Nidalee Build Guide by Tarian

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Tarian

AD Nidalee Top - Beastial Assassin

Tarian Last updated on November 17, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hello everyone and welcome to my AD Nidalee guide! This is my first guide in Mobafire for a character I love very much, but often see played incorrectly and not to her full potential. This is my attempt to show the community the way I believe Nidalee should be played at toplane for maximum ownage.

If anyone wants to contact me, I play in EuW and EuNE under the names Tarian and Lord Tarian, respectively.

NOTE: Although I may sound skilled in this guide, my stats are very poor. My ranked ELO is probably around 1100, I have around 300 wins on each server. Despite this, I claim to have grasped the concepts of this game and believe I can show other players something new.

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Pros vs. Cons

Most characters have their benefits and drawbacks. Especially at the toplane, you'll notice that sometimes character matchups are essentially rock-paper-scissors. However, Nidalee has an edge because she counters more than she gets countered!


+ Great versus melee toplaners
+ High mobility due to passive
+ Great map and bush control (traps)
+ High burst after lvl 6


- Very farm dependent
- Easy to shut down, hard to catch up
- Lacks CC
- Mana hungry, even with runes

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Tier 1:

Summoner's Wrath - I always suggest going with either Exhaust or Ignite, so this mastery comes in very handy. The extra 10 armor/magic pen on exhaust can secure kills, while the extra attack damage and ability power on ignite give you an edge on the lane.

Brute Force - For easier farming and harass. Although +3 attack damage might seem negligible, combined with your runes these will really start to make a difference.

Butcher - For even easier farming. Same case as above, even though +4 attack damage doesn't stand out on its own, they all stack up and make last hitting a breeze.

Tier 2:

Alacrity - An extra 4% attack speed is literally nothing. Although it does speed up your auto attacks, the buff is so small it's practically nonexistent. We're taking this for the 10% armor pen that it unlocks.

Demolitionist - Extra 10 damage on turrets. Some people have asked me why I take this. For one point, you will need between 20-25 auto attacks LESS to take down the opposing turret. I'll go into more detail later on, but this mastery really is important.

Tier 3:

Deadliness - +0.5 attack damage per level. Not really that big of a difference, but combined with everything else your auto attacks will pack one hell of a punch.

Weapon Expertise - +10% armor penetration. This mastery is just AWESOME! For one point you are shredding 1/10th of their armor. This mastery comes especially in handy against toplaners like Garen and Malphite, who enjoy stacking armor to make your life harder.

Tier 4:

Lethality - +10% critical strike damage might seem like exactly what we've wanted, but it is NOT. After a lot of experimenting I've came to the conclusion that critical chance on Nidalee is not viable. Due to a bug (or its intentional, I don't know, really) your Takedown cannot crit. It shows it does, but there is no damage increase, which sucks. Still though, after Trinity Force you will be criting occasionally, so this helps.

Tier 5:

Sunder - +6 Armor Penetration will allow you to damage those pesky toplaners that enjoy stacking armor. +6 isn't really THAT much, but if you take armor pen runes, you'll be starting with a whooping +31 armor penetration, meaning almost true damage on auto attacks!

Tier 6:

Executioner - An extra 6% damage to targets bellow 40% health is just amazing. Combining this with Takedown's already impressive damage scale, your Q really starts acting like a hardcore finisher move!


Tier 1:

Resistance - This is for a slight boost in your defense. Useful more for AP Caster tops than AD Bruisers.

Hardiness - For an even more armor. +6 armor, combined with armor seals will leave you at a nice 42 armor at level 1, more than enough to stop enemy harass.

Tier 2:

Durability - Nidalee is naturally squishy. With this mastery, she gets a bit more health per level, which can sometimes be the difference between life and death.

Tier 3:

Veteran's Scars - Even more health! +30 at level one is quite a lot for a single mastery point. A very nice mastery for any toplaner!

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage


Greater Mark of Attack Damage - Marks are pretty straight forward. With 8 bonus attack damage last hitting becomes easy and your harass becomes painful

Greater Mark of Desolation - Alternatively, you could take these marks. Although these are much better for later on in the game, after a lot of experimenting I feel that the reduced last-hit capability isn't worth the stronger poke.


Greater Seal of Armor - These provide so much armor it would be outright stupid not to take them. A full set of these chaps provides you with almost a free Cloth Armor at level 1!

