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Portal Poolooza – A Norra Nami Deck Guide

Card Gamer expounds in extensive detail Norra Nami's numerous nooks and crannies, and their three interlocked gameplans.

Card Gamer here, and I’m bringing you a guide on one of the best LoR decks we have found for Norra in the first week of the Awakening expansion, Norra Nami.

Norra Nami is a deck that intends to out-grind and eventually beat the opposition with obscene amounts of value, which combined with an extremely flexible suite of removal allows us to have a solid matchup against almost any deck.

While the deck may not seem that powerful on paper, I can assure you it is greater than the sum of its parts. I originally didn’t have faith in the list myself, and decided to play some games on my alternate account. However, after playing some games I quickly went up two ranks.

Norra Nami: Breaking Things Down

This version of Norra Nami was originally brought to my attention by Cephalopod.

18 cards
22 cards
35 000
Mana cost
Curious Shellfolk
Wiggly Burblefish
Trinket Trade
Heavy Metal
Pokey Stick
Double Trouble
Eye of Nagakabouros
Riptide Sermon
Mind Meld

While I’m sure we are all very excited to have a viable Norra deck, don’t get fooled when looking at the list. Norra is not the core of our gameplan: she is a great tool to help us get to, and then facilitate, our other gameplans.

She either cheats out free units early – by planting Mysterious Portal – to help stabilize, or becomes a big Elusive unit later in the game. Norra (level 2)'s effect, creating more expensive units off of Mysterious Portals, is very powerful and we don’t have too hard of a time naturally flipping her – however, don’t get baited into overly focusing on Norra’s level-two value.

Nami is one of our true win conditions. She is an extremely powerful engine due to her ability to massively buff your board without much cost – at level two, for every spell we cast, Nami grants +2/+1  in stats to our weakest ally. Not only is this a massive amount of value,  but the requirement to activate Nami is close to nonexistent due to nearly our entire game plan being based around casting spells.

Nami is also an extremely safe champion who is nearly impossible to efficiently remove and whom, due her level-up clause (of you having gained 8+ spell mana), has the ability to level while not in play. This means Nami should almost only be played when she is leveled up or about to level up.

Additionally, Nami is a three-mana 2/3 that has the Attune effect on play: if she comes down leveled up she is the equivalent of a two-mana 3/4. A 3/4 statline can’t be efficiently removed for two mana, and even if the opponent does try to remove her, unless their removal is specifically Minimorph you will be able to spend all your remaining mana casting spells, thus buffing  your board and getting value out of her.

Curious Shellfolk is our other win condition. Shellfolk has the unique ability to make cheaper copies of cards from randomly selected options such as those from effects like Manifest, Prank, and Invoke – in these cases, Shellfolk will create a copy of the card we choose that costs one less mana. This allows us to create an obscene amount of cards to play – if Shellfolk stays in play for an extended amount of time it can quickly become near-impossible for the opponent to win. 

Shellfolk is an extremely powerful engine and will often demand removal on play. Try to be able to get value out of Shellfolk at burst speed when you play her.

Otterpus is a very solid unit, and since it costs one mana while having attune, it is essentially free. It also progresses Nami's level-up condition while developing blockers.

A lot of the power from Otterpuss comes from creating a Prank when it's summoned. Pranks are one-mana spells that have several different negative effects depending on the type of random card you are able to Prank. And, since the options are random, this also means that when Curious Shellfolk is in play we make copies of the pranked card. Additionally, since Prank is a very cheap spell, it works very well with Nami. And The disruptive effect from the negative debuff can be very powerful on its own as well.

Prank is an extremely powerful and synergistic card in this deck, and proper usage of Pranks will provide a significant boost to your win rate.

Trinket is an incredibly flexible and synergistic card in our deck. Being able to Manifest a random 0-3 cost spell or an Otterpus makes Trinket incredibly reliable, with the ability to randomly create lots of blow-out cards. Either by being multiple spell triggers for Nami, or by creating multiple cards from Curious Shellfolk, Trinket Trade will almost always find a lot of value.

Trinket Trade is one of the best cards to use with Shellfolk, but don’t be too scared to play it earlier if you need to stabilize or facilitate a strong Nami play.

