Nautilus Build Guide by Tims
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.
Full Build Tank
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.
Threats to Nautilus with this build
|Amumu||You're able to counter gank him pretty well, you have more reliable ganks then he does, and you clear faster. Amumu's strength really lies in his team fight potential.|
Nothing's more terrifying than CC, as any skilled player can tell you. Nautilus is the crowd control king. No other champ can lock down a single opponent as long as Nautilus does and no champ can compete with absolute team presence. He's very team reliant, he will not carry you out of bronze, but as long as your teammates aren't utter trash there is no better tank to be backing them up.
My name is Tim, and was qualifying for gold as summer was starting up before I took a break and fell back down into elo hell since they hadn't added the awesome update that you didn't lose lp in silver back then. (Yi quit jungling and get the towers, Taric why are you maxing stun first, DON'T EVER FIRST TIME A CHAMP IN RANKED WHEN YOU ONLY KNOW 20 CHAMPS AND YOU HAVE NEVER SUPPORTED BEFORE THRESH!!)... Elo hell sucks.
Anyways right now I'm halfway through silver and finally no longer dealing with a bronze V teammate who honestly should be banned from ranked for having a 90% lose rate (matchmaking sucks). I don't plan on really doing much ranked now that the season is over focusing on learning our new preseason changes. However I thought I'd make a guide for Nautilus while waiting for those updates.
The cheat guide is useful, but I like to point out that Nautilus has some flexible builds, he can be a tank or bruiser. There are times when you may even carry a game when you only have two offensive items cause he honestly does some serious damage with only a little. He's a viable support (read the sections on match ups for those, he's very counter oriented) and has synergy with several different team archetypes. With that said the strength of his early and mid game is dependent on your teammates to properly read and understand that when Nautilus has someone it should net either a kill or flash in most cases. Late game, once you have full build and team fights are rampant, he's less dependent on this because he's a such a strong team fighter with engage, peels, and CC he will just naturally allow your allies to dominate. I'll focus mostly on his focus builds, since these are going to be your typical Nautilus games. Also, make sure you have time to read this, Cause I like being thorough.
Smite is simply jungler's best friend. You clear faster with it. It secures buffs. It secures dragon. It secures Baron. A jungler without smite is volunteering their own objective control, trust me. No jungler should go without, even if you survive fine without it. It provides faster clears and keeps skilled junglers from abusing your jungle.
Exhaust is a powerful support spell. While yes, Nautilus already has plenty of CC, exhaust is more useful for team fights because it cripples damage output of their greatest threat as well as locking them down even better. Heal is nice, but in the heat of battle reducing the enemy carries dps by half will save your team thousands of damage compared to the measly few hundred heal provides. For speed boosts just use Talisman of Ascension which has a lower CD and helps your whole team.
Flash is just a plain must for Nautilus. There are a few reasons. First, he has no boosts of mobility, so catching opponents off guard requires this. Second, as a jungler being able to jump walls is especially important. Third, for many champs the only way to stop you're CC chain is to flash... except then you flash making that choice null and void. Fourth this provides an escape, and even if they flash the second or two this earns you may bring you're shield off cool down allowing you to mitigate more damage for your team than otherwise. Final reason is skill shot damage. Nothing feels better than when you flash over a Nidallee spear and on top of her with a hell of CC. While tanking damage is important, if the skill shots aren't going to hit anyone but you there is no reason not to flash to make thousands of damage disappear while their spells are on cooldown.
Standard jungle start. I prefer warding trinket since you can lay it down as your ganking to guard for counter ganks as well as stop jukes in the jungle if anyone attempts to invade or if you have to chase someone into jungle. Nautilus is too slow for an early Sweeping Lens since they'll see him so early before hand while he takes the ward that he won't be able to gank. The big guy is a little slow.
Nautilus has strong ganks, but is so slow that sometimes it doesn't mean anything. Boots are more important than Spirit of the Ancient Golem and these are both the cheapest boots and the fastest for ganking. If you are just farming jungle focus on finishing up Spirit of the Ancient Golem though I still recommend a Boots of Speed to quicken your clear time.
At this point you want to have finished up your SotAG largely for its passives, specifically the ward. At this point you may switch out your warding trinket if you feel the need for Sweeping Lens has arrived. Before mid game ends you want to have built one of the following; Banshee's Veil, Randuin's Omen, or Wit's End. This will be based on the main source of damage of the opponent, though Wit's End is recommended when your team was already snowballing thanks to both its insane gold efficiency and its synergy with your abilities. You also want to be about half way through the next one as well as starting on one of your other items like a Ruby Sightstone or Locket of the Iron Solari.
