General Guide by Bernarnar
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
This guide is aimed at Solo-Queuers rather than the 2000 elo pros. Generally, a premade team will have no problems with their Jungler, so of course this is of minor use to them. This is for people who solo queue, and have the general mindset "Every time I get a Jungler they suck!"
The reason I decided to write this is because I play mostly junglers, and they seem to have a very bad reputation in the community. I guess they're a bit like the healing classes in other games - everyone knows you need one, but people don't play them because they see less glory with them, as they aren't performing an alpha-male role, and they're just something else to learn. Also like healers, they're the first to receive blame. It's too easy for someone to get killed in lane and say "ffs useless jungler" as a get-out.
This hate needs to change, and the best way to remove hate is education, so I present to you:
How to Care for your Jungler
The Jungler and its Role in a Team
*Note* This chapter may seem a tad patronising, so you can skip it if you want, but regardless it's something which some people still do not show evidence that they understand. *Note*
A Jungler is a character who chooses not to fight against other humans in a lane, but instead opts to PvE against monsters in the 'Jungle' (area which isn't in the lanes). This benefits the team by opening a second solo lane, allowing 2 Champions in your team to farm without sharing, meaning they will get levels and items faster than if they had to share the CS.
This character will not be on the enemy's minimap as often as the laners will be, and so will be able to gank more efficiently than the mid, because nobody will be able to call 'mia'/'ss' preceeding the gank.
A Jungler in Solo-Queue Blind Pick is easy to spot, look for Next to their champion. If you're over summoner-level 12, Smite is an inferior option to most of the other summoner spells and will only be taken by someone who has chosen to Jungle.
There is the odd time when someone may pick a highly-sustainable character such as:
and NOT take Smite despite the fact they have chosen to Jungle. Whilst this is by no way recommended, it may still happen, and will require extra care from teammates because of their self-crippling.
Most importantly, note that people with Smite will stay in the jungle throughout the laning phase. As such, don't make yourself look like a complete scrub if you and someone else are walking to bottom, and a Warwick with Smite follows. Pinging them and saying "omg ww go up" doesn't bode well for your intelligence. Similarly, if you have a teammate with Smite, don't walk up to top lane and then start pinging yourself and type "help someone come top", only go to top lane if you want to potentially 1v2.
So What does a Jungler Do?
A Jungler is included in all good teams. The Jungler's jobs and roles are as follows:
- To free up top lane as a solo lane. This grants your team an extra lane to earn full Gold and Experience
- To fight PvE. Initially, a Jungler should not get shut down by their opponents, because they don't change. Melee characters in lane can get decimated and denied by having ranged opponents, but a Jungler knows exactly what to expect and how to deal with all of their opponents.
- To disrupt enemies. A good Jungler will be able to sneak into the enemy jungle and steal camps and buffs. The slows the levelling of the enemy Jungler, who will be generally lower than the rest of the team anyway. As well as this, they can annoy the laning enemies by Ganking, burning Flashes, etc.
- To be constantly off the minimap. The fact that the enemy team will not know where you are is a threat to them, because they have no idea when they are about to get ganked. This may prevent them from being risky, and a good Jungler can punish people if they are.
Common Misconceptions, and What a Jungler's Role Is NOT
There are some common assumptions people will make about Junglers which are not at all true. Before you yell at your Jungler, think "is it really his place to have done that?"
A Jungler's role is NOT:
- To gank YOUR LANE the entire time. Think from their perspective, if you let an Annie in mid kill you twice as your Jungler hits level 5, do you really expect them to gank your lane with a Level 8 Annie when you're Level 6 yourself?
A Jungler needs to do what the name suggests - Kill jungle mobs to earn Gold and Experience roughly equal to that gained in a duo lane. Permanent Ganking is detrimental to this, and is the job of a Roamer rather than a Jungler.
As well as this, every lane has reasons to be ganked, just because you're in a lane doesn't mean it should be the Jungler's main focus.
Top is good to be ganked because of the 1v2 advantage it presents when an enemy over-extends, and the only method of escape is either Down or Back (In Mid, you can escape Down, Up, or Back). In a 1v2 situation only the second point applies.
Mid is good to be ganked because of the fact that the enemy's main source of damage will be there, and shutting them down early game is devastating to their late-game damage.
Bottom is good to be ganked because of the fact that you can be helped by 2 teammates, and if the enemy has a support they will generally sit there being underfarmed and squishy - free kills.
- To hold your lane all of the time. If you have a teammate with Smite, stay away from top if you don't feel comfortable 1v2ing early game. In Champion Select, if you see you have a Jungler, try to ensure there's someone on the team who can 1v2 just in case.
