Nasus, Furious Sands are Furious: A Manamune Guide
Who is that weird dog-headed looking guy who nobody ever seems to play?
Oh, that's Nasus, terror of the sands, master of turning big and grey, stealer of lives, dancer like an Egyptian. He's a skillful pusher and a deadly weapon in team fights. Plus, when he spins his staff over his head, stuff sets on fire.
Golly, sounds fun. How come I'm not playing him right now and/or never played him before?
That's a good question. I can only surmise that your life heretofore has been horribly incomplete and that at this very moment there is a giant, gaping hole in the very core of your being that is crying out for some serious Nasus to be played.
Pardon me, mind if I cut in?
No, by all means, how can I help you?
I've been playing a competitive Nasus for some time. I feel confident in my item build and I'm wondering what you could possibly have to offer me over what is clearly the only conceivable way to build this character. Oh, and, I already brought my Aegis of the Legion with me, I figured we'd be covering that first.
Oh, no, you can go ahead and leave your Aegis at home.
What? But that's.... How can...? But it's...
I know. Shhh, it's hard at first. Here: try this.
Wha? What's this... a Manamune?
Adroitly observed, my good man.
I don't know what I'm.... I say, what's going on here?!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is: Nasus, Furious Sands are Furious, a guide to building a resilient man-dog, off-tank melee champ with decent resiliency and a wicked mean punch, based off of the mana-building, attack damage item Manamune and a selection of fine +mana tank items.
Nasus: Getting Acquianted
[Q] Siphoning Strike:
Low-cooldown and a on-hit damage increase, Siphoning Strike is spammable goodness. It's stellar with Sheen and it grows gradually in power the entire game. Here's the thing: don't focus on building SS, because your extra 100 damage from last hitting fifty minions really isn't going to be the deal breaker end-game. Its spammable bonus attack, it triggers Sheen, builds your mana pool with Manamune and helps you last hit like a boss. An Egyptian dog-boss.
Traditionally, Siphoning Strike was an on-next-swing damage increase. Every time you kill an enemy with it, the damage boost of SS increases permanently by two. A recent patch recently changed it recently not too long ago, recently. Now, Siphoning Strike resets your attack timer, so you swing the second you activate it and your next attack queues from there. Train yourself to hit Q right after a standard auto-attack. It makes you just a bit more bursty and maximizes your damage.
The best slow in the game. It halves both movement and attack speed over 5 long seconds, making it a veritable disable on opposing AD carries. There are three ideal times to use it. One: chasing down a fleeing enemy with your team's carries or when he has low enough health you can attack-Siphon Strike him down before reaching the safety of a tower. Two: stopping an enemy in his tracks to let your ally escape. Use it early. The slow takes a second or two to have noticeable effect. Three: and three is the least intuitive. Initiate team-fights with it. Pick out their most dangerous AD carry and start every, every team fight with a Wither. Bonus points if he's squishy enough to be quickly burst down.
[E] Spirit Fire
At its highest levels it'll burn through minions like something really good doing something really awesome really quickly. It has a slight delay, but it's often big enough to encompass an entire enemy creep wave AND you can usually scare of opposing melee champs with it during the laning phase. Skillful use of Spirit Fire uses its perimeter to "block" enemy movement. Cheat a SF toward that bush you know the enemy is hiding in and make them go the long way around to get back to last hitting.
Spirit Fire also reduces the enemies armor. It's sort of an easily forgettable, mostly undetected bonus but shaving 20-50 armor off the opposing champs will make you hit harder and make your team hit harder. Pair this with the Armor Pen from runes and the potential pen. from Youmoo's and you'll be hitting their tank hard enough to make him take notice, especially when you pop your ult too.
[R] Fury of the Sands:
Your ultimate. You become bigger and badder, greyer, you have more health, you start draining health from enemies around you and your drain increases your attack damage for the duration of the skill (note: boost is not a heal, it's an increase to your max health). It's really powerful in a team fight. At it's highest rank, you're draining 5% of your opponent's total health per second. Think of it like it's the equivalent of two or three Sunfire Capes on demand. It drains from players AND minions both, but here's the thing: it's not very impressive 1v1. It doesn't make you a solo god, but it can help you rip through a group of enemies in a team battle.
... look: start with Spirit Fire. Probably. Here's the thing. You CAN wait until you arrive at your lane and engage the enemy before you pick your first skill. You'll usually want Spirit Fire at this point, because it'll help you push your lane, harass the enemy from a distance, and aid you and your ally farming creep kills.
Wither might work if your ally has the awesome early dps and the enemy's greedy and you think you can go for first blood. Four green health bars on an anxious enemy carry is a great sign that Wither might be a swell choice.
If you're stuck in a lane with another champion with a spammable AoE (Mordekaiser and Morgana come to mind)... firstly, listen, you don't want to lane with those champs. The synergy's not there and you'll probably end up racing to AoE before the other to get those kills. But if you end up in that position, be the bigger dog-man: start with Siphoning Strike and let them AoE. Get your last hits and don't be afraid to take a big swing at an enemy champ who gets too close to keep the fear of Egyptian dog-men in them.
