Nidalee Build Guide by TheSteadfast77
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.
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.
I wanted to make a guide for Nidalee because I had been following other builds and not getting any kills. Even if you are doing your job as a support it is frustrating to go 2-0-15. This build is designed to have Nidalee be able to pack a punch in Cougar AND human form. I also like survivability instead of going for a glass cannon. While others die and go B, Nidalee stays in the fight! I plan to put a lot of information to explain the way I use the build, looking at just the items doesn't do it justice. At least look through to tips section!
Remember Besides the CORE items everything else is changeable!
There are a lot of Nidalee guides out there. I try them out and always find my own to be better/more fun.
Pros / Cons
-Versatility and Utility: Great addition to any team, Heals make for happy teammates.
-Strong laning: stay in lanes and team fights for days
- Fun satisfying gameplay: Epic spear kills and surprise cougar kills never get old
- Great farming in Cougar form: Nidalee would own at Harvest Moon :P
- Extremely mobile: thanks to Prowl, pounce, and Aspect Of The Cougar
- Map control with Bushwhack / Pounce
- Can spam spells: (with this build, otherwise its a con)
- Pusher: Clear minions with Aspect Of The Cougar then Primal Surge / Swipe for AS on tower
- Has SEVEN abilities to enjoy!
- High difficulty: Javelin Toss / Takedown skill shot and switching forms effectively requires practice
- *Team reliant: The nature of being more support oriented
- No Crowd Control
- Squishy IF you are overly aggressive
- Must master 7 abilities instead of the typical 4
- If you get behind in farming you will be good at nothing with this build. Switch to full AP if your really suffering.
*Team reliant doesn't mean you can't carry a game.... it means it is hard to without cooperation
I am still testing out the new masteries as everyone is. Make sure you take the point in
if you take Surge and Ghost.
You don't need to waste 4 points on Greed because Nidalee is such a strong farmer.
I prefer the mana + regen from Explanded Mind + [Meditation] instead of getting Good Hands . I rarely die anyway!
Swiftness Is essential for chasing and escaping. It stacks on top of Aspect Of The Cougar and Zeal in my build making for a fast cougar.
Flash Almost everyone uses it and Nidalee is no exception. Helps with her daring escapes and sets up positioning for kills
Teleport I use Teleport because I like to take a trip back to get Tear of the Goddess as soon as possible to start working on building mana. It adds to Nid's great mobility mid and late game. Defending or pushing towers, hurrying to a teamfight, or getting back to your lane after a messy start, Teleport has many uses.
NEW(ish) OPTION: Surge: Surge + Primal Surge = Dead Tower. I might make this the preferred option. This is my second choice. If i know I'm not getting a solo lane I take this. Besides pushing it gives you a boost in 1v1. Nidalee can utilize both the AP and AS.
Ghost I find flash and Pounce to be enough for escaping and hunting down champs, but if you don't like teleport, go for it.
Exhaust or Ignite : These can help secure a kill. I personally don't take them on Nidalee she can use her spear on retreating enemies. Javelin Toss / Takedown kills are so much more satisfying! I would take Exhaust over Ignite in this case because it can be used to escape as well.
Clairvoyance Clairvoyance is useful on supports but I use Bushwhack for map control. Nidalee isn't really a true support anyway.
Clarity My build lets you spam spells, don't need it.
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration Natural choice for Nidalee because she still does most of her damage with AP. Helps with Javelin Toss / Takedown kills.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration x 4 and Greater Seal of Replenishment x 5 strike a balance between helping Nidalee out with mana throughout the game. Feel free to play with the ratio.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power More damage, bigger heals, better Nidalee.
- Greater Quintessence of Health I use these for survivability because it suits my playstyle. Go for Greater Quintessence of Ability Power if you are more daring.
Skill Sequence (Depends on lane!)
Max your heal at every level you can. The only exception is at level 1. Pick up Bushwhack / Pounce if you have a laning partner. Not only does this make Nidalee able to handle major harassment, it makes for the best farming ability in Aspect Of The Cougar mode. Remember that this also gives a bonus for Attack speed. Use it on someone attacking a turret.
As the guide shows, most of the time you want to max Javelin Toss / Takedown second. This is especially true if you if you are in mid because the brush is not as useful and you have more room/better angles to hit your skill shot. If you plan on using Nidalee, you have to master the spear! This means anticipating enemy movement and being able to hit enemies not in sight. When mana isn't an issue it can be used to brush check. More info in the tips section
Remember! If you are laning with someone you can get one level of Bushwhack / Pounce first! If you take it at level one, try to put as many traps in the brush as you can until the fight starts. This means get to your lane quick!
Beyond that you want to save this ability for last. Unless of your traps are especially effective in your lane then it might be useful to take levels of this over Javelin Toss. 90% of games however I take it last. Make sure you get one rank before level 6! In cougar form I spam pounce to charge up Tear of the Goddess, escape, burst damage an enemy, and most of all to farm.
