The Dilemma of Nasus: Strong in lower elo and weak in higher elo

I have mained {{champion:75}} since season 5 and I have achieved Platinum on two accounts and bounce around between Plat 1 and Plat III on him. {{champion:75}} is a pretty unique champion. He has really obvious strengths and clear weaknesses that are more easily exploited the higher you climb up the ladder. He is a strong split pusher and duelist with pretty good scaling, but he is highly susceptible to getting kited. The higher you climb, the better opponents get at "kiting out" Nasus and punishing him in lane. The central problem with Nasus is that he is serviceable in Gold and Lower elo and begins to get "outclassed" by other champions in platinum. By mid to high Diamond, Nasus's weaknesses are wildly apparent and he struggles to have significant impact in a game. Nasus has three central problems have become more acute since I started playing: 1. Mobility creep 2. Indirect nerfs 3. Damage creep {{champion:75}} has only been directly buffed since I started playing. He had his ultimate buffed 2x, gained a lifesteal buff recently, had his spirit fire pool changes to a % armor shred, and even had the AA range of his Siphoning Strike extend. Nasus keeps getting directly buffed, but still struggles to maintain a 50% win rate and usually sits at 47 to 48% prior direct buffs. Most of this is directly attributable to the three things that negatively impact his play. **Mobility creep - **This problem is mainly attributable to newer champions kits and reworks of older champion providing them some type of dash or mobility steroid. This is a problem when players begin to get better at kiting Nasus. Right now {{item:3095}} is a good example of mobility creep. It provides all ADCs a 20% movement speed steroid for their initial attack. This actually allows a lot of ADCs to trade on a Nasus they encounter and stay out of wither range. Or at the minimum, makes it difficult for him to respond to a range champion. This is just one example, but it is making it difficult for Nasus to get near champions with ranged autos unless the passive is down. The damage isn't the issue, it's the MS passive. There are other instances of mobility creep, but reworks of {{champion:84}} and {{champion:6}}, newer champions like {{champion:142}} {{champion:516}} {{champion:145}} and {{champion:497}} have lead to a higher amount of mobility in the game just generally speaking. A lot of newer champions have dashes, go untargetable, and have blinks. Nasus has to account for those in a game along with the CDR proliferating to more and more items. This gives champions higher access to their mobility abilities and any CC they might have in their kit. Mo CDR on items has lead to Mo problems for Nasus because abilities just come off cooldown faster AND Nasus already built max CDR since I started playing. Other champions in the past did not achieve max CDR or have itemization routes where they could achieve max CDR easily. Now support itemization routes along with a lot of mage item trees have given them full 30 to 40% CDR fairly easily. I could discuss mobility creep in greater detail, but the concluding point should be that mobility creep is problematic for Nasus even though he has one of the most potent slows in the game. **Indirect Nerfs -** This is usually when items change because they are overtuned on other champions (that aren't Nasus). Frequently whenever tank items are "too strong" and changed this leads to an indirect nerf for Nasus. These changes are typically related to other abusers that not Nasus, with probably talisman of ascension being the only recent item change that was attributable to it being "strong" on Nasus. The major indirect nerfs I have seen were the implementation of Mastery system and then the roll out of the new Rune system. Both added damage to several champions kits and frequently took away resistances or defensive stat allocation that benefited Nasus. The rune rollout removed the ability to simply set a full defensive rune page or begin a game with 10 or 15% CDR. Both of which, really helped Nasus! The ability to customize rune pages to the matchup or to load up on defense really alleviated a lot of pressure on Nasus. Now one can't just take 12 armor runes in a tough matchup. The changes didn't really benefit Nasus either because most of the runes don't really synergize with his kit. Even grasp of the undying is an average keystone rune simply because Nasus doesn't really trade too much in lane to proc it. Most champions benefited from the changes in some way and this was not necessarily the case with Nasus. The removal of Stormraiders surge really hurt Nasus ability to zip out of a fight to safety after doing damage. There are other