Nidalee Build Guide by Xaioli
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[Nidalee]-The Bestial Huntress || AP & AD
Hello, and welcome to my third guide! On April 23, 2012, I updated completely revamped this guide so what you're reading is "version 2". In this guide, I'll explain how to play AP and AD Nidalee! When I created this guide a year ago, I pretty much watched a lot of HotshotGG's Nidalee. It was quite inspirational and I decided to try Nidalee out. Thankfully, I fell in love with this extremely fun champion, and I feel like with tons and tons of Normals and Ranked games with Nidalee, I'm prepared to show you how I play her and I hope you'll want to pick her up too!
What You Need to Know
-General Concept of Nidalee
-Calm mind to think and plan regardless of any situation.
-Ability to predict/get a rough guess where your enemy will move.
-Knowing how to survive in lane, have map awareness, know timers in jungle!
-To be able to set up ganks for your jungler!
-To be able to press buttons repeatedly. (ex: Spamming Pounce, throwing calculated spears every xx seconds.)
-To have fun!
Pros / Cons
-Spears hit for TONS OF DAMAGE (™ PHREAK)
-Has decent sustain in lane and provides heal/steroid for teammates.
-Is very mobile.
-Dominant in the lane.
-Team fight potential is very very low.
-Squishy when out of cougar form.
-Can be crowd controlled.
-Can often be found with low mana regardless of spec.
-Needs a calm mind and some skill to play properly.
Key: [AD] = Recommended for AD || [AP] = Recommended for AP
Greater Mark of Insight will make your spears do more Magic Penetration. The Desolation runes gives Nidalee a more strong early-game harrass. You will be harrassing with just mainly-auto attacks early game since your spears won't hit too hard early game. However, mid-late game, you'll need these magic pen runes since most of her abilties are magic dmg. [AP]
Greater Mark of DesolationGreater Mark of Desolation is a great mark for Nid since it gives ArP. It will be very strong early-game for Nidalee and in mid-late game, only her Takedown and auto-attacks will benefit from it. [AD]
Greater Seal of Resilience gives Nidalee armor that gives her tankiness in all points of the game. A majority of top lane champions are AD or rely on their auto attacks to trade. Armor yellows are necessary like it is for an AD or Jungler to have them. [AP] [AD]
Greater Seal of Clarity gives Nidalee more Mana Regen since she burns a lot of mana. I highly DO NOT recommend these just because of how strong Armor seals are at the moment. Like I said in the first sentence, Nidalee does burn a lot of mana but not as much to make Clarity seals worth it imo. This is a very iffy secondary pick if you don't have Armor yellows.
Greater Glyph of Warding was recently nerfed but they're still strong. I usually don't run these unless my enemy top laner is a champion with notable AP damage such as Vladimir, Kennen, etc. [AD]
Greater Glyph of Clarity will give Nidalee more Mana regen since he burns a lot of mana. This will be extremely helpful early/mid game since that is when you'll be mainly low on mana. I run these [AP]
Greater Glyph of Force will give you more AP the higher level you are. I honestly do not recommend getting these because AP is quite easily obtained. The other two options above are more suitable for Nidalee's strong play in all phases of the game instead of relying on the "big bonus" in late game.
Greater Quintessence of Potency gives Nidalee a +15 AP boost at level 1. That's quite notable and will help harass/sustain early in lane. I used to run Magic Pen quints but I learned that they were easily outshined by these nify Potency Quints just because of it's early/mid game power. Magic Pen is not a huge issue since you will get a Void Staff for AP! [AP]
Greater Quintessence of DesolationGreater Quintessence of Desolation will give Nidalee a lot of Armor Pen to make auto attacks and Takedown hit a lot harder! Self explanatory, auto attack, takedown and these hurt. [AD]
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude will give Nidalee more survivalbility throughout the game, and it will extremely benefit her in the Early and Mid game stages. This quint has been nerfed a lot and despite that, I don't suggest getting it just because you shouldn't be losing too much health with your health potions and sustain from Primal Surge. This is my third option if I don't own any of the two above.
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness gives helpful move speed for Nidalee that stacks on top of your innate and extra move speed whenever you enter cougar. I usually don't use these because I position myself fairly well in lane most of the time but they're handy in some situations like in heavy poke lanes or against heavy gank junglers.
What Runes I Usually Use
For Marks, I run Greater Mark of Desolation because of it's Armor Penetration that really gives you an edge on your opponent when it comes to poking and trading. Your range is very notable so many enemies will try to avoid your auto attacks at all costs. For Seals, I run Greater Seal of Resilience for the durability it gives Nidalee. As AD Nidalee, you'll really be in people's faces so you really need these to mitigate damage from creeps, the enemy top laner and jungler. For glyphs, I run Greater Glyph of Warding because of it's MR boost that's essential for top lane AD Nidalee. As AD Nidalee, you will be overextended a lot because of your need to poke and harass your enemy out of lane. Regardless of your wards and bushwhacks, you will soon notice the enemy jungler coming up and "camping" top. In mid/late game when team fighting occurs, MR glyphs don't yield as much as the per level ones but the safety net of flat MR for early game is definitely worth it. For quintessences, I run Greater Quintessence of Desolation with the similar reason of the Marks of Desolation. Poking and harassing is a huge part of AD Nidalee and Armor Pen is definitely brutal in this case.
