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Nautilus Build Guide by Aelfinn2

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.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Aelfinn2

Lost and Forgotten

Aelfinn2 Last updated on April 5, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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This is a my AP support tank build guide for Nautilus. I have had some success with this build, which really takes advantage of his shield and gives him enough health to be a great tank, while still building enough mana and cooldown to do be a great disabler and do some damage in a fight. This build is intended for longer games and can take some time to reach full potential but at the end makes for a relatively high damage, nearly invincible Nautilus. If you are having difficulty early game you may want to play with the build to help your survival rate.

This is in particular a support/tank build intended for play with a high damage partner in lane, as that is my favorite play-style with him. However, Nautilus also makes an extremely good jungler or is quite capable of soloing top lane. I intend to add those aspects to this build as i get more experience working Nautilus in these capacities. Please try the build before you vote and leave comments or suggestions, positive or negative. As this is my first guide and I'd like to know how to improve both the build and my guide writing.

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Pros / Cons


+ Powerful Tank
+ Lots of stun/slow capability
+ Great support for AD carry in lane
+ Spammable disables
+ Great teamfight initiation
+ Useful auras
+ Decent damage output

- Slow Early
- Takes time to reach full potential
- Susceptible to disables
- Weak ranged hit power
- Not able to solo easily

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Quick Version: Using Nautilus

Nautilus is a heavy tank with high disruption capabilities and, if built right, decent damage. Items should focus on increasing health, magic and armor resistance as well as AP. Cooldown reduction is also useful to help him spam his abilities.

Staggering Blow makes for a great disruptor and gives bonus damage. Dredge Line is an effective grab move that can also be used to get away from a fight. Titan's Wrath is a good shield that greatly aids survivability and increases damage. Riptide is an area of effect slow that is crucial in teamfight. Finally, Depth Charge is a high damage, range and disruption shot that can easily secure a kill.

Focus on using his abilities to slow and disrupt your enemies as much as possible so high damage characters can get the kills. Use Titan's Wrath and Riptide to farm minions and deal damage, and Dredge Line and Depth Charge to initiate fights or stop fleeing enemies. While Nautilus does have enough damage to get a few kills, your success is more measured in how few deaths your teammates have. If you die saving 2 companions, you have done your job.

While it doesnt follow my own playstyle perfectly, the LOL spotlight on Nautilus is very useful. Check it out below!

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Nautilus's Combat Roles


This is my personal favorite role for Nautilus, and is what the build listed was invented for. As a support Nautilus can greatly aid any ally in lane. In your support role, the game is all about keeping your opponents disabled, pushed off, and unable to farm your lane. Combine with ranged AD for maximum potential.

Needed for this role: Decent CDR and a bit of mana regen. Look to Philosopher's Stone early and Frozen Heart and Rylai's Crystal Scepter later as key items.


No matter your build, Nautilus should always have the health and armor to at least act as an off-tank. Initiate fights with Dredge Line, buckle down and force enemies to strike you. If the fight goes sour, stick in it and give your allies the time they need to get away. The more health you build, the better his shield. Remember though, a tank will be entirely ignored, and thus useless, if he cannot do damage or heavy disruption, so never completely neglect AP and CDR as a tank.

Needed for this role: Armor, Magic Resist and Health. Look to Sunfire Cape and Rod of Ages as key items, consider Warmog's Armor to increase this ability.


Nautilus makes for a very nice jungler. His slow and disable makes him great at ganking, and by about level 5 you should be able to kill off most groups using his shield without taking any damage to health. However, before that point you will end up returning to base a lot to get health back and you need some people to leash both red and blue for you. After About level 6, you typically wont need either blue or red as much as your allies, so call your teammates in when the time is right and let them reap the benefits.

Typical order for me: Wolves-Blue-base-wraiths-golems-red-base-gank-repeat

Needed for this role: Health Regen, AP and CDR. Philosopher's Stone and Morello's Evil Tome are great. When full jungling, I get a much more AP build than normal as you spend less time tanking and higher AP greatly increases your gank damage.


One of Nautilus's greatest strengths is as a ganker, no matter his build. His nuke has slow, stun, pullback, launch and significant damage. Combined with an ally you can burst an overpushed enemy down to nothing without giving them any time or ability to counter. With all his health and armor, it is difficult to counter-gank or drive your gank off, which is always nice. Whether you are jungling or not, always look for opportunities to gank your opponents and secure kills.

