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Nidalee Build Guide by Watchakow

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Watchakow

[S3] Manalee - Hybrid Bruiser Support and Top Nidalee

Watchakow Last updated on January 11, 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: 0

Honor Guard

Defense: 23


Utility: 7

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THis Nidalee build can be played in top lane or support role, and I guess even mid lane with the new bruiser mid meta. You will rely on zoning opponents, using both your spears and your basic attacks. This build relies greatly on mana, and also on item actives and toggles. In this guide, when I say "Spear" or "Spears" I mean Javelin Toss (your Human Form Q).

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Early Game

Early game you will rely on your spear and basic attacks for most of your damage. They are great for harassment, but remember to take Clarity because the spears take a lot of mana. In a support role you will want to zone enemies with your spears, allowing your ADC to farm with ease and denying enemies both levels and farm.

In top lane you can zone with your basic attacks fairly easily since many toplaners are melee champions. Your spears won't do much at first, and you'll need to get them to about level 2 or 3 before you begin taking off large amounts of health.

Begin placing traps (W) at level 4 in order to alert yourself to gank. You will get ganked if you are doing your job right, but you can easily escape by running to a bush where you will gain movement speed. You can also use traps in enemy turrets to reduce armor and magic resist (making your spears hurt quite a bit more).

Remember to heal (E) yourself or your ADC (if playing support role). In a fight your E will be beneficial not only for the heal but also for the attack speed buff it gives.

KEY: Keep your distane early game. You will still be pretty squishy and your abilities are designed for long ranges. Utilize bushes to get away from enemies and also to avoid point and click spells. The main idea is to stay out of their reach.

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Mid Game

Mid game you will have a Tear of the Goddess, or even and Archangel Staff if you are doing quite well. Use your Cougar form to travel, using Pounce whenever it is off cooldown to both speed up your travel and to get free stacks on your Tear of the Goddess.

Remember to use your Cougar Form to close gaps or escape from enemies. The Pounce (W) power in Cougar Form will allow you to jump certain walls, which can be most useful, though it takes practice to know how and where you can Pounce to.

Cougar form will also start to be useful for you for finishing off enemies. You can use Pounce to close gaps, then Swipe to do damage, then Takedown to finish off enemies. Remember that Takedown (Q) has a higher attack damage scale for the more health an enemy is missing.

Midgame will be when you begin to pull ahead. Cougar Form allows for excellent farming (using Pounce then Swipe will usually kill about three minions). Your spears should hurt like a ***** once you get your Archangel's staff, so remember to continue using those. Harass your lane and push it when enemies recall or die. Pushing your lane is less dangerous than with most champions because you have excellent escape as long as you remember to use Cougar form.

Also, remember to buy another Tear of the Goddess once your Archangel's Staff transforms into a Seraph's Embrace.

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Late Game

Once you reach the late game teamfighting phase you will want to pick up some defense. I usually prefer to get a Rod of Ages first, but depending on your situation and preferences you may want to get a Glacial Shroud or Banshee's Veil first. The Iceborn Gauntlet will be an excellent teamfighting device in your Cougar Form (AoE Sheen Proc, yes please!).

Before your team enters teamfights, however, harass your opponents and wear them down. Your spears can deter an enemy from engaging in a teamfight and your heal will help compensate for the enemy's conter-harassment. An opponent that hits a level 5 trap will have their armor and magic resist reduced by 40% (equivalent of a Last Whisper or Void Staff) so be sure to capitalize on their situation by hitting them with a spear or a few basic attacks. For this reason, do not forget to place traps whenever possible. They can also be used near Dragon or Baron to alert your team of enemy actions. Use them in your jungle or the enemy jungle to catch enemies out of place.

In the late game you will rely greatly on your item actives and passives. For this reason, you will want to get some gold for those items. If you jungler is okay with it, begin by farming your jungle. Cougar form clears most creeps in a few seconds at most, so you can quickly farm between teamfights.

AVOID HARD CC. Getting into teamfights brings CC with it. Silences and slows are annoying, but a stun can easily kill you. Your Cougar Form will allow you to shake off most slows, but your item actives and escape routes are limited if you become stunned, knocked up, taunted, feared or charmed. Avoid these things.

You can take advantage of your counter of slows by kiting enemies through your jungle, pausing to throw spears, place traps, and heal yourself before going back to Cougar form to continue fleeing. Very few enemies will be able to catch a Nidalee in the jungle, and those foolish enough to follow at semi-low health can often be killed with a trap and spear or a combo from Cougar form.

Again, with Nidalee's great escapability and minion clearing ability, you can become a strong pusher. Once you acquire your Manamune your basic attacks will also do quite a bit of damage, allowing you to quickly push a lane and a turret. Remember to use your Primal Surge (E) to increase attack speed when taking out turrets, even if you don't need the health that comes with it.

