Nami Build Guide by Annalise
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
The Strong Support
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.
Nami is the support champion I recommend if you're thinking about playing (or stuck having to play) support in solo queue. As a person who mains support it is easy for me to understand how bothersome the role can be in solo queue- especially bronze solo queue.
The most common complaint I hear is from those who don't main support and are forced into playing the role is that, as support, they feel powerless in the game- they feel that they aren't able to turn a game around and carry their team to victory.
This guide is for those people who are looking for a strong support to play in solo queue! I can't promise that you'll be able to 1v5 using the guide, but I definitely think it can help you make the most out of your role and maximize her offensive abilities to be able to stand on your own in the game!
I hope to help people learn to use Nami as an initiator and a play maker!
This is my first guide, and as changes are made in the game I do plan on updating it!
Fun Fact: If Nami's Aqua Prison kills a siege minion , her team will receive 1 gold each. This is likely due to siege minions' tanky nature, and Nami is a fish; fish tank. A fish tank is an Aqua Prison.
Pros / Cons
+Abilities are useful for engaging and disengaging
+ Tidecaller's Blessingand Surging Tides will help your team to have more successful chases
+Heal ( Ebb and Flow) and stun ( Aqua Prison) are great tools for when your laning with a squishy champion and/or trying to make an escape
-Early Game Problems (mana problems and very high cool downs)
-Landing her skill shot ( Aqua Prison) takes a lot of practice and strategy
Nami is a squishy champion, thus putting some points into defense is essential or else you leave yourself open to take a lot of damage very quickly early game.
Veteran's Scars is a great mastery for early game! It gives you thirty extra health- which is a lot of extra health from when you first enter into your lane.
Hardiness and Resistance will help protect you against the enemy adc and support early on in the laning phase because they give you extra armor and magic resist- especially useful if the enemies are poke champions and are constantly targeting you.
Utility masteries are great for for helping with early game problems such as mana, movement speed, and cool downs.
I recommend maxing out the Greed mastery that give you extra gold because as a support you won't be farming much or getting money from kills so you need that gold to come from some where since you are expected to buy wards and build your own items.
Greed gives you extra gold per 5 seconds no matter what you do in the game.
Wealth gives you 50 extra gold at the start- which is enough to buy an extra ward when you first leave base.
Then there's the fact that Nami has really high cool downs. Getting Intelligence will give you 6% cool down reduction when maxed out!
We are also taking Meditation for Nami's mana problems. This helps regain an extra 3 mana per 5 seconds- which is very helpful until you have enough money to buy item's with mana regen.
Notice that we are also getting Nimble to help with our overall speed. This will work well when you buy Boots of Mobility and Nami's ability Tidecaller's Blessing along with her passive Surging Tides. Tidecaller's Blessing will give Nami a temporary speed boost on top of her base speed when used on herself (also activating her passive which grants another temporary speed boost). Altogether creating one pretty fast Nami!
Lastly, using these masteries, you are getting the Explorer and Biscuiteer . The Explorer's Ward gives you a ward for free that will last for 60 seconds. This is useful because you may want to ward an area for a short period of time and not waste a real 3-minute ward yet. The Biscuiteer restores 80 health and 50 mana over 10 seconds- this can be useful early game if you lost health/ need mana but you don't have to use a whole Health Potion or Mana Potion. This two items are important early game, don't hold on to them too long!
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Quintessence of Gold
Greater Seal of Armor
We can make Nami less squishy by using certain runes:
Greater Seal of Armor +1.42 armor each, which is a great thing, especially early game when Nami can take a lot of damage in a small amount of time.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist +1.34 magic resistance each, which is good when you're versing a magic based support.
Other rune choices:
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration can be useful when trying to build Nami to be able to do some damage because it ignores a percentage of enemy magic resist.
Greater Quintessence of Gold is a great choice for a support because again, you aren't getting a lot of gold from farm or kills, so each Quint gives you an extragold per 10 seconds... which adds up throughout the game.
Why are there no cool down reduction runes?
