Nasus is a melee Tank Champion from Shurima who is played in the Top-Lane, and sometimes the Jungle (This Guide is about Top-Lane Nasus).
He has the ability to gain unlimited amounts of power while being really tenacious in fights. He will take away your chances of escaping and finishes you off with his mighty axe, unless you read this guide on how to counter him.
As previously stated, Nasus is a tanky and tenacious character from Shurima but because of the huge amount of damage he can output, some also like to call him a Bruiser. He likes to Split-Push a lot, due to his weak Teamfight potential.
What makes Nasus so scary is his ability to Stack (theoretically) an infinite amount of damage by just simply farming Minions. This ability to gain huge loads of damage, paired with a great deal of Tankiness, makes every opponent fear him. Even though this combination of damage and Tankiness seems overwhelming and unbeatable at first sight, Nasus has some serious drawbacks you can take advantage of.
Nasus lacks Mobility and is really prone to get Kited, making ranged Top-Laners an excellent choice against Nasus. He is also pretty vulnerable to Ganks, especially in the Early Game.
The longer the game progresses, the stronger Nasus gets, making him an unbeatable opponent in the Late Game in a 1 v 1 for most Champions.
You should never try to enter a 1 v 1 with Nasus in the Late Game. With that being said, let’s take a closer look how you can counter Nasus.
Passive (Soul Eater)
Nasus’ passive grants him Lifesteal, giving him a natural sustain over the course of the whole game. It’s hard to poke Nasus down, since he will heal a lot of his HP through farming Minions.
To counter his high sustain, you need to either: pick a Champion, or buy an Item that inflicts “Grievous Wounds” on the enemy.
If Grievous Wounds is applied on an enemy, every Heal from every source is reduced by 40%/60%. As an example, a Champion that can apply Grievous Wounds is Kled.
The Items “Executioner’s Calling” (builds into “Mortal Reminder”) and “Bramble Vest” (builds into “Thornmail”) can apply Grievous Wounds and might be worth a buy against Nasus.
Q Ability (Siphoning Strike)
Nasus’ bread and butter spell is his Q. His next basic attack is empowered, resets his normal AutoAttack, and deals extra damage to the enemy.
What makes this ability so special is that the extra damage can scale infinitely. Whenever Nasus farms an enemy with this ability he gains 3-12 stacks, depending on the type of enemy he killed with his Q (3 for small Minions and Monsters, 12 for Cannon Minions, Big/Epic Monsters and Champions).
One stack equals one point of extra damage on his Q ability, meaning the more he farms with this ability, the more damage it deals.
You can’t really stop him from using the ability but you can predict his Movement.
Whenever he tries to farm a Minion you can poke him or pressure him away, so always keep an eye out on how low the health of your minions are.
W Ability (Wither)
Nasus casts a Wither on you, slowing your Movement Speed by a lot and reducing your Attack Speed for 5 seconds. It is a point-and-click ability, on a medium Range, with a medium Cooldown. Wither is one of the reasons why Nasus is so dangerous to fight against; he can cast it at a medium Range, without you having any chance of avoiding it.
It’s hard to fight back when Nasus gets his Wither ability on you, since it Slows you and reduces your Attack Speed. The slow makes Kiting him hard and the reduced Attack Speed makes it hard to damage him, making you an easy prey.
Luckily, there are multiple ways to counter a slow.
Most dashes don’t get affected by Movement Speed slows, making Champions with Dashes an excellent option. Also, Champions who can increase their own Movement Speed or “cleanse” the effect can counter this ability fairly easy.
The active-effect of the item “Quicksilver Sash” (builds into “Mercurial Scimitar”) can cleanse Wither as well. Also, the Rune “Phase Rush” in the Sorcery Tree might come in handy, since it boosts your Movement Speed and gives you a high Slow Resistance.
E Ability (Spirit Fire)
Nasus casts a magical circle for 5 seconds, dealing damage on impact and damage over time (when standing in the circle). The circle also decreases your current Armor, giving Nasus an overall advantage when fighting in the circle.
Never try to fight Nasus while you’re in his Spirit Fire, the damage over time and the decreased Armor gives you a clear disadvantage in a fight. Try to leave the circle as fast as possible.
Spirit Fire has a fairly high Mana price, so try to bait it out of Nasus (it will force him to lose Mana very quickly). Also keep in mind that the Damage over time effect of Spirit Fire can help Nasus to stack certain Runes faster (as an example “Conqueror” and “Grasp of the Undying).
R Ability (Fury of the Sands)
Nasus casts a sandstorm around him gaining extra Range and Health, as well as bonus Armor and Magic Resistance for the duration. The storm damages nearby enemies and simultaneously increases Nasus’ Armor and Magic Resistance per second, meaning the longer you fight him, the harder it gets to beat him. Fury of the Sands also decreases the cooldown of Siphoning Strike by 50% for the duration.
This is Nasus’ ultimate form. Try to avoid fighting him in this form at all costs; the additional Health, Armor and Magic Resistance makes him insanely tanky, while the reduced Cooldown on his Siphoning Strike makes him insanely deadly.
Also don’t underestimate the amount of Health he gains when casting Fury of the Sands, he can turn a fight pretty quickly, so don’t get baited by him being on low health.