Tips on how to use Bushwhack will be in the tips section!
Get this every level that its available. It provides an armor and MR boost so switch to cougar any time you are being attacked. From there you can pounce away. It also has a minor speed boost so go cougar when you move across the map. In battle the build is designed to quickly pounce and burst and target, they turn human for a self heal and a Javelin Toss. When you burn down an enemy and they run, it is much better to turn human and spear throw than to tower dive.
Primal Surge / Swipe
This item build lets Nidalee play to all her strengths. She can stay alive and damage enough to utilize Aspect Of The Cougar Other builds only build AP witch make her cougar underused.
Like ALL good builds there should be some flux in your items depending on how the game is going. Examples to follow.
Most people start with Doran's Ring. I suppose it is the safer way to go. I prefer a jump start on Tear of the Goddess and pots just in case you get nuked. The Meki Pendant allows you to survive against the strongest of laners because the mp5 allows you to use Primal Surge / Swipe all the time. This includes Caitlyn, Brand, Fiddlesticks and Swain who can harass you all day and come up empty.
Even if I am doing well in lane, I use Teleport to quickly go back and get the Tear of the Goddess. Get boots if you can. From this point on spam abilities (more on this in tips section).
Next get Sheen before finishing your boots. The passive works very well with Aspect Of The Cougar. Next comes your decision on finishing your boots. Most games I go with Ionian Boots of Lucidity for the CD reduction. As always, against a CC heavy team pick Mercury's Treads. It might be a good idea to go for the latter if you have died to this point, opting for a more cautious build.
Pick up Zeal first if you are having a good game. I usually go with Phage first for the health. Trinity Force is what makes this build hybrid in my mind. It allows her cougar burst to hit harder and maybe add a slow. The speed boost is a must! Finish off the Zelda item and then Archangel's Staff. By now you should have a ton of mana from Tear of the Goddess making for a sizable boost in AP.
EDIT: Depending on farm, I have been going with a Blasting Want before finishing Trinity Force. If your spears aren't hitting very hard and your not using Cougar as much be sure to do this.
Finishing your Inventory
It will take you a while, even with great farming to get to this point. When you do, look up and see how the game is going. Now is the time to add MR or armor if your enemies are not balanced. If you are doing best with throwing spears and healing, add more AP. If your Aspect Of The Cougar play is going well add another hybrid item. I'll give some possibilities but in encourage you to adjust on the fly!
Guinsoo's Rageblade is a great hybrid item that fits in well after a big AP boost from Archangel's Staff.
An item I sometimes get here is Spirit Visage I started getting it after a rushed decision in the heat of a battle. I wanted a boost in MR and CD. Spirit Visage fits the bill but also gives a buff to your heal (on yourself) PLUS some health. Another thing I like is that it is cheap! This late in the game you can usually buy it in one trip.
If you want to hit harder go with Rabadon's Deathcap. If you need to slow down fleeing enemies and want some more health grab Rylai's Crystal Scepter. (Even though I used to suck balls with Rylai on Dota)
Your last defensive item if you think you need one. Banshee's Veil has a better passive, but go for Guardian Angel if the other team is heavy on AD.
Still trying out other options for Nidalee, more info to follow.
Nidalee's role changes throughout the battle.
Levels 1-5 focus on last hitting first and foremost. All but the worst harassers will not be able to burn you down over your heal and health pots.
At Level 6 the tide should turn into a harasser by using a cougar burst.
If you push your lane enemy back Nidalee becomes a great ganker mid game. With Prowl out of some brush and pounce, she can close gaps quickly.
At the same time during mid game you want to take advantage of your pushing capabilities. Once your lanes tower is down, help your allies with theirs.
If you have time away from laning, pushing, and ganking, then get the Blue Buff! It does wonders on Nidalee. When you have it, spam you spears and be a little more aggressive. The CD reduction allows you to use Pounce to escape more often. Make sure you ask your team mates! If you are not carrying let a pure AP caster take it.
Once your Javelin Toss / Takedown is level 4 or 5 you can start dealing big chunks of damage off of enemies. Make them back up with Cougar, then back up even farther to dodge spears.
In very late game Nidalee's role becomes more support oriented but not completely. In team fights you want to not rush into the fray too quickly. I tend to stay back and throw spears and heals, then charge in towards the end to help finish off an enemy or buy time for escaping allies. Look for an an opening to sneak around to kill enemy squishies! Your pushing ability is even stronger so you can burn down towers very quickly with a few minion shields. Don't neglect your traps late game either for watching Baron and for lowering defensive stats.
The first game I used this build. Before it are the kind of scores I used to get on Nidalee.