Conchologist is a great card in any Bandle City deck. The ability to be an early blocker and Manifest a cheap spell is extremely powerful. Conch gets even more powerful when he is able to be played after Curious Shellfolk, to create an additional copy of the Manifested spell; however, don’t get baited by Shellfolk value when deciding to play him – Conchologist's primary use is to be an early stabilizing tool, and playing him after Shellfolk is just extra.

Heavy Metal is a new card and was originally very underrated. It destroys equipment, then it deals two damage at Slow speed. This means Heavy Metal has the ability to kill a Combat Cook, and additionally having access to efficient removal for other high-priority targets like Katarina is very powerful.

Pokey Stick is just a great card. It cycles and it pings to either stabilize or give a small amount of reach. It's important to consider using Pokey pre combat when you have Mysterious Portals in your deck to get access to extra blockers.

Double Trouble serves three purposes in this deck. It’s a great card to stabilize by making blockers. It’s an efficient way to empty your spell mana to facilitate Nami's level up. And it is two procs for your Norra level up. 

Wallop is a great stall tool. Having access to a cheap Stun allows us to save a unit or buy ourselves an extra round. This extra round can be very important to either set up lethal, find a real answer like Minimorph, or let Nami buff a unit big enough to trade.

Eye of Nagakabouros is a phenomenal card in this deck. It helps level Norra, creates a blocker, draws cards, and is a spell for Nami. Nothing more you can ask for!

Four damage is often a key break-point for removal in Runeterra. Additionally, the Tentacle created by Riptide Sermon can be very useful to stabilize. And the chip damage can even be very relevant on games where you need to be the beatdown.

Minimorph is a key piece of removal – it’s our only efficient way to deal with units over four HP. This is very important because we are often playing a fairly grindy game.

Wiggly Burblefish is a key part of any Nami deck. This version of Nami is also quite good at making Burbles cheap very quickly due to cards like Trinket Trade, Otterpus, and Conchologist. Additionally, Bandle has a very powerful one-cost spell pool for Burble to create cards from.

Mind Meld is an important side of Nami Bandle City decks. We will cast tons of spells throughout the game, so we'll have a very easy time making 10+ power Mind Melds that will either threaten to instantly end the game, or force the opponent to trade down their entire board.

Tech Cards

Coral is a great card in Nami decks; however, our two-drop slot is already covered by Norra  and Conchologist. I think on average the ability to choose from the Manifest pool and the synergy with Curious Shellfolk makes Conch better than Coral.

Shelly is a very powerful alternate wincon in Nami decks, and we have plenty of cheap cards. Shelly will also give the deck a lot more potency. However, the current list is quite heavy, and in order to play Shelly we would have to cut Interaction or Curious Shellfolk.

Swindle is pretty funny with Shellfolk, but the card doesn’t do a great job of contributing to how we actually win the game. Additionally, we won’t often be able to Plunder reliably to discount  the cost of Swindle.

Avatar of the Tides is an inclusion I originally saw from DragonGuyWhoDied. Avatar is an engine you can include as an alternative to Curious Shellfolk – while Shellfolk is a better win condition on its own, Avatar of the Tides does a better job of facilitating Nami.

Skewer can be a very versatile inclusion in Nami decks. Being able to act as protection for your engines, or interaction for the opponents key units can be a very powerful effect to include.

Group Shot is a good inclusion if you feel the need for more pings. The deck is also quite good at making Group Shot deal two damage.

General Gameplan

While this deck may look like some other Nami Curious Shellfolk decks of the past, like Drisoth’s Twisted Fate Nami Bandle of old, this version often plays slower, holding up removal more and not playing threats as aggressively.

The most important part of understanding your gameplan comes down to understanding what the opposing deck wants to do and playing towards your corresponding gameplan. Norra Nami is a very flexible deck that can end up playing in many different ways depending on how the opponent wants to interact.

When thinking about gameplans you can break them down into three different categories.

The Nami Plan

Nami is the most obvious and powerful gameplan our deck has. When going for Nami, the most important thing to think about is, “How am I leveling her?”

When you have a Nami in hand, cards like Double Trouble become quite valuable as they allow you to efficiently dump spell mana on round three to facilitate a round four or five Nami level up. However, just because you leveled Nami quickly doesn’t mean you should jam her on the board – consider when is the best time to play Nami, to be able to apply your buffs effectively.

