Nidalee is normally a typical ranged top/midlane-AP-Carry offering a strong poke and great survivability. But this guide is not about these typical roles, this guide will be about Nidalee as a support. Nowadays offensive Supports like Zyra are played very often, but Zyra got nerved. I think, Nidalee has all the tools to be a good support but also a second lategame AP-Carry, and she is a solid pick because the enemy team does not know which role you will fulfill.
At this point I want to recommend a CC-jungler (like Maokai, Alistair, Amumu, Malphite, Sejuani) or a CC-Mid (Morgana, Annie or Anivia) in your team, the toplane should ideally be an AD-Offtank.
Do not pick Nidalee against Dodgeabilities like Ezreal or against Sivir for obvious reasons.
- strong long range poke
- heal plus attack speed steroid in one skill with relatively low mana costs
- traps granting mapvision
- lategame utility
- mana hungry
- lack of CC
- needs skill
- steals kills
When you have a problem with Nidalees early squishyness, especially when you face an aggressive matchup like Corki or Ezreal, you can also go 0/13/17. That offers you the Mana-Regeneration, Gold and Pickpocket-ability, while you get some Armor, HP-Regeneration and overall tankyness. However you loose 8% MagicPen and 10% CDR.
WHen you do not fear Nidalees squishyness or you like to run Armorseals, you can also go for some more offense. You need tons of gold, mana regeneration and movementspeed, and the Utility-Tree offers everything you need. The Magic-Pen in the Offense-Tree should be pretty obvious.
RunesMarks: flat MagicPen
Seals: flat Armor or flat Mana-Regeneration
Glyphs: flat Mana-Regeneration or AP per level or flat Magic-Resist
Quintessences: gp10 or AP per Level
You should have the MagicPen-Marks. Reducing the enemies MagicResist nearly to zero they make your spear hurt so much.
Due to her squishyness I recommend armorseals, but if you take Armor on yellow, you should think about flat Mana-Regeneration on blue.
The Glyphs should be used for AP per level, the MagicReist is not this useful early and lategame you will have enough MagicResist. You can also think about flat Mana-Regeneration, when you take armorseals.
Since Nidalee needs to scale well in the lategame I would recommend Gold-Quints. However AP per level is also an option.
You should always play flash. In combination with your Pounce you can escape nearly every situation, reposition yourself for your Q or flash into position for a kill in cougarform.
Clarity is a great option for decreasing your mana problems and helping your AD-Carry restore his mana. Clarity gets absolutely necessary when you have the Summoners' Insight and a manahungry champ like Corki, but even if your AD-Carry does not need this much mana, Clarity remains a good choice.
Exhaust is the second recommended Summoner on Nidalee. The slow can be used for escaping or engaging, the debuff help win trades. Exhaust balances Nidalees lack of CC, so take it against an agressive lane to win trades and secure escapes or take it for more killing potential when your AD-Carry has no CC like you.
Pretty useful but there are better options though. Your traps and the sightstone grant enough mapvision.
If you are stealing even more kills from your AD-Carry you gonna have a bad time.
You have a heal already and this Summoner does not get improved with Summoners' Insight.
Sometimes usefull, but Flash grants better mobility and utility.
This passive fits into Nidalees kit but is not this awesome though. It makes escaping through bushes decently easier and helps you harassing when leaving a bush to AA plus Q.
Q: Javelin Toss / Takedown
When to max it first: Against passive lanes
You nearly always want to max this skill, especially when laning against a passive lane. Important is to communicate with your AD-Carry and maybe ask them if they wish an more offensive or defensive setup, the spear can kill passive farmlanes like Ashe or Soraka almost alone.
Do not max this skill if the enemy botlane has dodgeabilities like Sivir or Ezreal or you have an AD-Carry benefiting strongly from your AS-steroid.
This skill makes you damn annoying. The spear does the more damage the farther away you are from the target. So if you throw a spear that will not already fly maximum range ult + W in the other direction to make sure you spear hits with maximum damage.
In the early laning phase try to hit the spear as often as possible giving you AD-Carry the chance to go in for a kill. You main target should be the opposing AD-Carry, hits on the support are not this effenctive but also useful. Your spear should push them out of the lane or better help killing them. Sometimes you will steal kills with your Javelin, especially when the enemies port back low under the turret.
