Build Guide by ChefoSLR

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author ChefoSLR

Nidalee - Now you see me, now you're dead

ChefoSLR Last updated on June 8, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Intro: Why Nidalee?

Hey, guys, second build here, hope you enjoy it. If you're the play-for-fun fans of this game and you chose Nidalee, a flexible 7 skill champion who excels at pretty much everything, you're in for a treat. Nidalee is a support, pusher, AP carry and an excellent map controller.
In this guide I'll try to summarize how to be a better Nidalee player and how to effectively destroy your opposition.

Note: I have maybe 80 - 100 games with Nidalee, so I have yet to master her. Constructive criticism is encouraged.

Nidalee is

    A very good pusher;
    An excellent support for your carry;
    A graceful AP carry their tank had better not neglect;
    An awesome 7 skill character, the most flexible champion in the League of Legends, next to Lee Sin;
    Excellent chaser\runner;
    Overall massively fun to play.
Nidalee is NOT:
    A team independent character;
    A strong 1v1 against a gap - closer hero;
    easy to play.

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Skill Assessment: Nidalee, the beast within

Nidalee packs all kinds of spells. Use them wisely to turn any situation into your favor.

Prowl is a very underestimated passive. But if you think about it, that's like having 20 Occult stack unique as a passive. It also gives you brush dominance, which is invaluable early game. Use it wisely and always bait your pursuers to the depths of the jungle to escape them with ease.

In Human form, Nidalee will toss her Javelin, dealing a huge amount of magical damage which increases as the spear travels further. This is a very hard skill to use as it needs to hit from very fast in order to be effective. Always try to aim it at unexpected angles. Your opponents will have no worries evading a spear head- on, but an odd trajectory often forces them to make dumb moves and walk right into it.
In her Cougar form, Nidalee charges her next attack to do massive physical damage and extra damage depending on how low on life her target is. This is a very powerful harass and a threatening late game nuke.

In Human form, Nidalee lays down a trap which does magical damage and reduces resistances. The damage is easily- ignorable, however when an enemy walks over your trap, it reveals them for a significant amount of time. This is great for warding key areas, general map control, and destroying the enemy wards. Late Game it becomes the bane of all tanks as it reduces their effectiveness by up to 40%!
In Cougar Form, Nidalee lunges towards the cursor's location. Nidalee can use this skill to jump over walls, although this is the hardest wall- jump mechanic in the game. Nidalee can generally jump over Baron, Dragon, Blue and Red buff walls, although this should never be your first escape plan, as it's risky and sometimes fails. If spammed, it allows for easy chases, escapes and Guinsoo stacks.

In Human form, this is one of the best heals in the game, with a beastly 1.2 AP scaling. It also gives a hefty AS boost, perfect for increasing your damage output, pushing a tower, or buffing your carry to no end.
In Cougar Form, Nidalee performs an arc- like swype in front of her, dealing moderate AoE damage. This is just a decoration to your Takedown damage output, but it's mostly used for quick farming. Pounce onto the caster minions in the back, Swype and auto attack each once.

Your "Spiderman- like" transformation skill, giving you a whole new skill tree, as well as some nifty movement speed and dodge bonus. A very powerful ultimate overall.

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Runepage, tailoring Nidalee to your tastes

My build is pretty standard here. Magic pen reds are a must in my opinion. Yellows may vary, I go for HP per level Greater Seal of Vitality , but dodge runes are also a fine choice. Blues may also vary. I switch between CDR per level and , although I have more positive results with the latter, due to Primal Surge's scaling. Finally for quintessences I go with flat AP , again for the heal.

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Masteries: Finishing touches on Nidalee

Nothing too special here, just make sure you get the magic penetration in Offense and reduced summoner cooldowns in Utility. There is a variation of this mastery page involving taking improved neutral buff duration. For more information, read Summary, Early Game.

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Items: Gear up and be a better Nidalee

Your early game item depends on one condition: do you have a jungler? If you don't, Nidalee is of the best champions, if not the best, for taking the blue buff at level 1. Ask your partner to tank it for you and get one level in Primal Surge . The blue buff gives you almost infinite mana, allowing you to get the Amplifying tome early on. Note that this strategy works best with the Increased Buff Duration in Utility.
From there on, you should focus on getting your Guinsoo ASAP. Get this even before Mejai's , as it gives you a massive amount of free stats, provided you spam your Pounce often enough. Your next item after Soulstealer should be the Rabadon's Deathcap , followed by a LichBane Lichbane and some defensive items, depending on the team composition. Note: If you find yourself back at base unable to buy an important part of an item, get a Blasting Wand . A large part of your build involves this item, so there's no harm in having 1- 2 lying around.

