All Guides Nautilus Guides [6.5] AP Nauty-list for elo gains (#1 Naut NA)
2 years ago

Nautilus Statistics for scrlett

Author's performance with Nautilus compared to the ranked average.

Games Played
Win %
KA:D Ratio
Gold Earned
Creep Score
  • Author Champion Statistics
  • Guide Details

Summoner Spells Back to Top

Flash is invariably a crucial summoner spell. It's versatility allows for both aggressive and defensive plays. Knowing when to use flash "separates the good ____ from the bad _____" - Rito 2014. When in doubt though, it is better to waste flash than to die and lose your advantage.

All jokes aside, it takes a lot of game knowledge to know when you can save your flash, and when you should just use it early. Remember that even though you are not building tanky, you are still quite durable as a champion that is melee (higher base stats), large amounts of CC, and a shield from Titan's Wrath. Remember that you can use your hook, Dredge Line, to escape by hooking to terrain.

Almost any time you pick Nautilus (except top) you play him as a kill lane. Ignite adds to your burst and allows you to secure kills. Don't be afraid to use this early on in a duel, especially if the enemy has any form of a heal. Even if you don't kill your enemy, you will at the very least force them out of lane or create a 5v4 position and gain map control.

Especially in difficult lanes, I like to all in my opponents when I have a wave building up, and use all of my cooldowns, including my ultimate and ignite. This will almost always force them out of lane, netting me an exp and gold advantage that can make the kill easier a few minutes later when my cooldowns return.

Pick teleport for a lane that you are looking to go even in, like Anivia, Fizz, and...yeah, pretty much Anivia and Fizz.

New Runes Back to Top

Masteries Back to Top

These masteries are pretty standard for this patch. Thunderlords is too good for burst champions. Both short skirmishes and all-in fights are aided by the sizable chunk of damage that it provides.


We skill into the ferocity tree because of the offensive masteries it offers.

  • Sorcery - Ability damage is superior to attack speed for mages.
  • Double edged sword/Feast - This one depends on the matchup. Feast is good for hard matchups where sustaining is an issue, but double edged sword grants even more damage against easy to kill mages. I recommend double edged swords for matchups where all-ins will be effective (Yasuo, Orianna, Viktor, TF, etc) and Feast for less vulnerable enemies (Fizz, Lissandra, etc).
  • Natural talent - The damage greatly outweighs the minimal sustain that vampirism gives.
  • Opressor - This is so strong on Nautilus. Due to low cooldowns and many CC abilities, Nautilus has a 100% CC uptime when fighting enemies.


We skill into the cunning tree for the offensive masteries it offers and thunderlords.

  • Wanderer - We don't need savagery for assistance with farming because Naut's auto attacks makes farming extremely easy. Extra damage on first hit decreases the window of time in which you can miss CS.
  • Assassin/Secret stash - Sort of the same argument as double edged sword and feast above. Damage versus sustain depends on matchup.
  • Merciless - Great mastery for killing targets.
  • Dangerous game - Going all in is risky.
  • Thunderlords - This mastery in particular brings so much strength to Nautilus in preseason. Riptide has three separate damaging portions and can proc thunderlords in one cast for short exchanges. For long exchanges, the extra burst helps secure kills.

Abilities Back to Top


Skill explanation

(Ability descriptions copied from

nautiluspassive.png Staggering blow (passive) [9/8/7/6 second cooldown]

"Nautilus's basic attacks deal 8 - 110 (based on level) bonus physical damage and Root root his target for 0.5 / 0.75 / 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 seconds.

This effect cannot occur on the same target more than once every few seconds."

Basically, Nautilus roots and deals damage to enemies when he auto attacks them. Though this can only happen once every few seconds, the cooldown decreases with level, leading to some pretty brutal lockdowns later in the game. Also, the damage on his passive allows last hitting to be very, very easy. You'll find that between his massive wave clear and empowered auto attacks, you have to actually try to miss cs.

nautilusanchordrag.pngDredge Line [18/16/14/12/10 second cooldown]

"Active: Nautilus hurls his anchor forward in a line. If it hits an enemy, Nautilus Airborne icon drags them to him and simultaneously dashes to them, dealing them magic damage and briefly stunning them.
    Magic damage: 60 / 105 / 150 / 195 / 240 (+ 75% AP)

If the anchor hits terrain, Nautilus dashes to the very end of its path and halves Dredge Line's cooldown."

