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Guide to Nasus - Thinking around the (sand)box

Snowdrake January 17, 2011 User blog:Snowdrake

Nasus, the Curator of the Sands

Either you are curious or you maybe think that Nasus is one of the weaker champions... doesn't matter, really. Nasus is a surprisingly good support-tank too many people underestimate him. Hell, I have had people queue-dodging because I selected him.

I will admit that it took me a while to get this nailed down and be successful, so I decided to share some of my thoughts and strategies in hope that others won't make the same mistakes I did.

Masteries

Things you always should get:

Ability Order

  1. Siphoning Strike.png Siphoning Strike
  2. Wither.png Wither
  3. Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire
  4. Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire
  5. Siphoning Strike.png Siphoning Strike
  6. Fury of the Sands.png Fury of the Sands
  7. Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire
  8. Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire
  9. Siphoning Strike.png Siphoning Strike
  10. Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire
  11. Fury of the Sands.png Fury of the Sands
  12. Siphoning Strike.png Siphoning Strike
  13. Siphoning Strike.png Siphoning Strike
  14. Wither.png Wither
  15. Wither.png Wither
  16. Fury of the Sands.png Fury of the Sands
  17. Wither.png Wither
  18. Wither.png Wither

Highest priority is Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire because it will enable you to defend your lane easily. At level 3 and 4 you will start to decimate entire creep waves with 1 well placed Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire, which allows you to keep your tower clear of minions. During this, it will be easy to hit 1 minion with a Siphoning Strike.png Siphoning Strike to charge up your attack slowly but steadily.

When you have enough items, you can start pushing minions towards the enemy tower via Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire. In my experience, enemies will try to keep outside of the area, no matter how poor the damage is - use that to your advantage. Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire will be used to cover your own minions while they start attacking the enemies tower. This will also prevent most enemy melee champions from last hitting. If you can keep this up long enough, it is an utterly humiliating experience to be outlaned for 5 minutes until minions kill your tower and you cannot do a thing to stop it.

Wither.png Wither is your escape mechanism. It will be your best skill when hunting champions later and when the laning phase ends. This is the last skill you will max, because even at level 1 it is potent enough.

As for items I had amazing success with an almost pure aura build.

Core Items

Build Order

  1. Mana Manipulator item.png Mana Manipulator
  2. Boots of Speed item.png Boots of Speed
  3. Emblem of Valor item.png Emblem of Valor
  4. Soul Shroud item.png Soul Shroud
    1. If you get pushed hard - Aegis of the Legion item.png Aegis of the Legion
    2. If you control the lane - Mercury's Treads item.png Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi item.png Ninja Tabi
  5. Get the other item you didnt buy in step 4
  6. Stark's Fervor item.png Stark's Fervor
  7. Frozen Heart item.png Frozen Heart
    1. If you survive easily - Trinity Force item.png Trinity Force
    2. If you get focused often - Force of Nature item.png Force of Nature

If you go with the Force of Nature item.png Force of Nature, your resists should be around 200+ Armor and 190+ Magic Resist, not too shabby.

Let us look at the aura bonus you provide...

Buff
  • 30 Health Regen per 5
  • 12 Mana per 5 seconds
  • + 12 Armor
  • + 15 Magic Resist
  • + 8 Attack Damage
  • 20% Life Steal
  • 20% Attack Speed
  • 15% reduced cooldown
Debuff
  • - 20 Armor
  • - 20% Attack Speed

Damn that's good. Team fights will have never been so one-sided after you finish all your items, trust me. I have managed to complete the whole set 2 times already and it is absolutely hilarious. Nasus does surprisingly well with this build because he only continues to get stronger as the game drags on and is not too fixed on certain items to be successful. He will be a reasonable off-tank, he will ensure that at least 1 enemy will not be able to flee and he will disable carries by gimping their damage output very nicely. All this will make Nasus a superior teamfighter. They don't really want to focus you, but because of the huge amount of buffs you provide, they cannot ignore you. You kill tanks, you nuke squishies, you disable DPS, you hunt nukers. Would you like some fries with that?

The mistake I before was relying on his Siphoning Strike.png Siphoning Strike too much. It is a nice skill and it hits pretty hard, but you really need no extra items to push it (except for a Trinity Force item.png Trinity Force maybe, which is awesomesauce) Other Nasus players who go for Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire harassment usually go AP, which is a complete waste in my opinion. At level 4 you start wiping creeps without extra AP and enemy champs will always flee from it. Your Fury of the Sands.png Fury of the Sands will hit very hard, but you will lack the survivability to stay close enough for my taste.

After you finish the Soul Shroud item.png Soul Shroud, you can basically nuke creep waves all day long and defend your lane even against 2 enemies. This maybe THE most important part of the whole build. If you get this down (and it is damn easy to learn), this is what will help you win the game in the end. What you will do is stay back, run in, Spirit Fire.png Spirit Fire across all creeps, run away again. Repeat ad nauseaum. Once you finish the Aegis of the Legion item.png Aegis of the Legion, your minions are also able to reasonably hurt enemies. Never underestimate their support.

The worst thing that can happen during this phase is if you solo a sidelane and you are facing 2 champions who can towerdive easily. You will survive this because of Wither.png Wither and the health boost from Fury of the Sands.png Fury of the Sands. If you do it right, your tower will never have to shoot at enemy creeps for more than 1 or 2 seconds and they will be scared to engage you at the tower. When they believe they cannot engage you, you win. When 1 guy leaves the lane to gank, you start pushing immediately to force him back to your lane and start hugging the tower again.

It's a dirty tactic but hey, it will be YOUR dirty tactic.

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