Nasus Build Guide

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Nasus, Presence of a God

written by Kriptini

Nasus Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Nasus is a low RP/IP cost hero that is fairly easy to play and brings a lot of utility to any team. He can be built as a Melee DPS, a Support Tank, an Off-Tank, a Support DPS, or a Classic Tank. Nasus is fairly good at initiating and performs well even when being focused down by the enemy team. Nasus's abilities also have amazing synergy with each other, and can allow him to land combos that quickly result in kills. All in all, Nasus is a great champion to learn due to his smooth learning curve and the number of roles he can fill.

    Although Nasus can do well in any of the roles mentioned above, this guide will show you how to play Nasus as an Off-Tank.

  • Abilities

    Soul Eater
    Nasus's passive, Soul Eater, gives him basic Lifesteal, which helps him stay in lane and survive in teamfights.

    Siphoning Strike
    Siphoning Strike gives Nasus's next attack bonus damage and has a relatively low cooldown. The best part about this ability is that if you kill any enemy when Siphoning Stirke has been cast, the damage bonus Siphoning Strike gives your next attack will be permanently increased by two.

    Arguably the best Slow in the game, Wither is good for initiating, chasing, escaping, and shutting down enemy Melee DPS. Wither immediately Slows its target and reduces its target's Attack Speed, and then the Slow and Attack Speed reduction get stronger over a period of five seconds.

    Spirit Fire
    Spirit Fire is an amazing ability that creates a large area of space on the ground that deals moderate damage over time and reduces the Armor of any enemy that walks through it. At Rank 3, Spirit Fire is powerful enough to wipe out a wave of early game creeps.

    Fury of the Sands
    Fury of the Sands is the reason why Nasus is able to make the enemy wet their beds at night. When cast, Nasus immediately gains a set amount of health, and then begins to rapidly drain a percentage of surrounding enemies' health every second and add this drained amount to his Attack Damage.

  • Runes

    For my Nasus Rune build, I like to use the following:

    Greater Mark of Desolation
    Greater Seal of Evasion
    Greater Glyph of Celerity
    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude

    Armor Penetraion allows you to hit harder, and therefore Lifesteal more. Dodge allows you to outright negate a percentage of Physical Attacks. Cooldown Reducion per Level drastically reduces your cooldowns, allowing you to use your abilities more often during teamfights. Health allows you to have a better early game.

    Alternative options include:

    Greater Seal of Vitality
    Greater Glyph of Focus
    Greater Quintessence of Desolation
    Greater Quintessence of Vitality
    Greater Quintessence of Evasion

  • Masteries

    For Masteries, I run a 0/9/21 build. Masteries are mostly up to you, but the ones I reccomend the most are:

    -Utility Mastery
    -Presence of the Master

    Masteries I do not reccomend are:

    -Anything in the Offense Tree besides Cripple

    Contrary to popular belief, the only things fairly useful in the Defense tree besides Evasion and Nimbleness are Ardor and Willpower, but those items are very late in the tree; if you get them, you won't be able to get the mega-uber Presence of the Master mastery. The Offense tree is even worse, with absolutely nothing useful to Nasus besides Cripple and Sorcery. Tenacity and Havoc are both horrible mastery choices, because the amount of extra damage dealt/amount of damage mitigated are so small, they're not even worth posting the math for.

  • Summoner Spells

    I like to run Cleanse and Flash as Summoner Spells. There are, however, multiple choices for Summoner Spells on Nasus. Also, no matter what Summoner Spells you take, it's usually a good idea to get its Mastery as well.

    Cleanse Okay, I lied. Always, always, always take Cleanse. Nasus's survivability boils down to being able to Lifesteal. If he's Stunned, Blinded, or has Grevious Wound on him, he can't do that. Cleanse is on a relatively short cooldown, too, so you'll almost never have to worry about it not being up. If you have the Presence of the Master mastery, don't worry about getting the Willpower mastery.

    Flash Initiating, escaping, and chasing are the things Flash can do, and do well at that. With Flash, you can even leap over walls. However, it is a skillshot, so if you're not accustomed to aiming your abilities, don't use it. Be sure to take the Blink of an Eye mastery and the Presence of the Master masteries if you choose this spell.

