This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page
Nasus Build Guide by TheNinjaRoid
Ultimate Nasus Guide from a Nasus OTP - Patch 9.9
Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.
+8 ability haste
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
Threats & Synergies
Hard matchup if you don't know the champ. If you can avoid his Q/W, you likely won't die to him alone. Ask for ganks if you think you can 2v1 him. You win lane if you get ahead.
Not a threat. Get your Sheen and you can fight her after level 6, if you're stacking well. You should win lane, if you don't get camped.
Hard lane, Avoid fighting him as much as possible, ask for ganks from Jungle and/or Mid. His passive does magic damage, so get Mercury Treads. Can't really stop you from farming, outside of killing you. You should win late game, if you haven't fed him to oblivion.
Just annoying. You can't kill him easily, and he can't kill you easily after you both have ult. He wins pre-6, if you can't dodge his Q. Can't stop you from farming, so you win late game, even if you can't 1v1 him.
Hard matchup, she's mobile, and does a ton of damage, ask for ganks if you want to kill her. If you manage to get ahead, you should win lane fairly easily. Can't keep you from farming too much. You should win late game, even if you do end up losing lane.
Avoid his Q and you win lane. He can't reliably stop you from farming. Once you have Sheen you win lane fairly easily.
Avoid his Q/W and you won't die to him. Get Mercury Treads, and get your Sheen and you should be fine if you've been farming. Adaptive Helm works for his passive. Ask for ganks if he's too mobile for you to 1v1.
Don't let her Parry you. She can't really stop you from farming, outside of killing you. Careful when she has ult, especially if you're low and don't have your ult to counteract hers. You win lane if you get a lead.
Another annoying lane, his passive procs off his Q and AA. His W removes crowd control, so use your W when his is on cooldown. You win lane after you have Sheen, as long as you aren't behind, as he can't stop you from farming, outside of zoning you off. You win late if you've got stacks and armor.
Another lane similar to Dr. Mundo. You can't really kill him, but he can kill you, especially if he gets ahead. Just farm up, and go for late game. Ask for ganks if you can kill him 2v1. Can't stop you from farming, outside of his Q or by killing you. You win late if you didn't get too far behind or feed him.
Pokey lane. If you manage to get ahead, you can win lane. Get Sheen and Mercury Treads. He can kite you really hard, so ask for ganks if you can kill him 2v1. Can't really stop you from farming too much, outside of killing you or poking you out of lane.
Can't kill her, can't gank her. She's really hard to beat, unless she's bad. Just farm up, and try not to die. Best of luck. Oh yeah, avoid her Q, E, and R. She heals off her kit. If you manage to get ahead, you can still win lane. Can't really stop you from farming, outside of killing you.
Can't really stop you from farming. Once you get Sheen, you should be fine. If you get ahead, you win lane pretty easily.
If you get ahead you win lane. Get a Sheen and you win after you get your ult, as long as he is not fed already.
Can bully you out of lane if you let him. Do not fight him early, he will win every time. Get a Sheen and Mercury Treads, and you'll win lane if you're able to farm.
Pokey lane. You'll win as long as you avoid his long range Q, that's where his poke comes from. Get a Frozen Heart and Sheen. You'll win late game if you can farm.
If she's good, you'll get bullied out of lane. If you can farm, you'll destroy her. Get Mercury Treads and a Sheen and you should be fine. She wins late if allowed to snowball out of control.
Sort of an annoying lane. If you get ahead, you win. If you fall behind, you get destroyed. Get Mercury Treads, and a Sheen and you should be okay, as long as you can farm.
Don't attempt to fight him alone, unless you are super far ahead. He's stronger without his Skaarl. Ask for ganks if you want to kill him.
Can't stop you from farming. If he ults you out of nowhere, he's probably got a teammate nearby. You can win if you're able to farm and have a Sheen, just be careful of ganks.
Can't really kill him early, unless you get ahead. He's fairly tanky, and he as good sustain. Ask for ganks to get kills. Mercury Treads and Sheen and you'll be mostly fine.
Shouldn't be a problem, unless fed. Get a Sheen and maybe Glacial Shroud, and you'll be fine. Can't stop you from farming.
A good Mordekaiser will destroy you. Ask for ganks if you need help. Get a Sheen, and Magic Resist and you'll be fine, as long as he isn't fed.
He's tanky, and you can't really do much early. Just farm up and you'll win late. Can't kill you alone most of the time.
Annoying, but he's not usually much of a threat. Get some farm, and a Sheen and you'll be fine.
Can't really kill him. Farm and get built and you win late. Usually won't kill you alone.