In the lategame your task is to poke as much as you can before the teamfight begins. Focus the AD-Carry, hitting a Q is an awesome initiate.
Your Spear can be countered with Sivirs Spellshield and with Banshees Veil which hurts your damageoutput very hard. If the opponents try to abuse this, trigger their spell-immunity with your trap and then Q them.
The Takedown does more damage when the target is low on HP. In combination with Pounce you can easily hunt down lowhealth targets.
W: Bushwhack / Pounce
When to max it first: Never
Do never max this skill first. You can take it at level one or two, when you prefer early bush control.
The Buchwhack grants short mapvision and creates a trap lasting for 4 Minutes. In the earlygame you will use it for bushcontrol and "warding" Tri-Bush for example. When someone walks through one of your traps, throw a Javelin immediately in this direction, but not exactly to the point the trap was placed before. If your spear hits this target it will easily bring them on half HP.
In the lategame the trap reduces the targets Armor and MagicResist by 40%, that is why you should focus setting that trap under Off-Tanks and Tanks to shred their Armor and MagicResist allowing your team to easily handle them when the opposing Carries are eliminated.
Use Bushwhack to trigger Spellshield/Banshees Veil before you throw a spear.
Pounce is like a mini-Flash. It helps you repositioning for your Spear and makes escaping a litle bit easier. You can jump over small walls like the cliff near the tribush. Pounce jumps always in the direction you are facing, so you do not have to care where your cursor is as you jump always into the direction you are running. However it is not easy to position for a pounce on a enemy if you are not chasing.
E: Primal Surge / Swipe
When to max it first: Against agressive lanes
If laning with an AD-Carry benefiting extremely from an high AS (like Caitlyn or Kog'Maw), you should max this skill first. If you feel like you will not hit so much spears or when you are laning against Sivir, max E first, too. Generally you want to max E first against an agressive lane to sustain and win trades.
This skill makes Nidalee an exellent support. You get a pretty good heal with an 0.7-scaling plus a AS-Steroid.
In lategame teamfights this heal should always be used on your AD-Carry to heal and buff him.
The Swipe is only useful for some extra damage when chasing enemies or for splitpushing.
R: Aspect Of The Cougar
This ult is complex but very useful though. The big question is when to use it and when not. As a support you will stay in the earlygame nearly always in the Human Form because the skills fit into the role. You will only use ult to get faster to your lane or to escape quickly. In the lategame you can use it to chase low-HP enemies, also it grants you the ability to leave the front of the teamfight and begin attacking again from behind the lines. When the Enemies build much magic resistance you can use the Cougar Form also to surprise them with an amazing physical damage output. The skillcombo W plus E plus Q deals rough damage, especially against low health targets. The splashabilities and the fast movement makes it also possbile to splitpush relatively safely. If you get focussed in a teamfight, instantly activate your cougarform after eventually healing yourself to use the bonus Armor and MagisResist.
( ) *RECOMMENDED*
Decide yourself how much pots and wards you need, I start normally with 3 Sightswars plus 3 Health Pots, but this choice depends on your match up (you need more HP-Pots when facing a aggressive lane or you need more wards and Mana-Pots when staying longer in lane, for example when you have an easy matchup).
Considering this start will sometimes cause an instant report from your teammates, but I wanted to show this option. You get the same Manaregeneration, plus some AP and some HP. However, you cannot use the passive of Dorans Ring properly since you should not do lasthits as support. This item can help you to be more dominant in the lane, but you are more vulnerable to early ganks. If you start with Dorans Ring, port immediately back when you have 700 Gold and buy a sightstone.
A good start with any support I tested and appreciated. The 2 Sightwards are not this much, but when they are both gone, you are about to port back anyway and then you can get an very early Sightstone. You get more HP-Regeneration and you get your Philosophers Stone earlier. This start is awesome if you are facing an passive lane.
An important item you should build as fast as you can. It gives some nice gp10 and sustain. This item is a coreitem on nearly all Supporters and Nidalee makes no exception.
The relatively new Sightstone provides free wards. In former times Support was an awkward role, but with Sightstone you can acutalle just sit back with your Sightstone and gp10-Items and relax. Keep this item forever and upgrade it lategame to a Ruby Sightstone.
This item fits to Nidalee since she needs gold and AP. Pretty strait forward, buy it only if you can afford it early and if you have Philosophers Stone already.
