[Guide] Nasus, Curator of the Sands

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roninsm

Senior Member

02-17-2010

Well, here is my Nasus guide. It's quite long, so TL;DR is in bold.




Introduction

Nasus is a unique champion in LoL in that he is capable of fitting into a variety of roles very well. He can tank, he can DPS, and he is a superb pusher. He is also one of the game's best farmers, which allows you to purchase equipment that is far more expensive than that of your opponents, and if you play him correctly, you will completely dominate the later stages of the game. So, without further ado:

Abilities: (copied from Xetian, who copied from Targhan)

Q: Siphoning Strike

Your next attack deals an extra 30 damage. If this kills an enemy, Siphoning Strike's damage is permanently increased by 2.
High ranks cost more mana and include more base damage.

W: Wither

Slows the target's movement and attack speed by 30% and another 3% every second for the next 5 seconds.
Higher ranks increase the snare amount but not the mana cost

E: Spirit Fire

Deals damage every second for five seconds to all enemies in the Spirit Fire's location, and reduces their armor.
Higher ranks cost more mana, deal more damage, and reduce more armor

R: Fury of the Sands

Increases Nasus' health and attack speed for 15 seconds. For the duration, each second he also drains 3% of each nearby enemy's total health and converts it to additional attack damage.
Higher ranks increase the health and attack speed gains, and the drain life amount.


Skill Order:

  1. Spirit Fire (SF)
  2. Siphoning Strike (SS)
  3. SF
  4. Wither
  5. SF
Here, it branches. If you are controlling your lane more or less well, and not in much danger of dying, skip your ultimate and continue to max SF > Wither > SS until LVL 10, then take two levels of your ultimate in a row. If survivability is an issue, take ulti at lvl6, and continue to max Ultimate > SF > Wither > SS.

If you skipped ultimate at level 6, you will sometimes find that you need it around lvl8-9 when people stop laning and begin to gank and push. If this is the case, take it there.


Summoner Spells:

I like to run Teleport and Exhaust. Teleport could be switched out in favor of Flash or possibly Rally, but exhaust is an absolute must have, and the added mobility granted by teleport is extremely useful for Nasus throughout the entire game.


Masteries:
9/0/21

Some people advocate 21/0/9, but Nasus will deal enormous damage without needing the small boosts from masteries, and the extra mana regen early and the CD reduction on your summoner spells are invaluable.

Needless to say, improve exhaust, as well as flash or teleport if you took one of those.


Core Items:

Nasus is fairly item independent, and although your item build can (and should) vary slightly from game to game, there are 3 items that you will always take.
  1. Chalice (start with a meki pendant and 2 mana pots, upgrade ASAP)
  2. Aegis of the Legion
  3. Sheen
Chalice is needed to allow you to spam SF on almost every creep wave while still maintaining enough mana to last hit with SS and ult/wither in an emergency.
Aegis is an item that will help the entire team while giving you the extra toughness you need to last in team fights.
Sheen is a no-brainer. You will be spamming spells the entire game, and combining this with SS will take towers down in a hurry.

Generally take in this order: Chalice -> Boots -> Aegis -> Sheen

The next question is what boots to use. The same applies to Nasus as to every other champion. Heavy CC/caster team, Mercury Treads. Otherwise, Ninja Tabi.

There are some circumstances/team compositions where Boots of Mobility could come in handy. I do take them occasionally, but it is rare. You'll have to use your own judgment to get a feel for when they are needed.


Other Items:

Here is where it varies a lot. To really play Nasus well, you will have to learn what items to take when depending on the game. I'll lay out some of the more common items, but do not stick to this section as a hard and fast rule. Being able to change it up as needed is critical.
  1. Finish Trinity Force. Generally only in games where you are doing very well.
  2. Thornmail Buy this if you are getting focused by DPS champions.
  3. Banshee's Veil Never a bad buy. A very good buy against caster/CC heavy teams (currently against almost any team with Ryze).
  4. Any Aura Item. If your team needs it, you should buy it.
  5. Guardian Angel Very good in long games.

