Nidalee Build Guide by KoreanSP
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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.
Intro - Who am I, and who is Nidalee?
Welcome! I'm known as multiple aliases, been playing MobA games from casual gameplay to the competitive scene but nevertheless, I've always been someone who analysed everything and gave my fair worth of information on it. I play at a high level and always give it my best, and this guide is no exception to my motto. On Mobafire, I'm known as KoreanSP, and I have been playing League for a good amount of time. This is my comprehensive guide to Nidalee, the Bestial Huntress.
| Nidalee is one of the strongest top champs in terms of lane bullying. She is unique due to her ultimate effectively giving her SIX skills.
She has great lane sustain, constant harass, and one of the strongest bursts that can be repeated every 6~ or less seconds. She can carry a team, as well as provide all the roles an AD-Top Bruiser can do. Protect the carry, focus their carry, take down targets, be a damage-soaker, force the enemy to waste CC on you, anything.
She can win the lane phase with ease, constantly force the enemy to miss experience and creep kills, while being able to spot ganks and escape them. If anything, you should be able to turn the tables onto the enemy and perhaps win a 2v1.
I would appreciate any criticism to improve this guide's shape. Thanks! I love comments that rip apart my build and guide, pointing out flaws, and so on.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
- Strong Farmer
- One of the strongest Lane bullies
- Insane mobility
- Her Q, W, and E have 2 skills
- High burst damage
- Sustain/AS Steroid
- Dominating Early-Mid game presence
- Very powerful in a 1v1, low CD cougar form skills
- Can overextend and farm, and be able to escape with ease
- One of the few Meta Solo-top champs
- Multiple ways to build, lots of variation
- Can lose out in trades during the lane
- Traps can be avoided
- Spears are weak and essentially useless (AD)
- Skills in regular form costs quite a bit of mana
- Extremely vulnerable to hard CC and silences/supressions
- Burst requires melee range
- Reliant on lane dominance, or falls off mid-game
- Falls off Late game compared to many other bruisers, weaker late game then early-mid game
Preferred Mastery Tree
The 21/9/0 Offense-Hybrid Tree emphasizes both Magic and Armor Penetration as an AD Nidalee uses both types of attacks. The defense tree is used so you can trade hits better when there are minion waves, so you take less damage from every minion. Since you will use your auto attack to poke ta the enemy often, you will undoubtedly take minion damage as well.
Other Viable Mastery Trees
The 9/12/9 Balanced Tree, you want to take advantage of the speed, the higher armor/reduction from minion damage, as well as Butcher . You lose out on a bit of bursting power, but get a more sustainable lane phase which can help you win the lane.
The 14/16/0 Hybrid Tree is also viable as a way to get a strong defense and offense. Similar to the previous tree above, it just sacrifices some speed and Runic Affinity for more defense and damage.
The common 9/21/0 Defence Tree - it is decent for many bruisers up top, and provides a more sustainable/tankier laning phase. For many, it is strong, but for Nidalee, there are much better choices as she isn't an initiating off tank or someone who builds rather tanky.
Note:In the defense tree, there are two masteries that I'd like to point out. Tough Skin and Indomitable are two really good masteries for the reason that they provide 4 damage off from minions. During laning trades, you'll most likely recieve lots of damage from the minions. These masteries help reduce quite a bit to give you that advantage. If you are freezing the lane, it is the same idea in that you save a lot of HP from the minions.
My Rune Choice, and why?
Current Rune Page
Ability Explanations and Skill Sequences
Your passive helps you be the lane bully that an AD Nidalee can effectively be. When you are in the bushes, you are noticeably faster. That effect stays even after you leave the bush for a bit. You want to camp in the bush, then pop out to last hit or throw an auto attack or two to wards the enemy. Ideally, you want the lane to be in the middle, and you can just abuse the bush to poke the enemy while avoiding minion and enemy fire.
Later on in the game, you'll use the bushes to escape or to have the speed advantage in catching up to someone. Nidalee is one of the best jukers in terms of bruisers in the game due to her Cougar form's W and this passive. Just go from bush to bush, and they'll have a hard time ever catching up.
