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League of Legends Build Guide Author Hahano

Jungling 202: Beyond The Basics

Hahano Last updated on August 28, 2012
Guide Top

Foreword: Opening Comment and Change Log

Are you stalling out in your improvement and ELO and can't seem to break it? Trapped in Jungling ELO Hell? Check this out and learn how to carry your games from the jungle.



Thanks to everyone who voted and put both of my guides passed 90%! If you have preferences, comments, insight or criticism, I have been reading and responding to the comments. If you want more content, videos, pictures, builds, guides or anything let me know via comment or PM. I am still changing information, making edits and also updates to reflect the patches.

I created a new guide for the junglers, click these words to see it!



Sexy formatting inspired by Jhoijhoi's How To Make a Guide! You can find out how to do this here: Making a Guide

This guide is in the process of being proofread, revamped, expanded and formatted. Check back soon for the .pdf version!




Small changes, meta notes and updates are in gold (unless it looks like ****). You can find the gold or new posts by searching for || (shift and \ two times) if you want to see just the changes from last time! These notes will remain marked until the next patch, at which time they will become "old" information.
  • 01-28-2011: Updated the characters and descriptions.
  • 12-4-2011: HUGE Overhaul! Videos, pics and the like to come. New site and articles coming up in the near future. Reworded and wrote things to incorporate the new jungle changes. Chapters 1-7 updated, edited and posted. New jungling changes applied to these sections! New Chapter added!
  • 11-1-2011: Counter Jungling Section added!
  • 10-5-2011: Ganking section (mostly) complete and posted!
  • 9-1-2011: I have set my scopes back onto this guide with more experience, a fresh mind and more ideas. I changed the chapter layout, a few pieces of information and added in filler sections for some new knowledge to be added.
  • 8-18-2011: Integrated old data, added a new note on when to jungle. Changed WW's blue text color.
  • 8-17-2011: Added a few junglers and misc. changes.
  • 8-2-2011: Added opening comment, completed the formatting for colors and appearance. Made many, many changes on the content to refresh content. Larger changes have been marked with ||.
  • 7-26-2011: Updated format and change format.
  • 7-21-2011: Format changed and overhauled! I will be going through the guide next for content checking again.
  • 7-21-2011: Guide updated with Mobafire Chapters! More changes to come.
  • 7-19-2011: Moved and reformatted the change log to make changes easier to see for repeat visitors. Added junglers Lee Sin, Fiddlesticks and Rammus to the character listings. Added in pictures/columns/formatting (still undergoing changes)
  • 7-17-2011: Deleted an outdated paragraph saying that Udyr can't lane (changed with patch 1.0.0.120), Warwick couldn't lane (recently rose to popularity and was nerfed) and that full tanks such as Cho and Jarvan aren't as good in the jungle (ignorance to the EU meta under the assumption this is read mostly be US players). Also updated many comments about Udyr as they have also changed with that patch. Big thanks to Dravoth
  • 6-30-2011: Revised spawn timers (thanks MaRtinZz) and added in a section about usage of red buff (thanks Bernarnar)
  • 6-30-2011: Guide Posted
  • 6-27-2011: Revisions, word reworkings and editing completed
  • 6-15-2011: Rough draft completed
  • 5-10-2011: Guide written


Guide Top

Preface: Introduction

MMMFirst and foremost, this guide is geared towards “Solo Queue” play and is not the same as Xenasis’ “Jungling 101 – What you need to know” guide. You can look to this guide after reading/knowing the Jungling 101 guide (which is the best guide I've seen for starters, routes and basics) to improve even further. When playing in a serious five-man team you will find these fundamentals help, but are not fully applicable to your role on your team. A jungler’s role on a five-man team is very dependent on the other team members and what roles they bring to the team.

MMMI wrote this long, exhaustive guide because the other guides are lacking many key areas. I have found that most jungling guides are simplistic versions of jargon and routing and never fully explain what you should actually be doing. This is mostly found in the character guides for a specific jungler, which contains a brief jungling tutorial. Character guides mostly cover your route and possibly counter-jungling, however not the fundamentals that are very important with any character you choose. This guide is here to help you decide who you want to jungle with, what you need to be doing, where you should be, when you have to be there, and why. Most importantly, this guide covers how to improve your game to launch into being a valuable team asset.

MMMAs the definition of guide goes, this is meant to lead you in the right direction, to show you the way. This is not the end all be all of jungling and the information herein should be taken into consideration, not mindlessly followed. I wrote this to make you a better jungler and player, not to create jungle zombies.

MMMThis guide is also really long and always getting longer(). Take your time and don’t be overwhelmed.


Guide Top

Chapter 1: Baseline [The Basics]

What is Jungling?
MMMJungling is leveling up on the neutral creeps located in between the lanes, better known as “the jungle”. Typically a team will have a jungler, two strong solo laners and a strong bottom duo lane. There are five “camps” in the jungle:
  • Blue –Golem with blue buff and two small lizards
  • Wolves – One large wolf and two little wolves
  • Wraiths – One large wraith and three smaller wraiths
  • Golems – Two large golems
  • Red – One large lizard with red buff and two smaller lizards
These camps are covered in more detail here!


Who can be a jungler?
MMMThere are many characters technically capable of jungling, but only a few are actually good in the jungle. For a complete list and tiering, I would recommend going over to Stonewall’s jungle section on Elementz’s site located here: Stonewall’s Jungle or TheOddOne’s post here: TheOddOne

Note on Tier Lists
MMMI don’t necessarily like the way tier lists are laid out, mostly due to the misunderstanding of the tiers. Stonewall’s tier list only judges a character’s ability to jungle. Just because he’s in tier 1 of his list doesn’t mean he’s right for your team, situation or play style. Shaco topped the charts for a long time and is not the right pick most of the time. To reiterate, his list does not take into consideration your situation or the character’s viability outside of the jungling aspects. TheOddOne’s list, on the other hand, takes into consideration “competitive” jungling, which is to say organized five-man jungling. His top pick (Nunu) is amazing on an organized team, but in the lower ELOs you might as well just smash your face into a keyboard trying to assist bad teammates. His choices don’t bring into consideration that your team could be awful, which is a reality for players in this game. Don’t let tier lists rule your jungling choices.

MMMFor the purposes of this guide, a jungler is someone who can reliably perform the duties of a jungler without altering their item or skill builds. Almost any character can be built to kill neutral minions, and some characters are inherently good at clearing creeps. A jungler, however, will be able to clear the entire jungle without losing much time or resource at all stages of the game. A good example of this is Corki. Corki can clear minions with near unmatched speed, devastating creep waves. Unfortunately, he has little to no sustainability in the jungle early on because of his low health and inability to regain it without altering his build (having to get lifesteal early).

MMMAnother factor in who can jungle is determined on the meta and team composition. Some of the “weaker” junglers have to jungle when the team needs their role. Typically in EU there is a full tank jungler (Rammus, Jarvan, Cho’Gath, etc.) because the combination of AD/Support bot, AP solo mid and AP top doesn’t leave room for a tank. Because of this, a few tank junglers are viable simply because the team doesn’t have a tank otherwise.

Why Jungle?
MMMJungling is a powerful option for any team, and mandatory for a premade team. When you have a jungler on your team, you gain a considerable advantage through having three solo lanes of experience gain. Jungling also instills a sense of fear in the enemy, as they have no idea where you are or what you’re doing. Because of this, you have considerable advantages in map awareness and presence over a team without a jungler. When done properly, a jungler is someone you love to have on your team and will lead you to victory.


When do I jungle?
MMMRemember just now I said it’s a mandatory part of a premade team? There’s an important word in there, and it’s premade. Face it, League of Legends has the same faults as any other team game in that you’re not always going to be able to do what you want, when you want to. Some solo queue games will not allow you to jungle because your team stubbornly refuses to play solo laners or are incapable of doing such. I recommend at least one other friend or good person on your team solo laning in order to jungle. If your team has many similar pitfalls, you are better off filling your team’s shortcomings.

MMMAlong these same lines is having to know that some teams in unranked play do not have a jungler. This means that not only do you need a strong solo lane, you need a solo that can hold a lane against two champions. Most of the time this comes down to player skill and realization that you have to help them out. In games where do you have enemies duo laning both top and bottom, remember that your role will change. Your responsibility becomes more presence in the lane that is getting hammered by a 2v1. They will most likely keep your top lane pinned against your tower, but that is ideal for you. The farther across the river they go, the easier they are to gank. Just remember that their job is to just hold the lane and yours is to make sure it continues to be held, even if sacrifices to jungling need to be made. This is where competent friends come in handy, as trusting a stranger is a ****shoot.

Rule of thumb:
If you don’t feel like your team can support two solo lanes (one possibly v2), do not jungle. Junglers are specific characters with specific summoner spells. When having to lane their effectiveness is dropped, and depending on the champion they might not be able to even handle the lane. Don’t hurt your team by trying to help your team, instead communicate your intent and make sure that they understand the need for a strong laner.


MMMThe last consideration on when to jungle is your ability to lane and understanding of the game. Junglers have to help and support other character's deficiencies and in order to do that, you have to know what they are. Spend time being rounded before diving into the jungle because if you cannot lane or don't understand pushing and team objectives, you will be poor at jungling. You are able to learn these things through the jungle, but it takes a lot of time and observation that is better served laning. I would not recommend jungling before summoner level 20.


How do I jungle?
MMMThe question of how to literally jungle is answered by knowing routes for your character. If you want to know how to jungle a specific character, I would recommend looking up a guide based on which hero inspires you to jungle. I started jungling because I thought Nunu was totally awesome. I saw a little dude riding a Yeti and that his ultimate did 1200 damage and went “this is the character for me.” My personal description of the heroes and their roles will be found a little later in this guide.

MMMHow you actually jungle is the most important part of this guide, and as such has its own section below. You have many roles to fill as a jungler, and it is your job to smooth out and glue your team together. How you go about this is explained alongside what it is you need to be doing in the sections below.


Guide Top

Chapter 2: Character Selection [Basic Character Info]



A more in-depth analysis of all the junglers here!
Style
MMMNow that you’re intending to jungle, take some time to evaluate who you want to play. When deciding on a jungler, your individual play style and preferences do matter. If you prefer playing passively, pick a farm oriented jungler that has a strong late game. If you’re hyper aggressive, pick a strong ganking jungler. Beyond that, a jungler is often underappreciated and will not receive the spotlight or kill/death ratio of a carry. If you’re a glory hound, know that you might get a “thanks” or “good job” thrown around here or there, but you’re not going to be praised for doing a good job. Realistically, for someone with such a critical position on a team, you’re often berated for not being everywhere every time all the time. Here is a brief synopsis of the roles you can fill on a team:

Filling your team’s gaps
MMMThe next important consideration when picking a character is filling your team’s gaps. This does not include counter picking their team! That is an entire different discussion that is pretty situational! The roles on a team are loosely defined as follows:

Tank
MMMA tank is someone who is designed to initiate and take damage. They may not always live, however starting a good fight is necessary. You will need to protect your team to the best of your ability, so a lot of CC typically comes on tanks. These are typically the harder and less desirable roles on a team to fill, but a necessary one.


