Nautilus Build Guide by Tradicale
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Runes: Personal Standard (See Notes)
++8 ability haste
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
++8 ability haste
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
Ability Order Standard
Threats & Synergies
Morgana is the single most common lane opponent you will face as a counter to Nautilus. However, as you play more Nautilus, you have many more options to play around Morgana than she does to play around you. There will be an in-depth section of the guide explaining these options.
Sett can be incredibly punishing, regardless of whether he engages or you engage. If he engages, you'll get heavily chunked before being able to proc your Aftershock. If you engage, he'll attempt to hit you with the true damage from his W "Haymaker". Also exerts a lot of pressure thanks to the power of Hexflash. Your best option against Sett early is to manage the wave and use that management to make successful roams elsewhere on the map.
If Lulu is quick, she can turn you into a squirrel before you get to execute the rest of your combo after you land your Q. However, you have plenty of ways to punish Lulu outside of this interaction if you play it right.
Soraka will prove to be incredibly challenging for a few reasons. 1. She can silence you with her E after you land your Q, which will prevent you from continuing your combo, root you most times since you won't have enough time to walk off, and can follow up with her Q to heal herself. Play around her cooldowns, focus her first if possible, and ignite will be invaluable so make it count.
The Pyke matchup is fairly okay, but only if you play it properly. When Pyke starts charging up his hook, hook him in response. In the 2v2 fights, if he uses all of his abilities up front (to ensure he has no way out), then focus him down. Otherwise, both you and your ADC focus the enemy ADC.
Leona is problematic for two key reasons: She can CC lock you before you get the chance to proc your Aftershock; and if you go onto the enemy AD she will 1v1 your ADC. Your best options against her are to roam more effectively, and to save your CC to peel your ADC after she looks for an engage.
Mainly a problem if he catches you without/before you can proc Aftershock. Also need to be wary of getting headbutted under tower.
It seems like a good match-up, but thanks to her innate mobility and her ability to hasten her allies with her passive, it's difficult to land your hook on her. Best strategy is to use ult first, though sticking to her is generally challenging.
See the "VS Heavy Poke" section of the guide.
See the "VS Heavy Poke" section of this guide.
See the "VS Heavy Poke" section of this guide.
Early, Nautilus + Kai'Sa have insane kill potential, as Nautilus can charge up two stacks of Kai'Sa's passive thanks to his Q + passive. As a result, this can lead to a lot of early cheesy kills. Later on, adding in his Ult will add more stacks, and Kai'Sa can ult to gap close on a target you catch.
Similar to Kai'Sa, Nautilus can enable Samira's passive early to get a ton of free damage off. Later on, the AOE Crowd Control will leave the enemy team vulnerable to Samira's Ult.
Caitlyn is really strong in that she can place traps down underneath targets you catch.
Lucian's ability to All-In alongside Nautilus makes for very early snowballing.
Miss Fortune Ultimate gets even better when paired with Nautilus. If you get your Miss Fortune fed early, you can usually win mid-game teamfights from you and her.
Similar to Lucian, the ability to All-In is what makes her decent, though if she pushes the wave too quickly from her E passive, you won't have room to all-in the enemy laners.
Draven is the best! Also, he all ins, so that's cool.
Aside from Ezreal using his Arcane Shift to jump into an all in, generally Ezreal has no synergy with Nautilus. You will find that Ezreal will often escape to safety if a fight starts looking bad, and often times that can leave you dead in the depths.
Champion Build Guide
I started League of Legends back in Season 2, and I've been a support main for just as long. While I started with enchanter supports, I got heavily into engage supports and started spamming Nautilus back in Season 9. In Season 10, I peaked in Plat 1 with a 60-75% WR as Nautilus over only ~100 games, and I'm certain I could have climbed higher if I had put more time into playing.
