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Rek'Sai, the Anti-Jungle
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---Core added. Will spruce up the text with effects in the future, when time isn't constricting me
A quick rundown:
The premise of her is a combination of Lee Sin and Shyvana, using her Tunnel to enter the fray, then her high Attack Speed to wreck a few here and there. She then escapes via the Tunnel again. She is almost fast enough to be an assassin, but lacks rapid mobility without Flash. Play her as a fighter, but a squishier one.
Fast Clear Time
Limited Ganking Options
Tunnel are easy to destroy
Slow to Start
Seriously, as Junglers go, she is very average. She is overall very average, and her build can vary wildly. She excels at clearing camps so fast that she can steal the enemy junglers camps with ease, stopping them cold. She tends to start slow, but once she hits mid-game, explodes with power. She can stop almost any jungler by smart playing, forcing them to stay in lane to keep up, which hurt the enemy team. That said, she has very little to offer a team fight without her Tunnel/Unborrow combo. With a bit of build, she can use actives to pick off solo champs with ease and split push nicely, using her tunnels to clear jungle camps while at it, and with her Void Rush, if anyone tries to break off and handle her, she just regroups with her team to 5v4 them.
She is really strong if she can place her tunnels where they can't be destroyed easily. Of course, this means, since her Tunnel can be destroyed in about 1.5 seconds, she is also easy to cripple, so playing around that is also necessary. Using her tunnels as a type of ward can help, because even though they don't give sight, if one disappears, you know where someone is. Even the slightest info can help save a life or two, it helps.
Every champ choice starts with before the game. Rek'Sai is no different.
For Quintessences, the obvious choice is Movement Speed. This helps with the clear time, positioning, ganking...it's almost TOO necessary. That said, there are other options. Lifesteal is another viable option, as it gives the early regeneration to stay out in the jungle longer, while Attack Speed is everything for her, so some more doesn't hurt. But Movement Speed is still the best you can place for you Quintessence slot.
For the Marks, Glyphs, and Seals, I gave it all to Defense. Health, Armor, and Magic Resist are good at all stages to help tank hits, as Rek'Sai is a tad bulky. This is huge, since she is not a good tank. Compared to Nautilus, Malphite, or Amumu, she lacks the mass Hard CC, and even the minor CC. Nothing in her kit, save for Burrow, resembles a tank. She is mostly a fighter, like Shyvana, and needs the tank to help her get in. It also helps early, to keep her out as long as possible.
Defense isn't the only option, as I mentioned before. Attack Speed and Lifesteal both help early, and almost as much. Attack Damage can help too, since she relies on her auto-attacks.
Outside of that, I personally can't think of anything to boost her. Ability Power is almost useless, as Prey Seeker is really the only thing that scales off of it. That one ability is not enough to really hurt, and it mostly grants sight. Mana and Energy Runes are equally useless, since she uses neither.
For literally all jungles, this should be your only option. Smite is the key for ending the jungle monsters, and Flash is considered, if not proven to be, the best summoner spell in existence.
You aren't limited to these, despite them being your best options. Ghost is a good substitute for Flash, as they both can be used to start, to chase, or to escape. The downside of Ghost is the inability to go through obstacles. The trade-off is for a reduced cooldown of 210 seconds, instead of 300, before reduction through Summoner's Insight .
Another two options are Ignite and Exhaust. Unfortunately, this only works on Champions, so that weakens your jungling drastically. Teleport can work, especially if you place plenty of wards, but again, this weakens your jungle. To top this off, Void Rush is basically a better Teleport, so it's kind of redundant to have both.
Try to stay away from Barrier, Heal, Cleanse, and Clairvoyance, as though they help, they really become useless in the long run. Clarity is even more useless, as even if she had mana, it'd also taper off late game. Revive is good late game, but weak early, and the point is not to die. Stick with two different spells.
As usual, take your R Void Rush at levels 6, 11, and 16. Your ultimate is usually the strongest move. This is no different for her.
Usually, the next ability to max asap is the one that causes the highest damage. For Rek'Sai, this is actually her E, Furious Bite. The reason I do not suggest this ability first is that Furious Bite is only half of her full E. When she uses Burrow, her E becomes Tunnel, which is great for placement but does no damage. Meanwhile, her Q has damage in both states, making it better overall, at least in terms of damage.
After that, the next skill to max is the next highest damage. Again, her E Furious Bite is the best for this,EXCEPT at level 2. Because her passive Fury of the Xer'Sai restores health in return for fury when Burrow is active, getting that as soon as you start going from camp to camp is necessary to keep her out in the jungle as long as possible.
Given the lack of mana, Red Brambleback is the prime choice. This is partially true: she does benefit most from the Crest of Cinders . But in the early game, she needs fury to stay alive. The best way to do so early is by utilizing the AOE of her Queen's Wrath.
So start Blue Sentinel? Not necessary. The cooldown is great and all, but with no need for mana, it is only half useful. The reason I mention blue side, though, is Gromp. HE is a great start, since his smite buff helps hurt the monsters attacking you, and if you are fast enough, your allies can leash blue in addition to Gromp. If you are really good, you can invade their red, leaving them high and dry, all before your first b. This is the ideal start, as you take the 3 strongest buffs and counter your opponent all in one move. Sadly, this is also the riskiest start, as it means your opponent may ambush you.
You can start Gromp and go to Wolves, but this will mean that by time you get to Red, your 2 pots will be gone. If you stay in base until the third comes up, you may be able to do this method safely, but I have not tried that as of yet. I will post more when I can do more tests.
