Engage, Tank, Peel, Repeat...
Threats to Nautilus with this build
|Blitzcrank||Block his grab for your ADC and it becomes a free engage for you! Just make sure you don't get grabbed into their turret and you will be fine. Punish his grab misses as it has a long CD.|
|Sona||She has no peel pre level 6 so you will usually win all ins. If you play too passive, she will out sustain and out poke you.|
|Soraka||She is very squishy as her heals reduces her HP. Engage on her and the enemy ADC but watch out for her heal spam so extended trades are not recommended. Trading with the enemy ADC will force her to heal, lowering her mana and HP.|
|Thresh||Generally not a problem as your engage and peel is equal if not better than his. All in only when his hook or flay is down, otherwise you may get caught out.|
Update: I've being playing less of Nautilus recently so I won't be updating this guide. I will leave it here because the strats and combos remain relevant. Items, masteries, runes etc will be out of date so take note!
Season 6 update: Even with the changes in Season 6, Nautilus remains relevant due to his innate tankiness and endless utility. I strongly believe that Nautilus support will remain viable (perhaps not optimal) for a long time to come due to these reasons. Unless he gets a remake, the only major foreseeable changes are to his itemization.
Hi there, I am GeneralKenobi. I started playing LoL at the beginning of Season 5 on the OCE server. I normally main support and jungle so I found Nautilus to be an extremely fun and versatile champion to play in both those roles. This guide will focus on support Nautilus, a role which he excels at. I started out playing poke/sustain supports like Sona and Soraka but have since found Naut's engage and peel a superior fit for my play style. In total I have played around 200 games with Naut. I am by no means an expert but with this guide I hope to introduce this awesome champion to other players starting out in the support role.
Let me assure you the satisfaction of a good engage and peeling for your ADC while they shred the enemy team matches or surpasses that of scoring a Pentakill (kind of).
I hope you enjoy this guide!
Pros / Cons
- Insane amount of crowd control.
- Reliable engage with ultimate.
- Ability to peel all day with your passive.
- Slow movespeed.
- Mana problems if you spam your shield.
- Can be kited.
- Hook cannot go through walls (but you can use it to gap close on terrain).
1/Oct/2015: First version, basic build, runes etc
8/Feb/2016: Updated for Season 6. Fundamentals still apply, updated some items and masteries.
Go for health, armor and MR for runes. Support Naut really doesn't need any AD, attack speed or AP. His AP scaling isn't that great and rune slots are better spent on increasing his tankiness as you will be constantly in the middle of squirmishes.
In this section I will focus on the intricacies of using each ability. For the most up to state stats on each ability go to this link on the LoL Wikia: Nautilus LoL Wikia page
Passive: Staggering Blow
Basically, use this when ever possible, it's a non-skillshot root that is basically free...just use it! The root gets longer as you level up. Pay attention to the ring that appears around a unit after you have applied your passive. The circle winds down and when it disappears, you can re-apply your passive.
(Q): Dredge Line
Your one and only skillshot, it has no wind up and the hook speed is actually quite fast. Because of this, you don't need to over compensate for the enemy's movement too much when aiming it. Use it to gap close and to travel as long as you know you won't need it before the cool down refreshes.
Get this as your starting item. It gives you extra money with the last hit which is shared with your lane partner when you have the charges up (the blue spirit things that surround you). Prioritise the cannon minion as it gives you the most gold. It also gives you and your ally a little sustain, though overall Naut is not a lane sustain champion. You can upgrade it to Targon Brace if the laning phase is extended, otherwise leave it un-upgraded as it is better to build your sight stone/righteous glory first.
As a support you must ward for your lane in the early game to prevent ganks. Throughout the rest of the game, ward deep if you know their jungler is not around and keep dragon and/or baron warded at least 1-2mins before spawn.
Eye of the Equinox
The new sightstone changes in the pre-season has introduced this item which blends vision with innate support tankiness. Unless you specifically want the shield from the Face of the Mountain, this item slots in nicely as a cost effective item for Naut.
Use it for initiation. For single targets, run up and apply your passive root. For multiple targets, E to slow the enemy team and root the enemy ADC. A good rush will cause the enemy to flee and break formation if they are not organised. This will set you up for picks and good team fights. Remember that the reactivation of RG will trigger a slow aura, so don't use your E straight away if you've managed to aoe slow with RG. The slow on RG can also be situational used as a slow to escape, just activate then reactivate immediately to trigger the effect, however it's much better to use the slow aoe from Randuins as you will be wasting the speed boost if you are running AWAY from the enemy.
Locket of the Iron Solari
Provides AOE MR, and since you are the support, you will almost always be around your team to apply this aura. Remember to pop the active on solari in team fights to provide a small shield to allies. I find the shield is quite tiny soso use it to save allies on really low hp or as a boost to your own W shield to prolong your AD boost when shielded.
Grab this after you get Sightstone. Save it to clear dragon and baron pits to deny enemy vision. Sweep in usual ward spots at other times to setup ambushes and deny enemy info on your team movements. Upgrade to Oracles at level 9 so that you can clear multiple wards with one activation.
