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Nidalee Build Guide by M33V

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League of Legends Build Guide Author M33V

Nidalee-what a cougar

M33V Last updated on November 7, 2012
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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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Welcome to the Nidalee Build. I hope this will help you and I will try the best i can to improve your skills using Nidalee.Nidalee is a D.P.S support. She uses AP for her abilities and she turns in to a cougar. While not in cougar form, Nidalee is a ranged champ and has a trap and heal. While in cougar form, Nidalee is a melee champ who deals burst AOE damage. This guide will deal with her Pros/cons, her abilities in detail and when and where you should use them, Her Items and other Item possibilities. Additionally I will deal with her Masteries, her summoner spells, runes and skill sequence.

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Pros / Cons

Pros / Cons


+ Long ranged Q
+ Great Aoe and burst in cougar form
+ Good mobility in cougar form
+ great heal
+ trap
+ great at escape and chase

- Kinda Squishy
- Not much mobility until level 6
- Uses so much mana. Blue buff is a good idea
- item reliant

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Javelin Toss / Takedown (Q) is a great ability,especially early game. extremely long range and does more damage the farther away you are. In cougar form, Nidalee does a killing blow, empowering her next attack for bonus damage and even more for each missing HP they have. Fantastic killing blow if you dont want anyone stealing your kills. Get this skill at level one, and stay far away from your opponent. Try to land your javelin from far range to maximize the damage done. level this up first.

Bushwhack / Pounce (W) this is a trap ability. You place a trap down on the ground. When an opponent walks on it takes damage over 2 seconds, slows it and reduces its armour and magic resist for a few seconds. If you are wondering this CANNOT be used as a sight ward. You can only see an enemy if they walk into it. somewhat hard to see so it is great to put in the brush. in cougar form, Nidalee jumps forward, dealing damage to all nearby opponents. this is a great initiate and it can also be used to escape and even jump over terrain.

Primal Surge / Swipe (E) is a heal ability. very good and gives her fantastic sustain, allows her to stay in lane fairly long, and allows her to escape from lots of sticky situations. this additionally adds bonus attack speed for a few seconds. this is a good ability to rank up fast if you wish to. In cougar form, Nidalee swipes at nearby enemies, dealing damage. this is a great AOE damage and is a great ability to use right after you pounce on them

Nidalee's ultimate is Aspect Of The Cougar (R) Nidalee transforms into a cougar, increasing her movement speed, armour and magic resist. also Nidalee gains completely new abilities. This gives nidalee lots of mobility and is great for escaping and chasing.

Nidalee's passive is Prowl this allows Nidalee to move faster while in bushes. additionally, the movement speed buff lasts for a few seconds after she leaves the bush. Use this to chase or escape from opponents. very good for ganking as well, because she can move faster in to the opponent.

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I build Nidalee with AP items. This allows her to deal out tons of damage, but i also build items like rylai's crystal sceptre which gives her enough health to not die and/or stay in lane longer. Let's go over my item purchases and why I buy them.

Doran's Ring is a fantastic staring item, giving her a little bit of bonus health which lets her survive. Also it gives AP which is good, and Mana Regen, Which is great on Nidalee because she is mana starved.
Another item you can use to start off with is Boots of Speed and three health potions. this gives her good speed at the start, and she can escape/ chase better, and build Ionian Boots of Lucidity. I prefer Doran's Ring though because of the health and mana regen.

Next i get Ionian Boots of Lucidity it is a great item on Nidalee because of the CD which allows her to use her heal and spear more often, and allows her to spam her cougar abilities better. If you are playing against lots of mages with CC, I suggest getting Mercury's Treads. these allow you to take less damage from their spells and make them mad, and their CC has way less effect on you. Go cry Amumu. You could also get Boots of Swiftness but it is not very necessary, Considering Aspect Of The Cougar gives you bonus movement speed and you can additionally use pounce to move faster or chase/escape.

My next item is Guinsoo's Rageblade. this is great. It gives her ability power and attack damage, and when you attack or use an ability, you get more AP and attack speed. great item, giving Nidalee lots of damage with her abilities and also with her basic attacks. great item to use with Bushwhack / Pounce in cougar form because the cooldown is really short and you can use it repeatedly to gain stacks of guinsoo's

After that i get Rabadon's Deathcap. lots of AP= killing lots and lots and lots of people with your abilities. great item on your heal as well as your damaging abilities because it increases the heal capability, giving you more sustainability and you can escape better with your life.

Nashor's Tooth is my next item. this is so good on her. This gives her CD, AP, attack speed and mana regen. In my perspective, This item is almost perfect on Nidalee. this aslo goes very well with Primal Surge / Swipe and also your stacks of guinsoo's. Your attack speed and AP will be extremely high and you will deal out tons and tons of damage.

My last item is Rylai's Crystal Scepter another great item on Nidalee. it gives you health, AP and your spells slow your target which is awesome and it allows you to chase down and kill almost anyone. Yes, even you Master Yi by this point you will have about 370 AP if you have all the runes and items. This will make you very very very hard to kill and you will kill everybody.

Other possibilities for items:

Lich Bane is a good idea for Nidalee. It gives you AP, Mana, Movement, And when you cast an ability your next attack deals more damage. you can use it if you want to go faster and get some bonus damage.

