Nidalee Build Guide by Dingleberrez
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.
Example Full Build #1
Example Full Build #2
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.
Threats to Nidalee with this build
|Tryndamere||Land your spears and it will be hard for a Tryndamere to retaliate from a "Nidalee Combo."|
Hello! My name is Dingleberrez, and although it may not sound impressive, I am a Bronze 1 player. I started very late in the third season, at a humble Bronze 4 and have since worked my way up a couple of divisions.
This is my first guide, and I'm aiming to provide a new build for Nidalee that I haven't seen anywhere else.
This being my first guide, I'd like to keep it simple and just provide some information on different aspects of the reworked Nidalee. The guide is separated into 7 other sections:
2) Summoner Spells
4) Gameplay: Early
5) Gameplay: Mid Game
6) Gameplay: Late Game
So, let's get started!
Hybrid Bruiser Nidalee
Great Early/Mid Game
Can take a hit
Can fall off late game
Heavily relies on items
Can be hard to peel for softer teammates
If focused by multiple enemies, will still die
Welcome to the Summoner Spells section.
Here, I will discuss some of the best summoner spell selections for Hybrid Nidalee and why some are better in certain cases than others.
My favorite Spells to take in most cases are teleport and ignite. However, if you feel like you might struggle in lane, or you're not comfortable with pouncing over walls, feel free to take in place of either.
In some cases, is a good choice. Most of this time this would be against a lane opponent who has a better escape/chase potential than you, and just won't cut the distance.
Spells not to take: Anything else. Teleport, flash, ignite, and ghost are your best choices. I'm not all for telling people how to play, but these spells work with your kit the best.
Welcome to the Items Section:
I love to start Doran's Blade and potion. This is my favorite start because it gives you a little extra damage and sustain. The extra health is good for out poking your lane opponent.
Doran's ring is also good so that your spears count for a little more. It encourages you to CS more as well because of the mana it gives back per minion kill plus the mana over time. You get an extra potion compared to the Blade start.
Long sword potions is also a viable start, as you will be building it into your Blade of the Ruined King later (or Phage).
Cloth armor is for when you know you're going to get out poked in lane. Not a terrible start.
Don't ever start:
- You get set behind in your build and you don't have any early poke tools.
- It's okay for the spear harass, but it cuts your sustain and if you get out poked you'll feel less comfortable farming.
All potions - Just don't. Life will be hard.
Early Game Items:
Early Game I like to grab as soon as I can afford one. It's really important early on for Nidalee because all of her Cougar Form abilities scale with AP. gives you lifesteal for sustain and AD for even more damage on Takedown. Itemizing against you for your lane opponent will be difficult because of the early mixed damage. Always buy wards; traps are no substitute.
Mid Game Items:
Here is where things get tricky. My favorite build is into . The mixed stats will burst your opponent down, and the bit of extra health from Trinity Force will help you out in ganks. Boots are great for chasing down and escaping. If you can afford them, get tier 2 boots for even better stats.
In place of Trinity Force, you could get an Iceborn Gauntlet. The passive is useful when switching from human to Cougar Form, and it gives CDR for more spear chucking and pouncing.
I do not recommend you forego the Blade of the Ruined King because of its awesome active and really awesome stats. The passive is really helpful when trying to poke at a tanky champion top lane.
Late Game Items:
All of the other items vary from game to game. Because this is a hybrid bruiser Nidalee build, all of your defensive items will be different according to the enemy team. Here are a couple of reminders for which item to choose:
For armor (vs AD):
- Gives good health, good armor, and hurts auto attack reliant champions. AOE slow as an active.
- Gives good health, good armor, and has an AOE magic fire damage passive.
- Only really helpful versus a team who has only auto attack champions. Also helpful against heavy AD teams. It doesn't give health, but the passive is good if you have other health items.
- Gives Cooldown Reduction, AP, mana, and has a nice passive. No health, though.
For Magic Resist (vs AP):
- Gives good health, good magic resist, and the passive is good for interrupting a caster's combo.
- Gives decent health, decent magic resist, and the passive helps Nidalee with her self heal, Primal Surge.
- (Not my favorite choice on Nidalee) Gives AP, Magic Resist Reduction, Magic Resist, but grants no health. The passive has a short radius, so it only really helps when in Cougar Form.
