Introduction/Table of contents
This guide is dedicated to Ben “Jazen Might”, as a gift for successfully reaching level 30.
This guide will attempt to allow new or inexperienced junglers to orient themselves to both their role and the mentality that role requires. This guide is divided into sections, and accessible through the following table of contents:
1. The jungle as a role
2. Before the game: Jungler selection
3. Before the game: Preparing for the game
The Jungle as a Role
The jungler is generally defined as the champion who plays primarily in the jungle. The jungler has several tasks generally assigned to them:
-Ward key locations and/or enemy jungle
In addition, in the current iteration of the meta, the jungle is typically a tanky/support champion. This in true in spite of Riot’s attempts to change the meta towards “carry style” junglers such as Master Yi. The majority of jungles played are still tanky/support champions, such as Jarvan IV or Warwick. This does not mean that carry-style junglers are unviable. However, this does mean that care should be taken before using one, and careful consideration of the team’s composition in light of a carry-style jungler is due.
Before the Game: Jungler Selection
One of the most vital parts of playing the jungler is finding the correct champion. To be clear, picking one champion and playing that champion exclusively in the jungle is generally a poor choice. New junglers should begin experimenting with new champions as soon as possible. This is because not every champion synergizes well with every team composition. For example, Warwick would not work well with a disengage composition, and Evelynn would not work well with a poke composition. Generally, junglers should seek to create a core repertoire of champions they are experienced with, and select from that pool as the team requires. A good example of a repertoire of champions follows.
-A poke-heavy jungler, such as Fiddlesticks, Aatrox, Zed, or Mundo
-A dedicated AP jungler, such as fiddlesticks, Evelynn, Elise, or Zac
-A tank jungler, such as Jarvan IV, Amumu, Maokai, or Zac
-A teamfight/disgenage jungler, such as Wukong, Jarvan IV, Malphite, or Sejuani
-A Carry-style jungler, such as Master Yi, Nocturne, Olaf, or Zed
These roles overlap for certain champions, and it is fine for that to occur. For example, one’s entire jungle repertoire could easily be Zed (Poke, Carry), Fiddlesticks (Dedicated AP, teamfight) and Zac (Tank, Dedicated AP). For a full selection of currently played/viable junglers, see the appendix.
Before the Game: Preparing for the Game
During the loading screen, it is best to create a gameplan. A couple of considerations that should be taken into account:
-What kind of champion is the other jungler playing?
If the other jungler chooses a late game champion, such as Wukong or Fiddlesticks, it may be best to engage in counterjungling. This will delay the champion’s ascension to their strongest stage, and works to degrade enemy morale. If the enemy jungler excels at counterjungling, such as Shaco or Udyr, it may be prudent to ward your own jungle early, in an attempt to catch the enemy.
-What kind of lane matchups are present?
This will be covered in more depth in the dedicated ganking section, but during the loading screen it is possible to guess with a relatively high degree of accuracy where the jungler will be needed. For example, friendly containing an early VS late game champ will likely need help if the latter is on the friendly team. For example, an allied Wukong normally needs help early on, since Wukong is weak in laning phase. Thus, the jungler may choose a jungle route that puts them close to top lane around level 3 or level 4, but a simple mental note to pay closer attention to the lane usually suffices.
-What kind of team composition is the opposing team using?
If it is possible to discern a team theme, it will be easier to counter that composition. The counters are usually fairly easy to intuit: If an opposing team is running a teamfight composition, it may be smart to constantly split-push, rather than engage the opposing team in their own element. The jungler has a large amount of power in the team, and can normally force a transition from laning to teamfight phase whenever the jungler feels it is necessary or proper.
Perhaps the most important and impactful action the jungler can undertake is the gank. Ganking is easy to perform, but difficult to master. Since timing and circumstance are of the utmost importance in ganking, this guide will attempt to use a point system to assign relative values to certain circumstances that can influence the likelihood of success or the appropriateness of a gank in the first place. Note that this is a rough estimation, and common sense should be used in applying this system.
