As everyone knows, jungling is a major part of each League of Legends match. The problem with this role is that there are very many people, especially amon beginners, who do not know how to effectively play it, being one of the hardest roles in the game. This article will help aspiring new and advanced junglers to improve their play and potentially carry their team to the enemy nexus.
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS JUNGLE BASICS
Firstly, to be able to jungle like a master you have to understand the basics. Many people believe that jungling means killing the monsters and ganking, but it’s a lot more into it than this. Jungling effectively means that you have to always look at the map, think like the enemy jungler and then think about which lane needs your help most, which lane will have most impact and which lane you can apply pressure to the easiest.
If you are new to jungling, you should try to play high sustain champions such as Udyr, Warwick and Nunu until you gain more experience with the role and feel confident enough to play other champions that play differently.
In case you didn’t know this already, using summoner spell Smite on large monsters gives you buffs that are of a very great importance in certain moments, sometimes even saving you.
JUNGLE OBJECTIVES ANALYSIS AND DETAILS
By smiting Gromp you gain Gift of the Toadstool which lasts for 90 seconds and gives you something similar to a Thornmail that scales with 5% your bonus health. This means that enemies will be dealt magic damage when you are being hit. This buff is very important if you are playing a jungler with a lot of health such as Nunu, Sejuani and Gragas, especially in the late game where your health pool is very large.
Smiting the Ancient Sentinel, or blue buff golem as it’s commonly known, will restore 25% of your maximum mana over the next 2 seconds. This buff has the least importance because if you are the one to kill the Ancient Sentinel you already gain blue buff and your mana will restore itself passively. If you are in dire need of mana you can still smite it though.
If you smite the Greater Murkwolf it will spawn a spirit that grants you vision on the four way crossroad in the blue buff side jungle for 95 seconds and it will follow enemies that enter your jungle while also pinging them. This effect is very important if the enemies target your jungle camps or focus on the adjacent lanes. Knowing where your enemy is located is the best way of countering their tactic thus gaining advantage by killing them or taking their jungle camps or making your enemy waste time by dodging them.
Smiting the Crimson Raptor gives you the Razor Sharp buff which gives you the Oracle buff for 10 seconds after you get spotted by a ward nearby. During these 10 seconds all invisible units around you become visible. Razor Sharp lasts for 90 seconds or until you are spotted by a ward. This is the most important buff for junglers since it allows you to deny enemy vision without using your trinket.
By smiting the Red Brambleback, or the red buff monster, you restore 20% of your maximum health. It’s important when you are clearing the jungle so that you can delay your return to base or sometimes there are moments when you fight near the camp and you can smite it to regain lost health and probably win the fight.
Gift of the Heavy Hands is what you get by smiting the big Krug. This buff makes your first attack after getting it to stun the monster or minion and after that every 6th attack will also stun. If you attack a turret with this buff on you then you will deal increased damage. This buff lasts for 90 seconds or until you attack a turret. This buff is the one that helps you most when you first clear the jungle because most junglers run attack speed runes or have means of resetting their basic attack or increasing their attack speed. The extra crowd control helps you save health potions, thus being able to kill more camps or gank a lane.
Killing the Dragon gives team buffs. Each kill gives a different buff. The first kill gives Dragon’s Might which increases attack damage and ability power by 6%, the second kill gives Dragon’s Wrath which increases your team’s damage to towers and buildings by 15%, the third buff is Dragon’s Flight which increases the team’s movement speed by 5%. Dragon’s Dominance is the fourth buff that gives 15% increased damage against minions and monsters and the fifth buff, the most important one, is Aspect of the Dragon which doubles all previous bonuses and also makes your attacks burn for an extra 150 true damage over 5 seconds.
Killing Baron Nashor gives another very important team buff. All the team members that are alive when Baron Nashor dies receive Hand of Baron which provides them attack damage and ability power which scale with game time, reduces recall time and when someone with Hand of Baron is near minions they are heavily buffed offensively, defensively as well as gaining movement speed.
Now that we finished talking about the buffs we should talk about the jungling route. Usually, junglers start with the camp closest to the bottom lane duo because this allows them to receive as less punishment as possible, but if the jungler is on the red team and the champion has ways of attacking faster then they can start at Krugs because the buff that Gromp gives won’t help them as much and they will end up receiving more damage than starting at Krugs.
You should always smite your first camp because the buff helps you in your first clear, even if you will not have any use for it later. For example Nidalee starting Gromp will not need the Gift of the Toadstool since her bonus health won’t be as big and she shouldn’t be hit as much as a tank.
