Nami Build Guide by Flammabubble
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.
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.
Introduction + Quick list of terms
Hey there, I'm Flammabubble and this is my Support Nami guide. I've had a good amount of success playing as Nami with this build, and she is, in my opinion, an extremely capable and strong support pick. Her kit makes her a very helpful pick both for offensive and defensive playstyles. The CC from her Aqua Prison is a great tool to enable ganks and take off some pressure from the carry, it can also be used to lane freeze. The heal and damage combination of her Ebb and Flow makes her a great laning partner, as well as giving her a good teamfight presence. The extra damage from Tidecaller's Blessing can help the adc last hit, and can also be used to apply her passive movement speed boost, and finally her Tidal Wave gives her a great amount of teamfight presence along with a superb amount of cc to round off her kit.
As Nami has only just been released, and the Season 3 items are still very new, this guide is subject to change, but this is the build that I have been going with so far and I find it to be very effective.
List of terms
This is a quick list of the terms used in this guide. I'm aware that newer players to the game may not know what I've shortened words to, so this is just in case.
AP: AP stands for Ability Power, and it is what gives magic damage to abilities
AD: Ad stands for Attack Damage, and it is how much your basic attacks do to the enemies (before taking into account their armor)
CDR: CDR stands for Cooldown Reduction. This refers to reducing the time it takes for your abilities/skills to come off of cooldown once they've been used
CC: CC stands for Crowd Control. This means skills that stop you doing what you would like to do, for example being silenced, knocked up, stunned or snared are all forms of crowd control
CV: CV stands for Clairvoyance and it is a summoner skill in League of Legends
GP5: GP5 stands for Gold Per 5, and means the amount of gold generated every 5 seconds
AOE: AOE stands for Area of Effect, and refers to skills that deal damage/have an effect in an area, not just on one champion
*Great ability to set up ganks due to her Aqua Prison
*Good lane sustain
*Just as helpful late game with her CC
*Still able to be relevant in team fights
* Tidecaller's Blessing is a little lackluster
* Not too much poke in lane
* Squishy early game, can't hold the tower alone
* Ult is slow moving so can be dodged
Nami has a number of things unique to her that you'll need to be aware of when playing her in lane. Firstly let's go through her skills.
Her Passive is Surging Tides, when you cast a spell on an allied champion, including yourself, that champion is given bonus movement speed for a short period of time. This can be used to help catch you up to your team, allow your team to catch up to enemies, or used to run away. It's a very effective passive and you should make sure you know when to make use of it.
Her Q is Aqua Prison. This is a skillshot ball that is placed a little like Cho'Gath's Rupture, that knocks enemies, including minions, up into the air, stunning them briefly. Some tips about this are that you can use it to check bushes, as if it hits a champion it will reveal them even if they are in brush. It's her main CC and a very strong one at that as it CAN HIT MULTIPLE TARGETS if they are all grouped together. It has a good range, but takes a little while to cast, so try and put it a little in front of where the enemy is travelling to be able to catch them when chasing. Don't forget, you can cast Aqua Prison on an ally and they will still get the speed boost, although nothing else happens unless you hit an enemy.
Her W is Ebb and Flow. This is both her main poke tool as well as her heal, and you should be aware of how it bounces. It cannot bounce to minions, and it cannot hit the same ally or enemy twice in one cast. The best way to use it to harass is to cast it on yourself when you are in range of an enemy, and try and make it bounce from you, to the enemy, and then to your laning partner. This will heal you both as well as giving you some good poke. You'll want to make sure that you get Ebb and Flow to hit as many people as possible to make maximum use of its potential. Don't forget you can put it on an ally and it will bounce further ahead to an enemy, even if the enemy isn't necessarily in range for you.
Her E is Tidecaller's Blessing and it is an ability you can put on allied champion that makes their basic attacks deal additional magic damage, and also slow the enemy they're hitting. Put this on your ally before you try to land your Aqua Prison to make landing it a lot easier. In addition it's not too expensive, so you can use it to speed up your allies or yourself. It's really useful to help allies farm under turret, but is a little too expensive to keep on them permanently so I would recommend using it sparingly during laning phase.
Finally, her R is Tidal Wave. As the name suggests, it summons a tidal wave with a massive range, that travels in a line dealing damage and knocing up enemies it encounters. It WILL give allies the movement speed boost, so you can use it to chase if needed, and the range means you can use it to steal objectives such as Dragon/Baron if they don't smite correctly. It's a very strong CC as it is wide and so difficult to flash away from, as well as having a huge range meaning if you use it correctly, people will find it difficult to outrun.
Tips: The best combo I like to use when setting up a gank, is to put Tidecaller's Blessing on myself or my ADC, and slow the enemy. Then, use my Aqua Prison to knock them up into the air. If you need to secure the kill still, you can time the ult so that when they land from the Aqua Prison, they are knocked up again by Tidal Wave.
