Nidalee Build Guide by Mooninites
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Welcome to Moon's Nidalee at Middle guide, as of now this is up-to-date from the Lulu patch forward. We will be looking at AP Nidalee in the mid lane and why I think this is the most effective lane for her. Thanks for reading, I put a lot of time and effort into this guide, so I'd like as much constructive criticism as I could get on it, whether it's positive or negative.
If you have anything you'd like me to add feel free to send me a message or comment down below. I think I've covered every common AP mid you'll see (even some uncommon ones) but if not, just let me know.
Pros and Cons
-Great game control
-Can force engagements, but more likely, disengagements
-Can take towers at will
-doesn't have the consistent damage output of a lot of casters
-no guaranteed damage, reliant on skillshots
-fairly mana dependent with heal, can no longer spam it
-Your cougar form will fall off late game
-Late game damage totally dependent on spears
Nidalee's Stats and Other Various Information
This is pulled straight from LoLWiki so if you want a little more information check it out there
Note: The stat represents the base while anything after it represents the value of that stat Nidalee gets per level.
Health: 370 (+90)
Health Regen: 5.0 (+0.6)
Mana: 220 (+45)
Mana Regen: 7.0 (+0.5)
Range: 525 (100 in cougar form)
Attack Damage: 49 (+3.5)
Attack Speed: 0.672 (+3.22%)
Armor: 11 (+3.5)
Magic Resist: 30 (+0.75)
Movement Speed: 310 (330 in cougar)
- Range: 1,500, Projectile Speed: 1,300, Ratio: 0.65 of AP
- Duration: 4 minutes, Range: 900, Ratio: 0.40 of AP
- Range: 600, Ratio: 0.70 of AP
- Damage cap: 300%, Ratio: 1.00-3.00 of AD
- Jump Range: 375, AoE Radius: 150 (slightly larger than a melee auto attack), Ratio: 0.40 of AP
- Range: 300, Cone: 180 degrees, Ratio: 0.40 of AP
I take this for the 5 extra AP and AD when you're Ignite or Exhaust are on cooldown
Everything else is pretty standard for an AP mage
I've seen some people take Demolitionist on Nidalee, but this is only useful if you are planning on split pushing. The aim of this guide, and for my particular playstyle, I try to focus on poke and damage through Javelin Toss
My utility tree is pretty flexible. Tier 1 is pretty standard
In tier 2 I take 4 points in Swiftness because I do a lot of roaming.
In this set-up I expect to get blue quite often, if that is not the case (i.e. you have a jungle Fiddlesticks or Fizz), then I would run 3 points in Meditation to try and make up for it. I would also drop the point in Runic Affinity and put it elsewhere.
NOTE: THIS SECTION IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND WILL BE REVAMPED SHORTLY.
Flash - this is absolutely essential on Nidalee it just enables way too much play making to pass up.
Ignite - a great spell against champions like Mordekaiser or Swain. It's also good for getting first blood, this will see more use at the beginning of the game, but still comes in handy late game.
Exhaust - I think this is better if you're playing top lane, because you're more likely to be dove, it's still good at mid, it can really shut down an enemy mid dependent on casting in large bursts such as Brand or Karthus using Defile and Requiem.
It's certainly an option.
Ghost - it's good all around, it can help you escape but you lose out on a little lane presence by taking this instead of say Ignite or Exhaust. It's great for kiting potential but generally not enough for me to take it.
Teleport - this is mainly for convenience and for counter-ganking. I don't think too highly of this ability on Nidalee unless you're top. This is mainly because of your high mobility from mid, I don't feel like you'll need it unless you're extremely out of position, in which case you're already failing at controlling the game.
Cleanse - this is okay, it's not bad, it won't really hurt to have, but generally I don't find myself in enough sticky situations to take this. I generally hang back and throw spears which is why I don't take this. If you have a knack for putting yourself in a situation to die, you may want to consider this.
Heal - A great bait summoner especially in addition with your cougar form damage early on (most enemies won't understand your damage potential). It's not terrible, it has uses, but in a way it's like Cleanse, I tend to try and avoid situations in which I need to take a summoner because I misplay a situation.
So there are two different rune set-up's i use. The first one is a standard rune page if i feel like the champion is non-threatening. Basically I choose this set-up if the enemy is a pretty standard AP mid that doesn't counter me. So any champion of 1-3 difficulty (see countering enemies bellow) I would take this rune set for. I also take if I am facing an AD based champion mid, so for example even if Talon is a difficulty of 4, he has not ability power based skills that would make me want to take MR over AP/level. The second rune page is for casters I feel have a distinct advantage over Nidalee. These usually consist of burst mages or assassin based champions. So these are champions like LeBlanc, Fizz, and Cassiopeia because of her insane damage output.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
There are number of other runes you can pick up if you feel they fit your playstyle better.
- If you have trouble with mana early game consider Greater Seal of Replenishment.
- You can run Greater Mark of Scaling Ability Power or Greater Mark or Potency if you want runes that affect your heal.
- If you're looking for tankiness you can consider Greater Quintessence of Health or Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist
Runes should supplement your early game. If there is any part of your early game where you feel weak, you should rune for it. You can always build for a stat later on in the game.
NOTE: THIS SECTION IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND WILL BE REVAMPED SHORTLY
Skills and Explanations
What makes Nidalee so versatile is the number of skills she has at her disposal. Text in blue denotes human form abilities, while text in yellow denotes cougar form abilities.
- Javelin Toss is the bread and butter of this guide. Most of your damage on Champions will come from this ability. It has a good ratio at .65 and hits even harder the further away you are. This skill has the potential to 1 shot someone, and is so effective at disengaging. This is one of the best poke's in the game, if not the best. The difficulty is landing this skill shot. Takedown is one of the best execute abilities in the game. You can easily catch someone off guard with a flash+takedown. The ability will do damage based off the enemies health so the lower they are, the harder you hit.
- Your spear does virtually no damage between ranks 1 and 2. The damage will really start to pick up around rank 3 and when you get AP. So don't throw spears until rank 3
- try and lead your opponent with a spear, anticipate their movements
- if you see the enemy sitting still set up your spear trying to get as much range on it as possible
- If your enemy queue's up an ability, like Fiddlesticks' Crowstorm and Miss Fortune's Bullet Time then you have pretty much a guaranteed shot on them
- Bushwhack is one of the most useful spells in your spellpool. It's a great scouting tool, it does quite a bit of damage. Your level 1 Bushwhack actually does more damage than your Javelin Toss at rank 1. Pounce is one of the most useful spells in the game, you can use it to jump walls, get away or close a gap. In addition to Swipe, pounce makes it very easy to clear minions. The actual damage is quite minor for champions
- Bushwhack is a great scouting tool, pick it up first if you feel like you'll be invaded
- You can total trap up an entire side of the river brush. this allows you to lean to that side and will make it hard for a jungler to gank you via that side
- Nidalee's traps last for 4 minutes which is 1 minute longer than a ward!