Human Form: Essentially, this skill is what defines AP Nids. But in this guide, AD Nid is the focus. Therefore, this skill does much less damage than what most expect it to do. It can be used to force the enemy to constantly move as well as a small-poke since it still will do a good amount of damage early on if you hit it at the max range. It is a harder skill shot to hit due to its simple predictability and slow move speed. I personally use it to annoy the enemy and prevent them from recalling. It's best not to spam otherwise you will run out of mana fast. Another thing is that it can be used to check bushes. Listen to that specific sound where the spear hits, or watch if the spear keeps going or stops.
Cougar Form: This is your execution skill. It does a lot of damage, and similar to how Garen's ultimate works, it does more damage (up to 300%), depending on low the enemy. It scales off your bonus AD, and procs on-hit effects such as Critical Strikes, Sheen Proc, and Frozen Mallet Proc. It has a low cooldown, and it will be the largest part of your burst. Make sure to use it last for your burst to get as much damage as possible. Use it to last hit, as it resets your auto attack timer, hence you fit in an AA->Takedown->AA.
This is why Nidalee can overextend often and still come out with plenty of health.
Human Form: You drop a trap at a desired spot that is hardly visible (although they made it so you could see it on the minimap much easier), and when walked over by an enemy unit, it will lower their magic resist and armor, and mark vision on them for 12 seconds. This is one of the reasons why ganking Nidalee is hard, since anyone wishing to gank needs to avoid the traps which can be hard, or time-consuming. Early on, it does decent damage at level 1 to the enemy if they constantly trip on it, which if you plant it in the bushes, they often do. Later on, it can be used to check bushes, protect target objectives (buffs, Baron, Dragon), and discourage chase/help you lower their resits.
Cougar Form: It is your main mobility skill that helps you run or chase. It does decent damage, and is great for farming. You can use it jump over walls efficiently. Once you hit level 6, you can start using this skill to escape or to cut the distance dramatically. TIP: You can Flash then use your jump to surprise the enemy or ambush them, then pull off your burst for an easy kill if they are low.
Note:This skill jumps the way you are facing, and requires a bit of practice. A good Nidalee will jump the proper way and be agile and nimble. A new Nidalee will misjump, jump the wrong direction, fail to jump over walls, miss the damage on the jump, and so on. This skill is better learned by experience and skill, rather then pictures and walls of text. It isn't too hard, but just learn the distance it jumps so you won't under or over jump a target.
Human Form: This skill is your sustain and your attack speed steroid. Simply put, you'll be doing a lot of trades in the lane with mainly your auto attack, and this skill helps heal afterwards, help get attack to take down towers, or deal faster damage. You can use it on your AD carry as well to increase their attack speed greatly. This skill is your first skill you max due to the heal and steroid, you just are able to dominate top without much consequences.
Cougar Form: In AP Nid, this skill does a lot of damage, but for AD Nid, it is just used to farm, and the weaker part of your burst. Nevertheless, it is spammable and still does hefty damage. I'd use it to farm the minions when they are stacked, low, or if you are clearing lanes.
Your ultimate changes forms from Human to Cougar. What are the advantages of both?
+ Heal and Traps (more utility)
+ 3 of your skills are attacks
+ More mobility
+ Heavy burst
Essentially, you'll want to wither down your opponent in ranged form, and then burst them down. You could also wither your opponent down, then slowly use your burst to burn their health, while going back to human form to heal.
At 6, the name of the game changes as you become a powerful ranged harasser and a devastating burst-executioner with the press of a key.
When you get back to lane, use Cougar Form. Above 6, you'll mostly use Cougar Form apart from when occasionally you want to use the heal/trap/spear.
Skill Sequence Reference
Recommended Summoner Spells & Explanations
Flash is useful for the reason that it has multiple benefits and uses. It can be used for:
- Running away
- Flashing to snipe with Javelin Toss
- Ambushing targets at objectives
- In conjunction with your Bushwhack (Cougar Form) to cut the distance
- Creative uses such as jukes
Ignite has been one of the most used skills in the game, and it is easy to see why. True damage, with a healing debuff - countless kills have been because of this single spell. This skill is useful all stages in the game, from early to late. It hard counters several champs' skills such as Dr.Mundo or Swain. Due to these facts, it is on many top champs and during trades and it is a key part of anyone's burst. Combined with your burst and Ignite, it can take down enemies below 50% more often then not in the lane phase. Add in a Flash to cut the distance and surprise the enemy, and you have yourself a kill.