+Easy to play, Fun to master
+Heavy Crowd Control
+Can single-handedly decide a teamfight
+Great for single picks or group AOE
+Decent damage for a tanky support
+Stays relevant late-game
-Squishy if caught and Aftershock is not procced/on cooldown
-Few options to exit fights (this gets easier with mastery)
-Relies on solid decision making skills
The point is, every second that passes by in each game means more variables are getting added to the game, it's becoming more complex, and that's how you end up with "Coinflip" games. In general, and especially as Nautilus, you need to be making proactive plays as early as possible, because that is what will give you the most consistent climbing experience.
First off, in basically every game, INVADE. It doesn't matter if the enemy team on paper is much better level 1, or if your invade is weak from the rest of your teammates, or even if you only have 3 people for the invade because some players weren't paying attention or were AFK. In my experience, most teams are not playing the game as they should in watching for invades, let alone is there enough coordination around stacking in a bush in low Elo.
When the game starts, type "Invade" or "Inv" in chat, buy items quick, and ping two times on the spot where you want to do the invade from (I.E. ping bot lane if invading through bot, or mid lane if invading through mid). Don't bother invading from top.
Make sure you're leading the invade. You need to be in front so you're ready to engage when the opportunity comes up. When you go for an invade, there are a few possible outcomes. I'm going to outline each outcome and what to do from there.
If the enemy starts reacting, immediately assess if you can land a Dredge Line without Flash. If you can, do it. If not, go for the " Flash + Dredge Line" any time you feel confident you can land it. If you do this, they will most times burn their Flash as well (I've even encountered times when I went for the " Flash + Dredge Line" and was going to miss but they Flash anyway). Sometimes they won't burn Flash and you'll catch them, and sometimes you'll miss and they didn't burn anything. Don't stress when the attempt fails, mute teammates if needed and just focus on what comes next. You'll get better at this the more you do it.
Additionally, consider if your Ignite is needed to secure the kill.
If the enemy team spots you and the engage does not look good, walk away with your team as if you're retreating; then go and "loop around" (if you invaded from bot lane, go around and come through mid, and vice versa). Most enemies are not ready for this strategy.
Congrats, a free kill for you and your team
If this happens, then there are one of three possibilities.
Most times, simply wait at the enemy buff and either have your Jungler secure it, or find that the enemy team came back to it because they didn't expect you to wait there. When they least expect you, go ahead and engage (ideally use your Auto Attack for the Staggering Blow passive if they step close to the bush, then use your Dredge Line. Use Dredge Line first if they go to ward it or look like they won't walk toward the bush).
Now, after leashing (if you need to leash), next assess whether you can level 1 cheese the enemy (done by waiting in the enemy tri-bush if you're on red team and waiting in the river brush if you're on blue team).
Once you've done all of this, you're ready to continue the pain train.
Gold and below: Go for the Level Two cheese. There's a reason this strategy has been around forever, and it's because in lower Elo most players don't truly respect the Level Two power spike. If you make it in time to lane to be around for all of the experience, you'll hit this after the entire first wave + the first three melee minions from the second wave. There are plenty of wave management guides out there, so the quick note is, make sure you have an advantage on clearing the wave (you want to hit Level 2 before them), but don't push too fast because you need enough room in the lane to engage and kill the enemy laners.
Platinum, but can benefit other Elo's: When in Plat, especially higher up in Plat, most enemies will be aware that you're looking to Level Two cheese them, and as such will start backing off if they fail to contest your push. Instead, I would recommend trying to pull off a cheater's recall if possible.
Cheater's recall: There are plenty of guides on this as well, but essentially you set up your wave so that you slow push waves one and two, then crash your third wave and quickly recall. You and your ADC get to buy a cheap item early and return to lane fully refreshed without missing much CS.
Those are some basic strategies for the beginning of lane phase, but what do you do after those strategies? Well, this question highly depends on what position your wave is in.
Neutral (Wave is even, minions are in the middle of the lane)
When the wave is even, you need to be constantly looking for opportunities to engage. There's a lot to be said about how to engage, which is why later in this guide there is a section called "The Art of Engaging" where I will outline everything you could ever want to know about fighting.
