Nidalee Build Guide by Banishedd
Build Walkthrough + Notes
Hey everyone, this is Banishedd, and this is my second guide ever posted on the internet. I have loved Nidalee ever since I bought her, and I strongly encourage any of you who haven't bought her to go do so right now. She is, in my opinion, one of the most fun champions in the entire game. Her versatility and mobility give you so many options, and you can play her however you want to, at any time. I hope you all enjoy reading my guide to Nidalee, have fun taking down your opponents.
Please fully read through the guide before voting, and please, for my benefit, post a comment on why you voted how you did. I'd love to improve this guide any way I can, and remember, I'm always updating and adding more to it.
Little side note (my apologies), but as of updating this I am Gold III in Solo Queue.
AP Nidalee Pros:
-Great at Finishing Enemies Off
-She can Turn into a Cougar
-Good Map Awareness with Bushwhack
-Can Thrive in Any and Every Lane
-Tons of Mobility with Prowl and Pounce
-Can Pull Off Some Really Nice Plays
-Has no Innate Crowd Control
-Mana Hungry if You Aren't Careful
-Enemy Crowd Control is a Huge Problem for her
-Very Hard to Master
Flash: This spell is great for Nidalee as it provides both a way to catch up to enemies while Pounce is on cooldown. Also, you can use Flash as a immediate good way to get away from chasing enemies. When playing Nidalee, I try to always escape using Pounce and run into nearby bushes to activate Prowl, but it never hurts to have an extra escape.
Ignite: A great addition of true damage to Nidalee's already great finisher combo, and is extremely helpful against champions who have healing abilities, such as Dr. Mundo and Swain, since it reduces healing effects by 50%, which might just be enough to get you that first blood.
Exhaust: A nice way to pin down enemies that are escaping you, or survive being jumped by that pesky enemy Jax or Irelia. Altogether a very nice offensive and defensive summoner spell,interchangeable with Ignite if you find it to be more useful.
Teleport: A great spell for pre-teamfight positioning, ganking, saving turrets, taking objectives, split-pushing, quick item purchasing, and sustaining yourself in lane. Take it if you like it.
Ghost: Good if you feel confident in your Pounce abilities, and can position yourself correctly without Flash. An excellent chasing spell. It's relatively low cooldown and long duration make it very viable, but remember, it can't take you over walls.
Cleanse: An amazing way to stay in/get out of teamfights if needed, and a good way to get away from jungler ganks in lane, however, Flash can usually save you more often. Take this only if the enemy team has a lot of Crowd Control. If you're playing blind-pick, I would advise against this.
Heal: Great sustain spell in lane, and a good way to save a teammate or yourself from that last tick of Ignite or other Damage over Time spells. Viability wise, you already have a heal. Take it if you prefer playing defensively, or are supporting.
Clarity: A good spell for people who are just starting to learn Nidalee, and will help out people who have mana-management problems throughout the game. Take it if you need it.
Clairvoyance: A decent spell if you want better aim to snipe people with spears, or want more map awareness, but the lack of immediate offensive or defensive properties make it a risky choice. Again, take it if you like it.
Smite: If you are jungling, definitely take this. If you are planning on using this lane guide to go to a lane, definitely don't take this.
Revive: Never plan on dying during a game, before the game even starts. This is the "Kill me Please, I am Trolling" summoner spell. It's viability is close to zero. Don't take it. Ever.
Just a brief note though, you can choose to go for Utility Masteries instead of the Defense ones that I like (mana regeneration, etc), however I find that this season, Riot has put better emphasis on mana regeneration from items as opposed to masteries/runes. Besides, who doesn't like tankalee? That's what I though :)
While you might think that runes provide insufficient stats to justify their cost, it is completely the opposite. Runes can save your life, be the reason you won that 1vs1 fight, or survived that 2vs1 fight. It could mean the difference between you carrying your team and winning a teamfight or losing it because you didn't have that extra power the enemies do.
tl;dr - Runes matter.
AP Nidalee Runes:
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration x9:
The bonus magic penetration that these runes give are an amazing add-on to Nidalee's damage. You'll notice the difference these runes make equally early and late game.
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration x9:
Nidalee is extremely mana hungry during early game. While she still is later game as well, you can buy items to counter this problem late game, where as early game you need to focus on your core build. These runes will give you that extra mana sustain in lane early game that you will need.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power x9:
Bonus ability power that scales into late game? Yes please. You will notice a good step up in your damage output as the match progresses.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power x3:
Same as above, but these will make sure that your early game damage is up to par, if not above your enemies. Starting a match with fifteen base ability power is always a nice thing to do.
