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Nasus Build Guide by Savlonic

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Savlonic

Siphoning more souls for the Pyre... In Depth Nasus guide

Savlonic Last updated on July 18, 2015
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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: 4

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 26


Utility: 0

Threats to Nasus with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Kassadin Kassadin is in a real rough spot right now so likeliness you will actually see him is very low, however it helps to know about him when you do. His Null sphere provides a good enough trade early game, and a shield so trading back isn't generally your best course of action. He has an auto refresh with Nether Blade allowing him to auto multiple times quickly as well. Pre 6 ganks are incredibly easy to pull off on him, so whenever he isn't right under his tower try to get a gank and set him back as much as you can. He excels on his post 6 roams so be ready to either push in to his tower if he TPs elsewhere, or tp to follow him wherever he's going.
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No one cared who I was until I put on the mask...

Hey, I'm formerly Savlonic, now known as Suave Senpai. I am a Platinum 2 Top lane main and have been playing mostly top lane through all of season 4 and intend to continue playing in S5. This is my analysis on building Nasus top with the current preseason changes.
First off I'll start with who Nasus is as a champion and my experience with him. Nasus is a very late game oriented Tank whose designed to do a lot of Area based shredding, slow the opposition and do incredible damage without building for it. Nasus has a pretty relaxed playstyle and definitely can be useful to climb the ranks with, or just to have a good time in general; however the enemies experience will be less than invigorating... As for my own experience with Nasus I can't say I've used him in ranked as much as I'd like to have, but I do have a few hundred games in normal under my belt as or against him so I like to think I know my way around the block with building him and how to counter him. Let's dive in shall we?

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Boss is in the building.. let's get those stacks.

Video taken from Julian Smith, all credit goes to him and Beggin Poppers for it.

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Perfectionist's Pros & Not-so-Convoluted Cons

Nasus is one of the most terrifying late game champs as he never stops scaling so long as he never stops stacking
  • Incredible Late Game damage without building it
  • Very Durable
  • Wither powerful slow, insanely low CD
  • Provides considerable armor shred via Spirit Fire
  • Great innate sustain via Soul Eater
  • Easy to Gank for
  • God like objective destroyer
  • Not easily dueled

Nasus on the surface looks like an ideal champion however his weak points are fairly large ones to take into consideration
  • Very immobile
  • Easily Zoned
  • Only one CC
  • Lack of gap closer/escape
  • Easy to gank

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Greater Mark of Precision

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction

After some more time playing Nasus, and a lot of watching Team2g's Sirchez play Nasus I've adopted his early 20% CDR rune+mastery set up, while it's relatively unsafe early game, in the majority of match ups it won't really matter. Once they take your outer you just free farm top till 300 stacks which doesn't take long since you max out CDR on Frozen Heart or Athene's Unholy Grail complete.

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As aforementioned in the rune section I have adopted a fairly 'all around' point wise mastery page, keeping the key components you need at all times and getting a bit extra.

Offense Tree

Sorcery 4/4 is pretty much core, giving up your main stat is a silly thing to do.

Defense Tree

Block provides some safety in lane through damage taken reduction, Recovery offers sustain, and Swiftness makes you harder to kite.

Unyielding offers more survivability and Veteran Scars health is too good to not take.

Tenacious makes you more 'ironsided' and hard to deal with since CC won't last as long, Juggernaut bonus health is really good at all points, Hardiness and Resistance points can be switched pending on match up/enemy team comp.

Perseverance makes you harder to push out of lane, and gives you more regen late as well, Adaptive Armor gives a small boost in your other defense stat when you have to prioritize the opposite stat, Evasive reduces damage from a majority of AP champs. Reinforced Armor can be taken when you're against a Yasuo or Tryndamere.

Second Wind gives you more sustain in lane or the ability to get back to a decent amount of health before reengaging a fight without having to back, Enchanted Armor offers more late game defense stats, Oppression makes withered enemies do less damage to you giving them less ways to deal with you.

The Reason I skip Legendary Guardian is simply how gimmicky it is to make use of it since it relies on enemies nearby.

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Abilities and Point Order

Skill order
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
0 Q W Q E Q R Q W Q W R W W E E R E E

> > >

Soul Eater is Nasus's passive and provides him with extra baseline life steal which also effects how much you will heal per Siphoning Strike, having more life steal or just increased restore from Spirit Visage in general makes this an amazing sustain passive.