Pushing away from you
If the wave is pushing away from you, you either need to be planning something off of a slow push (such as a back, dive, roam, etc), or ensuring the wave crashes under the enemy tower entirely by pushing it with your ADC super fast. If the wave does not crash properly, assess whether the enemy laners are pushing back or attempting to freeze the wave. If they attempt to freeze, you ABSOLUTELY MUST go and make a play around the map elsewhere, at the very least make yourself present around the map so the enemy bot lane feels like they have to push the wave to punish your roam.
Pushing towards you
If the wave is building up, sit back and wait until you can clean up the wave on your side first. You want minion advantage when taking fights if possible.
VS Ranged Supports
When facing against ranged supports, you need to be mindful of how far up you can stand in lane. Only approach minions when necessary, such as when securing one of your Relic Shield procs or setting up the wave to make some type of a play.
You should be doing one of three things in lane:
1. Stay parallel to your ADC (you both are equally far from the enemy laners)
2. Use bushes to conceal yourself, exert pressure, and can be used to zone enemies if you're able to freeze the wave on your side.
3. Stack on top of your ADC (if you're in a VS ranged matchup and they have bushes warded
1. Vision Control
They are listed in this order because this is the order they must come in. You must first secure vision (which I'll outline in a separate "Vision" chapter), then look to make picks, and finally look to secure objectives off of those picks.
Late game will be much the same, though in the late game there may be the need to emphasize peeling for your carries instead of looking for the engage. You need to assess the number of Assassins/Burst Mages/Divers on the enemy team, your carry's carry potential, and the number of engage champions you have on your team. If you have no engage options on anyone else but yourself BUT ALSO need to peel, wait for the enemy team to engage and be ready to protect your team from it.
THE GOLDEN COMBO
Start with casting your Depth Charge on your target. Once the Depth Charge hits them, throw your Dredge Line at them so the hook hits right as they're about to land. Follow up with an auto attack, then cast Riptide, auto attack, and then Titan's Wrath to get the auto attack reset. When in doubt, stick to this combo. I've had enemy ADCs type in chat to me saying, "Guess that was the only way you could land your hook? ;)" Do not listen to them and try some crazy fancy maneuvers, just stick to this combo because they're only saying that since they are unable to do anything against it most of the time.
If you do not have Depth Charge yet, just do the rest of the combo and skip the first step.
Now that you know the golden combo, let's talk about the variants.
This combo is the same as the golden combo, except instead of casting Depth Charge first, you cast your Dredge Line and then follow up with your ult after the hook has landed. The big reason/time you want to do this is during teamfights. In specific, if you see their team grouped up, you Dredge Line onto the closest target, then cast your Depth Charge on a key backliner. This version will knock up more people, and if you combine this with any other big AOE ability, will single-handedly win teamfights.
This version of the combo is designed to put all of your burst up front. While less damage overall, it's good when looking to very quickly burst a priority target. You can also opt to cast Dredge Line before Depth Charge if it feels more natural.
Let's break it down:
LEVEL 1 Warding
Before you even load in to game, you should start considering how the game could look on paper as a baseline. Take a look at each team comp, compare each lane, and determine very roughly how the matchup should go. For example, noting that top lane is Riven vs Yasuo (two very aggressive, melee champions), you can expect that lane to be a "volatile" match-up. Alternatively, maybe mid lane is Aurelion Sol vs Akali, where you could expect that lane to include Aurelion Sol permanently pushing the wave under Akali's turret.
Once you've done that for each lane, you should have some type of rough narrative indicating what each lane's expected outcome is (I.E. Top lane is Volatile, Mid lane your mid laner will be permanently pushing the minions under the enemy tower, and your lane is all in vs all in). Now, next look at the Jungler s for each team. Building this understanding takes time, but think about the ideal starting route for each Jungler (If you're unsure, you can always pull up a MOBAFIRE guide on each Jungler and skip ahead to starting Jungle routes.
Once you have this baseline, there is an incredibly important decision you need to make from the very start of the game, which is: What am I going to do with my first ward?
