Nidalee has been a great jungler since her rework, and after several buffs to her jungling ability, she’s now widely considered to be a top five solo queue and competitive jungler. I’ve played Nidalee through all of her stages (AD top lane was so much fun) and jungle is my favorite role. I’ve played a lot with her build in the jungle, and of course it’s elastic, changing based on what’s needed. This guide is for Nidalee’s starting stats and item build, I will add a more comprehensive gameplay portion at a later date
After many, many Nidalee jungle games I’ve found this set-up to be the best feeling. It gives you everything you need to have an ideal early/mid game, which is where Nidalee can really take hold of a game and snowball it out of control.
Start with E, then W, then Q for levels 1-3. After that, the skill max order is:
Start Machete and two health potions
Build your machete into Rangers, then Runeglaive.
Runeglaive really made things interesting in terms of how you can build Nidalee. After trying out a number of different ideas, here’s what I think is best (the rest of these items are built in whatever order you need them. Always keep in mind who’s on your team/their team, who is ahead, and what that means in terms of building the best items for your situation):
Sorcerer’s Boots: CDR is amazing on Nidalee, but with this build, you’ll get close to maxing it out at 40% before factoring in boots. Taking flat magic penetration is great for your damage anyway.
Morellonomicon: Even though Runeglaive provides pretty good mana regeneration (TY RITO), Nidalee still needs some mana for those siege/poke situations that won’t require you to auto attack something. Another primary reason I use this as a core item in 5.12 on Nidalee is for the precious, precious CDR. 80 AP is pretty great as well considering Nidalee’s great AP scaling.
Zhonya’s Hourglass: Nidalee is crazy squishy since her HP nerfs. Luden’s is great and I was running that as my core item for a while, but after the nerfs to Ludens, I feel that Zhonya’s is more valuable overall.
Void Staff: Essential item for anyone that builds as much AP and does as much damage as Nidalee.
Rabadon’s Deathcap: Remember how I said Nidalee has great AP scaling? Wassup Rabadon, gimme that hat. Seriously though, I usually save Void Staff and rab-cap for my last two items, because they’re the raw damage that will keep me relevant as the game goes on. If you’re outrageously far ahead, rab-cap or even Luden’s Echo can be great to snowball the game.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE ALWAYS BUYING WARDS. Get a pink ward early on as well, and replace it if it dies. Trade your warding trinket for a sweeper and upgrade it when possible. Later on, changing between the upgraded ward trinket and sweeper will be dependent on the situation and how well your team is warding/de-warding.
If you arrive to late-game where you have more money than you can spend, sell your Runeglaive and replace it with either a Luden’s Echo or Lich Bane, depending on whether you’re in a game where you need to poke (Luden’s) or fight (Lich Bane) more often. Make sure that if you do this to replace your Sorcerer’s Shoes with Boots of Lucidity to keep that CDR in a good place.
Smite and Flash. Don’t even mess with it.
Thanks for checking out the guide! I’ll be keeping it updated as the meta changes, I find more ideal builds, or a new patch comes