Siphoning Strike Nasus' bread and butter ability, it's what makes him, him. It scales off Attack damage, and Siphoned Souls. Siphoning Strike being activated makes your next killing blow give you 3 Souls or "3 Stacks" which increase the base damage of future Siphoning Strikes by whatever amount of stacks you have. Cannon minions, and neutral camp's big creeps give 6 stacks instead of 3. As well as 10 off Baron Nashor and Dragon . Siphoning Strike shreds tower HP incredibly fast the longer the game goes, assuming you're still stacking all the while and synergizes incredibly with Trinity Force or Iceborn Gauntlet and Elixir of Ruin.

Bonus Tip, Siphoning Strike works as an Auto Attack Reset/Refresh so try to weave in a normal auto, into a Siphoning Strike. Autos and Siphoning Strike damage is also increased by the armor reduce of Spirit Fire so try to keep your enemies in the field as long as possible.

Wither is Nasus' primary, and only CC, a slow that scales with duration. Slowing by a great amount at first, but by even more near the end of its cycle. At max rank Wither's cd is up only a few seconds after it wears off on a target that doesn't have some form of tenacity, meaning you could potentially keep chain slow on a target with ease.

Spirit Fire is an Area of Effect that deals low magic damage overtime to enemies within the field, but also reduces their armor based on rank. Comboing this with Wither is incredibly strong due to the fact you can force them to run through it and take several hits with the reduced armor.

Fury of the Sands acts generally as a life extension when used at a low amount of health, and can potentially save you with the extra restore from the AoE healing through magic damage. Using Fury of the Sands at the beginning of the fight also makes you more difficult to deal with because they have to grind away at an even more tankier Nasus right off the bat.

Using abilities optimally: Early game avoid using Siphoning Strike for anything but last hitting. Priority stacking always go to Cannon minions before anything else in a wave. If it's going to die before you can get a Siphoning Strike off on a melee then it, just forget aforementioned melee minion and secure the Cannon.

Wither should only be used when you are receiving a gank, or you need to stop your opposition's advance, fast. If it is to slow down your enemy in a 1v1 make sure you're going to be safe guaranteed with the use of Wither, due to it's fairly high mana cost.

Spirit Fire should almost never be used in lane as it shoves waves, and if your lane opposition is present is not a safe course of action to take. Once you reach one of your power spikes this quickly becomes a very very different situation.

Fury of the Sands can be used when you are fairly low health to turn around tower dives which generally is the main use of it early game, or at the start of a fight for extra damage and restore. Also serves as a pretty good resource for diving, though I wouldn't recommend it unless your enemy is extremely low or your jungler is present.

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Itemizing Nasus

Start Items
Standard defensive start, good mainly against hybrid champions or magic damage oriented bullies.

Fantastic start against a physical damage dealer, especially an early game bully such as Darius or Renekton provides more safety than Doran's would, as well as more pots.

Crystalline Flask is a great start item on heavy farm oriented champions such as Irelia, Jax and Nasus, and is a safe start if you think you are going to be getting harassed an extreme amount in lane.

Mid to Late game items

One of the best offensive items for Nasus as it acts as a steroid for his already powerful Siphoning Strike and shreds towers insanely fast. You also gain movement speed after dealing damage making chasing a tad bit easier.

Fantastic item for sticking to carries due to overlapping slows if you add in Wither to the mix, also provides armor and health giving you survivability on top of the offensive/defensive mobility reduction.

Amazing anti-AP or one-hit-wonder ability item. Can be built against a heavy AD team if they have a decisive initiate or pick off ability such as Malphite's Unstoppable Force or Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab. Especially effective against mid lanes that rely on burst combos such as Annie or LeBlanc. This can be more favorable over Warmog's Armor but ultimately is up to your own judgement on whether or not the passive ability block is worth it over the giant health and regen increase.

Provides a considerable amount of health as well as decent passive restore when not in combat. Much more survivability added on, usually prioritized against teams without any particular damage type focus.

Makes you even more difficult to deal with due to not only more defensive stats, but a revive. Allowing you to dive for -almost- free and press advantages from before you went down.