The answer to this comes down to a very few key pieces of information, which is why we start by establishing a baseline for how the game can go. First, decide if you will need your ward in lane.
For instance, if you're playing against an enemy support that provides lots of pressure via bushes (think Blitzcrank or Hextech Flashtraption Sett as some examples), you may want to save your ward for lane because you need the vision to help alleviate the pressure placed on you and your ADC.
Another scenario is that you will absolutely need your ward to watch for a Jungle gank . For instance, if the enemy team has an Elise and they started in their top-side Jungle , you will be at increased risk of getting ganked early since she typically will do a Three-Camp Clear (Buff + Buff + Gromp).
Finally, you may decide that you do not need your ward. For instance, if you're laning against Tristana + Soraka and your ADC is on a late-game carry such as Vayne, it is more likely that you will end up just sitting under turret until your Jungler comes down to gank.
If you do not need your ward, you should place your ward in the enemy jungle after you performed the invade mentioned earlier in this guide. You'll find that roaming to top lane is one of the more difficult things to do on Support, but dropping a ward in the enemy jungle during your invade is one way to help your other laners without actually showing up at their lane. Drop the ward , if you see a Jungler show up, communicate that with your team, and if you don't ever see the Jungler pop through when you think you should have seen them by now (say you warded the enemy bottom-side buff, but it's been almost 3 minutes on the Rift and they haven't shown on that ward), be sure to also call that out and Question Mark Ping the top-side jungle. This will be a clear sign that the enemy Jungler is either counter-jungling your Jungler 's top side, or looking to potentially make a play in Top or Mid.
To keep building on the knowledge we just talked about, as the game progresses, take mental notes on ways the game is different than how you originally thought it would go. Individual players are different than the champions they are playing; keep these things in mind so you can make decisions tailored to the individuals you're playing against (For instance, you could have a Vayne as your ADC, but perhaps YOUR Vayne is an aggressive player, and demonstrates in-game that they have good knowledge on how to play Vayne early. Knowing that knowledge means you may end up playing more aggressively into a match-up that you wouldn't "on-paper")
To this point, during the first few waves, start absorbing any of this information that you can, both from your team and the opposing team. We'll circle back to this, now let's talk about early game vision scenarios.
We mentioned before that there are 3 possibilities right from the get-go:
2. You absolutely need your ward to watch for ganks
3. You do not need your ward
If you need your ward for lane, then you should first see how the wave is going to move. As an example, if you're in the high-pressure lane we mentioned earlier against Hextech Flashtraption Sett, chances are that the enemy lane will have priority (meaning they get to walk more freely around in lane than you and your ally do). As a result, they will most likely be pushing the initial wave into you. In that scenario, I would ward the lane brush closest to your tower.
You need to ward whichever bush (or alcove) will be used by the enemy laners to threaten. Also, if you are looking to start a fight with the enemy laners, have a ward ready to drop in a bush during the fight.
Additionally, as the position of the wave can and often will change, you need to adjust your ward strategy to match. If you're sitting under tower, you will want to ward the brush beside/behind your tower to spot if the enemy team is looking to tower dive your lane. If you're pushing, you'll want to ward the river to watch for ganks.
Now, if you don't need your ward for lane, but you do need your ward to watch for ganks, then buckle up because we're about to go ham.
Before you start warding for ganks, think about what enemy Jungler you're up against. While there are many individual ganking strategies specific for each Jungler , let me break them down into groups to make it a bit easier to plan accordingly.
Standard gankers are champions which have very few ways to reach you very quickly in their kit. They gank best by walking at you very intently with the look of murder in their eyes. Examples of these champions include Udyr, Amumu, Trundle, etc. They may have ways to walk at you slightly faster, or perhaps an ability that will let them reach you if it hits, but generally speaking they mostly come in the same way any person would.
For these Jungler s, you will want to follow the "Standard" warding strategy. I.E. When you're pushing, ward the river if you're on blue team, and ward the enemy tri-brush if you're on red team. If you're sitting under tower, ward defensively in the brush near tower to spot dives.