I'll go over each of the late game items so you know why each is used
Mercury's Treads- Tenacity is strong on tanks allowing them to take main forms of CC and bounce back out for peeling quickly. The extra MR is nice too.
Ninja Tabi- Very nasty against full AD teams. The armor isn't game changing but against a auto attack dependent team will reduce all incoming damage by 10% for very little gold.
Spirit of the Ancient Golem- This item can actually be sold late game in favor of others. However it should be noted it is best to do so only when team fights are short, meaning cdr isn't as important, and if you have not built a lot of health.
Randuin's Omen- The active on this is so good on an already high CC champ that the only reason to give it up is if they literally have no ad on their team, including a lack of adc.
Banshee's Veil-Like Randuin's Omen the only reason to give this up is they have no AP because the passive is such a counter engage.
Ruby Sightstone- Really strong item for vision control. I consider this a must if you plan on using Sweeping Lens and selling SotAG. This saves you the need to buy wards throughout the game and provides some decent health. Even then if most fights are occuring in the jungle this is imperative, and counters assassin teams very well.
Warmog's Armor- Your Titan's Wrath scales better with armor and magic resist, however this still scales well into the late game and when combined with SotAG nets you tons of health and a noticeable amount of health regen that can help you heal up with camps in between fights if you don't have time to back. Also helps handle true damage and large armor penetration opponents like Darius.
Locket of the Iron Solari- Provides decent protection for your team against ap heavy teams and the active before a fight can spell the difference between defeat and victory. Good item to replace SotAG against AP teams.
Frozen Heart- A must when dealing with Vayne and Kog'Maw. The percent shred from their auto attack buffs and Blade of the Ruined King is hard to defend against, and your best bet is to just slow down those auto attacks. A necessary replacement for SotAG when you're facing that percent shred.
Thornmail- Full AD comps will never forgive you. This will stop all lifesteal, and when combined with more armor may even lead to them killing themselves. This replaces Banshee's Veil.
Guardian Angel- Stops executes like Darius and on top of that is great for helping you survive the burst power of mages. I suggest this as a replacement for Randuin's Omen against AP heavy team and as your final item if you find yourself being executed by Garen and the like too early in team fights.
Abyssal Scepter- This should be bought almost exclusively when Wit's End is bought mid game. Between this and Wit's End you will shred enemy MR. This is effective when your team is AP heavy or their team has no tank. With you in the fight your mage will literally be dealing true damage when combined with Sorcerer's Shoes if they lack a tank. If your team is AP heavy you'll be increasing your allies damage by a significant percentage by literally just standing at the front line.
Items: AP Bruiser
For AP items Nautilus performs best with items that provide both defense and damage. His burst will never be as good as a mage, and his greatest source of damage that brings him close is his Titan's Wrath that requires a decent amount of defense to keep the shield up for any sort of duration.
While his core items were already discussed above, I'll go into the last 4 items you can put on him.
This provides the mana for him to push hard and consistently go back into the fray. This is best for when there is a lot of lag between teams grouping up and looking for a stray opponent before the real fight begins as it will allow you to try and harrass with your Riptide as you skirt the front lines. Provides the most health out of any AP items.
Provides some extra slow as well as a significant amount of AP and health. Grab this over RoA if you spend a lot of time chasing, aren't having mana problems, or value more AP over health.
Provides a lot of AP, a decent amount of armor, and a game changing passive. This give you more defensive power than any other item and allows you to dive as if you were a full tank by using the active. Great against AD comps.
I honestly don't recommend this, though I've done it once or twice. This will give you insane boosts to AP at a large cost of tankiness. However, if you have a large lead this will add a considerable amount of pushing power since damage to turrets scales off of AP as well as making your Dredge Line feel like they were hit by a semi truck.
You have all the same options as tank Nautilus. The big thing is Talisman of Ascension instead of SotAG. I won't go into the details of this build other than to say you definitely want Ruby Sightstone in this since there won't be another support to take up that job. Try to stick to support oriented build like the suggested one and remember that as support Nautilus you aren't as tanky and have a bigger focus on peeling and locking down the front line while you're mage and marksman go to town. The only way to effectively use this build is to be able to use your actives consistently and properly. For inexperienced players used to not relying on so many actives you might want to start with an assassin using Deathfire Grasp so you get used to checking your items' CDs.
