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Ivern: Hit Them With Your Wood
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Anyway, I normally play enough ranked to get the end of season rewards, but after discovering my love of Ivern I'm committed to trying to climb the ladder in Season 7 while one-tricking Ivern. If you'd like to come along for the ride, my twitch is www.twitch.tv/jtberhard.
It is my hope/plan to constantly update this guide through the course of the season. If you have any suggestions, let me know! :)
Don't have to decide if your laners deserve buffs more than you.
Very adaptable champion, can wear a lot of hats.
Has engage, which can be hard to come by.
He's a unique champion who is super fun and walks with all the swag.
Vulnerable to being counterjungled early.
Low damage output (though this can be altered with itemization).
You will be constantly flamed by derpy teammates who don't know how Ivern works, but somehow know for damn sure that "there's no way to win with him."
Smite: Take Smite because you're a jungler. Even if that weren't enough, Smite allows us to counter jungle so hard it makes Nunu jealous.
AS Reds: If we have to duel the enemy jungler early game, which is not uncommon, we have an advantage if we can plop down a bush and get the extra auto attack damage. AS Reds ensure we get more of those off. Then later, when we have Rylais, this helps us peel.
Scaling Health Yellows: We're getting Cinderhulk so we love HP. Also, we don't need defensive stats in order to clear our early jungle, so let's build for late game team fights.
Scaling MR Blues: Because we don't build MR until our third item at earliest, but usually our fourth item, we need all the MR we can get for the mid-late game.
MS Quints: Our clear speed is tied to our MS, along with the efficacy of our ganks. MS also means more ganks since we'll clear our jungle faster.
Reds: Armor is perfectly fine here if you want to be a little tankier during early ganks. Dual Pen reds or Spell Pen is also fine, especially if you're running AP anywhere in your rune page. This will make your ganks hit harder early if you're looking to snowball the game.
Yellows: Scaling Armor is solid if you don't think you'll wind up getting Dead Man's Plate.
Blues: Ivern loves CDR, so 6x Scaling CDR here is good. For your remaining 3 you can take AP if you want your ganks to be most scary early or Scaling MR so you don't get blown up by AP carries before you can get a hold of some MR.
Quints: AP for powerful early ganks.
Unyielding: Early tankiness is good since we're running scaling defensive runes. I understand the temptation to take Recovery instead, but 2 HP/5 doesn't amount to much, and red buff generally gives us all the early HP regen we need.
Explorer: Ivern likes move speed. Safer buff stealing, faster clears.
Runic Armor: We have a shield on an obscenely low cool down. This is a no-brainer.
Insight: Unlike Recovery, Perseverence does give us significant HP regen, especially in the early stages when we're likely to be low. It's perfectly fine to take this if that's your preference. However, I like trying to take the opposing jungler's buffs, which means I like Smite to be up more often. Really, either mastery is fine.
Legendary Guardian: With this build you take more HP and less Armor in your rune page. This helps make up for it in team fights.
Strength of the Ages: This makes us tankier. We like being tankier.
As for the Cunning tree:
Wanderer: We like MS. It's sweet ambrosia to our ganks and clear times.
Runic Affinity: In most games we will have buffs much of the time thanks to buff-stealing and the fact that if we give a buff over, we still get the buff. It makes sense to extend that time.
Merciless: This is another tier where both masteries are ok. Meditation gives us help with your mana consumption from marking camps in the early going, but after that it doesn't do much for us as Ivern's mana costs are pretty low, which is why I take Merciless.
Dangerous Game: You're going to be in the middle of the enemy team's **** during team fights. Anything you can do to get more HP back is fantastic. Plus, your shield and Daisy will make sure you get some assists.
I can't think of a time you wouldn't open with these items. Machete does literally nothing for you in the opening and you want the jungle xp gain from Hunter's Talisman.
Ideal First Back explanation:
For most champions combat stats help augment their clear speed, but not so with Ivern. His camp-taking times are static, so the only thing that determines how fast he clears the jungle is move speed. Thankfully, move speed also determines how quickly we close the distance on our ganks and our quickness from lane-to-lane for even more ganks.
Mobi rush explanation:
I think mobi boots are garbage for most junglers because most junglers are often in combat while clearing. This is not so with Ivern. Since Ivern is perpetually out of combat in his jungle mobi boots let us get through it SUPER fast.
