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Nidalee Build Guide by Loltrollolol

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Loltrollolol

Sustain/Burst/Utility (Optimal Riven/Talon-Patch Nidalee)

Loltrollolol Last updated on October 12, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

Guide Top


Welcome! This is my guide to Nidalee: The Bestial Huntress. This is my first guide so feel free to add any
suggestions in the comments section below. I decided to make this Guide because a lot of the Nidalee guides are no longer optimal. I say no longer optimal rather than no longer viable because you can still follow those guides and do well, however, after the major Nidalee changes in the most recent patch (Riven/Talon), things such as speccing into defense for the dodge and grabbing ninja tabi are not really worth it.

_____I wrote this guide with the intention of providing a most optimal way to build Nidalee based on my experiences playing her before and after the patch. This guide focuses on the fact that Nidalee's cat form got buffed and that her heal got nerfed. The major changes with this build compared to many other Nidalee builds that you may see is that you get an early Hextech Revolver to balance out Nidalee's healing reduction and giving her more in-combat survivability in Cougar form, without having to switch to human form to heal as often. I hope you like my guide and that it brings you many victories.

_____Please remember, I am making this guide to fit what I have found to be the most optimal way to play Nidalee. It is not meant to be a guide on all the different ways to play Nidalee, and it's main purpose is to show you how all of your item, rune, mastery, and summoner spell choices can fit together to make what I believe is the best way to play Nidalee. This is not a "OH LETS STACK AP AND GO FOR LOTS OF KILLS" kind of guide. This guide is meant to help your team achieve victory, through your damage, support, and pushing capabilities. (Not to say you won't get lots of kills following this guide :O). Thank you and I hope you enjoy reading my guide to Nidalee.

I will be changing the format of my guide so it is less daunting and tiresome to read. It is quite extensive so bear with me until I make these changes.
----GUIDE FORMAT CHANGE IN PROGRESS---- Currently formatting: Early Game Mentality. All sections prior have been formatted.

Guide Top

Pros and Cons (WHY might I want to play Nidalee??)


  • Great Farmer post level 6
  • Epic Spear kills :O
  • Unique Play style
  • One of the most versatile champions in the game
  • Can stay in lane for a long time
  • Surprise people with amazing cat-form burst
  • Great mobility with pounce/passive
  • Amazing 40% Magic Resist and Armor reduction to enemies from Bushwhack / Pounce


  • Squishy
  • Very mana reliant in human form
  • Difficult to learn to play well
  • Requires you to hit spear shots
  • No Real Crowd Control (CC) without Red Golem Buff or items
  • Very susceptible to Crowd Control (CC) especially silences
  • Very team-reliant late game

Guide Top


You can mouse over the corresponding icon to see the exact ability details, therefore I will just explain briefly what each ability does and how you can use each ability.


Prowl is Nidalee's Passive, it increases her movement speed whenever she is in a bush, and for 2 seconds after she leaves a bush. This passive, and Nidalee's move Pounce are the things that make Nidalee so mobile. This is great for chasing / escaping in the jungle, and works well with Nidalee's Pounce.

Javelin Toss / Takedown

Javelin Toss / Takedown are Nidalee's finishers. Javelin Toss is a long-range skill shot that deals more damage the farther it travels. (More details under Nidalee Tips). It is nice to kill fleeing enemies, as they are running away. Takedown makes Nidalee's next attack in Cougar Form deal extra damage, and even more damage based on how little health they have. This means that the less percent-health they have, the more damage it deals.

Cool Javelin Toss kills video for fun:Nidalee - Boom Headshot. Watch in full screen 720p.

Bushwhack / Pounce

Bushwhack / Pounce are the moves bound to W for most of us. Bushwhack is a trap that works similar to Caitlyn's Yordle Snap Trap except it is less visible and will trigger if it hits a minion. Also, Instead of snaring the target, it reduces their armor and magic resist for 12 seconds. This can be GAME CHANGING! 40% resistance reduction is a TON! Using this on their tank will make them take damage like a normal champion.

A tank with 200 armor and magic resist will now have 120 armor and magic resist (That's less than the armor and magic resist that you have!). Think about how fast you can be burst down by someone like LeBlanc or Annie. Now imagine the enemy tank being killed even faster than that!
200-120= 80. That means you basically removed that tank's Force of Nature and Randuin's Omen just like that, for 12 seconds. This is why Nidalee's Bushwhack / Pounce can be so game-changing.

Pounce is Nidalee's mobility move, it lunges Nidalee forward in the direction she is facing, and deals AoE damage where she lands. It costs no mana just like all of her Cougar form abilities, and has about a 3 second cool down with some CDR. It’s great for chasing and escaping, and can be used to hop over thin walls (more info under Nidalee Tips).

Primal Surge / Swipe

Primal Surge / Swipe has Nidalee's heal and one of her Cougar form attacks. This heal is amazing just as any heal is but it also grants the Champion healed with Attack speed, and is great for pushing towers. The heal helps you outlast your opponent, and when they return to base the attack speed helps you burn down the turret. However, please be aware when you are pushing, (more info under Backdoor/Pushing). Swipe is one of Nidalee's damaging moves in Cougar Form, and is one of the things that make her such a great farmer.

Aspect of the Cougar

Aspect Of The Cougar is Nidalee's Ultimate. It transforms her into a Cougar and allows her the use of her Cougar abilities, all of which cost no mana, while disabling the use of her Human form abilities. Being in Cougar form also grants move-speed, armor, and magic resistance. It also makes Nidalee's auto attacks melee instead of ranged.

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Summoner Spells



I choose Exhaust as one of my summoner spells because Exhaust allows you to do better during in-combat 1v1-ing, and exhausting the enemy carry during the main portion of a team fight can make a huge difference. Exhaust can also help you to run from or chase someone. Cripple also also helps to reduce the enemies' resistances along with your Bushwhack / Pounce.