Oh man, this ability is awesome. I would say that this is the most defining ability for Nautilus, but every ability on his kit is just so awesome. It's a hook, a dash, and a nuke all in one.

If you've ever played Blitzcrank or Thresh, you know how hard it is to land hooks. For Nautilus, though, it's incredibly easy. His hook has the largest hitbox of the three, while still has a very fast projectile speed. That's not it though. The anchor portion of his hook ALSO has a hitbox, which many people do not expect. After 1-shotting an enemy, I often have them complain in all chat about how the hook didn't hit them. I use this small extra range on his hook as a surprise factor and almost always hook from max range if I can.

Once you have a lead as Nautilus, your catch potential is immense. Unlike Thresh or Blitzcrank, the limiting factor on his hook isn't whether or not you can hit it, but whether or not you want to take it.

nautiluspiercinggaze.pngTitan's Wrath [18 second cooldown]

"Active: Nautilus shields himself for up to 10 seconds, causing his basic attacks to deal bonus magic damage over 2 seconds to his target and all enemies around them while the shield holds.
Shield Strength: 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 (+ 9 / 11 / 13 / 15 / 17% maximum health)

Titan's Wrath resets Nautilus's autoattack timer."

This ability is so versatile. It grants Nautilus a fairly hefty shield as well as a ridiculous amount of damage. The only kicker is that it no longer does any damage if the shield is broken. If you don't build health, the shield will break easily, right?

Nah. A few patches ago, Riot made a fairly big change to Nautilus. They reduced the power of Titan's Wrath and shifted the power to Riptide, but Titan's Wrath now scaled off of total %hp rather than bonus %hp. It was this change that made AP Nautilus the viable champion that he is now today. Your shield will only be about a third less than a full tank Nautilus would have. Additionally, your CC guarantees you a few seconds of damage.

Early on, use this ability as a shield to avoid harass and obtain CS. Later on, save this ability until you begin to CC lock your enemies, unless you do not plan to go in.

nautilussplashzone.pngRiptide [7/6.5/6/5.5/5 second cooldown]

"Active: Nautilus creates 3 waves of explosions that radiate from him, each dealing magic damage to all enemies hit and Slow icon slowing them by an amount decaying over 1.5 seconds.
Magic Damage Per Wave: 60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200 (+ 30% AP)

Enemies can be hit by multiple waves, with each wave beyond the first dealing half damage."

Riptide is what makes AP Nautilus so strong (I say this about all of his abilities). Those unfamiliar with Nautilus' damage often are surprised by how much damage this deals. By then, it's too late.

Riptide deals damage in three waves. Each wave deals damage separately, and is capable of proccing Thunderlords all on its own.

The logistics of landing all three waves is a bit complicated. Landing two is almost guaranteed unless the enemy is moving towards you (into your character model). The first wave does has a small casting time though, so take care to be close enough to your enemy that it will hit. Hitting all three waves will apply a massive burst (probably one of the highest damage basic abilities in the game -- 400 + 60% AP!). You will mostly hit all three waves when your enemy is running away, which happens quite often.

Coupled with Luden's Echo, one Riptide is enough to clear an entire wave of minions.

Riptide's low cooldown means that you can use it multiple times during your combo! Try to use it earlier on so that you can use it again after you CC lock them.

nautilusgrandline.pngDepth Charge [140/110/80 second cooldown]

"Active: Nautilus sends out a depth charge that chases a Depth Charge Target target enemy champion, dealing magic damage, Airborne icon knocking them up for 1 second and Stun icon stunning them on arrival. All enemies hit along the way are also dealt magic damage and are Airborne icon knocked up for 0.5 seconds."

This is the ability that makes Nautilus almost impossible to escape from. In a highly mobile meta, a long range point and click knockup/stun is extremely powerful, especially when you have a kit that can follow up with even more CC and damage.

