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Nidalee Build Guide by crystalfortress

AP Carry Midalee: Unleash Your Wild Side

AP Carry Midalee: Unleash Your Wild Side

Updated on July 12, 2014
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27,027 Views 2 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author crystalfortress Nidalee Build Guide By crystalfortress Updated on July 12, 2014
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LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
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Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None


Hi there, my name's Crystalfortress, and this is my guide to mid lane Nidalee (Midalee), as well as my 5th guide on Mobafire. I've loved this champion since before the rework, I had just never taken the time to make a guide. Since the rework, Nidalee hasn't been seen as much mid lane, but has become a powerful top laner. I still love playing her mid lane, although it requires a very different playstyle compared to before the rework. She's now more of an assassin, and less of a super-mobile, half-health-spear-throwing, no-interaction mage, and I like the change. Anyways, I hope that you enjoy the guide and hope that it proves helpful. If you did enjoy it, I would love an upvote and a comment. In addition, if you find something that you disagree with or that you feel should be changed, just let me know. Anyways, lets get started!

Also, I'd just like to say that I'm working on recording videos of my games that I might be able to use in the guide to provide live commentary talking about my decisions while playing Nidalee, and hopefully illustrating some of the things from this guide (and maybe giving people tips for how to land spears). Also, the matchups section of the cheat sheet is still a WIP, and will have more content added soon.
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Awesome Games/ Top Plays/ Landmarks

This chapter will be dedicated to showing off the awesome games or huge plays that people make using this build, as well as for talking about the landmarks in viewership and voting that the guide reaches. If you have an awesome game in your match history or video of a huge play that you would like to share, PM me with a link to the videos, pictures, or match history entries that you want to share, and I just might include them.


7/11/2014 - Crystalfortress

I had one of my best games with Nidalee, in which I had an incredible early game (mind you against a mid lane Xin Zhao, but still pretty good), and then proceeded to get a PentaKill! Wish I had LolRecorder on :(.
Match History Entry
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Pros & Cons


  • Very high damage poke Javelin Toss
  • Excellent vision utility Bushwhack
  • Heal with high AP scaling Primal Surge
  • Extremely mobile, high burst, and resets in cougar form
  • Excellent at split pushing and getting kills in jungle

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These quintessences are really good on any ability power mid laner. They provide you with more offensive power, especially early game. The nicest part is that for you it also provides more sustain because your Primal Surge scales well with ability power.


These glyphs are helpful against AP mid laners, which is what you come up against most of the time these days in the mid lane. The magic resist helps you mitigate more of their damage.


These seals are great for Nidalee. The alternatives never really seem all that great, and these provide you with around 200 extra health late game, which is helpful since you'll be diving in.


The best marks for an AP mid laner. They provide you with a huge boost in damage throughout the entirety of the game by allowing you to penetrate through more enemy magic resistance.



These quintessences are pretty good on any champion, because movement speed is literally never a bad stat. I started off with these in all of my rune pages, because they are widely applicable.

These quintessences could be used in a rune page for if you come up against an AD mid laner. In this situation, I would suggest replacing your glyphs, because you won't be needing the magic resist.


These could be used instead of magic resistance glyphs if either: 1. you don't fear the enemy laner's early game, or 2. you are against an AD mid laner. They provide you with a good amount of offensive power late game.


I would probably not suggest using these in most situations. They provide you with a really good amount of mana sustain, but you miss out on some helpful tankiness. Could be good if you have a blue-reliant jungler though.


greater mark of hybrid penetration These are nice because they allow you to get more from your early game auto attack harass. This is only really helpful against melee opponents, because otherwise autoattack trading isn't worth it. Not as helpful late game, also. greater mark of hybrid penetration
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Summoner Spells


Flash is simply the best summoner spell in the game for most champions. The ability to run away, close gaps, dodge things, and generally out-maneuver and surprise your foes is irreplaceable.

This spell is great for Nidalee, and assassins in general. It can provide you with that little boost in damage that you need to finish off that low-health enemy. Especially helpful against enemies that rely on regeneration or healing.


This could be used as a replacement to Ignite if you are against an enemy mid laner that has a lot of kill pressure in lane. You will lose out on some kill pressure yourself, but this could save your life.

Another potential replacement for Ignite, for a similar purpose as Heal. Using this on an enemy assassin when they jump on you will cut their damage in half. It also gives you some crowd control, which is nice. Often taken by supports, however.
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I like this leveling order a lot. First of all, leveling w first gives you some really helpful things for before the minions are even coming down the lanes, including mobility, and you can set traps to stop the enemy team from invading your jungle. Next you level q for offensive power in lane. E comes next, providing you with sustain in human form and waveclear in cougar form. Max q first, because it provides you with a lot of damage. Next, max E for sustain. W comes last because leveling doesn't do much other than make it more easily spammed and slightly increase the damage. Level your ult whenever you can, as it increases the strength of all of your cougar form spells.



