Nasus Review and Theorycraft
Today’s reveal features Nasus and the Shurima cards that came with him as a package. There were some really great cards but also some… questionable ones. So let’s begin the review, there are a lot of things to say!
Here’s our rating scale for new cards:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, proven itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
- 2.0: Can be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks.
- 1.0: Doesn’t find its place in the meta.
Nasus – 2.5
Overall, I think Nasus is an underwhelming champion. Be aware that he has a lot of synergies with Shadow Isles and we didn’t get the reveals for that region yet. Maybe we’ll get some very good combos tomorrow that will make him better but for now, I’m really down on Nasus. He still gets 2.5 because he is a build-around champion with synergies so he will find a home, but I’m concerned about his power level right now.
Level 1 Nasus is a big Fearsome stat-stick. So far, history showed us that Fearsome stat-sticks are often not worth building around (hello Legion General). There are a lot of comparisons being made between Nasus and They Who Endure, but it is important to note that Nasus is a lot harder to grow than They Who Endure. You can’t just naturally wait and watch your stuff die, you have to actively look to make him grow. Another massive difference between them is their keyword – Fearsome is valuable, but a lot less than Overwhelm on a big stat-stick.
Once he levels up, Nasus gains +1/+1 and SpellShield and additionally gives the enemy units -1/-0. The SpellShield is very good to prevent the opponent from interacting with your payoff, and the attack debuff on the opponent’s units is the most interesting effect of this level 2 Nasus. It goes extremely well with the Fearsome keyword, and with more Fearsome units at your disposal, it can really put a lot of pressure on the opponent.
Like other Ascended champions, Nasus is a champion that has a level 3 form. That form is extremely powerful and should end the game very fast in most situations. However, that level 3 is tied with how strong the
Level 2 Nasus does look interesting, but he doesn’t feel easy – or quick – to level up. You have to grow him a lot before he can strike for 10, and even once you did get him to 10+ attack you still have to get a strike off with him. While he is level 1, Nasus is vulnerable to interaction, and not really useful outside of being a big dude that requires synergies.
Unfortunately, there also are other problems with Nasus, like how vulnerable he is to Hush. To me, Nasus has many of They Who Endure weaknesses but doesn’t boast most of its strengths. I hope that I’m completely wrong and/or there are cards making him better in the next reveals, else he might be very disappointing as a new champion.
Siphoning Strike – 2.0
Siphoning Strike doesn’t look like a good removal to me. Slow speed on a removal is a huge downside, and you don’t get the champion buff if the unit survives or the spell fizzles.
There are a lot of things the opponent can do to deny the champion buff part (Glimpse Beyond, Single Combat, a removal on your ally striking, a buff to save the unit…). When compared to a card like Concerted Strike, which is Fast speed and allows you to remove bigger units, Siphoning Strike looks mediocre to me.
I still give it a 2.0 for the surprise factor. It’s bad, so the opponent will not expect it and won’t save a counterplay to it, so you can gain quite a lot from the surprise factor in the right situation.
Baccai Reaper – 3.5
Baccai Reaper is a very interesting 1-drop. The Fearsome keyword is particularly good on small units in aggressive decks, especially if you have a lot of Fearsome units.
If you can quickly make him go up to 2 attack, it is already a very good Fearsome 1-drop, and he can easily grow a lot more.
Shadow Isles has a lot of Fearsome units and is all about killing things (both its own units and the opponent’s), so Baccai Reaper could easily find his place in an aggro Shurima/Shadow Isles deck.
Rampaging Baccai – 4.0
There it is, the true champion of today’s reveal! 😄
Rampaging Baccai already has very reasonable stats for a 5-cost unit, bringing a strong board presence against decks with smaller units. His Overwhelm keyword is also a nice addition, but his real strength comes in his ‘Play’ ability.
