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Jungle The Jungle Book: a Beginner's Jungling Guide

Jungle The Jungle Book: a Beginner's Jungling Guide

Updated on August 13, 2015
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League of Legends Build Guide Author CommanderSheperd Build Guide By CommanderSheperd 13 0 351,654 Views 12 Comments
13 0 351,654 Views 12 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author CommanderSheperd Build Guide By CommanderSheperd Updated on August 13, 2015
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Amumu
  • LoL Champion: Nautilus
  • LoL Champion: Wukong
  • LoL Champion: Hecarim
  • LoL Champion: Nunu & Willump
  • LoL Champion: Vi
  • LoL Champion: Rengar
  • LoL Champion: Master Yi
  • LoL Champion: Diana
  • LoL Champion: Jax

Jungling. Philosophers, spanning continents and centuries have long considered the path less traveled to be a lonely one; surrounded by the shadowy mystery of the brush and engaged in combat with foul beasts large and small, they rarely experienced the thrill of an incredible play or the sting of a failed one. But those "philosophers" were stuck in Cardboard V. So f*ck 'em.

Jungling. It's just about the most f*cking important role in League. You have the opportunity to affect your ENTIRE team from the beginning of the game. Being a smart jungler is undoubtably the most reliable way to climb through the ranks because you can ensure your teammates win their lanes, gain Dragon-boosted stats and therefore suck less.

Before we start off this guide, I wanna lay out some fine print right here for those motherf*ckers who left their reading glasses back near the tree where they hide out every Tuesday to check out Stephanie the librarian (Stephanie's not digging the creepy vibes dude): This is a GENERAL juggling guide, so while I will be giving advice that applies to ALL champions, every champion has unique aspects of play that I can't cover in this guide. I recommend you check out other champion specific guides on this site to learn more about that Nunu & Willump you keep trying to play (seriously dude, stop, you suck at Nunu). ALL THAT BEING SAID, I will include SPECIFIC champions that exemplify certain characteristics, so you all can wrap your UNDERSIZED craniums around this rocket science here.

PHEW, okay, done with that bulls*t. Ladies and gents, fill your pools full of liquor 'cause we're about to dive in (Hope you enjoy this sh*t).

You queued up. Palms are sweaty. Knees weak, arms are heavy. Vomit on your sweater already—Mom's spaghetti.

1) Who is overpowered in the current meta?
Example, Master Yi and Nidalee in patch 5.14 (coincidence they are Junglers).

2) Who hard counters your intended champ?
Example, you want to play Malphite jungle, he has low dueling potential and low early game pressure (pre-six), so you might want to ban Rek'Sai who has high early game pressure or Nunu & Willump who will readily take your jungle and delay you hitting level six.

To put it simply, there are Junglers who are most effective as Tanks, Junglers who are most effective as Damage Threats, and Junglers who are quite effective when built either way. During the game you can build to fit individual and team needs (that we will discuss in the Itemization section), but for Champ Select think about champions as being either defensive or offensive, and for the champs that can go both ways, think of them as innately offensive.

Comprehensive list of Tank Junglers (Champions that can
very effectively go both ways will be categorized under damage):
Dr. Mundo
Jarvan IV
Nunu & Willump
Comprehensive list of Damage Junglers:
Lee Sin
Master Yi
Xin Zhao

Notice how many champs on the Damage side make great Tanks, like Evelynn, however in Champ Select, if your team needs a Tank, Evelynn makes a LESS effective Main Tank than any champion on the Tank list. In the simplest of terms, if your team has a lot of damage pick Tank, if your team has a lot of Tanks pick Damage. Now obviously, this is too simplified to be the best way to pick a champ, but it's a good place to start. To refine your selection, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Do your enemies have a poke or pick comp?
Pick hard engage champs like Sejuani, Nautilus, or Amumu to force the enemy team into fights.

2) Do they have a hyper carry?
Pick hard, point and click CC champs like Skarner, Warwick, or Vi.

3) Do they have an early advantage in any lanes?
E.g. Graves + Leona Bot Lane. Pick a champion with early ganking pressure like Rek'Sai and keep an eye on that lane.

4) Do they have low wave clear?
Pick Nidalee for that young siege.

5) Is there anyone on your team that you can synergize with?
For example, Rengar and Orianna, Malphite and Yasuo, Maokai and Vayne. Be smart and think about what works best with your team comp.

Remember, in Yolo Queue you aren't going to win or lose games in champ select, but thinking about these things will help you get off on the right foot.

Obviously buy Hunter's Machete and two Health Potions. No, you can't start Doran's Blade on your Jungle Irelia, this isn't Season 2.


