Nautilus Build Guide by 9 Ball
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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.
Nautilus is a high powered tank with incredible amounts of both hard and soft crowd control. Thanks to his easy to use initiations and his decent clear time while maintaining high health, most people who do use him seem to prefer him as a jungler. Personally, as a person who mains both Nautilus and support position, I feel like he makes for a decent support.
Now some people have tried to convince me that Nautilus is a poor support, but I never had a bad game with him, and I do not lose often with Nautilus, nor have I ever taken the blame as him for why my lane failed if it did, since normally my lane is the last one to fail. The first reason that makes him a good support is his tankiness, it is nice to have a friend in lane who is hard to kill, and if caught by Thresh or Blitzcrank it does not mean an instant kill. The second is his high crowd control. His first autoattack roots, his Q is a very effective grab, his E applies a decent slow, and his Ultimate ability knocks up and stuns for a short duration afterwards and can hit multiple targets when used right. To me, these levels of crowd control are more than just a little competetive with Blitzcrank's.
Pros and Cons
Before looking at whether you're interested in support Nautilus, it is important to know the pros and cons to him, since you don't want to be counter picked. Additionally, thanks to Nautilus being a comparable support to Blitzcrank and Thresh I will use those here and throughout the guide, since he's viable in most cases those two are, but there are situations where Nautilus excels at. It is also important to point out that since his cons are specific, though I made sure to keep my lists for pros and cons equal, my cons looks bigger only because he needs specifics listed in his weaknesses thanks to him being a viable support in the majority of cases.
-Nautilus is good at baiting and winning trade offs
-Nautilus's grab has utility purposes to it as well
-Nautilus is a great help to junglers, his initiation can easily set up, or he can use his skills to prevent escapes
-He scales well early, mid, and late game
-Nautilus can rapidly push a lane when a need arises
-He is a very hard support to counter
-He can even the playing field against Thresh and Blitzcrank
-He can not assist with lane sustain
- Thresh has a grab with much greater utility, Blitzcrank has a grab that can more easily displace opponents
-Nautilus has no way to assist the carry in escapes in many cases without high risk to self, especially after a bad engagement and his spells are on cooldown
-Lower skilled players will find difficulty in avoiding last hitting with his W damage
-His wide grab, while useful in many cases, when his lane is pushed makes it difficult to trap opponents under the turret
-Heal spamming by his opponent can lead to a hard low level game until his other abilities are up for burst damage
-Powerful pokes from both support and carry at the same time are one of Nautilus's weaknesses, since he has no way to protect his carry from them
For support spells, I see very little reason to grab spells besides these, except maybe Clairvoyance if you decide to go wardless at the beginning, which is a very situational thing to do in the first place. This is because Exhaust gives Nautilus even greater crowd control, which frankly is his strongest factor in laning phase. It is a safe spell since you don't risk last hitting, and compared to spells like Ghost or Teleport, Exhaust does a much better job in terms of preventing escapes and fulfilling your role as CC tank. And Flash, well it simply is always a great spell, but as many CC tanks know nothing gets you around pesky minions and through distance to land your spells like Flash. Under your role you should always be looking for chances, especially while your opponent's Flash is on cooldown, to Flash in and through surprise and CC secure a kill.
Masteries are something I consider to be a bit more flexible, do you want to be more of a bruiser, or straight up tank? Do you want to strengthen his shield up more with health, or would you rather get more armor and magic resist. I entered 2 mastery pages I find to be truly useful, one a more general tank page, while the second specializing in breaking through for the engagement.
As you make your mastery page you'll want to keep a few things in mind though.
1)Since you want early lane dominance, armor goes further than magic resistance in most cases
2)Nautilus is an AP tank, so if you decide to go 9/21 anywhere, be sure to play towards his AP
3)Your true role is the tank late game, be sure to give yourself masteries for fulfilling that role
If summoner spells are rigid and masteries flexible than runes are Mundo and do as they pleases. Runes are personal, they really are. I have only a little bit of advice for dealing with runes.
1)Quints are best for utility, seals for defense, glyphs for magic, and marks for physical attack
2)You are an AP tank who needs to be up front and engaging first
3)You are a support, your spells availabilty, ability to make money, and your mana reserves will determine your ability to help your carry
I have two main different item builds for Nautilus(builds 1 and 2), but I have to admit that every game my final build changes drastically. For the most part I try to build with a series of three things in mind. First, I am the support, so I need to get Sightstone almost every game since vision is key down in bot lane. I am the tank, and unless someone else is the tank, I'm the one in charge of building all the defense. While I don't mention these items in the build, Thornmail, Banshee's Veil, and Locket of the Iron Solari are all options to keep in the back of your mind. However, Nautilus is a really strong bruiser, which are the builds I display, balancing defense with offensive power.
