Nami Build Guide by JaydeWynn
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Defensive (See Notes!)
Not Updated For Current Season
First off, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to read my guide! I have been playing Nami extensively since the early level 20's and she quickly became a favourite champ of mine. My primary role in game is support, and I bounce between a few champions, but Nami is one I always return to.
Let's take a little look at Nami.
Has an amazing stun
Her buff slows enemies
Movement speed boost passive for you/allies
Poor wave clear (for when adc is away)
Stun can be hard to land
Ult is very weak until late game
It is true that Nami was nerfed pretty badly, but that doesn't mean she isn't still amazing. If you build her right and you play smart, she can be an epic support and sustain your adc straight up to the Nexus before you know it. Though she doesn't have much of an escape apart from her stun Aqua Prison, she does have a passive that provides a movement speed boost to whomever receives an ability of hers. So if you cast her buff Tidecaller's Blessing or heal Ebb and Flow, the target receives a 2 second boost to their movement speed!
Even though her ult Tidal Wave is fairly ineffective for damage early game, it does provide a hefty slow to all enemy champions it comes into contact with. This can lead to an epic kill secure that your ADC might not have been able to obtain without. It can also counter a gank with ease, giving you time to escape or even counter it.
These are my go-to spells for support champions. I take Clarity for lane-sustain, since she is so mana-hungry. You may find yourself by mid/late game not using it at all since your regen will be so high, but keep your eye on ally mana since it works on them in a radius too. I especially like this spell when supporting Jinx since it allows her to use Fishbones longer/more often without having to worry. I always notify how long the cooldown is if I notice my adc needs it (ie: 25 to clarity).
I always take Flash since it is a nice escape and can get you out of a sticky situation, especially in jungle when you're warding. You never know what you might find. Make sure to use it to get over a wall as this can save you faster than trying to run away to meet up with your adc!
Other spells you could take in place of Clarity are:
Heal Exhaust Barrier
Exhaust is a very common support spell to choose, as it helps to secure kills for your adc as the enemy runs away. Since Nami's ult is a heafty slow, I don't take this spell, as I prefer sustainability in lane, but it is a very viable choice.
Greater Mark of Lethality
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
The runes I picked are pretty simple and generic. I picked 9 greater mark of armor penetration to give you a little bit of an upper hand early game. Dealing just a little bit more damage with your basic attacks is nice, especially if your ADC backs and you need to maintain lane. It can easily get too hard to maintain and you'll find yourself right under your turret, spamming that Help ping. These can easily be replaced with a greater mark of hybrid penetration for a bit of magic pen too.
After that I went with 9 Greater Seal of Armor to give Nami a bit of sustainability. This gives you the opportunity early game to poke a bit harder if you feel comfortable, or take a few hits for your ADC. It really depends on how you play, but I noticed a significant boost to my early gameplay after purchasing these.
Then, I picked 9 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist to counter those pesky supports, and even some junglers depending on who they are and how they build. It makes it just that much easier to help your adc secure a kill or to scare off the enemy team so your adc can farm efficiently!
Finally, 4 Greater Quintessence of Ability Power to really boost your ap early game. This makes your Ebb and Flow much more effective both on your allies and your enemies. I rely heavily on Ebb and Flow in game, so I found the boost most effective.
The masteries are pretty straight-forward I think, but we'll go through the list
The reduction to incoming damage can mean the difference between life and death early game. -2
Just a nice boost in health regen. Good since you aren't supposed to be using your Ebb and Flow on yourself! +2 every 5s
More reduction to incoming damage: -2 for melee, -1 for ranged
Who says no to extra health? +36 health
Gives you more health. +3% to max health
Gets you home faster! -1s Recall time
More mana regen! +3 mana per 5s
Reduced cooldown on summoner spells. -10%
Your potions will last longer. +10%
Yeah, all the monies! +1.5g every 10s
Your health pots turn into biscuits! They heal an immediate amount and then more over time. 20 health and 10 mana instantly.