After killing the first camp you should kill the buff wielding camp near it and then either kill the other camp in that area or move to the other buff. Choosing which way to go is determined by how much you need the other buff and on your early ganking possibilities. If, for example, you are playing Lee Sin and just finished killing the Red Brambleback and you see an opportunity to gank mid lane you can kill the raptor camp first to get level 3 and then gank mid. When you do this there is a possibility that the enemy jungler will take your blue buff when they see you on a lane and not in the jungle. You have to think carefully about this because if the gank doesn’t work then you will lose a buff and your enemy will gain one or at least a refresh and you will also waste time because you don’t gain anything.
I’ve said things about ganking earlier, but I haven’t touched on what ganks are and what constitutes a successful gank, so this is what will come next.
WHAT IS GANK IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
We call ganks moments when champions move from their farming position to another place to kill the enemy champion, the tower or to make them be in a disadvantage by blowing their Flash and thus leaving them exposed to further ganks for the duration of Flash’s cooldown.
Usually ganks are pulled off by junglers, but other laners can also do them.
To gank successfully you have to look at the enemy positions and the position of your mates. If the enemy laner(s) is(are) closer to your tower than to their tower then you can try ganking them because it will take awhile for them to get back to the safety of their tower, thus you will be able to deal damage or use your crowd control to slow them down and maybe kill them.
If the enemies are rather close to your tower, but there are a lot of enemy minions then you should think if it’s worth losing so many minions to a maybe ineffective gank. If the enemy doesn’t have Flash or any other escape then you or your mate will get an easy kill and your team’s gold will grow as well as the experience.
Not getting kills doesn’t mean the gank isn’t successful. Blowing summoner spells, denying many minions, killing a tower or killing a buff-wielding neutral monster are also ganks that are successful. Everything that puts your enemies at disadvantage is a successful gank.
INITIATING GANK AND WHO SHOULD START ENGAGE
Initiating ganks is another important thing. This depends on the scenario. If the enemy is running towards the bush where the jungler is then they should initiate, but if the laner is able to initiate the gank then they will. Generally the champion that can land crowd control the easiest is the one that initiates the fight because it increases the success rate of the gank.
Who takes the kill is a very controversial topic in the lower ranks because laners think that they are entitled to getting the kill so that they can be very ahead, but in reality it doesn’t really matter who takes the kill. Think of the kill gold as a bonus to making sure that the enemy laner falls behind in experience, minion gold and takes tower damage. Inevitably your team gets ahead after each kill, even if the laner doesn’t get it.
WHAT IS COUNTER GANK IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
Counter ganking means that you gank a lane while the enemy jungler is also ganking it. Usually counter ganks tend to be successful because the enemy team doesn’t know where you are and might not expect you to come. Also, it’s effective because you and the laner can focus on the target that’s easier to kill and then rotating your target to the others.
WHAT IS COUNTER JUNGLING IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
Counter jungling is the act of invading the enemy jungle and killing their monster camps.
The safest way to do this is by waiting for the enemy jungler to show up somewhere. If you cannot counter their gank you can kill their monsters and take their buffs.
EARLY GANKS IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
If you are playing a jungler that can gank very early, at level 2, you can kill your first camp and then go to the enemy buff camp and kill them there or steal their buff. Usually, if the enemies expect this to happen they will start at the buff camp and continue their jungle route, making you waste your time when you try to find them there low on health. The easiest way to counter this is to ward the enemy buff at 1:25~1:30 and see if they are doing the normal route or the route that counters this. When doing this you have to talk to your team to follow you when doing this because the enemy team might be nearby and you would take a lot of damage or die if you are alone.
In case you play the jungler who is weaker early then you should ward the bush between your buff and the river because the enemy might try to do this.
Warding (you can read about it in details in our warding guide) is the best way to avoid being counter jungled. If you see that the enemies try to kill your monsters or try to kill you, you should talk to your team for help and ward the jungle. If you manage to catch the enemies in your jungle by surprise then you might win the ensuing fight and snowball the game from that. If the enemies counter your blue buff side jungle then smiting the big wolf is a great option because the fact that the spirit will keep them away.
JUNGLE ITEMIZATION IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
Let’s consider jungle items in details. All junglers start the game with Hunter’s Machete and 2 health potions. The Machete has four upgrades:
- Ranger’s Trailblazer which restores missing health and mana while also dealing AoE damage and stunning the monsters or minions
- Stalker’s Blade which deals a little damage and steals some movement speed
- Skirmisher’s Sabre which increases the damage you deal while decreasing the damage you are dealt by the champion you used smite on
- Poacher’s Knife which grants you 20 bonus gold and 175% movement speed when smiting a monster in the enemy jungle.
Ranger’s Trailblazer is best bought by junglers who have sustain problems early in the game or those who don’t have such a good clear.
Stalker’s Blade gives junglers a good way to close gaps, thus making their ganks more effective, so it’s better on champions who need to get closer to their enemies to deal damage or use crowd control.