You'll probably always lose this matchup, unless he's bad or you're far ahead. Ask for ganks if you want to have a chance to win lane. His Q crits if you have low HP.
A good Poppy will destroy you. You can't really kill her, but don't underestimate her burst. Just farm up and you can win late.
Farm up and you'll win late. Can't 1v1 her early, due to her significantly higher damage. You win late as long as you can farm.
Can't really stop you from farming if she's behind. Just farm and you'll win late.
You get ahead, you win. You fall behind at all, you lose hard. Ask for ganks.
Stay away from bushes, and get armor. You win late if you can farm and don't fall behind. Can't stop you from farming too much.
You get ahead, you win. You fall behind at all, you lose hard. Ask for ganks and farm up. You outscale her.
You get ahead, you win. You fall behind at all, you lose hard. Ask for ganks, if you think you can win the trade. Do not fight him alone, he will win every time. Do not take extended trades with him alone. Watch out for his ult.
If you can survive his poke, you'll win. Farm up for late game, you should win if you're even or ahead.
Can't really stop you from anything, unless he's good or you don't know the champ's kit.
Can't 1v1 you most of the time. You can't kill him. You win late if you don't fall behind. Just farm up, he can't stop you too much.
Can't do much against you if you get ahead of her. Just farm up. She does mostly Magic Damage, so Spirit Visage and Mercury Treads. Can't stop you from farming.
Annoying to deal with. Adaptive Helm, Mercury Treads and Sheen and you can win if you're able to farm, and don't fall far behind.
Can't kill him and his W gives him HP if he kills an enemy. Careful early, he can't fight you late if you don't fall behind and can farm.
Fall behind, you lose. Get ahead, you win. Oppressive early, once you get an item or two you can fight him if you're even or ahead.
You can fight him if even or ahead after you get some items, and can farm. Just be careful of his W, he heals for a fair amount of health.
Can't kill him in most cases, but as long as you can farm, you will be fine. You outscale him. Ask for ganks if you want to maybe kill him.
Careful of his early game damage. Farm up and you'll outscale him fairly quickly.
Probably the most annoying lane. Sit under your tower. Adaptive Helm, Mercury Treads, and a Sheen, then you should be able to delete him as long as you're not super far behind. Ask for ganks if needed. I rarely lose this lane, unless I get camped.
Fall behind, you'll lose. Get ahead, you'll win. Get Trinity Force and you'll be fine if you're even or ahead. Watch out for his ult.
Fairly easy lane. Farm up and get an item or two. You outscale him fairly hard with armor, as long as you aren't behind.
You get ahead, you win. You fall behind at all, you lose hard. Ask for ganks and farm up. You outscale him fairly hard, just don't feed him or fall behind.
Get a Trinity Force and Mercury Treads and you can 1v1 fairly easy if you're farming well. Ask for ganks.
Just annoying. Get a Randuin's or another Armor + HP item and Sheen and you can fight her if you've been farming and aren't super far behind. Ask for ganks whenever possible.
Like Vayne, but not quite as annoying, because he is not as mobile, and doesn't do true damage with every 3rd AA. Ask for ganks. Can 1v1 him with Sheen if farming well and not behind.
Can 1v1 with ult, if farming well with just a Sheen. If you fall behind lane might be more difficult due to her burst early game. You outscale her.
Super pokey. Just sit back and try to farm. You'll eventually be able to 1v1 if you aren't far behind. Ask for ganks.
Annoying. Can't always fight alone, especially early. Ask for ganks and farm up. You'll be able to fight him early if you aren't behind.
Not a problem if you are ahead. Just be careful of his W. Can't really stop you.
Not a problem if you get ahead. Ask for ganks if you need them. Can't stop you.
Not a problem if you get ahead. Ask for ganks. can't stop you.
Not a problem if you get ahead. Can't stop you.
If Yorick is good, you'll lose lane quickly. He can't stop you from farming. Careful of his level 6 power spike, it does a lot of damage. You'll outscale him hard.
You'll outscale him hard. Can't really stop you. Hard to kill due to passive and tankiness.
Easy after you get some armor and Sheen. Can't really stop you, outside of killing you. Be careful of his ult. You outscale him pretty hard if you aren't behind.
Champion Build Guide
Anyway, if you couldn't already tell, I am a Nasus main. I have been playing this game consistently since Gnar was released in August 2014, and consistently playing Nasus since around the release of Kalista.
My rank? Between Bronze 1-3. I can play any position with fairly high confidence except for Mid, and trust me, you DO NOT want me to be your Mid Laner. I also don't really do much ranked, although I probably should start. As of writing this, I have approximately 750,000 mastery points on Nasus alone, with Shyvana coming in at around 437,000, and Leona coming in at about 183,000.