- the damage on the ability is actually quite high, even late game.
- try and put traps in high traffic brush to conceal them and reveal the enemy
- Primal Surge is one of the best single target heals in the game. It has a great base and ratio. Unfortunately with the mana cost has been ramped up quite a bit. You won't be able to spam this ability even with a blue buff, so be cautious. Swipe is great for clearing minions and the damage isn't to shabby. Try and Swipe before you Takedown to deal maximum damage
- taking 2 points in this early should be enough sustain, you can take a 3rd if the enemy is really aggressive.
- press alt+E will auto-heal yourself, this can be the difference between life and death
- priority for heals you > tank > highest killing spree ally/AD carry > everyone else
- Aspect Of The Cougar is what makes Nidalee so unique. This ability changes her skill set and allows her to trade better than most mages. This allows her to escape or engage quite well, After getting her ultimate, Nidalee becomes significantly stronger
- Cougar form gives Nidalee bonus movement speed, armor, and magic resist so jumping into cougar before getting bursted can save your life
- you can use cougar to get positioning to land spears
- despite being in cougar form, you abilities still scale off AP with the exception of Takedown
So let's go over skill priorities. There are 3 different priority list's I use when evaluating what skill to pick up
The first option is a normal skill-up path I choose. I choose this because:
- the two points in heal generally provide enough sustain before the mana cost becomes expensive. At rank 3 Primal Surge reaches 100 mana which can be very taxing on a low level mana pool.
- This also gives me some extra damage on spear and makes it useful by the time I get Aspect Of The Cougar
The second path is if the enemy plays aggressive. This provides the follow:
- better sustain through heal
- weaker cougar form damage on Takedown but more on Swipe
- weaker spears
The final path is if I feel like I'm going to be invaded. This is so basic it doesn't need any further explanation but do note trapping a lot will leave you with a fairly low mana pool going into lane.
Itemization on Nidalee can vary quite a bit there are tons of different builds for her and virtually anything can work on her.
x3- the standard start, its very safe. I get this almost all of the time x2 - I get this if the enemy is a strong burst mage or assassin like LeBlanc or Fizz
- You can pick up health potions and Sight wards accordingly I usually get atleast 1 ward. My first trip back usually consists of 2x Doran's Ring and a ward. For this you'll need 1025 gold or more.
- These items are both pretty much always in your core. Deathcap just provides too much ap to pass up and since your abilities scale so well its a great first pick up. Void Staff is pretty necessary for when your enemies start to get magic resist. I usually pick both these items up first because they provide such a jump in damage for Nidalee
- you really only have the option between these three boots. I prefer Mercury's Treads if the enemy has 2 or more champions with hard cc. You can pick up Sorcerer's Shoes if the enemy is fairly tank and has no cc threat. The final option is Ionian Boots of Lucidity. I personally don't like this option, nidalee's cooldowns aren't too bad and you can pick it up elsewhere, Spell Pen and Tenacity are harder to itemize for so pick those up over CDR boots if it comes down to that option.
- great item all around. Provides everything Nidalee needs; cooldown reduction, mana regen, and AP. This is a better option than Deathfire Grasp because in most cases you won't be getting close enough to use the active. However should you find it to be a game in which the active is useful and you actually activate it it is a better pick-up than Morello's. I usually get this
- I've grown to like this item on Nidalee. You won't get alot out of it, the passive effect isn't as useful as it is on other casters, but with this item you can kite so effectively that sometimes it's worth the pick up. The extra health also makes you pretty tanky on top of the decent AP. Not the best use of an item slot at times, but can also be extremely effective. I generally would get this if my team is either losing and/or the enemy has strong initiation.
- Gives a lot of AP and armor. The active can be the best in the game or can get you killed, depending on how you use it. It's a pretty good potential item. If i do get this I generally build it towards the end. As far as item's go this is actually a pretty cost effective item if you use the activate effectively
- I'm on the fence about this item. It certainly has it's uses for Nidalee and it's quite good for Cougar form, but outside of that her cooldowns in human form won't make as good use of it. You also need to get within auto-attack range to use it effectively and I don't do that enough. For my particular play style, I hang back and chuck spears and traps, only going in to cougar form to land finish blows, so this item would not be cost effective for me. You however may use cougar form more than I do so it might be cost effective. It's up to you, rushing Sheen on Nidalee isn't bad persay, but as the game progresses I find it to be less and less effective for what I'm trying to do.
- This is a good all around item. The shield is pretty nice and can shut down a lot of champions with high burst and long cooldowns. It gives decent magic resist, hp, and mana. All around this is a pretty solid item Consider it if the enemy team has a Sion, Veigar, or LeBlanc
- I don't like this item personally. I know why some people like it. I think it's very expensive for what you get. The item itself provides only health and AP which can be considered a useful tool for combat. Mana is merely a convenience factor and often your mana pool and regen should be enough for team fights. So putting aside mana as nothing more than a convenience you pay quite a bit of gold for just health and AP. I particularly don't find health to be an appealing stat in comparison to armor or magic resist unless I'm playing against a team with a lot of true damage like Ahri or Olaf. The only thing I find appealing about this item is Catalyst the Protector, the passive active is quite nice but if you do consider getting this item try to play by this rule of thumb. If you can't complete RoA by 20 minutes then don't get it.
- This item can be pretty effective. Charging up Tear of the Goddess isn't hard and nidalee is one of the only champions in the game that can do it for free. It's hard to fit this item in because purchasing it early will actually make you quite weak and purchasing it later could mean you won't get the full effectiveness out of the item. This is generally why I refrain from building this item.
- This item is extremely cost effective. Difftheender actually made a video about rushing Abyssal Scepter instead of Rabadon's Deathcap. And while his argument may hold water, Nidalee won't see a great deal of use out of this item as the game progresses. It's great if you use cougar form and get in range to use the aura, but more often then not I don't benefit from this item. You could potentially rush this item and it would be incredibly effective in lane and towards mid-game, but I find it will fall off for Nialee player's who focus on landing spears as opposed to cougar form. Not a bad item though, very cost effective.
- I know what you're thinking so I'll just share my thoughts on this item.