If the midgame arrived and you just got the money for Kages, skip Kages and buy Chalice instead. You need the Mana-Regeneration and the Kages is just to late.
This are the boots you want to buy. They grant you MagicPen, which combined with your Masteries, Runes and your Traps make you deal almost truedamage with that Javelin.
I do not like to build these Boots on Nidalee because she already has relatively low cooldowns and she is manahungry so your Mana will be disappearing even faster.
Buy these boots if there is much CC in the enemy team or when they have much AP. I do not recommend these boots because you need the MagicPen, but when you are focussed in teamfights, Mercs are a solid choice.
Rushing these boots makes no sense and you do not need them in the midgame. However, you can build them if they have a team of AutoAttackers.
When you need an Enchantment then it has to be pure Movementspeed. Homeguard could also be an option but I consider pure Movementspeed to be more useful.
You can sell these boots very late lategame to get an defensive Item like Mikaels' or Banshees', but you will barely reach a full itembuild.
In the late lategame with nearly full itembuild you can replace this item with 5 pinkwards everytime you visit the shop.
This items makes you think 'Ouch!' everytime one of your spears hit. The AP got decreased but it is also cheaper now. I would recommend this item if you have won your lane and you need offensive stats to be useful in the teamfights.
Nidalee is manahungry, and this item is the solution for this. If you spam spears you will recognize it though, you need an other item with Mana-Regeneration to really get rid of Mana-Problems. Athenes also provides some AP, CDR and MagicResist, so it is an overall good choice.
Actually not bad, but this is an mid-game item, where you want to rush an expensive item like Rabadons to compensate your supportrole. If you failed your lane and still want to be useful, build this item.
This item is an lategamechoice since you have early- and midgame enough MagicPen. But when the enemy team is stacking MagicResist, this item helps you to deal really harsh damage.
Providing a slow Rylais compensates your lack of CC a little bit. It also gives a ton of AP and HP which help you to get along in teamfights. If you hit a spear with that slow it will be a guaranteed kill because the target is slowed and on half HP.
GA is a great lategamechoice granting lategame survivability. In a long game your death can cause a loose until you respawn, waht is why you should grab it as one of your last items. With Flash, Pounce and GA you can escape a secure death.
This item is new and pretty useful though. If your AD-Carry is fed and you want to save him from (Off-)Tanks attacking him buy this item. The stats are okay, but the active in combination with your heal helps your AD-Carry out of almost every situation.
AP, CDR, Mana-Regeneration, all this are stats that are very useful, but you should build this item only if you are facing a team of healers like Volibear or Mundo, or if they have a really fed ADC. Then you can use your Q or your E to reduce their MagicResist, Armor, Healing (plus slow with Rylais).
I consider this item to be not this useful. First you do not have a CC which impairs their movementspeed and secondly you do have many abilites that do spelldamage.
I do not play this item on Nidalee because it is not useful. There are way better choices to get AP and Mana-Regeneration.
This item is a must-have in your team. With this item opposing MagicResist will be irrelevant, and you get some nice AP and MagicResist from it. The Problem is, when you thros spears at max range, your Abyssal will not decrease the opponents MagicResist because it has an relatively short range. Ask your Midlaner or AP-jungler or AP-Toplaner to build this item, do not build it yourself.
The Aegis is also a musthave in any team, but it will be better build on your jungler or your toplaner. Nowadays nearly everyone wants to build this, so feel free to skip it.
I personally do not think this item fits to Nidalee, you do not need any sustain in teamfights because of your awesome range and pokekit. Also you cannot ensure your team will be in range of the aura. Do not build it, but it is nice to have on other teammembers.
You have enough good AP Items and Lichbane does not scale the full AP anymore, you do not even want to use the passive, because you want to poke from a range which is higher then your AA-range. "This item is so useful on Nidalee" said noone ever.
Champion SelectionNidalee is commonly known as a top-AD-bruiser or as a mid-AP. Nidalee Support is not this new but always comes a little bit unexpected. Make use of this, for example if you play with Premates you should be the one inviting. So you can pick Nidalee first, so they can not choose 100%-safe lanes.