Greater Seal of Magic Resist - The only situation I'd take these is if the enemy team has sent an AP carry toplane. Although this trend is slowly dying, occasionally you still see an odd Vladimir or Mordekaiser toplane, in which case these help a lot!


Greater Glyph of Replenishment - My go-to glyphs. Most of the times I've had to leave lane as Nidalee is because my mana was not enough to cast a single heal. So long as you have mana, you can stay in your lane indefinitely. These are a free Faerie Charm at level 1, very useful.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - Same as the seals of warding, if your lane opponent is an AP caster, the extra MR will do wonders!

Greater Glyph of Armor - Unlike their seal relatives, these glyphs provide only half the armor. I'd only take these out if your lane opponent deals exclusively physical damage. Talon and Riven would be prime examples, in this case the extra armor can be a life-saver.


Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage - Another 6 attack damage for even easier last hitting. Combining these with attack damage marks gives you 72 attack damage at level one! I always go with attack damage marks and quints, its just a personal preference. For some reason, taking off a bar of their health per auto attack always warms up my heart!

Greater Quintessence of Desolation - Now, if you're aiming at a more harass oriented lane, especially one against a Garen, I'd suggest you pair these up with attack damage marks. Going full armor pen will leave you with 31 armor pen, but barely 55 attack damage. Now, dealing true damage on auto attacks is nice, but lacking the damage behind them is a major drawback.

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - Taking these kind of goes against the idea behind Nidalee's top lane. Why? Because foregoing +10 armor penetration or +6 attack damage really does show. Last hitting and harass really do become harder with these Quintessences. However, you'll also notice that with these if the enemy doesn't have a gapcloser or strong slow, he will literally be unable to catch you. Free harass!

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Summoner Spells

Best Choice

SPACE A very underused spell. If I got a cent for every time I saw this spell instead of flash, I'd die a poor man. The thing is, as Nidalee, your Primal Surge and Pounce provide you with enough distance (and health) to start running away. If the enemy has any slow whatsoever, usually a Flash won't save you. However, activating this while running through a bush will make for some awesome escapes!

SPACE The most important and game-changing Summoner Spell in the game. I kid you not, this spell does wonders mid-late game. Nidalee's greatest weakness is kiting and over-fed AD Carries. With this, you ensure that your victim will be within Q range for 3 seconds, which is nice.


SPACE Ghost's famous alternative. I personally don't like this spell and don't use it a lot. As Nidalee, with your Pounce you already have a small escape of sorts. If you could escape with flash, you could've escaped without it too, that's my motto. Of course, that's not always true, but as a personal preference, I take Ghost. If you feel like it, by all means take flash.

SPACE This lets you tip the scales in your favor. Generally, in a 1v1 skirmish at toplane, if you don't have ignite and the enemy does, just run away. Chances are, you'll give first blood. If you get this, get the Summoner's Wrath mastery for even more damage and ability power when Ignite is on cooldown.

SPACE On very tough lanes that will make your life a nightmare, take this to be able to recall to base and get back on your lane without losing a tower. The only lane (for me personally) that deserves this is a Yorick lane, but feel free to take this if you feel your laning phase will be hard.

SPACE With this, you will only have to leave your lane for items. Although fairly useless later on in the game, an infinite mana pool will make you outsustain a Cho'Gath (tested and tried).

SPACE A free Quicksilver Sash, although on a much larger cooldown and sometimes not as effective. If you see an enemy Tryndamere heading toplane with Exhaust + Ignite, taking this will most likely save your skin and might even net you a kill! A note on this is that unlike most summoner spells, this really needs practice and skill to be used properly. Using it too early or too late will render it useless, so timing is critical! If you aren't confident in your skills, I suggest avoiding this spell.

SPACE I've done so many awesome baits under turret with a Heal + Exhaust setup, its almost ridiculous. Most people underestimate Nidalee's burst after level 6, allowing you to make nice kills under your turret. However, you must also not underestimate the burst of your opponent. Trying this strategy on an Akali after level 6 doesn't work if the she knows what she's doing. A very situational spell, I usually don't take it at all, but its up to you.

Outright Bad

SPACE Now, I was thinking of making a "For the lulz" section, but decided against it. This spell can be either absolutely awesome or totally worthless. Perfect for a troll team is a Revive + Teleport setup. If you've got four other friends who want to play normals for the lulz, I highly suggest taking this. The funniest thing is that it actually works! Of course, on ranked and higher ELO play this strategy is worthless, but having your entire team revive and teleport to fight a second time in a teamfight ... that's just priceless!