changes to items too that impacted him negatively such as {{item:3025}} {{item:3053}} {{item:3512}} {{item:3800}} and {{item:3026}}. More frequently nerfs to tank items or the stat changes on tank items hurt Nasus. Nasus really just wants raw defensive stats, mana, and CDR. The items that give him the most of those stats is how he should be itemizing. When those items are adjusted because tanks are a little too potent with that item route then it hurts Nasus's build, which is simply "give me one or two offensive items and a bunch of defensive stats." **Damage Creep -** The game's damage has steadily gone up with the implementation of the mastery system in the past, the changes to items, and then the recent rune changes. It isn't that the arrow has always gone straight north, sometimes it sharply goes upward and other times riot tries to lower it (such as the recent changes to several runes in the domination tree) and changes to ADC items. Still, the overall trajectory has been to speed up game pacing and usually that result is attributable to damage being higher a earlier levels and via itemization changes. I do think Riot over the last several months are cognizant of both problems and they have been trying to pull back early level damage and push higher damage towards the later game. However, the proliferation of true damage to solve early burst damage has lowered Nasus's dueling power. Early damage is bad for Nasus and it always has been bad, but scaling true damage has also hurt his longer game. **Overbuffing and Underwhelming? ** Right now Riot could face the problem of overbuffing Nasus at lower elo. Similar to how {{champion:86}} appears overtuned in lower elo but not in higher elo because players are just better at kiting him. Currently, I think Nasus is pretty underwhelming to play and is not sufficiently rewarded for safely scaling. He is also hitting his power spike with fewer stacks because he is not starting with the 10 to 15% CDR he use to get. He is forced to build CDR early because he has to get stacks fast. This makes it so that his item tree often looks like a used garage sale of components such as {{item:3067}} {{item:3024}} and {{item:3057}}. It use to be he could start with 10 or 15% CDR and achieve 40% at exactly the time he spikes. Now he can only start with 5% CDR and can only hit 40% CDR if he takes trancendence with that build. He now must build ANOTHER component or two incredibly expensive items to get to 40% CDR. So Nasus's itemization looks like {{item:3025}} {{item:3067}} and {{item:3024}} (4,400) or he just buys {{item:3078}} and {{item:3110}} for 6,433 to get 40% CDR. It is currently very difficult to achieve 400 at 20 or 500 at 20 because you simply don't get the starting CDR for it. Either way, it's a terrible build route without transcendence and he is still missing out on the early starting CDR, which is typically when Nasus does most of his early stacking. _**Solving problems** _ I think Riot has several options to hopefully maintain Nasus's relevance in Plat+ without overbuffing him in Gold or lower. Here are my suggestions. Each 1. **An additional mechanic for stacks achieved -** This could be something as simple as "for every 100 stacks gain 5% tenacity" or "for every 100 stacks gain 10 armor" . It doesn't have to be these things specifically and the stat could be different at each threshold. The point is this would reward Nasus's ability to stack and proficient play with him. It would also give him something that will benefit him as he spikes in the game. If you don't stack well you simply lose out on the modest stat. 2. **Lowering siphoning strikes cooldown by about 1 second across levels.** I checked the math on this, and if this is lowered at early levels it is very close to started with 10% CDR. This will give him enough cooldown to achieve higher stacks at earlier levels. This will make it so that he can spike quicker and have more map presence via higher stack damage. It still doesn't fix other problems, but it does make him relevant if he stacks well like last season when he could start with high CDR. It also rewards safely stacking and champion proficiency 3. **Direct stat buffs - **This is the route I don't want to keep going with Nasus. Simply modest Nasus buffs will make him more viable in higher elo. He has really low base and scaling health for example. But I think by doing this he could become the new "Garen" which is overbearing in lower elo. 4. **Provide a rune choice to have early starting CDR - **Would give up most of my runes if I could start with 10 or 15% CDR. I rather just have my power a bit quicker and would give up early runes to just get a customizable CDR option.
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