Currently, Nidalee is a homeless champion. While labeled as an assassin, she is usually played either as an AP Top or Mid laner or as a Support. She’s currently trapped in the limbo between different roles, and Riot has recently touched on this in a number of reddit posts. People claim she needs change because of her low risk gameplay and high damage nukes. My question: does Nidalee really need to be changed? What if she found a permanent role in which she excels at, instead of being sort of good at multiple roles? Let’s look at what makes her unique.
Nidalee, like any other form change champion, is hard to play and extremely difficult to master. When you first pay 3150 IP and sit down for your first Nidalee game, chances are the match will not go well for you. From wall pouncing to trap placement, there are many things to put to memory with her. So why is Riot considering changing an already complex champion? The answer is known to anyone that’s played against this champion: her spears. Nidalee can snipe her enemies for maximum damage without ever putting herself in danger. You might be asking “What about her melee form?”. That’s the problem: the only time you ever need to use cougar form is when you are completely sure you can finish an enemy off at melee range without putting yourself in harm’s way (it’s also used for escaping certain death, which may or may not be an additional reason for the outcry for change). This basically ensures a low death count and maximum gold gain, not to mention many angry members of the opposing team.
So what changes can be made to balance her and give her a place in the game? Some, such as Ciderhelm in the above video, say that her spears should be nerfed to give her more incentive to be aggressive. Others say that she should be completely turned into a support, and change her cougar abilities accordingly. I personally think that if they change her, they need to leave the spears alone. My proposed changes would be as follows: keep her human abilities but change her heal to grant bonus armor in addition to the heal instead of attack speed. For her cougar form, increase the cooldown on Pounce and Swipe and decrease the damage of Takedown, forcing Nidalee to stay in the middle of the fray longer if she wants to finish her enemies. It would create a reason for her to attack at close range, therefore creating high risk high reward scenarios instead of low risk high reward.
I continue to wait and see what Riot chooses to do. Honestly, Nidalee is such a malleable character that any change could be made to her and she would still be viable in pro games. We just have to wait and see how this huntress decides to hunt, and for the mean time I know for a fact that I’ll still strive to one shot people with my spears.