When deciding whether to gank a lane, assess the lane’s situation. Assign points to that lane as this guide follows. Generally, If a lane contains more than 10 points, it is wise to gank that lane. If a lane contains between 0 and 10 points, that lane can be ganked, but it is of low priority. If a lane contains less than 0 points, that lane should be left alone.
Allied lane champion: Can contribute to gank (high enough health/mana and level) +2
Allied lane champion: is a carry champion +1
Allied lane champion: Has poor communication -6
Allied lane champion: Has previously failed to engage upon gank -4
Enemy Jungler: is high-mobility (such as hecarim, or rammus) -2 if not visible on map
Enemy Jungler: Is behind (in levels, buffs or kills) +1
Enemy Jungler: is a poor champion early game (amumu, sejuani) +2 pre-level 6
Enemy lane champion: Has an escape ability -2 If not used
Enemy lane champion: is low health (generally below 1/3) +2
Enemy lane champion: is pushing (past the halfway mark) +5
Enemy lane champion: is out of mana/energy +2
Enemy lane champion: Has placed no wards or insufficient wards +4
Enemy lane champion: Has previously fallen victim to a gank +3
Enemy lane champion: Is visibly frustrated (spamming /all chat, excessive aggression) +4
This applies to duo lanes as well. For example, if both champions in bot lane are low on hp, that lane has already accumulated 4 points. This list emphasizes the precise timing and coordination necessary for ganks to produce meaningful results.
When ganking, it is important to consider before the action what outcome is desired. Generally, a gank is considered an unconditional/total success if one of four conditions occurs:
-The enemy lane champions use a flash while allied champions did not
-The enemy lane champion is slain, while no allies are slain (including the jungler)
-The enemy lane champion is forced to recall
-The enemy lane champion cannot assist in the taking of an objective immediately after the gank
A gank can be considered a moderate/conditional success if one of the following occurs:
-The enemy lane champion was forced to use a long-cooldown ability, such as an ultimate, while allied champion did not.
-The enemy lane champion is slain, but the jungler or allied lane champion is slain (barring either death was a shutdown)
-The enemy lane champion is damaged enough that their ability to lane is seriously and meaningfully impacted
Any gank that does not fall into one of the two categories above is considered a failed gank. This is because while technically some situations may be seen as “neutral”, such as both teams losing a flash, the jungler had used valuable time to achieve that result. Therefore, the investment of time that could be spent in other lanes or in the jungle has achieved no real results.
Communication is essential to actually ganking. CC should be layered for maximum duration, and if the jungler intends to dive the target under tower, it must be made IMMEDIATELY AND READILY clear that diving is the intention. Once the jungler commits to the gank, the jungler has commited to the gank. A jungler should never ping his allies in, then change his mind. This sows distrust and damages communication. Once the ping falls, the cards must be allowed to also fall as they will.
Sometimes, lanes will conduct themselves in such a way that a jungler must avoid them. This must be realized, and the lane must be isolated so that the jungler can focus efforts in areas that will be more beneficial to the team. Several instances of such behavior exist, but the most famous is flaming. Flaming occurs whenever the jungler is personally attacked, usually for perceived incompetence. The "friendliness" of the community is well-known, and the abuse of supports by their carries is a well-known phenomenon seemingly to everybody but the abusive carries. A similar behavior occurs through tops and mids abusing their jungler, especially for their own mistakes. This can occur in several ways:
The most typical is something along the lines of "**** jungle never ganks" "fail jungle wtf gank noob". The proper response to this behavior is to ignore them, and their lane. This behavior makes it quite clear that the player in question is not in a team-oriented mindset. However, one should distinguish between flaming and genuine criticism. Criticisms should be considered, but it should be clear from the intent and phrasing which is meant.
