Nautilus is one of the best melee supports in League of Legends. He’s a beefy tank with tons of crowd control and utility. But if you build Nautilus full AP he can one-shot enemies with his insane combo!

AP Nautilus hasn’t been a meta mid lane pick in a very long time. However, his power is undeniable. And in this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about playing Nautilus AP.

I’ll explain his damage and ratios, as well as the runes and items you’re going to need.

So without further ado, let’s jump into the guide!

Is Nautilus AP or AD in League of Legends?

Nautilus AP or AD - E tooltip

Nautilus is mostly an AP tank champion in League of Legends. All of his active abilities scale with AP and do magic damage.

Only Nautilus’ passive does bonus physical damage based on his level, but it doesn’t have an AD ratio. So players mostly build tank or AP items on Nautilus.

In past seasons, notably season 9, Nautilus was a full AP mid laner. Even pros like DoinB would build all ability power items and one-shot their enemies with a full combo.

Nowadays Nautilus is almost always a support pick with a tanky/supportive build. Players don’t usually get offensive items on Nautilus anymore, even though his numbers and AP ratios are decent.

Read Also: Bard AP or AD – Guide

Nautilus’ AP/AD Ratios and Damage Numbers

Here’s how much damage Nautilus’ abilities do in League of Legends. Nautilus abilities explained!

Passive – Staggering Blow: deals 8 to 110 bonus physical damage to a target when Nautilus auto-attacks them. This effect has 6 seconds cooldown against the same targets.

Q – Dredge Line: hooks an enemy champion, dragging them towards Nautilus and Nautilus towards them. It deals 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 magic damage which scales with 90% of Nautilus’ total ability power.

W – Titan’s Wrath: is a self-shield that becomes larger the more maximum health Nautilus has. Once activated, this ability also empowers Nautilus’ basic attacks to do 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 bonus magic damage plus 40% AP.

E – Riptide: is a large AoE ability that slows all enemies around Nautilus and deals 55 / 85 / 115 / 145 / 175 magic damage plus 30% AP per wave.

This ability launches 3 waves in total but enemies hit with more than one wave receive 50% less damage from it.

Nautilus AP or AD - R tooltip

R – Depth Charge: knocks up a single enemy, dealing 150 / 275 / 400 magic damage plus 80% AP in the process.

All enemies between Nautilus and his targeted enemy are also knocked up but they receive only 125 / 175 / 225 plus 40% AP magic damage instead.

That’s how Nautilus’ abilities work in LoL!

Read Also: Full AP Thresh Build Guide

Should You Play AP or Tank Nautilus?

If you’re trying to climb as a support in League of Legends, you should play the standard tank Nautilus build. But if you play Nautilus in the mid lane, the AP build is a better option for you.

So, both builds are viable but they have different strengths.

With the AP Nautilus build, your playstyle revolves around catching one target with your Q and then assassinating them with the rest of your abilities. Nautilus’ damage can be pretty overwhelming for many champions if you’re full AP.

And it can definitely win you games.

But the tank Nautilus build offers more safety and utility. As a tank support, Nautilus can play around his ADC and protect him from harm. But he can also engage team fights and keep the opposing carries from dealing damage.

If you’re interested in the best overall Nautilus in the current patch, I’ll include a link below for that.

But I also recommend you try the full AP Nautilus build too. It can be a pretty fun playstyle for normal and ARAM games too.

Read Also: AD Leona Bruiser Build Guide

The Best Runes for AP Nautilus in Season 13

AP Nautilus Runes

These are the best runes for playing Nautilus full AP in season 13:

  • Electrocute
  • Cheap Shot
  • Eyeball Collection
  • Ultimate Hunter
  • Manaflow Band
  • Scorch

The best keystone for AP Nautilus is ELECTROCUTE. It gives him a bigger burst and allows him to one-shot enemy champions very quickly.

Electrocute does bonus adaptive damage after you you’ve struck the enemy with 3 consecutive attacks (abilities or autos).

This is never a problem for Nautilus because his basic combos of Q+AA+E and R+Q+E always proc Electrocute.

CHEAP SHOT is here to give you even more damage when you engage in a fight. It does bonus true damage if your target is in crowd control.

