This League of Legends Season 10 Ultimate Nami guide is the only guide that you will need in order to play Nami Support. This guide will include builds, combos, counters, synergies, keystones, and runes.
Nami is a young Vastaya of the seas that defends her fellow Marai from danger, using with her Tidecaller staff to reshape tides. She was fierce and brave, ready to face the darkness from the rift. She wasn’t chosen to be the Tidecaller, the warrior meant to take a pearl in the rift in exchange for a moonstone that protects her people, but she eventually did with her courage. As soon as the exchange happened, she realized that there was no moonstone. Unwilling to accept defeat, she summoned a pool of water beneath her fins to travel in land, with the sole purpose of finding the Aspect of the Moon and save her people.
This guide was written by our team of writers along with the help of Challenger player, Wakanari, who is an expert in everything Nami. He is considered by many to be the best in the world at this champion and you can find him Streaming on Twitch.
Nami Overview Infographic
We put together a Nami overview infographic that has the best builds, runes, strengths, weaknesses, combos, skill orders, counters, synergies and anything else that you need to quickly learn the basics of Nami Make sure to share with your friends and check back here to get the latest updates. We will be updating this infographic as changes happen so check back often!
Who is Wakanari
Gianni, 21 years of age. Currently playing with summoner name Wakanari. With 193 games played last season, he had over 238k mastery points on Nami and peaked at 552 LP in the North American Challenger. He has a KDA ratio of 3.52:1 with a 56% win rate. It was in high school where his friends forced him to quit Starcraft 2. Even though Starcraft is an amazing game, now it’s too late to go back. Without Wakanari playing League of Legends, we wouldn’t have a Nami god we can all follow. Let’s ride those tides and have ourselves a tsunami of victories with this champion!
Table of Contents
Why Play Nami
Before we start on the Ultimate Guide to Nami we first want to tell you why you should play her. Her overall strengths and weaknesses are as follows:
- Great sustain against poke lanes.
- Fits with most carries and team compositions.
- Strong AoE setup with her ultimate.
- Insane mid game healing.
- Great playmaking potential for an enchanter.
- Very squishy.
- Lacks reliable crowd control and peel.
- Can’t face-check bushes or place wards alone.
- Needs one or two items to come online.
- Easy to dive and assassinate.
These champions give Nami a hard time in-game due to having a kit that can stop Nami from doing what she wants to do. Here are some of the biggest issues and how you can try to overcome the challenges they bring.
Blitzcrank is considered a counter because your squishiness makes you a perfect target for Blitzcrank’s Q (Rocket Grab). Nami can’t match Blitzcrank’s roams very well, and lacks the tools to help her ally break the freeze commonly set up by a Blitzcrank lane. Position yourself around minions to avoid his grabs and just focus on poking in the early game and giving a lead for your ADC to snowball.
Leona is considered a counter because she is a strong early game support that allows her jungler to play bot side without risk due to her reliable hard crowd control. After level 1, Nami can’t poke Leona without putting herself at risk of getting engaged on by Leona’s E (Zenith Blade). You won’t be able to place wards without putting yourself at risk of getting ulted by Leona. Always be on the lookout for her, as getting hit by her triple CC will be very bad for you.
Nautilus is considered a counter because, like Blitzcrank, it only takes one error of position to lead to a death. Nautilus’ Q (Dredge Line) is relatively easy to land and has a short cooldown, making him much more useful in early skirmishes. He has reliable CC that makes his lane a perfect gank or dive target for the enemy jungler, which Nami struggles to deal with. Focus on teamfights rather than going 2v2 in the early game, as that approach would be very hard for you.
These champions work well with Nami and should be considered being picked alongside her if possible. Here are some of the biggest synergies and how you can abuse them.
Vayne works well with Nami, as her biggest weakness in the lane is her very short range. With Nami, she can take trades more often since Nami can bounce W (Ebb and Flow) off her and use E (Tidecaller’s Blessing) to buff her basic attacks. Nami’s sustain helps Vayne through her weak laning phase until she can get to her item spikes. You also have a passive that synergizes with Vayne’s passive, allowing her to catch up to anyone and chase them down.
Jhin works well with Nami, as his zoning potential with his fourth shot allows the duo to play very aggressively. Landing a root guarantees Nami’s Q (Aqua Prison) as a follow-up stun and vice versa. When ahead, the two are great at getting picks. When behind, they still have high utility with their crowd control.
