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Nasus Build Guide by Hamstertamer
The meme lord - with detailed matchups
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Runes: Spellbook (good vs everything)
+8 ability haste
+8 Magic Resist
+8 Magic Resist
+8 ability haste
+8 Magic Resist
+8 Magic Resist
+8 ability haste
+8 Magic Resist
+8 Magic Resist
+8 ability haste
+8 Magic Resist
+8 Magic Resist
Ability Order Standard build
Threats & Synergies
A strong laner, but only deals physical damage, so just mindlessly stack armor and he'll deal no damage to you. Pre-6 it can be pretty tough however so avoid trades, let him push (his Q naturally pushes the lane), farm under tower and call for early ganks. Slow him to mess up his combo. You win the 1v1 in the mid/late game.
She has superior mobility which means she can engage or escape when she wants, but you overpower her in a straight-up fight even if she hits all her spells. Kite her passive shield with your slow (disengage and re-engage when it's down). Don't hesitate to trade when she comes at melee range. Freeze the lane to deny her farm. If she jumps you with hook or ulti, fight back, she's dead.
Boring farm fest. All-in him with ult + conqueror if he misses his stun.
Very tough early game, and still slightly favors him at level 6 if you choose to fight him even though your ult is better than his. You can't do much to avoid his pull, you can do short trades and slow him to disengage but you won't dodge his Q. Let him push, and farm under tower. If he freezes the lane, break it with E. You outscale him hard if you build HP and armor, but you won't do much if you can't farm since you can't go near the guy without getting into a fight. Call for early ganks, the best counter to Darius is to gank Darius. Going ignite is IMO the best way to win this lane, since it will shift the ulti vs ulti fight in your favor and it gives you a raw power advantage since he usually runs ghost. That, or just ban him.
Nothing happens until level 6, and at that point he can just press R, be unkillable and run you down. DO NOT fight him if he does that, just slow him, dodge cleavers and disengage. Outside of his broken ult (RUN!), this lane is free stacks.
Very snowbally matchup that can go either way, usually decided by jungle pressure. Running ignite heavily recommended to gain the advantage. Build HP and armor, most of her damage is still physical. Her parry is not a problem. Hug a wall when she ults and fight her.
Pure AP burst. Build early MR, and all-in with ult.
One word : oranges. Your slow is useless if he has it up, and his movement speed steroids are stupid. He can kite you indefinitely while poking you, and you can't do much. Well, the cooldown on his oranges is twice the cooldown on your W, and there's ghost, so you can use that if he overextends. IBG is a way to actually slow him. But overall, trade farm, sustain his poke with your passive, and call for ganks, or just ban him.
Illaoi against melee champions is unfair. You can't go on her, just play safe, stay behind minions so she can't E you, and farm under tower. If you get hit by her E, use your own E on her, it reduces the duration drastically since it's a DoT. She'll have trouble ever killing your spirit so at least there's that.
Wait for *after* he uses Q to W him, since his Q purges slows : this way he can't get to you. Slow him to dodge his spin and go back in once it ends. You win the 1v1 if you're full HP, walk back if you're less than half so he can't ult you.
Run ghost. Farm passively and all-in him with ult. Trade with mega-Gnar if he misses any ability, his cooldowns are very long. Mini-Gnar really hates getting slowed since he relies on MS bonuses for kiting, and has the shorter jump range so you can go on him too.
Boring. Just farm under tower for 10 minutes, and rush adaptive helm + merc treads so you can kick his ass later. Punish him with E if he tries to slowly chip at your tower.
High threat until Riot balances this broken champ. Very snowbally matchup so running ignite is a must. Ask your jungler to camp her early. Bully her when she uses Q on the first minion, she is very weak when her passive isn't stacked so fight her at that time. Keep a minion advantage to punish her if she goes on you.
Pure physical burst damage, he's only good at deleting squishies which is exactly what you are not. Build HP/armor and free lane.
Don't play aggressive, stay at a distance from him so he can't ever fight you without jumping on you. If he activates his parry before jumping you, sit in your minion wave and turn on him when he does. If he jumps you before activating his parry, kite his stun with W.
Very annoying poke and kiting, but not much else, he doesn't deal well with champions that stack armor. Ghost and/or righteous glory can get you kills on him.
