Nidalee Build Guide by mobafiresucks
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.
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.
Let's begin with a simple breakdown of Nidalee's champion type and her role on her team. First off, Nidalee, in my opinion, is an AP support type character, with the potential to be an AP carry. Nidalee can possess many roles on her team. She can be the team's AP carry, healer, both of which have already been mentioned, but she can even the team's go-to-champ for back-dooring when the team is in desperate need of it (this'll be explained farther along the build). She's arguably one of the best champions in the game (and my favourite too! :D) as she could absolutely face-roll teams if played properly.
It's sort of self explanatory as to why you need magic penetration marks, especially considering the fact that Nidalee is meant to be somewhat of a caster. It might not be as apparent early on, but your magic penetrations marks will allow you to hit like a truck late game, especially when coupled with a Void Staff.
Dodge seals come in real handy when Nidalee is being pursued, and as she is very susceptible to crowd control effects, even one dodge can mean the difference between life and death.
Nidalee's abilities (in human form) love to eat up mana, especially considering they have such low cooldowns (tempting you to go for that extra spear throw because you know if you'll land it you'll force the enemy to recall, or even better, kill them). Being out of mana really sucks, in fact it can lead to your death, so mana regeneration glyphs are the way to go.
Placing masteries in the utility tree is an absolute MUST on Nidalee. Nidalee's abilities in human form eat up a lot of mana so masteries as well as runes that augment her mana regeneration is extremely helpful. Placing masteries in the utility tree also allows for increased cooldown reduction. Stacked on top of Nidalee's already short cooldowns, the cooldown reduction masteries make her that much more lethal. The 6 masteries placed in the defense tree simply allow Nidalee to lane for longer periods of time, giving a decent boost to her magic resistance and armour. The last 3 masteries, placed in the offense tree, help out Nidalee's AP needs. For an AP utiliser like Nidalee, the decent boost in terms of AP per level is welcomed with open arms.
If there could be a better starting item for Nidalee, I'd like to hear it. Doran's Ring not only gives you a health boost to increase survivability during laning phase, but it boosts stats in areas crucial to Nidalee: Ability Power and Mana Regeneration. Doran's Ring gives an incredible boost, coupled with your ability power quintessences, to your ability power, and this makes a huge difference early game as your Primal Surge and Javelin Toss become more effective (making up for the less apparent magic penetration). And I think it's clear to all readers of this guid why mana regeneration on Nidalee is important.
Who doesn't need boots? This'll just give you an early game boost to your speed to get out of some hairy situations.
This, in my opinion, is the bread and butter of this Nidalee build. Getting a needlessly large rod right off the bat may be tough, but it pays of almost instantly. As this build suggests, you are not upping your Javelin Toss immediately, so in theory, its damage should be mediocre. This item would increase the effectiveness of Nidalee's Javelin toss by a decent amount and this in turn would increase the further your opponent is away from you. A Needlessly Large Rod would make a level 1 Javelin Toss nuke like a level 3/4 Javelin Toss if you were to build Guinsoo's Rageblade first like most other builds suggest. However, this is not the main purpose for rushing a Needlessly Large Rod. The beauty of rushing this item first lies in the effect on your Primal Surge it'll have. Your heals would be ridiculous, almost to the point where you can enter a 1v2, deal some burst damage, pounce out and heal back any damage you could have taken in that little skirmish. You will laugh at your enemies for being half to almost no hp while you sit back with full hp getting back to your spear-tossing business.
Now you must be thinking: "Why use dodge chance seals if you won't even build Ninja Tabi!?" In most cases you'd be justified in thinking that, but Mercury Treads is a pair of boots that can be used on all champions. Nidalee is very susceptible to crowd control effects, and if she is focused and the target of many cc, she's might as well be dead. With Mercury Treads, she can get out of the crowd control faster and pounce away to live another day. A skilled Nidalee would build Ninja Tabi for the dodge chance if they are absolutely sure they can avoid any crowd control effects, but for the purposes of this build (giving a general idea on how to play Nidalee), Mercury Treads are the best option.
An amazing item on Nidalee, especially since her courgar form can easily maintain 8 stacks on this item for an extended period of time. With this item, Nidalee can be a harrassing/turret-wrecking machine. Her increased attack speed from Primal Surge stacked with this item's passive allow Nidalee to auto attack faster than most characters in the game. This is very rare to see on a caster, which is why Nidalee's such an amazing champion.The increased ability power will help demolish turrets when coupled with well-timed Lich Bane procs.
This item makes it easy for Nidalee to demolish squishies and surprisingly, turrets. With the amount of ability power Nidalee already possesses at this point, this item can be used with her Takedown ability (in cougar form) to absolutely wreck an enemy's health. Not only this, but if timed well, Lich Bane procs and Primal Surge could destroy a full hp turret in a matter of seconds. It's always funny to see a Lich Bane proc'ed auto attack take out 1/5-1/4 of a turret's hp.
Pretty self explanatory again; this item just makes Nidalee's abilities more effective than they already are.
An interesting passive, if you ask me. This makes it a lot easier for Nidalee to juke enemies in the brush and make quick escapes. Most of your time should be spent in the brush to make use of this passive effectively.
Nidalee's main form of harass. This ability should be used sparingly and only when you're sure you will hit the enemy (then again, when is it ever a guaranteed chance that it'll hit?). In the hands of a skilled Nidalee, this ability can strike down squishies in a heartbeat. This ability is really only useful endgame as it can change the tides of a team fight (one good spear on the enemy team's carry can win you the fight). In cougar form, this ability if a good way to finish off enemies or add extra damage to the initial burst. Remember, the lower an enemy's health is when attacking them with this ability, the more powerful it is!
A good scouting tool, though not as effective as Caitlyn's traps, these traps reveal an enemy if they step on it. A good ability to use in brushes if you're soloing a lane and are afraid of a gank. In cougar form, this ability makes her W more useful than it seems. Nidalee can pounce in and out of battle in short amounts of time making her very hard to catch.
This ability provides an amazing heal as well as an incredible attack speed boost. This makes it easy for Nidalee to harass champions with auto attacks as well as take down turrets in seconds. This ability also makes Nidalee a wonderful support, healing any nearby champions for ridiculous amounts (possibly even preventing a champion from recalling immediately after a team fight). In cougar form, this ability acts as an area-of-effect attack that damages anything in a small range in front of her. This is very useful for farming.
Probably the ultimate I love most, Nidalee gains an entirely new set of abilities that make her all the more lethal. In my opinion, I think this ultimate is a bit overpowered, dishing out incredible bursts that can be recycled every 4-5 seconds.
Flash and Ignite are pretty standard on Nidalee. Flash makes Nidalee that much harder to catch when being pursued and Ignite allows Nidalee to finish off her kills if her cougar burst wasn't already able to. The beautiful thing about Nidalee is her flexibility when it comes to summoner spells. She can pack Ghost to aid her in any getaways coupled with Flash. Nidalee can also pack Teleport for any solo situations against two champions. She can also use Clairvoyance to help out her jungler, etc.
NIDALEE IS THE BEST. Not saying my build is, though, but it provides a decent guide to anyone new to Nidalee. However, there is one requirement if you wish to be good with Nidalee: YOU NEED SKILL. It pains me to see the really bad Nidalees all buy Guinsoo's first because they're weaker in comparison to a Nidalee who has her abilities boosted by a Needlessly Large Rod. Use this build to dominate early game and then faceroll endgame. Have fun playing who I think is the best champion in the game: Nidalee.