Nami Build Guide by cutmanmike
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.
Starting vs Bush Controllers
Starting vs anything else
Not Updated For Current Season
Thanks for reading my Nami Guide!
I plan to update this guide with more matchups, videos with tips etc in the future.
You probably don't know who I am (you may recognize me for my season 2 mobafire Gangplank BankPlank guide), or care if you've seen my ranked stats. To tell the truth, I don't play ranked. I play a lot of normals and have over 1000 wins on my EU account. I think that's enough to be able to write guides for champions you play a lot of.
Nami is a support who's overlooked and somewhat outclassed by other supports. Despite this she is still functional and is great fun to play. Much like Lulu, in order to do great things with her you have to make plays. I find a lot of people building her wrong, not thinking about her mana management or building AP specific items on her which I feel is not the way to go with Nami.
Give Nami a try! Practice landing her stun and ultimate in bot games and give her a spin online. You may like her!
Until other summoner spells start getting upgraded, there's only two useful spells you care about. I don't think I need to explain why you a support like Nami shouldn't take Ghost or Ignite right?
As a support, you want to take Exhaust for locking down any AD (or AP) damage threats who are about to deal a lot of damage. It can also be used to turn the tides (heh) of any early skirmishes that break out in lane, as well as assisting a gank by slowing your target usually forcing a flash.
Flash is still hands down the best summoner spell in the game. Use it for escapes or clutch CC/saves. Be smart with it.
Items and when to build them
Itemizing Nami isn't too difficult. She's an absolute mana hog so Chalice of Harmony is pretty much required on this champion. Other than that, she enjoys maxing out cooldown reduction and extra survivability. Therefore Kindlegem is pretty much one of the best items to get for her as it builds into potentially four items she would want.
Sight WardSight Ward OR Sight Ward
Starting with two Faerie Charms you'll be able to sustain your mana for your spells for a good duration of the early game, as long as you're not spamming your spells constantly. They build into Chalice of Harmony, which you're going to need so you CAN spam your spells.
For your last two items, either get two wards or a ward and two pots. Even though you'll have good sustain with your W, you'll want some extra pots to keep you topped up against any heavy harassers you face in lane. With smart ward usage, you will only need the one along with your ghost ward unless you're fighting someone who wants to hog the bush and try to catch you out with some CC (i.e Leona). If that's the case, grab two wards instead.
Early-Mid Game Items
There's basically 3 early game items you want to rush. Either Chalice of Harmony, Sight Stone or Boots of Speed. When against bush campers or their team is gank heavy (i.e Shaco) you'll want to try and get Sight Stone as your first pickup so you can keep your lane safe. You're already pretty mobile, so if you just want to focus on winning your lane try to get Chalice as fast as you can. With this item you will be able to spam more and keep your AD healed up all the time. Getting boots before both these items can have it's uses if you're against a skillshot heavy lane (i.e Varus, Lux). If you're falling behind or just haven't got the gold, you can opt for a Philospher's Stone which will grant you a little bit of extra sustain in lane and later builds into Shurelia's.
While Aegis can take a while to get for a support, I've listed it as an early game item as it's effectiveness shines if you can complete it early. Start with whatever item you need in lane (Emblem of Valor against strong AD for example). If you did well very early and got some gold, but not enough to finish any main items, consider picking up a Philosopher's Stone for some extra gold generation. Finally there's the Kindle Gem. I suggest this because it's one of Nami's favourite items and you're probably going to need one for one of your mid/late items soon.
Mid-Late Game Items
Shurelya's ReverieZeke's Herald
Assuming you've already bought a Kindle Gem, you have a few options for what to turn it into.
Upgrading it into a Shurelya's Reverie will make your initiations stronger and send your team's mobility sky rocketing. Sounds gimmicky but with this active and your passive, your team will literally be able to exit and enter team fights at any time as long as they don't get CC locked.
Opting for a Zeke's Herald is a good idea if you have more than one autoattacker (such as a bruiser) and they're both doing well. I consider this an good option if your team is ahead.
