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"Your legacy shall drift away, blown into eternity like the sands of the desert."
A Dreadknight is feared, rampaging through the battlefield causing mayhem and chaos. Unlike any champion Nasus
has the means to be that presence, demotivate his adversaries and inspire his allies. Are you a Dreadknight?
More than anything Dreadknight is a mindset. It is a tool to accomplish victory, it is about chaos and thriving in teamfights. As a Dreadknight your goal is to spread dread in the hearts of your enemies, to control teamfights and decide the outcome. A large role not easily fulfilled. It pains me to admit that this is not easily accomplished in a game with skilled opponents, but I do believe that under the right circumstances Nasus can be a game deciding pick in any skill bracket.
Nasus is essentially a tanky anti-carry with the means to control teamfights by sheer threat of his presence but with a significant downside. Nasus needs to farm his Siphon Strike early game, because it becomes too time consuming late game to just sit in lane and farm. Getting to +500 is great and all, but farming with him after level 13 the enemies will start getting more durable and you end up doing the same damage while at the same time your team has to hold 4v5 pushes. Like lots of other tanky dps characters Nasus scales incredibly well with level/gold advantage, gettin solo lane experience is very beneficial to your team, on the condition that you can Siphon farm really well. As far as your role goes, you run into the fight (initiating is possible with a Wither on your target but counter initiating or running in second is better), Wither their DPS carry and focus your closest squishy target (which is usually their DPS any way but I tend to prefer killing their squishy AP nuker above running the extra mile to get to that Ashe). You want to start doing this as early as teamfights start happening and you rather want teamfights to start happening late than early. This requires coördination. When you're farming and a push on your second mid turret is about to happen, ask your team if they can hold it, if either your team is having difficulty or your jungle is getting invaded you're needed for defence. If you can get through these conditions on your early game while keeping important objectives guarded you're guaranteed to be extremely powerful when you stop your farming phase. Every enemy will fear you, carries run from your focus fire and you will flat out win almost all 1v1 fights. I feel the sweet spot to stop farming Q is at around 200 bonus damage and a 1-2 level advantage. This is the Dreadknight playstyle.
R>Q>W>E. Taking one level of E at level four (or a bit later if you estimate the extra slow will be of more use than the Armor Reduction). Reasoning behind this skill order is that a low cooldown on Q means you can farm it more, farming Q early is key. Nasus solo top prioritising E is a bad choice, you have no time to make up for lost Q farm and you push hard. Only go top when you're the best candidate or when you're absolutely sure you can handle top and maintain steady Q farm (leveling E a little more can be beneficial in such a situation).
I strongly suggest 0/9/21 taking cooldown, buff duration, mana regen, -dead timer, flat armor/health and increased movement speed. While taking the upgrades to summoner spells. Masteries have a rather small impact on the game so in the end it does boil down to preference. Cooldown is amazing on Nasus, offensive tree is near worthless in general and I feel the benefit of +48 health and 5% reduced damage taken does not outweigh the benefits of the utility tree.
Armor pen reds and quints, mp/5 seals, CDR/level glyphs. 25 Armor penetration makes all the difference against carries, who are my prime target. The mp/5 is needed to maintain farm, with the larger mana pool from Sheen I don't run out. CDR/level boosts my end game damage and allows me to hit the cap more easily (Ghostblade, masteries and blue pot).
*No build is set in stone and personal preference is never bad as long as a player is open minded enough
to try out something different before judging. I will list my suggestion/preference.
Core: Dorans shield > Mana Crystal/boots1 > Sheen/Merc threads.
I start with a dorans shield because of the extra armor/life and regeneration. I don't run defensive quints so it helps my lanestaying out by a little while it's also terribly effective gold wise. Rushing an item instead might work for some people but I feel Nasus does not rely on any part of his stats multiplying like DPS champs that benefit greatly their damage items multiplying their effectiveness. Most experienced Nasus players I have read anything from vouch for Sheen on Nasus, Sheen helps his nuke early which allows him to last hit more easily while it also gives him a larger mana pool. The added damage might not look like much on low levels but even against enemy champions Sheen just keeps proving itself valuable in my experience. Merc threads are the boots for Nasus, you need to get in there and you will encounter CC. Games where other boots provide more value are extremely rare. In some cases you might want to just buy Mercs or Sheen instead of getting both, both have their benefits.
From there on:
*Defensive items (Force of Nature, Guardian Angel, Banshees, Thornmail, Aegis, Sunfire Cape). These are just some options, getting defensive items is essentially just you itemizing against the enemy team, so there is no fixed way to go. I've noticed I tend to itemize against physical damage a little less than magical damage for the reason that as soon as I'm in range of the DPS they're in my kill range as well, which means they're running like hell. Force of Nature is great, more MS, highest MR item. The extra life from Guardian Angel means a lot when the teamfights are 5 on 5, especially late game, Banshees again a good choice for dealing with CC heavy teams but I tend to get it late, Thornmail mostly a counter item to DPS heavy targets, Aegis is a never a bad choice but it doesn't build out of chainmail/negatron and it uses a slot. You should realise while itemizing for defensive items that chainmail/negatron are very cost effective and meaningful to your mid game, I tend to get these ASAP after finishing Sheen and Mercs, if they're AD heavy I might just get two because I know I'll finish them later.
*Offensive items: Trinity Force, Ghostblade, Frozen Mallet, Vamp Scepter. I rarely get more than one offensive item, when I get one I get it because I'm doing well. I doubt you'll be crying for more damage once you get Ghostblade. I'm not a fan of Trinity since finishing it is about the same price as buying a Ghostblade. Ghostblade gives huge CDR and Armor Pen, which brings your damage to the WTF realm (if you're ahead in gold/exp), then you get a MS and AS active. CDR is key on Nasus since nearly all the damage you're doing comes from your Siphoning Strike (for extra damage in stretched out fights use that Q resets the auto attack timer). Frozen Mallet is good if you're getting juked too much but all in all it sets back my build just a little too much to get it early. Vamp scepter is another item I tend to get late if teamights are lasting long, eventually I'll finish it into a lifesteal item of choice.
Following these guidelines I have had great succes as Nasus, I hope you guys liked the guide. I welcome critique/discussion but I ignore flamers. Might add some more in depth parts about laning if wanted.