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Nasus Build Guide by EpicGustav

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League of Legends Build Guide Author EpicGustav

The Cycle Of Life And Death

EpicGustav Last updated on June 7, 2016
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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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 0

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 12

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 18

Threats to Nasus with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Ekko Tank Ekko is not a very difficult matchup. In the earlier levels he has some burst to take you down, but after you get kindlegem or spectres cowl, his dmg drops off hard. This is especially true after you get spirit visage as your first item. Watch his passive stacks on minions or you, as it will indicate when he trades or CS'es which allows you to zone him or punish him with a smack, granting you 10 easy gold from the bandit mastery.
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WORK IN PROGRESS. Table of Contents currently work incorrect and display old information when clicked on. Scroll down to the section you wish to view.

Hello and Welcome to my guide on Nasus. I have been playing Nasus a lot and picked him up in the middle of season 4. This means that currently I have been playing him for about 2 years and I have learnt quite a lot about him. Nasus is often a very misunderstood champion in terms of what exactly he does, and knowing those things makes the difference between a challenger or challenged Nasus. Without further ado, Lets Begin!

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+ Scales Well into Late game
+ Most powerful slow in game
+ Deals a lot of damage while building tank
+ Great Sustain
Nasus is one of the strongest champions in the lower elo, if you know how to play him both as a champion and att the skill level you are at. (Bronze, Silver etc.) Similar to Master Yi he can very easily become a destroyer of bronzies. His pros make him very powerful late game if played correctly during laning phase, and in the right hands can sometimes win a game all by himself, either teamfighting or splitpushing.

- Bad early laning
- Easily Kited, Needs to be meele to use stacks
- Needs stacks to carry
- Mana hungry early
Nasus has some very bad weak points. These points are easier to exploit the more coordination you have and thus Nasus is not a very good pick in the higher elos, as the enemy team will likley lane swap and make him completly useless. The more skilled and coordinated the opponents are, the harder it will be to be useful as Nasus. That is why it's a lot easier to play him as you're escaping the lower elos, as it both works good and will give you some insight into Nasus.

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Skill Explanation

Soul Eater
Grants Life Steal
Grants Nasus 10/15/20% life steal based on your level. This is good for sustain in lane and helps in fights when bashing someones head in with Siphoning Strike. It also works perfectly with Spirit Visage, a core item on Nasus.

Siphoning Strike
Enhances your next auto attack to deal bonus damage.
This is Nasus bread and butter. It makes your next auto attack do bonus dmg, based on a base amount, your AD and a special attribute. Every time you kill a unit, you gain 3 permanent damage on the ability. This is doubled if it's used to kill seige minions, large/epic monsters and champions. Resets auto attack timer.

Slows tartget speed and attackspeed
This slows the targets speed from a base amount, and ramps up over the 5 second duration. Targets attackspeed is slowed by half the amount. This is really important for dueling adcs or anyone, as it allows you to keep smacking them with your Siphoning Strike and make it harder for them to fight back. At rank 5, slow becomes 99% during the last second, making it the best slow in the game, close to a stun. Also, with 40/45% cdr this spell can be active on a target almost permanently.

Spirit Fire
Deals AOE damage to an area and reduces armor
Marks an area, creating a base explosion and makes the ground desolated. Enemies on the desolated ground take dmg each second and have their armor reduced. This is great combined with Wither, as it allows you to hit even harder with your Siphoning Strike

Fury Of The Sands
Nasus empowers himself for 15 seconds
Nasus empowers himself for 15 seconds, gaining bonus health, increased size and bonus attack range for the duration. While Nasus is empowered, he deals magic damage to all enemies around him each second based on your ap and the targets level. Also gains bonus attack damage equal to 6.375% of the damage dealt. THIS BIG MODE is your super sayan form. This makes anyone diving you regret their decision and in teamfights make you into a very strong tank. The bonus range and ad also makes your Siphoning Strike hit even harder, becuase every other spell helped it, so its only natural that this one does to. Try turning it on early for the bonus dmg and ad, but dont waste it or people will run before the fight begins. Recommended for turning fights around and teamfighting. Can also be used to survive dives or ganks if necessary.