This passive is comprised of two parts. First of all, you get bonus movement speed whenever you move through a bush. This makes you move faster across large sections of the map than most other champions if you dip into a brush every once in a while. The second part is what is referred to as the "Hunt" mechanic. This makes it so that every time that you land a Javelin Toss or an enemy walks on a Bushwhack, it marks that person as "Hunted". All of your cougar form abilities gain bonus effects against "Hunted" targets, as explained in each of their individual sections.



The infamous spears, which used to make up pretty much all of Nidalee's damage. These days, they still REALLY hurt if you can hit them well. The thing to keep in mind is that their damage increases significantly the farther the spear has traveled past your auto-attack range. This means that hitting maximum range spears can deal a lot of damage. Landing one also marks the target as "hunted", allowing you to use your cougar form effectively against them. After the rework, they are also incredibly skinny, making them hard to hit.

This spell is awesome, and a highly underrated part of Nidalee's kit. When cast, this spell creates a trap at the targeted location, revealing a large area around it for a short time. It then spends about a second arming itself, at which point it loses the vision aura, but instead waits for an enemy to contact it. When one does, the trap activates, revealing the enemy and surrounding area, marking them as hunted, and dealing %current health damage. This spell is helpful mostly for the vision, which you can use for many purposes, including detecting ganks, protecting objectives, stopping invades, and much more. The thing to keep in mind is that the trap only lasts for two minutes. This means you can't just put them in bushes and assume your butt is covered, as they will expire. Also, enemy minions and neutral monsters will activate them. They are also visible to the enemy team, so I would suggest putting them at the edges of bushes.

This spell is your heal that can be cast on yourself or any allied champion. At level 1, the heal is not super impressive, but it not only scales fairly well with levels, but has %50 AP scaling, quite impressive for a heal. This means that late game, with blue buff, you can do a pretty good job of keeping your entire team fairly healthy, as well as keep yourself healthy in lane. In addition to this strong heal, you also give a large attack speed bonus to whoever you heal. This makes it super effective to use it on your allies that scale better with attack speed than you do, like your ad carry, or that top lane Jax, or that jungle Yi ... or almost anyone, really.




In cougar form, casting q gives you a special on-hit effect on the next auto-attack. At first glance, the damage might look quite unimpressive. However, the most important part of the spell is the fact that it scales with missing health, up to %250 of the original damage. This means that if you use it at the end of a combo, when the enemy is low, it can deal quite a lot of damage, and will probably finish them off. Additionally, if you use it against an enemy that is Hunted, it will deal even more additional damage (%33).

The spell that gives Nidalee her mobility. Casting it without a Hunted target causes you to leap a small distance, possibly over some small walls, and doing damage near the impact point. Casting this form of pounce whenever it's off cooldown will allow you to cover ground much faster than most other champions. If cast on a Hunted target that's in range (750), you will leap directly to that target. Use this to engage on hunted targets from extremely long range. In addition, the cooldown resets to 1 second whenever Nidalee either: 1. kills an enemy in cougar form or 2. Swipes a Hunted target. Use this to move around teamfights and large groups of enemies very quickly.

Upon activation, this spell causes Nidalee to swipe her claws in a certain direction, causing area of effect magic damage in front of her. This spell is used for two purposes: first of all, It can be great for clearing waves of minions. Late game, one cast of Pounce and Swipe on the ranged minions will instantly clear all of them, and reset the cooldown on Pounce. Secondly, it is an important part of the cougar form burst assassination combo. This, in combination with the damage from Pounce should get an enemy low enough that Takedown will do a whole lot of damage. This spell interacts with Hunted targets by resetting the cooldown on Pounce whenever you Swipe a Hunted target.


The spell that gives Nidalee her identity. Casting this spell causes Nidalee to switch between her two forms, the long-range, mage/support human form, and the close-range, highly mobile assassin cougar form. The recent rework has made it so that both forms feel like they're an important part of her kit, each with it's own strengths and weaknesses that you, as the player, have to learn to play with and work around. After the rework, it is also now given to you at level 1, and having cougar form from the beginning gives you a good early advantage over many laners. One thing to keep in mind is that it does have a cooldown, meaning that you can't just constantly switch between your two forms whenever you want. Keep this cooldown in mind if you are pulling off any fancy maneuvers. In addition, marking a target as Hunted while in human form causes the cooldown on this spell to be instantly reset (so you can jump on them no matter the state of the cooldown).
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Doran's Ring is an excellent starting item on any AP mid laner, and Nidalee is certainly no exception. It provides you with excellent combat statistics in health, mana regeneration, and a mana regeneration passive. The health potions also give you health sustain in addition to your Primal Surge, which can help with early mana costs. The additional mana sustain is especially helpful for Nidalee because she can use Primal Surge to turn it into health sustain.