Prowl: A fantastic away to escape and chase enemies. It's useful for ganking other lanes, chasing through the jungle, etc... When you see a bush as Nidalee it's usually a good thing to pass through it on your way to your destination. Caution though, don't facecheck bushes like this if there is an enemy Teemo on the enemy side, you might get hit by one of his Noxious Traps that he loves to hide in bushes so much. Use common sense, if you aren't sure about a bush, Bushwhack it (see what Riot did there? Whack-a-bush? Bushwhack? Lol~)
Javelin Toss: The reason why I like to refer to Nidalee as the poking queen. If you are poking, and not going in for the kill, make sure to run away from your target after you've thrown Javelin Toss, because the father you are away from it when it connects, the more damage it will do. Late game, you'll be hiting squishies for around 1,200-1,600 damage per spear. It's honestly hilarious. On a perfect day, things go like this:
-A late game teamfight breaks out.
-You are sitting away from your team, spear ready.
-You throw Javelin Toss.
-It hits their AD carry (or AP carry, whichever is pretty good).
-The carry is instantly killed, or is left with less then optimal health (if you're fed, maybe 1/8 or 1/6 of their health is left.
-The enemy team is already initiated, but has no carry damage.
-Your team wins the fight (hopefully, you do have a major advantage).
Takedown: A great finisher move, and the only one of Nidalee's skills to scale with attack damage, making it very unique. Always use it after all your other moves for maximum damage output. Don't forget that Takedown resets your attack counter, meaning you should almost always use it right after an auto attack, for maximum damage output.
Bushwhack: Your bushchecking, armor/magic resist reducting, damage (while minor) inflicting sidekick. Bushwhack will reveal small areas around them when they are placed down, so you never have to fear bushes again. Make sure to place them around side entry points to the lane that you are in, so that you can detect the enemy jungler if they are coming in for a gank. With good coordination with your jungler, you could turn a prospective kill for the enemy into a double kill for your team. Lastly, the armor and magic resistance reduction for twelve whole seconds is really nice. Try to harass your enemy if they step on one.
Pounce: Your all in one everything utility skill. Use it to run away, to chase, to deal damage, to farm minion waves, to get back to your lane faster, jump over (certain) walls.
Primal Surge: Healing and attack speed? What more could your team want? (Yes, I realize that a spamable Karthus ultimate would be a nice replacement for Primal Surge, but who are you kidding, that's never going to happen *ahem* Riot *ahem*). Use this on yourself when taking turrets, in lane to sustain yourself or your lane partner, and in teamfights on your ad carry. This is a huge mana drain, so use is wisely. Try not to use this during ignite, since the heal is halved, but if it might save you, go for it. Remember, pressing ALT + E (generally. It depends on your hotkeys) will instantly target yourself.
Swipe: Amazing for extra damage and clearing minion waves. It scales with ability power, remember that. Not to much to say for this skill, except that you should generally use it in your combo right after Pounce.
Aspect of the Cougar: Nidalee's rare gimmick (similar to Elise and Jayce). Because you have so many more skills than other champions, you will have to learn to combo better, and how to position yourself for both ranged and melee abilities/attacks. This is why Nidalee's skill cap is so high. All I can say is that you have to practice. A lot. It really helps, trust me. Another reminder, this does have a cooldown (albeit a short one), so be careful. Don't change forms to often, you might need the other side of Nidalee at a moments notice and not be able to change.
-Speed: Everyone needs it.
-Magic Penetration: Great for AP Nidalee, useful the entire game.
-Ability Power: Your damage will take a big step in the right direction.
-Unique Passive: More ability power. More noticeable late game than early, but still fantastic overall.
-Ability Power: While small, not to be overlooked.
-Magic Penetration: So you damage tanks and scare squishies.
-Ability Power: Why not?
-Unique Passive: Can almost double your overall damage if you get your auto attacks in.
-Magic Resistance: Sturdiness as Nidalee is mandatory.
-Mana: Bigger mana pool = more abilities.
-Movement Speed: Good for running and chasing.
-Ability Power: Again, ability power is always good.
-Armor: Great for cougar form. Allows you to stay in fights for longer.