Needed for this role: Health, Magic Penetration and tons of AP. Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Rabadon's Deathcap make Nautilus's ganks FAR more effective.

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Nautilus' Abilities


(Innate): Nautilus’ first basic attack against a target deals bonus physical damage and immobilizes the opponent briefly. Staggering Blow cannot trigger on the same target more than once every 12 seconds.


Nautilus' basic attacks deal an additional 2 + (6 Ă— level) physical damage and immobilize his target for 0.5 (initial) / 0.75 (after level 7) / 1 (after level 13) seconds. This effect cannot trigger on the same target more than once every 12 seconds.

Using this ability:

The stun can be a great interrupt for longer cast abilities, such as Miss Fortune's Bullet Time or Nunu's Absolute Zero. Since your attack damage will be low, it is often more important to attack as many targets as possible rather than focusing one, because this will activate for decent bonus damage and a stun on every first hit. It is also important for last hitting minions: never auto attack, use this to get the final hit.

Note: staggering blow hits are considered spells. While they do not get better with AP, they do give spell vamp and are pitched against the enemy's magic resistance. As a spell, you can do some interesting things, like disable an opponent's Banshee's Veil so your and your allies' more valuable spells can land.


(Active): Nautilus throws his anchor forward. If he hits an enemy, he'll drag himself to his target and his target to him. If he hits terrain, he'll drag himself to the terrain and the cooldown is reduced.


Cost= 60/70/80/90/100 mana
Cooldown= 14/13/12/11/10 seconds
Nautilus hurls his anchor forward (950 Range). If it hits an enemy unit, Nautilus drags himself and the target together dealing 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+0.75 per ability power) magic damage and stunning them briefly. If the anchor hits terrain, Nautilus will drag himself forward and the cooldown is reduced by 50%.

Using this ability:

Again, this stun is a great interrupt. Use it at range to harm a caster or close the distance to a ranged unit. It is also, as any grab, key for stopping a fleeing enemy. Combined with a good AD character and Staggering Blow you can grab an enemy and get a full kill, even level 1, before they have a chance to move. Note that if the target dies from the anchor hit, Nautilus pulls himself all the way up to the target as if it were terrain. This killing pull does not reduce cooldown. It can also be used to break immobilizes such as Ryze's Rune Prison. Final use is the obvious ability to flee from combat, attaching it to walls and pulling yourself along can greatly aid your slow movement speed, and is still helpful after you pick up boots. Also, range on this ability is slightly further than the indicated range. Experiment with it to figure out the real range (hopefully this will get fixed with a patch soon).

Warning: This ability can attach to anything, including towers and enemy minions. Make sure you don't pull yourself to the base of an enemy tower by accident or catch their minion instead of the fleeing opponent. This is his hardest skill to use properly and can be very difficult to master, and may end up backfiring if misused.


(Active): Nautilus places a shield on himself that absorbs additional damage based on his maximum health. While the shield is active, Nautilus' attacks deal damage over time to units around him.


Cost=80 mana
Cooldown= 26/24/22/20/18 seconds
Nautilus surrounds himself with dark energies, shielding him from 80/130/180/230/280 (+10% of bonus health) damage for up to 10 seconds. While the shield persists, Nautilus' basic attacks apply a damage over time effect to all units within 350 units of his target, dealing 30/60/90/120/150 (+0.4 per ability power) damage over 2 seconds.

Using this ability:

This is Nautilus's primary damage applier, giving him some significant damage potential at higher levels. It also is what makes him such a great tank. With all the cooldown reduction, the shield can be applied nearly constantly to give over 400 bonus health. Use this ability to gain minion farm, to keep yourself in lane, survive during retreat and to generally increase damage potential. The cooldown is fairly long early game, so keep it for important uses until you get the cooldown lowered.


(Active): Nautilus slams the ground, causing the earth to ripple out in 3 waves. Each wave deals damage and slows the targets hit. This slow decays over time. Multiple waves that hit the same target deal reduced damage.


Cost= 60/70/80/90/100 mana, Cooldown= 10 seconds
Nautilus slams the ground, causing the earth to explode around him in 3 waves. Each explosion deals 60/100/140/180/220 (+0.5 per ability power) magic damage to units in the area and slows them 30/35/40/45/50% for 2 seconds. This slow diminishes over time.
A unit can be hit by more than one explosion, but they take 50% less damage from additional explosions. The slow is refreshed.