But maxing out Spirit Fire first is a good rule of thumb. And then, assess the situation, and unless improved Wither is needed right away, now, like two fights ago to keep an enemy melee from getting out of hand and fed, level up Siphoning Strike. You'll hit harder and the cooldown decreases with each level, meaning you can spam it faster and build your bonus damage and Manamune earlier and quicker. Always, always, level your ultimate whenever the option arises.
Fury of the Sands > Spirit Fire > Siphoning Strike > Wither
Mana Crystal, Health Potion, Mana Potion
These are your starting items. You can also go for the Meki Pendant, up to you, varying it to even and two mana potions if you think you can hang in your lane with just your lifesteal to keep you company. This should keep you fighting and farming until at least level six. That's the goal.
Tear of the Goddess
Build this first time you go back. It won't guarantee you'll never go oom, but you'll be starting to build your mana pool via skill activations for a few extra points of attack damage by the end game. If you've got some extra gold to fling around, start picking up parts for your next couple items. Oh, yeah, and...
This build is crazy expensive (you'll rarely if ever complete it), but Nasus is still a god among minion farmers. Plus you want to leave your carries to working on their sick deeps. So: buy wards for your team. You'll almost always see results off these. Put one along the center river in the bush if the enemy's mid gets gank happy or especially if the opposing team has a jungler. Super extra important to spend the extra bucks and pick up a detect invisibility ward if you're vs.ing a stealther.
The damage boost from this item cannot be overstated. It's impressive and perfect for Nasus, especially paired with Siphoning Strike to last hit or harass a squishy. And you should already be using a skill at every available second to build your mana pool with Tear.
Boots of Speed
I typically go Sheen before boots, because Nasus has a slow and I often take Ghost/Exhaust on him anyway. However, if you're laning against a ranged carry who just won't quit harassing, the little added mobility can be a big help.
Catalyst of the Protector
You'll notice that you're still a little squishy by the mid-game. The Catalyst gives you a little health boost and you'll be building this into a Banshee's Veil later. Plus it has mana on it. See a pattern here? And, yes, I know, it's not an Aegis.
Mana, armor and cooldown reduction, which we like. Faster Withers, faster Siphoing Strikes, more ults. Oh, hey....
Finish Mercury Treads/Boots of Swiftness and...WARDS!!!
You didn't forget about these did you? A different guide somebody else wrote somewhere else can give you the lowdown on optimal ward placement, but they're absolutely vital as teams group together and take to the jungle for flanking and ganking.
This is the point where we can break the Manamune out. It'll vary per game the mileage you get out of it, but usually, my Manamunes are worth somewhere around 50-70 attack damage initially and it'll creep up a bit more as you advance your build and increase your mana pool, but only by little increments from this point on.
Now things can start to vary and SHOULD start to vary depending on the character of that particular game (even that core build is mutable; flexibility is your friend). Basically, your goal is to finish your Banshee's, buy a single damage item and possibly build that Glacial Shroud into a Frozen Heart. There's always a Trinity Force to be built as well. For damage, I see a few options.
The Bloodthirster/Stark's Fervor/Youmoo's Ghostblade
This decision is entirely game-dependent. If the enemy built a bunch of squishies, go for the Bloodthirster and when you're ulting in a team battle you'll hit like a big **** Egyptian truck. If you're on a team with several other meleers, and no one's built it yet, Stark's will be a major boon for your team. Ghostblade is for a fight of the big beefies. Use it's activate when you ult and you'll have +50% attack speed to help lifesteal and tear your way through the enemies health. Plus there's even more cooldown on it, so with Youmoo's you'll come close to maxing your CDR out. Following that:
Banshee's Veil/Frozen Heart
Looking at the opposing teams magic and attack damage, whichever seems to be hurting you most. Then build the corresponding item. Banshee's is especially vital against a bunch of disables and, given the current meta game filled with stuns, snares and taunting, I think you'll almost always (dare I say actually always) find yourself buying it. Frozen Heart is killer against attack damage carries, provided you're able to close range with them (i.e. they're melee or can't kite you like an Ashe).
Item Build in Brief
Boots ---> Mercury Treads
Sheen (potentially Trinity Force)
Catalyst --->Banshee's Veil
Glacial Shroud (potentially Frozen Heart)
The Bloodthirster/Stark's Fervor/Youmoo's Ghostblade
Wards > Elixir of Fortitude > Elixir of Agility > Elixir of Brilliance (only for the CDR, only if not already maxed)
Masteries, Runes and Summoner Spells
1/2 Defense Mastery
1/3 Harden Skin
4/4 Veteran's Scars
3/3 Good Hands
4/4 Expanded Mind
1/2 Utility Mastery
Your going all the way down the Defense tree for this build. Full armor and magic resistance buffs are practically a must and the extra dodge along with the movement speed bonus on a dodge works in your favor in a big team fight when you're ulting, smashing face and chasing fools down. Veteran's Scars for the health bonus and Ardor for the attack speed are important, respectively, for the early and late game, and points down the utility tree include a neat 4/4 in Expanded Mind which will increase your mana pool just a little bit extra to give you just a little extra punch with Manamune.
