How to play Nautilus mid like G2 Caps
Caps has revived Nautilus mid for the first time in years, and it’s been an incredibly boon for G2. If you’re looking to replicate his success in your solo queue games, here’s what you need to know to play Nautilus mid like G2 Caps.
League of Legends players who have been around for a while will remember Kim ‘Doinb’ Tae-sang’s Nautilus mid from his Worlds 2019 run, and that was the first place this champion had a truly meta-defining stint outside of the support role.
Almost 4 years later and seemingly out of nowhere, Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther debuted at MSI 2023 with Nautilus being his signature pick for the tournament so far. It’s at the point where other pros are practicing the pick, and BLG’s Zeng ‘Yagao’ Qi has already put Nautilus mid to use against Movistar R7.
That said, this pick didn’t come out of nowhere at all. Caps used it to help him hit rank 1 on EUW servers and went on an absolute rampage through ranked, losing only one game while marathoning the pick. He’s the most experienced Nautilus mid player in the current meta, if you’re looking to try out the pick yourself, he’s the one you should look to.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to play Nautilus mid like G2 Caps.
When should you pick Nautilus mid?
Before trying it out, it’s important to understand when Nautilus mid should be picked. It certainly isn’t an all sizes fit one strategy, and the champion has some very specific uses: Namely enabling your jungler. A big part of the reason why Caps has had so much early success with the pick is because Martin ‘Yike’ Sundelin is a carry jungler who can pick AP champions.
While AD champs are more than viable with Nautilus mid, the fact that he tends to rush Abyssal Mask makes him a wonderful pairing with AP junglers like Lillia, Karthus, Nidalee, and Diana. It also means he excels against AP mid laners, though he can be viable against AD burst assassins. The only champions that well and truly counter Nautilus mid so far seem to be bruisers like Sett and Renekton, champions that can match his early 2v2 potential. So, as long as you’ve got a plan going in, Naut is a fairly safe early pick.
While queuing with a jungler will give you a much higher chance of success, there’s absolutely no problem with solo queuing and picking Nautilus mid as long as your team has enough damage elsewhere to make up for the damage he lacks.
How to win with Nautilus mid
Your goal with this champion is to put the rest of your team ahead. He isn’t like typical mid-lane carries who can get away with farming passively. Before you nab the build and runes that Caps typically uses, it’s important to realize he has a goal in mind every time he picks the champion.
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Because Nautilus has such strong wave clear after he gets points in his E, the ability you max first, having an active playstyle is essential for winning with this pick. You’ll want to shove the wave out and rotate whenever possible once you’re past the first few levels, either rotating to a lane or assisting your jungler with invades.
Nautilus has inherently strong skirmish potential because of his high CC and base damage, so having him along for the ride on invades and dives is a massive boon for any team. Winning with Nautilus mid isn’t about getting yourself fed and 1v9ing, it’s about getting your teammates fed and running over the enemy with sheer skirmishing potential.
G2 Caps’ mid Nautilus build and runes
As far as runes go, they’re fairly similar to playing Nautilus in support with a few key differences. The Resolve tree is near-identical to a standard support rune page with Aftershock being the keystone. The damage mitigation off of this rune is essential for close-up fights, and the small bit of bonus damage isn’t too bad either. Shield Bash is a great choice with his W being up so often, Second Wind helps out against poke (Bone Plating can be subbed in against all-in melee champs), and Overgrowth’s bonus HP is a nice-to-have.
Inspiration is where things get interesting. Cosmic Insight is standard, but Minion Dematerializer is a must-have on Nautilus mid. If you’re behind, using it to get cannon minions while under pressure is essential. If you’re ahead, using Dematerializer to clear the cannon allows Nautilus to rotate much faster. His E clears most of the minions anyways, but his single-target damage isn’t great. Killing that cannon can take a while.
Against AP, Adaptive Helm rush is the way to go. It’s a big part of why this pick is so effective. Not only do you get the AoE magic resist reduction, but also some mana and health sustain. Against AD threats, rushing into either Zhonya’s or Sunfire Aegis is a good choice. Radiant Virtue is the most common Mythic for Nautilus mid, but Evenshroud is a great option if you’re on a budget or focused on getting as much damage as possible into a single target.
If you’re ahead, rushing a Dark Seal and converting it into a Mejai’s is common practice on Nautilus. Other than Zhonya’s Hourglass, most other AP items aren’t worth the investment. Your main focus isn’t damage as Nautilus, and his base damage is high enough to take down most squishy targets even if you’re primarily building like a tank.
There you have it, everything you need to know about how to play Nautilus mid like G2 Caps. If you’re keen on learning more about League of Legends, you can check out some of our guides here:
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