Skirmisher’s Sabre is great on duelist junglers because they will be dealt less damage and they will deal more damage while also giving vision of the target, so they will have nowhere to escape.
Poacher’s Knife is the worst upgrade to Hunter’s Machete because it literally tells the enemy team that you will be counter jungling and they will be ready to kill you each time you try to do so.
JUNGLE ITEMS ENCHANTMENS
- Cinderhulk is an enchantment that increases your health by a flat amount and a percent of it while also deals damage around the jungler. This enchantment is great for tanks.
- The Warrior enchantment increases your attack damage and gives you armor penetration combined with cooldown reduction. This item is great for duelists.
- Devourer is an enchantment that is great for farming junglers that use basic attacks very much because it increases the damage dealt and also scales with monster camps killed.
- Runeglaive is an enchantment that’s good for ability power based junglers that use abilities and basic attacks very much because it gives some ability power, mana, cooldown reduction and the passive ability increases the damage, turns it into magic damage and also deals AoE damage. It is an incredible item for Nidalee because she can use it fully.
Always start the game with Warding Totem as it allows you to defend your jungle at level 1 and also help your laners after you finish the jungle. At level 9 you should swap to Sweeping Lens as you will need to clear enemy vision.
Buying wards is always important as a jungler. Keeping the river bush that’s near dragon pinked is always a good idea because it offers a lot of information and if positioned right can see if the entrance to dragon is warded.
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS JUNGLE ADVANCED TACTICS
As a jungler you have to manage your time very effectively because you can fall behind very easily.
Usually, junglers are level 4-5 when solo laners are level 6 and most of the time the jungler is having the same level as the bottom lane duo.
If there aren’t lanes where ganking is available then don’t waste any time and kill the monsters in your jungle or counter jungle if your lanes are pushed to the enemy towers. This will not allow the enemy laners to help their jungler as they will lose farm and thus put themselves behind when compared to your mates.
Often it’s more important to give a buff to an ally than to take it yourself. In the mid to late game the marksman needs the red buff more than you do because they need the slow to keep themselves safe from the enemy assassins or champions that dive your team’s backline and the member with wave clear will need blue buff to keep killing the minion waves and not let the enemy team kill towers.
Stealing buffs is also important. If the enemy mid laner is a big threat you can focus on stealing their blue buff so that they don’t receive the mana regen nor cooldown reduction. This will put them behind because they won’t be able to use their skills so often and so much.
Lane ganking is a tactic that’s approached very usually in higher levels of play because it almost always ensures that you will get something out of it since most people tend to ward river bushes and tribushes. This tactic is usually used when ganking bottom lane because the support takes sweeping lens very early and can also tell you if the bush is warded. Another fact that makes it a great tactic when ganking bot lane is that the support can initiate the gank with their crowd control because oftenly people play supports with a lot of crowd control.
TYPES OF JUNGLERS IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
There are more types of junglers, not just one. The biggest categories are farming junglers and ganking junglers.
FARMING JUNGLERS IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
Farming junglers are the ones who prefer to farm, counter jungle and maintain control of drake. Even though you are playing a farming jungler, this doesn’t mean that you cannot gank or help your team mates while they are laning.
For example, some farming junglers are Nunu, Nocturne and Master Yi. Even though all of them have decent ganking abilities, their ganks are less effective than other junglers’ ganks.
You can help your team mates even just by showing up in lane when their opponent goes aggressive and you know that the laner cannot take them on alone. For example, if you are playing Nunu and your mid laner is playing Varus against Yasuo, and Yasuo goes aggressive onto him, you can show up in lane even if Nunu’s ganks aren’t the best and your position might favor Yasuo’s escape by using his dash. This might save Varus or you could even kill Yasuo.
GANKING JUNGLERS IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
Ganking junglers are the junglers with very good early game and a lot of mobility. They use these features to earn their team an early game advantage by applying pressure to their lanes and look for the enemy jungler to either counter gank or kill them.
Some ganking junglers are Lee Sin, Rek’Sai and Gragas. Their mobility, early game damage and heavy crowd control allows them to be very dangerous to the enemy team. All of them are able to pull off high damage ganks from as early as level 3. They apply pressure to lanes just by being in the game because if the enemy team doesn’t have wards they don’t know when to expect a gank so they will play safer and allow your laner to gain more farm or poke them.
Maintaining vision control is something that’s very important to junglers. It doesn’t matter which kind of jungler you are playing, you have to either put wards or kill wards. Some more supportive junglers such as Nunu, Sejuani and Gragas can purchase Sightstone to do better in this part of the game.
In conclusion, to play jungle effectively you have to manage your time very well, maintain vision control and apply pressure. We also would recommend you to read our ultimate league of legends guide for beginners.
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