Nidalee Build Guide by Pluckin Penguin
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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.
.......Alright this Nidalee guide is an Ability Power based build not an Attack Damage Nidalee.
.......This is my second build for mobafire.com , my first build was an In-depth Jungle Shaco guide. If you didn't see it already, I would love it if you gave me some feedback on it.
.......So, now about the build itself. This build is meant for a solo top (can work for mid as well, but not geared towards it) AP Nidalee. Now AP Nidalee isn't seen very often because she is heavily reliant on her team composition to be similar to her. This build also requires a lot of passiveness from not only you, but your team as well. AP Nidalee's role in the team is to poke down the enemy team before the fight begins. Therefore, if your team initiates before you even get the chance to do any poking, the team fight is easily in favor of the other team. She is an AP carry based on her build, but kind of transitions to a support with massive poking abilities late game.
.....I have added two separate Nidalee builds because I feel that it is necessary. The builds are explained in their own speparate chapters. NOTICE: The guide is based on the AP Nidalee build not the AD, or Flexibility Nidalee build
PS: Thanks to jhoijhoi for the line dividers, and templates. If you didn't know jhoijhoi made an amazing Getting Started Guide for all Mobafire Users. If you plan on making a guide, you should definitely check it out. The amount of detail, and effort put into it is quite insane!
I'M GIVING GUIDE A MAJOR UPDATE AFTER I RELEASE MY Anivia GUIDE!
Pro's vs Con's
//These Pro's and Con's are geared towards the AP Nidalee Build, not the other builds I have created. Those are just there as options.
+Insane poking abilities.
+Generally easy match-ups.
+One of the few AP solo top's.
+Items make you quite tanky.
- Not much damage pre-level 6.
- No CC.
- Heavily reliant on team comp.
- No sustained damage.
- Hasn't had a skin sale in a while.
Masteries// Alright on Nidalee you're going to want to have a 21/9/0 grabbing as much AP in the offense tree, and some defensive stats in the defense tree.
||Tier 1 //
: Flat AP is always good.
Tier 2 // Sorcery : Cooldown Reduction is good for any AP carry, and even better for Nidalee's Cougar Form.
Tier 3 // Arcane Knowledge : Magic Penetration is great, especially in late game when people start buying magic resist for your Javelin Toss / Takedown.
Havoc : If it increases damage dealt, why not get it?
Tier 4 // Blast : Gives 18 AP by level 18! That is almost equivalent to the amount of Ability Power on an Amplifying Tome.
Tier 5 //: Archmage : Math will explain the mastery, so these are what your final AP would look like using this exact build without Archmage : 481 AP, and now with Archmage : 499.5 AP. Therefore it makes a difference of 18.5 AP.
Tier 6 // Executioner : This makes any of those finishing Javelin Toss / Takedown an easy kill.
Tier 1 // Resistance , and Hardiness : Alright, these two masteries depend on your laning opponent, if you're going against someone AD based put 3 points in Hardiness , and 1 point in Resistance . If you're going against someone AP based like a Vladimmir put 1 point in Hardiness , and 3 points in Resistance . If you're going against someone who is a hybrid like Teemo you will want to take 2 points in each Hardiness , and Resistance . Tip: If you're playing in blind pick always take 2 points in each Hardiness , and Resistance to be on the safe side.
Tier 2 // Durability : Health per level is much better than Health Regeneration on Nidalee. You have no problem sustaining your health with Primal Surge / Swipe.
Tier 3 // Veteran's Scars : Gives you some early game durability against your laning opponent
Greater Mark of Lethality
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
|| Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: I highly recommend you take these for the easy early game auto-attack harass. It synchronizes great with the Marks of Desolationx9.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation: The standard runes on any type of Nidalee. This allows your basic attacks to put out a lot of early damage, making your early game stronger.
Greater Quintessence of Armor: I would only run these quints if you're going up against a Ranged AD in top lane like Corki, or Urgot.
Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist: I might run these if they're running a double AP composition, and both of them have good laning phases. For example, a Kassadin mid lane, and a Cassiopeia top lane.
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration: I ran these once, and I would only use them if there is an enemy Galio on the other team. Main problem with these quintessences is that they don't boost your early game power much at all.
|| Greater Mark of Desolation: The reasoning for this is the same as it was for the armor penetration quintessence. Early game laning power is essential for Nidalee.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: If you like to hit those 1000+ spears, go ahead and take these marks, but if you are using these marks make sure you use armor penetration quintessences.
|| Greater Seal of Armor: This is pretty standard on any solo top due to the current META of bruisers. The armor gives you the ability to trade against most champions once you learn Aspect Of The Cougar.