You want to start where you can get the best leash, so on Blue side start Krugs and on Red side start Gromp . Then take your nearest buff. If you are healthy enough, take your remaining buff. If not, take Wolves and back to upgrade your jungle item (you will have exactly 450 gold).


If playing a strong early game duelist like Shaco or Lee Sin, you can try and kill the enemy jungle while he is taking his buff. If on Blue side, start at your Red Buff and go to their blue buff immediately after (around the back to avoid being seen) and wait in the brush. The enemy jungle should be there taking his blue buff, promptly kill him and either run if his team is coming to help or take his Wolves. If on Red side, start Gromp run to enemy Red Buff (again avoid being seen) and wait in the brush. The enemy Jungler should be low taking Red Buff. Kill and retreat. If successful, this leaves the enemy Jungler behind and flaming, all but ensuring your victory.

If playing against such a Jungler, take an unorthodox jungle route, so he can't predict where you'll be and therefore won't kill you.

If you want to win games you need to make vision a PRIORITY. As a Jungler you aren't confined to a lane, and have the unique opportunity to roam the map. So here are some things to keep in mind/do to keep your vision game strong:

1) Find out where the enemy Jungler is by placing deep wards and warn your lanes, counter-gank, or counter-jungle accordingly;

2) Continuously ward Dragon and Baron (or make sure someone else wards);

3) Smite Raptors to deny vision and Smite their Wolves for vision of their whole Blue jungle. If the enemy is often coming to your own jungle, Smite your own Wolves and ward behind your Red buff;

4) Make Rift Scuttler s a PRIORITY for the vision, speed boost, and to deny Scuttles from the enemy.

5)If the enemy jungler shows himself on the map, make use of this knowledge; if he's top you might want to take Dragon , or push a Bottom turret. If no objectives are available, go ahead and counter-jungle on the opposite side of the map.

Ganking is what junglers are known for doing, or most of the time "NVR FKINg DOinG" (-Raging 12 yr. old)

I hope you guys know what ganking is already, but in case you don't, it is when one player goes to another player's lane to attack the enemy Laner. The three main paths Junglers can take to gank are through the river, through lane (when your Top or Bottom lane pushes you can sneak into the side brushes), and through the tri-brushes of both the Top and Bottom lanes.

While it is FANTASTIC and FUN to go for risky plays and dives while ganking (and I mean it, you really should take some risks), you generally should only go for ganks that will certainly be successful AND it's important to know that a gank can be successful even if it doesn't result in a kill. Here are some different ways to measure a gank's success:

1) Enemy Deaths
Pretty obvious. Enemy's dead, you get gold and XP, they lose out on CS.

2) Enemy Recalls
Pushing the enemy out of lane gives your Laner a gold and XP advantage.

3) Enemy Summoners Used
Gives your Laner more kill pressure, and allows you to come back for an easier bank.

4) Enemy Ultimates Used
Read #3. Especially true for high cooldown ultimates or ones that affect your ability to gank (like Ahri's Spirit Rush).

5) Turrets Destroyed
Very often a great gank could simply be a means to take down a turret. Even if you don't kill the enemy or make them recall sheer strength in numbers can help force them away from their turret while your team knocks it down.

If you know you can achieve any of these things from a gank, its likely a better idea than just farming your jungle and you should go for it.

Now, for the tips about actually ganking:

1) Save your CC
Unless you can quickly burst the enemy down, it's best to save your CC abilities/gap-closers until after they use an escape. First try just walking up to them/in front of them and smack 'em a couple times. For example. with a champ like Nautilus it's best to save your Dredge Line—just auto to proc Staggering Blow and use Riptide first.

2) Don't be afraid to camp
Often times (especially at lower Elos) players won't expect a Jungler to gank immediately after coming to their lane. Gank once, try to burn their Flash, etc., and come again immediately for the kill.

3) Give your Laners the kills when possible
I say this for a number of reasons: Your teammates will be happier, and you will be more likely to win; your Laners will have a greater advantage over their match-ups so they can start to solo kill; and GENERALLY, your items as a jungler are/should be cheaper than your Laners' items, so they make better use of the increased gold.

4) If your lanes are too pushed to be effectively ganked, look to counter-gank
Counter-ganking is all about vision and awareness—find out where the enemy jungler is and what lane he is likely to go to (e.g. if a lane is pushed or your Laner is overextending), and show up, bring the pain and net a double (or triple) for your team.

SUPER F*CKING IMPORTANT. The Dragon-enhanced stats really start to add up as the game goes on, and getting a fifth Dragon is more powerful for a team than a Baron buff. Here are some things you need to know regarding the over-sized winged rat that resides on the rift:

1) There are many champions who can solo Dragon at levels 5-7
You'll be surprised just how often you can sneak an early Dragon without the enemy team being the slightest bit suspicious. Junglers like Udyr, Nunu & Willump, Warwick pose the biggest threat to Dragons early in the game, so if playing against them make sure to keep it warded. If you want to take an early Dragon go for it, but make sure you are aware of the enemy team's positions and make sure your team has your back. AND, little known fact, Dragon deals bonus damage based on a percentage of your CURRENT health, so when it seems like you might be getting a little too low to finish off Dragon keep in mind it does do LESS damage the lower your health. Don't die to Dragon though.

