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Nasus Build Guide by SlanderCage

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League of Legends Build Guide Author SlanderCage

Solo Top Dominance: Nasus Tank

SlanderCage Last updated on October 22, 2012
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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: 8

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 1

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Nasus is my favorite champ, and he has good synergy with most other champs. Nasus can be played as a full tank with MASSIVE damage potential, or as many other varieties, and still out damage other tanks and even some carries.

My guide for Nasus is centered around making him as tanky as possible while giving some nice damage items to boost his ferocity in team fights. I have always believed the key to being a tank is showing the enemy team how much of a threat you really are, and Nasus can do that easily. His Siphoning Strike combined with Wither can absolutely devastate AS/AD carries, and his ultimate Fury of the Sands provides a 15 second AOE that makes him do more damage the more time he spends around enemies. His E, Spirit Fire, helps drop armor on tanks so they become less of a threat.

This is my first guide, so read through it before judging. Thanks. :)

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Masteries for this build are mainly tanky, with a point in utility to lower the cooldown on Flash and the reduced casting time for Teleport. Everything else is about giving Nasus solid defensive posture while maintaining his offensive capabilities by lowering cooldowns so Siphoning Strike and Wither can be used quicker.

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Runes are centered around early game dominance, and a good base to build tanky up through mid and late game.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
This gives Nasus great MR early on to combat ganking AP champs or resist his opponent top lane. Also a good base to build more MR on.

Greater Seal of Armor
Again, this is for that early game resistance to damage so you can stay in lane longer.

Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Some question my use of these runes, but 15% attack speed gives you more use out of your passive Soul Eater. If a fight with an enemy champ leaves you drained, these will ensure you can stay in lane with Nasus' awesome sustain.

Greater Quintessence of Endurance

More health the merrier! You gain a total of 4.5% max health starting, which helps scale your Atma's Impaler later. Also gives you more survivability in lane, which is what you want as solo top. Also, this gives you some nice bonuses when buying health items like Giant's Belt.

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Summoner Spells

- Flash

I personally believe this is a must on every champ. Can either be your #1 escape tool, or allow you to get that last kill to score an Ace.

- Teleport

Very useful early to mid game, letting you drop in on undefended turrets or set up a gank on another lane. I mostly use it after I have pushed my lane to the enemy turret, then recall back to base for health/mana and items. Helps you get back in lane when you really need to, and gives an allied Teemo with his Noxious Trap the ability to let you go pretty much anywhere on the map.

Other viable spells-

- Exhaust

Only to be taken if your team lacks CC. Chances are someone else will grab it though, so only take this when needed, as Nasus already has an exhaust with his Wither.

- Ignite

True damage, healing handicap, what's not to like? Chances are your carries have this already, so don't worry about taking it unless you really want to.

- Cleanse

Useful, ESPECIALLY against heavy CC teams. Can help in team fights, letting you tank enemy champ's CC abilities like Lux's Light Binding or Sion's Cryptic Gaze, then use Cleanse to surprise the enemy. Also great for pursuer's who slow/stun you to get that extra kill.

- Ghost

A viable alternate to Flash, but has its limits. This one is personal preference.

- Clarity

To be honest, pretty much useless on Nasus. He's mana hungry throughout early game, but his mana problem is helped by Sheen, and made irrelevant with Frozen Heart. Never take this.

- Clairvoyance

We have Sight Wards for this.

- Heal

An awesome spell, allowing you to turn a fight around in lane, or provide much needed health to your team in fights. Take this if you'd rather be a more supportive tank.

- Surge

Can be useful, but acts much the same way as Fury of the Sands. Once you hit level 6 this spell becomes almost useless, though it will give you an edge in 1v1s and some team fights.

- Revive

NEVER take this. Sure, coming back instantly helps YOU, but does nothing for the team. Your second slot can be put to much better use, so never consider this.

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Skill Sequence

Your basic skill sequence will be Q,W,Q,E,R,Q.

