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Nidalee Build Guide by Turo

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Turo

Fear the Spear (AP TOP)

Turo Last updated on October 29, 2012
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Jungle Role
Ranked #13 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
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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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Hey, thanks for taking a look at Turo's guide to Nidalee, Fear the Spear. Now, before you do anything there is a few things you need to know about Nidalee. She is by far my favorite champion, and has the potential to dish out insane damage, from close up and far away. She has the ability to kite enemy players better then almost any other champion. She has a heal which can give you a substantial team, and solo laning advantage in any game. And she has the finishing power to farm minions and pick up those blue pill kills by the enemy tower. With this being said, she isn't easy to play. She does take practice, Patience and alot of timing. You need to time your abilities well together so you can heal yourself when needed, or your teammate. And you need to manage your mana well enough to not get stuck in a bad situation without a backup heal.

Lastly before we start, keep in mind that this build is very universal for Nidalee; She can utilize this build in almost every type of game. Do keep in mind that this is of course just my opinion of what works well, and what i personally have had amazing success with. I can honestly say i will dominate 95% of games with any solo lane 2v1. I almost always obtain first blood, and a double kill within the first 10 minutes. Now don't jump out of your seat quite just yet, because theres certain things you need to do before you go spearing the sh*t out of things :)

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About Nidalee:

Now, Let's get started. Nidalee is an extremely flexible champion, she can solo lane, duo lane and even jungle after her level 6 is obtained. As Nidalee you have many responibilities to your team, such as some of the following:
*It's your duty to control the jungle after you are able, and during your downtime from laning.
*It's your job to pickup those running kills, to give your team and yourself extra gold.
*It's your job to push strong, and relentlessly prevent your laning opponents from leveling.
*It's your job to provide easy gank services to mid when needed.
*It's your duty to place traps in crosspoints on the map to take advantage of map awareness, and counter ganks.
*It's your duty to support your team, while still dishing out damage.

Now if you haven't played Nidalee much, now would be a good time to read this and learn a few things. Nidalee has a nice selection of spells, and combined with the right runes and summoner spells, she can become rediculus. Let's go ahead and go over her Basic Spells, and i'll give a little example of each.

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Basic Spells

Quick notes, Nidalee has 2 forms. She has human form, and Cat form. While in cat form nidalee uses no mana, and aquires 3 new spells. While in cat you cannot use human spells, and vise versa for human form. The cooldown is fairly low for the human/cat switch, so you are able to quickly switch back and fourth, providing yourself heals. Switching forms also does not require mana. This is a blessing when it comes to farming minions when your mana is drained. It makes you deceptively dangerous.
Javelin Toss / Takedown - First the spear, possibly your new favorite thing about League of Legends. Nidalee tosses a massive javelin, a rediculus range and the deals insane magic damage when it hits. Remember, if possible try to get as far away as possible when throwing your spear, because the further you are, the more damage it deals... UP TO 250%! (perfect for chasing) And keep in mind, minions can and will block this spear. Only fire when you know you can hit. Try to sway in and out of bushes, to make your spear unpredictable. Fog of war can be your best friend. (human)

Her second half of her first abiltity is Takedown. Takedown empowers Nidalee, increasing the damage of her next attack. This combos great with pounce and swipe. And can increase your overall melee damage by alot. (cougar)
Bushwack/Pounce- Alright so first let's talk about bushwack. Theres alot of controversy over bushwack, and whether or not to get it first. In this build, you get it at level 5, and then max it out last, after your heal and spear. I do this because if you desperately are in need of bushwack at level 1, and can't maintain your lane without constant watch, you probably shouldn't be playing Nidalee ;). Bushwack places a small, yet Visable trap on the group, and it stays there for a generous amount of time. When an enemy steps on the trap, it deals damage over time, and marks the target, giving you sight of them and their surroundings for the next 8 or so seconds. This is amazing for getting those last second blue pill kills. If someone stepped on your trap, got pushed to their tower, and are backing, you will notice that you can see where they are porting. A quick jump through the wall, and spear later, and your 300g richer. No harm done to you at all. (Human)

Pounce is one of Nidalee's key abilities. It lunges you forward a small distance, and does AoE damage to those around when you land. The damage isn't crazy, but it still adds up, and the key thing about this spell is that it has a TINY cooldown. Even without cd reduction runes, you with be able to pounce around with ease, increasing your speed substantially. It really helps for chasing down runners, and just farming minions. The best thing about this ability is that it provides Nidalee with the incredible mobility she has. The pounce can hop over small walls, small cliffs and even into dragon from the right areas. It makes a great juke in bushes when your being chased, and gives you a huge advantage in 1 V 1 fights. (cougar)
Primal Surge/Swipe- Primal Surge is what makes you a support! It heals you, or your target for a generous amount of health, and the cooldown is rather low for a such a powerful heal. It scales extremely well, as well as the spear; making Nidalee very scary with enough AP. *TIP* I personally set my heal self cast button as my middle scroll button on my mouse, it makes as a great quick heal to myself, and still allows me to focus completely on running away. This ability ALSO increases the attack speed of the target healed for a nice little duration. This makes for a great complimenting buff to a melee carry or even yourself if you are killing an enemy tower! (human)

