Nasus Build Guide

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Emnel's guide to Twisted Treeline Nasus

written by Emnel

Nasus Build

Table of Contents

  • Abilities

    Soul Eater
    Nasus drains his foe's spiritual energy, giving him a natural 10/15/20% lifesteal. The lifesteal value increments at levels 1, 6, and 11.

    Much more useful on TT - battles are smaller and some LD may be a difference between life and death in small skirmishes. Also helps to stay out of blue pill for longer (not in early game tho).

    Siphoning Strike
    Nasus's next attack will deal an additional 30/50/70/90/110 damage (+). Siphoning Strike permanently gains 2 damage whenever it kills an enemy.
    Cooldown 9/8/7/6/5 seconds
    Cost 20/25/30/35/40 Mana
    Range 300

    Your main source of damage once you manage to get Sheen. You should level it much faster than on SR - cd drops by almost a half between levels 1 and 5 - and you need it spam something to get Sheen procs.

    Try to use if to last hitting since beggining of the game, but dont get obsessed - 4 more damage points wont make a difference if you ll get killed in process or wont make it to help your team on time.

    Since patch can not be dodged.

    Nasus ages his target, slowing their movement and attack speed by 35% and reducing it further by 3/6/9/12/15% each second for 5 seconds.
    Cooldown 15/15/15/15/15 seconds
    Cost 100/100/100/100/100 Mana
    Range 700

    P. much your point of being around - few second cd. Exhaust that will give you and your team countless kills and/or save many lifes.

    Spirit Fire
    After a brief delay, the target area becomes desecrated. Enemies in the area have their armor reduced by 20/25/30/35/40 and are dealt 20/34/48/62/76 (+0.2) magic damage each second.
    Cooldown 12/12/12/12/12 seconds
    Cost 70/85/100/115/130 Mana
    Range 650

    Quite useless here unless you are REALLY heavly harrassed and there is no way to get any last hits using autoattack/Siphoning Strike. If that's not the case just skip this skill till the point where is nothing else to pick (taking one point for AoE 20 armor reduction to use it if situation is right - and by that i understand 2-3 enemies standing quite still, commited to the fight. not single guy at 80% hp that will run out of it 2 seconds later).

    Fury of the Sands
    Nasus becomes empowered in the sandstorm, gaining 300/450/600 health. While the storm rages, he drains 3/4/5 (+0.01)% of nearby enemies' health each second (240 damage max per second) and converts it into bonus attack damage.
    Cooldown 120/120/120 seconds
    Cost 150/150/150 Mana
    Range 20

    Did i say that Wither is your main power? Im afraid i lied... This is your main stranght. Solo dragon at level 6? Sure - takes like 15 seconds. Run into 3 enemies and kill their main damage dealer in 2 shots? No problem.

  • Introduction

    This guide is going to show you how to play Nasus on Twisted Treeline as jungler/dps/tank champion that can bring a lot of utility as well as raw power into your team composition.
    It isn't trying to teach you everything about Nasus (if you need that: this way----> [url=]) but presentic one, quite specific build.

    Your job in will be initiating&saving your teammates (mostly with Wither), controling major buffs (especially dragon thanks to your ability to solo him in 10-15 seconds) and finally - after that setup - killing enemy champions solo and in teamfights as well as pushing towers.

    For the 1st ~15 minutes you will be next to useless in most of the fights so your main objective is to not feed and farm reasnable amount of gold. More about it in item section.
    You also have to cooperate with your team to get as many dragon kills as possible.

    Later in team fights you have to Wither enemy carry and participate in killing him. Once you get Sheen your dps should be good enough to kill them on your own.
    At the end afer buying Aegis of the Legion you just have to lead your team to annihilate enamy and finish the game.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Ghost - this one is a must. Once you will pop your ultimate and start Withering people they will start throwing Ghosts and Cleanses all over the place. And we dont want the to escape, dont we?
    Also saves you pity ass in early game when you really want to get some last hits but can hardly do anything to make people to not attack you at will.

    The other one can be either sitiational or based on your presonal preferences. lets take a look at some pros&cons:

    Flash - What can i say? help you to catch enemies as well as escape from certin death. not bad of a choice if you have really hard time in early game and dont want to be 1st blood again ;)
    Alsoa decent pick 9in draft mode) if enemy team has one or more champions with flash-like abilities (Gragas, Ezrael) or roots (Morgana) that may help them to escape from the range of you big, shining... stick.