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Greater Mark of Lethality

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed


  • greater mark of armor penetration: These are to make sure that your Siphoning Strike hits as hard as possible during the late game. This makes it so that we can easier deal with enemy tanks and if enemies build armor. Can be combined with Lord Dominik's Regards for shredding armor.
  • Greater Mark of Attack Damage: This is great for early cs'ing as the bonus ad both makes your auto attacks and Siphoning Strike hit harder. It also allows for easier early dueling or a decent choice for jungling.
  • Greater Mark of Attack Speed: This is for jungling Nasus only. Nasus attack speed during the early game is retartedly slow and this helps his clearing time. Depending on attack damage or atk speed, its personal preferance. I personally pick attack speed, as it helps clear time more, can take towers easier, duel a bit better and the rune in general is good for a lot of champions in the game.
  • Greater Seal of Scaling Health: One of the standards of top lane. This has recently replaced armor seals, and damn is it a good one. The scaling runes outscale all other runes at level 7, meaning that flat runes are often quite useless nowdays with the meta being so snowball oriented. The health means that its both easier to combat AD or AP and we don't have to pick magic resist/scaling magic resist glyphs.
  • Greater Seal of Armor: Not a very good option nowdays. Can be an ok option for a jungler or if vs. someone very agressive like Rengar or Riven. I usually don't take this, but it is a good option for very certain situations.
  • Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: A very decent pick-up if the enemies happen to have a lot of Magic damage. We also tend to build more armor then magic resist to support a Iceborn Gauntlet path, so some more magic resist is very nice.
  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Take this if vs. someone like Swain or an early agressive AP laner. This is very uncommon to take as a top laner, but it may come a time where u need it. That said, it doesn't happen very often, only about 1 in every 15 games or so.
  • Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction: Another solid pickup, as with Trinity Force or Iceborn Gauntlet plus a Spirit Visage this puts us at a solid 30% CDR. With 9 of these, we reach 38%. From here on, it's your choice whether to get an extra cdr quintessence for reaching 40%, add some scaling CDR to reach 10% by late game or dump cdr runes and get an item that covers it instead.
  • Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: My usual choice, seeing how little Life Steal quintessences acutally give. The amount of life steal is not worth is, especially when we have a Spirit Visage. I like the movement speed becuase one of Nasus core problems is getting kited, and this adds in a little bit extra. Is also good for roaming the jungle.
  • Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction: If you run this, only run one combined with 9 cooldown glyphs. This puts you at a solid 10% with is enough for just pregame and helps early stacking a bit. Great for early jungle clearing as well.
  • Greater Quintessence of Life Steal: One of the more popular choices, but I don't like it very much. It gives u more sustain in lane, but considering you have to do dmg to heal, it makes it VERY easy to get harassed by your lane opponent and you usually lose more health than you will gain. Is still good, just not the best right now in my opinion.

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Explanation and choices

This is what I run 90% of my Top lane Nasus games. This allows us to gain a lot of potential late game while still surviving the early phase. We have some early damage such as the assassain mastery and we scale well into late game with other things such as Insight or Grasp of the Undying . Overall a solid mastery page, but a lot of the choices can be alterd depending on your opponent or role. Like swapping keystone to Strength of the Ages when going jungle. Mostly, I don't like going in depth about masteries, due to them being able to be alterd during champion select andd its usually good for any player to learn how to create masteries. Just think abiut what you want/are lacking, and pick accordingly. Do you want extra health or making healing effects stronger? The choice is entirley yours (But with Nasus, pick Runic Armor , it's a lot better with your items and your passive.)