Nidalee Tips and Tricks
Here is Sinovera's guide on pouncing. It covers major pouncing spots within the jungle and is probably the best guide out there for learning pounce spots. All credit to her.
Gameplay Levels 1-5 (early game)
This is your most vulnerable point so there are a few things you can do to survive through this phase.
- Don't bother calling for a jungler gank, you won't really be able to assist him and unless he has red buff, your enemy is super pushed, and without a flash; you'll most likely be wasting his time.
- You can use your traps to push back the wave if your opponent is pushing hard.
- if you see two minions that are really low and won't be able to auto-attack both, spear the one with more health/dying slower and auto-attack the other. This will come in handy quite often
- two points in heal early is all you really need, mana management is very important during this phase.
- you don't need blue buff even if you jungler is someone who doesn't use mana, it would be better for him to get ahead through the gold and experience, you won't do anything with it during this period.
- don't be afraid to go back, it's better than dying.
There really isn't much to say, farming is very important. Do your best to farm while taking as little damage as possible. If you're at full health and mana try trading a little bit the enemy mid. You can really whittle an opponent's health down by simply minor pokes with your auto attack while not last hitting.
Gameplay Levels 6-12 (mid game)
You're quite a bit more flexible at this point. There's a huge jump in terms of damage Nidalee can do once she gets Aspect Of The Cougar. Most champions won't get such a massive jump in damage. For example. Ryze won't gain as much kill potential as you do once he hits 6 and gets Desperate Power. This is why Nidalee seems so strong during mid-game. You'll also see your spear damage start to pick up. Mid game is when Nidalee starts to shine. Her burst potential is quite high compared to most mages. Here are some tips for a successful mid-game.
- Don't be afraid to roam, Nidalee is quite good at it, she can get in and out quickly
- if you're getting beat, just take a step back and try and land spears to gain an advantage
- trap every where you can, vision is important for nidalee and can lead to kills or save lives
- if you are ahead by a lot, roam, try and get other lanes ahead too
- land a spear at an opportunity given, if you opponent stops to farm, punish him, you want to make him constantly be moving
This is the most crucial part of the game. It's important to do your best to absolutely dominate this part. This can transition very well late-game because not only will you be far ahead but your enemies will be far behind. If you aren't having that dominant performance don't fret, you can still do well late game. Your mid-game will mostly likely determine the game, unless you have an incredible scaling team, because of this it's important to pick up kills when presented, farm well, and help in the success of other lanes. Call for help if you need it.
Gameplay Levels 13-18 (late game)
You're not as strong as you are mid-game, perspectively at least. You role also changes, because laning is pretty much over. Your job is to poke down the enemy and force engagements or disengagements. Aspect Of The Cougar is fairly risky and rarely do I use it unless I'm going in for the kill. You need to throw all of your abilities at the enemy even your Bushwhack, you'd be surprised how much damage this does. Here are some tips for Late game;
- Your spears can deter enemy from pushing, enable you to take a tower, and many other things. Your spears need to control the game.
- Your heal will do a lot, the priority is yourself > tank > AD carry/highest killing spree ally > everyone else. Also note that a good heal on an AD carry will increase their attack speed in addition to whatever steroids they have
- use your cougar form sparingly, you should really only go in with it to clean-up.
- you can't compete with damage out put of champions like Ryze, Cassiopeia, etc. They have consistent damage output throughout a fight, you have more burst, significant damage every 5 seconds. This is the main difference new players will need to learn and your teammates will need to adapt to. Try and convince your team to kite the enemy and not to engage in full 5v5 fights unless you have a clear advantage.
- The strat above also falls upon you, you need to be harassing the enemy with spears so they don't try to get a full head on engage
Nidalee's different phases are hard to learn, this is perhaps the most difficult portion of Nidalee's gameplay to learn. This is mainly due to the fact that you control the game, mistakes can cost your team but great spears can cost the enemy team. If you are capable of controlling the game you will most likely win, it's all about tempo.
This next portion of my guide will cover match-ups between Nidalee and other common AP mids. These are based off my my personal experiences and thoughts about the champion. Of course since these are perspectives you can add your own to experiences against champions to make a better assessment. Each player is different as well, and because one particular champion dominates you does not mean the next player will, it takes multiple assessments on a single champion to come to the conclusion so don't get discouraged.
Cassiopeia can be a real *****, she's perhaps the best AP caster in the game at the moment. She poses a number of problems for you, she has great range, she pushes extremely hard, she has grotesque damage output, outright charging her after level 6 will end up poorly for you. With that said, there are a number of positives for you, your spear has incredible range, additionally, landing just one Javelin Toss after rank 3 will pretty much force her to go back.
Playing against Cass: Dodging poison is fairly easy for you, but if she hits you with a Noxious Blast you will have to back off and respect her damage output because of Twin Fang. She'll get very uncomfortable with your ability to close the gap between you and her, you have incredible mobility after level 6 and getting in her face can be an issue for her. Unfortunately you can't just charge her because she'll ult, poison, and fang spam. This will destroy you, baiting out her ult could work, but it's generally pretty difficult. I tend to try and land a spear, and then farm with cougar, waiting for her to feel comfortable and then Flash + Pounce + Takedown. This is such an unexpected burst and pretty much results in an enemy death, especially if they're at about 40% or lower HP. You could always play it safe and Just try and land another spear, but she'll most likely be conscious of her low health and hide behind minions.
He might have a weak early game and be susceptible to ganks, but you also have a weak early game. Unfortunately, early ganks alone won't sold this issue mainly because you do virtually nothing except auto attack. After level 4 he can be hassle, but especially after he gets Hextech Revolver. He can push as hard as you, will have decent sustain, and getting in his face will only make matters worse. His shield is a total pain to deal with and makes harassing him difficult.
Playing against Morde: You'll most likely rely totally on your spears for damage. You can't really charge him, because he'll E and Q you for big damage. Additionally, his ult heals him for quite a bit so you'll need to time your ignite before he casts it. This forces you to pretty much burn ignite right off the bat. Even then he can wait for ignite to fall off and then cast it. He'll push pretty hard after level 4, and he will be able to push harder than you. The only real solution to dealing with him is to call for a lot of ganks from your jungler or else he'll get free farm. If your jungler isn't helping then you need to roam and punish other lanes severely. Luckily for you this is pretty easy.
This guy is stupid. His burst is incredible, he snowballs into late game very well, and he can get in your face. His silence is a pain, his rake gives him some range, everything about this guy is a total pain. A good talon will really beat you up for being in human form and if he feels pressure at all he can just ult and stealth away making him really difficult to kill. This is on a fairly short cooldown so ganking is very difficult post-6.
