It’s time to make the big dog look like a puppy. It’s time to counter Nasus with Shen.
Take this dog for a walk
Nasus’s low skill cap and huge mid-late game potential make him a dangerous top laner to face. Nasus thrives in low elos, where players do not take advantage of his weaknesses. If Nasus is allowed, he can become a destructive force which carries a losing team to victory. You’re going to prevent that. With the right laning, build and late game, you’re going to put this puppy on a leash.
Nasus Vs Shen: Laning
Mission 1: Stop the stacks
Nasus’s greatest weakness is his early game. If you don’t have a clue why, have a look at his kit here. His Q isn’t going to do much damage until he can get some stacks off. His E will do damage, but at a high mana cost which is unsustainable in the early game. As soon as he gets some farm, this starts to change. After a few backs he can pick up CDR and Sheen. Next thing you know he’ll be taking you for 12 stacks. You need to prevent this.
Shen is much stronger in the early game than Nasus. Shen may be outscaled by Nasus as the late game approaches, but he still provides utility, tankiness and CC. As long as you can prevent Nasus from stacking you can take him in 1v1s. The problem is you can only prevent him from stacking for so long. No matter how hard he loses lane, Nasus will always be looking to bring himself back into the game with Q stacks. If you give him the time, he will do exactly that.
MISSION 2: SHARE THE LEAD
Your objective is to make use of your stronger early game, gain an early advantage, and provide teleport ganks to your mid and bot lane so they can carry in the late game. Even if you do own the Nasus late game, your strength can only last so long. Do what a real top laner does, and spread the love.
So how are you going to get that early advantage? With a bit of skill, it’s easy enough. It’s going to be easiest to get an early kill before level 6, where fighting Nasus becomes a little more complicated. A Nasus can’t resist stacks, especially when they are coming from cannon minions. Cannon minions give 4 times the usual amount of stacks. Nasus has to concentrate and farm if he wants to do something after the laning phase. You can play around this.
MISSION 3: COMBO CITY
Look for opportunities to land a EQW combo when Nasus is going for a cannon minion stack. You can prevent him from getting those vital 12 stacks and farm with a well timed E. You will also set yourself up for a trade in which you will easily out-damage him in early levels. Execute this kind of trade every time a cannon minion comes along and you’ll be making the lane a pain for Susan.
MISSION 4: GET A GANK
Ganks are another way you can pick up an early advantage. Thanks to your E and your W you are way less vulnerable to ganks than Nasus is. With a bit of warding, you have the space to play aggressive and deny as much farm as possible. For Nasus things aren’t as easy. His only form of getting away is his W, but that can’t stop you from taunting him. Every Nasus hates a frozen lane which works against him. Freeze the lane in the middle or towards your tower. If Nasus is brave enough to come forward and stack, whip your jungler in for a gank. Nasus won’t be able to escape. You’ll be rewarded with a kill or at least a summoner spell.
MISSION 5: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
Maintain an early game lead for as long as possible. Spread your lead by ulting to mid or bot lane. Help out with a drag or rift herald. You are going to need your team to be strong when Nasus makes his way back into the game. By around level 11 it’s going to be tough for you to take Nasus on in 1v1s. Use your lead to help your team as much as possible. Everyone will be grateful when they can handle Nasus thanks to the lead they picked up in their lane, which was made possible by you.
Runes and items
Let’s talk keystones
You have two options when it comes to keystones. Grasp of the Undying, or Press the Attack. Press the Attack will focus on your power to cut Nasus down in quick trades in the early game. You will find it easy to proc it on top of an EQ combo. It will also help your team deal damage in the late game with its weakening mechanic. Grasp of the Undying will come in handy if your team is desperate for a tank. You should always end up tanky in the late game. If your team doesn’t need the damage, don’t go Press the Attack. Grasp will also hurt Nasus when you trade. It will also help in 1v1s. Both runes are viable options, but take Grasp if your team doesn’t need the damage.
Let’s talk items
Build Sunfire Cape first. It will make the trades more painful for Nasus early, give you wave clear if you need it as well as the essential health and armor. Run Boots of Swiftness to lessen the load of Nasus’s W. You need to be able to control the wave, so rushing Tiamat, even if you’re ahead, may not be the greatest idea. Instead, if you’re feeling strong and want to buy a bit of damage, go with Tri Force.
By mid game Nasus will have begun to scale. If you’ve done your job, this won’t make much of a difference because the rest of his team will be behind. In teamfights, keep Nasus off your carries because he will delete them with his accumulated stacks. Use your E and your W if you have to. Remember that your E is essentially a stun when you’re a beefy boy in the late game, so it’s a valuable bit of CC. Use your abilities wisely, and keep your carries alive.
Countering Nasus with Shen: Final thoughts
The laning phase should be a breeze, and you should take advantage of this fact. Your build isn’t going to vary much. You’ll be the tanky ninja you usually are. Teamfights will revolve around keeping the aggressive dog off your carries. Counter Nasus as Shen with these tips, and you’ll be taking this pupper for walks round the top lane.
Is Sett also giving you trouble? Take a look at How To Counter Sett With Shen.