Nidalee Build Guide by Flatlusen
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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.
The reason I choose to play Nidalee as a hybrid instead of pure AP or AD, is because you help your team a lot more if you can both heal/nuke AND push some towers. The main reason to get some attack-speed is to be able to push towers without help, and with some AD your Takedown gets a nice boost in damage.
Attackspeed (8 stacks on Guinsoo's Rageblade and maxed Primal Surge): 2.216
Movmentspeed (in Aspect Of The Cougar): 441
Movmentspeed (moving through bushes in Aspect Of The Cougar with Prowl): 484
Abilitypower (8 stacks on Guinsoo's Rageblade): 328
This means you are truly a hybrid that can push towers almost as fast as a AD-carry, heal as a support with Primal Surge and nuke as a AP-carry with your Javelin Toss
Exhaust is a very usefull spell to take down fed DPS-champs or to hunt down and kill/help you escape.
Flash can prove to be usefull, but since you get 441 movmentspeed in cougar (484 while moving trough bushes), it might be a good idea to get Cleanse here instead.
Other useful spells:
Ignite (Since you don't have any DoT:s),
Cleanse ( Nidalee is kinda squishy, so stuns can be devastating)
Teleport (For some map-control)
Spells NOT needed:
Smite (Nidalee isn't a jungeling champ early on)
Revive (If you plan on dying a lot, don't play at all)
Fortify, Clairvoyance, Rally (let someone else take them if needed)
I have tried 21-0-9, 9-0-21 and this build, and I truly think this one is best suited for a hybrid Nidalee. You need that extra armor-pen. and attackspeed to really make use of all her abilities.
Marks: Greater Mark of Magic Penetration/Greater Mark of Destruction (To get some more damage out of your abilities)
Seals: Greater Seal of Replenishment (Gets you some more stayingpower and ability to heal your teammates more)
Glyphs: Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction (Lower your cooldown to be able to inflict more damage and heal more often)
Quintessence: Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration/Greater Quintessence of Destruction (Same reason as the marks)
The reason I have cooldown-reduction on Glyphs is because with those 8.62%, you get 30.9% cooldown-reduction with the items in this build, and with blue buff you get the maximum of 40%. In cougar-form you inflict the most damage with your abilities, and with around 31% reduced cooldown, you can almost fight entirely without having to autoattack. In my opinion it's better ti go for the runes with both magic and armor penetration since you are playing hybrid. But if you have to choose between them, use the ones with magic-pen.
I recommend that this ability is skilled after Primal Surge is maxed, and your Aspect Of The Cougar isn't available. This means that there is no point in throwing your javelin early on, since the damage is really low. Later, try to move around way back and aim for champs with low hp. If possible, aim for any champ that has stepped in one of your traps, since that lowers the armor/magic resist of that champion. This is your nuke, it has extreme damage at long range.
In Aspect Of The Cougar, always use your Takedown last in the combo. " Pounce in (W), Swipe (E) and Takedown (Q). This is because your Takedown deals more damage if your opponents health is low. But since your pounce is not affected by cooldown reduction, the rotation might not always look like that, but always try using takedown last.
Use Bushwhack and place traps in as many places as possible. This is a huge help for your team, since this makes it easier to avoid/set up ganks. It can also help you guard buffs and keep an eye on nashor. If you place a trap in a bush, any enemy champ near the trap gets visible for a split second, so use it to check for hiding champs as well.
Pounce is the ability you will use most frequently. Wherever you're going, use Pounce to get there faster! There is almost never a reason not to use it. It is also perfect for farming. Aim your Pounce at a creep-wave, Swipe and they are dead.
Primal Surge is not only a powerful heal, it also boosts your attack-speed a lot. Use it on yourself and others for heal, but also for the attack-speed when pushing towers. The primary focus on the heal should always be on yourself, since the others cant get any heals if you're dead. The only exception is to heal Soraka/Taric or other healers if they have more powerful support-abilities. When pushing towers at full health, use heal on the one with most attack-damage on your team.
Swipe is primarily used for farming, but it's also a good addition of damage in champ-fights.
This is your ult. It gives you a second set of skills from the ones used between level 1-5. Leveling Aspect Of The Cougar is the only way to get more damage in cougar-form (except from getting more AD/AP ofc), so leveling this skill is crucial for your damage-output.
Enemy champs you like in your lane:
Ashe: Stay befind creeps and start taking her down at level 6.
Tristana: Stay back and watch out for her Rocket Jump. Take her down at level 6.
Karthus: Keep yourself moving! At level 6, start taking him down. Might take a couple of "back and forth"-attacks.
Gangplank: Just stay calm. If he shoots you repeatedly, just heal and wait for a chance to jump him when you are level 6. You'll need to be kinda aggressive after this, so that he can't heal or steal life.