Playing against Talon: The idea here is to be ahead at all times. Call for ganks from your jungler pre-6, even if you don't get the kill you want to put all the pressure on him early game. Pushing to tower is not a bad idea either, unfortunately he makes it pretty difficult with his Rake. The main thing is you want to be level 6 before him so you can really lay into him when he doesn't have his ultimate.
or Le***** as I like to call her is exactly that, a *****. Her burst is annoying, she can pretty much one to zero you if she lands everything. She falls off hard late game but the real issue is her constant ability to just burst you from full to about 20%. She snowballs pretty hard also so any kills you give her are going to make it significantly worse. The important thing is she doesn't get kills and snowball out of control.
Playing against LeBlanc: Make sure you and your teammates are on the same page, LeBlanc needs to get minimal kills, 1 or 2 max for the first 30 minutes. Call MIA's whenever you can't see her she can roam fairly easily and pick off kills with ease. Push her to tower, she can't last hit very well there, just be careful of her burst. Don't be afraid to lose XP and Gold if you need to go back, it's better than dying and letting her get out of control. If she roams, PUNISH HER; push her tower hard. You can also counter gank if she starts to roam, but this will put you behind if you fail to land an adequate gank, I prefer pushing because it's a mostly guaranteed method.
Arguably the gayest thing to hit league since Taric, he has the ability to tower dive at level 2 with no consequence. He's fairly bad at last hitting, but his healing debuff is a pain, and it's pretty much impossible for you to trade with him. You provide a lot more for your team, but you won't be able to kill him and he'll be able to harass you in lane without consequence.
Playing against Fizz: I don't really know how to lane against this guy after level 6, he has stupid damage and won't take damage, landing a spear works normally, but doing this is a little difficult with his vast amounts of mobility. I usually just roam hard and apply tons of pressure to other lanes, this results in me falling behind but I would fall behind in lane regardless. There really is no way for nidalee to beat fizz in a 1v1 engagement, so just wait until team fights and/or roam. Another option would be to get deathcap + blue buff and have your team group mid to push. This could pose a major problem for the enemy team if you're at roughly equal gold.
He can be a pain, he has good sustain and most can out trade you. He's farming capabilities are idiot-proof and he'll be better in team fights than you. He doesn't have much poke but will get naturally tanky and more dangerous as the game goes on. His pool can be extremely annoying and force you to disengage, with that noted, you can never tower-dive a Vladimir. It isn't exactly rare that a Vlad will go mid, but more often he is a top-lane champion.
Playing Against Vlad: Burst is your friend. You can't really whittle this guy down because of his incredible sustain, but landing a spear and then a pounce+ Takedown will make him play very cautiously. The idea is to make Vlad play very cautiously and burn his pool at inconvenient times because he loses a significant portion of his health by doing this. Your ignite is also useful but it doesn't 'counter' vlad alone. The important thing is to apply a lot of pressure and make him play on the defensive after level 6.
His bomb spams are annoying and his passive is quite good. Ziggs is all about the damage and with blue buff he will really lay it on. He's quite gankable with no real escape other than Flash. Landing spears isn't that difficult and getting in his face is easy too. He has some poke, it's not quite as good as yours, but overall he brings a lot more to a team fight than you do.
Playing against Ziggs: Avoid bombs, this is the most important thing, play pretty passive until level 6 only getting in range to last hit. As soon as you hit 6 you can pretty much go balls-to-the-wall on him. He has nothing to stop the onslaught of damage you now deal except flash. However, this is only true if you were capable of avoiding damage, if you took a lot of damage just go back and buy then go back and rape him.
Burst mages and assassins are usually a problem for Nidalee. Akali is no exception, she can get in your face when you don't want her to and burst you down. Trading with her is difficult because of her shroud. You have better poke, but landing a spear isn't really that punishing, mainly because most Akali player's rush Hextech Revolver, unless you can land two successive spears or get right in her face and chunk her, chances are she'll heal it up. What poses another problem is you will pretty much have to land a spear to put her on the defensive, or she will Shadow Dance to you over and over if she doesn't feel threatened.
Playing against Akali: You can buy a Vision Ward and you completely counter her shroud at mid, she won't be able to trade with you as well. This is an extremely cost efficient way to deal with akali and pretty much guarantees equal trades at the least. Try and land a spear or two and then cougar+pounce+Q to bring her really low. She's a melee champion so she'll have to go in for auto-attacks, punish her for this early on so when she does hit 6 she feels threatened dashing to you.
His lighting rush is a pain to deal with. Furthermore his stun is also frustrating and he can get it up frequently. Hitting him with spears is fairly difficult because of his dash. His short range can be taken advantage of. He is like Karthus and Morgana in some regards because he has such a strong initiation with his ultimate. However he poses a problem because he can Lightning Rush in and ult which makes him harder to hit. You have better poke, but he has better team fights
Playing against Kennen: harass when you can and stand behind your minions so he can't hit you with his shuriken. His shuriken will hit harder than your spear for the first few levels. Most kennen's rush Will of the Ancients which makes harassment hard and fairly favorable for him. Landing a spear post-rank 3 could force him back and is most likely your best bet. He can roam fairly well with his dash, but it's nothing compared to you. Because of his strong laning I sometimes try to put a lot of pressure on other lanes if I feel like I can't win against him
Yes Fiddlesticks is actually very difficult for Nidalee to deal with. His Dark Wind spam is fairly annoying but something that can be easily dealt with. However, after level 6 when you get Cougar Form it will be very difficult to trade with him. Between his Drain and Terrify getting in cougar form and damaging him won't be an option. He'll force you to totally rely on spears as your damage source against him. Even then he will easily heal it up with Drain. The reason AP Nidalee works well mid is because landing a spear on the enemy mid can be devastating, Fiddlesticks is very good at basically nullifying anything you do to him. That said you provide a lot more to your team. His ult is one of the best in the game, but after that he shouldn't be a problem as long as he isn't fed. He's very frail and landing a spear during a team fight will crush him during a team fight.
Playing Against Fiddlesticks: It's pretty difficult if not borderline impossible for you to lane against this guy. He will punish you for going into cougar and farming. He will laugh at you for trying to damage to him, and then proceed to heal to full while draining your life, and he'll eat spears and not care. His roam potential isn't great, but his ultimate is. He can easily catch other lanes off guard by sneaking into brush, ledges, whatever and just ult in. I would say your best bet is to admit defeat mid and roam hard. This will force him to either roam or push mid. Most likely he will roam because Fiddlesticks is very bad at pushing
Holy burst mage batman. This guy can either rain on your parade or be your next meal. He's weak pre-6 and so are you. You can get away with auto-attacking him and whittling him down and he can't do anything about it. You're very hard to stun after Aspect Of The Cougar and he won't be able to land a Dark Matter either. Landing a spear shouldn't be hard because he has no way to get out of the way other than dodging them.
