Nidalee General Guide by EvolvedVenom
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.
Other Potential 6th Items Defensive
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.
Top Nidalee has been a common staple to the top lane ever sense season 2. With the new meta of tanky top lane she has fallen off, but still has potential to get an advantage in lane and snowball it to victory. With season 4 not much has changed for top Nidalee and she can still provide a strong bruser who can split push effectively when in the right hands. She plays alot like Jax with this guide, you are a strong splitpusher who can also act as a front line tank to some extent.
*Also keep in mind this is my first gide written, so let me know what you think, like if i need to add anything or whatnot*
Pros and Cons
Decent Laning Phase
Masteries vs normal lane
21 points in the offensive tree allows you to press your mid game power spike and attempt to turn it into a lead that you can then snowball into the late game. As you see we dip in both AP an AD masteries because your human form+most of your cougar form deals damage based on your AP, however your autos+q in cougar form deals damage based on your AD.
The 9 points in defensive tree are self explanatory, they allow you to survive early laning phase where you are at your weakest point.
Masteries vs tough lane
These masteries are obviously more tailored toward not dying in lane and are much more forgiving of mistakes in lane. The 21 points in defense allows you to have an easier time against lane bullies such as , , and . These help you get through the weakest point in your game, pre-6. However you don't get the snowball potential that comes from 21 in the offensive tree, so it takes more to snowball your lane.
Runes vs normal lane
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Marks: Run Hybrid Pen marks against a tanky top lane(Mundo, Nasus, ect.) so you can cut through any resistances they try to build up. Run flat AD marks against a squishier top laner(pretty much anyone besides the tanky champs I mentioned) for easier last hitting+more auto attack harass.
Seals: I run armor seals against an AD top laner to help me earlier in the game. Against an AP top laner you can run either Scaling or Flat HP seals, its up to personal preference, I normally run scaling HP.
Glyphs: Run Flat MR glyphs against the common AP tops we see commonly in the top lane (Lulu, Gragas, Ryze). Run Scaling MR against an AD top but against a team that has other sources of magic damage to be worried about (ex. AP mid). Against an AD team run Scaling CDR to help you cap at 40% CDR late game.
Quints: Quints are where you really can shape how your game will be. I run AD quints in most matchups to give me more early game harass and easier CSing. Against a Strong AD early game laner I would run 2 armor quints with 1 AD quint to help to survive the early lane. The only other option on quints would be Movespeed quints(though only run these w/ ad marks), however these are a personal preference, and I normally find myself running either the 3 AD quints or the 2 armor quints and 1 AD quint.
Runes vs tough lane
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Mark of Precision
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
I'm not going to go over all of the runes again seeing as I did that above, but the only difference with this rune page is the 6% lifesteal you get from the quints. This helps you sustain in lane so you don't get bullied out by the bullies such as and . Obviously you loose out on a bit of damage, but that 6% can make all of the difference in staying in lane compared to being forced out with the sustain you have from the lifesteal and your heals.
When it comes to your skill sequence you see I start with, this allows you to place traps in strategic locations such as Tribush, river, enemy buff, lane bushes. After that I get two points in to sustain in lane. I grab next to help in trading and last hitting. Follow that up with R for your cougar form, then max e for the larger heals, q next for the bonus damage, and W last.
The reason I max e over q is because you wont be building much AP, so your spears are used for not much more than an sheen proc in a fight, slightly easier CSing, or checking a Bush. Maxing E first gives you larger heals, as well as an increased attack speed buff. Obviously max W last as maxing it earlier doesn't help you much.
For my two summoner spells I take and . These two summoners work very well with how I prefer to play this build. Flash is self explanatory as it allows you to get away from a tough spot, catch up to a fleeing opponent, or re-position in a teamfight. I take ignite because it allows me to dual my enemy top lane and make sure I can pick up kills. This is big because with this build you need to get an advantage in lane. The only other summoner I would think about running over ignite would be . I would only recommend running this in 5s because you can communicate with your team on when to teleport and when not to, but in solo q it is not as helpful because you will want to focus more on winning lane then teleporting elsewhere.
Being a top laner who builds defensive items your build will often change based on your game, however I will do my best to cover the major choices you will face when figuring out your item builds. One thing to note with the items you buy is that you will see a trend toward items with some sort of CC to make up for the fact Nidalee has zero CC in her kit. So keep that in mind as buying items.
There are two primary starting items that you can start:
The first starting item is and a . This start is strong in a lane that you can take advantage of your range to poke the enemy with auto attacks. Start this against an AP laner, or an AD laner whom you can use your range against to harass.
The other start is plus five . This is a strong start against a physical damage top laner who has strong all in potential. Such champions include , , , .
First back I always recomend you grab an or 2. This will help your laning phase like crazy and allow you to get through a tough lane. If you started with one then pick up another, if you started somthing else then grab 2 on you first back. Normally this will take up the majority of your gold, but with your extra gold pick up wards/pots.
If you dont need the second dorans, start working toward your or Iceborn Gauntlets.
Next you want to work toward you first core item of Iceborn Gauntlets or . As for what one to go with, its simple. Go unless they have a heavy AD top (Fiora, Lee, ect.), or a top that you want to kite against (Nasus, Renekton, Singed). Most of the time, is the best.
Now that you have your Iceborn Gauntlets or you want to pick up your , then work toward a . This item is strong on Nidalee because it gives you Attack Damage to help your couger form Q, life steal to sustain well split pushing, and the active provides a nice slow for getting away or catching up.