Every time an ally kills a minion near you, you gain 1 gold in addition to your gold income item
40 more gold to start the game with!
When you're standing near a higher-leveled ally, you gain 10exp every 10s
For you, +3 gold every time an enemy champion is attacked, but it only works once very 5s!
I really like this one. Gives you a 5% cdr boost, and reduces the cooldown of active items by 10%
+5 movement speed out of combat, to help you get away faster!
Pretty straightforward, yeah? These are all just helpful little boost to make you that much more useful, especially early game.
This is how I level my abilities throughout a match. I work on Ebb and Flow the most since I like to have a powerful heal throughout any game. Aqua Prison I work on secondly since the more you level it, the longer the stun lasts. It also deals a hefty amount of damage upon impact, which can also be a great kill. Tidal Wave you want to upgrade any time it comes up, of course, and I level Tidecaller's Blessing lastly out of personal preference, but you can certainly change that up.
The way you build Nami is going to be the difference between a breeze of a game and a walk through Satan's front yard. Let's break it down!
This is a necessary starting trinket for every support. You will be able to counter your enemy supports wards, preventing ganks and making your own teams ganks even easier. It can also help prevent the enemy stealing Baron/Dragon/Buffs, or from jumping you in the process of even walking there! Make sure you upgrade it late-mid for even better sweeps.
Ancient Coin Nomad's Medallion Talisman of Ascension
These three items are what you want to build throughout game. Of course, start your game with an Ancient Coin. Always. There is no other item I would recommend. By having this item, you gain 2g and 5h for every nearby minion killed by an ally. You also have a constant 3 mana regen per 5s until you upgrade it. I recommend upgrading to Nomad's Medallion after you have gotten your Chalice of Harmony and Boots of Speed, as its abilities change. You will then have 7 mana and 5 health per 5s, and 2g for every 10s, not to mention the passive that boosts to 3g and 5 health for nearby minion kills!
Health Potion Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation
These are a supports necessity. You should never, as any support, be wasting your heals on yourself. I can't tell you how many times I've thought we were safe, so I used one on myself at half health, and suddenly we were ganked. Of course my full-health adc was the first one to die, and I had no way to heal him/her mid-fight. That heal would have gotten him/her at least one kill, maybe a double and might have even kept him/her alive to win that. Always have biscuits.
Another absolute must for a support! This item is great because it gives you +150 health and holds four Stealth Ward charges so that you never have to buy stealth wards again in the game. With this, you will always have great map awareness and constant vision around the map. Vision makes ganking easier and more desirable to your jungler (or your mid if they're ahead), and counters enemy ganks. Keep an eye on that map!
Chalice of Harmony
Nami is very mana-hungry, like most supports are. As soon as you've completed your sightstone, work towards this item.
Boots of Speed
Athene's Unholy Grail
More mana regen, some magic resist, some ability power and some cooldown reduction. A must-have for Nami!
Honestly, this is an item you can wait to get. I wait until late-mid/early-end when my build is almost done or is finished, because if you get this far in the game, the extra charges it holds will be most useful for map awareness and it gives you even more health. Before that, it can be a waste of your money considering how badly you need that Chalice of Harmony
I love this item to pieces! I get this with every ap character I own. It gives you 35% magic penetration, which means that your attacks will HURT! It also makes your ult considerably stronger, since it really needs that pen.
Sorcerer's Shoes Ionian Boots of Lucidity
This is a judgement call/preference buy for you. I always go with Sorcerer's Shoes since I'm all about that magic pen, but if you want even more cdr then go with Ionian Boots of Lucidity. PAY ATTENTION! You can have a maximum of 40% cdr at any time. Don't waste your money on a bunch of cdr items if it's going to put you any higher than 40%. That's redundant!
Also, I always pick Enchantment: Homeguard as my enchantment since I like how much ground I cover very quickly right off the mark. I get back to my adc to support him/her properly very quickly. If it's ARAM, though, I grab Enchantment: Alacrity.