Why do I play Nasus so much?
Because I like his play style - sit back and farm until you can make an impact mid-late game. Plus, I think it's really satisfying to last hit things with his Siphoning Strike. He also has a very high win rate when you've played more than 50 games, sitting in at around 55%.
+ Simple kit.
+ Late game is disgusting to deal with. If allowed to split push and farm, he can easily get enough damage to two shot your carries.
+ His Siphoning Strike damage works on towers. If allowed to farm, he can take out a tower with just two. Demolish also procs with it.
+ Really tanky and can easily deal a ton of damage with zero damage items.
+ His Wither is super strong. It slows movement speed AND attack speed.
+ If you don't have a game plan, he's almost impossible to deal with.
- Extremely weak early game.
- Easily kited.
- If kept off minions, or falls behind, he is pretty much useless.
- Bad team fighting if enemy team is super mobile or has tons of crowd control.
- Early game, he is countered by almost everyone in the game, due to his lack of damage/hard crowd control (stun, silence, polymorph, etc).
Honestly, he fits well in almost any team composition, but he is best in any of the following team compositions. (This includes Ally and Enemy team compositions):
1. A team that has high CC.
2. A team that is capable of 4v5 if he wants to split push most of the game.
3. A team that is capable of rotating if he needs help getting out of a sticky situation if the need arises.
4. A team that is capable of applying pressure in the other lanes to pull the enemy jungler away from his lane so he doesn't fall behind due to being camped.
5. A squishy enemy team.
6. An enemy team with a lack of hard CC.
7. A team that has enough long range wave clear. So you can split push if your team is behind, and get pressure in side lanes.
What team compositions should you avoid picking Nasus?
There's not many team compositions he is bad into, but here's some examples. (This includes Ally and Enemy team compositions):
1. A team with a lack of hard CC.
2. An enemy team that can block your Siphoning Strike.
3. A team composition where you need to peel for your carries, Nasus doesn't really have much peel.
4. An extremely tanky team. Nasus can't melt tanks very easily.
5. A team without any ranged champions, although this should never happen. If it does, PLEASE DODGE CHAMPION SELECT!
Any really good synergies with other champions?
Nasus doesn't have any synergies that give him a clear advantage, but generally goes well with anyone that can lock a team down, or a jungler that can either camp you and get you ahead, or pressure objectives or another lane to force the enemy jungler away from your lane.
This can and will vary depending on the matchup, but this is the rune set you will use in a majority of your games.
Grasp of the Undying: This is the keystone you will use in almost every game, because the % Max HP damage, healing and health increase is needed to help you survive lane and win duels.
Demolish: Why would you not take this rune? Nasus is very tanky, and Demolish scales with your Siphoning Strike damage and deals an extra 100 + 30% of your Max HP as damage on top of it.
Conditioning: If you wait 10 minutes, this one outscales the other options by a ridiculous amount, which makes this one just an obvious choice.
Overgrowth: Starts to pay off mid and late game, when you're strongest, and it'll amplify the effectiveness of your health items.
Biscuit Delivery: You can switch this one out for Magical Footwear, which will put you 300g ahead by getting free boots by 10 minutes. But if you're in a harder matchup, this sometimes helps you survive lane as well. 4 extra free potions throughout laning phase. Each restores 15% of your missing health AND mana. Consuming or selling each one permanently increases your mana cap by 40 mana. Especially useful if you find yourself using a lot of mana early game.
Cosmic Insight: The more cooldown reduction you have, the more you can farm up you Siphoning Strike damage.
Bonus: Depends on the matchup, but I typically go with:
1. +1-10% Cooldown Reduction (based on level)
2. +6 Armor
3. +15-90 HP (based on level)
Can other runes work on Nasus?
Honestly, almost any combination of runes can work, with the exception of Aftershock, due to his lack of hard CC. And no, death is not a form of hard CC...
Until 8.23, even just starting a Teleport then cancelling it could be enough to turn or stop a fight, or save your team’s bot lane. But, after the last preseason, Teleport can no longer be cancelled. And that’s probably a good thing.
Now, when you want to impact the map with a Teleport, you have to be absolutely sure it’s a good idea. No more faking a Teleport to get enemy teams to back off of a fight, or to bait Teleport out of your opponent, if you start a Teleport in season 9, you’re going to be teleporting to the target you clicked, unless the enemy uses hard CC on you.
This is the kind of change that, rather than making one play-style weaker, actually impacts the entire game itself. At the highest levels of the game, map movements will have to be more purposeful, while things like tower dives can be done with a little more confidence, knowing that the enemy team will have to either decide not to help the target of the dive, or commit everything to help them.