Flash is just amazing and has so many uses that I get it on almost all of the champions I play. Works well with Nidalee's chasing and escaping abilities, and with Exhaust, Flash, Pounce, Aspect Of The Cougar, and Prowl, not even a Kassadin with Blue Buff can catch you! (Actually he can , he is way to OP, Silenced, slowed, wtf). If that situation ever does occur, try to juke him out in the jungle brush, him not being able to see where you are can allow you to get away.

Other viable Summoner Spell Choices



Better for running from/chasing someone, and getting to that team fight or turret in time.


Hit those spear shots! And this is great for general map visibility of course.

"If you really must have them" Summoner Spells







I don't really advise these but they aren't as bad as some other choices.

I wouldn't advise getting any other Summoner Spells than the ones stated above.

Guide Top

Runes and Masteries



Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

These are for magic pen so you deal more damage. This makes all of your abilities deal more damage. This also means you get more health back from your spell vamp because spell vamp is based off of the damage done, not base damage. No other real option here.
You get these because 9 Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration isn't quite enough mana regen early game, and late game you can be getting Blue Buff. You want just enough mana-regen for early game, without taking from your late-game mana regen.

I like these for the extra AP mid-late game when you have your spear and heal at max rank. These can be substituted for basically anything up to you I guess.
These are for that extra 15 AP at level 1 to make your heal stronger early game. I wouldn't really get anything else because your heal really needs it early game.

Other Options

Greater Seal of Replenishment
9x Greater Seal of Replenishment
This is good if you like to spam abilities more early game, but isn't as useful late game.
S This is good for more early game Ability Power. This also makes your heal very strong at level 1. SPACE



9-0-21: 9 in offense for the Magic Penetration, CDR, Exhaust, and AP. 21 in Utility for Flash, Gold, Mana Regen, Buff duration, CDR, Move speed, and EXP boosts. Also, having a lower death timer is nice.
These are the Masteries I find most useful, you can change them a bit, just make sure to keep the 9 Offense as they are, and keep the exp, mana regen, flash, buff duration and CDR as they are. You should be able to see the reasons why you get each mastery, don't worry too much about this part. Basically any 9-0-21 mastery will be fine, I find this one to be the best.

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Skill Sequence

Here is where your skill sequence will be discussed. Skills 1-4 will be discussed in depth, and 5+ will be generally explained because it just follows a simple order.

The First Skill

Okay, So you chose to get Primal Surge / Swipe at level 1.
Why didn't you get Javelin Toss / Takedown or Bushwhack / Pounce?

The main reason why you choose to get Primal Surge first is so that you can safely focus on last hitting, without putting yourself into a position where you can be zoned.
  • Javelin Toss / Takedown is a bad first choice on Nidalee as it deals about the same amount of damage as your auto attack at this point, and costs a lot of mana for the damage it deals.

  • Bushwhack / Pounce however, can be a good choice as it can help your jungler a lot if you have one.
  • Simply place it directly underneath the jungle creep that your jungler is starting with and it will deal 80 + .4 of your AP damage, and reduce that jungle creep's armor and magic resist by 20% for 12 seconds.
    This will increase your jungler's jungling speed by quite a bit, and you don't even have to be nearby. You can place it as early as you want and then move to your lane, as it will trigger right as the creep spawns.
  • You can place Bushwhacks in places where they could give your jungler a heads up that an enemy is coming to gank.
  • Bushwhack helps you to scout bushes, and can be used to force enemy champions away from certain areas.

I might advise choosing Bushwhack if you are more than comfortable playing Nidalee, and you have a jungler on your team. Just make sure you pick up Primal Surge / Swipe at level 2.

The main reason why I wouldn't choose Bushwhack first is because it can hurt your ability to safely last hit minions, and you lose out on precious gold.

If you do choose Bushwhack first, Your skill sequence should be:
1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : and 6+ should be in the same order as the skill sequence up top.

So why did you choose Primal Surge first when Bushwhack is so good??

  • Most of the time, your jungler should be fine on his own, and you and your team should be guarding him if he starts at a commonly ganked area such as Blue Golem.
  • You can heal your jungler immediately as he initiates to give him the ATS buff.
    This isn't as helpful as placing a Bushwhack trap, but it isn't worth those few extra seconds of jungling speed if you are denied experience/gold in lane because you cannot heal yourself to a safe health.
  • If you are just starting to learn to play Nidalee, starting off with a heal makes mistakes more forgiving.
  • Your heal is needed so you are able to stay within experience range against aggressive early game champions such as Caitlyn or Xin Zhao.

If you are just starting to learn to play Nidalee, I strongly advise picking up Primal Surge / Swipe first.

The Second Skill

Okay, I can see why you chose to get Primal Surge first, but if Bushwhack is better than Javelin Toss, why did you get Javelin Toss second?

Well, the thing is, Bushwhack / Pounce was a better choice than Javelin Toss / Takedown at level 1, because of how it helps your jungler, and because it can scout the side bushes for you so you don't have to face check them. However, by the time you are level 2, you should know where your opponents are and Javelin toss is more useful to secure last hits and/or harass a bit. Also, most junglers do not gank until at least level 4, so you don't need the Bushwhack, especially since you shouldn't be extending too far anyways.

The Third Skill

For your third skill, you rank up your Primal Surge / Swipe because at rank 1, with the AP from your runes, masteries and Doran's Ring, Primal Surge only heals your for about 75-80. By leveling this up to rank 2, it will now heal for 110-115, and increase your sustainability in lane. Not to mention the ATS buff increase is nice.

Also, as mentioned above, you shouldn't be worrying too much about ganks until level 4, and you shouldn't be in a position to be ganked easily anyways. Therefore we don't need Bushwhack / Pounce yet.

We don't rank up Javelin Toss / Takedown yet because it is too mana inefficient to be using for damage, your auto attack is better for harass at this level, you need the mana for your heals, and because it is unlikely you will be getting any kills pre-level 6 without the help of a teammate. You also shouldn't be going for kills pre-level 6 as last-hitting is more important, and you really have no damage at this low level without Cougar Form.