SPACE I find it ironic that a character like Nidalee is unfit for the jungle. Now, if Riot were competent and would make Nidalee have her ultimate from level 1 (like Jayce and Elise), jungling would actually be possible, although still not optimal due to Nidalee's lack of Crowd Control. Until then, however, Smite is a no-no for our cat.

SPACE Now, I did some experimenting to find out if the spell really is viable. I wanted it to be because it fits very well with Nidalee's character and her Primal Surge. However, the sad conclusion is that the spell really isn't viable on her. 35% attack speed is lackluster because we already have our heal, while the extra ability power goes to waste since this build focuses more on attack damage.

SPACE Sadly ... no. This summoner spell has only one use - pushing your lane during the early game. Although I can see this as a defensive measure when you recall, it has very little use compared to other spells. Definitely don't take this spell. EVER!

SPACE Although this can prevent your lane from being ganked, its long cooldown is not enough to replace warding. Only viable on supports that are not aggressively oriented, definitely not viable on Nidalee!

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Skill Sequence and Explanations

Human Form Skills:

SPACE Every time Nidalee walks through brush, her movement speed is increased by 15% until 2 seconds after leaving the brush. This passive is one of the best passives for a toplaner. It directly helps you escape ganks or chase down fleeing enemies if you walk through any of the four bushes at the toplane.

SPACE Nidalee throws a spear in a straight line, dealing increased damage the further away the target is. A very underused spell as AD Niadlee. Although this will not be your main damage source, it can still be used to last hit fleeing enemies on less than 10 hp. The reason why I take a second point at level 5 is exactly this: last hitting fleeing enemies. Too many times have people escaped from me on half a bar, only to be killed by a well placed spear. After throwing the spear, walk BACKWARDS! This is very important, walking away from the spear also increases its damage, since the game counts the distance between you and the enemy on impact.

SPACE Places a trap on the ground for 4 minutes that deals damage, reveals and reduces the armor and magic resistance of the first enemy that walks over it. An awesome trap spell, almost up-to-par with Caitlyn's Yorlde Snap Trap. Personally, however, I think Nidalee's trap is better! Most people use it only for keeping control of the brush and the river, but this spell is also very useful in offense due to the huge armor and magic resist debuff it brings. If you manage to place a trap over an enemy you are fighting, the trap will shred so much armor and magic resist you'll be halfway to dealing true damage!

SPACE Heals target friendly unit and gives it increased attack speed for several seconds. Another reason why Nidalee can be a huge credit to her team. At rank 5, this gives a whooping 60% attack speed for 7 seconds, on a 10 second cooldown. Use it on your carry if possible, but if the carry is dead (which it most likely is, that's one of the main goals of teamfights in general), use it on yourself and leap into the fray!

SPACE Transforms Nidalee into her cougar from, gaining new abilities, bonus armor, magic resist and movement speed and reduced attack range. By reduced attack range I mean 125. There are times when you want to be in this form and times when you don't. Generally, when fighting or roaming, cougar form is much better due to the increased speed and tankiness. It is best to initiate from human form by casting heal on yourself. With the increased attack speed, jump into the fray, deal your combo to the ad/ap carry. Usually it is better to heal the ad carry, but in almost all teamfights the ad carries die first (or so they should, anyway), in which case the AS buff goes to waste. If the carry isn't focused, feel free to heal him instead to increase his attack speed.

Cat Form Skills:

SPACE Nidalee's next basic attack deals greater damage, which is increased with the targets missing health. This spell is the reason AD Nidalee is viable. It really acts as an executioner if the target is bellow half health. The deal is this: the damage from Takedown is increased by twice the percentage of missing health the target has. If your enemy has 50% hp left, Takedown's damage will be increased by 100%. An important note is that the ability CANNOT crit. Probably a bug (or intentional, cause then it would be utterly OP), but even though the ability says it scored a crit, in reality it didn't. Also, the extra damage from Sheen/ Trinity Force isn't multiplied by Takedown, sadly.

