Nidalee Build Guide by The Ivern God
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Advanced Nidalee Guide
+11 Attack Damage or +18 Ability Power, Adaptive
Hello fellow Junglers and today I'd like to welcome you to my Nidalee guide this is the ultimate guide and has everything you can ever imagine to do with Nidalee, how to play her Runes, abilities, Summoners Spells, gameplay and everything else to give you the best experience possible. Now in Nidalee is definitely by far the best jungler that you could possibly play with incredibly aggressive play styles. What's that you say? I say that about every jungler in my Guides? Poppycock! I don't know what you're talking about. Nidalee is the epitome of the aggressive Jungle play style and can gank from as early as level two. She solely lies on huge amounts of burst damage similar to Elise due to her cougar transformation combos. Compared to other junglers, she has a high learning curve and requires a lot of time put into learning and perfecting her combos and jungle routes.
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Regarding Runes, in regards on what was good on Nidalee prior to Runes Reforged was Thunderlords decree due to the three tic proc adding to her burst. Because of this we take Electrocute for the same effect. Another option is Dark Harvest as if you get fed early you can snowball hard but the safer option is Electrocute as it is much easier to proc. I suggest this be your main “go to rune” unless the game calls for the use of another rune, then adapt! Sudden Impact is the second rune to take as it synergises with Nidalees’ W and due to her Pounce having such a low cool down you can proc this very often plus, in comparison to other runes, you don't really have any hard CC so cheap shot wouldn't really work and taste the blood is just a no go zone. Zombie Ward is third. This is the best Rune that you can get on a jungler because vision is key to winning games and this rune gives you so much of it. It also rewards you fro clearing wards with more vision so it’s a Win win rune pretty much and as Nidalee is a counter jungler, knowing where the enemy jungler is at all times is vital to her play style. Relentless Hunter is the final Rune to take within the first tree as it provides you with that extra out of combat movement speed which can help you get into the jungle faster and also move around the map quicker, getting ready for possible lane ganks.
Regarding the Secondary rune tree you most definitely want to take water walking as it increases your speed whilst in between lanes within the River. This builds on the relentless hunter rune for earlier giving you that extra speed edge over other junglers and when going in for a chase, kill or gank. Transcendence is the last rune to take for that extra cool down reduction on all your abilities.
Now moving on to Nidalees abilities, its fairly simple, you have two sides of her kit. You have the abilities in her cougar form (which rely on dealing damage and chasing someone down) then you have the abilities in her human form (which focus on poke and sustain).
Nidalees passive which is activated when moving through brush, your movement speed is increased by 10% for 2 seconds and it's increased to 30% towards visible enemy champions within a 1400 range which, is a great ability for jungle since you can utilise all the bushes in the area similar to kha'zix. This also benefits the second part of her passive where if you hit champions or monsters with her Q or W in human you trigger the hunt which reveals them for four seconds. Nidalee also gains 10% movement speed which is increased to 30% towards the Hunted target and her first take down and pounds are enhanced against them. This is really strong as the hunted target is more vulnerable to your damage since your damage is increased to them and you have more ways to get to them due to the increased range on your pounce.
Nidalees Q is Javelin toss in human form and Takedown in Cougar form. This is your main ability for poke and damage whilst in human form and your execute when you're in cougar form. Use this ability sparingly as it is easy to dodge unless you are really good with your skill shots and you have a really good angle on the enemy your ganking. Once you've hit them they do become hunted allow you to be able to jump on top of them and dish out all of your damage and then jump out with Pounce due to the low cool down.
W, Nidalees second ability, is Bushwick and Pounce respective to their forms. Bushwick places a trap down that when sprung reveals and damages whoever triggered it. As a cougar Nidalee jumps in a direction dealing damage where she lands. You use your W to trigger your hunted passive and gain the reset on your pounce. Bushwhack can be used to gain vison within bushes and increase your damage when clearing camps and make things a lot quicker. Pounce is your main jump in and escape tool. It can be used to get to your enemies and also get away. This ability also allows you to leap over walls.
Your third ability (E) is your primal surge and Swipe in their respective forms. Primal surge can heal you or your allies and give them an attack speed buff for a few seconds. As a cougar you attack in a direction dealing damage to enemies in front of you. Primal surge is a great way of staying in a fight and also keeping your allies alive when ganking or counter ganking. It helps you stay in the jungle a lot more without needing to recall to get health back so long as you have the mana. Pair this with an Ardent Censer or Unholy Grail late game and you will be able to keep your carries alive during team fights when you can no longer dive back line. Swipe is the second part of your cougar combo which goes W-E-Q. You use this before your q in order to maximise the damage of Takedown as Takedown deals increased damage based on the enemies missing health.
Last but not least your final ability is your R which is your ultimate which, allows you to change back and forth between Cougar and human form given a short delay
Now when it comes to summoner spells really there's only two you ever take which is Smite which is pretty obvious and flash. That’s it. There’s nothing else. No other ideas or options or gimmicks and if you take anything else you deserve to forever be bronze.
