Nami Build Guide by The_Nameless_Bard

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League of Legends Build Guide Author The_Nameless_Bard

Let the Orinoco Flow - Support Nami

The_Nameless_Bard Last updated on July 1, 2014
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 4

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 5


Utility: 21

Table of Contents

Quick Guide


Basic Information

Advanced Tactices

Wrapping Up

Starting Items


Core Builds



Offensive Items

Defensive Items

Synergies & Counters

Nami is good against:

Nami is weak against:

Nami works well with:

Summoner Spells

Flash is generally a core spell, there's no reason to switch it out for anything. Exhaust tends to be a stronger pick throughout the game, as it gives you a massive damage debuff, but Ignite can be picked up against a high sustain team or against a high sustain support like Soraka (though in the latter situation it's entirely unnecessary).


Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration

As Nami can be very squishy early, I prefer to run a combination of health, armor, flat/scaling magic resist to make her somewhat more durable. I tend to harass with auto attacks, so hybrid penetration marks are what I prefer for damage runes. However magic penetration can be a strong option as well if you don't tend to auto attack much.


Click to Enlarge

I prefer this to a 0-9-21 set-up, as Nami benefits highly from CDR early, which makes this more favorable for her. If you want to run a more durable mastery set-up, I'd suggest 0-16-14, as it gives you a good combination of defense and utility to work with.

About the Author

Click to Enlarge
I'm a Silver support player from the North American Server. Nami is my second most played support in ranked and one of my favorite champions in the role currently.
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Nami is one of my favorite supports in the game currently. Ironically, I used to really dislike her, though around halfway through season three I picked her up because I got bored with Sona. She's currently one of the strongest and most balanced supports in the game. She excels at a combination of poking and sustaining, while also having strong CC early and great kiting potential. This makes her extremely variable and a strong pick with most carries.
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Who is Nami?


+strong sustain
+good poke
+strong engage/disengage potential
+kites well
+amazing teamfight potential
+ River Spirit Nami

Nami's Strengths

Nami is currently one of, if not the, strongest supports in the game. She has the most cost efficient sustain in the game, her poke is very good, and her CC makes her nearly ungankable in lane. She is also a force to be reckoned with in teamfights due to her strong initiations with Tidal Wave.

Nami's Limitations

Nami is extremely squishy in lane, this makes Nami somewhat vulnerable to poke or high burst supports. While Ebb and Flow is extremely cost efficient, it still has a high mana cost. This means she has to be careful just how often she spams it, or she will be very vulnerable. Aqua Prison usage can often make or break a lane for Nami, this can make it easy to abuse her, as missed Aqua Prisons are largely wasted mana on a champion who already has resource problems.


-Very squishy early
-Can have resource problems in lane, especially if Ebb and Flow is maxed first
-Ability to utilize Aqua Prison can make or break a lane with Nami.
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Nami's Skillset

Surging Tides: This makes Nami an exceptional kiting champion, as she can easily boost her allies' or her own movement speed.

Aqua Prison: This skill requires a certain amount of skill to land, but is extremely effective if used properly. As it can stun multiple targets, it can be very effective at pinning targets. It can also be used as an escape/peeling tool, as you can drop it on top of yourself or an ally to stun a target who has jumped onto them and give a movement speed buff at the same time. The main downside is that it can be predicted fairly easily and dodged, as the skill does not have a particularly fast particle.

Ebb and Flow: This skill is extremely good for counterpoking as it deals quite a lot of damage, even early. It's also the most efficient healing skill in the game in terms of mana used for health returned. However, despite how efficient it is, the mana cost is still fairly steep and you have to be careful not to spam yourself out of mana or you'll find yourself vulnerable.

Tidecaller's Blessing: Combined with Surging Tides, this makes kiting extremely easy. The magic damage buff is also very nice for adding a little more damage to trades. The mana cost increase is not very efficient when compared to Aqua Prison though, which makes it less of a priority.

