Nautilus Build Guide by Warpborne
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.
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.
People assume certain things of a tank, often without thinking about why. Nautilus doesn't function like other tanks, and that seems to reflect poorly on him. However when you look at what makes a tank, you see how Nautilus breaks the mold while still fulfilling the role. Allow me to be explicit.
League of Legends' tanks work primarily by disrupting the enemy's damage output (stuns, taunts, slows, etc.). In order to work effectively, the enemy needs to get rid of the tank (read: you). This in turn requires you get damage mitigation to do your job.
In the increased time it takes the enemy to stop you, your team will have done their jobs. So, the enemy will often decide to work around you. In those cases, after the dust settles, the remaining enemies won't be able to kill you. You get free reign, and I like that part most of all.
But Nautilus is Different
Nautilus is not an easy champion to play, so if you're reading this guide I expect you already know the intricacies of ganking and tanking. If you need someone easier, Amumu or Rammus have similar styles and will teach you proper positioning.
Like amateur porn, Nautilus skips all the foreplay. Titan's Wrath gives him huge damage potential, but there is a cost; his damage can be shut down if the enemy attacks him. There in lies the point: if they attack him, he's doing his job. He tanks, not with disruption, but by the threat of damage.
The Path of Least Resistance
Nautilus' a jungler due to a simple process of elimination. He can't use the middle lane. He has no form of regeneration or harassment, especially early on, so he isn't a strong duelist. Top lane is out. In bottom lane he can initiate fights, but, unable to trade efficiently, you'll wear yourself and your teammate down instead of supporting.
That leaves the jungle. The route is simple: leash Blue, take wolves, wraiths, Red, then golems before looking for a gank. You should clear it at about 3:45. It is more important to gank than jungle, so don't feel bad about skipping wolves or golems to go save top lane. Note that Nautilus cannot control Dragon.
Despite being pigeon-holed into it, he's probably the best ganker in the game. At level 3 he's got a hook, immobilize, and slow. You can easily (and successfully) gank all three lanes after your first jungle run. Observe:
That Sinking Feeling
Having your jungle invaded will ruin you. Nautilus is initially vulnerable to ganks from enemy junglers because his skill points must be spread out. More importantly if your Red is taken you won't reach level 3 and won't have Dredge Line. You won't be able to gank for several more minutes, crippling Nautilus on into the late game.
Always have someone guard your Red.
Once you've done that you're still not out of the woods (or jungle). The enemy can still delay you but, if you stay sharp, it won't be for long. Observe:
The specifics of runes, summoner spells, and masteries are a reflection of the player. I don't presume to know exactly what you'll need. What I will tell you are the barest requirements for Nautilus to function.
The Clothes Make the Man
Initially your items are set in stone. You'll need the standard fair for a jungler: Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions. As you can see in the videos above, you can acquire Sheen and Boots of Speed before level 6. Your next item is Locket of the Iron Solari because it provides the largest boost to Titan's Wrath. The easiest way to achieve ~60% resistances at this point is Aegis of the Legion. You should acquire it by level 15, then finish Trinity Force by 18.
On a couple very specific notes, Randuin's Omen is redundant because of Riptide. Nautilus also doesn't make good use of Wriggle's Lantern. It doesn't give him control of Dragon and it doesn't help his ganks.
A Big Fish in a Small Pond
In team fights, it isn't enough that you do lots of damage; you have to know where to apply it. Imagine team fights are just large ganks and you won't go wrong. Your job is to keep the valuable targets from escaping.
Depth Charge should be one of your first spells. If you're at a stand off, target someone who is pressing forward to harass. Once the spell goes off, that Ashe has 2 options: stand still and get hooked into your team, or drag the charge through her team. If the fight starts, target someone in the back so you can disrupt as many targets as possible.
During a fight stay focused on their primary damage dealers. Quickly use Riptide and Staggering Blow to keep their melee fighters out of position. It will take your team a couple second to get a handle on them. Then use Ghost and Dredge Line to catch the softer targets. Observe:
A Message in a Bottle
If you're reading this, you probably made it all the way through. Congratulations. Now I want you to write criticisms of the guide in the comments below. Get to it.