Nidalee Build Guide by roque13
Not Updated For Current Season
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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.
Nidalee almost always starts with boots and three health potions. Increases her lane sustain, mobility, overall greatness. Her passive + runes + level 1 boots gives her around 425 movement speed. That's more than some with level 2 boots. We won't be using the brush in-lane too often, but to roam it's ideal.
If you're struggling / don't have enough for a Needlessly Large Rod right away, I suggest 2-3 dorans rings. I try to avoid blasting wands first because they're nothing spectacular. Two dorans are much more useful than one blasting wand at just 90g more.
If you're dominating, keep at it. The great thing about squishy opponents is one or two big spears will zone them out / kill them AND a lack of early spell vamp on most will make the damage stick. Big AP items just make it hurt more.
Focus on Rabadon's Deathcap , Void Staff , Lich Bane , Zhonya's Hourglass In roughly that order. Void Staff and Lich Bane can be interchangeable depending on the situation.
**Side note, you'll return with over 1700g at some point in a game. If you have Rabadon's Deathcap already and Zhonya's isn't necessary because AD carries aren't hitting you, buy two Blasting Wand. They build into a variety of options and provide the same AP at a slight 120g cost. I feel I should mention that because it happens more often then you'd think.
Probable Opponents Solo Top
I'll attempt to break down every champion that tends to go top nowadays and what I do against them. Nidalee can be countered, so keep that in mind before you grab her first pick in draft mode. Red generally means bad news bears.
In no particular order:
Jayce Uh-oh. Jayce hurts, has decent range, big poke, a gap closer, an aoe slow, knockback, etc. An all around menace for Nidalee. If I'm stuck fighting him, I've gone cloth and 5 health pots, rushed dodge boots, and prayed. He's a bit too strong for AP nidalee. You're better off going AD so you have some survivability.
Against him, you're in for some hurt until level 6. Then you're in for less hurt, but still painful. Don't reach for CS, ward well because any jungler with Jayce can murder you. Play smart, get sustain, farm well.
Edit: Recent nerfs make him more managable because his poke / trade is worse, but still. Terror in lane for AP Nidalee. Try to avoid.
Darius Good luck. He's a little strong and not very manageable for Nidalee. She's too squish AP and Darius can 100 to 0 her with his abilities up. I would avoid going top against Darius at all costs if possible.
Against him, farm? Don't push your lane at all, because Darius alone can take you, but Darius and a jungle is lights out. I really do recommend sending almost anybody else. If you're against him, build early armor, and even debate going AD / Tank Nidalee. AP just doesn't do enough to Darius without getting killed herself. Keep your distance and keep your CS up. Pray for an early tower going down so you can outfarm him and roam to the squishier lanes.
Wukong By far the most annoying opponent I've had to deal with to date. His burst at level 3, 5, and then 6 combined with the ever popular flash / ignite summoner spells mean he can and will try to kill you every opportunity. His Nimbus Strike and Crushing Blow do far more than you can continually heal. If he goes cloth and 5 health pots it's very difficult to push him out of lane. What I try to do is harass very often, even at the cost of CS, at level 1 and 2. Provided he's a very passive Wukong, even levels 3 and 4.
Once you hit level 6, he is either close to it himself or already 6 too, so be cautious about engaging. Your best bet is to push him to tower every chance you get, because Nidalee can farm the entire minion wave without missing one very easily and at zero mana cost. Wukong can't, so make him spend the mana on farming, not harass. Buy early and often if possible to push an item advantage. Worst case scenario, call for help from your jungler, keep him on edge at all times. If he's intelligent, he can zone you out relatively easily because his burst is damn good (almost too good RIOT)
**After a few more games against him, I'd say Wukong counters Nidalee pretty well. Try to not pick against him.
Tryndamere What a pain in the butt. Tryndamere is a hard lane when he runs cloth and 5 health potions because he'll be able to sustain off pots until his Q, Bloodlust, can do it instead. That being said, trading with him early is questionable. You want to make him burn those potions, but taking hits from Tryndamere is never smart. Before level 6, he generally farms at any cost, so make him pay. 2-3 auto attacks per creep usually. If he spins at you, run to your creeps. If he uses his fury to heal, poke the ever-loving **** out of him. At 0 fury, his chance to crit is minimal, so use it to your advantage. The side bushes are your lover in this match-up.