    Cleanse - no-brainer if enemy team is going for some kind of cc heavy kind of play.

    Clarity - mana may be a problem early game especially if you decided to skill Spirit Fire (check Abilities chapter above for more information). Not bad of a choice if one/two of your teammates picked mana hungry champions. You are here to help - remember?

    Ignite - you want to stay alive in early game to kick their asses later. It wont help in neither of those goals. Obvious pick if Mundo goes where he pleases a bit too much tho.

    Exhaust - You kinda have one with few second cd. so it looks like an overkill. Still think about it if enemy team is VERY phisical dps heavy ( Wither on one, Exhaust on another and watch them cry..or die? Both i guess.).

    Teleport - on TT? Rly? You really shouldn't have to do any backdooring etc. if you will use your champion correctly. Take only if you really love teleport-into-a-brush-right-behind-enemy-champions actions.

    Clairvoyance - if for some reason our team feels like it, you are probably best person to take it (leave it to dedicated support character if there is one tho).

    Heal - can save your sorry ass in early game as well as make a difference between win and lose in teamfight later. Not bad of a choice.

    Smite - thats tricky choice. you are already farming like a beast since rank 6 and 1st item and you do the damage similar to smite's with every fifth attack. On the other hand early farming may be very hard and it can help you a lot. It may allow you to steal buffs without entering melee range as well as may save your buffs from smite steal (but as i said - few lucky Lantren procs will do the job either). Its really up to you and your team's playstyle.

  • Masteries

    I don't have one set of masteries - i used to change them gamely (totally not a word) to make them suit my and enemy team.
    I always keep at least 8 points in utility:

    1*[spell=haste]- you will use ghose in every game so buffing it is reasnable thing to do
    3* Perseverance - health and mana regen will help you stay in lane early on. if you will skip Spirit Fire use like i told You to this will be pretty much only mana regenerating tool you will ever need.
    4*[spell=awareness]- you scale greatly with your level (especially with each level of your ultimate) not taking exp buff d be silly.

    Rest is totally up to you. If you feel like you ned more tankishness go ahead and make it 0/21/9. More striking power? 22/0/8.
    Want to take Flash or CV as your 2nd summoner spell? Why not to go */*/21 and make them work more often? Better movement speed and some cd. regeneration/mana regeneration wont hurt either.

    But at the end its really up to you and your playstyle.

  • Runes

    Runes are not as essential on TT as they are on SR - less or almost no Spirit Fire cuts your mana requirements really low so there is really no need to take this kind of runes.
    But dont take it wrong - decent rune page WILL make a difference. Lets take a look at our options then, shall we?


    Among marks there is really one solid kind of choice - offensive ones. I feel like 3 listed below are best you can get. 2 defensive picks i added later are an option but i dont feel like giving up all offensive capabilites for it (at least not when playing Nasus).

    Greater Mark of Desolation - probably your best shot. you want to arget squishies and cutting their armor down will help you. Also very usefull against any type of creeps.

    Greater Mark of Alacrity - another option. Wont help you that much in hit'n'run skirmishes and pursuits where you will probably still make one blow at the time but are very usefull in a jungle (especially once you get Wriggle's Lantern). Think about if you feel like you need more jungling power and you have problems with taking Dragon down fast enough. But it really shouldnt happen - Armor Penetration marks are better all around - remember that most of your mid-late game dps comes from several Siphoning Strike&Sheen empowered blows.

    Greater Mark of Malice - this is the option if your team cant live without 1st bloot attempts and you dont want be that useless in early stage in the game. Its not a bad idea and crits can make a difference later in battles but it will take away some essential armor penetration. Its stronger choise if you think that my idea of leaving Spirit Fire behint is a bad one - armor reduction it provides should make up for lack of marks.

    Greater Mark of Resilience& Greater Mark of Warding - totally not my pick but they are an option. If you want to be at least a bit tankish for the 1st half of the game those may do the trick. But in my opinion they are for another kind of TT nasus - tank/support one who's job is to help 2 phisical damage dealers in your team with Wither and Spirit Fire spamming. We are talking about something a bit different here (and really... if you want something like that grab Rammus or something of a kind...)



