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League of Legends Build Guide Author C4k3CooKieZ

Nidalee - Solo top for ranked games

C4k3CooKieZ Last updated on May 17, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 9

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Quick info

Welcome to my very first guide - ever. I hope this guide on how to play Nidalee in ranked games will change your view on Nidalee! I haven't seen alot of ranked games guides out there so I figured I would make one for Nidalee.

Since Jebus recommended this - thank you :P - I will update this guide for as long as possible - which I hope will be for a very long time :)

Oh and my guide got fu**ed up so I had you write the quick info part again. Annoying. I really don't know why it happened, but suddenly all the sections were messed up.

Add me in-game if you'd like to play with me :p.
Summernername: C4k3CooKieZ
Top rating: 1452
Server: EU
Time-Zone: +2 GMT (Denmark/Paris-time)

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4-16-2011: Guide published, nothing fancy there

4-17-2011: Order of item purchase, and runes changed.
Also corrected a few mistakes/misspellings.

4-23-2011: Back from vacation! :) Also changed runes once again.
Added something to the early game in the "Playstyle 1v1 TOP" section.
Added a youtube video to the "Pouncing" Section.
Added another way to build early on in the "Items" Section.
Added a quick summary of what each ability is great for in the "Abilities" section.

4-24-2011: The guide got fu**ed so something might be missing - sad.
Added "Late game" part to "Playstyle and 1v1 TOP"

4-25-2011: Added replay 2

4-28-2011: Added Mejai's Soulstealer to situational items in the "Items" section.
Added a new section - "Jungling"
Added a new section - "Warding"

5-8-2011: Changed the description of Lich Bane in the "Runes" section.
Added some info about the core build in the "Items" section.
Also wrote that Guinsoo's should be replaced later in the game

5-16-2011: Added some more info about the ability Bushwhack in the "Abilities" Section
Corrected the link in the 'Warding' section, leading to the correct forum page instead of the home page.
Changed the section name "Jungling" to "Jungling - AKA - GET THE BLUE!"
Lol, I'm on the current top 10 mobafire list :D

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Patch notes

Any patches that will affect Nidalee (after .115) will be written here.

Patch .118
New Stat: Tenacity
Tenacity reduces the duration of stuns, slows, taunts, fears, snares, sleeps, silences, blinds and immobilizes by 1% per point. Multiple Tenacity effects do not stack, but Tenacity does stack multiplicatively with other disable reductions (for example Irelia's Ionian Fervor).

New Item: Moonflair Spellblade
+50 Ability Power
+25 Tenacity

This seems like a good item if there are more important boots at some point. Personally I think it just ruins an item slot. Haven't tested it out yet.

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Moving through brush increases Nidalee's movement speed by 15% for 2 seconds.

You should really make the best of this passive. It can get you out of some really tough situations and for instance really trick your enemy for a safe escape. Or in the opposite way, help you chase down an enemy.

So what you get from this:
Greater movability in the jungle
Greater ability to chase/flee

Javelin Toss / Take Down

Human: Nidalee tosses her javelin, dealing (55/98.75/142.5/186.25/230) (+(0.65 per ability power point)) magic damage on impact (deals up to 250% damage the further away the target is).

Cougar: Nidalee's next attack deals additional damage based on how low her opponent's life is.
Cooldown: 7 seconds
Cooldown (Cougar): 5 seconds
Cost: 60/75/90/105/120
Range: 1500

These are very good spells! Something like 70-80% of your damage output lies upon these spells.
Spear can be hard to hit with at long range, but when it connects you will most likely see that health bar going WAY down to 50%. I have tried to two hit someone with this spell.
Takedown is pretty much the same thing, but for cougar. With the right items this spell can devastate your enemies being able to deal 300 damage with only 2 ranks in this spell. Can you see the awesomeness?

So what you get from this:
A whole lot of burst!
An ability that procs on-hit effects like and the Lizard Buff (red buff)
More burst!

Bushwhack / Pounce

Human: Nidalee lays a trap that deals (80/125/170/215/260) (+(1 per ability power point)) magic damage over 2 seconds, reveals the target, and reduces their armor and magic resistance by (20/25/30/35/40)% for 12 seconds. Traps last for 4 minutes.