-Unique Active: One of the most annoying item actives in the game imo. Press and watch your opponents rage. This will allow you to survive (if only for a little while) when focused, and let your team destroy the enemy team whilst they try to right click your golden body.
-Magic Resist: Great for surviving that Annie or LeBlanc burst.
-Unique Passive: Spell shield every 45 seconds? Yes please. Block that Pyromania stun or that stray Summon: Tibbers. Good against many champions, but Galio, Malphite, and Amumu tend to stand out in particular. This could easily save your life. Over and over again.
What you can trade Sorcerer's Shoes for:
Ionian Boots of Lucidity:
-Cost (50 Gold).
I tend to stray away from this item almost all of the time. Nidalee isn't ridiculously dependent on cooldowns like some champions, and most of her abilities seem unaffected by this item to me.
-Cost (100 Gold).
Absolutely needed if they enemy team has loads of crowd control, especially magic damage based crowd control. I get this fairly often depending on the enemy team composition.
Boots of Swiftness:
-Cost (100 Gold).
Unless you plan on roaming the entire game, the extra movement speed on this item is fairly worthless. Generally, I never get this.
Boots of Mobility:
-Movement Speed when out of Combat.
-Cost (100 Gold).
Contrary to popular belief, very different than Boots of Swiftness. I find these much more viable for escaping and roaming. While they provide less statistical benefits in fights and skirmishes compared to other options, I find them amazing for pretty much every other aspect of the game.
-Cost (250 Gold).
Completely necessary if your lane opponent(s) are attack damage based, or have powerful abilities that scale on attack damage. Also good if they enemy team is mainly attack damage champions, it will negate more damage than you might think.
What you can trade Rabadon's Deathcap for:
Nothing. Seriously. It's necessary. Moving on now.
What you can trade Void Staff for:
-AoE Flat Magic Penetration.
-Magic Penetration Range.
-Cost (355 Gold).
Good against ability power heavy enemy teams, and for that flat magic penetration, but sadly you will almost never be in range for this to benefit your Javelin Toss, which is why it's slightly less viable.
If they enemy team isn't stacking Magic Resistance to counter you, you can go this route instead for more damage. I feel that they Unique Active acts just like magic penetration for me.
Again, if they enemy team isn't buying Magic Resistance items, take advantage of it. This item is for pure damage, and should only be bought by skilled Nidalee players who are doing well in a game, and are sure that they can escape death at least 85% of the time. If you aren't there yet, don't panic, there are more viable items for you.
What you can trade Lich Bane for:
-Unique Passive AoE Slow.
-Less ability power.
-Unique Passive Damage Slales on attack damage.
-Cost (400 Gold).
Get this if you need more of a hybrid kind of damage. The base statistics are amazing, the only thing is that its Unique Passive is for attack damage, not ability power, making it an awkward, situational replacement for Lich Bane.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter:
-Unique Passive Slow.
-Cost (105 Gold).
-Unique Passive Damage.
The health pool benefit you get from this is very nice, and the slow is great for both chasing enemies, and escaping them.
-More Ability Power (usually).
-Unique Active Shield.
-Cost (300 Gold).
-Unique Passive Damage.
A fantastic item for people who are just starting to learn Nidalee. The shield helps excuse mistakes you might make positioning wise, and the Unique Passive mana gain is great. It will reach maximum mana bonus from just you using Pounce and changing between human and cougar form.
Rod of Ages:
-Unique Passive Sustain.
-Cost (200 Gold).
-Unique Passive Damage.
This item is alright if your team needs you to lean toward hybrid Nidalee. You should pretty much always have full stacks though, thanks to Pounce, making this item slightly more viable.
The Unique Passive spell burn is nice, but sadly it only scales on current health. Not amazing, but a fun thing to try out if you want to.
Another nice item for a needed hybrid Nidalee. The Unique Active is extremely useful for catching up, because Nidalee has no innate crowd control abilities (she does however, have a spamable gap closer).
Bonus attack damage, with no scaling at all on ability power. It does provide some nice magic damage, but it costs quite a bit of mana. Good for hybrid Nidalee.
Rod of Ages:
If you are going to get this, get it as early as you can. You might need time for the statistics to add up to something worth buying. It provides all around statistics for everything Nidalee needs: Health, Mana, and Ability Power. Good if you want just a little bit more durability.
What you can trade Zhonya's Hourglass for:
Athene's Unholy Grail:
-Cost (150 Gold).