It is true that Nami has very high cool down times, but there is no need to get cool down reduction runes because with masteries ( Intelligence ) and items (such as Locket of the Iron Solari and Shurelya's Reverie) you reach the max of 40% cool down anyway.
Why no mana runes?
For the same reason we didn't get cool down runes, we don't need mana regen runes. We have masteries ( Meditation ) and items (such as philosopher's stone early game and Morellonomicon late game) that will give Nami enough mana regeneration to not need specific mana runes.
Summoner Spells and Alternatives
Exhaust is a good summoner spell for Nami and supports in general because it is very useful in assisting your ADC and securing a kill. This is because Exhaust lowers an enemies movement speed by 30% for 2.5 seconds- which in game is a great amount of time.
It is also useful in escaping/ helping your ADC get a kill even if they have low health because it lowers the enemies attack damage (30%) and attack speed (50%) which gives your ADC/ ally an advantage.
Sometimes a speed boost and a bubble isn't enough to save you, and you may need to Flash in order to escape. Other times, if your ally is 1v1 with an enemy, OR your too far away to make an impact in a team fight, and looks like they might lose, it can be useful to flash in and Aqua Prison the enemy(ies) and/or Ebb and Flow your allies to heal them. But be careful not to KS!
Alternative for Exhaust:
Ignite is a very powerful tool, and traditionally not seen used by the support. But, especially in solo queue, it may be useful when some one is critically low because it gives you the opportunity to secure the kill if you are alone and/or your ally has to base.
Aqua Prison (Q)
Ebb and Flow (W)
Tidecaller's Blessing (E)
Tidal Wave (R)
The ability sequence might not make sense at first glace but I'll explain below:
Taking your [W] Ebb and Flow first is useful in solo queue for the following reasons:
1. Depending on whether or not your leashing for your jungler it can be used as a first heal to prevent them from having to waste Health Potion. For junglers like Fiddlesticks this is not necessarily needed because he has Drain which heals him as he's taking damage.
2. When entering the lane it is good to have a point in your heal Ebb and Flow ready because you don't yet know how your ADC will perform. It is good to be able to get a sense of their style- while being able to heal them if needed- because in solo queue you can't necessarily rely on everyone to know how to play their role well.
We can max out Ebb and Flow first. But keep in mind as more points are added to the Ebb and Flow more mana is required (70/85/100115/130 mana required) to use it because you are healing more/ causing more damage. So you really need to at least get a philosopher's stone early game.
After Ebb and Flow is maxed out we will max out Aqua Prison because the mana cost for this always remains the same, but with each point the cool down lowers (14/13/12/11/10 seconds). It is also useful to max this out because it is powerful and increases in damage (75/130/185/240/295 magic damage, plus 65% of your ability power).
Honestly, I think
is a great choice with any ADC, but here are some good synergies with explanations:
Caitlyn is known for her awesome range and good harass. Nami is definitely a good pair with Caitlyn because she can give speed boosts ( Tidecaller's Blessing). Also, if Nami stuns an enemy (with Aqua Prison) it is easy for Caitlyn to be able to make a move on this because of her range and attack damage (especially with Headshot).
Vayne is known for her burst and ability to chase. But- she can be squishy and have a weak early game. Thus a healing support for a squishy champion is a good choice! Also Nami's passive Surging Tides and specifically her Tidecaller's Blessing will give Vayne an even better advantage when chasing and trying to secure a kill because of the speed boosts and the fact that Tidecaller's Blessing slows an enemy target.
Varus has a good range and harass during the laning phase. His ability Piercing Arrow is a skill shot and makes it difficult for him to lane against mobile champions such as Ezreal and Vayne. This is where Nami can help. Nami can increase his speed with Tidecaller's Blessing and use Aqua Prison to stun an enemy. The 1.5 second stun can give Varus time to aim and shot his Piercing Arrow, maximizing it's usage because the enemy can not use there abilities to dodge it.
Again, in solo queue I think Nami is well rounded enough to go with almost any ADC, but obviously use your best judgement and take into account how well you are with Nami and other supports.