If you're having to bug the Jungler to hold your lane all of the time, you remove the point of Jungling in the first place, as both of you are essentially duoing in top lane. To put it simply, if you need to bug your Jungler to come to your lane all of the time, the fault lies with YOU.
- To Ward the entire map. Don't get me wrong, Wards are an amazing advantage to have over enemies. Junglers will wander around the map, getting themselves in position to easily ward choke points and Dragon completely unnoticed. Does this mean they are the only ones who should be warding? NO! It is nobody's place to blame the Jungler for the lack of wards. They earn Gold at a lesser rate than laners already, and designating them as the ward buyer only reduces their usefulness later on.
- To keep up in Levels with a solo. Being 1 or 2 levels under a non-fed solo laner is perfectly normal. Junglers end up underlevelled because of the fact they are having to leave their farm to gank, and if ganks don't lead to kills or assists, wasted time is wasted money (and Exp.). Yes, burning a Flash can be seen as a successful gank, but for a Jungler's Exp. it does them no favours.
- To solo everything. Early Dragon control is a great advantage to have, but is much easier achieved with some help. Don't walk casually past your Jungler doing Dragon, give them a hand. it will benefit you too in the long run.
Remember, it is NOT your Jungler's fault that you died in lane whilst they were elsewhere. Don't make excuses.
How you can DO what your Jungler ASKS of you
You should have a Clairvoyance on your team. This is a great help to a Jungler because it can allow them to see the whereabouts of the enemy Jungler (to allow counterjungling) or the enemy team (to ensure them that they are safe, or warn them if they aren't).
When your Jungler goes to their first camp, they appreciate their team standing around them in bushes to check for incoming enemies. Some Junglers get completely destroyed if Blue buff is taken from them, so guarding it saves you too.
This isn't difficult, just ask your Jungler:
"Where are you starting?"
and if you're met with "Blue" or "Red", stand around. When they Spawn, simply hit it with an auto-attack or spell from behind the wall. This causes that creature to chase you, allowing the Jungler a few free hits to begin, and the ability to keep the Buff in the bush for if an enemy does walk past.
How you can ABUSE what your Jungler OFFERS you
Most importantly, DO NOT PUSH YOUR LANE UNLESS YOU HAVE TO! It is beyond reason to expect a Jungler to early-game Gank an enemy who you've made tower-hug because you're sweeping through all the minions. I'm fully aware that some characters just HAVE to push lanes, but don't expect loads of help whilst playing them.
The main exception here would be Malzahar. Whilst a natural lane-pusher, he is a great person to gank for when he hits level 6, because .
Secondly, if you want a gank, ask for a gank. Your Jungler is not a mind-reader, and may have absolutely no idea you're struggling in your lane. Pings and the occasional "Gank bot plz" can go a long way. COMMUNICATE.
Wards, as mentioned, benefit your Jungler too. Warding Dragon for them saves more money in their pockets, and more map vision can help them create counter-ganks and prevent them from losing buffs.
Most importantly, Learn your Junglers. Don't go yelling at a lv3 Amumu for not ganking your lane with Bandage Toss, it makes you look ignorent. Learn their abilities, their general paths, whether they need buffs, and how they cope with Dragon.
"But that's loads of effort. Why do I have to go and research a role I'm not gonna play?"
Fear not, lazy one. I Present to you:
Meet the Junglers
The only effort you'll need is to keep reading this guide ;)
Hi, I'm Nunu, the most popular and potent Jungler in the current Metagame. My main Jungle route is an early Blue Buff, followed by some invasive counterjungling. I excel at disrupting and killing enemy Junglers early on. I can gank lanes as early as level 2 with my great CC. I don't particularly excel at soloing Dragon because of the long cooldown on Consume and the negation of Blood Boil by Dragon's fireball, so if you see me attacking him, Help. I am very mobile with Blood Boil and early Boots of Speed, so I have no problem getting to you if you ask for a gank.
Hi, I'm Amumu. I'm also a very potent Jungler and reach amazing Ganking potential at level 6. I'm AoE DoT based so clearing large camps is easy for me. Unfortunately, I struggle HORRIBLY without Blue Buff, and love extra help with it. I build tanky and therefore lack massive damage output to clear him quickly, and without him I run out of mana too quickly to sustain in the Jungle AND be on call for Ganks, so protecting it for me is of great importance. At level 4 I can begin ganking with Bandage Toss, but before then I won't have any method of helping the lanes. At level 6 I begin to really shine with a stun AND a Snare, so the quicker you let me get there, the quicker I reach potential. I do Dragon quite slowly so appreciate a hand early on.