2) Towers or Dragon?
There is no perfect answer to this question. Obviously taking both is best. If you aced their team its often works to have three or four people go push and one or two people take Dragon. But, let's say you can only take one:
  • Dragon > Outer Turrets
    Those turrets will pretty much always fall eventually, whereas Dragon will give
    you an immediate advantage and at the same time deny those stats from the enemy.
  • Dragon (except fifth Dragon) < Every other Turret
    You win games by knocking down the enemies structures. Period. Knocking down an
    inner turret or beyond gives you greater map control and it is also likely that
    you will be able to take or contest Dragon after knocking down a deep turret
    because someone on their team will need to push the wave of minions out of their
    base, buying you some time.

3) Dancing around the Dragon Pit
If both teams are at the Dragon Pit, neither one brave enough to engage the enemy and too cowardly to kill the flying rat, the most important thing is that you and your teammates are ON THE SAME PAGE. If you don't take much damage from Dragon/you can kill it quickly, it's fine to focus on taking it but your team needs to help you burst it down as quickly as possible. If one of your teammates decides to fight, everyone needs to start fighting. The only notable exception is if fighting breaks out when Dragon is low and being damaged. As the Jungler, you need to be near it and watching in order to Smite, while also being somewhat useful in the teamfight that broke out. When around Dragon, along with the enemy Carry, try to focus the Jungler down to give your team that secure advantage.

4) Fifth Dragon or Baron?
Obviously Baron is more important than any SINGLE Dragon. But what about that fifth one? Fifth Dragon is WAY more powerful than Baron, prioritize that sh*t all day. Ladies and gents, lets break it down. If you are about to take a fifth Dragon, at the earliest it's 27 minutes into the game (and you're fed) realistically early would be around 32-35 minutes (also doing quite well). No matter when you take a fifth Dragon odds are you have some hefty stats piled up so percentage increases mean a lot. A fifth Dragon will give you:

  • 12% AD and AP
  • 30% damage to structures
  • 10% Movement Speed
  • 30% damage to minions and monsters
  • 150 true damage on-hit

Baron just make your minions big and purple. Fifth Dragon Wins!

Setting Up Dragon

Everyone mistimes Smite now and then, that can be forgiven. What is not forgivable, however, is NOT HAVING Smite AVAILABLE. It has a cooldown of 75 seconds, and you can hold two charges of it. That's 1 minute and 15 seconds for those of you without a PhD in elementary arithmetic conversions. If you have 1 charge and Dragon is up in under 1 minute and 10 seconds DON'T USE IT. Sure, you could say, "But CommanderSheperd, what are the odds the Dragon will be killed within 5 seconds of it spawning?" And to that I say, NO BUTS, as long as Sated Master Yi is a thing that exists, SAVE YOUR F*CKING Smite.

2) Scuttles the Homeless Crab
Scuttles not only give your team a Movement Speed advantage if you need to fight or flee at Dragon, but also grants vision in case the enemy tries to sneak into the pit. Scuttle's Speed Shrine lasts for 75 seconds (AGAIN THAT'S ONE MINUTE AND FIFTEEN SECONDS) so kill him appropriately in advance of Dragon's respawn.

3) Wards
Most often, this needs to be coordinated with your support. If on Blue side, ward across the river on Red side of the map. There are only two entrances for them, in front of their Blue buff and behind their Blue buff. Ward those and drop a pink in the pit and you are good to go. If on Red Side ward in the Bottom Lane tribrush and in the brush behind their Red buff. Throw in a couple wards near Middle Lane, pink the pit and fire away. Now remember to do your warding in ADVANCE of Dragon's respawn. You and your team should almost always already be there when it respawns.

Although Baron gives an incredibly powerful buff that can turn the tides of a game (granting flat AD and AP, but more importantly buffing allied minions), Baron calls are almost always bad ones before level 18. Full build. I would only recommend Baron if three or more enemies are dead and the Jungler and their biggest Carry are two of the deceased (or if your team is just super f*cking fed all around. Like the Support has 10 kills). Maintain vision of and around the Baron Pit during the late-game and absolutely try to Smite steal if the enemy is taking it. Your life for Baron is absof*ckinglutely worth.

DISCLAIMER: Every champ has unique needs. This section is particularly sensitive to that fact, so I felt the need to reiterate.