Who does Nami Counter? Who Counters Nami?
Who does Nami Counter:
Ashe is known for her bad disengages, she doesn't have much mobility or any movement speed boosts. Thus Nami can counter Ashe because with her Aqua Prison she can lock Ashe down for 1.5 seconds, and if Ashe takes a significant amount of damage in that time she will usually be forced to burn her Flash which is a good thing because she won't have it to escape for another 5 minutes! Also the fact that Nami can use Tidecaller's Blessing to slow Ashe gives her ADC an even bigger advantage because of the fact that Ashe has a bad disengage to begin with.
Lulu is a harass champion with no real crowd control until she gets Wild Growth when she hits level 6. This is good for a Nami because you can really use the first 6 levels to your advantage since Nami does have crowd control ( Aqua Prison) and a heal ( Ebb and Flow) that not only heals and ally, but will deal damage to an enemy as well. A good Nami lane with make sure to get ahead in the first 6 levels against a Lulu so that when Lulu does hit level six your lane presence is already known and you are already ahead.
Who Counters Nami:
Nami can be countered by other supports who have hard crowd control.
Zyra not only has a lot of crowd control, she is also great at disengaging. Her Grasping Roots snare can prevent Nami from trying to engage or start a fight. Zyra is able to effectively challenge all of Nami's abilities with her own set.
Leona is very good at engaging, and although Nami is good at disengage, a good Leona will know how to ignore the disengage. For example, Leona can use her Zenith Blade to dash through walls and terrain. Plus Leona is usually built tanky while Nami will be squishy in comparison through out the game: thus is will be difficult to 1v1 a Leona if you have to.
When your going into solo queue you should take into account who you are versing before you autolock Nami. It will be difficult to play against support champions who have the ability to counteract your engages.
Items: Starting Items
I used to start out with:
But after watching some LCS matches and learning how to control my mana supply I start out with:
Why should you consider getting a Vision Ward instead of a Faerie Charm?
When you first enter the laning phase you shouldn't be spamming abilities- you need to learn to control your mana supply. Getting a Vision Ward gives you an early game advantage. Don't use it right away! But after 4 minutes and/or using the Explorer's Ward that came with your masteries you can use the Vision Ward to ward the river and destroy any enemy wards- making it easier for your jungler to gank.
The number of Health Potion and Mana Potion you get are up to you but I recommend getting three mana potions because you have a heal and if you don't take Faerie Charm you may be in need of mana if any fights start that require you using your abilities several times.
Items: Early Items and Mid Game Objectives
After basing two to three times you should have:
Philosopher's stone is good early game because it gives you health regeneration, mana regeneration, and extra an extra 5 gold per 10 seconds.
Sightstone makes it easier to start saving gold because it allows you to carry around four wards (you can place two down at a time) and it refills every time you return to base.
emblem of valor grants near by allies an extra 7 health regeneration every 5 seconds- this is very useful and as a support it is a good item to buy because it is benefiting your entire team.
What you're building up to for mid game:
Ruby Sightstone increases the amount of wards you are allowed to have out at a time from to 3 wards (instead of two from Sightstone) as well as lets you carry around 5 charges. It also refills every time you go to base.
Aegis of the Legion gives your allies an aura of 10 health regeneration and 20 magic resist while supplying you will more health and armor. It is made from emblem of valor and increases the benefits your allies receive (from 5 health regen to 10).
shurelya's reverie gives you more health and mana regeneration, but also has a unique use because when activated allies gain an extra 40% movement speed boost- which is useful for both engaging and disengaging.
Boots of Speed, as we discussed briefly before, are needed since Nami is squishy having a good movement speed without speed boosts is necessary for escaping- but also needed later game when returning to lane/ trying to get to a fight in time to help allies, the more movement speed you have the faster you get places!.
Fiendish Codex gives you 10% cool down reduction and 30 ability power. A great item as the game progresses since Nami scales off ability power and has long cool down times.
Kage's Lucky Pick gives you 25 ability power PLUS it grants you an extra four gold per 10 seconds.