Learn more about Nasus abilities here.
Top Counter Tips when playing against Nasus
Tip 1: Abuse Early Game
Nasus is a fairly weak Champion in the early game. He has to farm and stack his Siphoning Strike a lot before being viable.
Use this time that he is still weak to harass, pressure and engage him, as well as ask your jungler to gank early to get an advantage on him quickly. The more farm (= Siphoning Strike stacks) you deny him, the longer he will stay weak.
Tip 2: Use his habits against him
Most Nasus players have the same habits, like greeding for a Cannon Minion or Split-Pushing or trying to 1 v 5 all the time.
Punish Nasus for walking up too far to get a Cannon Minion, get kills on him with your team when he Split-Pushes, and so on.
Tip 3: Do not push the Lane
Nasus can farm easily under the turret (due to his Q), giving him Stacks easily, while being in a safe spot from which he could even follow up on a gank on you. Try to keep the Minion Wave in the middle of the Lane or near your Tower.
Top Counter Champions to pick against Nasus
Everyone knows him, everyone hates him. Teemo is a good answer to play against Nasus; you have a lot of Movement Speed through your W, you have good Utility and damage through your Q and R, but most importantly you’re a Ranged Champion.
Poke him as much as you can, pressure him away from the Minions, and deny him as many Minions and Siphoning Strike stacks as possible.
Remember, do all of this in the early game (Tip: Use your Q to blind Nasus when he tries to Q a Cannon Minion). You need to get a lead on Teemo in the early game against Nasus, because later on you stand no chance against him. Still, Teemo is a solid answer against Nasus.
Darius is another excellent pick against Nasus. He is a oppressive Early/Mid-game Champion that can make Nasus’ early game a pain to play. Darius brings an awesome Tank-Shred Kit with him, which you can easily force Nasus to kneel to. Unlike Teemo, Darius isn’t a ranged Champion but can still apply a lot of pressure.
Punish Nasus for every step he takes, every Minion he tries to get. In comparison to Teemo, you can easily All-In Nasus as Darius when he walks up too far.
Just like Teemo, Gnar is a ranged Champion and brings an awesome Kit to play against Nasus. You Slow Nasus with your Q, and you get tons of Movement Speed through your W passive. This, combined with your Dash on your E, makes you as slippery as an eel. You can kite Nasus to death without him getting even CLOSE to you. As a Bonus, your W deals %-Damage, making you an awesome Tank-Shredder.
Early Laning Vs. Nasus
Summoners to use against Nasus
Flash: Still the most important Summoner Spell on almost every Champion; can function as a Gap Closer, or a way to safety. Has lots of different uses and should almost always be your main Summoner Spell.
Teleport: You need to get this one important Item, but you don’t want to lose too many Minions by going to base? You want to help out your Team, even when far away? If your answer to these questions is yes, then Teleport is the right Summoner Spell for you. Always useful and, like Flash, has lots of different uses.
Ignite: If you are confident that you can kill Nasus with your Champion, you should go for Ignite. It gives you a strong early advantage, giving your combo some extra damage that might lead to a kill. As a Bonus, Ignite also applies Grievous Wounds, which reduces Nasus’ Passive heal.
Since you want an early advantage, you should go for offensive starter items. Don’t go for “Dorans Shield”, since it doesn’t give you much value, because Nasus doesn’t really poke. The next step should be to build an item that applies Grievous Wounds, like Bramble Vest or Executioner’s Calling to reduce Nasus sustain from his Passive.
It’s important that you don’t push the lane. Nasus can easily farm under his Tower and is safe as well. Try to keep the Minion Wave in the middle or near your Tower. This way you can always pressure him away and/or can set up ganks for your Jungler.
Talking of pressuring, since Nasus’ is weak in early game you should try to deny him as many Minions as possible. This way he can’t stack his Q properly, making him significantly weaker.
Mid/Late-Game Vs. Nasus
Split-Pushing and Teamfighting
As previously stated, Nasus is a bad Teamfighter. As a trade-off, he is deadly as a Split-Pusher. Because of this, most Nasus Players will Split-Push most of the game. Try to counter this as soon as possible, since when left alone, he can 2-Shot Towers with his Q.
You have a few different ways of countering this.
You can either gather your team and stop him from Split-Pushing (always go with your Teammates, he can kill single Champions fairly easy), or you can force a teamfight in which the enemies have to fight 4 v 5, giving your team a clear advantage.
The longer the game, the stronger the Nasus. Always keep this in mind. If you have a chance to finish the game, you should finish the game. The more Nasus stacks, the more unstoppable he becomes. Don’t make it harder for yourself than it needs to be.
Keep track of his Stacks
Always left-click Nasus and check how many stacks he has. Also tell your Team about the amount of stacks he has and build your strategy of approaching him around his amount of stacks.
At around 300 Stacks, he becomes unbeatable for most Champions in 1v1.At around 600 Stacks, his Q hits like a Veigar Ultimate.
Don’t fight or defend him alone
As previously stated, Nasus becomes unbeatable for most Champions as soon as he has stacked up his Q. that’s why you should always fight or defend him with Teammates.
At a certain point in the game, he won’t care about Towers anymore, and he will just straight dive you, without you having any chance.
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