Speedy gankers are the gankers that caught the Zoomies from Yuumi. Some examples of these champions include Hecarim, Nunu & Willump, and Predator junglers in general. Similar to Standard gankers, they also look at you with murder in your eyes, but instead of walking they run at you.
There are two specific changes to your Standard warding strategy. First, when warding outside of lane, you need to ward further away from lane. If you would ward river brush, you need to ward mid-way into the river. If you would ward the enemy tri-brush, instead ward behind dragon pit or over the wall towards Krugs Second, if given the chance to leave lane, you need to ward behind the enemy tower, generally in the middle between the enemy outer and inner turrets. If these champions cannot gank you from outside of lane, they can attempt to "lane-gank" you by running at you from behind their allied tower.
Jumpy gankers also have the intent to murder in their eyes, but by the time you see their eyes, it's too late as they've already popped out from over a wall to gank you. Examples of these include Zac, Rek'Sai, and Jarvan IV. These types of champions change your warding strategy the most from the standard gankers.
Step 1 against these types of champions would be to ward over walls, especially walls that are most popular for those champions to utilize. For instance, if you're against a Rek'Sai and you're on the Red Team, you'll generally want to have the tri-bush next to your tower warded, because Rek'Sai is known for using that spot as a strong ganking position. In general, warding over walls becomes much more powerful, though there are a few extra locations I'll note now.
River, right in front of Dragon pit - You'll want to ward this because some champions such as Jarvan IV will use their jump to hop over the back wall of Dragon pit, in order to avoid wards around bot lane.
The lane brush closest to the enemy turret - The scenario goes like this, when you've pushed the wave under the enemy tower, drop a ward in the bush closest to that tower as the wave starts coming back toward your side of the lane. Sometimes, (especially if you've been avoiding ganks like a pro up to this point in the game) the enemy jungler will try to perform a "lane-gank" by getting into the bushes unseen. If you're successful in spotting these, successfully negating these ganks will mean your team gets a huge advantage for free (because the enemy jungler wasted their time, your team knows and can make decisions off that knowledge, you don't die, etc).
*Note that any jungler can perform a lane gank this way, but it tends to be most common in junglers that have "gap-closing" abilities.
Special gankers are the one's that create their own little category because they're simply so unique. I'll very briefly list each one and the strategy to employ:
Evelynn - When she reaches Level 6, your Standard warding strategy is going to become vastly weaker because of her passive invisibility. As such, the most effective way to avoid her ganks is to ward her jungle camps directly whenever given an opportunity. You will see her when she attacks the camps, which means you can track whether she is on the bottom side of the map. If she is, do not look for fights until you're certain she's on the other side of the map.
Kayn - Kayn is a hybrid between a Speedy ganker and a Jumpy ganker (since he can path through walls). Invoke strategies from both styles of ganker to best defend from his ganks.
Nocturne - Once he hits Level 6, avoiding his ganks becomes much more difficult. You need to ward his jungle in order to track him, avoid taking fights until you know he's on the other side of the map, and hug your ADC if the threat of his gank is around, because you're one of few champions that can both break his spell shield and follow up with CC afterward to peel. Bonus tip: Look at each spot physically on the map where you knew your allies to last be when Nocturne casts his ult. You can figure out where he is located because his Duskbringer ability leaves a black trail on the ground, which is visible through fog of war. Ping on the spot that you see it.
Twitch - Treat him the same way you would treat a Speedy jungler. When he starts his stealth, it's usually around the same locations that a Speedy jungler would appear.
Take a breather, you've earned it :)
Now, bringing it back, we mentioned that there are times that you do not need your wards . This idea all comes back to that initial picture we made of the game. If your ADC is Samira, and the enemy bot lane is Ezreal Janna, odds are likely the enemy jungler is not looking to come bot lane that often. Also, some good news is, since you're Nautilus, generally your jungler will enjoy coming bot lane since you provide great gank assist.
If you do not need your ward for your lane, then use your ward to support other lanes.