When it comes to the runes, I usually use Greater Mark of Insight for it's Magic Pen that is much needed throughout the entire game. Although you will do a lot of harrassing in lane with your auto attacks which scale off of AD/ArP; when you get Cougar Form, everything instantly turns into Magic Damage which is Magic Pen dependent. Every spell of Nidalee's except for Takedown deals Magic Dmg, which requires some Magic Pen. When it comes to Seals, I usually use Greater Seal of Resilience because of the armor and durability it provides Nidalee. Nidalee has somewhat low base Armor, and the extra stats help because you are often trading while taking minion shots, enemy auto attacks and you'll occasionally counter jungle! Survivalbility is key with seals! When it comes to the Glyphs, I use Greater Glyph of Clarity because Nidalee's early game MP/5 isn't very high so she needs help with her mana issues when she dosen't have blue in almost all phases in the game. Although yellow mana regen seals restore more than blues, the armor bonus from Resilience is just too good to give up. When it comes to the Quintessences, I usually use Greater Quintessence of Potency because having more AP early game gives you a more dominant lane presence with extra spear poke damage, healing that scales .7:1 and it definitely helps harassing when you get cougar. Although AD/ArP provides more "dominance" in lane, AP transitions smoothly into your AP build.
You can use the runes above however it is! I am aware that not everyone has every rune for rune, so the variety of runes that can be used and still end up being successful helps every type of player, regardless if they're new or experienced.
Prowl is a great innate that allows Nidalee to move faster while in brush. This is very effective for chasing/escaping enemies. With Prowl, you can easily harass enemies in lane while narrowly evading their retaliating shots.
Javelin Toss / Takedown is Nidalee's "Q" ability. While in human form, Javelin Toss will do a hefty amount of damage to almost any target it touches. If the enemies aren't fed out of their mind, you can easily reduce the enemy team's health bars with consistent and well placed spears. Regarding the viability of this spell, it's potential is highest when played with AP. With AD, Javelin Toss still does a fair amount of damage but is not as strong compared to AP and is usually shrugged off by the enemy team.
While in Cougar Form, Takedown is a great ability to do a lot of burst damage. I suggest using this spell in lane to harass in combo with Swipe and Pounce just because of it's easy burst damage nuke. The highest potential of Takedown is reached when you build AD Nidalee just because of it's 1:1 AD scaling. In AP, Takedown still does a fair amount of damage but it's really not recommended for AP Nidalee's since you should be spearing everyone down. The only time you should use Takedown as AP Nidalee is when you're flash pounce-takedowning someone for a guaranteed and fast kill without putting your team at risk.
Bushwhack / Pounce is Nidalee's "W" ability. While in human form, you drop a trap and if someone runs over it, you will gain vision of them, and they will take some Magic Damage while reducing a scaling percentage of MR and Armor for 12 seconds. Traps last 4 minutes so they last a long time HOWEVER, never replace wards for Bushwhacks, they consume quite a bit of Mana to fully cover your lane and enemies can easily sidestep them to hide their presence. Be safe and buy wards! In S1, Riot nerfed Bushwhack and it no longer reveals wards :(. Bushwhacks grant vision of the location it's initially placed in for a split second so it's great for checking bushes so you don't have you use your face! The potential of Bushwhack is highest in AP with it's .4:1 ratio but that's very neglectable. The damage in AP and AD with Bushwhack shouldn't be your main goal but it's utility.
While in Cougar form, you will leap several feet forward, allowing you to jump over small ledges. Pounce has a relatively short cooldown and it is affected by CDR. When you pounce near enemies, they take magic damage at a .4:1 ratio. Although the ratio is neglectable, Pounce is a great way to jump out of a bush to surprise enemies, opening up your combo into a Swipe and Takedown for "tons of damage". Although Pounce is strong, I do have to warn you about using it in lane. When you pounce near minions, YOU WILL PUSH YOUR LANE. Pushing your lane possibly opens you up to jungler ganks so be careful!
Primal Surge / Swipe is Nidalee's "E" ability.While in human form, you will heal someone for an X amount, + a percentage of your Ability Power at a .7:1 ratio. Healing someone will also increase their attack speed! This spell is great for helping sustain low health allies in trades while giving attack speed users like Sivir, Kog Maw, etc a crucial Attack Speed steroid! The full of potential of Primal Surge is found when played as AP Nidalee just because it's a huge burst heal. Although you can still heal as AD Nidalee, it really isn't anything notable except for the attack speed steroid you should toss on your AD carry or anti carry that eats people alive in a few auto attacks.