If an enemy is getting away, chase then Wither as soon as it's available.

If you absolutely dominate a 1v1, make sure Siphoning Strike scores you that last hit, so you profit even more from an enemy's demise! Also viable to clean up team fights.

Your E, Spirit Fire is good for farming and pushing lanes. Don't be afraid to push a lane quickly so you can help your team out.

Your ultimate, Fury of the Sands, can be either a great initiating tool, or an escape mechanism. Popping at max level while you have low health gives you 600 health so you can turn around and fight back or use it as a buffer to escape a pursuing enemy champ.

In a team fight, it always helps to make sure Fury of the Sands is off cooldown. This is a great initiation tool, causing damage to all enemies within its effective area. The amount of damage you do to surrounding enemies translates to more damage for you, so don't be afraid to mix it up with the enemy team.

Find the closest enemy carry and handicap them with Wither. If you have to choose between an AP carry like Morgana, or an AD like Xin Zhao, prioritize the AD. Wither is Nasus' personal exhaust, and can really put a stop to those fast hitting AD champs.

ALWAYS be hitting something with Siphoning Strike. A well farmed Q can lead to a lot of victorious games. That AP carry dropping spell bombs on your team? Not when they get hit with almost 500-650 damage with one Siphoning Strike. This is your bread and butter, and also scales off attack damage, synergizing well with Atma's Impaler.

Spirit Fire is great to cast right after Wither. Whatever enemy happens to be sorry enough to be caught on top of it has reduced armor and is continually taking damage. This is amazing to use to in any 1v1 with Nasus, as it allows his Siphoning Strike to absolutely devastate the enemy champ. This has won me 1v1 tank fights on occasion.

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Pros / Cons


-Super tanky late game, and very threatening mid and early game.
-His Siphoning Strike can be one of the single most damaging abilities in the game.
- Wither=personal exhaust.
-Farms really well mid to late game using Spirit Fire.
- Fury of the Sands makes you near unstoppable.
- Hit /j while waiting for minions to spawn to get some laughs.

-His Siphoning Strike is farm dependent, which can take a while to strengthen.
-Can be ganked early and shut down before he can shine.
-Can be focused down quickly if you get full of yourself.
-Has a weak early game, so play defensive while you farm.

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Playing with Nasus

Overview of Abilities

Soul Eater-

Grants Nasus 14/17/20% lifesteal. Great for in-lane sustain.

Q, Siphoning Strike-

Cooldown- 8/7/6/5/4 per level

Mana- 20/25/30/35/40 mana per level

Physical Damage- 30/50/70/90/110 per level+100% of your Attack Damage+3 damage for every enemy slain with it.

Your bread and butter. Any Nasus with an un-farmed Q is a useless champ indeed.

W, Wither-


Cooldown-15/14/13/12/11 per level

Slow over 5 seconds from 35% to 47/59/71/83/95% over 5 seconds.

The best single target slow in the game. This is Exhaust on crack. Not only does it last twice as long, the effects become STRONGER throughout the duration, giving you plenty of time to catch that fleeing champ, or close the distance on your lane opponent to send him crying back to base.

E, Spirit Fire-


Cooldown- 12 seconds

On cast, this creates an area that does continuous magic damage to any enemy inside. It gains 55/95/135/175/215+60% of AP on its initial burst, with 11/19/27/35/43+12% of AP damage per second while inside it. The total damage is 110/190/270/350/430+120% of AP, giving this ability some hitting power if you build some AP with it.

Reduces enemy Armor by 20/25/30/35/40 while inside it, and for 1 second afterwards.

This should be used in teamfights either A.) against an enemy tank, especially ones who benefit from Armor( Rammus or Malphite) or B.) against a lone carry which will make your attacks hit that much harder with scaled AD from Siphoning Strike, or your own AD carry.

Can also be used to quickly push lanes and help farm Siphoning Strike.