Kayle can poke pretty well early game but you beat her in an all-in, since your attack speed slow cuts down her DPS pretty hard (max W second). When her passive isn't stacked you can just mindlessly charge in. Adaptive helm makes her cry.
Depends on how the Kennen plays. If he plays passive, you can just sit behind minions, so he can't land his Q on you, only autoattacks, and sustain with your passive. If he uses E aggressively you should turn on him, counter his ult with your own and remember he has energy limits so you're better in a sustained fight. Your slow is a hard counter to his lightning ball escape. Adaptive helm and merc treads.
Trade when his W is down (he uses it automatically on creeps). Either farm under tower or keep a minion advantage to punish him hard for going on you.
Annoying matchup. Conqueror is an absolute must, and early magic resist recommended. You can hold your own in a 1v1 but keep wards for obvious ganks especially when he hits 6.
Tank matchup = free stacks.
You can sustain from his poke and disengage whenever you want so basically a farmfest, there's no fight in this lane unless you want one. Either play the farming game or run ignite (counters his healing) and all-in him with ult.
Tank matchup = free stacks.
The axe spam is very obnoxious, but it pushes the lane so just farm under tower and call for ganks. You outscale him.
Can bully you hard early game, he's great at harassing but he's very weak in an all-in, which is what Nasus excels at. Dodge his W sideways (he can't move during it), same for his other spells. Get early MR, sheen into spirit visage. Don't bother with merc treads he only has knockups. Likely he'll go for a greedy all-in, and if he dashes on you, turn and kill. That guy loves stacking armor so conqueror is an absolute must.
Everybody hates laning against Pantheon, but Nasus can sustain from his poke, stack HP and armor, and fight him with his ult. Use Q as an autoattack reset so he can't parry it. Iceborn gauntlet into another armor item like dead man's plate. Definitely not a bad lane.
Absolute skill matchup, and by that I mean total stat check. Build armor (she desls %HP physical damage), typically IBG/frozen heart, kite or deny her shield, and you can 1v1 her.
Obnoxious kiter, you can't do anything pre-6, later if you itemize against her (righteous glory/ghost/armor), you can get in her face and kill her.
Can bully you extremely hard early, and sadly there isn't much counterplay, just back off when he has >50 fury and itemize against him.
She outtrades you pre 6, but that's about it. Stay at a distance so she can't get to you without a double dash. Pure physical damage is easy to itemize against.
Obnoxious poke, but low sustained damage so you can all-in him at 6. Take advantage of his Q cooldown and his high heat bar. Adaptive helm makes him a saad yordle.
He outtrades you pre-6, so just disengage. Respect his early game damage. But then you win the 1v1 at every point afterwards. When he ults away, take his tower.
This matchup is everything that's wrong with league in a nutshell. Sit under tower for 20 minutes farming stacks while he's AFK proxying your waves, and enjoy an extremely entertaining game where there is zero interaction between the two champions whatsoever for the entire laning stage. Free stacks. Get an adaptive helm if you're bored and want to chase him around.
Toplane shacos are typically AP Shacos who spam boxes and try to bait you in their box nest. The answer is simple : ALWAYS STAY BEHIND YOUR MINIONS. Never go on him and you'll never hit a box. Just ignore him, AFK farm and push his towers, he has zero waveclear so he can't do anything to stop your push. AP Shaco scales pretty badly, AD shaco can at best assassinate your teammates but can't come near you. Remember to match his split push later on.
Annoying poke, but you beat him in an all-in even early. Stand behind him so he can't ult away.
Proper positioning just in front of your ranged minions makes it very hard for him to land his E+pull on you, since it'll just hit a minion. For the same reason, sit behind your melee minions to avoid his Q. Trading with him is good at any moment, just *never* fight him during his ult unless it's 2v1 or you're absurdly fed. Disengage instead whenever he ults.
Borderline unplayable early game. TK makes melees cry, outtrades them, zones them, and eats them. But then, they just picked TK toplane, so it's kind of a "win lane lose game" pick. Tough it up, only thing he can do is be annoying, he can't kill you unless you mess up hard. Short trades are good so take them, just walk away immediately and disengage with W if needed so he'll never stack his passive. An early MR item is a must.