Greater Seal of Defense: If you are going up against an AP champion top lane, and don't feel like you need the flat armor seals, go ahead and get these. They double the amount of armor of the flat armor seals by level 18.
|| Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: If you are going against an AD laner, you don't really need magic resist right away, so these are great.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Use these if you're going up against any hard ability power laner (ex: Cassiopeia).
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power: These are great when you're going against an easier ability power laner, and feel comfortable trading with him. The reason you don't take flat AP glyphs is that they don't really make your laning phase that much stronger.
SPACEThese summoner spells are my personal preference; there are definitely other viable options.
|Flash: A very good summoner spell for any role. It gets you out of any sticky situations, or can be used to get the finishing blow on a low enemy. I wouldn't recommend Flashing to use Javelin Toss / Takedown|
|Teleport: When I play as Nidalee I don't worry about killing the enemy too much, unless there is a jungle gank. Therefore, I plan on winning my lane by last-hitting more creeps. So, if you can stay in lane longer than the opponent and come back quicker than your opponent you can easily out-farm the enemy laner.|
|Ghost: For any of the Flash haters, Ghost is a viable replacement for it. If you're running Ghost you need to be comfortable with using Bushwhack / Pounce over walls, and ledges.|
|Exhaust: Exhaust is better for AD Nidalee, but can still be effective on AP Nidalee. If you're laning against a very strong opponent in 1 v 1 combat like Riven it may not be a bad idea to pick up this summoner spell.|
|Ignite: I'm starting to run this more, and more often on Nidalee works pretty well for her. It is great against a top laner like Swain, or Vladimir.|
- As you can tell I didn't list every summoner spell and explain every single one of them. I just chose the ones that I feel are viable on Nidalee. Therefore, if you didn't see a summoner spell on here I don't feel that it is viable on Nidalee.
Prowl: // This passive is highly underrated, if used properly it can help you lane, juke, and escape. In lane, you want to be in the brush as much as possible. Not only does it make it hard for your opponent to trade with you, but it makes it very difficult for the enemy jungler to attempt an ambush/lane gank. If you are being chased by an enemy, and you feel that you ran in the wrong direction just get in the brush, run the other direction, and Prowl will give you the movement speed boost to get away successfully. In general, whenever you're escaping you always want to head into the brush for juking ability, and just a quicker escape.
Javelin Toss / Takedown: // In Human Form, this ability is your main source of damage, and poke. It is very long range, and there is a damage multiplier based on how far it travels simlilar to the stun duration of Enchanted Crystal Arrow on Ashe. In Cougar Form, this ability is once again the main source of damage. It resets the auto attack timer, and has huge damage output if you do end up buying your Lich Bane.
You're going to want to max out Javelin Toss / Takedownafter Primal Surge / Swipe and before Bushwhack / Pounce.
- // Javelin Toss is one of the best poking abilities in the game.
- // The Javelin Toss itself is slow so make sure it is thrown a bit ahead of the enemy.
- // For maximum effectiveness, use Takedown right after a basic attack.
Bushwhack / Pounce : // In Human Form, this ability is highly underrated. The damage may be weak, but it lowers the magic resist and armor of any targets who step on it. Therefore, if an enemy steps on one of these traps, they have reduced defenses which make it much easier to harass, and trade with them while the effect is on them. In Cougar Form, this ability is pretty much what makes [[Nidalee] as agile, and nimble as she is. You can jump through many walls with the ability (although some are harder than others). Its short cool down allows it to be spammed frequently, and it can be used to dodge any incoming skill shots.
You're going to want to max out Bushwhack / Pounce after Javelin Toss / Takedown
- // Place Bushwhack's throughout the river to protect yourself from jungle ganks.
- // Punish the enemy laner if they step on one of your Bushwhack's while their defensive stats are decreased.
- // Use Pounce[/green] to get to places faster, juke, and go through thin walls.
Primal Surge / Swipe: // In Human Form, this ability is your main source of sustain, and when in team fights you're going to want to use this on your AD Carry(due to the attack speed bonus), or anyone who is severely low. In Cougar Form, will be your main source of damage in cougar form until you max out Javelin Toss / Takedown. The damage is shot out in a short-range based on the way the cougar is facing.
You're going to want to max out Primal Surge / Swipe before Javelin Toss / Takedown
- // Use Primal Surge on your jungler when he ganks, trust me he'll put out more damage then you with the attack speed bonus.
- // Once you get a Blasting Wand, you can kill the caster minions with a combination of Bushwhack / Pounce + Swipe
Aspect of the Cougar: // Nidalee's ultimate is a unique one, it gives her mobility and a set of 3 new skills. Nidalee is quite weak before level 6 her cougar form gives her a lot of versatility. Personally, I find it much easier to farm in Cougar Form.