Exhaust is not common on Nidalee, let alone a large portion of top champs, but I find it crucial in today's meta. I recently have been using Exhaust quite a bit unless I face a specific champ I need to debuff with the healing reduction. It helps slow the enemy greatly for catching up, or running away. When your jungler ganks, Exhaust on the enemy is usually close to a certain kill.
A large portion of its usefulness comes from the dual resist debuff which makes trading painful for the enemy, and makes your burst hit HARD. The current meta revolves around the AD Carry, so using this on their AD carry, or any fed carry such as their AP carry, lowers their damage output for a few seconds, long enough for your team to get the advantage.
Other Viable Spells
Teleport: This skill helps you get to lane faster so you can have a level/sustain advantage over the enemy champ. You can also get across the map, backdoor, and pop up in other lanes to turn the numbers to your favor. However, it brings no 1v1 advantage directly, and if you don't use it often which happens in many games, it won't be worth getting. Nidalee already goes to lane and back fast, while she doesn't have CC to bring to another lane. Still, it is useful for GP10-meta early on. Pair it with Revive and then scream "TSM!" everytime you pull off a big play. /sarcasm
Cleanse: Although this skill is rarely seen on any champs, let alone top champs, it is still useful at times. It helps counter enemy offensive spells like Exhaust or Ignite, or CC's from junglers and enemy champs. However, the biggest downfall of it is that since it is so uncommon, people tend to not use it properly or forget about it, especially beginners. A Quick Silversash does the same for 1.5k~ gold on a shorter CD and also removes other effects such as Mordekaiser's ultimate.
Ghost: It'd seem like this spell would blend perfectly with Nidalee's Cougar Form, but since you have your pounce and passive, you rarely have a hard time sticking up to the enemy. It also doesn't bring the massive versatility that Flash does, but it is still viable in a game, and I've used it several times with efficiency. It is just that Nidalee doesn't need as much of a constant speed than others due to her mobility.
Item Build & Explanations
Cloth Armor: You get more armor, and it builds into Ninja Tabi, Wriggle's Lantern, and other various items. It gives you 5 health potion. Pick against Melee-AD bruisers. Common pick in top.
Boots of Speed: You get more speed which blends well with your passive and eventually your pounce and ultimate. You get 3 health potion. Good against skill-shot enemies or against enemies you dominate against such as Nasus or Talon. If the enemy is slow, you can also use this start. Common on Nidalee top. Abuse the bushes with this start.
Elixir of Fortitude: You get a free Heal essentially, with around 150-250~ of so health when you use the potion. It's extremely uncommon, and I personally found it by accident. You get a lot of health with 6 health potions/4 health potions and a Sight Ward. It is for a farm heavy lane with lots of sustain, and the idea of a 'heal'.
Regrowth Pendant: It gives you health regeneration, and in a lane where harrassing is limited, you have Teleport, or you want a fast Philosopher's Stone, this is good. It gives you 1 health potion.
To Dominate in the Lane
If you are doing good in the lane, you want to get 1-3 Doran's Blades. They are extremely cost efficient and give you sustain while being cheaper then a Wriggle's Lantern and you can sell them earlier. I wouldn't suggest more then 3 at max, ideally 2 seems the best.
However, if you are doing bad in the lane, such as getting zoned or you got ganked early, you want to get Wriggle's Lantern. Why? Because it gives you all the stats you need to have great sustain which includes life steal, armor, and damage as well as minion procs and a free ward. TIP: If you have Wriggle's, and your jungler is preoccupied with another lane or is on the other side of the map, don't be afraid to drop by your own jungle if your lane is pushed as you can kill the jungle creeps with ease due to minion procs. Helps catch up to the enemy if they are ahead in levels.
The Heart of Gold builds straight into your Randuin's Omen and helps you get more health early on. Get this early if you are behind, but if you are dominating, by all means, skip it as the GP10 will not help as much as your core items. Realize that it gives about 1 ward per 3 minutes( 25 gold per minute). Don't overestimate the Heart of Gold, but if you're behind, it will definitely help.