R, Fury of the Sands-

Mana Cost-150

Cooldown-120 seconds

This is what makes Nasus so amazing. On cast, he gains 300/450/600 health for 15 seconds, becoming a huge embodiment of Anubis.(No lie.) He is surrounded by a sandstorm for the duration, and does continuous DoT, dealing 3/4/5% of enemies max health+0.01% AP to ALL enemies around him, maxing out at 240 damage per second. He also takes 6.375% of damage dealt and converts it to attack damage for the duration.

This can be used in many different ways. Destroying the enemy team? Feel free to charge in and pop this as soon as you're in range for Wither. This makes his Siphoning Strike that much more deadly.

Also, use it when low on health and want to give that chasing enemy something to think about. If a team fight goes bad, pop this and run to your nearest turret. If an enemy pursues you, Wither them and turn the fight to your advantage. I've caught quite a few over confident players with this, making it an extremely effective baiting tool.

Nasus has an awesome amount of strength while supporting teammates in killing enemy champs, and even getting the coveted ''LEGENDARY!"

-Provides amazing CC with Wither. Use it on the closest AD/AP Carry entering a team fight to cripple them and ensure a kill.
- Siphoning Strike is an amazing farm tool that can one hit minions once farmed enough.
If nothing else is going on, farm that Siphoning Strike!
-Your Spirit Fire reduces Armor, making it good to use against the enemy tank if he is causing trouble for your team. Also good during a 1v1 with anyone, makes your Siphoning Strike hit that much harder.
- Fury of the Sands is a powerful team fight tool. It pretty much acts like Sunfire Cape's passive, but with the added bonus of doing damage based off of enemy health, and granting you bonus AD with damage dealt by it. This will help you survive those really nasty team fights, so use it wisely.

All in all, Nasus should focus enemy carries. The amount of damage he does can send those hard hitting AP champs like Morgana or Annie running for the hills, or AD champs like Caitlyn or Olaf wish they had chosen a different role in pre-game.

-Laning Phase

Focus on your Q. It takes practice, but eventually you can learn how to score last hits every time with Siphoning Strike, netting you a TON of late game damage. If you're laning against a lot of poke damage, like Teemo or Ashe, keep your distance and LET yourself get pushed to your turret. Once you have your Wither, the enemy will think twice to run up and poke you, and if they do, pop Wither on them and watch as they lose a ton of health from turret shots. If they run, LET THEM. Push your lane, farm your Siphoning Strike. Being greedy with Nasus gets you killed quick. Wait, bide your time, and jump the enemy solo top when you have a good chance. Nasus is a snowball champ, so letting early kills get away at the expense of your Siphoning Strike is well worth it late game. On the other hand, feel free to play aggressive if you're jungler is doing a good job, but let him pick up the kill by using Wither on the enemy champ as soon as he comes out to gank, and supporting him when necessary.

-Mid Game

This is when Nasus starts to truly shine. You can pick up some solid kills and good assists by working with your team.

By now, your Siphoning Strike should have anywhere between 150-225 extra damage on it from minion kills. (Check by running your mouse icon over the ability symbol in game, and locating the number in blue on the description.

If leveled right, your Siphoning Strike should be hitting for almost 500+ damage per hit. If you EVER find an enemy champ isolated from his team, punish him with a Siphoning Strike, Wither, Siphoning Strike combo, using Spirit Fire if you feel you're not doing enough damage.

You're also tanky enough to solo Dragon, or steal enemy buffs. Do this for extra gold, and always last hit with Siphoning Strike.

-Late Game

At this point, your Siphoning Strike should be at least 250-325 extra damage, meaning you can one shot minions. (Depends on damage, but Caster creeps die with one shot, with maybe an auto attack+your Q to kill them.) Basically, if any minion has damage to it, you can instakill it with Siphoning Strike.

If there's a lane that needs pushing, push it only when SAFE ENOUGH TO DO SO. Your Siphoning Strike makes extremely short work of turrets. This also makes Nasus a very effective backdoor champ.

