INTRODUCTION TO LEAGUE OF LEGENDS JUNGLE GUIDE
Hey, it’s Houdini again here with another guide from the endless depths that is the Cornucopia of Extremely Helpful Guides. This time I’ll tell you how to jungle effectively and efficiently (and what that means in the game)! Lemme show you how to work that wondrous magic on your LoL ELO again! Recently I published a Nidalee guide earlier this season on how to use Nidalee‘s mechanics properly and effectively. This guide should expand much further on the concepts I tried to introduce and enable you to have optimal results with any jungler you decide to pick up while learning key jungling concepts! Why trust me with jungle? Well that’s simple, the master is the master, and the student is the student. I consider myself to be very proficient in jungling in Master tier elo. It is my go to role when I don’t get bot lane, which is my typical primary role. There are numerous people who call my Nidalee skill’s one-trick, but I can greatly assure you that I know how to properly play every meta jungler at a high level, as seen in my vast boosting record with jungling. Currently, the jungle is at a very interesting state with many picks being viable. There is such a wide array of champions that can be played, it makes for a very interesting meta-game! For example, right now, marksman junglers are an extremely common pick. We can see this through the common picks of Graves and Kindred, which are excessively popular right now in this current season 6 meta. In this guide, I will expand your knowledge with popular jungle picks, ganking theory, counter-ganking, and how to balance it all while jungling. All champions have different jungling strategies, it’s all about knowing the strengths and weaknesses. Before all that, however, we’ll start off with an elaboration on the pros and cons of playing jungle to climb in this current meta and season.
PROS OF PLAYING JUNGLE:
- Can influence the map much more than any other position pre 15 minutes and can snowball the easiest out of any position.
- Many different sorts of champion are viable in the jungle currently and can range from mechanically intensive to Nunu.
- High skill cap and just by learning the position a bit better you can climb significantly as good junglers don’t really appear till low diamond.
CONS OF PLAYING JUNGLE:
- If your lanes lose solo you can’t really do much to help them and will often recieve the slack for not providing enough “pressure”
- It is a very mentally taxing position as you have to be able to keep track of the enemy junglers position as well as noticing where your lanes are positioned while farming and pathing your jungle route
- Most junglers don’t usually scale into the late game very well there are exceptions of course.
- Most importantly, junglers ALWAYS get flamed so you have to keep a neutral outlook on the game.
BEST LEAGUE OF LEGENDS JUNGLERS: CHAMPION PICKS
Lets consider the most popular jungle picks in current S6 lol meta.
GRAVES IN LOL: JUNGLE PICK
Graves is an extremely potent jungler as he can farm extremely easily without losing any health, has a decent clear speed, and scales extremely well into all parts of the game. The only problem with graves is his lack of crowd control(cc) and thus his early kill pressure is not that high. That means he should be mostly looking for counter ganks or ganking overextended lanes. Graves cannot setup his ganks that well so most of the time he power-farms to a small skirmishing stage and just carries the fights with his AOE damage. For Item builds on graves you want to go Warriors into a Maw of Malmortius, Sterak’s Gage, Swiftness Boots, Death’s Dance, and Phantom Dancer. These items are not in any particular order but usually getting the defensive ones first is nice unless you’re really ahead.
KINDRED IN LOL: JUNGLE PICK
Another marksman jungler like Graves she varies from him in a few ways. Her early clear is not as fast nor effective but she makes up for that with amazing ganks when she is between levels 2-5 with the addition of red-buff. She can often times pick off the enemy jungler or force the enemy laners to waste Flash extremely easily. Kindred probably is the best scaling marksman right now in the game as she can target many different champions at the same time while also keeping her own back-line safe for longer with her ultimate. It is important on kindred to not gank too much Pre-6 so that you can get your stacks and the farm needed to actually scale later as well.Kindred works well with Devourer, Swiftness Boots, Runaans Hurricane, Death’s Dance, Sterak’s Gage, and Maw of Malmortius. Start with Devourer, and make sure to get Tiered Boots after a few components. Other then that, Hexdrinker from Maw is good against AP heavy comps and therefore is a good component to get early. These items do not have to be in any particular order, and almost if not all syngerize well together in most games and are the optimal late game build. Always remember to take the marks on scuttle crab the value of these marks are ridiculous and increase how much damage you can do.
LEE SIN IN LOL: JUNGLE PICK
Lee Sin is one of the most versatile junglers in the game and will likely stay that way, as hit kit is overloaded with all sorts of abilities to setup ganks, get solo kills, and make plays. Lee Sin actually doesn’t have the best early game anymore compared to many other junglers currently however his clear is still pretty good and he starts ramping up around level 4 and gets a much bigger spike than other junglers at level 6. It is important to know that Lee Sin is more effective at counter-ganking Pre-6 unless enemy laners are pushing extremely hard. This is because Lee Sin’s lack of hard CC. It is usually better to rush level 6 (around 6:30) and then gank to kill utilizing Lee Sin’s ultimate with Flash as it provides heavy CC. If played correctly, this should force a flash or be a guaranteed kill. For Lee Sin I would be careful of getting invaded as if he gets killed in his first clear he becomes pretty useless for the rest of the game. Item choice with Lee Sin starts with Warriors, do not underestimate the value of vision and ward-hops. Then, if against heavy AP Hexdrinker, otherwise tank items such as Deadman’s Plate or Randuin’s Omen are preferred unless you are heavily snowballing (10-0 by 10 minutes).