Moving onto items there's a quite short list of items you can get as Nidalee. When going into the jungle you only really want to build AP as building AD results in your teammates crying "Better Jungler Wins". The items you go is challenger smite runic Echoes as your only first and main choice; allows you to be aggressive, allows you to counter jungle and counter gank more efficiently, you’re also able to duel much better.
Regarding boots, it's a bit of a trade off so you've got to decide depending on where you are in the game you've got the choice of either ninja tabi’s Mercury treads or boots of lucidity. Now if you're getting cool down reduction from other items and you don't really need the boots of lucidity then you should go for the other two depending on how the game is going and the enemy team composition but, if you do need that early cool down reduction then definitely go for the lucidity.
Nidalees only sustain in the jungle is her E so building a Unholy Grail or Ardent Censer enhances this ability greatly and allows you to give and receive massive heals and buffs to allies. Unholy Grail giving you healing stacks off of damage dealt and Censer giving allies attack speed and drain on their auto attacks as well as movement speed.
Lich Bane gives a huge damage increase to her Cougar combo, more specifically her Q Takedown, due to the sheen proc.
If you’ve managed to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies, then most likely they will build some form of Magic resist to counter your damage. That’s when Mr Void Staff comes to the rescue. He provides a huge amount of magic penetration that will increase your damage to levels OVER 9000 by the time they get their Second MR item.
Dying to that pesky Zed or those evil press R to win/Click and point one shots? No Worries! Pick up a zhonya’s Hourglass from your local shopkeeper and all your worries will vanish…for about 2.5 seconds. Zhonya’s is a very good item when lacking armour and provides you with that extra CD for if you took Ninja Tabi’s or Mercury’s Treads.
Additionally, you can substitute the Lich Bane for the Infinity Gauntlet! What? Wrong item? My bad. The Iceborn Gauntlet is a superb Item against AD However it will over cap you CDR if you have it with a Grail and Censer so be AWARE! However, it does make Nidalee more survival suited, especially if you keep getting one shot by ADs
If you find yourself becoming Buzz light-year and are so far ahead and rich, then take a trip to Yordle Town and pick up one of Veigars’ hats! Rabadon’s Deathcap is the perfect and ultimate AP item which will literally send your AP TO THE MOON! Imagine Q’s that one-shot squishies.
Visage of the Spirits is next up on this dastardly list. This makes you way more suited for becoming the big boy of the team and able to soak up more damage then you usually could. This is for when no one picks a frontline in champ select cause they all want to INT. Spirit Visage Also Increases your healing however it does take up a slot in you inventory that could be used for more POWERRRRRRR. SO choose wisely.
Lastly you have your, Screw you ADCs’, Items. Randuin’s Omen and Thornmail. Randuin’s is the most unusual Item in this list but can throw enemy ADCs’ off as it gives you that completely unexpected edge and makes your team believe you are trolling. DON’T DO UNLESS NECCASSERY!! Thornmail is Similar as it reduces enemy healing but is only really good against enemy AD champions.
There are two routes to Nidalee jungle which are dependent on which side you start on. When starting on the blue side you want to go, Red-Wolves-Blue-Gromp-Gank. Remember you can always get counter-ganked or invade or things may not go your way so you must learn to adapt! This route puts you at a perfect level to gank top lane and steam role your ally.
If you are playing red side, then you would go Blue-Gromp-Red-Gank. This will give you the best clear speed and end health due to your bot lane helping you with your blue, if they leash at all and also gives you a nice and fast level 3 making it easier to gank mid or top.
THEN THERE IS THIEF’s PATH. This is only do-able if you know where the enemy jungler is!
You would start Red side and go Blue-Enemy Red-Krugs-Gank. This sets you up with double buff and puts the enemy jungler behind but also puts you BEHIND ENEMY LINES. More specifically you’re behind the enemy bot lane without them having a single clue. From this you can get the jump on them definitely pick up a kill and throw your bot lane ahead.
Gameplay wise she's really strong in the early game because of her ability to gank early, dish out high amounts of burst damage and snowball all her lanes. She does tend to fall off if the game goes on for too long due to enemies becoming immune to burst damage however you can still be relevant through buying that Grail or Censer and focusing on keeping you carries alive.
Initially, focus on your early game and increasing your gold income. Farm as often and gank when chances are shown to maximise you influence in the game and secure kills. This will allow you to build your core very quickly and to become very relevant in the game. Your main role in team fights is actually before they start. Mission? Eliminate the Squishies! The carries are your target and only target as if you go for a tank, Good Luck. Nidalee tends to have decent split push clear too but I wouldn’t say it’s a core aspect of her character.
Nidalee is one of the higher skill cap junglers in the game and requires you to learn her combos and understand jungle mechanics to the penny. I advise taking her into the practice tool and learning all her routes so that come game time you can focus more on ganking and counter jungling. A players’ skill on Nidalee shows as you play her through your builds and play style.
Thanks for reading my guide, I hope you enjoyed it! Please leave a comment or upvote if you did :)