The Fourth Skill

Okay, so we choose Bushwhack next mainly because at this point you should notice you only have two choices, Javelin Toss / Takedown, or Bushwhack / Pounce. We want all three of your skills before level 6, and if we choose Javelin Toss at level 4, we will be forced to choose Bushwhack at level 5 instead of your heal.

By choosing Bushwhack at level 4 you can have your heal at rank 3 when you hit level 5, and still have all your abilities for when you get Aspect Of The Cougar at level 6.

Not to mention, you can use Bushwhacks to alert you of incoming ganks. (See Nidalee Tips for more information on where to Bushwhack).

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

The Rest of your Skills

For the rest of your skill choices, you want to be ranking up Primal Surge / Swipe whenever you can, and then Javelin Toss / Takedown when you can't choose Primal Surge, and Bushwhack / Pounce if there are no other options. Not to mention ranking up Aspect Of The Cougar at levels 6,11, and 16.

Your heal is invaluable, and is much needed to keep you alive because you have very little health. It is more important than Javelin Toss simply because it is unreliable, not only because you can miss, but because it can be dodged. Also remember the Cougar-form parts of your skills, Swipe scales with AP while Takedown scales with AD. This is another reason why you level up Primal Surge / Swipe first (you are mainly AP). Bushwhack is nice, but it simply isn't as useful or as good as Primal Surge / Swipe and Javelin Toss / Takedown. This is why you level Bushwhack last. (You do need at least one level in Bushwhack / Pounce!! We get it at level 4. Pounce is a must-have!!).

Guide Top

Nidalee Patch Discussion

This build is designed for the new, post-nerf, Nidalee. Here are the exact changes that were made to Nidalee in the nerf.

Talon Patch Notes



Javelin Toss

Mana Cost reduced to 50/60/70/80/90 from 60/70/80/90/100
Cooldown reduced to 6 seconds from 7 seconds


May now be affected by Cooldown Reduction
Cooldown increased to 4 seconds from 3 seconds


Primal Surge

Mana cost adjusted to 60/80/100/120/140 from 65/70/75/80/85
Base heal adjusted to 50/85/120/155/190 from 60/90/120/150/180
Ability power ratio reduced to 0.7 from 1.25


Swipe ability power ratio increased to 0.4 from 0.2


Aspect Of The Cougar now grants 10/15/20 armor and magic resistance instead of 10% Dodge
Fixed several tooltip errors (especially those in Cougar form)

Okay, so when we look at these changes, we can see that they nerfed Nidalee's heal by decreasing the Ability Power ratio by a lot. We can also see that they made Nidalee's Javelin Toss cost less mana, and have a lower cooldown. They also buffed Swipe's Ability Power ratio and gave Cougar form Armor and Magic Resist instead of 10% dodge.

The Cooldown reduction and lower mana cost in Nidalee's Javelin Toss / Takedown allows us to throw more spears, and it makes it not as big of a deal when you miss. The Primal Surge / Swipe heal AP ratio nerf was meant to lead Nidalee players away from AP stacking and more towards a hybrid build approach. The Aspect Of The Cougar changes make Cougar Form's defenses more balanced, by replacing dodge with armor and magic resist. They also made Swipe have a higher AP ratio, and these two Cougar Form changes lead us to more Cougar Form combat than pre-patch.

Now, what does this mean for us Nidalee players?

If you look at these overall changes, Riot wants Nidalee to be more of a fighter and less of a support. They don't want Nidalee to just stand in the back, throw spears, and toss out heals. They want more Cougar Form combat and offensive combat in general.

9/13/11-Riven Patch Notes

Pounce cooldown reduced to 3.5 seconds from 4 seconds
Aspect Of The Cougar armor and magic resistance increased to 10/20/30 from 10/15/20
Traps (Teemo, Caitlyn, Nidalee) will now show the area they trigger in when cast

Cougar Form gets buffed again! Leads us to even more Cougar form combat. And yes they finally fixed those glitchy traps!

So, what should we build on Nidalee with these new changes?

Guide Top

Item Build Discussion

Item Build

Item Build Sequence

Item Sequence

Amplifying Tome

Boots of Speed

Hextech Revolver

Mercury's Treads

Needlessly Large Rod

Rabadon's Deathcap

Will of the Ancients


Lich Bane

Void Staff

Guardian Angel

________First of all, you should always start off the game by buying a Doran's Ring. There really is no alternative for Nidalee, as you receive a vitally needed 100 health, 15 Ability Power, and 5 mp5. Nidalee needs the health as she has very little health without it. The 15 Ability Power is needed for your heal to be worthwhile, and you need the mana regen in order to stay in lane with your heals.

Now, Why the Hextech Revolver?

Normally, when building Nidalee you might feel like you want to rush a Sheen or Rabadon's Deathcap. Now both of these things work on Nidalee, and you do want them when you are building Nidalee, but they aren't the most optimal items to get first, and here's why.

A Sheen provides +250 Mana +25 Ability Power and a UNIQUE Passive: When an ability is used, your base damage is increased by 100% for your next attack. This effect has a 2 second cooldown.

This is in fact really useful on Nidalee, but you have to remember, this is the first item you are getting. At this point in the game, you really don't need the extra 250 mana and you want more than 25 ability power from your first item. Also this early in the game, your base damage from your auto attack probably does around 60 damage. Sheen will make your attack do 120 damage instead of 60 after you use an ability. This is clearly something we want later game because it builds into Lich Bane, but it is not the optimal item we want right now.
Rabadon's Deathcap gives +140 AP and UNIQUE Passive: Increases Ability Power by 30%.

This is a great item on Nidalee, however you don't get it first simply because it costs too much and you really don't need that much AP that early in the game. Not to mention 30% of very little AP isn't very much more AP logically. This item is extremely good on Nidalee, however because of its high cost we wait to get it until after we have our upgraded boots, and Hextech Revolver.