Cougar: Nidalee lunges forward, dealing damage to surrounding enemies. Pounce is not affected by cooldown reduction.
Cooldown: 18 seconds
Cooldown (Cougar): 3 seconds (CDR will not affect this)
Cost: 60/75/90/105/120
Range: 1450

This is what makes Nidalee the Queen of the Jungle. You can lay as many traps as you want! Great for pushing while having great map awareness. I like to put first point in this skill to make sure no one comes to gank your jungler. However, don't put a skill in until you are sure a team fight won't break out in the beginning since your heal will be like an extra 3x Flat health quintessences. Pounce is just, you know, awesome. It's like a second blink, but with only 3 seconds CD.

So what you get from this:
Actually some very good early damage that can help you to farm minions if you are in trouble.
Map awareness! Easier pushing!
Jump through walls!
Keep up Guinsoo's stacks!
Did I miss something?

Primal Surge / Swipe

Human: Nidalee heals an ally champion for (60/90/120/150/180) (+(1.25 per ability power point)) and grants them a (20/30/40/50/60)% attack speed for 7 seconds.

Cougar: Nidelee claws at enemies in front of her.
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Cooldown (Cougar): 6 seconds
Cost: 65/70/75/80/85
Range: 600

While maxing out Javelin Toss / Takedown first might seem very attractive, you should max out this spell first. Increased attack speed combined with armor penetration runes early on is VERY effective at harassing! At level 6 you will be unstoppable in the lane and you can just keep harassing in cougar form while maintaining hit points. Swipe is a "Hey! I make farming easier for you!" kind of spell but also ideal for harassing or applying Guinsoo's stacks.

So what you get from this:
Early game domination!
Late game heals for 1k! :O almost
Faster and more effective tower pushing!

Aspect of the Cougar

Passive: Each additional rank increases the effectiveness of Nidalee's cougar abilities.

Nidalee transforms into a vicious cougar, gaining 20 movement speed, 10% dodge, and a new set of abilities.
Cost: 0
Cooldown: 4 seconds

This is what makes Nidalee so unique. A mage, uhm... dps, uhm... support, uhm... roamer, uhmm... wat is dis???
Cougar form can be used for farming, chasing, fleeing, roaming jungle with 450 movement speed.

So what you get from this:
Bigger damage output!
No mana cost!
More movability!
More awesome!

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Summoner Spells

I find the best combination to be + . Nidalee is great at chasing/fleeing, so why not make it even better?
I would probably always go with but some other great spells are.

Probably the best, after ghost.
If no one else has it, but there really is better options
Same as ignite, but I actually found this to work well.
Teleport is always a great spell, can be used on any champion. Up to you and your preferences.
Nidalee can be played as a support. Totally up to you.

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Nidalee's main damage output comes from spear and cougar form, which is magical damage, mostly. Only Takedown deals physical damage and, as Goregasm mention, Lich Bane deals 100% of your ability power as physical damage as well - making Armor Penetration runes a solid choice throughout the entire game. Jebus mentioned, due to the attack speed bonus from Primal Surge, Nidalee can have a very aggressive early game and even more at level 6, and since flat penetration is prior to percentage penetration, Source the magic penetration will be a bit wasted when you get void staff.

I recommend the following runes:

Marks: Greater Mark of Desolation - - - Optional:
Seals: Nidalee is melee, and I've had mana issues with her. Optional:
Glyphs: - - - Optional:
Quintessences: Greater quintessence of desolation - - - Optional:

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Standard caster except I get 9 points in the Defense Tree instead of the Offense Tree. I like to play Nidalee with her primaly damage output coming from cougar. This means I will have to go into melee range alot. Dodge will give you some nice survivability and when you dodge, [nimbleness] will speed you up, GOING !#"!)#)/!#Y%#!) haha your dead, I'm gone. U mad? :)

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Okay so before reading this, know that there is no true order of purchasing items! Only the core is what you always want to aim for!

Early game I ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS start with . Health Points, Ability Power and Mana regeneration. All around decent item.

As you should know the first item to build after your starting item is . They should be upgraded as soon as possible. Almost all the boots work well for Nidalee.
Sorceror's shoes for more spear damage.
for more dodge and armor.
For more speed while fighting.
For getting around the map VERY fast.
But in my honest opinion, nothing beats . You will go melee a lot, and you will be target of crowd control. I get this item in 99% of my games. You should only get some other boots if the team is really bad and only got 2 kinds of crowd control.

Next up is really up to you. I prefer going for , since Nidalee can keep up the stacks at all times due to her low cooldowns and manafree spells in cougar.
If you like to get plenty of AP right away, go for . Only do this if you manage to farm really very well.