If possible, communicate with your jungler to come mid when you hit level 6. Unless there is a countergank, this is almost always a guaranteed kill, even if the enemy has their flash. Mid lane is a very short lane, and as a result, both champions are within very close proximity of each other. The enemy laner is easily in range of your ultimate. When your jungler arrives, simply lead with your ultimate so that your jungler can follow up easily, then land a guaranteed hook while they are still stunned, then land a guaranteed snare from your passive while they are still hooked, interweaving Riptide between CC's. If they're not dead by now, you should report the bug to Riot.

Depth Charge is a very unique spell. Once targeted, a very slow "depth charge" follows the enemy, knocking up targets in the way, and finally knocks up and stuns the final target. This is a bit of a double-edged sword because the ability is not instant, BUT gives you plenty of time to react if the enemy decides to flash or use any gap closers. If they do, your hook is still long enough to catch them.

Skill order

W>E>Q>E>E>R>E.... E max is typically the best skill order, as it allows for strong waveclear and high damage. Maxing E is almost always better because its low cooldown allows for two casts during one spell rotation. 


The optimal combo for Naut is R > Q > E (while in motion) > auto > w (for auto reset) > E Due to the hook traveling distance and multiple casts of E, his combo used to proc luden's twice. It was incredibly broken. Alternatively, if you are in melee range, it is okay to auto first and spread out your CC if you want more damage over time instead of burst.

Items Back to Top

Starting Items

    Strongest start for Naut, giving him all the stats he needs.

Core Items

    You play Nautilus to win lane. Purchasing 2 or 3 doran's rings solidifies your dominance in lane.
    Final build against AD and/or heavy burst. (Check description for purchase order)
    Final build against heavy AP.
    Get lucidity boots early on for the cooldown reduction, but can be sold once lich bane and luden's echo have been purchased. The movement speed from these two items combined with Nautilus' hook movement is more than enough to do without boots.

Situational Items

    Sometimes it is worthwhile to transition into a tank Nautilus to counter certain champions, like Doinb of QC did against Yasuo.

Doran's rings are the best item for Nautilus. He relies on a strong early/mid game in order to have a presence in the game, and it is worthwhile to sacrifice late game gold for a stronger early game. The ability power allows for more damage, the health makes Titan's Wrath a larger a shield, and the mana regeneration negates any mana issues he has when spamming abilities for waveclear and 40% cdr.

Luden's is an incredibly strong item on Nautilus. The item allows him to:

  • Higher burst and finish off targets
  • Instant wave clear
  • Higher mobility (325 base movement speed is limiting)

      Prior to the luden's echo nerf, Nautilus was able to proc the damage twice in one spell rotation due to Dredge line adding stacks through both movement and spell cast. However, he is still easily able to proc it twice through the longer 6 second lockdown late game.

Abyssal scepter is a similarly strong first item, adding burst, defense against stronger mages, and instant waveclear as well.

The rest of the items are fairly standard, and what you expect to see on melee AP champions like Fizz. Since Nautilus does not rely on high AP ratios, but rather high base damages, items that add to his burst, such as luden's or lich bane are more worthwhile than straight AP items, like Rabadons.

As a melee champion, Nautilus requires a defensive item to survive teamfights. You have to make sure to time your gold income and build path with how the game is progressing. If laning phase lasts very long, it's safe to build both luden's and lich bane, but if towers drop earlier on in the game, Zhonyas/ROA/Abbysal should be your second item.

Boots can be sold later on once lich bane and luden's echo have been purchased. The movement speed from these two items combined with Nautilus' hook movement is more than enough to do without boots.

Matchups Back to Top

Click on a champion below to see the author's notes on that particular matchup.

  • Ahri
  • Akali
  • Anivia
  • Annie
  • Azir
  • Brand
  • Cassiopeia
  • Diana
  • Fizz
  • Gangplank
  • Karthus
  • Kassadin
  • Katarina
  • LeBlanc
  • Lissandra
  • Lulu
  • Nautilus
  • Orianna
  • Ryze
  • Twisted Fate
  • Urgot
  • Varus
  • Vel'Koz
  • Viktor
  • Vladimir
  • Xerath
  • Yasuo
  • Zed
  • Ziggs




Same deal with Leblanc -- Ahri's strength is her ability to reposition and catch people out of position. Your abilities greatly nullify this core part of her kit, leaving her mid-level damage to be rather mediocre.