The thing is, you CAN rush these items, however Hextech Revolver is just a better first item than either of these.

The Item you do want to get immediately before/after your Boots of Speed is Hextech Revolver.
This is why:
  • Nidalee's spells in Human form cost a lot of mana.
  • Hextech Revolver means your Javelin Toss, Bushwhack (when triggered), Takedown, Pounce, and Swipe all heal you for 15% of the damage done.
  • Hextech Revolver gives you +40 Ability Power and UNIQUE Passive: +15% Spell Vamp
  • Spell Vamp means you are healing yourself in-combat and aren't always waiting for your heal to come off cooldown. ( You can focus more on killing the guy )
  • This allows you to use less of your mana on healing yourself, and more mana to heal others, and deal damage.
  • Less mana use on heals means someone else on your team can use the Treasured "Blue Buff" (Although you should still try to always have Blue Buff if no one else needs it on your team)
  • This gives you 15 more AP than Sheen, and 15% Spell Vamp.
  • Sheen's Passive is based off of AD and you don't have much AD at this point in the game.
  • Hextech Revolver only costs 1200 gold
  • Sheen: 1250, Rabadon's Deathcap: 3600

Hextech Revolver is that early game item you want to get that will increase your damage and sustainability through more powerful abilities and in-combat healing while your heal is on cooldown, and/or you can't wait to switch to human form and back to heal. I felt like I needed to explain this completely and thoroughly because it isn't very common for you to see a Nidalee pick up Hextech Revolver as their first main item.

Why Mercury's Treads? Why not Sorcerer's Shoes or Ionian Boots of Lucidity?

Well, to be honest, nothing is wrong with choosing Sorcerer's Shoes it's just that more often than not I find myself in a position where I wished I had chosen Mercury's Treads instead. Ionian Boots of Lucidity is fine if there is very little CC, it’s just that these items are situational. Nidalee is extremely susceptible to Crowd Control (CC) and almost all of the time, there is going be some form of CC on the enemy team. The magic resist on Mercury's Treads is also nice to have. In my opinion, Ionian Boots of Lucidity is a lot better than Socerer's Shoes on Nidalee, because CD reduction also increases her mobility through shorter pounce CDs and that Nidalee doesn't want to be sitting around waiting for CDs because she has almost no damage without her abilities (another reason why we want shorter silences from Merc Treads). I advise against getting Sorcerer's Shoes.

To sum it all up, Mercury's Treads > Ionian Boots of Lucidity > Anything else.

We get Rabadon's Deathcap next because we are in need of ability power, and with this item, our Javelin Tosses and Cougar form abilities will hurt A LOT. This item also increases your self-healing by a lot, not only through Primal Surge / Swipe but also through the healing from Hextech Revolver because you will do more damage.

Here is where your items begin to get situational. Right now you want to increase your spell vamp from Hextech Revolver by upgrading it into a Will of the Ancients. Will of the Ancients helps nearby allied ability-using champions by giving them spell vamp.

Now, the long awaited Sheen -> Lich Bane.
Now it is time for Sheen to take its place in our precious build, only to be converted into Lich Bane after a short life.

Why do you put off buying Sheen for so long?

Well, simply because all of the items we have so far are more important on Nidalee at this point in the game than Sheen is.

Why shouldn't we have gotten Sheen earlier?

If you take a look at Sheen's UNIQUE PASSIVE, it causes your auto attack to deal 100% more base damage. This is hardly any extra damage at all on Nidalee in early game, and 25 AP is hardly any AP, the 250 mana is nice, but then again we have more important items to get first.

However, now is the time when we want Lich Bane. We have accumulated a good amount of AP at this point, and Lich Bane will be a huge increase to our damage.

For example, if you have 300 AP and you Pounce, Auto Attack an enemy, you deal ~300 dmg from Pounce, and then your Auto Attack dmg + 300 more from Lich Bane. Not to mention this can occur every 2 seconds. You have dealt ~750 dmg (- resistances) just with Pounce and an Auto Attack. This amazing increase to our damage is why we get Lich Bane next.

Why Void Staff?
This item makes Nidalee's late game spears hurt A LOT. If you land a Bushwhack / Pounce on them and you have this item, they will blow up because of how little Magic Resist they have. With this item you will do a lot more damage to the tankier champions, and the squishies will just blow up. Void Staff Makes you a lot more useful in team fights and that is why we get this item. NOTE: If you are quite fed and are carrying fairly hard then you can get this before Lich Bane. Lich Bane is good for whenever you will be in auto attack range, but Void Staff will significantly increase your damage from your harass spears and/or finisher spears. I am experimenting on whether or not this should be before Lich Bane as a default.

6th Item

For your 6th item, you want to get some sort of defensive item. Nidalee has very little health and resistances. This item here is situational but if you aren't sure you can pick up a Guardian Angel as this gives you both armor and magic resist, and a pretty cool Passive. What you want to get for a defensive item is a resistance item. You don't necessarily want a health item such as Rod of Ages because your self-healing "scales" with resistances, so you want an item with resistances.

What do you mean your self-healing scales with resistances??

Well for example, let’s say you are not at full health, and you heal yourself for 400 with Primal Surge / Swipe. When someone is damaging you they have to deal more than 400 damage to 'counter' your heal, because their damage done goes through your resistances. So let’s say they are dealing Physical damage, and you have 60% physical damage reduction from your armor. Instead of them having to deal 400 damage to return your health to where it was before you healed, they have to deal 666 damage instead of 400, and your heal is "increased" by 266. Getting an resistance item doesn't actually "increase" your heal by that much, but I was just comparing having no resistances to 60% physical damage reduction to give you an idea of how it works.

You want to get a Banshee's Veil or a Guardian Angel in most situations, and you can replace these with either a Zhonya's Hourglass if there is a lot of AD damage on the enemy team, or a Abyssal Mask if you are fed and carrying pretty hard. Banshee's Veil is great if there is a lot of AP on the enemy team. If there is an extreme amount of AD on the enemy team, picking up a Frozen Heart can make a big difference not only for you, but for your team with its aura. The CD reduction and mana are also nice.