Void Staff is another awesome item. If you are playing a tank with lots of magic resist such as rammus in defensive ball curl, buy this item and even the tankiest of tanks wont block your spells.

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The runes i use for Nidalee let her deal more damage, have Magic Pen, and reduce her cooldowns. I use Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for tanks and anyone with magic resist. this lets me do lots of damage to them and almost ignore their Magic resist. Also these runes make me just do more damage.

I use Greater Seal of Ability Power because why wouldn't I want more AP? this lets me deal lots more damage early game and late game too. This lets me clean up kills more easily and also I can burst people down quicker in cougar form.

For glyphs i use Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction this lets me use my heal and spear more often, giving me more damage output and survivability. this is useful early game so i can kill people more easily if you gank at level 1. Also this helps extremely well in cougar form with my abilities so i can spam them much faster especially with Ionian Boots of Lucidity

For my quintessences i get Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration for more magic pen. same reasons that i get my marks. helps with killing everyone. Especially tanks.

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Summoner Spells

My summoner spells are Ghost and Ignite
I use Ignite because it is great early game and can get that first kill when they try to run. It can help clean up kills in later game as well when someone has really low health and you need a way to kill them. Lastly it can stop people from healing your target. for example if there is a Annie that is very low health and then you see a Soraka or Sona or any healing champ, cast ignite on the target you want to kill and all the healing done on it is reduced by a very large amount.

I take Ghost because it lets me run quickly to get out of sticky situations. if you are slowed, you can use this in unison with Bushwhack / Pounce in cougar form to gain quite a bit of distance from them. Additionally it can help you chase as well. use the same combo Bushwhack / Pounce and than Ghost to close the gap between you and your target.

Another possibility is Flash. also very good because it allows you to escape quickly, chase people, and also it allows you to flash over terrain. You can get this as a replacement for ghost. This will give you more mobility and you can turret dive then flash out.

You could also use Exhaust. this allows you to chase better and escape better. great on Nidalee. You can get that first kill, or escape from certain death. Additionally, you can use this in a team fight on their carry to stop them from doing nearly any damage.

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for my masteries I go 21-0-9. my 21 points in offense allows me to deal more damage with basic attacks and abilities, and also have magic and armor pen. it also gives me bonus critical strike chance.

My 9 points in utility give me increased mana, which lets me stay in lane longer. it also gives me mana regen, reduced time spent dead. Lastly, it gives me increased duration on monster buffs. This is essential on 5v5, because you need the mana buff in team fights to throw your spear and heal yourself and allies.

You could also go 9-0-21. I believe this is great if you wish to be a support champ, with your heal, Primal Surge / Swipe this allows you to use it more, and it allows you to focus more on supporting your team.

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There are some hidden complexities to Nidalee. I will try my best to explain some of the things you can do to help you win.
in team fights, start by using your spear to harass the enemy team, while healing yourself and teammates. Then turn into cougar form and take on your enemies head on. this helps because it helps get your opponents low, while keeping your team very high on health, then when you jump in as a cougar, you and your team can get lots of kills with the help of your AOE burst damage from your cougar abilities. In cougar form, only use Javelin Toss / Takedown when your enemy is very low and your sure you can get the kill.
one thing that is great about nidalee is that you can jump up/down small walls with Bushwhack / Pounce in cougar form to escape or chase your opponent, or just get into lane faster. I will be uploading photos of this soon. Additionally, you can simply use pounce to chase or escape.
In 3v3, place your traps in the brushes so if someone tries to gank, they will step on it and you will see them. Also in 5v5, place your traps near dragon so you can gank if someone steps on it. You can also use a wards for all this.

When you are healing, make sure to prioritize:
Most important is to heal yourself
Next is the tank
then the carry
then anyone else who is doing good.

A very important thing to remember when playing nidalee is that leveling up her skills does NOT increase the damage of her cougar abilities. Leveling up her ultimate increases the abilities effects. So do not level up an ability as fast as possible to make her cougar better. This is why Nidalee is somewhat item reliant.

The last thing to remember is that you always want to be as far away as possible from your enemies to use your spear to maximize its damage. this is self explanatory

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Skill Sequence

the way i level up Nidalee is prioritizing her heal, then her poke and lastly her trap. I also obviously level up her ultimate at levels 6, 11 and 16. The sequence is kind of strange because i max her heal at level 12, and her spear at 13. before you think wtf? this works well. I do this because i want her heal to be leveled up first, so i can help my teammates and stay in lane longer, while also letting her poke do tons of damage. I dont find her trap extremely important, its not for killing people, so i level it up last.

Another way to build nidalee is pretty much the same, but getting her trap first, then placing a bunch of them in a bush, kind of like shaco's jack in the boxes. this is just to help out your allies with laning. otherwize, do the same sequence

Also you could max your heal by level 9, then your spear by 13 and then your trap. this makes harass almost useless on you, and also it is great if you want to be a support champ.

Lastly, you could max your spear first, either by level 9, giving you a bunch of poke early game, or by level 12, similar to the sequence I use.

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Thank you for reading my Nidalee guide. I hope this will help you out with your playing and let you do better. Please comment before voting and also try it out.

Shout outs to my crew