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Nidalee's place: AP vs DPS vs not at all.

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Nidalee is one of those awkard hybrid champions that can be a challenge to use, partly because of the finesse and extra abilities involved, but also because it can be a challenge to decide on a good build. I've gone to leaguecraft.com to check out builds, there are 13 guides last time I checked. To me that just shows the wide opinions of how she should be played and built.

From an AP guide:

"According to the Test Realm forums, a majority of Nidalee players prefer to go DPS. Personally, I don't understand it.

Nidalee can't go immune to CC like Tryndamere or Yi. She doesn't have additional crits like Shaco. She doesn't gain additional DPS from IAS like Jax or Udyr. She doesn't obtain additional damage passively like Sion or Yi."

From a dps guide:

"I've played AP Nidalee too, it can be fun... but overall I think its weaker, I think there are much better AP Champions out there for high level competition, Annie, Sion, Fiddle, Twisted Fate etc... i'd rather have any one of those on my team than an AP Nidalee."

Some say she's weak as a dps, there are better choices, others suggest the opposite, ap is weak, there are better ap champs. The question is, do you think either one is viable, or does nidalee not have a place in a well organized team?

From my experience, she's not going to put out the most dps like yi or trist or have the highest burst like veigar or annie. Where she shines though is as a hybrid/support. She is extremely mobile and can save teammates with a heal or help gank after getting there quickly. She uses abilities and can proc sheen/trinity/lich bane very often to help push towers or other study targets. Once she hits 6, she becomes a fantastic farmer.

The problem is safe damage output. Her cougar form has great aoe burst with pounce+swipe and then takedown, and the cool downs are short and use no mana. This is really only useful for chases though, and a great chaser she is, in team fights she can't expect to jump in there to do her burst without getting mauled. Otherwise she just has to chuck spears hoping for a hit and throw some heals around, her spear auto attack range seems too short to be safe some times in major fights. There are better healers, better trappers, better everything, nidalee is not specialized at all, except maybe in mobility. She is more of a jack-of-all trades hybrd, though she lacks any sort of good disable.

A general team consists of 2 dps, 1 tank, 1 caster, and the 5th member. I think she can be an effective 5th member, though so could others. I guess the question is, does she have a place on a team, and what is her role?

Sorry for the long post

tl;dr: Nidalee isn't really good at one thing though is fairly good at many things, how should she be played, or should she be played at all?

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Senior Member


Lol, it's funny because I was just about to make a similar thread like this. imo Nidalee should be built based on your team setup. If you have 2 dps already and a tank, go AP build. If you're lacking a caster, go for AP build. AP builds can be viable despite the bad ap scaling (at least according to DPS nidalee's) on her moves (except for javelin) because your cougar moves are more spammable. A strong healer with decent DPS is always a good thing. I've tried the DPS build and it's pretty awesome to deal HUGE burst damage. Problem is you rely on your AA.

I do like the DPS build though, but I feel that she's on the weak side. She can't really carry a team like Yi or Twitch does. Her real damage comes from Sheen/bane/trinity procs and they come in bursts.
imo she's really a support hero at heart that can add some decent DPS.

Sorry if I repeated a bunch of what you said.

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I think you're right, her value is in flexibility. But the question is, if they're lacking a dps, is nidalee really the best solution? I think at this point I'm leaning toward AP nidalee if I use her at all. There are much better auto-attackers and I feel like I make more use of her abilities than her basic attack. Her heal and javelin gets stronger, and her cougar abilities become a little better as well, though it's important to use some CDR as well.

Again, her role I see her as is ap support. I just wonder, aren't there better ap supports? I'm thinking of Kayle, maybe zilean and morgana or anivia. Nidalee is very good at chasing and farming, but at big fights is best suited to heal and javelin, she is too squishy to be close enough to cougar and auto attack I feel. Her mobility is fantastic, but I wonder if her great farming takes away from other carries' ability to get gold. If her role is support, her gold isn't as important as others. The thing separates her from being a really outstanding support is a good disable. Her heal + attack speed buff is amazing on your carry though.

I'll continue to play with her and see if she's an important asset to a team.

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Senior Member


when nidalee first came out i started playing with her that week while she was free ive been buying runes alot so i havent saved up enough to buy her yet but i played her as attack speed and a little bit of both AP and DPS i did good with the sword that does an extra 100magic dmg every 4 attacks and u get enough AS to get to like 2.0 AS then u can kill someone really fast im going to farm aton of IP this weekend and hopefully get her so i can be like rawr again

oh an i didnt use cougar much mostly for creeps and takedown dmg but i switched to reg form after i did that

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Senior Member


Nidalee's indeed a unique character.

I've racked up exactly 101 games with her now. My build had a complete overhaul three times throughout.

  • I noobishly focused on human form, more specifically javelin throwm the first time, (was fairly new when i started using her)
  • Realized the versatility of cougar form, started using that more often. Though i jumped between both forms, i started getting light AP/mana so i could maintain heals/spears.
  • Faced a nidalee with trinity force, saw the light in AD nidalee, used her for about 40 rounds. Did quite well, but never superb.
  • Last but not least, i faced an AP nidalee. At this point i was good, and was pretty cocky with my talent. Beat her about 3 times on my own. Then she just started mutilating me. Found out it was because of the burst dmg of AP. Swapped over.
With burst AP, and having 25 levels of runes dedicated solely to MP regen, i can spam spear/heal constantly during the early levels of the match, scoring many kills combining spear with clairvoyance for snipes behind the turret, or hidden in the bushes.

Also great end game, high AP and magic penetration means easy 800 damage spears, 500+ heals (With the hefty attack speed boost), as well as about 1200 damage burst, as well as chasing/speartossing runners. Combined with rylai's so all your pouncing and spears slow, and you're pretty rape.

I hear if you go full dodge/crit runes with AD, you're successful as well as a semi-carry, but I'm not concerned about investing that much money into runes right now as i still have other things to buy, but yeah.

Case in point: Nidalee is pretty dynamic, difficult, and overall, pretty balanced. +1.