The key to being a good player in league, and especially as support Nautilus, is just recognizing what you need to build that helps the team fights. If there is another tank on the team you can go for more damage, if none concentrate on defense only, if your enemies have a lot of cc than getting Items like Twin Shadows to keep them off your allies will be indispensible.
Here's a general explanation for each item starting with starting items, mid game goals, and finally late game goals. Keep in mind that even starting items will be flexible, sometimes it is better to start with more wards.
- Rejuvenation Bead- One advantage Nautilus has is trade offs, but like many supports he doesn't actually have a lot of health pots. This adds to your early trade off game if needed.
- Faerie Charm- This is a must in my opinion, you need your spells, and need them often. this keeps your mana high enough to go from one fight to the next.
- Sight Ward- You'll need it in many cases, especially for supports who like to hide out there like Nidalee and pretty much everyone else. You may also need it for watching for ganks, and Vision Ward is another buy to consider
- Health Potion- Hey, one makes a difference, especially when they grab Doran's, while their healing you'll be back up and raring to go before their adc is, and deny creeps while your at it.
- Amplifying Tome- This is an item assuming two things, their pushing your lane, and your ally is going to need you to build Shard of True Ice for the mana. Also good if you plan on being a mid game bruiser. As mentioned later though, most cases it is better to go philosopher's stone for your starting item, and many cases you can grab this later in exchange for wards.
Mid game goals
- Sightstone- Even with preseason changes coming in the next few weeks, I still feel like this item is a must on support. Gets you some health, and you don't have to worry about buying wards. Best part is you can open up your trinkets so that you don't need the warding one.
- Seeker's Armguard- Defense and ability power, everything a support tank needs. Seriously, you are going to want Zhonya's Hourglass late game, so grab this early.
- Boots of Mobility- Great for charging in to engage as well as allowing you to maneuver your map swiftly. Best part is it makes it hard for poke lanes to catch you.
- Mercury's Treads- Good tank item if the support is Lux or Nidalee, and when fights break out will help you absorb the cc with minimum effect better. Also the better item for team fights as this will give you a better buff against their mages.
- Shard of True Ice- Good for AD casters since it will help them with mana, as well as giving you tiny bit more cc and ability power. Honestly, unless you start with Amplifying Tome don't grab this.
- Philosopher's Stone- Probably the better money making item in 75% of cases, especially since what it builds into is much better and you won't want to end up selling this item in place of a better one.
Late game goals
- Ruby Sightstone-When you grab this will change, but you will grab it. If you need early map awareness rush this, otherwise grab it after Sightstone when you have 600 gold and nothing you can buy at the time.
- Ohmwrecker-As a tank this is your best upgrade for philosopher's stone. Remember though, it doesn't get you money, so buy this last.
- Rylai's Crystal Scepter- Adds a slow to all your spells, may not seem like much, but it is always nice for keeping that one guy you grabbed rooted in place for as long as possible. Oh... and health... you need that too.
- Zhonya's Hourglass- Armor and ap, massive amounts at that, is this Nautilus's dream come true? No it isn't, until you look at that active. That has saved my skin so many times, and I can't explain how many wasted skill shots have just outright missed thanks to it.
- Abyssal Scepter- This item is just as good as the previous in terms of magic resistance, but instead it's passive helps your entire team out, not just you.
- Wit's End- This has so much synergy with your area of effect spells, your shield, and your teammates. It does have one weakness, not the best tanking item, so keep in mind that if you need more tankiness look somewhere else. Great bruising item though.
- Nashor's Tooth- 3 conditions must be met before this item. First you need another tank on your team. Second you need to have bought Wit's End. Third you need to have a specific target you're building this for, for example they have a bruiser who needs shut down. The reason I suggest this item is because it will be used a bit more often then other situational items.
You may notice I have a couple extra builds up top without any spells or runes suggested, just items. This is to give you an idea on what else you can build with support Nautilus.
Build number 3 is better when you have another tank and don't have to worry about fighting their mage in the team fights. It focuses on damage over time using his shield and Liandry's Torment.
Build number 4 has better defense than the third, and focuses on catching opponents. It gives him large bursts of speed making him difficult to escape in fights gone wrong, and applies more slows to his spells and auto attacks than your opponent can handle and, assuming your teammates are paying attention, has zero hope after you catch them.
Let's go over each item and what situations to use them in detail.
- Ninja Tabi- Gives you some starting defense, and on high ad lanes can make a difference.
- Sorcerer's Shoes- Adds a little more oomph to your spells. Only grab it if you know you will be going straight up bruiser, for example your team already has a tank top and in jungle.
- Twin Shadows- Good option from Kage's Lucky Pick, especially if you need magic resistance for an Ezreal or if you want that speed buff just to help you escape and chase better. Try not to rush this unless you have to, Kage's Lucky Pick makes you some easy gold.