Swipe is an amazing farming ability. It swipes Nidalee's claws in front of her, dealing AoE damage to anyone in melee range of her. With takedown active, this ability can really dish out some serious damage. It's great in those bunched up team fights as well, if you confidant that you won't be quickly focused, for it attacks everyone in range for equal damage. (cougar)
Aspect of the Cougar! Pretty much you press this button, and you become a cougar. Wait 4 seconds, and you can click it again, to become human. No mana cost, and remember...
Cougar form abilities do not level up as you level their counterpart skills. They level as a whole, everytime you level up cougar form. So DO NOT level an ability thinking it will improve her cat form damage.
Thats why her cougar form does so much damage in the beginning, because it stays the same until level 12, so it needs to still be viable up until then.
Lastly is Nid's Passive, which grants her bonus movement speed when she enters any Brush on the map. This gives her an extreme advantage when it comes to juking and escaping through the jungle.

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Runes (Explanation)

The reason i chose these specific runes is because i found that they provided what i personally needed to be successful in my play style. For example:

Mana regen runes- I noticed that Harrassing with spears, and healing team-mates or myself adds up, making me run out of mana fairly quickly. I find that speccing into mana regen in the utility tree, plus mana regen runes really gives me an amazing regen rate. Allowing me to harrass, back up, heal and repeat.

Magic Pen- Spears are completely devastating if used effectively, they will out damage many champions ult's even at only 400 AP. For example, at 450 AP a max range spear can easily hit for over 1200 damage. (I've one shot many squishes) The extra magic pen always gives me a nice boost to hit even harder, and hit tanks equally hard in the early and mid game.

CD reduction- Now you have probably looked at other Nidalee builds, and many of them may use CD reduction boots. Now to be honest, i find this a bit silly. Her spells already have a extremely low cd, and her Cougar form abilities won't lower with cd reduction very much at all. It's a waste. Runes give you the perfect little balance you need for quick spears and heals.

AP Quints- The early ability power helps Nidalee's spears do that extra bit of damage that's needed to keep an enemy back. I personally love having a little "umph" to my spears early game.

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The Masteries i selected are for the following reasons:
I take most of the offensive tree, boosting my ability power and magic pen even more. With this you become quite a deadly force early game. Most guides or people will recommend Nidalee to take Flash or ignite, well, this isn't one of those builds! With that said, i take improved ghost/exhaust, making the combo that much more effective when properly used. I take points in the mana regeneration, just to help relieve the mana cost from heals and harass. I also put a point into the 20% buff, due to the fact that you should be routinely collecting blue buff mid/late game. This will help stretch out the lasting effects of blue buff or redbuff (idk why you would have red) but if you did, it would help.

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Summoner Spells

I choose Ghost, and Exhaust. The reason is because Nidalee is very mobile, and with ghost, she is almost uncatchable without an extreme amount of CC. Exhaust is great for those 1v2 moments where you need that damage reduced, and you can inflict some Serious pain on one of them, while you heal, retreat, spear, and re-engage.

Now Don't think this is the only viable option, of course theres alternatives. For example:
Clairvoyance- This gives your team a great advantage to counter jungle, or just prevent ganking from even occuring. Really helps you obtain that role of part support.
Flash- Flash is always a good option, on almost every champion. If you can't pounce over a wall, flash over and pounce away!


Like i previously went over, alot of people are hardcore in believing that Nidalee MUST take Ignite, and flash. Or a variation of one of the two, with teleport. Keep in mind this is MY personal opinion, and guide. So when voting, try not to vote with a bias, you are voting on THIS build, not comparing to others. :) i think people forget that sometimes T.T "THIS IS BAD. AD NIDALEE BETTAR DUR" lol.

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Pros / Cons

+Very mobile
+Very beneficial to your team
+massive nuke with extremely low cd
+amazing damage in cat form
+self, and teammate heals
+has a non mana using form (GREAT at farming)
+Personally my favorite 1v2 champion
+Fun to play!
+AMAZING early and mid game

-lacks damage output endgame, depending on the enemy team
-extremely vulnerable to CC
-Xin's *****
-Takes patience and skill
-Frustrating at times
-BUGS (random spear throws, Backwards cat jumps)

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The Frustration

Now, every champion has their little quarks that make them who they are, and every champion has those little bugs that drive you insane. Nidalee happens to be one of the champions with more bugs. But this being said, they can be prevented.