Support
MMMSupport champions always have a lot of CC in order to control the pace of a fight and help your team. The qualifying factor is mostly low damage output, but that means they don’t need any farm to be effective. In the jungle, a support jungler is usually good at ganking and winning early skirmishes. This role is typically filled by bottom lane and can sometimes hurt a team comp if doubled up on.


Utility
MMMA Utility champion is one that brings a lot of CC. Not unlike a tank or Support, this champion provides more than one form of disruption and can be a real bother to the enemy team. This is its own category because some tanks and supports have this ability, while others do not, and a few non-supports have this as well.


AP Damage
MMMThis is a character that primarily does AP damage. They are necessary in the early and mid game as their base damages are typically very high. In the late game, their effectiveness is reduced, but still far from useless.


AD Damage
MMMThis is a character that relies primarily on AD damage and can provide enough to a team that it matters. Most characters do some form of AD damage, however an AD Carry is a different story. These characters will typically be squishy but very deadly in the late game.


Tanky DPS
MMMA team with a few of these on them can be the same as a team with a dedicated tank. Pick this when you want to try to carry your game and possibly have another tank or tanky DPS character on your team.


Assassin/Anti-Carry
MMMThese characters specialize in removing someone from a fight by either heavy CC or killing them. They are important against certain team compositions and can heavily influence games by taking their strongest character out of the fight.

MMMWhile this may not be the easiest part of selecting your jungler, it isn’t as critical in the lower levels of play. You can just pick whatever you want to play and as long as you have a remotely decent team you will do just fine. If you aren’t sure who to play, just play Gangplank or Skarner as they can change the game with a well-placed ultimate and are very strong at all ELOs. In higher levels of play, coordination with your team’s intentions is completely necessary. Communicating your intent and discussing it will help you decide who is best for the team, especially if in draft mode. With that said, here’s a rundown of the characters:


The super tank that jungles

MMMI consider Amumu a very strong arranged team or high level pick. He has a bucket full of utility, lives forever and still does a significant amount of damage.He fits any team because his initiation and teamfight presence is top notch.
  • Tank
  • Support
  • Utility


The Giant Screaming Gentleman Jungler

MMMCho’Gath is a versatile jungler with various paths, recovery options and counter jungling options. His ganks are reliant on landing a Rupture, which can be frustrating. He makes up for it by having a fierce late game and toolbox.
  • Tank
  • Utility


The only real AP jungler

MMMFiddlesticks has slowed down in the new jungle, but can still be played by die-hards. His ganks are pretty nasty once he hits level 6, but can be prevented by warding. Combined with other CC from laners, his ganks will net kills and he will end up doing silly late game damage.
  • AP Damage
  • Utility
  • Anti-carry


SHARK!

MMMFizz isn't a great jungler, but he can still do it. His ganks offer up some decent damage, but going this route doesn't take advantage of his AP ratios. A good player who likes him can still make him viable, but for most others he isn't a good choice.
  • AP Damage
  • Tanky DPS (if you want)


Yo ho ho and a bottle of…RUM!

MMMHis presence in and out of the jungle is menacing. He is able to resist counter jungling very well, gives his entire team a steroid that helps push and win fights. He can also use his ultimate to secure assists from anywhere on the map, defend towers and win teamfights.
  • AD Damage
  • Tanky DPS
  • Utility


The “Holy Initiation, Batman!” Jungler

MMMJarvan can reliably perform level 2+ ganks. He is a tanky character that can dive someone at a low level and make it out most times. His primary ability is that of initiation in the mid and late game. If you want to start a fight just E+Q into some baddies and blow the earth up. Overall a strong, reliable ganker and tanker even though he isn’t very mana sustained without blue.
  • Tank
  • Utility
  • Tanky DPS


How do you do that much damage and y u no di!

MMMKayle has very high damage ganks coming out of the jungle and has a fast clear. Her sustainability and early dueling capabilities aren't great, but her damage output to a lane, usefulness in her ultimate and end game capabilities make her a solid choice.
  • AD Damage
  • Utility


The blind jungler

MMMThis guy can breeze through the jungle thanks to his shield, lifegain and passive increasing his attack speed. He also doesn’t have mana to worry about and can just cruise through. While his ganking is semi-dependent on landing a skill shot, his presence outside the jungle is pretty insane. He's a high skill-cap champion that is rewarding and fun.
  • Tanky DPS
  • Assassin
  • Utility


He's moving as fast as he can.

MMMMalphite is an excellent counter-pick to heavy AD teams. A team with an AD carry, AD based top laner (think Talon, Riven, etc.) and AD jungler (Nocturne, etc.) will be really set back with Malphite. His effectiveness outside of that is fine because his clear speed is great and sustain is high, but it won't be as ideal.
  • Tank
  • Support
  • Utility
  • Tanky DPS


The tree within the trees.

MMMMaokai excels in his ability to bring very strong, high damage ganks out of the jungle around level 4. He will carry teams if they have the ability to capitalize on this and has a good late game utility. His clear is also pretty fast with two AoE spells, but he lacks good mana sustainability.
  • Tank
  • Support
  • Utility


The Super Awesome Samurai Ninja Power Guy that Wears Headgear like Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell Jungler

MMMMr. Yi is a really sweet character. I rate him as hit or miss, so if you feel like you can do well with him, you will carry games super hard. His ganks are reliant on a slowing mechanism on hit, but he makes up for it in the middle or end of a teamfight. He has scary damage and sustain and can win games by backdooring most times.
  • AD Damage


Big Dog.

MMMNasus is able to jungle fairly well, though he doesn't like ganking. It's not that he can't gank, it's just you want that Siphoning Strike farm and this leaves lanes to suffer for it. His ganks and late game are beastly if you can get there, but his early clearing speed is laughably slow.
  • Tank


Giant Underwater Dude.

MMMNautilus is a very strong ganking jungler that starts off slow and gets better in the late game. He has a ridiculous amount of CC and a strong kit overall. His tankiness converts to damage later on, so he is pretty handy, not to mention MASSIVE!
  • Tank


Heart of Darkness

MMMNocturne is one of the best jungling gankers in the game. He does a ton of damage and has a spell shield to increase survivability. “The Darkness is closing in…it’s pitch black now…but I can still see him.” A strong jungler and solid pick, not to mention his badassery.
  • AD Damage
  • Utility
  • Assassin


Super Carry Support

MMM He can counter jungle very well and be very annoying for the enemy team. In the early to mid-game you are a fast menace around the map slowing enemies to enable ganks for your lanes. I recommend him as a starter to anyone trying to jungle as he is easier to pick up than most and has an extremely strong and fast jungle.
  • Tank
  • Support
  • Utility


The Damage Dealing Madman

MMMOlaf is a complete monster, and needs to be treated as such. Your job is to be a tanky absorber of damage to initiate a fight, then pop your ultimate and murder their carries repeatedly. He has recently fallen out of the jungling limelight, but remains a strong character.
  • AD Damage
  • Tanky DPS
  • Anti-Carry


Prehistoric Turtlesaurus

MMMRammus, oh Rammus. He has the ability to change the game and against lesser players his taunt and initiation will win games. He is the strongest ganker that doesn’t have to use an ultimate and can do it as early as level 3 or 4 (depending on skill order). He is still a strong jungler that’s also a tank.
  • Tank
  • Utility


Sure wish I snowball!

MMMRiven has one of the highest capabilities to carry a game. She does insane damage in the early game and has a strong mid game with only a kill or two. If she manages to get fed, she will carry a game super hard.
  • AD Damage
  • Tanky DPS


The sort of Nunu clone

MMMSejuani has serious early sustainability issues, but great late game utility. Her ganks are strong with a constant slow and post-level 6 her ganks become amazing. She has an AoE stun on Xerath range, so she is definitely a viable pick, but has downfalls.
  • Tank
  • Support
  • Utility


The Most Annoying to Play Against Clown

MMMHe has a very unique role from other junglers, which is to be appreciated. Most of Shaco’s role is to constantly gank and harass the enemy lanes and jungle with his cloaking, Jack in the Box and mobility. Later in the game, he is an excellent backdoor character, using his twin and a creep wave to drop towers while the team defends the enemies. A well-played Shaco is a valuable asset, but a lot people aren't good.
  • AD Damage
  • Assassin


The Flippin' Ninja Tank

MMMShen has a great place on some teams as a decent ganker with a strong game. He isn't great at anything in particular, but has the capability to really turn a game around. A well-rounded pick in the jungle that is pretty fun to play and hyper-aware.
  • Tank
  • Support
  • Utility


Dragonborn

MMMShyvana is a tanky jungler with the fastest clear speed around. Her AoE and attack damage reset makes it so she clears the jungle silly fast. He ganks really aren't great, but if she has lane CC, you'll probably not live from one. Her area of expertise is counter-jungling because she's a strong duelist.
  • Tanky DPS
  • AD Damage


The Chemical Jungler

MMMSinged is a new pick to the jungle and a pretty strong one at that. He is able to clear fast due to his poison and his ganks are very strong. He doesn't get as much farm as top lane, but also can farm unharassed, leaving him with a good mid-game. A solid pick for Singed lovers and tank lovers alike.
  • Tank
  • Utility


GET OVER HERE!

MMMSkarner is a very strong pick in the jungle with quick clearing, high sustain and strong ganks. His ultimate provides great utility and can turn the tides of a game. He is also relatively simple to play and has really tanky stats.
  • Tanky DPS
  • Utility
  • Anti-Carry


The Anti-Personnel Jungler

MMMTrundle is excellent at ganking with his pillar and is a great, tanky character. He is one of my favorites to play and can end up carrying a game if your team can help you a little.
  • Tanky DPS
  • Utility
  • Anti-Carry


The Burger King

MMMTryndamere is a very sustained jungler with some real power in ganks. He can perform early and semi-reliable ganks, sort of like a Master Yi with a slow. He also has the ability to carry a game as a fed Tryndamere is almost completely unstoppable.
  • AD Damage


The Swiss Army Jungler

MMMUdyr has a crazy amount of damage and can stun people repeatedly in fights. He is essentially a tanky DPS character that roams around fights decimating people attacking your carries. While you can go on the offensive, he does massive damage when not being kited so going after the guy charging your carry will almost always score a kill.
  • Tanky DPS
  • Utility


Does a bear **** in the woods?