Early game is extremely scary. Always stay at a safe distance from him (500+), zone him away from minions with E so you can farm. Walk back as soon as he uses W, so he can't Q on you and proc his passive. Let him push and farm under tower. Other than that it's just AD burst so tank up and you outscale hard in the mid game.
Can bully you off minions, kite you, and blind you. Put 3 early points in E to zone him, that's more important than maxing Q. Go in bushes to avoid his poke. Rush adaptive helm and merc treads. Ghost recommended.
He beats you early game, but you can disengage with W. His ult partially counters yours, but you should never ult first, you should let him ult you and disengage. Even matchup, it's all about taking the right fight at the right moment.
Snowbally matchup, but it advantages you. Watch out for his full rage bar and stay out of his dash range, play more aggro and trade him at low rage so he can't stack it up on creeps. Kite his ulti with your slow and/or ghost which is great in this matchup. Items like frozen heart and early randuin's are pretty solid here.
Can literally destroy you early game, don't come near him and just slow and disengage. Zone with E. Once you get farm you outscale him hard.
At first glance may look like a "counter", but actually a very safe matchup for Nasus. You can just AFK farm under tower since his passive naturally pushes the wave and he can't force a fight if you don't want one. He deals %HP physical damage so stack armor. Basically farm and outscale.
Vlad is great at bursting squishies but doesn't duel tanks very well. Only issue with him is that a lot of Vlads run phase rush, which counters your W, so only W him when it's down. Move back when his empowered Q is up. Sit behind minions to dodge his E. Sheen into spirit visage. All-in him at level 6 with ult and ignite.
Shove the wave and he can't go on you, slow him to kite his ult. Nasus doesn't really care about burst damage.
Break his passive shield with E. Trade with him whenever he comes near, you straight up overpower him.
Easy pre-6, you can destroy his wall instantly with your AA reset, and farm stacks off his ghouls or clear them with E. The real problem is his ultimate, which you have no way to deal with. If you see the maiden, RUN.
The toplane matchup against Vayne is not a major threat. She can kite you pretty hard but doesn't deal well with your W or your E poke. Kind of like Teemo but overall easier. Punish her positioning mistakes and post-6 keep a red trinket to deal with her ult. Ghost recommended. The best counter to Vayne top is to gank Vayne, literally a free kill for your jungler. HOWEVER Vayne as an ADC is extremely scary lategame and destroys you with basically no counterplay. So worth banning for that.
Can poke you and kite you, but can't kill you unless you mess up bad, so easy stacks. Doran's shield start. Farm under tower when she hits 6. Get early adaptive helm, it shuts her down completely.
Against tank Gragas it's a farmfest, and AP Gragas is just good at one-shotting squishies which is not what you are. Free stacks.
Annoying, but doesn't have enough burst to kill you, can't deal with armor, and can't deal with your ult. Freeze the lane near your tower, he won't have any bush around to go in. Bramble vest is a great item here, gives armor and cuts his sustain.
Avoid him early game since that combo hurts, and fight him later. Slow him when he uses Q so he can't get to you and combo you. He has no scaling damage so build HP.
You basically can't go on him early since you'll get kited and outdamaged, and he loves running phase rush to counter your slow. Very little counterplay besides ganks, so just AFK farm. You can 1v1 him mid/lategame with merc treads + adaptive helm. The poke build is great here.
Nasus is a toplaner who is basically the ultimate juggernaut, in the sense that he has both massive damage and massive survivability. His Siphoning Strike allows him to have infinitely scaling DPS, as long as you farm a lot of stacks, and you don't need a single damage item on him so you can build full tank. Another very underrated aspect of the champion is his ability to still farm stacks while 5-manning with his team, which allows him to join fights during the midgame instead of AFK farming top the whole game, a mistake that many players make on him.
Have a nice read!
- Massive damage output
- Sustain in lane
- Extremely tanky with ultimate, lifesteal and items
- Powerful level 6 powerspike, great 1v1 or even 1v2
- Great mid game
- Godlike late game
- Permaslow, Wither is busted
- Amazing pusher, potentially fastest pusher in the game
- Very few bad matchups, good first pick and good OTP champ
- Weak early game (pre 6)
- Weak to kiting and adc's, even when fed
- Lacks an escape
- Lacks engage
- Mana issues
Resolve tree has good runes as well, although running resolve as your main tree forces you to run Demolish which is a bit overkill on such a great pusher.