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Item Sequence

Mercury's Treads

Frozen Heart

Spirit Visage

Iceborn Gauntlet

Dead Man's Plate

Zz'Rot Portal
This is a common start vs AP laners like Swain, Ryze or Kennen. This builds into both a [spectral cowl] and a [kindlegem], which are what you will be building vs an AP laner. This helps you rush into a [Spirit Visage] faster than a [Doran's Shield]. Overall a strong choice and will make Taric like you.

Exactly the same as ruby crystal, but with AD and [Warden's Mail] and [Glacial Shroud] instead. The explenation is exactly the same as ruby crystal, strong against laners like Riven, Darius OR GOD FORBID THIS WALKING UNHOLY TOPLANER, Vayne.

This helps sustain and tankyness in lane, but it won't allow a faster rush into our items. I never start this unless I'll get absolutley dumped on. Due to me not running any cooldown reduction at all, I want my cooldown reduction items as fast as possible to stack easier, and I can usually play my lane well enough not to get destroyed.

This is Nasus offensive start, but i almost never run it now. You can if you want to, but due to riot decreasing the health gained and increasing mana gains, it promotes more agressive play styles with the corrupting touch. I maybe play it if im against a champ that I possibly can kill. Another problem is that, like Doran's sheild wont allow item rushes and slows down our stacking progress, even if you can stomp lane. Stomping the lane definetly helps a lot, but having cdr makes it easier later in the laning phase.

This item builds into Spirit Visage and thus this is for AP top laners. Firstly, you have to understand this about Nasus first recall. If you are doing well, you take the CDR part of Spirit Visage or Frozen Heart, becuase those 2 are the first items you get as Nasus depending on your opponent. Because of this, take this if you are doing well against your AP top laner, and if you are doing poorly or against someone with DOTS, take a Spectre's Cowl.

The opposite of a Kindlegem. This gives us CDR, armor and mana. This is perfect for Nasus and helps him so much during the laning phase. However, Warden's Mail provides more defensive stats, so take that if you are getting stomped. Glacial Shroud is for utility.

Mentioned above, this item makes ad top laners easier to deal with. Due to the increase in armor and reducing attack speed (Especially strong vs Aatrox, Gnar and AA based characters) This item is not often that I pick up, due to me getting more armor then mr in my runes, AD opponents are just easier to deal with, at least for me personally.

The magic version of Warden's Mail This item makes any DOT champ like Teemo and Swain cry, becuase the health regen that it gives you is strong. And due to DOT staying on you for quite some time, you can almost have a permenent increased health regeneration. Take this if vs DOTS or getting pounded into the ground, otherwise pick up a Kindlegem.

I try to pick these up on my first back, and get them upgraded ASAP. There are a lot of options for Nasus. These are what you can get:
Ninja Tabi This is for AD champions
Mercury Treads This is for AP champions
Boots of Swiftness This is for not getting kited


This item is core on Nasus. Even if the entire enemy team is AD, you should pick this up anyways. Why? That's because the item's stat bonuses are perfect for our doge. It gives us CDR, Health, Magic Resist and Health Regen. To top it off, we have a ridicolous passive for Nasus. It increaes ALL healing by 20%. This means health regen, your passive, health gain from Fury of the Sands and especially helps the lord of regen, warmogs armor. This on any tank, especially Garen or Dr. Mundo is disgusting. You'll want to gouge your own eyeballs out after you see them recover all their hp within 15 seconds. If against AP toplaner, pick this up first, otherwise pick it up as a 2nd or 3rd item. If the entire enemy team is ad dont pick it up. I personally used to pick it up every game, but becuase Iceborn Gauntlet and Frozen Heart both give 20% each, it isnt worth it.

Another great item for Nasus and his 2nd core item. This should be picked up first if against an AD toplaner, otherwise 2nd or 3rd. The ATK speed reduction is similar to Randuin's Omen, but this one works better for Nasus. This is due to the item giving us 20% CDR, armor, mana and reduces the ATK speed of all nearby enemies by 20%. This item makes Nasus a lot scarier than he was before and should always be picked up. However, if the enemy team for some reason has no AD, pick it up 5th or 6th.