The Nami plan is especially effective against board-based decks, like Scouts or Taric Poppy, where the buffs Nami provides will allow us to start having our small units trade with their units. It is also very effective against removal-centric decks, like Darkness or Heimerdinger Jayce, where they will try and remove all of our Norras, Curious Shellfolks and Namis on sight. Playing for a fast Nami flip is very powerful against any deck that won’t punish you for banking the mana early.

The Bandle Value Plan

Bandle value is a very powerful plan and is mainly facilitated through Curious Shellfolk. The value Shellfolk provides, when it stays in play, will eventually end the game if the game goes long enough. Shellfolk is very good at creating value, but it doesn’t end the game well on its own. However, when combined with Nami, even a small amount of Shellfolk value can quickly threaten to finish the game.

Norra (level 2) can also push you over the top with value. However,  the Mysterious Portals aren’t a very reliable win condition; they are much better as stabilization tools.

The Bandle Value plan is especially effective against decks with poor removal, like Ionia decks. These decks will often only be able to interact with Shellfolk in very limited ways, like Mark of the Storm, Sonic Wave, or Homecoming, and due to this you will be able to get a lot of value out of Shellfolk. Additionally, Pranks combined with Shellfolk are extremely powerful against Ionia – not only is their mana extremely important, but their spells are great for preventing the opponent from winning.

The 'Let's Stabilize' Plan

A very common gameplan you will have to play towards is to stabilize. This is the only prevalent Nami deck around currently without healing (besides Nami's Ebb), and thus blocking down and preserving Nexus Health early is very important. When going for this plan, cards like Conchologist, Otterpus, and Double Trouble are very good.

Against some decks with bigger threats, for example Eternal Dancers and Gwen, cards like Minimorph and Riptide Sermon are very crucial.

When going down this route, it is important to be willing to put a lower priority on flipping Nami – flipping her won’t win you the game if you are dead.

Stabilizing is especially effective against aggressive decks like Katarina Gwen and Pirate Aggro. 

Pivoting to Mind Meld

Mind Meld is a great plan to flex into after playing to stabilize or for Bandle value. In both of these scenarios you should have played enough spells for Mind Meld to grow your units well over 6/6 worth of stats. At this point, if you can go wide with units, you can set up a very menacing attack that will threaten lethal or force unfavorable trades. If you have a Mind Meld to play towards, consider using your Nexus Health as a resource (rather than blocking) to preserve your units for later.

Tying it Together

With the exception of certain Nami hands, it’s often very difficult to win a game with only one gameplan to play towards. It’s important to look for a way to fuse multiple plans at some point, to be able to start to threaten lethal. While we do a great job of grinding decks out, it can often be scary to go too late into the game and be at risk of losing to random top-decks. Due to how synergistic our strategies can be, we will apply a much faster clock if we can enact multiple gameplans. 

A good example of this is against Gwen Katarina. When facing this deck, our main goal is to stabilize. It’s important to not fall too far behind on board early. However, we also want to hold up interaction for Gwen and Eternal Dancers, which gives us a good opportunity to bank mana to be able to try and play a leveled Nami on rounds six or seven to turn the corner and become the beatdown.

Additionally, we can attempt to go into a Curious Shellfolk plan. If they spend two cards answering Shellfolk, that most likely means we have time to find another plan to transition into. If Shellfolk stays in play, when combined with Pranks we should be able to delay blowouts from The Harrowing and be able to start putting our foe on a clock with their very own units.

Tips, Tricks, and Other Intricacies:

Big Hand Problems

When playing this deck you will have access to a lot of cards. It's not uncommon to have a nearly full hand due to the amount of card draw and card generation this deck includes. This means it is important to be constantly monitoring your hand space in order to not burn our own cards.

This is especially important when Curious Shellfolk is in play. Due to Shellfolk's ability to create copies, it's very easy to fill up your hand very quickly, especially with multiple Trinket Trades or Conchologists. When you waste some of the cards that Shellfolk provides, the game starts to become a lot easier to lose.

Once I start to have over eight cards in hand, I try to look for good proactive ways to play them. 