Slaying 4+ units doesn’t look like a hard requirement to meet, and when you meet it Rampaging Baccai comes with a Single Combat attached to him! This is absolutely fantastic to deal with a pesky small unit, especially champions *cough Twisted Fate cough*. I expect Rampaging Baccai will be run in all Shurima decks that can meet his requirement at a decent pace.
Sanctum Conservator – 2.0
Sanctum Conservator is a very impactful payoff for Slaying units. However, 13+ units does look like a very big task, and Sanctum Conservator will be sitting in your hand for a major part of the game. Even if you manage to hit that payoff, the ability isn’t game-breaking in every situation – for example, it won’t do much against a late-game deck that focuses on powerful champions, like Anivia Control or Feel the Rush Control.
There was mention of this card’s synergy with The Ruination, but I’m not convinced you need to play Sanctum Conservator with that spell. Ruination will do Sanctum Conservator’s job earlier and easier in most situations. I think there are better ways than Sanctum Conservator to capitalize in the late-game, but I could see some decks run a copy of it because when it does go off in the right situation it will win the game.
Spirit Fire – 3.5
Spirit Fire is expensive, but Spirit Fire is at Burst speed.
This card can be compared to Withering Wail, as it gives you the ability to avoid taking damage from a flood of small units and kill those small units. However, it deals more damage than Withering Wail which is very helpful.
Overall it looks like a very solid card for control Shurima decks to punish wide boards.
Rite of Calling – 3.5
In Legends of Runeterra, champions are the centerpiece of most decks. Finding ways to draw them easier is very useful, as it will make your deck a lot more consistent.
Rite of Calling looks like a very strong spell in a deck with sacrifice synergies, so the “kill an ally” cost isn’t a cost really. The alternative cost, which is destroying a mana gem, is a lot more expensive because you don’t want to destroy your mana gem early.
It is a great option once you’ve reached 10 mana, but at that point, you’re likely to already have found your champion. Still, having the possibility to cast this card for an alternative cost makes it a lot more flexible.
Weight of Judgment – 2.5
This removal is very effective on followers, but unfortunately, the most important targets to remove are the opponent’s champions.
The Slow speed is also a big downside for a removal, so overall this card isn’t looking very impressive.
Still, it can find uses as a cheap way to remove a big follower, while still being a decent card to remove mid-game followers or small champions like Teemo, Zoe, or Twisted Fate.
Ruinous Path – 3.0
We know that Doombeast‘s ability is a pretty good ability, especially for a deck looking to aggressively lower the opponent’s Nexus health points.
However, Ruinous Path has a very different requirement than Doombeast – slaying a unit on the same turn. This can restrain a little the type of decks that might want it, as most aren’t slaying many units anymore once they enter their ‘burn phase’.
But still, thanks to the draw 1 part this card will never be useless and it does look really strong when you trigger the drain 2 part of the card, especially if your deck puts pressure on the opponent’s Nexus health.
An Undying deck looks like an archetype where Nasus has some potential. The addition of Rampaging Baccai will really help the deck to stabilize and deal with a key threat. Atrocity feels right in this deck – without it the list could lack a strong and decisive way to finish games, but with Atrocity, you can finish opponents from a high amount of health with a big Nasus or The Undying.
The downside of going with Shurima instead of Bilgewater or Demacia for an Undying deck is that you lose the ability to easily give Vulnerable to the opponent’s units or Challenger to your Undying. It will make The Undying less useful in controlling the board. But maybe Rampaging Baccai can make the change of region worth it, and Nasus can grow really big.
Be aware that this is not a refined deck, but more of a showcase of a playstyle that might find use of Nasus. This archetype might even gain new tools with later reveals, so I think it is worth keeping an eye on it!
Thanks a lot for reading this article, I hope you’re enjoying the reveals so far! I can’t wait for Shurima to be released, I think this spoiler season is very promising. Even Nasus – that I do find a bit underwhelming – is an interesting build-around, so I’m ready to be surprised! 🙂
If you have any questions, feedback, or you want to talk about today’s reveal, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below and in this dedicated Reddit post.
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