League of Legends: How to play Nautilus mid like Doinb

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

Just a few weeks to go until the League of Legends ranked season ends! Here’s our guide to carrying your games with Nautilus mid for some sweet LP!

League of Legends viewers from across the globe witnessed one of the most exciting series of all time earlier today as FunPlus Phoenix took down Invictus Gaming in the World Championship semi-final. One major factor in the LPL team’s 3-1 victory was Korean mid Doinb and his decision to hold down his lane with a unique pick in the current meta – Nautilus.

Prior to 2018, it was inconceivable to see anything other than a mage or occasional assassin in the middle lane as teams drafted in a very one-dimensional style. Recently, however, with the influx of innovative champion releases and reworks, as well as the growing importance of flex picks in the pick and ban phase, a much wider range of characters can be spotted taking position in the center of the map to varying degrees of success.

The original mid lane tank, Galio, had a lengthy spell at the top of the tier list throughout Seasons 7 and 8 with strong engage tools, high DPS, and a game-changing ultimate. But, as the game evolved and the balance team targeted a more lively game state, the likes of Galio, Sion, and Urgot were nerfed hard to make room for more interesting picks in the mid lane meta.

Nowadays you’ll be hard-pressed to find a game that involves an out of the ordinary champion in the middle lane as mages and assassins dominate in the current ranked and pro play climate, which makes Doinb’s decision to select Nautilus in three out of four semi-final games all the more intriguing. Utilizing a less flashy champion to allow Tian and Lwx to carry was key to FPX’s victory in Saturday’s match-up and had Invictus Gaming on the ropes throughout the series.

Why was the Nautilus pick so effective? How can you use Nautilus mid in solo queue to climb the ranked ladder before the season ends? Here’s our quick guide to playing the Titan of the Depths in the mid lane:


Aftershock. That’s all you really need to make Nautilus effective with his wealth of crowd control abilities to proc the rune and boost his defensive stats before a trade or skirmish. Follow this up with Shield Bash to increase damage after pressing W, Bone Plating to improve defense in a trade, and Overgrowth for a greater health pool in the late game.

As for the secondary tree, Inspiration is the way to go. Biscuit Delivery helps with lane sustain as you take on a ranged opponent who will no doubt look to chunk you out in the early stages, then take Perfect Timing for some outplay potential after 10 minutes and a cheaper Zhonya’s Hourglass.

When it comes to bonus stats, Scaling Cooldown Reduction, Adaptive Force, and either Armor or Magic Resist depending on your lane opponent is best.

Skill Order

E -> Q -> W. And points in R whenever possible, duh!

Item Build

Your starting item should be a Corrupting Potion as you’ll need plenty of sustain in the early game due to the likelihood of a melee vs. ranged match-up. Then, aim for a Seeker’s Armguard if your opposite number deals physical damage, or Hextech Revolver if they’re mainly magic damage. After about 10-15 minutes you should have completed both a Hextech Protobelt and Mercury Treads.

Follow your first two items up with Zhonya’s Hourglass and a Banshee’s Veil. All four of these purchases provide Nautilus with a defensive boost while also increasing his Ability Power to potentially blow up a squishy enemy. And finally, the final two items are completely up to you, depending on your composition and the line-up of enemy champions.

If you have plenty of damage on your side already, perhaps target more tanky items, such as a Sunfire Cape or Adaptive Helm. If not, head for a Luden’s Echo, Rabadon’s Deathcap, or Liandry’s Torment for even greater burst damage. Ultimately, a lot of Nautilus’ utility comes from his crowd control and inherent tanky stats, so any items added to that are just a bonus!


Obviously, the early game is going to be tough, especially before your first back. Facing off against a long-range mage or AD marksman will make life tough as they attempt to poke you out at every opportunity. Simply give up some farm and focus on keeping the minion wave in a decent position while staying in experience range. If the enemy jungler ever tries to mess with you, simply escape with your Q – Dredge Line and wait for them to retreat.

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Following your first recall, your Ability Power should be high enough to push out a wave and look for roams, so do exactly that. Walk up to the minions, press W – Titan’s Wrath to avoid incoming damage, then E – Riptide to nearly instantly take down the wave. Then, walk into fog of war and threaten a roam or combine with your jungler to take priority around the center of the map.

After a certain point, Nautilus becomes impossible to kill without significant assistance due to his huge health pool and armor/magic resist, so use this to your advantage. Look for picks in the mid-game along with your jungler, or roam to the bottom lane and engage on the enemy ADC for your team to take them down. Take Teleport for even faster roams or flanks to kick off a team fight.

Nautilus thrives in mid-game skirmishes or late game team fights and is THE vital member for his team. Be the front line for your teammates and look for any opportunity to hit Dredge Line on an exposed opponent, the squishier the better. Use R – Depth Charge as early as possible and knock up several opponents for a huge team fight impact, while stunning up champions with Nautilus’ Passive – Staggering Blow.

From there, continue to hit hooks and soak up as much damage as possible for your team. Playing Nautilus can often be a thankless job as you’re destined to finish the game with more deaths than kills, but if you play him right, you can single-handedly win a team fight with endless CC and huge burst damage.

Next. 5 best top laners for your end of the season climb. dark

Is Doinb the best Nautilus player in the world? Do you think Nautilus mid is broken in solo queue? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!