Playing Around Removal

Nami and Curious Shellfolk are removal magnets. It is very common for the opponent to throw removal at your engines as soon as they enter play – it is important to play in a way to maximize the value you can get out of your win conditions at Fast/Burst speed.

When playing around removal with Nami, it’s crucial to properly set up your board beforehand. The ideal situation for playing Nami against a deck planning to remove her is with multiple Elusive units. While you won’t always be able to sculpt the ideal situation, it’s important to take advantage of the type of removal the opponent has, and the type of the board the opponent has set up, to get a lot of advantage out of Nami. It's also important to play Nami with plenty of mana and spells available to get as many Nami triggers as possible before she is removed.

When playing around removal with Shellfolk, it’s important to have Burst spells that allow Shellfolk to create extra cards ready to play. This will normally be a card like Trinket Trade; however, sometimes you will have created powerful cards to abuse with Shellfolk, like Ransom Riches or Swindle. Additionally, try to take advantage of decks that take two actions to remove Shellfolk, like Ravenous Flock decks, by playing an Otterpus beforehand and then playing a Prank before Shellfolk dies.

Abusing Attune

Attune is an extremely powerful mechanic, essentially making every Attune unit cost one less mana than the card's actual cost. This effect becomes even more powerful when you consider that banking spell mana advances your gameplan of leveling Nami

Be aware of situations where you can take advantage of the Attune that Nami and Otterpus provide to flip Nami as early as round four. With a leveled Nami on round four  – even if it's just buffing an Otterpuss and some Double Trouble one-cost units – you will deal a lot of damage.

Additionally, when you create Otterpuss off of Trinket Trade, Curious Shellfolk will create a zero-mana Otterpuss in hand. This means we now have a free unit that refills one spell mana. This is a very powerful effect to take advantage of when playing with Shellfolk, to maximize your win rate.

On Proper Pranking

Pranks, and by extension Otterpus, are some of the most misunderstood cards, and among the hardest to properly use. Everyone is aware of how powerful Pranks are with Shellfolk. The ability to debuff an opponent's card while creating your own cheaper copy is certainly very powerful – however, people are often unaware of how powerful a properly timed Prank can be. You can essentially brick some of your opponent's cards, to incentivize them not to play said card early and then be able to steal it later with Shellfolk.

The best way to highlight proper early usage of Pranks is in the Pirate Aggro matchup. Pirates is a deck that will often play with very few cards in hand, often having four or less at any given time. In the early and mid-game, it is also very important for Pirates to efficiently use all of their mana. This means that the cost increase from Pranks can do a lot to slow down their gameplan. The best time to use your Pranks against them is when the Pirate player plays down to a small amount of cards in hand – so your pranks are extra accurate – and are representing important spells. Either preventing a very tempo-positive Make it Rain, or stopping an Eye of Nagakabouros open attack, a well timed Prank can be game-winning in this match up.

Creating Your Outs

Bandle City, and to a lesser extent Bilgewater, are great regions for creating random ways to win the game, or digging yourself out of sketchy situations. It’s important to take advantage of this. 

A very common line when playing Wiggly Burblefish decks is to play for a created Shakedown, to then be able to interact with important units, or to create a Parrrley to remove an Elusive blocker. Lines like these are even more important to play towards in this deck due to the wide range of effects that Bandle City's one-mana spells can provide, along with the variety of spells Manifested from Trinket Trade and Conchologist.

Additionally, Curious Shellfolk can give us nearly any created card as an out due to her interaction with Pranks. Even with no interaction or wincon, with a Shellfolk and Prank you can quickly find a way to stall or win the game.

Norra + Eye of Nagakabouros 

Attacking with Norra on round three or four, followed by an Eye of Nagakabouros in our following defensive round, is a very powerful and important play pattern to stabilize against aggressive decks. This play is especially powerful against open attacks.

When striking the Nexus, Norra will plant a Mysterious Portal in the top four cards of your deck – which synergizes extremely well with Eye. When you play Eye the round after Norra struck, you will have drawn three cards since planting your Mysterious Portal. This means you have a 75% chance to create two blockers (one from the Portal, the other the Tentacle spawned by Eye of Nagakabouros) at burst speed while drawing cards. This play is rather reliable with a 75% success rate and is a great way to stabilize against aggro.

