Nautilus Build Guide by Crows

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Crows

Jungle Nautilus - It works

Crows Last updated on March 2, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Nautilus is a very interesting jungler. He starts out slow but quickly builds up speed. He has many strengths, being an amazing ganker, tank, and disruptor. How many champs have 4 disruption skills (hint: the correct answer is only Nautilus)? All of which are on medium CDs, even more so when you cap CDR. This build doesn't go the typical lane route of AP, instead it focuses on being tanky and maxing CDR, which is optimal for jungling.

When to play Nautilus:
Nautilus is incredibly dependent on the right team comp. He is so weak to counter jungling in the first few levels you need a team that can help protect you against early invades. So he is strong playing with champs that have a good early game. He is also a devastating ganker, and his Dredge Line gives him a huge gank range, similar to Maokai's. This means that you want play him when lanes have good CC or burst to ensure kills when you gank. So if you have a top like sion you may want to think about nautilus with a top like vlad or teemo probably not.

About me:
I'm typically bounce between 1300 and 1400 elo (not great I know). I pretty much only jungle (who wants to spend the first 15 minutes of their game trying to right click minions at exactly the right moment anyways) or support. I've written a few jungle guides and have a top guide on Rammus. My in game name is crowcide - feel free to add me if you have any questions.

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Pros and Cons

-Amazing utility
-One of the best gankers
-Strong end game
-Great health scaling
SP Cons
-Incredibly blue dependent on first blue
-Steep learning curve
-Very weak pre-level 3 or 4
-Very dependent on teammates, like all junglers
-Very dependent on teammates, like all tanks
-Trouble taking early dragons

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Introduction to Jungling and Tanking

In order to understand this guide (I bet you're wondering why a tank would ever take attack speed and damage runes?) you need to understand two concepts, jungling and tanking.

Why Jungle? There are a few reasons. First it's extra gold/xp overall for your team - top gets all the gold and xp to himself. Also it's much more flexible. In a game without a jungler on your team it's 1v1 or 2v1 on top, 1v1 in mid, and 2v2 on bottom. This means that every lane is balanced or if their top is 2v1 he will just play defensive and tower hug. With a jungler you are free to turn that 1v1 mid or 2v2 bottom into a 2v1 or 3v2 unexpectedly. This often picks up kills.

Good jungling champs have 3 things:

  • Gank: Junglers need to be able to gank. If you don't gank as a jungler you are worthless to rest of your team. Also junglers typically make less gold off their CS than someone who can last hit well. This means that you need to make up that gold with assists and kills.

    Nautilus excels at ganking. He has the most disruption in the game, 4 out of 5 of his abilities provide some sort of CC. He can gap close, knock up, knock back, stun, and slow. Ganking is the reason to play nautilus.
  • Clear Speed: Clearing faster means you can spend more time being beneficial to your team or making the enemies life miserable. Faster clear means you gank more often, cover lanes more, or steal their jungle better

    Nautilus clears fairly slow for the first few levels, but once you get a few points in Titan's Wrath he becomes one of the faster junglers. I reach level 4 between 3:50 and 3:55 - which is about at average for most junglers.
  • Sustain: Junglers take more damage than laners typically. A good laner should only take damage from enemy champs and are more focused on farming. Junglers are constantly getting hit. Even worse they have to use their abilities to farm, draining manna. A good jungler needs to be able to stay in the jungle with out going back to the nexus every few minutes.

    Nautilus has excellent sustain with a Philosopher's Stone and leveling up Titan's Wrath first you should almost never need to go back after the first time.

Tanking can really be broken down into three parts: drawing agro, not dying, fight control.

Agro: Nautilus draws agro in a couple ways. First he initiates. Simply running in Dredge Line starts a fight and puts you in front, which can picks up a bunch of damage and abilities that would be used on other champs if you didn't take them. Second he amazing CC to be discussed bellow. Lastly, even with a full tank no damage build he still does a good amount of damage, and it's nearly all AOE. The more damage you do the more likely people are to attack you.