Playing against Veigar: Try whittling him down with auto-attacks when he can't fight back very well and just heal up any damage he deals to you. The goal here is to deny him farm before he gets out of control, you will have to watch your own AP here as he will get it as additional damage to his Primordial Burst. Perhaps consider getting an Abyssal Scepter instead of Rabadon's Deathcap. Mercury's Treads are also a must against this guy. Don't be afraid to flash+pounce for some huge damage, he'll most likely have trouble landing his stun, if he does, just sit in the circle and chuck a spear.
This guy has tremendous poke. He can really catch you off-guard and pre-6 will dominate you in lane. Even after level 6 he is fairly strong. His ultimate hits really hard and will do even more damage over time. Don't even bother engaging him if you don't have him lower than 40% hp. His ranged stun is fairly good, and while he may not have quite the poke you do, it's still quite good. To make matters worse his team fighting presence is better than yours.
Playing against Viktor: He's another champion you'll have to stall out until level 6. He can make it quite difficult with Power Transfer and Death Ray. You will not be able to trade with him when he has Power Transfer. It will not only do more than your auto-attacks but will also give him a shield, don't even bother. The important thing is to just farm and try not to die. He has no inherent ability to dodge your spears other than his player skill. You can really use this to your advantage; landing a spear pretty much forces him to back off. Landing a second might be a kill.
He's fairly difficult for Nidalee He's pretty strong early on with his shield and stun. Stacking Doran's Rings on him will give him some beefyness. Just try and farm and get in cougar for his burst. He'll kind of beat you up early on but late game he is garbage compared to you. Your spears will crush him late game and he won't be able to engage on you.
Playing against Sion: what makes Sion so difficulty is his early strength. He can push really well and trade really well. Since you're fairly weak early on he can really take advantage of this and push. roam, or do whatever. Boots of Mobility seem pretty common on Sion which allows him to roam effectively so just ping and call an MIA when you see him gone. As stated above, once it hits late game he'll fall off a lot and since you'll be air mailing 1800 damage to him he won't be able to even get near a fight.
He has stronger late game than you but less utility. You have much better poke than him, but he's pretty strong once he gets Catalyst the Protector and Tear of the Goddess. Getting in his face is difficult because of his Rune Prison. He'll be naturally tanky with Frozen Heart and Banshee's Veil. In some ways, I think Nidalee counters ryze through her massive poke, but in terms of DPS Ryze will beat you.
Playing against Ryze: Use your poke to your advantage, it is important to control the game through your spears because Ryze will be so strong. Ryze really won't pose a major threat early game, although he can still deal damage. You probably won't be pushed out of lane until level 8, if ever. The important thing to note is ryze has poor mobility, so roaming for him is much more punishing than you roaming. If you see him make a dash for another lane, you can probably beat him up there no problem even if he has a headstart, or you can roam another lane or push mid. The important thing is to do something because it is extremely punishing for Ryze to roam.
She isn't as much of a problem as you think, but none-the-less not enjoyable to encounter. Her ultimate can force a flash if she gets really close, she pushes really hard and going for a spear can also give her an opportunity to try and land Dark Binding. That said she doesn't have the poke you do and she'll have to predict your spears or be quick on her feet with Black Shield.
Playing against Morg: Black Shield creates some problems for cougar form. You can't simply jump in there and land your combo because she will shield it. This is probably the aspect that make's Morgana challenging for Nidalee. Aside from this there isn't much to her. Try and use your cougar form to clear minions then hop out into human and land some spears because she probably won't be ready for them. I've had success in the past baiting out Black Shield and then pouncing in on her. You can achieve this by trying to gain position on her and then making it look like you're about to throw a spear or drop a trap near her as it has a similar motion to throwing a spear.
In some ways Nidalee counters Morgana much like she counters Karthus. If Morgana tries to initiate on you with her ultimate you can keep throwing spears to push her back or punish her for trying to engage on you. This takes a lot of precision and constant kiting, which your team might not be aware of. A lot of Morgana's will also try and Flash+ult which makes it even more difficult for you. This is pretty advanced technique and won't always work anyway.
She has a stronger laning phase than you, but outside of that she shouldn't be a problem. She can really punish you pre-6 if she lands her Command:Attack and Command:Dissonance in conjunction. Aside from this she has decent burst with these two spells and in addition to her ultimate. However, after level 6 she shouldn't be a major threat.
Playing against Ori: Just stall it out until level 6. Her shield and poke is better than yours. Do your best to last hit without taking a ton of damage. After you hit 6 there is not much she can do to stop you from pouncing on her. Just be cautious of her burst with her ult, dissonance, and ignite. The main problem you'll have with her is pre-6 laning if she decides to play aggressive
I don't know whether this guy should be a difficulty of 2 or 3. I put him at 3 just in case and I can always re-evaluate him later. Galio is a little strange for Nidalee in the sense that neither do that well. Galio is intended to counter mages at mid, but he really can't do that with Nidalee. Nidalee on the other hand won't do enough damage in cougar or with her spears. Galio pushes fairly well though so be careful, he'll also heal off you Bushwhack should he pop Bulwark on himself.
Playing against Galio: This match up comes down to a number of things; farming, roaming, and map control. Luckily you're good at all 3 of those things and he is just okay. He has great team fighting presence and control, but he doesn't necessarily have the map control that Nidalee does. With her spears and traps Nidalee is one of the best controlling champions. Your roaming is also far superior to his although his isn't as bad as you think. He has a movement speed increase and a slow (on top of his ultimate) which are often underestimated. Farming really comes down to experience and skill, a good Galio can easily out farm a bad Nidalee player, but after level 6 the wave clearing potential of both champions won't really make it much of a factor.
Like I said, I'm on the fence with this guy, the lane could really go either and neither really wins which is why it's tough to evaluate.
He's still a strong mage although you won't see him that much these days. His abilities all flow really well together, so if he's able to combo them he'll really hurt. Unfortunately for Brand players, missing an ability is pretty punishing. It's difficult for Brand to hit his Sear or Pillar of Flame on you because your natural movement speed and pounce. That said he'll likely be able to push the lane really well pre-6 and you won't be able to push back. After level 6 full on engagements are pretty difficult because he can just use Conflagration and then land a Sear. He's pretty strong in team fights with the AoE on his Pillar of Flame and his ultimate. In some regards this makes him fairly better than you, but like any mage who has no inherent way to avoid getting hit by a spear he is extremely susceptible. For some reason he seems easier to hit than most mages, perhaps it's his large unit frame.