The most difficult part about the Tidal Wave is aiming it, as it travels quite slowly and so if people see it coming, they can simply step aside if they have room. It is best to use it down lanes, aiming towards where people walk. I would not recommend using it to catch someone just as they round a corner, as it will likely miss, you want to aim it so the entire length of the ult is somewhere the enemy champions are able to walk.
Finally, the thing you will need to learn to master on Nami is getting her Ebb and Flow harrass correct in lane. Using it on an ally alone is good for healing, but not very mana efficient for the skill. You need to be able to bounce it from ally to enemy and back, while not putting yourself at too much risk. It's definitely a difficult skill and one that only comes with a lot of practice using it.
Strong Laning Partners:
Miss Fortune: obviously, the combination of Tidal Wave and Bullet Time can be devestating if you can land them together, and with some good coordination it shouldn't be too hard a they practically cover the entire lane making it difficult to dodge. In addition, the extra movement speed Nami gives from her Surging Tides makes it almost impossible for people to outrun Miss Fortune.
Ezreal: Is a very strong laning partner for Nami. His mobility from his Arcane Shift means it's much more easy for you to land your Ebb and Flow to get some extra harrass onto the enemy team. His ability to deal out quite a lot of damage very quickly with his Mystic Shot also means that when Nami lands a Aqua Prison, you will do a lot of damage to them. Nami also brings a solid amount of CC that Ezreal lacks, and therefore looks for in a support. In addition, with this build you bring a good amount of Mana Regeneration as an Aura, which Ezreal really enjoys the benefits from.
Vayne: While in theory Vayne should work quite well, in practice it doesn't quite work out. Due to her short range, she has to keep her distance from the enemy ADC, which means she generally isn't in range for Ebb and Flow to bounce, which is very annoying. On the plus side, if you land Aqua Prison, Vayne is able to tumble and condemn into the wall and put down a lot of burst very quickly, which is really good, and Vayne likes CC heavy champions.
Draven: Dravens ability to deal a lot of damage very quickly means that landing Nami's Aqua Prison on somebody that's slightly out of position will almost guarantee you a kill. In addition, Draven likes to be very aggressive and so you are able to land Ebb and Flow to bounce almost constantly for some extra harass and while he doesn't have a dash, his move speed increase almost covers that too.
Ashe Is a good choice for an ADC, given the slow on Ashe's basic attacks and her Volley it makes landing your Aqua Prison that much easier. In addition, the cc combinaton once you hit level 6 can be extremely deadly with Enchanted Crystal Arrow into Aqua Prison and Tidal Wave meaning the enemy laners can't do much to stop you. Nami also provides bonus movement speed for Ashe, which helps her given her lack of escape.
Average Laning Partners:
Graves: again having the mobility to enable a good use of Ebb and Flow means he's a stronger lane partner, however as Nami likes people that can put a decent amount of burst down quickly for if she lands her Aqua Prison, there are better ADC's for her.
Urgot: It was suggested that being able to land Aqua Prison on a champion made using Noxian Corrosive Charge extremely easy, and so would make Urgot very strong in lane phase because of all of his poke. While this is true, knocking up the enemy champion during Urgot's ult will CANCEL his ult. This is incredibly annoying and is a definite downside. He is quite tanky so is able to get in range for Ebb and Flow quite safely, but due to his longrange poke, it's a little more difficult to do than it needs to be, and so Urgot is only an average laning partner.
Kog'Maw While Kog needs someone that can protect him, and Nami certainly has the CC for that, Nami herself is actually pretty squishy, and so is unable to really stop people getting to Kog'Maw if she can't get her CC off. That said, she can protect him fairly well, and could be a good pick if you know what your lane opponents are.
Weak Laning Partners:
Sivir While landing Aqua Prison will allow Sivir to land her Boomerang Blade, Nami needs a lane partner with higher burst than Sivir can provide. In addition, Sivir's lack of escapes means that it is difficult to get Ebb and Flow to bounce between her and the enemy laners. While the lane can work, it's definitely not an ideal pairing.
Still to come:
( Teemo and Twisted Fate are NOT ADC'S)
Flash is, in my opinion, an absolute must for Nami. While she has her Surging Tides to give her bonus movement, she is still slow, and lacks the escape of a support like Janna for example, making it easy for her to get caught out of position if she's not careful.
Heal is now what I take as standard on Nami. Now that Heal will heal allies for the same amount as the heal user, it's much more viable on support champions. Additionally, Eleisa's Miracle reduces the cooldown of Heal, while giving some helpful mana and health regeneration passively.
