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Nidalee Build Guide by Kalumbo

Nidalee, Stomping Pubs (AD Guide)

Nidalee, Stomping Pubs (AD Guide)

Updated on July 26, 2012
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Kalumbo Build Guide By Kalumbo 9 1 43,230 Views 16 Comments
9 1 43,230 Views 16 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Kalumbo Nidalee Build Guide By Kalumbo Updated on July 26, 2012
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Nidalee
  • LoL Champion: Nidalee

Introduction (Who Dat?)

If you're here, it means you want to play Nidalee as an AD champ instead of AP, or you want to improve your Nidalee game. Either way, enjoy the ride and not that I'm not perfect, I'm still learning everyday, and don't take my word for it, try this build and see for yourself. Nidalee has a high skill cap and is the one champ that never ceases to amaze me.

If you like my build, give a thumbs up, if you don't, tell me why and what i should improve. I love to hear opinions, and if I can become a better player from it then, thank you.

PS: Please don't downvote me without an explanation, its what I like to call a lose/lose for me : )
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"Why AD?"

This is my AD Nidalee Build. I've played 100's of games with this champ and she is by far my favorite. I was reluctant to go AD with her, but one game, I just had to try it, and I never went back. Playing as AD you don't get that feeling that you aren't contributing to the team, that I often had while playing AP Nidalee. Its not the fact that you're not contributing to the team, its just that when playing AP, you are more team focused, and without the right team comp/ or people playing to Nidalee's tremendous poke as AP, she tends to be dead weight...

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Runes (The invisible hero's)


Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

The rune setup is pretty self explanatory, more armor pen = more damage. I personally use Greater Quintessense of Swiftness half of the time, just because I'm addicted to speed (not the drug).
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Masteries (Master this)

The masteries are there to optimize damage. Seeing as how Nidalee does a fair amount of AD and AP damage between Aspect Of The Cougar and javelin toss/takedown in human form. Its important to have armor pen and magic pen, though most of your damage will be from AD, the AP damage wont be far behind. Magic pen also increases the damage from Wit's End. As for the defensive tree, I find the added health and armor improves your survivability, and having Durability is like having an extra Doran's Blade late game.
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Summoner Spells (Jigga what?)


For summoners I usually take Ignite because it is just so useful in so many situations, like making Sion killable, or its perfect for those 1v1 situations where lifesteal or spellvamp is involved.

Exhaust is also a viable option. It really depends on your play style. Exhaust can be used in more defensive situations or to shut down that Katarina ult, or Karthus ult. It's really up to you to decide what you're more comfortable with.

The other skill, now that I have one offensive spell is to pick some sort of escape like Flash, though Nidalee}} has a built in, mini flash, so some people prefer [[ghost which is also viable. It all just really depends on your preference. I always like to take 1 offensive and one defensive spell, but its your choice really, whatever you prefer.


I've even experimented with Flash and Ghost, and its a pretty good combo due to the high mobility of Nidalee, and you could easily go through a whole game with out dying, you just may have less kills as well. Ghost is also excellent for closing that gap while roaming to mid for a kill, or getting back to your lane after an ambush in the jungle.
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Skill Sequence (can spears still hurt?)

Set 1:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Set 2:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Can Javelin Toss / Takedown still hurt? YES! They just peak earl to mid game and fall off for late game. Maxing them first means you can still hit someone at max range with no AP for 500 damage(before resistances). Your primal surge/swipe is pretty worthless until maxed out, so you will get almost all of your life back via lifesteal. Sometimes I like to get heal to lvl 2 then max spears out, because the lvl 1 heal is just atrocious.

This all comes down to personal preference, just like when getting items. If you are owning your lane, by all means, max spears first. If your getting hit hard, max heal first, it all depends. A good rule of thumb to go by is, if you think you will be able to get a kill with your spear, max it first. If your laning against a tank, max heal first. There are other things to consider as well, such as: If you know that you wont be able to kill your lane, but you can push them around easily, and you see mid lane is having it rough, max spears first. That way, you can roam to mid, re leave some pressure or get a kill/assist then get back to your lane in time. The rest is pretty self explanatory, max Aspect Of The Cougar as often as you can, and Bushwhack / Pounce last.

It is not uncommon for me to pick Bushwhack / Pounce first to help scout for the jungler, it is perfectly viable.
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Laning (where do I go?)