    Exhaust Exhaust is like a second Wither for Nasus, and can really help in teamfights or in one-on-one. Generally, Flash is better for escaping, though. If you decide to invest a mastery point into Cripple, you won't be able to get Nimbleness or Presence of the Master, so use your judgment in deciding wether or not to invest in this.

    Heal An all-around great spell for teamfights, laning, and escaping. It has a long cooldown though, so be sure to invest points in Mender's Faith and Presence of the Master.

    Teleport Mobility is always good, and Teleport is the best spell for moving around the map quickly. However, it is absolutely useless in combat, aside from escaping from a low DPS champion with absolutely zero Crowd Control. It also has a harsh cooldown, so pick up Spatial Accuracy and Presence of the Master for it.

    Ghost Ghost is a good spell for chasing and escaping. It can also be used to initiate teamfights. However, it's usually overshadowed by the reduced-cooldown Flash. If you take Ghost, I'd also reccomend taking the Haste and Presence of the Master masteries.

    Clairvoyance Spammable map awareness. Good, but if you're playing the tank, you'll probably need one of the other spells to survive. If there is another tank on your team, though, Clairvoyance is a great choice. I would endorse grabbing the Presence of the Master mastery and especially encourage you to get the Mysitcal Vision mastery. However, I wouldn't reccomend taking this spell on the Twisted Treeline map; Sight Wards work well enough.

    Smite Never get this Summoner Spell on Summoner's Rift. On the Twisted Treeline map, however, Smite is viable if you have another good initiator on your team (so you won't need to pick Flash or Ghost instead.) Nasus is already an extremely strong jungler, but nothing will bring a smile to your face like stealing the lizard buff or the dragon buff on Twisted Treeline. You don't really need Presence of the Mastery because Smite's cooldown is pretty good, but whatever you do, don't get the Plentiful Bounty mastery.

    Clarity It helps your early game by giving you more mana for Spirit Fires... and that's it. It can be viable if you're having difficulty farming the Golem buff, but it's usually better to just kill whoever has it. If you choose Clarity as a Summoner Spell, I reccomend grabbing Presence of the Master, but don't bother grabbing Insight.

    Ignite Nasus doesn't need Ignite to be successful. You've got four teammates that'll be killing stuff for you, so don't bother with Ignite. If for some reason you do decide to take this spell, don't bother with the Burning Embers mastery.

    [spell=Rally] Good against noob teams that stay in one spot during teamfights. Bad against anything else. Forget about the Improved Rally mastery as well.

    Revive Even with Presence of the Master and Preservation, this spell still has way too long of a cooldown. Don't get it.

    Promote Huh?

  • Skilling Order

    Basically, you want to grab one point in Siphoning Strike, and then build: Fury of the Sands > Spirit Fire > Wither > Siphoning Strike. Let me explain my reasoning.

    Your goal Early Game is to farm. You want to make Siphoning Strike as powerful as possible as fast as possible... and you don't need to rank it up, thanks to its last-hit effect. Turn on Siphoning Strike, last hit a creep, and it permanently gains an extra two damage. By the end of the laning phase, you should have a minimum of +50 on it. (That's 25 last hits.) Also, Siphoning Strike does a lot of damage for a really small mana cost, so feel free to spam it if you want to harass.

    Once you hit Level 2, you should start building Spirit Fire. A well-placed Spirit Fire can do enough damage to an entire creep wave to allow for last-hitting with Siphoning Strike. Once it hits Rank 3 (and you've got yourself a Sheen,) it will be able to eliminate an entire wave of creeps, making pushing easy and getting last-hit gold even easier. Once it's at Rank 5, you'll be able to farm Neutral Creeps ridiculously fast, in addition to massively reducing enemies' Armor during teamfights.

    You're taking a point in Wither at Level 4, but try not to spam it. It costs as much mana as a Spirit Fire but won't hurt creeps or earn you any last-hit gold. The only reason why you would use it in early game is to escape from an enemy champion about to kill you, to slow down an enemy champion that you and a buddy are trying to kill, or to throw it on an enemy champion right before your team kills him, so you can get Assist gold.