In Cougar form, you will do a small aoe swipe to all targets in front of you at a .4:1 AP ratio. The range for Swipe is quite noticeable and when you play enough Nidalee, you will naturally know when Swipe will or not hit enemies. Usually, Swipe can hit a row of minions and the back with a single swipe! Swipe is a part of the Nidalee cougar harass sequence. Pounce to champion, SWIPE then Takedown. NOTE: When you swipe in lane, you are at risk of pushing your lane thus, opening yourself up to enemy jungler ganks so be careful!
Aspect Of The Cougar is Nidalee's "R" ability. Nidalee turns into a cougar gaining 10/20/30 Armor and MR and 20 flat movement speed. Your attack range is now melee and you have new spells! This ultimate is like Shyvana's because it gives defensive stat bonuses while giving a new set of spells. Cougar practically has no cooldown so feel free to use it with personal preference. I highly advise to use cougar form when you need to chase, escape or trade with the enemy team. When you are in cougar, try to quickly touch a brush so you can take advantage of Prowl's bonus movespeed when escaping, attacking or trading. I honestly cannot express the importance of this playstyle because it's almost needed to successfully play Nidalee.
The two following Skill Sequences both work on Nidalee! The first is more of a spear harrass sequence while the second is more of a auto-attack harrass/support in the lane/push a tower. The first sequence is for Nidalee overall but AP gets the most out of this sequence with a balance of sustain and damage and AP ratios. The second sequence is mainly for AD Nidalee, utilizing the most of your mana and possible sustain by packing everything into Primal Surge with it's attack speed steroid. I strongly suggest the first sequence regardless of build because a single spear can change the lane.
Most Suggested Skill Sequence, 1 Spear Changes the Lane!
[*]Why I Don't Get Spear/Heal @ Level 1. Nidalee's spears don't hit for too much at rank 1. At level one, it's quite mediocre and I personally prefer Bushwhack's early map control/fair damage. I don't get Heal at level 1 because I feel that you won't be taking some heavy damage until level 2 because that's been people become more aggressive. The main reason to get Bushwhack at level 1 is to be helpful for your team. Not having Heal/Spear @ level 1 for 45sec - 1 minute isn't going to make/break your lane because level one laning is so passive on both sides most of the time. If they are extremely aggressive for some reason, just let the creep wave flow to your tower and just suck up the 2-3 creep score loss for the early security for your team!
[*]Heal at level 2 Heal is neccesary for Nidalee because you can heal! Few top laners can heal themselves, and this is why Nidalee is so dominant. Sustain is key in most lanes and Nidalee definitely has it! On top of the sustain, the attack speed bonus is needed for early poking and trading while efficiently landing last hits. The reason why I don't max Heal as AP Nidalee is because two points in Primal Surge is enough to sustain in lane with a fairly low mana cost while efficiently trading with Javelin Toss, cougar form abilities and auto attacks. Maxing Javelin Toss first allows you to scale and maximize damage efficiently heading into dragon fights and buff control.
[*]Spears 3-5, 7, 9. Spears are Nidalee's main harrass asides from auto attacking and cougar form abilties. When you get higher ranks of spears, 2 spears to the face at decent range will usually force a blue-pill, giving your team the edge in lane or a team fight.
AD/Secondary Skill Sequence || Heal Max with Lane Sustain plus Attack Speed Steroid
[*]Heal at 2-3, 5, 7, 9.Maxing Heal first as AD Nidalee will give her the most out of her strong sustain with the attack speed steroid. I don't like to max Spear as AD Nidalee because you will have no AP to transition into mid game with and the sustain and steroid is too necessary for dragon fights and buff control later on.
Note: Skill Sequences can always be altered as the lane goes on. It is completely situational but the two above are the standard and suggested routes for AP and AD Nidalee.
-Ignite is a huge spell for Nidalee in lane. Ignite WILL give you the edge in a fight and will easily lead you to kills. The mastery in Offense where a burnt Ignite will give Nidalee +5AD/AP is also very effective since that allows her to poke and harass more efficiently. This is my number one choice Summoner for experienced Nidalee players.
-Flash gives Nidalee that ground she needs to catch up to others. One of my favorite combos with Flash is when you're very close to killing an enemy with very few bars. Cougar form, flash towards them and Pounce Takedown them for the kill. It's a beautiful kill when you watch others do it and I guarantee you'll have at least one person saying "wow that looked pretty awesome." This is a must have for Nidalee.
-Ghost will give Nidalee a lot of speed to catch/escape enemy players. Using Ghost within brush will give Nidalee kenyan-like speed!
