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Nidalee Build Guide by Alyrianna

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Alyrianna

{S3} Nidalee: The Sustainable Lane [Never Die, Always Carry]

Alyrianna Last updated on December 28, 2012
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Jungle Role
Ranked #12 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
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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: 9


Utility: 0

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Nidalee- Support and Carry Your Team to victory!


Hello Everyone!


Welcome to my Nidalee AP carry and support build. It's probably a little bit different from what you've run into before, but its the build I use every time and it always gives me the highest sustainability, damage and support capability with it. I focus on being a jack-of-all-trades champ in the way that I can heal well, do good damage up close and from sniping distance and push lanes as necessary.

This will be an in-depth guide on how to play Nidalee from her build to skills to team fights the AP way.

Nidalee is a fantastic champion, able to harass her enemies, protect her team, heal for days and keep fantastic map awareness with her traps. If this is what your looking for and you want to know more- then read on!

This Guide focuses on:

  • Sustainability as AP Nidalee
  • Harassment as a Tool to Protect Teammates
  • Supporting through a Strong Heal, High Damage and Map Awareness
  • A Higher Damage AP Nidalee

Quick note: Ive been playing Nidalee since April of last year. I hadn't looked at her till a friend of mine told me she turned into a cat and she has been my main since my first game with her. This build I use is the one I've had since the beginning. Ive changed it, played with it, tried entirely different builds but this is what always gave me the most when I played AP Nidalee. (I don't like AD Nid at all. I'd rather play talon. @.@)

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Pros / Cons of the Beastial Huntress

  • Fantastic Early Game Damage
  • Superb Late Game Heals
  • Lane Sustainability (Oh wait- I need to leave lane?)
  • Great in Any Summoner's Rift game from Ranked to Normal
  • Able to Lane Anywhere- Solo Top, Support Bot and Mid (Mid not recommended- more later)
  • 'Skill Shot Spears of Death'
  • Very Mobile Champion
  • Does Not Require Much Farming

  • Lower Late Game Damage
    (Note that I do NOT say little to no damage- her damage output is high if you focus the right people in fights and kite as your should)
  • Can Require a LOT of Skill to Play Properly
    (She is a hybrid of an Ashe's kiting style and a Shaco's style of picking off people one by one which can make for a difficult time if you aren't used to either of theses styles)

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I take all nine Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for some flat Magic Pen that is fantastic early game and does well against teams that don't build Magic Resist.

I take all nine Greater Seal of Armor for early laning sustainability.


Here I take nine Greater Glyph of Magic Resist for sustainability in lane or all nine Greater Glyph of Ability Power for early game harassment.

I take one Greater Quintessence of Health for early lane sustainability and two Greater Quintessence of Ability Power for early game damage. Can be replaced with three of either by preferred.

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Summoner Spells

The Good:

  • Flash: Perfect on almost every champ and provides Nidalee with another needed escape mechanism. In my opinion, should always be used and never substituted.
  • Heal: Since the re-make, one of the best spells for supports all around and prefect to protect Nidalee and her lane partner as well as a great choice to use during team fights to protect your team for that few more seconds to win team fights. Not a prime choice for everyone.
  • Exhaust: Good choice to help keep your ADC from getting ganked and to be able to shut down that nasty assassin in team fights who is threatening you or your AP/AD carry. Not to mention chasing capability.
  • Clairvoyance: A great support spell and awesome on Nidalee to help lane those killing spears behind turrets or in jungle bushes. Also a great way to spy on the enemy jungler and protect your jungle.

The Okay:
  • Ghost:An okay substitute for Flash for those who prefer it, but not nearly as good as being able to Flash over a wall while being chased.
  • Ignite: Another okay substitution for Heal if your playing against someone like Swain and your team mates refuse to grab it. (If no one else has it on Summoner's Rift your probably with a bad team anyways...)
  • Cleanse: An okay substitute for Heal or Flash if the enemy team is building CC's. But ti's much more effective to build a Mercurial Scimitar to solve that problem on a game-to-game basis.