    Fury of the Sands will pretty much allow you to kill anyone you want from Level 6 to Level 9. Just don't go too crazy with it, because not having it ready for teamfights really sucks, and it does cost a lot of mana. Remember that even though you're awesome and invincible while your ultimate's up, you still need to farm and push.

  • Item Build

    While Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells are mostly up to your preference, Nasus's Item Build is a bit more strict. Here's an outline of what your item progression should look like:

    1. Doran's Shield + 1 Health Potion or 1 Mana Potion

    Doran's Shield is an awesome item for Nasus's Early Game. I usually grab a Mana Potion so I can fire an extra Spirit Fire, but if you'd rather harass with Siphoning Strike, I'd reccomend a health potion.

    2. Doran's Shield + Sapphire Crystal + Boots of Speed + Vampiric Scepter

    You absolutely must make sure you have all three of these items before you upgrade to anything else. I don't care if you're sitting with 1260 gold; do NOT buy that Sheen until you have your Boots of Speed and Vampiric Scepter first, or you will be miserable. Also, don't buy any Elixirs until you have these four items, but feel free to purchase a couple Health and Mana Potions.

    3. Doran's Shield + Sheen + Mercury's Treads + Vampiric Scepter

    Now, you're upgrading your Sapphire Crystal and Boots of Speed into a Sheen and a pair of Mercury's Treads. If it's hard to amass a large enough amount of gold to upgrade to these, feel free to buy a Null-Magic Mantle to lessen the cost of the Mercury's Treads. Do not, however, buy an Amplifying Tome before your Sheen. It's an absolute waste of an item slot that you could put an Elixir of Fortitude in. You should pay the 860 gold for the upgrade cost from Sapphire Crystal to Sheen all at once. I also reccomend keeping an Elixir of Fortitude running from this point on.

    4. Doran's Shield + Sheen + Mercury's Treads + Vampiric Scepter + Aegis of the Legion

    I like to buy a Ruby Crystal and a Cloth Armor before straight-up buying the Aegis. Don't worry about the cluttered item space; that will be resolved soon enough.

    At this point, you can pretty much build however you want, but I'll show you my reccomndations.

    5. Leviathan + Sheen + Mercury's Treads + Vampiric Scepter + Aegis of the Legion

    Whether you choose to buy the Leviathan or not, get rid of that Doran's Shield, as it is useless now. Do yourself a favor and don't get the Leviathan if you're dying every five seconds, though.

    6. Leviathan + Sheen + Mercury's Treads + [item=Stark's Fervor] + Aegis of the Legion

    40% Lifesteal + Armor Reducion + Attack Speed + Aura Buffs? Stark's makes a great item for this build.

    The final item slot is situational. I reccomend the following:

    Banshee's Veil against CC-heavy teams or AP-heavy teams.

    Sunfire Cape against Melee-heavy teams or Tank-heavy teams.

    Warmog's Armor against balanced teams.

    And then finally, we have one item left to upgrade... Sheen into the Trinity Force. Most games will never reach this point, however. But if they do, Trinity Force gives a nice bonus to everything.

  • Build Example


  • Controversy

    As you all may have notice, there are certain items or runes that most Nasus players use that I haven't included in my guide. I'll try to explain why I don't include those.

    Chalice of Harmony "Ah, yes, the Chalice of Harmony! This is uber for Nasus because he has mana problems, and with this item, those problems go away! Right? Of course right!" WRONG. For some reason, people believe that this item works like the Golem buff, where it restores a percentage of your mana based on how much mana you've lost, which is dead wrong. At Level 18 with a Chalice of Harmony and no other mana regen modifiers, Nasus's regen per five is 17.2 If Nasus has zero mana, the Chalice of Harmony will increase his mana regen by 100%, putting it at a whopping 34.4 mana regen per five... that's it. As you can see, it's a complete waste of an item slot. You'll still be pilling back to restore your mana, and this item will not make it any better whatsoever. You're better just using the Golem buff or (God forbid,) being smart with your mana consumption.

    [item=Heart of Gold] It builds into Randuin's Omen, but other than that, it's worthless. Nasus can farm well without any gold per five items, and there are better choices for Armor availible.

