Scaling champions can be a pain to deal with, especially when things are getting heated between clashes and turret takedowns. Champions like Sion, Veigar, Senna, Thresh, and Nasus could, theoretically, scale infinitely. What this means is, they technically don’t have limits, and therefore get stronger as the game drags on.
While this is true for every champion because of itemization, these champions continue to grow even when all items are locked in.
Nasus in particular can be tough to deal with. Siphoning Strike gets stronger with every creature slain with it, and when you factor in the low cooldown and the bonus lifesteal he gets from Soul Eater alone, he can be very dangerous to deal with.
In fact, it isn’t uncommon for a Nasus to go toe-to-toe with multiple champions at once when he’s fed enough. With such a troublesome champion, surely there must be some way to deal with him, right? Of course there is. Today, let’s take a look at the ways you can effectively stop Nasus from stacking, as well as what you can do once he does manage to get some stacks in.
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Choose Champions Who Can Poke and Go All-In
While poke champions who can reliably sustain and poke during the laning phase are always good, sometimes it simply isn’t enough. Remember when we said that Nasus has lifesteal with Soul Eater by default?
It’s a lot peskier in the late game once he really gets stacks, but it can be annoying to deal with in the early game if you choose a champion who plays a bit more passive. Ideally, you want to prevent him from getting stacks. You can do this by harassing him with pokes.
Even if he does hang back behind his minion wave, you know when he will come within range by looking at your own minion wave. If you see your minion about to die, chances are, he’s going to go for the last hit.
This is a good opportunity for you to use whatever you have up your sleeve to get a few shots in. Either he retaliates and misses the kill, or he takes the minion and loses health. Either way, it should be better than Nasus just passively taking stacks.
Illaoi is a good example of a champion who can give Nasus a very hard time. For others who are susceptible to getting hit by Wither, consider Phase Rush as a soft counter. You’d be surprised how effectively this works for escaping. Once it’s on cooldown, take it as an opportunity to last hit or harass him without worry.
Champions who can burst him down would be more ideal instead of sustained poking, as he will try to avoid you more often for fear of dying. Which leads us to our next point…
Zoning and Controlling the Minion Waves
Another way to prevent him from last hitting with his Siphoning Strike is by making sure he avoids creeps altogether. A lot of this has to do with a combination of brush control, early-game psychology, and how well you can trade. Sometimes, Nasus will try to reset the wave with Spirit Fire, so you should always look for opportunities to take advantage of whatever situation you’re in.
Dealing constant damage to him during the early game will often make Nasus more conservative. This means he will hide behind his minion wave and only come closer to last hit. Take this as an opportunity to zone in the brush.
1 out of 2 things will happen if you do this. Either he wards that brush, thereby wasting what could have been a ward in the river, or he simply plays even more conservatively and causes himself to lose some precios minion kills. If he just goes in, then take it as an opportunity to harass him even more. Ranged champions can do this especially well, such as Quinn or Lucian, as they could safely poke him then just dash away if Nasus tries to go for the Wither and Siphoning Strike poke.
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Sometimes, “winning in lane” just means trying not to die as much and hindering Nasus as much as you can. If all is ideal, it may give enough time for your other scaling allies to create a gap big enough for your team to shut him down. Let’s take Dr. Mundo for example.
During the late game, it’s very difficult for Dr. Mundo to take on Nasus 1 on 1. During the laning phase, however, he can simply outsustain him. Dr. Mundo has excellent regeneration, no mana, he can avoid CC, and slow down Nasus.
Sometimes, out-sustaining is the best option. When Nasus goes back to the fountain to recover from your cleavers, you could shift the lane in whatever direction suits your needs. It doesn’t hurt that champions like Dr. Mundo could basically infinitely slow him down once he gets close enough to spam it in melee range.
At all stages of the game, Nasus is very susceptible to kiting. He has no real gap closer, instead relying on things like Wither, Flash, or movement speed items to get to his opponents. You could use that to your advantage.
Not too many top lane champions themselves have reliable built-in kiting mechanisms, and this would hardly work on champions within melee range, but a combination of stuns, slows, and other skills that may help out with it could work. It’s a lot easier when using a ranged champion. Really, for this section, it’s mostly up to the ranged, squishy targets Nasus tends to go for.
Coordinate Ganks with Your Jungler
Nasus isn’t particularly good at escaping, especially in the early game. Because of this, he is susceptible to ganks, especially from mobile champions like Rammus or champions that can help lock or burst him down like Elise and Diana.
It helps a lot if you have some form of stun or slow. A good gank goes a long way, as those early Nasus kills might give you enough of an advantage to harass him on your own and prevent those stacks with the sheer level and item advantage. Just make sure you don’t stretch the game long enough for him to bounce back.
Assuming Nasus gets to the point where he’s fed with multiple stacks, you won’t really have a choice but to coordinate with your team, and we all know that’s easier said than done. CC really is the key here, and having late game monsters like Vayne, Jinx, or Veigar also helps a lot.
What Can You Do When He’s Fed?
We already mentioned kiting, and it’s one of the ways you could still hinder him in the late game. Sure, he will be beefier and have the damage to match it, but it’s better than nothing. Still, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure coordinated attacks will bring him down.
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Grievous Wounds and Damage Modifiers
Items that deal damage instead of a flat amount will do wonders, especially if Nasus uses his ultimate skill Fury of the Sands. Alternatively, you could just wait for him to burn through it, if you feel it’s better. After all, this is where he is at his scariest.
Lower cooldowns on Siphoning Strike, increased health and resistance, and most importantly… increased range. Still, a good Nasus will know when to activate it, so things like Giant Slayer will help a lot.
Items and effects that cause the grievous wounds status also help a lot, as it hinders the lifesteal he gets from Siphoning Strike. Sure, the damage will still be there, but he won’t be able to completely rely on it for sustainability.
Without his ultimate, he’d be a relatively easy target. Baiting and waiting out his ultimate is also a good strategy. This ensures he won’t be able to use it during a full team clash. Guerilla hit-and-run tactics are advised.
Nasus is a late-game monster, but only if he gets enough stacks. He’s basically incentivized to stay in lane instead of roam, so that gives your team the opportunity to abuse that and coordinate attacks across the map. If you shut him down early, other champions can deal with him in the late game. Ideally, you don’t want it to reach the late game, so early game champions could also be a viable, albeit more risky strategy.
So the next time you hop on Summoner’s Rift and see Nasus, keep your cool and remember these tips. Remember to choose a champion you’re comfortable with. We hope these tips will help you out during your future encounters with Nasus!