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Nasus Build Guide by TcelesBHsup

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League of Legends Build Guide Author TcelesBHsup

UCSD Tanky Jungle

TcelesBHsup Last updated on August 16, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 1

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 19

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 10

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This is for a friend on our new team, Team UCSD, yeah the college.

This is build for running solo queue. If you are looking for a tanky jungle there are a few to pick from I have been running Nasus lately for a few reasons.

1. He doesn't get banned
2. He is really hard to gank in the Jungle
3. He has is a really good ganker
4. His abilities are more group oriented
5. He can still do plenty of damage with a near full tank build with a Farmed Siphoning Strike

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Why not solo top?

You should by all means solo top with Nasus. This is not a guide for Nasus, this is a guide for a Tanky-Jungle. Nasus really shines as solo top, but so do many others such as Morde, Rumble, Vlad, Singed... etc. However most of these do not jungle well, in fact for Tanky jungles there are very few choices that do not get banned, and most of them do not have the survivability and ganking potential of Nasus, that is why not solo top.

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Basically you grab Smite in the offense tree. As a jungler you need to grab Awareness and Utility Mastery , You be tanking, either off tank or main tank (hopefully not) depending on what your team can muster. That means you will die, it's your job to absorb the damage, it's inevitable and so you should grab Good Hands over Perseverance (which does close to nothing). You are also going to want to invest in the defense tree. You want the health boost from Veteran's Scars along the way grab the usual suspects. This will leave you with a few points left over, I decided to grab Defensive Mastery and a fourth point in dodge. It gives you a little more health leaving the jungle, as well as let's you linger a bit in a minion wave while your Siphoning Strike refreshes.

You could go 1/21/8 and not grab Utility Mastery but I wouldn't recommend it. When the buffs wear off, you have two problems to overcome.

1. Mana regen- Mana Regen is a real issue for Nasus early game, This not insurmountable, and if you want to play that way you have several options to make up for it.
(a)- Philosopher Stone- this is great for early game, it's not a ton of mana, and it pays for itself, however it will postpone your boots and slow down your jungle and lower you mobility.
(b)- Mana Potion - Very viable, every two of these you buy could potentially be a Sight ward. That is the only downside :$$
(c)- Greater Glyph of Replenishment - Also viable, it's quite a bit of mana for you, not part of the way I play him, but going defensive tree and swapping for flat mana blues is totally reasonable for an offtank.

2. Cooldowns- Cooldowns really help you farm your Siphoning Strike. A full second also makes all the difference in the world when trying to land a Wither for the kill. Cooldowns are not as easy to compensate for. You can do Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction really to make up for it and not as effectively.

To compensate for both of these problems you would have to spend money on pots, and personally I'd rather have the cash to build defensive items for my core build then to max the defense the defense tree and spend money on the mana pots, but it's up to your playstyle.

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Greater Mark of Attack Speed Greater Seal of Armor Greater Glyph of Armor Greater Quintessence of Desolation

I'll explain these in the order I picked them:

Greater Seal of Armor- As a seasoned Jungler I normally stack a lot of defense in the jungle. I know most people will recommend Greater Seal of Evasion feel free to grab these instead, mathematically they are better, I just don't happen to own them. I prefer the stability of defense to the randomness of dodge.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation- The neutral creeps don't have very armor, most have 10, a few have 12, so no more than 10 Armor pen is needed to kill them. I have tried relying on Spirit Fire for the armor debuff because of the math. There is just too much down time on it to jungle effectively without the Armor pen. I took Armor pen on quints so I could take Attack speed on reds. Which is Mathematically better than reversing them (AS quints/AP reds)

Greater Mark of Attack Speed - 15% attack speed helps the jungle speed a lot. (like almost 15%)

Greater Glyph of Armor- This was a very hard choice for me, I picked Armor so I could come out of the jungle at 95% health rather than 50% health without it. I just don't feel comfortable trying to gank at half health. I deliberated over Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana Regeneration or
Greater Glyph of Replenishment for a while but in the end decided that both of those could be made up for with items later in the build. The extra armor also helps when you run into the enemy jungler. They are always stacking armor pen (at least 10) so this will give you a solid 25% damage reduction even with their armor pen included.

A note about Armor Pen math (skippable boring stuff):

So for those of you who like math I would refer you to

The nuts and bolts of it is this:
Armor penetration ignores armor. If your armor pen is higher than your targets armor, your attacks do true damage. Spirit Fire "Lowers" armor, and that is a different mechanic. Lower armor can make armor go negative, and if it is negative, you will do more damage than true damage. Rarely will you ever get negative armor on a champion, but you will have negative armor on jungle mobs with Spirit Fire active. The up side is that you will do better than true damage, the downside is that your armor pen is worthless since there is effectively no armor to penetrate. Spirit fire's uptime is only about 70% during rank 1 so it is still worth it to have 10 armor pen, how ever your armor pen is essentially useless past your runes, that is why we have chosen specifically 10 armor pen. An interesting side note to this is that Spirit Fire + Zeke's Harbinger + The Black Clever can get an AP carry's armor quite negative, making armor pen useless but increasing your physical carries damage increased beyond true damage by about 10% on a champ with the average 30 natural armor.