- Liandry's Torment- A bit of health and magic penetration to help deal more damage. The biggest factor is if you grab the right items, you'll be proccing for the double damage everytime. Incredibly useful if you can jump in the middle of the team and hit them all with your E.
- Trinity Force- It doesn't matter what you built so far, you should always keep this in mind, and yet at the same time understand that your low gold from supporting rarely makes this a go to item. Irregardless, you can't question the stats on this. If you need more speed, more damage, more tankiness, more anything, or if you just want a well balanced item this is the thing for you.
- Frozen Heart- Plenty of armor over here, so it will always be worth it. The real reason to buy though is for auto attack dependent teams or carries, such as Kog'Maw or Twitch. That attack speed slow will literally lower their damage output to your entire team by a considerable amount.
- Iceborn Gauntlet- The cooldown reduction and armor are great, but in reality you build this for those annoying Teemo's and the like with great escapes. Once you nab them with your Q it is game over because your first attack will root, deal lots of damage, and slow them down by 30%. Add in a Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Frozen Mallet and even a Flash will struggle to save them.
- Seraph's Embrace- Build Tear of the Goddess first for the mana regeneration. Great item when you run Kage's lucky pick for mana regeneration, and if you build a lot of mana can give you a boatload of AP. What sells me on it is the active though, that shield is nothing to laugh at, especially when combined with Rod of Ages.
- Frozen Mallet- This gives you some great health, which combines well with your shield. It also give your auto attacks a 40% slow. As a CC tank with a move scaling off of health, and a lot of good engagements, yeah, this is nice. Problem is balancing this with your early support items, like Sightstone.
- Rod of Ages- Health, mana, and ability power. This is a good item if you feel your team has enough CC to replace Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Otherwise unless you have Seraph's Embrace don't bother.
- Rabadon's Deathcap- Not a tank item. Literally only get this if your team is so bulky it isn't even funny. Nautilus's spells scale well with AP, so this item is very deadly and makes your initial engagement when you burst your spells crazy deadly.
You have now finished the items section. You probably wasted at least 5 minutes reading this guide, probably more. Take a break. Pat yourself on the back. Good job. You rock. Have a glass of wine and cigar. Nom nom nom nom. CONGRATULATIONS! You are an awesome person.
Your first auto attack does additional damage and roots. The extra damage is nice for fights since it'll give you a damage lead, and the root will help your carry keep them in range. When in a fight with multiple people you should constantly switch targets to root each one and do the additional damage.Remember that after the first hit though it stops working, so once your done go and concentrate only one person, preferably the carry.
This grab makes for a great engagement, and combined with Staggering Blow makes it easy to trade off, especially since after the root they typically try running away rather than attack your retreating self. In addition, its range is misleading. You can land it a little beyond the skill shots range, as well as this grab being the widest in the game making sidestepping near impossible if you aim it straight and true.
Basically you are a portable Teemo shroom. The shield allows you to set off Bushwhack safely as well as other traps. It also adds to your trade off game, since you'll engage the shield first so you can make their efforts to kill you pointless. It also can be used to bait, especially convincing them to turret dive you, which with your CC can make it an easy kill if they were expecting you to die after one shot. You can absorb Caitlyn's ult, and in general block incoming pokes. Best part is the extra damage, when you combine this with Staggering Blow you literally just melt them for your adc to clean up the bloodied mess.
You can use this to help cover an escape with the slow, or to add damage to an engagement, or even do massive damage to a retreating enemy. In general after being caught by Dredge Line an enemy carry will attempt to run. When they do this set off riptide for the slow and damage. When team fights start to break out don't be afraid to run into the middle of the team and use it. Nothing like hitting all of them.
It deals decent damage. It does hard CC to your target, and knocks back everyone trying to peel. Its range is great enough that you can use this for your engage, and when you aim for the carry in the back it rips through and exposes an entire team. Depth Charge is deadly, to say the least. The best part is if you snipe this off from a range, not only is it obvious, but they run away from the slow charge which will ram through anyone they run by in their attempt to escape. Whoops. When you catch their carry or someone on the team who has become godlike feel free to Dredge Line, Staggering Blow, and Depth Charge them while your team works on shutting them down.
Support is one of the most difficult jobs on a team, you manage more active on your items than anyone else and you have the hardest job making money. With proper practice though you'll do great.
While there is much more I could discuss about support Nautilus, this suffices for beginners with both Nautilus and those thinking of using him as support.
Not to mention I don't want to reveal all my trade secrets ;p.
Please rate and leave comments below so I can work on and improve my guide as needed. If you don't know what to think of this guide try it out and keep checking for updates as I attempt to improve and bring this guide to OVER 9000!