Yasuo works well with Nami even though he is not a traditional marksman bot laner. He synergizes extremely well with Nami with his passive shield. Combined with Nami’s sustain, he becomes effectively immune to poke. Nami’s Q (Aqua Prison) and R (Tidal Wave) can hit multiple people, giving Yasuo an easy ultimate (Last Breath) on key targets. Yasuo’s power spikes also coincide with Nami’s power spikes, potentially surprising enemies with how strong they are together.
Nami Summoner Spells
Nami’s recommended summoner spells are Ignite and Flash. Since Nami has no mobility, Flash is an absolute necessity to escape lethal or dangerous situations. It’s such a widely applicable summoner spell that not taking it guarantees that the enemy jungler will camp you because of how vulnerable you are without Flash. Ignite is the other default choice, since it’s good to be able to punish mistakes and secure kills when skirmishing. Ignite reduces all healing by 40%, so you probably want to take this against champions like Soraka and Yuumi.
If you are laning with a scaling champion like Twitch, you should take Heal. Nami likes to play safe and scale since she doesn’t have many abusable matchups, so Heal is the best choice when your carry is willing to take a different summoner spell like Barrier or Cleanse. In addition, since Nami builds items with heal and shield power, Heal will have especially high value starting in the mid game.
Exhaust is viable if the enemies have several assassins or divers. It will help your squishy carries survive the burst and can also win you the 2v2 bot lane.
Nami Runes and Keystones
Nami’s recommended runes are Summon Aery, Manaflow Band, Transcendence/Absolute Focus, and Gathering Storm on Sorcery as primary, and Magical Footwear/Biscuit Delivery with Cosmic Insight on Inspiration as secondary. Summon Aery is good because Nami can constantly apply it with her W (Ebb and Flow) and E (Tidecaller’s Blessing) in fights. Manaflow Band helps with Nami’s mana issues and allows her to cast more heals. Absolute Focus is good because Nami tends to stay healthy with her healing. Transcendence is a decent rune if you are playing to scale into mid game. It takes a while to activate (level 10), Transcendence, but it definitely beats out Absolute Focus in terms of value when it does. Take Gathering Storm, since Scorch doesn’t do significant damage and Nami scales extremely well with AP. Cosmic Insight is an all-around great rune since supports like to have cooldown reduction. It also reduces the cooldown of summoner spells and items, including trinkets. Take Biscuit Delivery if you are laning against heavy poke and really need the extra sustain. Otherwise, take Magical Footwear.
The second rune page you can consider is Guardian, Font of Life, Conditioning/Bone Plating, and Revitalize on Resolve as primary, and Magical Footwear/Biscuit Delivery with Cosmic Insight on Inspiration as secondary. Guardian is a viable alternative for very defensive laning. However, you won’t get the mana or AP from the Sorcery tree that Nami really enjoys. If you do take this tree, take Font of Life and remember to self-cast E (Tidecaller’s Blessing) when trading, so your teammate will get a bit of on-hit healing. Most of the time, take Conditioning. Only take Bone Plating if it will help you in the lane, like for blocking damage from enemy enchanters (note that it blocks damage from Summon Aery and Scorch). Avoid Bone Plating when laning against catchers like Blitzcrank, since it won’t save you at all. Take Revitalize to boost your healing.
You can also take Precision secondary: Presence of Mind and Legend: Tenacity, andTake Cut Down if they don’t have a lot of crowd control that is reduced by Tenacity (such as knockups). This secondary tree provides plenty of mana, allowing you to cast heals as often as you want in teamfights without running out of mana.
Both rune pages will use 2 adaptive force and armor (or magic resist against a mage carry like Cassiopeia).
Nami’s recommended items change depending on the situation, however, the following items will give you a good idea of what to build in different situations.
- Nami starts with Spellthief’s Edge as it is the standard option. Relic Shield is the defensive option that you use against Blitzcrank/Leona/Xerath.
Athene’s Unholy Grail is core on Nami because, 90% of the time, it is indisputably the best first item on Nami. It’s a great rush item because the build path is nice and the item is cheap, barely costing over 2,000 gold. The passive healing synergizes so well with Nami’s W (Ebb and Flow), as it can damage enemies and heal allies simultaneously. The fully stacked passive nearly doubles the base healing from Nami’s W. Any build must have this item at some point, even if you don’t need the magic resist. Note that you should rush Fiendish Codex over Chalice of Harmony because it’s much better in lane and because of how well Nami scales with AP. However, if you are laning against a mage support like Brand or an AP carry like Cassiopeia, rushing Chalice of Harmony is fine.