The Philosopher's Stone isn't a common idea on Nidalee as she doesn't need the sustain as much due to her inbuilt sustain and tankiness, as well her main damage not being reliant on mana. However, it is one way to start a game, still gives good sustain, and is useful to get a Shurelya's Reverie which is a really strong item. If no one on the team has it, I'd suggest getting it for the sake of your team. Nevertheless, same as the Heart of the Gold, if you are dominating, skip it. If there a certain condition, then buy it.
The Right Boots
Mercury's Treads give plenty of Tenacity and are commonly used on top champs. Nidalee is no exception, and in most cases, you want to get these boots. Magic Resist is also great since you don't get too much of that. WARNING: Tenacity does NOT stack.
They are commonly picked on top as well, and usually most champs pick them against another AD-bruiser. Since top is a farm lane, often they are bought to also reduce minion damage. They are REALLY cheap too and build from Cloth Armor. I usually get these then change into Mercury Treads later on once teamfights occur. That's my suggestion.
These boots are rarely seen, and I don't use them. I've seen others use them, and CDR is a great stat. It makes your short CD's all shorter. However, I don't think 1> second off your skills are worth it. Other boots do more. Get them if you want, and it fits your playstyle, but I never choose them.
TIP: You don't need boots as fast since Nidalee won't need to roam so much early on, and she already has excellent mobility.
You want your Phage to be more tanky and get slow procs which help with chasing and during teamfights. When harrassing with your human form, your spears+AS steroid will constantly slow them, making it painful to get close to even last hit. The important thing is that your Phage is going to be built into something much stronger. A Hexdrinker gives you more AD and MR, but also a neat passive that prevents AP skills from instantly finishing you off, by giving you a small shield. AP champs will eventually gank you, or you'll gank AP champs, specifically mid lane. So this item helps. It'll be built in a Maw later on.
The Trinity Force is where a lot of your damage arises, and when you get this item, you will hit hard and totally just dominate mid game. You have slow, crit, attack damage, a Sheen proc that works on your cougar form's Q. As for many bruisers, this item is where you start to snowball harder or at the minimum, become a deadly threat even if you weren't doing so hot before. However, in the case your team lacks CC or you need more health, exchange for a Frozen Mallet.
The Guardian Angel is core because of how well it works with Nidalee. You get tankier with cougar form + dual resists, and since you can do plenty of damage even without a lot of damage items, you can turn the tides with 1 more burst when you revive. I find GA midgame to be a huge item. You can initiate fights when you want and go in without too much worry of not doing anything. You are also less desirable to be targeted, which with Nidalee, is a huge mistake. Left ignored, you can do so much burst damage on a short CD.
Your The Bloodthirster will start to do a lot of damage for your Q, and it gives plenty of lifesteal. Amplifies your burst, I usually get it in 90% of my Nidalee games. Just make sure to keep alive, and always farm your stacks, especially after you die. The AD from this (100 at max stacks) is made greater by the 300% bonus on your Cougar Form's Q.
The Maw of Malmortius builds from your Hexdrinker and is common on bruisers. Magic Resist, an active that gives more damage, an active that gives you a shield at low health, and lots of attack damage. This is fantastic for Nidalee and is great towards the late game.
The Last Whisper is something I get recently instead of The Bloodthirster. The reason being is that you don't get as much from lifesteal, and rather the pure damage, 40% damage penetration is stronger in many cases with plenty of armor (110+) enemies. It is also cheaper by a good amount. It's just that the damage from BT is fantastic and targeting squishies without much armor is better in ideal situations.
The thing about Warmog's Armor is that it gives pure health and regeneration, no other effects. It gives a hefty chunk of it, 1270 at max stacks that don't disappear. I usually don't like Warmog's Armor, but in the case of Nidalee, her damage comes mainly from her short CD bursts, and she doesn't need a LOT of attack damage for it. Hence, the health helps. Especially with your runes, masteries, and other items, you should have reached the 'ideal' point for armor and MR late game. But in cases where the enemy team has a clear AD dominance or a clear AP dominance, this item should be swapped accordingly.
The Randuin's Omen is powerful since it gives one of the best actives in the game that wrecks AD based comps effectively. It gives armor, is easy to build into, has a GP10 for a part, and gives health and regeneration. However, it doesn't give as much health, and if you don't take advantage of the active, it won't be effective. If the enemy isn't extremely AD heavy/dominant, this item may not be as good as a Warmog's Armor's health benefit.