-Exhaust allows Nidalee to fully cripple an enemy, and it can give her the upper hand in a 1v1 or to protect a teammate in teamfights. Exhaust can also allow time for Nidalee to catch up, and to deliver some major damage. I suggest this summoner to inexperienced Nidalee players that are still learning the kill combos on her.
- I strongly do not suggest taking Heal on Nidalee because it's honestly weak in lane. You have enough sustain in lane so Heal is a bit of a waste but it's great if you know you're going to be camped. You can easily bait people in! In fights, Heal restores a small amount of health. It's a decent summoner but really not recommended.
- Teleport is a situational summoner spell if you have intent to split push most of the game or want to express your early game aggressiveness. Although it isn't a summoner that directly effects the enemies stats or HP like Ignite and Exhaust, Teleport can be great for warping into team fights after baiting someone to chase you and for porting to dragon all the way from top during laning phase.
Split pushing is pushing a lane and taking towers while the enemy team is somewhere else on the map. Split pushing can be a positive and negative thing for your team because although you're taking objectives and getting farm for yourself, the enemy will know they can engage on your team because it's a 4v5 without you. If your team can clear creep waves fine without you, I would suggest split pushing if there is no big risk at stake such as losing Baron. Losing a dragon while taking a tower in exchange is a perfectly fine trade so don't worry about that, just make sure your team does not go "full derp" mode and throw the game while you're carrying out your duty as a splitpusher. Generally when you split push, you want to push top or bottom lane because when the enemy team attempts to stop you, they have to go to the furthest lengths of the map, possibly giving up objectives. Unfortunately, the same applies to you and your team. I highly suggest staying top because that is closest to Baron. If you go bot, only split push it if you are guaranteed to bring at least 1+ person to give your team the edge at a Baron fight. AD and AP Nidalee both have high potential as a split pusher. AD has just raw AD to scale off of while AP has a decent amount with a multiplier from Sheen/Lich Bane you MIGHT get later on depending how the game goes.
Spells and Team Fights
In all honestly, Nidalee is not a very strong team fighter in both AD and AP. She has a lot of flaws but the things that make Nidalee stand out from other champions makes her unique and strong.
As AP Nidalee, your main goal is to poke as much as you can without engaging. AP Nidalee is not very strong in teamfights but her poke is devasting if you hit targets. AP Nidalee is mostly played in Arranged 5's with "Poke Comps" and I can vouch for the effectiveness of "Poke Comps" because I've performed very efficiently as Nidalee in tournament, Ranked Solo Queue games and in inhouses with fairly skilled players. Just to set this straight, teams with AP Nidalee SHOULD NOT ENGAGE WITHOUT GETTING POKING DONE. IF YOU GET ENGAGED ON WITHOUT POKING, YOU WILL LOSE.
When you feel like a team fight is brewing, throw a bushwhack or two in locations where you believe that the enemy team will have to walk over because the percentage reduction on MR and Armor is fantastic, just don't risk getting caught and losing your team the game. Primarily, you want just spam Q and land them on targets, try to get the squishy AD carry, support or anyone with low HP on their team! With successful spears, your team should automatically know when to engage when they see a lot of low health members or your team will slowly exit the poke wars to recall and back. Just shove towers down and that's why AP Nidalee is so strong if played properly. If you are somehow engaged on, toss your Heal on your AD carry or bruiser jungle that can kill in 4-5 shots, the attack speed is important! After the heal, toss a spear and engage combat by trying to anti carry in cougar form with your Pounce/Swipe/Takedown combo.
As AD Nidalee, you don't have as much poke since your Spear does little to no damage. Your main poking is auto attacking but that leaves you very vulnerable to getting engaged on. I personally don't like AD Nidalee because of her low utility to her team but it can work. Like AP Nidalee, take smart chances to drop Bushwhacks without getting caught, the Armor and MR reduction will help you bruise up the enemy team when the time comes. As your team engages, go after the squishiest target which is usually support and AD. You want to jump into cougar since you are most agile and tanky there. Do your Pounce/Swipe/Takedown combo to get up in his face and buy time for your carries to do their jobs. After you do a full combo, you can hop out of cougar and back into human form if you can afford to lose the extra tanky stats to auto attack with larger range. Primarily as AD Nidalee, your main damage is from auto attacks and takedown. Playing AD Nidalee, you will most likely use Primal Surge on yourself so you can heal up all of the damage taken by anti carrying and the attack speed steroid for yourself is definitely needed.
Who Do I Heal?
This question is commonly asked and it's a great question! I know I've spoken about who to heal several times before but this question can easily make or break a fight so I want to stress it's importance. Your heal grants tons of attack speed and is a heavy burst heal if you are AP. I feel that at the start of a team fight, you can heal either the bruiser that can eat someone alive in 5 shots or the common target, the AD carry. In fights, the enemies' bruisers are going straight to your AD to attempt to eat them alive. The attack speed is beneficial to maximize cruicial damage in a fast paced team fight and the heal tops them off in case they took any damage from poking before the team fight.
