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Nidalee Build Guide by Aerick

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Aerick

AP Jungle Nidalee-Carry Mode

Aerick Last updated on July 7, 2014
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 17

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 13


Utility: 0

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This is the first guide I have ever made. Simply put- keep that in mind :)

I just wanted to make this for anyone else who may be interested in playing the jungle cat.

This is just how I play her, and how I build her, so please enjoy.

I feel that since the rework of Nidalee, that she lacks the same firepower that she used to have (spear spam -s.s.) but when combined with other items like Spirit Stone, she really shines in the jungle, where I feel, feral kitties belong.

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Starting Items


Hunters Machete builds into Spirit Stone, and you will get more utility out of it, since you are going AP. Use a health potion at the start of each jungle camp until you hit level 3 for your first mid lane gank.

First Back

Usually you want to go back and buy these items when you accumulate about 1100 gold, which will be one rotation of the jungle and a good gank. Here is where - Nidalee- begins to live in the jungle.
- Spirit Stone- helps nidalee maintain mana, which she can use to heal in between jungle camps, and save herself or allies from death, while ganking.
I usually have enough gold at this point to get:
Spirit Stone Boots of Speed Sheen

Core Items

If you are doing well ganking with those items, stay a little bit longer to farm up some more gold, at the very least, when you come back for the second time you should have enough for - Iceborn Gauntlet.

These three items will give you enough ability power to easily clear jungle camps, maintain health from armor bonus, and gank easily; all while giving you the armor to survive more jungler camps, and go toe to tow with most champions and come out on top. Once you have these core items you can move into the final three items, depending on where you are at.

Filler Items

Generally Once I complete my core three items, I like to start building - Rabadon's Deathcap- to help with the damage output on enemy champions.
If your opponents are dealing magic damage, build an - Abyssal Mask.
If the game lasts long enough I like to buy - Zhonya's Hourglass- to give you a little bit more armor to be even more tanky, while holding the active, so you can initiate fights, or dive under turret for ganks.

Final Build

By the time the full game is over, I usually have these items.

If you use these items, you should be tanky, while still pumping out an insane amount of damage, if you use the rotation of abilities in this guide.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power


Here I like to run 9 flat Magic Penetration marks, because I like how much damage Nidalee can deal out endgame, when she has these runes.
Magic Pen. makes magic damage cut through Magic Resist.
For any Nidalee, I feel its pretty much a no brainer.


Just like most junglers, I grab 9 flat armor Seals, so you can stay alive during the beginning minutes of the game in the jungle, before you get spirit stone.


I like to run Flat AP Glyphs to get that initial boost in the game. This helps with clearing camps, and getting a nice level 3 gank.


Flat Ability Power Quints, for the same exact reasons of Glyphs.

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For my jungle Nidalee build, I do a little but of an odd thing. Don't ask me why it works, but for some reason it does, so run with it.


I choose to go far enough into the damage tree, to get a buff there,
while making her more tanky in the jungle,
while adding a little more movement speed with utility.

While the masteries may seem a bit weird, she plays extremely well with this set up.
Well, when I am playing her anyways :)

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Skill Sequence/Abilities -Explained


Level Nidalee's skills in this order for jungle dominance.
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Human Form:

Every time you start with jungle- Nidalee-, you need to put your first point into her E - Primal Surge- this will help heal - Nidalee- when she is traveling between jungle camps, making her stay in the jungle longer to farm more, and when in - Aspect Of The Cougar- it will be her main jungle clear. This Heal scales with ability power, so your going to want to use this to top you off before a fight, or to save you during a fight.
The cooldown is rather long, even with the cooldown reduction you get from items, so use this ability only when moving between camps, just before ganks, or at the end of the fight to save your life.

Once the first camp is cleared, you are going to put a point into - Bushwhack-. Toss these down on main jungle creeps, to help clear, or in high traffic areas, to help keep vision of the map.
If you are lucky, enemies will walk through it while you are near, triggering Prowl which will give you an easy kill.

When you hit level three, you are going to put a point into - Javelin Toss- in order to trigger Prowl on targets your going to assassinate.

Cougar Form:

The ability you will use the most while clearing the jungle is - Swipe- which will hit all targets in front of - Nidalee- within melee rage, in the direction of your mouse. This ability scales heavily with Ability Power, so combined with - Spirit Stone- you should never have to leave the jungle except to - recall - and buy items.

