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Nidalee Build Guide by samgoeslol

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author samgoeslol

nidalee strawhat-style

samgoeslol Last updated on March 25, 2013
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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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 0


Utility: 21

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Introduction strawhatbro

Hi there, I am strawhatbro, a plat2 toplane main player.
Nidalee is my most played champion in season three and have finally managed to turn her into a soloqueue/teamranked crushing champion.

I love playing nidalee because she has insane versatility enabling you to outplay your opponents in many situations. The first wonderful thing about nidalee is that you can play her ad or ap and either option has its merits (choose depending on matchup/comp).

The mobility this wonderful champion offers will help you splitpush, kite, chase, run away and bait people.

If you are interested in what im doing and why i consider myself to be experienced enough to create a guide, check out my site and/or my stream which is also located on my site :D

If you have any questions, please leave a comment on my facebook, pn me here, add me on EUW (summonername: strawhatbro) or tell me on the strawhatbro forums :D

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Introduction to the guide

So now that you know who I am, here's whats going on in this guide:
I will elaborate how the get the most out of a very strong champion while trying to give an idea about laning by quoting/linking some of my guides on (they still contain valuable insight even tho I wrote them back in season 2).

Since nidalee is very versatile and adapts to many playstyles i want to go into how i play her as an ap toplaner. Everything i put in this guide is useful for top and mid (so you just have to change the perspective).

At the end of the guide there is an article about AD nidalee. This means i will cover everything here exept for jungle/botlane nidalee :)

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Greater Mark of Precision

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

My runes of choice are the ones above 90% of the time.

defensive seals and glyphs are pretty straightforward and help you defend against any early damage you will(!!) take in lane. If you go for other glyphs/seals, be aware that you will get destroyed by dives/allins even harder.

hybridpen reds are pretty straightoforward: you deal tons of magic damage but your range enables you to land many autoattacks. After trying around and crunching some numbers i realized that hybridpen deal more damage in lane as long as you auto every once in a while (think about how little mpen you sacrifice for all that sweet armorpen <3)

MS quints are THE **** right now. They help you stick on your enemy to land those crucial autos while still being able to escape in no time. Splitpushing? NP I IZ TOO FAHST FOR U TO CATCH!!!
Early-midgame you will splitpush quite alot and have to be able to kite backwards since most toplaners have some way of gapclosing and you have to make up for that with sheer speed.
Getting ganked pre6? np, just right click your tower xDD
This effect can even be increased by using bushes to your advantage

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Utility masteries basically give you more ms which is crucial in toplane since you are the most fragile champion you could ever imagine kitekitekite xD
so why not have your masteries support your main advantage to make up for your weaknesses?
Lets go through the entire utility tree
Meditation vs Wanderer: mobi-boot style ms vs manareg. manareg is the obvious choice because it offers sustain and damage while wanderer will not do much at all in lane (no use for kiting in lane)
2nd row: obvious choices. summoner cdr WAT TEH HECK DIS IS AWESOME. This allows you to use your tp more often or go in for a trade when you know your opponents ignite is down because yours just came off cd. Free won trade sounds pretty sweet doesnt it? But wait, there is more!
Buff duration + biscuit for the explorerward (nobrainer)
why didnt i take extra gold? I prefer it this way because extra mana offers you more and the gold mastery really needs 5 points to make it worth it imo.

Bonus exp vs strength of spirit. Even though you will be getting alot of mana, why would you want a mediocre amount of hpreg when your heals will already be low cost (compared to your manapool) and extra exp will straightup offer you the opportunity to win your lane when you hit 6? (after constant aa-harassing your opponent will often be low enough for you to go for the kill as soon as you hit 6!!!!)
pickpocket and cdr are nobrainers once again (cdr is awesome esp because i dont like skipping other items for it!)
dat pickpocket gold doesnt seem like much but just imagine the riches when you keep using it almost off cd? 9-10 times per minute easily -> at least 27gold per minute in lane (thats one extra creep every 2 waves) insane return for only 1 masterypoint.
and finally 3% ms. THIS IS AMAZING even tho it doesnt seem that good. Kiting is what you do as nidalee. Rarely will you be bound in a static fight if ever (i only go in for the finish in cougarform and the extra ms allows me to do so without flashing).