Tidal Wave: Combined with Aqua Prison, this skill is very effective for initiating fights. The slow also makes it good for escaping/chasing, as its slow duration increases depending on how far away the targets are from the skill's starting point. The skillshot is wide, but it can be dodged and must be placed properly to be effective in teamfights. Its low cooldown (for an ultimate) is fairly forgiving, however your allies may be less so if you mess this skill up very often.
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Skilling Order

Skilling Priority
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Currently, maxing Ebb and Flow first is the best option on Nami as it gives her strong poke and sustain all in one handy skill. I usually prefer to max Aqua Prison second, as the decreased cooldown and static mana cost allow me to make more plays more often. I then max Tidecaller's Blessing last, as the increased damage is often not worth the increased mana cost when compared to the reduced CD of Aqua Prison. Tidal Wave should be taken whenever it's possible to take it.
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Starting Items

Either of these are perfectly good starting items on Nami, it all comes down to playstyle. I generally prefer Spellthief's Edge as it fits my aggressive playstyle better, but Ancient Coin is ok if you prefer to play more passively.

Early game core

These are fairly generic items for a mage support like Nami. Against a high magic damage support (i.e. Vel'Koz) I would suggest getting Chalice of Harmony before Sightstone, as it gives you better magic damage mitigation than the health from Sightstone would. If you're struggling to maintain vision control, an earlier Sightstone and Sweeping Lens can be beneficial. It should be noted that Sightstone needn't always be rushed, however, as you can often buy wards early in the game reasonably efficiently.

Core Items

As Ruby Sightstone is core on supports in general, mentioning it seems almost redundant. However, the health it provides is quite beneficial on a squishier support like Nami. Mikael's Crucible is still a core buy on most mage supports and Nami really benefits from an early Chalice of Harmony in lane, given that Ebb and Flow has a fairly high mana cost from the get-go. Oracle's Lens is another core support item, that should be bought fairly soon after hitting level 9, as it allows you to gain vision control easier, which is important for keeping an eye on objectives such as Baron Nashor and Dragon .

Talisman vs. Frost Queen's

Both of these items synergize quite well with Nami. Talisman of Ascension, is more of a utility buy, while Frost Queen's Claim is more aggressive. Both items provide CDR and gold generation, things Nami likes to have. The active on Talisman of Ascension works very well with Tidal Wave and Surging Tides for strong initiations, while the active on Frost Queen's Claim can be used in conjunction with Aqua Prison and Tidecaller's Blessing to really lock targets down.

Defensive Items

These are the best defensive purchases for Nami currently. Locket of the Iron Solari should be purchased against teams with a lot of Magic damage, especially if it's AoE. Banshee's Veil is more of a selfish purchase, which I would get against champions such as Karthus or LeBlanc to mitigate as much damage as possible, it's currently just a better purchase than Spirit Visage in general. Randuin's Omen still, despite the nerf, remains the most efficient armor item for a support, as it provides health for its armor. This means the item needs very little health within the build to be effective, while Frozen Heart requires more health within the build or the armor is largely wasted.

Offensive Items

Nami largely doesn't need to purchase offense based items besides Frost Queen's Claim and Sorcerer's Shoes. However there are a few items that can be beneficial to purchase on her. Twin Shadows gives her a good chunk of AP, CDR, and movement speed, all stats she can utilize fairly effectively. The active is quite good and has a lot of uses: it can be used to scout objectives, provide extra CC in a fight, and to chase down a stealthed champion (though the ghosts won't actually reveal a stealthed champion, it should be noted that they will chase them for a time and latch onto them if they come out of stealth). Morellonomicon is a strong purchase against high sustain teams, as it allows you to apply the grievous wounds debuff to a champion with less than 40% of their health. The CDR and mana regen the item provides are also useful, though Nami doesn't particularly need large amounts of AP to deal damage.

