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Nautilus Build Guide by Warpborne

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Warpborne

Nautilus: the Iron Man [UPDATED 3/17]

Warpborne Last updated on March 17, 2012
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Support Role
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Support Role
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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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People assume certain things of a tank, often without thinking about why. Nautilus doesn't function like other tanks, and that seems to reflect poorly on him. However when you look at what makes a tank, you see how Nautilus breaks the mold while still fulfilling the role. Allow me to be explicit.

League of Legends' tanks work primarily by disrupting the enemy's damage output (stuns, taunts, slows, etc.). In order to work effectively, the enemy needs to get rid of the tank (read: you). This in turn requires you get damage mitigation to do your job.

In the increased time it takes the enemy to stop you, your team will have done their jobs. So, the enemy will often decide to work around you. In those cases, after the dust settles, the remaining enemies won't be able to kill you. You get free reign, and I like that part most of all.

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But Nautilus is Different

Nautilus is not an easy champion to play, so if you're reading this guide I expect you already know the intricacies of ganking and tanking. If you need someone easier, Amumu or Rammus have similar styles and will teach you proper positioning.

Like amateur porn, Nautilus skips all the foreplay. Titan's Wrath gives him huge damage potential, but there is a cost; his damage can be shut down if the enemy attacks him. There in lies the point: if they attack him, he's doing his job. He tanks, not with disruption, but by the threat of damage.

And This Nautilus is Different Still
The problem with pure tank builds is that you sacrifice damage, leaving the enemy no reason to attack you. Pure AP builds take advantage of his high coefficients, but they don't provide much shield strength. Without Titan's Wrath, Nautilus has very slow damage output, which also makes him easy to ignore. As I will detail later, Locket of the Iron Solari nearly doubles his shield strength while Trinity Force increases his burst damage without any additional investment.

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The Path of Least Resistance

Nautilus' a jungler due to a simple process of elimination. He can't use the middle lane. He has no form of regeneration or harassment, especially early on, so he isn't a strong duelist. Top lane is out. In bottom lane he can initiate fights, but, unable to trade efficiently, you'll wear yourself and your teammate down instead of supporting.

That leaves the jungle. The route is simple: leash Blue, take wolves, wraiths, Red, then golems before looking for a gank. You should clear it at about 3:45. It is more important to gank than jungle, so don't feel bad about skipping wolves or golems to go save top lane. Note that Nautilus cannot control Dragon.

Despite being pigeon-holed into it, he's probably the best ganker in the game. At level 3 he's got a hook, immobilize, and slow. You can easily (and successfully) gank all three lanes after your first jungle run. Observe:

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That Sinking Feeling

Having your jungle invaded will ruin you. Nautilus is initially vulnerable to ganks from enemy junglers because his skill points must be spread out. More importantly if your Red is taken you won't reach level 3 and won't have Dredge Line. You won't be able to gank for several more minutes, crippling Nautilus on into the late game.

Always have someone guard your Red.

Potential invaders include Shaco, Nunu, Trundle, Shen, Fiddlesticks, Gangplank, Amumu, and Rammus. Those are just the ones you need to look out for. The opposing team doesn't even need a jungler to steal Red. I'll again direct you to the bolded portion above.

Once you've done that you're still not out of the woods (or jungle). The enemy can still delay you but, if you stay sharp, it won't be for long. Observe:

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The Fiddly-bits

The specifics of runes, summoner spells, and masteries are a reflection of the player. I don't presume to know exactly what you'll need. What I will tell you are the barest requirements for Nautilus to function.

Greater Mark of Desolation and Greater Seal of Armor are essential for a respectable jungle time. Some people use their Quintessence slot for armor penetration and take Greater Mark of Attack Damage. Whatever floats your boat. I like Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist because they even out his durability. If you find Mercury's Treads are enough magic resist in the mid game, you can take Greater Glyph of Ability Power to slightly increase your jungle time and ganking power, but they won't be valuable later in the game.

Summoner Spells
Smite is essential. Besides that, you want tools for chasing down your opponent. Most players like Flash because your disables will let you stay on your opponent. I think Dredge Line fulfills the same role, but it is always useful as a last ditch effort. Ghost has served me better, both as an escape tool and to clean up after a team fight. It isn't as good in ganks, but by no means is it useless. You can also consider Heal if you're banking on team-fights to win the game.

The only essential items are Bladed Armor and Hardiness . Personally, I use a 1/21/8 build with Initiator , Mercenary , and Swiftness because I'm confident in my ganking. Consider Runic Affinity to keep Red up and strength your ganks, or Scout for aggressive ward placement. The build I have posted is more conservative, aimed at taking damage in the mid and late game. I also condone more offensively minded 21/9/0 and 14-17/13-16/0 splits so long as you keep your role in mind.

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The Clothes Make the Man

Initially your items are set in stone. You'll need the standard fair for a jungler: Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions. As you can see in the videos above, you can acquire Sheen and Boots of Speed before level 6. Your next item is Locket of the Iron Solari because it provides the largest boost to Titan's Wrath. The easiest way to achieve ~60% resistances at this point is Aegis of the Legion. You should acquire it by level 15, then finish Trinity Force by 18.

Shield Strength
You should have Locket of the Iron Solari by level 12 in even the worst cases. Activating Locket after Titan's Wrath will shield the latter, meaning the enemy must work through both to remove your damage bonus. Shields also take reduced damage due to armor. At level 12, with 50% armor, this gives you a shield health of about 645. By 18, with 60% armor, it will be closer to 1000. However armor has diminishing returns, making bonus health a more valuable stat after 60% resistance.

Items to Acquire
The game is usually decided by the time you complete Trinity Force, but it is important to have a next step. Look for critical strike, life steal, and health. Atma's Impaler or Infinity Edge will increase your burst damage, since your sustained output is poor. Warmogg's Armor, Banshee's Veil, and Shurelya's Reverie will help you survive team-fights. The Bloodthirster and Zeke's Herald provide a strange middle ground where your most defensive option in a fight is to keep fighting.

Items to Avoid
You'll always have to compromise on these rules, so use your head and pay attention to the enemy team. Try to avoid attack speed because it doesn't actually increase Titan Wrath's damage. Also avoid attack damage and armor penetration like the Last Whisper and Manamune because they don't help Trinity Force or your spells. On the defensive side, there are items like Force of Nature that give an excessive resistance and no bonus health.

On a couple very specific notes, Randuin's Omen is redundant because of Riptide. Nautilus also doesn't make good use of Wriggle's Lantern. It doesn't give him control of Dragon and it doesn't help his ganks.

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A Big Fish in a Small Pond

In team fights, it isn't enough that you do lots of damage; you have to know where to apply it. Imagine team fights are just large ganks and you won't go wrong. Your job is to keep the valuable targets from escaping.

Depth Charge should be one of your first spells. If you're at a stand off, target someone who is pressing forward to harass. Once the spell goes off, that Ashe has 2 options: stand still and get hooked into your team, or drag the charge through her team. If the fight starts, target someone in the back so you can disrupt as many targets as possible.

During a fight stay focused on their primary damage dealers. Quickly use Riptide and Staggering Blow to keep their melee fighters out of position. It will take your team a couple second to get a handle on them. Then use Ghost and Dredge Line to catch the softer targets. Observe:

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A Message in a Bottle

If you're reading this, you probably made it all the way through. Congratulations. Now I want you to write criticisms of the guide in the comments below. Get to it.