If you feel the team is getting killed too often, it's usually best to get a defensive item to help your team out. Locket of the Iron Solari is great in team fights and offers extra armor against enemy AD's. If the enemy mages are getting out of hand, finishing your Runic Bulwark is necessary at this point.
If they have a lot of assassins that keep killing you, or if your useful presence in team fights is getting noticed by enemies, you'll want to get some extra defenses. A Frozen Heart will help you out against AD threats, while upgrading your Chalice of Harmony to Athene's Unholy Grail will help against AP. If the mages are really getting out of control you can opt to upgrade a Kindle Gem into a Spirit Visage, which will boost your MR and help you survive fights with the extra self healing bonus.
Assuming you have nothing else to build, or you just can't get the cash, you should upgrade your Sightstone to a Ruby Sightstone for more wards. Don't forget to always leave a slot open for counter warding when late game comes rolling in!
If one of your early game items has lived out it's usefulness, you can opt to get one of these.
Guardian Angel can save your team depending on how useful you're being. If you get bursted down quickly but are able to revive in time, you can turn the team fight around assuming everyone else isn't already dead.
As cool as Mikael's Crucible's active is, I think it's clutch cleanse active is a little... too clutch. Not to mention, you already have some great ally saving mechanics with your kit anyway. However, it still might be worth purchasing if for some reason you already have maxed cooldowns but you're still hanging on to an non-upgraded Chalice.
Chalice of Harmony is a great item, and it's not necessary for Nami to upgrade it if you play smart and don't burn your spells constantly just to get from one end of the map to the other.
Abilities and how to use them CORRECTLY
Nami's kit is usually compared to Janna's. Both characters have CC skill shots that can be used to initiate or protect, have a large team fight ultimate and have passives that focus on making your allies move faster. Both characters are designed about making plays, but I think Nami beats her for harassment in lane and sustain.
Suring Tides (Passive)
Nami's passive grants her spells the ability to speed up allies. A sudden burst of 30 movespeed can grant life for your carries, or death for your fleeing enemies. It ties Nami's kit together perfectly which is all about positioning, chasing, engaging and counter engaging in fights.
When you want to speed someone up, it's usually best to use your E as it does not stop you from moving. If they're already deep within a fight, use W to heal them and potentially speed two people up. Nami is all about keeping her team mobile, so try to speed up those who need it most.
Aqua Prison (Q)
This is a difficult to aim skill shot which stuns for 1.25 seconds (as of the current patch). It has a fairly obvious cast animation and can easily be avoided with any dash skills or high mobility. Needless to say this skill alone is what gives Nami a higher skill cap than most supports. Nami is a play maker. She must be practiced. Getting used to landing these skill shots is VITAL if you ever hope to compare to someone like Taric, who can just click you to stun.
Try to lead your targets. Don't just throw them out at random, try to aim behind your enemy if you are in vision range. Is a melee trying to attack your carry? Drop it at their feet where your aggressors are most likely to stand. Try to land it at the same time as someone starts to use a spell, such as Caitlyn's Piltover Peacemaker. After landing a stun, try to get a few autoattacks in if you're still in the laning phase if it's safe to do so.
It is worth noting that hitting your allies with this spell will also proc your passive. However I don't recommend doing because you will only need to do this if you or your ally is being chased, and if that's the case why aren't you trying to stun your enemy?
Ebb and Flow (W)
This is a unique skill which heals an ally, then attempts to damage an enemy, and then heal another ally. If cast on an enemy, it will try to heal one of your allies and then hit another enemy. The bottom line is that this is a fairly spammable heal spell with great base values. You may be disappointed to hear me say this but this spell should most definitely be used for healing and NOT harassment. Unless you build a lot of AP, this spell doesn't do enough damage. And since you're a support, you won't be building much.
Try to focus on casting this on your ally during or after a trade. If you're close enough you will heal and ally, damage your enemy and heal yourself as well as activating your passive on both members. This is a great tool in lane and will be where most of your mana goes, especially if both sides are very aggressive. I have to stress though, just because no enemies are in range doesn't mean you shouldn't be using your heal. Keep you and your carry healthy and you'll easily be able to take advantage of lanes with no/little sustain.
