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[Guide]Desert Stormin' with Nasus - LONG

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Desert storming with Nasus

I wanted to name this guide "Doin' it Doggystyle with Nasus" but I thought better of it, as to not infringe any rules of these forums.

The main goal here is to give some insight about Nasus, how you CAN play him as a damage dealer, and serve as a basis for discussion. This is my first guide and I am not a good player, just some average dude, so feel free to give CONSTRUCTIVE feedback.

Abilities overview:

Soul Eater
Nasus drains his foe's spiritual energy, giving him a natural 10/15/20% Lifesteal.

While not really useful early game, this passive allows you to skip any lifestealing items and focus on Damage and attack speed. It also helps winning one on one confrontations as long as you don't get stunned, or group battles, if you don't get focus fired.
Siphoning Strike
Nasus strikes his foe, dealing damage and increasing the power of his future Siphoning Strikes if he slays his target.
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 seconds
Cost 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 Mana
Range 300
This ability hits very hard, it will be your main source of damage, and will help you get killing blows.
Golden Rule : Always try to last hit with this.
Situations where you don’t want to wait fort he last hit to use it (obvious):
- Attacking towers
- Killing heroes


Nasus ages his target, decelerating their movement and attack speeds over 5 seconds.
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 12 seconds
Cost 100 Mana
Range 700

Offensive use:
Use it to keep the opponent close to you so you or your teammates can hit him.
Defensive use:
If you or one of your teammates is being chased use it to slow an enemy.
If you or one of your teammates is being attacked by a non caster, use it to slow his attack speed.

Spirit Fire

Nasus unleashes a delayed spirit flame at a location, dealing damage and reducing the armor of enemies who stand on it.
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 per ability power) magic damage each second.
Cooldown 11 seconds
Cost 60 / 75 / 90 / 105 / 120 Mana
Range 650

Every creep wave, aim so that all of it is caught in the radius. Try to stand opposite the enemy hero, so that any offensive move will force him/her to walk through the fire. This will also allow you to safely last hit creeps early on with siphoning strike.
In team battles, if the opposing team is clumped waiting to initiate, cast it on them, forcing them to either spread or take the damage. It can create an opening. Be careful though, it has a short range so don't get nuked trying to cast it.
In any case, never forget that, in addition to its damage (which is not that impressive against heroes) it applies an armor debuff which is a physical damage increase, not only for you, but for your teammates too.

Fury of the Sands

Nasus. He gains additional Health, and drains nearby enemies' max health and converts it into bonus damage for the duration of the skill.
Nasus becomes empowered by the storm, gaining 300/450/600 health for 15 seconds. While in this form, he drains 3 / 5 / 6% of nearby enemies' health each second (240 damage max per second) and converts it into bonus attack damage.
Cooldown 120 seconds
Cost 150 Mana
Range 20

Offensive use:
Pop this to increase your damage output and chasing ability. Particularly effective when surrounded by a lot of enemies because you feed more and your damage increases faster. Don’t forget the following, however:
If you’re close to an enemy tower, and your aoe hits an enemy hero, you will be immediately focused by the tower, resulting in an emergency retreat or a quick death. Use your ultimate wisely, as it is not an I WIN button.
If surrounded by creeps (especially early to mid-game), and you attack a hero with FOTS on, you’ll also get attacked by the creeps, and there is a limit to the damage you can take.
When taking down a tower and no hero is close (mid to late game), you can wait for the enemy creep wave to reach you and THEN, cast FOTS. You will feed on the creeps to increase your damage quickly.

Defensive use:
The increased health can be considered a temporary heal.
Use the increased movement speed to escape.
Use the AOE drain to help a teammate escape. If he/she is being chased, stand next to the pursuers, draining them of their health. You can even cast Wither on them.

Mastery build:

An offensive build with the rest in utility. Not much to say about it.

3 Deadliness
1 Archmage's Savvy
4 Sorcery
4 Alacrity
1 Archaic knowledge
4 pts between and Brute Force and Sunder
3 Lethality
1 Havoc

1 haste
3 Good hands
4 Awareness
1 pt in Spatial accuracy or Greed

Rune setup:

The Riot shop being closed at the moment, you can't use runes in game.
I like to use Primary runes only.

Marks: Armor Pen or Crit Damage.
Don't know which ones are better since the Crit Damage nerf, but these two are the best choice for you. I would go for Armor Pen since I only pack one item with Crit in my current build, and it brings a more steady damage increase all throughout the game.
Seals: Health/lvl
Nasus is a melee hero without a real escape mecanism, so survivability is needed.
Glyphs: CD reduction
Increases your damage significantly, through skill spamming and sheen.
Quint: Armor Pen / Crit Damage
Either of the two for more damage.(cf previous comment)

Summoner spells:

You have a good pushing potential, so map mobility is good. You can also TP to defend, and you can spend more time in-lane gaining xp rather than coming back from the shop.

