Nami Build Guide by Rittap
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Nami, the Tidecaller
Mid-game / Starting core
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.
Hi all, and welcome to my guide about the new support champion who joined the League: Nami, the Tidecaller. Nami is a aggressive support champion, focussing on a poke/heal/poke ability and a lot of (hard to use) utility.
Note that this guide makes some rigorous item decisions which proved to work for me and which I believe will also help you. Though this guide has been tested in various games/situations to prove suitable, note that every single game of LoL you play is different. Be flexible in the way you build, your team builds and the enemy team builds. Listen to your team; especially your AD carry. Take note of their suggestions, be humble. Everyone wants to win.
Me? My name is Patrick, aka Rittap on EUW, LoL player for 1.5 years and maining support for my team ever since I fell in love with Lulu. Since then I've mastered playing support alongside a dozen of different players, supporting with Sona, Lulu, Blitzcrank and Karma.
Pros / Cons
+ Excellent utility
+ Beautiful AP scaling
+ Heal & pain with one ability
+ Tsunami of pain
+ You're a flippin' mermaid!!
- Can be mana-hungry
- Hard to aim stun
- Ultimate is easy to dodge
- Squishy fishy
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Gold
These are just basic support runes, in my opinion. I pick Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for some extra damage on the poke with Ebb and Flow, take some defense with Greater Seal of Armor and Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist. As a support, you should not farm. Your gold income should come from assists and items. The Greater Quintessence of Gold will help you with this.
Of course the choice of runes is up to you. I use these runes on almost all supports I play, but you can pick some good alternatives I mention below.
You shouldn't really mess with marks, though. Greater Mark of Magic Penetration are the best you can have on supports like Nami, Lulu and Sona. They help you with your poking on the enemy and are just the best runes around. Seriously, don't ever ever change these. Unless...
Unless you don't take Greater Seal of Armor. You can take other seals, for sure. You do really need the armor, so if you don't take Greater Seal of Armor, switch your Marks out with Greater Mark of Armor.
Useful seals are Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration. These are pretty useful early game for more spamming. Use these only when you're not comfortable playing Nami, though. You should focus on getting the most out of your mana, and we're gonna build some hefty mana regeneration with items. Use these only when new to the champion, and switch them out as soon as you get the hang of her.
Others aren't really worth it, in my opinion. Let me know if you think otherwise.
Let's say you went with Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration, and you got Greater Mark of Armor as I suggested. You could then go with Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration for the damage output, but you should be careful from the enemy support and AP champions.
Let's say you don't really need the magic resist; either the enemy support deals no notable damage or you and your AD carry are playing very aggressive. You could switch these Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist with Greater Glyph of Ability Power to pack some punch. The AP scalings on Nami are beautiful, so your abilities will do more damage, you'll heal your allies for more HP. Make sure to build some extra magic resist, though.
There has always been a lot of discussion about Quints for supports. I think basically it's what you think is best for your style of play. Suitable options are Greater Quintessence of Ability Power to pack some more punch, Greater Quintessence of Health to be less squishy and Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed to be all over the place. Quints are really just what you prefer... Pick whatever you like most.
I run 0/13/17 masteries, which is quite unconventional (especially when you've played Season 2 as well). Let me explain some of my choices.
Utility is key to victory
As Nami (or almost any other support) you are extremely useful when you enable your AD carry to the fullest to farm and get the kills, so they get fed. Which is why I go down the right side of the Utility tree, making sure to all support points Scout , Bicuiteer and Explorer . The ward options make it easier and more efficient for you to ward, while you don't have to worry if you DO get ganked. You'll be low on health, but then you'll eat a biscuit and it'll all be K.
The extra gold and gold income from Greed , Wealth and Pickpocket will make sure you don't need to bother your AD carry with stealing his farm.
Just keep swimming...
The smell from fish lasts forever. So do you, by taking points in health and health regen in the defense tree, while reducing the damage the enemy deals to you. Pretty neat, eh?
The other should be either Exhaust or Heal.
You don't really have to take anything else, you are packing a heal, a movement speed bonus and you'll be warding like crazy. I like Exhaust over Heal, personally, because it'll help securing a kill, getting away or surviving an attack. If you really insist, below are some alternatives. Just don't ever ever ever take out Flash. You'll need it so many times.