Your most important ability in both team fights and when doing your combos. View this as a manaless spell, rather than a passive. Every few seconds you get the ability to root a single opponent, and you can in between cool downs you can root different targets. This makes it hard to get past Nautilus's front line. He can easily lock up two opponents with this and that doesn't even include his other abilities. Furthermore if he gets on top of an opponent he can lock them down long enough to secure kills. The bonus damage also helps him push. When supporting or just trying to push quickly be sure to change targets often to maximize damage.
NOTE: Nautilus has a lot of wind up to his auto attacks on top having an animation for both his standard attacks, his Staggering Blow and his Titan's Wrath. Be careful not to stutter step before his attacks land, and familiarize yourself with each animation. Luckily his autos are predictable, so you should have no problems once you practice.
A powerful engagement, this briefly stuns them when it connects so it can be used to disrupt channels and spells. Its wider and moves very fast, making it the hardest to dodge hook unless they have an in built dodge. It has decent AP scaling so on AP bruiser build this can net kills and do damage. Its also starts off most of your combos,though it doesn't do the most damage. There are a lot of odd tricks with this ability though, so read carefully.
The actual range of the skill shot is beyond the indicator. Practice against bots to learn the actual range. Most people are unaware of this as well since the anchor falls short of this range as it slams into the ground when it misses. This means that a lot of players will assume they are out of range when they are not! I don't know for certain, I want to say there is about an extra 75 units of range, but that doesn't matter. Next part is that when you kill unit you move the full range as if you had hit terrain. This means that A, when you're looking for the last hit make sure that you don't accidentally drag yourself into their back up when you kill them, and B this doubles as a powerful chase mechanic. This is especially true as Bruiser Nautilus as he'll likely be able to kill minions with his Q. Nothing will catch them off guard like you pulling yourself the full length, and when chained with Flash and other abilities can get you in close enough to get that kill.
Finally, remember that you can grab even turret rubble along with all other terrain. With blue buff and and at max rank this can make you seriously agile in jungle. Its especially important to use this mechanic when you see another hook shot champ like Blitzcrank and Thresh. I'm not a hundred percent on this, but my experience is that the CC from both grabs work as a vector on Nautilus, meaning (I won't get into the math, but you might want to take some physics) the displacement on Nautilus will be based on how far he gets pulled by his own grab and how far he gets pulled from the opponent's grab. This means he'll land somewhere in the middle, typically zig zagging based on which CC went off first and completely ruining they're engage. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!! Your CD is halfed when you land it on terrain meaning on top of ruining their engage you'll recover sooner meaning you can quickly turn around and reel them in. Oh and you can pull opponents out of Thresh's lantern. Skilled support Nautilus basically counters all other pull supports. Nautilus you devil!
This is your main source of damage and also makes you really hard to kill. A good Nautilus can get about two activations out of this in a team fight meaning that your effective health is thousands more than what it appears once armor and magic resist is calculated in.
On a slightly related tangent that doesn't have a better spot on this guide, every point in armor and mr increases your effective health by 1% of your health. That's to say 100 armor means that with 500 shield you have an effective health of 100% more, that is to say 1000 health with just 500. Like I said, this shield makes your effective health thousands more than what it is.
Like Dredge Line this has several tricks to it. First off there are two ticks of the magic damage, one applied whenever he hits and another that applies shortly after. That means more attack speed ([Wit's End) will significantly increase its damage. Second this scales better with defense because if your shield can be burst down you can't get many attacks. Third, activating his shield will reset his auto attack. With practice and timing you can make his staggering blow upon landing immediately cancel into his next attack. You'll know when you're doing this right due to how awesome he looks swinging his anchor when he does. Fourth and finally, he has one fluid animation per two auto attacks for his Titan's Wrath attacks. As long as you land the first before his shield runs out the SECOND WILL STILL APPLY THE MAGIC DAMAGE WHILE HE FINISHES THE ANIMATION. A neat trick is to interrupt the second half of his animation right as his shield runs out with something like Riptide for max damage since this will do the least to interrupt your wind up between attacks.