If you get Guinsoo's I always also get Deathcap due to it's simple overpoweredness. If you get Deathcap, it's not always the best way to go to get Guinsoo's since it's better for the early game. It can assist you in pushing turrets fast, but then you could just as well get Lich Bane since it will go way faster that way.

Booshido wrote:

"not sure if it's been mentioned but as this is solo top for ranked, if you manage to farm like a boss, its nice to buy a before and if u can. Also having a large rod over a , will give you much more overall dmg and heals. remember sheen is just 100% extra dmg from your Base AD, having said that I myself would buy a to build into a lichbane rather then a sheen. just a thought"

What he said! Sometimes this might be the way to go! Up to you to judge!

So this is the CORE - by this I mean what you want to ALWAYS get within 25 minutes



At some point you should start working on . It will make Takedown do crazy damage that will mind f*** the your opponents. As Booshido said it might be better to buy over since it will increase your damage output AND healing!

Rest of the items are situational! Feel free to comment if you think I miss an item.

Haven't tested it out yet. As I wrote in the "Patch notes" section, I think this item slows down your build and simply waste an item slot. I like the boots more.

I'm really not a big fan of snowball items. It either makes a champion very overpowered and ruins the game, or waste your money. Not really reliant in a ranked game, but you can get it if you feel very confident about your skills.

Decent item if the enemy team builds Magic Resist. Simply if you see that (almost) each member builds one magic resist item, you should get this. If it's late game this will happen often since most champions only have 30 magic resist through out an entire game.

This is probably the best defensive item in the ENTIRE GAME. You get shielded by any spell every 30 seconds, 400 HP, 400 MANA, 50 magic resist --> awesome stuff! 80% of all games I will get this one above all other defensive items!

This item has been nerfed to ****. I would only get this in rare cases. For instance: If the entire team has ignite or other healing reduction spells this might be a good item to get if you get targeted by all the ignites.

You will probably want to get some HP with this item since it still leaves you very squishy. Overall decent item. Another chance to wreck my enemies? Yes please!

Haha! I heard you like to target me with that ulti, so I got this item! Now you can't target me! U mad? I rarely get this unless I'm the target of everything. Nice if you face auto attack based champions too.

Of course there are also other reliant defensive items like , but I just think that these four have the best synergy with Nidalee.

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In this section I will explain the use of the spell Pounce. With this spell you can chase/escape and jump through walls, making Nidalee a very flexible champion.

Here is a picture of some good places to Pounce through walls. Yes. I know other people has made something like this before but this is of my own making.

This video might also be helpful . I did not make this video! Credit to rusPiglets (youtube username)

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Playstyle and 1v1 TOP

Please don't judge me on how I define early, mid and late game. This is simply to show at what level you should do what.

Early Game - Level 1-5

Play passive until level 6 and don't try anything fancy as this might get you killed. You can try to play a bit aggressive, using Primal Surge for increased attack speed if you picked armor penetration runes since you will almost hit for full damage. But don't overextend too much. Last hit minions and DON'T push the lane! The enemy jungler might come gang you. If this is the case, it's a good thing you laid out traps everywhere to make sure no ones there.

Mid game - Level 6-?

You got your ultimate, your Cougar, your key to being very aggressive! This is the time to get your first kill. If you lane against a very strong champion like Renekton or Nasus, you should call your own jungler to gang him. Else it should be straight up easy.

--> --> --> --> --> -->

So basically it's like this. Throw spear, go cougar, jump towards enemy with Pounce while activating Takedown, hit the enemy with Takedown to make sure you face him, Swipe, go human and heal. If the enemy has a lot of burst you might consider jumping away again before healing.

With this strategy you will wreck your opponent totally and dominate the lane. If you get the kill start pushing the tower (make sure to lay traps or wards to avoid a gang).

Pushing with Nidalee is very effective. It should be done in human form since you will keep some range from the tower and you can use Primal Surge for increased attack speed. Most games I end up taking down the first tower within 15 minutes.

Late game - Level 18-end

This is where the carries on each team shines bright, all that. The game will often be decided depending on who wins the upcoming team fight - an ace and it's a loss/win. You should be careful about going into melee as the enemy carry can easily wreck you in something like 5 hits which sometimes is only 2-3 seconds. I usually keep some distance, throw some spears (Massive damage) and heal people - especially keep your carry alive! If your carry dies, it's usually a lost team fight or even a lost game at this point. You can also heal your carry for the increased attack speed so he can do some crazy DPS (damage per sec). Engage when you see and opening and try to go right for the enemy carry!

