Hi! I’m Aqua Dragon. I ended Season 4 at Master 1 with AD Jungle Malzahar, among others, and am also the co-creator of www.bestbans.com !
This build is part of a series of guides that is given a playstyle and then optimizes it. The guide does not give an opinion on whether the build is good/strong/viable/competitive, nor whether the playstyle is the optimal way to play a champion.
The guide only answers: regardless of strength, if you are playing X, how should you do it?
This guide was brought to you by Jaspr_To_The_Max.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive guide. It is meant to outline the basic principle, items, runes, and playstyle of Jungle Lulu. As such, I won't be delving into why certain customization choices were made. However, my hope is that I will have explained Jungle Lulu enough that my rationale will be a self-evident extension, and to also allow you to make personal customizations as well.
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Pros and Cons
- Excessive damage when ahead
- Great utility when behind
- Polymorph makes assassinations and ganks reliable
- Hybrid damage is difficult to itemize against
- Very slow initial clears
- Being a utility assassin makes a master of neither
- Squishy, with a weak shield if building offensively
- Takes time to ramp up power, even ignoring stacks
- Assassinations are all or nothing.
What is Jungle Lulu
Jungle Lulu is one of the more popular off-meta variants, and for valid reason. As a support, they are known for their powerful slows and life-saving ult. As a laner, they are notorious for unrelenting hit-and-run poke. And as a jungler, Lulu takes on the role of a utility assassin, polymorphing people and using a slew of attack speed synergy to decimate unfortunate critter-turned enemies.
A notorious issue in other Jungle Lulu guides is a strong focus on which items seem sensible, instead of which items actually maximize damage. In this guide, the optimal damage build for Jungle Lulu was put to the test in a spreadsheet.
Conveniently enough, the optimal damage build for Lulu is a hybrid style, making effective defenses difficult for opponents. The mix of physical and magical damage, combined with the shred of Wit's End, synergizes well with Lulu's goal of melting targets effectively.
A more attack speed style is favored over the more magic-heavy laning style because the raw damage output of an AS build is higher than AP. Lulu in lane doesn't build primarily AP because it does more damage than AS, but because it is more tailored to lane, allowing for strong lane bullying and safer farming. Jungle Lulu is not concerned with those, allowing for a focus on raw damage instead.
But killing people isn't Jungle Lulu's only specialty. If the carries get fed early or Lulu gets behind, the option of going for raw utility remains open, providing a way to get back into the game when not into the game.
Buying on a Whimsy
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You now have the choice of going down two paths. It is not recommended to go for a mixture; attempting to do so leads to being underwhelming at both.
The Damage Path
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The choice between Berserker and Sorcerer comes down to whether you want more physical or sustained damage vs. more magical or burst damage. Berserkers for the first, Sorcerer for the latter.
The order of the items has been chosen based on calculated damage efficiency. Check the video in the previous section to see all the calculations involved! Or just take my word for it; whichever is simpler. The same calculations show that for the purposes of Jungle Lulu, Runic Echoes is always inferior to Bloodrazor.
You will find that sticking to opponents after getting in range is not a significant issue. This is also why there is no Chilling Smite or other slowing items.
The Utility Path
These items can be built in any order. Note that this build is much closer to a standard support Lulu page, and offers a way to stay relevant when behind.
Stage of the Game
In the early game, your goals are to
- Get through the early clears
- Look for opportunistic ganks with polymorph
- Evaluate the state of the game as you enter mid-game
Note that even though you maximize Whimsy (W) first, you put a second point into Glitterlance at Level 3, to help with the early clear.
Once past the first clear, the remaining clears will be a tad slow, but passable. This does make for an unforgiving jungling experience however; if you misjudge when a lane can be ganked, you will begin to fall behind.
Look for opportunities to gank unwarded lanes. The ganking process is fairly simple: walk up to the enemy. When ganking and it looks like they are about to escape your range, polymorph them, and then Glitterlance them for the slow. Or use glitterlance to get in range and then polymorph them. It's pretty straightforward really.
You can use Pix to try and land a Glitterlance when ganking. Your ally will often be closer to the enemy than you, so put Pix on your ally and send a Glitterlance at the enemy's face for a strong 80% slow.
Take note of the state of the game to determine whether you will go down the Damage or Utility route. Are your carries securing early leads? Have you been counterjungled heavily? Have you gotten a few successful ganks? How important is it to defend the backline against a diver? These are some of the questions to consider when choosing your path.
As the laning phase winds down, you will make your choice.
- Go down the damage path, ramp up damage, and assassinate fools.
- Go down the utility path, roaming for lane ganks, and provide backline support
When going for utility, use the extra roaming power of the mobility boots to accentuate your ganks dramatically. While it may have been possible for enemies to get away before, with mobis, ganks will nearly always succeed, though you become reliant on your teammates for the damage.
When assassinating targets, try to save Whimsy (polymorph) for when a target is just about to close the difference or is just about to escape, rather than as soon as you can.This gives a crucial second of extra attacking. Glitterlance helps keeps enemies in place as you unleash the autoattacks.
- If in the damage route, sneak to enemies in the backline to polymorph and melt them
- Alternatively, wait near the front line to polymorph and destroy enemies attempting to jump to you or the carries.
- If in the utility route, do Lulu stuff.
The Damage route is more nuanced. You have the option of sneaking for the carries on the enemy team, polymorphing them, and then melting them with the combination of excessive damage you have, or to wait near the front until a bruiser dives in to shred them for being so reckless.
While polymorph is down, you have to play like a Marksman, weaving autos when possible. Your damage will have ramped up heavily at this point, giving you more sustained damage than nearly any Marksman barring burst-ADCs like Graves.
This guide was a lot of fun to write, and I hope you all have learned everything you would have liked. If you have any questions, leave a comment or drop a line over at twitch.tv/aquadragon33 ! And be sure to check out www.bestbans.com !
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Make them taste purple.