This is also a must. It gives you the most ap you can get in the game, at 120ap, plus an ADDITIONAL 30% from its passive!
Also gives you 120ap, plus 50 armour. Its active is incredible; it freezes you solid so that no one can attack you or even target you until it is over. This can give your teammates time to come in and save you, or distract, which can keep you alive.
Again with the magic pen! This item also applies a damage over time effect that can secure a kill for you easily, especially with your ult if they are running away.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
This is another offensive option for you. Its passive slows enemies you hit, which can give you or your adc time to smack them down into the death count.
If you grab this item, do it in place of your chalice/grail. Its passive hinders the effect of heals on your enemies that you hit with any ability, which is great against someone like Sona who can almost spam her heals, or Soraka whose heals are the most effective.
This item gives you a nice rounding of armour, ap, cdr and mana. Always a nice choice for Nami if there isn't an item that you need more.
I love this item. Gives you a flat 100 armour, plus its passive deflects 30% of basic attack damage right back to your attacker. Against an adc, this is amazing. They'll be taking damage for no reason and might not even realize what's causing it for a while. I played as Vi once with this, and also had a Hydra, and while I was killing their tank, Ashe stood beside me basic attacking me over and over, and the next thing she knew she was dead. The life steal kept my health the same and my thornmail killed her. This is an excellent choice if their ADC is targetting you.
I pick this as my magic resist item on all my champs. Gives you a boost of health regen, base health, magic resist and cdr. Its passive also boosts your heals on yourself, which is a nice little bonus!
Locket of the Iron Solari
This is an iffy choice. It is an amazing item, but before you start building it, check your TAB screen to see if anyone on your team is already building it, or ask if anyone was planning to. Early game, having more than one is no big deal, but late game when teamfights are constant, having more than one is pointless. Its passive provides mr and health regen to nearby allies, so having more than one locket (or even Aegis of the Legion) is silly.
So there you have it. That's a breakdown of all the items you should/could get as Nami.
You should be sticking like glue to your adc. Go to blue/red (red if on blue team, blue if on purple) and help your jungle by kiting, or sighting, or stand in the buffs area if your jungle is going for the other buff. Guarding buffs is a great way to gain an advantage as your enemy jungler won't be stupid enough to take you on for a counter-jungle. If a teamfight shows up where you are guarding, just leave. You two can't take them, let them have it. Feeding is bad.
In lane once the process is done, hover around your adc, healing/buffing whenever necessary. Don't waste your mana throwing Aqua Prison around willy-nilly as it is very mana-depleting. If you know you can land it, then toss that baby out there, but don't toss it if you're not sure. If your adc doesn't have a bush check (such as Varus' Piercing Arrow or Jinx' Zap!, you can use your Aqua Prison to scare them out or even trap if you're lucky.
As you know, you shouldn't be farming minions. You took an Ancient Coin for gold income, so don't piss off your adc with trying to steal his last hits! Seriously. Just hover around, let him farm, buff him so he can farm more efficiently, and poke accordingly. I usually stand in the bushes if they haven't warded me out, just so that they can't hide in them and they stay on the opposite side of the lane. This is a controlling tactic I find effective because my adc can place himself so they can't jump him and can farm, while still being in range of my heals.
As soon as you get to 800 gold, start looking for an opportunity to go back for your Sightstone. Once I get 800g, I let my adc know that I need to back soon. If the lane is clear (ie: we poked hard enough to send them or just the adc back), or he feels comfortable, I will go. Often times I wait until he tells me. Toss out a heal if he can use it, and a buff too, then back for that item.
Communication is key as a support; on my way back I tell my adc I'm going to ward. The following is a map of where I place my wards but you can change this to suit you.
As you can see, the locations kind of wards change based off what team you're on. If on blue team, throw your wards in the bush left of river (connecting to three directions), throw one directly in front of Dragon, and one up in the bush by their Blue Buff.
