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Nami Build Guide by JerylSage

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League of Legends Build Guide Author JerylSage

Nami the Tidecaller Guide

JerylSage Last updated on December 3, 2015
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Team 1


Team 2

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 0

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 12

Threats to Nami with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Soraka Soraka isn't a huge threat towards Nami b/c you can also heal, but not as much as her. Nami has more CC, making it harder for Soraka to try and start a fight w/o a roam or gank. In team fights, Soraka can easily heal all her allies, but if you land your abilities, you'll be alright. In addition to, she is very easy to catch out with your Aqua Prison since she can't heal herself until level 6 or if she lands her Q on you.
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Hey everyone and welcome to my Nami Guide! I'm JerylSage, just a casual player ( Gold 2 during Season 5 ) on NA and I prefer to play mid or support. Ever since I bought Nami during Season 4, I've learned a lot ever since ( considering I was like level 25 or something LOL ). I've been playing her ever since Season 4, so she's been my favorite support ever since.

Hopefully this guide helps you with how to play Nami and what to do! Before going into the guide, I would like to notify that this is my first guide on this website, so very sorry if there are any mistakes or anything! Feel free to mention something wrong with the guide or what your opinions are. Alright, let's become the Master Tidecaller!

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Pros / Cons

+Very versatile pick with lots of good synergies
+Can win pretty much every matchup if played well
+One of the best peeling supports in game
+Has tons of CC

-Very squishy and has no mobility to escape
-Can be mana hungry when playing aggressive or trying to sustain
-CC is not reliable all the time
-Very high skill cap: she's quite hard to pick up as a new player

The main reason to pick Nami is her versatility. If you play aggressive or passive, she still offers what most support need, a heal that can poke and heal. She can usually deal with most matchups, but it depends on if you can play her correctly and adapt to her kit. Nami tends to transition well into mid/late game because she has a reliable amount of CC that can turn the fight around. In addition to, her kit helps her ADC stay alive and makes it easier to escape from ganks or something like that.

Even though there are pros, there are always cons. Nami is a very squishy and vulnerable target. If she's been hit by any sort of crowd control, she's almost always dead after. She kites around decently, but you are always vulnerable since you don't really have an escape. Although her CC is really good, it's also really hard to utilize in team fights. Her Tidal Wave is very slow and can be dodged easily, and her Aqua Prison is a hard skillshot to land ( especially since it's sort of a weird skillshot to land ). She's also very mana heavy, especially if you play aggressive.

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Summoner Spells

Flash is 100% mandatory. It allows you to escape sticky situations or set up great plays. If you don't take it, you gonna be some delicious sushi for the enemy team. Most of the time, I would Flash to save my ADC or initiate a fight ( mainly to get in range for my ability initiation ).

Exhaust is a standard pick, it practically cripples the enemy ADC in a 2v2 or 1v1 fight and is especially useful against bruisers targeting your ADC in teamfights. Make sure you use it timely though – don't be timid to "waste" it because if you use it too late in a fight, you've essentially wasted it. It can also allow you to hit your CC easily.

Ignite is an offensive pick. If you're facing a weak botlane matchup with an aggressive ADC on your side, you can get this for extra kill potential. Generally, I would recommend this since it reduces the healing that the target receives, which some supports have and can reduce their lifesteal if targeted towards the ADC. Also, Nami usually is not such a fighter, but is mainly aimed at poking down the enemy with her W.

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The main setup I would use for Nami's support page would be 0/18/12 because it provides the utility that Nami needs for her early game. The Cunning tree provides mana regen ( which is always useful with Nami ), movement speed, gold during laning, cooldown reduction, and an increased heal! The Resolve tree gives her a little bit of health/health regen, movement speed, and cooldown reduction on your spells!

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When going through the process of figuring out what runes to get on Nami, it should depend on what your lane matchup is. I usually tend to go with defensive quints and seals to make up for her squishy early game. I also take some utility and magic resist glyphs for a little power spike in the early game. Sometimes, I take three mana regen glyphs just to make up for her mana heaviness.

Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration

The hybrid penetration marks are my favorite for Nami because they allow you to use your early power as much as possible; armor pen for your ranged auto attacks to abuse melee / low ranged supports heavily, and magic pen for your abilities.