MMMVolibear is ok in the jungle, but doens't have the fastest clear around. He can gank pretty strong and does good late game damage if fed, but otherwise is underwhelming. His main issue is having to be melee range and live to deal damage with his ultimate.
  • Tank
  • Utility


Utility with Tanky DPS

MMMWarwick is nearly unkillable in a fight and has one of the best ultimates in the game. Having a suppress to gank people with is invaluable and will win many, many fights. However, before you get to level 6 Warwick is really bad. He is great at causing general mayhem in teamfights while living to tell the tale.
  • Tank
  • Utility
  • Anti-Carry


The Scrub Buster

MMM Xin is unique in that he can perform very strong, reliable ganks at any level. I have seen and done Xin bottom lane ganks right after blue if they are pressuring very hard and/or pushed up already. His three talon strike deals massive damage and has a knockup finisher, so if you time your charge right they will not escape you. He isn’t as useful in the higher ELOs because his teamfighting is ok at best and a smart players won’t extend far enough to score kills on. He has a strong presence and will quickly end games against foolish enemies.
  • AD Damage
  • Tanky DPS


Guide Top

Chapter 3: Starting In the Jungle [Explanation of Basic Starts]

Item Starts


MMMNow that you’ve selected a character, you should look up a guide to find a route. This will tell you where you’ll be starting and what order you’ll take the camps down in. Finding a proper path is important, and knowing all of your possibilities is also important. If you get messed with or buy the wrong items, you must know how to find your own path.

MMMThere are many different routes that vary per character, but there are a few that are really just set in stone or used for different purposes. Certain junglers can only complete their routes with specific starting items. Other characters want to start with an item to build into others faster instead of wasting gold on “useless” starters and health potions. Some paths, runes and masteries are created around non-typical item starts in order to gain advantage. However, after a long time of playing with starting items, starting items dictate what you can do in the jungle on flexible characters and the style of game you’re going to play. Standard starts are not mandatory on most characters! Here is a run-down of the typical starting items and what they allow you to do.


For Early Ganks, Sustain and “Bad” Junglers

Pros
  • Very Sustained Route.
  • Allows for early lane ganks.
  • Helps with pre-recall counter jungling.
  • Helps less sustained junglers finish harder routes.
SPA SPA
Cons
  • Very gold inefficient.
  • Typically requires even more potions on recall.
  • Does not help you get back from being initially behind.
  • Offers no permanent sustain.
MMMThis is by far the most typical start. It provides armor to safely clear your jungle and health potions so that you stay at a high health the entire duration. This build, however, is not gold efficient at all. You will use those 5 potions to stay in the jungle and gank until you feel you’re ready to recall. Despite the inefficiency, this start is very useful. I find that when I am playing a strong ganking or counter jungler, I will take this and hit the lanes in the early levels with full health. This is not possible with any of the other starts for most characters. These starting items are also very forgiving, they don’t let you get low enough to be in danger.


For Minor Early Sustain and Gold Efficiency

Pros
  • Enough sustain to avoid buying many potions.
  • Helps get your items out faster.
  • Useful on junglers you don’t use Cloth Armor items on.
  • Builds into great items.
SPA SPA
Cons
  • Can get your life low early on.
  • Won’t give you enough health to gank lanes early.
  • Routes are typically shorter between recalls.
  • Only viable on a few junglers.
MMMThis start is strong on some junglers ( Tryndamere) and optional on many more ( Lee Sin, Nocturne, Olaf). It allows for a lot of gold efficiency because you’re not spending upwards of 250 gold on health potions. However, what you gain in gold efficiency you lose in early sustainability. You won’t gain enough life to not lose life, just enough to live through your route. Because of this, you are more susceptible to counter jungling (though it helps in duels) and more importantly, can’t gank as hard and early. Most of your ganks will have to be post-recall and this means that you can’t have a reliable level 2, 3 or 4 gank. While this is fine on some junglers, others want the flexibility to be able to hit a lane that early. You want to use this on characters and situations you plan on power leveling in the jungle, as you typically won’t be able to provide a lot of ganks without recalling.


For Rushing an Item

Pros
  • Can provide key items very early.
  • Saves you time and money in the long run.
  • Avoids using bad/useless items on some characters.
  • Sets up a strong mid game.
SPA SPA
Cons
  • Have to take weird/different paths.
  • May hurt your early progress.
  • Risky if you are disrupted and can’t get your build item.
  • Runes and Masteries have to be changed.
MMM.[/color]You typically won’t see this, but some people have worked their own custom paths together and starting items in order to trim the fat in their build. This can be seen on Amumu who can start Regrowth/Potion and build a fast Philo stone, and a few other examples. Overall this approach leaves you very vulnerable until you get that item, so it is risky. If you feel you can pull it off and have done it before, it is likely you’ll succeed. Sometimes having an early item bolsters the character’s power and is very worth it.


Character and Route Specific

Pros
  • Works very well on certain characters.
  • Can give a specific, practiced outcome.
  • Avoids using bad/useless items on some characters.
  • Allows for different runes/masteries.
SPA SPA
Cons
  • Refining and practice needed.
  • Has a higher chance to fail if disrupted.
  • Changes on every character.
  • May require strange mastery setups (no 21’s).
MMMAs stated above, you will probably have to practice and refine this route in a custom game most times. There are junglers that can have a certain item start that allows you to complete a very specific route and this can be foiled with enemy attempts (I’ve seen a 10/10/10 Mastery Lee Sin starting with a Ruby Crystal and the specific path). On other junglers, you can set up runes to allow for a great starting item that nobody else can pull off. Examples of this are Warwick starting with a Long Sword to help his clear time and Fiddlesticks starting with a Doran’s Ring to give him early AP and mana regen. These characters don’t have to alter many things and are pretty much the only ones that can do it safely, and is an option you are able to explore on them. However, on Maokai I created a route I can do that allows for a level 2-3 gank if I want it and starts Sapphire Crystal. It is specific in runes and masteries and took a while to perfect, but I got it to a point that I liked and used it.

Item Finishes



MMMThere are many items in the game, and overall tons of things to get. Most characters have a “core” defined in a guide somewhere, or items they cannot live without. So I have decided to include a “jungling items core” or items you will see on almost any jungler and their best friends. The reason I choose these items is because you typically have less farm and income as a jungler. Because of this, certain expensive items aren’t viable most of the time, as you’ll be getting them extremely late in the game. Your primary function is to be an amazing utility to your team. You will not have solo lane farm, so don’t try to be the hero unless you’re crazy fed. This is a rundown of what to get, when, why and how it impacts your character. It does not include late game or completed items because that is very character dependent.



MMMThis item speeds up your jungle and gives you Baron and Dragon presence. It is easy to overlook, but the item is Godly. It gives you everything you need in the early game and a free ward every 3 minutes. In the late game you will have the lifesteal from it and the damage and armor aren’t too shabby either. I get this on every single auto-attack jungler I play, the only exception being Tryndamere. The amount of objective control and early game prowess it gives you is unmatched.


MMMGetting these on first recall over another item gives you much more mobility in ganks. I typically do a route, recall and get boots then gank immediately. This time frame allows you to hit people that didn’t boots/pots start and secure easy kills with a giant move speed advantage. As a jungler, as long as your positioning is good, you can keep these boots for a while as well. You aren’t Annie who is looking to finish Sorcerer’s Shoes or Jax looking to get his Tabi going. You could use the move speed, but it’s not mandatory immediately, so these boots are the best 350 gold spent. It also improves your jungle time because, unlike laners, you have to travel in order toyou’re your experience.

AND

MMMThese two are really cheap defensive items. If you’re building for a big item or just need spot resistance, they are amazing to get. I typically get my Wriggle’s, boots of speed, and negatron in order to live through AP carry midgame. I also have stacked either one of them because it is cheaper than finishing the items. Don’t be afraid to double Negatron Cloak if the enemy AP is fed. Staying alive is more important than DPS for you and your team.


MMMAnother fantastic, cheap item. At 1110 gold, you get a nice chunk of life and can finish it off into a number of great items at your leisure. I am also fond of going Negatron > Giant’s Belt > Damage > Warmog’s/Frozen Mallet/Banshee Veil. You should be getting this item when the enemy has a balanced team and you plan on building an item out of it. You don’t have to finish your Warmog’s, you can get this then Atma’s and still have great survivability and damage output. Overall one of my favorite and most purchased items in the game.

AND

MMMThese two are fantastic GP/10 items that help you boost yourself into the late game. The only character I get both on is Nocturne and it sure does get his game going quickly. You’re able to live through fights more often and you get Ghostblade crazy fast. I build one of these (or Philo Stone on Amumu/Jarvan) on almost every single one of my junglers. They’re cheap, sustained items that sell for their money back. Overall, you should always get one if you plan to and get it ASAP. I don’t get these if I am ahead in kills, I try to snowball with the extra gold instead of turtling up.


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Chapter 4: Your Roles As a Jungler [Beyond the Basics]

MMMI briefly touched on your role as a character in the last section, and that you need to fill out your team to be well rounded. Ultimately teams without well rounded attributes (ability to deal, take and diversify damage) will fail. However, aside from just the strength of the team at the load screen and your role in fulfilling that, you have to know your role in the game. No matter what jungler you are playing, your responsibilities to a team are the same. Some junglers and team compositions will need emphasis on different aspects, but all of these will be present in some form. Your responsibilities can be broken down to:


Knowing where to be (and being there)
MMMA very important part of jungling is being in the right spots at the right time. In order to do this you really need to excel at knowing your route, alternate routes, gauging whether a lane will fail, and whether going to a fight is worth your travel time. Knowing your routes and alternate routes coupled with whether a lane will be failing means you can alter your path to “creep” towards that lane. When playing your jungler, you should experiment with different routes and recoveries in order to optimize your power. The best thing you can do with a jungler is make your own route, and as such I follow no routes in any guides. By learning the character I am playing, I am able to do custom routes to help my lanes out.
As an example, their Ashe/Sona bottom lane is dominating your Malphite/Lux duo. Your bottom lane gave first blood and hasn’t been doing better. You are playing Nocturne. Typically you would like to power through and hit 6, getting your red buff around level 4-5, however in this situation I would be ganking bottom at level 3, 4 and 5 instead of going to blue and continuing in the jungle. The first few camps allow you to determine that the lane could use help. So now instead of you getting level 6 faster, you gank bottom and help the lane recover. This turns a losing game into a winning game if done at the right times.

MMMThe next part of where you need to be is what happens during team fights and scuffles. This will heavily depend on the character as some are meant to be in the fray and others far from it. As a general rule, if you are coming late to a fight, flank someone through the nearest jungle. Use the fact that they don’t know you are there to secure an easy kill, even if you come from their jungle to score a last hit near their towers. Unless they are heavily warding (if they are, you’re playing high level and will have bought an Oracle anyway), they will not truly know where you are and this is an immense advantage to be taken.



The “One Lane” Rule
MMMOne thing that really pushed my game to the next level is the tentatively named “one lane” rule.
If a fight is breaking out around one lane (if you’re mid, either top or bottom, if bottom then bottom or mid, etc.) from you, go there without question.