Pay Attention to your Mysterious Portals

When there are Mysterious Portals in your deck it’s important to keep in mind how likely you are to draw the next Portal. You can use this information to make better decisions about how to develop and set up open attacks or blocks. Additionally, the sequencing of Pokey Stick can be very important, in order to summon a unit from a Portal to block or attack.

General Mulligan Advice

There isn’t really a single generic mulligan I can give, as it will change drastically depending on which initial gameplan we are aiming for.

The best way to think about the mulligan is to think about what plans will allow you to win the matchup and what cards are especially effective, then mulligan towards said gameplan and cards. This deck does a good job of mulliganing like this as most of the support cards are rather effective for facilitating the multiple different gameplans we can play towards. 


This is a very strong opening hand against aggro decks. With the ability to facilitate the Norra and Eye of Nagakabouros combo, and Conchologist as an early blocker that recoups some value. is a very strong start. I specifically kept the Heavy Metal in this screenshot because I was against a Katarina deck.

Against most other non-aggro decks I would fully kick the above hand.

This hand is a full kick because we don’t have a gameplan to play towards. If this was a matchup where stabilizing is important we would consider keeping Norra and Pokey Stick, and we would always keep the Conch.

This is an extremely interesting starting hand as there are many different ways we could mulligan depending on how conservative we want to be, and how much we value the Curious Shellfolk win condition in this matchup.

If Shellfolk is an effective wincon, the first two cards are good to keep. Additionally, the Double Trouble and Eye give us good plays for round three and four. These plays also allow us to level up Nami and dig through our deck to find her. 

If I had this hand against a Nami matchup there is an interesting conversation about whether we should keep Double Trouble and Eye, or if we should full kick to make sure we find Nami and worry about leveling her later.

Unless we are in a matchup where the primary gameplan is to stabilize, I am always keeping Nami here. Norra and Heavy Metal are a consideration to keep, but keeping them would be contingent on some factors about the matchup. 

In order to justify keeping Norra, I would need to believe these facts about the matchup are true: My opponent can’t effectively interact with Norra; I don’t need to have Nami leveled on round five; and Mysterious Portals are useful in the matchup. Two decks that would fulfill these conditions are Katarina Gwen and Pirate Aggro.

I would keep Heavy Metal if there is a good target for it in the opposing deck.

Specific Match Up Advice

LoR Deck Nami Norra: Curious Shellfolk, one of our win conditions

Pirate Aggro (Even)

Key Cards: Conchologist, Otterpus, Double Trouble, Norra. Pokey Stick and Eye of Nagakabouros are considerations if you have an Otter or Norra, respectively.

Pirates is one of the best LoR decks, and currently the most popular – we have fairly even odds against them, with our primary game plan being to stabilize. Proper use of Pranks and the Norra-Eye synergy are very powerful tools for this goal. Try to keep trading down the board to not get blown up by Twisted Fate, Miss Fortune, or Make it Rain since you run a lot of x/1 units.

After stabilizing early, make sure to transition into a Curious Shellfolk or Nami plan to win the game before they can draw enough burn to kill you.

Katarina Gwen (Slightly Unfavored)

Key Cards: Pokey Stick, Heavy Metal, Riptide Sermon, Nami, Otterpus, Double Trouble, and Minimorph or Wallop.

Another of the best Legends of Runeterra archetypes – in this case, we are slightly unfavored. Against the Hallowed deck our goal is to stabilize early while not taking too much chip damage and answering their threats. Heavy Metal is very good in this matchup to remove Kat before she can start Rallying.

While it is important to deal with their threats, like Gwen and Eternal Dancers, and managing your health, it is also crucial to have a Nami or Shellfolk to play towards and quickly transition from stabilizing to being the beatdown. It’s important to not let the game go too long because The Harrowing can instantly end the game.

Lee Sin Akshan (Favored)

Key Cards: Minimorph, Nami, Curious Shellfolk, Trinket Trade. Cards to flip Nami like Double Trouble or Eye of Nagakabouros.

Minimorph is one of the best cards against Lee Sin. Lee Sin decks are very dependent on Lee as their wincon, and have lots of cards to protect their Lee. Minimorph can negate all of this and thus makes us very strong against Lee Sin.

Shellfolk and Nami are also very strong against Ionia because they don’t have ways to efficiently remove them, outside of Challenging or Recalling them.