Use any opportunity to roam (any time you push successfully to tower and get to roam, or anytime you back and don't need to be back in lane right away) as an opportunity to ward.
But where should you ward for your team? That brings us to...
Where you ward when you get the chance to do so for your other laners is going to be similar to the mid/late game warding strategy, so let's talk about both here.
There are three broader types of warding you will do, which are as follows: Defensive Warding, Neutral Warding, and Offensive Warding.
Defensive Warding - This type of warding is used when your team is behind. You will typically ward jungle entrances or within the jungle as a whole.
Offensive Warding - This type of warding is used when your team is ahead. You will typically ward the enemy jungle.
Neutral Warding - This type of warding is used when the game is even. You will typically ward around river and jungle entrances for either team.
When you're progressing through mid and late game, you need to look at where the next objective your team will want to prioritize is on the map. If you see that dragon will be spawning in two minutes, you'll want to ward for it. If both dragon and Rift Herald / Baron Nashor are both going to be up in that much time, you'll want to determine which one you/your team will want to prioritize. If neither are up, ward according to which turret objective your team will want to focus on next.
Now that we've talked about what you want to ward , let's address how you should go about warding all the things you want to see.
For the life-based objectives ( dragon / rift herald / baron nashor ; ward the side of the map of the objective you will be looking to take around 1:30 before the objective spawns, based on which warding strategy is most relevant to your game right now
So if your team is behind, you'll want to Defensively Ward your side of the jungle leading up to the objective you want.
Additionally, be sure to ward the objective itself.
A few more special notes for these objectives in specific:
"The ol' Pink-Green" - Sometimes if you place a Control Ward and a Stealth Ward in the entrance of the pit, the enemy team won't use a Sweeping Lens on that objective because, after all, who would double ward an objective ;)
Control Ward placement - When warding the objective, be sure to ward right in front of the objective (inside the pit). If the enemy has their Control Ward off to a given side of the pit, put a ward on the complete opposite side, because sometimes those Control Wards will not cover the entire pit.
For the tower objectives, ensure that the jungle next to the objective is warded, and also ensure vision control behind the team to ensure you do not get flanked by the enemy team.
Finally, there's the when to ward. As mentioned, you'll want to start warding a given area about 1:30 before the objective spawns/will be focused. One thing specific to Plat and below, is that generally warding is going to be highly driven by you. So after setting up your first set of wards, get a recall off by no later than 0:45 before an objective, restock on wards, and walk back to the area being contested. You'll want these wards to help recover vision lost from the enemy Sweeping Lens/ Control Wards, and also to ward areas that are dark during the team fight. Ensuring you keep vision during a fight can make or break a fight.
1. Max Dredge Line first (Second ability set in this guide)
Having the additional cooldown reduction will help when trying to force fights.
2. "Slowroll" your Dredge Line
If you know Morgana's Dark Binding is on cooldown, you can walk at her/her ADC menacingly, and wait to see how they respond. If they move from side to side while walking, you will catch up with them and can simply auto attack to proc your Staggering Blow first, then cast Dredge Line accordingly.
3. Fake Dredge Line
Some of Nautilus taunts (Control 1-4 by default) can be used to act as if you're casting your Dredge Line. Walk at the enemy laners as if you're going to cast your Dredge Line, then use one of your taunts and see if you can blow a Flash or get Morgana to cast Black Shield. I've found that this works less the higher in Elo you go, but I've definitely gotten players to blow Flash from this trick in Gold.
4. Go One-for-One with Black Shield
Black Shield is on a longer cooldown than Dredge Line early, so you can always go One-for-One by casting your Dredge Line into her Black Shield, just be sure to set yourself up for the re-engage when Dredge Line is back off cooldown.
5. "Miss" your Dredge Line
You can deliberately act as if you're throwing your Dredge Line at one of the enemy laners, but actually aim to hit terrain with it instead. Be sure to think through it, as you don't want to pull yourself closer to the enemies and then get hit by Dark Binding, but if you do this, you will get a 50% mana and cooldown refund on Dredge Line (most players don't know this). This will give you a larger window to throw a second Dredge Line before Black Shield is off cooldown.