    There are also two kinds of Seal picks worth mentioning. Defensive and mana management ones. Lets take a closer look:

    Greater Seal of Resilience/ Greater Seal of Defense/ Greater Seal of Evasion/ Greater Seal of Shielding/ Greater Seal of Fortitude
    I'm not going to write next pages trying to convince anyone that one of those Seals are clearly superrior. In my oppinion they aren't. All of them do the trick in one way or another and i'm sure that noone needs me to point a finger in one of them and tell "Take those!". You just need to play few games with this champ and fine leaks you want to plug. I for example use flat armor ones, but mostly because i dotn really feel like spendint 820 IP*9 for Dodge or HP ones just to check if they are superrior. Armor does the trick aginst phisical damage harassment, major buff monsters as well as enemy carries. But if you have another rune page to spare you may want to prepare one with magic resist to pick when enemy team seems to go that way.

    Greater Seal of Replenishment/ Greater Seal of Clarity
    I know its getting really boring but i ll stress it again - this build is really about not using Spirit Fire till really end game and you won't need any of those to not be mana starved. Still if you keep disagreeng they are obviously very valid choice.



    Tw kinds of options again. You can go cd reduction or magic resist. Not really much else to say. I tend to use cd reduction for some more damage and debuff output. But aginst caster heavy teams magic resist is better choice (Wither is not debuffing enemy damage).

    Greater Glyph of Celerity/ Greater Glyph of Focus - scaling glyphs bcome better really late - at 14 rank but is still feel like they are a bit better choice (especially if solo laning). Cd reduction is not that easy to get on TT (no Golem) and this build is not aiming at quick early game win&domination. better cooldowns early game will nither make you much safer. Ergo i prefer to get those few % later on to seal the deal with one or 2 more abilities and/or sheen procs.

    Greater Glyph of Warding/ Greater Glyph of Shielding - flat ones are better till rank 9. Its not that late, especially if you took solo lane. I still tend to use them in most of the cases over /lvl ones. Later in a game you will have enough magic resist thanks to Aegis of the Legion and Mercury's Treads - the real problem is to get there without getting annihilated (too many times ;) ).



    I'm far to lazy to discuss every possible option here - most of the runes listed above have their quintessence siblings. its easy - if you feel like you need more of something you picked above (like Armor penetation for example) feel free to get it even higher thanks to 3 quints of that kind. On the other hand if you feel like you need more balance in your build. For example if you took Armor over HP seals and you feel like you need more of it Greater Quintessence of Fortitude is probably the way to go.

    They are some unique options worthy to consider:

    Greater Quintessence of Swiftness - i have to admitt them i'm big fan of those. Pursuing, escaping, running for help and/or your life is huge part of every game and those 3 shiny things can give you an edge you need to get that pesky carry before he jumps under turret or get away with 3 hp after some kind of failure. Check them out.

    Greater Quintessence of Wisdom - on the other hand i dotn like those very much, but they are something you may want to think about. As we all know Nasus scales greatly with ranks and getting rank 6 or 11 faster than enemy can have a huge impact if exploited correctly.

  • Skilling order

    I kinda mentioned it and justified before (see skill descriptions) so only quick tip here:

    > > > .

    note: You may consider moving Wither a bit lower if enemy doesnt have any dangerous carries (but why to draft Nasus then in 1st place...?)

  • Items and game phases

    Starting items:

    I belive they are 3 dfferent ways to go. 1st two support main build and 3rd is more conservative for people who cant imagine to play Nasus without their trusty shield.

    Long Sword + 1 [item=healt potion] - this is starting set i consider the bust but viable only if you are quite confident that you can stand/avoid major harassment and not get gold starved in a process. It obviously gives you some more threat arly game and make some champs consider that getting close to you isnt that good idea (i can hardly think about any that may fall for that ;) ) and obviously makes you last hitting a bit easier.

    Cloth Armor + 1-5 [item=healt potion] - and this is the one you will probably stuck with. Lets stop fooling ourselves and admitt that you are great harassment target. No ranged damage, crappy early game lifesteal, not much hp or damage burst that may make people stay away. This set will probably help you survive till you get enough gold to rush your 1st and main item:

    First item:

    Wriggle's Lantern - you really shouldn;t go back from the lane before you are able to buy it. Madred's Razors MAY do the job (see below), but only if you will have right runes&masteries and/or rank 6.