Before the Ahri nerfs, I would say this was a medium matchup, but since her snare no longer stops your hook, you are free to facetank that charm while you are hooking.

Before you hit level 6, I would recommend just using shield to farm. Once you hit three, you can either choose to continue farming, or look for short all-in burst trades.




Squishy, melee champions are the enemies that Nautilus dreams of. Most of the power of melee champions comes from the threat of their damage, rather than tankiness. ("Best defense is a strong offense"). This is best countered by CC, which Nautilus has an abundance of.

You can abuse her early game with the strength of Riptide and the shield of Titan's Wrath. You will be guaranteed to outrade her.

Make sure not to expose yourself in lane while your ultimate is down, as Akali's ultimate is on a very short cooldown. You will lose the trade without the threat of your ult.




This matchup is a little difficult to win. You can't kill her under tower, as Nautilus lacks ranged abilities, and the wall counters Dredge Line. Consider taking teleport for this matchup so that you can sustain well, and create pressure elsewhere.




Fairly tough matchup that will require jungler help to win lane. She is highly immobile, and ganks have a high chance of succeeding. She outdamages you if you cannot kill her in one burst.




Pretty easy matchup, as he is quite squishy and loses damage if he has to use his soldiers to escape. Make sure to only hook while he is stunned so that he cannot use his ultimate to block your hook.




Figured I'd do a brand matchup since he is very popular now. Immobile, squishy champions are always a pleasure to play against.

The main thing you have to keep in mind in this matchup is that you can outplay him with flash, but his flash is useless against you. Most of your cc is point and click, whereas he has to land a two spell combo in order to stun you. As long as your flash is up and you dodge either his Pillar of flame or Blaze, he can't outduel you.




Squishy champ. Kill before getting ulted. Low mobility champ guarantees kills with jungler.




Almost identical kits, just reversed power spike.
Since our shield does not scale with AP but has high base values, our early trades are much stronger, but lose power later on. Try to win early by bullying the melee champ with Titan's wrath and riptide.




This is mostly a skill matchup. His Playful Trickster renders your ultimate useless, so you have to bait him to use it before using it.

I have a very specific way I like to play this matchup, and you can actually see it in a little bit from the game I played with Pants are Dragon (link is further down). I like to bait his ultimate and playful trickster out by standing out of position, then hook to my tower. He will be vulnerable after this, so I use my ultimate and follow up with the rest of my combo. The hook will be on a reduced cooldown because I hooked terrain.




He can't outdamage you except in long exchanges. Oranges are pretty useless since he can only use it on your auto attack root and the second half of your ultimate. Immobile champ that can be killed easily with gank.




Oh man. $$ all day. Hook and kill, hook and kill.




Bully the crap out of this guy early on. Save your hook for in between his rift walks. Very squishy and will be killed quickly with jungler help. Easy to lockdown, which reduces most of his power.




I hope she wasn't planning on ulting this game. Save your ult or hook for her ultimate => win lane.




Naut is a good counter to her for a variety of reason.

1. Depth charge locks down the double distortions, for a free hook follow up.
2. You can tell which one is the real clone by the passive cooldown indicator around her.
3. Squishy enough that your combo can 1-shot her.

Just try not to get harassed too hard in the early levels, so that you can have pressure to fight her later on.




Not a lane that can be easily won, but not one that you will lose either. Her ultimate negates your ultimate, but allows for you to have a free hook. You will lack the damage to kill her, but she also won't be able to do much to you. Consider taking teleport or call for jungler help.




Meh. Not an easy lane to kill because of her ultimate. You can still bully her out of lane with all-ins and apply pressure elsewhere. Consider taking teleport.




You win because you read my guide.




Pretty easy matchup. Same deal as Twisted Fate. She can't outdamage you, so if you are unable to dodge her shockwave, save your ultimate for when she uses it on you and follow up with your hook after the shockwave ends.





Twisted Fate


Really easy matchup. TF is very squishy and can't escape easily. If possible, time your ultimate right before he gold cards you, so that you can follow up with a hook. Otherwise, stacking your abilities will probably be enough to kill him. Make sure to pressure him so that he can't use his ultimate.




