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Nautilus Build Guide by Leaguecitizen

Support Nautilus High-Level Guide - Includes Video Examples

By Leaguecitizen | Updated on December 23, 2019
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Runes: Very good rune setup to climb

Font of Life

Hextech Flashtraption
Future's Market

+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+8 Magic Resist
+6 Armor


1 2
Necessary summoners to carry
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


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Support Role
Ranked #13 in
Support Role
Win 50%
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Ability Order Order of Abilities to Effectively Climb

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
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None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Champion Build Guide

Nautilus High-Level Guide - Includes Video Examples

By Leaguecitizen
Who Is Leaguecitizen? Why Should You Listen to What I Have to Say?
I've consistently reached Diamond since Season 7, without relying on duoing.

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:

What This Guide Will Cover Back to Top
I think there are enough guides that go over the basics - like how to do a Q-E-auto-attack-W-auto-attack reset combo, so what I want to focus on to help you improve instead, is understanding specifically what you can do in games to carry, supplemented with videos.

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.
Should You Start W or E? Back to Top
The decision between which ability to level up first definitely lies between and .

So which is better, and how do you know which to level up first?

Titan's Wrath

is without question the best ability to level up first in my opinion.

The reason for this is simple:

1. It lets you effectively leash for your jungler due to your increased tankiness as well as great early game damage.

2. It sets you up in lane regardless of the matchup. If you're up against a poke lane, your will let you tank the early harass. If you're in a more skill-based matchup, you can use your to trade and get a or even a kill.


I've seen some people start , and I don't understand the reasoning:

1. Either you or your jungler will end up taking a significant amount of damage from leashing

2. You have no early game presence. Your can be a good tool to disengage with, or as a follow up to a Flash-Auto play, or a good hook, but that's it. It's a follow-up ability.

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

Leveling up Q first is also viable.

The only scenario I'd level up Q before W, is if we're invading,
or potentially if the enemy team is invading and I think an opportunity might open up to make a counter-engage.

For this reason, it's often a good idea to wait with leveling up either Q or W
early game until around 1:18.

That way, you can make an informed decision depending on if the enemy decides to invade or not.
Should You Max W or E First? Back to Top

Titan's Wrath

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.


Riptide is primarily a tool to stick to your opponents, or to disengage. It also gives you the option of helping with pushing the wave early and maintain control in lane that way. The damage values are decent, but in comparison to the practicality of your , E maxing isn't beneficial enough my opinion.

That being said, the only way to know what works and doesn't, is to try things out :)
Starting Items and What Happens Before the Laning Phase Back to Top

Before the laning phase

Before the laning phase, always go .
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:

How to Play the Laning Phase Back to Top

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 .
How to Play Mid Game Back to Top
At the end of the laning phase, you'll hopefully have as well as and a perhaps.

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.
How to Play Late Game Back to Top
The late game is played much like the middle game as .

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.
The Importance of Certain Items Back to Top
Early game, is extremely important to get early wards.
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.
Itemization - General Thoughts Back to Top
In the early-mid game, you want to prioritize first, always. You also want to prioritize upgrading as fast as possible.

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.
Itemization After Your First Back Back to Top
After your first back, you want to get as well a or two.
Itemization After Your Second Back Back to Top
Second back, you want to upgrade to above anything else. If you can afford it, stack up on 2 as well as upgrading your to through its passive.

This is a prime time to roam even more, though you should also look to roam and make plays early game.
Itemization After the Third Back and Beyond Back to Top
Start working towards , always; in every game.

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 ).
Closing Thoughts Back to Top
Ultimately, you want to try out different build paths to figure out what's best for you, and your own playstyle.

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 :)

YouTube: A focus on informative, entertaining and educational content that are all aimed at improving you as a player.

Twitter: Keep up-to-date with random stuff, both related and unrelated to League :D