Boots are great items to pick up early in most matchups. There is literally never a time that moving faster is a bad thing. Having the extra movement speed can open up lots of opportunities for you, including chasing enemies, running away, showing up from unexpected angles, and dodging skillshots (an important thing in the mid lane). Pick up early along with a part of your mana regeneration item if you have the gold.

This item is an excellent early pickup for Nidalee. This item will give you so much freakin' mana regeneration you won't even freakin' believe it. Okay, maybe not THAT much, but a lot. The magic resistance is also really helpful if you are against an AP mid laner. It also builds into Athene's Unholy Grail, an important core item and common rush item on Nidalee.

Another really good item to rush early, for the same reason as Chalice of Harmony, which is that it builds into Athene's Unholy Grail. The stats that it provides are also really nice and helpful early game, upgrading your damage and decreasing your cooldowns.

Seeker's Armguard is a highly situational early game buy. Only buy one of these early if you are against an AD mid laner. The AP is pretty good, and the armor it provides is pretty helpful early game to help mitigate the physical damage they will be dealing. It also builds into Zhonya's Hourglass, an important item to rush if you are against an AD mid opponent.

Getting a Needlessly Large Rod early game can be very difficult. It is super expensive (1600 gold, as a matter of fact). However, if you can afford one early, the payoff is huge. It gives a massive amount of AP, your offensive stat, and is an ingredient in two of your core items ( Rabadon's Deathcap and Zhonya's Hourglass). However, in most games you won't be able to afford one super early.

Blasting Wand is a nice early game item to pick up. It only costs 860 gold and gives a pretty good amount of ability power. It also builds into Rabadon's Deathcap, a really good item to get as early as possible as well as Void Staff. However, if you have enough gold to get this very early, I would still suggest getting one of the parts of Athene's Unholy Grail.


These are almost always the best boots for Nidalee. The additional magic penetration that they provide will help you deal a lot more damage, and the additional movement speed is really nice.

This item is nice on most of the AP mid laners. The main selling point is the mana regeneration and cooldown reduction, but the ability power and magic resist are also not bad at all. Getting this item pretty basically means that you don't need to worry about mana that much any more, especially in addition to a blue buff. If against an AD mid or regeneration-heavy opponents, consider replacing it with the Morellonomicon.

This item is completely awesome. It not only provides you with 120 ability power, the highest flat amount alongside Deathfire Grasp and Zhonya's Hourglass, but also the humongous ability power passive. Completely irreplaceable on Nidalee.

This item is really good in almost all situations, ramping up your damage immensely by penetrating through much more of the enemy's magic resistance. Especially useful for hurting enemy tanks, since they tend to stack resistances.

This item is immensely helpful. It gives a lot of AP (120!). However, the main selling points are the huge armor boost and the invulnerability active that can really save your life sometimes. However, the armor is usually not all that necessary early game unless you're against an AD mid laner, since it won't be mitigating much damage.


This is, in my opinion, the best of all of the 6th items. This is because it provides you with a lot of good things. First of all, the stats are great. Mana? Yes. Cooldown reduction? Yes. Ability power? Yes. Armor? Most certainly. Very nice, all of them. But the most awesome part is the passive: A damaging, slowing circle spellblade passive. Why is this so great? It gives you some long range waveclear and crowd control, the two main things that Nidalee is missing. Very nice. It also has awesome synergy with her kit, because her low cooldowns, strong autoattacks and resets on Pounce allow her to proc it very often.

This item is great in much the same way as Iceborn Gauntlet. The stats are great, with mana, movement speed and ability power all being really good for Nidalee. It has a spellblade passive just like Iceborn Gauntlet, which has great synergy with Nidalee's kit. The key differences are that this item doesn't provide cooldown reduction, which is a really nice stat, and that it is much more focused on damage, which can be nice, but it doesn't provide you with the area of effect damage or the crowd control that Iceborn Gauntlet does.