AP Nidalee Items & Explanation
Rabadon's Deathcap: Rabadon's Deathcap is a very generic and essential item for AP Nidalee. The large sum of AP and bonus it gives is to die for because with the large AP pool, Nidalee's spear will literally take out 60% of some squishies' HP. It will immediately make the enemy team panic a bit and force them to rethink about engaging your team for contesting things like buffs, dragon, baron, etc.
Void Staff: Void Staff is a secondary must have item for a AP nuker when paired with a Rabadon's Deathcap. The Magic Penetration will even make the MR heavy tanks weep a bit when chunked by a spear. No longer can those tanks keep affording to "facetank" spears for their squishies behind them. If you do land a spear on a squishy without MR, they will literally almost die or die in 1 spear, Void Staff works wonders. Void Staff is needed for successful AP Nidalee.
Rod of Ages: RoA is a very common pick up for AP Nidalee nowadays. The HP and Mana recovery bonus on RoA and Catalyst is something to love in lane because it gives you even extra sustain and more potential to land spears thanks to the mana regen from it. Thanks to the bonus health and mana, you are respectably "tanky" and aren't as squishy as most champions. The bonus AP from RoA is definitely something to be happy about and it will help your spears to start hitting hard.
Ninja Tabi/Sorcerer's Shoes: You might be confused with the way I listed boots. You only buy ONE but both are acceptable mid game for Nidalee. I'll explain! Ninja Tabi is needed by Nidalee to successfully trade and survive in lane at times against heavy early game AD's top lane like Pantheon. It is most ideal to sell Tabi later for Sorc boots but don't put your main build behind just because of boots! Mercury Treads are not recommended for AP Nidalee because you shouldn't be getting caught out of position with stuns and snares. Sorc boots are mainly grabbed for more magic penetration on your spears.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Rylai's provides you with HP, AP and a slow on all your abilties. With slowing on all your spells besides from Takedown, the disengage ability from spears and bushwhacks are very nice when attempted to kite or run.
Morello's Evil Tome:Morello's will give you AP, Mana Regen, and CDR. This item is quite self explanitory for Nidalee because of the extra AP that you can use for all of your spells such has Primal Surge, Spear, etc. The AP also scales with cap so you even get a bonus out of getting Tome! The Mana Regen is nifty because you can consistently spam spears and heal without needing a blue buff unless you're there for longer than five minutes. The CDR is nice for Nidalee because you can spam all of her abilities more often, especially Spear! Most people don't know, but Nidalee's Pounce is affected by CDR! It was changed in a patch a few months ago and it makes her a lot more agile and mobile.
Guinsoo's Rageblade: Although Guinsoo's was a favorite in Season 1, I feel like it's an "iffy" item on AP Nidalee now. AP Nidalee does not really do enough with spell spamming to maximize the potential of Guinsoo's. You can't go into cougar often to charge up because the enemy will engage when they see you unable to throw spears for 5 seconds thanks to cooldown of switching in and out of cougar. Definitely situation, not terrible but iffy.
Will of the Ancients: WoTA can nuke heal you but I really like WoTA because most teams run double AP and double WoTA for the RIDICULOUS spell vamp and AP bonus. If you have extra gold lying around, contribute to your team by boosting their AP and help your middle carry with extra spell vamp.
Lich Bane: Lich Bane is great for nuking and pushing towers down. To proc Lich Bane, you need to auto attack someone every couple of seconds after a successful spell cast. It sounds easier said that done because no right person will let a AP nuking Nidalee get near them without being able to kill Nidalee. It's situational but better than most items possible for her.
Deathfire Grasp: Deathfire Grasp is a pretty decent nuke but the range requires you to get up and personal with a target. Your spears do a better nuking job from a much farther range. Only time I would get DFG is if I have a Lich Bane combined and I just go anti carry/insta kill someone before my team gets wiped.
Banshee's Veil: Banshee's Veil gives a spell bubble every 45 seconds and gives Nidalee health and mana. Although it looks fancy and all, it's very low tier on the Defensive Item list. It works, it's just not very great.
Guardian Angel: Guardian Angel provides Nidalee with a get out of jail free card in case you mess up. The armor and MR keeps you alive and tanky. The reason why I love GA as Nidalee is mainly because she's so agile and mobile. When she pops out of GA, she can easily run away with cougar pounce through brushes and lead a fairly decent chase.
Zhonya's Hourglass: Same reasoning as GA except it's honestly one or the other. Hourglass gives you AP and Armor with a GA-like effect but without the MR. Your personal preference.
Mejai's Soulstealer: Mejai's will give you +AP for each stack, obtained when you get a kill/assist. Nidalee can obtain stacks easily because she does a lot of damage, and just healing someone gives you an assist if that person ends up killing someone. Mejai's will make Nidalee hit extremely hard. This is a decent item to get early game, before Rabadon's, but stacking up to 20 is difficult at times, so don't get it unless you're extremely fed. This item would be situational and I'd only get if I am extremly fed. I would almost never ever get Mejai's but it's definitely situation if you're very very fed.
