Nidalee Build Guide by MRN.ecco
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.
I am Tyler “ecco” Spesick and I am the former mid player for the former LCS Team, Team MRN, and am now the substitute mid player for current LCS team, Velocity eSports. You might also remember me from my Twisted Fate guide!
This guide is for aspiring Midalee (mid Nidalee) players. I will try and go over everything that is needed to play Midalee at a high level. I like this champ because she has high mobility, is skill-shot heavy, and is an amazing siege champ. All of these aspects I enjoy and it is all rolled into one package.
Here's a video I made to accompany this guide just to show you how I play Midalee. If you want to see more, be sure to follow my stream.
Pros / Cons
- Arguably the best siege champ in the game.
- Great at sustain as well as attack speed buff.
- Phenomenal poke.
- High mobility.
- "Vision" through her traps.
- Fairly weak laning until Tear of the Goddess / blue buff.
- Low kill potential in lane.
- Lack of wave clear.
- Weak against 2v1.
- Inconsistent/low damage in straight up team fights.
- Fragile and hard to come back from poor early game.
Nidalee fits well in poke comps and also with hard engage. In poke/siege comps you just lay down your metaphorical tent in front of one of their towers and throw spears until the end of time. Also works well in hard engage comps (such as Malphite, Nocturne) because if you hit a spear on a squishy they can abuse this weakness by forcing the fight asap.
She has great synergy with Cho'Gath as rupture sets up free spears really well. Really, any champion with a lockdown is great for Nidalee like Vi and Maokai. Also has great synergy with hyper carry ad carries such as Varus, Vayne, Kog'Maw, Caitlyn and Tristana. Just throw your heal on them before the fight for the attack speed buff and laugh as they melt their front line with near capped attack speed. Also has good synergy with Jayce and Varus for poke/siege comps.
Always make sure to have wave-clear on at least one other champion when you run Nidalee. Otherwise, if you get behind and are being sieged against, you have no wave-clear and they get towers for free.
Hard engage comps can crush siege comps really badly so it is best to avoid running Nidalee into them. Other than that she can go at least even in most lanes. Heavy pushers can give her problems but I will go over later how to play in those situations.
These are generally most useful because Nidalee has really, really bad kill potential in the majority of lanes so taking Ignite really isn't worth it. Barrier allows you to stay alive longer in team fights and play more aggressively as well.
You can also go ignite against weak laners like Kassadin to exert extra lane dominance.
|...|| Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Magic penetration and Ability Power are very, very standard on AP mids right now and there is really no reason to change them on Midalee. Armor and MR for your blues and yellows then allow Midalee to trade more effectively in lane as well as make up for Riot removing the passive armor/mr on her cougar form.
If you're against a heavy pusher where you won't be getting harassed a lot (such as Diana) or against a poor pusher who hits poorly under tower (such as Ryze), you can go flat mana regen yellows over flat armor. Remember, though, that this is very risky to do in competitive matches as you can get 2v1ed mid and doing so without armor is very difficult!
Also running hybrid-pen reds can be a good option against melee champions as you are auto-attacking them a fair amount.
This is the standard page I've been running on almost all of my AP mids right now. Overall it gives you everything you need for the entire game. The 21 points in offense allow you to scale as hard as you can into the late game while the 9 points in offense give you added regeneration for laning as well as reduced cool-down on your summoner spells.
This is pretty much my usual starting items. It gives you great sustain in health and mana and it starts your build into Tear of the Goddess which you should be rushing like crazy on Nidalee.
Tear of the Goddess is definitely the best option for mana on Nidalee because it gets stacked incredibly fast through cougar form abilities giving stacks. It also gives her the largest mana pool possible which allows for her to siege for the longest. It should be your first item, and build into Seraph's to finish your core. Morellonomicon is insanely cost efficient as well as giving you CDR. This allows you to achieve nearly max CDR with blue buff which means more heals and more spears. At this point that Tear should be built into an Archangel's Staff which should immediately turn into Seraph's Embrace.
It gives great AP, tons of mana, and has an awesome passive which gives you even more AP based on 3% of your max mana. It's active is definitely nothing to overlook either, shielding you from a good amount of damage. Use it wisely with your barrier!
You also have the option of going Athene's Unholy Grail over Tear/Morellonomicon but this is a choice that is not usually done. Only against really high burst lanes (Xerath, Fizz) or two/three AP teams would I go with Athene's over tear/morello. Tear and the items that build out of it are stupidly cost efficient as well as giving amazing actives so it is best to go them when possible.
