Nami, the Tidecaller, is one of the most versatile supports in League of Legends. With a 53.48% win rate and a 9.84% pick rate in Solo Queue, she presents a happy medium between strong scaling and a dominant laning phase. Let’s see how you can use Nami to carry your games!
Passive: Surging Tides
All teammates touched by Nami’s spells gain 60 (+20% ability power) bonus movement speed for 1.5 seconds. The movement speed is doubled when the spell in question is Tidal Wave [R].
How to use: This is a great passive for a support champion. The 1.5 seconds of extra movement speed might sound inconsequential, but they can let your carry escape a fed assassin or dodge a dangerous skill shot. Keep in mind that you can use your passive on yourself (or other LoL champions) to move quickly around the map. The best spell to proc your passive is Tidecaller’s Blessing [E] since it has a low cooldown and doesn’t cost a lot of mana.
Q: Aqua Prison
Nami throws a bubble of water towards the target area. Enemies struck by the bubble receive magic damage, get revealed and suspended for 1.5 seconds.
How to Use: Say hello to your main crowd control spell! A well-placed Aqua Prison can be devastating since it can simultaneously hit several people. The downside is that the bubble is quite slow, so it’s a challenge to land it even on one person. Fortunately, you have Tidecaller’s Blessing [E] and Tidal Wave [R] set up your Qs. And don’t hesitate to throw out an Aqua Prison if you see your teammates connecting their crowd control abilities.
W: Ebb and Flow
Nami funnels a stream of water at the target champion (or herself). The stream then bounces to nearby unaffected champions up to two times, alternating between enemies, allies, and herself. Ebb and Flow deals magic damage to enemies and heals allies. Each bounce is only 85% as effective as the previous one.
How to use: Ebb and Flow is the perfect trading ability. The fact that it’s a poke spell that doubles down as a heal makes it easy to outtrade most bottom lanes in short bursts. Of course, you still have to be in range to get Ebb and Flow to bounce, so be mindful of your positioning. Also, remember about target selection. If you select an enemy, the spell will attempt to bounce back to an ally and vice versa. The stream of water provides quite a strong heal, so don’t be shy to use it for healing only in case your teammates are chunked out.
E: Tidecaller’s Blessing
Nami buffs the target allied champion for 6 seconds, making their next three auto attacks deal bonus magic damage and slow their target for 1 second.
How to use: Tidecaller’s Blessing has insane synergy with AD carries. If you’re laning with a long-ranged marksman like Caitlyn or Varus, cast the buff when they’re looking to poke. The movement speed from your passive and the slow from your E will make it all too easy for your marksman to land a few shots and walk away unscathed. Keep in mind that even if you use Tidecaller’s Blessing while your AD carry is in the middle of his auto attack animation, the buff will still apply.
Sometimes, though, your AD carry is busy doing other things, and it’s much better to cast the buff on yourself to go for the E > AA > W > AA combo. If your enemies are foolish enough to stick around, you’re almost guaranteed to win the trade.
As we’ve mentioned before, Tidecaller’s Blessing is perfect for proccing your passive, so cast it when you need to get somewhere faster.
R: Tidal Wave
Nami conjures a giant wave that moves in the target direction, dealing damage and knocking up all enemy units hit for 0.5 seconds. The units are then slowed for 2-4 seconds (depends on distance traveled).
How to Use: Tidal Wave is an awesome peeling tool. The wave itself is enormous, and if you position it properly, you can very well hit a 5-man ult. The knockup (and the slow) make it easy to follow up with Aqua Prison [Q] and lock down a diver in a CC chain.
Another great use of your ultimate is initiation. Tidal Wave travels for several screens worth of distance, and if you manage to connect it, you’ll almost certainly be able to find a fight. Of course, the wall of water is quite slow, so you’ll have to predict enemy movement if you want to land it.
R > W > E > Q
Ebb and Flow [W] is your go-to spell for most occasions, so always max it first. Follow up with Tidecaller’s Blessing [E] to empower your AD carry in teamfights and gain access to a cheap way of proccing your passive. Round out your build with Aqua Prison [Q]. The spell isn’t bad, but it doesn’t scale well with levels, and it’s perfectly capable of fulfilling its purpose at rank 1. Remember to put points into Tidal Wave [R] whenever you can.
