Nasus - out for Blood - by Jonas Sterling

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Howdy folks, this here's my first offical guide on a very selective hero. He's not played often, and I frankly think it's because a lot of people don't understand his absolute potential due to his item build being anything but orthodox, and he kind of has a strange play feel. However, I'm here to try to help but explaining, in detail, the choices I make and the items I pick here in this guide, on Nasus, the Curator of the Sands.

(I warn you, this guide will take some reading.)
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Strengths/Weaknesses

Nasus is, by definition, a Mixture of Support, Assassin, and Tank. Which is strange, no? Being three of the primary classes can be a little tenious and confusing. However, this guide will show you step-by-step how to make him into a serious Threat in game; enough to make every fed Ashe and sneaky Shaco absolutely terrifyed of you. 

His primary strength comes from the combination of his Passive and Siphoning Strike. He gains 10/15/20% lifesteal passively, and Siphoning Strike bumps his damage for spikes of health gain, and substantial damage on an unfortunate target. But that's not the underlying strength of the combo. Siphoning Strike just gets better and better as the game goes on, which means you'll slowly be gaining more and more health from it (and dealing more damage, see how that works out?). 

He's also a very good chase, but only if built correctly. Every opportunity to chase comes from middle-game, and the first few ranks of Wither are pretty useless. Everyone I see builds Nasus SS and Spirit Fire, but leaves Wither out of the build until 13. Which is annoying, considering it's potential. Wither, followed by a Spirit Fire in the direction of the runner's location can spill disaster for whomever poor soul you just caught laning alone. And that's the glorious part, they don't -have- to be alone. Fury of the Sands makes Nasus considerably harder to kill, and deal even MORE damage to those heroes sitting on your Spirit Fire.

However, Nasus has two major flaws that make him a very easy target against certain heroes. His main strength in combat lies in his ability to gain health through his pretty crazy lifesteal. Anything that keeps him from hitting a target, such as a blind, a hold, or a stun, can cripple him. That 3.5 seconds of Morgana's hold is 3.5 seconds that you're not gaining health, (And trust me, in middle/end-game, Nasus can gain his entire health back in seconds on creeps/heroes.) I've also noticed a common misconception of Nasus' everywhere. They build him to be a Tank, or be Support, or even a Mage I've seen. Nasus, simply put, doesn't fit any of these classes. Building AP is just stupid, as it doesn't scale well with Spirit Fire or Fury of the Sands, building him with Aura after Aura item just ruins his potential, and what he does naturally as a hero. Building him as a Tank? I guess he could be an off-tank if need-be, but he has absolutely no defensive abilities, so his job as a tank is completly item-carried, and that makes his potential again wasted.

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

(You do NOT want to max Spirit Fire until end game, it opens up caster creeps for last hits with Siphoning Strike at ranks 1-3. At 4 it makes them weak enough to get last hit by your own caster creeps, and at 5 it kills them.)

Opening/Early Game
Mastery: 21/0/9 (Imp. Smite, Imp. Teleport)
Spells: Smite/Teleport

Open up the game with Siphoning Strike, and by buying a Sapphire Crystal, Health Potion, and Mana Potion. This will use up all of your gold perfectly. If you feel you're good with gaining health back early game through his lifesteal and you have Greed, go ahead and wait out for another Mana Potion instead of a Health Potion. But I advise against this, as some good range will put pressure on Nasus, and a bad start could mean an early teleport, and you shouldn't teleport early. Ever.

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You should be able to solo, so if offered take it. in the even of soloing against two ranged, I advise a lane-change to the enemy solo's lane, even if it delays early-game a minute or so. 

From the begining, last hitting with SS is absolutely essential to a good mid and late game. If you get 50 creep kills, all with a SS by level 6, that's 100 extra damage a Siphoning Strike, and Sheen'd that's a pretty nasty amount of damage.

As soon as you get 900g, blue pill. and buy an Amplyfing Tome and a Vampiric Scepter, along with a mana and a health potion. It's crucial you buff that lifesteal asap, and it should be at 22% only to climb to 27% in a few levels from his passive upgrading.

Next Blue Pill should be at 1500 gold, and you should buy Boots of Speed, Emblem of Valour, anotherVampiric Scepter, and Sheen. This is when you can start ganking effeciantly, and here's a small example of just how to do that in early game.

Open with a Wither, and smack him WITHOUT SS up. Keep auto-attacking him, but three seconds after the WIther hit SS, and Sheen will proc again. Now, Spirit Fire what's ahead of you and blow your ultimate if you feel you have to. The only melee hero that can stand up to this kind of abuse and actually beat your 44% lifesteal is Jax, because of his dodge chance. Every other hero, even Katarina in her ultimate, can't stand up to the damage and life-gain you have at this point.

Mid/Late-Game

At this point, you can solo Dragon. Just Spirit Fire/Siphoning Strike spam, and Smite it so you get out of there as fast as possible to get more farming done. I highly advise soloing at LEAST Ancient Golem every time the buff goes down so you never have to leave lane; Note, that this stradegy makes a Chalice absolutely worthless.

Gank often. And try to push towers hard. (Siphoning Striking a Tower can be nasty, usualyl deal > 1/10th it's health). Keep SS'ing last hits, and I notice a lot of players NOT doing this in mid-game and end game. It severely cut's Nasus' damage output in the crucial last stages of the game, so keep it up! Yes not every creep kill you get has to be SS'd for a last hit, but the majority of them should be.

Your next item builds should be a Mercury's Treads, Stark's Fervor, and Bloodthirster. Also, inbetween there, get yourself another Vampiric Scepter, as ANOTHER Bloodthirster
should be on it's way.

Now, some people are asking some questions. "Two Bloodthirsters?! Bad build!" Absolutely not. Let me put this into perspective for you.

20% LS Passive, + 20% from Starks, + 15(25)% from BS, + 15(25)% from BS. That's 70(90)% Lifesteal.

60(100) Damage from both blood thirsters = 120(200) bonus damage. + Siphoning Strike (110) = 230(310) Bonus Damage. + Sheen = Hitting like a Truck, and gaining 90% of the damage back as health.

This is why his worst enemies are stunners and disablers. If he doesn't stop attacking, he never dies.

At this point in the game, your item build should be...
-Sheen
-Mercury's Treads
-Stark's Fervor
-Bloodthirster
-Bloodthirster
-?

That sixth item is entirely up to you. I truely advise an Infinity Edge, but in a fight versus tons of tanks,Last Whisper can improve your Damage considerably more, plus make you a better tower pusher. But don't think Attack Speed > Damage on Nasus for a second. Damage will always be better. Always.

Once you get your Second Bloodthirster, go tank Baron. You definately can, and make sure to keep Spirit Fire up at all times; it's armor reduction is just as good as it's damage over time effect.

At the point of attaining an Infinty Edge, the game is most likely over, and your team should be able to push Nexus with your presence there, Destroying everything in your path. Fury of the Sands is absolutely terrifying in a group-gank, and can literally deal 10-20 thousand damage per usage if used correctly.

Well, that's my guide on Nasus being a Bloodthirsting Monster! I hope this helps every aspiring Nasus attain something with the hero that they never had before.

(A Warning: This guide works, as personal experience and a certain Administrator showed me during a game I had against him shows. Do not come posting in here this Guide sucks because you can't pull it off. It's definately a challenging build, but taking the time to learn it is easily the best thing you'll do in your Career as Nasus. I give you my word.)

I think I'll write a Mundo guide next, Mmm Mundo.


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