If you are playing Solo-Que and you do not know your ADC, communication is very important. Due Nidalee Support is not very common inform about good synergies and bad matchups. If your AD-Carry wants to pick an ADC who does not work well with Nidalee, never pick Nidalee but another Support with better synergies. Your ADC should be the assigning factor on your lane, because the carry is much more important than you as Support. You should have some Supports if you actually want to play Support, only Nidalee is not enough to fulfill this role. You should also speak about the general strategy, if your ADC wants to farm, you should priorize zoning, if he wants to play aggressive, plan every engage properly.
AD-Carry-SynergiesLike every Support Nidalee has favourite AD-Carries to play with. Basically Nidalee works well with aggressive ADCs.
Caitlyn works incredible well with Nidalee, they both like to poke hard out of the bushes and when Nidalee hits one spear, Caitlyn will be there and gets a secure kill. Their traps work well together, Nidalee hits a guaranteed spear when Caitlyns Trap roots and opponent and Nidalees AS-Steroid procs Caitlyns passive Headshot more often. When your enemies do not stay away from the lane they will be harassed and poked until they die.
Nidalees E helps Vayne to trigger her Silver Bolts more often and when Vayne hits her Condemn-Stun, Nidalee can easily land a spear. Also has Vayne chasing potential hunting enemies down when they got hitten by a Javelin.
Kog'Maw has an reliable slow, a high range and a poke-ult. He also greatly benefits from additional AS because of his percentual damage on AAs. You should play a little bit passive pre6 and poke hard when Kog'Maw gets his ultimate.
If you play TF as an AD-Carry, Nidalee is a great support. Her steroid procs TFs E more often and his stuns offer Nidalee and easy target to throw her Q. Picking an TF/Nidalee-Botlane seems almost like a troll, but maybe you can suprise them by picking an early TF so they do not counterpick him.
Your E will get him his stacks earlier, he has some decent CC you can make use of and he is also an pretty good poke champion. He is a little bit passive, but you can secure him a safe farming, what will make him strong lategame.
Corki and Nidalee work decent with each other, Corki offers great poke like Nidalee does, and he can grant vision to land your spear better. He can also easily follow low enemies. Corki has also an amazing waveclear so if you communicate well with him, he can shred some minions allowing you to hit an easier spear.
Ezreals playstile is all about skillshot and poke, which fits decently to Nidalee. He can also blink and hunt down low-HP enemies. Ez is more a caster than an AutoAttacker so he does not need the Steroid this much.
Early GameYour Javelin gives you a really strong Level-1-Damage you can use to harass the opposing jungler while he is doing blue or your whole team decides to invade (I would only recommend this if you are premates and at least one of you has a hard-CC. You can also throw your spear into random bushes, but you will get manalow from that.
Nidalee is all about bushcontrol. You want to keep this the whole laningphase. So just get in the bushes and wait there until there is an possiblity to hit the spear. First it will be hard to actually hit someone, especially when they know where you are, but when you get used to it, it will get easier to hit your Q properly. Change your position from the lanebushes to the riverbush when they do not see you and try to hit something from that direction. Your lane should not push since Nidalee neds the bushes to me effective.
Your trap makes things much easier, you can set one into every bush and wait until they run into it. Also set traps under the opposing tower, you get vision and when an enemy walks through it he will be revealed for a long time. The traps are actually doing damage, so a nice placed trap can kill an opponent. Be careful and try to do not steal this much kills, and when, your AD-Carry should have an Assist on that.
Your E is important for trading. When the opponents wand to trade drop the heal instantly after your AD-Carry lost the life you can heal at once. The AS-Buff is pretty strong and some AD-Carries like Caitlyn become monsters with AS. After that try to get a trap under the opposing AD-Carry to shred his MR and Armor. If you can, switch in cougar form and attack with Pounce plus Swipe plus Takedown, but they should be dead by now easily. Your main priority is to keep your Carry alive, so switch back to human form when you have your heal up again.
When there are too mush creeps to hit your spear or you want to make use of your Pickpocket-Masterypoint, what you always should do, get out of the bush, AA and get back into safety. This will harass the opponents and grant you small amount of gold. With that procedure you can eventually bait shields or heals and attack after that in the time this skill is on cooldown.
Do never spam your abilities, when you are low on mana you are almost useless as Support. Do not forget to ward!