MMM I don’t care if you’re in the middle of fighting your wolves or killing golems. There is no excuse aside from having no health or mana, which in that case you shouldn’t even be in your jungle. What this will do is put you in a position to either help your teammates live, secure a kill or cleanup after they unfortunately died. Now your next natural question is what constitutes a fight? Well that is determined by your distance to them. If you’re doing wraiths and their jungler runs up passed river or close to the middle of river to dive at your mid laner, that is a fight. Because you’re right next to them, you can quickly get there and coordinate with your middle lane to score a kill. If you are doing your wraiths and enemy top lane Garen plays the “jump out of the bushes and spin-to-win” game, you won’t make it in time to make a difference so continue doing your jungle. However, if the wards you are placing reveal a second or third en route to the top lane in order to gank, leave to support immediately. A quick rundown of scenarios that are and aren’t fights (certainly not set in stone) would be:
Those be fighting words (if you’re close enough)
  • A ward picks up someone coming to a lane. Get there to support them.
  • An enemy that was MIA shows up somewhere near you on the map. You might not be able to stop their death, but if you’re fast enough and they dive hard enough, you will get a cleanup double/triple.
  • A jungler pops out and starts to go at your nearest lane. You’re a jungler, too! Don’t let them have all the fun.
Don’t waste your time
  • Typical lane harassment. Lanes aren’t passive, especially duos. You can’t be babysitting every lane because they feel they can take their opponents down. Remind them they’re not the juggernaut and hope they calm down.
  • Jungler ganks across the map. You’re not going to make it, go about your business or counter jungle.
  • A laner shows up in a different spot (far away from you). Once again, you won’t make top lane in time for it to matter if you’re doing small golems. A well placed ward should help prevent this, and is a better alternative.


MMMThis entire guide is meant for you to be a thought using individual, and in no way let this rule be your steadfast play style. Think of it more like a set of training wheels that will help you determine where you need to be and whether making it to a fight is practical given your current location.



Keeping your level up
MMMThe main point of jungling is to get three solo lanes of experience (top, middle and jungle). You should be at least the level of your duo laners, but closer to the level of your solo lanes. A non-ganking jungler will reach 6 around the time your mid or top is hitting 7 or 8, and that time frame is critical to your ganking. I have seen many low level junglers running around at level 3 when their solos are 6, where you are a liability when ganking that lane. Think of a powerhouse 6 like Annie. If you don’t keep up level and gank a level 6 Annie at level 3 or 4, you’re just going to have a bear dropped on you and die. Warwick exemplifies a non-ganking jungler as before level 6 he will only have an attack speed boost and damage spell, neither of which will secure a kill. However, at level 6 and above he can pin down an enemy for a near guaranteed kill. Because of this, post-6 ganking junglers ( Warwick, Nocturne) are usually better off sticking around the jungle until level 6 unless the need is dire or free food presents itself. A post-6 ganking jungler that isn’t level 6 when the ganks are starting to be needed (when ultimates are coming up for the teams) is completely useless and will generally just feed the other team, so keep that level up to snuff!

MMMAnother situation you might run into with a pre-6 ganking jungler is such that you are continuously ganking or needed and cannot keep up your level in between all of that. I used to run into this problem on Amumu frequently because I would spend all my time before level 6 walking around starting teamfights and ganks. However, if they didn’t go as planned, my late game came and I was 4-5 levels behind the highest level in the game. Get your levels in when you can and don’t forget to do it or you will fall behind and become a burden to your team.

Instilling Fear
MMMThis might sound a bit corny if you’re picturing making little nerds cower at your presence because you’re so 1337 or something stupid. It’s really just a manly way to say have a presence in the game. A team that doesn’t fear you is a team that will have an advantage over yours. You have to make your presence known so the other team will not take risks that have a high chance of backfiring if you are there. While there is the thought of “hey, I’ll just fly under the radar until they forget about me and then boom, I got ‘em,” you are punished for thinking bad thoughts. Bad you. You want them to be scared to dive your teammates, wander the map, leave their towers, explore the river, go into their jungle, and go to the bathroom. It’s at that point you will establish map control and be able to take advantage of team objectives. Every time they engage onto a teammate you want them to have in the back of their minds that you could be there. This will help give your lanes more room to breathe as well as more dominance over their opponents. It will also keep your teammates from dying to tower diving because if an enemy thinks you’re there and doesn’t dive, you are helping. You can’t be everywhere always, so establishing that level of hesitation is crucial.

MMMSome things you can do establish fear other than ganking lanes is harass champions, use the one lane rule and destroy their wards. If you are making your presence aware and they’re still not scared of you, they’re probably feeding your team. A lot of players thing they’re unlucky when doing something risky and you JUST HAPPEN to be there. Never be idle. Do not sit in the bushes for 2 minutes to wait for a gank. If you’re there longer than 20 seconds, you’re wasting your time. Harass someone else, go level more, go buy, kill their jungle, do something. Everyone has games where it seems like the jungler is always there when they happen to extend and do something stupid. Then they try to justify it with “OF COURSE HE WAS THERE AT THIS TIME.” That is not a coincidence, it is knowing where to be and establishing presence. After a few of those, one starts to think that anything they do will be punished by the jungler.


Covering Lanes
MMMWhen all is going well, you will most likely have to cover very few times. Generally the person in the lane should know to push their lane hard and then leave the lane in order to make it back in time from buying items or ganking other lanes. However, this isn’t a perfect world and you will have to cover for someone to buy from time to time. Take this as an opportunity to farm free gold on last hits and experience, as it’s better than the jungle can offer. In the bad times, you will have to cover a lane when the hero(s) in that lane cannot handle it or they have died. Keeping your towers is very important throughout the game, especially the second row and base turrets. If the decision is between small golems and not letting bottom tower fall, the golems can absolutely wait. If you see that someone is really low in their lane, offer to cover while they go and heal/buy items. This is a handy thing to have that is only available to a jungler, so take advantage of it and keep your team fresh and ready to kill.

MMMOne thing to remember when you’re covering a lane is that most champions don’t want it to be pushed up. This means that you don’t auto attack the creeps and just let your minions charge their tower unless you feel that you can destroy or seriously damage that tower. Pushing someone’s lane up while they’re not there forces them to come back to a vulnerable position. Last hit only or push the wave out and leave the lane.


Warding and Roaming the Map
MMMAs a jungler, your job is to ward the map. Technically, this responsibility falls on everyone in the game, but since you’re reading this and are going to be awesome, ward the map. There are some great ward locations to protect yourself and your teammates in the early game covered in many guides, and I would recommend using them. Certain locations allow you to see if any movement up or down the river is happening and to take advantage of it, either through escape or jumping them. How many wards should you buy? Generally 1-2 every time you go back to the base, depending on if you have Wriggle’s or not. You want to keep wards up as often as possible and the fact that you don’t need as much farm as the other heroes allows you to put the extra money into them. They are necessary, do not skimp or shrug it off. they win games. I cannot emphasize this enough. Depending on your character, also buy oracle’s elixir. When you have it, try not to die (obvious). It doesn’t matter if they don’t have a Twitch, Evelynn, etc. there are plenty of cloaked things that you want to kill in any game (wards, generally. Let them be blind). You, as a jungler, are in the perfect person to get this as you are already roaming the map bullying people. You will have the full range of where wards might be placed and should be taking them down repeatedly.

MMMBecause you will have “downtime” when fighting creeps and running between camps (time where you don’t actually have to pay attention), you are the eyes of the team. If you see someone going top/bottom passed one of your wards, call and ping it. If you spot their jungler/roamer on the move and feel that you can get him, let your team know to support you and take him down. As a jungler, map awareness is absolute key, pretend like you’re playing Shen at all times.


Ganking Pushed Up Lanes
MMMFirst and foremost, ganking is high risk and low reward in most situations. I say this because you won’t always get a kill, may sometimes be killed and sometimes will accomplish nothing but allowing their team to know where you are. Due to this, you should be sure that you will score a kill or burning of a summoner’s spell. Because of the now constant farm in the jungle, it won’t be worth your time unless the lane is really struggling. This also depends on the character you’re going after. Someone like Ezreal can just skill teleport away and you will be wasting your time. In some lanes, applying a little pressure can go a long way. You have to be able to gauge whether you will be effective in that lane at that time and then head up there. Many people think ganking and getting kills is all there is to jungling, but in actuality you can be more useful in other ways.

MMMWhen the other team decides that they don’t know what last hitting is and pushes lanes hard all day, you get free food. If an enemy and their wave is constantly pushed up passed the midpoint of any lane, you want to capitalize on this with your corresponding lane champion or even the closest lane champion as well. This is the part that everyone loves about junglers – getting those kills. Don’t listen to fools who just call for ganks on their full life duo lane that they pushed to the enemy tower. Pick and choose your opportunities to secure kills and advantage. You should already be watching all of your lanes in your “downtime” in the jungle, so knowing what lanes are low and gankable is done already. If you see that a lane is going to be gankable soon tell them to save their resources (life/mana) and “creep” your way down there. That is to say that you should kill the jungle camps in your path on the way to the bottom to buy them some time to whittle down your opponent to death range.

MMMDeath range varies greatly from jungler to jungler and lane to lane. I have, as Olaf, walked in on two full life heroes pushed up too far and butchered them. This won’t work with Nunu without the support of a carry or damage dealer. Know your character and their capabilities to maximize your effectiveness on the gank.

NOTE: A gank is succeeded if they use their summoner abilities (Flash, Ghost, etc.) and NOT NECESSARILY if you kill them. If you gank mid lane and they have to flash out, congratulations. Don’t dive them, don’t be a reckless, bloodthirsty scrub, let them be. They now have to deal with the fact that you’re still there and they don’t have a way to escape you anymore. That is powerful. See the ganking section for more information on ganking do’s and don’ts


Pushing Lanes
MMMNow at this point you might just be wondering “Hey, I’m doing all these things already, what am I not doing?” That’s good. You’re getting the point here, and that is that your job is to do everything, be everywhere and get the dirty work done. When you perform a successful cover, gank, scare or jungle route, walk into a lane and help your teammate push it. This is especially pertinent when the enemy has left the lane. A surprise second or third pushing a lane up to the tower and getting hits in or taking the tower is detrimental to their team and will help you progress the game along in your favor. This needs to be done carefully, though, as the next note covers in more detail.

Important note on pushing lanes
MMMThere is a very overlooked and important part of this idea not found lower level games. If you do a gank and they flash out, escape or just walk away but stick near their tower, DO NOT STAY IN THE LANE. The person(s) in that lane need the gold and experience in order to bring themselves into the late game. Nobody can stand a jungler who comes up, fails a gank and then steals all of the minion kills. That is an awful crime and should be avoided. This is not taking into consideration when the enemy champ isn’t there and you feel that you, your buddy and your wave can seriously damage or take a tower down. In that case, by all means, stay in the lane and take the tower. However, don’t be that guy that rolls in, last hits the carry’s minions and leaves or I will unlearn this guide from you.

