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League of Legends Build Guide Author Mikuroo

An In-depth look at Jungle Control / Counter Jungling

Mikuroo Last updated on November 19, 2012
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Hello, this is Mikuroo with my guide on Mobafire about Counter Jungling in general, and really just Control of the Jungle. This is a more specific topic then just “Jungling”, and even though there may seem like there isn’t much to talk about, I will go into extreme detail in this guide. I will try to share my knowledge of everything I know about Controlling the enemies jungle.

So without further ado, here is my guide! I will try to cover everything, but If you think anything is missing, or can’t find something you want to know, feel free to post in the comments section, I have no problem with adding sections that I missed.

Control of the jungle is one of the most important things in the game of League of Legends. This is because, once you lose control of your own jungle, lanes start to lose and eventually the game is lost. If your jungle gets dominated really hard, it is extremely rare to come back, of course there are the rare games when that does happen.

There are several general ways to control your own jungle, and eventually control your enemies jungle, but there is no exact way to win your jungle, or else we’d all be 2400 elo, wouldn’t we? This is because it isn’t that simple. The jungle is not a 1v1 against an ai bot. You are jungling against another person who is trying to do the same thing as you are, and you have to outplay them.

NOTE: this is not a guide on jungling and how to win. This is a counter jungle control guide, which will help you win games. I am going in depth on everything that is related to counter jungling, and anything that affects it.

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Counter Jungling

I was actually thinking about Counter Jungling the other day, and I thought of something kind of funny. It isn’t always true, but it is a pretty good general rule of thumb. Counter Jungling is like a one night stand. You get in as fast as you can, take all the good stuff, and leave.

Counter jungling is the act of taking neutral jungle camps from the OTHER teams side, also known as the enemy jungle. However, it is usually done so that you do not actually finish the camp, and leave one last creep in the camp which is worth 5 gold. This wastes the other jungler’s time, because he has to clear it out, and takes away gold as well as experience. It is a win-lose situation when pulled off correctly, making the enemy jungler suffer. So why doesn’t everyone just do this? It is because it’s harder than it sounds, and needs the correct time to do it.

It is also done less nowadays because it doesn’t make a tremendous impact if the opponent recovers from your efforts correctly, and is sometimes considered a waste of time.

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Pros and Cons

The advantages of counter jungling are very nice. Counter Jungling allows you to get more gold out of the jungle then your enemy. It makes the enemy jungler under leveled and will result in you getting your ultimate much sooner than them, resulting in better ganks earlier. Counter Jungling can also help your team secure enemies blue buffs, and in return win middle lane for your team! To an extreme extent, it is very hard to recover from an intense counter jungler, and once he has left his mark in your jungle your lanes won’t be seeing you for a long time. (Because you will be spending your time trying to level up instead of ganking)

However, there will always be negatives. Just BEING in the enemy jungle is risky. A bad counter jungler who gets caught can throw the game for his teammates and feed the lanes. Also, counter jungling doesn’t give you lanes a lead. For example, if you decided to steal wraiths and golems instead of ganking, you may have missed a first blood opportunity which would’ve won that lane. And what would be even worse, is if the other jungler went to gank and got a kill, while you were just goofing off in their jungle! Counter Jungling is predictable when done wrong and very easy to turn around for the other team to take the lead. I have jungled against many players that decided they want to steal my wraiths, when instead they die. Because you don’t fuq around in the jungle like that, it’s stupid.

Also, if you mess up (which is really easy) and die, even if it because your lane didn't come to help while the other laner did, this is what will happen. If you don't gank enough and keep counter jungling, this will happen.

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When to Counter Jungle

Many people don’t know when to counter jungle even when the situation shows itself clearly. That’s a missed opportunity to set your enemy jungler behind, instead of clearing your own camps like an idiot.

  • When the enemy jungler is visible on the map, you can take his stuff, that is of course if you know that he can’t get to the camp you are taking before you take it.
  • When your 2 lanes that are covering the side you are invading (If you are blue team and you are invading red side, this means top lane and mid lane) are pushed and ready to assist you when needed. Warning: this requires competent teammates which you don’t always have.
  • Against a slow jungler. This is mainly near the beginning of the game, because usually champions start clearing fast around mid game whether or not they are fast clearers. Except Rammus. Feel free to stomp any Rammus players you know.
  • When facing a weak non-cc jungler who you can duel. What I mean by a cc jungler is Maokai, or Nautilus, because they can cc you and wait for their laners to come kill you. However, if you are facing a Hecarim, he really doesn’t have much damg or cc.
  • If you are someone like warwick, who jungles at full health, in comparison to Skarner or Nautilus. THIS IS ONLY EFFECTIVE EARLY GAME, because mid game no one really takes much damage.
  • You know where the enemy jungler is generally. You can even take a guess, it isn’t that hard to find out. For example, I often ward my enemies wraith brush.

This means that if my bot lane wards around dragon, I can usually give a wild guess where the enemy is. If he went up to his wolves/blue buff, but doesn’t pass my ward, I can guess he recalled. Or I could use my insane psychic skills ;) and wait for him with a teammate IN his wraith brush, because unless he is going to go counter jungle MY wraiths (which he shouldn’t with 2 people mia on my team … that is if he is a smart jungler) he is either going to go do his wraiths/red or recall.