I've tried other spells, but only this one gives you more chasing, escaping, and lane mobility. Of course, it won't save you from a gank. Good all around spell.

Other possibilities:

Promote (+ Demolish) for more pushing power, makes a good combination with your ability to clear creep waves quickly.

Rally (+improved rally) to get an edge in team battles.

Skill build

1 E
2 Q
3 E
4 Q
5 E
6 R
7 Q
8 W
9 Q
10 W
11 R
12 Q
13 W
14 W
15 W
16 R
17 E
18 E

Reasoning behind this skill build:
SF should be leveled up to level 3 asap. With that and the AP from your early items, you can clean a creepwave in one shot, giving you the upper hand in your lane.
SS is second in my priority list, because you need to build up its damage, and because it gives you some burst if the opportunity for a kill presents itself.
Wither is only useful mi-game for you, as your killing power is subpar early. Remember that if you are solo, opponents can run to their tower before you kill them most of the time, and that your items pack mana regen and AP (among others). Unless you have a good dps or disabler with you, don't try to rush anyone before lvl 8.
FOTS is a good skill so take it whenever possible.

Item build summary (with justifications).

Meki Pendant --> Fiendish codex
Berserker's greaves (if you need move speed early, buy boots of Speed before stinger)
Nashor's tooth
Warmog's Armor
Infinity Edge
Black Cleaver (or Trinity force)

Berserker's greaves:
This Nasus is meant for physical damage, so Berserker's greaves are a no-brainer. No Boots of Swiftness, because Wither, and Fury of the Sands provide plenty of chasing or fleeing power.

Nashor's tooth:
This item packs everything you need:

Mana regen: Mandatory early game for Skill spamming. Convenient mid to late-game for longevitiy.
Ability power: Only usefull early game, and a bit of a lackluster after that, but it's compensated by the rest.
Attack speed: more damage, increased chance to last hit creeps and heroes.
Cooldown reduction: Speaks for itself. Especially valueable with SS and Sheen, but has synergy with all your skills.
It is not easy to find an item that is useful early and late game, because Nasus' playstyle shifts from Caster to melee over the course of the game. This one is the best I could come up with.

Mid and Late game, you will die a lot if you don't stray from the damage route for a bit. Warmog is THE best item HP wise ir provides an HP buffer that works against physical and magic damage. Nice regen for in between fights too.

Infinity Edge:
Damage, crit and crit damage. Not much to say.

The black cleaver:
More damage and a nice Armor debuff. Fits perfectly.

Trinity force:

Hitting harder everytime you cast a spell is extremely powerfull with nasus, because most of his abilities (SS in particular) have short cooldowns.
Attack speed and crit for more damage, movement speed for increased mobility, especially useful for a melee character with no "Charge-like" skill (i.e. Alistar, Malphite, Jax).
Extra damage, health for survivability, slow to make sure no one escapes. Although the proc is not really reliable, the fast attack speed of this hero, makes it OK.

Game description:

Early game:

Start by buying a Meki Pendant, take Spirit Fire lvl 1 and go in a lane. Solo mid is a good option, because it will give you more XP and money and you clear waves easily. A lane partner can be good too. Keep casting SF on every creep wave, and try to get one last-hit SS once every wave. If you spam SS, you will run out of mana quickly. If you're up against a melee, you're good. If it's a ranged, it might get problematic, especially if they are aggressive. I've had trouble against Ashe and Sivir, for example. In that case, run in to cast your spell and retreat. You do'nt have any health regen item, so don't get hit too much. Keep doing this until lvl 7-8, try to maximize your time spent in-lane, only Recalling for shopping when TP is up, if possible. You should get your Nashor's tooth and Greaves quickly.

Mid game:

Once you have FOTS and W, you can safely start ganking. Just make sure to work as a team. If you have a root / disable in your team, let them use it first, hit on the target, then, use your own (Wither). Complete your sheen and warmog.
At this point, you should be able to kill creep waves without SF. You can either use it anyway to get more money or focus on last hitting every possible creep with SS (Sheen should help) and stop using SF, for more damage later.
You can initiate ganks with the following sequence:
SS --> Hit
W --> Hit
FOTS --> Hit
SS --> Hit
SF --> Hit
Taking advantage of Sheen's effect is key here.