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1v2 TOP

This can be kinda tricky but in high elo games it will probably only occur if you play against a bunch of ******s. In normal games it happens quite often though.
Basically you want to get as much farm as possible - DON'T DIE. It can be very frustrating but keep your head cold and you will be fine. If you check out my replay 3 you will see that i got a 1v2 lane against Nasus and Pantheon. That was really very annoying because Pantheon could just keep throwing spear without getting hurt, even if I was under the tower, due to his passive. If the enemy you are playing against is skilled enough they will try to keep you out of experience line as much as possible while you can just watch their minions die, without you getting any profit. Now if it gets really tough you should call you jungler for a gank.

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Jungling - AKA - GET THE BLUE!

SpicyRice wrote:

also red and blue buffs v important on nidalee. so she is a more appropriate pick if you don't have a jungler (she jungles v quick from lvl 6+) or have a jungler who leaves the jungle early (amumu, shen)

think these should be added but overall v good

I agree on some of it, and I disagree on some of it. The buffs are very important are very important, when playing Nidalee, primarily the blue buff - I usually let the carry get the red buff. Since Nidalee is cooldown based in cougar form and uses mana in human form, the blue buff is very very good on her. Spam heal, spam burst. Therefore you should try to get the blue buff as often as possible, when the jungler doesn't need it anymore. Unless you are this omghaxorz pro mana manager Nidalee can have some really annoying mana issues - the blue buff will really avoid this.

The thing I disagree on is that Nidalee is a more appropriate pick when there is no jungler. Nidalee's item build is very expensive and she needs the farm. Check replay 1 in the replay section. I reached 100 CS (Creep Score (minion kills)) at around the 8 min mark, and 200 CS at around the 25 min mark. Since I was so fed I was able to dominate the rest of the game, only dying once and pushing top lane very far without help from my team.

My point is that I think Nidalee is a more appropriate champion when she is able to get a solo lane, than if she has to share the experience/minion kills with your lane mate. This is simply my oppinion.

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An important part of any game - ranked and normal - is warding. Many player never ever buy wards, even though they have a little bit of spare gold. Nidalee may have traps that gives some nice map awareness, but you won't see the enemy coming before they actually walk over the trap.

Therefore, during early game I often place traps in the brushes next to the lane, and a ward near baron

Note: The following warding guides can also help you to know where to place traps!

Guide on mobafire

This guide cover the basics of warding and some great tricks and positioning.

Guide on league of legends forum

This guide covers some more advanced tricks. It's less about where on the map the wards should be placed, but more about where in the exact brushes the wards should be placed!

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These are just some of the scores I have achieved with Nidalee - primarily to show that this is not 100% **** :D.

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I figured out how to make a live stream on so I guess I'll just post it right here :)

C4k3CooKieZ's live strem - awesome

Hope it works :p I'll stream when I can :)

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I got the idea of posting replays from EvilDice's Corki guide.
To watch this you will need to download League of Legends Replay. You should also check out HotshotGG's live stream. HotshotGG plays Nidalee quite often and is very good at it. You could probably learn something from watching this stream.


Use this first replay to see how to farm with Nidalee!

Replay 1 I got to lane against Dr. Mundo and I can tell that he let me farm quite easy - 200 minion kills at 25 minute mark - because he was no threat to me. As he ended up getting DC for something like 5-10 minutes it was an easy win. Sadly. And yes, it's a ranked game.

Replay 2 This is also a ranked game but sadly we had no jungler. Got top anyways so it was a 2v1 situation against Renekton. Managed to farm well untill Galio had enough burst to clear the minion waves... -.-' Anyways, it went very well :)

Replay 3 This is a ranked game where I get a 1v2 lane versus Nasus and Pantheon, a lot of harassment, especially from Pantheon. "Go in throw spear, get hit by tower - oh noes he blocked it - out" unhurt...

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Final words

This guide will be updated continuously for as long as possible.
If you think I missed something, please write it in a comment below.

Feel free to post constructive feedback and criticism - it can only make the guide even better.

Please try the guide before downvoting :)

Troll Votes

To be honest I didn't think this would be necessary and it probably isn't but I said that you should try it before and that feedback should be constructive.

Hybrixx wrote:

Voted -1

Yea, that's great but why? As I viewed your profile you down vote almost every guide you see...