Rallying Your Team
MMMAs a jungler, you also have the ability to be an overlord for your team. A jungler can be treated like the RTS controller (think Starcraft). When you are building, massing and mobilizing (in this case killing creeps), your attention should always be mostly devoted to scouting and trying to keep aware on what is happening. If you have played the game Savage 2, you know there is one player as the RTS master and the others are in a first person shooter mode following their orders. The jungler mimics this because of their ability to organize teamfights, dragon kills, Baron times, tower pushing and anything else done as a team. Junglers are “scouting” while attacking minions in the jungle and are watching EVERY lane, and as such are in a prime position for control. This job can technically be done by anyone, but the jungler can do this for a few very good reasons:
  • The jungler is constantly watching the lanes for opportunity to gank or assist anyway.
  • You are watching all lanes at all times with your down time, not just focusing on your lane and ward revealing a jungle gank incoming.
  • You generally don’t have someone against you trying to kill you at all times, not to mention you don’t have to worry about last hitting. This allows you to “gawk” unlike laners who get killed for this.
  • Most junglers have enough utility to be able to start, maintain or finish a fight.
  • The fact that you are anywhere at any given time can have a strong impact on the game if you call out their weakness right away. An example is a solo lane recalling and upon seeing that, pinging the mid and top laners to group up and hit the tower quickly.
  • You don’t have a lane to maintain or worry about it being pushed. This allows you to just ignore your camps if you need to.
MMMDue to all of these factors, you need to step up your game and take the reins. After time you will learn when to make calls and when not to, which will make you even better at League of Legends and strategy in general. This also accomplishes weeding out “baddies” on your team. Most players are adequate at this game, but giving someone a clear objective or thing to do instead of “STOP FEEDING NOB” goes a very long way towards winning a game. Leadership and making smart calls to capture team objectives will win you more games than carrying with an OP character.


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Chapter 5: Ganking and Role Impact [More Detail on Carrying a Game]

MMMTo some people, a jungler is only there to be a ganker on a lane. While this is partly true, to say it’s your only responsibility would be shorting the role of a jungler. While a jungler needs to be doing many things, one very important thing is ganking. A “gank” is a term I use to denote creating and/or using an advantage against a certain situation. So by going to a lane that your laner is still in, you are ganking that lane (the advantage is now 2v1 or 3v2, an extra person in the lane). By attacking someone that is pushed up to your second tower alone from behind them, you are creating an advantage (long running distance) and ganking them. Note that going to a lane alone or without assistance from your laner is simply covering the lane. Now that the definition has been laid down, let’s evaluate when you want to be ganking.


When to Gank
MMMWhen considering when to gank, there are little obvious times. Once you clear a certain skill level, most lanes become hard to gank. When a lane is pushed up passed the midpoint of the river, it becomes easy and safe to gank. Most times, this is the optimum time to be ganking, but realistically it doesn’t happen often against good players. Because of this, more creative, liberal and conditional timings of ganking need to be employed. Here are some example times to be ganking and the conditions you need for them to work out properly:
  • Your lane is dominating and has either good CC or damage to assist you in a dive. This is when your lane is just making life hard for the opposite laner and you feel you can take advantage of this. This is typically reserved for the tankier junglers, but you can wait for your wave to push up and then jump onto them with your ally. This will yield a kill, summoner wasting, significant damage to a tower or a combination of any of those. Overall, this is the highest risk gank to perform, but often yields lane superiority and a tower.
  • There is significant pressure or poke on your laner. This one will usually just relieve the pressure instead of securing a kill. Your overall goal here is to get a summoner, waste their mana or do some damage so that they can no longer fearlessly harass your laner. You don’t have to necessarily get a kill or cover the lane, you’re just trying to instill some respect into the opponent. You will perform this a lot if the enemy team has no jungler and you have to support top’s 1v2.
  • The opponent is hyper-aggressive. Sometimes their AP carry or top laner is an insanely aggressive player. In this case, they will often run a high-risk style of play that has to be approached carefully. As the jungler, this is candy to you. You want your ally to start fighting or bait the opponent right before you’re in range to make it impossible to escape. This should typically be done when you know that this person will fall for the bait and is overall just playing too aggressively.
  • You have confidence and a character that can perform an early gank. This one is a bit trickier because you have to be pretty ballsy and need great coordination, however the reward is vast. If you are playing Lee Sin or Maokai and perform a level 2 gank on a lane and it succeeds, there is a really high chance that lane will win. If you score a kill this early, they will be 2 levels behind all game. Unless your laner is awful, this is a won lane.

Ganking’s Advantages and Disadvantages

MMMNow that you’re more aware of when to gank, we must look at why you are ganking in the first place. The goal of most ganks is to secure either global or local advantage. The type and impact of that advantage lies in the timing and outcome of your ganking. Because of this, I will look at which gank timings provide advantage, the type and its overall importance to winning a game.

Gank Timing: Risk / Reward
Advantage Gained
Importance to the Game

Opponent passed river midpoint: Low Risk / (Low-Medium) Reward
Relieves lane pressure, you get fed.
MMMThis is quintessential gank. It is really straightforward, pretty hard to mess up and if it happens often enough will lead to a fed jungler. It has a pretty big impact on the game because in order for someone to be pushed up, your lane ally will likely be getting deprived of last hits and farm. Helping your laner get off the tower to secure more last hits while killing his opponent creates massive advantage. This type of gank is very reliable, though it is a bit scarce in good matches.

Your lane is dominating: High Risk / (Medium-High) Reward
Secures advantage, denies opponent, damages a tower and forces an enemy jungler to respond.
MMMThis is a really risky move, typically, but often pays off big time. I find myself doing this only when the other lanes are doing fine and their jungler has been spotted somewhere else and/or I know they’re a non-issue. What I typically do is engage a fight with intent to dive (I only do this on voice chat so my laner knows) and then I go in, take a few tower hits and get out. This allows my laner to get in there, secure a kill and we both get out without death. If it is against a solo lane, you can then deal damage to the tower and likely take it. This provides massive advantage, but takes coordination, skill and risk. If this fails, your advantage fizzles.

Massive pressure on your team: Medium Risk / Medium Reward
Relieves lane pressure.
MMMYou will likely have to do this if they don’t have a jungler and it’s a 2v1 on top. You’re not really guaranteed a kill in this, but it can really help your laner do well in their lane. The basic principle is that someone at half-health will not be as aggressive as someone with full life. So you’re lowering their health, mana or summoner’s in order to make their laning pressure relent. You’re also reminding them that you’re there and they should calm down. You want to land some champion damage, as pushing the lane forward more will set up your team for failure instead of helping them.

Crazy aggression: Medium Risk / (Low-Medium) Reward
Relieves lane pressure, puts the aggressor in check, gives power to your ally.
MMMWe have all seen that character (usually AP carry mid) that is going absolutely berserk. They’re zoning the hell out of your lane, pushing the minions and denying last hits. They’re also poking and harassing you at every opportunity, which is overall making your lane really rough to deal with. This situation is extremely hard to pull off correctly for the aggressor. Not only do they have to be very aggressive and bold in their harassment, they have to know when and where you’re coming. Since they won’t always know when they’re in danger, you have your teammate engage them, and quickly come in afterward. This allows for their cooldowns to be blown or for them to overextend to get the kill. Ganks of this nature take away their means of early advantage (early AP/AD runes, early kills, snowball items) and secures at least a stalemate for your lane.

Early Ganks: Low Risk/High Reward
Gives a large, early advantage to a lane, provides early feed, scares the **** out of laners.
MMMThese are some of the hardest things to pull off because they’re so matchup and character dependant, however they can have an absolutely gigantic impact. I have lost a ranked game at 3 minutes because my top laner (Nasus) was ganked by Lee Sin at level 2 and gave Akali a kill. This led Nasus to being 1v1 with an Akali 2 levels higher than him with a kill. Akali proceeded to take Nasus out of the game while snowballing herself to win. If you can pull off a level 1-4 gank and have it secure a kill, there is a good chance that lane is won without any more help from you.

MMMFrom what I’ve just said, ganking sounds like a godsend and like something you should do always and forever. Of course this isn’t the case, as it’s easy to go overboard with your ganks. Unless you have a really volatile lane, you likely shouldn’t be ganking unless one of the above situations arise. If you are ganking lanes without the conditions listed above, you’re wasting your time. If you are ganking too often, you will fall behind even if you succeed in some of them. Because of the way experience works, you can be behind in levels, which could negate any early advantage you may have gained. Another thing to watch out for in ganking is improper timing. If you gank at the wrong times and don’t succeed, you’ve wasted not only your time, but your laner’s time and resource as well. This counts doubly so if you have died and fed the opposing laner.

MMMTo put a final note and recap what ganking accomplishes, I would like to say that if you do not see one of the above situations creating opportunity for a gank, your time is better spent counter jungling, farming or setting up wards. If the other team is constantly overextending or presenting scenarios in which you can capitalize on, do so and win hard.

How to Gank

I am recording my matches and posting videos on youtube with commentary. I have a few up already, check them out at: My Youtube Channel.


Guide Top

Chapter 6: Neutral Minions [Tips, Important Notes and Advice Beyond Basics]

MMMNow that we have your roles and character down, it’s time we took a look at the camps. An important thing to know is that the camps get stronger as the game progresses. They will gain more life and damage in order to keep scaling with the game and not to give you free kills. They won’t be raid boss strong, but starting Blue at 1:55 and 2:25 may yield drastically different results. Don’t be late, and get the jungle done fast.

The lesser camps (wolves, wraiths, small golems)



Initial Spawn: (1:40) Respawn Time: (1:00)

MMMThese camps have a small respawn time and will be done the most often throughout the game. These camps will be farmed by your teammates and enemies in downtime throughout the game, don’t get defensive about it. After a certain point you won’t be jungling too much anyway, and your carry needs the creep score more than you do. When you have smite up and the buff locations are down, it is acceptable to smite the small camps. With that in mind, if you just want to get something done quickly and out, feel free to use smite. I frequently smite a large wolf when in a hurry to get top lane and gank.

Blue buff



Initial Spawn: (1:55) Respawn Time: (5:00)
MMMThis is the most important buff to sustaining anyone’s jungle or lane. Some junglers cannot do their routes without it, so yes it is that important. Blue buff and usage of it makes or breaks a good jungler. Mana hungry junglers will want to be on teams with lanes that don’t need blue in order to succeed. On the other side of that, junglers that are not mana hungry can be paired with blue dependent characters such as Anivia. Passing off your blue buff to an AP carry makes them overpowered in lane and will lead their lane to victory. Some important things to do while doing blue buff are:

Leashing
MMMHave someone leash it for you, generally your midlane. “Leashing” is when a person on your team (usually the center laner) attacks the golem first and then leaves immediately. This pulls its attention away from you while you smash on it. If done properly, this sets up a perfect situation for you. The large golem will run from his spawning location to about the bushes attached to the tree line. If you auto attack him the entire time you will get some free damage in as well as set yourself up for fighting the golem in the bush. This has distinct advantages when considering counter jungling and invasion, so always fight the golem while in the bush. This is to say that if someone pokes in and you’re all in the bush, they will not see you, the golem or his buddies until he/she physically enters the bushes.


Control
MMMYou will always want to have control of your blue buff, and possibly theirs. If their team does not have a jungler, absolutely go and steal it (making sure to ward the river behind you so that you don’t get jumped). When they do not have a jungler my path is altered to include picking up their buff. This can be done before or after ganking a lane and will help you while hurting their team.


Sharing
MMMIn the later game, you are not master and commander of the buffs. Please don’t be the jungler that insists on taking blue buff over Anivia on your team. After you can clear the jungle without wasting much or any mana, give the blue buffs to your friendly casters. I absolutely guarantee that Anivia, Zilean or some other mana intensive monster will make better work of that blue buff than you.


