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Tanky Nasus Build, could use some input

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Senior Member


Well, I've decided recently to try building Nasus as more of a tank than a DPS'er. With the farming insanity of Spirit Fire, I've found that expensive tank items come very easily to me, as opposed to if I was playing Alistar, Rammus, etc. etc. Dropping Spirit Fire basically means I get 6 last hits from a minion wave.

I did pretty well doing this last night:

0/9/21 Mastery

Regrowth Pendant -> Warmog's
Boots of Swiftness
Sunfire Cape x2
Guardian Angel.


Leveling priority was Ult -> Spirit Fire -> Siphoning Strike -> Wither

I found that I could take continued focus fire from the enemy team very easily after ghosting in with Fury of the Sands. Dropping Rally on top of that basically meant I came out of the fight with as much health as I started with. On top of that, I did respectable damage with the Sunfire's + the tick from my ult + Spirit Fire/Siphoning Strikes. The farmability also made it easier to get Warmog's stacks up.

On top of that, I was an amazing deterrent to the other team attacking our towers. I could drop a Spirit Fire on where an incoming minion wave would be, and hit Fury and run in, and run the other team off very easily by myself.

Does anyone have any thoughts or opinions on how I could improve this, or something I could do better?

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Senior Member


I usually just take one level of spirit fire to weaken waves when the other team is auto-attacking pushing like crazy. Other than that, the goal is to last hit and kill runners who initiate poorly. So SS and Wither get leveled before the ult comes online.

Rally basically sucks unless you're using it to team dragon/baron earlier than usual. People just run away from your rally and come back when it's down to kill you.

Ghost is ok, but you really should be using wither to chase since it helps the whole team catch the target, not just you.

Nasus is not fast, teleport helps him defend lanes. Flash is all around awesome. Exhaust allows you to slow two targets at a time while ult is on therefore giving you more AD to deal damage with.

Spirit Visage gives 30% to his innate life steal and helps with ult and SS cool downs.

Unless you're solo, your lane partner will probably hate you for spirit firing every creep wave. They'll get no gold and the lane will be pushed right up to the enemy tower in no time.

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Senior Member



Ghost is ok, but you really should be using wither to chase since it helps the whole team catch the target, not just you.

Target is escaping, and is at roughly the same speed as your team and out of range.
You use ghost. Upon catching up, you use wither. Your team catches up and roflstomps his ass. Mission accomplished.

Ghost is also nice since it allows you to go where you please during teamfights to maximize the damage from your ultimate.

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I still play Nassus as my main, over 120 games with him now and a good win ratio. I have tried a lot of different builds thus far and so far my new favorite is a pure tank type build:

I start by getting:

Mana Manipulator

on first recall I get:

Giant's Belt > Boots > Elixir of Fort (if I can afford it)

Second recall:

Soul Shroud > Merc Treads > Elixir of Fort

Then I work on getting:

Frozen Heart
Stark's Fervor
Sunfire Cape
Banshee's Veil
and either a second Sunfire or Trinity Force

With this build you really do feel unstoppable. I was the only tank on my team and not only could they not kill me, but I would destroy them. I ended the game with 1 death 10 kills and tons of assists. It was the most 'tanky' I have ever felt on Nassus as far as ability to soak up damage and stay in the fight.

I also typically run with Elixir of Fort on me at all times and I always try to have the red golem buff on myself if possible. The CD reduction that you get from this build is amazing. Your ult is ALWAYS available, you can wither multiple times during a single chase, and can drop SF where you need it even when the fight moves multiple times.

I run Mana regen/lvl/5 in blue, Dodge runes in yellow, armor pen runes in Red,and static HP quints.

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Senior Member


you have almost no MR in your build. if the other team has more than 1 mage, i would get a chalice early (SF can be a mana-killer), and maybe turn your regrowth pendant into a FoN instead of a Warmogs. FoN gives you more speed, so you can more easily keep the enemy in range of your sunfires and ult, and i think its in general better to get MR/AR on a tank instead of straight HP.
that said, if the other team has a lot of phys dmg doers, then by all means, use your build.

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I have a little over 100 games with nasus. He's one of my favorites.
I used to buy a chalice, but after I bought mana regen per level runes (blues) I dont get chalice anymore.
However, after level 6 I start putting points into wither and once SF and wither get to 3-3 I alternate. A level 3 SF is enough to nearly kill a creep wave, which means easy pickings for your SS. Level SS last. I also get sheen first to make SS easier and so I hit harder throughout the game. The sheen also has some AP and can take out the back row with your lvl 3 SF. If I'm going full tank mode, the sheen is the only offensive item I get the whole game and I'd sell it for more tank gear or upgrade it to a triforce last if I run out of slots.
Mana crystal + 2 health pots > sheen
merc treads, unless the other team is very physical damage (rare)
The next item depends on the other team: physical = thornmail, AP = force of nature. In either case you end up with either 100 armor and 30 MR, or over 100 MR.
From there, stack more defense. In one game I went the distance and got Thornmail, FoN, Sunfire, and a Guardian angel. I could not die. I would also consider a banshees if the other team has a lot of cc so that you have a spell block and a cleanse.

Summor Skills: Cleanse is a must to keep you moving with your aoe ult in a teamfight and keep your lifesteal going. I used to get ghost. It was great for chasing people or running away. Now I go with teleport so that I can push/cover lanes like a beast.

Comments on OP:
As a tank, I would expect you to invest in the defensive tree. The utility tree has some regen and cd. I find that warmogs is overkill on nasus' health as people will still be taking huge chunks of your health without resist. You already get 300, 450, 600 extra health with your ult. Also, as a tank you should be taking a lot of shots so why not merc treads with reduced effects and some MR. As for sunfires, I believe those are situational and you have to compare 45 armor + over 400 hp + 40 MR aura vs 100 armor and %25 return to physical. While the aura is nice, I believe the armor is worth more than the health. As for guardians, always a good choice :P.

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Senior Member


I've got about 150 wins with Nasus. Based on my experience and watching a lot of livestreams, pretty much the standard high ELO tank Nasus build:

Early Aegis
Merc Treads
Banshees Veil
Sheen -> TriForce

Rarely goes past this. Sunfires synergize nice though.

Masteries and Summoner spells are highly variable. I like cleanse, ghost, rally, exhaust, heal, and TP. Pick based off personal preference and team composition. Armor Pen, dodge, mp5/lvl, flat hp quints.

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Senior Member


The key to building an effective tank Nasus is to be flexible in your build and adapt it to every game. The two things that should never change are Aegis and Merc Treads, but once you get those nothing is set in stone. Frozen Heart, Banshees Veil, Thornmail, Guardian Angel, and Sunfire Cape will all work is some setting. Sunfire and GA tend to be more lategame items though.

Two things you should keep in mind about playing Nasus. Firstly, you (the OP) are absolutely correct about maxing SF first. Nasus is godly lategame because he farms so well. Just make sure you don't lane with a carry who needs a lot of farm. Ideally, lane with a support champ or ganker who doesn't rely on creep kills to be effective, because you WILL take it all. Also be sure to keep an eye out for mia's because you will push your lane a lot and are easy to gank.

The second and more important point, is that Nasus is not an initiator. You shouldn't be using your ult to start teamfights. It's most effective when used after the other team has committed, since a smart team will back out if you use it before the battle begins. With that said, you should be at the front of your team, just let someone else (like annie, malphite, fiddle, alistar, or similar) make the first contact. If your team doesn't have anyone who can, force the other team to come to you. If you have good positioning you can let them initiate but still be fighting on your own terms.

Hope this helps. You can check out my guide for more tips.