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Skill Sequence

Essentially what I've found most useful is:


Spirit Fire is too great, get this first, trust me, or just try jungling without it if you don't believe me, you will regret it.

You also want Wither before you gank, which can do easy as soon you hit lvl 4 at about 4:30, you will be 90% health and 80% mana, that is what make this jungle great.

After that it is up to your playstyle, I max out Siphoning Strike for the cooldown, that way I can farm it up for damage output. When that is not up I max out Wither again for the cooldown. Take your ult of course whenever it is up.

Spirit Fire and why not to max it.
Once you get rank 3 of spirit fire you may start killing the caster minions with it. While this is good for farming, it is bad for your Q. You need to last hit with your Siphoning Strike so you don't want to kill minion waves in one shot, you want to almost kill them all. I am not a master with Nasus so if you feel confident and your are leveling slow enough that the minions are strengthening faster than you by all means grab more ranks for group fights, but I tend to wait until at least level 13 or 14 before putting a point in it. Basically if you find yourself in a group of 4 or 5 more often than 2 or 3 rank up spirit fire. Or if you end up spending a lot of time with the AD carry, rank it up as well.

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With the recent buff Nasus is no slouch in the jungle. I happen to be an avid jungler more so than a Nasus player. This is the jungle route I feel is strongest with Nasus, and the only one I recommend with him. Keep in mind others are viable, I just don't like them. Nasus is not the fastest Jungler and so to compensate I use a counter jungling route that I developed while using Nunu. By slowing down the opposite jungler, you are essentially on par with tier one junglers like rammus and amumu (except your not banned)

Start with Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potion

1.Start at the bushes outside the enemies Wraiths (Clarevoyance the path leading up to the bushes to make sure you don't get team ganked).

2.At 1:32 I click where the big wraith will spawn. Once you walk within melee range of the wraith cast Spirit fire on them and smite the large wraith Health Potion. Then kill 2 of the smaller ones (you leave the last wraith so that they will not respawn.)

3.After that (Clarevoyance the bushes near Red Buff on the small Golem side and) head towards little golems Health Potion + Siphoning Strike.

4.If a teammate kited the wraiths for you, you may arrive at the Blue golems a little early, wait for 14 seconds left on smite before starting. Cast Spirit fire on him twice, then kill the small guys with siphoning strike, or if you have unlucky dodge rates just kill the Blue golem with Syphoning strike. (Always pull the Golem into the bushes before killing him. Normally and every time after this you will want to finish with smite, however there is no way the enemy got into your Blue with a ward yet so this time, and this time only, you can finish him with your Q.

5,6,7 After that just follow your route, easy peazy. Try and finish the neutrals with your q as often as you can. Grab spirit fire after wolves, keep using your pots. After little golems(7) grab Wither,

8. if you did it the way I said, you should have 90% heath and 75% mana at 4:28 and be ready to gank. The opposing jungler will be level 3 and returning from having to recall at this point. Udyr is pissed, but serves him right for not having a harass.

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Summoner Spells

I'm going to make this easy, yes you are a tank, but you are a jungler first. How the jungler behaves and watches the mini map can ruin a game. You will take Smite as your first. If you jungle without smite you are probably not reading a forum anyway.

The second spell is preference.

Clairvoyance This is what I use. I am addicted to CV. There are tons of uses for it as a jungler.
1. Locating the enemy jungler- the first minute of the game can destroy you as a jungler if you don't know where the enemy team is. Especially if you are in their jungle. I use it as an intrinsic part of my jungle pattern.
2. Look where you going! You would drive blind, don't run down the river if you can't see who is in front of dragon. That is the number 1 killer of junglers.
3. Pre-warding, check the bushes before you ward them, nasus doesn't have a brush checker.
4. As a tank you need to find the enemy carries and shut them down, if you don't see Jax or ashe, check behind the wall, then you know where they are coming from and ready your wither.
5. chasing through the jungle, escaping through the jungle. Know where the enemy is, be there or don't.

6. Ganking- This is a secret. When you are in brush for a gank, you will almost always open with Spirit Fire this will force the enemy to run around the fire into the brush to get back to their tower. Cast CV on the brush before they get there, that will give your ally a chance to target and CC them so you have time to get in with Wither, trust me that 2 seconds is huge in a gank situation. Useful until the very end of the game.

Now that I've said my piece, here are other great alternatives.

Teleport- Also great on junglers, allows you to defend a turret instantly, so your solo top can go back. Defend mid, tele to a ward for a 3v2 gank. Plenty of options. This will improve your early game, and ganking phase.

Flash- Get out of Jail free. Makes a great escape, let's catch up to land a Wither. Positioning is one of the most underrated aspects of the game. This spell is respectable for anybody anywhere.

Ignite- Ignite is on here for one reason only. If you are playing as or against a very invasive jungler you may want this. Every jungler relies on health regeneration or damage mitigation and Ignite kills both. This spell will give you a great advantage against any opposing jungler in a 1v1 situation. I don't recommend it however because there is one thing that is much stronger in a 1v1, it's called ...... Pinging!
Ping Please! People love to gank junglers, if you ping and the enemy jungler doesn't, you will win. Learn the hot key, use it.

