It has been a long preseason for Nidalee. Once the game’s best jungler, Nidalee’s fall from grace was swift. A few nerfs towards the end of the season took her from the most played competitive champion in Season 6 (she was in 66 percent of all competitive games) to completely ignored in the opening week of Season 7. Even her solo queue presence has taken a hit, dropping to the worst win rate of any jungler.
With Riot well aware of this tragedy, Nidalee has received her second buff of the season in Patch 7.2. Last time, back in patch 6.24 the changes were increases to her base attack damage. This patch, however, makes a few more meaningful changes to her kit in an attempt to bring her back into play without letting her return to Queen of the Jungle status.
BASE HEALTH :: 511 >>> 540
W - Bushwhack
[NEW] BUSHWHARDS :: Traps are now invisible, have 3 health, and are disabled by control wards
MAXIMUM TRAPS :: Unlimited >>> 4/6/8/10 at levels 1/6/11/16
E - Primal Surge
MINIMUM BASE HEAL :: 25/45/65/85/105 >>> 35/55/75/95/115
MAXIMUM BASE HEAL :: 50/90/130/170/210 >>> 70/110/150/190/230
While the buffs to Primal Surge should certainly help Nidalee’s clear in the jungle, these changes come with another interesting catch: they provide a huge buff to lane Nidalee.
For context, lane Nidalee was one of the most popular picks back in Season 4 right after she received her changes that added marking targets with Hunt to her kit. Lane Nidalee flourished both top and mid thanks to her kit’s ability to build into so many different paths as both an assassin and a brawler. The versatility along with the speed and active playstyle also make lane Nidalee one of my personal favorite champions in League of Legends.
With that in mind, we’ll see if these changes will be enough to push Nidalee back into the meta, in lane or in the jungle, or if Riot will have to continue their work to get the Bestial Huntress back into the game.