Greater Seal of Health Greater Seal of Health

In bot lane you'll usually be laning against different champions with multiple damage types which is why full armor isn't that great. Besides that, the combination of armor quints + health seals right now actually gives you a better totals. I would recommend to always take flat runes because otherwise you risk getting snowballed upon just because you're squishy early game, but it all depends on the situation.

Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration

I like to take a few (max 3 or 4) mana regen glyphs to slightly make up for your mana problems. It's completely dependent on you if you feel the need to use these or not, but I'd never get more than 4 because you'll otherwise be sacrificing too much magic resist.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

You'll most likely be facing a support that will very likely deal magic damage, which is why these are a reasonable pick. I wouldn't recommend taking scaling magic resist because you'll always be getting some magic resist in the standard build and you'll really need to get as much defensive stats as you possibly can for your early game/mid game.

Greater Quintessence of Armor Greater Quintessence of Armor

Armor quints + health seals is a really effective combination – this will provide you as much defensive stats as you possibly can.

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Skill Sequence

On Nami, you generally want to start W Ebb and Flow first. Make sure not to level anything before you get in lane because in case of an invade, you'll want Q Aqua Prison. The reason Ebb and Flow is better to start with in lane is because it has reliable damage than Aqua Prison. The versatility it gives + the possible bounces make it a really strong ability to trade at level 1 with heals and damage. In addition to, if you max W, the heal will be massive ( especially with the keystone mastery the increases the effect of healing ).

After level 1 you'll want to get Aqua Prison to make for effective trades and escapes. Not taking Q will leave you vulnerable. At level 3, you can either go for another point in your Ebb and Flow or take Tidecaller's Blessing( E ). This generally depends on the matchup (do you need the slow or the extra heal/damage) but also on your mana consumption. Sometimes, I would put two points in Ebb and Flow to increase healing against Soraka or Sona.

You should max Ebb and Flow first by level 9. However, Tidecaller's Blessing can be very strong in poke matchups if you don't need the heal. The low mana costs will then allow you to keep playing more aggressively. If you find the heal to be too low for a heal, I would recommend maxing E for the trades your ADC can do.
Finally, take your ultimate Tidal Wave whenever you can (levels 6, 11 and 16) and max Aqua Prison last because you only use it for the CC.

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Starting Items

Spellthief's Edge, Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation, and a Warding Totem

This is your standard start. Spellthief's Edge has gold income and also adds some extra damage and mana regen which is really good for her mana consumption. Spellthief's Edge has the highest income during the laning phase unless your lane is really bad and you can't poke or auto attack the enemy. Unless you're having a bad matchup, you should always start with this.
Besides Spellthief's Edge, you'd want to get 3 Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation. Even if you don't need it to sustain, it's great to have potions because you can use them in the middle of a fight and get some HP back over time + the Secret Stash mastery to make your potions into biscuits ( which gives a little boost from just a regular Health Potion ).

Passive Starting Items

Ancient Coin, 3x Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation, and a Warding Totem

This is a start for a very situational matchups ( where you can't rely on getting gold from poke or auto attacks through Spellthief's Edge gold income ). In hard matchups, all you want is sustain and safe gold income, which this item offers.
The final upgrade of this item ( Talisman of Ascension ) is usually a lot better for a support like Nami because the AP on Frost Queen's Claim isn't too much and the active is a lot weaker ( it's basically Twin Shadows ). A 40% movement speed buff allows you to catch up to anyone running away and force fights as you want them without having any possibility of escaping.

Core Items

Core items are items that you should be getting every game, since they're such important items to Nami ( or any support in general ), they should never be replaced.

Nomad's Medallion and Frostfang are both great upgrades towards your starting item. They both give better stats and gold income. Although, it doesn't provide combat effective stats or health like the Sightstone does. The Sightstone provides flat health and vision which is very useful towards laning and dueling. So without the Sightstone, you become a little bit more squishy and vulnerable. I would recommend getting these items if you have < 800 gold on your first back.

Sightstone is the core behind any support build. It provides free vision which essentially is a gold income item as well because of multiple reasons: you don't have to buy wards anymore (saves money) and vision control can lead to objectives, or deny the enemy gold through ganks which you'd otherwise have died to. It also provides a decent amount of flat health which is why it's important to get this super early in the game ( usually on your first back). Get this if you have > 800 gold on your first back, otherwise get Nomad's Medallion or Frostfang. If you decide to upgrade to Ruby Sightstone, you could, but I would highly recommend trying to finish the rest of your build so you can provide more utility for you team.