If you have a great reason to use something else, go for it, but this guide is long enough without nonsense.

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Items are a personal choice. That being said, this is my build.

Cloth Armor+ 5x Health Potion
3x Sight Ward + Boots of Speed
if you ever have enough for a Heart of Gold buy it.
Aegis of the Legion- great item, great price
Mercury's Treads-most games
Guardian Angel-Great mid game
Sheen- so they know you mean business
Warmog's Armor - High health you are above 120 Armor and Magic resist by now
Atma's Impaler - It's like a taunt
Trinity Force - Why not finish it up for some solid damage and real turret potential.

That's my suggested build as an off tank but really there are many ways to go with this.

Off tank is preferred but more often than not I bet you find yourself in the position of main tank. For Main tank I would suggest this after your jungle pattern

Boots of Speed

Philosopher's Stone- You will need to save people and you will be lane hopping a lot early on as main tank trying to protect people, so you will be draining your mana and needing health with short spurts of roaming while trying to save your team mates. Obviously you shouldn't have to, but you will. May as well build for reality instead of ideal play.

Heart of Gold- you need health now but you should still be preparing for the future.

Guardian Angel - This is extremely strong in the mid game. If you can't build it by level 13 or 14 skip it and just use the pieces to build other things. It can turn a mid level fight but by late game, if they killed you once, they can kill you twice.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity- This style of build does not build any damage, so you will need the cooldown reduction to farm up your Siphoning Strike and to keep Spirit Fire up. It will keep you a threat into late game. Otherwise the enemy team will just ignore you.

Warmog's Armor or Sunfire Cape- At this point you have over 100 armor and magic resist, you just need health to keep your AoE and CC up while your carries do their job. Warmogs is great, but if the other team is particularly squishy or has a non threatening tank (i.e. Garen or Cho'Gath) feel free to grab Sunfire. More health won't help because if they are that squishy, they are equally bursty. But the Sunfire will do enough damage to scare them and hopefully get your ad carry the kill.

Eleisa's Miracle- By now the CC should be really pissing you off and the tenacity is definitely needed. This builds from philo stone and replaces the need for Mercury Treads It comes in a little too late in the build for my liking, however I couldn't get it in earlier and still be able to perform as a tank.

Banshee's Veil or Randuin's Omen- Physical or Magic? if you pick Randuin's learn how to use the active if you don't already, that is what makes the item.

Frozen Heart is also not a bad choice if you went Sunfire Cape + Banshee's Veil- Lots of mana some nice Cooldown reduction (You should be giving Blue buff to your AP by now), and a good physical damage debuff for you opponents, what's not to like?

Also get wards, I buy 2 Sight Ward before I buy my main items, and if I can't afford them I suck it up, the wards are always worth it. Early game I'll often buy a couple Health Potions too, just to keep on me in case I get stuck defending a turret when every one else recalls mid or w/e.

Above all use your head, if your against Tristana, Yi , and Tryn buy some Thornmail, if you are against veig/brand/Ryze buy a Force of Nature. Most of the game is decided by your decisions.

If you want to do damage, don't use this guide, use Nocturne. Thanks for reading.

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but one thing that hit's me in the head is the fact that you have a Guardian Angel without holding flash. You say it's good mid game, but from my experience, it is one of those items that is useless until late game (given the fact that a farmed Nasus late game dominates) unless you can absolutely grab a kill or run away. Without holding ghost or flash, I'm not sure why you would hold it though. Anyways, very great guide and I'm hoping it'll give me more success!

About Guardian Angel:

I started running it when I was jungling Amumu actually. I find that it shines in mid game because often your are in a group fight 3v4, or 2v3. Usually during mid game the carries don't have a ton of penetration yet, and so killing you takes a long time. Also at the beginning you do quite a bit of damage with your q + sheen. Which means the longer you are alive the more damage you can dish out, this is pretty irrelevant in late game. I find that early on with this build they simply can't kill me twice. So after I go down as long as our carries continue hitting them I can come back and we can win the fight. Instead of a Resurrection think of it as 80% more hit points, and 1.5 seconds where you can't be targeted. That is usually enough to turn the group fight. It also is just a really good balance of Magic defense and Armor that puts you above 120 each with this build, that makes your Health mean something instead of just being empty health like so many Cho'Gath. It's not just about the passive.

Speaking of combining Guardian Angel with Flash or Ghost

Lugignaf wrote:

You don't need Clairvoyance, especially while jungling. Throw it away for something more useful like flash or ghost.

I showed my (6) reasons for why I personally like like clairvoyance in the summoner spells section. plus with all the talk about how important wards are clairvoyance to me is like a short free ward anywhere on the map.

That being said Flash is a great spell, and I recommend using it above Clairvoyance, This build is what I use, not always what I recommend. Flash will keep GA viable into late game for some people, I just find that as a tank, I'm not ever trying to escape. I am either initiating, trying to save the carry, or in a group. Never alone pushing and never running away from a group fight by myself. If you are being chased down and you GA pops use it to run away from your team not towards safety and ensure that your carries don't die.