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Nidalee The Beastial Huntress or "Oooh pretty kitteh... OMG NOT THE FACE!"

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Junior Member


Hi everyone, first guide here so be gentle. The idea behind the way I play Nidalee is to build her emphasizing the strengths of her abilities with AP and movement without forgetting that she's still going to do a lot of melee. Harassment is the name of the game here. Hitting the opposition in your lane with javelins at every chance, keeping them low and vulnerable so when the chance for you to pounce their face comes it's already too late. Be aggressive but smart, you need a lot of money and items to be the dominant jungle cat that lurks inside you. A well played Nidalee can solo mid as well as anyone and will really excel with a good team. Keeping that in mind I'm sure there's better ways out there but through trial and error it works for me.

Summoner Spells:

Clarity - I take this because at any level it's almost a full bar of mana back. Great in the early game to let you harass with spear and heal yourself or lane partner as needed. If you're laning against a champion who limits your ability to farm in cougar this will also help you mid game stay in your lane with more heals, faster farming and harassing javelins. Through the whole game it's a great support spell for almost any team composition and has saved my life more than a few times when a heal was needed now.

Ghost - There's the obvious benefit of hauling out of a bad situation but without teleport you're going to be walking everywhere. Once you've got your mobility maxed out you can pop ghost to get across the map in a heartbeat, run down an enemy, or (my personal favorite) get close enough to nail a dying champion with a javelin at the last possible moment.

Of course teleport, rally and exhaust are valid options too but that will naturally depend on your playstyle. Heal, flash and fortify are the only ones I would really say are absolutely off-limits. You have a very cheap, powerful heal on a short CD that has a built in buff. Flash is not nearly as effective with Nidalee as ghost, especially when you can cover almost the same distance with pounce. Fortify is a great summoner spell but with your farming ability you need to be pushing and on the attack as much as possible.


Deadliness 3/3
Archmage's Savvy 3/3
Sorcery 4/4
Alacrity 4/4
Archaic Knowledge 1/1
Sunder 2/3
Lethality 3/3
Havoc 1/1

Perseverance 3/3
Haste 1/1
Awareness 4/4
Insight 1/1

Skill Order:

1) Q - Javelin Toss/Takedown (1)
2) E - Primal Surge/Swipe (1)
3) E - Primal Surge/Swipe (2)
4) Q - Javelin Toss/Takedown (2)
5) W - Bushwhack/Pounce (1)
6) R - Aspect of the Cougar (1)
7) E - Primal Surge/Swipe (3)
8) Q - Javelin Toss/Takedown (3)
9) E - Primal Surge/Swipe (4)
10) E - Primal Surge/Swipe (5)
11) R - Aspect of the Cougar (2)
12) Q - Javelin Toss/Takedown (4)
13) Q - Javelin Toss/Takedown (5)
14) W - Bushwhack/Pounce (2)
15) W - Bushwhack/Pounce (3)
16) R - Aspect of the Cougar (3)
17) W - Bushwhack/Pounce (4)
18) W - Bushwhack/Pounce (5)

I start off with Javelin Toss to harass and keep the enemy at guessing and from getting any funny ideas. After that the two ranks of Primal Surge which will keep you alive and in the lane, still only costs 50 mana and will let you nail the enemy with a couple auto attacks or get ahead of them in XP. More practical then a second rank of Javelin Toss which will just destroy your mana pool and make you squishier. You can swap the second rank of Javelin Toss and Bushwhack if you're laned against a stealther but once you hit level 6 you should have 2/1/2 so you have your full range of cougar abilities.

At this point you shouldn't have had to leave your lane but with some luck will have forced the enemy to hearth and heal or gotten a kill on them. If that's the case you will still be keeping up on damage with them even if they've purchased items and you haven't, you just want to stay in the lane as long as possible without risking your life. So we take Primal Surge again to keep us in the lane and farming. Depending on how the game is going you can mix things up however you need. I still give priority to Primal Surge with its power and low cost maxing it out by level 10.

After that get your ultimate and Javelin up all the way then drop the rest in Pounce. Pounce is amazing late game but early on it's a little underwhelming before you're all decked out. Bushwhack is great for keeping an eye on the weeds and catching stealthers but otherwise expensive and weak. We still take one rank early on for the extra damage and the great ability to get away from things.

Around 8-10 when you've destroyed the enemies turret and are going to abandon the lane don't hesitate to go jungle some stuff. Early on you can't really go solo but by that point unless you're behind the curve you can take anything except Baron solo. Both golem and lizard buffs are great on Nidalee depending on what you're off to do. Lizard is great for going and ganking, golem's better if you need to go support a team fight or drop a couple traps through the weeds.

Item Build:

Starting Item

Meki Pendant - This and clarity will mean little in the way of mana issues unless you're wasting Javelins. Build it into a Fiendish Codex and then Nashor's Tooth. I don't take any potions since we can heal ourselves and have clarity.

Mid Game

Fiendish Codex - Adds AP and cooldown reduction. Most of our attacks benefit from AP and CDR is going to be important to make sure we eat faces and stay alive. This half of Nashor's is more important than Stinger to start with because of the AP and higher mana regen where attack speed is less important.

Nashor's Tooth - More AP, CDR, mana regen, and delicious attack speed. Ideally by the time you leave your lane you will be able to upgrade straight to this from the Meki and still have money left for starter boots.

Boots of Speed -> Boots of Mobility - I leave these until after Nashor's because between cougar, weeds, ghost and pounce I rarely have problems getting out of sticky situations. If you need get the Boots of Speed between Fiendish and Nashor's. We go with Mobility for our upgrade because you will fly from battle to battle and the stats on the others don't really benefit Nidalee enough to give up what is one of her greatest strengths.

Sheen - Amazing item on Nidalee. Mana, AP and the added benefit of hitting even harder on Takedowns. You're probably asking why if it's such a great item we don't start with it. She simply doesn't hit hard enough, nor can she spam abilities the way she can further into the game, to justify it. Instead you're running oom and waiting for abilities to come available again. Best saved for once you've started to get buff with Nashor's.

Zeal - More attack speed, some crit chance and an 8% buff to movement speed. What's not to like?

Late Game

Trinity Force - Build the Sheen and Zeal into this making everything they do even better. More of everything plus health, damage, chance to slow and no more three second CD on Sheen's proc.

Guinsoo's Rageblade - More AP and attack. We go with this over some other options because we're going to be doing a lot of auto attacking in cat form even as we spam abilities. In a toe to toe fight or extended group fight you'll quickly be rocking another 32% attack speed and 48 AP. If you've got all this by 18 I feel sorry for your opponents.
At this point you can go with a Zhonya's Ring or a Banshee's Veil. Even a Stark's Fervor or Bloodthirster aren't bad options depending on the team you're playing and the way it's going.

Good luck, see you in the weeds!

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Senior Member


Not bad. Meki Pendent is an interesting starting choice, and it works okay.

I don't know about boots of mobility so much. And I think Sheen should happen by level 6. Almost no exception.

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Senior Member


I start with a sapphire crystal and rush sheen ASAP. I'd recommend taking Rylai's as your second item as it gives you great slows for cat form damage.

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thanks for the help, i was wondering how to play her

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Junior Member


You mention putting in points to upgrade pounce but as far as I understand it the skills in cougar only get improved by putting more points into the mastery. You need the one point to get access to all of the abilities. Not sure if that was what you meant but it seemed like it could confuse some people.