You're going to want to max out Aspect Of The Cougar whenever it's available (levels 6, 11, 16)
- // When being chased, use Aspect of the Cougar to switch into cougar form due to the passive movement speed bonus while in cougar form.
- // Aspect of the Cougar, and the abilities in cougar form have no mana cost so spam it as much as you would like
Boots of Speed + Health Potionx 3 or 4:You always want to start with Boots of Speed on Nidalee. Mobility is key for Nidalee without it she is nothing. You never need to start with Cloth Armor because you have self-sustain ( Primal Surge / Swipe). Mana should never be an issue as Nidalee either unless your spamming Javelin Toss / Takedown. Whether or not you buy 3 or 4 Health Potions will be explained in the Before Laning Phase chapter.
Rod of Ages:This item is where you get all the health and mana that you will need for the rest of the game. After you get this item, you typically don't need a blue buff, but if your mid laner is someone like Kennen who doesn't need blue buff, make sure that you get it. It can still help with the cool down reduction. This item is bought first because it takes 10 minutes to gain its full power.
Rabadon's Deathcap:Your Javelin Toss / Takedown begins to hit for an insane amount of damage once you buy this item. The amount of Ability Power on Rabadon's Deathcap, but more importantly it increases your total Ability Power by 30%.
Ninja Tabi: I have been buying this item a lot more recently, really helps if you want to trade blows when you're in cougar form. It is also very useful if the enemy bruiser, or AD ranged is fed.
Sorcerer's Shoes: If your team has an advantage, and the enemy team has little crowd control, buy these. The magic pen is great on these, particularly for your Javelin Toss / Takedown.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity: Honestly, out of the 100-200 games playing Nidalee, I have never bought these. They're not a bad option though, so they shouldn't be out of the question. I recommend buying these if you like to switch into cougar form a lot.
Void Staff: This item is great! I typically buy it every game to penetrate the magic resist of my enemies. This makes our Javelin Toss / Takedown hit for even more damage.
Lich Bane: Synchronizes with Nidalee's Cougar Form very very well. It can work with Human Form too just a bigger asset for her Cougar Form.
Guardian Angel: A general defensive item that boosts your armor, and magic resist. This is best to build when the other team has no one in particular fed. I say this since the item has pretty even stats in armor and magic resist'
Abyssal Scepter: In general a good item for magic resist, and ability power. It has some magic penetration as well, so if the enemy team's AP carry is fed go ahead and replace this with Void Staff.
Morello's Evil Tome: If you're hitting most of your Javelin Toss / Takedown, or you feel that the cool downs are rather long, go ahead and grab this item. The cool down reduction is huge on this item, so I would only buy it if you're in need of cool down reduction.
Zhonya's Hourglass: This item has a lot of AP, and the armor can help out quite a ton if the enemy AD Ranged is doing quite well.
Chalice of Harmony: This is a very underrated item. I would buy this in any game the the AP Carry,who was in mid lane, needs the blue buff more than you. It allows you to spam Javelin Toss / Takedown, and still have enough mana to have an effect in team fights.
Difficult Laning Opponents
.......Now Fiora has abilities other than her Riposte, unfortunately. Her other abilities all play a role in her gap-closing abilities. She can use a short range Lunge twice making it very easy for her to keep up with 2 Cougar Form Bushwhack / Pounces. Her Burst of Speed does exactly what the ability is called, and it provides her with bonus attack speed making life even more difficult on you. Lastly, Blade Waltz can be good and bad for you. No matter how far you run away she will follow you until the ability is finished, and she is untargetable making trading with her at that time virtually impossible. On the other hand, if you have your Flash up and Fiora's at low health you should use all your escape spells to get into turret range to force her to fight under the turret after her Blade Waltz has finished casting]]
MORE DIFFICULT LANING OPPONENTS SOON TO COME
Before Laning Phase
........Alright, you will want to buy your Boots of Speed + Health Potionx3 ASAP, and rush to your top lane immediately after. You're going to take a point in Bushwhack / Pounce, so you can place down some traps. These traps will often catch any early jungle ganks from the enemy team or any invades from the enemy jungler. This picture will describe the places you should put a Bushwhack / Pounce.
........Now, that you have your 4 Bushwhack / Pounce's placed you will want to go back. I highly recommend that when you go back to buy a 4th Health Potion it will help you stay in longer, and the longer your in lane the more creeps you can farm.
