How to play the new jungler Naafiri in League of Legends

By Nicholas James


Jun 27, 2023

Reading time: 4 min

Naafiri is the new Darkin jungler coming to League of Legends, and we’ve got your guide for how to best use her.

Naafiri will be making her way onto PBE this week, but luckily we already have tons of information about what the new Darkin will need to succeed. She’s an Assassin, a burst-focused melee character who focuses on dealing enormous bursts of damage to exposed and vulnerable enemies. Her kit is very straightforward, and we’ve already got some ideas on how to play Naafiri and use the tools she provides to hunt down your enemies.

How to play Naafiri

Here are all of Naafiri’s abilities and how to use them in the game:

Naafiri abilities

  • Passive – We Are More – Naafiri spawns Packmates over time. Packmates are smaller Shuriman hounds that follow Naafiri, attacking the targets of her attacks and abilities.
  • Q – Darkin Dagger – Naafiri throws a dagger in a direction, damaging enemies’ hit and causing them to bleed. If the target is already bleeding, Naafiri’s dagger deals more damage and causes more bleeding.
  • W – Hounds’ Pursuit – Naafiri dashes at an enemy, colliding with the first champion hit and dealing damage. Naafiri will follow enemies through dashes and will take all of her Packmates with her to wherever she lands.
  • E – Eviscerate – Naafiri dashes to a location, damaging enemies in an area and healing her Packmates to full.
  • R – The Call of the Pack – Naafiri empowers herself and her Packmates for a duration. While this buff is active, Naafiri gain a burst of speed, a shield, and vision of opponents she attacks. The first champion takedown refreshes the duration of Call of the Pack.

Naafiri’s main damaging ability is very clearly Darkin Dagger. It’s the only ranged way for her to deal damage and will clearly be her main tool for farming, fighting, and clearing. This should be the skill you max first, as you’ll be finding yourself short on damage.

Naafiri items

The itemization aspect of how to play Naafiri can be approximated by looking at similarly mobile assassins and what items they seek out. Talon is her closest resemblance kit-wise, so we’ll start by considering similar items. This means her most likely Mythic item, after the Midseason update, will be Youmuu’s Ghostblade. Naafiri has lots of mobility, and building up Youmuu’s stacks will make her an even swifter threat. From there, Prowler’s Claw and other lethality items will make sure Naafiri can find her target and make sure they die.

It’s possible that a slightly tankier build for Naafiri may be the way she leans. Bruiser items like Trinity Force, Jak’Sho, and others might lead the way to a much harder-to-kill version of Naafiri. Assassin should be her default, but tanky builds often shine on slippery assassins with good base damage.

Naafiri runes

Naafiri’s going to want damage from her runes. As a jungler that focuses on offense, she needs to make sure that she can help secure kills in the early game and snowball that into an effective lead. This means runes like Electrocute, Press The Attack, and Dark Harvest all stick out. Naafiri makes excellent use of the Domination tree, which houses both Press the Attack and Dark Harvest.

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If Naafiri doesn’t take Domination as her primary tree, Relentless Hunter and Ultimate hunter are both tempting choices. If a tanky Naafiri strategy is what tempts you, Conqueror is probably the way to go, leveraging her newfound durability to fully stack the rune for tons of damage.

Naafiri strategy

Naafiri wants to secure an early lead for herself, stalking down exposed enemies and making sure she can afford her damage-focused items. She also has lots of ability to chase enemies down with two dashes, so Naafiri should look to gank allies with crowd control to set her up. Enemies getting stunned, rooted, or otherwise CC’d have no defense against Naafiri’s blistering damage.

Naafiri doesn’t have any stealth or other ways to bypass enemy vision, so make sure to find paths that avoid enemy wards is key. Unlike some other assassins, she can be seen coming a mile away with the right preparation. This means Naafiri needs to be able to get into a range of enemies as soon as possible in order to deal damage. She’ll often open with her W, snap to an enemy, and then shred them with Qs, auto-attacks, and her E.

Naafiri lanes

For the vast majority of games, Naafiri should be a jungler. With that said, there’s the possibility of her finding her way into other lanes, particularly mid-lane. Melee assassins tend to shine in the middle lane, as they can pick on many of the squishy mages who tend to play there. The best technique for how to play Naafiri in other lanes would be to only pick her into matchups where she can dominate the opponent.

Naafiri is the kind of champion who benefits from spending most of the game in the fog of war, stalking the jungle. Locking her into a lane makes her roam potential and constant threat of interfering with lanes significantly less worrying. Overall, it seems like Naafiri is going to be a jungler before anything else.


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