You can in fact get a health based defensive item if you are getting burst down by someone like Leblanc, however, it just isn't as optimal, as a Banshee's Veil would be more useful in most cases. I wouldn't recommend any other defensive items however I am open to suggestions.

Also remember, YOU are the one playing and you should be seeing these things yourself and making your own decisions on what items to get. What I am trying to do with this guide is to give you a starting point that you can follow and understand, and to help you learn when you need to make changes to what items you are getting and what skills to level up first. By explaining the reasons why you choose certain items, and in what order you get those items, you can see alternative items, in game-specific situations. However, for the majority of your games, following this guide exactly as-is should be more than sufficient.

Guide Top

Early Game Mentality (1-5)

Okay, Here is the part that is really quite important. In the Laning Stage, your main goals as Nidalee are to:
1. Stay Alive (Obviously)
2. Stay within Experience Range
3. Last Hit Minions for gold
4. Harass Enemy Champions if they come into auto-attack range
5. Do not push your lane, try to keep the minion wave at the center of the lane (closer to your turret is better than closer to their turret, middle is optimal).
6. Defend Tower/Turret
7. Call out Mia's/Call for a gank from your jungler (If he is ready to gank)

These are your Priorities when you are playing Nidalee from the levels 1-5. Usually you want to be soloing top lane, but any lane situation is fine, and it doesn't change things too much.

First of all, the things you want to look for are:
1. Which lane are you in, and who are you laning with? (Simple, but important to know)
2. Who are you laning against, and what are their abilities?
3. How much AD, AP, Armor, Magic Resist, and Health do they have?
4. What is the range of their abilities/auto-attacks?
5. What items did they get?
6. What abilities are they leveling up first?

These things tell you how offensively/defensively you should be playing, and how much you should be focusing on harass compared to Last Hitting.

To make this simpler to explain, I will use an example instead of going over all of the possibilities. You should be able to figure it out as it all makes logical sense. However, you do need to take note of these things when you are laning.

Example Situation

1. Which lane are you in, and who are you laning with?

Okay I am in the Top lane by myself. This tells me I should already be playing quite passively as I have no laning partner.

2. Who are you laning against, and what are their abilities?

For this example, let’s say you are laning against a Mordekaiser. His abilities cost health and are mostly Melee rather than ranged. His auto-attacks are also melee. This tells me than at level 1, if I see him use his ability, I can move up to harass him a bit with my auto-attack while his ability is on CD. Please note that you do not want to chase him down the lane, as the enemy minions will attack you, once you attack him, and they can deal a lot of damage to you.

3. How much AD, AP, Armor, Magic Resist, and Health do they have?

Let’s say Morde has 65 AD, 12 AP, 40 Armor, 43 Magic Resist, and 560 Health. This tells you that generally, he will win in an auto attack battle (without abilities or kiting), so don't just stand there and have an auto attack battle if your heal is on CD (you won’t win).

4. What is the range of their abilities/auto-attacks?

His abilities and auto-attacks are all mainly within melee range, so if you see him coming into melee range, back off.

5. What items did they get?

Let’s say he picked up a Regrowth Pendant and a Health Potion. This means that he has quite a bit of regeneration, so you should prioritize last hitting even more over harass, as harass will not do much in the long term.

6. What abilities are they leveling up first?

With Mordekaiser, his abilities are all basically the same, general, melee-ranged abilities, However, if an Alistar is only leveling his heal, then you don't have to worry too much about damage.

Harass info:

Note your health and mana when you decide to harass. You want to stay between 90-100% health, and above 50% mana if you are not being harassed too hard. If you are getting harassed a lot, you should save all of your mana for your heals, and not harass with Javelin Toss / Takedown at all. If you are at high health/mana feel free to harass a bit, as you can heal up if you take any retaliation damage. You don't want to be staying at full mana, you should try to harass a bit(within reason) if you have full mana, because you can heal up any damage taken.

Last Hit and Zoning info:

Basically try to time your auto-attack so that you land the killing blow on each minion. Zoning is optional, hardly ever a good idea on Nidalee in levels 1-5 without a laning partner. More info in Video:

Early Game Summary:

LAST HIT and SURVIVE, Harass when possible. Your sustainability is what makes you so good in a solo lane. Last hit as much as possible, you need the gold. Harass is not your priority.

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Mid Game Mentality (6-14)

Now is when you can deal some real Damage. Also, please note, you shouldn't go back to Spawning Pool until at least level 6. Why? After level 6, you can get back into lane more quickly, and you want to buy your boots and Hextech Revolver at the same time if possible. Also, you shouldn't have to go back unless you had a teammate come in to gank, and you used up a lot of mana healing yourself, your teammate, and those spears trying to kill the enemy.
However, If you are oom, and have no health, yes you can return to spawning pool. Allowing yourself to be turret dived doesn't help you.

What’s great about Mid-Game Nidalee is that a lot of people really underestimate her Cougar-form damage. Your Pounce, Swipe, Takedown combo is really insane at this level. I took out 40% of an unsuspecting Yorick's health just with that combo at level 6. And what’s even better is whether or not they underestimate your damage in cougar form, they should have backed-off a bit, relieving pressure, and allowing you to free-farm minions with pounce, swipe, Takedown (which is what you want).

This harass strategy works especially well against melee champions. If you are in top or bottom lane, go in the bushes on the edge of the map, and when they come into range, trying to farm, walk out a bit with your increased movement speed from Prowl and Aspect Of The Cougar, then immediately pounce, swipe, then takedown them for some nice harass, then immediately back away. Most of the time, people will turn and run away, allowing you to back off while your abilities are on cooldown. If they are any good, they will continue attacking you as you run away, attempting to even out the damage done. However, you should be able to just heal it up with Primal Surge / Swipe, and the healing from your abilities with Hextech Revolver (pounce, swipe minions to heal yourself a bit and to farm). Also note, if they continue to attack you after your harass combo, you should be able to turn around and swipe, takedown them again, and then turn back around to run, and pounce away.