Vision Ward remain on the map forever if placed correctly or protected well, which means they can be a efficient purchase. It's also really nice to have a way of clearing wards if you happen to force any objectives without any risk of the enemy stealing it from your jungler.

After finishing Sightstone, swap out your Warding Totem for a Sweeping Lens. You don't need extra wards since you're limited to only having 3 wards out at the same time, so take that opportunity and sweep and clear enemy wards with the Sweeping Lens. It's also really good to upgrade this as soon as you reach level 9 because you will be able to sweep and have a detection sweep around you for a certain amount of time after using it.

Boots of Mobility give TONS of movement speed. These are great boots because it allows you to get wards down a lot quicker and to stay out of enemy range. You can use this to roam around the map and support your team at other lanes, rather than only from bot lane.

Offensive Items

Offensive items are the items you should get when you're winning your lane. They often provide some AP and other useful stats, meaning you can make use of the effective snowball lead. When behind/even however, you mainly want to focus on team oriented items that can help during team fights and thus you shouldn't get these items in such a situation.

Morellonomicon is a good and cheap item that can provides a good amount of AP/mana regen. If you're far ahead and want some sort of AP, this item is the best bet. It also provides a large amount of cooldown reduction, which allows you to utilize your utility more frequently. I would recommend this item against enemies who can heal or heal themselve because it provides Grievous Wounds on them. Some examples of champions that are weak against this item are Aatrox, ADC's, Soraka, Sona, Dr. Mundo, and a lot more! Although it's a great item, it's hard for Nami to actually apply Grievous Wounds.

Rod of Ages is also a good item for Nami relatively early in the game. If you get this item early in the game and stack it, you can become super tanky. Not only does it provide health/mana, but it also provides AP, depending on how many stacks you have. I would say it would be a good item against tanky supports like Braum because she can act as a semi-tank for the team. Each minute, the item gives a stack, giving bonus health, mana, and AP. This is a very effective item for being tanky, but it is very expensive towards the support budget.

Athene's Unholy Grail is one of my favorite items to get on Nami if I get the early lead. Since most support do magic damage, Athene's Unholy Grail gives some magic resist to deflect some of damage dealt. I mainly like this item because it restores 30% of mana for a kill or assist, and Nami easily picks up assists just from applying her passive or any of her abilities. In all, the passive and stats it provides are just perfect for Nami's kit, and it really helps Nami's mana problems.

Utility Items

Utility items are the typical support items that allow you to assist your team in winning fights. They usually provide defensive stats and a very good active and or passive. When getting these actives, make sure to use them effectively because otherwise you're wasting the item's effectiveness.

Mikael's Crucible is in my opinion, the best item for Nami herself because it provides the peel that her ADC needs. It's a great item to protect your ADC from CC and to heal some damage. After the 4.10 changes, the item became quite a bit more expensive which also means that it's less effective in terms of gold that the support has.

Locket of the Iron Solari is a very situational item that gives defense for the team, which is very useful against AP threats on the enemy team. The old Aegis of the Legion used to give magic resist and health regen, but now it only gives + 15 magic resist. I would recommend purchasing this item if the enemy team has 2 or more heavy AP dealers. If you don't need the item and you get it anyway, you're wasting a lot of gold on some unneeded magic resist.

Banshee's Veil is an item that is situational item that is needed against major AP threats. If you already have a Locket, but still need the magic resist, you could get this. The spell shield helps provide defense from being bursted/locked down as well as extra health.

Randuin's Omen is also a situational item that provides a great amount of health, armor, and a useful active. In my opinion, I see it as a very versatile armor item in the shop. It provides a wonderful combination of health/armor which is needed to counter AD heavy teams. This item is useful for peeling your ADC when AD enemies try and jump on them. The active slows the movement speed of nearby enemies by 35% for 4 seconds ( 60 second cooldown ).

Ardent Censer is one of my favorite items to get when I play with aggressive ADC's. The stats and passive the item provides just makes your ADC so strong during trades/fights. The item gives AP, cooldown reduction, and mana regen. The two passives the item has are 8% movement speed ( really useful when roaming or escaping ), and the heals/shields on an allied champion grant them 15% attack speed as well as 30 magic damage on-hit for 6 seconds. I would recommend getting this item when your ADC has enough items to burst the enemy team. When I play Nami, I usually get this item 3rd or 4th since it gives the stats that Nami needs the most.