The Ugly:

First off, don't be confused- these are not bad summoner spells- these are simply the ones I feel have no place being picked while playing AP Nidalee.
  • Teleport: With her passive Prowl, her ultimate Aspect Of The Cougar and Boots of Swiftness, there should be no need for this spell.
  • Surge: Not useful on AP Nidalee at all. Hybrid, Yes. Full AP? No. If you enjoy this spell you should try casters like Orianna, Ahri and Lux.
  • Garrison: This guild is not for playing Nidalee on the Crystal Scar, so this is a moot point.
  • Revive: With this build and proper kiting techniques your deaths will be few and far between if you get any, making this spell useless. (A personal note: You should never grab this spell in the first place unless you are tanking- and even then I feel it is a poor choice as one of the goals of the game is to NOT die and NOT feed the enemy team. The only exceptions to the rule are when playing on Proving Grounds or Dominion)
  • Smite: AP Nidalee does not jungle except mid-late game for farm and with her damage output then has no need for Smite in any way shape or form. Let the jungler grab it to secure Baron/Dragon/Blue/Red.
  • Clarity: This build promotes mana regen and spamming even during early game. You should have no need for this spell.
  • Promote: This is a viable option for supports like Sona and Soraka to generate more farm and push lanes aggressively, but is not necessary on Nidalee. Besides, there's an item for that now if your desperate for it.

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Prowl (Passive): Use this ability to it's full advantage. It may not seem like much, but this is a fantastic way to position yourself quick enough to throw your Q and hit that running Ashe for a kill or to get away from the really persistent chaser.

Javelin Toss / Takedown (Q): This is AP Nidalee's bread and butter of harassment. You can zone enemies, get those crazy sniping kills and farm minions even if your lane is trying to zone you. Not to mention in cat form this is a nasty burst of hard damage if you can get close enough to your enemies. I do not hesitate to grab this first because with the approximate 30 AP I start with they do plenty of damage for early game harassment and make first blood very possible quickly.

I get this first and prioritize it for harassment to protect my carry. I have been playing Nidalee since around April of last year as my absolute main and play her 90% of my games. I have tried heal first, I have tried trap first and to be honest neither of them give you the things your spear does as far as keeping your carry safe. If I need to heal my carry that early either their lane is nasty and we need a gank fast or I'm not doing my part (in my opinion) to support and protect my carry and keep them away from them in the first place. I have become good enough with my spear that I rarely miss, and if you are the type of person who missed often, especially in ranked, this is not a build for you as my Nidalee requires a lot of kiting and hitting with that spear.

Bushwhack / Pounce (W): This is one of Nidalee's core support skills, as well as an effective chasing tool, zoning tool and effective way to get around the map quickly while stacking your Tear of the Goddess. When in human form, her Bushwack traps have amazing zoning capabilities. They give line of sight, do damage and lower enemy armor and magic resist, making them prime targets for your spears. While in cat from, your pounce becomes a super-effective chasing tool to close in for that killing spear or Q in cat form, while being an awesome way to stack your Tear of the Goddess just by running around the map!
See the next section for optimal trap placement.

I don't prioritize this as heavily because I don't use it as my zoning tool, but rather a as map awareness tool. I make sure to get a point in it early for placement and for my pounce as soon as I get my ult, but I'm not dependent on them for large amount of damage early on.

Primal Surge / Swipe (E): In human form, this is Nidalee's heal. It is super-effective as a heal tool later in the game and a great way to keep teammates alive as their running from the enemy team. it has a higher cool down then most other heals, but with the way it scales with AP, it's so worth it. See the section after 'Trap Placement' for tips on heal priority.

I prioritize this second as Nidalee's heals are necessary for obvious reasons. I get this right after my spear at level two.

Aspect Of The Cougar (R): This allows Nidalee to freely switch between her Human and Cat forms to change her abilities. While in can form she also gains increased movement speed, armor and magic resist. Abuse this ability! Farm with it, chase with it and run all over the map with it! Don't be afraid to switch at any time as the cool down isn't long and you can easily switch right back.

As her ultimate this should always be gotten at levels 6, 11 and 16 when they become available.

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Trap Placement

This is pretty self-explanatory, so here you are.
Note: The traps on the river and in the bushes along river on top, mid and bot will save your life in ganks multiple times. Keep an eye on all your traps and make sure to replace them if they are used or fade]

Purple: Solo Top
Blue: Support Bot
Red: Mid
Green: Map Awareness
Green and Black: Map Awareness Priority
(You should always have these areas covered by ward or trap. Have your carry ward the map while you fill in with traps which last a bit longer.)

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I'm pretty sure I don't need to go into a lengthy explanation of how to ward as a support or top.

If your top or bottom, keep warded so you don't get ganked (aka tri-bush and river).

Either way, for goodness sakes don't forget your Ruby Sightstone.

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Heal Priority

I wanted to make this it's own section to hammer a few points home.

The priority should be:


Always heal yourself first if you are below 75% health. Always prioritize yourself first please!!!! The team won't get anywhere if you die and can't heal them.