By the way, If they don't come into range while you are in the bushes, this is your chance to free-farm gold. This also means you can most-likely zone them, because they are too afraid of your damage to come close. (Again, please be aware whenever you extend past the middle of the lane. Make sure you know where the enemy team is, and if a few of them are missing, double check if you have ghost and flash to aid you in your getaway.) (More info on Running/Chasing/Juking under Nidalee Tips).
When you are trying to zone someone, simply stand between them and their minions, preferably in human form so you have a bigger zoning range with your auto attacks and Javelin Toss. This also means your pounce should be off cooldown should you need it. You can just switch to Cougar form, and pounce away. Try to last hit while Zoning, and if you are going to farm in cougar form, try to stay closer to your side of the lane, as your pounce will be on cooldown quite often.

Another interesting thing about Mid Game is that small team fights begin to occur. If you see a 3v3 team fight down in bot lane, and no one is defending top, now is your time to push your lane. Try to kill as many minions in cougar form, and when you get to the turret, takedown the turret before switching to Human form, healing yourself for the attack speed buff, and burning down the turret. Having Guinsoo's Rageblade at this time will significantly increase your ability to kill a turret if you chose to get this item. You should also place a Bushwhack in the river bush, which can give you a heads-up if an enemy is coming.(See Backdoor/Pushing for more info).

If you are running from an enemy, try to run through the bushes to increase your movement speed, also pounce on CD (unless there is an upcoming wall you are planning to pounce over), and stay in Cougar form unless your health drops dangerously low. Do not be afraid to pop your flash and ghost, and there is also the option of 1v1ing the champion away from the turret if you can see that all four enemy champions are elsewhere on the map. You should check their level compared to yours, their items, and summoner spells when deciding whether or not to fight them (don't forget to run! only do this if you have time while running). In some cases you may survive fighting but may die trying to run. This is especially true with your Hextech Revolver. You should think about this when making a decision about running vs. fighting. Even if you do not kill them, they may back off if you deal a significant amount of damage to them.
Nidalee isn't the best ganker because of her lack of CC, but you can also pick up kills in other lanes by opening with a Javelin Toss, and Pouncing-in in Cougar form, allowing your teammate to provide the CC.

Pushing lanes:
You want to try to push and farm as much as you can during this stage of the game. You don't necessarily have to be pushing your lane either, helping an AD teammate push their turret can be significantly faster, as your attack speed buff will increase the rate at which they can kill the turret. If there is a Team fight somewhere, tell your teammates to try to make it a stalemate at your turret, because at this level, the turret is still quite intimidating. Then you can push another lane, most-likely bringing 2 enemy champions in your direction allowing your teammates to try to initiate a 4v3 team fight. You should be able to escape with all of your mobility, just don't wait too long to start running if you see them coming, or if you just suspect they are coming. (More info on Backdooring/Pushing here: Backdoor/Pushing).

Mid Game Summary: Try to farm as much as possible (this includes the jungle), and try to push a lane, and get a turret kill.

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Late Game Mentality (15-18)

This is when a lot of the serious Team fighting occurs, turrets are no longer as intimidating, and it takes more than one person to hold a lane. During this stage of the game, you want to stop going off on your own to push lanes/turrets, as it is too easy to be ganked, and turrets aren't as big of a deal as team fights. Ex: If your team loses a team fight, because you weren't there, and 2 of the enemy team survive, they will be able to push turrets down faster than you, and their team just got a gold advantage.
During this stage of the game, you want to try to stick with your team, and farm only in-between team fights. If you have the feeling a team fight is going to occur soon, try to get back to your team before it does. Your heals and damage make a difference, and placing a Bushwhack under their tank will decrease their tank's armor and magic resist by 40%, potentially turning the tide of the battle.
This is getting into the Team fight Mentality Section, so I’ll get to the Late Game Summary.

Late Game Summary: Try to stick with your team, and farm only in-between team fights.

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Team Fight Mentality

Before the team fight actually occurs, you want to make sure you have Blue Buff if possible. This allows you to toss a lot of harass spears while both teams are waiting for someone to initiate, and lower their health before the team fight even begins. You should also be healing up any harass damage taken on your team, and placing Bushwhack / Pounces around the place where you think the team fight will occur. Even just having 2 of the 5 enemy team champions step on these during the team fight can make a huge difference. It is a lot easier to kill someone when they have 40% reduced armor and magic resist. Not to mention this armor and magic resistance reduction lasts 12 seconds.
A tank with 200 armor and magic resist will have 80 less armor and magic resist. You have just removed the resistances they receive from Force of Nature and Randuin's Omen for 12 seconds, what a waste of 5.6k gold :O. This places them in a position where they have less resistances than you. Have your team ENJOI!

During Team fights, you generally want to wait until the first round of spells are done, usually ~3secs into the real team fight, before entering the fight in Cougar form. The reason is quite simple: you are very squishy, so you wait a bit until most of the enemies' abilities are on CD. During this time, you should be healing whoever is getting targeted, and trying to place down a Bushwhack / Pounce under a heavy resistance enemy champion. Also before you move in to deal some damage in Cougar form, try to hit one of the squishies in the back with Javelin Toss / Takedown. They should be fairly preoccupied and most likely will not dodge it. This allows your anti-carry if you have one, to move in and secure the kill easier. If you don't have a good angle to one of the squishies, just hit anyone with your Javelin Toss / Takedown before you move in, you don't want to just sit around when your team is fighting. Try to spend an even amount of time in Human form and Cougar form. During the team fight, you want to be using your abilities on CD for the most part, as you shouldn't just be dealing damage in Cougar form, and at the same time you shouldn't just be healing and Spear spamming in Human form. You want to try to use your heal on CD because someone on your team should need it, and your Cougar form abilities have cooldowns too.
Basically, Spear until combat starts, then Bushwhack, heal, Spear, Cougar, Pounce, Swipe, Takedown, Human, Heal, Spear, Bushwhack, Cougar, etc.