Items: Full Build
We've already talked about Ruby Sightstone and shurelya's reverie which are two of the first items you should fully build because they are support items that both come with extra help which is important for Nami because she's squishy.
Then you should build Locket of the Iron Solari because it is keeps the aura that you had from Aegis of the Legion (health regen and magic resist) but it also has a specific active that shields near by allies for 5 seconds while absorbing 50% of the damage dealt.
But, as I stated in the notes, sometimes a jungler or top laner wants to build Locket of the Iron Solari. If this is the case I think, after you've built all of the items below, you should go for a Mikael's Crucible because it removes stuns and roots from allies- making it a good alternative because it helpful for allies. Plus you are getting more health and mana regen.
After you have those three items the order in which you finish building the next three depends on the game. If you need more power go right to building ability power, but if your being more passive and need the extra speed go for the boots.
Boots of Mobility gives you an extra 45 movement speed. And an extra 105 movement speed when you are out of combat for 5 seconds.
Morellonomicon has a lot of useful things in it. You gain 75 ability power, an extra 12 mana regen, and 20% cooldown reduction!
Twin Shadows can be very useful for chasing and/or engaging. the active is that it Summons up to 2 invulnerable ghosts for 6 seconds to seek the two nearest enemy champions. If they touch an enemy champion, they slow his Movement Speed by 40% and reveal him for 2.5 seconds.
But it also adds 40 ability power, 40 magic resist, and 6 Movement Speed Multiplier.
Game Play: Early Game
Depending on what side you start on you might be helping your jungler leash before going into lane. Remember: It's nice to give your jungler a quick heal if they need it and make sure not to steal their buff!
When you enter into the laning phase make sure to check and/or ward side bushes. Keeping control of your bushes throughout the laning phase is vital, especially for bottom lane, because if your versing a champion with a stun (like Taric) or a pull (like Thresh) you want to be able to see where they are at all times.
If you're playing verses a Thresh, Blitzcrank, or Nidalee remember to stand behind minions while pushing the lane because minions block all of these champion's [Q].
Around 2:30 - 3:00 (minutes) you should place the Explorer's Ward in the river near your lane to get vision for early ganks. The point of not wasting a real ward at first is because by the time the Explorer's Ward goes out, you can use your Vision Ward and have a higher probability of destroying an enemy ward because you gave you enemy enough time to put down a sight ward.
One of your goals as Nami (and as a support in general) is to make sure that your ADC is getting more farm than the enemy ADC. You can use the Aqua Prison occasionally to stun the enemy and allow your ADC to get a few hits on them- this may cause the opposing ADC to back up, which is what you want. Setting your ADC up to harass the other ADC and support and deal significant damage early game is a good way to get ahead.
Forcing a Flash and/or making someone base will ensure that your ADC is getting more CS than the opposing team. This is important because it means that your ADC will have more gold, be able to build items faster, and level up sooner.
Fighting in bot lane:
Remember, Nami is a play initiator~
Here's my advice for making a play during the early laning phase with Nami:
1. Really think about who you're playing against.
Playing against a Thresh? If he hooks your ADC you might want to that the opportunity to Aqua Prison him since he can't use other abilities or escape while using Death Sentence. But keep in mind he may come forward towards your ally whose hooked, depending on where he's moving aim accordingly.
Use what you know about other champions to decide where the best places to Aqua Prison are.
2. Keep in mind that your enemies are moving around!
3. Remember Namis passive Surging Tides will give your ally a movement speed when you use an ability on them. This is useful for engaging and disengaging.
4. Maximize the use of Ebb and Flow. If your ally needs a heal you may want to wait until they're close enough to an enemy so that you won't only heal them, but the ebb and flow will bounce from healing them to the enemy and cause damage. Keep in mind that Ebb and Flow will bounce to up to three people, so here's a few things to think about when using it:
- You're laning with Vayne and you are against Ashe and Janna. Vayne could use a heal. Ashe and Janna are both in range of Vayne. What do you do?
