Nidalee Build Guide by Nine Two Five
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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.
This is how I have started to play Nidaleee in dominion style matches. I know there are a TON of awesome ways to play Nidalee, so just remember that this is how I play her and you should definitely add things where needed to make it fit your play style.
There are few dwellers, let alone champions, residing in the blasted and dangerous lands that lie south of the Great Barrier. Much of that world still bears the scars of past Runes Wars, especially the mysterious ***ungu Jungle. There are long-forgotten treasures in these strange places which many risk life and limb to acquire. The champion known as Nidalee was only a young girl travelling with her treasure-seeking parents when they lost their way in the dense, rainy jungles. The jungle was unforgiving, and she watched her parents suffer agonizing final days as they fell victim to a mysterious and vicious disease.
As improbable as it was for a child to survive in the inhospitable jungle by herself, she did just that. Her youthful innocence and a fortunate naivete caused her to appeal to the beasts of that place and she was taken in by a family of cougars and raised as one of their own. She grew and somehow absorbed the raw magic of the dense wilds, evolving beyond both her human physiology and her feline affectation. On one pivotal day in her life, standing over the torn remnants of a Noxian squad of woodcutters, Nidalee chose to rejoin the so-called civilized world, to fight in the League of Legends so as to protect the vast woods from both Demacia and Noxus.
The biggest thing to remember here is that your runes should be determined by your playstyle. They also should somewhat correlate with your build in the sense that you should cover all appropriate stats with both your items and your runes.
I usually pick the mPen runes to balance out the fact that I don't take Sorcerer's Shoes, and the Seals and Glyphs are meant to reinforce the AP Nidalee/spam spear throw/QQ build. Lastly, the Quints is the part I will probably get downvoted on. It is my opinion that even the smallest gain in movement speed will be beneficial in Dominion, so the Swiftness are my pick!
Let me know if you have any other suggestions!
Pros / Cons
Glorious burst damage early, mid, and late game
Can be played in many different ways
Great capturing interrupter (long range on Jav Toss)
Not too squishy (but still squishy)
Takes some practice
Little mana heavy till Lich Bane
Not very good 1 v 1
The masteries are pretty self explanatory - Dominion is still pretty fresh but I figure that 9-0-21 is standard, but a 9-21-0 would also probably work fine with a little different build.
The item part of this guide is probably the most important. Keep in mind that there are many, many different ways to play Nidalee, meaning there are just as many, if not more, ways to throw down your items. Here is how I like to go:
1) Start with boots and a blasting wand. This will give you the speed you need to rush the windmill and add that extra 40 AP to do some spear QQing with. Starting with mercury's treads is also a viable option, but they don't seem as helpful when you don't have cougar form.
2) Once you need to go back, snag your treads. You will most likely be on at least 6 by now, but if not just take them anyways.
3) The next step is the bread and butter of this build (besides spear QQQQQQQ). Lich Bane is NEVER put ahead of Gunblade or Deathcap, but I find it to be everything you need to set off your build. Rushing Deathcap is all fine and dandy, but the percentage addition to ability power has less of an effect when there is a smaller base. By rushing Lich Bane, you get vital mana for your Q, a generous 80 AP, some movement speed, and some magic resist. Take sheen first then finish the rest as you wish.
4) Taking spellcap next is pretty important. By now, you already will have a nice base of AP to build off of and your spellcap will give your Q a massive punch.
5) This is where it starts to get shady. It really all depends on where the game is at: if you are having trouble with survivability, grab Zhonya's for some armor. If the have a bulky Alistar, grab Void Staff. From here on out, it is really up to you.
Skill Sequence - What to Buy
Already listed, but your priorities are Cougar, Javelin Toss, Primal Surge, Bushwack. Do what you can to get this order.
Skill Sequence - How to Play
Playing [Nidalee] can be tough if you are not utilizing her whole skill set to help you out. As a basic set of guidelines, you should be harassing with your spears and tossing bushwacks inside of the turret area to get some extra damage. Once you get into a team fight, you will really want to utilize your cougar form. The cooldown on your pounce should be pretty quick, so while the cooldowns on your cougar form are dropping you can hit the group with another high powered spear. Don't forget that the further you are from your target, the more damage spear throw will do (up to 300%).
Nidalee starts out as a pretty average farmer. She has range and can up her attack speed with E, but it's not anything special. Mid to late game, however, she is a pretty effective farmer as she has the area damage from pounce along with her single enemy Q and multi-enemy E.
You need ghost. Not much more I can say. So very helpful in every aspect of the game. Use it to star the game and rush windmill or run to save the drill midgame. Use this. Do it :)