SPACE Nidalee pounces forward in the direction she is facing, dealing magic damage when she lands. The spell that separates the good Nidalee's from the great Nidalee's. The most annoying thing is that unlike almost ALL other characters, Nidalee's pounce is in the direction she is facing and not her cursor. This makes proper pouncing through walls harder. This here is a map (credits unknown, tell me if you know please), which illustrates the places where you can jump over walls. I personally suggest playing at least once on an empty custom game to practice these jumps because there is NOTHING in this game more embarrassing than a Nidalee failing her Pounce!

SPACE Nidalee deals magic damage to all enemies in a cone in front of her. This spell damages Garen and Malphite! In all seriousness though, I really have no clue as to why Riot have made this spell deal magic damage. There really is nothing special to this. Use it before Takedown to increase the latter's damage. Clean and simple.

NOTE: Yes, I know the icons for her cat form skills aren't correct. As far as I am aware, these icons are unavailable here at Mobafire, correct me if I'm wrong.

Skill Sequence:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

The skill sequence is fairly simple. Max Primal Surge first for great sustain and a nice attack speed buff should you engage someone, maxing it by level 9. Take two points in Takedown before level 6 to allow you to last hit enemies fleeing from you on 10 hp, maxing it by level 13. Take a point in Pounce at level 1 in order to set traps at key locations at the toplane, but max it last. As per all ultimates, take a point in Aspect Of The Cougar at levels 6, 11 and 16.

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Item Build

Main Build

You should take this build when your team doesn't have a very tanky composition. In this case you'll be more of an off-tank than an assassin. Don't get me wrong, your Takedown will steal deal lots of damage, as well as your auto-attacks, but they won't be quite as strong as the glass-cannon build. Most of the times I go with this build, since it requires less coordination with your team, like what happens in most solo/duo ranked games.

SPACE +25 Magic Resist, +70 Movement Speed, +35 Tenacity. For the meager price of 1200, you go halfway into solving Nidalee's biggest issue - kiting. Take these boots even if your toplane enemy is AD - chances are he'll have some form of crowd control, which these awesome boots will reduce. Unless the enemy team is FULL AD, I'd always take these boots.

SPACE +20 attack damage, +700 health, +40% slow on melee attacks, +25% slow on ranged attacks. An item that is almost a staple for melee bruisers. It gives you a huge chunk of health, a slight attack damage boost and an awesome slow. Combined with your Pounce nobody will be able to escape from you once you catch them.

SPACE +40% Attack Speed, +30 Magic Resist, +42 magic damage on auto-attacks, +5 (+20) magic resist per auto-attack for 5 seconds (max 4 stacks). For the cheap price of 2150 you get a very nice boost in offense. The extra attack speed synergizes nicely with your heal. The bonus magic damage makes you harder to itemize against, while the extra magic damage makes you surprisingly tanky. All in all a great item to pick-up, on both builds!

SPACE +30 Attack Damage, +15% Crit Chance, +15 Cooldown Reduction, +20 Armor Penetration, and +50% attack speed and +20% movement speed for 4 to 8 seconds every 60 seconds. I see this item so rarely yet it is so insanely awesome. For 2687 gold you become an unstoppable force of destruction in teamfights. The armor pen greatly increases your Qs damage. The cooldown reduction means more Qs. The most important thing is this: USE THE ACTIVE! There are so many players out there that don't use item actives its almost ridiculous. Use it, and for better timing, use it when you are about to auto attack someone, so that the duration of the effect is doubled. By level 18, if you heal yourself and use this active, that's 2,5 attack speed!

SPACE +60 Attack Damage, +12% Lifesteal, +40 Attack Damage and +8% Lifesteal after 40 minion kills. Remember that thing about Nidalee's Takedown and Lifesteal? Well, this is where it all pays back. Buying this item skyrockets your Q's damage by 100-300 and makes it return an extra 20% of its damage as health back! Although Nidalee is not inherently as tanky as other bruisers (even in cat form), with her Takedown's insane damage and her lifesteal, she can actually come out of teamfights alive and kicking!

SPACE +68 Armor, +38 Magic Resist, +1 resurrection every 5 minutes! This is what makes Nidalee survive teamfights. If you've managed to get this far into the build, you'll be dealing some serious damage to the enemy. They'll likely focus you, where this kicks in. The extra armor and magic resist help remedy your natural squishiness. With The Bloodthirster, every time you Q you get several bars of health back instantly. While waiting for this item's effect to kick in, your Takedown will be off cooldown. Use it on the nearest low-hp enemy, and you'll guarantee yourself: 1) A kill 2) Lots of health back 3) Possibly survival of the teamfight if the enemy ad/ap carry is dead!