Late game:

With your high attack speed and burst from SS, you should last hit champions quite often, so you should have enough money. Start building Infinity Edge starting with the +damage items. If the game drags on, you can choose to go for black cleaver or complete Trinity Force. I have a preference for Black cleaver.
For late team battles, make sure you have someone in your team capable of initiating properly, like Ashe, Blitzcrank, Alistar, Malphite, etc... I don't consider Wither an initiator in team battles, as it does no damage, slows rather than immobilizes, and leaves the target where it is (among his/her teammates).

Thanks for reading this guide, hope it will help you Nasus players.

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Senior Member


This is a great guide for an under represented champ. Nasus is one of my favs. I can't say I see anything wrong with this build and I was prepared to disagree. I see so many people who don't build this champ in ways that make sense.

Mostly I agree completely with your spell build order except one thing. I toss one point in Wither after my second point in Spirit Fire. It is still effective at 1 point and it is a great skill, can be used to gank or run. I see most Nasus players take SS first which doesn't make any sense to me.

The thing I like most about Nasus is how rich he gets, he can really dominate late because of his ability to make money, he can farm creep waves and jungle all with one spell, lovely.

I build items a bit different than you. I start essentially the same Mekai and pots. However I turn those into Philosopher Stone. Now I know this is preference, I just get a stone with most players. I think it is a truly underrated item. Philosophers keeps me in the lane well and produces gold. Good deal IMO. Then I basically build Trinity after boots. Trinity is a fantastic item on him and I love it in general because all of the pieces to build it are useful and you can build it differently to fit each games needs. Need more health? Build phage first, hit a bit harder get sheen, faster zeal. I will however give your build a try and see if Nashor's tips the balance your way.

Anyway, here is my build order for him:

Mekai --> Stone
Zerker Greaves
Trinity Force Pieces --> TriForce Greatness
Bloodthirster or Banshee Veil

Now in most games I am just building the bloodthrister or banshee's when it ends but in long games I can get one. For the average game though, say 8 out of 10 games though I have Warmogs and am a beast late. Rarely do I not get my core build done, the odd 15 min surrender type game. Money baby Nasus r haz it

Anyway, your guide was fantastic and one of the best guides I have read period not just a great Nasus guide. I think I have read every guide posted thus far. Love this forum Great work man

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Zero Control



I main Nasus quite a bit so let me toss in my two cents...

This is a great hero, and there are a lot of ways to build him because of his roles.. support/caster/melee dps

I say support because with Starks, and his AOE he can lower a group of enemies armor as well as providing that nice starts aura. Plus he has his great slow/disable.... and he is a pretty good tank with the life stealing and his basic hp.

That being said.... Here is a basic idea. No order on items.

Chalice -> never worry about mana again, spam SF (lane control and money money money)
Spamming SF is key. IF you get it levled quickly you rule the lane and usually even 2 folks wont push you for long.

Sheen - > what a great item to quickly buff mana and damage. (trinity later)

Last Whisper -> precious attack speed and great armor pen. At high levels with lots of armor this is the best aror penetrator in the game. Check the default armor on champions sometime and you may really come to love this item.

Boots - > berserker or swiftness. Despite the ultimate I still have to chase people down. They run like hell when I try to smack em, so I usually end up with boots of swiftness and maybe a frozen mallet. Nothing murders people like making them stand in your auras and take a beating.

Phage-> Mallet (see above.... also you can skip mallet and grab trinities... with AS and wither it may be enough)

Trinity..... I win button for all physical dps in the game, nough said

Nashors tooth or Frozen...whosafritzy aint bad either. Sometimes I swap em out late game depending on needs.

Starks or Bloodthirster ... your call, life steal armor pen, or dps life steal..

These are the items I pick from. I tend to never build him the same because it varies based on needs and money. If things are going well I will stack damage.

Often I find my team needs the help and support and not another wanna be assasin and I will go defense and cooldown/caster items more so that I can spam my snare and AOE. I find I can really control the flow of battle simply because people dont want to mess with Nasus.....

..... they learn that lesson often a bit too late.....

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Senior Member


Added your guide to Thelolwiki with proper credits, its an amazing nasus guide

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Thanks for the feedback and thumbs up.

@Penguin: Your point about wither early on makes sense, I'll defenitely try it. So is PhiloStone. I also take it with most of my champions. This time around, I chose to not take it, to get to Nashor quicker.

Armor Pen really rocks with Nasus, so last whisper is surely a great choice. The reason I chose not to take it is the following: With nashor and zerk greaves I have 55% increased attack speed, which is enough for him. In addition, Sheen/trinity force increases your base damage by 100/150% everytime you use an ability. So I thought. Hell, I cast an ability every 3secs with Nashor, so I need to hit hard each time. That's why I went InfEdge and Cleaver.