The ultimate cane accsesory. This item or Trinity Force will be Nasus third and final core item. This is due to it giving us 10% CDR, allowing us along with Frozen Heart and Spirit Visage to cap our CDR at 40%, the armor and mana it gives, and the spellblade passive, dealing damage based on our armor and slowing everyone around the impact area. This makes your Siphoning Strike deal a LOT more damage than before and makes it easier for Nasus to not get kited by carries. PIck it up 2nd or 3rd, after your core items Spirit Visage and Frozen Heart. (If the enemy team is all AD or AP, replace on of the core tank items to fit the match. No point in rushing an mr item second vs a full ad comp.)

A replacement to Iceborn Gauntlet, this still gives us our CDR we desirve(The 6.11/6.10 buff is so good for our favorite doge), but instead makes our attacks hit twice as hard, and gives us movement speed instead of slowing the enemy. Also adds a chance for crits and increased attack speed. A jack of all trades AD item, this can be very powerful. I only take it if i'm ahead however, due to the high cost of the item and that it won't have an impact until its combined and takes up 3 item slots or more until then. Overall, I prefer Iceborn Gauntlet but if you want some extra damage and don't need more armor/mana/slows, pick it up instead of Iceborn Gauntlet When you get it, you spike hard and you hit extremly hard as well.

The plate of going fast. This makes Nasus even harder to kite, and adds armor and health. Also, if you reach max momentum, you hit HARD. The dmg from your 100 momentum auto attack doubles, which can be applied to Siphoning Strike. For example, Siphining strike does 600 base dmg, along with doubled Trinity Force, does 1200/600 more (Not sure how riot does the calculations for multiple enhancers. Then Dead Man's Plate gives us more 600/1200 dmg, so your Siphoning Strike can easily hit for 2000-3000 dmg after about 4-5 items, especially with a lot of stacks. Pick this up 4th or 5th and if having problems with getting kited very easily.

A great item. Gives us a lot of hp and a stupid health regen. However, I usually dont pick this one up, unless vs AP or true damage teams or if I need more hp. I prefer going the Iceborn Gauntlet route, so by stacking more armor I do more dmg. Still a strong pickup with its insane regen, but it's not a must on Nasus.

Another strong mr item. This one especially is good vs poking champions, or combo based champions like Brand or similar champions that have to put a debuff on you with one of their spells. Take this if the enemies have more AP damage than usual and if their APC is getting ahead fast and scaling. Pick this item up 4th or 5th depending on the situation.

Very basic. Build this if their adc or an auto attack based champion is getting out of hand, as the return dmg and 100 armor will make them do a lot of less damage. However, care if they are building Last Whisper since this will nullify a lot of your armor and will make this item less useful. Get it 4th or 5th. Possibly 6th.

This sis similar to Thornmail. It gives us less armor but more halth, and gives us a passive that is great for wavecelaring. This is an option for [[nasus], but I rerley pick this item up anymore, due to there being better options around and matches finishing before I would need it's passive. Still a good choice, get it 4th/6th.

This is similar to Frozen Heart but it doesn't give any cdr or mana. This gives more tankyness instead of utility. As you propably have a lot of armor, pick this item up 4th to 6th. Depends on how the game is going. Slow is also very useful for catching enemies.

This item makes us hit harder and allows for a little more offensive playstyle. However, due to our natural tankyness its quite rare that we take so much dmg during such a short period of time. Take this if playing some more offensive items or their team has a lot of armor/mr penetration or burst. Also, it allows for mega Nasus, combined with Fury of the Sands and an Elixir of Iron.