Most Tryndamere players I see will run Exhaust / Ignite. He needs both of these to kill you 95% of the time. Save your Flash for his Spinning Slash if possible. He can and will catch up to you if you burn Flash before he burns his spin. After level 6, your best friend is the E > Q > W combination listed above. In most cases he will get two auto attacks, probably one critical, so it's a decent trade considering he has to burn his fury to heal. Pounce gets you to a safe distance provided he used his spinning slash to initiate, which he should always have to do.
After he hits level 6, don't try to kill him unless he gets stupid. By stupid I mean stays in lane with ~400hp and hasn't healed. Take note of his resistances and how much a W > E > Q combination will do. On more than one occasion, I've bursted a Tryndamere down too quickly for him to pop his ult.
Renekton Not the worst match-up, but still a pain. His sustain is amazing with cloth and 5, although to heal off minions he has to come towards you and blow cooldowns. Watch his fury very carefully, Renekton with 50+ fury can chunk you very easily and thus zone you out. Keep a safe distance and move between your auto attacks. Hiding behind a wave of minions might be your best bet early.
After 6 stick to E > Q > W away until he's low enough to kill. Keep in mind he has an ult that gives him 300 extra HP, so don't sit there and expect to kill him with basic attacks. If you see him pop the ult, run away (unless of course he has like 150hp left. He is deceptively strong when he pops his ult and heals off a minion wave of 4+. Best option with Renekton is to poke him safely at level 1 and 2, then harass him only when he comes in to heal afterwards (most Renek players I play against get all 3 skills at level 3). Ask your jungler to keep an eye top, because he will burn Slice and Dice to get close to you, and if he does, make sure your jungler is there to make him pay.
Teemo Captain Teemo, Pile of Duty. Teemo must have been flavor of the month, I've faced quite a few recently. A good Teemo is actually very annoying. Assuming he runs Flash / Ignite and plays him well, as most do, prepare for a farm war. His range is, I believe, the same as Nidalee's, so poking him safely is out of the question. Poking in general is bad because he will get an auto attack, poison damage, and generally a Blind Dart off. Horrible trade. He generally runs boots and 3 health pots so he can poke you and get out. You just need to farm yourself up a.s.a.p, because that's when the threat of your spears comes into play.
Teemo's weakness is his sustain. Most will not build any lifesteal/spell vamp early, so any damage given will stick around while any damage you take is healed via potions or your E. That being said, I ask my jungler to make a stop top as soon as they can before Teemo hits 6. We all hate mushrooms, and after he hits 6 it's hard to gank him without oracles. But before 6, if you can chunk Teemo enough to make him recall, chances are you'll force him to miss enough experience to give you a lead early that you can push.
Riven is not as bad as some solo tops, but certainly worse than others. She has two low-cooldown gap closing abilities and a stun, plus her passive is bonus damage when she uses a skill. Spells trouble for most to be honest, but if Nidalee stays close to the bushes top, all's well. She can't catch up to you with those abilities if you react fast enough and get into the bush. Keep her at auto attack range and make her take damage for failed engages. If Riven and the jungler get on you, you're probably dead.
Most run Flash Exhaust, though Ignite isn't rare. Pre-6 she does more damage but has to be closer, and she should never get close enough. After 6, you should practically never pounce into her. The only scenario where you do is if she just popped her stun on something else. Her damage is pretty good with a brutalizer, but yours will stick more. If she buys wriggles first, her damage will be decent and your damage won't stick very long. Keep an eye on her boots as well, level 2 boots before you get level 2 means she has higher movement speed. Focus on poking, killing if the opportunity arises. Not a horrible lane, but can get difficult if she gets first kill.
Cho'Gath I've never really had trouble with Cho, because his only threat of a kill comes from a full combo, Rupture into Scream into Feast. Before level 6, you're practically free to poke all you want. He won't argue, he won't waste mana harassing a Nidalee, and he won't be close enough to trade. His sustain is amazing if he farms well. At level 1 I believe he gets ~30 health per minion last hit, and you poke around 50 depending on armor and your runes. Advantage you =P. This is a kill lane generally.