Barrier, although I personally don't like the spell, it could be a good substitute for Exhaust. You'll lose the ability to make sure the enemy doesn't get away, though.
Clairvoyance, gives you more vision and map awareness. Personally I think that buying more wards will help you more, but hey, you're the player, not me.
Clarity, for if you really are getting out of mana constantly. Just don't tell me you use this. You shouldn't have to. Read about Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration in the Runes section above to see how I feel about mana use.
Surging Tides Grants allies hit by Nami's abilities extra movement speed. Gives 30 movement speed for 1.5 seconds to all allied champions hit. Especially useful with Tidecaller's Blessing since they slow the enemy champion hit. Note that allied champions in the landing zone of Aqua Prison also get the buff.
Aqua Prison Throws a bubble to a location, stunning and dealing magic damage to enemies in the landing zone. Hard to use skillshot at first. Great multi-champion stun with decent damage when maxed. Take a point at level 4, max it last, since you take this skill for it's utility.
Ebb and Flow Wave which jumps to up to three champions, dealing damage to enemy champions it hits while healing allied ones. This is your main poking and healing skill. You can cast this on an enemy champion, after which Ebb and Flow damages that champion and tries to jump to the nearest allied champion. When an allied champion is hit, Ebb and Flow heals that champion and bounces over to the nearest enemy champion. Note that any champion cannot be hit more than once, and that Ebb and Flow hits three champions max. You can choose to cast it on an ally first, maximizing the heal. Take a point at level 1 and max it as soon as possible.
Tidecaller's Blessing Buffs an allied champion's autoattack damage for 3 hits (lasts 5 seconds). The next 3 basic attacks (within a 5 second window) of an allied champion will deal extra magic damage and will slow the target for a small amount for 1 second (refreshed with every hit). Useful for securing a kill or repositioning (thanks to your passive), take a point at level 2 and max it second.
Tidal Wave Long range, slow travelling wave that knocks up, slows and deals magic damage to enemy champions. Great for initiation and retreating, this ultimate will knock up all enemies it hits and slows them big for 2-4 seconds. It is slow travelling and therefor easy to dodge, but when hit, it's a game-changing ultimate. As with all ultimates, take a point at levels 6, 11 and 16.
You'll start the game with two items: a 60-second ward from
and Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation from
As a support, you'll always buy the same items: Faerie Charm for mana regen and to build out to a Philosopher's Stone, Sight Wards and potions. There is really no need to take something else (unless you did not have the extra Explorer ward, you'll want to take a 3rd Sight Ward then and drop 1 potion of each type).
You'll be getting Philosopher's Stone and Crystalline Flask on your first trip home, possibly even some boots. Always buy wards, until you can afford Sightstone. This way you'll always have 4 wards with you, of which you can have two active at the same time. I put that part in bold so you understand that it might be a good idea sometimes to buy an extra Sight Ward from time to time.
This build focuses on mana regeneration so you can spam Ebb and Flow as much as you like. I start with Chalice of Harmony and upgrade my boots to Ionian Boots of Lucidity. You'll eventually want to upgrade your Philosopher's Stone to Eleisa's Miracle. Make sure you do so before you turn level 16, because of it's passive which consumes the item and makes the effect permanent. When you upgrade Philosopher's Stone to Eleisa's Miracle, you'll lose the 5 extra gold per 10 seconds, so buy Kage's Lucky Pick soon after.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Timeworn Frost Queen's Claim
I consider these items (with Eleisa's Miracle consumed) as your core build. You will get some good stats from these items:
- +20 HP/5
- +30 MP/5
- +700 HP
- +300 MP
- +100 MR
- +30 Armor
- +45 AP
- +15% CDR
Which are good stats for an aggressive support like you. You can spam your abilities a lot, are not so squishy anymore and got some nice actives to boot. Extra additions are situational items (below), and enchantments (which are described in the "About Enchantments" section of this guide).
Now, what 6th item will we add into the mix? That's completely dependant on what your team builds, what the enemy is building and how you are doing in game. I will discuss some options.