A very strong item for not getting kited. It allows you to quickly run into their backline and start beating them to death. It also gives nice tank stats, but the main point is the movement speed and slow. Be very carfeul to not waste the active, as the item does not retain gold value without it. Again, good for not getting kited, but you only need about 1 anti kite item and rest tanky. Still a good choice, take it 5th or 6th.

Very pricey and low stats without health, but a very very powerful passive. This can be useful if going more offensive with dmaage items and you need to get back, or if they have a lot of burst so you can blow their cooldowns without dying. Get it 5th or 6th, and you can also be very annoying, due to your health basically incrasing by 30%.

A good item for both being tanky and giving mr. This is a good counter to aoe casters like Brand. It also gives your team a shield for teamfighting. However, it's usually the support who picks this item up or its alternative version Banner of Command.I only get it if my support won't, but you shouldn't have to get it 90% of the time.

Splitpushing! This item gives you both armor, mr and health regen. It also gives us a unique passive of running faster when near turrets/fallen turrets, which allows for greater roaming and easy slitpushing. It's selling point is the active portal it summons. This can stop a push from a lane, or can be left in another do passivley push a lane, which will force an enemy to go to that lane. Meanwhile you can either fight 4v5, push or get objectives. A really strong item especially in the lower elos where the counter is unknown (The counter is just another portal, or banner of command.) A good pick up, but not a must. Get it for pressure and if you enjoy a splitpush style of Nasus instead of teamfighting when you have a lot of stacks. Get it 4th, 5th or 6th.

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What NOT To Do


1. Don't ask your jungler for a gank.
Nasus is very weak early and if your jungler ganks, you can either get killed or risk getting counterganked. You can't win a 2v2, but you do provide some help for the ganks with Wither. However, tell your jungler to help mid or bot, becuase as Nasus you don't have to win the lane, you have to survive it.
2. Push the lane
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF NASUS. If you push the lane, you:
-Allow yourself to get ganked and feed. Nasus has no escapes
-Lessen the amount of stacks you recive, due to not waiting for Siphoning Strike's cooldown.
You never want to push the lane, becuase if you get ganked during the early laning phase and the enemy laner starts scaling, you will lose. ESPECIALLY if it's someone like Riven or yasou. You want to maximise the amount of stacks you can recive and you don't want to be pushed in to their towers. If you are solo as Nasus, focus on easy stacks solo, recall and buy some items or take a jungle camp. Nasus does not roam well, so don't push in and waste your time.
3. Don't engage/fight
Nasus is weak early and fighting with the enemy is suicide. During the laning phase you just want to focus on your stacks. You can start dueling your enemies, but I don't tend to fight before I get 200 stacks and a Sheen. If the enemy attacks/Harasses you, Wither them and back off, smack them once to proc Bandit and Grasp of the Undying . Play passive and don't feed.
4. Don't Roam
Simple enough. Nasus does have a good slow with Wither, but going mid takes a lot of time that can be spent better on stacking Siphoning Strike or recalling. Your mid should be fine anyways, since the your jungler will only have midlane and botlane to focus on.