AD Nidalee Items & Explanation
Warmog's Armor: Warmog's Armor into Atma's (Atmog's) is one of the safest route for AD Nidalee top lane. Warmog's is the item that makes most tanky champions top tanky. Nidalee bullies and takes farm very easily top lane so the essential and mass farming you do top will just stack into your Warmog's.
Atma's Impaler: Atma's is the second part of the "Atmog" combo. With massive a massive health bonus from Warmog's, not only will you be tanky but your auto attacks will shred through people while occasionally critting and punishing people.
Mercury's Treads/Ninja Tabi: These two boots are often swapped around on AD Nidalee depending on the enemy composition. If the enemy team has a lot of CC and impairments, Mercury's Treads is the best bet because of the Tenacity it provides. If the enemy team has a lot of AD damage, Ninja Tabi is most efficient.
Guardian Angel: Although I get Guardian Angel late in the game, this is definitely one of Nidalee's core items. In cougar form, you gain a ton of MR and Armor, pile all of the stats from GA on with a full stacked Warmog's and you are a tanky machine. GA is just too strong to pass up on Nidalee.
Wriggle's Lantern: Wriggle's is a situational item because at times, you won't need it at all in lane. You can easily cruise to a Giant's Belt which will be later converted into a Warmog's. I only get Wriggles against some champions I have a hard time against like Pantheon, Yorick, etc.
Trinity Force: Trinity Force is a very strong item on Nidalee and should ONLY BE RUSHED if you have a clear dominance in lane. A clear indication of a potential Trinity Rush is if Nidalee is 30+ cs on the enemy top laner with at least 2-3 kills. If you don't have that big of a lead, do not rush Trinity Force and go the standard and safe route of "Atmogs".
The Bloodthirster: TBThirster is a strong pair when with Trinity Force. If I have a huge lane advantage like the situation detailed above in the Trinity Force explanation, I rush a Trinity Force into Bloodthirster (BloodForce) for a forceful 20minute surrender.
Last Whisper: Last Whisper is a common pick on Nidalee because of the 40% Armor Penetration that is usually needed for Armor stackers late game. You either get LW or Youmuu's for Armor Penetration depending on the enemy team's build.
Youmuu's Ghostblade: Youmuu's is a secondary Armor Pen item to Last Whisper. If the enemy team isn't packing a lot of Armor to where a Last Whisper is required, just grab a Youmuu's and start dealing True Damage with your strong Armor Penetration runes and masteries.
Phantom Dancer:Phantom Dancer is a item some AD Nidalee's like to get. I'm personally skeptical about it but Dancer can definitely work with AD Nidalee if played right. Most Phantom Dancer Nidalee's I've seen are huge split pushers and that's where Phantom Dancer comes into play with the attack speed and movement speed. The critical strike bonus also helps whether you go Atmogs or Trinity Force route.
Frozen Mallet:Frozen Mallet is sometimes replacing Warmog's because of certain teams where you need to kite the enemy team. I would honestly never get Frozen Mallet but it's definitely situational for certain teams where you have to chase someone down or slow. Warmog's is definitely better though.
Maw of Malmortius: This is a very new item that's been getting quite a lot of love lately and I see exactly why. With Maw, you can dive through an enemy team and deal "TONS OF DAMAGE" while also having the godlike Hexdrinker proc that gives you a Magic damage shield when you get deathly low. It's a great item but once again, situational depending on the enemy team. If the enemy team isn't running double AP, I'd rethink about getting Maw.
Guinsoo's Rageblade:Guinsoo's had a lot of love for AP Nidalee in s1 but after some nerfs to Nidalee, it's been seen more on AD Nidalee. Still, this item is situational since it's more of a mid game item than late game. The stacks are quite tedious to charge and keep up without compromising your team's positioning and team fight power for instance, being in cougar charging stacks at the wrong time can definitely lose your team the fight.
Hextech Gunblade : Hextech is a very funny item because it has a shot that can easily slow a target of your choice (preferably the one you're anti carrying); provides AD and AP, gives Lifesteal and Spellvamp. Hextech works with all of Nidalee's spells and attacks since you're mainly using auto attacks and cougar form abilties to DPS. Although 2/3 of Nidalee's cougar form abilities are magic, Hextech can help boost a little bit of that damage plus any small spell vamp damage can help. Primarily, you should be autoing and using Takedown though. The high price cost is also questionable since most games don't run out enough for you to farm up Hextech for item #4, #5, or #6.
Infinity Edge: IE is undoubtedly a strong item for AD Nidalee just because of the damage output. The only question is that if you were being realistic, how will the huge cost affect your item build? If you give up too much gold to get a early IE, you'll quickly die and hardly do too much damage. Most games don't run out enough for you to farm up an IE as Item #4, #5, #6 because of it's high item cost.