Even though you won't build much AP, in team fights your squishy mage/carry will still appreciate your bursts of health. Sustained pushes against towers can also work wonders with Nami around.
This is your second spell for speeding up allies during a chase. It has a cast time though, so keep that in mind if you're the one fleeing. Use E instead.
Tidecaller's Blessing (E)
This is a buff you can apply to you or your allies to give them a slowing effect to their autoattacks, as well as additional damage. The slow is only 35% at max level (compare that to Lulu's Glitterlance which is 80%) but can be used to help your AD keep a target in range. Again, the damage isn't that great so spamming this on your AD or yourself is not worth it. Keep it for when you actually need to use it, such as when you land a stun and your AD can go in for some autoattack harassment.
In the early stages of the game, you'll mainly want to use this to proc your passive to get your allies to get in range or flee from a gank. This is one of those cool spells in the game which has no cast time, so feel free to activate it on someone as soon as the action starts. If your AD gets caught out in a bad spot and is attempting to flee, cast this on yourself and autoattack the people chasing him/her and use your other spells to speed them up and stun the aggressors.
When team fights start, it'll be up to you to speed up key players. When getting aggressive put it on your AD or mage to give their autoattacks slowing potential. When playing defensively or fleeing, put it on those who need to retreat to a safer location (this is assuming you've already used your heal spell).
Tidal Wave (R)
Nami's Ultimate fires a slow moving tidal wave with a large radius. It can be fired at a RIDICULOUS 2750 range and also procs your passive for any allies caught in the wave. While this ultimate does sound like a great initiation spell, it does have a short wind up animation and takes a while to travel across the map meaning it can be easily avoided if you can see it coming.
When laning, you want to throw this out after an engage starts. It pretty much covers the whole lane making it tricky to avoid, especially if you land a stun. If the jungler is coming in for a gank and lacks a decent way to get in on the action (such as Trundle), initiate with it and follow up with an Aqua Prison which should be easy to land after the ultimate's knock up. In the same fashion, if you're getting ganked you can throw it out as a desperation move to protect your carry. It does do fairly good damage too, so if an enemy is getting away and there's no way to take that 100 or so HP of of them you could attempt to finish them off with your ultimate.
In team fights, you generally want to save this ultimate for after an engage starts. As stated earlier it can be easily avoided if your enemy sees it coming, so hopefully you have someone else to initiate a fight for you (such as Malphite). Try to aim it behind your enemies to cut off their escapes, there's usually nothing they can do to get away from such a large CC if your team is on the chase.
Finally, try to fire it off from a safe location. I have been stunned/killed during the cast animation, and if that happens not only will the wave not appear but it will also reset it's cooldown!
give you great defenses against champion auto attackers in lane and will allow you to easily win trades.
Meditation and Expanded Mind give you that extra mana that Nami desperately needs in lane.
Biscuiteer and Explorer give you two consumables which will make up for your early game item choices which will be focused on keeping your mana up.
Wealth and Greed are standard support items to keep your gold income up even if you don't get any kills or CS.
Pickpocket is a great mastery that synergizes well with your autoattack harass. Since you're taking AD runes to abuse your long range, taking this mastery will grant you 3 gold pretty much every time you land a hit on the enemy support or carry.
9x Greater Seal of Armor
Pretty much everyone has these seals so they don't get completely wrecked by autoattacks early on. You're going to be facing an AD carry, that alone should tell you you're gonna want some early armor. Must have, even if you do end up against a whacky AP bot lane some mages like to autoattack early on.
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
While you'll still build Magic Resist late game if magic damage becomes a problem, these will help you survive ganks from mages or harass from that pesky AP support Lux.
9x Greater Mark of Attack Damage
I know this sounds weird on paper but trust me it's good. The reason I pick these over any AP or penetration runes is because Nami's magical damage is poor. While you could get AP reds and boost your heal power a little, it's not worth it. Instead, take AD runes and harass your lane opponents with your long range auto attacks.
3x Greater Quintessence of Gold
Take these quints for ambient gold income. You're not always going to be swimming in assists, and if that's the case it's always a good thing to have some passive gold income to keep you going.