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League of Legends Build Guide Author Fever

Nidalee: Two ways to play~

Fever Last updated on September 7, 2010
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Team 1

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Jungle Role
Ranked #36 in
Jungle Role
Win 51%
Get More Stats

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: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

Nidalee: Beastin' it Up!

V.2.0 Added a DPS spec for Nidalee and changed the first to AP/CDR
V.1.2 - Did some stat working, changed up item build a little.
V.1.1 - Swapped around the item build a lil bit. Cleaned up, added images.
V.1.0 - Finished guide, minor updates to be made

Nidalee is quite possibly one of the best champions out there when played correctly. Not only can she output burst damage like no other, she can quickly take down turrets then run away laughing into the jungle before the other team has realized what's happened. Nidalee can be played in a variety of ways, and this guide focuses on an AP/CDR method, and a DPS method. Both revolve around the sheen item, but build it in different ways. Neither way is particularly better, so you can experiment and figure out which way you prefer to play her. ^_^

Pros - AP/CDR Build
    -Crazy burst AP while in cougar
    - Fast enough to knock over a tower in record time
    - Great heal for self and team
    - Ranged attack and ranged skill shot (Good if you can aim anyway :P)
    - Great movement speed/escapability
    - Great for chasing flee-ers with low HP
    - Great jungler at lvl 6

Cons - AP/CDR
    - Somewhat squishy until later game
    - Hard early game
    - Eats up MP early on
    - May need to gank with a buddy until late game

Pros - DPS Build
    -Again, still crazy damage in Cougar but with the addition of more dps
    - Fast enough to knock over a tower in record time
    - Great movement speed/escapability
    - Great for chasing flee-ers with low HP
    - Little more resistant in team fights
    - Trinity Force spam + BF Sword items = GG
    - Great jungler at lvl 6
    - Primal Surge does WONDERS for your DPS. You can skip at least 1 attack speed item because of it

Cons - DPS
    - Somewhat squishy until later game
    - Hard early game
    - Eats up MP early on
    - May need to gank with a buddy until late game
    - Heal doesn't do much for your health... :(

Summoner Spells
My choices:
Clarity - A great spell for Nidalee, gives her more staying power early game, more MP to heal herself, and for Javalin tosses. This can also give her ally staying power if they're MP based. If both you and your lane partner have clarity, good luck to the other team getting you out of lane.
Flash - You can flash/pounce from a mile away, and as a bonus, it gives you another method of escape.

Other choices:
Exhaust - Nidalee is so fast, this spell isn't really needed. However, it can help you escape if you somehow get stunned. I wouldn't rely on it though.
Clairvoyance - 'Nother good spell, but not necessarily needed for Nida, she makes much better use of other spells
Cleanse - If it's a CC heavy game, buy merc treads and use this slot for something else. Merc treads should be enough to get you out of hot water
Ingite - If you don't like flash or feel enemies get away from you too easily (they really shouldn't) then bring this.
Fortify - A handy spell, but let a tank bring it
Ghost - You're already fast enough, no need for ghost
Heal - Nidalee already has a heal so this is a bit redundant
Rally - You don't need this spell, let another bring it
Revive - Revive is a spell for people who plan to die a lot.
Smite - While Nidalee CAN jungle like a champ, she can't do it early enough for smite to matter. By the time she's lvl 6, Nidalee can rape nearly anything in the jungle
Teleport - A good spell if you'd rather this instead of ignite. Can save a turret in need.

Nidalee's Skills

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

No explanation necessary, just use it to your advantage, especially when escaping.

Javelin Toss (Q)
Nidalee tosses her javelin, dealing 55 / 95 / 140 / 185 / 230 (+0.65 per ability power) magic damage on impact (deals up to 250% damage the further away the target is).
* Cost: 60 / 75 / 90 / 105 / 120 mana.
* Cooldown: 7 seconds
* Range: 1,500

Your main harassing skill, especially early game. The amount of damage done by the javelin is surreal when tossed from max distance. This can be used in a variety of ways, such as tossing one into the bushes before you enter them at the start of the battle to hit enemies, or chucking them into the middle of team fights from max distance for devastating damage.

