Nautilus Build Guide by Leaguecitizen
Nautilus High-Level Guide - Includes Video ExamplesBy Leaguecitizen | Updated on December 23, 2019
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Runes: Very good rune setup to climb
+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+8 Magic Resist
Ability Order Order of Abilities to Effectively Climb
Threats & Synergies
Not banning Morgana when playing Nautilus is shameful. Her E can completely negate your engages. Another consideration is that you'll always have to play around her E, which means you need to completely change your playstyle to make anything work. Ban this champion every game, without exception.
Lux is a big problem for Nautilus. The reason is simple: she has ranged CC as well as high damage output. One bind is all it takes to get all your summoners or potentially kill you. With your W, you should hopefully be able to narrowly escape. This is a lane where you need to play defensively, and look for the right opportunity to go in. Luckily, unlike Morgana, she has no spellshield or escape mechanism. If you manage to get on her, she's likely dead. Exploit her low mobility by either engaging in lane with your ult, or roaming.
A good Thresh is definitely a problem, but I seldom see good Threshs at any ELO to be honest. He can flay you out of your Q, but it requires very good timing on his part. With the threat of your ult, you're the one who dictates the pace of this lane.
Braum is a problem due to his passive. This is why you need to pick your engages carefully in this lane. Still, he has no way of getting to you unless you go in, which makes this a relatively safe matchup.
In theory, Nautilus has very strong synergy with Draven. In solo queue, it's not that simple though. Differences in playstyles can easily make a won matchup unwinnable. If you're not on the same page, things won't turn out well. For this reason, I actually recommend playing defensively with any Draven unless he earns your trust through measured aggression.
Because of Lucian's E, as well as the range of your R, this is an ideal pairing in the botlane. Similarly to Draven, things can go very wrong in this lane if you're not on the same page. An otherwise easy matchup can easily become a nightmare if you give up a kill or two.
You have very good synergy with Jhin because of his W and your R and and tankiness from your W, which you can use to walk up and autoattack the enemy. If you're able to hit your Q at any point in the lane, Jhin can safely and effectively follow up with his W for more CC. When you combine this with your R, as well as Jhin's ultimate, it makes for a scary combination.
In lane, Nautilus and Caitlyn don't have the best synergy. Her lack of damage output and ability to follow up on your engages are the main culprits. In spite of this, there's an unexpected upside with this pairing: because Caitlyn is so safe, you can take more liberties when it comes to roaming. Even if you roam a lot, Caitlyn will be able to survive most situations if she plays patiently and uses her range.
Champion Build Guide
Throughout my journey, I've learned what builds and runes work best, and how to effectively carry games playing a tank support with virtually no damage.
My YouTube channel actually has several video series that feature my climb from Bronze to Diamond, in entertaining, informative 3-minute videos you might want to check out :)
In each video, I break down specific things you can do and improve upon to elevate your own gameplay, which I in part will go through in this guide.
If you want to master , I strongly recommend you check them out.
Here's a video in which I apply many of the principles featured in this guide:
Another focus I have, is to explain why you should do certain things.
Understanding the reasoning will give you deeper insight into what it means to play League at a high level.
So which is better, and how do you know which to level up first?
As we can see, overall, it's better to start W than E. Your E has its merits of course, but they are not of relevance at level 1.
Starting Q - The Exception to the Rule
Titan's Wrath is in my opinion the superior ability to max first.
With each level, its shield strength and damage per second increases. This is great for survivability, as well as making plays.
Before the laning phase
The reason is simple: is contingent on consistently auto-attacking to make it worthwhile.
As , our main focus is to make use of our crowd-control (cc), not auto-attacking.
Defending against invades
After getting , and , move to defend against potential invades.
It's always important to defend against invades, every game.
How do you defend effectively?
On Red Side, stand in front of the entrance to your Blue, but not too far into the river.
Use your to ward river at 1:25 when on Red Side, unless one of your teammates does it.
Sometimes, they'll ward the river Pixel Brush, however this is done erratically, so don't count on it most games.
The reason you want to ward at 1:25 is threefold:
1. Warding at 1:25, still leaves you time to help your jungler leash.
2. If the enemy late invades, you'll catch them on the map.
3. Warding as late as possible will catch their jungler's rotation if he either tries to steal your Blue level 1, or goes his Red, then River for a surprise early gank, which is pretty typical pathing early game. If he doesn't invade to get your Blue or try to pull off an early gank, that still gives valuable information about his pathing.
As you can see, the importance of the Pixel Brush/River ward is extremely important.
What about Blue side?
Same principle, but this time you want to stand in the brush closest to your tower bot side (Blue side tribush).
Start walking towards river at 1:11 and ward in the middle of the river at 1:15, before returning to either leash for your jungler, or simply going to lane to wait for your wave to spawn.
I recommend staying in tribush after warding at 1:15 if you're not leashing, and only walk out of tribush when your wave is close to your turret.
Be careful about lazy pathing when your wave spawns - this applies to both Red and Blue side.
When on Red side, I recommend pathing through the tribush and not going into River.
When on Blue side, I recommend pathing from tribush downwards to your lane safely - not walking into River.
Lazy pathing can give the opposing team an easy First Blood, or both you and your ADC's flash; don't let this happen.
Here's a video series showing my climb out of Silver, while applying these principles:
Early in the Laning Phase
Early in the laning phase, you want to trade if there's an opportunity to do so.