Evelynn: Place wards or buy oracle and she is done.
Kennen: Watch out for his Thundering Shuriken. Make him pull his ulti, Slicing Maelstrom and then jump away, heal up and attack him! Keep moving sideways to avoid his skillshot and the risk of getting 3 marks and getting stunned.
Kayle: Simple: attack at all times!
Sivir: Watch out for her Boomerang Blade and try to stay on either side of your creeps to avoid her Ricochet.
Twisted Fate: When he pulls his cards, Pick A Card, back away and wait for him to waste it. Then jump in and attack. If he pulls his yellow card again, back off and wait if his health is not really low.
Twitch: Same as Evelyn. If he manages to surprise you anyway, use your exhaust spell and attack him.
Zilean: Try to avoid him getting near you. If he bombs you, heal up and jump him!
Enemy champs you DON'T like in your lane:
Mordekaiser: This might be the worst opponent for you. His shield, Iron Man makes your attacks almost useless. The way to beat him is to wear him out. Attack him before your creeps get to him to get some real damage on him, and not his shield. Back off when your creeps are near.
Cho'Gath: If he gets to kill many creeps, his health will stay at almost 100% all the time due to Carnivore, and his Rupture and Feral Scream has kinda high damage. Try to avoid his stun, jump in and attack, back away when you've hurt him a bit. Repeat until he's dead or has to go back to base.
Udyr: His stun is really annoying, and he's quick enough to get away from you, or to chase you down. Stay passive and wait for a gank or a stun from your laning-partner.
Warwick: This is one of the few champs you cannot take one-on-one. His life-steal is sick, so wait for a stun or a gank.
Vladimir: One of the worst opponents for you. His damage and healing ability will keep you at medium/low health all the time. Keep cool and wait for a chance to make him pay.
Teemo: His Blinding Dart is devestating. And his Noxious Trap makes chasing really hard. Make him throw his Blinding Dart, then back off until it wears off. Then attack, but be careful not to step on his mushrooms. Might be a good idea to get some wards/an oracle.
Shen: His Shadow Dash neutralizes your abilities, and his high health makes your abilities useless. Wait for gank.
Morgana: Keep moving! wear her out with some sporadic attacks. Her Dark Binding, Tormented Soil and Soul Shackles is enough to kill you!
Kassadin: Silence, high damage and very elusive.. Stay calm and call out ganks.
Start by playing very defensive since you don't have anything to throw at them, other than your basic attacks (this goes both for going mid and side-lane). When you hit level 6, HUNT AND KILL! If they're tower-hugging, heal and attack their tower (they will take more damage from your creeps then you will take from them if you use your heal properly).
To start with, I recommend going back to base the first time with enough gold to buy at least the first two items, and if possible, wait until you can buy the first three. This means between 2110 and 4345 gold. It might sound like a lot of gold, but with your stayingpower, it shouldn't be a problem. The exception is if you're up against someone with frequent stuns/nukes. Then you should go back when you've saved up only 850 gold (enough to buy Mercury's Treads.
1. Mercury's Treads is the first item to buy the first time you go back to base. This is to get your magic resist up and get you out of stuns easier. It's a must-have for Nidalee most games.
2. Sheen is next up for obvious reasons. Just remember to use your abilities every 3 seconds if you're pushing towers. The extra damage helps a lot.
3. Guinsoo's Rageblade is perfect because you're gonna spam your abilities a lot. It also boosts your attack-speed when pushing towers. This combined with Primal Surge gets you a very nice attack-speed.
4. Trinity Force should be your next item. You already have a part of it, so it's not that expensive. It gives you some really nice over-all stats.
5. Nashor's Tooth might be the most perfect item for Nidalee, though it has kinda low stats. The attack-speed, abilitypower, mana-regen and cooldown-reduction makes it an ideal item for you! If you don't have the gold to buy it all at once, go for Fiendish Codex first for the mana-regen.
6. Rylai's Crystal Scepter to get your health up a bit, since nidalee is very squishy without HP-items. The slow and AP is of course very good for you as well.
7. Hextech Gunblade a truly perfect item for a hybrid. The combination of AP/spellvamp and AD/lifesteal is perfect for you to be able to stay longer in lane/fights.
If you are up against heavy nukers/stunners, you might want to switch one of the items (preferably Hextech Gunblade for a Banshee's Veil. And if your opponents have heavy DPS, it might be a good idea to get a Thornmail instead. If they have both of the above, a Warmog's Armor might be a good idea to stay alive a little longer.
This build works really great for me, and works best with the style of playing described above. If it doesn't work for you, try playing Nidalee either pure AD or AP.
Please feel free to point out faults/changes you would make!