This has 100% scaling if you can get all three waves in, and provides decent aoe damage and a decent slow. Most character models are large enough that they will get hit by two of the three waves unless they are moving, one less if towards and pass you and one more if away from you. Since Staggering Blow roots them, if you thing they are going to run immediately it may benefit you to wait half a second for the root to run out to achieve max damage. In team fights you shouldn't wait since you want to get the slow in on every team fight. This combined with Randuin's Omen and Staggering Blow finishes up Nautilus's ability to lock out the front line. He should be able to in narrow fights in the jungles and straightforward fights keep all bruisers away from his carries for a couple crucial seconds, and slow them down enough that the carry can back away from them before they break free. When combined with another CC champ it becomes very difficult to make picks on a team with Nautilus. Try to use this ability sooner rather than later, it has a start up lag, and each subsequent wave takes some time to go off so if you hesitate you're more likely to get no slow in then manage to get them with all three waves. Most champs with boots can outrun the waves so try to get them right before other CC runs out. If the teams are looking for picks you can run to the line of skirmish and use riptide to push your minions forward and slow anyone closing to trying to take advantage of your move forward all while waiting for your own picks.
This is a very large range point and click hard CC that can hit multiple opponents. Once it targets you you can't get out of range, you can't stealth to lose its lock, and you can't dodge it. It will follow you to hell and knock up and pop up all enemies between you and me. Since it follows you even when stealthed and has a different animation when it hits I will know immediately when you're hit and follow it up with my other abilities to lock you up until your stealth is up. It does some pretty decent damage, and will scare away most carries because when they get hit they know they are an easy target. The two ways to dodge it are A, spell shield, and B die before it hits you. If I make this out as some sort of god like engage that's because it is, there is little CC that has a long enough range to keep me from starting it on you first and thanks to the duration of its knock up I will almost always be able to follow up unless you have teammates in the way. Even if I don't reach the target it disrupts everyone in the way opening my carries up for bonus picks. Its not a perfect engage, it has a long CD and Banshee's Veil hard counters it pretty bad, but it leaves a large impact and late game the CD will bring it out for every team fight. I also like using it defensively to keep a jungler from flashing over a wall to try and steal Baron and Dragon. Time it to land on the opposing jungler about 1000 damage before you need to smite it and during the stun your team should be able to deal that damage combined with your smite to secure it.
This section should give you a good idea of how to do different combos throughout the game.
Always auto cancel your Staggering Blow into [Titan's Wrath] on your first hit on a camp. This will allow you to both pop your shield before any of the creeps swing at and maximize your burst on them and get the most out of your aoe magic damage. Always aim for the large creep with your autos. Riptide on the second swing of your Titan's Wrath animation to minimize auto attack wind ups. Remember to put points in your W at 3 unless your confident you can do a strong gank at level 3, then put it in Dredge Line.
Single target combo (No ult)
From now on I'll call this your standard combo. Engage with Dredge Line >> Staggering Blows >> Titan's Wrath do the first auto attack and then Riptide.
Single target combo (Running opponent)
Your opponent is on the run, start off with Depth Charge while you close in. Then chase until it lands and you have a clear shot for the target with your first combo.
Single target combo (with ult)
For this one you're either delaying until an ally comes to back you up or they don't see you coming. Bruiser Nautilus also brutalizes with this combo. Start the standard combo Dredge Line >> Titan's Wrath then when the root goes wait to see if they flash, if they do immediately Depth Charge and then when you catch them either Randuin's Omen if you need it to secure Riptide. After this you'll either be able to soon do Dredge Line or Staggering Blow will be up to help you CC some more. At this point if you still can't get them there is a large chance they if teammates will be there to aid them soon... so take a look at your map, see if you know where they are at and how extended they are, and then make a judgement call on whether to back off. If they don't flash you save your ult til last for the final blow while the rest of your abilities are on CD.
Front line combo
Activate your ult on a carry if possible, if not save it for stopping damage, its a good engage but if your team can't take advantage its better to wait a bit. Start with Dredge Line to pull out the first opponent then Staggering Blow and as the other member of their team catch up use Riptide >> Randuin's Omen to bring their charge to a standstill and Staggering Blow the next closest opponent. After that either use Depth Charge on the opponent closest to your carries to reduce damage and crowd control or get their carries to get their carries to disrupt damage. A good determinant is to decide how many you can get caught with your knock up. After that try to stay on carries. You're CC will force them to either waste CC on you increasing your carries damage or the carries to waste their damage on you (Vayne and Kog'Maw are champs designed for shredding tanks... so yeah make sure someone is attacking them while you are dealing with them or you are dead for no reason). After your front line combo just watch your Dredgeline to drag yourself back to your carries and pull bruisers away from them and root them with Staggering Blow.