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Summoner Spells

As for summonerspells I WILL ALWAYS TAKE Flash. It is just insane when finishing off your opponents with pounce flash takedown swipe. when chasing use takedown before swipe because swipe has a higher range; If you e first you will often be out of range for q (use your own judgement).

Other summoner slot:
Ignite: Very useful against champions you think you can kill
e.g: Zed, Tryndamere, Singed, Elise...

Barrier: Great if you are afraid of getting bursted
good against: Fizz, Katarina, Pantheon, ...

Teleport: Great global pressure with the option to port back to lane early to gain an advantage/negate a disadvantage (Get this when you are comfortable in lane and think lategame splitpushing or early botlanetpganks will do the trick)

Ghost: Great if you plan on splitpushing alot and their lineup forces you to get more mobility to get away

Cleanse: Get vs alot of stuns

Exhaust: Great vs people that dive you in lane; Bait them dives <3

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Mana item Tear of the Goddess or Chalice of Harmony (upgrade chalice before cap for the cdr)

Tear is obviously for the higher endgame damage but with lower cd. I usually build tear unless vs strong magical opponent.

Rabadon's Deathcap Is your absolute core item. Get it as fast as possible (you want to get some kinda mana before that) After this your spears will be like, how do i say this? uhm MEGABLASTER

Void Staff Next superdupercoreitem. Your spears already hit for a billion damage resulting from huge base damage and insane apscaling? hmmh lets get some mpen + ap <3

Other items:

Morellonomicon: Great item to get early on. I would only get it when in need of more manareg and if i havent gone tear. You dont wanna overcap your cdr with bluebuff/pot.

Seraph's Embrace: Upgrade right after D-cap + Void in case you built Tear of the Goddess

Lich Bane: Insane for pushing towers/bursting down single targets and if you can stay in aa range without being gibbed.

Iceborn Gauntlet: Mainly on bruiser nidalee, but still a good burchase on apnid since it allows you to kite like a madman

Sorcerer's Shoes: I get these 90% of games. Only swap them for mercs/tabi if absolutely necessary

Haunting Guise: Good item, but I usually dont get it since it forces you to delay certain core items.

Liandry's Torment: Same as above; Can still get this lategame if they are stacking massive hp and your spears dont have that certain umpf to it anymore :); i dont like this too much

Guinsoo's Rageblade: Insane on Hybrid-midalee. I dont usually get this tho since hybrid nid is not that strong anymore

Seeker's Armguard: best armor item for laningphase. Get this whenever facing a strong physical laner; if you get this, i would get Tear of the Goddess

Zhonya's Hourglass:Perfect item if you are facing massive burst/insane engage. Get this if you are afraid of getting dove. Resets aggro like a bawz

Warmog's Armor: Very good if you need health in lane as bruiser nidalee; as apnidalee inferior to Zhonya's Hourglass in almost every way

The Bloodthirster: Great item for ad nid; Get this if you need more ad to push faster/poke harder with aa.

Trinity Force: Perfect item for bruiser nidalee. Get this against anything that you want to kite and dont need tons of armor against; otherwise get Iceborn Gauntlet. Always get one of the two

Last Whisper: Obvious buy on adnid if you can already kite well enough and your opponent is stacking armor

Infinity Edge: No go for bruiser nidalee, perfekt for an extremely fed ad-ish nidalee :)

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Skill sequence reasoning

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

The spell sequence is explained above.
At level 1 you should always trap the enemy jungle exits and gankbushes like a madman.
Then proceed to max Q as fast as possible. Grab a few points in e early if necessary. After playing alot of nidalee games i managed laning without more than 1 point in e. This will increase your offensive potential.