At 6, I harass with cougar form all the time. The most he can do immediately is silence you and auto attack a few times. If he lands a Rupture, be a little cautious, but it shouldn't hurt too bad. If he goes Ignite, watch for an initiation. If it's teleport or exhaust, harass at will, he will probably not be looking for a kill top. The ultimate goal against Cho is to zone him away from creeps, so what I try to do is allow my creeps to be pushed a bit, generally I recall to buy and let him push. Then, I ignore the minion wave and poke him. He won't sustain himself off creeps so he'll be say 60% health. I stay behind his creeps and poke him if he gets close, or W > E > Q as cougar to chunk him further. All in all, should be a simple lane for Nidalee.
Gangplank A moderately annoying lane. Parrrrrrrrrley (greatest pun ever) is his form of harass, and if it crits he'll generally look to engage. Never let him. Cloth and 5 Gangplank never really get's pushed out of lane, but you can try. Especially after he Q's a minion. Ideally, you want him to parley as often as possible early so he runs out of mana. The lower the level of Parley, the less harass you take overall. Don't be stingy with your health pots, they're there to prevent wasting mana on heal every 8 seconds. I find myself selling 1 or 2 some games and it shouldn't be the case.
I never pounce at GP because his passive can catch up to you. I try to push the lane, but GP hovers at his minions and with a wriggle's he never leaves. Basically, harass when you can, watch his mana closely, and when he pops his E, assume you're being ganked and run away. Trying to kill GP in lane is tough, so don't make it a priority unless he's playing bad.
Kennen You know, I rarely fight Kennen solo top anymore. Must just be coincidence, because he is a very good solo top. Against him, harass is not generally safe, farming is tough, and pushing isn't completely effective. Your auto attack range is similiar if not exactly the same, so be a little careful. At level 2, good Kennen players can stun you. Keep an eye on his auto attack, if it's going to proc W, don't stay near him. Eating it generally results in a W proc > W > Q or E for the stun. At level 3, he's fairly dangerous. Most run Flash / Ignite and aim to kill early.
Harassing Kennen early is a good way to make him lose a lane. He has zero sustain early, most run boots and three health pots and will burn those pots very fast. I trade at level 1 as much as humanly possible, because I know he won't stun me barring three straight Q's to the face. Micromovement is KEY for harassing. It's difficult to land skillshots if you're constantly moving between attacks, so do so. If he pops his E aggressively, head towards a bush. Kennen with E activated is only slightly faster then Nidalee in a bush, so you should be able to outrun it if you stick close to the top. Once he gets a Hextech Revolver, harassment is tough to keep on him, so call your jungler up if a kill is possible. Always always always second guess diving a Kennen. His ult WILL stun you, and the tower will hurt. Keep note of his ult. Cooldowns are around 110sec at level 6, I believe 95-100 at 11. He's far less dangerous without it.
Talon So, so very bursty. Talon is one champion that isn't necessarly made for top lane because he's relatively squishy, but against Nidalee it won't matter too much because he outdamages her at pretty much every level. I actually added Talon to this section after playing him two games in a row solo top (one lost lane - won game, other won lane - lost game. Go figure). To be honest, I haven't found the best way to play against him, I don't think, but this is how I won the lane.
I poked very hard very early because Talon usually goes boots and three potions. After he hit level 3, I backed off a lot. If a Talon gets his entire combination in with auto attacks in between, it will hurt real bad. So, level 3-6 I farm only. I don't even bother harassing because it puts me at risk for being chunked down to where I need to recall. My advice is to pray to the lords of matchmaking you have a competent jungler (one who does heavy damage helps as well). Ask him every time he's near top to sit in the bush for like 30 seconds. This is when you poke Talon and bait out his silence, whatever it's called. It'll put Talon behind you and thus, out of position. Be warned though, most run Flash / Ignite so even with a gank, his entire combo at 6 can kill you and get him out consequence-free. Not the most difficult lane to farm in if you aren't constantly pushed to your tower. *Keep an eye on his mana, he'll run out long before you will, make him pay for staying in lane too long.*
Udyr I've never personally had a problem with Udyr top. He belongs in the jungle, IMO, because he has a very poor gap-closing ability, especially early due to his need of not only Turtle Stance but a cloth and 5 health pots. He's much like Cho'Gath in that you can harass pretty much free of threat. Around level 4 he generally gets bear stance, but if he ever pops it, run back. It's usually a sign of an impending gank or attempted harass.