The second most used ability in the jungle will be - Pounce-. Keep in mind that every time any unit is killed by - Nidalee- the cooldown of - Pounce- will be reduced to 1 second. Meaning that she can use it to last hit minions or neutral monsters, to keep resetting the cooldown, and be even more mobile around the map.
Make sure to lead into jungle camps with this ability, and try to hit at least two monsters with each - Pounce- while in the jungle, to help with clearing.
Pounce- will make - Nidalee- jump in the direction of your mouse, so make sure to have it in the direction your needing to go, otherwise you will jump in the wrong direction, resulting in a failed gank, or death from enemy hugs.

Known as the "finisher" - Takedown- will be used to last hit creeps with low health or to last hit an enemy champion. This ability does more damage the lower your targets health is, so again-use it last, in every rotation while in cougar form.

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Jungle Rotation

Every time you jungle with - Nidalee- you need to start with blue buff.
Your team should get a few hits, and if you use a potion you can easily clear the camp with no trouble.
Once the camp is cleared immediately put a point into - Pounce- revert to human form, heal and toss down a - Bushwhack- on the big wolf at the wolf camp. When placed, use - Aspect Of The Cougar- - Pounce- and - Swipe. Make sure to pounce whenever off cooldown.
When the second the camp is cleared, heal yourself and run to wraiths.

When at wraiths, do the same rotation, - Bushwhack- on the big wraith, followed by a - Pounce- and - Swipe.
When the camp is cleared you should be level 3 and have all abilities unlocked.
If you do not have all 3 abilities for some reason, move to red buff and clear that camp, tossing a ward into the brush to view counter junglers, and using the same jungle rotation as the previous camps, using your second smite of the game to take red buff. Then proceed with the next step.

If your mid lane is pushed back, run to the brush at the river mouth, aim a spear to trigger - Prowl- then follow through for the first kill using - Pounce- - Swipe- - Pounce- and kill with - Takedown. If they are low on health, revert to human form and toss a killing spear.

From here you should have enough gold to go back and buy your - Spirit Stone- and - Boots of Speed- at the very least.
When those two items are built, you can easily stay in the jungle to farm, all jungle camps, forever.

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First off:

The main goal before every gank is to trigger - Prowl- by running through the brush towards an enemy, you will get a speed buff that will help you get on top of your opponents, and shred their faces.
While in the brush, you have time to set up a good spear.
do not worry about hitting your spear from max range, you only need to hit the target to mark them with hunted from your passive - Prowl.
Take a long look at - Prowl- before reading anything more.

Ganking Order:

These are in the priorities of where I like to gank, starting from most important, to least important.

Middle Lane:

If your mid lane is pushed back, run to the brush at the river mouth, aim a spear to trigger - Prowl- then follow through for the first kill using - Pounce- - Swipe- - Pounce- and kill with - Takedown. If they are low on health, revert to human form and toss a killing spear.

Bottom Lane:

First off, keep open communication with your bottom lane, asking if they know where wards are.
If your bottom lane is pushed out, come from the turret, to hide in the brush, so when your enemies push back, you are there for your spear/cougar combo.
If your bot lane is pushed to their turret, make sure to come from the brush in the river, for it does not matter if you are seen, because when you run through brush, you trigger - Prowl- and if you land a spear from there, killing the "hunted" target will be simple and easy.

Top Lane:

Generally, you only gank top lane as - Nidalee- when all other lanes are helped and do not need assistance. A good top lane should be able to hold their own and ward the brush, waiting for you to murder the opponent.

When you do gank top lane, take a look at where your opponent is.
If your top lane is under your own turret, come from the river brush, if your opponent is in the middle of the lane or his half, try to come into the fight from tribrush. Simply because in order to gank as - Nidalee- you want all the surprise you can get, to take your opponents off balance.
Almost nobody is ready for her rework jungle attack.

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Thank You!

Well, to those that found this helpful, thanks for taking the time to ready this, and hear what I have to say!
I really love Nidalee as a champion, even more so since she was reworked.

I love how much damage she can do in cat form, and I feel its harder for her to die as a jungler, because she is initiating ganks, rather than having to run from opponents, like she usually has to in a lane.

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The good things about Nidalee are:
Great Jungle Clear
High Burst Damage.
Able to escape over walls.
Can win most 1 on 1's after getting Iceborn.
Can give attack speed to AD Carries with heal/Can heal
Extremely Fun


Squishy if pinned down with snares or stuns.
Does not do as well on the front lines.
In a perfect game, you want to come in just as the fight starts- from the side, and start picking off the team, one by one.