ELISE IN LOL: JUNGLE PICK
Elise is another versatile jungler similar to Lee Sin however she has much more early pressure as her cocoon can setup many ganks and her damage is a bit higher than Lee Sin’s. Elise sustains amazingly in the jungle currently if aggro of the jungle monsters is maintained properly along with the spiders. She often times can build according to how the games are going as well since Rylai’s Crystal Scepter and Haunting Guise increase her damage significantly and provide utility for her team. For a decent game on Elise I would go Runic Echoes, Swiftness Boots, Rylai’s , Haunting Guise, Deadman’s Plate, and a last defensive item. She often times needs to put out her pressure early to mean anything as she doesn’t scale particularly well just farming along with enemy junglers, you want to actively look for ganks.
GRAGAS IN LOL: JUNGLE PICK
Gragas is a very high priority jungle pick in higher ELO divisions. He has decent clear speed and he never gets low in the jungle with his built in sustain with his passive. He can walk around the map, slamming the drinks back and belly-blooping whatever he wants and often still scales into an amazing front line champion with decent damage. The standard jungle path with Gragas is a half-clear and then an early gank. If that doesn’t work out Gragas can just farm to 6 or look for counter ganks. Once he reaches 6 he can force a fight with his ultimate. Diving bot-lane and re-positioning the enemy with Gragas Ultimate can win a majority of fights most of the time. For items going Runic Echoes into Ice-born Gauntlet is optimal and then the rest of your items should be defensive items. Deadman’s Plate is a great defensive item on Gragas, movement speed is fantastic.
Protip: Don’t be greedy with your flash if you see a kill E- Flash for the CC so your teammates can get the guaranteed kill early and even late-game a single E-Flash into R is a game winning combo if you can get it onto a carry.
HOW TO START YOUR JUNGLE ROUTE
When you’re jungling you always want to be thinking about what is optimal and what the enemy jungler is going to do. In the loading screen I’ll think about where the enemy jungler needs to start and if I can’t determine the enemy’s path from that alone I will watch to see what lane leashed him. This information is extremely valuable. From this you can do two things, you can either follow him on his jungle route and try to counter-gank or you can invade him when you think he’s at his buffs for a free kill if your jungler choice is strong enough. If I do this I’ll tell my lanes to push out and if I’m just following the enemy jungler I’ll ping out his location for my team. If you choose not to interact with the enemy jungler directly, you can decide to gank a lane. Naturally, it will be easier to gank a lane that is pushed out all the way to your allies’ turrets, and those are the ganks you want to focus on. However, be aware of the counter-gank potential, if the enemy has pushed in your allies then it’s likely they harassed your team out or is simply stronger laner than your ally. That means if you are counter-ganked you’re likely to lose the 2v2 or 3v3. To brush up on the basics, here is the standard route for a Level 3 double-buff into gank path that we all know and love for both sides of the map. If you did not know this clear before jungling, start learning now. You may know the jungle path, and do it yourself when jungling, but if you do not know what strengths even standard paths provide – you will not improve.
You may not know why this is the standard jungle clear. To begin with, the jungler gets a proper leash from bot-lane, and can choose to:
- Gank mid or top
- Continue jungling at maximum efficiency with double-buffs.
The same is true on red-side standard Gromp start as you can see below:
COUNTER-JUNGLING IN RANKED GAMES
If you cannot keep up with the enemy jungler, avoiding a direct fight and invading on the opposite side that the enemy jungler is on is a solid strategy. This will deny gold and punish the enemy jungler for taking aggressive gank paths. If you take the easy way out and attempt to farm your jungle, you’re giving the enemy jungler free reign to gank and invade you. The more ganks the enemy jungler goes for the more he gets behind unless he actually gets kills during the ganks which is why you want to keep track of his position to ping for your team so they can try to avoid him. Another way to counter jungle is to just keep track of how long the enemy has been on the map and his items and think about when he is probably going to be low then walk into their jungle and look for the solo kill. This is usually possible a lot more of the time than you think as many junglers in lower elos will keep farming even when they’re at 200-300 health and are often times free kills if you can find them. Counter-jungling is one of the most important elements of gameplay during ranked boost by Boosteria.
HOW TO BALANCE FARMING AND GANKING
General rule of thumb is that if you’re not farming while walking between ganks then you’re doing something horrible wrong. Often times you don’t want to look for a gank from base on the side of the map you’ve cleared last, that’s a straight path to “behind 30 CS street” that ends in “defeat cul-da-sac”. In lower elos, time and time again, many players will clear the bot-side jungle, proceed to recall, and then run back to gank bot-lane again. This is extremely inefficient. You are putting yourself behind UNLESS you get the successful gank on the lane. You must double-check your jungle paths to assure consistency and efficiency. Always try to farm as much as possible and don’t forget the scuttle crab it’s worth a whopping 100 gold!
WHAT ARE YOUR WIN CONDITIONS AS JUNGLER
I’ve been over this slightly but in the loading screens you want to think about what the enemy jungler is going to do as well as think about what you need to do. If you do not think about your game-plan in loading screen you are wasting the most valuable pre-planning time accessible to you in solo queue. This depends on your champion for example if I’m a Kindred vs Graves I will think about when we both start being strong. We both scale extremely well and have decent clears but the difference is kindred has extremely strong early ganks compared to graves. So from this you can see your win condition which in this case is to look for early ganks to get a lead on the graves and from that point its all about snowballing through counter-jungling and forcing the graves to have no impact on the game.
SEASON 6 JUNGLING: CONCLUSION
That’s the end of the show folks. Sticking to the basics and improving base game-play ability and knowledge is key in League of Legends, and in the jungle it should become second-nature. The nature of generalized guides means that I cannot advise you on all situations, but rather hope to teach you the correct methods to practice and learn. In any case, if you wish to truly strengthen your jungle, you can learn directly from the horse’s mouth by getting some coaching from your favorite elo magician, A.K.A. me.
Until next time,
Houdini signing off.
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