I will always try to max spear as early as possible because as apnidalee it is your only offensive spell that scales with leveling up.
When in a tough lane, put an extra level in e early (really try to avoid taht if possible because one hit spear will turn a lane anyways).

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Farming with nidalee is very easy because you can use your cougar pounce + swipe combo to instantly clear the backline and then kill the melee minions when the spells are back up.
so much for pushing. Only do this if you want to push and wont get killed by the enemy toplane.

pre6 you will mainly lasthit using auto attacks. If you are getting zoned and dont wanna take return damage for lasthitting it is okay to use q to lasthit or even a trap (you will get the hang of trap lasthitting after a while; its very difficult tho)

After clearing the lane you can take jungle minions if they are up and there are no other advantages to gain (like harassing at turet in case you have warded your lane properly)

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hey gus, laning with nidalee is quite forward and you will often want to freeze the lane to get cs early and then fish for spears. Often you will be able to kill your opponent with a pounce + flash +takedown + swipe combo after you hit a spear. So freezing and fishing for spears is a very good option.
For early harass, abuse your passive and auto attacks by juking in and out of bushes to hit them with the ms boost, then back into the bush to drop aggro.

Laning is more of a general skill tho and requires tons of games on the champion. For some help non general laning, check out the following links <3
laning 101 denying 1/3 denying 1/2 denying 3/3 lanecontrol

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The range takedown

As you know, nidalees cougar Q is a very potent ability in harassing your opponent. One major drawback is, that it is melee tho. What if I told you, that you could cougar q with your human aa range? SICK NASTY right?
I havent mastered this yet but it sometimes comes in handy. You work it like this:

Start an AA animation and as soon as the animation starts, swap into cougar and press q.
that will make your champion use takedown on the triggered spear.
go into a botgame and figure it out :)

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Maximizing your spear efficiency

My apbuilds are focused around maximizing your spear efficiency. All you have to do now is learn how to properly hit them.

Whenever you see a squishy opponent step on one of your traps, try to land a spear since they reduce armor and mr by A LOT (trap + spear is actually a oneshot if you are fed enough)

alot of people dont know that the spear damage is not based off the spears effective travel time but the distance between you and the target on impact. This means that you can get extra damage out of it if you pounce away after tossing the spear.

When pushing with the team, try to sit in fog of war behind a wall so they cant dodge your spears (get some pinkwards to make sure they cant see you).
If you cant accomplish standing in fog of war, you might wanna try the cougar pounce -> spear combo. if you change into human form during the pounce your animations will get a little scrambled up, making it more difficult to see the exact angle your spear is coming from. An extra bonus to this is that your pounce changes the angle very quickly making it difficult for them to dodge even if they know where you are pouncing.

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Team Work

You should push your lane whenever your opposing laner is gone or you see a chance to roam.
Nidalee is all about taking turrets, so try and get them yourself. Shove top, then roam mid and poke down the midlaner -> take the turret. Get turrets early and keep getting more of them. Thats the best way to win as apnidalee.

When grouping up with your team to take turrets, keep spamming traps around the turret away from the creepline if possible. Keep your teammates topped off (dont oom yourself by healing almost full health allies tho) and hit your spears (explained above)

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ad nidalee

ad/bruiser nidalee is a very strong laner/splitpusher. Often you will rely on Iceborn Gauntlet or Trinity Force to keep kiting them. When you are low, or you are can do so without getting outtraded, abuse the insane basedamage on all your cougar spells.
As bruiser nidalee you mainly wanna keep pushing and pushing while providing a great amount of sight wards to keep your team and yourself from getting caught.

In lane you want to make use of your insane aa poke in combination with your passive (the playstyle is similar to apnid just a little more aggressive and without the spears).

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As you can see, nidalee has many faces and her mechanics allow you to get the best of most situations. Remember to pick your fights well and stop your team from engaging when you play apnid untill you have landed a few good spears.

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videos + stream

My stream is located at

And I will soon upload some commentary videos/highlights.