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Laning Phase

This part of the guide will explain to you all you need to know about the laning phase, specifically for Nami but still applying to most supports. Even if you are an experienced support player, I would recommend reading this part perhaps if you didn't know something!

To start off, never level a spell before you actually arrive in lane or require it in an invade or comparable situation. You´ll sometimes need the Aqua Prison in case of an invade, but otherwise you really want Ebb and Flow.

Always make sure to cover for your jungler, but don't cover if they're doing another camp that's far away from your lane. However, if you have to leash for your jungler keep this in mind: NEVER stay too long. Give him a few auto attacks, but make sure to head to lane in time. You can also give a Ebb and Flow if your jungler get's too low.

What's the purpose of this? The current bot lane meta is currently defined by level 1 pushes. If you push at level one, you'll kill minions faster than your enemy, but this also means you'll get XP at a faster rate than your enemies do. If you kill the first wave + first 3 melee minions of the second wave, you'll hit level 2 – unless you missed some XP from getting to lane late.

Why is this important? Well, if you push faster than your enemy, you'll get level 2 first. Whoever hits level 2 first has a MASSIVE edge in bot lane since you have one extra spell to deal damage with (+ your base stats often scale on level). If you hit level 2 before they do, you can force a trade and come out really far ahead.

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Nami is a really effective support before the first back. Generally, both sides will have little to no sustain which means you'll easily be able to both outpoke and outsustain the enemy, as long as you manage your mana correctly. In the early game, you can trade really effectively by using Ebb and Flow + auto attacks – usually you'll get the second bounce back to you which will heal up some of the damage the enemy did to you during the trade.

However, never go to aggressive to poke the enemy because you'll get a lot of minion aggro that way. Only trade when the enemy minion wave is approximately the size of yours, or smaller. If the enemy wave is bigger than yours, you'll get more minion aggro from attacking them, then you'll probably deal to them – that's another reason why pushing the wave is important: it means the enemy won't be able to engage on you or they'll get a lot of minion aggro. Another risk is that you're really squishy, so you'll get punished fairly hard if you misposition, so never go too far ahead of your ADC or you will die.

Usually, you should try to get a Sightstone on your first base (if not, get Frostfang or Nomad's Medallion) and get some deep wards down near Dragon /possibly in the enemy jungle. It's also really good to get a Vision Ward and place it somewhere in the river. Another good thing to keep in mind is to adapt your build correctly to your matchup. Against Taric, Tahm Kench, Shen, Thresh, or Leona it's often a good idea to buy an extra Ruby Crystal to prevent yourself from dying too often in lane.

During fights, you should mainly prioritize hitting the enemy ADC with your Aqua Prison. Their movement is usually predictable (since they're attacking you, they'll also be moving in your direction) and this often means you could counter their engage effectively by hitting a Aqua Prison on the carry and from there on turning the tides ( totally no pun intended ). Don't forget to use a potion in the middle of a fight. In an extended fight, this can give you over 100 HP back which can really turn a low level fight around. Although, in major team fights, it would be preferable to use your Aqua Prison towards the enemy carries ( it's quite difficult to land your Aqua Prison on assassins and mobile ADC's ).

Mid/Late Game

Mid/late game is mainly about two things; objectives ( Baron, Dragon, towers, etc. ) and teamfights. Nami provides a major role in terms of both of these things, through vision control and peeling for your team.

First of all, in late game it is really important to have vision control over Baron and Dragon. Make sure to ward the objective iteslf and the surroundings so you'll never lose an objective due to not having enough vision around. Another reason wards are important is because it also allows you to pick enemies off guard and make rotations around quickly.

A rotation in League means you move from one lane to another, quickly, in order to take an objective. If you see an enemy is out of position through your vision control, you can move around to the other side of the map with your team and take a free turret. The same goes with Dragons and Barons ( even though they are a bit more fight/team incorporated ). Always be sure to check your timers on the objectives so you can notify your team about what to do, as well as when to provide vision. You mainly want to do this so the enemy team doesn't get the upper hand if they try and take the objective.

In teamfights, your main objective is to keep your carries ( mostly your ADC and AP mid laner ) alive, and nothing but that. You can try to create a pick with your Aqua Prison but you mainly want to stick with your ADC and make sure no one can possibly get to them. You have a very wide range of skills to keep him safe: Aqua Prison, Ebb and Flow, Tidal Wave and probably one of the actives: Mikael's Crucible, Locket of the Iron Solari or even Frost Queen's Claim.