Another question now: How good are lifesteal items on him (compared to damage), since he has already got an innate lifesteal?

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Junior Member


There's probably no point. You may spend a lot of your time at full health.

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Junior Member


Afaik, lifesteal stacks without a cap, so it could work out quite well to stack lifesteal. Not sure if it outweighs damage. I am still new to Nassus, but have found him to be a great counter, especially early game to the damn Heimdinger turrets.

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Like the guide (and the title)!

How useful/crucial do you find ability power? I'm not that interested in the Codex or Nashor's because of the AP. From your experience, what do you think of this build:

Meki Pendant -> Philosopher's Stone
Berserker's Greaves
Glacial Shroud (cheap,replaces Nashor's cooldown reduction, and some armor and mana)
Black Cleaver
Zeal -> Trinity Force
Frozen Heart or Banshee's Veil depending on enemy team

The health regen on the Philo Stone and innate lifesteal on Nasus makes Warmog's regen a bit redundant, so I'm hesitant to buy it for the HP if the regen will go to waste. I would go Black Cleaver because it's so much cheaper than IE and you don't focus much on crits in the build.

Do you think I'd lose too much farming ability with SF with this?

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Corvus Corax

Senior Member


Having played couple of games with Nasus this week, I think it may not be the best choice for a solo player like me, OR for ppl going after high kill scores. (And I guess there are some better tank and support champs.). I think Nasus needs a little bit of upgrade from DEVs.

I tried to build him with items like Berserkers Greaves Bloodthirster/Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer (sometimes early philosophers stone for mana regen.) and ability focus on Siphoning strike and Wither. I thought in theory that the minor increments in dmg from both siphoning strike and bloodthirster would stack up nicely (bloodthirster also stacks lifesteal along with passive). So I would slow opponents with wither, fire up my ulti and bash them with SS, it sounded easy on theory.

My results were mostly unsuccessful. It is hard to keep last hitting with SS while the opposing ranged champs are on you, even with a little help of Spirit Fire. Your early champ kiling is limited and I think it determines the success in the late game. I would recommend Master Yi, Jax, Tryndamere or Amumu and a few other melee champs on Nasus with a build like mine any day..

Never tried to go for Spirit Fire and ability power items. This guide is almost opposite of what Ive been trying to do, so I may give it a try. Still Im a bit sceptic. Could someone post the ability power ratio on skills, cause the web lists them as (+0 per ability power)..

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Senior Member


So some thoughts:

@Skar - Lifesteal is great, but I find I only need Bloodthirsters late game. That is when you are in the most fights, early game I am pushing mostly and just watching for openings and trying to avoid ganks. However if I have the money I have found that late game with the ult on I can 1 v 3 somtimes. For instance I took out Kat, Annie and Yi all of us at lvl 18 when they tried to gank me. Listen I'm not saying you can solo 3 players all the time, but I am saying that without Bloodthirster I wouldn't have won that fight. As mentioned lifesteal isn't capped, and with Trinity Force you are hitting fast enough already so I prefer Bloodthirster. It really is an amazing item with him. I have managed to be in a lot of long games and I can stand toe to toe with any other carry so far as long as I have my ult up.

@Corvus I find that I have a fewere amount of kills because of my playstyle I kill towers then people. Most people play this game to kill other players, I just like to win and a 4/4/20 is a regular score for me, HOWEVER if I go searching for kills I can easily be a 20/4/20 stat line. I like Nasus because I find that no champ scares me 1v1 after I get my Warmogs. One key that a lot of people miss Corvus and that is you have to focus on lvling that Syphoning Strike. It is really easy to just forget and let Spirit Fire kill mobs for you and collect the cash. Focus all the time on last hits with SS and end game you will thwock faces

@Hatch AP does not affect your farming ability at all. Even with no AP your spirit fire will still kill a creep wave in one shot. If SS had a boost from AP I would support AP builds, but as he stand I don't see a need for it.

Just an overall thought to the builds and lifesteal. In my personal build after Warmogs I find I am not lacking anything. I don't hurt for damage because I have been lvling up my SS, I don't hurt for attack speed because boots + trinity force has me going good. I don't lack HP with Warmogs on. Lifesteal seems a natural fit here.

One last note. Don't forget that you can jungle really well. You should be able to handle Dragon solo at lvl 6/7. After I have lvl'd up my Warmogs I can solo baron, just takes time, grab the golem buff and go thwock him. Seriously a lot of Nasus players let this go to waste. I will jungle everything between my current location and where I am going. Drop a spirit fire and keep on moving.

This is a good discussion