This is the kind of thought process you need in order to jungle well. If you don’t think at all, or don’t use wards to your advantage, you aren’t going to win.

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When to NOT Counter Jungle

Now comes a slightly more important part. A beginner jungler can not counter jungle and do fine, but if he decides to counter jungle without much knowledge, he may be throwing the game depending on the skill of the other team. You shouldn’t counter jungle when:

  • Enemy lanes are mia. Simple stuff, they could be out for your babies.
  • Your lanes have to recall or they are losing. This is because the enemy mid lane may assist the enemy jungler, and if the enemy mid lane has an advantage over yours, you are likely to lose the 2v2.
  • Something random like dragon is up and your team doesn’t have it warded. You don’t want them to pull off a sneaky dragon and start snowballing to a victory. Even if your team finds out they are at dragon, by the time you run from the enemies jungle to dragon it will be gone.
  • When you have been spotted on the way there be the enemy. Just run your *** out of there if you get seen. The stupidest thing you could do to lose a game is keep on going.
And there you have it. When to and when not to counter jungle.

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What is Summoner Spells :o

When entering the enemies jungle, you want to be careful of course. With that said, it is much more reassuring when you have BOTH summoner’s up, Smite so you can leave earlier, and Flash for emergency’s, in case the enemy team decided to be try hards and ward their jungle. (No, I’m joking, it’s really common to ward your jungle and is most often the case. I just don’t like it when they do because it’s harder to pull off >:D )

It is important not to die when counter jungling. Because the gold will not only help the other team, it will slow you down soooo so so much in your own jungle.

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The Laws of Jungle Madness

Now that I am done the basics, hopefully you know the concept of counter jungling. It isn’t that hard in all honesty, and only takes practice to put it into your head while you play. Now, I will get into more picky stuff, and the little details of everything which just add up to games. Because in a close game against good players, these little things can bring your team to victory.

Rule #1
Never take big wolf unless you are taking/checking the timer on the enemy blue. It just isn’t worth enough to waste your time. If you are super ahead of the enemy and your lanes are pushed, feel free to be a douchebag and steal his big wolf, but if you are that ahead you are gonna win anyways.

Rule #2
Assume the enemy can see you. Chances are they may have wards (If they above 800 elo), so if you see an enemy laner leave his lane when you enter their jungle, just GTFO. Even if he was just taking his double golems and it was all a coincidence, no need to take risks. Unless you are sure that the enemy is in your own jungle.

Rule #3
Buy wards, seriously. You don’t wanna waste time going to an already cleared camp. One of my pet peeves is when I counter jungle someone’s wraiths so much that they don’t bother to clear it anymore, and everytime I check their wraiths, they haven’t cleared it. Also, there are sometimes when you enter the jungle right as they finish the camp, aka big fat waste of your time.

Rule #4
Time everything, type it out in your chat if you want. Keep them in your head and know when to head to them. This is the only way you are going to get much stealing done, so if you want to be a good counter jungler, start NOW. You see this clock? [clock] This is your master. Now BOW DOWN.

Just knowing these 4 rules can actually make a huge difference in your gameplay. I don’t know when I learned them, but after gradually playing more jungle they came to me naturally, so they should come to you pretty fast, since I’ve already told you.

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Jungle Camps

Knowing the jungle camps is very important to your survival. I will list them off one by one, and tell you how to handle them, and how important they are.

Wolf Camp: unimportant, do not ever visit this place. Whenever I play jungle and I notice my wolves have been taken, I chuckle silently in my head. The signs of a newbie jungler. But seriously speaking, as I said before, unless you are checking the enemy blue, don’t counter jungle this camp.

Wraith Camp: important. They do little damage, give you lots of gold and are easily killed. They are also better than wolf camp because they are on red side, so when you counter jungle these you can also take a golem. That makes the invade much more worth your efforts. Take only the big wraith, unless you are doing full clears, which I will talk about later. After counter jungling this, you may want to either take a big golem, or leave the jungle, if you don’t have big enough balls.

Double Golem Camp: important. However, I only take these when I have smite up, because these suckers take quite a while. And as you know, the longer a camp takes the more dangerous! Take only the bigger golem. ATTENTION: One mistake that a lot of junglers do is that they pass the opening of the double golem camp without much care. Enemy minion waves actually pass this opening, so if someone on the enemy team actually has good map awareness, you may have just revealed yourself on the map. They will come after you blood because you have nowhere to run. You just died. Congratulations idiot.

Jokes aside, some people may wonder how they are supposed to pass this place then. If you take a look at your minimap, you can look at your own minion waves. Because minions are symmetrical for both teams, you will know when the enemy minion wave is passing the entrance to double golems. Also, when you leave this camp, do not go back into the enemy red buff area. Head to the nearest lane (Top lane if you are blue, Bot lane if you are purple) and gank, or just leave.