Living: Nautilus is fairly good at not dying. Most of his survivability will come from his build rather than his abilities. His one defensive ability is fairly strong, and dramatically affects how you build him. Titan's Wrath makes Nautilus scale great with health, and end game will be a 500 health steroid that you often can get off twice in a fight if you pre-load it.

Fight control: is where Nautilus dominates. He has the most CCs in the game: Dredge Line, Riptide make positioning verse him a nightmare. When he gets Randuin's Omen it's even worse. Using Depth Charge and Staggering Blow well allows you to constantly CC multiple champs. Typically in a team fight I end up CCing 3-4 people with each of these abilities.

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Jungle Path

With Nautilus in this build I typically reach level 4 sometime between 3:50 and 3:55. This route is designed for solo play. If I'm playing with friends I do wolves first then blue (the rest of the route is the same). To pull this off you need your team mates to do some damage to the wolves and blue golem while stay out of xp range - if they don't do this right you take too much damage. If you do wolves first go Titan's Wrath at lvl 1. If you aren't 100% sure they can pull this off, follow the route I describe.

1)Blue: Get a good leash. Talk to your team so they know that you need them to help do damage. If you don't get some help on blue you won't have enough hp to gank at 4. Kill it with your Smite. This is important as it prevents people from stealing it the buff from you.

2)Wolves: Run to the wolves. Use your Titan's Wrath to double hit. I.e. soon as one of your attacks go off immediately hit Titan's Wrath and you will get a free second attack.

3)Wraiths: When doing wriaths I cast Riptide first then do the Titan's Wrath double attack trick. I don't kill any of them with auto attacks, instead I take them down to 1 hit and finish them all off with a Riptide to make the clear 4 attacks quicker.

4)Mini-Golems: Kill mini golems next. This is typically where I use my potion. Use abilities as they come off cool down. Don't use your smite, save it for Red

5)Red: Burn the big one with your abilities, your aoe will take care of the little ones. Finish it off with your smite.

6)Back to wraiths: Go back to wraiths, kill them in a similar manner.

At this point you should be about 500ish gold, be level 4, and have 50%-70% of your health. This is the time for your first gank if any lanes are over extended. If not, keep jungling until they do over extend. By over extend I mean they are close to between the river and the tower on your side.

Stolen Blue:
If someone steals your first blue, keep going until you run out of mana. Once you hit level 3 don't use Riptide in order to conserve mana. When you run out of mana you should have enough for a Philosopher's Stone.

Respawn times:
It is also important to keep track of respawn times, I typically keep a notepad next to me when I play so I can track dragon and counter jungles:
  • Baron respawns in 7 minutes
  • Dragon respawns in 6 minutes
  • Blue Buff respawns in 5 minutes
  • Red Buff respawns in 5 minutes
  • Wraiths respawns in 1 minute
  • Wolves respawns in 1 minute
  • Mini-Golems respawns in 1 minutes

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Counter Jungling

Counter jungling is extremely important. It's one of the things that separates good junglers from great junglers. Counter jungling means going into the other jungle and stealing some of their xp/gold. Every time you do this it's huge. If you steal 100gold worth of mobs that a net 200gold gain for your team (you cost them 100g and gain 100g) - that's almost a kills worth.

Some general tips for counter jungling:

  • Alert your team so they can be ready to help, if you get caught very often a team fight will break out. And often you will be at a disadvantage since you're on their side of the map.
  • Try to leave one little mob alive. It prevents the camp from re-spawning until they kill it.
  • Invest in wards if you want to spend a lot of time counter jungling (see the ward section).
  • Try to save your Dredge Line to retreat.