At this point you should be looking to build more damage. Rabadon's is the most logical next step for that as it increases your AP a ton! More AP means more damage.
Void staff is because at this point in the game you're gonna have to deal with a good amount of magic resist coming from the other team.
The last item can really be anything and it depends on how your game is going. I usually get Rylai's though. Rylai's is great for the additional AP but also to make you even tankier when you take into consideration Seraph's active and the barrier spell.
Nidalee's early game is very weak so for the most part just keep one side warded and the other one trapped to all hell to keep yourself safe. You can have a side bush covered completely with 3 traps and then scatter more in the bushes/ramps. Mostly you are attempting to farm safely while throwing out some spears to try and get good damage. Against a melee you can auto-attack harass a fair bit. Just make sure not to take too much damage from caster minions.
Once you hit 6 you can look for potential ganks/dives but before then you are mostly just staying in your lane being safe. Keep in mind Nidalee is really weak early on as a laner with no pushing power. You could use Bushwhack to help with this though. Place it on the caster minions to weaken all three using one trap. Obviously try to aim for as much CS as you can possibly get with 10 a minute post 2-minutes being a fairly solid goal.
High burst and lane bullies can be difficult to play against but we take barrier to help counter-act this. Heavy pushers can also be difficult to deal with during this phase.
Against heavy pushers (such as Diana) try to counter-act her pushing by putting down your Bushwack on the caster minions. If you position it correctly, it will hit all 3 and will allow you to keep the lane a little bit more centered so you won't have to farm so much under your tower. Try and keep the wave frozen right in front of your tower against melee champions as it puts them in an awkward position and leaves them vulnerable to ganks.
Against weak pushers (such as Ryze) use the Bushwacks offensively rather than defensively. Still, use them on the caster minions and constantly be auto-attacking to force them to attempt to last hit under tower. Them not having a minion wave also makes it much easier to land spears as they have nothing to hide behind.
Mid game you should try to roam and put pressure on other lanes when you can. However, it depends a lot on the lane, like if you are able to shove your wave easily then feel free to roam and look for opportunities. You have very high mobility at this point with Cougar Form and it allows you to leave your lane without much loss of CS if any. Go around, throw some spears, maybe do some dives. Just look for opportunities and exert presence throughout the map. There are times when you can split-push as Midalee but for the most part you want to stay grouped up with your team if laning phase is over.
By now you should have your core done (Tear, Morello, Sorc boots) and should be working towards more damage.
Once you have an outer tower down, it is good to start grouping with most of your team. Whenever you have a blue on Nidalee, group on up and just plop your team in front of a tower. It will force the opponent to either take poke for a very long time or force an engage that isn't optimal for them. Also, try and have the other lanes pushing when you are sieging. This will also put pressure on the other team to choose whether or not to send any of their members to those lanes to clean up the farm.
You should be very, very far back in team fights. You are very fragile and must position appropriately. Spears also do more damage the further away you are but you also want to be close enough to be plopping heals down onto your ad carry. For the most part, you will be staying in human form as heals/spears/traps are very strong but don't be afraid to switch into cougar to help your team out with some damage. Just be careful not to overextend or get cc'ed because you are so weak.
Throw spears, heal your AD Carry usually but sometimes other weak targets, put traps around your team's priority targets and go into cougar form to help clean up or just for damage in general.
Usually with a Nidalee on your team you want to mostly be pressuring towers as it allows for easier escapes than it does at other objectives. It also forces the opponents in a smaller choke which allows for spears to have a higher chance of connecting.
Make sure to keep an eye on their engage/cc. If they start positioning where they can engage on you, get the hell back because that means you are out of position. If you get caught you are most likely going to die.
At this point in the game you should have close to your final build (Seraph's, Sorc boots, Morello, Deathcap, Void Staff, etc.). There is no change in strategy from your mid game. Now, your abilities are even more effective. Keep the same positioning and thought process in each team fight.
I would look to pressure an inhibitor before pressuring Baron, but at the same time keep in mind your attack speed buff on the AD Carry can really help melt down objectives. Put traps around the chokes and areas where the enemy must walk through to engage. Throw spears from the fog of war and if you hit a couple of them you will force the enemy to either give up an objective or engage when it isn't optimal. Just be careful not to get engaged on yourself!