Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides
's Forum Avatar

Out of the Brush: The Rise of Jungle Ezreal

Creator: PsiGuard October 6, 2017 5:56pm
PsiGuard
<Community Manager>
PsiGuard's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
8080
Joined:
Jun 26th, 2011
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 6, 2017 5:56pm | Report


From ADC to Jungle Ezreal
You Belong in a Museum!

Ezreal AD Carry has had a tough time this season. He's been consistently near the bottom of the ADC win rates for a number of months while other champions have risen and fallen with patch changes. Riot realized that Ezreal had been in a rut for a while and gave him two seemingly small buffs to his Mystic Shot in patch 7.15 and patch 7.17 - changes that would result in some unexpected consequences.

Patch 7.15 buff

Patch 7.17 buff
Shortly after the buff to Mystic Shot's AD ratio, raising it from 110% to 125% total AD, Ezreal's ADC win rate rose from 44.24% to 47.44% in ranked games in Platinum tier and above. However, his win rate as a jungler also increased, and players began to take the prodigal explorer into the jungle more often. As of this writing, 57.37% of Ezreal's games in Platinum and above are jungle Ezreal, with only 32.97% of his games played in the bottom lane as an ADC.

So where did this jungle Ezreal strategy come from? How did it come to dominate in popularity compared to ADC, with an even higher win rate? What do you need to do to execute this playstyle and build Ezreal for the jungle? How do you counter jungle Ezrea? We'll cover these questions below.


Jungle Ezreal Playstyle
Exploring New Territory
Ezreal's place in the jungle meta is rather unique. Graves, Kindred and Quinn are marksmen which have all been played as junglers in the past, but they didn't suddenly jump from the bottom lane role to the jungle (without significant changes from Riot). What makes Ezreal a good jungler?
Let's start with Mystic Shot. Combined with his ranged autoattacks, the high early damage of Ezreal's Q allows him to effortlessly kill individual jungle monsters with high speed and sustain. Ezreal jungle players usually start at the Red Brambleback, which gives them level 2 and access to an on-hit slow for ganking and duels. With red buff, Mystic Shot and Arcane Shift, Ezreal can dominate single opponents, keeping himself at a safe distance while dishing out tons of damage. Because Mystic Shot scales off of total AD, Ezreal gains a lot of damage early just by leveling up and gaining more base AD. This makes a level 2 Ezreal impossible to fight as any level 1 laner, or even as many level 2 junglers.

Who Needs a Map?

Ezreal's threat with red buff cannot be overstated. Most junglers rely on hitting level 3 before they think about fighting enemy champions. Junglers like Rek'Sai, Elise and Sejuani don't have that mix of mobility, damage and crowd control until they have access to all their basic abilities. However, Ezreal only needs his Mystic Shot and Arcane Shift, along with red buff, to do his job. This allows him to play aggressively in the enemy jungle or go for early level 2 ganks on lanes without much fear of being punished. In many cases, the opposing jungler will have to scout out Ezreal's attempts to invade and simply avoid him and take other camps if possible.


Time to Strike!

Ezreal's early ganks aren't to be underestimated either. While Ezreal does lack any innate crowd control, he makes up for it in mobility and ferocity. From the moment the minions hit the center of the lanes, Ezreal jungle is a threat. An enemy Ezreal with red buff could blink into your team's jungle and kill your jungler or steal away their camps. He could shift into your lane and quickly destroy your health bar. Even if Ezreal can't finish off his enemies, he can still force them to run for their tower and either chug Health Potions to stay in lane or recall to base to refill their health.

These early setbacks give Ezreal's team a massive advantage in pressure and allow Ezreal to pull off even more invades and ganks in the future with the support of his strong teammates. A few smart plays in the early game can turn lane matchups on their heads and make for an easy victory.



Countering Jungle Ezreal
No Time to Waste!
Jungle Ezreal isn't without its failings, especially in organized play where players coordinate better and play more safely. If he is unable to aggressively bully his opponents in the early game, Ezreal has little else to fall back on. He clears the Krugs and Raptor camps quite slowly as he lacks any Area of Effect spells or items, leaving him only the buff camps with long respawn times and the Murk Wolves and Gromp camps. A jungler can't survive on only two camps, which means Ezreal depends on successful plays, steals and kills to stay ahead in gold and experience. A jungle Ezreal who stagnates and ends up farming for 15 minutes will quickly find himself overwhelmed by enemies that scale harder and faster, especially those that have the mobility or crowd control to threaten him.

Despite his need to stay active, Ezreal relies a lot on red buff to slow enemies and chase down kills. Without it, he still deals good damage, but most enemies can simply retreat and make Ezreal waste his time. When red buff is down, Ezreal jungle players usually need to just bide their time and farm to catch up in experience until the next buff spawns. If the opposing team is able to steal Ezreal's red buff, it can put him in a really bad position unless he is able to steal theirs in return.