Hi, I'm Warwick. I can keep myself very healthy at all times in the Jungle thanks to Natural lifesteal, Hungering Strike and hunter's call. I'll always have the health to help you if you need to recall or if you want a gank. Unfortunately, my skills are mainly steriods, so I can't gank effectively until level 6, when I get my ultimate. Asking for ganks before isn't productive use of my time, but after this I prove very useful with a Supress, extra vision and a team AS buff. Blue Buff isn't huge for me but Red Buff allows me to chase effortlessly when coupled with Blood Scent. I have the diversity to start almost anywhere, not necessarily at a Buff. Dragon is a piece of cake for me about level 8, and I can do it around level 6 if someone helps.
Hi, I'm Nocturne. I can Jungle with pretty fast speeds as long as I have Blue Buff, so I appreciate a leash to optimise my time in the Jungle and don't like it taken early game. At level 4 I can pick up Unspeakable Horror to help me gank your lane alongside the movement from Duskbringer. Before that I'm not so useful. Red Buff is very useful on me throughout the match because of my ability to chase, so please don't steal it. At level 6 I gain great maneuverability with my ultimate, so feel free to ask for ganks if I'm nearby and healthy. I'm not the most optimal early-game Dragon slayer because of his fireball lowering my attack speed, so someone tanking his attacks is the best way to gain control.
Hi, I'm Trundle. I'm a rediculously diverse and fast Jungler. I can start anywhere and don't need to rely on Health Potions to stay alive. I do however eat mana throughout the game, so Blue Buff is a necessity on me. I can gank your lanes at level 4 because I will get Pillar of Filth, before then I'm little help. Even throughout mid game Blue Buff is great on me because of the amazing utility of my Pillar of Filth, which has a significant cooldown and eats a lot of my Mana. Red Buff aids my ganking abilities significantly too. I can do Dragon as early as level 9 alone, but with a teammate only level 6 is needed.
Hi I'm Lee Sin, The Blind Monk. I too am obsenely versatile and safe whilst Jungling. Blue Buff is nice on me to help me chain my spells and keep my passive up, but I don't need it much past its second spawn, so I'm happy to share it with my team. Red Buff is great for me because I'm a brilliant chaser. I can solo Dragon at just level 7, but if someone takes the Fireball for a bit (and I have Madred's Razors) I can kill him as early as level 5! Unfortunately I'm a weak ganker, despite having 2 potential gap-closers and a slow, I have no hard CC to keep people in place. If you can provide a snare or stun, I can happily gank your lane with my surprisingly high early-game damage output, but otherwise I just end up chasing extended enemies down the lane. I'm also a very potent counterjungler because of my shield, lifesteal, AS-boost and high damage, not to mention I can clear camps FAST.
Hi, I'm Udyr. How I am depends on what mood I'm in. If I feel shy, I'll have great sustainability in exchange for some speed and early Dragons. I won't make the best ganks, but later on in the game I'll repay you by soaking hefty damage.
If I'm feeling aggressive I'll have unmatched speed in the Jungle in exchange for survivability, I'll be able to take a Dragon as early as level 8, or level 6 with some help.
If I'm feeling Fired-up I'll gain speed in dealing with bigger camps and waves of minions in exchange for a slower Dragon and less survivability.
Regardless, I'm little use for a gank before level 4, where I learn Bear Stance, because I'm completely melee and I'll have no Hard CC. Red Buff is a great boost to my killing abilities, and like Lee Sin I only need the first couple of Blue Buffs before I can share them happily.
Hi, I'm Olaf. I can have some good sustainability with Vicious Strikes giving me life steal in exchange for level 3 ganks. Alternatively, staying at lower health increases my speed but makes me vulnerable, and gives me the opportunity for early ganks with Undertow. Mana hasn't really been an issue to me, so Blue Buff can be shared early. Red Buff suits me nicely for ganks, but I also have Undertow for slowing effects, so I'll happily share that too. I can do Dragon around level 8 alone, but with help level 6 should be no problem provided I'm a little bit injured beforehand.
Hi, I'm Jarvan. I Jungle nicely with Armour and AS boosts, and can Gank as early as level 2 with my knockup combo. Despite this, my ganking is stepped up at level 6 when I learn my Cataclysm to hold an enemy in place while everybody pounds on them. Blue Buff is a must for me early on because my Demacian Standard Dragon Strike combo takes a lot from me, so leashing is appreciated. Red Buff aids my ganking ability by giving me another slow, meaning I can chase and pursue very nicely. I'm not the best Dragon killer at all, but can have a good shot at level 9. Level 6 should be possible with a teammate's help.
Hi, I'm Shaco. My Jungle is very strange, as I rely on Jack In The Box to tank the monsters' attacks. I will almost always start at Red Buff, but a leash can sometimes be detrimental to me, so please ask first. I can gank as early as level 2 with Deceive and the slow from Red Buff, and I offer brilliant Map Control. Blue Buff is important to me, it will speed up my jungle time dramatically and help keep me replenished to set up more Boxes. I can solo dragon nicely with boxes and my clone at level 6, but I take a bit of time to set up.