-Unique Passive Mana Sustain per Kill.
-Unique Passive Mana Sustain.
-Unique Passive Invulnerability.
-Less ability power.
shard of true ice Shard of True Ice:
It has a Unique Passive, Aura, and Active, but honestly is kind of lack luster. The Unique Active is good if your support can't get this item, and you have a strong initiator, like Malphite, Alistar, or Amumu.
What you can trade Banshee's Veil for:
-Unique Active Extra Life.
-Unique Passive Spell Shield.
-Less Magic Resistance.
Great Unique Passive, the only bad thing is that if you are caught alone and die, in anything bigger than a 1vs1 fight, you're likely to die again anyway. Nidalee can pull off some amazing escapes, but not if your surrounded. If you do find yourself in such a situation, Pounce toward the enemy with the least crown control, and then immediately Flash or use whatever else you have that might help you escape. Good luck~
Necessary against an enemy team with some deadly crowd control. It even gives Magic Resistance, adding to its viability.
What you can trade Enchantment: Furor for:
Great for getting back to lane, or for, like the name says, guarding your home (nexus/base in general). Get it if there is a lot of pressure near your base.
-Lower Cooldown on Certain Summoner Spells ( Flash, Teleport, and Ghost.
-Cost (175 Gold).
-No On-Hit Movement Speed.
Good if you have two of the above summoner spells, honestly not amazingly viable though.
Fifteen movement speed? Almost always the answer will be no, just no.
Useless unless you are initiating, or are the tank, of which are neither.
Game stages as Nidalee are very unique, particularly late game, because of her input in teamfights. Thought I would write a bit on what I do during each stage of the game.
-: do this.
-Buy Boots of Speed and Health Potion x3.
-Put a point in Bushwhack.
-Defend for your jungler.
--Trap up the sides of you lane, or jungle entrances (careful with your mana).
--Help damage for your jungler.
-Go to your lane.
Early Game (Pre-Level 6):
-Focus on farming (last hit only).
--Harass your opponent once Javelin Toss reaches level 2.
--Heal yourself to negate enemy harassment.
--Go back and recharge/buy items (try to not do this until you have at least 825 Gold).
-Buy at least one Sight Ward or Vision Ward (more on this here).
-Assist your jungler in a kill if they come to your lane.
-- Bushwhack around your lane when you can.
--Play very cautiosly/passively.
Middle Game (Post-Level 6):
-Continue to farm.
--Push when necessary (more on this here).
--Gank other lanes (more on this here).
-Try to set up kills on the other laner.
--Ask your jungler for Crest of the Ancient Golem .
-- Bushwhack around commonly traveled paths whenever you can.
-Continue to ward.
--Play more boldly/aggressively.
Late Game (Random. Turrets should be pushed. People will begin to all come to the middle lane (lucky for you, you don't have to move).
-Continue to farm/push when you can.
-Participate in teamfights/encounters.
-Continue to ward.
-Chuck Javelin Tosses everywhere. Lucky hits (or "skilled" shots) can give your team a huge advantage, or make your target go back to base, putting them behind.
-Stay with your team.
-Help secure important targets. This includes:
- Dragon .
- Baron Nashor .
--Keep on laying Bushwhacks as mana allows.
--Heal yourself or teammates as needed (don't forget about the attack speed buff as well).
Warding is one of the most important aspects of the game. 75-125 gold can save your life, which is honestly a pretty good deal in my opinion. As Nidalee you must know where to ward, and when.
sight ward Sight Ward: A cheap, easy way to give yourself some good map awareness. If you are in the middle lane, you are going to want to always have one placed on your preferred side bush, and then stick to that side. This ensures that you will have the time to escape prospective enemy ganks.
Vision Ward: A good way to give yourself sight and eliminate your opponents wards. Make sure to buy these if you have an enemy Akali, Evelynn, Talon, or Teemo (more on this later). If you see your enemy place a ward, feel free to destroy it by buying one of these. It technically only costs you 25 gold because:
-You are getting sight in that area which would have cost 75 anyway.
-You get 25 gold from killing their ward.
Bushwhack: Just to recap, you are going to want to place these all around areas where the enemy jungler might gank or invade. You can save your jungler (and team) some major heartache by detecting exactly where the enemy jungler is. Remember to place these with some prudence, as they will drain your mana quite a bit during early game.
Last hit, last hit, last hit.