Masteries and Runes are very personal, and I feel like there are different approaches, and every update changes what's best for each individual champion.
For now I run most my masteries in defense for Nautilus since he's a tank. My first mastery page focuses on defense for late game tanking as well as a small boost in mobility in utility
Second page moves the utility and some defense for CRD and some AP to help with spamming spells and for the small bit of extra damage.
Third page focuses on early game tanking with some utility to help with surviving the laning phase against an opponent.
You're slow. Especially for being a melee. Boots of Mobility does this job too, but you give up what the other boots bring you. I still like Boots of Mobility as an early cheap item, but in the end tenacity, MR, armor, and a passive for reducing AA damage all outweigh what that brings, so you need speed another way. This here does the trick more than enough.
I find the extra AD helps with clear time better than a bit of AS since you rarely actually focus on building AS. This is mostly for your first clear, but there aren't any real better options. I switch these for armor on support since you have to constantly deal with the carry and this allows your shield to do a better job winning you trade offs.
You don't need a lot of MR early game, and it takes a while to build MR, armor is just easier to get. This helps you get late game MR without having to waste as much money on it.
Armor helps with early game ganks, clear, everything. Armor builds easier, and there's so much percent penetration late game that the few extra points from scaling aren't exactly hurting their DPS a lot. I'm not saying surviving by one or two health points isn't impossible, but in terms of variance (game theory!) its just really not that likely... just frustrating for the opponent on the rare occurrence it happens.
Nautilus excels with aoe team comps and prefers champions who value team fighting over split pushing. In terms of carries he likes ranged carries, but also loves those who can provide some high aoe damage like Miss Fortune or Twitch. He enjoys having another tank or brawler like Darius to help put pressure on the carries and opposing tanks so they can't tank the damage at the front line very well and get to the carries.
Nautilus also performs well with other high CC allies, most notable Blitzcrank and Thresh. During this comp it is safer to build bruiser Nautilus and using your massive CC and damage to shred your nearby opponents thanks to the fact that most of their team will be too frozen in their tracks to focus you down. Typically they'll be looking for ways to reach your carries, and won't even realize that all their damage actually came from the anchor being driven into their sides.
Finally Nautilus performs excellent with AP teams. This is because he scales well with two MR shred items that benefit your team as well. If you have a Sona, Miss Fortune, Ziggs, and Rumble you'll almost always want to grab Wit's End and Abyssal Scepter so that all your ults will cut a gaping whole of true damage all the way back to their carries (True damage results not guaranteed!)
Nautilus doesn't like assassin or split pushing teams. While Jax might be able to brawl well, many prefer split pushing, and Nautilus needs to be with his team to be effective. Its impossible for him to put enough pressure down in another lane to be able to take bot if they go for Jax top, making the strategy less effective. A tank like Nasus would be preferred since with proper farming Nasus will be able to perform his job as damage soaker while simultaneously being able to quickly take down turrets.
Assassins aren't good for Nautilus mostly because of his lengthy CD. Most assassins burst before the opponent can properly react and don't require CC to do their job, just need the opposing tanks preoccupied. Nautilus will only waste his CC before team fights if he uses it to get assists with the assassin when they go for picks. Nautilus's strength is in the duration of his CC allowing DPS to become the main source of damage. Assassins just don't take true advantage of his CC, and he prefers those who can take advantage to punish the opposing tanks and bruisers while they're locked down, something that assassins don't care about anyways. A better tank for this comp is Jarvin IV since he can trap all opposing melees and escape allowing his survival while the assassin can flank around to take out the main objectives.
That's all I have for now. Hopefully I'll get around to updating this with more content later as well as add more in my masteries section. I want to go over more on how to play support as well as match ups and finally under which conditions Nautilus thrives.
Leave any thoughts you have in the comments. If you see an issue with my coding mention it, I know I'm bad, and give advice where you feel like its needed. Also if you hate Nautilus support don't let that shade your opinion on the whole guide. As I said he's situational, like Gragas jungle. As some of you may know in the LCS earlier this season someone pulled off Gragas jungle, and then every bronze player and their wood followers decided that means that Gragas jungle is viable all the time. It wasn't, isn't, and will forever be a situational comp relying both on your opponents not being sure how to react to it, having a proper comp to support it, and finally your opponents comp being one that can't punish it.
Likewise Nautilus support works the same way, and you'll notice his last three match ups are just plain statements of avoid it if possible. That means you shouldn't instalock Nautilus support.