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Core Items

These are Nidalee's core items and should be gotten every game no matter what.

Doran's Ring: Perfect starting item for Nidalee. Health and mana regen for sustainability and a little AP to hit them hard.

Boots of Swiftness: As a support and AP carry, you need to get around the map quickly and efficiently and can't afford to be out of lane long.

Why not Ionian Boots/ Boots of Mobility/ Merc Treads/ Ninja Tabi?
Ionian Boots of Lucidity are good for cool down but unless your running a CDR AP build or you have constant blue buff these don't do too much.
Boots of Mobility are no good for her because she needs to kite, like an Ashe, and need constant fast speed. You don't want to be caught going slow after a team fight when that Katarina is behind you.
Merc Treads can be a good choice, but my viewpoint is that you should stay away from getting focused and CC'd so you should not need these but they are very viable against a CC team.
Ninja Tabi are moot as you should not be in the thick of a team fight unless in cat form and it is a definite win-and-not-die situation. Or your AD Nidalee- in which you wouldn't be looking here anyways then.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter: A good AP and Health item with a fantastic passive which procs on every ability you have except your cat form Q. Must have for chasing and team fights.

I sometimes substitute for Rod of Ages. Why?
Perfect AP/Health/Mana item to up all her stats. A little damage, a bit more sustainability and even more damage with the Archangel's Staff and the mana from RoA. It's not much, but a viable option on her.

Rabadon's Deathcap: On an AP carry, this should be MORE then obvious. If it isn't, please go read the New User Guide at League of Legends.

Lich Bane: This item works fantastic with Nidalee, giving her flat AP, a bit of resist for that sustain, mana to add to your Archangel's Staff damage, a bit of movement speed to add to your Boots of Swiftness and the passive which works fantastic with her abilities. This works especially well with her W -> E -> Q combo in cat form as her Q procs Lich Bane's passive for a massive damage burst.

For the last item see the next section.

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End Item

The last item to get is trickier. It has to do with your play style and the enemy team.
Though do be sure to note that if you get this far in your build its probably been a long game and people are starting to stack armor and/or magic resist and health.

My recommended is Liandry's Torment as a general and all-purpose last item. I build it early/mid game but it is such a wonderful true damage source to go along with your spears it can be viewed as invaluable in some cases and is a wonderful all-around wonderful item for her.

(Note: Some items have actives- so keep that in mind when considering your play-style and the enemy team to choose an item.)

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I have no idea if they will fix this but Muramana is a severely broken item on high mana/ap champions who like to auto attack. Nidalee can use this broken bug to her advantage till it is fixed. DO NOT HESISTATE TO USE IT! IT'S A GOOD IDEA AND CAN'T HURT YOU( especially if your top lane). On the other hand, Athene's and Seraph's are perfectly fine replacements in you prefer those items. Your choice.

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As soon as you spawn up, grab your Doran's Ring and head straight to your lane. (See next section on 'Which Lane Do I Choose?' if you don't know where to go.

Grab spear first and if your with a tanky partner, feel free to check bushes by running into the first and spearing all the way through the second. Moving up like this can allow you to get a few preliminary hit on enemy champs- forcing them to be passive during laning until they B, use their health pots early or even return to base before minions even arrive. In any lane feel free to harass gently as you only have so much mana until you go back the first time and make sure you have enough for a heal at all times should you or your lane mate need it.
As soon as you reach enough gold (only stay longer if your laning well) head back to base and buy your Tear of the Goddess/ Chalice of Harmony and your optional basic boot. A tip: You may want to also wait for level 6 if possible as you can spam your abilities at base and Pounce back to lane after you buy your Tear of the Goddess- effectively starting your stacks right away. Head back to lane and harass to your hearts content now that your tear is furiously working away on your mana regen. This is a guide for people who like to do a lot of damage and from here on out is your chance with an almost spammable spear!!

Follow the item guide as detailed above, item by item throughout the game, going back when you have enough for a more major piece (e.g. The Needlessly Large Rod, Giant's Belt, finishing Archangel's Staff etc.).

Preferably after your tower is down or after it has begun to transfer to mid game and the champions are beginning to move in groups, you should stick to your team like a burr as much as possible to support them with summoner Heal if you grabbed it and your own heal and damage output if a team fight occurs. If the game has entered a lull moment with no team fights and everyone is farming/pushing lanes then you should endeavor to follow a teammate and farm where you can.

There is not much more then that out of the laning phase other then what you should already know as a League of Legends summoner- heal, fight and survive!

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Which Lane Do I Choose?