Everyone who plays the Jungle role should know the four items. Each one changes Smite to do something else. As much as I would like to say which one to pick, this choice is primarily up to you, and how you play. Luckily, these are split into two categories to narrow things down.
On one side is Poacher's Knife and Ranger's Trailblazer. These two are made to clear camps. The Knife speeds you up by adding movement and reduced cooldown for Smite, while the Trailblazer basically uses Smite on the entire camp. Both play well to the fact Rek'Sai typically stays in the jungle instead of ganks. I feel like Poacher's Knife is better, because she leaves the opponents high and dry by just leaving a minion behind. Wrecks their clear times, and for her, that is the goal.
However, if you prefer to gank, and do so often, feel free to try the other two. I personally do not play her this way, so they do not help me. Of those two, I feel the Stalker's Blade to be the better option. With only her E to ambush and chase, the slowing effect from that item helps her keep up. To me, the Skirmisher's Sabre is primarily for champions who cannot survive a few hits with ease, but can chase. Assassin's would love this, but for her, it's rather unnecessary.
As for the enchantment, Given how she stays in the jungle, Devourer is by far the most useful. This gives her increased attack speed and damage that increases the longer she remains in jungle. As I have said before, this is what she does best, and thus, this enchantment rewards her for how she normally plays. The next best thing she can wield is the Warrior enchantment. It gives her more power plus armor penetration, so she needs less attacks to get the job done. I don't go this route because she builds The Brutalizer for Black Cleaver, and I don't think they stack together.
The other two enchantments become useless on her, sadly. The Juggernaut enchantment is powerful, but the Mercury's Treads, as one of her few Magic Resistance items, would then be wasted. As for the Magus enchantment, she doesn't scale well off of Ability Power. No sense in wasting gold and an item slot.
For this, both of these items are amazing on her. In fact, they can be used rather interchangeably. Both have a great active and amazing passives. The reason I personally use Blade of the Ruined King is two-fold: First, she has AOE thanks to her Q. More isn't required for her clear time. Second, and the tipping point for me, is that most junglers build health to help them tank hits. The passive and active on Blade of the Ruined King shred that health, making it hard to tank her. Add in the magic damage from Devourer, and high attack speed from both items, and she just shreds enemies. The slow from the active helps as well, since as I have said many times before, she only has her Tunnel as her in and out.
And on the other hand, the increased AD and Lifesteal, plus the Health Regeneration...stat-wise, Ravenous Hydra is better. The active is paltry on her, but its low cooldown allows you to spam it, making up for it. The splash damage is a tad unnecessary, given her Q, but does help. The choice is yours.
This choice is easy. As she needs a bit of tank, Armor is a key factor. In this, Thornmail and Frozen Heart give the most, followed by Randuin's Omen. However, Health is just as necessary, so the added health plus slowing active make Randuin's Omen the best choice. After all, Thornmail is really only useful against a team of 4 or more AD Champions, while Frozen Heart gives a chunk of useless mana.
Sunfire Aegis, although it does give both health and armor, like Randuin's Omen, it doesn't give nearly enough. Besides, it has a nasty downside for jungles: procing aggro from the monsters. Monsters will attack you if you get too close, and that may give you away if you are hiding for some reason. Overall, Randuin's Omen is just better for junglers.
Magic Resistance is by far one of the hardest things to get. Though many items carry Magic Resistance, few have it high enough to drastically alter damage, unlike armor, where a single item can have 100 armor. Since we only want 1 or 2 Magic Resistance items, the higher, the better. Few can match Spirit Visage and Banshee's Veil, which both help greatly. Spirit Visage has a great bonus with the increase of healing, and the cooldown is something we lack on the build so far. Banshee's Veil is good if you need the shield, like if you are against a Karthus.
However, neither add more than a little tank. Tank is good, but added damage can also help. Maw of Malmortius and Wit's End both help with that greatly. The on-hit bonus of the latter might help more, if it stacks with Devourer, and I think it does. Mercurial Scimitar is really useful too, especially if against serious CC, or a Fizz. The active keeps the negative effect off of her, though she is not usually the target. It's more a matter of what is needed for the team compilation. A tank in the top lets you focus more on damage, while an assassin or a fighter might call for a tankier build.
As I said before, Magic Resistance is usually small, and Mercury's Treads not only gives a decent amount, but a good passive. In fact, the passive is so good, that this is my usual go to for any tanky champion. Ninja Tabi is another decent choice, especially early game. Meanwhile, both Boots of Swiftness and Mobility Boots help gank lanes, chase enemies, and clear your jungle. Berserker's Greaves add extra attacks, and with the Devourer enchantment, can really boost your attack speed. This is really up to how you play, though I think the Mercury's Treads are better in general.
As for your last item, you have to choose based on how you are playing. I chose Black Cleaver, as its damage and armor penetration help pack on the hurt without giving up much tankiness. With Devourer and Wit's End, you will attack rapidly enough that most enemies won't be able to tank your hits via armor, and with Blade of the Ruined King, even health can't help them. The only worry is Thornmail, as it deals you magic damage for each hit. This shouldn't be nearly enough to stop you, however, so it ties everything together nicely (if you get this far).
This one was listed as the counter in the Champion Spotlight. As a result, I have faced him 3 times. I can say this, for certain: he may be faster than Rek'Sai, but he is not her counter. He is difficult to handle, but her fast clear eventually wins out, forcing him to lane. As long as you are careful, this matchup is only a 7/10.
Here is the key one. Rengar can easily out-damage her, and with his recovery and tankiness, he matches her. He may clear camps slower than she does, but his ganks can overwhelm, and he can easily just farm there. Add in the threat of him split-pushing, and he can quickly surpass her.
Like I said, more will be added in time.