Exhaust is still an incredibly strong spell. If the carry takes Ignite/ Cleanse, then it can definitely be a great option to help escape, catch up and ensure a kill, or swing a 1v1 fight. However, due to Nami's cc, I tend to prefer taking heal
Clairvoyance can be very very useful, especially with a team that has across map ultimates such as Ezreal, Lux or Draven who may be able to use CV to steal Baron/Dragon if there are no wards. It's also useful if you are stuck in lane without any wards, and you need to check for ganks, but the meta at the moment means that generally players are much more agressive, and so CV has lost its popularity. With the new Eleisa's Miracle however, it's definitely a more viable option than it used to be.
I generally go 4,0,26 with my Masteries, as I much prefer the utility on Nami. Some people go 0,0,30 and put all their points into utility, or, as I have also suggested 0,4,26 for some durability, but I enjoy the extra CDR and gold acquired from my build.
I'm not going to go over specific masteries too much, as really masteries are tailored to suit your own style of play and you can figure out why I chose what I've chosen, by just looking at what each mastery does, but I'll go over some of the more important ones.
Explorer gives you a free ward at the start of the game that lasts for a minute, which I tend to use if we invade so I can put it at our buff so the enemy jungle doesn't steal it. Or I use it to check for invades from the enemy team.
and are both amazing on support champions in general, as it allows your spells to come up more quickly. With Nami you want to be able to heal people up whenever you can, and being able to have your Aqua Prison come off of cooldown faster may make the difference between someone living or dying.
Wealth is very important, as you want to be able to start out with as many wards as you can. Taking two points in wealth allows you to comfortably get enough Vision Wards and some sight wards at the start of the game to last you until you first go back to base.
Pickpocket is a very good spell on Nami as you do a good amount of harass, and whenever you land your Aqua Prison you should be able to pick up the extra 3 gold from attacking the enemy champion. Make sure you try and attack them as often as you can without putting yourself at risk, and you can get a good amount of income from this alone.
artificier artificier is very helpful with this build, and very necessary. With 2 points in it, you will get 15% cooldown reduction on your items' active abilities and as you are building 4 items with active abilities, it's extremely useful. This means that where usually it would take 3 minutes for Mikael's Crucible to come off of cooldown, instead it only takes 2.5. This might not seem like much, but it's such a powerful active that that alone warrants the extra cooldown, the fact that it benefits most of your other items is just a bonus.
These are the runes that I take as standard on Nami. The increased GP5 means that you stay much more level with the rest of the team in gold, and you're able to buy more wards and items to help the team. The magic penetration helps you hit a little harder with your skills, while the mana regen and cooldown reduction ensures you're always able to use your skills.
*Find yourself running low on mana less frequently
*The bonus GP5 really makes a difference at the start of the game
*You still have some magic penetration for poke damage
*You're a little more susceptible to enemy support's poke without any armour runes
*Don't heal for as much as a page with more AP
*Don't do as much damage as a page with more AP
SO! Items huh? In this section I'll run through a quick reasoning behind my item choices, and some possible alternatives depending on how the game is going.
Early Game Items
I start with a Faerie Charm and some wards. Quite often I will take 2 sight wards 1 Vision Ward and either 2 Health Potions or 2 Mana Potion, as there is a lot more emphasis on being able to remove enemy wards with Vision Wards now that oracles elixir is much less powerful
These 3 items are the main 3 that I will build. I initially build the philosopher's stone and kage's lucky pick for my gp5, then I will build an Eleisa's Miracle followed by another philosopher's stone as you need to keep up the gold per 5 that you just lost from building Eleisa's Miracle. The earlier you get Eleisa's Miracle, the better as you can benefit from the passive without it taking up an item slot after a 3 levels.
These are the only 3 types of boots I reccommend on Nami.
These are first on the list. I highly reccommend these if the enemy team is AD heavy and does not have much CC.
These are for if the enemy team is has more CC, and if they have a lot of AP damage.
Personally I build these a lot less often than the others, as I tend to find that with my masteries and my build, I already have a lot of Cooldown Reduction, and as the maximum is 40%, I can get much more use from other boots.
This is the enchantment I tend to take as it gives your entire team a bonus, and it's always good to have someone on the team with these boots, however if you find yourself getting caught out or too far behind, both Enchantment: Alacrity and Enchantment: Distortion are good choices.
Mid Game Items
This refers to items you'll want to complete around the midgame.
This is the first Item you'll want to complete. This is a core support item and can really push your team ahead in the mid game giving you that extra longevity to win those teamfights. I used to build Shurelya's first, however I think that rushing the Shurelya's isn't helpful for Nami, as you lose GP5 and the benefits are just as good later, but building an Aegis first gives your team an extra edge to swing battles.
Shard of True Ice This is a really great item to get early, as you can upgrade your kage's lucky pick while still keeping the GP5 benefit. Also, the aura really helps early game with some of the more mana hungry champions, as well as the unique acive being very good for early teamfights.
This item gives you yourself a little more longevity so that you can be of more help in teamfights. The slight increase to the aura is also worth it as it makes a bigger difference the earlier you get it.