Here's some more evidence. I don't amass a crazy amounts of kills, but keep in mind Nidalee is also supporting allies, pushing, and providing map control. I always have the best Kill/Death ratio. Usually when I die in a game it is followed by a "Finally!" comment.
Many of these tips should be well known to a pro Nidalee player. There is always something about a champ that can get overlooked so its worth it to browse through. I will keep adding to this section as I continue to play her.
Hitting with Javelin Toss / Takedown
Landing your spear it essential to good Nidalee play. Practice by playing Nidalee a few games in a row. I can't help you with your aim other than tell you to anticipate where your enemy is running. I can tell you some other things to keep in mind:
Bushwhack / Pounce is helpful in landing spears because it gives sight of the enemy for 12 seconds no matter the level. This is another reason to spam traps as much as your mana allows.
Next keep in mind that this build has stacked mana, so mid to late game you should not worry about firing spears that will most likely miss. I call it a "shot in the dark" when you throw a spear into the fog of war. I've gotten countless kills this way that demoralize and piss off your opponent.
In team battles the enemy often clumps together in a lane. Especially when on the defensive, or when delaying the enemy when your teammates die, it is effective to hail spears down the lane. Almost all of them will hit someone even if its not the low health champ you want. This chips away at the whole teams health and makes them hesitate about advancing towards you. I've done this along with traps and kept a whole team at bay, buying time for my allies.
Here's another tactic. It is very effective to hide in the brush along the edge of lane and throw spears at enemies. Before doing this, set up a little defensive perimeter by putting traps at the likely spots you will be chased through. This allows you to safely annoy the **** out of teams because they cannot catch you in the jungle because of Prowl. Be smart about this though, don't be too far from allies or try it against someone you think might be able to catch up with you. When you master it you can do it from behind the enemy so that they will either have to stop pushing towards your tower or get ripped apart. The idea is to split the enemy team to come chase you. I'll try and get some pictures for this, it is hard to explain.
The basic idea here is to quickly change into Aspect Of The Cougar, Pounce onto the enemy champion with W, hit them with your other abilities and then retreat back to safety and throw a heal on yourself. In lane this does wonders, because most people harass you, then at level 6 you turn the tide.
Basic Combo R > Q > W > E
You want to use Q (Takedown) before your Pounce (W) because it effects your next hit for a decent duration. Having it ready makes it easy to land because you might only get one auto attack off.
In lane I've found if you successfully pull off this combo a couple of times it burns down enough health to keep champions on their heels. The enemy champ learns to automatically retreat when you turn into cougar. Take advantage of this! Scare them off when they are about to last hit or attack your tower!
Another tip: Heal yourself right before you turn into Aspect Of The Cougar, the AS buff makes you hit
And another: If your Pounce doesn't reach the enemy champion, try to use Swipe (E). This ability does damage in front of you. This way you can still take some health away even if you mistime your Pounce.
Also don't forget about your Human form abilities! Instead of turret diving or getting yourself into trouble, switch back to Human and finish off fleeing foes with your spear!
In team fights just like lane, pick your moment when you want to Cougar Burst. I think of it like stalking your prey :). Stay back, throw spears, heals, and traps down. Nidalee is hard to kill but not if you jump into three champions. Especially since I tend to get targeted in fights. Towards the end of the fight, jump in and help your allies finish off enemies. If you win, chase down the stragglers with pounce. If you lose, get the hell out with pounce!
Nidalee Can also be an annoying champion to deal with because she can escape so easily. When being ganked or chased, immediately
Nidalee's Primal Surge / Swipe is great for saving allies at the last second. With the abundance of mana you have, mid game and on you can afford to try and top off your allies' health.
In a team fight I prioritize healing whoever is about to die, myself, then the carry. I heal myself more often because If I die, there will be no more heals for the team. Otherwise heal the Carry because the AS buff is VERY powerful. Use your Heal when attacking a tower to burn it down fast. It is also wise to heal the AD carry when fighting Baron or Dragon, even if they are at full health.
I will expand on this soon. Basically you want to use your traps as if they were wards. That means, near the Dragon and Baron and in the brush where you are more likely to be ganked. Narrow paths are always a good spot. Even deep in enemy territory is useful not for getting a kill or doing damage but to know where champions are headed due to the sight debuff.
Also in team fights you want if possible to have the enemy tank set off the trap. Bushwhack reduces MR and Armor substantially and makes them much less of a tank.
I hope this guide has been informative. I will be continually updating this guide to perfect it. Please let me know how I can improve it.
I want to improve on the icons in the guide because it is difficult to specify which version of the ability you intend. I also would like to put in some fancy maps/pictures for some good places to use traps.
11/??/11 - Updated New Masteries
12/14/11 - Added Blasting wand as an option before Trinity Force and adjusted masteries: No more spell vamp. Added one AP Quint. Updated writing on Masteries and Summoner Spells.