Nidalee is among the hardest champions in the game to clear with. Naturally, new players to her find themselves getting executed and lost as to why they feel so squishy, and even players that aren't new to Nidalee can find themselves with sluggish and/or unhealthy clears. My goal for this is to lump several optimized Nidalee clears into one place. All of these clears are mine. If you have any other clear paths you think should be showcased, feel free to post or send them to me.
Nidalee requires basic clear mechanics. If you are a new jungler and unfamiliar with the unique aspects of taking down each camp, it's highly recommended you gain some jungling experience before diving in, or prepare for a much longer road to getting used to clearing. Every clear below uses basic clear mechanics in order to improve the speed and/or hp of the clear. If you are unable to do a mechanic, ask me and I'll be happy to explain. However, I will not remove clear mechanics from my clears just to showcase a worse clear simply because it is easier for a newer player to copy because that just teaches poor methodology. In order to do the more advanced clears, you need to be able to do basic animation canceling and proper combo execution with fluid autos, or you can die easily.
A strong recommendation that I have is that you do not simulate a leash in practice mode, no matter how you simulate said leash. You will not get a leash in every game. You need to be able to clear without having one – treat leashes like a gift and be happy you're getting them, else you'll have terrible clears when you don't.
If you see me use any terms and are unfamiliar with what they mean (e.g. "clear flexibility," which is the ability to turn a short clear into a longer one if there are no available opportunities or to ditch a clear partway through to respond to an opportunity), please ask me to clarify.
I did not include any scuttle crabs in any of these clears. Should you wish to go to a scuttle crab, that is completely your prerogative, however I do not feel it is necessary to show how to take down a scuttle crab considering all it does is run away and take forever to kill as Nidalee has no CC for it. As a result, do not take these clears to mean that they must be done completely. You can ditch a clear part way through to go to a scuttle crab if you want, as many of these clears have fairly good clear flexibility (e.g. for the red->krugs->raptors clear, you could always do red->krugs->scuttle instead).
Raptor Starts: Raptor starts are one of Nidalee's exclusive strengths that only a few junglers have thanks to amazing level 1 AOE. Raptor starts have a lot of benefits but also drawbacks. The primary benefit of raptor start is that you do not get leashed for it (in fact, it doesn't speed you up if you get leashed unless you get something like a TF red card or Ekko/Ahri Q), which allows both of your side lanes to get potential level 1 advantages and hides your pathing to the enemy. In addition, it is as fast or faster than other leashed clears. The other major benefit is that you get superb clear flexibility. You do not decide the path you are going to take until your second camp, which means you can respond immediately if you see the enemy jungler make a movement (say if they go for a scuttle or a blue buff invade, you can counter/collapse) or if you see a different place you want to path suddenly. Last benefit is that it makes your early exp gain a bit cleaner; the raptor camp will respawn around 4:15 at a higher level and let you gain an early experience advantage since you have camps to take while they are waiting since the enemy took a buff first. As for the drawbacks of raptor start, the only real drawback is that you are useless at level 1 with just W. You cannot invade or counterinvade, and your traps that you place to do the clear just become wards to spot enemies invading you instead. As such, I do not recommend doing raptor start against teams you expect will invade your red side jungle at level 1.
Last note: Nidalee is exceptional at taking down both Krugs and Raptors. Raptors require some unique finesse to take down cleanly, so if you struggle with them I recommend you check the videos that include raptors below as it can save you a lot of health and time to improve that camp, and it is a very methodical camp where you can easily get more consistent. Also, rushing level 3 with Krugs and only needing 3 camps is another great option thanks to Nidalee's krug takedown speed.
Q: What runes did you use? A: The rune page is listed on the stat bar for each video, and most of the videos show the rune stats taken at the beginning too. However, if you do not wish to go look for that, here you go.
Q: What jungle item do you use? A: You want to go talisman in every clear except for clears where you both start blue buff AND do not intend to kill Raptor camp until after level 3. On those clears you can do machete, and it's faster.
Q: Wtf, I can't clear anything like you and I'm dying in my games trying it. Any other advice? A: I started out by saying that Nidalee is a hard champ to play thanks to her difficult mechanics and difficult clear. That being said, if you want to ease the learning process a little bit, swap the scaling health in the rune stats for armor and try using resolve secondary with Revitalize and Bone Plating for a little more talisman, E, and Ravenous Hunter healing. You can also ask me any questions directly at the places I listed at the bottom. Also, if you are starting Blue buff, you can opt to go Q>E>W instead of Q>W>E so you have a bit of healing to make you healthier but slower. Other than that? Just practice in practice tool a bit. It's a super useful tool you should utilize as it very closely replicates real jungling experiences for the first clear.