Ardent Censer is core on Nami because the other 10% of the time you’ll be rushing this item, as its build path is also quite good. Ardent Censer is a good rush item with hypercarries like Vayne, Twitch, and Kog’Maw who love attack speed. Otherwise, build this item after Athene’s Unholy Grail. Note that Jhin and Ezreal do benefit from Ardent Censer, so don’t worry about Ardent Censer not having great value, because it always works unless your carry is a mage. Even then, Ardent Censer is gold efficient by itself and you can always buff a different ally who will appreciate the attack speed and on-hit damage. With these two items, you’ll have around 200 AP, which is the point where your W starts to increase in effectiveness per bounce. You should rush Aether Wisp over Forbidden Idol for the same reason as above: AP is more effective in lane than mana regeneration.
Use Boots of Swiftness, as you’ll permanently be as fast or faster than just about every other champion in the game. 60 movement speed for just 900 gold is too good to pass up. These boots are especially good against champions with slows, like Ashe and Braum. The vast majority of champions have at least one slow, so you’ll almost always get some value out of the slow resistance passive.
Use Ionian Boots of Lucidity, as they only cost 900 gold. If you took Transcendence, you’ll definitely want these, as the point of taking Transcendence is to hit the CDR cap in the mid game. Even if you overcap the cooldown reduction limit, Transcendence converts the extra CDR into AP very efficiently (10% excess CDR, worth 266.67 gold, becomes 20 AP, worth 435 gold).
Use Boots of Mobility If you like roaming a lot. Take this early on and look to gank or countergank with your jungler. While also quite cheap, Boots of Mobility are only good out of combat. This means that when you are fighting, it’s harder to chase down or escape from enemies who have another type of boots. Note that you should not build these if you took Magical Footwear since the rune delays boots to the point where it’s rarely worth it to build Boots of Mobility.
Offensive Situational Items
If your team likes engaging on the enemy, Shurelya’s Reverie is an excellent second or third item due to the AoE speed boost. It’s especially good if your team has immobile juggernauts who want to get to the enemy backline. A squishy mage or marksman has no way to avoid a buffed-up Garen or Darius with 600 movement speed.
Although its build path and active are quite good, Twin Shadows is not the best item on Nami because it does not provide heal and shield power nor mana regeneration However, it provides a lot of AP and has a useful active that can be used to chase people down or scout for enemies to make sure it’s safe to ward. Usually, however, you wouldn’t choose to build this item over the other options.
Defensive Situational Items
While its stats are mediocre, Redemption has an incredibly powerful AoE heal as its active. Since the active heal scales off heal and shield power, this is a good second or third item after already building another heal and shield power item such as Ardent Censer. Never rush this item because its components do not help you in lane at all, and its active has a long cooldown, severely limiting Redemption’s effectiveness.
An extremely underrated item, Mikael’s Crucible. It is a free cleanse for any of your teammates, making it a very good purchase if the enemy has any cleansable crowd control. This includes Thresh’s Q (Death Sentence) and Braum’s passive (Concussive Blows) but not suppressions like Malzahar’s ultimate (Nether Grasp) or knockups like Yasuo’s tornado. This item is incredibly gold efficient and provides a whopping 20% heal and shield power, so it’s still a great item even if you are only cleansing slows. If the enemy has an easily cleansable single target engage tool like Ashe’s ultimate (Enchanted Crystal Arrow) or Sejuani’s ultimate (Glacial Prison) consider building this as second item.
Full Build Example
An example full build for Nami can consist of:
- Shard of True Ice
- Boots of Swiftness
- Athene’s Unholy Grail
- Ardent Censer
- Mikael’s Crucible
- Shurelya’s Reverie / Redemption
This is the most recommended build path for Nami, as these items give Nami a lot of heal and shield power, AP, cooldown reduction, and mana regeneration, enabling her to constantly pump out 400+ HP heals every 6 seconds. Note that overcapping CDR is not necessarily terrible (it’s in fact beneficial if you have Transcendence), but this rarely happens considering supports’ gold budget.
Passive - Surging Tides
Whenever Nami uses an ability on an ally or herself, that ally briefly gains movement speed. This movement speed bonus is doubled on Nami’s R. Nami’s Q also grants movement speed, so use your passive by casting Q and E on yourself or your carry to get back to lane faster. Avoid using your W in this way because it costs much more mana than Q and E. Try to space out using your abilities on allies so you can fully use your passive (and apply Summon Aery more than once).