1 - purple side tribush
purple: Ward this if you pushed purple sides turret and do not feel save with just the riverward.
blue: Ward this if you fear ganks from behind
2 - purple side blue buff
purple: not very important
blue: This ward should be dropped around the second blu buff spawn to eventualle trap the opposing jungler and steal the blue buff. If you plan to do that, war the purple side tribush first.
3 - river ward
The good old riverward. It should deny ganks from the river completely. Do never ward the bush, but directly into the middle near to the river bush. Trap the bush after that. The River is a good spot for pink wards.
4 - Dragon ward
The dragon ward helps you keeping an eye on the dragon and if your river got pinkwarded, you are relatively save from ganks. This ward is not enough, ward your tribush too and do not push your lane.
5 - blue side tribush
like the purple side tribush
6 - lane bushes
Important for Nidalee. When the enemies ward it they see your spears comming very early. Change in the other bush and try to hit your spear from there. Remember the wardtiming and use the bush after 3 Minutes again.
7 - blue side red buff
nearly the same as the purple side blue buff
1 - blue buff ward
The blue buff is lategame still relevant. This ward will help you to get this nice buff or you can actually go for a kill on the jungler or AP-Carry.
2 - Dragon ward
This ward informs you when the opponents do baron and grants nive overall mapvision. In the lategame however a team will be doing dragon so fast the other team can not deny it properly.
3 - Baron ward
Most important ward lategame. Good pink ward spot. An uncontested Baron can win teamfights, and if you clear opposing wards here your team can trap when the enemies come to interrupt your Baron.
4 - Wraith bush
An very important ward granting you vision and the most important part of the opposing jungle. Ward this spot or the plateau near the wraiths (spot 5).
5 - Wraith plateau
This ward grants you vision on an hotspot, but I personally recommend the ward 4.
6 - river ward near the blue buff
This ward is placed between the first midtower, dragon and the blue buff and grants some nice mapvision.
Mid GameMidgame is difficult because you do not have this much AP, but now the important phase of the game has begun. Stay with your AD-Carry and ward typical spots like the Wraithbush or in front of Baron and Dragon. Always keep an eye on that objectives, a welltimed spear can eventuelly steal them or kill someone doing them. Do not fight 1v1s unless you striked someone with your Q, but be aware of other teammembers. Generally you should run around with your Carry and help him where you can. Also it would be nice if you could farm a little bit to get more money, but you should ask for that.
While your ADC is farming safely on botlane, you can roam a little bit. If your midlane has some CC or your jungler with CC ganks simultaneously, wait for their engage, try to hit a spear and switch to Gougar Form for chasing. You are not a tank so you should not get towerfocus if possible, but you can help towerdiving by switching back to Human Form and use your heal. Also remember your Summoners, a well-placed Exhaust can help bursting a target quickly.
You will still have Mana-Problems, so if you have a manaless mid, ask for blue. Nidalee can make great use of the CDR and Mana-Regeneration, your Chalice/Grail will also regenerate more mana when you have improved Mana-Rgeeneration.
Team FightsWhen the first teamfights appear, you should have at least your core and something with AP. Try to stay behind in the teamfight, but always in healrange to the AD-Carry. Trap into the frontline to make use of the debuff and try to hit the AD-Carry with your Javelin. After using your skills, get an overview of the teamfight. Are you winning? Then switch to cougar form and chase enemies with constant Pounces, change back when you want to use the superior range of your spears or heal someone quickly.
When you are losing, stay as long as possible in human form to save your AD-Carry. Is he in safety or dead, what should never happen, switch to cougar form and run away. Remember you can pounce over small cliffs.
If your opponents buy Banshees Veil, try to trigger it with one of your traps or ask an teammate to do that for you, the same is necessary for Sivirs Spellshield.
Always try to flank the enemies if possible and throw your spears out of the bush or over a wall so they do not see it coming.
Late GameIn the lategame Nidalee gets strong again, when she gets an almost full itembuild and can be called the second AP-Carry in the team. You are able to splitpush in cougar form and can decide teamfights with one good spear, because you are almost onehitting an AD-Carry with one skill. Still do not forget to ward objectives and show teamfight presence. You can for example deny chasing enemies by throwing spears in their direction, when your Javelins are hitting maybe you can turn a whole situation around ending in a kill without a death.
Final CommentsThank you for reading my guide. Leave me comments and constructive feedback if you want to.