This is the build I'd most often aim for by the end of the game. After a great deal of experimenting, I've come to the conclusion that this is the optimal way to build AD Bruiser Nidalee for maximum output damage while still being tanky. The reason why I don't get Infinity Edge and crit items is, as mentioned above, that her Takedown cannot crit.

Alternative Items

Of course, the above build does not account for all the possible situations that can happen in a game. There are several situational items that I can see to be worth their while. Although I haven't listed them in the main build, they can still be quite viable and - sometimes - almost necessary.

SPACE +30 Attack Damage, +30 Ability Power, +30% Attack Speed, +15% Crit Chance, +250 Health, +250 Mana, +12% Movement Speed, +25% chance to slow an enemy by 35%, +150% your base AD as extra damage every time you cast a spell. This item is just WOW. It gives pretty much everything you could possibly want as AD Nidalee. This is the standard item of the build, not taking it means suicide. Seriously though, this item alone makes you stand above bruisers without it. With your base AD at level 18 at around 100, every time you press Q, it will deal and extra 150 damage just from this item! Why then am I putting this in situational? Well, the thing is, this item is the most expensive one in the game. Rushing it early leaves you vulnerably squishy, leaving you to buy this only mid-/late-game. If you're getting fed, consider tri-force, but in a normal game, skip it.

SPACE +70 Ability Power, +40 Attack Damage, +15% Lifesteal, +20% Spellvamp, +300 magic damage and a 50% slow every 60 seconds. This item is often considered a luxury item. The reason why I place it in situational is the same as with Trinity Force - its cost is exceptionally high. Moreover, it is more of a hybrid item than an AD Bruiser item. The active ranged slow is pretty much exactly what you need to catch up to the enemy AD Carry, plus the extra 300 damage. The strange thing is this: unlike most abilities, Nidalee's Takedown is NOT affected by Spellvamp because it is considered an auto-attack modifier. Instead it applies Lifesteal. Best thing? This item has both! :)

SPACE +30 armor, +23 attack damage, +12%, +20% chance to deal extra 425 damage to minions/monsters, +1 free ward every 3 minutes. Although the item is very cheap for the stats it provides, I can only see it worthwhile for a Push-All-Day lane. Using the ward passive every 3 minutes equals a 4 gold/10 item, which is lackluster. Taking it for the sustain is also sub-par, because for 450 gold you get 2% less lifesteal from Vampiric Scepter. Although I never take this item because it slows down my main build, if you think its worth it, go right ahead!

SPACE +80 attack damage, +15% crit chance, +50% crit damage. I've mentioned this before, but Nidalee's Takedown cannot crit. Due to the price of the item (800 more than Bloodthirster, less attack damage at max stacks) and the fact that you'll be getting high attack speed only after you buy Youmuu's Ghostblade and Wit's End, I think this item is just not worth it. I've tried many games with it and many without - honestly, the increased attack damage and lifesteal are better than 50% extra crit damage. Also remember that this build + Infinity Edge will leave you at 45% crit chance at full build, that's far too little for an effective Critalee.

SPACE +45 ability power, +35 attack damage, +4%(+32%) attack speed and +6 (+48) ability power every time you auto attack or cast a spell (max 8 stacks). This item provides you with pretty much all the offense stats you need. The only reason I haven't put this item in the main build is because it is not considered a late-game item. Buying the Rageblade after, lets say, Wit's End, will provide you with an awesome damage boost during teamfights, but later on in the game it must be sold to make room for the higher tier Legendary items. Always consider this item if you've dominated your lane and have gold to spare, but in a normal not-so-fed situation, go for the main items.

SPACE +55 attack damage, +30% attack speed, your auto attacks reduce enemy armor by 15 (45, since it stacks three times). Another item that gives you a nice offense boost. Although the passive looks great (and it is, really), your goal in teamfights is the AP/AD carry. These two targets generally don't have nearly as much armor as the tanks, from where comes the need for you to build actual damage rather than armor penetration. The only case I'd see this item really being worth taking is if the enemy AP carry takes Zhonya's Hourglass and the AD carry takes some random armor item (which is much less likely). If they do build armor, in order for you to assassinate them, you'll need the armor pen. NOTE: From what I know about the coming rework of the item, as well as the reworked armor penetration formula, this item may become a staple part of the Nidalee build. Stay tuned!