Playing against Brand: You'll get pushed pre-6 but as long as you don't take a ton of damage you should be fine. Full on engagements are difficult and punishing unless you can catch him off-guard. Try and land a spear on him and get him below 40% hp before engaging full on. I tend to like to roam against Brand because all he can really do while you're roaming is push the lane. This is actually more punishing to Brand than most AP champions because he already pushes the lane so well that he really isn't gaining an advantage (say that other champions would gain) with you out of lane.
She can be annoying, she's a pretty overrated champion in general, but that doesn't mean she's bad. She has pretty good mobility and a taunt with pretty decent single target damage. Ganking her is nearly impossible and it really requires catching her off-guard. She has a good amount of utility for an AP carry and slightly worse poke. She will beat you head on if you go toe-to-toe unless you're ahead.
Playing against Ahri: It's important to stay ahead, because Ahri snowballs pretty well. She has a good roaming ability like you, so it's hard to punish her for roaming. Try and land spears on her so she feels like she can't roam and is cautious in lane.
He can be a pain, but more often than not he won't cause major problems. In some ways he is like LeBlanc, but overall I'm never really that worried playing against him. His silence can be annoying but can easily be healed back up. His passive can be a pain, but since most of your damage comes from auto-attacks between levels 1-5 he won't get much use out of it. Additionally, your takedown will hurt him pretty bad too. The most likely problem you'll encounter with Kassadin is if he gets fed off other lanes. He can roam almost as well as you and has better ganks because of his slow and blink. He's pretty poor at last hitting and trading with champions and requires strong burst. After the burst it's pretty smooth sailing.
Playing against Kass: Buy an early Null-Magic Mantle if you need to, perhaps even rush Mercury's Treads. Anything to survive his burst. Make sure to call out any time he goes mia, he'll try and pick up kills off other lanes if he can't pick them up off you. Try to absorb his burst in cougar form when your armor and resistances are higher and then pop out to heal and auto-attack when you need to. Despite his passive, a spear at rank 3+ will still really hurt him, don't ever be afraid to chuck them.
He's generally fallen off as an AP carry. He isn't as popular and pretty hard countered by QSS. He's major strength is his laning phase and his ability to push, but he needs to stay ahead to really be a factor. His abilities are mainly for pushing and really doesn't have any kill potential until he gets his ultimate. Even then it's still difficult to get it off effectively for him.
He'll push incredibly hard and his voidling is really annoying but he shouldn't pose much of a threat other than this. He will push early on and you're only ability to push back is traps, after level 6 you should be able to clear waves quickly enough. His ultimate gives you a window to land a pretty much guaranteed spear as long as he isn't casting it on you, you can control team fights an engagements better than he can. All around he isn't that difficult except for his ability to push you and your lack of push power pre-6.
Her burst is what defines Annie. She can trade quite well with her stun and Disintegrate. Once she hits 6 she will out of nowhere WTFSTUNBEARS you for like half your hp. This is what makes engaging on her difficult. She also has another of other abilities that seem to be designed to counter Nidalee. Her Molten Shield really hurts when you try to trade with her via auto-attacks, not to mention she has range on you. She can stun you while trying to engage on her, this is very easy through Incinerate or Disintegrate. You have poke on her which allows you to win late game but you and your team have to be very cautious of her Tibbers because it will annihilate your team.
Playing against Annie: just farm and try and be super cautious once she hits 6. She will be looking for any opportunity to land her stun and ult. You have to respect Annie because of this massive burst potential. It's not so much Annie's damage as much as it is how quickly she gets it off, there is almost nothing you can do to respond to this. So just because you hit level 6, doesn't mean you're stronger, she's actually one of the few champions that is stronger at 6 than you are. You can counter her by stalling it out to late game as best you can or roaming. Either work, I think stalling out to late game and using your poke to win is more effective but you will need to put some pressure on other lanes to ensure that they are able to hold up.
Swain can be challenging, especially a well played Swain. It's a match up that is pretty difficult to win, but not impossible. You're stronger than he is late game in some regards and he relies on minions and enemy champions to get full use of his ultimate. I think he's actually pretty strong against Nidalee in some regards. You won't be able to outright beat him through your cougar burst, his ultimate will give him enough sustain to not only do some good DPS to you, but come out ahead. However, late game is where you really shine. Swain has virtually no poke other than Nevermove which isn't really poke, but in any case, he is dependent on close combat to reach maximum damage potential. This is where Nidalee counters Swain extremely well. Nidalee can force disengagement and really can punish a Swain eager to engage.
Playing against a Swain: You probably won't win or lose lane unless the Swain is really good or bad. Just try and farm and stall to late game, you can also roam as discussed in many other portions of the guide, it's effective also. The important thing is to realize that Ignite alone isn't enough to counter Swain. Just because you Ignite a Swain does not mean you can kill him, it's the biggest misconception I see with most players. You need swain to be at about 20-30% hp before you should fully engage him and you need Ignite up.
She seems to have fallen out of favor for some reason. She brings a lot of utility to her team and more consist damage than you do. You have a lot of utility as well, but it's slightly different. Anivia is good at controlling a fight, while Nidalee is good at controlling the map. You could say Anivia is better in a fight but that's debatable. Anivia needs to land her abilities and have good placement of her ultimate to be effective, if she doesn't she really hurts her team. It's sort of similar in the way that you need to hit your spears, but the chance that she screws up is higher than your chance to screw up. She can wall people out, misplace her ult, and miss her stun all of which effect her damage output and could potentially affect her team, missing a spear isn't as punishing for you.
Playing against Anivia: she's weak pre-6 like you. After she hits level 6 and gets a blue buff you won't be able to push against her, just as she won't be able to push against you. It's a fairly passive lane neither of you will really be able to kill each other without the help of a jungler. The enemy jungler will probably have more difficulty ganking you than yours will have ganking Anivia. If you need to kill the Anivia for whatever reason then just call the jungler to help you gank. Egging anivia is NEVER worth your cooldowns. You really shouldn't waste to much time trying to kill her mid, if you want kills pick them up from other lanes otherwise just farm mid.
She seems to be more popular since they added some quality-of-life changes to her. She still has a number of issues as a mid lane champion (not to mention support). She relies on staying ahead the entire time and landing skillshots. You can make this pretty difficult for her with your cougar form. Her ultimate does quite a bit of damage and she's quite good at poking and sieging just as you are.
