If you hear a chorus of ghastly howls across the sands of Shurima, then the fearsome Naafiri and her pack of voracious predators might be lurking nearby. From the darkness, Naafiri will emerge with her pack of hounds, hungry for blood and vengeance. League of Legends just dropped their newest champion, Naafiri, an apex predator with a ravenous appetite and unique playstyle. Let’s break down Naafiri’s abilities and playstyle and how she uses a horde of teeth and claws to shred and devour her enemies on the battlefield.
Naafiri: The Hound of a Hundred Bites
Naafiri was one of the Ascended God-Warriors of Shurima who was trapped and imprisoned in a dagger by Myisha, the Aspect of Twilight, during the Darkin War. She spent a long time trapped in that dagger until a human stumbled upon the crypt where her dagger was hidden. Her plan was to possess the human, but it would require touching the actual dagger for her to impose her will on the unsuspecting human. As the plan failed, she instead resorted to calling out a pack of Shuriman dune hounds that happened to be nearby. The hounds ravaged the human and were about to devour Naafiri as well. Instead, she used the ancient power of the Darkin to shatter the consciousness of the hounds and possess the entire pack. Naafiri was reborn into a main body while her entire pack resides within her, but she can summon them to aid her in battle should the need arises.
From then on, Naafiri embraced the strength and wisdom that comes with being a collective consciousness. She understands the power of unity and utilises her pack of hounds to devastating effect, becoming the ultimate apex predator on the battlefield.
Naafiri’s Abilities and Playstyle
Naafiri is a melee assassin champion that specialises in quick and deadly strikes. Her abilities revolve around her pack of Shuriman dune hounds, allowing her to unleash devastating and precise attacks on her enemies. Here are her abilities:
Passive: We Are More
Naafiri can call upon a Packmate to fight alongside her periodically. Depending on her level, she can have up to 2 or 3 Packmates at the same time. Her passive kicks in at the beginning of the game and after respawning. If she hits champions or large monsters with abilities, the cooldown for summoning Packmates is reduced by 4 seconds, while killing enemies reduces it further by 1 second.
Q: Darkin Daggers
Naafiri launches a dagger towards the target, causing physical damage to any enemies hit and inflicting a 5-second bleed effect that deals additional physical damage every 0.5 seconds. She can recast Darkin Daggers at no extra cost within 4 seconds of the initial cast, with a 0.5-second interval between recasts.
After recasting, if you hit a target that’s already bleeding, they’ll instead receive a Critical Strike equal to the remaining bleed damage plus additional bonus physical damage. This works both on minions and Champions. If Naafiri hits a champion, she heals herself with this skill.
W: Hounds’ Pursuit
Naafiri seeks out a target and reveals them for 1.5 seconds. She then rallies her Packmates and dashes towards the target, with each hound hitting the enemy and dealing physical damage. This skill also slows down the target by 99% for 0.25 seconds. While casting the skill, the packmates become untargetable and can individually damage targets.
This is a dash ability that allows Naafiri to move towards a selected direction and inflict physical damage to any enemies she comes into contact with. Once she reaches the destination, she can explode into a flurry of blades, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies.
R: The Call of the Pack
For Naafiri’s ultimate, she despawns all existing Packmates and then immediately summons a new set of Packmates along with extra ones, increasing the number of her Packmates. The skill grants the entire pack bonus movement speed and sight, revealing enemy champions nearby for 4 seconds.
While Call of the Pack is active, Naafiri and her pack go on the hunt for 15 seconds. During this time, the entire pack receives bonus attack damage, increased maximum health, and reduced cooldown for her passive. The very first basic attack to hit the enemy during Call of the Pack will grant her a shield for 3 seconds. After her first takedown, all effects of the skill refreshes and her packmates regain full health. When the skill ends, all the extra packmates summoned will despawn, leaving only the regular ones from her passive.
Runes, Summoner Spells, and Itemisation
As the newest assassin to be introduced in the Summoner’s Rift, Naafiri is built to become an AD unit that’s always on the move while harassing opponents and taking down squishy targets. Here are some of the recommended runes, spells, and items for her build:
For runes, a Domination-Precision set would be perfect for Naafiri, as she demands an aggressive playstyle where you stalk your opponents most of the time. This build also makes her more viable for team fights where she can quickly eliminate priority targets.
Domination >> Electrocute – Sudden Impact – Eyeball Collection – Relentless Hunter
Precision >> Presence of Mind – Coup de Grace (+9 Adaptive Force / +9 Adaptive Force / +15-140 HP)
For summoner spells, two choices typically stand out for Naafiri, which are Flash and Ignite. Since Naafiri is an agile champion, having an extra means of escape like Flash could come in handy, especially when engaging or disengaging in fights. Ignite is a great option for Naafiri’s aggressive playstyle, as it provides additional burst damage and healing reduction, which can be crucial for taking down high-sustain champions or winning duels.
Her core items should consist of items that build up her attack damage and movement speed, such as:
- Black Cleaver
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity
- Edge of Night
For Mythic Items, she can pretty much use all the myths meant for assassins, depending on the build you’re going for. Consider the following:
- Duskblade of Draktharr
- Youmuu’s Ghostblade
Lastly, some situational items you should consider getting are those that could help her last longer in team fights or provide additional utility:
- Guardian Angel
- Chempunk Chainsword
- Serylda’s Grudge
- Serpent’s Fang
- Ravenous Hydra
Laning Phase Tips and Strategies
Naafiri is a great pick as a jungler assassin or an Attack Damage Carry (ADC) in the laning phase due to her high burst damage and ability to quickly take down squishy targets. However, you need to pick and choose your fights wisely, as Naafiri is relatively squishy herself and can be easily burst down if caught out of position. During early to mid-game, you should ward the river and keep an eye on the enemy jungler’s movements to avoid ganks. This will allow you to play aggressively and put pressure on your lane opponent. You can also utilise this when hunting down support champions who may be roaming or setting up vision.
It’s important to play aggressively even during the laning phase, as Naafiri needs to snowball and get a lead in order to be effective later in the game. Use your abilities to poke and harass your opponent, and look for opportunities to go for all-ins when you have a level or item advantage. If you can’t pick off your opponent, focus on farming and engaging in team fights whenever possible to gain gold and experience.
Mid to Late Game Plays
In the mid to late game, Naafiri’s role shifts slightly from a pure laner or roamer to a team fighter and objective taker. Look for opportunities to join your team in skirmishes and team fights, as Naafiri excels at bursting down squishy targets and providing consistent damage in fights. Coordinate with your team to secure objectives such as towers, dragons, and Baron Nashor.
Additionally, always be aware of your positioning in team fights. Naafiri is relatively squishy, so it’s important to stay at the backline and position yourself where you can deal damage while staying safe. Be mindful of enemy crowd control abilities and try to dodge or avoid them to maximise your effectiveness in team fights. Naafiri’s W skill, Hounds’ Pursuit, is a particularly effective tool for hunting, but it also leaves her vulnerable to crowd control, so use it wisely.
Bonus Tip: You can actually pet Naafiri by pressing the joke hotkey (CTRL + 1) two times, which activates her animation. Pressing CTRL + 2 and CTRL + 3 will give you more pet animations, giving you a fun way to interact with your character during less intense moments of the game.
Naafiri is truly one of the most unique champions to ever set foot on the Summoner’s Rift. With her mastery of Darkin magic and the ravenous appetite of her dune hounds, Naafiri brings a fresh and exciting playstyle to the game. If you like hunting down enemies and taking them down with vicious attacks while also providing utility and objective control for your team, then Naafiri may be the perfect champion for you.
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