Timing
MMMAs good practice, call out in team chat when the next blue buff is going to spawn. This will help you monitor where you want and need to be at different times in the game. An idea of this is “Our blue 7:53~”. This lets not only you but your team know when blue is coming back and should be gotten again. Don’t waste time getting it if it’s not necessary to do so.


Red Buff



Initial Spawn: (1:55) Respawn Time: (5:00)

MMMRed buff is the most important ganking tool for most junglers. The importance of red buff is often underplayed in the lower ELO matchups, as it is harder to see the effect of it over the Blue buff. Red buff is very, very important. It allows certain junglers without an early ganking tool, such as Master Yi and Shyvanna, to put a slow on the enemy. It also does a damage over time based on level which has scored me many kills when people barely escape behind a tower. It’s a small amount of damage, but treat it like a mini-ignite. It will allow you to better control and fight other champions and is invaluable next to blue buff.

MMMAs with the blue buff, you are usually not the master of the red buff later game. It is much better to put this on Corki than Nunu. If you are an AD carry (Olaf, Nocturne), feel free to take this for the duration of the game. Once again, calling out your buff respawn helps you and your team secure them immediately.

When to get it and why (Thanks to Bernarnar)
MMMMany new junglers mistake buffs for something that just needs to be done, much like CS. The reality is that buffs, especially red buff, are something that need to be coveted an used properly, otherwise don't bother getting them right away. This is seen a lot easier in red buff because, unlike the blue buff, which is always useful, the red buff is only useful for ganks early on. For this reason, I sometimes skip getting the red buff at the end of my route and instead recall, buy boots and then return to red looking to gank. This accomplishes many things such as being at full life, moving faster as well as having the slow for the incoming ganks. The red buff should not be taken at the end of your route simply because you can or because smite is up. Take it and use it properly in order to succeed on a higher level.

Control
MMMAn important consideration for red buff is how bad the enemy jungler and yourself needs it. Some junglers do not pass off the blue buff, so keeping tabs on it is easy. However, junglers such as Master Yi and Shyvanna need red buff in order to gank properly. This means that counter jungling their red buff is much more powerful than blue buff, as they don’t need blue anyway. Find out how bad they need whichever buff and control it in order to control the game.


Dragon



Initial Spawn: (2:30) Respawn Time: (6:00)

MMMThe Dragon is a critical team element. On an equal playing field of skill and composition, the game will almost completely revolve around who can control dragon and baron the best (assuming that you both can hold towers). Killing the dragon will supply YOUR ENTIRE TEAM with +190 gold, as well as the killer +25g. There are many things to know about dragon:


Awareness
MMMDragon should be warded at all times. I would even go as far as to say pink warded all the time, but if they are not warding it (low levels) that becomes a waste. Not only does warding dragon provide you with information as to whether the enemy team is doing it, but is a common thruway for the mid and jungler to come to the bottom lane as well as providing sight to the river entrance into a blue buff area. This is one of the most useful wards to have for most of the game.


Solo Dragon v. Team Dragon
MMMIn the lower skill level games, dragon can be done by yourself. I really hesitate to say that, but the reality is that most of the junglers can handle dragon solo after they get Madred’s Razors. Because of this, you can pop in and kill the dragon with relative ease and speed, and I indeed did that for a long time. In the higher skill ranges, dragon is always a team adventure, mostly because it will always be warded. Keep in mind they might be warding dragon in low level play as well, so be very careful that you don’t get killed. When doing dragon alone, you have to be paranoid of where the middle and bottom laners are. If you are halfway into dragon and they haven’t even started to move towards you, chances are they are unaware it’s happening.

MMMThe team dragon is a far safer and more effective route. While you can take down a dragon by yourself with relative ease, it will take a while. The dragon applies an attack speed debuff on you, so even characters with high attack speeds (Warwick, Xin Zhao) will take a while to kill it as well as get low on health. Because of this, get someone from bottom lane or mid lane to come help you kill the dragon. Not only will this make it safer for you to do, but will make it so that you don’t have to recall when you’re finished and can instead gank a lane or return to the jungle.
MMMYou should always make dragon a team objective. The advantages to be had outweigh those of going at it alone. Typically after a tower is taken or gank is done on bottom or mid lanes, Dragon can be done. This allows you to pull laners away and pick up kills or at least deny them farm. You have to watch for teleporting and teamfights, as many of them will happen around dragon. Keeping your team aware of dragon will give a lot more cooperation with your team, and is your job to do.


Asking for Help
MMMBefore your character is level 6 or 7 with razors, have a teammate help you, even if you can solo it just fine. If you dip below a certain health threshold, you risk not only death from a straggler, but losing the dragon kill for your team that you worked so hard for.

MMMIt is the bottom lane’s responsibility to keep tabs on the dragon. If something is happening on or around dragon, one or both of the bottom laners should be there to help kill the dragon or any players doing it. Though many people do not know their role, bottom always has 2 people for this exact reason. Make sure you ask your bottom lane to check dragon periodically and/or to help you with it. While it is technically their responsibility, you can’t rely on someone to know this automatically.


Timing
MMMYou want to call out the next dragon in order to maximize your team’s gold. If you did the dragon solo, you still want to say it in chat just so you have record of when you want to go back and do it.


Baron Nashor



Initial Spawn: (15:00) Respawn Time: (7:00)

MMMBaron provides a huge buff and is a beast to take down. You will almost always need your entire team to kill him at any stage of the game, unless you’re a fed Warwick. The times to do Baron are not pertinent to jungling at all, so I will not cover them. The choice of timing on baron is a skill and is not able to be described in clear cut terms. You want to do Baron when you have time to kill him unopposed. The jungler usually has the tools to take down Baron and tank him as long as the team is helping. Remember to last hit him with smite or it will get stolen and posted on youtube as hilarious hijinks.


Guide Top

Chapter 7: Outgrowing Your Trees [When and Why to Join the Team]

MMMAt a certain point, you’re going to want to head out of the jungle for good. This isn’t because jungling is now bad or you shouldn’t go in there anymore, but passed the 20 or 30 minute mark (depending on how the game is progressed) being in the jungle is harmful for your team and potentially dangerous. Once your team has hit the levels needed to push a lane heavily, you need to be a swing man on every lane, first and foremost. This will get their towers down and progress the game. Then you want to run with at least one other teammate at all times. This does not cater to being in the jungle and the exact time has been intentionally vague. There are a few signs to be looking for and game states that determine when you will need to leave the jungle routes alone.

Finding the right time to leave the jungle

MMMThis can be difficult to tell, as I said above, but in general, you want to be helping push lanes when:
  • Your lane champions have gotten their pushing power all together. This is different for a lot of characters, but examples of this would be old Vladimir hitting level 9, Corki hitting level 6, etc. Though these champions are able to solo a lane pretty well after this point, characters such as Irelia will want the extra support in there to quickly drop a tower.
  • Your team is performing split pushing, where one or two lanes are either pushed or being held by a single champion while you and the rest of your team is pressuring a single tower. This sets up something like a fork in Chess, where they have to choose between defending this tower and losing the other tower or defending the other tower to have this one fall. You want to be there for your team in this instance because if they just choose to defend the pressured tower and you aren’t there, it could result in a wipe for your team.
  • Many team fights and ganks are starting to happen. At a certain time, some games devolve into bloodbaths where everyone is travelling in 2-4 man squads gunning down your allies. My term for this is “clump-humping” because of Dodgeball’s “Like a bunch of ******s trying to hump a doorknob,” or in this case kill your team. In the case of clump-humping, you will want to stick with a teammate or two in order to stop them from causing too much destruction. You will not want to be the team starting the roving gank squads as the midgame needs to be about getting towers, positional advantage and map control. Getting towers and map control wins games, not killing people like a bunch of FPS junkies worried about your K/D.
  • Though it was not explicitly addressed, certain champions will want leave the jungle earlier than others. Amumu will want to be out of the jungle and tanking/ganking lanes and supporting his team at level 6 because he has to do so. Shaco will want to be constantly picking on all the lanes and setting up counter jungle boxes as early as level 2. Sometimes your lanes are pushed up to enemy towers with strong defensive champions, leaving you no ganking opportunity and you just turtle around your jungle. Certain games have tons and tons of early action (20 kills before 10 minutes or something) and the lanes are very volatile. In that case, you want to maximize your team’s advantage by leaving the jungle earlier to help them out. Though these things might happen to you, as long as you’re not idle you’re doing an ok job. Use trial and error to find when to be in or out of the jungle and the one lane rule starts to become much more used and the radius widened.


What to do when you’re out
MMMOnce you have left the comfort of your trees and wandered out into the lanes for good, your responsibilities are much less. You are still responsible for warding and pushing lanes, but you can’t push lanes that don’t have any towers left, nor can you gank someone that isn’t in their lane. Covering lanes will most likely not need to be done unless a wave pushes up to your tower or inhibitor, in which case it’s just free farm. Overall this time is heavily dependent on your character. When you selected your character at the beginning, you had a certain role you were filling in your team and this is your time to do it. If you chose a tank, start tanking and initiating fights. If you chose an assassin, start terrorizing people after teamfights and killing those squishies. Play to your character’s role as jungling is just a stepping stone to the late game, much like laning.

MMMRemember, though, you still are a jungler at heart. If you have down time, are heading back to base or anything of the sort, do a quick route or camp. Recalling near wraiths? Score a quick 50-60 gold since you’re clearing time at this point should be legendary. You will still want to control the buffs and dragon throughout the game, keep that in mind when roaming later and make it a team effort to get it done quickly and safely.


Guide Top

||Chapter 8: Riot's New Jungle [Changes the Volibear Patch Presents]

Soon to come. Check my blog to see my thoughts already.


Guide Top

Chapter 9: Ruination and Resurrection [Counter Jungling and Recovery Tips

MMMEverything up until this point has been establishing a baseline for your jungling skills, habits and knowledge. There is a glaring assumption throughout all of this, however, and that is that you are left alone to your own business in the jungle for the duration of your jungling. This section is meant to give you the skills to not go gently into that good jungle and to avoid raging over someone picking at your character’s seams.

MMMCounter jungling is an extremely strong set of skills and awareness to have. Counter jungling is also one of the single hardest things to do in the game due to the high amount of uncertainty and variability in the game. If you play AP carries and solo mid, you will just have to learn the matchups and you’re done. But when you’re a jungler and going against another jungler, the matchup is just the beginning. Counter jungling, when done right, provides a massive advantage and mind game that is very difficult to lose with.

MMMThe first consideration and the most important realization in your decision to counter jungling are the risks and rewards of the entire process. When you are first learning how to counter jungle, first take safe practices and no risk. If you go too gung-ho on getting someone else down, you will get punished and lose any advantage you are trying to gain. The risks in counter jungling are pretty high, as you can feed an enemy laner, jungler, give away buffs and set yourself behind irreparably. Since you’ve read this far, you’re obviously set on doing it, so the advantages you can gain are also vast. If you are successful in your endeavor, you will set their jungler behind, potentially kill their laners, steal their buffs and establish a certain amount of fear of being in their own territory. Because of the high risk/high reward nature of counter jungling, it is important that you take any information I am about to give you with the knowledge that failing can be very detrimental to your team.

