on minions off because you will often be zoned off of them early game.

Renekton and Riven are often referred to as counters, though most do not play properly to counter you in any way. The reason they are considered to do well against Nasus is that they can pressure you really hard at the early levels. Simply play passive early game, buy Armor, and you'll be perfectly capable of laning against them. I recommend running 9x Greater Mark of Armor for the extra resistance. Rush Iceborn Gauntlet against both of them.

Rumble = real terror. You do not want to play this match up. Rumble will zone you off of farm nonstop. If you absolutely have to lane against him, rush Spirit Visage and ask for jungle pressure early game. I highly recommend trying to convince your Bot Lane to lane swap so you can 1v2 and farm with Spirit Fire.

Teemo is another hard counter to Nasus. His Blinding Dart can make you miss valuable Siphoning Strike farm and he will be perfectly content split pushing against you all match long. Luckily, he has nothing to interrupt your Teleport roam so try to make plays off of that. Teemo sucks in a 1v2 lane though so I would also recommend lane swapping in this scenario. You'll wave clear better than him and hopefully your duo lane can shut him down.

Trundle beats all physical tanks / bruisers. He will sap your AD and steal your defenses for himself. Again, you have better wave clear than him though so try to suggest doing 1v2 lanes. If you have to lane against him, rush Iceborn Gauntlet and ask for ganks. He has Pillar of Ice to deter engages but he has no hard escape. He'll probably pop his ultimate and survive with ease but that's better than him using it to push you out of lane. Come late game, Wither can actually be a powerful tool to help counter him as most Trundle players go the Blade of the Ruined King route and will rely on autos.

Vladimir is known for having a weak early game like Nasus but he will thoroughly enjoy this match up. He gets to survive early game for free and harass you with relative ease. He'll probably rush Liandry's Torment and Magic Penetration against you so I definitely recommend building an early Spirit Visage. You'll probably be using Teleport early game to get back to lane so let your team know when you don't have it up to apply global pressure with. You can survive this lane better than the Rumble / Teemo lanes but Vladimir generally does poorly in a 1v2 so I still recommend trying to lane swap for 1v2 lanes.

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Champions Nasus Counters / Does Well Against

Dr. Mundo just simply doesn't have enough pressure early game to force Nasus off of farm. Both champions tend to run Teleport but as long as you are not wasting yours and can follow his roam, you should have more impact on the fight than him.

Irelia is Attack Speed reliant so just Wither her when she turns on Hiten Style. She has to burn through a lot of Mana in order to harass you off of farm so she shouldn't be able to keep it up for too long if at all. You'll also begin simply out trading her. Just watch out for her using Equilibrium Strike to interrupt your Teleport.

Malphite will probably not even bother trying to trade with you in Top Lane. He would run out of Mana long before he would be able to harass you out of lane. Just don't take minion aggro or free hits frequently and abuse your Life Steal to farm away. His Unstoppable Force can interrupt your Teleport but if he uses it before he Teleports down then he won't have much impact anyway, not to mention he usually has to forfeit a tower if he leaves the lane unattended while you are up there.

Renekton and Riven are considered "counters" to Nasus because they can apply strong early game pressure to slow down your Q-Farming. In reality though, all you have to do is survive early game and then they become powerless against you. Once you purchase Armor and Mana you will be able to free farm against them. You become a better split pusher and a stronger duelist past the mid game. I would recommend rushing Glacial Shroud, buying some HP, and then finishing Iceborn Gauntlet. They are both resourceless champions so if you run out of Mana you might find yourself forfeiting farm and lane control.

Shen can't push Nasus out of lane early which is always a good thing for you but he can be problematic. The most annoying thing I've come across in this match-up is Shen using Shadow Dash to taunt you when you activate Siphoning Strike. This will of course force you to attack him and put the ability on cool down, causing you to miss out on stacks. Luckily, he can't do this every time your Q is up but a smart player will make sure to never let you last hit a tank minion for the bonus stacks. This can decently slow down your scaling. He can also taunt you out of Teleport and will apply global pressure with his Teleport or Stand United. You should abuse your split pushing potential if you cannot follow his roam and get gold for towers.

Singed can be pretty annoying but overall you have the tools needed to deal with him. Your Life Steal will help you sustain against him and you are good at farming under tower if he tries to hard push or proxy you. The only really annoying thing about this match-up is that he can Fling you out of Teleport and then use his Teleport to go to the fight without really wasting any significant cool downs and you have nothing to interrupt him from leaving. This can be avoided however by simply letting him begin his roam attempt first or casting Teleport in the fog of war where he cannot see you.

Tryndamere is Auto Attack reliant which gives Nasus the advantage. You can also easily kite him for the duration of Undying Rage thanks to a well timed Wither. Once you get deeper into your build with Iceborn Gauntlet and Randuin's Omen, he should not be able to 1v1 you, which completely ruins his split pushing potential. Try to communicate with your team about not starting a fight until you've disposed of the pushing threat by pushing the lane back or killing Tryndamere. If your team wants you to Teleport into a team fight while Tryndamere is about to push a tower, you're going to have a bad outcome either way.

Volibear isn't that common of a pick but I wanted to mention it still. Nasus free farms in this lane and can easily 1v1 Volibear past the mid game. Just make sure to keep wards up and avoid being flung face first into a gank by Rolling Thunder. As long as you don't have to run away from him, you can easily stand toe-to-toe with him thanks to your damage steroids and Wither. Just Wither him, drop Spirit Fire under the two of you, and consciously time Siphoning Strike to be used as an Auto Attack reset.

Yorick is a really annoying champion to deal with in most situations, but Nasus is considered a common counter. You have Life Steal to help you heal off of killing his ghouls, you'll gain stacks on Siphoning Strike for last hitting them with the ability, and they are even worth gold now! Yorick does deal mixed damage though so I would probably recommend grabbing an early Glacial Shroud and rushing Spirit Visage. This will give you the Mana / Health sustain that you need while providing you with both Armor and MR to mitigate his damage.

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In Conclusion

I hope this guide helps you have success with or against Nasus. Feel free to vote and comment with your thoughts, questions, or critiques. I tend to check the comments section of my guides fairly frequently so I should respond relatively quickly. You can also send me a private message on here if you want to chat about anything that isn't Nasus related. Thanks for reading!