If you're on Purple Team, drop your wards in front of Dragon, in the same bush left of river, and in the bush beside their Red. Buy a Vision Ward Vision Ward when you first go back if you have the gold, then put that in the little bush near mid in river. Enemies don't often walk through there so it can last a long time and provide extra vision. As long as it is there, place your river stealth wards nearer to bot lane for max vision.
Ward up whenever your adc is safe and you know where their jungler is. Be fast and efficient, and make sure you return to fountain every so often to refill the charges, since it only holds 4!
Once your team has taken their first turret, mid game begins (or if they take one of yours). Buy your Chalice of Harmony as soon as you can at 880g (or Forbidden Idol at 750g if you're building a Morellonomicon) so you can get that mana regen. Work towards your Athene's Unholy Grail and after that, your boots. Change your build to suit your enemies and how they play, but you definitely want to build a lot of AP to be useful. Stick to your adc like glue as you rely on each other.
This is a flaw I see in a lot of teams in bot lane. Even with the first turret you take, you should run back immediately after it breaks. Most teams will come running to a lane under attack, and if you take one, it's a siren's call. Either run back to your double bush and wait, back, or move up river to mid to help them. I recommend backing though. The gold boost should give you enough to buy some sort of item. On the other hand, if your adc doesn't want to back, stick to him. Travelling up river or even staying in lane will now be dangerous as they will see you as a threat and might work on a gank of 3 or 4 people. This is the same for all turrets you take unless you are melting them. Do what you think is best and make sure to communicate.
Once your first turret is down, go help another lane that hasn't taken theirs. Usually mid. If you're all at the same point, then keep pushing your lane but be careful. Make sure to adjust your warding up with you so that enemies can't come up behind you while you work on second turret (which they often will!)
Whatever you do, stick to your adc!
Late Game - End
This is where things get fun. The great thing about your Ebb and Flow is that it bounces between enemy and ally, healing and dealing damage respectively so long as the next target is within the range of where it currently is. This means in a teamfight, you can deal massive amounts of damage to everyone and heal your teammates in the process! This is where magic pen comes in handy because at this point in the game, they should have built some magic resist to counter you and probably your mid laner. Void Staff will help greatly in increasing your damage to such foes.
So, obviously when a teamfight breaks out, you want to buff your ally that is doing the most damage. This is most likely going to be your adc, so buff them. Toss your Aqua Prison in the most ideal locations, like when they all group up. Let's face it, teamfights are confusing; there's just so much going on all at once, and you're probably the last thing they're concerned about (unless they're smart). So toss out that Aqua Prison to snag some enemies, and throw out that Ebb and Flow. Now here's where you have to pay attention. Who has more people in play, your team or theirs? If you're both all there then throw it wherever you please! If, let's say, your team has more people, start Ebb and Flow on your side so it will bounce to the most allies it can. If you start by tossing it to the enemies, you're not getting the most healing potential for your team, right? Don't worry too much about this if you are unfamiliar with her or are worried about just staying alive in a fight. But if you feel comfortable in what you are doing, be sure to scope that out c:
Just like always, stick to your adc wherever he goes unless he tells you otherwise. If he dies, either back and buy some things or find another ally you can tail until he's back. You want to play safe and keep your teammates alive straight to the end. And heal everyone! Jungler coming in with a bit of a dent to his health? Toss that heal his way. Longer sustain in jungle means a better build and a better level, therefore an advantage over enemy jungle c:
There you have it, folks! This is my simple guide to playing Nami effectively in Summoner's Rift. I'm glad you've made it to the end and are taking the time to read this, and thank you for that. I hope you found it useful, and I would love to hear what you think in the comments. Have a suggestion for a better item? Please, let me know. I'd love to try it out and see how it affects my gameplay so I can let all of you know. Let me know how you're building her too, maybe I've overlooked something that could be very useful and could benefit everyone.
The key with Nami is playing safe and poking efficiently. Those abilities take a chunk out of your mana, so you want to use them wisely. A well placed Aqua Prison and Ebb and Flow can be a game-changer in a teamfight. Keep checking back, I will be updating this to match any patches that affect her!
May 30th, 2014: Guide published