This item is rarely seen in mid lane, but can be really helpful in certain situations. The stats are nice, providing you with a good amount of ability power, cooldown reduction, and movement speed, three really nice stats for Nidalee. The selling point for the item is it's active (called Hunt ... what more could you ask for in terms of synergy?) which releases two ghosts that hunt down enemy units nearby, whether you have vision of them or not. This is nice for when you or your team is travelling through a scary part of the jungle, as it will reveal where your enemies might be waiting for you. The crowd control is also nice for helping cover up the weaknesses in your kit.

Hextech Gunblade is a hybrid damage item, something you rarely see mid lane. However, Nidalee actually scales really well with AD as well, especially Takedown (>%300 AD scaling? OMG yes!). The lifesteal and spell vamp are also pretty nice for health sustain, something that Nidalee doesn't really need super bad due to Primal Surge. However, it can help you use your Primal Surge on more important targets. The active is also really nice, giving you a targeted nuke and slow, something Nidalee can easily make use of. You also easily tick down it's cooldown because you have a lot of single-target spells ( Javelin Toss counts) and autoattacking is easy since you're ranged.

This item is nice if you need both health and offensive stats. It provides you with 500 health and 80 ability power. Both of these are really nice for obvious reasons, especially the health, which has good synergy with your previously built resistances (they make this health more effective by reducing the damage). It also has a nice little bonus from the passive, giving you the crowd control you need so desperately. Unfortunately, you only get the full slow from Javelin Toss and Takedown, but it still works pretty well with your kit.

Spirit Visage is a really good final item if you need the defensive stats. It gives you health, magic resistance, and health regeneration. The passive is also really nice for helping your sustain, and makes you heal yourself for quite a lot.

A 6th item similar to Spirit Visage in that it provides you with health and magic resistance. However, this item doesn't provide you with any kind of health sustain like the Spirit Visage does. Instead, it gives you a passive that blocks the first spell that hits you. This could be useless if you get hit by something that isn't super important, like a Bouncing Bomb or something, but it could also potentially block a Death Sentence or Cocoon.

A really good sixth item if you really need some more defensive stats, especially armor. The health and armor are really nice defensive stats, and the attack speed slow can be helpful against auto-attack reliant enemies. You can also activate the item to slow enemies in the area. In other words, if an AD is fed, consider getting this.

An item very similar to Randuin's Omen in that it gives you lots of armor and an attack speed slow. The main difference is in the other stats that it provides. Cooldown reduction and mana are helpful statistics for you. This item also provides you with more raw armor than Randuin's Omen, as well as a stronger attack speed slow. However, it doesn't provide you with any health, which is a really nice statistic, nor does it give you the crowd control.

This is an item for much the same purpose as the previous two. It provides you with armor to help you if an enemy attack damage carry, or multiple attack damage carries, are getting fed. However, this one is only really good for that. It provides you with nothing but 100 armor and the passive, which returns a certain amount of all of the physical damage dealt to you as damage to the enemies.


This item is highly situational, but can REALLY help out your team in certain situations. It has stats pretty basically exactly like Athene's Unholy Grail (ability power, mana regeneration, cooldown reduction), but instead of the passives that help you keep your mana full, it reduces healing on enemies. This can be nice if the enemy team is full of regeneration heavy enemies or if one is starting to get out of control. However, you could just as easily take Ignite for these purposes if the enemy team only has one. Weigh your options before the game, and if you need it, the Morellonomicon can stop regen-heavy enemies.

These boots are usually not necessary for mid laners. They provide you with some magic resist and the best part, some tenacity, which reduces the duration of enemy crowd controls. This can be really important for Nidalee, because hard crowd control is the only thing that can cut down on her mobility. However, missing out on the magic penetration of Sorcerer's Shoes will really decrease your damage quite a lot. However, if the enemy team has a lot of crowd control, consider picking these up.


The homeguard enchantment is one of the most commonly used enchantments in the game, and for good reason. Upon returning to base, having this enchantment causes you to regenerate much more quickly and then you have a huge speed boost for leaving the base. This allow you to make pit stops and then rush back into the action much faster. This is helpful in any situation, but is especially helpful for defending your base.

Distortion boots are also excellent, especially for a close-range assassin like Nidalee. Whether you're using it to escape bad situations, close gaps to secure kills, or dazzle and outplay your enemies, Flash is an extremely helpful spell for you. These boots shorten the cooldown on it, allowing you to make these plays more often.

This is one of the two possible upgrades to your Stealth Ward. This one changes the totem so that instead of creating stealth wards, it creates vision wards. These wards will remain in their placed position until they get killed or until you place another one. In addition, they detect nearby invisible units, including wards. I, personally, prefer this to the other upgrade because vision wards are nice for controlling objectives like Dragon or Baron, detecting other nearby wards while providing you with one to keep an eye on the objective until the enemy team clears it.