In team fights, always focus on the opposing teams heaviest source of damage. Don't be afraid to drop some damage items for more MR and Armor, and become more tanky.

Wither should be used to cripple enemy melee champs making bee lines to your own carries, giving them time to put major hurt on them.

A good combo is to cast Wither on the enemy tank, followed by Spirit Fire to drop his armor so your own AD carry can do some good damage to him. Don't be afraid to pump a few Siphoning Strike's into him for good measure.

In team fights, ALWAYS be at the front. A few hits to save one of your carries is a small price to pay for winning the fight. Remember, against certain champs like Caitlyn, you can intercept attacks like her Ace in the Hole. Losing a teammate to one of those attacks can be devastating to your team as a whole, but presents a small inconvenience to you with a stacked Warmog's Armor/ Force of Nature combo.

Always, always, ALWAYS spam Siphoning Strike to maximize your output of damage. You can turn team fights to your advantage early by utilizing this effectively.

When Fury of the Sands is active, don't be afraid to mix in with enemy teams. DON'T be afraid to become the focus though. If a team mate like Lux is around, or any champ with a good stun, wait till they launch a few disables, then close in on the chosen target. Initiating with it is also viable, but be careful when doing so.

To be a better support for your team, also buy a Sight Ward or Vision Ward or two before heading back to lane. Preventing ganks and knowing where the enemy is wins games.

As Nasus tank, your main job is to soak up damage, which is relatively easy with Fury of the Sands, but this also makes you a much bigger target. Initiate carefully.

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Core Items

Start off with:

Boots of Speed and 3 health potions.

Doran's Shield if you feel like you want extra resistance to a top lane AD pick.

Cloth Armor and 5 health potions, or 3 health potions and a sight ward.(You have to wait for the 5 extra gold after minions spawn, but it's worth the wait to prevent early ganks.)

On your first recall, go for Ninja Tabi, or Mercury's Treads, depending on your lane opponent, or build for what the enemy team has the most strength in.

At this time, picking up a part of Trinity Force is a must. I usually go for Phage, but Sheen is good if you find yourself running low on mana. Take Zeal if you need the extra movement/attack speed,and crit chance.

Mid Game Items

Continue farming so you can get Trinity Force. Expensive, at 4070 gold, but it provides Nasus with everything he needs, including health, attack damage, movement speed, attack speed, crit chance, ability power, and the passive on Sheen which adds 100 magic damage on your first basic attack after you cast an ability.(Stacks with Siphoning Strike) Trinity Force is one item I consider must have on Nasus.

Mid Game Armor Choices

Mid Game is all about making Nasus resistant to damage.

Start off with a Giant's Belt. You'll see why in a second.

My top choice for "Armor" is Warmog's Armor. 920 health, 30 health regen, with stacks from minion and champs kills(3.5 health+0.10 health regen per 5 for minions and 35 health+1 health regen per 5 for champs), maxing out at 350 health+10 health regen per 5 when fully stacked. Expensive at 3000 gold, but well worth it if you can get it early on. Your Giant's Belt builds into it.

Stacking Armor and MR on top of this can make Nasus an unstoppable force. Which leads to my next part.

If enemy AD is giving you trouble here's a few decent Armor choices to help you:

- Thornmail:
100 Armor, and returns 30% of basic attack damage as magic damage to the champ hitting you. Death to AD champs like Xin Zhao, Caitlyn, and Fiora. 2000 gold.

- Glacial Shroud: 45 Armor, 425 mana, and reduces cooldowns by 15%. Good to get your Siphoning Strike out quicker. 1525 gold. Can be built into Frozen Heart.

- Sunfire Cape: 45 Armor, 450 health. A passive that deals 40 magic damage a second to any enemy in the immediate area. 2610 gold.

- Randuin's Omen:
75 Armor, 350 health, 5% CDR, and a passive 20% chance on being hit to slow the attackers movement speed by 35% for 3 seconds. Its active is what you want though. Upon activation, all enemies within range are slowed by 35% for 2 seconds+0.5 seconds for every 100 Armor and Magic Resist you have. 3075 gold.