: I love this item on hybrid Nidalee. I know most people might not agree with it, but to me, it is almost always a must on her. All of your abilities will chew through enemies, especially in cougar form. Your Q will still do decent damage, as well.
: This item can replace Void staff for the extra health and flat magic pen. It still gives decent AP, but in this build, you should be able to get all the health you need from your other late game items.
When you face a traditional team, your most common build will be something close to Example Build #1. The build offers a good amount of tank combined with the damage needed to bring down squishies on the other team, especially if you catch one out. We'll talk about team fighting later!
Let's start with the basics. The Nidalee rework has done a lot of interesting things to her kit and playstyle. This changes the dynamic of Nidalee's ability to lane and 1v1 other champions. She is no longer a nuke throwing nightmare, so a little bit of thought will actually have to go into her laning phase now.
I take Hybrid Nidalee top lane. Mid lane can work against certain matchups, but if you're going mid, you might as well go straight AP, and that isn't what this guide is for.
Early on, you can poke with your spear. I rarely use Cougar Form before level 3 (this is when you have Q, W, E, and Cougar Form). Be careful not to spam your spear. Ever since the width reduction, the spear has actually become easier to land. If the enemy laner is standing in minions, threading the spear through minions is now a lot easier. Look for those openings.
After level 3 hits, you want to be looking for the enemy laner to be poked down to around 3/4th of their health. This is easy to accomplish before level 3 against laners without a lot of sustain. At this point, they should be forced to be poked down or use health potions. After about a quarter of their health is gone, you can start looking for opportunities to utilize your combo.
What is the Nidalee combo?
My favorite Nidalee Combo looks like this typed out:
(Human Form) Q > AA > R (Cougar Form) > W > E > Q > W
It might look complicated, especially if you're new to Nidalee! However, no worries. If a Bronze 1 player can pull it off, you can too. I'll explain why this combo is so effective:
Your marks your enemy with your passive, Prowl/Hunt. If you don't hit your spear, you haven't invested anything major, maybe just a little bit of mana. The auto attack is for some extra damage (this is why I like starting Doran's blade) since your passive will make you move faster and get in range for the auto attack. Use top's 3 brushes to your advantage when poking.
Now comes the interesting part. When you switch to cougar form, your "Hunt" passive is now in effect. You still get bonus movement speed, but on top of that you ignore unit collision. On top of that, each Cougar Form ability gains extra damage effect for the first use on the marked target.
Your pounce has increased range, which is what you use next. The increased range takes you directly to the marked champion, and you also get to use your e for some more extra damage. Nidalee's cougar form Q has increased damage the more injured the marked target is. Use that to your advantage, and save Q for last.
For all intensive purposes, I'll call this the "Nidalee Combo." It will appear later in the guide and is really important from level 3 until the end of the game. The item build is centered around being able to use the combo and either get out or rinse and repeat in the same fight, giving you repeated burst damage. Be careful of champions like who can gap close and stun.
Get money, buy items:
After you come back with a Sheen and a Bilgewater Cutlass, you can immediately feel the amount of burst these items have on Nidalee's kit. In some cases, you can kill your opponent in one combo. Remember that your W, Pounce, will get cooldown reduction after killing a unit. Use this to escape out of a tower dive or away from a late gank from the enemy jungler. You can even use it to re-engage for a countergank.
The biggest difference between the Early Game and Mid Game for Hybrid Nidalee is items. This build puts Nidalee's mid game in high priority. You want to burst down the enemy laner until they're either uncomfortable farming or they're dead. With your Bilgewater Cutlass and Primal Surge, you can easily outsustain most top champions.
When they get scared off, free farm. Since you're buying wards, you should feel comfortable pushing out a little bit. Unless it's absolutely imperative that you use Teleport to get to lane, then save it to gank bottom lane when you've pushed out too far. The lower level adc should be an easy kill if your support and ADC coordinate a ward teleport. Instead of teleporting top, just switch to Cougar Form and spam pounce until you get to lane.
The "Nidalee Combo" is really important mid game. This is how you're going to repeatedly burst down the enemy laner so that you can get the free farm. The Sheen's passive will proc during the fight and give you a bit of extra damage. The just adds to the pain, increasing 's damage an insane amount.