Pretty core item as it offers 20% CDR to cap you off and a sizable amount of armor along with an attack speed slow aura to make ADCs/3 hits to proc champs such as Vayne less of a problem

Provides 20% CDR to cap you, and MR to survive those really unfavorable match ups, can be traded for Spirit Visage and another 10% CDR item of your choice, or overcapping/trading with Frozen Heart later

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Laning Phase


Nasus's early game is very lacking in terms of kill potential, the name of the game is to farm as much as you can, above average Siphoning Strike stacks by 10 minutes is 200 against anything that doesn't harass you to an extreme amount such as a Vladimir or Teemo, in the case you are against one of the aforementioned champions, averaging 100 by 10 is very likely, and good if you can manage. By 20 against a non harass laner 400+ stacks should be apparent, or if you are against a harass laner, 250-300 stacks is where you hopefully will be by now.

Freezing Lane

To those new to top lane, or league of legends in general, the act of freezing a lane is where you manipulate the enemy minions in such a way that they will kill off your minions before yours can kill theirs off. This will cause what we call 'Wave pressure' to push against you, and shove you closer to your tower range. This is a vital strategy for many late game oriented champions and can mean the difference between surviving all of early game, or dying repetitively.
I will post a video demonstration of this as soon as I can, but until then I'll just need you to bear with me.

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Summoner Spell Choices, and Why.

Mandatory Summoner Spell

Flash: Teleports your champion a short distance toward your cursor's location. Pretty straight forward summoner, but takes practice to use effectively, all around strong summoner that enables escapes over obstacles most champions wouldn't be able to get over otherwise, can also quickly close a gap.

Ghost:Your champion can move through units and has 27% increased movement speed for ten seconds. Slightly weaker than Flash, but has it's uses as well, makes chasing easier and potentially offers more than Flash in terms of chasing with the Mercury's Treads - Distortion or Ninja Tabi - Distortion

Secondary Summoner Spell Choice

Teleport:After channeling for 3.5 seconds, teleports your champion to target allied structure, minion, or ward. Can be used on destroyed turrets. Another common choice for top and occasionally mid lane for second summoner, this requires a lot more map awareness to use effectively and can be a very decisive summoner in games, saving your team from a 4v5, or back dooring the enemy base before they finish off yours. Due to this having two varied CD times here are some when to and when not to's on using it.
When to
When not to
. Enemy minion wave is about to hit your tower, and there are at least 8 or more minions present.

Next/Current Enemy minion wave has a Cannon Minion present in it.

Enemy laner is attempting to take top tower after you back and your jungler can not defend.

Bottom lane is getting ganked and there is either an allied minion or ward behind the enemy, can you win the fight if you go down? use Teleport if so, don't use Teleport if not.

Your team is fighting a 4v4-4v5 at dragon , is your team healthy enough to reengage if you show up? Teleport in if so.

Mid lane has an enemy jungler enroute to gank them, unless your jungler can answer or the mid laner is in safe enough distance of mid tower. Teleport to the closest minion to your mid laner, the objective is to deter the gank, you don't need to finish the Teleport if he walks away.

Enemy jungle is spotted out by a ward, if your jungler/bot or mid laner(s) are going to intercept him, but they encounter their opposing laners as well, if there is a ward down Teleport in for assistance, or call for one to be placed. Use your judgement and current situation, if your team is strong enough to survive the 2-4v2-4 then just worry about keeping the enemy top lane in top and try to prevent him from Teleporting down.
. Your minion wave is pushing against the enemy, and is not near your tower.

NEVER Teleport to minion or ward in your own lane unless the wave is at an enemy inner/inhibitor tower and you can backdoor in time.

NEVER Teleport into a 1v5 unless you know you will immediately have your team closing in from the other side.

NEVER Teleport to the enemy team to give a Pentakill, you're being a nice guy sure, but you shoot you and your team in the leg giving them the extra 300 gold when they already just earned 1.2k before shut downs are taken account for.

One more thing, you can not use Teleport on destroyed towers, I don't know why riot's description of it still has that bit of information included.

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Jungler Synergy

Nasus Excels at scaling into late game, but it takes awhile for him to reach this pinnacle, along the way you should also know that he is arguably one of the best Gank partners, with the power behind Wither halting your lane opposition enough to force a Flash/ Ghost from them, or a kill is easy with just about any Jungle. But these are the honorable mentions who are just absolutely god like with Nasus

Vi is a powerful ganker at every point in the game and also excels at sticking to priority targets unless they have a considerable amount of peel. When she ganks for Nasus you will usually start the gank with Wither being used on the target, Vi with follow up with Vault Breaker, at this point unless the target has Flashed away they are more than likely going to die from the armor shred coming out from Denting Blows combo'd with Spirit Fire which makes all physical damage coming in on them near true damage.