Items to stay away from:
  1. Any AP item
  2. Infinity Edge If you really need the damage, Bloodthirster is better.
  3. Heart of Gold, Philosopher's Stone, Lucky Pick, Avarice Blade You can feed 3-4x in lane and still outfarm everyone. These are an absolute waste of time and money.
  4. Madred's Razors. SF + SS is good enough for jungling. This is a waste of money.
  5. Frozen Mallet. If you bought a Phage, finish Tri-Force over a Mallet. You should already have Sheen.


Runes:

There is some flexibility here. In general, anything that increases Armor, HP, or Magic Resistance is good. Cooldown Reduction is also very helpful, since you won't be getting any from items usually. Stay away from AP and Mana/Mana Regen. You won't be needing these.


The Laning Phase:

Take a dual lane, and focus on farming with SF. Last hit with SS whenever possible. Anything over 1 SS last hit per minute is pretty good. If you are near 2 you are absolutely on fire. How many you can get will depend a lot on your lane opponents, so don't worry if you can't get many. As long as you are farming fast, SS hits are secondary.

Be aware that Wither will drain your mana very fast. Use it only to save yourself or an ally, or to secure a kill. Don't use it if you have exhaust to use first. Do not be over aggressive in harassing/going for kills early. Nasus is fairly squishy in the early levels, and your mana should be spent farming, not harassing. SF will turn out to be a decent harassing tool even if you just place them to get creeps. You'll still hit a melee champ quite often.

Jungling is not very practical until you get your ult or get an Aegis, so don't worry about it too much. If you did take Ulti at lvl6, it is well worth it to use your ult on Golem to get the buff, since the CD reduction will get it back in a hurry. If you have golem, you can also use it to solo Dragon very early.

Nasus' ult makes him almost unkillable in a 1v1. Be aware of that and you can occasionally bait someone to their deaths.

Important: AOE spells will make turrets attack you if they hit a champion. Be very careful using SF and your ultimate near a tower.


Pushing/Ganking Phase:

Here is where Nasus begins to shine. You should be around lvl9-11 and have at least an Aegis + Boots. Push lanes hard whenever possible. Hit the turret a couple of times with SS, and back out if you have to. Doing this 2-3 times will take out a turret almost every time. Getting all three outer towers should not be a problem.

Keep control of the Golem and Lizard Buffs!! You don't have to be the one taking them, but make it your responsibility to get Lizard for your carry and golem for a caster (or yourself) whenever they are up. Also take dragon whenever possible.

Team fights will be covered in the section on using your ultimate properly. The one thing to mention here is that you should be in every single one.

Continue to farm! Last hit with SS whenever possible as before. It's easy to drop a SF on a creep wave as you run by, and that's all it takes to get at least 3-4 creeps.


Late Game:


Not much changes from midgame. Continue to push with your team. Continue to control the jungle and dragon. Make sure someone wards Baron Nashor as soon as the carries get to around lvl16 (earlier in some games).

In team fights, make sure you are using Wither on the other teams primary DPS, and SS on some important squishy enemy. You should be very difficult to kill by this point, and may get focused a lot, so be cautious when engaging so you do not end up out of position.


PROPER USE OF THE FURY OF THE SANDS (AKA, Team Fights 101)

This entire section can be summed up in one sentence. Nasus is NOT an initiator!

This is the single most common mistake Nasus players make. You do not have any skills capable of initiating a teamfight, so don't try. A good team will make you pay for doing so. If you blow your ultimate and try to run in, they will just back away, and you wasted one of the best spells in the game. Allow someone else to initiate, and once the battle has started hit "R".

Be aware that good teams will try to lock you down with stuns before you can use it, so it becomes a timing game to use it not too early but not too late. Once you have used it, drop SF on top of the fight, Wither the carry, SS the carry, and autoattack the carry. If you force the other team to attack you, you have already done your job.

Communicate with your team! Your team should try to avoid engagements if your ultimate is on CD, so let them know. Just always remember, do not intiate. Remember that, and you will turn the tide of games by just standing in the middle of a fight.





My apologies for the length. Please give feedback. I will try to update the guide as needed.


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IceDive

Senior Member

02-18-2010

Personally, I go with manaregen runes, and just start of with Ruby rushing Aegis. I don't have too much mana problems, even though I never get any mana regen items. Also I do get some points in def masteries, 60 HP is a lot early game...