Q - Aqua Prison
Nami shoots a bubble to a small circular area, suspending enemies hit for 1.5 seconds and dealing magic damage. A suspension is a combination of a stun and knockup (airborne) that is reduced by tenacity and can be cleansed. Nami’s Q always takes slightly less than 1 second to travel regardless of distance, so it’s easy for enemies to react to it. Try slowing enemies with your E or wait for an ally to apply crowd control to increase the chance of landing the bubble. If the enemy has a mobility spell like Ezreal or Lee Sin, you can try to predict where they will dash.
W - Ebb and Flow
This is Nami’s bread-and-butter. If Nami casts W on an ally, it heals them and bounces to an enemy, dealing magic damage, then bounces to a different ally, healing them. If Nami casts W on an enemy, it deals magic damage and bounces to an ally, healing them, then bounces to a different enemy, dealing magic damage. Each bounce heals or does less damage than the previous bounce until you have 200 AP, at which point each subsequent bounce becomes more effective. This ability costs a lot of mana, so try to get maximum value out of it by bouncing it off an enemy near allies or an ally near enemies.
E - Tidecaller's Blessing
The target’s next three basic attacks or abilities deal bonus magic damage and briefly slow affected enemies. Since this ability has no cast time, you can use it while a projectile is in mid-air and it will apply the extra damage and slow whoever it hits. Use this when trading or when chasing enemies to make it harder to dodge your bubble. You can also use this ability to apply Summon Aery on an ally, shielding them from around a basic attack’s worth of damage in lane.
R - Tidal Wave
Nami summons a giant wave that travels in a straight line, dealing magic damage and briefly knocking up enemies. Enemies hit are also slowed for a duration based on how far the wave has traveled when they were hit. A great use of this ability is to interrupt dashes like Rengar’s leap and channels like Janna’s ultimate. Your ultimate is a good engage tool because it greatly speeds up allies and you can land a guaranteed Q when the wave knocks up enemies.
Ability Skill Order
The skill order for Nami is R > W > E > Q. Put points into your ultimate (Tidal Wave) whenever possible. Since W (Ebb and Flow) can affect up to three targets, you should max it first. Then, since E (Tidecaller’s Blessing) is a more consistent source of damage than Q (Aqua Prison) max it second. Max Q last because it’s unreliable and you shouldn’t be spamming it for no reason.
A power spike is when a champion reaches a level or builds an item that makes them a lot stronger than other champions in the game. Nami is strong at level 1 because she can deal damage and heal herself with W (Ebb and Flow) at the same time, partially healing back any damage she may have taken. Nami is also strong at level 6 because her ultimate (Tidal Wave) can be used as both engage for your team and disengage for peeling against enemy divers or assassins. If you took Transcendence, Nami is strong at level 10 because she will hit the CDR cap and potentially gain bonus AP based on how much extra CDR she has. She becomes strong with Athene’s Unholy Grail in hand because she begins to heal absurd amounts, especially if her W bounces off an enemy. With both Athene’s Unholy Grail and Ardent Censer, her W increases in effectiveness per bounce, and her ADC gains attack speed.
AA + E + W Combo
This is Nami’s standard trading combo. Self-cast E while your basic attack is traveling to the enemy, then cast W on them. You poke the enemy while healing back any damage they have dealt. The basic attack is not necessary if it puts you at risk of getting engaged on by champions like Leona.
AA + E + Q Combo
This combo slows an enemy and makes it harder for them to dodge your bubble. Use this combo to allow your carry to chunk the enemy and possibly force them to use Flash..
R + Q Combo
This combo is used to hit enemies with your ultimate and knock them up, creating the perfect time to use your bubble. Utilize this combo when enemies are grouped up to hit as many people as possible.
How to Play Nami
During the early game, if you are in easy matchups, use your W (Ebb and Flow) and E (Tidecaller’s Blessing) to poke the enemy. You will naturally have a health advantage because your W can bounce back to heal you or your carry. Make sure to carefully manage your mana so that you aren’t out of it if the enemy jungler comes to gank. In hard matchups, only initiate trades when the enemy has missed a key spell, like Thresh’s Q (Death Sentence). Your objective should be to avoid dying so you can scale up to the mid game. Focus on leveling up and prepare for what’s ahead.
Your goal in the mid game is to keep your allies healthy and provide vision around the map. Make sure you are warding the objectives that are coming up and that you aren’t warding alone. This is really important as Nami because you are a squishy champion and it is easy to get killed by assassins like Kha’zix, Rengar, and Zed. Stay in the backline so your ultimate (Tidal Wave) can speed up most of your allies and peel diving enemies. Save your Q (Aqua Prison) to follow up on enemies who are crowd controlled by your teammates’ abilities.