Lee Sin has been one of the top tier gankers for quite awhile now and with good reason. Sonic Wave/ Resonating Strike combo lets him close gaps quickly and do an insane amount of damage on top of that. He has Tempest/ Cripple to add on to your Wither slow, doing more damage, and slowing as well. Post 6 ganks are even more terrifying with the potential "Insec" Dragon's Rages he can pull off.

Pantheon currently is sitting high in term of priority jungle picks and with good reason, not only does he provide the ability for early dragons, but he also packs a punch in ganks. Withering target to open a gank, in which Pantheon will Spear Shot and Aegis of Zeonia to the target afterwards, followed by Heartseeker Strike and another Spear Shot make for a high damage gank, due to the slow from Wither, stun from Aegis of Zeonia, and armor shred from Spirit Fire, most champions will not survive this duo in a gank without having to spend some resources, namely Flash.

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Warding and you

I play with some fairly low elo friends(gold and lower) and notice immediately how very little vision there ends up being throughout the game. This is one of my biggest pet peeves as it is so very vital as you progress higher in League of Legends, whether it be getting to a higher rank or just a higher level in general, level 20 to 30 comes to mind. While some think trinket is enough that is horribly incorrect and I still am irritated that they added it because it seems like it promotes not buying wards since you have a free gimp ward every other 2 minutes. Upon actually buying wards here are some common and effective placements for them. Both sides included

Both Sides

Blue Side

Red Side

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Teamfights work out well with Nasus as he can be a very durable front line, his major flaw with them is the lack of gap closing he has, Wither acts as a good way to catch priority targets, or to slow the enemy front line from reaching your carries, but overall an ADC and APC that know their positioning don't make themselves an easy catch for Nasus. When fighting always try to keep Spirit Fire up for the enemy front line so your ADC can shred the incoming threats faster than the enemy can finally get a grasp on them. Also be wary of Wither use, if you can use it on the enemy carry but can't reach them afterwards without leaving your carry wide open, do not risk it, and save it in case the enemy reaches your carry. It is an amazing peel especially for carries with dashes such as Lucian, Corki, and Graves. However regardless how well he performs in teamfights, split pushing is his forte, if possible try to avoid teamfighting unless absolutely necessary.

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Split Pushing and you.

Split pushing is actually a really basic thing to go about and works exceptionally at all elos, and normals. There are however circumstances that some don't know when it comes to whether or not they should invest the time into it.

As I don't really want to spend hours writing down every single individual window of when to split and when not to, look at the match stats often, ask yourself these questions

Do they have good enough split push to match yours?
Do they have someone with tp strong enough stop you and still rejoin their team relatively unscarred?
Does the enemy team have hard engage?
Does your team have any wave clear and/or disengage?
What is the gold difference (estimate) between your carries, and theirs?

These are only a few things to ask yourself before deciding to split, there are a lot more circumstances but as I said, I can't really invest the time to cover all of them.

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To pick or not to pick, this is the question.

When to pick Nasus
When not to pick Nasus
  • The enemy team has locked a top lane you are comfortable playing against, or don't think you will have issues stacking, and surviving early game without your jungle holding your hand all game.
  • The enemy team locked a jungle that can not gank well, if at all early game and you think your jungle will be able to provide some early assistance against your lane opposition.
  • To add on to prevention of sieges, if you have enough for a 1-3-1 split push with you on Nasus in top lane, and say an Udyr shoving bottom lane, it causes a lot of pressure and hard decision making for the enemy. They are bound to probably lose at least one tower, and maybe even more if you can collapse fast enough
  • Enemy Team has locked a mid lane that roams well, and often, such as LeBlanc, Talon, or Zed

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Match ups and what to do

When playing blind, or first picking Nasus you must build reactive against a few certain match ups, this section will cover those few and how to make it less one sided for them.

Teemo this match up is barely winnable by Nasus, however to win the match up he must differentiate his build and point order. Against Teemo rushing Athene's Unholy Grail so you have the MR to take less damage from his Blinding Dart and Toxic Shot, while maxing Spirit Fire giving you more early game trading power than him due to his lack of base stats, not to mention shoves the lane back into his tower, where CS'ing becomes slightly harder.

