It’s been almost a month since Naafiri was released in League of Legends (LoL), and while the first few weeks were pretty rough for the new Hound in the Summoner’s Rift, this canine champion has begun to dominate the mid and top lanes with 52-55% win rates across the globe.
Her skill set is fairly unique and it may intimidate some, but this Darkin assassin is actually not really too complicated to play.
Now, if you’d like to know how to master the Hound of a Hundred Bites, here are things you should know and tips you can use:
Naafiri is a scaling champion
One of the reasons why players initially struggled with Naafiri is because she’s extremely weak in the early game. Her damage output is weak early on and she lacks crowd-control skills, meaning she has trouble in one-versus-one matchups even if her abilities have low cooldowns.
And because of her low health, she can be extremely vulnerable to burst damage in the early game.
With that said, Naafiri’s abilities scale well with damage, so she heavily relies on appropriate items to be effective. Once she has the appropriate items, she can easily hunt down enemies across the map.
So make sure to focus on farming exp and gold in the early stages of the game, so Naafiri will be able to scale faster.
Her scaling begins from level 6 as she gains her ultimate, The Call of the Pack (R).
From here, you can start chasing down champions. The combination of her R's bolstered stats and the extended range of Hound's Pursuit (W) allows her to engage and deal more damage, making her a more formidable opponent.
However, it might be a good idea to have a tank or a champ with crowd-control skills come along with her for skirmishes so she doesn’t get trapped as she continues to work her items.
Her Q is her bread-and-butter
Naafiri’s first ability, Darkin Daggers (Q), is her bread-and-butter. In the early game, Q will be her primary source of poke damage and can be cast twice.
It can function similarly to Zed’s Razor Shurikens, which can be useful to harass enemy champions during the farming stage. It also has the bleed effect, which is similar to skills that have DOT (damage-over-time), and goes on for about four seconds.
So, it’s crucial to keep going back to the first skill after using W or E, so that the bleed debuff is reapplied. Also, landing Qs twice on the same champion heals Naafiri.
Furthermore, your pack will be sent atop your target when you use Q to engage, potentially blocking spells. You can always position yourself in fights so that your packmates are between you and your opponent.
This way, they can't cast their spell at you and pose any danger.
Tower Dives work differently
Tower dives using Naafiri can be both an advantage and a challenge. For one, since Naafiri moves with a pack, Naafiri’s dogs follow after her.
This means tower dives at the right position can inflict extra damage toward the enemy. Make sure to turn and position at a certain angle so that the dogs from the pack can follow her and attack too.
However, if you want to keep the pack alive in certain situations, you can press E to recall and save them, after they’ve bitten the target.
Naafiri’s Ultimate has many uses
Naafiri’s ultimate isn’t just there to help you secure a kill — it provides utility outside of killing power too.
Casting R instantly calls on a large number of packmates, a number that grows with skill level. his gives you additional stats like vision, additional damage and movement speed.
Your movement speed is doubled, too, when you're not in combat, making it easier to pursue targets.
When you finally catch up to your target, the first blow you land on them will provide you with a shield to help you finish the job.
Finally, just like a Master Yi, the duration and all effects reset when you score a takedown.
Naafiri’s packmates aren’t just useful in chasing enemy champions with her R. The vision added by her ultimate has a pretty decent radius, so deploying her pack is great at spot-checking blind spots in the map.
One popular way that Korean Challenger players utilize the dogs is to scatter Naafiri’s pack with the Blast cone so that some of her dogs can go over the wall and give vision to either the Dragon or Baron pit.
Best Naafiri Skill Combinations
It’s important to use Naafiri’s abilities in the right order to make sure that the damage dealt to the enemy champion is maximised. Here are a few things to remember before we go into the skill combinations:
Naafiri’s W and E are both dashes, with each skill dealing damage to the enemy champion differently. However, her E, Eviscerate, recalls her pack and fully heals them.
Therefore, it’s best not to use E after W to make the most out of Naafiri’s pack since this combination prevents the pack from inflicting more bites, and even prevents the auto attack.
Also, her ultimate ability has a significant cooldown, so make sure to use it at the right time. Since these combos put Naafiri smack in the middle of the enemy team, you'd better have a way out if things go south.
Here are some good Naafiri skill combinations you can use:
Q Poke + W + Auto Attack + E + Q – Using Q again will deal more damage and refresh the bleed debuff.
R + W + Q + E
R + W + Auto Attack + Q + E
Naafiri can survive early-game encounters if she can pull off this combo quickly and effectively, dealing significant damage to her foes in the process.
R + W+ Q+ Auto Attack + E + Q
The bleed debuff from Q slows the enemy, making it easier to hit them with other abilities.
Best Items for Naafiri
Incorporate items in her build like Duskblade of Draktharr, Youmuu's Ghostblade, Ravenous Hydra, Black Cleaver, Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Death's Dance, Serylda's Grudge, and Prowler's Claw.
Naafiri's early game can be strengthened by rushing mythic items like the Duskblade of Draktharr and Youmuu's Ghostblade.
Building Ravenous Hydra and Death's Dance, which deal more DOT, wave clear, and incredible sustain, can do this.
The Ionian Boots of Lucidity gives Naafiri additional movement speed and ability haste, so this will increase her chase power.
Black Cleaver will grant her additional damage that can help her shred through enemies, all with additional defence stats.
With these tips, hopefully, you can enjoy playing Naafiri on the Summoner’s Rift
with your doggos, score a decent amount of kills, and even have time to pet the Canine champion.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.