    Whats THE JOB you'd ask. The job is to take as much adventage of a jungle as possible. If you were solo laning ask one of your teammates to take over it once you recall to buy your Lantern. Grab fee Sight Ward and place them in possisions that will keep you safe from jungle ganks (as well as help your team mates to avoid them in lanes).
    But at 1st once you are about rank 6 and with brand new Lantern take a look at the map - if possitions of all enemies are known (or at least you can see 2 of them in bot lane) ask your team to keep them entertained for a minute or so and go straight for a dragon (you may even pop Ghost if you feel like placement of enemy team is optimal (for example 1 dead, 2 defending/attacking bot tower).
    If you did map looking part correctly dont give a shit about any possible dragon wards - just go there, pop your ult and look at +150 gold tick 10-15 seconds later.
    It is a possibility that one or even more enemies will come once you finish the dragon or when he is about to die. You are already kinda tanky, especially with your ult so dont panic, finish what you started and depending on situation (if your team is about to arive too or if its 3vs1) use Wither, summoner spells and last seconds of your ult to make the suffer or gtfo.
    Cngratulation - you just gave your team great gold, exp & buff advantage. Now just write down exact second of next dragon spawn and go warding/clearing the jungle, farming lanes, ganking enemies.

    Boots of Choice:

    You already got your 1st most important item that gives you nice armor, damage and a bit of lifesteal (that is MUCH more usefull than on SR - even with just this item you should be able to easly tank 2-3 enemies then ulted. later its just getting absurd). Time to pick a boots for obvious reasons:

    Mercury's Treads - most likely boots you need. Magic resist will match armor you got from Lantern giving you decent tanishness for this stage of the game. CC redustion is no-brainer - you are more than likely to see nasty chain slow/stun/silence/whatever setups on TT.

    Ninja Tabi - if enemy team is more about raw phisical damage power than CCing your ass into hell you will probably want to pick this one. Not that it will matter - with your Wither and fact thet they have to stay in your ult to do anything makes them dead meat anyway.

    Boots of Swiftness - if by any chance your enemy team is neither cc or phisical damage heavy (???) this is probably the way to go. Just catch up to them easier to make their suffering shorter.

    Third item:
    So you just got your brand new shiny shoes? now you have to take a look at the big picture and judge howthe game is going on to pick your 3rd and, possibly, last item of the game:

    a) Yor team did quite good so far - number of kills and death are similar or favouring you, neither of their main damage dealers is fed, you managed to secure most to all of the dragons and majority of other neutral buffs. Your team mates dont tend to die in 2 seconds when attacked by enemies.

    If all or most of it is true your way to go is Sheen. It will solve any possible mana problems may encountered (but that may only happen if you are spammng your Wither left and right without reason]) and give you huge damage boost. It will either help you clear jungle&lanes mobs much faster to secure your adventage and suddenly change your sorry early game ass into force to be reckoned with. Difference will be huge - champions you were escaping from all game long till now will suddenly realise that its they turn to run to the hills (gl with that when withered ;p ) or feed you with tasty, tasty gold.
    At this point game is most likely soooo over, even if enemy team is still not aware of this fact.

    b) Its a bit tough. You gave them 1t blood trying to get one more last hit; your team forced to a battle not realising that you are still kinda useless and got aced in process; one of their carries is getting fed and your mates tend to die at the poment he gives them an angry look etc.

    It doesn't sound very optimistic, does it? You are really close to losing this game if you wont focus and try to make things right. Ask your team to play as defensivly as possible, keep an eye on wards (playing blind when you are ahead isnt bad, if yo are behind its like last nail to your coffin) and do everything you can to exploit your jungling power to ninja buff and dragons (most of the teams if they are confident dont pay such close attention at dragon respawn timers, and you need like 10 seconds to kill it) and rush for Aegis of the Legion. Yes - forget about Sheen - few more hundreds of damage wont help you if your team amtes will die in 2 seconds - you must try to grant them some protection. This and feeding them with dragon gold should really do the trick and let your team get back on your feet before enemy realises thats something is very, very wrong. Just remember to take it slow - even if your inhibitor is down, another inhib tower under siege etc. dont rush to end the game in one glorious charge - way i described above is much more usefull.

    Forth item:

    Thats easy - take one yo uskilled in step 3. If you took [text_item=sheen] picking Aegis will seal the deal making you nd your team sooo much harder to kill.

    On the other hand if you were forced to rush Aegis of the Legion taking Sheen should be even more hillarious turn of events. Confident and success-drunk enemy team is about to realise that you are not only annoyingly tanky but you started to hit back. And you do it hard.
    This is usually the point then game victory turns around and runs into your arms - enemies are so team fight hungry and annoyed by your defensive, tower hugging platystyle that they will jump into 1st fight possible. And you will use your tankishness, various buffs stolen from a jungle along with all shiny stuff your team got thx to farming minions next to towers&getting dragon gold ticks to get an ace (or at least 2 kills with no deaths if they will turn around fast enough).
    Once it happenes just push at least for inhibitor tower (if your team is phisical-dps-heavy you can easly tank it without minions for that few seconds it will last).
    Congratulation - if you wont make something really, really stupid that i can not even imagine you cant lost this game.