6. Hit 'em with the Misdirection
Act as if you're looking to target one player (for instance the enemy ADC), then throw your Dredge Line at the Morgana instead. The longer you act this out (as an example, spending several waves aggressively moving towards the enemy ADC), the more safe the other player will feel, which can sometimes result in Morgana casting Black Shield on the wrong target.
7. Burst Right Through
In the mid-game, depending on how Morgana chooses to level her abilities, you can sometimes use all of your magic damage to break through the Black Shield. This can be especially true if your ADC has some amount of magic damage, like Corki, Kai'Sa, or Varus.
In the late game, you outscale Morgana since you can impact a whole team while Morgana can only protect one person with Black Shield
Now, each of these matchups will vary based on the specific champion performing the poking, but there are a number of options available to you that applies across the board.
General advice for the heavy poke matchup
Before your game even starts, you need to look at your runes. In the Notes section of this guide, I mentioned that you should be adjusting your armor and magic resistance runes based on the combination of the enemy bot laners + jungler . When facing against a heavy poke support, you need to weigh them more importantly than the ADC and Jungler when making your decision. Also consider what amount of the time each champion would be trying to attack you.
As an example, let's say you're facing against Zyra and Vayne bot lane. Without knowing what Jungler the enemy team has, I would take double magic resistance runes because Zyra is expected to do most of the harassing in lane. If they have an AD jungler (let's say Xin Zhao), then you need to consider how likely they are to come bot lane. If it's often, you may have to take the standard health and armor runes. If you're unsure, you could also take health and magic resistance as a nice in-between.
When kicking off a game against one of the heavy poke supports, you need to determine whether you'll be soaking up the harass during the early game, or if you'll be trying to engage onto the enemy laners to kill them as your means of winning the game. This generally comes down to two things: The team comps/each team's game plan, and how each player of your team plays. For example, if you are paired up with a heavily scaling ADC, and they play defensively as a player, then your overall game plan should be to soak the harass and let your ally scale.
Keynote: Deciding to let the team scale is also highly dependent on game state. If your team overall is winning, and/or if the team comps are such that your team scales better than the enemy, then you should play it safe and stay defensive. HOWEVER, if your game plan was to play defensively, but you see that your team is starting to lose, and/or your team does not scale as well as the enemy team, then you need to look a bit more aggressively for opportunities to turn the tides.
If your plan is to soak up harass, then one option is to rush Knight's Vow. This rush is good for two reasons: First, it will help your ADC by allowing you to absorb some of the damage they take. Second, it will help your own survivability because of all of the raw stats in the item (Ability Haste, HP, and 300% HP regen). Finally, in lanes like this you can use your shield as a means to help absorb damage, since you'll also be using some of your rune synergies ( Shield Bash is one example thanks to the built in armor and magic resistance buff) in conjunction with your shield to protect yourself.
You will encounter many poke supports, and the number will continue to grow over time to be sure, so I'll outline the most common ones here as of this patch. If there are any in specific you've run into that you have questions on, please post the question on this guide and I'll update to include info on them.
Ashe - This is one of few supports where you would want to bring double armor since her early game damage will be physical (Even if she will eventually be building ability power). Thankfully, as is true of ADC Ashe, she is very immobile and very squishy, so go for the engage if you've stayed healthy enough. Also, to stay healthy, keep the minion wave between you and her whenever possible to protect from her poke. If you are healthy but your ADC is not, you can use your body to soak up the harass for your ADC.
Brand - This matchup is the bread and butter of the heavy poke support matchups. The only challenging aspect of this matchup is that you are a big boi, and as such are very easy to land skill shots on as the Brand. Generally speaking, so long as you maintain decent health in lane, you can look to engage on him and blow him up since he is squishy and immobile.
Lux - Literally Brand, but with less fire. Treat her the same way you would Brand and you should be all set.