If you build DPS, this skill does mediocre damage, but you'll still be using it to proc Trinity Force.

Bushwhack (W)
Nidalee lays a trap that deals 80 / 125 / 170 / 215 / 260 (+0.4 per ability power) damage over 2 seconds, reveals the target, and reduces their armor and magic resistance 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 % for 12 seconds. Traps last for 4 minutes.
* Cost: 60 / 75 / 90 / 105 / 120 mana.
* Cooldown: 18 seconds
* Range: 900

Not her most useful skill, but far from useless. Lay these down everywhere in the jungle to keep track of where your enemies are and deal a little bit of damage. Lay them down in the middle of team fights to cut the enemies armor to shreds. Surround baron with them, so the enemy has no choice but to step on one to fight him. Also, early game lay them down in the bushes in your lane so the enemy will have a hard time ganking you. Also, you can chuck more spears into the bush, right at their face if they don't run away after stepping on it ;)

Primal Surge (E)

Nidalee heals an ally champion 50 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+1.25 per ability power) and grants them 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 % attack speed for 8 seconds.
* Cost: 50 / 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 mana.
* Cooldown: 10 seconds
* Range: 600

This move serves many purposes. The first one, obviously, is healing a wounded ally. Now the heal may seem disappointingly small at first,but look at how it scales with AP: 125%! So if you have 300 AP, your heal will be 555 HP at lvl 5. It's not too shabby considering the other thing that makes this move so great: the attack speed boost. This can be cast on yourself while tower pushing for faster attack (Also getting the passive from lichbane/Trinity every cast for massive damage), or even on a dps ally like Yi to make them even more deadly.

Ultimate: Aspect of the Cougar (R)
Nidalee transforms herself into a cougar, gaining a new set of abilities and 20 movement speed in the process.
* Cooldown: 4 seconds
* Range: 20
* No Cost

This is what makes Nidalee so unique and such a good hybrid, great dps with human, and horrific nuke damage in cougar. Cougar form is what makes Nida so frustratingly hard to catch. She gains 20 movement speed right off the bat, and has an escape mechanism move. Get into the jungle, cougar, pounce and run, and good luck to the enemy catching up. Leveling this up levels her cougar abilities, and it should be prioritized. Best of all, cougar abilities have no mana cost with small cool downs,, meaning you can spam the life out of them in a team fight.

Take Down (Q in Cougar)
Nidalee's next attack deals 40 / 70 / 100 additional damage based on how low her opponent's life is (up to 200%).
Cooldown: 5 seconds

An interesting move. It is, at it's core an attack buff which will deal more if your opponent is hurt. What makes it so great is that it stacks with Lichbane/Trinity, making it extremely painful, able to rip a giant chunk out of an enemies HP.

Pounce (W in Cougar)
Nidalee lunges forward, dealing 125 / 175 / 225 (+0.4 per ability power) magic damage to surrounding enemies.
* Static Cooldown: 3 seconds.

Your chasing and escaping mechanism, and also your way of getting into the battle. When the enemy is already engaged, pounce in, put the hurt on, then pounce away. When escaping, spam that pounce button and get yourself into the jungle. Also spammable for LB/TF procs.

Swipe (E in Cougar)
Nidelee claws at enemies in front of her for 150 / 225 / 300 (+0.2 per ability power) magic damage.
* Cooldown: 6 seconds

The minion farming tool, also able to put a bit of hurt on. It scales really low with AP, but it'll activate your lichbane/Trinity passive again for another devastating physical attack.

Hitting R in cougar will change you back to human. Nidalee regains her human abilities and loses 20 movement speed.