Choosing what lane to go into is never a tough decision when playing one of the most versatile champs in the game. I prefer to go top lane, because well, Nidalee was made for top lane. This doesn't mean its not viable to go other lanes. If you have a solid top lane champ on your team like Gangplank or Riven, then it is perfectly okay to still play Nidalee.

Bottom Lane:
Is it viable to play Nidalee as your range AD on bottom lane?
Well, like the answer to most the questions I ask, YES! Once you get level 6 its almost impossible for them to hold you back. You will have more damage then most Range AD's and will be able to walk on their graves with the help of a solid support on your side. If you think about it, What is an AD range carry weak against? The answer is a Bruiser (not yes :p). Nidalee in cat form is just that, with tremendous burst damage. You will still have to be careful with the likes of Vayne because of her burst, but that goes with any champion. Caitlyn is also tough to lane against bottom lane because her massive range over Nidalee's auto spear's.

How to gain the upper hand in bottom lane:

The bushes... They are your friend... Use them wisely.
In all seriousness, the bushes give you a tremendous advantage in both lanes, but in bottom lane, you can use that persistent 2 seconds after you leave the brush to do a pounce combo on whoever gets too close.

There is nothing more scary than a cougar flying out of the bushes at you when you have less than full health.
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Roaming (What is it, and when do I do it?)

Roaming is kind of an art form that you just have to experiment with. Nidalee is an amazing roamer due to her mobility and pushing skills. Depending on whether you are top or bottom lane, you should decide when to roam over to mid for a helping hand. If you have a jungler, try and coordinate a gank with him on mid. The only thing you have to worry about is making sure your lane is pushed far enough so that you can afford to leave for 1 minute. You should never roam before level 6, because its your Aspect Of The Cougar that gives you the mobility to make it happen.
If you are top lane, its easier to leave, you just have to push your minions almost to the tower, but not far enough that the tower hits them, then you can afford to check the enemy blue, or gank mid. If your on bottom, you have a little more leeway seeing as you can have the support defend the tower while you face check the mid lane or you can go check the enemy red buff. The thing with Nidalee is that you should always be doing something. If your not pushing the lane, you should be trying to farm the enemy jungle or trying to farm the enemy mid champion.

Here is a list of all the places that you can Bushwhack / Pounce over. Original post was, and the credits go to DanGR.

There are some of these spots that are harder than others, you just have to make sure that you are facing directly perpendicular to the wall to jump over them, especially the walls around dragon and baron. Also the wall that is by the blue buff, on the right side, is particularly hard to jump over while jumping to the blue golem, but easy to jump over from the blue golem. Don't ask me why, just what I've seen.

Side note:
-Never leave your lane if you think the enemy jungler is close enough to help push your lane to the tower. With you gone, on either top or bot, 2 or 3 people could easily take your tower in 1 to 2 pushes.

Secondary Side note:
-Never be afraid to leave your lane (I know this contradicts the first Side note). This is an essential part of playing Nidalee. The team that works together, wins together.

Third Side note:
-Um, Boobs?
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Trapping (There's a Snake in My Boots!)

You should have all exits covered with traps at all times!
-If you are in a new area, cover your exits on your way there, nothing is more helpful than map awareness.

Bottom lane:
-Bushes to the river
-Bushes by the enemy tower/river entrance
-Entrance to Blue

Top lane:
-Bushes to river
-All immediate entrances from the river
-Entrance to Blue

Everywhere else:
If your pushing a lane, trap up, if your overextended: trap up, if your expecting a gank: trap up, if your in the enemy jungle: trap up.

Bushwhack / Pounce works best in Bushes! Though its definitely not limited to bushes. Narrow entrances to the jungle, are good places to trap, they are hard to avoid and allow 12 seconds of detection.
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Items - Bread and Butter

Why start with a Doran's Blade? Because I like the damage and survivability, can you start with boots and pots(no not the drug)? Yes, of course! What items you pick all comes down to your play style. I know a guy who starts with boots and pots with every single champion, every time. Now do I agree with it? Hell no. Does it work for him? Hell no... But he likes it. JAJAJAJAJA/HUEHUEHUEHUE

The point I'm trying to make is that you pick the items that fit your play style, not because some internet guide says so. I don't follow the list every time. This game is about addapting and strategizing. If they build tanky, get a Last Whisper, if they build high damage, get a Thornmail or Force of Nature and a Warmog's Armor.
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Early Game (did I just die?)