Your early game damage is insanely good, and you want to abuse that.
With your lack of engage tools except your , it's difficult to take advantage of this, which is why you need to be very aware of the matchup.
If you're up against , it might be a good idea to simply walk up and Auto-W-Auto to get his HP down significantly and then aim to get level 2 first and make a -Auto- -Auto play, where you save your for him to . Because of low mobility and limited early game, you might be able to do the same to his ADC.
There are mobile champions where you can abuse this tactic too.
and are both generally considered very mobile champs, but in both cases, that mobility is not an issue level 1.
This is why being aware of the matchup, and how you can abuse your level 1 strength early, is very important.
Getting your opponent low level 1, be it the enemy ADC or supp, will let you get level 2 first most likely, and create a lot of pressure that way.
Setting up level 2 lets you get a lot of control early game.
What About When You're up Against Poke Champions?
Early on, there's definitely not much if anything you can do against them except survive. is great to negate their early poke.
At level 2, you might be able to land a good hook, but most likely, they'll easily get level 2 first and shove you into your turret.
Patience is key in this type of lane.
What Happens After Level 2?
After level 2, your course of action is even more dependent on the matchup than before.
Against a poke lane like / , you need to bide your time and wait for an opportunity.
After getting enough gold, hopefully you'll be able to get your at your first or second back because of passive.
In this scenario, you might be able to make roam plays mid or top early, before hitting 6.
Against less poke-heavy matchups, like / , I suggest trying to use the bush and surprising them by simply timing your walk-up with their movement, and landing a full Auto- -Auto combo to get a lot of control.
This is the gist of Nautilus' playstyle in the early laning phase, from levels 1-5.
At level 6, the tides turn in your favor regardless of the matchup.
As you can probably tell, level 6 is a big powerspike for .
Regardless if you're up against a poke heavy lane or not, your is amazing at making at-will plays. It's point-and-click, and as long as it's off cooldown, it's a threat that your enemies have to respect.
If they don't, you can easily punish them due to its relatively long range.
With great follow-up from your hook and slow, it makes for a deadly combo that can turn a lost lane into a winning lane in a matter of seconds.
The downside is its relatively long cooldown. It also works best in tandem with jungle ganks.
It's incredibly easy to set up ganks with your by timing your movement with your opponents.
An example of this would be to move up from the bush as their ADC walks up to cs.
If your jungler doesn't gank, it can be difficult to make something happen though.
Your is after all not instantaneous, and the opponent will have the opportunity to react with , or an escape ability like Ezreal's , before your hits.
This can make it really difficult to make anything happen in lane.
Based on this, it might be better to focus that immobile or .
Roaming and setting up plays is your job even more so than in the early game, and it's all made possible by your .
Its long range is particularly useful when the enemy is trying to take an objective like or , or even a turret.
This is when you need to be the one to step up on your team and capitalize.
If the enemy team is playing very cautiously, you can still make something happen with a simple - combo, which can honestly win you a lot of games.
Confidence and patience are both vital skills when playing , because he's not as dynamic as many other champions in the game.
It's critical that you're always look to make plays with your .
Do this by setting up plays through vision control using your as well as frequently buying .
Making full use of is also highly important to carry. The crazy increase in movement speed will let you catch the enemy off guard, and because of the range of your , it makes it doubly effective. It's not necessary for you to completely expose yourself - merely to get in range.
This is an important point to keep in mind, especially late game.
Simply put, control vision and use your to get within range of your to set up objectives or even end the game.
Try to secure hits on melee minions and cannons whenever possible to maximize the effectiveness of this item, as well as proccing its active as early as possible.
Two Health Pots help with survivability, and is very good to ward river early, as well as securing deep vision in their jungle when roaming.
Always go , every game, regardless of team composition.
is both a defensive and an aggressive item.
In lane, it allows you to make plays because of your increased movement speed, and it also allows you to roam quickly and unexpectedly.
Whenever you find yourself in a bad situation, the increased movement speed is often a lifesaver.
Never go anything else besides > > > , early-mid game.
This combination is insanely good to carry and consistently make plays, with or without .
As Nautilus, is particularly amazing. Even if you don't get to use the second active of Righteous when walking up to an enemy (the slow), it makes it easier to set up your by getting in range.
This is a very important point to keep in mind to carry and capitalize fully on your itemization.
After , it's a decision between , and .
Let's keep things simple:
when the opponent has immobile to semi-mobile champs that want to get to your backline and wreak havoc (think , or ). If you manage to catch someone out with your , this item will make it easier to stick to them as well.
when either or both sides have team compositions that lead to frequent teamfights. Also good to buy when the opposing team has a lot of mobility or gap closers, that make much less effective.
upgraded to if the enemy team has heavy AOE magic damage (think or ).
There's not one specific way to play League, both from a total perspective, as well as an individual perspective based on a respective champion.
You can play completely differently than me, and focus much more on lane domination than roaming, if you can make it work.
There's also nothing wrong with opting for instead of , if that's what you prefer.
Figure out which way you like to play, and play to that playstyle's strengths.
To figure out what your playstyle is, try things out; make mistakes and learn from them :)
To learn how to combine all the principles you've read about in action, I recommend checking out the video below, where I break down my decision-making throughout a full game in Diamond:
If you liked this guide, consider following me on either YouTube or Twitter :)
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