Rune Selection
    For AP/CDR:
    - Magic penetration runes are great, and you can use them for all your AP-based champs
    - For gylphs/seals, I go with AP/lvl. With her masteries, you can level fairly quickly to make use of it. You may also consider flat CDR for gylphs, or more HP for seals, but it's up to your play style. This gives me more AP for late game kills.
    - AP/lvl and/or HP quints are a good bet. I prefer the extra HP, it helps to keep Nidalee in lane longer, and make her not so squishy early game. Obviously, AP quints will make you stronger late game. I go 2 HP, 1 AP/lvl

    For DPS:
    -Armor Pen, naturally for Marks
    -CDR per level for Seals and Quints, because you won't be getting any from items (Golem buff is important as well), and you need the CDR more late game than you do early game, so might as well go for per lvl for more of it.
    -Dodge from Seals because that's what I have, and I really do love dodge because I usually get Ninja Tabi for this build

Mastery Build
I like a 9/0/21 build for my Nidalee. The MP regen, run speed, and ability cool down are simply too good to pass up. Also, the clarity passive helps keep you AND your lane mate in lane longer. The couple of points in attack give you more CDR, AP, and MagPen. You can also go 0/9/21 if you feel Nida is too squishy, but I feel that dodge just doesn't help without the runes/items to bolster it. You want those 21 points in utility even for the DPS build because they really help Nida's early game mana eating. She won't need 21 in attack.

Item Build
This will give a rundown for both builds, AP/CDR and DPS

Both Paths

Sapphire Crystal - Reguardless of your path choice, you want to start with this so you can turn it into sheen. Nida spams MP like no other, but this should keep you up in MP until Clarity is up every time. Remember, be conservative with your MP until you get her cougar form.

Both Paths

Sheen - Whether you're going AP or AD, ALL Nidalee players should get this item, and recognize how crazy powerful it makes her. Whether you decide to build it into Trinity Force or Lichbane depends on your play style, but get it, and get it fast. This will turn your Nida from a joke into a force to be reckoned with in cougar.
Both Paths

Boots - As you may have noticed, I only listed boots 1 in the item build. This is because Nidalee has several choices for boots based on the other team. Are they CC heavy? Get mercury treds. DPS heavy? Get ninja tabi. However, AP users will nearly always want to go with the Sorc. Shoes. Why? It'll be pretty much your only source of MagPen outside of runes/masteries/traps, and trust me, it'll be all you need. DPSers should go with Tabi or Treds. In a particularly easy game, consider the Swiftness or Mobility, but I really do love dodge chance on her :P


Guinsoo's Rageblade - I get this item next, simply because no one can keep the stacks up better than Nidalee. When you're heading back into lane, pounce your way there to build up the stacks. Hell, pounce everywhere you go. You'll always be at max Rageblade stacks (48! Extra AP), which is a damned good way to begin any fight.

DPS Path

BF Sword and Zeal - The BF Sword gives Nida some damage that she's seriously going to need to make her sheen worthwhile while you farm for Trinity. Zeal is next because it builds into TF and gives some attack speed and crit chance.


Lichbane - Yes, yes, and yes. This item makes you deadly in any form, most notably in cougar though, after using Take Down. You'll be tearing chunks off enemies. Why? Nidalee can spam her skills like no one else. Even if your AP is low, you'll still do crazy damage from all the extra Lichbane based attacks because of how often you'll proc it in Cougar. There's nothing more I can really say about it, just get it.

DPS Path

Trinity Force - The Lichbane for DPSers. Now, your take down is so powerful it's scary. In team fights, your job is to focus fire squishies and tear them apart while in cougar, because you can spam the skills for this oh so wonderful proc. Some games will not get passed this point.


Nashor's Tooth - This plus primal surge make Nidalee a tower pushing machine. If you haven't already knocked over all the enemies towers, you'll now be able to steamroll them flat by casting primal surge, then auto attacking. As a plus, she benefits greatly from the CDR, MP Regen, and ability power it provides. An often overlooked, but great item. I love it on many supports. It's like having a permanent golem buff.

DPS Path

Infinity Edge - Turn that BF Sword into this beauty before you even consider blood thirster or cleaver. Why? The hit after your take down can and will crit given the chance. And consider all the auto attacks you do...the upped damage and crit chance really just is the icing on the cake for her.


Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Survivability, ability power, and slowing all in one neat little deadly package. Now that cougar abilities (Well...all abilities really, including traps) slow, NO ONE will get away from you. Nida really needs the CC this item grants. If you find you can't kill enemies because they're getting away, you can position this after Lichbane, and it's not a bad idea to do so.