Ezreal Kennen (Favored)

Key Cards: Nami, Curious Shellfolk, Minimorph, and Trinket Trade. Cards to flip Nami like Double Trouble or Eye of Nagakabouros.

Along with Pirates and Kat Gwen, Ezreal Kennen is among the strongest LoR decks right now, to the point that Sirturmund and Monte would recommend running the three of them together in a Tournament or Gauntlet lineup – but in this case, we are favored. Much like against Lee Sin, Minimorph is great in this matchup to remove their win condition, namely Ezreal, at Burst speed.

This is a matchup where you want to play for Shellfolk or Nami. When you don’t have a win condition, early Pranks can be good to try and remove Kennen when the opponent has a small hand, and has two or less spell mana. 

Concurrent Timelines (Very Unfavored)

Key Cards: Curious Shellfolk, Nami, Heavy Metal. Cards to flip Nami like Double Trouble or Eye of Nagakabouros.

Timelines is a deck that can keep up with us in value, has Three Sisters and Buried in Ice to deal with Nami boards, and has Aloof Travelers to preemptively deal with Shellfolk – in other words, Timelines is by far our worst matchup.

Shellfolk is the best way I’ve found to win here. Holding other six-mana cards in hands like Riptide Sermon or Minimorph can be useful to try and protect Shellfolk from Aloof. If we can get Shellfolk down, we can start disrupting their game plan and creating enough value to keep up with the Timelines player. Copying their Buried in Ice also allows us to have a good response to their Buried in Ice plus It That Stares combo.

Nami is also good in this matchup, but as noted our Nami gameplan is weak into Buried in Ice.

Nasus Kindred (Favored)

Key Cards: Nami, Norra, Wiggly Burblefish, Riptide Sermon, Otterpus, and Minimorph. Cards to flip Nami like Double Trouble or Eye of Nagakabouros.

Nasus decks are weak against Elusives, so our best gameplan is to make some big Elusives with Nami and punch face with them.

Riptide Sermon and Minimorph are very strong against these decks, to interact with Kindred and Nasus respectively. If we answer these threats and stay out of Atrocity range, we should be able to win even without Nami.

Viego Evelynn (Favored)

Key Cards: [Nami]], Curious Shellfolk, Wiggly Burblefish, Norra, Otterpus, and Minimorph. Cards to flip Nami like Double Trouble or Eye of Nagakabouros.

This version of Viego is low on interaction, which makes our Nami Elusive plan very strong. Additionally, Minimorph is great removal for Viego. Riptide Sermon can even be used to remove Evelynn or Invasive Hydravine if they have entered combat. And cards like Wallop are also great tools to stall.

When playing against Viego Evelynn, if you stay out of Atrocity range and don’t let Viego level up, you should eventually win the game.

Nami Twisted Fate Ionia (Favored)

Key Cards: Nami, Curious Shellfolk, Otterpus, and Trinket Trade. Cards to flip Nami like Double Trouble or Eye of Nagakabouros.

Like against all the other Ionia decks, Nami and especially Shellfolk are extremely effective here. TF Nami also presents the slowest clock, and  has the least amount of interaction for our threats. 

Where the matchup gets tricky is in the fact our Minimorph is our only efficient interaction, and its much lower tempo in this matchup than the other Ionia matchups.

Additionally, TF Nami Ionia has more Elusive units than us. This is something they can try to leverage with their Nami and Fleet Admiral Shelly to present a lethal we can’t interact with. To prevent this, we need to either Prank their Elusives with Shellfolk in play, or aggressively swing our non-Elusive units when we have Nami in play to force them to trade Elusives into our non-Elusives.

Closing Thoughts

LoR Deck Nami Norra: Norra is one of our Champions, but she is not one of our win conditions

I hope you found this deck guide useful!

I think Norra Nami is a solid deck, and can be a great deck to play if you are trying to beat Ionia and have reasonable matchups against most other decks. As long as you avoid Concurrent Timelines every game is winnable. Or, if you’re like me, it’s a great excuse to get to play Norra and Curious Shellfolk!

Thank you for taking the time to read this deck guide. If you have any questions about the deck or suggestions, feel free to reach out over Twitter,, or over Discord, Card Gamer #6777.


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