Nidalee Build Guide by Drazzt
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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.
Welcome to my guide to Nidalee! From the first time I played this champion I instantly loved her, with any luck I hope you will too! This is my first guide, so apologies to those who are used to seeing lots of pictures and video, with any luck Ill have them updated to the guide soon. I will try to work on this guide as new patches and champions are released to keep up with a solid, consistent build.
I go for Magic pen reds simply because they are too strong to not take on a champion like Nidalee, with 10 magic pen and the 15 percent from masteries you can be assured those squishies are going to feel those spears! Even the tanks will have to take heed!
I use dodge yellows because they synergise so well with her passive, I cant even begin to count how many times I SHOULD have died and didn't thanks to the these beauties!
I know that they are secondary, but mana regen blues are probably my favourite choice for Nidalee. They are only 0.010 off of the yellow primary regen runes, so there isn't too much in it. With the regen, you can happily sit and throw spears and heals around all early game, without feeling like your going "all in" on one spear. Feel free to use flat CD too.
I chose to buff these stats with a leading Quint in each stat. Why did I choose these instead of flat HP? Because i dont feel like that little bit of health is that useful IMO, and having the mana regen alone will allow you to get a few more heals out to keep you topped up. Its your call at the end of the day, but try both sides and see what you prefer.
9/9/12. An odd build, but I try to go for the most useful stats available. Going into magic pen in offense is an absolute must, you want them to really hurt after the slightest harassment.
Taking the defensive bonus's and dodge chance coupled with Nimbleness is great for early game aggro, the speed boost granted is amazing with Nidalee's natural evasive playstyle.
I decide to go for XP, mana regen and one point in utility mastery. The XP will help you stay in line with your lane opponents, maybe even outlevel them. The regen is great with the gen you already have at this point, even if its 3 mana per 5, its more than you had before! I use the utility mastery because Nidalee is an excellent off-jungler past level six (more on that later)
and the time buff can really help you stay on lane or in the forests for a long time.
I start with 1) Dorans ring because its simply too good a starting item to pass up. The early stat boost will help you survive much longer than rushing sheen, by allowing you to heal more often.
2) Cooldown boots have become my personal favourite, allowing fast, effective healing and a great reduction to spear toss as well. I put a lot of faith into primal surge and it comes through for me every time.
3) Sheen will allow you to really start harassing, after a heal hit an enemy champ with an auto attack, after a trap hit them too. It starts getting even more fun after level 6, because Takedown is a vicious move without bonus damage!
4) Guinsoo's rageblade was built for Nidalee. I treat this item as a core mechanic of Nidalee, on par with any of her skills. The reason why? Cougar form. While in cougar, ALL your moves are free. Thats right. And on a fairly low CD, so you can stay at full stacks forever. If you are being chased and take some damage, you can easily switch to human, heal, then switch back within a few moments. Do not ignore the importance of healing while running, Nidalee is fairly squishy but if you get your timing right, they will never catch you.
I finish sheen into 5)Lich bane next. With your AP being added to your next hit now, takedown becomes a very dirty skill. Make sure you wait for two seconds between rotations while in cougar, this will allow you to proc Lich three times rather than two when spammed, and can be the difference between a dead enemy, and a dead you.
6)Rabadons just throws in A HUGE amount of AP, meaning more damage from Lich, meaning better healing and better spears. My heals usually go around 500-800. Considering the low cooldown of the majority of her skills, the synergy here is awesome.
7)Malady is really more of a complimentary item. The bonus AS is very handy when coupled with your heal for pushing towers and in fights. The AP isnt large but every little helps, especially with the rabadon/lichbane combo. The real fun lies in its passive, drop their magic resist. This, plus a well timed trap, can turn tanks into powder!
8) I finish with Shurelia's reverie, if only for the one reason; the movement buff. I take this over Youmuu's because the regen and bonus HP are very handy for late game teamfights, Youmuu's only really provides one relevant stat, the CD. I find that this last slot is really more situational than anything and obviously against some teams you may need to adapt and change your order. As a generality, the build up to the fifth slot (malady) is usally the same, but ive found myself taking Banshee's veil over Malady on the odd occasion. Dont underestimate the power of quicksilver sash either! It removes all debuffs from you, coupled with cleanse to remove stun/snares, nobody can catch you.