Sometimes after a gank it may be possible to obtain other advantages for the team outside the kills that specific gank garnered. It may be possible to take objectives. These objectives, in order of importance/impact from least to most, are as follows:
-a tier 1 (outer) tower
-a tier 2 (inner) tower
-a tier 3 (inhibitor) tower
Realistically, certain lanes and ganks may lend themselves to certain objectives. Ganking top for a kill might lead to the top outer tower falling, just as counterjungling and killing the enemy jungler might lead to stealing red buff. Junglers should try to obtain objectives when they're already in the area, rather than seek out objectives, unless enemies are trying to obtain those objectives. For example, it may not be wise to randomly shove the midlane towards their tower, without pushing their laner out of position first.
There are certain circumstances which lend themselves to counterjungling. Certain champions are themselves tailored to counterjungling, such as shaco, udyr, lee sin, or nunu. This guide will focus on incidental counterjungling, rather than counterjungling as a by-and-large independent jungling strategy. These are a few situations when counterjungling an enemy can be profitable:
-The enemy jungler has been sighted on the opposite side of the map (for example, ganking top while the jungler is bot)
-The enemy jungler is either currently dead or has been dead within the past 15-20 seconds
-The enemy lanes corresponding to the half of the jungle being counterjungled are out of position or dead (for example, it is possible to counterjungle red buff on purple side if top and/or mid of purple team are dead or have recalled)
In all cases of counterjungling, the jungler must be prepared. Warding is required, and it is recommended that the jungler only engage in counterjungling while his allies are in position in their respective lanes, so they may lend aid if necessary. If engaging in counterjungling, one must prepare a plan in case the enemy jungler is met: Fight or flight. Fight is usually the worse option, unless the enemy jungler can be killed and escape is possible before their lanes respond. This is usually a 10-15 second window. Be sure to kill the large minions at each camp, while leaving the small ones. Counterjungling has the dual benefit of lowering the viability of enemy ganks, as a perceptive jungler can spot the enemy jungler leaving the jungle in preparation for a gank, and alert the relevant lane to the danger.
This guide is the culmination of 2+ years of dedicated jungle playing, and is as complete as I can make it for the time. I may come back and update or even re-do this guide as the meta shifts in Season 4. I hope that this guide is helpful for new junglers, and lowers the sense of being overwhelmed many junglers can feel. Please leave any comments or questions in the space provided below, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Champions are tagged with the following markers:
Dedicated AP (AP)
Carry style (C)
In addition, a style is recommended in brief terms for the suggested playstyle of each jungle champion.
Aatrox (P, T, C)
-Style: baiting/dueling enemies, counterjungling, split-pushing and soloing objectives.
Alistar (T/D, T)
-Style: CC tank, high gank potential early-game that tapers off into midgame
-Style: CC tank, very low gank power early game, easily counterjungled, ganks are semi ult-dependent, ganks dependent upon landing skillshots, great teamfights
Cho'Gath (AP, T, T/D)
-Style: CC tank/carry destroyer, very vulnerable to counterjungling, dependent upon landing skillshots for ganks
Darius (T, T/D, C)
-Style: Bruiser. Excels at counterjungling, ganks are average, good teamfight. Lacks sustain in the jungle.
Diana (P, AP, C)
-Style: AP bruiser/burst. Relatively weak early, easily counterjungled. Dependent upon landing skillshots for ganks. High damage output, but no escape.
Dr. Mundo (P, T, T/D)
-Style: Tank. Mundo is as tank as it gets. Very weak early game, and vulnerable to counterjungling, but post 6 can stay in the jungle forever.
Elise (P, AP, C)
-Style: AP burst/assassin. Relatively weak early game, ramping up to massive damage mid/late game. Ganks are semi-dependent upon landing skillshots. Good at securing/soloing objectives.
Evelynn (AP, C, T/D)
-Style: Stealth. Ganks are arguably the easiest in the game, but gank potential is rather weak until level 6. Easy to counterjungle with and against.