- Guardian Angel:
68 Armor, 38 Magic Resist. Its passive revives you from death, with 750 health, and 375 mana. A good hybrid item, and one that can definitely turn the tide. Should be your top pick if you can't get Warmog's Armor. 2600 gold.

Mid Game Magic Resist Items

A lot of the best MR items start off with a Negatron Cloak, so pick this up to give enemy AP less hitting power against you mid game.

- Force of Nature:
40 health regen, 76 Magic Resist, +8% Movement Speed. Its passive restores 1.75% of your maximum health per 5 seconds. My top choice for MR, goes great with Warmog's Armor, making your health regen RIDICULOUS. 2610 gold.

Other good choices are:

- Abyssal Mask:
70 ability power, 57 Magic Resist. This beefs up your Spirit Fire and Fury of the Sands, on top of providing a useful aura that reduces enemy MR by 20 when in range. Take this if you have an AP heavy team. 2650 gold.

- Hexdrinker, building into Maw of Malmortius:
Hexdrinker provides you with 25 Attack Damage, 30 Magic Resist, and a passive that shields you from 250 damage after taking magic damage that leaves you at less then 30% health. Building into Maw of Malmortius gives you more Attack Damage(55), Magic Resist(36), and the shield goes up to 400 damage. The added passive on this grants you 1 Attack Damage per 2.5% health missing. Good for when you have to get up close to those melee AP carries like Katarina or Fizz. 3300 gold.

- Spirit Visage:
A steal for how much it costs, Spirit Visage grants you 250 health, 30 Magic Resist, and 10% CDR. The beauty about this item is that it improves the effectiveness of ALL healing on you, making your passive Soul Eater that much more effective. 1550 gold.

- Banshee's Veil:
375 health, 50 Magic Resist, and 375 mana. A passive that blocks one negative enemy spell every 45 seconds. Overall, a crazy good item to build against mixed teams. 2715 gold.

Late Game Items

Late Game you need to focus on what your teams needs most. If you have plenty of damage, AD or AP, then focus on tank items. If not, pick up the below:

- Atma's Impaler:
45 Armor, 18% Crit chance. Adds Attack Damage equal to 1.5% of your maximum health to all your basic attacks. Combined with Crit chance from Trinity Force, this can make you deal insane amounts of damage when you use Siphoning Strike. 2355 gold.

- Frozen Mallet:
700 health, 20 Attack Damage, and a nice passive slows enemy movement speed by 40% on hit. Health, Damage, and a form of CC. All things a good Nasus tank needs. 3250 gold.

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Laning Tips

-If you're being outfarmed, or otherwise pushed from your lane, head into the jungle and farm the neutral creeps with your Siphoning Strike. Check with your jungler first though to avoid denying him his resources.

-If you keep getting pushed to your turret, an easy way to score hits with Siphoning Strike is to let the turret 2-shot an undamaged creep, then run in and hit with your Q. This makes defending your turret easier early game, and nets you some easy stacks on Siphoning Strike.

-Buy a Sight Ward on your first trip back to base, 2 if possible. always plant them on the first bush in the river, and either the tribush in the enemy jungle, or the big bush closest to the enemy tower.

-Call for ganks as much as possible when soloing Nasus, especially if you're being out farmed on lane.

-Make sure you know it's safe before you start pushing the enemy turret. A well placed Exhuast, or any slow/stun can put an end to your fun.

-Make sure you keep an eye on your lane after you drop the first turret. An enemy champ may push and win some extra gold for his team.

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There you have it. This is my guide to Solo Top Nasus. Please leave comments and don't forget to vote. Criticism is welcome, and I appreciate ONLY positive criticism. Also, don't down vote cause you also have a Nasus guide, as I will not do the same to you, especially if you're guide is a good one, which you can expect me to up-vote if I ever read it. Thanks, and EXCELSIOR!! :D