Solo Top: If there is a jungler, no better soloing champion (e.g. Wukong or Maokai and no one is being stupid and trying to do it with a champ not made for it, head top and use your spears to harass the enemy away from your turret. Play the 'make the minions stand still' game and don't be aggressive, just harass. Keep an eye on enemy ganks, call your MIA's and when you see your jungler finishing his route and heading to you, let the enemy push your closer to your tower for optimal ganking position. Ward AND trap your bottom bush to be safe and only last hit minions to ensure good farming and a more passive lane to set up for your jungler.

If for some reason everyone on your team is being stupid and no one else picks a champion that can go mid or no one else will mid, go right ahead and take it (It's better then no mid at all. Your doing the same thing in mid as Solo Top, but can afford to be a bit more aggressive providing you have your bushes warded and the whole area trapped(See trap placement further up). Save mana for heals and try to harass with your spear through gaps in the minions when you can. Wait for your eventual gank if you need to, kill the enemy mid if you can and hit that turret till its time to back off. Rinse and repeat till mid is taken.

Bottom Support: This is my preferred lane, even over all the farm available solo top. The amount of kill potential is high enough on bottom lane you'll find you don't need a ton of farm when your 4/0 and you carry is the same by mid game. Bottom lane aggressiveness depend on who your laning with and if your team, the enemy team or both teams have a jungler. If your laning with someone with good CC and tankiness like Amumu, Maokai, Wukong or Leona, feel from to have your teammate rush in and stun them and line them up for a well placed spear as harassment. This will also cause them to usually waste spells like Flash and Exhaust right away to prevent you getting first blood and can make ganks easier a little bit in when the CD isn't up yet. Other great laning partners for agressive play are ones with high damage and poke like Miss Fortune, Gangplank, Ahri and Sivir as you can burst them down quickly and can make them afraid of their own lane. This usually makes the enemy bot lane put pressure on their jungler or other lanes to switch or gank which can net you more kills if you are careful and let your jungler know.
Other laning partners for agressive play like Ashe and Ezreal can be very poor laning partners as they are squishy and lower damage early on so you need to stay passive and protect them first and harass second.

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Blue Buff

With Archangel's Staff I have no need for blue buff so I can give it to my jungler like Rammus or my AP carry who needs it just as much without penalizing myself. I use Seraphs's/Athena's/Muramana because I'm able to not be blue depended to make my team stronger. It makes for good team fights when I don't need blue and my carry has it. If no one else needs it I grab it and it makes for some fantastic spears, but I've learned that not having to be reliant on it so my carry can have it can make my whole team so much stronger in the long run. I like to think its another way of supporting them by making sure I'm not taking buffs they might need more then me.

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Tips For Dealing With Specific Champions

Karthus: When Karthus ults, if you are not in cat form already, quickly shift before it hits as her ultimate adds Magic Resist. Doing this has saved my furry butt multiple times when I would have died otherwise!

More coming soon!

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Wall Jumping with Nidalee

Nidalee's Pounce offers an escape mechanism as well as a chasing one.

Walking right up to a *thin* wall on the map, Nidalee can use her cat form Pounce to leap over the wall and out of danger. What are some of these walls?

  • Inside to Outside Dragon and Vice-Versa
  • Inside to Outside Baron and Vice-Versa
  • From River to the Crest next to River Bush at Top and Bot Lane
  • From the Entrance or River to the Land Area Behind Red Buff
  • From inside bushes Lining Mid Lane at River to the Crest of Land North and South of them Leading Into Jungle

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Some Of My Games With This Build (OLD ONE AND NEW)


Here's a few games smooshed together using paint (I play a lot of champs and it would take up a lot of room to post each one) to show you some games.

Me and my boyfriend just did this game today while I was writing this guide. He was the solo top Wukong while I supported Gangplank bot. It was a beautiful game. Wukong's score was a mirror of mine.

Another fantastic AP Nidalee perfect game.

The following game was just sad, but it left for a lot of laughs!

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Change Log

12/28/2012: FULL UPDATE

1/25/2012: Added Guardian Angel to 'Last Item' Chapter and did Minor Fixes

1/12/2012: Changes to Clarify the Build

  • Updated Intro to Clarify the Type of Build
  • Updated Summoner Spells
  • Added Section on Blue Buff
  • Updated Ability Explanation and Added Priority Explanation
  • Updated Rune Explanation
  • Updated Rylais Crystal Scepter to replace Rod of Ages
  • Updated Gameplay
  • Updated Laning Placement

1/11/2012- 1/12/2012: Build/Guide Made