-You're laning with Vayne against Ashe and Janna. Vayne has just successfully killed Janna and you are moving in for Ashe. What do you do?
Take these scenarios and replace Vayne, Ashe, and Janna with who ever you are playing with/ against. The principles of these techniques are usable no matter what champions your fighting.
Game Play: Later Game/ Team Fights
After a certain point- could be five minutes could be less depending upon how the game is going- you should start to ward by dragon because the time to do dragon/ try to steal dragon is approaching.
By Mid Game you should have a Ruby Sightstone and you should not only ward your lane but also ward buffs/ mid depending on what's been going on in other lanes/ what the junglers have been doing. If your blue buff was stolen once, it may be smart to ward it in case they try to steal it again. But remember- you shouldn't be the only one warding on the team. Don't be afraid to tell others to buy sight wards as well.
Protecting a turret:
If you are the only one around while an enemy, or enemies, are trying to attack your turret you may be able to save it. If you're turret is above half heath definitely don't be afraid to stay, especially if your ADC is on the way back to help you...
In the past I've found that many people, especially greedy ones, underestimate Nami and attempt to turret dive her. This is very simple:
If one person is turret diving you wait til they hit you first- once the turret begins targeting them Aqua Prison them so that they will have 1.5 seconds of continual turret damage. While they are stunned you can heal yourself and cause them damage with Ebb and Flow and you may even want to use Tidecaller's Blessing on yourself and basic attack them because it will cause them to have a movement speed decrease. Surprisingly enough this may be enough to get a kill, or at least get them low enough that by the time your ADC gets there they can get a free kill.
If two/three people are turret diving you again wait till someone hits you first. Remember- Aqua Prison who ever the turret is targeting. Do what is above to that person until they either leave or you kill them. EVEN IF YOU KILL THEM- sometimes the other people will still try to turret dive you even though you've healed yourself because they're greedy and stupid. If your ADC is close by and they are still turret diving you, use Tidal Wave and then immediately have your Aqua Prison ready for when the knock up is over to stun them. If the turret is targeting one of them through out that whole time they might either die, or hopefully you'll have an ally there in time who will secure the kill.
If there are more than 3 people hitting the turret you should wait for back up because that many people will be able to turret dive you and win.
Don't underestimate the power of Nami or the turret!
Initiating Team Fights:
Make sure you communicate with your team before initiating! Once everyone is there and ready you have a few options, the best would probably be to use your Aqua Prison first on who ever seems the smartest to target. This will cause your allies, as well as your enemies, to move closer and start attacking. When everyone is closer together that is the perfect time to use Tidal Wave because you are insuring that you're maximizing its usage by hitting the majority, if not all, of the enemy team and knocking them up.
You have to remember through out the team fights to not only use Aqua Prison but to heal your allies and cause damage with Ebb and Flow which is perfect because everyone is usually in ranged during a team fight. Also, give your allies Tidecaller's Blessing if they start to chase, or if you just want to increase their attack damage and slow down enemy targets.
Plus remember you to use the items you bought! Twin Shadows is great to slow down enemies and can be used right after the engage. Shurelya's Reverie when activated speeds all allies in a certain range up. And Locket of the Iron Solari provides all allies in range with a shield that absorbs 50% of the damage dealt. All three of these items are useful during team fights! You don't have to wait til some one on your team is low or trying to escape to use these items! For example- using the Locket of the Iron Solari can be useful when your team is turret diving.
Nami is a great support and very well rounded, especially for solo queue games! In conclusion remember:
Practice the Aqua Prison because it is your more powerful tool to making plays both in the laning phase and in team fights!
Nami's Tidal Wave can lead to a team fight victory when executed properly (this means taking into account the positioning of all your enemies in order to maximize the knock up and the positioning of your allies to make sure they can take advantage of this knock up).
Nami is squishy and has a lot of mana problems! So play safe and don't spam abilities too much early game because you won't have enough mana regen to help your ADC if you are engaged on/ ganked.
Nami is the play initiator, it is all about positioning and timing. If you practice when to use your abilities you will lead your team to a win!