Doran's Blade: Doran's stacking early in lane is questionable since there is the option of Wriggles. If you are going up to 2-3 blades, just grab a Wriggles. Only grab one blade if you aren't necessarily winning/losing the lane but having a somewhat hard time without putting your item build too far behind.
At Level 6,Nidalee can easily clear camps in the jungle while pretending to be MIA or to keep tabs on the enemy jungler. In the picture below, I will show you the priority of jungle control and what you can do when your lane is pushed up.
1) Blue Buff is a huge asset for Nidalee and most middle laners need it to win their lane. If you can guarantee getting your team blue buff or denying the enemy team blue buff, you will have a huge edge in the game. Small things like this add up for a victory. Golem has a 5 minute respawn timer when it is cleared to keep timers!
2) Red Buff is why jungler ganks are so devastating. The damage over time is extremely brutal and if you can guarantee your team red, you will have a stronger jungle or top lane presence. Denying the enemy team red will give them paranoia because of their lack of jungle control plus, their ganks will be weaker! Lizard camp has a 5 minute respawn timer when it is cleared so keep timers!
3) Double golems are the closest camp to top lane that is not a huge objective. Double golems are usually fought over by the top laners because it's an extra 2 "cs" or 40-60 gold. Usually, the Purple Team will have control of it but if you can control the double golems, you will have an edge in lane. Camps on these are on 1 minute cooldown, if you see a cleared camp that means someone on the enemy team was just in the vicinity at least 59 seconds ago.
4) Wolves and Wraiths are the farthest camp on the northern half of Summoner's Rift. Although they are easy to kill and yield a fair amount of gold and experience, it's not worth trekking far away from lane, potentially missing tons of CS. If you're pretending to be MIA or roaming, these are fine to pick up. Camps on these are on 1 minute cooldown, if you see a cleared camp that means someone on the enemy team was just in the vicinity at least 59 seconds ago.
The STAR means Baron and Dragon. Those are the ultimate targets that you can aim for. Nidalee cougar form can easily tank dragon without needing the jungle there to tank the damage. Regarding Baron, Nidalee can usually tank Baron up to 50% HP until he starts doing "tons of damage". Dragon is on a 6 minute cooldown and Baron is on a 7 minute cooldown. These are HUGE global objectives so keep timers on them to help your team out!
Jumping Over Walls With Pounce
Nidalee's Pounce is a great way to move around the map! Also, Nidalee can 'abuse' the terrain's short ledges, and she can jump through them with Pounce! Most are found in the jungle, so she is basically the ultimate escaper. Below, these pictures show that she is facing DIRECTLY at the wall. That is the only way these spots are going to work. Note, there are more obvious spots where you can jump with pounce, I've just taken screenshots of spots where most people don't think they can pounce when you actually can! It's essential you memorize where you can hop so you can easily invade and escape.
Want Some Tips? Be Careful, They Might Be Sharp!
1) Take advantage of Nidalee's innate
Prowl! Whenever you run through brush, you gain movement speed. Combine Prowl with spells like Ghost and Flash to make you un-catchable!
2) A great combination to use to catch up to enemies and to finish them off if they're low is Pounce then Flash, then Takedown!
3)Nidalee's Javelin Toss has a long range, and believe it or not, it can snipe people who think they're 'safe' behind their towers.
4)Whenever you are travelling around the map, always stay in Cougar Form, and use Pounce to move a little faster instead of just walking.
5)When you are trying to keep your Guinsoo's Rageblade's stacks, a low-cd pounce, or just switching out of Cougar will help you maintain your stacks.
6)Nidalees sometimes get into predicaments where you're at 50 HP and you have the option to continue pouncing away or to heal and try yourself there. 99% of the time, always cougar pounce away unless they have tons of skill shots to kill your tanky and agile self.
I will add more tips if I find out more, and if you have one that you'd like me to post, post below in the comments, and I'll give you credit for it!
On my smurf Katamari. I don't really take a lot of screenshots but I will start to for this guide! This was a 1676 elo game and this game's replay will be below.
Replays from LoLReplay, Download and Watch!
Big thanks to LoL Replay for making this possible. To view my games, download LoL Replay HERE. Most of these games are played with my team and all of them are AP. I'll definitely try to get some replays of AD Nidalee out very soon!
Note: You see me type a lot in chat because I'm trying to communicate with my team because I have to be quiet so I don't wake up my family at night =( Also, my CS is pretty horrid because my mouse just broke and I have a hard time getting used to the feel of this ****py Dell mouse overall. I promise you I'll do better with a $20 non-****py mouse that I'll be getting soon!
* = Time marker for a "cool" for "fancy" clip if you don't want to watch the whole match
Game Replay 1: http://www.leaguereplays.com/replays/match/377646/
-28:00* 31:50* Guide Replay 1, Third Place Tourney Game. Although with DC's and Lag for everyone, stay calm and you will win.
