Hi everyone. I've been around since open beta and I am mostly known for playing Nasus, writing a Nasus guide, making some Nasus videos, etc. If you are a Nasus fanatic you might know of me or have at least seen me posting in Nasus threads, otherwise you may not. Either way, know that I have a lot of experience with the champion and I like to help others realize his potential. It's been almost 2 years since my last huge Nasus thread, and he's still in a pretty rough spot, so I figured it may be time for another.
In the past couple weeks I've seen a sudden resurgence in Nasus threads in GD. Most of them are QQing about how Nasus needs buffs to keep up with other bruisers. The consensus seems to be that he is just fine in lower elo because no one knows how to shut him down. I'd say above 1400ish elo, however, he is pretty easily abused by just about any player using almost any champion. One side of the fence will say "working as intended" - he gets strong late, he should be weak early. The other side of the fence says he's too weak early and gets shut down so he is almost never able to achieve late game dominance. There is some merit to both sides here, obviously.
It's also obviously quite difficult to balance a champion with a spell that has infinitely scaling damage. If he is a beast in lane, he will farm Q easily and become OP lategame, every game. Last year when all the Nasus attention started building, there was talk of capping his Q so that he could get more significant buffs/changes to improve his kit in other ways. The outcry from the community over capping the Q was so strong that I think the idea was kind of shelved. Personally I was open to the idea of a cap and the possibilities that it may open up for the champ in other areas, but there is no arguing with the masses.
Still, I think the last set of buffs/tweaks Nasus got was actually pretty good. He got a lot of the usability improvements players had really been asking for: an attack range in line with other bruisers, the wither tenacity fix, a slightly improved E, etc. These all brought some attention back to Nasus and he enjoyed some play time for maybe... 2 weeks? At which point people started to realize he still was suffering from the same issues as before: a very weak laning phase and a rather large susceptibility to kiting in teamfights. He quickly fell off the map again in favor of more aggressive, versatile, mobile top lane bruisers.
All I want to present here is some very basic number tweaks which would not require any major reworking or overhauling of the champions skill-set. My goal is to keep the concept of Nasus and the way he plays in tact, but make his early game a bit more manageable, without his late game being too powerful. I am just going to list some simple changes, number tweaks, etc. that I think should be made to improve his general usability and keep him in line with the rest of the League. The general idea behind my changes as a whole is that there should be a focus on slight buffs to some of his base stats as well as early mana costs, while perhaps slightly reducing some of his scaling and leaving or increasing his mana costs at later stages. This would give him a bit more survivability and usability early in the lane, while slightly toning down some of his late game potential, all without touching his Q mechanic.
The basic number changes:
Wither: Change mana cost to 60/70/80/90/100 from flat 80 (slight early buff, slight late nerf)
Makes wither cost slightly less at early levels so you are punished less for using it in lane as a disengage (sometimes very necessary), and cost more later game (his late game is strong enough and you will have an ample mana pool with items such as FH at this point). In his current state Nasus players generally have the mindset of "I can't use any spell other than Q or I will run out of mana". That is dumb. This is a small change that will help his early game a bit while minimally hitting his late game.
SF mana cost: reduce to 60/70/80/90/100 (rough numbers) from 70/85/100/115/130 (slight buff)
The mana cost on SF is just too high for the benefit it provides in lane. It's a farming option with completely avoidable negligible damage, but it soaks like 1/3 of your mana pool. I could understand this if the spell was very useful... but its usually not. Use it a few times in lane and you have run dry and cant SS. Just reduce the mana cost unless we can give it a more useful mechanic to justify the cost.
MP5 increased from 6.6 (+0.5) to something like 7 (+.7)
If you haven't gotten the point yet, mana regen is a serious issue on Nasus. To be effective in a fight, Nasus needs to be able to spam the **** out of his spells. All of them. If you do that, he runs dry ridiculously fast. Even if we reduce his mana costs, he is still hurting unless he invests in mp5 items. If you haven't noticed, you just nerfed the **** out of his best mp5 option (shurelyas). The only other reasonable choice is chalice, and this is a dead-end situational pickup for him against an AP lane. Even with points in meditate Nasus suffers from lack of mana regen throughout the course of the game, and it doesn't really get any better even once you start picking up mana items like glacial. Either we get reduced mana costs and improved mp5 on Nasus, or it would be awesome to see a suitable tank item with mp5.
Base health increased from 410 to 430-440 (ish).