As Nidalee (or any champion really, besides support champions), you are going to need a whole lot of farm to be successful late game. Make sure to attack any and all enemy minions near you that have low health. If it helps, click on them and check their remaining health before right clicking on them, at least until you get used to estimating their health. Try not to push when you want to farm, this will hurt your farming potential and put you in a dangerous place.
(A quick note on frequently heard advice):
You've probably heard/read that you should last hit a melee minion under a tower after the tower has hit is twice, and for caster minions to hit them once, let the the tower attack them, and then hit them again. While this is theoretically true, and it does work, it doesn't factor in your minions attacks on the enemy minions, which may adversely affect your farming. Try to counter push if your opponent is hard pushing, because getting stuck under your tower could end not so well for you.
For all your tower pushing, quick minion killing, opponent pressure needs.
-Pretty much impossible as Nidalee. Don't even bother trying, you'll end up missing quite a bit of farm. Just last hit.
-Use Primal Surge on yourself (optional).
-Use Aspect Of The Cougar.
-From a small distance away, right click the middle caster minion.
-When you are a within range (takes some practice), use Pounce.
-After landing on the three caster minions, immediately use Swipe.
-Use Takedown and autoattacks on any minions that you missed.
Throughout the Game:
-Use Primal Surge on yourself or the nearest allied attack damage carry (occasionally the bruiser if they have high attack damage damage per second)(this is optional, but recommended).
-Stay in human form. Seriously. Don't switch to cougar form, abuse your range, trust me, it's much safer.
-Auto attack the enemy turret until it explodes (or abort mission (with your teammates) if enemy champions show up. Fighting under enemy turrets are less than optimal, but plausible and viable if done right).
Just wanted to put a quick chapter about ganking as Nidalee in this guide for those who need a push in the right direction.
-Change to cougar form.
-Spam Pounce and walk through bushes to get to a side lane.
-Try to avoid general ward areas, try going through the jungle if you can/know it's safe.
-Try to wait for your target to stop moving, then throw a well aimed Javelin Toss.
-They will probably know you are there now, so signal to your teammates who to focus and then jump in with whatever combo of Nidalee skills suit you the best.
-If they get away, never fear, throw a final Javelin Toss in their direction and casually walk away.
-Did you get the kill (or feed the attack damage carry)? Yes? Hurray! Gank successful.
-Did you get the kill? No? Think about how you could improve next time. Hopefully you still did enough damage to send your opponents scurrying back to recharge their hitpoints, which is still a moderately successful gank. Give yourself a pat on the back and head back to your lane.
In my opinion, one of the most important and fun parts of League of Legends. This is the time to show everyone on both sides what kind of player you are. Obviously, play out teamfights how you see fit, and adapt to unexpected variables, but if all goes well, this is a little cheatsheat to make sure you're doing what you should be doing.
-Let your tank (or sometimes the bruiser) initiate.
-Stand relatively far behind your team (but not ridiculously out of position) and hurl some Javelin Tosses.
-When your attack damage carry goes into the fray, make sure to use Primal Surge on them to boost their attack speed (or the bruiser if it would complement them better).
-Wait until the enemy team has blown most or all of their main crowd control moves (all the while spamming Javelin Toss.
-(You can also be using Bushwhack into the enemy team, remember the minor damage and major armor/magic resistance reduction it provides).
-Change to cougar form.
- Pounce into the fight.
-Use Swipe on as many enemy champions as you can.
-Auto attack your target (pretty self explanatory: attack damage carry, ability power carry, support, bruiser, tank).
-Immediately use Takedown to reset your attack counter.
After doing all of this you can either:
-Change to human form and heal/spear/trap (generally in that order).
-Stay in cougar form and wait out your short cooldowns.
-Your team is winning the teamfight? Chase any remaining targets down with Pounce and Prowl.
-Your team is badly losing the teamfight (meaning it's just you (and maybe the support) versus 3-5 of the enemy teams finest). Run away from your recently lost encounter with Pounce and Prowl.
-When running away from enemies, if pounce is on cooldown and you are a fair distance away, change to human form, heal yourself, and chuck some Javelin Tosses behind you. Nothing is more satisfying than insta-killing a chasing enemy champion who had half of their health left.
Comment or Private Message me your question(s), and I will try to answer them here (so others can benefit too) as often as possible.
Q: Can you add pictures of successful examples of winning with this build as Nidalee?
A: Of course. Will be coming soon.