Nami 1 cover

Nami Review and Theorycraft

Nami is a sweet flexible champion design that plays around spell mana and spell synergies in some new unique ways.

Nami reveal! Not a champion I was expecting to be honest, but she definitely managed to capture my heart. I can already tell the new Bilgewater champion is gonna be a great addition to the game.

I’ll start by reviewing Nami and then will propose an example of a deck that she could be played in. Nami is a treat because she can fit into a wealth of strategies, so don’t feel like you have to stick to the pairing I chose.

I’m also really happy with Nami’s supporting package – her cards all use spell synergies in new unique ways while also looking rather flexible. Alright, let’s dive in!

  • 5.0: Meta-defining card, should prove itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
  • 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
  • 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
  • 2.0: Could be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks.
  • 1.0: Unlikely to find its place in the meta.

Nami – 4.0

Initially, I’m compelled to think of Nami as an aggro-oriented champion.

Buffing the weakest unit on any given board means you’re diversifying your threats and ensuring your damage is spread as evenly as possible across all units – instead of being stacked on the strongest unit that could be stopped by spot removal. This tells me that Nami will try to reinforce swarm strategies, especially Elusive ones.

On turn 3, a 2/3 body is below average – however, thanks to Attune she effectively costs you 2 mana, which is acceptable. Now ideally, we’ve played at least one unit before turn 3 and we have plenty of low-cost spells to activate Nami’s buff effect as many times as we can in subsequent rounds.

Her level 2 form should be easy enough to reach thanks to the Attune keyword. In Bilgewater we already have access to Shellshocker, Coral Creatures (spell synergy baby!), and Zap Sprayfin (MORE SPELLS!).

The payoff of level 2 Nami is NUTS! The difference between gaining +1/0 and +2/+1 is actually insane. Gaining health permanently makes our board more resilient to sweepers and gaining +2 attack is just icing on the cake.

Nami’s viability will highly depend on how fast and how consistently she can level, but I honestly don’t expect that to be a problem.

Do note that there is no limit to the number of times Nami can buff an ally per round, so we can definitely go BRRRRR machine gun buffs and that leaves the door wide-open for a variety of strategies.

For instance, Ionia’s 2-in-1 spells like Sonic Wave could be very interesting for Nami, while free spells such as Shurima’s Lucky Finds also look like an area for Nami to explore.

Unlike some previous champion releases, Nami is a breath of fresh air thanks to the diversity of archetypes her effect aids, she is a really cool and open-ended design. I mean, Heimerdinger Nami may not become the best deck, but it’s definitely going to be on my hit list…

At first, I thought: ‘Hey, Nami can inspire so many build-arounds, I’m gonna go something crazy!’

I swear I really did have that thought. But honestly, who wouldn’t want to see a huge, chonky, unkillable Fizz? Your opponent wouldn’t, I can tell you that.

We’re following a classic Elusive aggro gameplan here, except we have a lot of Attune to level Nami quickly, and we look to beef up our Elusive threats. Pranks will reduce enemy threats to jokes, and a big Fizz will easily take over the game.

Of course, this draft of the deck has glaring issues, but I’m certain this pairing will go far, whether we end up staying in Bandle City or decide to move elsewhere.

Aside from Prank cards and Ebb, we do lack interaction and that could definitely become an issue, though remember, your opponent can’t interact with you when their Nexus is exploding.

Note that it’s entirely possible to keep the Nami Fizz pairing and forgo Bandle City in favor of Freljord. If you’re looking to use Nami without Fizz, I would suggest pairing her with the classic Elusive faction – Ionia, or with Shurima – to capitalize on Lucky Finds and cheap combat tricks.

Ebb – 4.0

FlowEbb and Flow

As a champion spell, this is great. It’s exactly what Nami wants – a bunch of repeatable spells to spam.

One issue is that it will be hard to get full value out of it in the early- and mid-game as 6 mana is a lot, but if we think of Ebb as a regular Mystic Shot, then using it to kill an enemy unit is fair enough. 

The actual problem is that the targeting is random, which means we have a 50% chance to pay 2 mana to “do nothing” unless we actually can leverage the damage dealt to the Nexus. 

For an aggro-burn deck, this card is great. If it hits the enemy board, great, that might mean one less blocker, and if it hits the Nexus? Great! Ebb is looking like a slightly over-costed but more versatile Decimate, and these decks can appreciate interaction and burn packed into a single card. The healing is just the cherry on top and will be invaluable against other aggro.

Abyssal Guard – 2.0

Not a fan. At 4 mana, Abyssal Guard feels a bit too clunky. The Fearsome is nice to prevent it from being chump blocked, but doubtful that it’ll achieve that much.

The problem I’m identifying is that Abyssal Guard’s mana cost is merely the initial investment, but for it to truly shine it will require you to spend much more mana on buffs which will all last for only one round.