One of my personal favorites lately, I've been using it instead of Randuin's Omen because a lot of supports/tanks get Randuin's Omen, especially some of the top-meta junglers right now. Although you lose out on the GP10, I feel that this item helps you with mana, a lot of CDR, heavy armor, and one of the best, if not THE BEST unique passives. It wrecks any team with lots of AD heroes, or reliant on a single AD carry. Since you'll be right in front of their face, you'll be giving off the debuff constantly. Frozen Heart: Replace Randuin's Omen
It used to be part of my core as well, but due to the addition of Maw, you don't need FoN. You have your runes+boots as well as GA and Maw for Magic Resist anyway. It's good if the enemy has 3+ AP casters that are wrecking face. Replace Maw of Malmortius, Warmog's Armor, or Guardian Angel.
Although the slow is useful, it is a waste to get it with Trinity Force since you waste a huge passive. Plus, you don't need that bit of health nor is the damage worth it. The slow is only useful on CC-lacking teams which isn't often, and since you are a burster, you won't get to use this to the best of its potential.Replace Trinity Force.
It is a great item, and many Nidalee's like it. Ideal for split pushing and when you have to be bot lane. You also need more damage for the PD to be effective (especially an IE).
Crit hard, do plenty of damage, scare the enemy. Useful when your AD carry is useless or completely lacking. Only get it when you are really ahead or hard-carrying with a dominance. Replace Warmog's Armor or Maw of Malmortius.
The armor pen and active helps sometimes, but it's suited more towards an AD-melee type build. AD Nid bursts. Hence a bad item. Other items do better then this. I don't suggest it.
Zeke's Herald It is better for your supports, as it is truly a waste of space if you have it since there are many other better choices. I suppose if you want it... Replace Warmog's Armor.
Shurelya's Reverie You can get this by going Philosopher's Stone early on for the GP10 and great sustain and use as a midgame item. It can be used to initiate, and if your team doesn't have it, you can get it as a quick 'mini' ghost. However, I'd suggest replacing it late game for another item as your support/tanks should have this and you can use other better items.
This item helps against AP bursters like Veigar or LeBlanc. It is one way to counter hard CC-based teams such as Malphite too. It is really niche-based though, never a general good item to get, just specific counters. Replace Guardian Angel or Warmog's Armor.
Only against REALLY FED Melee/Ranged AD carries, otherwise it isn't worth it. Fill it in mid-game, Replace your Warmog's Armor, Maw of Malmortius, or The Bloodthirster depending on the situation.
Strong pick early game and works great until mid game. Don't upgrade it though, as Youmuu's Ghostblade isn't worth it. Helps shred armor and deal more damage.
Bloodthirster VS Last Whisper
Both are really powerful items on Nidalee and give their advantages and disadvantages.
Let's compare the benefits of both.
+ Highest AD boost item in the game
+ Highest Life Steal item in the game
+ Decently cheap (3k)
+ Amplifies your Q so your 300% damage makes the bonus AD from BT become much greater.
+ Able to farm off minions and neutral creeps to heal after a battle.
- B.F Sword is really expensive for a single part. It can be hard to get if you aren't ahead, or saving money constantly.
- Stacks. If you die, you lost a large portion of what makes BT effective. You have to farm to get the stacks, might get you away from team fights/get you isolated.
- Life Steal isn't AS good as Nidalee since she is a repetitive burster and poker, not a constant harrasser. Her AA isn't the main source of her damage essentially.
+ Cheaper! By around 800~ gold.
+ The parts are quite cheap and you can get them early/change into other items/sell without much setback.
+ Everyone has armor, this item only gets better as the enemy's armor grows.
+ Tears through those with low armor, so it amplifies damage.
- Less AD and no lifesteal.
- If the enemy has no armor/little, it won't be as effective as a The Bloodthirster.
- Usually squishies don't have armor, and you'll target them in many cases. Hence, a BT beats a LW in this case.
The Bloodthirster is powerful and gives a large AD boost, making your burst scary. Since you usually attack squishies, and really, only a few tanks and tanky offtanks get that 110~+ armor. Hence, a BT in many cases will be better. Plus the lifesteal is amazing after a fight, and even during a fight. In comes in handy in 1v1's too.
