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Nidalee Build Guide by Ohrlol

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Ohrlol

Talon-Era Nidalee

Ohrlol Last updated on August 25, 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: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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TO DO List

This guide is unfinished. This is a list of what's still missing. I decided to publish this before anyone else does.

TO DO List:
- Finish champion-specific guides
(i'd be happy to add any other champions you have trouble laning against)
- Add General Laning Phase Video & Commentary
- Add Class-specific Laning Phase Video & Commentary
- Add Ward and trap placement pictures
- Add Teamfight poking Video & Commentary
- Clean up
- Anything else?

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First, the patch notes on nidalee:
* Javelin Toss
o Mana Cost reduced to 50/60/70/80/90 from 60/70/80/90/100
o Cooldown reduced to 6 seconds from 7 seconds
* Pounce
o May now be affected by Cooldown Reduction
o Cooldown increased to 4 seconds from 3 seconds
* Primal Surge
o Mana cost adjusted to 60/80/100/120/140 from 65/70/75/80/85
o Base heal adjusted to 50/85/120/155/190 from 60/90/120/150/180
o 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)

As you see they reduced the scaling on healing, upped the mana cost on it and slightly buffed spear and a few cat form abilities.
After this change nidalee may no longer sustain the lane for ever by healing herself constantly due to the low heals and horrible mana cost.

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I do get some criticism on these but I find them working pretty well for me.
X AP Quints
O Armor Pen Reds
O Dodge Yellows
O Flat AP Blues

Even though cougar doesn't provide with additional dodge I use these very well when I have to buy ninja tabi. You can also swap the yellows for armor since you'll usually face physical damage dealers up top.

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Item build

Boots + 3 health potions (absolute MUST)

Doran's ring will make you fail your lane miserably. It used to be the better choice when you depended on your E to keep yourself full hp. Now with the healing changes your health regeneration comes mostly from the three potions and being able to avoid damage by having boots very early game.

Needlessly Large Rod

Buying this first will make you insta-win your lane if you get it as fast as 6-7 minutes into the game. You'll build your deathcap from this later on.

Ninja Tabi/Merc treads

After a lot of teamfights you begin to understand that you spend very little time in the heat of the fight as you're too busy topping people off and hurling spears. With that said you may decide to get ninja tabi if you're laning against a physical damage dealer and the opposing team doesn't have a truckload of cc. Always prioritize merc treads if the enemy has more cc than you can handle though. Both choices are good but ninja tabi will help you a ton in lane as it gives additional armor and dodge chance.

Rabbadon's Deathcap

At this point I would just quite my good old friend who kept saying "Just rush deathcap dude". This is what you'll be doing. You should get this along with boots or after you get your rank2 boots, not before. Not being able to roam around the map fast enough will make your deathcap less useful than it can be

Guinsoo's Rageblade

I usually insta-buy it once I have 2,3k saved up after my boots and cap. Once you buy this your spears will easily get any carry or support down to 60-40% hp with a single hit if you maintain your 8 stacks. The second you buy this you should be the biggest threat in teamfights with your godlike poking.


This will help you out a lot when fighting in small fights (up to 2 people). With sheen your Q should be hitting anywhere between 500 and 750 on half-health targets.

Giant's Belt

Your first survivability item. It should let you engage teamfights in catform without dying instantly.

Lich Bane

More ap is never a bad choice. Magic resist doesn't hurt either.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter

Your poke now slows! A must for any heavy ap item collector. In all seriousness this will ruin the day for any carry or support on the enemy team. Not only they just lost half of their health but they can't get out of a bad position fast enough. Not to mention the massive survivability boost that comes with the health you gain.

Zhonya's Hourglass

The perfect defensive-offensive item to finish your build. With this you'll no longer fear of being focused at all. You want to use this the second the enemy team focuses you in a teamfight. Make sure you're in cougar form first and your cooldown on heal and human form is ready. The second the effect wears off you'll want to pounce away (or flash if necessary), leave cougar and heal yourself before re-engaging the fight. Remember, every second the enemy team wastes focusing you your team is doing precious damage.


I do rarely pick it up right after I get deathcap and start roaming. I do this only when I'm completely dominating my lane and I want to end the game fast. Having the regular item build with mejais instead of lichbane you'll have around 900 ap with baron buff, 20 stacks of mejais and 8 stacks of rageblade. This means your max range spears would hit for around 1700 damage on a 0 magic resist target. Don't rely on mejais though, if the game doesn't end fast enough and you have less than 14 stacks you'd rather have lichbane for the additional cougar Q damage and magic resist.

Tear of goddess?

