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Today I want to discuss one of my favorite champions - Nidalee. Now the interesting about Nidalee is she brings a lot to the table - a heal, a strong poke, a trap, a morph into cougar form, an attack that does more damage if you're low, a small jump, a cone of damage. Now how much sense does this setup make? I want to discuss one of the biggest problems/benefits for Nidalee: She offers way too much for her to be able to perform one role. In other words she cannot perfom any role very succesfully unlike other champions who are made for that role: Support Soraka, ADC Vayne, Tank Amumu, Jungler Warwick, APC Annie.
When we look at her abilities she has Javelin Toss which is a very strong single target nuke, what it provides: a chance to deal a lot of damage if the enemy is hit by the ability from a long range and Nidalee has a good amount of Ability Power and Magic Penetration. Now in terms of usage this ability will usually be used to:
a) Harass an enemy from afar
b) Throw to scare the enemy from chasing you
d)Finish off an enemy
e)Make clutch plays with the huge damage it provides and make big healthswings happen.
f)Facecheck the brush
Now all these usages are not bad (well maybe d is pretty annoying if it's used to secure a kill your team already had) but does this ability really have synergy with her other ability(-ies)
Nidalee has Bushwack. Bushwack lays down a trap that lasts for a few minutes and does DoT, reduces enemy resistances, reveals enemies when sprung. Sadly it can be sprung by both minions and champions but there's no limit so it can be used on the whole map to get vision whenever an unsuspecting enemy walks past them. The usages are usually these:
a) Use in a brush to know when someone's in there(like a ward but with no vision)
b) Facecheck the brush
c) Zone(Area denial of some sort)
d)Drop down on a locked down target
e) Bait enemies into going onto them
f)Set them up so you can do more damage with Javelin Toss
There are some synergies with this ability and Javelin Toss, both can be used to facecheck the brush and to somewhat zone the opponents, but in different ways. While Bushwack zones the area by making you not want to go through there, Javelin Toss zones the enemies by making them want to dodge the spear. So far Nidalee excels at facecheking and zoning (to some point)
Nidalee's 3rd spell in Human Form is Primal Surge. This spell heals the target champion and gives them a 20/30/40/50/60% Attack Speed boost(iirc) The ability is good to maximize your DPS and to provide you with the needed sustain in lane. Now for the usages:
b)Heal an ally
c)Boost your DPS
d)Boost an ally's DPS
e)Make clutch plays with very well timed heals
f)Help push the tower with the bonus DPS
So this skill in my opinion is just a randomly added spell so Nidalee can provide more utility to the team. It fits more for a support role but can be used as a physical carry role to boost your DPS. The spell has no synergy with other spells, but the heal is useful in all situations.
Nidalee's ultimate is Aspect of the Cougar which lets her swap her abilities while gaining bonus resistances. Since this ability does nothing other than swapping abilities and providing tankiness I won't go over the usages
Takedown is a skill which boosts the damage of your next attack, it is also the only ability that scales with Attack Damage as opposed to the other abilities which scale with AP, this ability also scales with the target's missing HP. As for the usages:
c)Push a tower faster
e)Execute a target
The first skill of the cougar's kit. It acts somewhat similiarly to Javelin Toss as it can be used for execution. The main difference is that this spell is used for short range execution while the other is used for long range execution. It encourages more of a carry role onto Nidalee but still nothing we're sure of.
Pounce makes Nidalee jump forward a short distance, it allows her to jump over walls but requires you to path it yourself since there's no targetting and Nidalee will pounce towards the location she's facing. This ability has very many uses but I'll take 6 of them like always:
a)Close the distance to the enemy
c)Jump over walls
d)Deal damage in an engagement
e)Dodge an ability
f)Move around the map
This is the reason behind Nidalee's mobility. The low cooldown and non-existant mana cost help her move around the map faster than some of the other champions could. One of the biggest problems with this spell is that it might not work, you might fail to jump over a wall. This also grants the champion a higher skill cap as you need to know how to position yourself to make the perfect jump for the perfect escape. As for synergy this skill allows Nidalee to close gaps with the enemy allowing her to be close to use her other cougar abiltiies.
SWIPE! Nidalee's 3rd ability is a damage dealing cone in front of her. This ability has no targetting and requires you to face the correct direction if you want to hit anything. It's not a hard skill to use but it's an easy to screw up, Usages:
a)Deal damage in a cone
That's it! All of the usage. Why else would you use this ability? It is only there for the damage so Cougar doesn't feel as lackluster. Now what this brings is a combo for Nidalee. It lets her use Pounce>Swipe>Takedown for a good chunk of the enemy's HP considering she lands it all. As for Synergy the only one I can find is that it boosts farming speed along with Pounce (I didn't mention it in the usages but both can be used to clear minions)
But wait there's more: Prowl and the Hidden Passive.
Prowl grants Nidalee bonus Movement Speed while in the brush and a short time after leaving it granting her even more mobility while her Hidden Passive provides a tiny amount of experience to allies who are near Nidalee if they're lower level than her.
Prowl encourages her to be surrounded by Brush as it not only gives her the advantage of being invisible to the enemy team but also the mobility she needs to escape or surprise an enemy. It allows her to close in the distance just like Pounce or to position herself for a spell like Javelin Toss. Now you don't want to facecheck random brushes so you have Javelin Toss and Bushwack for that. So is Nidalee a brush facechecker? That's not even a role!
Hidden Passive encourages Nidalee to take a solo lane because she obviously can't jungle successfully and the bonus experience from her hidden passive can slowly boost the experience gain of her allies.
Now when trying to find a role for Nidalee I struggle!
Nidalee is a ranged/melee hero who has poke, sustain, map utility, mobility, decent damage. But she doesn't have the level of these things like other champions. She doesn't have the poke level of Ezreal, sustain level of Soraka, map utility level of Ashe, mobility of Kassadin. She performs a very weird role that I can't even describe and so I wonder is Nidalee a mistake in design or a miracle for the game?