Late Game Items
These should be the last items you end up building, and will vary slightly depending on the enemy and your own team composition.
shurelya's reverie This is later than most people tend to build a shurelya's, but I much prefer having the extra gp5 production so I build this a little later. You can of course build it earlier if you need to, but I find it's just as good later on.
This item means you really shouldn't have any mana problems, and additionally gives you some extra magic resistance to bolster your longevity against magic damage. Also, the unique active can be incredibly powerful in disengaging fights or saving important players on your team. It means they don't have to build something like a Quicksilver Sash if they don't have Cleanse, and gives them another item slot to work with.
This item is AMAZING. The armour it gives really rounds out your build so that you're slightly tanky, but you have all the utility that your team needs you to have. In addition, it can enable your team to fight even when you're near the enemy base, as you can ignore their tower for a few seconds, really giving you an edge. I might start building this sooner as it's probably more effective in mid game, but for now I like it as a late game item.
IF the other team has a lot of AD and you feel like you're being squished out of fights, definitely build this. The extra armour helps you stay in fights longer, and the active can really swing battles.
Final items that you can pick up if you manage to get to this stage, are really up to you as it highly depends on how the game is going.
For teams that have a lot of magic resist, a Banshee's Veil is always a good choice, although if nobody else has built one an Abyssal Scepter can be very useful as the aura is also helpful for any other mages on your team. It also gives you bonus AP and magic resist yourself. If you feel like you're getting focused, a Warmog's Armor or a Rylai's Crystal Scepter are ok choices.
Support based items:
Zeke's Herald is often a good support item if your team is AD heavy. You'll have to gauge yourself if you think this item is worth it, but the aura it gives is a really nice boost.
Frozen Heart if nobody else has one and you find yourself losing fights a lot because the other team has a lot of AD champions, get yourself a Frozen Heart. The armour boost is a big help, and the aura is a real pain for the other team.
Sightstone I personally tend not to build the sightstones, as I like to have 5 wards to put down and I don't like having an extra slot taken up, even if it is cost effective. However, it's a very useful item, and it only takes about 10 wards to pay for itself.
Yes this is a chapter entirely about wards.
If you can't afford an item, buy some extra wards. If you would run out of space for wards by buying an item, buy wards and wait to have the gold. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to always have wards to put down. There is a much larger emphasis on Vision Wards now that oracles are less powerful, and so buying some can really allow for a much safer laning phase, and a much stronger late game as if you can get rid of the enemy teams vision, you control the map.
This is a general guide to ward locations. If you are Blue team, the ward numbers are red, if you are purple team, the ward colours are blue.
Explorer Ward vs no Explorer Ward
I've seen a number of people claiming that the Explorer ward and the total biscuit are not helpful, and putting a point in them early isn't worth it. Certainly without the Explorer ward as a support there's no point getting the biscuit alone, but I would definitley say that Explorer ward is worth the valuable points you spend.
I generally use Explorer ward as follows, I will put it down in the river at 1:55 when minions have reached lane. It lasts for 1 minute, so any pre-level 3 ganks will be covered by it, and it means I can put down my normal ward later. This is crucial, because it means that if the enemy support wards river within this time, I know where they have warded, and so I can Vision Ward it and get bonus gold. This then allows early ganks because they have no vision. In addition, if they try to use a Vision Ward on my explorer ward, they get less gold and I am able to Vision Ward back, and regain ward dominance. It's definitely a good way to stary.
Explorer ward is also good with invades. It can be placed at your buff while you invade an enemy, meaning you can kill their jungler when they try to leave, or it can be placed offensively to get vision of a buff to steal it. In addition, you can place it so that it covers the river and makes sure you are not being invaded by the enemy team.
The total biscuit is not an amazing item in itself, but it's worth it for the explorer ward, and it also gives you a nice little boost if you need to stay in lane a little longer, or keep yourself topped up on health. Honestly, there's no reason not to take these masteries.
The proof is in the pudding
This is an image of the games that I have played as Nami using this build, and the good results. I will post up losses as well if I get good scores, and if you get good scores with this build that you want me to include, then send me a PM with a link =]
Hopefully you like this guide, I've found it to be a strong build on Nami,but will make sure to update when I have new ideas. Nami herself is a very strong champion, her Aqua Prison is one of the most powerful early game crowd control spells in the game, and so you should do your best to catch as many people with it as you can. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this guide then please let me know, it's only my 3rd guide so I'm still quite new at this!
* Section on poor laning partners
* Section on good allies and good team comps
* Section on counterpicking
* Section on good item synergies
24/12/12 - Added Changelog, added Ashe and Kog'Maw to the laning partners section.
25/12/12 - Removed Ohmwrecker from recommended items, added Explorer ward section.
1/11/13 - added this line out of boredom