Before I get into some specific items quick rule of thumb: If you are ahead you can build more damage, if you are behind you should build more defense.The reason behind this is because defensive items are almost always cheaper than offensive ones, and in order to stay relevant when you are behind you need to focus on completing items rather than just holding onto pieces of the recipe.

Cheap items are king. As a Jungler you don't get a ton of gold (compared to Laners), so it helps to prioritize low-cost, efficient items. Here are some items that are GREAT on Junglers in GENERAL:

Mobility Boots: These bad boys will have you racing around the track faster than a aroused rabbit fixed on crack. I recommend these limited edition Air Jordan's because they are super cheap and provide insane mobility to help you make your presence felt around the map.

Frozen Heart: Cheap, raw armor stats, expands your mana pool significantly, and the Attack Speed debuff aura is a must have for teams in almost every game.

Locket of the Iron Solari: If their team has multiple AP threats and your Support isn't getting this, you really should pick it up. It's inexpensive and the aura and active shield are must haves in most games.

Sightstone: All about that vision. Sightstone is a great pick up on highly mobile junglers such as Lee Sin, Nunu & Willump, or Rek'Sai. It's ridiculously cheap and provides raw health stats that are useful on most junglers, and being able to ward and have Arcane Sweeper as well to deny vision is priceless.

Upgrading your jungle item:

Almost always go Ranger's Trailblazer. The sustain is unparalleled and most champions aren't able to sit in the jungle at level 4 and come out with more than half HP. The times when you aren't going Ranger's Trailblazer you should be going Skirmisher's Sabre; it's good on champions like Vi and Warwick who are exceptional duelists (the true damage, 20% damage reduction, and vision almost ensure you win any 1v1). I wouldn't recommend Stalker's Blade or Poacher's Knife because the damage is too low on the former and, admit it, latter just f*cking sucks.


Fleet Footwork

Obviously every champ has different needs in the Runes department, but as a Jungler it is often best to prioritize Quint of Movement speed. The extra mobility allows you to increase your pressure and map presence exponentially, and that's what jungling is all about. The only time I would say it's okay not to use MS quints is if you are playing a carry Jungler (someone like Master Yi or full AP Evelynn) and you want to use AD or AP Quints.

21/9/0 or 9/21/0 Masteries work great for Junglers. There are safe and fine, so I don't want to talk about them. Here I'm going to introduce the Utility Jungle, with either 9 or 21 points in the Utility mastery tree. There are some serious benefits to playing Utility Jungle, but it is riskier, so here I'll lay out some costs and benefits (the costs and benefits are going to be in terms of the 21 point Utility setup, since the 9 point isn't too much riskier than a 21/9/0 setup. If you do go with 9 points in Utility, put the 9th point in Runic Affinity ):


1) Movement Speed, Movement Speed. Movement. Speed. Mobility is everything, and Fleet of Foot and Wanderer give you a huge leg up.

2) Great cooldown reduction on abilities, summoner spells, and actives with Summoner's Insight and Intelligence .

3) Potent Potions with Alchemist and Culinary Master ..

4) Buffs last longer significantly longer with Runic Affinity .

5) More effective ganks (and more often too) with increased buff duration, increased Movement Speed and CDR.


1) First Jungle clears are a bit harder with your decreased combat stats as opposed to a traditional mastery setup.

2) You are weaker in 1v1s (again due to decreased combat stats).


Essentially its just a trade off between raw early game combat stats, and the ability to snowball. I love this setup on champions like Darius who has low base Movement Speed and has potent early ganks. You need to decide what path to take based on the champion you pick and how you like to play.

Alright lets take a quick look back at what we've learned:

1) Pick your champion to fit your team, but more importantly BUILD your champion to fit your team.

2) Take it upon yourself to ward objectives, deny vision, track enemies, and alert your teammates of movement on the map.

3) Only gank when you can get something out of it (e.g. don't wait around trying to force something)

4) Save CC in ganks until AFTER they try to escape.

5) Secure Dragons and Barons, make sure your team is on the same page for those.

6) Prioritize less expensive items.

7) MOVEMENT SPEED. Jungling is about PRESENCE and PRESSURE, and you can't make either happen while your limping out there on the field.

ALRIGHT GUYS, hope you enjoyed this guide! If you have ANY questions, comments, or feedback it would be very much appreciated. I know the guide isn't perfect so I hope you guys can help sort out its flaws. I want to give a HUGE thanks to Skeld for letting me use his artwork (the amazing pixel Champions are his). Check out his Tumblr, Pixel League, for more great work.

+8.2.15 Guide finished and PUBLISHED!!!
+8.3.15 Added a sexy, new Content of Tables
+8.6.15 Revamped the Dragon Section. Cause it was previously SH*T ^_^
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