When any of the following are true, consider stealing some jungle:
  • When you have a smite up and can run in and steal a small camp's boss mob (especially wraiths)
  • When the other jungler is in a lane and you can't make in time to help
  • When the other jungler is low on hp
  • Near lanes where the enemy is dead or buying
  • After the enemy fails a gank
  • When wards catch the jungler and you can get help from your lanes ganking him

My most common counter jungle is running up to the wraiths, smiting the big wraith and hitting him once if necessary to kill him. This is extremely easy, safe, and fast.

Placing wards in the enemy jungle on key buffs (see the ward section) is excellent for counter jungling. You can see when their buffs are up and when they go for them. This gives you tons of options. If you see the enemy going for the buff talk to your teammates (quickly) and decide to gank or not. If your team doesn't think you can pull of the gank then go steal some of his jungle on the opposite side.

How to deal with being counter jungled:
The best way to deal with being counter jungled is wards, wards, and more wards. Place wards on your buff camps for sure. When you see the enemy going for one of these camps make a quick decision: get your lanes to help you gank or if you don't think you can pull it off go steal some of his jungle.

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Warding is extremely important. Most people will tell you that it's everyone on the teams job, and they are right. But, the lion share of the work falls first to the support and second to the jungler. This map shows where I typically place wards, with black being the most important, red being next and jungle wards, and blue being situational wards.

If you feel the enemy team is placing a lot of wards you want to consider buying an oracle. Don't ever buy it before your gold items. And most of the time start thinking of buying if you aren't dying a lot and after you purchase your first tank item.

Key Wards:

Black represents the key wards. They are the most important as they protect key camps (dragon and baron) and the lanes - consider placing pink wards here because both teams will probably have these spots warded. These wards should pretty much always be up. Communicate with your lanes and see if they plan on placing them. Also note, If you place them EXACTLY right you can also see the paths into the jungle.

Jungle Wards:

The blue wards are for jungling and/or counter jungling. If your jungle keeps getting invaded, place these wards on your side. If you want to counter jungle, place them on their side. Notice how they are placed so you can see the key buff mobs and at the same time see as many lanes as possible. This is really important, as it helps you keep track of the maximal amount of enemy positions and tell which direction enemies are haeded.

Situational Wards:

The red wards are more situational, and mostly for your mid lane. If mid keeps getting ganked place these on your side. It will let them see if someone is sneaking up behind them. These wards are mids job more than yours, but being a team player wins games. These wards have the most mobility, like I often place the wards at 10 and 9 in the north and south bushes respectively, instead.

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Stat Priorities:
Nautilus prioritize stats rather interestingly. He scales great with hp Titan's Wrath basically increases any healths effectiveness by 10%. We build pure tank and CDR in this build to increase his sustain, ganks, and end game viability. With max cdr he's Riptideing and Dredge Line every 6 seconds, while running around and stunning everyone. Not to mention this build provides some great utility: an activated speed buff from Shurelya's Reverie a slow debuff from Randuin's Omen, lowering auto attack speed from Frozen Heart and Aegis of the Legion giving extra armor/mr to all friendlies.

Items:It is extremely important to note that this build is designed for the standard meta game which is a healthy balance of casters and physical damage. If the team you are against isn't balanced you will need to substitute in some situational items.

Early Game Goals
Philosopher's Stone sight ward
This early game sets you up for success in the rest of the game. Both of the gold items you will upgrade latter (making them extremely cost effective), and provide stats you want/need for the early game anyways. Phil stones is what allows you to sustain your jungle without constantly needing to stealing blue from your mid. So, on my first trip back it's my first and boots/wards if I have enough gold. My goal for my second trip back is the heart of gold and more wards.

Mid Game Goals
or Shurelya's Reverie
Mid game is where you start building your true tankyness and cdr. My first buys are shurelya's and some upgraded boots. Typically followed by buying an item that matches what ever type of resistance I need most. Always get Aegis at some point, even if your support is going to get one also. Aegis is the single most gold effective defensive item in the game and if your support grabs one the auras will stack on you making it even better.