MMMAside from that disclaimer, warding is one of the most important aspects of counter jungling. Of course everyone harps on warding and all that, but vision of what is going on in the jungle removes a huge amount of uncertainty, which makes your task much safer. Counter jungling is all about maximizing safety, and you will see this touched on again and again. The safer you can get in and out of the jungle, the better. Just because something is safe does not mean it is not effective, also. Don’t think I’m telling you to formally announce the fact that you’re “kindly entering this gentleman’s jungle and please can my entire team come with me to secure their wraiths.” With proper warding you know for a fact that someone is in or not in a location. This is because most times an Oracle’s comes later in the game and the enemy doesn’t know you’re warding their stuff. This makes it a sure event for you and a complete surprise on them, therefore safe for you! The wards you are putting down for this task are a bit different than the typical locations, so they are detailed below with a description of why to put them there.

<insert map when I’m not lazy>

MMMThese locations apply to every jungler or laner in the game. They are great locations, but not the only ones, in order to maximize your sight in their jungle.

MMMSo now that you’re placing counter jungling wards, I have good news for you: the current jungler meta is totally amazing. In the past, junglers like Olaf, Nunu and Warwick would gain advantage through ganking sometimes and mostly map awareness and security. This was modified into a roamer meta, which required a jungler to have a strong ability to deflect invasion, which weeded out Olaf and Warwick for a while and gave rise to Trundle and other picks. This was then abandoned to the EU meta of a jungle tank and AD/Support bottom. At this time Nunu, Rammus and Amumu and became very popular in the jungle and very strong until the current jungler meta arose – the OP jungler meta. I mark Gangplank’s rework as the rise of the counter jungler meta we are currently in. All of your main, popular junglers are extremely strong counter junglers and duelists that provide huge influence to the team. Picks like Gangplank, Lee Sin, Nocturne and Fiddlesticks have become very common and strong. This is because when you matchup someone like Amumu to Lee Sin, he will be crushed and destroyed with no help from his team. This essentially turns a game into a 4v5 because their jungler is either very behind, feeding or unable to do anything about what is happening. Currently, the best junglers are overpowered war machines that will obliterate lesser junglers and their teams. This is not to say they are actually overpowered, but jungler picks are much stronger characters than ever before.

MMMNow, you may ask, why do I still see Rammus and Amumu and other junglers weak to invasion in games? The answer is a bit complex, but really boils down to teamwork, unskilled counter junglers and communication. Counter jungling is very team oriented, and it can be done by anyone whether it be a jungler or a laner. So when you are CV’d doing your red on bot side and the enemy AD carry comes to clean you up, you have been counter jungled. In situations like this, you get a better understanding of how important teamwork is. I picture counter jungling as opportunity. I create opportunity for my laners to come participate in early teamfights to gain advantage. This is all reliant on teamwork, and with good teamwork weak-deflection junglers are viable. If you are Amumu and Lee Sin comes at you, if you have a quick response from your lanes Lee Sin will be taken down easily in the 2+v1. I also have to say it, but a lot of people don’t counter jungle you in solo queue, so play who you want.


When to Do It - Considerations


MMMGeneralities aside, let’s get into specifics on when you want to be counter jungling. As with any advice, this is not a code of action, it is a suggestion. If you find success doing something else, by all means do that. If one of these times pops up and you don’t seize the opportunity, don’t sweat it. This should be your thought process when making decisions about what you want to do:

The “Hard” Conditions

MMMThe hard conditions are situations and things that always need to be considered first. They may change from game to game, however they will not ever change relative to your character and game state. If you lock in Tryndamere, you’re playing Tryndamere. If you purchased an item and someone else has not, this is a fact and non-variable, and therefore a hard condition. These will change within the course of a game, but are the pre-requisite thought processes in order to continue on the soft conditions and counter jungle someone.

Character Matchup

MMMFirst and foremost before anything else, you have to consider the loading screen matchup. Are you Lee Sin v Amumu so you can abuse him all day? Are you Olaf v Fiddlesticks where you have to watch for him because he can just drain and kill you due to lack of CC? For an idea of where your character falls in the spectrum and how the matchup will go, check my other guide for ratings on deflection and invasion. A high invasion vs a low deflection is optimal and should be sought after before you consider countering. Now if you are Amumu in the above example, all is not lost, you just have to pick times to be in the jungle when Lee Sin is not around and ward your own jungle, or at least the river entrances.

Damage Item Landmarks

MMMAlright, so you know that your jungler is a bit stronger than the other and can probably win in a duel. The next consideration is: what your items are right now? Did you just pick up your Madred’s Razors and Boots of Speed? Or did you just get The Brutalizer? How about another Doran’s Blade or a Sheen? All of these items create a massive advantage over someone that doesn’t have or build them. So you just shopped and purchased boots and finished your razors. Go mess some faces up if you want, you are strong right now. There is an ebb and flow of power with item and skill progression for every character, realizing when that extra damage is creating a huge advantage for you is very important. On Lee Sin, I have many “landmarks” that I consider, depending on the game state. When I get Razors and boots, when Wriggle’s finishes and when I get a Brutalizer/Doran’s Blade is typically when my damage output is better than their junglers. Now I say “damage item” because you don’t go to shop, pick up Mercury Treads and think to yourself “I am very strong now.” The same argument goes for Heart of Gold or Philospher’s Stone. These items are good, but they don’t provide you an advantage over another jungler, unlike damage items.

Their Progression vs Yours

MMMAlright, you just picked up Wriggle’s, you’re strong right now right? Well maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. That’s why your next consideration is: how you are doing compared to them? Did they disconnect and have come back two levels behind you? Have you gotten a lot of early kills or assists while theirs has not? Have they netted advantage on their end and are stronger than you right now? Check the scoreboard and see their kills, assists and item progression compared to yours. If you are getting Wriggle’s at 0/5 and their 10/0 Nocturne has Wriggle’s, Berserker’s Greaves and a Brutalizer, don’t you dare go into his jungle. While that example is very clear cut, your judgment is required in messier situations where you have to gauge whether that 1 kill or death you’ve got really puts you at an early advantage or disadvantage.

The “Soft” Conditions

MMMThese are the things that are highly variable and change from game to game and times within each game. None of these are mandatory for counter-jungling, and should be taken as a more general sense of timing and awareness.

How well your laners are doing

MMM This is a determination of your own team. Is your top lane full life and doing well against his opponent? Is your mid laner dominating, holding on for dear life or just stalemating the lane? Ask yourself “if I enter the jungle right now and a fight happens, how available is my laner?” If they are doing well in their lane and able to leave it (their tower won’t be in danger) for a period of time, you are exponentially safer than if they are pushed up against your tower last hitting. This makes sense because if a lane is pushed all the way up to your own tower and you invade bottom jungle, they can leave and destroy you without an MIA call because of the vision range. Typically if your lanes are doing poorly, it’s best to gank and not counter jungle, so the health of your lanes determines whether you should counter or not.

Enemy laners and activity

MMMAfter you have determined that your lane would be able to help, ask yourself can the enemy lane help? I have a friend that solo’s AP Sion with Boots of Mobility and roams around the map often. If I were against him, I have to be extremely wary that he can walk into his jungle and immediately kill me. If you see their top lane Nasus is content to farm while team fights, dragon fights and other skirmishes go down, you can be almost certain he won’t be flanking you in their jungle. Look for the patterns of the laners during the laning phase, whether they’re aggressive or not and if they have been going around the map to gank often and gauge your safety factor. The more aggressive and roaming a laner is to any lane, the less you should be counter jungling.

Map Position

MMMAfter you quickly look at the health levels of your lanes and judge that you are reasonably safe to walk into their jungle, you then find your position on the map. Typically the “weak” side to counterjungle is the blue buff side, so if you’re on the bottom as the bottom team or top as the top team, chances are your counter-jungling won’t be happening. The wolves don’t offer enough resource to be worth being that deep in the jungle and blue buff should be down often. You can, of course, pop in to clear the icon on your map or check if the buff is up to make it easier to take for later. After you see if you’re on the strong or weak side, judge whether a lane might need help and your proximity if you enter the enemy jungle here.

Enemy Awareness

MMMLook around the map a bit. Has the jungler appeared lately? Has the mid laner wandered to top to gank? Is bottom lane missing right now? In general, if you see someone on the other side of the map, you are safe to counter-jungle. If they are bottom team and the jungler is ganking top, their red buff, golems and wraiths are free game. Go get in there, get a camp or two and get out immediately. Then, when they try to return the favor you will be in your own jungle with your team there to help. This clashes a bit with my information on ganking and the “one lane rule,” so this is assuming that you are too far away to help a fight when it breaks out. If you are warding dragon when the jungler ganks top, take their jungle to put them behind a bit.

Knowing when to Engage - Summary

MMMThis is the culmination of every single factor listed so far. If you are entering their jungle and bottom lane is now missing and you haven’t seen the jungler in a while, get the hell out. If you get into a fight you might be able to win after a bit of time (full life v full life, say) but all of a sudden mid lane goes MIA, get out. You have to gauge whether you can do enough damage in a short enough time span to justify your being there. If I see a near full life enemy jungler, I just leave. Sure in a vacuum I can kill them, but realistically I am giving them a lot of time to have their team respond and cut me off. Most players aren’t fast enough that if you show up for a brief amount of time that they can cut you off. So after you enter their jungle, check the minimap, ping that you are entering and don’t fight a full life jungler. After a while, you will gain an understanding of when to engage and when to flee.

Techniques


MMMThese are conditional to the timings and considerations above, of course, but there are certain ways to go about actually doing the counter jungle. I have listed below from safest to most dangerous, the things you want to do in order to maximize your jungling potential.

Take their camps when they are elsewhere

MMMThis is the safest to do because you know for a fact that their jungler is not there. Most people don’t ward their jungle and nobody CVs their own jungle either. So if you are looking to do damage, counter-jungle the opposite side of the map that the jungler just appeared on. If they’re ganking bottom, take their blue buff (red buff or Golems/Wraiths on bottom side). If they’re ganking top, take the blue/red buff on that side of the jungle as well. This gives them a bit of a drawback from ganking or covering a lane and is very effective if their gank is unsuccessful. When you do this, get in and get a camp and get out if their jungler disappears. This also helps you understand the importance of revealing yourself and the value of making your presence felt instead of simply being somewhere.

Start at their camps

MMMThis is usually safe in solo queue games and not a factor in premades (typically). As Lee Sin I will start at their wraiths and smite the big one and leave one wraith there. This stops their level 4 and gives you a bit of a boost in your jungle. I have also started at their blue against characters that like to do a quick level 2 gank (Riven, Lee Sin) or have gotten my team to do their blue as well. This is a jerk move on your part and automatically makes their jungler demoralized. I know I hate walking into a camp with only 1 wraith there. Make sure that you have a person defend your wraiths and if you see an enemy there, don’t engage, just go back and start at your jungle.

