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Nidalee Build Guide by blitzkrieg2k12

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League of Legends Build Guide Author blitzkrieg2k12

I dig cougars -- An indepth top and midlane Nidalee Guide

blitzkrieg2k12 Last updated on July 30, 2013
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Team 1

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


Utility: 9

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AP Nidalee:


  • Possibly the best siege champion in the game.
  • Great at skirmishes.
  • Insane poke.
  • Great lategame sustain.
  • Great mobility.
  • Great jungle/vision control with traps and ability to spear harass.
  • Great roaming.
  • Best feeling in the game is killing someone you can't even see with a spear.

  • Really weak earlygame unless you start with AD.
  • No reliable way to follow up spears.
  • Gets destroyed by dive comps.
  • Hard to make a comeback with.
  • Not a safe first pick unless you are good at her.
  • Can't assist jungler in ganks very well.

AD Nidalee:

  • Insanely strong earlygame poke.
  • Great splitpushing power.
  • Same great map control with traps.
  • Good skirmisher.

  • Not innately tanky.
  • Weak mid-lategame.
  • Not very useful in teamfights beyond AS buff.
  • If you are behind you are useless.

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How to contact me/My Nidalee experience

My name is blitzkrieg2k12 in game, and you can just add me there and ask me questions. I cannot think of anything else to add to this guide, and this is my first guide so my item list isn't as well done as I would like it to be; my apologies if it is too unclear.

I am a platinum Nidalee main with over 200 games played as just nidalee. Feel free to add me to ask questions or spectate. I played Nidalee from bronze all the way to platinum, and I primarily carried myself out with her.

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When to pick Nidalee, and which Nidalee to pick

TLDR: Nidalee has great synergy with hypercarries such as vayne and twitch. The 60% Attack Speed increase on them is huge, and can’t be overstated. As AP she specializes at sieging/poke, as AD she specializes at splitpushing/lane dominance.

When to pick AP Nid:

  • AP Nidalee is my go-to champ to counter an enemy poke composition.
  • Your team needs a sieger. (Someone who is good when both teams are fighting for a turret)
  • Your team needs a skirmisher. (Someone who excels at long fights near dragon, for example)
  • When your team has a splitpush comp, because Nidalee is great at stalling out the enemy team.
  • When your team has someone like Nocturne or Zac, because if you peg a squishy with a full range spear and don't completely finish them, they can hard engage onto the wounded person.

When NOT to pick AP Nidalee:

  • AP Nidalee is useful in/against any comp, except against a hard engage comp. For example, do not pick AP Nid against an enemy team that looks like this: Hecarim Vi Sivir Leona Kassadin.
  • AP Nidalee is great at keeping the enemy team off of dragon/baron due to the fact that there is nothing blocking your spears, and her traps+mobility give great sight/area control.
  • Nidalee also needs a jungler with CC, as it is pretty impossible to gank for her without it.

When to pick AD Nid:
AD Nidalee is an amazing splitpusher, and a great lane bully.

AD nidalee is also great for harassing people out of lane and denying farm, as well as splitpushing. Her traps help secure the lane, and she kills towers insanely quickly with her E. Her harass is ridiculous earlygame, and she does great against melee/fighter tops that aren't pure tank. An example would be Rengar. Sit in bush and harass the hell out of him, and don't let him all in you.

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Nidalee's gameplay

As all versions of Nidalee, it is important to pick up trap level 1 and rush out the base to trap up the enemy jungle, or any important chokepoints if you think they might invade yours. This earlygame vision control is huge.

AP Midalee vs Casters/General AP Laners

Pre-6: Vs Casters/AP it is basically a farm lane until level 6 unless you significantly outskill them and they let you land multiple spears in lane. Her earlygame AP damage is fairly weak, so just try to CS and ride it out until level 6. I also like to keep the enemy jungler's camps trapped or warded so that I can potentially steal them with spears. The benefit this provides your team cannot be overstated. With the 12 second window on your traps the jungler is going to have a really, really bad time ganking.

Post-6: Her roam is amazing. Again, keep their jungle trapped and try to harass their jungler, but other than that just roam as much as you can get away with. VS casters such as lux, if you see her miss her Q on you, you need to punish it. Trap behind her/spear at her, then cougar form combo on them. If they are low/start to run, just keep hitting them as much as you can. If they don't, just back off and wait to do it again. It is very important that you are there when the enemy team tries to do dragon, even if your team isn't. It is very easy to pick up a kill or force them off of it by landing a few spears while they try to kill it. At low ELO it is fairly easy to just steal the dragon with a spear as well.