Fiddlesticks (AP, P, T/D, C)
-Style: Teamfight/carry disruptor. Difficult to counterjungle, very weak early game. Dependent upon blue buff, especially the first one. Ganks are relatively difficult pre-6.
-Style: Farm. Gangplank excels at farming his jungle and assisting lanes with his ultimate. The idea is to get fed off of CS and carry as if a solo lane.
Hecarim (T, T/D)
-Style: Gank-heavy, speed. Hecarim is weak early game, and weak to counterjungling. Hecarim uniquely can nearly bypass wards as his extreme speed will sometimes overwhelm enemies, even if they are attentive to their wards. Ganks are dependent upon team communication and landing his E properly.
Jarvan IV (T/D, T, C)
-Style: Versatile. Jarvan can be played as a bruiser/carry destroyer, or as a full tank, or somewhere in-between. Very good early game and mid game, weak late-game. Weak to AP champions in general, and very early counterjungling (lvl 1-3)
Jax (T, T/D, C)
-Style: Aggressive counterjungling, and split pushing. Jax will typically gank a lane, and then destroy its tower, then counterjungle the camps near that lane. Do not allow jax to snowball, as he can effectively carry.
Kha'Zix (P, C, T)
-Style: Versatile. Kha'zix can be built tanky or bruiser, and he is very hard to pin down. he is weak to counterjungling, especially his first one or two blues. He excels at juking and brush tactics, try to avoid fighting in the jungle.
Lee Sin (T, T/D, C)
-Style: Versatile. Lee sin can be built full AD, full tank, or somewhere in-between. Watch his inventory for sightstones, and try to burst him down before he can ward-jump. If he ward jumps, do not pursue.
Malphite (P, T/D, T, C)
-Style: Malphite is currently not played much in the current meta, but his role is dependent upon teamfights.
Maokai (AP, T, T/D)
-Style: Maokai excels at holding down targets, and is a CC tank. His popularity is currently low, limiting practical knowledge about his playing style.
Master Yi (C)
-Style: Farm and split push. Yi excels at splitpushing, and typically ganks a fairly small amount, preferring to farm in the jungle, to attempt to get fed off of jungle camps.
Nasus (T, T/D, C)
-Style: Farm, farm, farm. Nasus farms and farms and farms. Nasus typically ganks VERY rarely.
Nautilus (T, T/D)
-Style: CC tank/initiator. Nautilus does well at pinning down slippery champions and carries, and can be built very tanky. Weak early game and to counterjungling. Terrible at dueling.
Nocturne (C, T, T/D)
-Style: DARKNESS! Nocturne excels at counterjungling and seeking out enemy carries. He is an adequate splitpusher as well.
Nunu (T, T/D, P)
-Style: Nunu excels at counterjungling, especially early, and has a great teamfight with his ult and steroid.
Olaf (P, T, T/D, C)
-Style: Olaf is currently unpopular. He is dependent upon landing skillshots for ganking.
Rammus (T, T/D)
-Style: CC Tank. Rammus is vulnerable to counterjungling, and has weak ganks before getting a couple of ranks in his taunt. QSS is advised lategame for carries.
Rengar (C, T)
-Style: Rengar is currently unpopular. He is very weak early, and his ganks are relatively weak if his opponents have escapes.
Sejuani (AP, T, T/D)
-Style:Sejuani is a CC tank/initiate. She is very weak pre-6 in both ganks and to counterjungling, and excels at teamfights. She gets tanky very quickly upon obtaining a sunfire cape, and her DPS skyrockets as well. Counterjungling is highly advised.
Shaco (C, T/D)
-Style: Trolling. Shaco's style is to undermine his opponents' morale. Lots of counterjungling, splitpushing, and juking, as well as wasting his opponents' time as they are forced to play hide and seek. Very difficult to play, unadvisable for new junglers.
More will come as more experience is obtained against other junglers.