Ghost: Most of the time I take Ghost, because, not only does it have a shorter cooldown than Flash, but it allows you to catch someone easier, and it goes much farther than Flash. I also found that it helps you to kite a bit better when the enemy team is attempting to dive you (as long as it isn't 4-5 people), because it increases your movement speed. This doesn't mean Flash is a bad option, I just prefer Ghost.
While I will not go into depth on every item I listed at the beginning of this guide (don't have the patience to do that), I will go into the items you will get the most frequently. Did I miss an item you think I should add? Let me know!
Doran's Shield: Best for rough matchups, where the enemy is fairly pokey. (Teemo, Fiora, Jayce, Kennen, Kayle, Quinn, Urgot, Vayne, Gnar, etc.)
Mercury's Treads: These are generally the best boots for Nasus since you'll want minimal CC on yourself so you can get on their damage or get out of a sticky situation easier.
Ninja Tabi: Sometimes the enemy's AA damage is so high however that Ninja Tabi become the optimal choice; especially if you're against a full AD team.
Trinity Force: This is the best 1st item option for Nasus, since it gives so much CDR (and other things) and the Sheen passive synergizes so well with Siphoning Strike. Build in order of Sheen -> Phage -> Stinger for best results! Buy every game.
Spirit Visage: You should build this as your second item if you're either in a tank matchup, an AP matchup or vs a high AP comp. Otherwise you should usually build it as a 3rd item. If you're against a full AD comp you'll still want to build it at some point, but you should just build Kindlegem and delay upgrading it until you have enough armor. Also works with his passive.
Turbo Chemtank: This should be your second item vs AD matchups or vs high AD teams, or your 3rd item if you're going Spirit Visage before it. It's very good on Nasus as it helps you close the gap onto the enemy backline, something Nasus usually struggles with due to his lack of mobility and hard CC. Once you initially reach the backline your Wither and Turbo Chemtank slow should help you stick onto the carries with ease. If you still can't stick onto the carries, just get a [[randuin's omen], and use all 3 of them at the same time. They'll never move if you do. (insert winking face here)
Thornmail: Build this item when you want a way to deal with the enemy ADC's lifesteal, or the lifesteal/healing of the enemy you're split pushing against.
Randuin's Omen: This is an alternative to Thornmail for when the enemy ADC doesn't have much sustain, but deals a lot of damage through critical strikes. I also get this for the slow, and I sometimes even get Randuin's Omen AND Thornmail if the enemy ADC has both lifesteal and is doing damage through critical strikes.
Dead Man's Plate: This should usually be your final item against teams where you want to build even more armor. It makes you decently tanky while also increasing your mobility.
Adaptive Helm: An alternative final item, which you can optionally build even sooner, when you're against heavy magic damage. It helps especially vs champions like Cassiopeia, Ryze or Karthus who deal heavy magic damage DPS. Also great counter to Teemo.
Sterak's Gage: Get this if you're getting bursted or just want the extra damage from the item. Gives you an additional 50% of your base AD as bonus AD. Will give you more Tenacity when the Lifeline passive activates.
Siphoning Strike: Nasus's next attack will deal an additional 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 damage plus the extra permanently gained damage. Siphoning Strike permanently gains 3 damage whenever it kills a unit. This bonus is increased to 12 for champions, large monsters or large minions.
Wither: Nasus ages his target, slowing their movement speed by 35% and reducing it further to reach 47 / 59 / 71 / 83 / 95 % slow at the end of 5 seconds. The target's attack speed is also slowed by half the amount, initially slowed by 17.5% and increasing to 23.5 / 29.5 / 35.5 / 41.5 / 47.5 % over the duration. If the duration of the slow is reduced, the extra slow will be applied faster for it to reach its maximum at the end of the duration.
Spirit Fire: After a brief delay, a target area becomes desecrated for 5 seconds. Enemies caught in the area when the desecration occurs are dealt an initial burst of 55 / 95 / 135 / 175 / 215 (+60% of ability power) magic damage. Additionally, enemies in the area are dealt 11 / 19 / 27 / 35 / 43 (+12% of ability power) magic damage each second and have their armor reduced by 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35% while in the area and for 1 extra second.
Fury of the Sands: Nasus empowers himself for 15 seconds, gaining 300 / 450 / 600 bonus health, 15 / 35 / 55 armor and magic resistance, increased size, and 175 range on his basic attacks for the duration.
While Nasus is empowered, he deals 3 / 4 / 5% (+ 1% per 100 AP) of target's maximum health as magic damage to all enemies around him each second, capped at 240, gains 1 / 2 / 3 bonus armor and magic resistance each second, and reduces Siphoning Strike's cooldown by 50%.