Sorcery is good for Manaflow Band but Transcendence is a bit awkward on him.
Domination is the worst since all the runes besides Predator are terrrible on Nasus, and you don't want to run predator since you'd be wasting 3 rune slots.
There are many good rune builds on Nasus but if you're just looking for one that works, run this one. It's good in literally any matchup.
A great keystone overall, first because inspiration runes are the best on Nasus, second because it gives you a lot of 1v1 dueling power. Allows you to have both Teleport and combat summoner spells like Ghost, Ignite, Exhaust etc for all-ins. Spellbook is good in literally any matchup, but especially shines against kiting oriented matchups since more summoner spells = more chasing power.
300 free gold, plus 10 movement speed. Nasus is extremely gold-hungry in the early game so this boost helps him tremendously with buying his early CDR and tankiness. Delaying boots is not a problem on him at all.
Cosmic Insight is a godlike rune on Nasus since it gives him cooldown reduction early game for more stacks, and scales extremely well into late game to reach 45% CDR. CDR is everything on Nasus, since it increases both stacking speed and DPS.
Cosmic insight is strictly superior to Transcendence, since it's better in both early and late game.
When facing kiting matchups, run Approach Velocity instead. It has a great synergy with Wither against champions like Teemo, Jayce or Quinn.
Overheal and Presence of Mind are both good on Nasus, that choice can be controversial. Overheal works with your passive, you hit minions and get a shield, so you can mitigate poke while farming. The big advantage of Overheal is that it helps you duel your opponent in the laning stage, so it's the only one that helps get an early game lead. However Presence of Mind helps Nasus with his heavy mana issues, and allows him to keep taking objectives after winning fights while otherwise you'll run out of resources and have to recall.
Legend: Tenacity is an amazing rune, CC is a huge problem for Nasus. The best thing about it is that it allows you to not get Mercury's Treads even when facing CC, and get Ninja Tabi instead which scale extremely well.
Legend: Bloodline is also really good on Nasus when you don't need tenacity, it stacks with your passive and your Q damage can lifesteal.
Grasp of the Undying Nasus is a perfectly viable but controversial build. It's a bit awkward on Nasus since grasp is a rune made for short trades while Nasus is a champion who generally loses trades and only wins in an all-in. Still, when facing champions that constantly try to trade aggressively, grasp is a good rune to have since it allows you to trade back before disengaging or going for an all-in. And in a long fight, grasp will still proc several times. There's also the added benefit of it dealing magic damage, making it a counter to champions that stack armor.
So grasp Nasus is good with two caveats :
- Only run grasp against melee matchups. If you run it against a Teemo or Quinn, it does absolutely nothing and you have no keystone.
- Only run grasp against champions you can trade with safely without feeding (for example, NOT Darius).
Obvious choice on this line, since the other two are not viable. Demolish is a bit overkill since Nasus pushes incredibly fast even without it, but still helps in the early game to get tower plates against passive matchups that want to sit under tower all game (e.g tanks).
Very strong scaling rune since Nasus naturally has tons of resistances with his items and the bonuses from his ultimate.
Situational sustain rune against heavy poke lanes, e.g Pantheon.
When Conqueror came out, it was absolutely godlike on Nasus. Since it could stack by hitting creeps, and gave 20% true damage conversion, it was literally the best keystone against any melee matchup. The keystone alone took care of one of Nasus's biggest weaknesses, which is having no effective counter to high armor tanks (and Nasus has to hit tanks since he has no target access).
But now, after massive nerfs, the current conqueror is but a shadow of its former self. Conqueror no longer gives much in terms of tank shredding, and takes a huge amount of time to stack on enemy champions since only Spirit Fire gives you a stack, your other abilities don't.
So this is no longer a core keystone, just a situational keystone against heavy tanks.
All the previous runes are for a playstyle of going for 1v1 fights against your lane opponent, which in most matchups Nasus wins. However there are certain matchups where it's much safer to play ultra passive, sit back during laning stage, max Spirit Fire, and spam E until your opponent has to go back. The Arcane Comet build is for that playstyle.