Playing against Lux: You can put a lot of pressure on her to land her skillshots after you hit level 6 by pouncing on her frequently. She should have some difficulty with this although it is risky because you expose yourself to her skillshots. If she lands them she can punish you. Sometimes it's better to just play it safe and try and land a spear. If the enemy Lux is ahead then this is probably your best option.
AP Kog'Maw isn't the most popular pick, but he seems to be gaining some popularity as a viable pick. His laning phase is decent enough, it's hard to trade with him at full health because of his W. Kog'Maw's real strength is his poke late game. His ultimate will match your spear's range at rank 1. His Living Artillery will outrange you at rank 2 and 3 (1700 and 2200 range respectively). His Void Oooze will actually hit pretty hard and is extremely annoying in team fights. Fortunately you shouldn't be in range to be hit by this ooze.
You can't really trade with him when at even health because his W is so strong, even with your heal it's difficult. You'll have to rely on your spear or atleast have a pretty distinct advantage on him. After level 6 he has poke to match yours, but even his Void Ooze won't be able to stop you from getting to him. You shouldn't really engage him head on unless he's below 40% hp or you have about 20-40% more hp on him. Late game is the most difficult part, you pretty much have to land spears through kog'maw's Living Artillery which is difficult. You almost need to control blue against Kog or else you will probably lose out on poke wars.
Katarina can cause some issues for Nidalee with her Shunpo and Bouncing Blades is incredibly annoying. Her ultimate, Death Lotus, is incredibly strong even in a 1v1 situation. She'll have a stronger laning phase than you just with her harassment and great lane mobility. For team fighting she is fairly good. Her Death Lotus is really all she has, if she gets stopped mid ult she won't be able to do much the rest of the team fight. Landing spears is very difficult on her because of her Shunpo.
Playing against Kat: Your team fights can be stronger if she can't get her full ultimate off. In lane you won't really be able to win, but your heal should be able to sustain you well enough that she won't be able to kill you without an ultimate. This match-up is really a toss up, but Katarina is fairly weak because of her reliance on her ultimate while you can sit back and poke. Once you hit level 6 you are stronger if you can survive her ultimate, it's fairly easy to bait out the ultimate then just jump in cougar form and pounce away. While her ultimate is down you should take advantage of her weakness.
This guy shouldn't pose a major threat to many points of your game. His barrels are fairly slow, but clear pretty well. The damage is decent on them also. His charge isn't much to be afraid of, and if he does land it just chunk him with a spear and/or cougar form. The main threat a Gragas will pose is either his displacement with his ultimate or his incredible burst damage. Both of these are important to watch out for. Nidalee can win lane pretty easily because she can dodge his skillshots better than he can dodge yours. Just watch the burst.
Playing against Gragas: Watch his burst, thats the most important thing. After level 6, you need to keep yourself at about 75% or higher otherwise he will unload everything on you. He may even do it when you're at full health. You may consider picking up boots 2 early so he can't land skillshots on you so easily, but otherwise cougar form will suffice. He has a little sustain, but it's nothing to be worried about, just land your spears, watch your health, and don't be afraid to go in for the kill when he presents it. I've noticed a lot of Gragas players like to roam, don't let him, if he roams he will probably pick up kills. Keep his health low so he feels like he can't roam.
Is this guy even a champion anymore? I can't tell you if I've ever played against a Heimerdinger but I probably have. I'm going to base this on how I would play against him and what I would expect. This guy is going to push like a boss and you won't be able to stop it pre-6. You'll have to use your traps on minions to try and push back. His rockets will hurt, his bomb is as difficult to dodge as a beach ball in a gentle breeze and frankly he won't do all the much other than push.
Playing against Heimer: Do your best to push against this guy pre-6 but it most likely won't be possible. His turrets aren't too bad when you have minions, try and kill those before normal minions. Watch his rockets and his bombs, the bombs aren't hard to dodge and won't really affect you while in cougar, but could mess up some last hitting in human form. His rockets will hurt, but if you get in his face you can burst him harder than he can burst you. Turrets can be annoying if you're trying to land spears on him, so just work on your aim.
This guy really isn't much of a threat. He has strong level 1 with his Pick A Card but aside from that he won't be strong again until he gets his ultimate. His ability to push is mediocre, but not that strong early game. It can become a problem once he gets some AP and can clear your waves with a single Wild Cards. Once he hits 6 he will be incredibly good at roaming. His ultimate is something you cannot compete with, however, as soon as you see it cast, try and land a spear and some cougar form a abilities before he goes to whatever lane he is ganking. This will make him extremely weak when he tries to gank. His ultimate is channeled for 2 seconds which is enough time to get a spear off if you follow him and are close enough. This is what makes TF dangerous, aside from the global potential, he doesn't bring a whole lot to the team.
Playing against TF: His level 1 is really strong with Pick A Card so don't try and trade, his wild cards are fairly easy to dodge and won't hit that hard early on. TF really needs to stay ahead to be extremely effective in lane. He will do this by using his ultimate to try and pick off kills in other lanes. There are a number of things you can do to make his life hell.
- 1. ward both sides of the river so you know where he is at all times he tries to use his ultimate, if you see him start heading off to a side, follow him and deal as much damage as you can before he ports off, remember you have 2 seconds of free damage on him
- 2. push, push, push. Push like crazy against TF. Nidalee does this extremely effectively already and TF will have to think twice about the next time he uses his ultimate. You want to play mind games with him, and make him feel punished for using his ultimate, which is the opposite effect he is going for.
- 3. don't be afraid to take down towers, I encourage this, it gives TF less security around the map now that he doesn't have mid.
- 4. call mia's and ping allies back if you see them overextended
- 5. if he ults, gank the opposite lane
A quick note on TF's poke, Wild Cards, it is fairly good range, almost as good as your spear (his range is 1450 while your spear is 1500). It will clear minions better than your spear however, but it doesn't have the range, projectile speed, nor damage that your spear has. Your poke is very similar, but landing your poke is much more punishing that if he lands his, this is important, because you need to win the poke war to be effective late game
I feel Nidalee counters Karthus extremely well. Karthus really relies on running into the enemy with his Defile and Lay Waste. Your spears literally demolish him. You and your team can kite him all day, and landing two spears will most likely Ghost him unless he built incredibly tanky. You make his life a total pain because it will be incredibly difficult for him to land Lay Waste in lane. His defile won't be a major damage threat early on, so cougar form will pummel him.