The Last Whisper shreds through enemy armor. Late game, it is likely that the enemy will have 2+ 110+ armor enemies. To counter you and your AD carry, it might be 3 or 4 110+ armor enemies. It is cheaper and your Q will strike hard.
All in all, you want a The Bloodthirster for most games, while a Last Whisper if the enemy is pretty tanky in terms of armor. If they have a fed tank/offtank, you might want LW but if the focus are a few squishy carries, get BT. Or if you are that ahead, get BOTH! [:
Philosopher's Stone and Heart of Gold
Both are ridiculously good GP10 items, yet both got nerfed due to their cost efficiency.
So why get them still?
This item gives :
+ Great Sustain
+ Easy build up
+ Easily replaceable
It is a great item so I'd suggest trying it out. It helps with skill spamming, health regen, as well as ward money. If planning to upgrade it to a Shurelya's Reverie, buy it. In a farm lane, or a predictable long game, I'd get it too.
This item gives:
+ Cheap, only 1 component
+ Builds into Randuin's Omen, really strong
+ Extra health, tankier
+ Essentially sustain due to health.
This item is in my opinion, slightly overrated, but nevertheless great. However, I tend to skip it due to how I find it's flat HP benefit not worth the slot nor time. However, a Randuin's Omen is powerful, so I get HoG when I plan to build it. In a farm lane, or a predictable long game, I'd get it too.
This item is fantastic for the reason that your burst can do so much damage without much damage items. You can still be useful with plenty of utility without damage. The dual-resists in combination with your Cougar form makes you extremely tanky, and the passive of the item makes you a target worth second-guessing. In the current meta-game, the team who can initiate on their favor can usually come out ahead, and this helps out. For Nidalee, this item is core, and whether you get it late game or mid game, the item still is necessary to have an extremely powerful bruiser.
Laning Advice and Teamfights - General Tips
Nidalee excels at being a top hero for several reasons.
- She can last hit smoothly, and with an advantage due to her range. You can use the Javelin Toss to last hit as well while you use your AA to hit another. Her Primal Surge increase her AS, making it even easier.
- She can prevent the enemy from last hitting properly by hitting them with an AA or two everytime they try to last hit. Eventually this will start to zone them out.
- Bushwhack can prevent ganks and weaken the jungler.
- Heal by Primal Surge One of the few top champs with a heal-sustain.
- Multiple ways to check the bush with spear and traps.
- At 6, she becomes a totally new champ with much higher damage.
- One of the best mobility for top champs.
- Dominates early-mid game.
- Cougar Form - Q hits hard, due to 300% amplification, hard to calculate if heal would save the enemy.
- Easy to last hit/push/clear waves at 6 with skills.
- Low CD Cougar form, no mana cost.
- You can jump over walls with your pounce, abuse it.
- Exhaust works wonders.
During level 1-2, you just want to farm up by last hitting without pushing/randomly hitting minions. You should establish your dominance here by poking the enemy harshly, forcing a few pots. Abuse your traps on the top 2 bushes and the river. Watch for a level 2 gank, especially if they have a Lee Sin, Shyvana, or Twitch. You can't escape here well.
If they hit you back/want to trade, use your heal at this point to beat them out. Drop a trap on their spot too, as it deals pretty good damage early on, and lowers their resists. You must prove that you are the lane bully at this point, and avoid their skill shots.
Abuse your Prowl. Stay in the brush if you can (wary of ganks though). Pop up, throw an AA or two on the enemy, get back in to avoid aggro from the minions as well return fire. Pop out to last hit. And so on.
Keep higher CS than enemy
Watch for ganks
Abuse bushes and passive
Conserve mana if you can
Place traps in the bushes
During level 3-5, you should constantly use your auto attacks, traps, and spears to poke and harass. Don't expect on a kill at this point, you don't do enough burst. But if they are stupid enough to get low, use your summoner spells and wreck them. Watch for baits though if it is obvious that he is endangering his life.
Use Mana carefully, you can go OOM fast. Use it only for traps, the rare spears (usually when they are in the bush hiding, or trying to recall), and heal after a trade/big damage blow.