    Greater Glyph of Clarity I find cooldown reduction glyphs to be more effective on this Nasus build because he doesn't acquire any items that give him cooldown reduction. Even so, these runes really don't give too much, though it is better than a Chalice of Harmony. At Level 18, you would regen 22.66 mana per five. Even so, how exactly is mana regen helpful to you during teamfights?

    Spirit Visage Unfortunately, this item's unique ability does not allow you to regenerate more health from Lifesteal. Which is a pity, considering that this item also gives cooldown reduction. Still, it can be viable if you need cheap Magic Resist and want a few bonuses to go with it.

    The Bloodthirster It's a good item for Nasus, but doesn't fit in with this build. Plus, if you actually farm enough gold to buy this, then you should probably should have gotten Leviathan yesterday. Also, when you die, you lose all of the bonuses on this item, and considering that this is a tanky Nasus, you're not always promised to live.

  • Playstyle


    If you don't have a strong soloer on your team, then take the solo lane. Nasus is great at holding a lane by himself because of his awesome ability to push. He can even give Heimerdinger a run for his money. But, as always, Mordekaiser and Twisted Fate could be a problem, at which point it'd be a good idea to organize ganks.

    When choosing a lane partner for Nasus, I reccomend helping out the member of your team that would have the most difficult time pushing, such as Poppy. Your team member will really appreciate the help keeping their lane pushed. You can use Spirit Fire to check brushes, but this is better suited to champions with low mana cost skillshots, such as Dr. Mundo or Ezreal.

    Keep the Dragon on farm status; you can easily solo it. Also take the Golem buff if no one else on your team needs it. Once you have your Sheen, you can take on that Golem, and once you have your Sheen and your ultimate, the Dragon will easily fall.

    You can gank people between Levels 6 and 11 with your ultimate, but it's probably a better idea to travel with one or two members of your team as a gank squad. Even though it has a short cooldown, you're going to want to save it for Dragon farming or teamfights.

    When initiating teamfights, throw on Fury of the Sands, run face-first into the enemy team, Withering the one closest to you, drop Spirit Fire, and then Spam Siphoning Strike and Wither until you're low on health, at which point you should Flash away and let your team finish everyone off. Thanks to your ultimate and Spirit Fire, you've probably taken out at least a fourth of every enemy's health, and almost killed whoever you were beating on to begin with. Remember to use Cleanse if they put too many debuffs on you.

    Nasus is awesome at pushing, so try to kill creep waves as much as possible. Don't backdoor a turret unless it has extremely low health remaining, because Nasus can't Lifesteal them and you want to save your ult for teamfights. Feel free to backdoor inhibitors as much as you want.


    If your team is looking for an early gank, take Spirit Fire instead of Siphoning Strike as your first skill. The AoE damage and the armor reduction will help, and it has great synergy with Exhaust, which someone on your team will probably have.

    Always take the solo lane here. Siphoning Strike is much harder to level on the Twisted Treeline map because the laning phase ends much quicker. Once you hit Level 5, go kill the lizard, and once you hit Level 6, start controlling the Dragon.

    In teamfights, Nasus is going to work a little bit different than on Summoner's Rift. Instead of staying in as long as you can and then running, you're going to initiate and then focus the squishiest member of the enemy team. If they start running, you're going to give chase; Nasus is more than durable enough to follow heroes that would normally be a bad idea to chase, such as Singed or Mundo, and since there's less DPS on this map, the job becomes even easier. Once the squishiest member of the enemy team has been eliminated, you should continue to use your massive AoE damage to hurt the other enemies and then back out.

    Unlike in Summoner's Rift, don't try to backdoor or push solo. It's just too dangerous on this map, even with Nasus's many escape mechanisms. However, if the enemy recovered from a really close loss, and their Nexus turret is down, you CAN backdoor the Nexus. On the Twisted Treeline map, safety is only a Flash away.

    Being able to play Nasus well will mostly come from experience, so be sure to practice with him as much as you can. Good luck, and drag your enemies to the place "where angels fear to tread."

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Submitted by Kriptini

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