.......Alright laning the proper Nidalee is one of the hardest things to do, so here are the main pointers on how to lane her:
After Laning Phase / Teamfighting
.......Honestly, this section isn't as important for you to understand as your teammates need to understand. As an AP Nidalee in team fights, and stand-off's you want to play passively, kite a lot, and poke.
1)Passiveness: To properly play an AP Nidalee your teammates need to understand your play style, and play very passive. Therefore, if you expect a team fight to come up soon let your team know to play passively, and poke them down. If your team initiates too early, it's typically going to end up in the loss of a team fight, since AP Nidalee's role is to poke. This being said, it makes any team fights with short-delay very hard for Nidalee due to the little poke she can get off before the team fight actually starts. On the contrary, a long drawn out team fight is very good for Nidalee since she has a long amount of time to poke with Javelin Toss / Takedown.
2)Kiting: As I referred to in the previous section: Nidalee excels at long drawn out team fights. Therefore, if the enemy is smart enough to figure that out they will attempt to initiate ASAP. Obviously, do whatever it takes to prevent getting initiated on should be your first priority, but your second priority should be to kite. Nidalee's kiting abilities are quite strong with her ability to use Bushwhack / Pounce to get a safe distance away, and then throw Javelin Toss / Takedown back at the enemy. The enemy will typically retreat after taking too much damage for poke allowing you to push up lanes, or take a global objective (ex: Baron Nasher, or Dragon)
3)Poking, and Finishing Enemies: As an AP Nidalee you are only an asset in team fights if you get off a high amount of poke. Therefore, if you are having problems with mana, and there is someone else on your team that needs blue buff more than you, buy a Chalice of Harmony. A common mistake made by people who play AP Nidalee is they don't know how to finish off low-health enemies. If an enemy is low-health the average Nidalee will switch into Human Form and chuck a Javelin Toss / Takedown at the enemy, this is a huge mistake. Javelin Toss / Takedown may provide a huge amount of damage when hit, but it is a skill shot and not a reliable finishing technique. A more reliable technique that works every time is to switch into Human Form and auto-attack. Once you switch into Human Form the enemy will either run away, or juke side-to-side expecting you to toss a Javelin Toss / Takedown. Obviously, if they are running away without juking hit them in the face with a Javelin Toss / Takedown they obviously won't be expecting it. If they are juking side-to-side auto-attack because it is free damage since they aren't running directly away from you. After they realize what you are doing they will begin to run away directly toward their base, and then that is the time to throw your Javelin Toss / Takedown.
Attack Damage Nidalee
........As the Dos Equis guy would say " I don't always play an attack damage Nidalee, but when I do the enemy team surrenders." I honestly have played like 3-4 games as AD Nidalee, and I have won each one of them within 30 minutes. On the contrary, due to my lack of experience playing her for more than 30 minutes each match, some of the later portions in the build may be a bit iffy. Therefore, this build is subject to change as I gain more experience playing Nidalee in this way. When to play Attack Damage Nidalee will be explained in the Flexibility Nidalee guide chapter.
....... Alright, this is one of the most common set-ups I use for Nidalee. This isn't really considered a build more of a mastery, and rune set up if anything. It is a rune and mastery build that allows you to decide whether or not you go AD or AP. "So, are you saying that in some situations it is better to play AD Nidalee over AP Nidalee?" Yes, under certain circumstances it's good idea to go AD rather than AP. The circumstances in which you should use this rune and mastery set up is when (A) You're playing blind pick. If you're playing blind pick you have no idea who you are matched up against top lane, tense the term "Blind". (B) Right now a lot of top laners can jungle, and a lot of junglers can solo top. Therefore, some games it is not clear who is top lane, and who is jungling.
.......Now the big question how do you know when to play AD Nidalee, and how do you know when to play AP Nidalee. The biggest difference between AD, and AP Nidalee is the type of damage they put out (I am not talking about physical, and magic damage). AD Nidalee has sustained damage, which turns out to be more successful in Solo Queue games, or any game without communication. Whereas, AP Nidalee has poke damage which relies on a good poke team comp, and the reliability of your tank not to initiate to early. You will want to play an AD Nidalee whenever you're going up against heavy farm related champions like Nasus, or Tryndamere. Now the reason AD Nidalee is on the upper hand is due to the fact you can put out a lot of damage from a ranged distance. Whereas, AP Nidalee needs to be up close to trade with an enemy well, but that is similar to any other champion so you have to out-trade them.
Gameplay, and Proof
I have a great gameplay demonstrating proper use of Nidalee as a solo top laner, but LoL Replays Website is out of disk space so I can't upload it just yet. EDIT: The gameplay has now been added it is through LoL Recorder, so if you do not have it I encourage you to download it.