And since Nautilus has 3 different CC spells (passive, Q, and R), Cheap Shot is a super valuable rune to have.

With EYEBALL COLLECTION, you increase your ability power passively throughout the game.

The rune works on stacks and awards you bonus AP upon a champion takedown. When fully stacked, Eyeball Collection grants you a total of 30 AP.

In the last row of Domination, you should always pick ULTIMATE HUNTER. This is simply a must-have rune for any champion that depends on their ultimate ability to deal damage. 

AP Nautilus has great damage but he still needs his Depth Charge to bring an enemy from 100 to 0% HP. So, don’t forget to get Ultimate Hunter.

For secondary runes, MANAFLOW BAND is always a good choice. It increases your maximum mana when you trade with the opposing laner and grants you mana regeneration. So, it’s a useful rune.

And lastly, SCORCH can help you deal more damage during the laning phase. And since it burns enemies for additional damage, it can help you secure more champion takedowns overall.

Aside from Electrocute, Nautilus also goes well with Dark Harvest and Predator. The first will give you more damage in the late game and the second better ganks. 

But if you want to be tankier, go for the Aftershock keystone and the Resolve rune tree.

Read Also: ADC Soraka Build Guide

The Best Items for AP Nautilus in Season 13

AP Nautilus Items

These are the best items for building AP Nautilus in season 13:

  • Hextech Rocketbelt
  • Lich Bane
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap
  • Zhonya’s Hourglass
  • Void Staff
  • Mercury’s Treads

No matter which build you go for, MERCURY’S TREADS are the best boots for Nautilus. This is because Naut is a melee champion that needs be free in order to deal damage or apply crowd control.

Merc Treads grant a lot of tenacity, so you’ll quickly get out of all CC effects your enemies throw at you.

HEXTECH ROCKETBELT is by far the most useful mythic item for AP Nautilus. Not only does it give you lots of AP, health, ability haste, and magic penetration, but it also has super useful active.

Hextech Rocketbelt allows you to dash forward and deal damage in a cone in front of you. You can use it to do many things like getting in range for Nautilus’ ultimate when you’re chasing enemies.

LICH BANE is a no-brainer when you play AP Nautilus. Naut’s passive is a central effect in his design and requires him to auto-attack.

Lich Bane will increase the damage of your auto-attacks after using an ability and does increase your overall damage output.

When it comes to dealing more damage, RABADON’S DEATHCAP is the best AP item to get. It will give you the hardest power spike because it almost doubles your ability power when you purchase it.

So, always get RA!

ZHONYA’S HOURGLASS is the answer for all assassins and mages on the enemy team. It grants you a bit of armor and allows you to enter Stasis.

And if you time it right, you can dodge so many different abilities that are aimed at you.

When you build only AP on Nautilus, you’ll be very squishy. And you’ll definitely need the defensiveness that Zhonya’s offers.

And lastly, you’ll definitely need VOID STAFF once you get to the late game. Even though Nautilus’ AP ratios are great and you’ll have tons of damage, magic penetration is what will allow you to one-shot enemy champions.

Read Also: AP Lee Sin Support Build Guide

Optional and Situational Items for AP Nautilus

Aside from Rocketbelt, Nautilus really works well with Everfrost. And you can use this mythic item to torment your enemies and keep them in place for over 5 seconds.

Other useful items include Demonic Embrace, Nashor’s Tooth, and Morellonomicon

Read Also: Full AP Leona Build Guide

Skill Order and Summoner’s Spell for AP Nautilus

As Nautilus, you’re always looking to max out your E first. This is your main damaging ability and it’s pretty bonkers with a full AP build.

The second is your Q. This is your bread and butter spell for catching enemy champions. 

And lastly, max out your W third. Nautilus is a pretty tanky champion and his shield is great even on the first rank. So, you don’t need to rush this one in the early game.

As for Summoner Spells, Flash + Ignite is the best combination for AP Nautilus.


As you can see, Nautilus has only two playstyles – AP and tank. The tanky build is better for supporting your team. And the AP build is good for mid lane Nautilus because of the great damage potential.

That said, I hope you found this guide informative and helpful.

And here’s the best Nautilus build for the current patch as I promised above!

Read Also: Full AP Alistar Build Guide (Master)

Last Update: April 30, 2024