Make him use his mana for the turtle stance shield and regeneration, he won't have enough to use bear AND tiger/phoenix. Call for a gank if he's pushed too far, though he should never be able to outpush you. Udyr usually runs Flash / Exhaust, "bear" that in mind (get it?) Keep great vision, auto attack him all the time, farm well, profit. Easy lane in my books, might be tough for Nidalee's just starting out.
Akali is a strange top. Harass early and often, Akali generally runs boots and 3 pots because cloth won't build into anything they need. This means basic attacks will do a bit more, and over time tons more damage. Don't worry about her before level 6; without a gank she's pretty weak. Even with typical Exhaust / Ignite, she'll need quite a bit of time to kill you. Having Flash up while her Exhaust is up helps as well.
All that being said, once she hits 6 it's a new game. Good Akali players blow a charge to get to you, another charge for damage, and a third when you're running (you most likely will be running). What seems to be trending is saving those dashes for when she lands her Q, so time isn't wasted activating it and basic attacking. Make good use of E > Q > W away. If she uses two charges to stick to you, it's a decent fight. Her sustain with Hextech Revolver and her passive is tough to ignore, so harassing is somewhat dangerous and ineffective. If you dominate her enough early game, it won't matter, but if not ask your jungler to sit top often. Once she burns a charge of her ult, Akali is almost always out of position. After she sees a jungler coming, she'll most likely pop her shroud, so throw your W in there somewhere, if it triggers she's normally dead.
Lee Sin I don't consider Lee Sin much of a threat. In the laning phase at least, he's very.. average. Good sustain with a shield, good burst, good slow, etc. The trick is he should never land any of his skills. As long as he misses 75% of his skill shots, which should be easy with Nidalee's mobility, you'll be fine. Lee Sin will start cloth and 5 nine out of ten times. Harassment is great, but killing him is difficult.
The only time he should be able to kill you is before level 6. After that, you save your Pounce for when he Resonating Strikes into you. I'm a little taken by how much damage he does sometimes, with say dorans blade start. Once you hit cougar, just push him straight to tower every time. Escaping Lee Sin is pretty easy with well-timed pounces, and your heal negates most of his damage. The re-occurring theme of these match-ups is call your jungler for assistance if needed. If he gets ahead, he'll stay there for awhile unless moved. And to be moved, you'll need help.
Rumble Color change because I'm too lazy to move him above to the orange section =D. Rumble isn't too hard a lane once you get a feel for his range. Boots and three seem to be the way to go, though I've seen an Amp Tome with one pot and a dorans shield as well. Assuming any of these, harass early. The only skill you're weary of is that Flamespitter thing. Relatively low cooldown, good damage, big range. Don't, under any circumstance, think you can trade with him if you stand in it. You'll lose, every time.
Pre-6 is all about knowing your range. He can't hit you with Flamespitter at your auto attack range, he needs to close some distance first. If he pops his shield, walk away. If he lands that slow, walk away as best you can. Don't let him get free damage either, if you're taking the damage and can't get out, turn around, heal yourself, poke the **** outta him. When he overheats, try to engage. Not only is he silenced, but his moves when they come off cooldown are less effective because he's out of the danger zone.
After 6, I try to keep misdirecting myself when engaged on, to avoid all the Flamespitter damage. If you're not comfortable doing so, E > Q > W away. Pounce will generally get you just out of range if Rumble is standing still, but he never is lol. When he gets Will of the Ancients, his sustain is good, but not unbeatable. He has to hit minions, and for that he has to be close. If he ever throws his ult, try to avoid pouncing across it, too much damage taken and a slow too, he'll catch up.