Overall, these weaknesses make Ezreal a niche pick in coordinated play and not without counterplay in solo queue, but he can still be devastating in the hands of an experienced jungler. If the Ezreal player is successful in controlling the early game, he'll have enough damage to dominate team fights, quickly destroy enemy structures and easily kill Baron Nashor with his teammates.


I Hate Those Guys

Countering jungle Ezreal is a matter of champion selection as well as in-game tactics. Ezreal's jungle counters include champions with high damage, mobility or crowd control that can threaten him even when his Arcane Shift is available. An alternative path to victory is picking a champions that can counter jungle Ezreal in team fights. Tank champions who build health and armor items and have tools to engage fights can shrug off jungle Ezreal's damage and focus down targets with their teammates. Finally, champions that can deny Ezreal's red buff and slow down his experience gain can nullify his impact on the early game. Below, I'll offer a few suggestions for champions that counter Ezreal in one of these ways.

Assassin Junglers
Even in the jungle, Ezreal is still a squishy Marksman who's vulnerable to high mobility assassins and duelists. Kha'Zix and Rengar are two examples of champions who can threaten Ezreal in single combat. The high kill threat from these champions will force Ezreal to play much more cautiously, especially around bushes.
Tank Junglers
Even if Ezreal doesn't die to them 1v1, tank junglers can be a big problem for him. Rather than countering jungle Ezreal in early pressure, tank junglers can create picks and dominate team fights while shrugging off Ezreal's damage with the help of health and armor items. Rammus and Sejuani are particularly effective as they have enough mobility and crowd control to counter Ezreal's Arcane Shift.
Control Junglers
Perhaps the easiest way to counter jungle Ezreal's strong early game is to focus on setting him behind. Nunu and Ivern are arguably the best control junglers in the game, excelling at stealing enemy monster camps, denying buffs and gaining deep vision of the enemy jungle to spot potential ganks. Stealing away Ezreal's red buff is especially effective since he has no other crowd control to fall back on for ganks.

Building Jungle Ezreal
Packing Your Exploration Gear

As with many champions, jungle Ezreal's build is crucial to improving your effectiveness in game. Here, I'll be making some suggestions on summoner spells, runes, masteries, skill order and items, based on observing high-ranked and professional Ezreal jungle players.


Runes

Marks and quintessences should be fairly self-evident, as Ezreal is still a Marksman, even in the jungle. These runes offer the best early DPS for clearing the jungle and fighting enemy champions.
Seals are a mix of armor and scaling health. Armor seals are strong early game, protecting against not only jungle monsters, but early damage from champions, minions and towers as well. Scaling health seals provide more protection in later stages of the game from all types of damage. Mixing these seals gives a good balance between early safety and strong scaling.
For glyphs, flat magic resist is the default option. Early magic resistance helps Ezreal accomplish his goal of early dominance by keeping him alive when he's targeted by mages, supports or just general AoE magic damage from tanks and other champions. Ezreal can quickly reach the cooldown reduction cap through Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior, Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Trinity Force, so cooldown reduction glyphs are not necessary.


Masteries

There are two main mastery pages that jungle Ezreal players use. Some stick with one page that they prefer, but often players will swap from page to page depending on the draft. Against enemy teams with a heavy frontline, or if Ezreal's team has poor DPS, Fervor of Battle is a strong option to increase Ezreal's damage output. Stormraider's Surge is always a strong option, offering unparalleled mobility in ganks, duels and skirmishes. In games against many low-health damage threats, Stormraider's can be applied effortlessly, while Fervor of Battle is less useful due to the shorter fights.

Runic Affinity is a highlight here due to jungle Ezreal's dependence on red buff. Whereas other junglers gain access to crowd control abilities as they level up, Ezreal relies on the slow from red buff in order to prevent enemies from escaping his pressure. Increased buff duration gives jungle Ezreal more time to pressure the map when he's strongest.

Be sure to pick up Natural Talent , as it's much stronger than Vampirism on junglers. Killing jungle monster camps more quickly allows a jungler to take less damage throughout his clear. Natural Talent also increases Ezreal's threat to enemy champions, making it a great addition to his pre-game setup.


Standard page with Fervor of Battle


Standard page with Stormraider's Surge


Summoner Spells
Smite and Flash are both very standard on junglers, with only a select few champions opting to swap out Flash for another spell instead. You'll need Smite to pick up the jungle items like Hunter's Machete, which is crucial for gaining enough experience from jungle camps. Flash is a popular and versatile spell that offers both safety and aggression, and should be taken every game on Ezreal.


Ability Sequence

This ability order should come as no surprise. Trueshot Barrage and Mystic Shot are obvious priorities, as they're the main damage dealers for AD Ezreal. Arcane Shift is maxed next for the lower cooldown, plus the extra damage can come in handy for quickly bursting a target. Essence Flux is maxed last since it's the weakest ability for AD Ezreal, having no AD ratio and fairly limited range and slow projectile speed.