As with all guides take it as a template rather than a bible to stick to. If you think you need more AP earlier, by all means do it! If for some reason your getting chopped to pieces, consider more movement, or an item like force of nature or randuins.
I absolutely MUST have an awesome heal as soon as possible. The role i fill with Nidalee is that of support DPS, support being your number one priority. Think of her as a Soraka, but with big sharp fangs and a large spear. You bring much needed survivability to your lane-mate, yourself and anyone who happens to pop up to your lane for a gank. Not to mention healing the tank after an initiation.
Spear is your next priority, as it is your main source of harass and DPS, even while in cougar!
I only take the one level in bushwhack early because of the utility side of things. For some reason, people love to run over them when they see them. I guess they think theyre cleaning the place up. If an enemy walks over a trap and you are within range to harass safely (be it spear or auto attack), do it. Make them hurt for reducing their armour and magic resist by a flat percentage. The vision it provides is truly amazing when activated, especially for champs like Twitch and Eve as it reveals them for a period of time while they stealth!
Your skills have a double role, your cougar form skills. Your bread and butter is pounce (bushwhack). It cannot be reduced in CD any more than its current time, but we need it purely to escape and chase. Remember you can jump through thin walls if you are facing that wall too!
Takedown (spear) will deal an amount of damage based on how much health the enemy has left, the lower they are the more it deals! This is your finisher, or even a middle rotation skill depending.
Swipe (primal surge) will deal damage in a cone in front of you, much like Kassadin's force pulse. It isnt a large amount, but its real uses are adding another sheen/lich proc and clearing waves of clumped minions. *Make sure you wait for your sheen/lich proc every two seconds before casting a new skill!* I cannot stress this enough. Simply spamming all your skills will not be efficient or as damaging as waiting just a few moments. If your hurting in the middle of a fight and dont think you can wait, dont. Turn tail and get a few jumps inbetween you and the fight, turn human, heal, then switch back (maybe not before throwing a spear) and get stuck in again.
Flash is a lifesaver, yup, Nidalee has a jump skill of her own, on a low CD, but if you need that last little jump and dont have the time before ryze gets up your arse, pop it. You cant also use it to surprise initiate. Start in a forest for the movement buff, flash towards your prey, move forward if needed then pounce them! You dont waste the damage and proc from your skill this way.
Cleanse is also a lifesaver. Did ryze catch you? Not to fear, cleanse and run away! (make that jump)
I dont really enjoy any other summoner spells for Nidalee myself, but its a personal choice. Not very often i find i have mana issues, health issues, the desire to one shot a mob, or the need to inflict a DoT and heal debuff.
A few Handy notes
It may be hard at first to embrace Nidalee's true potential, she is a ranged support DPS, with very tough melee capabilities. Trying to find the balance between cougar and human can be hard, is it worth jumping into that shaco to try and get that kill? Would it be safer to throw a spear? Generally i prefer to take the ranged approach, the further away you are the less chance of death. Besides, you want to be able to escape ganks effectively too, so i generally save cougar for team fights and escaping/chasing.
Spears deal more damage *the further away you are from you target, at the point of impact*. So moving back a bit after a throw can achieve maximum damage. Even a jump can help put the difference between you and your target.
If your team has a ward on dragon/nashor and the enemy team is going for one of them, you are perfect for stealing it. Watch till theyre low, then chuck a spear. Ive stolen dragon many a time, and nashor a few too! Theres nothing more satisfying watching the enemy do the work and you take the credit.
Try not to go solo mid with Nidalee. I know she is a viable mid but you cant take full advantage of her role as a support character. There is also less room for being in the brush, where Nidalee excels.
Remember, Nidalee is very squishy! You cant sit in the middle of damage all day because you have a heal. Evasive play and a cautious nature can go a long way towards survival!
When pushing towers, sometimes healing yourself is a good idea. It will proc your sheen/lich and do a bit more damage, as well as providing an AS buff for yourself to hit it quicker. Just dont use heal if there is a chance of your being ganked while pushing, you dont want to get caught without a heal!
Overall Nidalee is my favourite champion. I get a positive KDR in 99% of all my games and id say I owe it to her amazing manoeuvrability and survivability. With a bit of skill you wont die at all! The brush is your territory, make sure its filled with traps and a lurking cougar ready to pounce on anyone foolish enough to try and enter it!
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Try the build, but more importantly have fun! And get the french maid costume, you wont regret it ;)