Hi, I'm Rammus. I have fairly quick Jungle times because the monsters consistantly damage themselves. My sustainability is "ok", and I have great ganking potential at level 2 with Powerball. My full potential comes with level 4 as I unlock Puncturing Taunt to hold enemies in place whilst they take a beating. I'm not an amazing Dragon slayer early on, and I need help. I can happily tank the Fireball for a DPS to do significant damage to him, though. I also have great map maneuvorability with Powerball so I can help my team quickly.
So there you go. Those are the most common and most potent junglers summed up in a few sentances each. You now have no excuse for ignorence :)
CounterJungling your own team!?
The final and most important lessons to be had lie here. The idea of 'CounterJungling' is stealing camps and buffs in order to disrupt a Jungler's route or lessen their survivability. It is no coincidence that the best Jungler, Nunu, is a terrific counterjungler.
"But If I'm not a jungler how can I counterjungle?" Simple:
"I'm a level 5 Annie and I've pushed my lane with intent of going back. I'm 20 Gold from a Catalyst. I could recall and sit on the fountain for 10 seconds, OR... There's a camp of 4 Wraiths here. * Incinerate.* Hey, 70 Gold, cool. *Recall*. ^_^"
Nothing wrong with that, UNTIL your level 3 Amumu comes over to do his Wraiths and finds that they're missing. Now his only options are: to sit and wait for camps to respawn, a premature Red Buff and forced ganks, or to risk going into the enemy jungle. Just because you messed with his timings, you've forced him to enter a recovery path (an alternate jungling path which is usually sub-optimal, taken after disrupton to the regular path with the intent of keeping up with Exp.). Too many times I see people taking camps very early on, and the benefits do NOT outweigh the restraints.
"I'm a level 6 Swain doing Blue buff because I noticed it spawn. 'Omg, noob, Trundle does not need blue i do im swain nooob!' *attempts to steal Blue buff* 'omg fkn noob' '/all report trundle' My team suck :("
Ignorence at its best. Not only are you weakening your Jungler's ability to sustain and to gank multiple times in succession, you're also wasting your time. Junglers know how to protect their buffs, especally from teammates without Smite. Stealing Blue from a Blue-dependant Jungler is just biting a hand which feeds you, and taking buffs without asking is plain rude.
When someone decides to pick a Jungler, they claim rights to the Jungle, the buffs and the Mobs. They repay this with map control and by aiding lanes with ganks. Taking from them is out of the question. You wouldn't want to be sitting in mid at level 6, only to find your level 4 jungler decides to lane with you until he's level 6 as well. He would be taking your lane. This is exactly how a Jungler feels if you start taking his camps and buffs.
As well as this, Junglers with mana problems will often forego ManaReg/5/L Yellows for Armour because they plan on having Blue Buff. Taking Blue can really screw them up early game because a Meki Pendant just isn't good use of their cash.
Of course, each situation is different. I can't list here every situation in which it's possible to take jungle camps, but I CAN offer a general rule of thumb:
Do not touch buffs until you're level 13,
Do not touch camps until you're level 11,
The right time to ask for Blue is around level 9 if you're a Blue-dependant Mage.
At level 9, you'll have your main skill at level 5, and so you start getting strong. Blue Buff may aid your strength greatly, BUT it's technically property of the Jungler. there's no point a level 6 Swain taking Blue Buff from a level 4 Trundle, it removes a portion of his potential Experience and hinders ganking ability, just so you can sit in mid farming slightly easier.
Around level 11 the laning phase should be pretty much done. From hereon in the Camps are fair game, a burst of Gold for anyone needing an item. Taking them will have little effect on the Jungler, as they would be conducting bad teamplay if they were alone doing a route.
At level 13 your Jungler should have their main skill (and potentially a second) at lv5. If they have mana or CD issues, their items should help to rectify this, so taking buffs should be absolutely fine. Usually by this point Junglers will start weakening and giving out buffs to more-dependant teammates anyway.
Like I said though, this is a general thing to keep in mind. A Lee Sin might give Blue to a level 6 Anivia, but an Amumu would not give Blue Buff to a level 6 Ezreal. Everything needs to be weighed up and left to judgement. if in doubt, ASK. COMMUNICATE!
Be nice! Whilst it's evident some people will jungle until they're level 13 without making a single gank, that doesn't mean that a Level 4 Lee Sin is a bad Jungler because he hasn't ganked the Level 6 Annie you've died to. Take a step back and Appreciate the work of the Jungler, and be happy you're queue'd with someone willing to Jungle.
Thanks for reading! :)