Lategame: Lategame is where AP nidalee shines. Her ability to siege is unprecedented, and should be used as much as possible. Not really much to explain, but in teamfights just spear and keep your heal buff on your adc. You should stay near your adc as AP Nid, peeling and throwing spears in the direction of the enemy adc/caster. When whoever they sent to kill your adc is about half health, just go cougar and finish them.

AP Midalee vs. assassins
pre-6: This is a whole different game. Against assassins like fizz or kha, you want to start with the AD runes and a dorans blade to harass them out of being able to all in you. You basically need to play AD nidalee earlygame and build AP later. You can actually get kills with ignite+heavy poke.
Post-6: Start building the standard AP build and carry on to lategame.
Lategame: same AP late.

AD Nidalee
Pre 6: Harass, harass, harass. Nidalee's pre-6 harass/deny potential is almost unparalleled. Max E first as AD nidalee and use it whenever you know you can get a string of attacks in.

Post 6: AD nidalee falls off more around this point, but you should really be looking at getting your tower now if you already havn't. With E having at least 3 points in it if you force your lane opponent out you should be able to get it in one wave, and cougar form helps greatly with duels as you have real finishing potential now.

Lategame: In lategame, AD nidalee isn't all that useful in teamfights other than using her heal on the ADC as it still gives the same AS bonus that AP does. Her role is to dive the enemy ADC/APC and either zone them out or kill them. She is really best at splitpushing, as she kills towers about as fast as tryndamere.

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AP Nid vs Casters Notes

I like to run teleport, as against most caster lanes your kill potential is really low. The TP helps with splitpushing, and also helps with counterganking/roaming. She does fine against any mage really. In mid lane, just make sure to keep one side of the lane warded and the other side trapped. Also refresh your jungle traps whenever you can, as they are a great hindrance to the enemy jungler if you trap their jungle chokepoints well (example being the bush by wraiths).

Against some casters such as syndra or lissandra who can just all in you or CC you to death I run barrier sometimes as well.

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General Tips

There are a few things that you should try to learn to do as Nidalee, possibly in a normal or a bot game.

1. In cougar form, there are many places on the map where you can jump over the wall using pounce (w). Examples of these places include (but aren't limited too): dragon wall, blue buff wall (skinny part on both of them, the part that runs east-west), and the river wall opposite of tri-bush.

2. It is important to know that spears do more damage the further away you are at time of impact, not from where it was thrown. It is possible to throw one then run/cougar pounce away for extra damage.

3. Your traps can be seen by enemies, so put them in bushes or immediately around corners. What many people don't know is that these traps have massive MR/Armor shred attached to them, which is very benficial in teamfights lategame if their tank steps on them.

4. Nidalee's Q in cougar form is also an attack animation reset. If you don't know what this means, it basically means that upon activating it, you instantly attack. If possible it is best to get an auto attack off then use it to get a double-hit on them. Also applies to bringing down towers quicker.

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AP Nid vs Assassins

These lanes are very tricky. I actually start with ADC runes and a dorans blade in order to harass them and deny them xp/farm early. It also keeps them unhealthy enough that they are wary to all in me, which ignite also contributes too. Make sure and keep tabs on their jungler with traps as well, since you didn't start wards, or have your support drop a ward for you.

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AD/Bruiser notes

Depending on personal preference, use or along with flash, there really isn't a reason to use anything else.

is better against lanes you don't think you can kill before level 6, and for just general splitpushing.

is also handy as it allows you to get an extra back early game, which can make the difference; be wary of using it and it not being up in time for a dragon fight though.

helps secure kills pre-6 as you really don't have a reliable way to follow up.

As a top laner, it is important to trap the river or have a teammate ward for you earlygame, or else you need to trap their jungle so you can see where they are (jungler is near his red, etc). Regardless, Nidalee is very slippery, and post-6 pretty much impossible to kill.

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Nidalee has great synergy with hypercarries such as vayne and twitch. As AP she specializes at sieging/poke, as AD she specializes at splitpushing/lane dominance.

Don't pick AP vs hard engage comps.

Don't pick AD if you are the team's only tank.