Never EVER buy this item. The second you buy this you lose your lane. Even though You'll be able to heal a lot more you've just lost all the pressure as you'll be behind in items without your NLR at 7 minutes. The hardest part about laning with Nidalee now is being able to sustain without help of any means of regenerating your mana. This is what makes or breaks your laning phase. If you can't sustain your lane until you get NLR (and do it fast enough) you shouldn't be reading this guide and you shouldn't even be playing nidalee as you'll be less than useless to your team. By buying any non-ap item you really quickly fall behind in poke damage and your pokes will easily be outhealed by the enemy support, while your heals will be weaker as well.

Rod of ages?

As you should already know rod of ages means less burst more sustain. And by the time you get this you already need to have insane burst 3 minutes ago. Sustaining is where you use your ability to play the champion as there's no room for failure at this part of Nidalee's gameplay style.

Void Staff?

Void staff is a cheap and low-reward item. You may swap your lichbane for a voidstaff late game if the enemy team is stacking massive magic resist, though this is rarely the case for your primary targets (like carries and the support).

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Lane phase

Due to the massive changes on Nidalee her entire playstyle has shifted from passive into aggressive. You no longer sit back farm cs and push your lane whenever someone's not there. The only way to win the lane now is to constantly harass your enemy while maintaining your creep wave close enough to your tower to avoid easy ganks on you.
Your goal in this phase is to manage your mana and health potions to be able to save up 1600 gold before you can go back. This does take some practice but following a few rules makes this a hell of a lot easier.
1. Avoid any and all damage that is possible to avoid
2. Harass the enemy champion constantly while avoiding creep aggro.
3. Getting cs is more important than harassing. The sooner you get 1600, the easier it will be and the stronger you'll become.
4. Do not push, not even if their champion is missing. The only time you need to push is when you've gathered your 1600 gold so you can safely go back without having to worry about your tower.
5. Never stay at full mana. If you have full mana heal yourself, if you're topped off - try to land a spear for that extra harassment or place a trap in the bush for protection from ganks.

Champions you do NOT want to lane against going from hardest to easiest: Mordekaiser, Garen, Teemo, Udyr, any and all ranged AD carries.

So lets take it from the top. You start by getting yourself boots, 3 pots and skilling into E. You help out your jungler and you're off to your top lane. Start harassing them immediately while not forgetting to get cs. Prioritize cs to harassing but only last hit and do not push. As you level up start maxing Q first putting 1 point into W at level 4 (R>Q>E>W). By the time you hit level 6 your opponent has to run out of all of his pots and be running low on health. Once he gets below 60-70% and you hit 6, you begin to plot your first kill. Start moving into position to land a mid-range spear (don't risk max range at this point). If you don't land the spear just wait for cooldown but keep harassing with autoattack and farming cs. Once you do land the spear and he drops to 40-50%, go cat form and do your standard W>E>Q combo followed by ignite and another spear if needed. This might take some practice. This should land you an easy kill without a gank needed.
Some champions you simply can't harass low enough to be able to kill. Either way once you obtain 1600 gold push your lane while making sure you're not about to be ganked (trap in bush or seeing their jungler somewhere else on the map). Once you push to their tower jump into your bush and immediately go get your needlessly large rod. At this point you should be able to easily sustain your lane due to decent heal scaling and lower mana cost (due to it being not max rank). Don't completely rely on the heal though. If you have spare money get a ward for yourself and perhaps even some pots if you're that rich. This should be done at about minute 6-8.
At this point you should start dominating your lane and be expecting a gank soon from their team. Make sure the opponent doesn't see that you have a ward placed though, so they waste time trying to gank you, which honestly won't happen if you have flash up. Once the ganker leaves give it another 30 seconds until you unleash your massive pushing power and ask for a gank top yourself. Even if you don't get a kill you will definitely get their tower down. You should be the first one who finishes their laning phase by getting your tower down. Save up for boots and a blasting wand before going back. If your lane is really pushed start counter jungling and assisting mid. You shouldn't be going bot since your tower is vulnerable as you don't have teleport. Once mid tower goes down mid-game phase starts.

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Champion-Specific Laning


Oh God, save us all. This guy is your complete counter and any good Mordekaiser will win the lane against you. You have to be an exceptional Nidalee player to be able to beat this champion, however I will provide a strategy that usually works if you're facing average players.

You will only be stronger than him harass-wise up to level 3. At that point you'll not be able to break his shield if he's any good. Your only chance of winning the lane against him is getting him down to 40% hp before he's level 3. This is insanely difficult, however possible. You have to never stop attacking him whenever his shield is below 50%. Your hits should remove 30-40% of his shield. Make sure to count his cooldowns on his abilities and do the most damage while his abilities are on cooldown.