DPS Path

Madred's Bloodrazor - This item shouldn't need an explanation. It's so very good for any DPS to have, reguardless of who you're fighting. An extra on hit damage (especially 4% magic taken from HP) is amazing. It's more for your human form than cougar, but it's still great to have that effect.


Remember to grab the magic elixers whenever gold permits. They're very handy for an extra burst of AP, and getting the last 6% of CDR.

DPS Path

Yes, the items needed ARE very expensive, but remember that you're buying in parts and can order them as you see fit. Sometimes, I'll put madreds before infinity if the opposite team is tank heavy. If it's mainly squishes, maybe go for a blood thirster after the infinity edge. Play to your own comfort level.

Slot 6 Options

What you choose for your last item(s) largely depends on your playing style, whether you exercise caution, or go in guns blazing. The options below go from most defense, to most offense.

Both Paths

Frozen Heart - Not only does this little gem give your Nidalee more survivability, its unique passive will also help out in team fights by slowing surrounding enemy attack speed. Plus, it'll fill out those last few points of CDR that you probably need at this point. If you don't chose this, make sure to get the Golem buff or buy potions as often as you can.

Both Paths

Banshee's Veil - If the opposing team is caster heavy, this can save your life, while allowing you a kill in the mean time. Particularly useful if you're being focus-fired. However, if that's the case you're generally better off getting something more damage-heavy and jumping into the battle once it's underway. This is a unique situation item. (For may save you from a Viegar ulti, Blitzcrank Grab, an Ashe arrow, Warwick Ulti, Singed Flip, ect)

AP Path

Hextech Gunblade - Very basic, and gives Nida a nice bit of everything to help you out, plus the addition of Life Steal/Spell Vamp, tho it's admittedly not much, is better than nothing. Also a good choice if there are enemy towers/inhibs you didn't steamroll over in mid game :P It keeps you more hybrid, but at this point, you're probably looking for something that'll go one way or the other.

AP Path

Archangel's Staff - Some of you may scream "OMFGBBQWASTE" for getting it so late in the game...however, if the games lasted long enough so far, there's a good chance it may last even longer. Plus, with all Nidalee's pouncing (You DO pounce everywhere, right? Good.), ability spamming and other jargon, you're going to max it out real fast...and more mana/AP never killed anybody. :P Why I don't get it early is because...frankly Nidalee doesn't need extra mana once she gets cougar. The Nashor's + Clarity covers her regen in human late game.

AP Path

Zhonya's Ring - This is more than likely overkill. Regardless, if you get it, it's gonna boost your AP like crazy, and comes packed with a neat little survival move. That being said...Nida doesn't really need it, because stopping, even while invincible, gives them time to catch up to you, and you're more than likely dead after it wears off, unless your team is 2 seconds away from you or you make one of those crazy pounces over the wall into the jungle...

DPS Path

Phantom Dancer - This should be your go-to item after you finish the main build in one of those freakish long games, reason being the wonderful dodge chance (Which will put you near cap if you have dodge runes + ninja tabi), attack speed, crit chance, and the ungodly movement speed. With this, you'll fly in cougar form.

DPS Path

The Black Cleaver - Obviously, if it's a long game, their tanks have begun stacking some serious armor (if not armor than HP...and your madreds makes quick work of that). This will cut it down to size before they can blink.


Early Game: Nidalee can play mid, but I think she's better suited to a lane, especially for players who are new to her. Also a plus if your lane buddy has clarity. Keep in mind that you are very, very squishy early game so it'll be hard to get first blood without a good hearty partner to help. Don't rush out, play defensively, tower hug if you have to, and keep getting those last hits. Harass with your Javelin, heal yourself and your partner as needed, and make sure to set up traps in the grass so you'll know if a gank is coming. Stay in lane as long as possible. It should be easy with your mana regen + heal as long as you stay safe. Try to get to lvl 6 before going back, and have enough gold for at least sheen and boots.