Nidalees pre lvl 6 is not the best. You're not going to get 5 kills before 6, and you shouldn't try to. You should focus on getting as many last hits as possible. Once you get to lvl 6 you should immediately go back and buy, because you will have a huge advantage with cougar form against just about any champion.

This is what I build:
Doran's Blade
When you go back at lvl 6, you should be able to get most of the components of a Wriggle's Lantern and Boots:
Vampiric Scepter + Boots + Cloth Armor + Health Potion
When you come back with these items, you should be able to start stomping some pubs, and you should have enough sustain to stay in lane until you NEED to go back. At that time get:
Wriggle's Lantern + Mercury's Treads
With these two items you will be tanky enough to endure most ganks, and will be able to do significant damage until mid game.

One important note: you should keep dragon trapped at all times if you are on bottom lane.
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Mid Game (did I get a kill? Whoops)

During mid game you should have a considerable amount of farm, probably one of the highest on your team, and you should have a kill or two at this point (well... at least no deaths if you remember trapping + map awareness)
So when the tower (theirs or yours) is destroyed, and you start to roam you need some gear.
If you're doing well you should start building a Wit's End, if you find yourself struggling, start building a Phage for survivability.

You have to ask yourself, "who is the most fed on their team?"

- If AD rush an Atma's Impaler (yes even without the HP this item will only make you scale better into late game, its a counter, so it will keep you alive)
- If AP rush a Wit's End
These are all situational though, you should start building the Trinity Force as soon as you feel your ready as well.
- During mid game, you should continue farming and pushing with your team, or roam and gank, all the while you should be going back to build components of your Trinity Force which is your main source of damage.

Second Set

As you can see, the beginning of each build is the same starting with Mercury's Treads and a Wriggle's Lantern. After that you can deviate into either one of two builds. Off-tank as outlined above or fulfill the damage/carry role. Though you will be much tankier than your average ranged carry, especially in Cougar form.

You will want to start with a Giant's Belt and a B.F. Sword for damage and health. But by the end of mid game you should be able to get an Infinity Edge and be working toward your Frozen Mallet. These are fairly expensive items, but when you have them no one will be able to escape your kills.

- Focus on getting the Infinity Edge first, because it just really puts your damage into overdrive, but if you find yourself getting focused a lot, build a Frozen Mallet first.
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Late game (Did we win yet?)

As late game comes around you should be trying to figure out what you want to build to carry you to victory.

- Set 1 will net you around 170 of both armor and magic resist in human form, and about 200 of each in cat form with around 2700 health or so. You are a force to be reckoned with.


- Set 2 is used if you are the carry, or you are just steam rolling them. Phantom Dancer is just an amazing item that will let you hit fast and hard with the added crit chance. Guardian Angel is just the icing on the cake making them kill you twice is just a slap in the face, and will make you tanky enough to endure most ganks.
- If your racking up kills you may want to go for some damage like an IE (Internet Explorer), oh wait, no... An Infinity Edge. and focus on set 2. If your team has a dedicated tank like Rammus or Malphite then you can afford to fill the damage roll.
- If your team is lacking in a tank, you can build some of the mid game items such as Wit's End and Wriggle's Lantern into tank items like Warmog's Armor, Force of Nature or Thornmail. It all depends on who you're up against.

- If you're going to fill the offtank, bruiser roll, set 1 works wonderful, but feel free to experiment and use what fits your play style.
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End game stats

Relish in your victory!
But don't gloat, so many people are sore winners, and they are no fun to play with.

As you can see I used build 2 in this game and even with a SUPERFEEDER Mordekaiser (sorry Mark), I was able to carry the team to victory : )

Here are the results from jesus1121:

Thanks for taking the time to look at this build. It is by no means the only way to play Nidalee as I often play her as AP still. I look forward to reading the comments and constructive criticism, and improving it as I go along.

Gamer info:
- If you would like to play with me, just add me in game: Kalumbo21

- Sometimes I stream on If you want to watch, I don't always play Nid though, usually only if I'm on a losing streak, and just want to rape face.

- I am also working on adding to this build to include an AP Guide.

I also stole all the pictures from google searches, I don't make any claim to them and I didn't create them. Though I think the first one is from Riot (their Asian marketing team).
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