Apart from that I like the guide, and feel that this is a very good way to play Nasus


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roninsm

Senior Member

02-18-2010

I feel like the CDR runes are more valuable than mana regen since having your ultimate up as often as possible is critical late game. Another alternative is to play on a team that will get you golem early, eliminating the need for chalice, but it's not viable if you are solo-queuing.


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Xetian

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Member

02-18-2010

In defense of my unpopular love of IE : 20% crit and 250% crits on top of higher damage if you are focused in team fights from blood thirster. SS builds so high that IE is just icing on the cake. Also, you might want to invest in Frozen Heart instead of thornmail/ninja boots, as merc treads are necessary in any game with a single disable because Nassus has to 1. get off withers when it's important and 2. Spend as little time as possible stunned, blinded, or jerking off feared in a crowstorm.


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roninsm

Senior Member

02-18-2010

I agree that merc treads are almost always the best. I merely mentioned the others as options because there are times when they can be better.

I can't say I see the benefit of an IE over a bloodthirster though. Nasus' main damage output comes from sheen procs, not huge crits, so the extra crit chance/damage isn't that beneficial. 25% lifesteal and the extra 20 damage that BT offers over IE can be quite significant though. 25% lifesteal on a 500 damage sheen proc is 125 HP instantly regenerated.

I overlooked Frozen Heart when I was writing up the items section. Definitely a very good item on Nasus in a lot of situations. Thanks for the reminder.


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YYZed

Member

02-18-2010

One of my main concerns about your guide is that you fail to even mention ghost+cleanse.

Nasus on steriods is ult+ghost, cleanse is in there for some added steroids.

Your build looks solid, but i'm kinda weird and actually prefer 0/9/21 for the mastery that gives HP regen for 0.3% of your mana (it helps staying power on most champions more than people like to admit.)
I also usually get Chalice+Sheen+Aegis then build something like warmongs or bloodthirster before going back to trinity force. (just my opinion)

But none the less, still a solid guide.


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Mazer

Junior Member

02-18-2010

Pretty much the same set up for me with quite a bit of success except that I don't get aegis until a bit later (if at all). I've been doing meki, boots, sheen and then complete chalice and treads/tabi. Finish triforce after that (usually piece zeal and phage together on separate returns unless I get some kills), and then starks/frozen heart/aegis depending on whats needed, the first two are guaranteed in longer games pretty much. I suppose if we do go for early 5 man then aegis would fit into the equation a bit better.

I prefer taking frozen heart over a damage item (like IE or Bloodthirster) for the cooldown reduction

I find him really easy to play compared to most other melee champs.


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Xetian

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Member

02-19-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by roninsm View Post
I agree that merc treads are almost always the best. I merely mentioned the others as options because there are times when they can be better.

I can't say I see the benefit of an IE over a bloodthirster though. Nasus' main damage output comes from sheen procs, not huge crits, so the extra crit chance/damage isn't that beneficial. 25% lifesteal and the extra 20 damage that BT offers over IE can be quite significant though. 25% lifesteal on a 500 damage sheen proc is 125 HP instantly regenerated.

I overlooked Frozen Heart when I was writing up the items section. Definitely a very good item on Nasus in a lot of situations. Thanks for the reminder.
The bloodthirster only gives raw damage (20 more if you stack it) and sheen procs are NOT most of his big hits. Unless you build a lot of attack speed, about 1/3 or 1/4 hits will be a SS. That will also happen to be most of your sheen procs. At level 18 Nassus has 108 base AD, so adding 100 damage to that isn't as effective imo as giving him 20% more chance to crit to prop up big stacks on SS already. Also, tri-force is so godawful expensive that I stopped building it till LATE game because it makes a 200 melee a 250 melee (it only adds 50 damage on procced hits) but costs a LOT of money. Enough to just make a sunfire cape or two...


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ctidesm

Senior Member

02-26-2010

Good guide, went 9-1 with this build though I'm wonder if sheen is still worth it after the nerf; might replace with super fast inf edge.


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BamSucka

Senior Member

03-05-2010

you forgot one of the most important aspects of Nasus. If you net a kill with Spirit Fire, you must type out "SpiirritttOOO FIIIRE" in public chat.

Cho can't have all the fun with "NOMNOMNOM!"


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