Maokai - The sole reason I decided to add this section of the guide. Maokai, in my opinion, is one of the most difficult heavy poke supports to deal with as Nautilus. The pitfalls of many other heavy poke supports don't apply to Maokai: He can dodge your Dredge Line with his Twisted Advance, heal during lane with his Sap Magic, and completely deny bush control from Sapling Toss. Additionally, like Leona, he has the potential to ignore you and dive your ADC during a 2v2. If the enemy Maokai plays aggressive, punish them whenever their Twisted Advance is on cooldown. If they play passive, wait patiently under tower (as your lane will most likely be pushed into you), avoid saplings/walk them into the wave as much as possible, and conserve resources until you can receive a gank. If your ADC is having difficulty with the saplings, you can absorb the hits for them.
Shaco - He is less challenging than Maokai, but tougher than most heavy poke supports. He can trap you in with his boxes, bait you into them when you look to engage, dodge your Dredge Line with his Deceive, and dodge your Depth Charge and Dredge Line with his Hallucinate. In this matchup, do not look for the engage unless your team is rotating down, as Shaco has too many tools to deny your engage and even get a counter kill in the process. If you do engage, always do so onto the enemy ADC. Best options here are to soak and scale, or make sure your ADC is safe and then roam.
Zyra - She is treated almost the same as Brand, with one very notable exception. Her plants will be a decent obstacle to play around, because it's quite possible for her to block your Dredge Line with her plants. Assess the skill level of the Zyra player, if they have slow response times then you can look for the engage as you would with Brand. If they show they have respectable response times, wait for Zyra to use a lot of abilities, destroy plants when it is safe by stepping on them, and then look to engage during windows when she is waiting on cooldowns. Special note: If she lands her Stranglethorns on you, you can throw your Dredge Line to a nearby wall just before the Knockup occurs from her ult. The timing can be challenging, but if done right you can pull yourself out after the knockup started.
1. Dredge Line can be used to hit terrain as an escape. That knowledge is a bit more common. However, after you cast Dredge Line but before the hook hits, you can also cast Riptide, which makes for a useful getaway. (You could cast Depth Charge during this window as well, but the uses for that are much more fringe case)
2. If you need to engage a fight but also peel and get out, you can use Depth Charge to engage, then Dredge Line to an enemy diving your backline, both giving an escape and peeling for your carries.
3. Not only should you keep wards on you to light up areas during fights, you can also turn wards into combat wards. The logic is a bit rough, but very simplified, each player moves using their mouse, and they attack in one of a few ways. Some people use the "attack-move" feature on the ground, some use that feature on the target they're attacking, and some people click their mouse directly on the target. If you're in a desperate pinch, you can drop wards on top of your ADC/other carry. Very rarely, you will place the ward in the same spot the enemy clicked their mouse to attack. If that enemy is an ADC, that could be a Critical Strike, so while it doesn't come up often, I have saved an ADC or two with this trick.
4. Nautilus is a big boi. He's so big that you can legitimately try body blocking the enemy to protect your carry by getting in the way of the enemies path, akin to being minion blocked.
5. If you do not have Mobility Boots, you can use your Dredge Line on terrain on the way to lane to get back to lane faster. I would not recommend doing this once you have Mobility Boots.
6. Speaking of Dredge Line, if you "Attack-Move" a nearby enemy (such as a minion) that is not affected by Staggering Blow, then immediately cast Dredge Line in a different direction as the auto attack starts to land, you will glitch out the animation, which will result in your Dredge Line coming out of the side of your champion.
7. On a similar note, if you're about to be affected by a crowd control ability, your Dredge Line can be animation buffered. For example, if you are about to fall asleep from Sleepy Trouble Bubble, you can cast Dredge Line, then when you are asleep the hook will emerge from your sleeping body and can pull you to safety.
[Update 2/5/2021] Additionally, as I think about things that I debate to put into the guide, I'll put a note here to get your thoughts on what you would prefer.
2/5/2021 - I've been running into players who run various forms of Guardian Nautilus. Please feel free to drop a comment saying whether you would like me to talk about that build or not.