Game Replay 2: http://www.leaguereplays.com/replays/match/377644/
-Proper way to "dissect towers" with Nidalee @ 24:10* Guide Replay 2, a lot of flashy play.
Game Replay 3: http://www.leaguereplays.com/replays/match/377651/
-11:00* Fadeaway Shot with spear! Guide Replay 3 Learning to Lane/Communication/Aggression
Game Replay 4: http://www.leaguereplays.com/replays/match/377652/
-Guide Replay 4 Learn to Communicate with Jungler as top lane. VERY IMPORTANT.
Game Replay 5: http://www.leaguereplays.com/replays/match/377655/
-35:50* Guide Replay 5 Hydra Scrim... My team and I are new to Poke comp, practicing against a 2200 player's scrim! Hydralover is a great top lane player and is the definition of aggressive, I learned a lot from him! Hope you can learn from my mistakes against him toplane!
Game Replay 6: http://www.leaguereplays.com/replays/match/377653/
-Whole game was "lol". AP Nidalee 1676 ELO in Solo Queue on Smurf, Katamari Guide Replay 6 Solo
Game Replay 7: http://www.leaguereplays.com/replays/match/378900/
-Played AP Nidalee in OptimusTom's Battle Arena, a part of ggChronicle!
Recording of Xaioli's Nidalee on Youtube, Own3d or Twitch.tv!
Unfortunately, my laptop can't record/stream very well so this section will be for recordings by other great individuals that shoutcasted community games that I regularly partake in as Nidalee! So far, I've only got one recording on Own3d but hey, if you don't like LoLReplay, you can definitely use this section out!
Replay 1: http://www.own3d.tv/ggChronicle#/watch/596436 || http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amOMvIa1-XQ
First, I want to thank OptimusTom for his permission to use this video clip! OptimusTom of ggChronicle shoutcasts with Pwnophobia every Monday 9:00PM EST on NA servers! I was lucky enough to catch a open spot and the team I was assigned to wanted to run a "poke comp" so I could play AP Nidalee! The game starts at 12:26 for those who don't want to listen to the commentary before the actual game start. I'll quickly brief what happened that game and what I advise. Teemo is a annoying matchup for Nidalee pre-6. As you'll see, I somewhat keep up with farm but can't deathmatch because I'm pre-6. As I'm laning early on, I know Mundo can gank top a lot so I set up a lot of bushwhacks, Pwnophobia made a comment about "it's a christmas tree up there." He is definitely correct! Proper bushwhacking ensures you early game security and it definitely saved me! With the decent amount of ganks top, I communicated with a team I've NEVER PLAYED WITH BEFORE by using quick and easy to understand commands; passing information like wards, health, summoners, timers on jungle mobs, things ESSENTIAL to playing a proper top laner.
Who is Xaioli?
Hello! I'm currently 1964 in Solo Queue with 290+ wins over losses in Normal Queue. Now, those stats aren't impressive, but I feel like it shows that I know a decent amount about the game. I also play somewhat competitively and participate in amateur tournaments. Did you know I won a Triumphant Ryze skin from a tournament? :D
2/13/2011 - [Nidalee]-The Way of the Spear is released.
2/17/2011 - Added Morello's Evil Tome as a alternate to Mejai's.
2/18/2011 - Added a new section- "Laning With Yourself/Others"
Added some more info on why getting Bushwhack @ Level 1 is amazing. 2 Troll
Downvotes because they didn't read it all, or didn't understand the concept.
2/21/2011 - Changed my preferred Marks from ArP to Magic Pen. I've been doing some tests, and I've seen that the ArP is extremely strong early game, but when it comes to mid-late game, only her takedown and auto attacks will benefit from it.
3/15/2011 - Updated the Item Builds, changed the Skill Sequence section. Theres 2 possible sequences now! Thanks for all the support guys!
4/11/2011 - New Screenshot
4/25/2011 - New Screenshot
4/28/2011 - New Screenshot
6/25/2011 - A ton of fixes and added a section. 'Backdooring'.
4/23/2012 - v2 The Way of the Spear is out! Thanks for all the support!
4/24/2012 - Added a seventh replay file for players to watch/learn! This replay is also Replay #1 in the "Non-LoL Replay" section featuring OptimusTom and pwnophobia.
4/24/2012 - Added a Non-LoL Replay section where I upload VODS from popular sites with my Nidalee play in community games, tournaments, etc.
5/04/2012 - Cleaned up the guide a bit to make it look cleaner. I am also looking to redo a little sections so look forward to that!
5/17/2012 - After finishing up my Nautilus guide, went to clean up this guide a bit with formatting and etc. Nothing too big.
5/29/2012 - Added minor fixes to Skill Sequence and added MS Quint that I forgot to add on release.