Nami Build Guide by
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when coupled with a pokey cham
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 a very versatile support. With the right items, she is able to both initiate and generate completely one-sided battles : when you use your ult, Talisman of ascension and hit them right away with your Q. This is especially deadly when you manage to pick up 2 isolated targets, which isn't hard to happen. An uncoordinated/surprised enemy will split-up to evade your wave.
That being said, she also takes an awful lot of mastery to play properly: a badly-timed Q means you're pretty much useless in a team fight, for the duration of it's cooldown. Which more often than not is just long enough for the outcome of a team fight to be determined. All that's left when you fail is to preserve what's left of your team alive.
It is also dreadful to pursue a Nami: I find myself often just laughing at irritated/frustrated players who pursue me all the way to the turrets, only to end up soaked and humiliated-further -this is where being screwed if you miss your Q is especially true.
Your early game should consist of harassing and control-This is the true purpose of the supporting champion. For that purpose, while playing Nami, it is imperative that you buy at least 2 mana potions per trip to base(before you get the chalice). Your spells cost you and running out of mana = you're useless. However, this doesn't mean you should spam your W or Q. Being reckless at doing so will turn your Harass into a gold-sink, + turn you open to ganks.
Also, the medalion is incredible at keeping you up on HP and providing you with a stable income of gold.
When you're playing the purple team, the enemy support will effectively negate your tri-bush vision with a pinky. When that's the case, ward the bush in the river and be constantly on the look-out. Extend only when you know the enemy jungler is on other lanes, and back up the moment you have reason to believe he could be close (like, his Red-buff timer is close to refresh)- untill you manage to clear his pink ward (thank god it's visible now).
You also shouldn't spam your Ebb and Flow before level 3. The reason for it being that with each level-up, you gain 40 points of damage at the cost of 15 points of mana. This means that your ability gets increasingly more cost efficient. Which it doesn't start out as being one such ability. Seriously, you spam your W too much before level 4/5 and your mana will suffer.
Ebb and Flow/harass
First and foremost, this ability is not cost-effective to use on a single target. You need to throw some auto attacks in as well, and get healed by the bounce-back. It nets you some gold (albeit not worth dying over) and helps you damage the enemy carry without losing considerable HP. It is also designed to be used this way, and it's a waste of mana to not use it to it's full potential.
You should be tossing out your W in a fashion that allows it to have at LEAST one bounce. having it hit the enemy ADC and bounce back to you, while he's focusing on a creep is good. Doing that AFTER you hit him with Q is optimal. Either way, even if he hits you, you'll distract him from farming as effectively and you'll recoup some of the cost of the trade. If you're laning with an Ezreal, this is a chance for him to land his Q as well.
With the right timing, mobility abilities will help you spread your Ebb and Flow forward to deal damage. To do so, cast Ebb and Flow on a team-mate right before he jumps in.
You should see wether it's beneficial for you to have it bounce twice on friendlies or enemies: if you're running away and it can speed up (with your passive) two of your team-mates, then use it on your team. If you're bursting down two guys (which happens alot thanks to your Q) then use it on an enemy.
Also, it loses effectiveness with each bounce. Which makes it ideally cast on an dying team-mate to save him, yourself when you could use the heal to harass (some times) or an enemy if you REALLY need the burst (for instance, when you're trying to burst down a khazix ASAP and your ADC is exhausted/ignited etc.. )
Never forget that an ally bounce/cast will speed him up for a short while.
Most of the times, choosing the correct target for Ebb and Flow will have a really small impact. However, it CAN save a team-mate from a burst-down if it bounces twice to your team.
Aqua Prison (+ Ebb and Flow)
This spell is a real gem. It often imprisons 2 pursuing enemies with a single shot and turns the tides completely. coupled with your W, this allows you to repeatedly harass your enemies without cost. This skill alows you to have complete lane dominance and save your ADC from junglers and bad plays in general.
Using it when you can take advantage of the opening is fulcral. This is to say that while it can be the best possible move to use it on a target running away from your exhausted ADC, it can also be a better decision to use it on an enemy only after your ADC broke free of hard-CCs such as stuns/taunts.
Using Q prematurely will stop some damage from being dealt to your ADC, and should be used immediatly if your ADC is low on health OR he's about to get CC'd .
Overall, champions such as ezreal/varus will be a better lane with you. Because their range allows you to have more leeway with your Q timings, while also allowing you to harass and keep the W heals for yourself. This is a good thing, because every point of mana used to heal your ADC is a point of mana you won't have available to heal yourself in a trade and harass. However, your ADC takes priority, and if he's not at comfortable levels of HP, then suspend the W harass for a while.
It follows that the best your ADC can do is keep a potion or two with him. He pops it up, and you get to keep harassing. For just 35 gold, he'll deprive the enemy carry of much more gold.
With all stated above, it becomes clear why you need the Chalice, playing Nami: you need to spam Q as often as you can, to dominate as much as possible.
Ultimate (+ talisman of ascension)
Your ultimate can have little to no impact. Knowing when to use it is key: using it for it's damage alone is often laughable and will waste your biggest resource. Using it for it's opening potential can be dangerous vs a team with a lot of assassins.
This means that by using your Ultimate, you stand to do one of three things:
1) ease pressure on your Carry/mage. ->this makes your ult especially usefull vs assassins.
2) generate openings. ->Like I previously stated, your ult often divides the enemy team and if you manage to isolate 1 squishy target, you've won the fight with 1 ability alone.
3) ease pressure on your ENTIRE TEAM. ->if you're coordinated, this allows you to get away. If you're especially coordinated, this allows you to burn a couple of the enemy cooldowns, then charge back in before they get them back.
Your ultimate + talisman of ascension combo means that no one can escape and no one can effectively engage you. Except for Yasuo and his wall. Seriously tho, screw this particular ability. It ruins your whole ultimate, and you should be especially mindful of his cooldown and position so that you can effectively use your R.
to clarify on 1) if your carry/mage get's diven by (let's say) Akali, Q on her, get in a position where you can cast your R and hit her AND her team, and do so.
R should be maximized in it's use and CC.
This is the most miscelaneous ability on Nami.
It's instant cast means you can speed someone up without stopping.
It's on hit nature allows abilities such as Ezreal's Q to to slow someone up and close the gap.
It can be used to further your ally's DPS and secure kills with it's slow. You have to juggle these terms and the impact of your E cast at each particular time.
I don't use this particular ability much outside of gap closing/ safe harassing (like ezreal's Q)/ and escaping with it's bonus speed (passive).