Avoiding his E is cruicial. There is one good method of forcing him in a bad position. By standing to the side of your creeps you force him to either never hit you with it (which is good) or only hit you and gain very little shield (which is even better as long as you stay healthy). If he abuses his E on you you should be able to get him very low health by the time he hits level 3. At this point you beg your jungler for a gank. and you start baiting him (pretty easy when you have a heal and pots) once your jungler is in position.

If you get a kill on morde you'll be equal to him and won't have much trouble laning, especially once you hit 6.
If you don't get a kill on him and not even force him to go back before he wanted you will lose your lane and there's nothing you (alone) can do about it.
This is why you don't want a Mordekaiser on the enemy team. You either pick Nidalee once you're sure you won't face him or you ban him if you want to get Nidalee firstpicked.


To be added.


To be added.


To be added.


To be added.

Any ranged AD carry

To be added.

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Mid-game phase

Now both teams will start going into teamfights more often. Try getting yourself blue before every teamfight or at least topping yourself off on mana. Your role in teamfights is to use your spears for the massive poke damage. You will want to position yourself outside of the enemies line of sight. If a fight is about to start at your mid tower then you go into the bushes just above the tower (next to blue buff) and start hurling your spears at their squishies. Tanks should take a decent chunk of damage as well in this phase. Always prioritize hitting the same target as many times as you can. You may even get a kill this way due to the massive nerf on all support healing. Once you get a few people below 60% hp or get one enemy really low your tank should engage and you should immediately heal him after he takes some damage, switching to cougar and trying to finish off the squishies. Don't rush into the fight. You may even land another spear before going in. Your job is to go in "unnoticed" and take down their squishies while staying alive and healing people after every secon cougar burst combo. You basically want to pounce in, do your burst then fall back, heal your team mates, throw a spear and pounce in again. If you stay in the middle of the teamfight too long you will definitely be focused and taken down in a matter of seconds.

Outside teamfights you want to roam the whole map topping people off and harassing lanes, spamming traps in often used routes in the enemy jungle and counterjungling. Helping your support to ward their jungle is also a good idea. Don't forget to come back to your lane once in a while and push it as hard as you can. You should be completely safe as long as you have wards placed in the right spots (picture to be added).

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Late-game phase

Warding baron is not 100% safe due to the enemy support having oracle and clearing wards constantly. Make sure to place a trap at the entrance to baron and refresh it every time it goes down. This makes it impossible for the enemy to engage on baron without getting noticed and your support can save his cv on other things. You should do the same with dragon and, if you're nearby, their blue and red buffs. You also want a trap in the bush next to their wraiths.
At this phase you should always hang with your teammates and sit back, taking your poking position every time. Hotshot made an excellent example of the poking position in a match versus sk. You can view it here: The poking position is shown at 2:10 though I recommend watching the whole thing.

Late-game team fights are almost identical to mid-game ones. Except you play a bigger role here after the patch. Since the supports can no longer outheal your barrage of spears if you have blue buff on you, you can easily land 4-8 back-to-back spears before engaging making it an uphill battle for your opponents as they're already low. Your other primary role is to keep everyone topped off as you can spamheal massive amounts with the blue buff and your large stack of ability power.

I don't recommend using traps to harass. They do minimal damage, reduce enemy attributes for a short while and give you vision. However they also have an incredibly short range. About three times shorter than your spear.

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This section will show what you should be able to do at what time. I'll also post my own personal records from ranked.

If you match/beat these times it indicates you're doing well in your lane
7:30 - Buy Large Rod
17:30 - Buy Deathcap and boots
18:00-22:00 - Get your tower down

Personal records in ranked
6:10 - Large Rod
15:20 - Deathcap and boots
12:00 - Tower down

If you match or beat the records you will be able to carry the game all the way until late game. If you do get these times you should try and finish the game at 25-30 minutes in as you'll have an insane advantage over every other lane (unless it's fed).

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Additional notes

- If your neither your jungler nor your ap carry don't need blue always grab one for yourself.
- Always maintain 8 stacks of your rageblade, especially when poking.
- Always drink a potion in early game if you're at 50% hp and your mana is below 70% instead of healing with E.
- Don't rely on ganks to get a kill in early-game as Nidalee's main strength is forcing the game to become 4v4 while top is being heavily harassed all the way to mid-game. Other lanes could use those ganks a lot more.
- Only ask for a gank when you're ready to take their tower down. Even if the gank fails, the tower shouldn't stand for long with two people pushing fast.
- If you do have to go back before getting 1600 gold buy a dorans ring if you're having trouble laning and never forget to keep enough potions to sustain your lane till you get your rod.