This means more ganks as well as better ability to close the distance during those ganks when you come charging into lane with 460+ MS in the early going.
The Stalker's Blade helps us ward the enemy jungle, which helps us sit on the opposing jungler's buffs and keeps track of his location to help our lanes.
Ivern has two possible late game roles, as far as I see.
Role #1: Initiator/Tank
Role #2: Shield bot
The build we're focusing on here favors the initiator/tank role, so we get Cinderhulk. Once you have that, if the game is in an extended laning phase, get Dead Man's Plate for the extra survivability and movement speed. That plus mobi boots will have you pretty much farming like a monster and omnipresent in lanes. If your team is getting crushed, you can skip Dead Man's Plate entirely.
If the laning phase is concluding by the time you finish your Cinderhulk, get Rylais first. Your CC starts to fall off late game and Rylais gives you a powerful slow on all attacks made with your W's passive along with a healthy chunk of HP and AP to make your late-game shields porn star huge.
Wrap-up Items explanation:
We're a tank build with Cinderhulk, so we like bonus HP and defensive stats. Also, late game Ivern loves CDR for more shields, bush upkeep, hauling out Daisy for taking baron/dragon and for every team fight, and for taking multiple shots at initiation with your Rootcaller (as it has a substantial cool down). Ivern also likes AP for bigger shields. These items all fit the bill in one some combination of those things. Determine which of them you need against the enemy comp and build accordingly.
Situational Items explanation:
Thornmail if the other team has a metric **** ton of AD.
Ardent Censor if you have a fed as all hell AD Carry and your job has become pretty much to keep them alive at all cost.
Guardian Angel if the other team is laced with burst damage and have shown they're dumb enough to blow it all on you.
Items I don't like (for this build):
In an AP Ivern build both these items are freaking amazing. Liandry's makes your shields bigger and makes them hit like a linebacker. Combine Liandry's with Abyssal Scepter, Rylais, and/or Nashor's Tooth and not only will you be cranking out respectable damage to carries and tanks alike, but you'll be whipping out Daisy more frequently and shielding yourself constantly while you do it.
Want to solo baron relatively early? Stab Nashor with his own tooth (and shield Daisy while attacking from the brush, of course).
But this build is not about dealing massive damage. It's about initiating, tanking, and setting up your team to win. So we don't take them.
Also, if you're more of a CDR/AP-heavy build, you wind up relying on Daisy a lot in the late game while you hang back and toss out shields. While I love Daisy, she's buggy as all hell right now and, therefore, unreliable. :( That's why we do the tank build.
That makes us level 2, at which point we take our shield to go gank a line while we're level 2 and the enemy is still level 1.
After that we want bigger shields, and the bonus damage on the W passive auto attacks doesn't go up that much with more levels, but later on we still want to be churning out bushes.
Once you know where the other jungler is (or even if you have to guess), you want to start at the same spot on your side of the map. So if the opposing jungler is starting on their blue side, you want to start on your blue side.
Start by marking your buff, but don't smite it. Run across the river and smite steal the enemy's buff, then look for a level 2 gank (while enemy laners are still level 1). It should be pretty easy to at least blow a flash here.
From there go take the buff you marked at level one. Proceed to mark your jungle until you get to your other buff and smite it. This should give you enough gold for your boots and Hunter's Potion. From here on out you meander between lanes marking/taking camps (if a camp is up, you should take it ASAP, but marking camps doesn't have to be done with that urgency) and ganking in between.
You can put Baron/Dragon into a bush with your W to either obscure it from nearby wards to make steal attempts MUCH harder. You can also do this to fake the other jungler out and waste his time.
When ganking, especially at level 2, don't open with your Q if you don't have to. Try to walk up and get the shield slow. That will make you Q easier to hit, and also give you and your teammates a way to close the gap if they flash.
If you can help it, don't summon Daisy until you land some form of CC, ideally your Q. That will help Daisy stick to them. And remember: you can shield Daisy and send her after them! This is especially important if you've gone more of an AP build. In those builds with high CDR and AP, Daisy is most of your team fight.
I honestly think the reason people don't like Ivern is because he doesn't play like any other jungler, so he takes some getting used to. But I think that uniqueness makes him a LOT of fun to play and, once you come to grips with it, I think Ivern is actually pretty damn strong. :)
Also, I may add an AP-heavier, shield-based Ivern build later if enough people want it.