Banner of Command +50AP, +30 Armor, AURA: +10 HP/5, +15% minion damage, built-in Promote. Take this item when all goes well. The extra AP will add a sweet extra touch to your abilities, while the other stats will always benefit your team and will make pushing easier.
Locket of the Iron Solari +35 Armor, +10% CDR, +425 HP, +10 HP/5, and a nice teamshield active. Make yourself more tankier with extra HP and Armor, while shielding your nearby allies for 230 HP damage (per ally) for 5 seconds when you use the active. Perfectly when you receive a lot of damage and your team's tank can't handle it all by himself.
Zeke's HeraldZeke's Herald +15% CDR, +250 HP, AURA: +20 AD and +10% Lifesteal A good item for your AD carry to benefit from, though I believe the Season 2 version of this item (which buffed Attack Speed instead of Attack Damage) was better. Get this to give your AD carry some more punch (very useful on champions like Kog'Maw, Vayne and Draven).
Twin Shadows +50 AP, +30 MR, 5 MS multiplier, and a nice slowing active Haven't really used this item yet. It gives you decent extra AP, it makes you even more mobile and the slow is perfect when you want to hunt down champions like Sivir, Miss Fortune etc. who have high escapability.
Shurelya's Reverie +250 HP, +10 HP/5, +10 MP/5, +10% CDR, and a Active movement speed buff It's an other upgrade option from your Philosopher's Stone, which is greatly used by supports, but in this build you'll have to drop an item since this item doesn't consume itself like Eleisa's Miracle.
I've received this comment a couple of hours after publishing this guide. Since this has bothered me a long time as well, I've decided to put up a breakdown of the two items. They're both really good items, let's see when and why should take one or the other.
Watch out: LOOOONG TEXT! I've made it collapsible so others who don't want to read the following can easily scroll along.
Enchantments are new this season, and will make your boots better in one way or the other.
Enchantment: Alacrity gives you 15% extra movement speed.
Enchantment: Captain gives allied champions running towards you 8% extra movement speed, and minions gain 20% extra movement speed. Useful when your ally needs a heal, and when you want to push late-game.
Enchantment: Furor gives you a 12% bonus movement speed for a short duration whenever you deal damage.
Enchantment: Homeguard is fun! Whenever you are at your fountain, your HP and mana bars fill instantly and you run like crazy for the next 8 seconds (or until you enter combat).
Enchantment: Distortion is the only one not giving movement speed, but decreases the cooldown of Flash, Ghost and Teleport by 25%.
Now, as you can see, all of these are useful, and you can pick only one (that is, if you're smart enough not to buy another pair of 2nd tier boots). Personally, I think that supports benefit most from Enchantment: Captain because of the utility for the rest of the team (quick push and retreat due to the extra movement speed).
As a support, your role is to make your AD carry fed and protect him from harm. Now you can't always prevent bad things from happening, but do the following to make sure you can't be blamed and to ensure the game goes well.
Two key words account for this gaming phase: FARM and WARD. Your AD carry will be farming his minions. The enemy AD carry should be doing the same thing. It is in an AD carry's best interest to have more farm than the other AD carry, so the both of you should harass the enemy so he won't farm. Sounds logical, eh?
Now, you have the best harass there is: Ebb and Flow. It will damage the enemy and heal you and/or your ally. Obviously the enemy will heal in some way as well, but you have this good balance in damage and extra healing which will make your AD carry last longer in the lane, and thus get more farm.
Who to focus when poking? Good question. While the main objective is to harass and keep the enemy away from his farm, there might be a good chance you can secure a kill later on. Though it's better to kill the AD carry (because the AD carry deals the damage), don't forget to damage the enemy support as well. He could be using more mana to heal himself as well, for instance, lowering the possibility to land CC on your AD carry whenever they engage. Try to find a good balance between this.
Meanwhile, there are 3 other enemy champions in play, who might be snooping around somewhere to surprise you. Make sure to place wards to know when they're coming. Use the ward from Explorer last, since it only lasts 1 minute instead of the 3 minute duration from Sight Ward.