SPACE Defense items, i.e. items that give only defensive stats, while not giving any significant offense boost. The goal of this build is to deal an adequate amount of damage while still being relatively hard to take down - i.e. a Bruiser. Frozen Mallet will bring you at a comfortable 2700 health. More health will hinder your damage, while more resistances will be of reduced efficiency due to diminishing returns. The only reason I'd see use in buying defensive items if the enemy team deals almost EXCLUSIVELY physical/magical damage. If the enemy team are 4 APs and an underfed, feeding carry, feel free to take a Force of Nature or Banshee's Veil any day. If the enemy team are 4 ADs and a failing Veigar mid, don't hesitate to buy Thornmail or Frozen Heart. However, in higher tier play and ranked, very rarely will you see teams with such poor composition. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, pass on the defense items in favor of offense.

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Early Game

Build Aim:

During the early game, everyone except the jungler will be on their lanes, happily farming and harassing. Your lane is the toplane, which, sadly, is subject to most of the early game ganks. Unlike most toplaner's, your laning phase can go very smoothly if you don't harass and let your lane become a farm-fest. However, that is not your goal here. Your goal is not only to farm, but also prevent the enemy laner from farming equally. You have the added benefit of a ranged auto attack, which you must use to both outfarm, outharass and hopefully outplay your enemy. If you can, try to kill him, but if there is a chance for you to die in the process, instead go ahead and farm. During this phase, farming > killing, remember it!

There are two approaches I take when laning as AD Nidalee. The first one revolves mainly around bush control. Camp in the brush, leaving it only for last hits or to poke with your auto attacks. This allows for some hard poke if the enemy doesn't have a gap-closer. If the enemy doesn't ward the bushes soon the lane quickly turns in your favor. The second approach is to push the enemy to his turret, ward and bring the turret down asap. Especially against champions who can't farm easily under their turret, this tactic lets you outfarm the enemy while denying kills through proper warding. Both are effective, but only against certain champions.

The Poke-All-Day Farm Lane

This is the style I play most of the time. Most champions you'll see at the toplane have some sort of AoE ability to clear a lot of creeps fast, which kind of counters your extreme pushing power. This strategy is very clean and simple. At level one you take your trap, boots and three potions (or a potion and ward, whichever you like). By the time the creeps get to the lane, you should have one trap in each bush. Stay in the bush closest to the wave and leave it only for last hitting minions or harassing. The awesome thing is that most of the times, if you just leave the bush, auto attack and get back in, the minions wont even aggro you.

This strategy has greatly reduced effectiveness against champions with gapclosers, like Jax and Riven, who will just pin you down in your bush and proceed to destroy you. On a side note, this is THE strategy to use if you see a Yorick toplane. His ghouls never enter the bushes alone, and he has too little time to react to actually harm you. If you see the enemy has a particularly dangerous high-damaging/CC jungler ( Lee Sin, Shaco, Maokai) I suggest you use this strategy. Also, if you see this high potential for an early enemy gank, instead of 3 potions start with a potion and a ward. This alternative start has denied the enemy so many first bloods its almost ridiculous.

The Push-All-Day Tower-Doom Lane

A very situational strategy that can outright lose you the lane if played improperly. Nidalee has incredible push potential, especially after level 6. The idea here is simple - push your lane to the enemy tower, without forgetting to last hit, and while the enemy is busy to last hit under the turret, you poke at the tower as much as you can. This is where the Demolitionist mastery comes in very handy, that extra 10 damage on towers says its word. While under his turret, the enemy has two choices: either jump at you and try to take you down or farm while keeping you at bay. Very few toplaners can kill a fleeing Nidalee without the help of a jungler!

The most essential part of this strategy is proper warding. In most cases, pushing the enemy to his turret is a bad, sometimes outright suicidal idea. However, as Nidalee, you have the advantage of your passive and traps. Combine these with one or two wards and your lane becomes ungankable. The idea behind this strategy is not to outright kill your opponent, but take down his turret while making last hitting a nightmare. When executed properly and against the right matchups, this strategy will make enemies rage quit!

Creep Score

One of the most important things new players have to learn is last hitting. For those of you who feel they can't reach 10 cs/min on any champion except Mordekaiser, I suggest going with Greater Mark of Attack Damage and Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage. These start you off with a nice 72 attack damage at level one, which makes last hitting a breeze. If you think you've mastered last hitting, by all means take the alternative runes for more late-game benefit.