TELL THEM I DID IT. Hardest matchup ever, just dodge.
(Not really)




These are my favorites. ADCs are inherently immobile and squishy, giving you a lot of opportunities to go in on them.




Immobile mage, very easy to all in. If unsure, call for a jungle gank, which will be a guaranteed kill since he has no escapes.




Play against him like you would any immobile mage -- all in him at powerspikes of 3, 6, and 8-9. Call for jungle gank, because it is a very easy kill since he has no escapes.




This is one of those matchups where not a whole lot happens. He can't burst you down, but you can't all in him either. Either look to push him out of lane and roam, or let him push and call for jungle ganks. Even with his pool, he is very vulnerable if overextended.




This is another matchup that is fairly difficult for Nautilus. Look at catch him out position when he is either autoattacking your backline minions, or autoattacking to get mana for his passive.




Doinb picked Nautilus mid to counter Yasuo during an LPL game. Yasuo's strength lies in his mobility, and Nautilus rips that away from him. Try to focus on landing guaranteed hooks, as his windwall can block your hook. If you do not do well early game, I would recommend building a randuins to completely counter Yasuo (Yasuo gets nearly 100% crit, and randuins works very well against crit champions.)




This matchup is a little tough because he can use his ultimate to dodge yours. Your ultimate range is longer than his, so stay out of range until your ultimate hits. You will probably lose the trade unless you can flash/dodge his initial combo after he uses his ultimate.




Aside from tanky matchups, poke lanes are the most difficult to win. Though you sustain fairly well with your shield, it is difficult to get in position to attack them. Look for them to be out of position when they try to farm your backrow minions with their autoattacks. This is when they are the most vulnerable.

Why play AP Nautilus mid? Back to Top

Often, people will pick off-meta champions for the sake of the novelty. Sure, AP ezreal is cool when it works, and yeah, AD Bard is fun to see, but at the end of the day, there are other champions that fulfill the same roles while doing everything they can do, but better.

That's not really the case with AP Nautilus.

There is no other champion with as much single target CC as Nautilus that can deal anywhere near the same amount of damage. That is essentially the entire reason why he is a good choice for the middle lane. His long range and continuous hard CC is a kit that is designed to punish enemies who are out of position. With the help of a jungler, mid lane kills are almost 100% secured because of his point-and-click knockup/stun. Even without jungler help, his early and mid game damage is so high, due to high base damages and fairly good AP ratios), that you can 100-0 most enemy mid laners.


The main reason that I play AP Nautilus is because it's hilarious and fun. One-shotting people with a champion that they've never had to fear before is hilariously fun. You have so much potential to kill people from half a screen away in one spell rotation, leaving your teammates and enemies alike to wonder what the hell just happened.

Gameplay Back to Top

The best way to describe AP naut is Diana with a reversed power spike. There are a couple things that make him a very strong pick:

  • He has three reliable hard cc's with very low cooldown.
  • A long range point and click stun is invaluable when almost every champion has a mobility spell
  • A gank mid is almost always a guaranteed kill, regardless of whether or not the enemy laner has flash or not. Leading with stun allows for free jungler follow-up (nid spear, lee sin q, elise cocoon, any hard to land skill shots), which in turn allows Naut to hook for free, and follow up with a 0.5/0.75/1.0 second root for free as well. A 3 second lockdown mid lane is pretty broken.

If you've ever looked at his AP ratios, they really are quite high. While it's not anything spectacular, his CC guarantees him at least a 300% ratio with very high base damages (this is why Nautilus support is strong).

Due to his high CC kit, you can pick him into nearly everything as long as they don't have a reliable way to dodge his ultimate (Fizz, Lissandra). Even then, it's fairly easy to beat them since you have so many tools at your disposal.

See the early, mid, and late game sections on how to play each part of the game in-depth.


AP naut is strong early and mid, but weak late. Due to his high CC and base damages, he can beat most mid laners during early and mid game, and has very high catch potential.

Team Fighting Back to Top

Ideally, you never want to have a full out 5v5 teamfight. This is the same for any assassins. Your objective is to dominate the early game, transitioning that early game lead into objective control in the midgame.