If you find a passage to recall back to base, do it. Especially if the lane is pushed and they are tower-hugging, go back, get your boots/wards/pots, then return. However, if the lane is at the middle/their favor, yet they are too scared to lasthit due to your fearful damage, then continue to farm and last hit ONLY.
If your jungler comes, help him out as much as possible. You don't provide much instant damage nor CC. With an Exhaust, you might be able to kill him though.
Note:Abuse traps. You should really trap the river, the tips of bushes, and even your own jungle. Gets kills, saves your team, spots the enemy.
Keep higher CS than enemy
Ward key points, watch for ganks
Stay on top of trades
Get your items
Continue trapping key points
At level 6-9, you'll start to build a bit of damage and bulkiness, the enemy should be worried, and at the worst, you should be equal in creep score. Hopefully you haven't died yet, but in the case you have, Nidalee is strong at 6+, and can come back around mid game. If you are kills ahead, then Nidalee can snowball in the lane well. Especially if you are lot of farm ahead (which shouldn't be hard, and you should be 20-50+ CS ahead. If you are double or higher their score, very good. Aim to be the highest or second highest CS in the game.
Abuse your skills and advantage (in most cases) of being able to trade hits and come out on top. Keep poking them while avoiding their damage. Use your mobility and utility to help out your jungler, team, and to prevent yourself from dying. You can start diving if the enemy is low if you have a teammate nearby. You can just Flash-Pounce in the battle, then pounce out after your burst.
Abuse bushes again! At 6, you should use bushes to gain the speed necessary to pounce far, then throw your burst. Change back to human if they run and keep harassing them. Use your Primal Surge for the attack speed. Phage procs hurt here. If they turn to fight, pounce away so your CD's get reset, then turn on them and burst again, then repeat. Heal in human form if you need it.
You should have wards at this point. Make sure to buy wards. Some wards are great. Did I say wards? Repeat it. It is your responsbility, not your jungler nor mid lane to watch out for ganks on top. Top is a HUGE gank-spot. You will get the midlane to come up, the jungler to come up, and if you are doing so well, the entire team perhaps. Play smart, ward. I usually buy 3~ or so wards if possible per return. That is enough for a good amount of time. If the enemy wards a key spot/wards a lot, get vision wards. It will make up for it. Don't be a scumbag and blame your team if you get ganked and die.
Depending on what side you are on, either clear or steal the mini Golems, or clear or steal the wolves (a bit farther then the Golems). If you have a Wriggle's Lantern, you can easily clear. If you are on purple side, you can ask your jungler for the red (if the jungler doesn't need it, otherwise give it to the jungler). If you are on blue, avoid getting the blue buff, you don't need it. The only reason you'd get it is because the enemy is about to steal it, and you don't have your team. Better you than them.
Dragon and teamfights will start to occur, as well as roaming (especially if the laning phase ended early, you lost a tower/they lost a tower) so be careful. Sometimes missing a wave or two to help a team fight or run down for dragon is better then losing dragon and 2 of your members because you weren't there to ace. General rule is that dragon>tower because you can always kill the enemy tower later (and it will almost always fall), but that individual dragon is gone when it dies.
Note:Use your pounce to jump over small walls, although this takes timing, this is a large portion of your juking mid and late game. Abuse it to the best of your ability. It is something that experience is necessary for, rather pictures of paragraphs of explanations.
Keep higher CS than enemy
Watch for teamfights
Abuse bushes and passive to run and chase
Watch for counter-jungling
Trap key points
Watch for early teamfights and dragon
When you are level 10+, a lot of teamfights and battle over objectives will occur. If you haven't started to roam, you might want to keep your eye on the minimap. Likely, you, your enemy, or both will of started to roam more. Don't throw your lane completely as many do, keep an eye on it and try to not lose it. Although dragon>tower, sometimes you lose too much vision with a tower-loss which can be greater than the dragon gold. If your team has CC, you can easily pull off your burst for heavy damage during fights and ganks.
Clear the jungle if your AD carry/mid/jungler isn't nearby. You want as much exp and CS as possible to get your items. Ward if possible, especially if you have inventory space and 75+ gold. It is detrimental to ward the map.
WARDS WIN GAMESDon't yell at your support for not warding, instead ask your team to ward as well.