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Using Items

I rely heavily on the Seraph's Embrace, Muramana, and Iceborn Gauntlet for my play style, so I make sure to pay attention to them at all times. Your Iceborn Gauntlet will be the easiest to use of the items, simply make sure to use your powers and the item does the rest.

Cougar form will be most effective for using the Iceborn Gauntlet, due to your low cooldowns in Cougar form.

Next is the Seraphs's Embrace. The active consumes 25% of your CURRENT mana and turns it into a shield equal to that amount for 6 seconds. Use this when you're low on health and/or to absorb the damage of DOTs like Ignite. Late game this shield will have values anywhere from 600-1250 hit points, so it's a big deal. Place it somewhere you won't have trouble hitting and somewhere you can always remember it. I use slot 5 so it's always right above my R key.

The Muramana. There is a useful toggle on this item, if you use it correctly. Toggle on and your basic attacks and single target spells will consume 3% of your CURRENT mana and apply twice that amount as magic damage. This gives a lot of useful DPS, but it will drain your mana immensely if you use it on minions and such. DON'T LEAVE IT ON. Late game when you have 5000 mana, this item will apply a 300 magic damage on hit for every basic attack, so it has noticeable usefulness, in the right situations. This also applies to your spears, making a ~1000 damage spell hit for 1300. I use Muramana on my 2 slot, just because it's easy to hit and remember for me.

REMEMBER: Muramana and Seraph's Embrace both rely on CURRENT mana. If you let yourself get low on mana (~200 mana) your Seraph's shield will be only 50 hit points and your Muramana will only apply 12 magic damage. Keep your mana up for this reason, and if you ever reach half mana start chugging mana potions or use your clarity. I myself will carry mana pots for most of the game, usually until I need the slot for another item such as a Sheen or Glacial Shroud. You may consider taking Blue Buff late game to keep up your mana while using the item actives/toggles and to max out CDR.

Another note: Avoid stuns, silences, knockups and suppressions. The Seraph's Embrace active is like any other spell, so you have to be able to cast in order to shield yourself.

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TL;DR - Pros, Cons, Strategy and Some Notes

- Excellent harassment, good for zoning in any lane
- Good chase down in Cougar form, long range spears
- Excellent escapability and kite (Leaping Cougar Form, stopping to trap, heal, and throw spears)
- Long range (both spells and basic attacks can be used for harassment)

- Very susceptible to hard CC like stuns, knockups, and suppressions
- Poor close range early game (keep out of reach)
- Somewhat low damage early game

- Harass enemies while they wait to engage teamfights. Heal teammates during this time to increase your chances of winning a teamfight should one start
- Use your traps! They can be placed just in front of Dragon so it will trigger them when attacked. They also provide Armor and Magic Penetration equal to a Last Whisper and Void Staff, for 12 seconds. When placed, they provide large vision for a second, so you can check bushes like this. You may also locate a low health target in his turret from the jungle, then spear them for a kill.
- Kite if you get low on health. Heal and damage enemies as you kite. This will often also pull enemies off of your team, turning a 5v5 into a 4v3 in your team's favor. Your team can then catch up to kill the enemies that you've kited to low health.
- ZONE IN LANE. Nidalee is hard to lane against. As a support she can keep enemy carries and supports off of minions and away from farm and experience. You can farm late game, early game just starve enemies and assure your ADC's farm and safety. For top laners, just zone enemies early and last hit until you have Cougar Form to farm with.
- USE YOUR SPEARS. Zone with them. If someone gets low, hit them while recalling in their turret for an easy kill. Use jungle walls to your advantage. The enemy can't see a spear in the jungle, so throwing through walls is a good way to catch enemies off guard and to make your spears harder to dodge.
- Late game get tanky and tear it up in Cougar Form. Unlike AP Nidalee, you won't instadie in Cougar Form in late game teamfights.

- Keep your mana up for use with Muramana, Seraph's Embrace and Spells. Use Clarity, Blue Buff and Mana Potions, even in late game.
- The stats listed above do not include item passives, such as the the two Rod of Ages passives or the Muramana's Awe or Seraph's Embrace Insight. Upon reaching full build, I recorded these statistics in game:

Health: 3561
Mana: 5010
Health Regen: 16 per 5
Mana Regen: 36 per 5
Armor: 200
Magic Resist: 104
Attack Damage: 241
Ability Power: 410
Movement Speed: 415
Attack Speed: 1.037, 1.439 with Primal Surge
Cooldown Reduction: 30%

To balance the MR/Armor difference, consider getting MR quints instead of Armor.