Vladimir you will want to adapt the same policy as the Teemo match up, however Vladimir can dive you much more decisively if he gets the chance to and has really good wave clear to answer your Spirit Fire push.

Almost every ranged mage match up, from Cassiopeia to Swain to Karthus and more you'll want to be adopting the Athene's Unholy Grail and Spirit Fire max rush. since they all have very little defense early on and you can maybe force them into wasting a slot on an Abyssal Mask or at least a Negatron Cloak pretty early on.

Tryndamere and AA reliant champs in general are iffy, most of them can kill you early with enough RNGesus blessings(Random crits) and if this does happen it becomes a problem, if you are in the misfortune of being against a Tryndamere with a huge advantage of CS or a kill or two, it's advised to max Wither before Siphoning Strike so he can no longer duel you, your early stacks will suffer but he'll be unable to make things happen in the lane on his own unless he picks up a Quicksilver Sash.

Riven is a really iffy match up, some Rivens are total pains to deal with and might force you to max Spirit Fire, and others will be so bad you just free farm and one shot them later on, just play cautious early on unless getting a gank and avoid letting them snowball because even a bad Riven is still a huge problem.

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Summarizing what we've learned.

Nasus has his perks, but just as many if not more downfalls, namely how easily he gets hard countered in lane. He requires a lot of allied jungle presence to be safe, and needs stacks to be relevant.

Nasus synergizes well with ganks from just about any jungler, but really makes use of high damage gankers such as Pantheon or Lee Sin, can 1v1 once he hits his Siphoning Strike 200+ stack baseline, Sheen makes it even more decisive for him. Split pushing is his forte and few champions do it as well as he does.

Nasus is overall lacking in terms of closing in on high value targets, but can enable your team to catch them more easily and do more damage as well with Wither and Spirit Fire combo, Wither also makes for a good temporary peel to slow down enemy front lines before they reach your carries.

Nasus' core involves hitting your 40% CDR mark as soon as you can as it increases the amount of Siphoning Strikes you can manage to use per wave, thus increasing stack rate, and how early you reach your damage pinnacles. However due to this very little in terms of defense is actually built early on, especially against magic damage.

Playing Nasus ultimately comes down to your confidence on surviving lane early game, your stacking capability mid game, and using your stacks late game for the right task. Nasus is not a champion for everyone, as he can at times be fairly boring to play or difficult to survive laning phase with but he isn't particularly high skill cap to actually use for those who really want to pursue using him.

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Final Ramblings.

Thank you SO much for taking time out of your day to read through my first ever guide, I am completely open to any recommendations and will take result pictures with open hands to put here. Keep an eye out for updates on this as preseason continues, as I will make sure to stay on top of potential changes to item paths.

Send in your Match history results to me via gmail,
Leave any feedback you're willing to so I can make this guide, and future guides better!

Keep an eye out for future builds from me as well, as I have a few more unnamed champions I want to make guides for.

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Some of my normal game results recently using this build.
CJVC's success thus far

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Change Log.

12/5/2014 10:23 PST. Updated just about everything to be more relevant with what I've been using myself for Nasus. Slightly less CDR early on, more defensive stats. Also no more rushing CDR unless you aren't in risk of dying in lane constantly!
12/13/2014 12:05 PST. Massive over haul with the Design of the guide. Headers coming soon!
12/15/2014 17:55 PST. Headers have arrived!
12/16/2014 17:37 PST. Added Banshee's Veil to Itemization tab, and for sake of clarity made first page 'vs balanced type', page three 'vs pure AD', page four 'finished sets'.
12/18/2014 23:48 PST. Went back and resized Warding and You screenshots, text may be a bit more difficult to read now however, Going to work on a video explanation in the near future to make this somewhat easier.
12/26/2014 15:07 PST. "Revised" the Itemization section, went a bit more in depth on 'wrap up cdr' items. Also added trinket and elixir choice on fourth page of item build.
1/4/2015 19:03 PST. Updated Nasus vs Rek'Sai match up info for 4.21 patch. Will update in 4.22 as well.
7/18/2015 Added "Match ups section. Covered other ability leveling orders and why Athene's Unholy Grail is on the build.

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Thanks especially to Emikadon for the headers!