    Fifth item:

    Game should really end till this moment one way or another but sometimes you just get lots of gold and you want to spent it somehow, right?
    Well - thats quite obvious. Jut go for Trinity Force.
    If you are on a lead just seal it picking Zeal 1st for some awesome pushing power and damage boost. If somehow you still feel a bit squishy (???) and fights are not going as well as they should start with Phage. In meantime dont hesitate to drink one or two [item_icon=Elixir of Agility]&s.

    Sixth item (kinda fifth tbh - sheen --> trinity force):
    I have no idea - never came that far. I guess you can't go wrong Guardian Angel or Infinity Edge ;)

    NOTE: maybe i didnt press this issur hard enough: remember about wards. yeah, you can be great killer, force not to be killed etc. but its still your damn tankish job to ward an area and let carries spent their gold elsewere. Remember that you already have one free ward every 3 minutes (with awesome timer that will warn you when all wards are about to fade away if you placed them in the same time) so you need just 2 or 3 more. its not even about spending money - you are probably tankiest member of your team nd one who spends most time in a jungle. Guess who suits this role better? Yeah - you guessed: noone. if you got few lucky killingblows and not sure what to do with a cash late in a game you may even consider to buy [item_text=Oracle's Elixir] to counter any heavy warding attempts.

  • Core build

    Looks like after few hours of writing im too dumb to find the way to make it that picture-like thingy :|

    It's just the core build that was vivisected above with example of rune and mastery choices. As you can see whole thing costs less than 6000 gold and that should give you an opportunity to pay for vast number of wards and elixirs when neceserry.

  • Farming

    At first just dont get killed while trying to get those few last hits you can get. Dont be greedy - 20+ gold and 2 damage points for Siphoning Strike are not worth giving up 1st blood. IF you follow my lead you won't have Spirit Fire to control your lane, but thats ok - it isnt very usefull before level 5 anyway and once you are there you ll do much better job running around the jungle and comming back to the lane just to clear waves coming too close to your towers (and hopefully other 2 members of your team dont suck at laning that badly and they ll be happy to take your lane over once you disapear in da jungle).
    Sone again - get that gold for Wriggle's Lantern fast, but safe. Really dont try to kill enemies unless they will do something realy dumb. Then obviously Wither them and hit them few times to make them dead (;)). But agina - dont spam Wither on everyone who gets close enough to be hit by you once or twice when he is at 90% health. You'll just waste mana, grab minion agro, get hit back and possibly killed when chasing him and not looking for mia foes. Just get this damn gold lasthitting minions and get it over with .

    Once you hit rank 6 and get Wriggle's Lantern do dragon thingy i told you before and focus more at jungling/helping your mates in lanes than at real laning. At this point remember that you are on ward duty. Dont be greedy and do it right. And as i said few times before - focus at getting every possible dragon kill.

  • Working in the team

    Its kinda covered above already but i can rephrase it and geather here again if you let me know in comments that you need it.

  • Pros & cons

    - combines late survivability of almost any real tank with burst damage they can dream of.
    - counters most of the carries (especially melee ones) with his Wither
    - jungles like high class harvester
    - can solo a dragon in few seconds starting from level 6.
    - in late game adds nice aoe damage from Fury of the Sands and Spirit Fire to already good single target burst.
    - takes down and tanks towers really easly
    - his Wither either helps to gank and escape from them.
    - looks and talks with endless awesomeness ;)

    - is close to useless early game
    - can have very hard time farming first few hundreds of gold
    - has to lane till about level 6 to be able to start jungle
    - hardly does anything to enemy casters - not worth to pick aginst them.
    - if enemy will focus at countering him at the start (guarding dragon, constant harassment and ganking attempths in lane) he can be completly shut down.

  • End notes

    As you probably noticed its still work in progress but i decided to publish it anyway to get some feedback bofore commiting into it any further. Please leave constructive criticism, opinions and requests - ill try to follow it.

    As you can see english isnt my 1st (or actually even 2nd)language and this guide is probably full of various mistakes. You can ignore them or give me some grammar feedback. Just dont bother to flame me - i won't really care ;)

    Greetings and hope you enjoyed my first guide


    14.09.2010 - guide published

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