Nami Braum – Making Nami Shine in Freljord

Den follows up on his concept from last week, reporting about his efforts to make Nami work in a board-centric Freljord shell.
Nami Braum 2.0 created by den • last updated 2 years ago
  • Origins

Hi everyone, den is here.

If you got a chance to read one of my recent articles on this website, you saw that I was hopeful about Nami’s future in the current metagame.

Even though after more testing, it is clear she isn’t contending for the top spots when it comes to win rate so far, it also is undeniable that Nami decks are still very much a work in progress since Patch 2.18.

Part of this work and testing is Nami Braum, a deck I threw together initially without much hope, to be honest. It looked like board-centric synergies aren’t so good currently unless they are capable of putting the opponent on the backfoot extremely early in the game like Lurk can do for example.

After some more testing though, I was surprised at how reliably you can develop a large board, and Braum has been shining as I have never seen him do in the past.

It feels a bit weird at times to use Nami in order to set up defenses rather than look for the kill, but I have to admit that there is something very satisfying to seeing an opponent feeling completely locked out of the game because Braum grew into a double-digit blocker who summons Overwhelm units ready to get buffed up too.

In an environment where pressuring the board is key, the capacity to develop huge units and support them with the Freljord tool kit can be a lot of trouble to deal with for other board centric decks like Lurk or Poppy decks. As such, we could consider Nami Braum as a counter deck to some of the popular archetypes currently.

While this deck might not net you the best win rate, and I don’t think I haven’t seen much anywhere yet (outside of my imagination, tortured by the latest Nami nerf), I feel it could be the start of something decent.

Do not think this list as the best 40 cards for the archetype but instead focus on the concepts it pushes and the gameplan it tries to accomplish depending on matchups.

  • Gameplan

This deck has a duality in its gameplan that is very important to understand.

The first important part is that this is a board-centric tempo deck, and it has very little room for flexibility. The second part is that your board can be used for both aggressive and defensive purposes.

You will rarely win in any way other than through your board. The deck does not have access to any specific game-ending combos or particular comeback mechanics once it falls too far behind.

Therefore, considering we already have to take the early game a little bit slow in order to advance Nami’s level-up, I would advise using resources very efficiently once you start investing into the board – never lose your foothold.

This means that against tempo-based decks, even though we will likely lose the board early, we want to actively work towards getting it back before too much damage has been done.

This can usually be achieved using our early units from Double Trouble to set up a good Make it Rain, or by simply tanking up some hits as long as we know the opponent isn’t running direct damage.

These matchups also are the ones where the inclusion of Braum can shine with the right setup, which usually is to put him in a 1-on-1 situation, the Poro champion being capable of locking out almost any unit in the game.

Bubble Bear is kind of on a try-out in the list, but being Elusive and with a lot of health, he usually represents a great target for Nami to buff and can block well once he gets buffed a little.

Against slower decks, we are going back to the basics: we are a classic Nami deck in that scenario. We are looking to level her up in the best possible conditions, abuse her and use our Elusive units to pressure the opponent.

Just like always, the Wiggly Burblefish and Fleet Admiral Shelly will be your best allies in accomplishing that gameplan.

Overall, I feel the global gameplan the deck is trying to push is fairly easy to grasp as it revolves almost exclusively around the board.

When in doubt with this deck, focus on assessing who has the tempo lead. If you are, ask yourself why and what is key to protect in order to keep it, then work towards developing in that direction or solidifying your position on the board.

If your opponent is ahead, try to think a turn or two ahead and work out a plan on how to wrestle the board back in control in order to get to a safe position to develop your own pressure.

  • Verdict

I would be lying if I told you that this is a finished product. The deck is very much a work in progress and several cards are being tested and balanced as I’m writing this.

But even then, this archetype has a feeling of something different in the current metagame, using the board for something else than pure pressure early on the opponent with an “on curve” kind of gameplan.

Kind of what Leona is capable of doing with her stun ability in a dragon build, Nami is one of the few champions that can be used in a variety of ways, her buffs being able to serve for both pressure or defensive purposes. Her nerf definitely is a tough hurdle to overcome, and even though he got buffed, I can’t call Braum a ‘top 10 champion’ either.

For now, Freljord combat tricks, mostly Troll Chant, carry this deck, allowing great tempo swings against other board-centric decks.

Against control decks, Entreat definitely is a card Nami is happy to see as being reliable in finding the mermaid is the key to consistently winning those matchups.

There we have it, folks, a deck I would recommend to anyone looking to discover something new, or simply play with underused champions currently.

I feel the deck is simple enough so that any level of player could master the basics and find some form of success with the deck. I cannot guarantee a similar winrate to the top metagame decks though, but maybe that will come after some work.

Good game everyone,


Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yugioh and then Magic. Hearthstone has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. Although it took him a bit to get into Legends or Runeterra, his EU Seasonal Tournament win was the perfect start to get involved in the community. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on the game. Find him on Twitter at @den_CCG!

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