The boot choices should be based on what you need most. At this point you should have a feel of how the lanes are doing, buy to counter what enemy you think will be the most fed. Of course you would always get merc treds if their team has lots of cc, especially aoe cc (like cassopia, galio, or amu ults)

End Game Goals
Here you finish out upgrading your items to get some additional tanyness and utility. Again the order is completely dependent on what you need. Don't forget the unique abilities on these items when you pick an order to buy them in. If they keep escaping you get Randuins, If there is a fed auto-attack based damage champ get Frozen, If there is an AP nuker causing problems get Banshee's.

Alternate Items:
Sometimes a cook cutter build won't work, especially as a tank. If a carry gets out of hand you very well may have to swap one type of reduction for the other on the fly. Or, sometimes you may need to pick up a unique ability to counter a specific composition ( Quicksilver Sash for the free cleanse or thorn mail to deal with a 7-0 trynd for example. If this is the case use the table bellow to make an informed decision in terms of gold effectiveness where to make a swap.

Item Table
This table uses the cheapest one stat items to calculate gold efficiency (rounded). Armor is valued at 20g per 1 point of armor from Thornmail, MR is valued at 25g per 1 point of MR from Quicksilver Sash, and health is valued at 3.5g per 1 point of health from a charged Warmog's Armor

The efficiency number is the most important one in the table. In terms of only health, MR, and armor it tells you how gold efficient an item is. The negative values indicate a more expensive than average ability or aura on the item. The green values indicate a cheaper than average aura or ability on the item. So for example, if you are getting steam rolled by heavily magic based champ consider a green item with MR.

Also it is important to note: that the most cost effective items are the unbuilt ones. That means if things are going bad early game, it's often better to buy a Chain Vest, Cloth Armor, and a Negatron Cloak rather than a higher tier items. This will get you the most resistance cheapest right away, provided you have plans to upgrade them later.


Main BuildX
Shurelya's Reverie XX
Cost: 2715g
Value: 2562g
Efficiency: -153
Cost: 3075g
Cost: 2000g
Efficiency: 0g
Possible Items

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Greater Mark of Attack Speed

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed

This rune selection at 18 gives you: 24 MR, 13 Armor, and 25% attack speed.

- Greater Mark of Attack Speed and Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed: These runes are mostly taken because they speed up your jungle a lot. Titan's Wrath Isn't very accurate in it's description, it actually has 2 procs instead of over 2 seconds, one right away and one the initial attack and one after a second. So its damage component scales very well with attack speed. These runes are also fairly useful endgame when in team fights you will by trying to proc Staggering Blow on everything you can.

- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist makes the most sense because you shouldn’t be taking any magic damage before you gank. And, when you gank they should be running from you or CCed. By the time team fights are around Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist will give you the most MR.

- Greater Seal of Armor: Provide a healthy chunk of armor. You don't want these scaling because you will be taking continuous AD from the jungle
Alternate Runes
These runes are less than optimal, but are possible in some situations against match up, or if you don't have the recommended runes

- Greater Mark of Scaling Magic Resist: Is the best choice if you want a tanky mark.

- Greater Quintessence of vitality:If you wanted a defensive quint this is the one I would pick.

- Greater Quintessence of Gold: These are actually viable with on most junglers believe it or not. This speeds up your itemization but at considerable cost to your early game.

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I will explain some of the more debatable choices in my mastery selection.

- Brute Force , Butcher , Alacrity , and Weapon Expertise . These choices are to speed up his early game jungle and to add a little bit of damage for early game ganks. We don't go Sorcery and Arcane Knowledge because you don't get any AP in this build, so it's better to pump up early game auto attacks than anything else. We don't go into utility because after your first blue you should have a philosopher stone with the Regrowth Pendant start, and quickly get a Shurelya's Reverie. Which means you will no longer have mana issues and you will be giving your blues to the AP carry.