Backwards Pounces- These Suck. Pretty much, you'll be running from a monstrously fed Xin, and come up to a nice thin wall to jump through, though unfortunately your pounce is on you walk up to the wall, aim, and wait for a moment, waiting to pounce right? Well when you press pounce, you jump backwards, Straight into the Nidalee slayer. GG
BUT WAIT! there is hope for you yet. The key to this is to never stop moving. Keeping a nice unpredictable movement allows for Nidalee to actually not bug out. When she is moving into the wall, and pounces, she wont hop backwards! It's when she stops and waits for a brief moment, that bad things will happen.

Random Spears- UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH We've all experienced it. There he is! A nice squishy EZ running at a nice predictable pace! you cat form through the jungle to catch up, you fly into human form and... *SWOOSH* there goes your so...wait...where is it? You notice you gained 25g..but f...Oh. It flew behind you and hit a jungle monster.
Now this can be the most frustrating thing ever, but it is preventable. The key is to give it a moment before you throw a spear, directly after coming out of cat form. For example, your in cat form, running towards a 30 hp Xin. Turn into human form, continue to chase for not even 1/2 of a second and your fine. It's when you try to instantly spear throw during your transformation back to human where it kills you :(. Try it sometime.

^ This was fixed in a past update, so the spear shouldn't randomly fly anymore. The backwards pounce should only occur when you are facing a wall that can't be pounced over. So be careful and make sure you know where you can leap through.
Speaking of leaping, let me show you where you can leap over! :D (Thanks to Xiaoli for making it) ^ SEE "EXTRA STUFF"

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Now Nidalee is a GREAT farmer after level 6. Before level 6, shes just like a generic melee champ, hitting one spear at a time. But once you get your cougar form, you can constantly aoe attack entire mobs of minions, without even ever backing; Due to your no mana being used, and heals if you ever need them)

Her heal actually helps farming before you get your cougar form as well. While her attack speed is increased, she can easily just poke in and out of the brush to last hit minions.

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Creeping / Jungling

Nidalee isn't the best jungler by far, and i wouldn't recommend her as a full time or early game jungler in the slightest. But once she has reached level 6, she becomes quite good at jungling, due to her aoe, trap damage and heals. I normally pick up blue buff at level 6 or 7 after grabbing my Sorc boots. I easily down blue, and then have the mana regen increase and cd reduction to pop heal every couple of seconds. This makes it easy to maintain a safe hp while jungling and controlling the buffs and even dragon.

It's your duty as a Potential mid game jungler to prevent the other team from doubling up on buffs, and to control dragon to give your team a nice gold boost every so often.

Nidalee has strong counter jungling properties. She has a spear that can 1/4hp chunk a red/blue buff, so if timed correctly can EASILY steal a buff that's being killed by an enemy. Her mobility helps her pounce quickly into enemy territory and ward a sight zone, then quickly escape and wait for a prime time to return. Try it out sometime. But keep an eye on MIA's. You don't want to run into a kill bush. Trust me T.T

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The items I use on Nidalee are what i personally have found the most useful on her. Lichbane isn't necessarily needed, but sheen is a must, due to the constant pounce activation. I normally grab a dorans ring in the beginning for the extra mana regen and the little boost of AP for my early harass. I quickly farm and normally get a kill within the first 5-10 minutes, allowing me to farm and back at about level 6-7. I pick up my Sorc boots and a potion of magic for the CD reduction. Keep in mind, i purchase a elixir of magic every time i can, if i have spare money, and if i don't already have one. It really gives you a deceptive punch. I quickly rush my deathcap, for the spear at max range with sorc boots and some AP is absolutely devastating to the enemy team. I then buy a sheen, and build into a rageblade, for the bonus ap, since you will constantly be pouncing places, you will have full stacks of rageblade all the time! PLUS SHEEN!

My new item list is very AP heavy, and lacks armor and MR. This i understand. But you need to understand as well, that this isn't an upclose hybrid build. This is AP Nidalee. With her early harass and early kitty form, and if needed some jungling presence, i have no doubt you can win your lane fairly fast, if played right. Once your lane is down, you will have free roam to start assassinating everything that moves. And move about as your will desires. While keeping an eye on top of course.

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Any Extra Stuff

Alright, now you now how to build, maintain mana, and dish out damage on Nidalee. But are you ready to carry your team? Nidalee takes alot of practice, and i would recommend playing a game or two as her before you do any ranked or expect greatness from her. It's good to get warmed up on her spears and leaps. Also i recommend not giving up if you fail. I failed a few of my first games as well, until i got comfortable with her mobility. Just keep trying new methods of escape and movement, and

Play a custom game to find out which walls you can and can't leap through. This helps ALOT.

(Thanks to Xaoli
Thanks for reading up on Turo's guide for Nidalee, "Fear the Spear" and good luck out there on the fields of Justice!

-in game name = Turoara for any questions. or just post :)