This link here is for the last hit chart - Maximum Last Hitting Potential. Our build costs exactly 14,887 gold. Provided you could last hit every single minion in your lane, it would take you 40 minutes to reach full build. Of course, this is quite unrealistic and will probably never happen. A more realistic measure would be to have around 60-80 creeps per 10 minutes, depending on how hard your lane was. Hopefully, as AD Nidalee, you'll be making quite a lot of kills with your combo (especially Takedown), so creep score shouldn't be that big an issue.

You and Your Jungler

If you start out at the purple side and your jungler starts with Red Buff, I can almost guarantee you'll get a gank at level 2. A very important thing I have to mention is that your positioning matters! If your jungler is in the bush next to the river, awaiting to initiate the gank, it is important for you to get in the bush. This will force the enemy to move closer to the river because he'll try to avoid your poke from the bush. By moving into the bushes before a gank, you're setting up your enemy for a flawless Lee Sin Resonating Strike, which is almost a guaranteed First Blood!

You and the Enemy Jungler

Early level ganks become an increasingly greater threat as you advance through the ELO ranks. Especially if you're facing a Lee Sin, Xin Zhao or Jax, you can almost certainly expect a gank at toplane on level 2-3. One of the most important lessons I've learned from my stay at the toplane is warding. Not just warding in general, but early game warding. On most of my toplanes instead of the typical boots + 3 pots start, I instead begin with boots, a potion and a ward. Having your lane warded right from the start (around 2:10 is perfect) will prevent the enemy jungler from getting first blood on you. Although the lack of two potions says its word, generally, unless the lain is a total nightmare, your heal should manage to keep you alive.

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Mid Game

Build Aim:

The midgame usually starts either when one of the lanes loses its tower, or after everybody has hit level 11. The laning phase ends here - you'll no longer be able to farm to your heart's desire at toplane, except the occasional time when you go to clean your lane's tower if it starts to get pushed.

This phase is characterized by frequent teamfights. During this phase, ganking becomes less of a threat, while map control and teamwork take precedence. Usually, if one of the teams is less coordinated or doesn't keep tabs on Dragon/Baron, the opposing team might build up an advantage. What you often see in higher tier play is one team winning before the 40 minute mark. This is due to the fact that pro teams can very quickly snowball from a slight advantage to a major advantage. The late game will come only if both teams are unable to snowball from their advantages - if both teams are evenly matched, expect a long and hard lategame.

During this phase Nidalee either starts to shine or to become lackluster. As Nidalee, your main goal during the laning phase is to make enough gold to support your build during the midgame. If you have a Frozen Mallet, a Wit's End and a Youmuu's Ghostblade at the 30 minute mark, you're doing awesome and will be a big threat in midgame teamfights. If you get fed, it is your duty to kill the enemy carries in teamfights (i.e. snowball your team from your advantage). If you aren't fed, you wont be able to just jump and 2-hit the enemy carry. Then your main job is to defend your own carry, if necessary by giving up your own life.

As an AD Nidalee, and most bruisers in general, the midgame shows whether or not you've played your game correctly. Remember pre-nerf Rengar? His case was a prime example - either dominate early game and carry your team, or fail early game and be lackluster for the rest of the match. If you want to be a more successful AD Nidalee, try to practice and maximize your last hitting. As a reference, 20 cs = 1 kill. Most likely you won't be getting too many kills during early game, while during the midgame you'll want to leave kills to your carry. Therefore, it is essential that you constantly train and improve your last hitting.

Teamfight Scenarios:

To be able to shine in teamfights, you'll want to know how to react to the different circumstances in teamfights. For ease of reading, I'll divide this section into two main strategies: friendly initiate and hostile initiate.