Using this ability:

This is a great AOE slow. The rings move outward a little faster than character speed, so if you catch them with the first ring you my catch them with all rings. Use it after Dredge Line to continue pursuit of a fleeing enemy, or in a crowd to deal some damage and slow overall. Note that the slow is total slow, including attack speed, which can be very useful against AD characters. This can also be used in retreating from combat, as the rings expand in all directions and will catch pursuing enemies. While it is a small area, the space between the mall explosions has no effect, so ensure you are hitting them with the rings properly. This skill also greatly helps his ganking ability, as it will catch enemies running past Nautilus excellently


(Active): Nautilus launches a depth charge towards a target that picks up speed as it travels. This charge knocks up all enemies it encounters while traveling and explodes on impact, stunning the target and launching them into the air.


Cost=100 mana, Cooldown= 120/100/80 seconds
Nautilus fires a shockwave (Range=850) that chases an enemy champion. This deals 125/175/225 (+0.4 per ability power) magic damage to enemies it passes through and knocks them into the air.
The shockwave explodes upon hitting its target dealing 250/350/450 (+0.8 per ability power) magic damage, launching them into the air and stunning them for 1/1.5/2 seconds. This explosion also damages enemies around the target, but does not stun them.

Using this ability:

This is Nautilus's third stun and by far his best ability. The small explosions leading up to the target will clear a path (whether it is minions or champions) to your target, knocking them all into the air (approximately 2 secs) and dealing significant damage. Also, the range indicated simply indicates the cast range. The skill will pursue a fleeing target well out of range, and when it goes off you have approximately 4 seconds to close the distance and finish the target (since the stun applies when the target hits the ground). Use this in team-fight, preferably on the furthest champion to affect the entire enemy team. This skill can also be used to initiate, especially against a ranged burst character. Combo this, then Riptide, Dredge Line, and a Staggering Blow, and they wont be able to respond at all for over 10 seconds and have taken significant damage just from your attacks. Include a high-damage companion to ensure the kill.

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Skill Sequence

Dredge Line is first skill point as a pure utility skill. Pull people within range of your towers or in range for a pounding from your high damage partner. At level one, this can be extremely deadly and often works to get first blood. Then we focus on getting Titan's Wrath to decrease the cooldown and increase the shield's capability. Put one point into Riptide just to have it. Obviously, always get Depth Charge when available.

After Titan's Wrath is full up, I prefer to bounce between Dredge Line and Riptide to complete the skills. This back and forth keeps each of the skills from becoming prohibitively expensive, and reduces your cooldowns everywhere. Dredge Line is better in-lane, since it aids escapes and stops fleeing enemies. Leveling it reduces the cooldown dramatically. Riptide is better in teeamfights and deals a little more damage against one opponent (far more against multiple). Mix and match to suit your playstyle and the situation.

Addressing the "Riptide First" crowd - Part of the reason for focusing on Titan's Wrath is that it does not burn extra mana to level up, and ti greatly directly increases both your damage and sustainability. If you focus on Riptide first you will be unable to sustain in lane for very long without taking Clarity, which would just be a waste. A support tank is useless if he is always returning to base. Get Titan's Wrath and stay in the fight.

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Philosopher's Stone Catalyst the Protector

Beginning Game Options

My preferred start is Regrowth Pendant and Health Potion. This gives a lot of health regen that lets you stay in lane for a bit, and gets you to the Philosopher's Stone quickly, allowing it to gain you more gold over the course of the game and give you the needed mana regen to sustain in lane more. However, this leaves Nautilus very slow early on and against faster characters or characters with good stuns this may not be a viable option. If this is a problem, consider getting Boots of Speed and Health PotionX3 first. The extra health potions will counter the loss in health regen, but i find i have to return to base a few more times to regen mana. Buying both mana and health potions is an option, but it slows down your build a lot as you are delaying both Philosopher's Stone and Rod of Ages with each potion.

Building the Tank

Focus on getting Rod of Ages up as quickly as possible. The earlier you have it, the more beneficial it is as it will build up to max stats sooner. This item is perfect on Nautilus as it gives a major health, mana and ap bonus to help him out. Once it is up, Mercury's Treads will greatly aid both speed and magic resistance. If the enemy has little AP, consider getting Ninja Tabi instead for the armor bonus. I usually get Glacial Shroud next for some cooldown reduction and armor. Now with a health boost, enough mana and cooldown to spam abilities, and some armor and mana resist you should already be a very effective tank right as teamfights should be starting.