Irelia can be managable, but barely. Her sustain is a pain (hah) and her damage is damn good. Nidalee is very squishy compared to Irelia so be very cautious about poking. If I remember correctly the range on her Bladesurge is greater than your auto attack range, so she can and most likely will engage if you allow her to. In my opinion, poking is out of the question unless she has little to no mana. I farm until 6 in this matchup. Believe it or not, losing first tower against her isn't a bad thing. A free-farming Irelia is bad for your team, so attempt to keep the minion line on your side of the river.
Then at level 6, I'll ask for ganks. In the games I've played against Irelia, recently especially, The only time I seemed to win the lane was when I got 1-2 kills before mid-game technically starts. The reason being is Irelia does some amazing things with her farm. She becomes near unkillable with just a Wriggles and Heart of Gold. Deny her levels and as much farm as possible. When you get a kill, push the minions to her tower. If I have enough health, I even go behind her tower to clear another wave before recalling. Never, ever stay in lane with over 1.6k if you have the option to back. If she's buying, you should eventually as well. Irelia with an item advantage = scary.
**Hard to say, but she counters Nidalee top pretty well. Damage never sticks, her damage is too good, but haven't played against her with the recent nerfs in Lulu's patch, so we'll see.
Vladimir seems to be on the rise since his buffs in the Sejuani patch. I've lost to a few very well played Vlads (with the help of their jungler, but that's what junglers do). That being said, he should be a really easy lane if done correctly. Instead of the usual boots and three potions, I've started to pick up boots, one potion, and one ward. Depending on your enemy jungler's starting location, place the ward at a time when you're pushed past river. Generally the 4 minute mark is when junglers are about to recall and look for ganks. Keep an eye out, always.
If you have the jungler checked, what you do against Vlad is poke. He's a squishy Cho'gath with less sustain early. He usually runs boots and three potions, if he EVER runs Amp tome and one, you should be in heaven. With little or no armor, he'll take true damage, which is about 60-65 per auto attack (and he has under 550hp generally at level 1). Early on, his Q is on too long a cooldown to do anything major, so you can trade with him easy. Level 6-7 is when he becomes a threat to kill you, though not a huge one. Flash Ignite is expected, maybe even Ghost Ignite. If you see Teleport, he'll be even less a threat then he was before. All in all, a straightforward, poke him till he's dead, keep an eye out for jungle help kind of lane.
Nasus is really fun to play, kinda easy to lane against as well. His Wither is your only concern. It's such a strong CC, even at level 1. I've rushed merc treads against Nasus before, and it worked well. An interesting alternative is the tenacity/ability power item, Moonflair Spellblade. Not a terrible idea if you want cooldown boots. I rarely see Nasus go boots and three, even though I feel it's a better idea. Most go cloth and five. Still, poke him when you can, make him pay for farming Q.
Push early, often, always. You want to make him miss Siphoning Strike farm as often as possible so he isn't a terror mid-game. You won't be able to prevent him from farming forever, and he can do so safely if he leaves your first turret up, which most do. Leave his up as well, let it kill as many minions as possible. Like I said, be careful of Wither. That in conjuction with a jungler's damage will kill Nidalee pre-6. Post-6 you may get away, but even that is debatable. Focus on minions first and foremost, but don't let him sit in front of the creep wave so it never hits tower. Killing Nasus is damn near impossible, but making him recall is ideal.
I can't think of too many more common solo top opponents, but let me know of anyone you face and I'll see if I can find a way to beat them =D. Also, buy wards people. They save lives.
Runes for Solo Top
AP Nidalee can not, under most circumstances, bully a decent solo top champion. Every one has gap closer equal to or greater than her auto attack range and will trade so, so much better than you will levels 1-5. That being said, our runes focus on mid to late game Nidalee.
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness - To pile onto our already great mobility. Be a nuisance in the enemy jungle, then just run out at 450+ MS with level 1 boots + pounce.
Greater Seal of Resilience - Almost every champion is going to be AD based, top at least. Any mitigation of damage without hindering our build is great.
Greater Glyph of Potency - Late-game AP runes. Just adds on what damage runes can. If you have flat AP Glyphs, they can influence your heal early game, so both have their advantages.
Greater Mark of Insight - Standard AP marks