However, this does not always happen every game, and it is crucial to know your role as an assassin in a 5v5 teamfight.

Look for picks.

Often, when seiging towers or hovering around dragon or baron, squishy targets will come out in front of the frontline in order to poke the towers or enemies. This is where you hook them, combo, and immediately walk out towards the back so that you can cycle into another spell rotation. You're not doing your team any favors by tanking damage.

However, if you can't find any of these opportunities, look to use your ultimate on the enemy furthest back from their team. Your ultimate deals damage to all targets between you and the target, so you'll be able to get a substantial amount of AOE damage to their team with your abilities. Look to quickly use your abilities, then move back and use your passive to peel their frontline, then dive in again once your cooldowns are back.

Early Game Back to Top

As a melee champion, naturally, his level 1 and 2 are very weak, not because of his lack of damage, but because of a lack of ability to fight the enemy without receiving heavy punishment in return. You will want to minimize the damage you receive during this time so that you can punish the enemy harder later on when you have your powerspikes.


Starting titan's wrath gives you a 135 hp shield level 1 that allows for easy farming without being punished. The enemy laner will take more damage from minion damage than you will from their harass.


 Level 2 is slightly weaker since the enemy laner now has access to two of their spells, whereas you can only use your riptide to farm. However, once you hit level 3 and level your hook, they no longer have control of the lane.


Past level 3 is usually around the time when junglers are almost complete with their initial clear and there is a large threat mid. Even if the jungler doesn't come, Naut can still win low level duels easily due to his high base damages.

Mid Game Back to Top


You should constantly be looking for all in engages or picks, preferably with the support of your jungler. If the lane is not easily won, it is still worthwhile to all in the enemy laner and use your superior waveclear to force them out of lane so that you can net a minion advantage or look to roam.

While your ultimate has a relatively long cooldown, you do not necessarily always have to save it for a kill. By damaging the enemy laner to low hp, you can force them out of lane due to the long range of your hook. They can't stay around and farm under tower because there will always be the pressure from your hook to kill them. If you are still healthy enough after the all-in, look to pressure the map elsewhere, otherwise push the lane, deny the enemy minions, recall, and repeat.

Late Game Back to Top


Unless your enemy laner is also an assassin, you will probably have lower impact in teamfights than high-utility casters, like Viktor, Orianna, etc. You should look to create picks and small skirmishes rather than large 5v5 teamfights. If an enemy is even slightly out of position, you can use your massive CC and damage to capitalize on that mistake.

See the teamfight section on how to approach the late game.

Tips and Tricks Back to Top

  • Dredge line (Q) takes priority over all other immobilizing CC on you. What this means is, so long as you hook BEFORE a stun, snare, or suppress hits you, your hook will always drag you to your target. This is best used to counter 'slow' moving skillshots, like Blitzcrank grab or Lux/Morgana binding.

  • You can activate riptide (E) during dredge line (Q). This is really good for escaping because you slow the enemy and create distance between you and your enemy without having to stop for the animation.

  • If you're fast enough, you can also queue your ultimate during dredge line so that it activates immediately when you reach your destination.

  • Titan's wrath (W) is an auto attack reset! This is best used early game to win trades.

VODS/Match history Back to Top



>> Link to AP Nautilus adventures playlist: Playlist here! <<


Ten win streak!


I do have one gameplay video where I was incidentally in a game with challenger player Pants are Dragon. He starts off by praising the AP naut!


You can check out my match histories to have a better idea of how AP Nautilus is played.
MAIN -  I don't have as many AP Naut games on my main anymore, as I need to focus on jungle for NACC. There are still at least a few in high diamond if you dig far enough.
SMURF -  I play only AP Naut on this account. This will probably be the better resource, but is only Plat 1/low diamond for now.

About me Back to Top

Hey there! I'm a Masters Nautilus main and still play AP naut mid and top when I don't get jungle. My main is here and my smurf where I play more AP naut when I duo with lower elo friends. During the summer, I got to my D1 promos playing AP naut exclusively. You can see pants are dragon praising me here! Before capping at D1, I hovered at around a 80% win rate and 6 KDA during my climb from D5 to D2.

I'm currently the number one Nautilus according to lolskill.

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