- Split-pushing – Never ever split-push as Nami. Don’t do it. You want to be with your carry as much as possible and give him the lead to take the game. Teamfights are where you shine and you should be focusing on that.
- Objective control – Place control wards in important choke points (such as the pixel bush in the river or Dragon/Baron pit) so the enemy can’t see what’s going on in that area. Place wards in areas where enemies are likely going to be, so your team can ambush them. Never walk in unwarded areas without a teammate who can help you. You can use your bubble on a bush to see if an enemy is there before going to ward.
Your job in the late game is largely the same as it is in the mid game. You want to avoid walking in places you can’t see or you will get one-shot by the enemy. Peel for your carries as best you can and keep them healthy. Maintain vision around Baron and Elder Dragon if possible.
Your job in the late game is largely the same as it is in the mid game. You want to avoid walking in places you can’t see or you will get one-shot by the enemy. Peel for your carries as best as you can and keep them healthy. Maintain vision around Baron and Elder Dragon if possible, as this will turn the tide in your favor. Work with your allies and chain your CC together so your ADC and mage have the opportunity to burst and kite the enemy team in skirmishes.
Nami Tips and Tricks
- Be patient with your Q. It’s hard to land by itself, so try to use your ultimate or your E to slow the enemy first, or wait for an ally to do so before using Q.
- In lane, don’t spam your W just to heal. This is a good way to run out of mana, and Nami without mana is useless. Try to get at least one bounce.
- You can use E while a projectile is in mid-air and it will still apply the extra damage and slow.
- Space out your abilities to continuously re-apply your passive and Summon Aery.
- If possible, protect your jungler while he takes the Scuttle Crab by hovering near him in the river bush by bot lane.
- If you predict that the enemy support is going to roam or the enemy jungler is going to gank mid, you can hover near your mid laner without showing, then countergank once the enemy uses their engage tools. However, try not to roam if it leaves your carry in a bad position because they might get dove or zoned out of a lot of farm.
Frequent Mistakes/Noob Traps
These are things most Nami players do that shouldn’t be done at a high level elo.
Mistake #1 – Spamming heals. While it’s okay to heal a teammate who is low and needs to stay on the map, try to keep enough mana for a full combo.
Mistake #2 – Throwing a bubble when there’s a low chance of landing it. If your teammates have crowd control, wait for them to use it before using your bubble. That way it will be easier to land.
Mistake #3 – Using your ultimate too early. Your ultimate is your biggest crowd control tool in teamfights, so unless you’re using it to engage or disengage, try to save it to interrupt key abilities.
Mistake #4 – Rushing Redemption. This item is abysmal early game and its components are absolutely worthless in the laning phase. Your first item should always have AP on it because nearly everything in your kit scales off AP, including your passive movement speed boost and your E slow.
Mistake #5 – Building tank items like Locket of the Iron Solari and Zeke’s Convergence. These items don’t improve your kit and won’t save you from assassins at all. Every item you build (besides boots) should either give you AP or heal and shield power.
Similar Champions to Nami
Listed below are some champions you can use to replace Nami as a support. Similar to Nami, they heal, shield, and give movement speed to their allies. When she isn’t available because she is either banned or picked by the enemy team, knowing how to play these champions will give you a variety to choose from, safeguarding your LP from going down and keeping your games awesome.
Strengthens an ally’s AD. Heals allies with ultimate. Enhances movement speed. Like Nami, Janna is great at peeling for her carries but struggles against assassins. Janna’s disengage and peel are much more reliable, but she lacks engage tools or consistent healing. Combine her with hard carry AD champions and she’ll boost them to carry the game.
Great healer. Great at silencing enemies. Amazing global ultimate. Nami’s healing potential is only bested by Soraka, who can heal her entire team to full health at the press of a button. Even though Soraka doesn’t have as much hard crowd control as Nami, she excels against assassins, as she can immediately silence them and prevent them from one-shotting her carries.
Polymorphs targets (combination of silence + disarm). Enlarges an ally with ultimate. Provides movement speed. If your goal is to protect only one person on your team, Lulu is the champ to pick. Lulu can provide 3 huge buffs to a teammate in exchange for a relatively passive laning phase. Lulu is great at protecting hyper carries like Vayne, Kog’Maw, and Twitch and countering assassins like Zed, Talon, and Rengar with her point-and-click polymorph.
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