Compare it to the other 4-drops! Abyssal Guard will simply get blocked and won’t achieve very much, all the while requiring more resources instead of giving more resources like Zap Sprayfin, for example.

Avatar of the Tides – 3.0

The trick is to play Avatar of the Tides only once we have 10 mana gems. That way, with it on the board we can unload 13 mana worth of cards turn after turn, and since the Avatar creates a spell every time we cast one, we can generate an incredible amount of value after cycling through all the low-cost cards it creates.

Its use is fairly narrow and it cannot be played too early as it can stunt our mana generation, but it fills an interesting niche as a late-game value engine while not being all that expensive.

There is a possibility the first half of Avatar of the Tides’ text doesn’t function if you already have 10 mana gems. If that is the case the card becomes obviously worse, easily going down to a 2.0. I don’t believe it works that way, but I’d rather cover all my bases.

Fleet Admiral Shelly – 3.5

There is a lot of potential here, buffing an entire board by +1/+1 permanently is real scary.

At the same cost, it is much better than Slippery Waverider and I can easily see Fleet Admiral Shelly finding a home in a variety of aggro or midrange strategies.

Attune also means he naturally synergizes with Nami and makes triggering his own effect much easier.

Journeying Sandhopper – 2.0

4/3 for 3 mana is a mediocre stat-line that can easily end up trading down. The only value of Journeying Sandhopper is that the Attune keyword progresses Nami’s level-up and encourages the use of spell synergies. 

In the end, this unit is not so bad since it only costs a net 2 mana, but these stats are not going to win you the game. Unlikely to see play outside of Nami decks or decks that really need spell mana.

Marai Songstress – 3.0

A 2 mana conditional Elusive. Her stats are in line with the other 2-drops and she is aggressively statted as well, which is always a plus for an Elusive.

The main hurdle will be finding a way to consistently play Marai Singer as an Elusive on turn 2, though at least in many cases playing a vanilla 3/2 is not the end of the world.

Targon can easily pull it off via Crescendum.

Marai Warden – 1.0

This is a less flexible Petty Officer without an option to choose a Powder Keg.

At the same cost, Dreadway Deckhand has better stats and a better effect than Marai Watcher, so I am struggling to find any reason to play Marai Watcher instead, especially considering the high variance that is involved.

Maybe you’re really valuing swarming the board fast in the first few turns for whatever reason, but otherwise, I would stay away from this card.

Marai Greatmother – 2.0

3/3 for 4 mana isn’t bad – cards like Yordle Grifter have seen plenty of play. The difference is that Marai Greatmother creates random spells and you wouldn’t be able to know when you’ll get to draw and use them.

That’s two different random factors, and though 6+ cost spells are usually strong, there are also some of them that simply don’t do much of anything unless you have the proper board-state to support them.

Now the fact that the cost of the created cards is set to 3 means that Zap Sprayfin can tutor them and that’s very interesting.

The problem is that creating cards in your deck is effectively “do nothing” until these cards are actually drawn and played. To ensure that, you will need to dedicate a large portion of your deckbuilding efforts to this interaction, and I just don’t think the potential payoff is worth the cost, at least not enough for Marai Greatmother to become a staple of Bilgewater.

Tidal Wave – 3.0 

Crashing WaveColossal Wave

First, it asks me to play a bad Make it Rain. Ok, why not? It isn’t like I was trying to win the game anyway. 

Then somehow I need to draw into the Crashing Wave. Of course, once again Zap Sprayfin comes in very handy. Overwhelming Tide at least is better than Avalanche in most cases.

Finally, draw into the Colossal Wave (Zap putting in those overtime hours) to deal 4 damage to the whole enemy board AND Nexus. Pretty good payoff. Not as strong as Pack Your Bags but also less expensive.

When I look at it this way, it doesn’t look that bad. Getting to the Colossal Wave should be easier than stacking four Go Hard, requiring less of a build-around while still providing a ticking clock for the opponent which they have no choice but to play around or directly into.

Closing Words

Nami should prove to be an excellent choice for aggro strategies while also fitting well into a slower midrange-paced deck.

I’m quite impatient to see what she is capable of, as I think she is the missing piece of at least one current archetype and will likely spawn one or two of her own.

Her followers are good for the most part and at least fill an original niche that has potential to create interesting play opportunities.

That’s it for today! This spoiler season has been pure insanity and it’s not even over yet!

Catch me on Twitter and Twitch for decks and educational gameplay respectively on the 25th and beyond, and come say hi in RuneterraCCG’s Discord Server if you’re looking to discuss strategy.



Asher has liked thin, colorful pieces of cardboard ever since he was a wee lad. and beating his friends on the playground with his shiny ones was often the highlight of his day. Now he is but a humble Digital CCG player who's played most of them over the years (think: GWENT, Eternal, Hearthstone, TES:L, Duelyst...) but is now focusing on Legends of Runeterra by way of competing in tournaments and (attempting) to climb to the top of the Master Ladder every season.

He also fails at being educational on Twitch.

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