Situational Purchases

These items are extremely situational, but can be useful in or against certain team compositions. Frozen Heart can be a good purchase against attack speed dependent champions or against those who utilize attack speed as part of their damage ( Yasuo, Lucian). However, the lack of health in the item itself means you need to itemize health to make the best use of its armor, which can be tricky on a mage support like Nami. Ardent Censer is almost never a good purchase for Nami. In most situations, Twin Shadows or Morellonomicon are better purchases. If your carry would benefit from an early attack speed buff ( Kog'Maw, Lucian, perhaps Vayne), then getting this item can be ok. The other main situation is if you were on a team with a lot of Attack Speed based champions and you already had purchased Locket of the Iron Solari, then you can consider this item, especially if you're pushing a lot. Spirit Visage is in a bit of an awkward place right now. Against AoE or sustained magic damage compositions, Locket of the Iron Solari is generally a better purchase for around the same amount of gold on a support. Against burst magic damage, Banshee's Veil is generally a better purchase. However, if you're against a particularly high magic damage team or if the game has gotten to the point at which Locket of the Iron Solari's aura has fallen off, you can purchase Spirit Visage in conjunction with other magic resistance items.
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Largely Nami's function in lane is to provide sustain, poke, and engage. She also has strong disengage, which makes her extremely flexible. However, Nami, for the most part, will largely go even with or win most lanes if played properly. Mostly you want to poke enemies with Ebb and Flow, use Aqua Prison to engage when enemies are out of position, and Tidecaller's Blessing to either poke with auto attacks or give your carry a buff in a trade. Exhaust should mostly be used in conjunction with Aqua Prison to disengage or to lower an enemy's damage in a trade, though it can be used to chase targets ( Tidecaller's Blessing will usually allow you to forgo this). Tidal Wave can be a powerful engage tool in lane post-six when combined with Aqua Prison, as it can basically guarantee you land the latter when used properly. It can also be used to force enemy champions to back off or to foil a turret dive, as the width of the skill shot makes knocking up grouped targets extremely easy.
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Largely your function is the same, however you will often become a key initiator because Tidal Wave is a very strong initiation. You want to use Aqua Prison on high priority targets like their marksman or their AP carry if possible, though you should also use it to peel for your own carries if needed. Largely you'll probably end up using Ebb and Flow on allies and relying on bounces to damage enemies unless they get up in your face, as you're not a front line support. Exhaust should largely be used for peel, chasing shouldn't be a problem if you're using Tidecaller's Blessing on allies who can utilize it well.
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Tips 'n Tricks

Utilizing Surging Tides

Remember that Surging Tides applies to ANY skill that touches an allied champion, this means that Aqua Prison and Tidal Wave will give movement speed to allies. This can be particularly beneficial if you're using Aqua Prison to peel an enemy directly off an ally, as it will give them movement speed while stunning the enemy if placed such that it effects both of them.


Remember that Ebb and Flow deals/heals 15% less damage for every bounce. Because of this, you should make sure to use it on the highest priority target first, whether that is for damage or for healing.
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Nami works well with most carries and team compositions, however champions such as Vayne and Lucian can utilize Tidecaller's Blessing extremely well. In the case of Vayne, it effectively guarantees she can fully apply Silver Bolts and Aqua Prison used in conjunction with Condemn can be very good IF Condemn is not accidentally used to knock a target out of Aqua Prison's radius (I mention this because I've had a Vayne do this during a trade at least three times in my ranked games). Lucian's Lightslinger will apply two procs of Tidecaller's Blessing, which can be really strong in a trade. Yasuo can utilize both Aqua Prison and Tidal Wave for Last Breath, which makes her a strong pick for a team with him on it.
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Nami is extremely squishy early, which can make dealing with strong poke champions like Vel'Koz and Karma fairly difficult. Braum can intercept Aqua Prison, Ebb and Flow, Tidecaller's Blessing (when used on most ranged champions), and Tidal Wave with Unbreakable which makes landing a proper combo on his ADC nearly impossible. For a similar reason, Yasuo can be a problem for Nami in teamfights.

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You've now reached the end of my guide. That's an accomplishment, here have a cookie! Comments and suggestions are welcome, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

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Special Thanks