- Honor Guard verse Durability and Veteran's Scars : you would need 5,333 health for 80 health to be 1.5% of your total health, so Durability and Veteran's Scars will almost always be more effective overall.

- Indomitable is actually a great skill especially on tanks. This reduces damage AFTER reduction, and reduces all types of damage. So if you have 100 MR and 100 Armor 2 points in indomitable are worthboth 2 Mr and 2 Armor (the same cost effectiveness of hardness). But you are a tank, so if you have 300 MR and 300 Armor 2 points in indomitable are worth both 8 MR and 8 Armor.

- Vigor verse Honor Guard : This is mostly an opinion call and I switch it out on a game by game basis. Honor guard is stronger late/end game, vigor is stronger early.

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Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

- Titan's Wrath: This your defensive steroid, it also synergies well with great your attack speed runes and masteries. Max this first. There are a few tricks you can do with titan's wraith. Notice it last 10 seconds and with maxed CDR it's cool down is 10.8 seconds. This means that you can cast it 6 or 7 seconds before you plan on initiating a fight and have it come back up again almost right away. This turns your 400-500 health steroid into a 800-1000 health steroid . Another good trick is to use Titan's Wraith to double attack. Casting it resets your attack timer. So if you time casting it to coincide with the end of an auto attack you will instantly auto attack again.

- Riptide: Your aoe slow. Some things to note, it cascades out from where you cast it, not where you are if you move. Also if an enemy is retreating and you time it right you can hit them 5 or 6 times getting max damgae.

- Dredge Line: This skill is great, it's a gap closer, a knock back, and an escape tool all in one. If you're getting ganked remember you can use it to run away by hooking walls. The range on this is incredible too, opponents will often under estimate it. Also make sure if you miss you won't hit terrain and end up in a bad spot, I've accidentally hooked myself into towers a few times.

- Depth Charge: This ult is amazing. It's range is incredible. In team fights I try to target a squishy in the back because then it will hit multiple targets and do good damage to a carry.
Summoner Spells
- Smite:Always always always get Smite if you jungle. I don't care if you don't need it. It makes jungling faster. It secure Barron and dragon. It is key for counter jungling. Take Smite or you're playing wrong, always.

- Flash: This spell is really strong on any champ, but even stronger on Nautilus. Your gank range is incredible with this. You can flash, then Dredge Line for incredible range. Opponents will often underestimate this.

Alternate summoner spells:
- Ignite: If your team has excellent gank possibilities by having strong cc (taric or sion for example) in nearly every lane consider Ignite. Or if your team has nearly no debuff to healing and you are verse Soraka.

- Exhaust: If your team is seriously lack in the CC department consider this spell. It allows you to hand 1 additional target in team fights.

- Ghost: Ghost is pretty strong on Nautilus. It allows you as a jungler/tank to show up when you are needed.

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Smart Casting

Smart casting is something you can do to speed up chaining spells together. If you smart cast a spell you no longer click and use the target icon; instead it is cast where ever your mouse curses is over without clicking. This may not sound like a huge a deal but it is, it significantly speeds up how fast you can chain spells, which is important on a champ like maokai.

To enable smart casting join a game (I recommend creating a custom game with all bots to play around with it). Hit Escape, then Key Bindings, and find the "Smart Cast Spell #" options, click them and replace spell 1,2,3 and 4, with q,w,e, and r respectively. I also smart cast my summoner spells and items. This change will be odd at first but it will improve your game play if you get used to it.

Range indicators:
You can actually have the best of both worlds. You can have range indicators display while you are holding a key down and have the spell cast when you let go. To cancel the spell right click anywhere. To enable this follow these steps:

1) Open this folder: C:\Riot Games\League of Legends\RADS\solutions\lol_game_client_sln\release s\\deploy\DATA\CFG
2) Open game.cfg
3) Find "SmartCastOnKeyRelease=0"
4) Change the 0 to a 1.
5) Save the file.