Mid-Game: Now that you have cougar, you'll be helpful for chasing down enemies and attacking in the middle of team fights. Your fight order should look something like this:
Trap > Javelin > Primal Surge (On someone hurt or a dps carry) > Cougar > Pounce > Take Down > Swipe > Human > Repeat
Remember, if you have Lichbane/Trinity, the passive procs after EVERY spell. Yes, every spell. (The "three second cool down" is how long you have to auto attack after you cast) So when you have Lichbane/Trinity, it should be more like this:
Trap > Attack > Javelin > Attack > Primal > Attack > Cougar > Attack, ect.
You will deal crazy damage, especially once you get into cougar and start using Take Down.

If your team does well, it's up to you to chase down the ones that are getting away. Don't be reckless and tower dive though. Only chase when you know a gank's not waiting for you. Get your core build done now to be ready to build whatever's necessary come late game.

Late Game: It's quite possible the other team has begun focusing on you in team fights. If this is the case, while your team is keeping the others busy, sneak down and push a lane. Pounce then swipe into the mage minions to kill them quickly, then go back for the fighters. When you get to the tower, human form, then primal surge, then auto attack. Keep using primal surge on yourself/trap the ground as you chip away at the tower to get the lichbane/trinity passive to pop up for some extra damage. Sometimes the enemy is so busy with your allies, they won't even notice you pushing their towers until it's too late.

Don't be the first to engage in team fights. Stand back and harass with javelin (This thrown from max distance will rip chunks off of HP, even for tanks and in team fights, the enemy team can't dodge it easily. It's bound to hit someone), heal your allies, set up traps in the middle so the enemy can't avoid them, and jump in as cougar once the fight's underway, cause some heavy damage, and get out before you're focused down quickly.

Remember, Nidalee is a poor 1v1 fighter in many cases. A crazy DPS like Teemo or Twitch will likely kill you before you can seriously dent them. Always go with your team if you don't know where the enemy is. You're more valuable to them in a team fight than the half healthed Twitch that ganked you while you tried to back door is to the enemy team.

Tips For General Gameplay
  • Nidalee's passive is grossly under-rated. However, if you're being chased, there's no better way to escape then to dip into the jungle and pass through a bush to activate her passive. Keep dipping into the bushs and there'll be no way for you enemy to catch up short of stunning/slowing you
  • Javelins pass over terrain and can be thrown through walls or the jungle. They can also penetrate the fog of war. Use this to your advantage to cause some serious hurt when the enemy doesn't even know you're there. Also, when you get into lane, at the beginning, remember to throw spears into the bushes to see if an enemy is there. This can save you from a gank.
  • Don't be afraid to use your heal even when you or an ally isn't hurt. The attack speed boost on it is too sweet to pass up. Make sure it's always on you or the person pushing a lane with you when at a tower. If it's a team fight, cast it on a dps (like Yi, Tristana, Ashe or Jax) at the start to give them a nice little boost.
  • Do NOT underestimate Nidalee's traps. The armor/magic armor reduction the enemy gets from stepping on it can easily turn a fight in your favor. Chuck them in the middle of team fights where the enemy is sure to tred or won't notice, set up traps around baron, in the jungle bushes around monsters, in the bushes in lanes, everywhere. They will also often save you from pesky stealths.
  • Good lane partners for Nidalee are characters who can push very well such as Morgana, Sivir, or Janna, or a tank that can get her out of hot water, like Rammus, Udyr, Alistar, or Singed. Bad choices are squishy close range characters like Yi, or Gangplank, especially if the enemy are ranged.
  • Oh and another thing about Nidalee traps. If you know where the enemy placed a ward or invisible bomb (Such as teemo), simply place a trap directly on it. It will reveal the thing, and you can then kill it. If there's a stealth in my team not laning mid, I like to lane with them because the enemy will waste money on wards while you just destroy them, ensuring safe ganks for your stealth.
  • The single most important thing to remember is that Nidalee is a rather rare champ. The enemy is either going to A.) Underestimate you or B.) Have no idea what a Nidalee is capable of. Use this to your advantage if nothing else. Show them how a Nidalee dominates, and they will fear you. Get away when they try to gank you to make them angry. Anger and fear will make them careless, and more likely to surrender, and cry about how you were "fed". Good luck. They will fear the wild. ;)