Q: What is the optimal/best/most efficient Nidalee path? What camps should I take? etc A: There's a reason that this post has multiple clears on it. Nidalee is one of the, if not the, most versatile early game jungler with the most amount of available paths to her. As of this writing, she cannot duel many of the meta junglers so you usually must outpath and outsmart people to be at the right place at the right time rather than just brute forcing duels like she used to be able to.
Q: I'm new to Nidalee, should I try raptor starts? A: No. Raptor starts are very punishing; get some practice on her mechanics before you try to do those clears
Q: Why are you smiting the buff in your buff-start full clears? A: Because Nidalee's level 1 sucks since you're squishy as hell and it's way easier if you get it out of the way as fast as possible. If you're getting leashed, don't bother smiting it unless it's threatened (blitz or something)
So without further ado, let me show you the clears. I've sorted them into two self-explanatory categories: half/side clears and full clears. Full clears will get you to level 3, while half or side clears will get you to level 3 only if it includes krugs. I talk a bit about the pros/cons of full clearing or half clearing in their relevant category
Full clears are exactly what they sound like. You get level 3 off of them, and you can extend or change them so that you can clear more/less camps, and potentially hit level 4 before leaving the jungle. If you are looking for 6-camp clears (a "true full clear"), they are mostly just a combination of half-side clears that start on one side and linearly move across mid rather than just ending. If that interests you instead, look to those videos and go from there. Note that buff start clear speed is improved a fair amount by getting a leash.
. Standard buff-start level 3 clear. Not much to see here. This is the "predictable" path if you are on red side of the map (starting bot lane). Switches you to the opposite side of the map, you get both buffs, and you're on your way. If you prefer to take gromp instead (or wish to take both wolves + gromp), see half clear section.
. Reverse of above clear, also a standard buff-start level 3 clear. "Predictable" if you are on blue side of the map (starting bot lane). Switches you to opposite side, you know the drill. See half-side clears if you're interested in doing krugs after instead.
. A Raptor start clear that is useful for getting a leashless start and then moving to the opposite side of the map. Good early clear flexibility thanks to starting raptors. Superb method of invading enemy raptors/krugs, so useful against champions like Camille or Xin Zhao that are not expected to take them. That invade also sets you up perfectly for a dive in a lane that might work for it. Even if you don't plan on invading, it's a good all-around fast clear.
Half or Side Clears
These clears do as their name suggest: you take only one half (one side) of your jungle. You can vertically jungle, move to other side to take all 6 camps, bum rush a scuttle, whatever you want to do after. If you wish, you can also recall at the end of a half-side clear, pick up your other jungle item, and then do the other half with full hp and mana. If you want to do that, keep in mind the risks of losing that part of your jungle (because you take so much longer to get there) and the fact that you are now basically incapable of responding to something that happens on the side where you recalled. I strongly recommend half clears only once you understand when and why you're doing them otherwise you'll just get triple buffed or something and that sucks.
If you want to hit level 3 fast, and get a leashed red buff, this is your go-to. Lots of other junglers do this at the moment so keep in mind it may be a predictable strategy. Also a good start to a "true full clear" with 6 camps that gets you to level 4.
Alternative to the above clear. This clear is great if you want to recall after or level 3 gank a side lane super early as you will defy most people's expectations (and warding habits) for avoiding level 3 ganks. Nidalee is likely the fastest champion that can do this clear, so make use of it. Bonus points since the side you will be near didn't have to leash you, so they've hopefully already got an advantage for you to work with.
Half clear on your blue jungle side. Pretty straightforward. Ending at gromp here means you intend to go to river after or recall to do something like Krugs>Red>Raptors next.
Slight alternative to above. Half clear on your blue jungle side. Straightfoward. Ending at wolves here means you intend to cross mid and go to raptors, red, or opposing river half. Also a good start to a 6camp "true full clear" that gets you level 4.
As always, if you have any questions, let me know. If you wish to add something to this, follow me on Twitch to learn more about Nidalee, or anything like that, I can be found at any of the following places:
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