Remember earlier when I said "traps are no replacement for wards?" Well I still hold myself to that; However, traps should still be used in somewhat the same way wards are. If you decide to roam, you should never have a reason to face-check a brush. Throw traps down to reveal the surrounding area, or just throw one of your low cool-down spears into a brush from afar. This could save you a lot of death timers if you don't want to waste a ward or just simply don't have any.
By the end of Mid Game, you should have finished (or ), Tier 2 boots, and your Blade of the Ruined King. On top of that, you should already have items to build , a , or any other part of a defensive item. I prefer to go for the most games.
In the late game, you should always be looking for something productive to do. Hybrid Nidalee is really good at 1v1s and helping catch people out. Your Teleport will be a menace against a team who can't deal with split pushing. You can also get homeguards and teleport behind the enemy if you're far away from a team fight. This gives easy access to the squishies on the back line, and that is where hybrid Nidalee will be best in team fights.
With the amount of AP you get from Void Staff and Trinity Force, your spears late game will not be as effective as a full AP build, but remember that you aren't looking to just chunk people with spears anymore. You have a Cougar Form, use it!
Poke before the teamfight:
If a teamfight is about to erupt, start using Q to poke. Lay down a couple of traps to either zone people from positioning well, or to get your passive going. Your Primal Surge won't do as much, so if your team is getting out poked, look for a spear to land on their ADC or APC. Try not to use on yourself because you should be tanky enough to take a few hits by now. Throw on your ADC for the increased attack speed and a heal. Remember to use the "Nidalee Combo" as best you can.
When pushing objectives, don't always make the support or jungler (if they're tanky) take the tower hits if it comes down to diving. If you've got an Iceborn, Health, and/or Randuin's Omen, Nidalee should be fine to take a few hits from the tower. Your escape, , will get you out faster than the tower can kill you if you haven't been bursted down by anyone on the enemy team. If it's truly necessary, use Primal Surge to heal yourself on the way out.
is your best item active available. You get extra movement speed and health while slowing and hurting an enemy. This is so useful in so many situations (like the tower dive mentioned above). When in doubt, just use the active. You are worth more to your team when you're alive without an active than dead with a Blade of the Ruined King active just hanging around.
is also a great active. Pop it while you're in the middle of a team fight, and profit. It's also really useful for saving allies who are being chased or for chasing down an enemy nearby when your Pounce is on cooldown. Remember, if you have to think about it, just do it. It's better to use it and have an effect than to die and have it laying around.
If you've replaced / with a , use the active right as your team engages. Try to use it while in Human Form because my the time you're in the middle of your "Nidalee Combo," you might be too far away from the people that really need the extra shield. Just use it.
Your / helps melt towers and objectives, so the adc doesn't have to worry about being stuck under an enemy tower for too long. Keep in mind that since you're a bruiser, you can both melt towers and peel for the ADC/APC. It's up to you to decide which is more important in the heat of the moment. If my ADC/APC is doing well, I'll try and keep them safe. If, however, my ADC/APC is doing poorly, I might decide to take the tower and then fight. If is up, use it on the ADC for the objective to go down even quicker.
Other stuff late game:
When disengaging through jungle, I like to leave traps wherever I can. Blue buff and red buff are my favorite places. You can place traps directly under where the big monster will spawn and you'll see exactly when the buff appears. The trap will be gone on the mini map and the trap will grant vision of the big monster for a quick moment.
Just because you aren't full AP doesn't mean you can't poke a little before a team fight. If you land an unfavorable spear, you don't have to use the "Nidalee Combo." If your team has decent sustain, you can wait around and throw a few more. Just remember that it's not the only thing you do now. You deal TONS of hybrid damage (I'm looking at you, ).
I'm planning on expanding this build soon to include Runes, Masteries, and even more details about myself and how I play Nidalee. If I am able to get a replay on YouTube, I will post that as well (not the most important because I'm not the best at the game).
Thank you for reading my guide! I know it was just a wall of text, but I really don't have much experience with making guides and I figured I would start out simple and straightforward.
Let me know if this build works for you, and please leave some constructive criticism!