Scenario #1: Friendly Initiate

This is the way you want to start teamfights. In almost all cases, it is better for you to attack the enemy first, rather than vice versa. A good initiate can easily be distinguished from a bad initiate. In a good initiate, your team's tank (offtank if no main tank is present) will jump onto the enemy with his gapcloser or Flash and place some form of crowd control on the two main targets: the AP and the AD carry. Several examples of a good initiate:
- your Amumu manages to Bandage Toss onto the enemy AD/AP carry and use Curse of the Sad Mummy.
- your Malphite ults into the enemy AD/AP carry, knocking them into the air.
- your Xin Zhao dashes onto an enemy unit (tank, support, minion) that is behind the enemy carry and ults, knocking that carry into your team to annihilate.
- your Alistar flashes, knocks up and knocks back the enemy carry into your team.
- your Blitzcrank pulls the enemy carry (NOT Karthus)

Those are five examples of proper initiates that will most likely result in your team's victory. During friendly initiates, make sure that you are not the one who is initiating. Our Nidalee is might be a tanky bruiser, but she is not a proper tank, and lacks any crowd control spare the Exhaust you should've taken. Always let your team's tank to initiate so you can safely attack the enemy carries while they are occupied by the tank.

Scenario #2: Hostile Initiate

Unlike friendly initiates, hostile initiates will most likely result in the partial/total death of your team. When the enemy team initiates, they are hoping to catch your team off position so they can easily kill your carries. If the enemy team manages to successfully initiate your team, it is your goal to protect the two carries from the enemy bruisers who have likely jumped at them. Jumping onto the enemy carries is not suggested: in this case, you don't have the element of surprise and will likely be focused. If you see an enemy Riven jumping onto your Ezreal with her ult on, attack her to slow and damage her. This will let your carry safely get back and start nuking Riven from afar. Even if you die, you've prevented the enemy team from killing your carry, thus fulfilling your job.

What you have to learn in teamfights is that things often happen very fast. An ulting Amumu or Malphite leaves little time for you to react, so you must be ready to fight at all times. Remember this: in friendly initiates, you must target the enemy carries, since your carries should be safely in position; in hostile initiates, you must defend your own carries, since the enemy carries will be safely in position, ready to push (and kill) you back.

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Late Game

Build Aim:

The late game begins when everyone is nearing the completion of their builds. Generally, when the carries have 3-4 end-game items, the late game has begun. If you haven't won or lost by this point, map awareness and team coordination become even more important. A single ace can win or lose you the game. If teamfights during the midgame could also be won even with the carries dead, at this point the first team to kill the enemy carry really wins that teamfight. There really is no change in your role though. You still aim at the enemy carry at a friendly initiate and defend your own carry at a hostile initiate.

There is really nothing much to be said about this phase. If your support isn't warding enough, don't hesitate to buy wards yourself. Those 75 gold could mean the difference between victory and defeat!

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Twisted Treeline

With the new remake, I must admit I am quite confused. The gameplay of the map has shifted to a more Dominion-like playstyle, but the viable compositions should have remained the same. For some reason, they haven't, and unlike 5v5, I'm not even halfway into understanding the theorycraft behind the new Twisted Treeline. Although I do play assassin Nidalee on this map quite frequently with friends, I have yet to build-up enough experience to make a guide for this map. Don't panic, though, I'll fill this section up soon™.

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Champion Guide


This is the section where I cover Nidalee's opponents at the toplane. I'll start with the most common ones, slowly leading up to the less traditional ones. However, this section will take a long time to build. I'll be basing this only on experience I personally have versus that character and not on something somebody at some point said.

Difficulty: 7/10

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Difficulty: 9/10

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Difficulty: 5/10

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section bellow. Any questions I find particularly important, I'll list here to make people's lives easier.

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If you've reached this far into the guide, I want to say a big thank you for taking the time to read my guide.

I'd like to thank: maarto, UnknownSkills, DestinyAscender and Klejumir from EuW for their constant support in the making of this guide. It took a lot of writing, proofreading and testing until it appeared in this form.

I'd also like to thank jhoijhoi and her amazing How To Make A Guide, which helped me better organize and shape-up my own guide. Also the colorful section dividers at the top of each chapter are made by jhoijhoi, so credits to her for that as well.

The credits for the Pounce map are unknown. I found it in Google while randomly browsing for Nidalee pictures, but I was unable to track down its origins. If you know, don't hesitate to tell me! Also if you have any questions/suggestions/feedback, please share them with me in the comments section bellow!

Again, thank you for taking the time to read this guide and happy hunting on the Fields of Justice!

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Change Log

06.11.2012 - Build published!
16.11.2012 - Shifted the main build around, added more situational items, further explained the Early, Mid, and Late game.
17.11.2012 - Started work on the Champion Guide! So far Ahri, Akali, Alistar, Amumu, Anivia, Annie, Ashe, Blitzcrank, Brand, Cassiopeia, and Cho'Gath.