Blue Buff and Red Buff: These are the main goals of jungle control in our meta, and are the goals of all our counter jungling attempts. We want these sooooo badly because they are just too good. Mainly blue buff for our mid / ourselves though. If you are going to steal one of these buffs, you will need WARD COVERAGE as well as a party of 2-3 so that you can fight the other team. Most often, when you are trying to take an enemy buff, they will be there already. This is why you need to TIME THE BUFFS. Blue buff takes 5 seconds to finish with 2 people, so if you miss your chance you’re going to have to wait 5 minutes for it to respawn again.

What I like to do is what I call: ”Being a Douchebag”. This is a very effective technique, and rarely backfires. Good teams will expect it, but there isn’t much they can do to retaliate unless they have their own blue buff warded. Now, the technique of being a douchebag is to pink ward the area, and make sure that before the buff spawns, they don’t have vision of you. Wait in the bush, and then BANG. they just got dycked in the bum.

Now I said I would talk about “full clears”. A full clear is taking the whole enemy camp, for example wraith camp. After you finish the entire camp, you can wait 40 seconds, go back and take it again. Since the enemy does not know the spawn timer, they won’t be there if you time it perfectly. I suggest buying a pink ward after you do this once or twice, because they’ll be expecting you for dinner … UNLESS YOU WARD! Then they can’t feed off of you. :)

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The Theory of Jungler vs Jungler

The theory of the junglers goes like this:


some junglers are designated gankers, while some just depend on the playstyle. However, not everyone can simply be a “jungler jungler”. If Alistar tried doing that, he would fail. That being said, some junglers have no choice but to stay in the jungle if your lanes are ******ed. Don’t counter jungle against Shyvana or Udyr, or some Dr. Mundo’s.

Now why does this theory exist? Because if alistar comes to gank your lanes, and you just counter jungle his butt off, he won’t have anything. He will be way under leveled and won’t have any money. Now all your lanes have to do is play safe and alistar will be worthless late game.

However, jungler junglers beat counter jungles because they clear all their stuff so fast that you will just waste your time. You will not get them behind in farm, because if you take their wraiths they don’t even notice. They will just continue on their day.

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Ward Coverage

I had some areas from before, but I'd like to point out a few more places where ward coverage would definitely benefit you and make your life a whole ton easier. ALL SCREEN SHOTS ARE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF BLUE TEAM. IF YOU ARE ON PURPLE JUST SWAP IT AROUND. Note that these ward placements give the maximum amount of vision, especially on the buff itself.

Red Buff Ward

Blue Buff Ward

Defensive Ward

Another thing you should know is if your team doesn't ward, you really need to buy wards for them. Because if they get ganked, you getting mad at them won't make them any better. Sure, they may buy a ward now, but it won't be worth the death. Just tell them to snatch up a ward or two the next time they recall.

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Final Notes and Conclusion

Finally, here is a list of champions that I would prefer to use for counter jungling. Every jungler can counter jungle, but that being said, Caitlyn can jungle. Doesn’t mean she should. Along with this list, I would like to add some great mid lanes that can help you achieve the same thing in order to piss off the enemy jungler. (:

Nunu is known for his Consume and his ability to go right up in your face. He can easily walk right past you to steal your creeps, and then get away with Blood Boil and Ice Blast. Nunu is a nightmare to jungle against. Nunu is also great because HE DOES NOT FALL OFF LATE GAME like everyone thinks he does. He is one of the best if not the best support late game out there.
Shyvana has a good kit for stealing jungle, and can get in out and very easily. The opponent however may be expecting it. Shyvana's early game counter jungling may not be great, but once she gets her madred's/wriggles lantern those double q procs can clear really fast.
Lee sin navigates amazingly due to his q, and he can get from camp to camp extremely fast. Usually they run Exhaust and can duel relatively well. He has great escape over walls and will get away even if caught unless you have your team to back you up.
Not so much a great counter jungler, but his kit allows him to. Because he has fast clear time and a speed buff as well as a slow, you can continue to proc your Crystal Slash for the slow when the enemy chases you, and then get away. In fact, if your team isn't there he can most likely duel you very early on in the game, because of his massive damage from 1v1's, from his passive.

Basically any champion with a speed modifier as well as fast clear times can counter jungle efficiently. All other junglers can too, as well, just not as good.

Good mid lanes are any champions that can kill the enemy wraiths over the wall. This means Karthus, Cassiopeia, and just anyone will either enough burst to kill the big wraith, or sustained damage like karthus and cass.

A great way to steal wraiths is have a connection with your middle lane. I have duoed with my friend, and I tell him whenever I am taking wraiths. We actually went one whole game, where we took his wraiths from the start of the game (apart from the first wraiths, those are hard to take from a Lee Sin, all the way to the end. Having communication always helps, but most of these mid lanes can take enemy wraiths OVER THE WALL which makes them good picks. Plus you can’t really “catch” them in the jungle because they aren’t even in the jungle to begin with.

As a final note, even after you have learned how to counter jungle, don’t be obsessed with it. Too much counter jungling is bad for you health and you will lose your games. You need to give you lanes support, and even good players are vulnerable to ganks.

So I hope you enjoyed the read, and have a happy COUNTER JANGLIN’!


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