Focusing Bot: A Guide to Nautilus Support



Sun 8th Sep 2019 - 11:25am

Nautilus, the Titan of the Depths, is a champion who shines and excels at incapacitating enemies and preventing them from being able to move. With his trusty anchor and the power of the waters below, he seals the fates of enemies with brutal stuns and knockups. He's not only a top solo queue pick, but also a staple in recent professional play. Today, you'll learn how to take advantage of what lies in the deep in order to knock up your LP, win that normal game, or even just master a new champ in general. 


How to Build:

Nautilus support builds like your average tank-and-spank support, so you'll want to first start off with Relic Shield. Your support item will ultimately conclude with Remnant of the Aspect, but you'll want to include Locket of the Iron Solari and Zeke's Convergence into your build. They'll give you boosts to both forms of resistance and have fantastic protective and offensive actives. Your boots will largely depend on the comp you're going against, but you'll normally want either Ninja Tabi or Mercury Treads.

Consider whether the enemy composition is heavy in magic damage and/or crowd control (at which point you'd get Mercury Treads), or if the enemy team consists primarily of auto-attack-based champions or champions that are heavy in attack damage (at which point you'd get Ninja Tabi). Lastly, you can round out your build with items like Gargoyle's Stoneplate, Redemption, and Knight's Vow. Other noteworthy options include Thornmail, Wargmog's Armor, and Iceborn Gauntlet. 

An example Nautilus rune set-up.

For your runes, Nautilus best works with bulk, so Resolve will be your primary tree. Inspiration is normally the best secondary tree, but perhaps you may also want to pick Domination if you're feeling more aggressive. Resolve will allow you to pick up Aftershock, Shield Bash, Bone Plating, and either Unflinching or Revitalize, which will make you as bulky as possible so that you're at optimal protecting capability. From the Inspiration tree, you'll want Biscuit Delivery for the sustain in lane and Cosmic Insight for the bonus cooldown reduction.

If you're going Domination instead as your secondary, pick up Cheap Shot and Bounty Hunter. These will synergize best with your kit because your innate plethora of crowd control will allow you to proc Cheap Shot on cooldown and Ultimate Hunter will lessen the long cooldown on your ult as you earn takedowns. As far as the extra stats go, take the offensive cooldown reduction in the first row, the armor in the second row, and the extra health in the third row.

Your summoner spells should be either Flash and Ignite or Flash and Exhaust.

In terms of skills, it's generally advised to level up your Riptide (E), then Titan's Wrath (W) and Dredge Line (Q) while adding levels to Depth Charge (R) when permitted. The skill you take at level 1 is entirely up to you, though I wouldn't advise taking anything other than either Riptide or Dredge Line. 

It should go without saying though that every game and enemy team will be different, and so you should adapt your build and not rely on one singlular static build, skill progression, or summoner spell setup. These are just guidelines, not mandates. 


How to Play

If you plan to play Nautilus, then my advice to you starts in champion select - ban Morgana. If you have to choose an ADC to ban, then I'd go with either Xayah, Ezreal, or Sivir. Another annoying support pick is Tahm Kench. These champions have innate ways to negate/absorb your ult, which you'll rely heavily on as the game goes to make plays and secure picks. Another good rule of thumb that I personally employ is that Nautilus support is particularly good against enemy botlanes that have no mobility or that you need to always keep track of. For example, a Vayne stealthing around in the middle of her Final Hour (R) is suddenly less threatening when she has your ult charging at her. 

Early game, you'll want to use your CC and the fear of your engage to zone off the enemies from farming while enabling your ADC to collect minions. If you're playing against a ranged support, then your goal is to try to catch them out as much as possible in order to abuse the fact that they'll probably be very fragile and easy to kill if caught. You'll want to do this while avoiding as much poke as possible. Lane as usual, but also be mindful of roam opportunities. You have fantastic crowd control and can set up things not only for your lane but also your other teammates. You should orient your build around being as tanky as possible for your teammates. 

 An example of what you'll look like as a full build Nautilus. Note how tanky you are!

Once your ult is unlocked, you'll want to become a bit more aggressive in your roams and playmaking, as you'll have a guaranteed way to engage. Move with your jungler in between waves or try to coordinate plays with him/her in the botlane based on the position of your waves. Picks are fantastic, but even things like blowing enemy abilties and summoner spells, or even forcing them to recall, are good as well. You have the potential to cause a lot of problems for the enemy team, so look to be a big one. 