Some players choose to delay the first point in Essence Flux until level 8, prioritizing Ezreal's primary abilities. This strategy loses some flexibility, as you won't be able to buff your attack speed by quickly casting Essence Flux followed by Arcane Shift, and you won't be able to buff your teammates, but it's a more mana-efficient option, as you'll only be using two abilities early game instead of 3. If you don't like that idea, taking W at level 4 is perfectly fine.


Items


Jungle Ezreal builds vary from game to game, and from player to player. Players start with Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior and Trinity Force along with some sort of boots, but builds diverge from there. Some players opt for Blade of the Ruined King to shred through tanks, while others pick up Duskblade of Draktharr for more burst damage.

Be sure to adapt your build according to the enemy team composition and don't be afraid to buy the defensive options shown above if necessary. A dead Ezreal is a useless Ezreal!


Jungle Ezreal Resources
Time For a True Display of Skill!

Moon, the jungler for team FlyQuest, recently made a video where he analyzes one of his jungle Ezreal games and explains his thought process and decision making at various points throughout the game. I definitely recommend this video to prospective jungle Ezreal players to get a sense of what Ezreal's priorities should be during the early game and how to decide where to focus your aggressive plays.

For a taste of the professional scene, we also have a recent game where jungle Ezreal was played by IMT Xmithie in the 2017 Worlds group stages against LongZhu.

Special thanks to Yamikazexz for his gameplay insights and screenshots used in this article. Be sure to check out his awesome champion guides! Also thanks to SirCelery and the other players that gave feedback on the article before it was released. :)
Thanks to Fatelblade for the sig!
Yamikazexz
<Member>
Yamikazexz's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
132
Joined:
Feb 20th, 2017
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 6, 2017 6:11pm | Report
At this point you might as well write a guide...
Hoppermh
<Referee>
Hoppermh's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
93
Joined:
Jul 1st, 2015
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 6, 2017 6:28pm | Report
Naisuu

Thank you Luther for the signature! <3
Swuft
<Brawler>
Swuft's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
148
Joined:
Oct 18th, 2015
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 6, 2017 9:51pm | Report
I like this! I demand a commitment to publish more pieces like this in the future!
PsiGuard
<Community Manager>
PsiGuard's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
8080
Joined:
Jun 26th, 2011
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 6, 2017 10:54pm | Report
Swuft wrote:
I like this! I demand a commitment to publish more pieces like this in the future!

You got it boss! ;)
Thanks to MissMaw for the sig!
Yamikazexz
<Member>
Yamikazexz's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
132
Joined:
Feb 20th, 2017
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 6, 2017 11:22pm | Report
You know it's a trustworthy article because psi got help from a talon otp
PsiGuard
<Community Manager>
PsiGuard's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
8080
Joined:
Jun 26th, 2011
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 6, 2017 11:56pm | Report
Talon mains know all about the level 2 powerspikes. ^_^
Thanks to The_Nameless_Bard for the sig!
Janitsu
<Guide Critic>
Janitsu's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
8421
Joined:
Jul 3rd, 2011
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 7, 2017 5:08am | Report
you don't ever build Ionian Boots of Lucidity on jungle Ezreal as it hinders your early game and gives you next to nothing

Thanks to OwenTheAwesomer for the signature =)
Yamikazexz
<Member>
Yamikazexz's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
132
Joined:
Feb 20th, 2017
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 7, 2017 9:03am | Report
@ Janitsu Yeah, you're right. I think Psi just wanted to add it as an option because a few pros have been building it in soloq
RikudouDovahkiin
<Member>
RikudouDovahkiin's Forum Avatar
Show more awards
Posts:
112
Joined:
Nov 24th, 2014
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep | Commend October 9, 2017 3:53am | Report
Well, now it began to make sense, naisu.
Hi, I'm a LoL player from Turkey/TR.

I've been playing League of Legends for like 3-4 years in TR server, mostly support and mid but really when the jungle is left, I'm playing 90% of times Lee or even more *-* strategic MMORPGs and things, where are elegant details featured worlds and stories that I like for gaming. I've played Silkroad nearly 10 years, nowadays I'm playing Path of Exile (which said to be better even than Diablo ''even'') it's a mix of Hack N slash and Action-Rpg. The deep story sometimes essential for unique games such as Dragon Age series and Skyrim and perhaps Dark Souls, I umm, I can be defined as an introvert person due to some reasons, probably. I also like to guide people in-game actually where everyone thinks an invetable lose is coming, but no there is still yet some hope young padawan, my PoE nickname is Sorchavera, for TERA it was Alluchard and finally for steam it is RikudouRinneTensei, however, I'm not using Steam anymore, a quite long 'nickname isn't it, feel free to add me!

You need to log in before commenting.