Desert Stormin' with Nasus By SkarFaith

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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.

669days since
Season One launched

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