The following is very difficult to do consistently. If you're fast enough with it, you can blend your Siphoning Strike and Spirit Fire animations together, to make it look like a single ability which looks pretty cool IMO. You can also blend your Wither animation into your full Wither -> Spirit Fire -> Siphoning Strike combo for some serious awesomeness. Remember, your Spirit Fire mana cost is fairly high, so use it sparingly in lane, or you will never have mana when you need it.
At level 1 you'll be taking Siphoning Strike to begin stacking it up on minions. Remember: You get 3 stacks for melee/ranged minions and the smaller creatures in the jungle camps. You get 12 stacks for large monsters in the jungle camps, Baron/Dragon, and each time you kill a champion. Play extremely safe and avoid trading unless your enemy can't retaliate because they're busy last-hitting a minion; even then just poke them with a single AA and walk away. Avoid using Siphoning Strike for anything other than farming stacks early on, since its fairly weak at that stage and your focus is on becoming as big of a mid-late game threat as possible.
At level 2 you will want to take Spirit Fire. You'll continue laning the same, but you have the option of trading back hard with Spirit Fire -> Auto-Attack -> Siphoning Strike if you the enemy goes too ham trying to bully you to stop you farming your Siphoning Strike stacks.
At level 3, depending on the matchup you'll either put another point in Siphoning Strike to more effectively stack it, or take Wither to help defend yourself against aggressive enemy all-ins.
After you reach level 6, and get Fury of the Sands and have Sheen you can actually turn a lot of matchups around and get solo kills if the enemy underestimates you, since you become so tanky and Siphoning Strike gets such a low cooldown. For the most part you'll keep laning the same, focusing on farming, but you do always have that option of turning on your enemy if they go too aggressive, and you can even start to trade more aggressively yourself if the enemy laner is weak enough that you can start to bully them.
At around 300 stacks, and when you have a Sheen you're a turret eating machine. You excel in 1v1 situations and 1v2 depending on who the 2 are if you play it right. The best way to pressure the map as Nasus mid to late game, is splitpushing with your Teleport up to stop any Baron/Dragon plays from going on or to stop the other team from engaging onto your team. Just be aware if whomever is matching your splitpush can cancel your Teleport or not.
Nasus gets knocked around in teamfights, but with Fury of the Sands and your lifesteal you can tank an enemy team for a good chunk of time, which allows your back line to pop off. The later the game goes the harder teamfights get for Nasus, since you spike in power around the 2-4 item threshold. Nasus can teamfight and dive with the right team composition, but he's best played as a splitpusher.
In a majority of your games you'll still usually want to stay in a side lane and just split push, since it allows you to keep effectively stacking up your Siphoning Strike, you take towers so quickly, and if you're not already stronger at 1v1s than your enemy laner then it's only a matter of time until you will be. Split pushing is all about playing around Baron and Dragon's respawn timers.
You'll want to split push TOP if:
a) Baron is up but your TP is down.
b) Your TP is up, but baron is down and dragon is up/respawning soon.
You'll want to split push BOT if:
a) Baron is up/will be respawning soon and your TP is up.
b) Your TP is down but Baron is down as well and dragon is up/respawning soon.
Basically you want to be split pushing as far away from the most important neutral objective as possible, that way the enemy team can't collapse on you without giving up a free Dragon/Baron (make sure your team is aware of this and spam ping them to do the neutral objective as soon as you see the enemy team collapsing on you); and the enemy team can't just take it themselves or freely engage 4v4/5v4 because you have Teleport.
When you notice a fight breaking out, you'll want to Teleport onto the nearest ward/minion to join in. Unless your team can win it relatively easily. In team-fights, you'll want to immediately pop Fury of the Sands and Turbo Chemtank, run towards the enemy ADC, Wither them, and make them go bye-bye. Remember that if it looks like you won't be able to take anyone down before they take you down, it's smarter to retreat so you can survive. The faster you make the call to retreat, the higher your chances of surviving. And if you realize so late that you're still going to die no matter what, then just do as much damage as you can before you die.
Sometimes you can also use Teleport to flank the enemy team if there's a really good ward set up behind them where you can surprise them, giving their carries no place to run; they either walk into you or your team. These flanks can be game-winning, especially if the enemy top laner is on a side lane defending your split push and aren't able to match your Teleport in time to make it an even fight.
I hope this guide gave you insight to how I play Nasus and helped those wishing to play him. If you think I missed something, or want to see something get added to this guide, let me know! If you liked this guide, consider upvoting. +12!
League IGN: iFetchStacks