Provides excellent health and armor. Don't forget to use the active AOE slow in team battles.
Dead Man's Plate
Gives you additional move speed for engage. Use the saved up attack damage on turrets and to initiate with your passive.
How to Play
You don't need mana sustain as your skills are cheap (just don't spam your hook). Get 4 biscuits and you will out sustain your enemy.
IMPORTANT!!!: If your ADC partner is co-operative, try to rush a faster level 2 then your enemy laners, at which point all in with your Dredgeline, Passive, Riptide combo. It is almost a guaranteed trade in your favor. It is unlikely at this point that the enemy jungler is lurking, so it is a safe trade.
Against poke enemies, all in when you see a chance. You will lose against sustained poke if you do not retaliate or force trades.
Try not to engage with your hook, for the same reason you want to engage the enemy if their thresh/blitz misses their hook.
Remember to watch river and tri-bush for incoming ganks (from both the enemy and your own jungler!). If you are pushed to your own turret, also watch out for lane bush ganks and teleport ganks, these can catch you out if you only focus on the river and tri-bush.
Nautilus is not really item dependent with the exception of your engage power spike with Righteous Glory. Generally look for safe picks with hook/passive if you can but ALWAYS peel for your team first. Do not sacrifice your team position for a risky engage.
When a team fight breaks out, apply your passive on as many enemy champs as possible. Spam your E whenever it is on cooldown. Use your ult on the enemy carry or use it to peel for your carry if you've blown all your other CC's. Do not be afraid to use your flash to re-position yourself for a peel (even if it is to apply a passive). Your job is to keep your carry alive as long as possible using whatever means is the most efficient.
During Dragon and Baron fights, remember to sweep the pits and to body block last hits from the enemy team. Your job is to disrupt the enemy, not to land the last hit as your damage is too low.
The basic engage combo is:
- Walk up to the enemy and try to auto attack them. If they are quicker than you but are within the range of your E, then E to slow them down before auto attacking.
- If you managed to AA them without having to E, cast E as the root from the passive wears off. After you have landed the first auto attack, immediately use your W (shield). W is an animation cancelling ability so you will land two quick attacks in succession.
- If they continue to run after being slowed, use your Q to grab them back.
- Repeat this cycle as long as possible, spamming E as the cooldown is quite low. Throw down your exhaust if they are at risk of escaping.
If you feel that the distance to attack the enemy is too great, you will need to engage with your Q to close the distance. Having said that, get as close as you can before throwing the hook. Your hook is fast but it can still easily miss at max distance. Try to throw your hook at the very last moment. If the enemy flashes and you have a clear shot, it becomes extremely easy to land the hook if they are still in range.
I find it situational, but sometimes you can gap close by hooking to terrain or a nearby minion instead. Theoretically this is a higher percentage choice, but I find that without the CC and passive auto that results from a successful hook, the enemy can get away more easily.
Please note that the hit box of your hook is quite big. This means it's not too hard to land the hook at close distance but it also means you need to have a clear shot without any creep or terrain blocking you. Early on, gaps that look hookable will in fact end in a failed hook. Just practice to get a feel of the hook hit box size.
If the enemy is out of range, flashing then hooking is a possible option. However it's always better to save the hook for chasing a slowed enemy. Missing a hook can ruin a team fight/gank.
Engage with Ultimate (Depth Charge)
Try not just walking up to the enemy and ult as the travel time is slow and the enemy has a chance to run away. You can however use your ult to force an enemy out of position to create a favourable intiation. e.g. ulting an enemy will cause them to run, when they are knocked up, you can then hook with accuracy to close the distance. It may seem a waste to ult just to guarantee a hook but remember that if it results in a good engage, you can lock down that enemy with your CC combo.
Peeling Correctly As Nautilus
Nautilus is a peeling machine. Remember, a good peel is often worth more than a good engage as peeling properly normally means that the enemy has used up the spells and summoners. Always try to position yourself between the enemy and your carries and watch for flanks.
Against enemy that can dash and dive, stick closer to your carry to reduce the time you apply your peel.
Ways to peel and when to use it:
1. Using your passive. The best and cheapest way. A ~1.5second root on your autoattack is often all you need to peel for your team. Just auto attack each enemy that tries to engage. You should always use your AA between ability cool downs.
2. E (Riptide), slow down dashing enemies and damage them at the same time. Allows your team to kite.
3. Q (Dredge Line), perfect for pulling back enemies chasing your ADC. You will grab them back and open the chance for you to apply your basic combo. Remember that if your Q hits, you will automatically attack the enemy which applies your passive root.
4. R (depth charge), use it to interrupt channels and generally stop enemies engaging your carry. Try to aim it so the travel path knocks up multiple enemies. Use this for peeling across walls if you are not physically able to reach your ally. If possible, wait for the enemy to blow their escape/zhonyas before using your ult.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this guide and have found it useful.
Feel free to drop me some feedback as I am very keen to improve this to make this useful for everyone.
See you on the fields of justice!