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Optional Items and why Mejai's is Recommended

I'm making this chapter from user request, I also saw the need to include one. I think it goes without saying that you should be making stack items only if you're doing well early game, as the cost of such items can easily backfire. The thing is, Nidalee has the potential to be extremely effective early game and she should. The AP you'll get from Soulstealer is almost invaluable, so is the Cooldown Reduction. Again, if you're having a tough lane or some other misfortune, feel free to skip on the Soulstealer.

Depending on the situation you should always be able to vary your build. I think it goes without saying that Rageblade is a must on Nidalee, simply due to her cougar mechanics. Her next items may vary. A few successful experiments of mine include:

Early Trinity Force Following the Off-tank style, this item is a very- cost effective stat boost, coupled with the enhanced attack and slow unique. Use this on a hybrid build.

Early Rod of Ages This is more of a safe way to increase your effectiveness, as the Catalyst can help you a lot on troublesome lanes. Not my favourite item for Nidalee, but it's a solid item for her, nontheless.

Early Defensive Items: These are very situational items and I strongly advice against rushing them. Use them if an enemy is getting overfed and you need a hard counter to him. Generally, Nidalee's mobility and range keep her out of trouble, hence my build leaning towards more damage- oriented items.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter I've honestly never used it on Nidalee, but I see a lot of them using it. I think she has great chasing capabilities as it is, a slow would just be overkill IMO. If it's working for you, though, feel free to get it. Creativity is fun!

Guardian Angel This is actually a really nice item as it gives a lot of resistances and revives you, perfect if you've farmed a lot champions and fear echoes from your 20 Mejai Stacks. Don't forget to rush with cougar first for your escape, healing is secondary.

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Swapping Shoes!!!

The Ionian Boots of Lucidity are an early and mid game item. Later on you'll frequently be carrying the blue buff, so you need to gear up towards late game by getting Tenacity in the form of Merc Treads . Note that choosing not to do so makes you exceptionally squishy. If you think your tank is doing a pretty good job, feel free to pass on changing your boots.

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Skill Sequence: Don't be a fool with the Javelin

I see a lot of Nidalee players leveling up their Javelin first and that forces them to play extra defensively. By leveling up your heal and getting Javelin as a secondary option, you have more health to perform your far deadlier harass, your W- E - Q Cougar combo.. Make sure to get an early rank in Bushwhack for the Pounce , or even getting it on level 1 to assist your jungler.

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Summoner Spells: Help your Nidalee on the battlefield

I've found Flash and Ignite to work best for her, however Ghost is awesome, too . I strongly advice you against taking Clarity and Teleport . Nidalee rarely has mana issues with the blue buff and her pounce allows her to quickly get back to her lane.

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Summary: Early Game

Start off by getting either a Doran Ring , if you're a regular setup with a jungler, or an amplifying tome if you don't have one and wish to take the blue buff with your lane partner. To do that, simply let your lane mate tank the golem, while you heal him, making sure he backs out so you can finish it off. By the time you get to your lane, you'll have healed both him and yourself to full HP with a nice mana buff to boot. Note that getting this buff often means your teammates are likely not dependent on it, so feel free to take Increased Neutral Buff Duration, instead of an extra two points in Meditation.
Early game should be a breeze for Nidalee. Stick to the brushes, and you'll be uncatchable. Your javelin is best saved for surprise attacks without the creep wave, as it's easy to dodge and costs a helluva lot of mana. As Nidalee you want to be last hitting as much as you can, and Primal Surge's AS boost should make that a cakewalk.

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Summary: Mid Game

Ok, you have your cougar now, time to start dishing out some serious pain. Your full Cougar combo hits like a truck, and you can easily nullify counter- harassment with you heal. Don't get too carried away and you should be dominating and zoning out your enemy. If you're on a solo lane I advice against this combo, as two people can spell disaster for Nidalee with enough CC. Your first order of business is getting your Guinsoo and keeping it to 8 stacks throughout the game. It sometimes gets annoying, but spam all your cougar spells to keep the stacks, they're vital.
Now you should be ganking a lot, and your cougar form is perfect for the job. Do what you do best and push the enemy lanes as fast as you can.

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Summary: Late Game and Nidalee's Potency for Ranked Play

I'll be going over two major points here.
The first is, Nidalee is one of the easiest hero for getting 20 stacks on Mejai's Soulstealer. Her javelin can rack up assists like no other, and her mobility and map awareness allow her easy escapes. In teamfights you should always be out there, helping your more fragile allies keep at it. Even through exhaust , Nidalee can easily escape her pursuers.