Quints: Greater Quintessence of Fortitude (Health)
Reds: Greater Mark of Desolation (Armor Pen)
Yellows: Greater Seal of Evasion (Dodge)
Blues: Greater Glyph of Focus (Cooldown)
Brilliant for chasing and especially when you use your ult and the enemy team tries to scatter. Don't be afraid to use it just to get to a distant, brewing team fight one lane away in time to Wither, Spirit Fire and SS some fools in ult form or not.
Don't be fooled for a second to think that this is redundant because Nasus has a slow already. I love Exhaust enough to almost say that it should be mandatory on Nasus. Two ready slows can momentarily cripple two enemy carries, it gives Nasus an extra piece of CC, and, notably, while Exhaust has a shorter duration it also comes with a blind. So when Twitch ults or Ashe chases down an ally with her slow use Exhaust first, instead or along with Wither to put the mean damper on their damage output.
Seriously, why no Aegis?
Honestly, it's certainly a good early game item, but if the team's crying for one, let the real tank get it. Ideally, Nasus isn't going to be the main tank in your group; he's not built for that. A really good tank champion has some crowd control and can force the enemy team to deal with him (e.g. he has a taunt). Nasus has a wicked slow and can pwn some noobs in a team fight, but he's better suited as a beefy melee damage tank-sidekicky type.
Listen: there a thousand Nasus builds with a thousand Aegis of the Legions you can go off and play. It doesn't fit in this build, at all, period, and, frankly, I think it's usefulness wanes after mid game.
Any advice for getting the most out of Sheen?
Use Q and E just because they are up when you're pushing a lane, beating up a turret and last-hitting minions. When you engage an enemy open with a SF or Wither to trigger that first Sheen attack. Spirit Fire around an enemy tower when you're bashing it down. Sheen now puts up a debuff above your cast bar telling you when the next activation is available. Watch it and when you're just bashing away at mobs and buildings, use Spirit Fire and Siphoning Strike at every opportunity.
Wait, shouldn't it be Furious Sands IS Furious?
I.... I don't know.... maybe? He is the Curator OF the Sands, capital S. Sands can be geographical object, but is it perhaps the individual grains that are furious? Hmm...
I'm sorry, I'm still not convinced. Aegis is an absolute must. Manamune is terrible and you must be a noob, a bad player and a terrible American for even suggesting this. There's no possible way this could be viable. Change and innovation are bad and should be shunned and scorned universally.
Orly? Let's do some numbers.
Here's a game where by level thirteen I had my core build (Tear, Sheen, Catalyst, Glacial Shroud, Boots). My relevant stats are as follows:
Magic Resist: 52
If I had turned my Tear into a Manamune right then, I would have added about 70 attack damage, plus the mana regen and massive mana pool I'm building with it. I'm around 300 health and 30 or so magic resist squishier than if I had gone for the Aegis build but hitting significantly harder especially when ulting. That's the point of this Manamune build: I am sacrificing a portion of tankiness for more damage per second.
Later, by level 18, I had my Manamune and a B.F. Sword in a game, where, admittedly, most everyone on my side was getting pretty fed. My stats now are:
Magic Resist: 84
Finishing Banshee's gives me +57 magic resist and 160 more health. Finishing Frozen Heart would put my armor up by 54. I'm still squishier than the tank build when wandering around in "normal mode," but ulting when engaging in a team fight I hit like a truck and am sitting at a comfortable 3078 health with my 20% passive lifesteal, 250+ attack damage, 183 armor and 141 MR.
That's an interesting take on Aegis. I agree to some extent, but Nasus farms so well that I feel, like mentioned before, that the fact that he can farm Aegis so much easier and earlier than tank tanks (except Galio... he farms pretty nicely too) that doing so will allow them to get more powerful items like Randuin's Omen or a Veil faster.
At best this build is situational and again you get aegis because
- it helps your already beastly pushing power
- You can farm it faster than most and tanks can get more tanky game changing items like rand.
- it gives you mid game survival so you can focus building a triforce faster which is a very game changing item on nasus.
You have no HP items until late mid game and you will die fast in fights. You last hit for **** if the other team is smart they will poke you away from farming up SS.
To the people who get mana regen seals? Why get these over dodge runes? Can't you get M regen glyphs. In any case i prefer mag resist glyphs. I dont need mana early and the only time i use SF early is when im going for a kill.
I do get manamune but only after i have aegis treads sunfire and veil and if im going for more damage. It also depends on the team im against.
Glacial shroud should be paired with soul shroud for max CDR and the only time i build these is to counter a DPS heavy. That is the only time you should get shroud. Sunfire is almost always a much better item. Yeah shroud has more mana for your dmg + manamune but starks is much better.
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