Heal priority is: You > Tank > Carry > Anyone else.
Optimal Cougar Form rotation: Pounce, Swipe, Attack(Lich Bane), Takedown

When switching between Human and Cougar form, you may notice you have to move a lot because you are ranged and squishier in Human Form, and you are melee and have more resistances in Cougar form. You shouldn’t worry too much about getting the max-range Javelin Toss / Takedown during a team fight, the main thing is that it hits. So if you aren't getting focused you should try to stay pretty close to the fight, so when you switch back into cougar form, you won’t just be chasing the whole time. Also, do not be afraid to use Pounce to get closer to fleeing enemies. You don't have to reserve it for damage. During Team fights, most of your kills will be in Cougar form. The Javelin Toss kills in Team fights are unlikely because there are other people in the way, possibly minions in the way, and you should be chasing enemies in Cougar form for the most part. You should be getting spear kills if, it’s off cooldown, and you have the shot, or if a fleeing enemy is faster than you. You should be trying to stay with them in cougar form, but if you notice they are going to get away, switching to Human form and landing the Javelin Toss can get you the kill.

If you are the one getting targeted, for your defensive item you should try to get a Zhonya's Hourglass this can save you from their anti-carry, while your team tries to kill them. Also, please note, Nidalee is very Team-reliant late game. She isn't a carry, and therefore you cannot carry your team with her. (You might be able to at lower levels, and in some 30 games, but for the most part, you aren't a 1v5-ing Xin Zhao). You CAN however help your team significantly through your heals, damage, and nice resistance-reducing traps. The point here is not to try to do it all by yourself, Nidalee is indeed a support at her basics. This doesn't take away from the fact that she can deal a lot of damage, and pick up kills. Nidalee is one of the most versatile champions in the game, and that is one of the reasons why playing Nidalee is so fun.

This may make it sound like I am telling you to only heal, but that is not what I am trying to say. What I want to say is that you should heal as often as you can, because you can heal, and your team will need it. All the other time not spent healing, you should be dealing damage, and your Hextech Revolver/ Hextech Gunblade/ Will of the Ancients should allow you to use your Primal Surge / Swipe more on your teammates, rather than always needing it for yourself.

Team Fight Summary: Try to use your abilities whenever you can, Primal Surge / Swipe in particular. Try to stay alive and keep your teammates alive, both by dealing damage and by healing.

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I'll keep this short and simple. You should only Backdoor/Push on your own during Mid Game. Also, when you do decide to Push, check to see where the enemy Champions are. You don't want to get ganked. Also check to see if you have Ghost and/or Flash. This can allow you to stay a little longer to secure a turret kill, even if you see an enemy coming. Also make sure to heal yourself on CD for the ATS buff when trying to push a turret. If a teammate that has more AD than you is helping you push, heal them instead, as it will help you kill the turret faster. Another cool trick when pushing an unguarded turret is to move in in Cougar form, Pounce in, and Takedown the turret before switching to Human form and healing yourself for the ATS.

The main thing is that you do not push early game (don't have pounce to get away quickly), and that you don't push alone late game (Too easy to be ganked, sticking with your team is more important). [Split Pushing is an exception, but if you ever are split pushing, you probably know what you are doing anyways].
Don't worry too much about split pushing, it’s just when you have your team push several lanes, because the enemy team is just turret hugging the tower you are trying to push. It forces the enemy to defend several lanes, making their defenses weaker in the main lane you are trying to push.

Backdoor/Pushing Summary: Only do this during Mid Game, early game you want to focus on farming, and Late game you want to stick with your team.

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'Blue Buff'

You want to have blue buff as much as possible.

How to get Blue Buff, the fast way.

You can get blue buff as early as level 6 if you have your Hextech Revolver. Open by placing a Bushwhack / Pounce directly underneath the blue golem. Once it triggers, throw a max-range Javelin Toss, heal yourself for the attack speed, then pounce on the golem, swipe, and immediately takedown. Complete another rotation of Pounce, Swipe, Takedown, then switch back to Human-form. Bushwhack underneath golem again, heal yourself, and throw another spear, but this time just a close-range one, and after Bushwhack triggers(-40% armor and mr). Then morph back into Cougar-form, and unleash your Pounce, Swipe, Takedown combo all over again. Rinse and Repeat, switching forms until it is dead. You can just clean up the little guys with your Cougar form abilities if your pounces and swipes haven't killed them yet.
Note: Only switch to Human form if you are in need of a heal, or if Bushwhack has come off CD. Cougar form gives you more armor and mr, and is your main source of damage.

Do not be afraid to use your human form abilities when killing blue golem, once you obtain it, your mana will regenerate.
If you are going for blue golem while you are OOM (out of mana), then Bushwhack is your priority Human-form spell. The 40% armor and mr reduction will help you kill it a lot faster in Cougar form. This is assuming you are not going to die without your heal. If you are low-health then yes prioritize your heal over the Bushwhack. Obviously do not attempt to kill the blue golem if you are going to die from it.

Blue Buff means more spears, heals and bushwhack traps. Hitting that Vayne in the back for 60% of her health before the team fight occurs is a rarity, but with blue buff you can try all day without running out of mana. You can also heal up any other harass from the enemy team with the lower CDs and mana-regen you get from this awesome buff. Bushwhack all over the place too (except where the minions walk)! Getting the enemy team to walk on these during the team fight is quite essential. With Blue buff you can spam your useful abilities all day, and that is the reason why it is so great for you to have. It also means more mobility because of the lower CD on Pounce.

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Nidalee Tips

Pouncing over Walls

Because you can pounce over small walls, you can use these walls to aid in your chasing/escaping, and just overall mobility.

When attempting this, right-click to move right to the edge of the wall before Pouncing over it. Do not click on the other side of the wall, because Pounce works based on the direction you are facing, and this will turn you away from the wall. You will learn the more you do it.