Nami Runes and Summoner Spells
Most of the time, Nami wants to select Sorcery and Inspiration paths for her runes. In the Sorcery tree, pick Summon Aery as your keystone—the damage on it is quite nice, and it synergizes well with Ebb and Flow [W] and Tidecaller’s Blessing [E]. Next, get Manaflow Band. Nami is a huge mana hog, so the extra regen will be welcome in the laning phase. Since you’ll always have opportunities to heal yourself, Absolute Focus will make your poke even deadlier (although you can replace it with Transcendence for more CDR). In a similar fashion, grab Scorch to gain access to a pretty strong DoT in the early game.
You can explore more options in the Inspiration tree. The combination of Future’s Market and Magical Footwear will allow you to save up money and hit an earlier item powerspike. Still, we recommend replacing Magical Footwear with Cosmic Insight to get more CDR, and if you’re facing a tough matchup, Biscuit Delivery and Celestial Body will let you survive where you otherwise wouldn’t.
Keep in mind that you can replace the Inspiration path with Resolve. Revitalize is great for improving your heals, and Iron Skin will be very useful for mitigating damage in the laning phase.
Nami is a very lane-dominant support, and you want to make use of this by running Flash and Ignite as your summoner spells. The former is great for repositioning in skirmishes and getting out of harm’s way. Hell, you can even go for the Flash > Q combo if you’re confident in yourself. As for Ignite, you’ll often be missing that extra bit of damage to secure a kill, and a DoT summoner spell will fill this void nicely. Still, don’t hesitate to get Exhaust if you’re facing several powerful assassins.
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1.) Eye of the Watchers > Ionian Boots of Lucidity > Redemption > Ardent Censer > Locket of the Iron Solari > Athene’s Unholy Grail
Nami’s core build brings a ton of utility to the table. First, you want to finish Eye of the Watcher for its potent mix of health, AP, and CDR. Ionian Boots of Lucidity present another cheap way of adding more cooldown reduction, and Redemption is great for its powerful AoE heal and unique passive. Follow it up with Ardent Censer to empower your marksman in teamfights, and round out your build with Locket of the Iron Solari to mitigate some burst damage.
If you’re looking to get a sixth item, Athene’s Unholy Grail is a very well-rounded option that synergizes well with Ebb and Flow [W]. Even so, your heal isn’t as spammable as defensive spells from other utility supports, and you won’t be abusing the item as much as you’d have liked. That’s why we recommend to leave the item slot open for Control Wards. Vision wins games, and controlling it around key objectives will allow you to go for clutch plays that you’d otherwise be unable to pull off.
As always, you want to consider several situational Nami items. For one, if you assemble the full build and grab the Transcendence rune on top of that, you’ll hit the CDR cap without having to buy Ionian Boots of Lucidity. In this case, Boots of Mobility (or even Boots of Swiftness) present much better options for roaming and moving around the map. Hell, you might even want to grab Ninja Tabi/Mercury’s Treads to protect yourself from fed assassins.
While Eye of the Watchers is great, Ruby Sightstone will be much better for using numerous item actives. And once you mix in Frost Queen’s Claim, you’ll be able to go for easy initiations by combining it with Tidal Wave [R]. Because Nami is a ranged support with multiple self-peeling tools, Mejai’s Soulstealer can be a worthwhile purchase on her.
Finally, don’t forget about Mikael’s Crucible. Its stats are good enough, and the powerful active will save your carries from hard CC.
When to pick Nami?
Most of Nami’s worth comes down to the laning phase, so you always want to pick her into good matchups. That being said, the Tidecaller is a decent option in case you need to bring a mix of damage and utility to the table. Also, her kit is perfect for peeling off divers and empowering early/mid game AD carries.
Nami Matchups and Counters
Nami absolutely demolishes melee tanks like Braum and Tahm Kench. The insane utility of Ebb and Flow [W] makes her a great pick into shielding supports like Karma, Janna, Morgana, and Lulu. And while Aqua Prison [Q] is hard to land on a consistent basis, supports like Thresh or Rakan have skills that lock them in place, effectively setting you up to hit your CC.
Even so, Nami struggles against healing supports that can outsustain her damage (Sona, Soraka). Powerful initiators like Leona, Blitzcrank, and Alistar also present a huge threat to Nami since they can pull the Tidecaller right into the fight.
Laning Phase and Early Game
Nami’s laning phase revolves around short trades. Buy Spellthief’s Edge, put a point into Ebb and Flow [W], and walk towards the bot lane. As soon as minions come, your goal is to push the wave with auto attacks while poking the enemy duo with Ebb and Flow. Don’t be shy to mix in an auto attack or two, but don’t overdo it either. You always want your W up for the trade; otherwise, you’ll end up losing.