(Read Panglot's superior guide on warding for more info on wards and there positions)
When you need to get out of a fight, use your passive Surging Tides. Give you and your AD carry a movement speed buff to get yourself into safety. Otherwise, if you're engaging on the enemy, use Tidecaller's Blessing on your AD carry when the enemy is running. This will slow the enemy and let your AD carry deal more damage. Don't worry to use Ebb and Flow to deal damage of yourself and keep your AD carry safe. Put effort in the timing: try not to deal the killing blow. Let your AD carry get the kill, you'll get enough money from the assist to go by.
Now, if all went well so far, you and your AD carry did not die (much), your AD carry got a kill or two maybe, and you maybe got assists on them. Your AD carry has farmed up a reasonable amount of minions, and the two of you are starting to dominate bottom lane.
Good! Now, your objectives from early game will stay as they are, but there will be something interesting going on. Junglers will want to secure the Dragon, and it is in the team's best interest to not let the enemy team have the kill on Dragon. Your warding should move up the river, in front of Dragon, to have vision over the area. Furthermore, enemy champions will gank other lanes more frequently, and you wont be at bottom lane all the time anymore as well.
Know when it is OK to leave your AD carry by himself. Sometimes it is necessary for you to go back home (and buy some items), to help your team securing an objective such as Dragon or to help your mid-laner for instance after he got ganked. Communication is key. Let your AD carry know where you're going, let your team know you're coming. Make sure the road is safe (have wards on the river) and keep an eye on your AD carry.
Know when and how to use your ultimate, Tidal Wave. It is a good ability but also hard to hit. When used offensively, use it when you are absolutely sure you're gonna hit a good part of their team. You really want to hit at least the enemy AD and/or AP carry, to minimize the incoming damage while your team engages. Know that the duration of the slow increases up to 4 seconds the longer it takes for the wave to hit the enemy. Keep using Tidecaller's Blessing on your AD carry if he's in the fight to maximize his damage, while you use Ebb and Flow to keep your team alive and deal damage at the same time. Whenever casting Ebb and Flow, you'll have to decide what goal you have with it: deal damage to 2 enemies, or heal 2 allies. You can always use Aqua Prison to stun the enemies to either disable them of dealing damage, or making sure they wont get away.
When retreating, don't be afraid to use Tidal Wave as well. When used correctly, you'll give your team a very good chance to escape without harm, slowing the enemies but also giving extra movement speed to allies thanks to Surging Tides. Throw a bubble of Aqua Prison to close enemies afterwards to make the gap between you and them even bigger.
So, your AD carry is fed as hell, you have your core build complete and it's time to mop things up. Make sure you'll keep warding Dragon, Baron Nashor and other objectives, as well as critical spots for your safety while you are knocking on the front door of the enemy base.
Whenever a teamfight comes up, Ebb and Flow as much as possible. Make sure your team survives any attack, giving priority to your AD and AP carries. Use Tidal Wave and Aqua Prison to cancel incoming damage, but only when you're sure the fight will have a positive outcome. If not, you'll be glad you saved them for a safe retreat.
Stay with your team. You are carrying aura items, your team will only benefit from then when you're there. Don't forget actives like the one on Mikael's Crucible, use them!
If you're not so lucky, your team is actually getting their ***es kicked. Whatever you do, be useful for your team without putting yourself to much at risk. Ward safely, and wait for the team to get the upper hand in a fight. It might be your Tidal Wave that will put the entire team back into the game!
Thanks for reading my thoughts about Nami in this build. Whenever you agree, disagree, have questions or second thoughts about something, comment! I'd be the first to consider your input, and am humble enough to acknowledge a mistake. Some parts or not the conventional way of a support, but I hope my explanations made some of your doubts go away. As for the rest of your debts: give this a try! I'm sure you'll like it.
I'll be playing some games and will make a video of a Nami game of mine shortly, pausing it and explaining some of the things that went down.
I'd like to thank jhoijhoi for her Guide on guides. It made this one a better guide, I'm certain of that. Also a big shoutout to Akirakatsu, Bossietj, The Legolist, Noxrobin and Andrewsius for their input and their awesome AD carry plays while I was testing out this champion and build.
Decenmber 10th, 2012 - Updated thoughts on Heal, added in-depth analysis on Shurelya's Reverie vs. Eleisa's Miracle (thanks Redbubble!)
December 10th, 2012 - Initial guide