Just to be clear, this is an early game poke build in which you build the exact same items as in other builds (except you start Doran's Ring for regen). This is NOT an AP Nasus build.
Nasus needs mana in general, especially in a build about spamming E.
A controversial rune on Nasus. Good thing is that it allows you to reach 40% CDR faster. Bad thing is that tank items already give you 40% CDR and the conversion is kind of worthless since Nasus needs neither AP nor AD. Also this rune does nothing early game. A much, much weaker version of Cosmic Insight, but still not useless.
Perfect for Spirit Fire poke.
A very fun rune that gives you a way to engage. Perfect for cheesing people!
Season 9 was a *massive* buff to Nasus because you can now get passive cooldown reduction from any runepage. Always go cooldown reduction for offense, it's insanely good since you reach 40% CDR very quickly.
For flex and defense, take the defensive stats you need most in this particular game.
Solves Nasus' main weakness which is lack of engage and getting kited. Solid in lane and great in teamfights. Especially good against kiting/poke oriented matchups.
Last hit anything with it to get stacks, for infinite damage and infinite memes.
Arguably the strongest slow in the game. Also huge attack speed slow so extremely good dueling skill. Becomes a permaslow when maxed.
Used for :
- Zoning your opponent off the minion wave so you can get Q stacks
- Poking, especially guys who can kite you
- Reducing armor
Standard skill build is to max Siphoning Strike first, since you need the damage and reduced cooldown to farm stacks. When you skill your first point in your other skills depends on the matchup, you need Wither level 2 if you need the disengage and Spirit Fire level 2 if you need the zoning power.
Once you have Q maxed, you need a few points in Spirit Fire for better waveclear, typically I put 3 points in it, and then max Wither, since once maxed your W has 100% uptime.
In matchups against heavy kiting champions, like typically Teemo, you need several early points in Spirit Fire for poke and zoning, which you should take over skilling Q.
Adapt your starting items to the matchup, often you see Nasus players make the mistake of going Doran's Shield every game even when there are much better options.
Best all-around starting item, lots of sustain (especially mana, very valuable) as well as dueling power with the passive, generally the best option against bruisers.
Cloth + potions against AD burst or AD poke. Nice thing about this start is the very early cooldown reduction with a Glacial Shroud.
Against easy matchups like tanks. Faster Kindlegem = more stacks.
Against poke heavy lanes.
Looks weird but actually the best build in lanes where you can't fight your lane opponent and the best thing to do is sit back and spam E (e.g Teemo).
In easy matchups, just stack cooldown reduction to farm more stacks. In hard matchups, itemize against your opponent.
- Freezing : keeps the minion waves in front of your tower so you can safely farm and all-in. The enemy wave should have 4 minions more than yours, kill minions if there are more. Don't let the wave under your tower, aggro it away and drop aggro in the bush.
- Slow pushing : do this when you want to take the tower. Kill all the ranged minions in a wave, then you get a double wave of your minions for a massive push.
Always push the wave hard before backing, especially if you don't run TP. Buy Control Wards whenever you back because Nasus is very weak to early ganks.
If Fury of the Sands is up, Nasus can 1v2 if the enemy jungler comes to gank. In that case, it's very important to focus the right target (the one with the highest damage output). If played well you can go 1 for 1 or even walk away with a double kill.
Nasus pushes extremely fast so always try to take tower plates early, typically before you back. You can always afford to get one or two Q procs on the tower if the enemy toplaner is low. Securing first tower gold for your team is a pretty good advantage on top of the map control and access to the enemy jungle it gives you.
Invade the enemy jungle! With lifesteal, jungling is a cakewalk. Not only is blue buff amazing on Nasus, it's a very low risk strategy since you can easily 1v1/1v2 if spotted. You can also solo herald so go for it if you get the chance.
If you decide to split push, try to coordinate with your team so they go for dragon while you threaten a tower. When baron spawns, rotate to bot lane, and draw attention while your team takes baron. Keep wards in the enemy jungle to spot ganks, and farm the hell out of their jungle camps because you're really good at it.
Keep the memes alive.