I'm not comfortable giving a specific number here, as I don't know exactly how exact base numbers are decided on. What I do know is that Nasus has absolutely one of the lowest base health figures of any bruiser in the game. I understand Nasus needs to be a bit vulnerable early so that there is an opportunity to shut down his farm. However... a 410 base HP on a champion with no counter harass, and that everyone knows to go all out on and abuse early to deny them farm, is just too weak. The argument may be, well he has has a lifesteal passive, he can heal it back up. Tell that to a Nasus that just got chunked to 200 HP in 1 exchange and now has to regen that HP off a minion wave with the opponent still there waiting to harass you down more or kill you. Something in the range of 430-450 base HP puts his starting HP in line with a lot of other bruisers and may be just enough to keep him from being completely dunked and zoned at lvl 1 or 2 by an aggressive top. As it is now he has less base HP than even champs like Wukong, Talon, etc... which just seems weird considering Nasus is supposed to be a tank.
Base armor increased from 15 to 18 (ish)
Nasus is meant to be an option to counter heavy AD teams (unless you are one of the new-age AP Nasus fanboys). You pick him vs heavy AD teams because of his wither and the fact that FH is amazing on him. You should mostly be facing AD bruisers top. Manaless casters will wreck you, and that is fair. You shouldn't be picking Nasus into a double AP comp. So let Nasus be more vulnerable to casters in lane, but give him a tiny bit more defense against the strong AD bruisers. If he is meant to be strong against AD, give him the defense to survive the lane a bit better against physical damage. You could even drop his armor scaling a tad (down to 3.2 or 3.3 from 3.5) if deemed necessary with a base increase. I don't think anyone has an issue with the way Nasus scales, just the fact that he starts out like a complete defenseless sissy.
Those are what I see as easy number tweaks. Don't get me wrong... I'm not saying this is the fix Nasus needs and if you apply this he will be just dandy. I think his kit is outdated and he is outclassed by other bruisers. I'm just saying these tweaks will bring his base defenses more in line with other bruisers, and make his mana costs a bit more realistic and forgiving early. Basically, some slight early game usability and survivability buffs. Any of the numbers could be argued a bit in one direction or the other, but this is what I see as reasonable from a naive, non-developer standpoint.
I've got dozens of other ideas on ways to tweak Nasus to improve his usability, I just wanted to put these basic things on the table. I'm all for considering ideas such as putting a slight range bonus on his Q to make it a bit safer to farm,, Q returns 50% of mana when used to lasthit (see GP), SOMEHOW making E useful in a capacity other than shoving a lane, slightly increasing the range of his ultimate, and/or giving the ult it some kind of passive, a mild slow effect, or % CC reduction. Basically what I'm getting at is he needs something in his kit to help with the kiting, and there are tons of options, I just don't know what the best would be. Gauntlet does help a bit, but he still feels substantially more kitable than other bruiser.
I'd love to get feedback from other Nasus players on these ideas. I'd also love to get a post from Riot just letting us in the community know what your thoughts on the state of Nasus are and if there are any plans for tweaks or a rework in the future.
TLDR: Nasus is in rough shape. I think some of the basic number tweaks listed above in bold may help, in addition to some type of mechanic to help with him being kited so terribly in team fights. Let's hear your thoughts - post your ideas for tweaking Nasus and they will be included below!
Additionally, I'm just going to go ahead and make a running list here in the OP of ideas people have for Nasus... good or bad. I think since Nasus has been hurting for years now and no real fix has been found, we may as well get all of the ideas out here on the table. If you've got some input on what you think might help fix Nasus, just post it and I will include it here!
(notes in bold are changes that Riot has put into effect)
-Increase base stats (HP, armor, and mana regen specifically)
-Q has slight bonus range
-Q returns 50% mana when it deals a killing blow (mana cost being reduced to flat 20 at all ranks)
-Q also gains +3 bonus when used to damage an enemy champion (+6 for large minions, monsters, champs)
-Wither gets slight range increase (wither range boosted to 800)
-Wither steals MS from slowed unit
-E has a mini-snare/root on first or last tick
-E gives a self/team buff (bonus armor, MS, CC reduction, etc)
-Ultimate has reduced mana cost (100/150/200?) (mana cost 100 at all ranks)
-Ultimate get % CC reduction/tenacity
-Ultimate gets slightly Increased aura range
-Ultimate provides slightly Increased attack range when activated (attack range increased by 50 in ultimate)
-Ultimate provide slight movespeed buff
-Ultimate can be activated when CCed (similar to trynd/olaf)