For teamfights, you have to identify your team's win condition and play to it. Is your team winning fights because a specific person on your team is kept alive? If so, then you're on babysitting duty. Is your team winning because you're engaging and disrupting the enemy long enough for your teammates to follow through? Then congratulations, your job is to initiate, whether it's just general picks or focusing on a priority target. Does the enemy team have someone that you have to keep from getting on one of your priority teammates? Congratulations, you're on counter-initiation duty then. Also, don't be afraid to use your ult on a target that can negate your ult. Sometimes simply blowing their cooldown is enough to win a fight. Learn your part in the team comp and stick to it, and you'll be fine. 

How to Beat

Nautilus has a few key weaknesses that you can exploit. In the early game and laning phase, you can stay behind minions to abuse the fact that his Dredge Line (Q) cannot hit you and keep at a safe distance. If there are minions between the two of you and you're not within his ult range, then you can rest easy knowing that he can't engage on you. This skill's cooldown at rank one is 14/13/12 at ranks 1/2/3, so if he misses it, you have a huge window to punish him in lane without worry. His Titan's Wrath (W) not only has a long cooldown but also costs 80 mana early, so poking him in order to get him to repeatedly use this ability can help with keeping him less aggressive in lane. If you're playing against him, it's also a good idea to warn your team to ward your jungle early to deter potential invades, as his hook is very ideal for early game ambushes and cheese strategies.

In the first photo, Nautilus has a clear shot at his target because there are no allied minions to protect it. In the second, the target is protected and so Nautilus' Dredge Line (Q) will not hit his intended target.

After level 6 and through the mid game, you'll want to not only watch out for his Dredge Line, but also for his engage potential with Depth Charge (R). His ult is really good in that it will follow you until it connects unless you become untargetable. If you are a tank or the initiation for your team, then perhaps you may want to bait out and soak Nautilus' ult (by engaging on him or a teammate) so that he cannot hit any priority targets on your team. if you are a priority target that finds yourself constantly being ulted by the Nautilus', then you should evaluate if you have an ability to negate/absorb the ult. If so, then save this ability or item active for when he ults you. If not, then you'll have to stay away from the fights until he finally uses his ult or take the ult and get as far away as possible before it connects so that he cannot follow up on the knockup. The latter requires you to depend more on your teammates to clear a way for you, but it's worth it in terms of the protection and support you'll have. 

For teamfights, you have to assess how the Nautilus is playing. If he is the enemy team's primary form of engage, then you need to be willing to punish him when he goes in. More often than not, Nautilus will not do enough damage to kill anyone that he engages on - he is just a disruption used to enable his teammates to make critical plays. He also has no escape once he goes in, which leaves his team wide open while he's on top of whoever he has gone after. Because of this, try to avoid blowing useful cooldowns on him once he engages and instead play buffer to his priority teammates.

A good rule of thumb is not to go after the engaging Nautilus but the people who will be engaging after the Nautilus successfully engages. Try to wear him down with poke prior to teamfights also so that he has less inclination to engage. If the Nautilus is babysitting a high priority target, then you need to try to take advantage of that by forcing his hand preemptively, or by drawing his cooldowns to a teammate of lower priority. His job at the time may be to protect X, but the support tendency to protect anyone on the team will override this if he sees that another teammate is in mortal danger. Then you can strike and punish. 

When catching Nautilus out though, be careful if he proves too hard to kill or takes up too much of your time. He may be stalling for time until his teammates can catch up to help him escape the situation or trade kills because of his inevitable death. There's also the chance that he may be stalling on one side of the map so that his teammates can secure objectives on the opposite side of the map. For the most part though, you should assume that he's never alone unless his other four teammates are clearly visible on the map or dead. 

Items that work well against the abilities in his kit include Zhonya's Hourglass, Banshee's Veil, and Quicksilver Sash. 

Champions that deal well with the abilities in Nautilus' kit include Morgana, Ezreal, Sivir, Xayah, Bard, and Tahm Kench. 


Nautilus is a fantastic addition to the arsenal of any support player, beginner or pro, who is looking to have a significant and direct impact on the game.  If you're a fan of tanks or just being at the center of the action, Nautilus will offer you a rewarding experience in which you can be involved in everything and perform a multitude of functions throughout the game. That being said, if you're simply here to learn how to deal with him, he also has weaknesses just like every other champion. I hope your newfound knowledge of Nautilus will help with your goals and gains in the near future. See you on the rift!

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