Adding Power

Abyssal Mask is your main damage dealing item, offering a large AP boost as well as decreasing your opponents magic resistance. By the time it gets up, Rod of Ages should be relatively well filled allowing you to start doing some serious damage. If you dont feel you need the magic resist, you could go with Rabadon's Deathcap. Some people utilize Archangel's Staff, but i find that even spamming my abilities i don't use them enough to build the mana boost as high as it needs to be to make this viable.

Frozen Heart is a great survivability item for any tank. The armor is impressive, and it adds the enemy slowing aura which will greatly help your whole team in teamfight. The increased cooldown reduction aint too shabby either. Consider replacing with Randuin's Omen for even more health and health regen along with a better activated slow at the cost of the constant aura and the cooldown reduction. Both are great options, take your pick. If you do decide to utilize Randuin's Omen, get Heart of Gold before [[Catalyst the Protector and then proceed with the build as normal.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a great health addition for Nautilus and gives him a good amount more AP. The added slow on your abilities can be devastating, especially combined with Riptide. Fully upgraded, this totals to 65% slow for Riptide, which can be extremely devastating (for perspective, 450 movement speed is a very fast character, this brings them down to 150, or half the starting speed). Note that on Staggering Blow, Dredge Line or Depth Charge you can get the full 35% slow.

Finally I chose Sunfire Cape for a little bit of added survivability and the great damage aura. Note that you have to sell Philosopher's Stone to get this item, but it shouldn't matter because you're build complete. I recommend saving up 2200 Gold, then selling Philosopher's Stone for 400 to make this purchase.

Other Potential Items

Warmog's Armor is an obvious survivability option and adds huge amounts of health to his shield. However, it does not benefit his damage output or any form of his threat like these other items. Without the damage, enemies can ignore you as a tank and focus on your team, and then it doesnt matter how much health you have.

Atma's Impaler is always a good choice for high-health tanks, and would greatly improve your basic attacks. However this build doesn't focus enough on health to truly utilize this item, and Nautilus does not auto attack enough for this to matter that much anyway. If you decide to pick up a Warmog's Armor, this pairs well with it.

Morello's Evil Tome could be utilized to further decrease cooldowns and increase AP. Consider it in place of either Frozen Heart or Abyssal Mask.

Frozen Mallet is also a great option for nautilus, giving him health and another slow, allowing for more Staggering Blow hits and making him a better disabler in general.

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Summoner Spells


Drastically increase your danger early game, as well as getting ranged kills. While he has the anchor, it will hit minions, and his ult has a long cooldown, so this is great as a ranged finisher.


Definitely the best overall spell for survivability of any character. Use to get in range for your ult or hook when finishing off a character, or as always as a means of running away.

Other Spells to Consider

  1. Clairvoyance makes a great counter to enemy junglers, and is aided if you pick up the utility point in insight. Do not forget to change up the distributed points if you dont take this or flash.
  2. Cleanse Always a plus to help increase survivability. Due to slow early game speed, useful for avoiding ganks until your boots get up, useful in team fight to keep you in the fight.
  3. Ghost An alternative to flash for those who don't like the nerfed flash. Can be extremely useful since you will be slow for a while and minions will be a major pain when attacking and retreating.
  4. Heal Always a decent choice, and definitely capable of saving your life in crunch situations. Also useful for keeping you generally in lane.
  5. Smite Take this if you intend to jungle.

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Marks: I prefer Greater Mark of Vitality here for the best health gain. You could also go with Greater Mark of Armor here which would greatly boost your tanking power before you get Glacial Shroud.

Seals: Greater Seal of Vitality Hands down the best for this build. Maxed out, around 180 health. Win.

Glyphs: Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist here for the magic resist. Consider Greater Glyph of Vitality if you're wanting more health. Trade off between health and magic resist to meet your style... both important, both great.

Quintessence: I enjoy getting Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction for the cooldown reduction. It is important to keep his cooldowns low so he can spam his shield and disables as much as possible.

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Special Thanks


  • Jhoijhoi's aids to guidewriting have helped every aspect of this guide - formatting, content, and flow of information
  • I heavily based a lot of my work and ideas off of her guide template which can be found here.
  • I also have utilized her dividers a few times throughout the guide. See her shop for more information on her work.
  • Thank you so much jhoijhoi!

Some data and descriptions taken from the League of Legends Wiki. Thanks to all the contributors to that wiki and its Nautilus entry.