From here you have a choice to make, do you need more defensive stats, or can you go for the BorK. If you said you needed more defensive stats I would go for your teir two boots yet and grab either or depending on your needs. After these if you still need defensive stats I would pick up a Gaint's Belt for the extra health. At this point I would upgrade your Bligewater Cutlass into a to increase your dueling potential and your split push threat. After this if you haven't upgraded your boots to teir 2, do so.
Your next two items consist of and . However what order you build them in is up to you. Normally I go for the Randuin's Omen first because it gives you the armor to deal with the common physical damage top laners, as well as the slow to bring more utility to your kit. Spirit Visage however is strong if you are having to deal with primary magic damage. Whatever order you build these two in is up to you as it will depend on what threats the enemy team has.
Potential 6th items:
-Strong against heavy Magic Resist teams with heavy CC, also good to get over spirit visage if they have a fed LeBlanc
-Provides a large amount of health to make you tanky. Go this if you just need to get super tanky.
-Gives lots of Armor, strong against a full AD team. Also gives CDR and Mana.
-This gives you a large spike in damage, as pretty much every piece of damage you do will be magic damage. All of your abilities deal magic damage, your triforce procs, and BorK are magic damage.
Your final build should look like this:
or --> --> and --> Your pick of 6th item(I normally go GA, Banchies, Warmogs, or Voidstaff) + or
Early Game(Laning Phase)
With the update to Nidalee, her early game is as strong as ever. Your level 2 and 3 all in is crazy strong, and can out trade most other top laners. Early game just use your autos to harass and use the bushes to get move speed and break minion agro, and just pop in and out of it autoing your opponent. If you can hit a spear jump in and land your e+q combo (make sure to E first so you can get more damage for your % missing health on your q). Against a tough lane opponent (Xin, Fiora, ect.) just play passive and land autos if you can, and just farm up.
Mid game is relatively strait forward with top Nidalee. Your main focus is to split push top lane and push any advantage you have in your lane and try to snowball it. You want to try to draw two people up to stop you so your team is open to take dragon and push other lanes. Split pushing can be dangerous though, so you need to ward key bushes such as bushes by their red/blue buff, or other deep wards in their jungle(depending on what side you are on).
When it comes to warding/trapping lets use this map to explain where to ward.
When it comes to warding if you are on blue side, I would place a ward at 3, so in their tri-bush. If on purple side you want to ward down between 2 and 9 so you can get more of a warning when they come to gank. As for traps, in laning phase keeping traps in the bushes top(this is an older map, but just keep traps in the big two bushes) will help protect you from lane ganks. Once you start to Split push top more and have their turret down I would move my wards deeper into their jungle to 10 or 12 on the map(depending on your side). Other then that for trapping while splitpushing just trap any and all bushes on your flanks to help prevent unexpected ganks.
If you do have to teamfight your goal is two different things. First is to peel for your ADC, your slows from your items provide great peel for your ADC. After that your goal is to get to their squishes (AP mid or ADC) and try to take them out, obviously if your ADC doesn't need peel you can go strait for their backlines. Another thing you can do is apply your attack speed increase from your E onto your ADC to increase the damage they do.
Late game you play similar to your mid game. Your primary focus is to split push a lane and try to force them to send one or more to stop you. You do need to be careful however, late game is where you start to fall off. You still deal a lot of damage, however an assasin will do more, and you will be tanky, but a normal tank will be tankier. This is where the issue is with this build, if you cant press your mid game advantage into a lead then you start to suffer late game. In order to counteract this you need to do your bast to win lane and split push so they have to send two to stop you, giving your lanes the ability to make plays and build an advantage of their own. If you are behind though, you just need to split push all the time, and force them to send one so atleast it is a 4v4 and your team can fight that.
Thought I would make a real quick section on what comps this build really fits in to. Currently this build fits into comps who can hold turrets 4v5, and can win 4v4s when you draw someone up. As of patch 4.1 I normally like the following:
Jungle: Someone tanky, maybe or .
Mid: Here you want someone with decent teamfight and strong wave clear. Strong choices include , , and .
ADC: Nothing much to put here, just go with the current strong meta champions of and .
Support: You want a support who has engage to help with starting a 4v4, but also has peel for if they go in on a 4v5. Currently strong picks include , , and .
Basically the point of the comp is to survive the turret siege with wave clear and disengage, while still having a very strong 4v4.
*keep in mind this section will be updated as I play various machups, for now I'll just stick to common top laners*
|Pre-six in this lane you just need to farm up, once you get 6 and get your Iceborn Gauntlets you can start to trade with him. After poking him down to about 2/3 you can go in for the kill.||+ x5|
|With this lane you want to focus on farming up to get an early . From there I would go for a into a Iceborn Gauntlets. Make sure to save your W in cougar form to get out of his ult when he uses it.||+ x3|
|Here you want to use your autos to harass and try to avoid getting near him(use bushes to do this). An early is highly recommended. After that get your Iceborn Gautnlets so you can kite him if he tries to all in you.||+ x3 OR +|
Overall Nidalee is a fun top laner who has a strong mid game and an almost unbeatable split push. Her early laning phase isn't that strong, but once she hits 6 and gets an item or two you can dual almost any champion if you play it well. Your high mobility and strong damage with your cougar from Q give you surprisingly good dual potential and can allow you to catch enemies by surprise and they think you are just another "squishy Nidalee". As you see with the build, we bring in a lot of teamfight utility with a single target slow with your BorK, a small AOE slow with your Iceborn Gantlets, and a larger AOE slow with your Randuan's Omen. This is achieved while still keeping a decent amount of dualing potential with the BorK and the Gauntlets as well. All in all Nidalee provides a strong splitpushing top laner who can deal a surprising amount of damage, and is able to get out of almost any situation with her cougar form.