At level 2, you have a choice to make. The safer—and more sensible—option is unlocking Tidecaller’s Blessing [E] to increase your damage output. Not only that, but the spell will make it much easier for your AD carry to initiate trades while avoiding enemy skill shots. The slow will also act as a great setup for Aqua Prison [Q] when you get it at level 3 or level 4.
Alternatively, you can grab Aqua Prison right then and there. This way, you’ll be able to go for a powerful all-in, but the problem here is that you’ll have to first land a slow-moving bubble. Still, it’s definitely doable. One tip for connecting your Qs in the laning phase is to monitor creeps’ health. As soon as you see an allied cannon or a ranged minion being low enough to last-hit, throw your bubble to the place where the enemy AD carry will be looking to auto attack from.
Of course, you can also rely on pure prediction, but that’s not nearly as consistent as the first method. But if you’re going with the prediction route anyway, apply the slow from Tidecaller’s Blessing beforehand. If you do it right, connecting Aqua Prisons will be much more doable.
Nami’s combination of damage and healing is potent enough that she can win trades 1v2, but the best way of trading is to walk up together with your marksman and use E and W to chunk out the enemy duo. Push the wave as much as possible to make your opponents choose between hitting you and getting CS. Naturally, this playstyle makes you vulnerable to ganks, so make sure to keep the most common jungle routes warded.
At level 6, you gain a huge powerspike thanks to Tidal Wave [R]. Most of the time, you want to use it to counter the enemy initiation. But if you’ve already done some poke damage or you see your jungler swooping in for a gank, it’s good to use your ultimate to kick-start a fight. Keep pressuring the enemy bot lane until you’ve destroyed their turret and transition into the mid game.
Nami’s mid game is based on sieging and teamfighting. As soon as you take down the bot lane turret, you should rotate to the top lane or the mid lane. Remember, Nami is at her best in the early stages of the game, so you want to secure as many objectives as possible before the game gets out of control.
The best way of doing this is by sticking with your teammates and—most importantly—your AD carry. Cast Tidecaller’s Blessing [E] to speed him up and add extra bite to his shots. If you see an enemy champion catch some form of crowd control or step into a choke point, go for a quick Aqua Prison [Q]. If your team is ahead, you can even use Tidal Wave [R] to orchestrate a dive or zone away foes from their turrets.
In teamfights, you should always work together with your marksman. Your main job is to keep him alive with E and W while peeling off bruisers and assassins with Q and R. Of course, Aqua Prison and Tidal Wave can be used to catch out enemy carries, but this tactic is only viable if they commit positioning mistakes.
Nami excels at objective fights. The zoning ability from your ultimate can be utilized to secure a Dragon or a Rift Herald and to trap the enemy team in the pit. Whatever you choose, follow up with Q to increase the crowd control duration. Since you’re no longer in the laning phase, landing Aqua Prisons will largely come down to prediction and CC layering.
Nami’s job remains the same in the late game, but it’s much more important to land your abilities. A single well-timed bubble can save your carry and condemn an enemy assassin. That’s why it’s sometimes better to hold your abilities until you have a guaranteed shot. Don’t hold them too long, though—you don’t want your marksman to get killed by a fed Zed when your spells are off cooldown.
Speaking of spells, you’ll gain access to powerful items, so it’s nice to know when to use them. Redemption can be an absolute game-changer if you time it right. The AoE heal has a 2.5-second windup, so try to predict where your wounded teammates will be by that time and cast it there. Alternatively, you can use it to snipe a runner. Just keep in mind that he has to be pretty low for Redemption to finish him off.
Using Locket of the Iron Solari is fairly straightforward, and you should cast it as soon as you feel your teammates are about to take AoE damage or get bursted down. Finally, Ardent Censer isn’t exactly an active item, but you still have to proc it. The most straightforward way of doing this is by casting Ebb and Flow [W] onto your AD carry, but you have other options. For one, Redemption and Locket also proc Ardent’s buff, so try to use them for a global attack speed buff.
Nami is a perfect choice for players that like to take control of the laning phase. Her mix of damage and utility allows her to outshine most conventional bottom lanes while having a smooth transition into the mid game. And as long as you master some of the trickier aspects of her kit, you’ll be able to improve your Solo Queue ranking in no time!