You will come in after your tank/initiator during team fights OR stay in the back and protect your carry, then leap out when their carry gets into execution range. Your goal is to attack their weakest targets and carries, OR protect your team's carries. You should have GA, so don't be afraid of shredding their AD carry and dying, your team should secure your revive.
Remember to ward baron as people are starting to become level 14+. It is possible to baron before 14+, but generally that is a good baseline to keep and a good habit to form.
You should either stick to your carries and protect them, go in as a damage soaker, or stick to their carries and destroy them. Half the time, the enemy will have to focus you to keep their carry alive, or to kill your carry. Use your ultimate and W to keep yourself alive as long as possible. Don't forget to use your actives such as Randuin's Omen.
Stick with team
Work together to push towers
Ward Baron and Dragon
Decide priority targets
Place traps at key points
Clear the Jungle and Counter-jungle
Focus Inhibitors, Focus Nexus/Nexus Turrets
DON'T facecheck, use spear or traps.
Finished Build #2
What is it? - This is an example build, and is extremely likely to change. It is there to show other options on building Nidalee, and in this case, against multiple AD threats.
Compared to the other builds, this doesn't show Nidalee at her prime and without a very good team, you won't be able to do much. Even with a good team, you can't carry as powerfully as my preferred build would do. This just shows another viable way to build her, and some people might find a middleman build between my preferred and this build. More durable and tanky, but less damage and pure health.
Starting Build #2
What is it? - This build isn't complete, rather it shows the transition into mid-game. Why is it here? Because I used it when I lose the lane or it is just a pure farm lane. Nidalee can build an early GA unlike many other champs and remain useful with plenty of damage. It also makes Nidalee a tricky champ to focus as she can always escape even after the revive.
This start is in mind for late game, and a LOT, I repeat a LOT of versatility. It is commonly done, and I like to do it a lot too. Makes farming easy and generally risk-free. If I lose the lane, predict a long game, or am unsure which path to build, this build is decent.
Finished Build #2
What is it? - This build is when you are dominating and you can't really be killed already. You do so much damage and you are really fed, while having tanks on your team. Similar to a AD carry Nasus, if your team is tanky enough and dominating, you can choose to go truly offensive.
Completely dominating build, it does tons of damage, both crit and in your burst. Your Javelin Toss in cougar form will hit extremely hard. If you aren't dying and just stacking kills, use it. But competitively and in probably 95%+ games, this build will not work out.
Laning Phase Wards
Red Dots: Wards to prevent ganks, ideal ward places. They double as a ward to prevent counter jungling.
Teal Dots: These are wards that you can put to see where junglers are at a certain time, counter jungle, or show vision to so you can go and clear the jungle safely. These aren't too important but to a solo top hero, they will be of some use.
The reason I put a map like this is so you know where to put wards as a Solo top hero. To learn about wards later on in the game, check out Panglot's Guide on Wards and Warding. Not to mention a majority of the warding is done by the support/jungler. This doesn't mean you shouldn't ward at all, but not worry about warding as much as say, a Taric. Plus, you have your Bushwhack traps to help out.
In the Future...
In the future I plan to add:
- Neaten up and continue fixing grammar mistakes
- Organize better, make better Mastery Trees format.
- 1v1 match ups with solo top heroes
- Whatever else that seems essential or considerable.
- Section on Nidalee's Pounce relative to wall-jumping.
- Combo Section
- Constant theorycrafting and game-testing.
Give me some ideas if you have good ones!
If you've read this guide, please do give me your criticism and comments, as well as don't forget to vote!
Build Variation is key to being a better player. Don't be a metasheep or afraid to try out new items, new runes, new masteries, new gamestyles. Please try out my build before you negatively comment or downvote, you might be surprised!
If you're new to the game, don't be afraid to ask questions or leave a comment. Either myself, or perhaps other viewers will answer your questions, and if you hate my build, want it to burn in hell, or you think _____ is stupid, and so on, by all means comment and give me a reasonable answer. I take pride in my guide, and I'm always susceptible to change and updates.
I hope this encourages you to kick some major arse as top lane Nidalee.
Check out my Competitive Olaf Guide. Would really appreciate it!
Also thanks to JhoiJhoi's Guide on How to Make a Guide and TGN for his video