Playing against Karthus: I will go over the entire game from lane to late because this is important. Nidalee sets the tempo of a game very well. As Nidalee your job is to control engagements by the enemy and your team. This is even more so true and important for Karthus. He will try and get into your team and just die with defile on. Don't let him, if he starts charging in land a spear and back off. It's important to make him feel like he has to sit back and cast like any other AP. Most Karthus players will want to get in there and deal as much damage as possible, even if they die. It is important that you and your team don't let him. Don't try and force full on, 5v5 engagements, you will most likely lose unless you're significantly ahead. If you don't get anything from this section at least remember this: landing spears on Karthus or his teammates will set the tempo of the game. it is important for you to set this tempo, not karthus
In lane, there isn't much to say, it's really hard for him to land Lay Waste on you. Better yet, his Defile won't hurt too bad during the early stages of the game so you can get in cougar and wreck him without worrying.
As Nidalee you'll have a field day against this guy. He's got decent range which can be really annoying, but as soon as he activates his W to get this range you have a free spear on him. Aside from this he also has a lot of skilshots which he has to land to get off his stun. Once you get cougar form these are incredibly easy to dodge. Even his ultimate isn't hard to get out of. He'll rely on his ultimate to actually be able to kill you unless you just stay in to long. The kill potential this guy has is next to 0.
There's not really much to say except to not die pre-6 after level 6 it's smooth sailing. You can dodge his skillshots really easily and get in his face. You pretty much totally nullify his W unless he wants to eat a spear.
Match history and stuff
Feel free to send in some screenshots of good games you've had using this guide. I really appreciate any feedback whether positive or negative. So tell me what you think, if you do really well I may add your screenshot with your permission of course. I'll add a few of mine;
Note from the Author
Unfortunately I was not able to release some Nidalee video's with this guide, although I plan to as soon as I solve a number of issues regarding this problem I should have a few out. Ideally I would have a mini-guide for each mid encounter. Hopefully I can get this done in the near future.
If you're thinking about picking Nidalee up you should, she's a great champion that will probably never fall out of the meta simply because of her versatility. Don't be afraid to play her just because you think you'll feed or lose. You can't win every game or be the hero. Take the losses as they come and try to learn something. Even after probably over 500 games played with Nidalee alone I still learn something every time I lose a lane. Try not to rage at your teammates, if they suck then they suck, just do your best and everything in your power to win the game and that's all you can be happy with. Also try not to be too chatty, if you're doing well be proud of it, but don't boast. Act like you've been there before. That's all I got, happy Spear hunting!
If you have any questions you can find me on the North American servers at Mooninites. I'm usually up for a game too so feel free to add me. If not there, you can find me in the Mobafire chatroom in game
While this guide is already massive, I still have plans to add more in the future, so please let me know what you would like to see. Currently I have plans to add:
- A video guide
- mini-guides for each middle opponent
- more pictures for maps
- a tips and tricks video
First I'd like to thank everyone who read this guide, I know it was quite the amount of information, but hopefully you took it in as best you could and learned how to play Nidalee a little better because of it.
Second I'd like to give a special thanks to the following people
- Taco Limyjr. for all his help with my computer illiteracy, specifically the Nidalee guide video's. (BIG THANKS HERE)
- Jhoijhoi for her guide and dividers
- Icecreamy for his column's guide and swift response to my coding problems\
- Xaioli for his insight and trying to help me find coding for some Nidalee abilities
Finally, I'd like to give a thanks to all my friends from Mobafire, Stronkgaming, and back home who keep me going while playing this game. If it wasn't for you guys I wouldn't of had the motivation to even play the game let alone make a guide.
These are some questions that were asked in the comments, I will do my best to answer them as clearly and quickly as possible.
1. Why is Kassadin a 3, not a 4?
A: I think Kassadin is a strong laning champ, I really do. He might be a borderline 4 champion, I'm not really sure. I think Kass is very beatable for Nidalee even in lane because of how strong her auto-attacks are. Additionally, Kassadin deals most of his damage in burst, which can easily be healed up. Even then, Kassadin needs kills to snowball into late game and I think Nidalee does a good job denying him kills. If he chooses to roam, Nidalee can roam just as effectively to counter-gank or push the lane. He might be a tier 4 champion, but at the moment I don't think so
3. Your build lacks tankiness and health; how can you go into cougar?
A: This is true, this guide relies heavily on your Javelin Toss for damage that's why I choose to skip Rod of Ages among various other reasons. If you desire this tankiness I think Abyssal Scepter first item isn't too bad, Rod of Ages would be acceptable or of course you could get an early Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This is if you want to use a lot of cougar form, usually I opt out from this, because even with the health and tankiness you still have a high chance to die going in.
2. Questions regarding Lich Bane
A: I think Lich Bane is a good item if you make use out of it. It might even be a great pick up after your Rabadon's Deathcap when you still make a lot of use with your Aspect Of The Cougar. And as i've said before I don't make the best use of Cougar especially in fights, so I don't make a lot of use of this item which is why I don't consider it core. If you make good use of it then by all means get it, fantastic item on Nidalee.
3. Skill Sequence
A: I think Bushwahck is an acceptable first spell to take, but I only think it's effective if you think you're going to be invaded. I like heal first against aggressive players. Javelin Toss is probably the worst option to take at level 1, your Bushwhack will actually do more damage. As far as after than, I think two points in Primal Surge is enough to sustain you. Anything past rank 3 will really hurt your mana pool. At rank two when it costs only 80 mana seems to be the right balance between sustain and mana regen. Although if you're not taking any damage you can always pick up 3 points in spear pre-6. Likewise if you're taking a lot of damage take 3 point in heal pre-6.
4. Mana issues?
A: You are correct there is not a lot of mana in this build, and only a minor amount of mana regen. You should be trying to group up and poke when you have blue buff. When you have blue buff you'll have plenty of sustained mana to get away with little mana regen. This is when you should group up and push, no enemy team is going to be able to deal with your constant poke, and when you lose blue buff you still should have a fairly healthy mana pool to poke a little more before backing off. This is what is so important about Nidalee is learning when to fight. You are right, there isn't a whole lot of mana or mana regen in this build, but if you pick your fights correctly, you will win. Nidalee is all about controlling the tempo of the game as I've said in the guide. Base when you fight around blue buff, and when you can't back off if you have to.
4/9/2012 - guide released
4/11/2012 - FAQ section added
4/23/2012 - Added Malzahar and AP Kog'Maw to champion
7/27/2012 - revamped runes and masteries section
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetrationx9
- Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regenerationx9
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Powerx9
- Greater Quintessence of Ability Powerx9