INTRODUCTION TO NIDALEE GUIDE
Hi my name is Houdini and i work magic with elo and today i will show you how to work magic with Nidalee! Not many people can play Nidalee at a high level because it requires meticulous concentration on the mechanics behind the clear which many people can’t find or don’t understand properly. I’ve been playing this champ for around a year and have maintained a high rank with it as currently it is probably the most dominant solo queue pick. Currently on multiple accounts i have 90-22 W/L ratio. I consider myself to be among the more proficient Nidalee players in the LoL NA server. Nidalee right now is probably the most oppressive Jungle pick since release of Lee Sin, she maintains a high farm rate with good scaling as well as amazing skirmishing potential in the early-mid game. She can play basically all styles of the game just by itemizing properly for the situations, if required she can split-push as well as team fight at an extremely high level. And she’s super fun to play!
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Here are some general pros and drawbacks to playing Nidalee:
PROS OF PLAYING NIDALEE:
- Can Itemize to multiple different scenarios in the game (tanky or full carry mode).
- Can skirmish basically every Jungler pre-6 excluding a few sustaining Junglers such as udyr.
- Extremely fast clear speed which can only get faster and healthier with experience and better mechanics.
- Can follow up extremely well on the CC prevalent in the current meta as well as being able to pick and control vision in an area extremely well.
- Can split push if needed not the most optimal but she does take towers down extremely fast.
- Picks are extremely common with Nidalee and late game if an ADC or Mid laner isn’t paying attention you can one shot them in team fights with flash up.
- She can also play a more supportive role if out scaled or behind from the early game with just spear pokes and constant heals for sieges.
- No absolute counters to Nidalee in the Jungle, she is the by far the strongest Jungler in the game currently (6.5) with at worst even match ups with Udyr, Elise, and Gragas.
- Extremely fun champion, not easy to get bored of, and always stuff to improve on.
- Strong counter jungling if done optimally.
CONS OF PLAYING NIDALEE:
- Extremely high skill cap (our guide about champions with the highest skill cap, will be open in a new tab) and hard to get the first clear down (can be remedied by running one armor quint).
- At late game she is hard to play properly as her play style must be changed to a range poke mage instead of a skirmisher until Zhonya’s Hourglass is built.
- Easy to misplay on as the power gets to your head >.<
NIDALEE IN THE EARLY GAME
So in my opinion your early game decides what you must build and how you play for the rest of the game as it is what catapults you into an extremely high lead so this is the most important part of your game play and must be played very efficiently balancing ganking with farming. As Nidalee starting hunter’s talisman with refillable potions is optimal as you do need a potion or two for your second clear since wasting mana by using your heal isn’t very efficient for farming longer or ganking. The best way, by far, to start with Nidalee is to start with traps (W) positioned as such this can be mirrored across the map as well if you rush to the camp immediately after 15 seconds and place first trap on the gromp followed by three in front of blue, one at the corner of wolves, then another on top of gromp once it spawns.
Traps positions to start your jungle route
NIDALEE NOTES: TIPS AND TRICKS
So an important thing to remember when playing Nidalee is that there are many different animation and auto attack resets/cancel. They are as follows along with some tips and tricks:
- Switching between forms resets Nidalee’s auto attack this is extremely important and should be used once cooldowns in cougar are used up
- Nidalee’s cougar form (Q) is an auto attack reset so auto attacking in cougar followed by a cougar (Q) is extremely important as well
- Nidalee’s cougar W can be used to cancel the animations of cougar (E) or (Q) (it cannot cancel both at the same time)
- Nidalee can triple auto attack reset by starting in cougar form auto attacking, cougar (Q), (R) autoattack, human form (Q) then auto attack, (R) cougar auto attack (useful during the first clear after the W spam from traps is done for the camp)
- Nidalee traps allow you to cougar (W) spam but the difference between good and bad Nidalees is that good ones will often times not use all their (W) procs and try to kite the camp out with traps and human Q spams to keep the camps rooted so they don’t deal as much damage.
- A thing that many people don’t know is that with ad marks your auto attacks deal as much damage as your cougar form (W) when going through your clear.
- Your early kill opportunities are when you finish a half of the jungle or the full clear then you can go for one gank and after the gank take the crab as well if possible.
- Often times on my first back if i get a successful gank I will buy an Aether Wisp and Boots. If I’m behind or want to give 2nd blue to my laner I get hunters potion for more mana regen until runic echoes along with a ability tome or smite upgrade.
- For smite upgrades you can actually choose either of the 3 depending on the match up. i.e. for Udyr i usually get blue smite to kite/chase, against Yi‘s I get red smite, and trackers is the general all purpose save your laner smite :D
- On first clear ONLY use smite on gromp, red, and krugs at the end. If you can do this you are doing your first clear optimally.
- Always counter jungle the opposite side of the map if their jungler early ganks as it is free gold and denies them quite a bit of exp and gold putting them behind unless they managed to get a kill with their gank.