The second is to dispel the mass illusion that Nidalee is useless in teamfights. She's almost a necessity in fights. First of all, with 40% cooldown reduction, Primal Surge heals for 1000 every 6 seconds and gives a massive AS boost for your carry. Second, Nidalee's high mobility allows her to pull off her Cougar Combo and back out really fast. Third, Nidalee is an excellent poker, often forcing a teamfight where the enemy has 60-70% HP left at the start. Finally, Bushwhack is SICK! Taking most of the resistances off the tank is invaluable if you can aim it correctly.
Nidalee's primary threats are Ignite as it diminishes her ability to nuke and heal back and any fast gap closers. Crowd Control is dangerous only en masse, as a 1- 2 second stun will not be enough to take down an experienced Nidalee. However, be on the lookout for any assassin moves. I've listed some of them below:

' s Audacious Charge - stay away from this guy, he's one of Nidalee's direct counters.

's Alpha Strike - also a potent hero, you'll be dead in seconds if you don't keep your distance.

's Shadow Dance - one the few assassin heroes you can effectively 1v1, as BushWhack reveals her in her Twilight Shroud

's Headbutt - still a broken hero, let's keep our fingers crossed he'll get nerfed soon. Until then, hug your tank and don't let him get close to you.

's Heroic Charge - this hero is actually perfect for Nidalee, as Poppy is typically very deadly. Heroic Charge has a massive cooldown, and the boost from her W will not be enough for her to catch up to you. If you can bait Poppy into a wild goose chase, it would benefit your team greatly.

's Cataclysm - simply laughable, as your Pounce can get you over the wall. Make sure you keep away from him, as he can easily destroy you with a knockup, though.

' s Riftwalk and 's Distortion - KEEP AWAY! Two very deadly burst assassins with a very long silence spell doom for an over-confident Nidalee.

's Spinning Slash - can't touch this, Barbarian dude. What most players fail to do against Tryndamere is face him head - on after his Spinning Slash. Mocking Shout is his only way of reaching you and it's on a very long cooldown. Avoid that and he can only dream of catching you.

's Destiny - Don't be intimidated, you can easily take him out. The mistake most people make against such heroes is they run away. A DPS Assassin is usually a very squishy hero who relies on you attempting to get away, because they have either very- long range spells or some form of a stun or slow. Turn around and dish out the pain.

's Twisted Advance - This is typically an initiation move, so Flash works best to get you out of harm's way. If it's on cooldown, drop a Bushwhack quick, as Maokai typically serves as a tank and the trap will make short work of his resistances.

's Shunpo - Usually followed by Death Lotus, as the cooldown on this ultimate is virtually non- existent. Pounce to get out of her daggers and then nuke her face off once Death Lotus is over.

's Tumble - Again the same strategy as with Twisted Fate, turn around and own. Most players get frustrated as Vayne kills them in their escape. This is what she was designed to do, catching runners with her passive, ultimate and Tumble. However, she has no way of deflecting damage, so a direct approach works best.

's Deceive - Shaco is kind of like Nidalee - hit and run character with strong escape moves. If you're focused in a teamfight, alert your mates to help you. Shaco is very vulnerable for a few seconds after he deceives to initiate.

's Leap Strike - a very poor choice of target, Jax. A sustained damage dealer versus an AP nuker. Juke him by dishing out your full combo and backing with pounce. By fighting you, he won't get to Counterstrike nor will he be able to rack up his ultimate stacks, leaving him weak and blindly chasing a super- fast Nidalee.

's Paranoia - a very deadly assassin with a lot of ways to get close to you. You can't handle him by yourself so stick to your teammates. Nocturne is really weak when surrounded, as he excels at single- target damage.

All of these are counted as long cooldown initiation moves, you'll be safe from them for a while if you're not close to the center of the fight when the 5v5 starts.
As Nidalee you want to constantly perform hit - and - run combos, while supporting your team with Primal Surge. Never expose yourself for too long, as you're easy prey when focused. Instead, utilize your potential by letting other teammates take the hits and come in between enemy cooldowns to destroy your opposition in a few swift hits.

Mastering the technique of judging enemy gap closer cooldowns is key to performing well with Nidalee in Ranked. She's one of the best multi- purpose heroes in the game, one that's enormously fulfilling to play and brutally effective when played correctly. Again, the most important thing to note is to stay away from gap - closers.

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Closing comments: See you on the Field of Judgement!

So we come to the end of this guide, I hope you enjoyed it and would be even more pleased if you offered some constructive suggestions on points you liked or disliked. Now get out there, and make the enemy fear the wild.