Gank a lane, take the jungle

MMMIf you gank a lane and kill the laner, it might be safe to go after the jungle near that. So say you’re bottom team and you just ganked top lane to net a kill. Wander over to golems or red buff and poke around. If you a wild jungler appears, go at him with the help of your recently liberated top laner. This will net you two kills/assists and a buff most times. If you just ganked bottom and wiped it (but can’t get the tower), walk up and steal their blue. Be flexible in what you’re doing and know that once you have killed an enemy laner not only are you in less danger, but you have your free laners to help you now. I have routinely ganked top and then had me and the top laner clear their jungle or kill their jungler while waiting for top to return to lane. It’s a very powerful and usually safe technique depending on the life totals.

Enter after a ward or CV tips you off

MMMAfter getting vision of a jungler in their natural element, you can gauge how safe it is to go at them. At this point, as long as you think you can take them down at their current health level, it is only a consideration of your team coming to assist you in the kill. If your lanes are getting roughed up, this is very dangerous and inversely, this is safe if your lanes are active and doing well. This is marked as pretty dangerous because if you CV a jungler, he should alert his team and they will have a few seconds advanced notice and will be prepared to take action. You are also blind everywhere else but the area revealed, so if there are any MIAs this isn’t a great idea.

Routinely “check in” on their jungler

MMM The safety of this comes down to knowing the matchups and position of their jungler. CV helps a ton and so do wards in this respect, so you’re going in with a good amount of knowledge. You should have a general feeling of where someone will be in their path and can deduce where they are based on what camps are left. If you just finished your red buff and walk into their jungle and see the wraiths gone, they are likely at golems or red buff. This is because by the time you get red, recall and run down there, the initial clear on wraith camp has reset meaning they have done it 2 times at this point. Because of the close time frame, they’re likely at golems right now. You can clear your jungle and then poke into theirs to see how their camps are lining up with yours. First clear times are around the same for most of the cast, so if you see that your wraiths are spawning again and their wraiths are down 20-30 seconds later, chances are they’re doing their jungle right now. This can lead you to catch them off guard and low life, which is an easy kill for a strong counter-jungler.

Blindly go into their jungle with any MIAs

MMM This is playing Russian roulette. Don’t do it. You might get that one guy that one time and you’re so awesome! Don’t take a gamble for the chance to maybe impact the game.

Lane Involvement


MMMThrough this entire portion of the guide I have been talking about lane involvement, and this is here to summarize what you can and could be doing as a laner and what to possibly expect from as a jungler.

Character dependent skills

MMMThis is for characters like Teemo, Nidalee and Ashe. All of these characters have unique skills that can grant long distance vision to a location. A top lane Teemo can plant mushrooms all around blue buff in order to spot a jungler approaching it. The same things can be done for dragon, Baron and red buffs. These character specific skills allow cheap vision to disrupt the enemy jungler or protect yours. When you are these characters, lay your skills around where you would typically ward to catch junglers in action.

Bottom Lane

MMMAs the bottom lane, you have an obligation to help with dragon control. Continually warding it and the tri-bush will lead to not only safer laning, but better counter jungling. These wards will reveal the junglers’ position and help you take advantage. Another thing you can do is ward their jungle on the side you aren’t on. This lets you be a two person swing into their jungle to disrupt them again. It’s not expensive to ward, so get an extra ward for the red buff/blue buff area in order to catch their jungler in the act. Bottom lane also has Clairvoyance. CV usage is really in depth, but overall you want to be using CV when you have reason to believe that a jungler is somewhere and want to be sure. This helps not only your lane in safety, but aids your jungler in killing theirs. Good CV usage makes or breaks games sometimes, so learn where to use it and why.

Middle Lane

MMMYour job as an AP carry is to farm and level hard. So in doing this, if you have an AoE attack, steal some of their jungle. The easiest, fastest and safest is typically wraiths. Someone like Gragas can bodyslam/barrel without being in any danger and it’s instantly cleared. Strong AoE casters should safely steal wraiths for their gain and the loss of the enemy jungler. Your other responsibility is to protect your jungler. He is a brave little guy and with your damage and awareness, you can get some kills off of him counter jungling or being countered. Be very aware of where your jungler is so you can pick up kills and win games. As a jungler, be sure to ping or say (type or talk) that you’re entering their jungle. When I am counter jungling with my buddies, I always tell them “I am going into <character’s> jungle, be prepared to defend me.” This really gives them the heads up to clear their wave right then and be ready to head directly to the jungle.

Top Lane

MMMAs top laner, your pseudo-job is buff control. You can’t necessarily leave as easily as the other lanes due to the variety of champions played up there and dependence on farm. Because of this, help secure buffs and be ready to jump into a jungle fight at any time. Have awareness of your jungler and his intentions and help him secure a buff. This sounds a bit tough, but really you have to ward close to the right spots in order to not be ganked, so putting a ward another half a screen away is doable.

Recovery
MMMSo, someone else read this guide or knows how to counter jungle. This is not the end of the world! First off, identify your enemy’s counter jungling technique. Did you walk into wraiths for your first time with blue uncontested to find one missing and a golem down? He is trying to rob you of your early experience. Finding out what their goals are is essential to stopping them because you will know what they’re doing. If they are doing your lesser camps and crippling them, set up a ward to catch them in the act and kill them for it since they’ll be on your side of the map. When you find the jungler and bot lane are constantly warding and coming at your jungle, they are trying to kill you and a few wards will alert you to get out. If they are just better at counter jungling you for whatever reason (champion is more powerful, player is better, your team is worse, etc.) try to not do stupid things and instead:

Take control of your lesser camps
MMMStart to ward your jungle entrances. Even though this will initially “set you back,” you have to get the comfort of knowing they are not coming and if they are, you will be able to take advantage of it. You will need to power out your lesser camps and perhaps theirs for a bit in order to stabilize yourself.


Grab a little experience from each lane
MMMWhile puffing out your chest and pretending that you’re actually harassing the enemy, get a little experience from another lane to get that edge back. It won’t take much, so don’t be a freeloader. This can lead to an early push opportunity and may end up in your favor in the end. Do not overstay your welcome, and only do this if they are doing ok or bad in a lane. Don’t walk into a pushed lane and start taking the experience, have some reason to be there.

Buy more health potions
MMMThis might sound like awkward advice, but being able to stay in the jungle or a lane longer than the enemy is crucial when crawling back from a loss. Most of the time you won’t be at a giant loss, but health potions are a win. If you don’t need them you can sell them back at about a 12 gold loss per potion, which is miniscule. Overall, though, you’ll want to be sustaining yourself at full life through the jungle ready to kill anyone you encounter.


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Chapter 10: Jungling Across the Skill Spectrum [Tips for All Levels]


This section is also undergoing construction. I hope to have much more information here soon.



Low/Mid ELO Matches and Blind Pick
MMMThese are the bottom of the barrel kinds of games and different approaches can be taken. When in the low ELO matches, pick your best jungler and try to work your team around it. You should really play a lot of unranked in order to get your experience level up so you feel comfortable with a few, but mostly just one, junglers. Once you get that jungler down, feel free to play the other ones and advance your ELO in general. It has to be noted that most of this guide will loosely apply to these matches. There is a lot of fundamental information that has to be overlooked because your team simply can’t support itself. You might have to be ganking lanes the entire game because your team can’t lane, or conversely you can be twiddling your thumbs because your lanes just smash and you’re not as needed. Jungling, however, will change at the higher levels and is covered in the next section in some detail. You will get away from messing up and/or cutting corners (not buying Oracle’s, Wards, etc.). Don’t develop bad habits and just play your A-Game in these and you will dominate instead of just win. ||This is the hardest advice to follow in this guide, because when you’re doing well it’s easy to not care about the need for the small stuff.


Mid/High ELO and 5-man premades
MMMHere is where the jungler is really effective. There are considerations that need to be taken when playing this game at a higher level. Here is a list of new considerations in premade teams and mid to high ELO games:
  • |In premade teams, there will most likely be a team fight at level 1. You will all be defending your buff or getting their buff and they aren’t going to like that. Either way, they know where you and your team are going to be at the start of the match (relatively, you can juke them out and do their red, etc.) and will try to get some kills. This affects your jungling in a variety of ways depending on your character selection. If you are Olaf or Warwick, your first skill pick of Q is your best skill for a level 1 team fight and jungling. However on a character like Nunu, who takes consume first, you will want to wait to level up an ability until you’ve confirmed that a fight isn’t happening. If you have to take the Nunu’s ice blast at level 1, you will need assistance taking down blue buff, without question.
    This consideration lowers the effectiveness of a few junglers, such as Shaco and Amumu, heavily. If you are unable to secure a first buff for your champion, they become very hard to recover and do well with, especially if they repeatedly invade and counter you. At that point, you will have to make your jungling nearly a team process.
  • |On the same token of doing things as a team, aspects such as Dragon, Baron and the Blue and Red buffs are now team adventures. You will not want to wander anywhere alone if there are people missing, even if it’s your own jungle. If there is a point of interest such as a buff or global gold source, there is more risk in going there with enemies missing. A good team will have Clairvoyance and will spot you where you are likely to be and send in a team to take care of business. If you do these buffs alone, you will need callouts of any MIAs as well as knowledge of where everyone on their team is at the time. Dragon is no longer something you can solo, despite whether your character can handle it. Dragon is a commonly warded and patrolled area, and it’s best if you dragon when the other team is nowhere near it (pushing top lane) as a group of 2-4 people.
  • |Your team is your most valuable asset at the higher levels. No longer can you carry the game with your amazing jungling skills that I provided to you, but will need to instead rely on teamwork (gasp!). You will need your lane partners to keep a keen eye out for MIAs and call them immediately. If they see someone coming to you in the jungle, they must come and help not simply tell you to get out. Buffs, dragon and baron are to be warded and watched by the entire team and after a certain point your solo jungling will stop and you will be with the team doing pushing and buff securing.
  • |Clairvoyance is a singleton must on a team. This will help you accomplish many things in the jungling and ganking world, so coordinate with your clairvoyance teammate in order to give yourself security in the jungle or to make them feel vulnerable. CV is outright frightening if you are jungling. If I see that eye pop above my head and there is a missing, I immediately leave the area. This includes being halfway through a golem buff or whatever, it is not worth your life. For that reason, it is best to use your team’s CV early and often to not only keep yourself safe but get those other junglin’ fools.
  • You will not get the development that you want or need most times. At the professional level, League of Legends is a pretty passive game where taking risks could cost you the game. Because of this you will generally build tankier, safer and take much less risks. Much of your game will be floating around getting wards here and there and preventing things from happening. Because of this and the fact that there are less ganking situations available, you won’t get the sort of development you’ll see in normals against worse players.


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Closing Remarks: Conclusion

MMMOverall, this guide has taught you the fundamentals, or at least any that have come to my mind, of jungling. Feel free to comment or send messages about any discrepancies or otherwise. Now go and dominate your games in the jungle!


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Epilogue: Response to Comments, Q+A and Thanks

Found in my other guide, here!


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