EDIT: The replay is now up here is the link: http://www.leaguereplays.com/replays/match/374657/
Here are the statistics from the match I am referring to:
I had yet another successful game as Nidalee as a solo top, but LoL Replays is out of disk space and can't upload it just yet.
EDIT: The replay is now up here is the link: http://www.leaguereplays.com/replays/match/366434/
Here are the stats from the match:
Question & Answer
.......In this chapter I will answer any important questions that people don't seem to understand, or wasn't clear in my guide itself.
Q: Why do you run Armor Penetration Marks and Quints wouldn't Magic Penetration be a lot better? asked by CombatJack1 .
A: Now like I said in my Runes chapter, and other parts of my guide. Before Nidalee is level 6 she can't trade well at all, but she is ranged so that means she can harass without taking much, or any damage what so ever. So, if Nidalee can't trade, but can harass armor penetration will puncture the enemy's armor providing a large amount of damage. If the enemy laner can't stay in lane then how are they going to farm? They won't :D . Now, if you run magic penetration marks, or quints it is good for late game, but not so much for early game. Early game you are maxing out your Primal Surge / Takedown which is a heal so magic penetration has no effect on it. Therefore, magic penetration won't really start to help until you have fully maxed out your Javelin Toss / Takedown. In the laning phase, you might get a couple lucky Javelin Toss / Takedown, but it's not a reliable form of harass like auto attacking.
Q: Why don't you build Doran's Ring as a first item? asked by Zeedr .
A: Doran's Ring has some good stats on it with AP, Health, and Mana Regen, but the main problem with this is it doesn't help Nidalee's early game all that much compared to Boots of Speed. Boots of Speed provide Nidalee the movement speed to get out of any sticky situations, dodge incoming skill shots, and just being fast in general. Also, if you start with Boots of Speed you can get Health Potion's allowing you to stay in lane even longer. Now, just because I say you shouldn't build a Doran's Ring as a first item, doesn't mean you shouldn't build it later. I typically end up buying one of them when I don't have enough money for a Needlessly Large Rod which I eventually build into a Rabadon's Deathcap.
Q: How do you jump walls as Nidalee while in cougar form? asked by 87alphaone .
A: Honestly, there are probably 50-100 wall jumps on Summoner's Rift alone for Nidalee; therefore, I am not going to spend time making a map of every single wall jump... I will have some guy I hardly know do it for me:
Q: Why would you max Javelin Toss / Takedown over the ability Primal Surge / Swipe? asked by CasterMaster
A: This choice between these two abilities depends on skill level, and I'm not suggesting that just because you believe that you can aim skill-shots well that you should max Javelin Toss / Takedown first. You have to determine your opponents skill level first. Throw 1-2 Javelin Toss / Takedown at them and if they make no attempt to dodge it or ran away from it then it is OKAY to put points in Javlin Toss / Takedown. On the other hand, if they dodge your attempt(s) at throwing a Javelin Toss / Takedown max out Primal Surge / Swipe.
ASK ME MORE QUESTIONS PLEASE
Thank you for all the support given to me, and this guide. It became the #3 build for Nidalee with in the 2nd day of publishing. Thank You!
Within the first week of publishing this build it made it on the Highest Rated Guides published within 30 days, Thank you very much for the support!
Just a week after I posted this guide it became the #1 Nidalee Guide on mobafire.com and the #2 Highest Rated Guide in the past 30 days. Thank you all so much!
- Nidalee guide was created.
- Introduction chapter added and completed.
- Skill Sequence chapter added and completed.
- Masteries chapter added.
- Masteries chapter completed.
- Runes chapter added, and completed.
- Summoner Spells chapter added, and completed.
- Items chapter added.
- Before, During, and After Laning Phase chapters added.
- Guide Published
- Before Laning Phase chapter completed.
- Guide Achievements chapter added.
- Laning Phase chapter completed.
- Choice of Boots section, in Items chapter completed.
- Added 2 New Item Builds.
- Added and completed AD Nida, and Flex Nida chapter.
- Started my Question & Answer chapter.
- After Laning Phase / Teamfighting chapter completed.
- Guide officially became the #1 Nidalee guide on mobafire.com .
- Nidalee Wall Jumps added to Question & Answer chapter.
- Added Chalice of Harmony to Situational Items in the Items chapter.
- Did a full spelling and grammar check with MS Word.
- ADDED 2 INSANE REPLAYS!
- Finished my massive break :D
- Added Fiora to the Difficult Laning Opponents Section.
- Answered a Question by CasterMaster in Q & A.
- Changed Runes a bit after some experimenting.