Where to Bushwhack

You can Bushwhack anywhere but here are some good areas to place your Bushwhack. (Mirror Places on other half of map.)

Bushwhack Summary and Neat Tip

Basically you want to Bushwhack anywhere that enemy champions are likely to walk, but minions aren't. In lanes, this would be on the sides of the lane.

A neat trick to wall off one side of the lane is to place a Bushwhack in the small space between the turret and side wall. (See Below). This will force them to only walk on one side of the lane or to walk over your trap.

Cougar-Form Tips

The max-dps rotation in Cougar-Form is Pounce, Swipe, Attack(Lich Bane), Takedown.
Takedown deals more damage the lower health the enemy is so you use it last.
Also, when farming in Cougar form, if you are auto-attacking minions while your abilities are on cooldown, you want start walking away from the minions about .5 seconds before your Pounce ability comes off CD. Once it does, click back on the Minions and immediately Pounce. This way, you will land on the minions when you Pounce instead of pouncing over them. Basically you are backing up before you pounce, so you pounce ON the minions and not over them. Remember you can pounce over things like Anivia's wall and Jarvan's Ult. It's nice to be able to pounce out of Jarvan's Cataclysm, it’s not fun in there with him :S. Your Cougar-Form Abilities cost No Mana. These are the abilities you want to be using when you are farming. This also allows you to be healing yourself with Spell Vamp without the mana cost of an ability.

Landing Spear Shots

The basic rules for landing your Javelin Toss are:
---If they are stationary, throw it directly at them.
---If they are moving in one direction, lead your shot ahead of them so that it meets them when they get there.
---If they are pacing back and forth, Throw it right behind them (if they are moving right, throw it just left of them, so the middle of the spear would hit the left edge of their body and vice versa). They will most-likely try to dodge it, by clicking away from where they are going, and run right into it.
---If they are moving erratically and randomly, try to see if they are moving in any sort of pattern and throw your spear predicting where they will move.
---If they are running away from you and running parallel and close to a nearby wall, throw it just right of them if the wall is on the left, and just left of them if the wall is on the right. It is difficult for them to quickly click in-between themselves and the wall to dodge it, and if they don't dodge it you will hit them, and if they click over the wall, you will most-likely still hit them. (I will try to upload a picture explaining this more clearly).

Also, if you aren't in their sight, they will be unprepared to dodge it. Throwing spears into the lane from the jungle is a good way to make the shot easier. Before you throw the spear, you can place a Bushwhack over the wall so that it will give you .5-1 seconds of vision on the other side of the wall to see where they are. Then try to throw your spear to hit them based on where you saw them. You could also use Clairvoyance if you chose to get this Summoner Spell.

I hate to use this as a teaching device on how to land spear shots, but watch this video and see how they lead their shots, and use Clairvoyance / Bushwhack to gain vision of where enemy champions are. There are a lot of examples of them leading their shots and using Clairvoyance but at 1:45 there is an example of using Bushwhack for vision to land a Spear shot. You may have to watch it multiple time to see this. Watch in full screen 720p.

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Here are some scores you might expect by following this guide. Yes I have some defeats, I won't pretend I don't.

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  • Guide Started
  • Added Riven Patch notes changes to Nidalee
  • Guide Name change (Any ideas for a better guide name?)
  • Added Pounce Screen shots under Nidalee Tips
  • Added Emphasis on Nidalee's Bushwhack under Abilities because it is much underestimated.
  • Added Frozen Heart under your 6th Item choice as a viable defensive item. Thanks to Vort for the Frozen Heart idea!
  • Added Bushwhack Screen shots.
  • For some strange reason I have the habit of saying Ravage when I mean to say Takedown. I am not sure why as Ravage is a skill on Evelynn and I have about 3 games played as Evelynn. Anyways I fixed this.
  • Added Game history Screen Shots. Main Guide Completed. Added a second viable build. Removed second viable build.
  • Ran a Spell Check.
  • I have been quite busy, I added a few more recent games played as Nidalee.
  • Added a section on Blue Buff.
  • Excuse my math, 300 Armor and MR with 40% reduction is 180 Armor and MR. I multiplied 300 by .4 instead of 300-(300*.4). Silly me :S I fixed this. Made the example 200 so it would still come out to 120 after the reduction.
  • 86% Rating! THANKS GUYS!!
  • Added Takedown in the abilities that you receive health back from spell vamp. I was unaware of the fact that abilities that scale with AD and deal physical damage still give you spell vamp. Apparently spell vamp works with all abilities (except those that apply on-hit effects), summoner spells, and even Item Actives :O.
  • Included how to keep your Guinsoo's Rageblade stacks at 8, under "Guinsoo's Rageblade" in "Item Build Discussion".
  • Guide Format Change In Progress.
  • Changed Summoner Spells to Exhaust Flash, from Ghost Flash. I decided Exhaust is more useful in team fights, and that is where it really matters.
  • Formatted Changes list. Guide format still in progress.
10/4/11: 10/8/11: 10/11/11:
  • Made some progress formatting/editing Item Build Discussion
  • Finished formatting Item Build Discussion

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Final Notes

Credit for Youtube videos to Youtube video owners. If you do not wish for me to use your videos in my guide simply PM me asking me to remove them.

Special thanks to Jhoijhoi for her guide on making a guide. There are great tips on improving your guide there. You can check out her guide on making a guide here.

9/19/11- I am planning a format change to my guide and I will update it once it's decided. I hope to make my guide easier to read and more organized with this format change.

Any Suggestions?
Guide Name Suggestions? I am looking for a more catchy Guide name.
- Nidalee Tips
--- Anything else you want tips on? Post a comment below.

Check out my Dominion guide for Karthus here!
Epic Kog'Maw Dominion Build Here!

Don't forget to post any comments or ideas for me to add to this guide. Thank you for reviewing my guide and I hope it serves you well.