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ADC Synergies

These synergies are ADC's that are fairly strong when paired along with Nami. Although they are good in lane together, it doesn't always mean you will win lane. It all depends on how you play, and what you do!

Varus has very good synergy with Nami because both are excellent at poking down an enemy and have a massive amount of crowd control at level 6. Generally, you'll be waiting until you hit Aqua Prison and then follow up with a Varus Piercing Arrow and your standard combo. At level 6, you can DESTROY your enemies if you hit Aqua Prison into Chain of Corruption leading into Tidal Wave.

Lucian is a dominant laning champion when combined with Nami because you have high potential in short trades. His double shot passive applies Tidecaller's Blessing for 100% and if you hit Aqua Prison, you can pretty much take down most of your enemies health in one trade once he gets some levels in his Piercing Light. In late game, your synergy isn't as great since he doesn't really need such hard peel, but your crowd control combined with The Culling can still make for very strong poke/damage.

Caitlyn is one of my favorite ADC's with Nami because of the long range poke and disengage. Nami basically allows Caitlyn to stay outside of damage from the enemies and allows her to keep hitting autoattacks empowered with Tidecaller's Blessing. In certain matchups, you could consider maxing Tidecaller's Blessing first but only if you feel confident in your synergy with your ADC.

Jinx works fairly well with Nami because Nami has the utility to keep her safe in teamfights and in a 2v2, both of you can poke pretty well using her long range Q Switcheroo! autoattacks. In all, it's a standard lane with nothing complicated. You need to use everything you can to keep her alive since she's super squishy. Also, you can combo her Flame Chompers! along with your Aqua Prison to make your enemies locked down during fights/trades.

Ezreal isn't my favorite with Nami, but the downside is that Ezreal doesn't really fit into the ADC meta/role. Regardless, you have a super devastating poke combo ( Aqua Prison into Tidecaller's Blessing empowered Mystic Shot and Ebb and Flow is a very effective as well as an easy trade. When yu hit level 6, you also get a very long ranged AoE ultimate combo. The early levels during laning phase might be difficult though because Ezreal is quite weak during that time.

Tristana is on my top lists with Nami because Nami has the utility to get her to the late game stage and keep her alive all game. Even in the early game, both of you can be quite effective by pushing down botlane and poking with Explosive Shot and your standard combo ( empowering ADC with E, then bubbling the enemy, then heal for trades ). When Tristana reaches her late game stage, she becomes incredibly powerful and can auto attack from a safe distance while being able to turn aggressive if necessary.

The synergy between Miss Fortune and Nami isn't as strong as it might seem to be. This is because your ultimate isn't instant/fast like Crescendo or Solar Flare ( which are very famous combos when playing with Miss Fortune, but takes time to travel. For that, the combo isn't as effective as it would've been. Besides that, Miss Fortune also has limited poke damage in lane. I can say that Miss Fortune and Nami's passives work well in terms of movement speed!

Nami has the tools to provide Vaynewith a relatively safe lane. You can't poke as much in this combo, but in all-out fights you can pretty much allow Vayne to use out all the damage she possibly can. You probably won't be able to much before level 6, but after that you can win fights if you can Aqua Prison into Condemn. Add Tidecaller's Blessing and you'll make sure no one can run from the Vayne. I'm not saying that they can't do anything before level 6, but it's hard for Vayne to all in without taking so much damage.

Kalista is an alright synergy with Nami, but there are still advantages. Kalista's W passive can allow great amounts of poke to the enemy if used properly. In addition to, Kalista's ultimate Fate's Call works very well with Nami's Tidal Wave. If used correctly, you can establish a knock-up combo that can allow Kalista to auto attack in the back line. I would recommend this combo if you're going against someone like Soraka because she can get obliterated since she can't heal herself unless she lands her Starcall.

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Alright everyone, thanks for reading my guide! I really hope this guide helped you with what to do with Nami, or to decide to try her yourself! If you did enjoy the guide, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what I could do to improve the guide. Any support is appreciated! Just remember, "Sometimes you're the catch, sometimes you're the bait!"

Anyway, good luck in the Rifts Summoners, and may the tides be ever in your favor.