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What TO Do


1. Get pushed in
This is a very unknown concept of Nasus. He is one of the few champions that benefit greatly from it. It allows him to be under/close to his tower, so he is immune to gank and becuase he is Nasus, they won't towerdive or they will try, then die. Also, due to his Siphoning Strike, it is easy to kill minions with uneven health that would otherwise die to the tower. Also, if you have gotten a bunch of stacks and are later in the laning phase, this makes it easier for mid to roam/jungler to gank, which can net you an easy Rift Herald.
2. Aquire Stacks
You are Nasus. A heavily q-dependant scaling tank. Getting stacks should ALWAYS be your number 1 priority during the laning phase. If you are not stacking your Siphoning Strike, you should then be recalling then using Teleport to get back to lane and stack more, or push the lane for easy towers. Nasus is a beast at taking towers, but he needs stacks to be effective. Without them, you have significantly less damage and are just another tank with a useless Q. When stacking, try to reach 300 stacks (100 last hits with Siphoning Strike) Around 20-25 minutes. That is a good amount of stacks and an average I achive during 95% of my games. Even If I get stomped, you can get some solo farming top for easy stacks.
3. Help your team
You all propably know the Nasus stereotype. You stay top all game, let your team carry you or until you push in and one-shot the nexus. This however, is Plastic V Nasus. Knowing when to stop just stacking Q and helping your team, makes the difference between a challenger or challenged Nasus. I start helping my team at around 25 min, when I have over 300 stacks. I still get more stacks, just not as fast. If there is set-up for dragon , baron nashor or a tower, go help! If nothing is going on, feel free to keep stacking, but be prepared to move or Teleport to where your team needs you.
4. Think about Teleport
Similar to my last tip, knowing when and where to Teleport is important. If you teleport up top for stacks at 30 min at 600 stacks, you just wasted it. After 20 minutes, use homeguard to get back to lane, and only teleport away from your team if: Splitpush is reaching inner/inhibitor tower, To splitpush yourself while team stalls or if you need cs for an item and can reach the team quickly afterwards with homeguard. If Teleport is up, go top/mid/bot and get stacks. If your team needs you, Teleport in and teamfight with them. Missing a teamfight as Nasus makes all your stacks useless, as they are only getting used on minions, not the enemy ADC's face.

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That's it for the guide. I really enjoyed making it and I hope that you found something that will help your Nasus games in the future, or maybe get better at playing against him. As said, this is still a work in progress. If you see any mistakes/problems or want to ask me something about Nasus, feel free to comment down below. Thanks for reading!

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Laning Phase

Laning phase or more precisely the early laning phase. The first 15 minutes of the game is what can easily make or break a Nasus. It separates challenger and challenged players. This is because if you can get the correct items and play the matchup well enoughh you can snowball very hard and win you lane, or you can mess up completly and go 0/9. Even if you are up against early game monsters, you can still win the fight at level 6.


This is the beginning of the game and an important part of Nasus. This is where you are playing very passive, just stacking your Q. You don't want to fight before 6 either, so try to either trade with the enemy laner or proc Bandit , but never all in before 6. You have no stacks or Fury of the Sands so you will 99% of the time, DIE.
Get a lot of gold, and aim to have around 1300-1600 by the time you do your first recall, to buy an item, boots and maybe a Vision Ward. Don't except any good stacking either, since we are weak at this stage and have little cdr. Powerstacking comes later.

Level 6-13

Here is where Nasus really takes off. You get around 20-28% cdr from Sheen and either Kindlegem or Glacial Shroud depending on your opponent. The extra 8% can be gotten from runes if the enemy doesn't have a lot of AP damage. Here is where you can start brawling more, and really get stacking. Even if you have around 60 stacks by 10 minutes, that's what I usually get. Then I take off and get 200 stacks at around 15 minutes, back to get Spirit Visage or another starting item, then back into lane. Also, don't use your teleport into lane as much, try to look for a good teleport botlane to secure a dragon.

Level 13 and Above
Here, don't use teleport top. You should start helping your team now, and around 20-25 minutes, you can have around 300 stacks which is great, then start helping your team. If you stay top and keep stacking, you waste all your stacks since you aren't helping out. This is what makes Nasus tricky. WHEN TO HELP TEAM? I usually stop powerstacking and help my team when I got over 300 stacks and Iceborn Gauntlet or Trinity Force. That's when Nasus can spike really well and start doing good in teamfights. You should of course keep stacking and you can still stay top and keep pressing Q. If you are going top however, make sure you have Teleport up to join your team if needed, or stack your Siphoning Strike close to where your teamates are.

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That concludes my guide on Nasus If you like it, then please let me know! And if you didn't let me know anything I did wrong or something I can improve on. If you have any questions, I'll make a Q&A section and answer them there. Good luck on the Rift!