This is the other upgrade to Stealth Ward. This one is considerably more simple, increasing the length that the placed wards last for. This is nice because it makes your placed wards more reliable for objective control or covering your butt in lane.

Instead of upgrading your Stealth Ward, another option is to replace it at some point with a Sweeping Lens. This trinket, instead of giving you wards to place, allows you to detect and kill the enemy's. This is especially nice for Nidalee, since she can get kills in the jungle pretty well, and getting rid of the enemy's vision of you is really helpful for this. This is the upgraded version of that trinket, allowing you to sweep more often in a larger area.
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Nidalee used to be renowned for her incredibly weak early game before the rework. No waveclear at all, expensive heals, and spears too thick to go through minions? That's pretty easily exploited. However, the rework added level 1 cougar form, which has REALLY helped your early game. You now finally get a good bit of waveclear (albeit in close range), and the thinning of the spears has actually kind of helped your early game if you can hit them. This is because you can now much more easily weave them between groups of minions (still hard to do, but easier). Having cougar form before level 6 also allows you to go much more aggressive in the early game by allowing you to all-in if you ever hit a spear. So, the general strategy is pretty much this: farm in human form, looking for angles to hit a spear and using them. If you hit one, consider going all-in with cougar form if your foe is low enough. You can also last hit fairly well under turret using cougar form in my experience. However, you are more than likely to have to use this ability, since most enemies will punish your lack of long range waveclear.


Mid game, if you've been properly farmed, is when Nidalee starts to really take off. Your damage should be pretty impressive by this point, which may allow you to bully your opponent out of lane if you can hit spears. Whether or not you're dominating the lane by this point, your main strength is your roaming. You cross the map faster than most other champions, and hitting a spear from the side of a lane is fairly easy, and then you can jump on them in cougar form and do a full burst damage combo, which does quite a lot of damage. Your traps are also excellent for objective control. By spamming down traps in bushes in the area around a contested objective, you can easily lower the enemy team's health bars while giving excellent early warning to your team. If you can, use these opportunities to smack some people with spears as well.


Nidalee's late game is very different from other mid laners'. This is because, to be honest, you aren't that great in teamfights at all. You have very little area of effect, it's hard to hit spears on the proper target in the chaos of a teamfight, and unless you can mark a target as Hunted just before the fight begins, you likely won't be able to burst someone out instantly. You actually have the potential to do really well in drawn-out teamfights, with one team in a flat-out run from the other, because you can outmaneuver most enemies using Pounce, and if you can properly switch between forms, you can also throw spears and heal your allies while you're doing this. However, most teamfights tend to quickly have one victor, and you don't usually do overly well in these situations. So, the best thing that you can usually do as Nidalee in the late game is play the map to your advantage. Go and push a separate lane from your allies, using Bushwhack to detect approaching enemies and Pounce to run away from them. You can often draw a lot of attention from the enemy team this way without much payoff for them. If your team is good enough, they can often use this to get other objectives all over the map. You can also easily get solo kills in the jungle better than most champions. If one of your Bushwhacks or wards detects an enemy, try to mark them as Hunted and then (you guessed it) hunt them. Just don't overextend for kills.
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Tips & Tricks

  • Javelin Toss deals more damage the farther it is from the original thrown location starting after your autoattack range. This means that, so long as you can still hit them, the farther you are from your enemies, the more your poke hurts.
  • While landing long range spears is extremely important for the initial poking, it also means that you can't follow up on it in cougar form because you'll be too far away to Pounce to the target. Sometimes it can be advantageous to hit a closer range spear.
  • Bushwhack is visible to the enemy team. This means that it's best to place it in bushes, particularly near the edges, where the enemy won't be able to react to them until it is too late.
  • Pounce can be used to jump over certain small walls or obstacles. Some examples of this are the walls near mid lane (facing towards bot lane from blue side and top lane from red side), parts of the walls surrounding blue buff, parts of the base walls, and even turrets. If you can, take advantage of this during chases.
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Thanks for reading my guide! I hope that you enjoyed it and maybe even learned something! If you did, I would love an upvote and/or comment! In addition, if you notice anything that you don't agree with or that you think could be better, leave it in a comment. Also, I'm currently working on recording videos whenever I get a Nidalee game in ranked. Hopefully I'll get some good ones soon that I can use to show the way I play Nidalee. I feel like that is probably the best way also that I can give help showing how to use Javelin Toss. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the guide and have an excellent day!
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7/7/2014 - Guide Published
7/9/2014 - Added Enchantments and Trinkets section to cheetsheat and items chapter by suggestion of Foxy Riven

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