NIDALEE IN THE MID GAME
If the early game goes well and is played properly (lvl 6 by 6-7 min and runic echoes by 11 min) then you should try to force your team to siege towers or look for the enemy jungler to 1v1 him and make him less useful if your team is already ahead. If you are behind the best option is to predict where the enemy jungler will go and try to counter gank as Nidalee can save teammates very easily and pick off kills on almost anyone at this stage if they are half health or below. Always remember to not stop farming as that is the only way to keep relevant as Nidalee as she is EXTREMELY item dependent. Her base damages are high but she needs to fight on item spikes and needs to take those spikes and snowball them. The best advice is to try to balance farming with looking for free or easy ganks on lanes, try to have good mechanics when clearing while also looking for these ganks.
NIDALEE IN THE LATE GAME
Late game Nidalee usually adopts a completely different play style unless you are extremely far ahead. Often times you will want to group around your carries and poke with spears while sieging or teamfighting around objectives. This is extremely easily done and can often times result in you half healthing their carries with just pokes while keeping your carries sustained with heals. The other option is to keep your waves pushed if your team isn’t doing that, as Nidalee clears extremely quick and can take towers if given just a short time on them. ALWAYS try to look for picks on squishies when the team fights start try to spam your traps and heals on cooldown and save your spears for opportune moments on squishies. If you have Zhonya’s Hourglass at this point and land a spear jump on the carry just do all the damage possible and zonyas if needed. Often times this will bait out many spells from the enemies and win team fights if done properly.
RUNES FOR NIDALEE
So for runes I always run AD marks as they provide an extremely fast and stable first clear instead of magic pen or hybrid pen which are the other options since her cougar q and auto attack resets benefit immensely from this. Scaling health seals are the best scaling option as armor seals fall off very quickly and aren’t needed at all for your first clear if done properly. Scaling CDR glyphs are taken instead of AP this way you can cap out your CDR without having to build a CDR AP item later on. And finally AP quints are taken just to provide her abilites with some extra damage on the first clear and there aren’t any other better choices (some people run 1 armor quint in order to have a better clear, in my opinion it isn’t needed).
MASTERIES FOR NIDALEE
For masteries in the Ferocity tree I take Sorcery over Fury as attack speed isn’t needed with all the auto attack resets and spell rotations. Between Feast, Expose Weakness, and Double-Edged Sword I choose between feast or double-edged sword depending on if I’m planning on counter jungling. If so then I take double-edged sword to get through the first half of the jungle quicker if not I take Feast to sustain better for a gank after I clear both sides. I always take Vampirism over Natural Talent as it just is a better scaling mastery and is useful for sustain in the first clear as well. Oppressor is taken over Bounty Hunter since it causes you to do extra damage to the snared camps. And then in the Resolve tree the shown options are taken just because that is the only optimal and useful path in that tree and strength of ages is extremely strong as it provides 300 health if you are farming properly by around 15 minutes.
ITEM BUILDS FOR NIDALEE
As Nidalee I will often itemize according to the enemy composition. If the enemy team has a lot of AOE damage or CC then I will go Rod Of Ages right after runic echoes just to survive a bit more damage. If the enemy team has AOE magic damage I will go Abyssal Scepter as well (or first) as it is an extremely strong and efficient item. After this if I am fed I directly go onto the carry items if not I will itemize a sheen item such as Iceborn (against full AD comps) or Lichbane. I will then buy the other items in the carry item set or a sheen item if I don’t have it yet. Zhonya’s Hourglass is an extremely situational item and I only get it against a strong full AD team or if I need to jump in on team fights and assassinate a squishy carry.
NIDALEE ITEM BUILDS NOTES
- Runic Echoes: First big spike in Nidalee’s damage and allows you to give over blues to your mid laner since it provides you enough mana sustain.
- Lucidity Boots: Extremely strong on Nidalee as it provides the CDR needed to get to 35% and reduces the cooldown on your summoner skills along with the mastery insight.
- Rod of Ages: Not always taken if the early game is extremely strong and can be skipped. But is an extremely solid item as it provides many good stats and allows you to survive without getting bursted in the team fights late game.
- Abyssal Scepter: A HUGE spike for Nidalee’s damage with the flat magic pen and ability power but can only be built against a team with an AP threat.
- Lich Bane: Provides quite a bit more damage in cougar form and allows you to burst squishies right after being built and scales much better than Iceborn Gauntlet later.
- Iceborn Gauntlet: Is basically a more defensive option instead of lichbane and allows you to cap CDR quicker. Is very good against all AD teams.
- Void Staff: Build this right when the enemy team starts stacking MR. Try to get it before rabadons unless you are extremely fed.
- Rabadon’s Deathcap: Build this early ONLY if you have enough gold to basically get the entire item before they have any MR items.
- Zhonya’s Hourglass: This item is extremely situational and should only be built when you NEED to kill the enemy carry if your team can’t OR if you are against a full AD comp (ROA, Iceborn, and Zhonya’s) and want to a built a pseudo-tanky build for your team and not get a sheen item.
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