There are so many ways to win a game of League of Legends, especially from the Jungle. Jungling is the one role in the game where you can impact the entire map every single game. This impact is why Jungle is the best position to climb on. Now, focusing on the Jungle role, there are plenty of ways to play, and they all have their place in the game. Some champs will focus on farms and objectives and scale to the late game while playing a defensive strategy.
Other Junglers will try to dominate the early game entirely and strip away every last shred of hope from the pathetic enemy team. These are the Junglers we will cover in this list. Mastering an early game jungler is probably the easiest way to quickly and drastically increase your MMR because you have the opportunity to tip the game entirely in your favor before the game even begins.
Developing your game sense and learning how to track the enemy jungler, what lanes to gank to ensure victory, and when to invade the enemy Jungle and force them out of the game are the keys to becoming a proficient early game Jungler.
With all of that being said, let’s get to the list!
Kicking off this list is the gun toating outlaw himself, Graves. Graves’s main early game advantages come in the form of his E passive and the innate strength of his auto-attacks. Couple this with a very fast clear, and he is an absolute force of nature. Graves has a lot of options early game due to his innate tankiness and damage. He is very good at invading the enemy Jungle because his E gives him an escape option. His early-game ganks are also terrifying, especially when he has Red Buff or a teammate with a stun.
The most crucial aspect of mastering Graves early game is getting a hang for his E. This ability is his bread and butter. Every time Graves E’s (his dash), he gains a stack of True Grit or two if he dashes towards an enemy Champ. Every stack of True Grit gives Graves bonus armor. If you time your clear right and find an early game trade with the enemy Jungler, you could be fighting with an extra 20+ armor. On top of this, Graves’s E is an auto-attack reset and reloads one bullet in his gun.
Correctly utilizing this ability will win you an early game fight against just about any champ in the game, especially Junglers. Graves is only number 5 on the list due to having underwhelming ganks without red buff or a teammate stun. Most of the time his damage will make up for this, but if you can’t find those early game kills, it may be a while before you genuinely come online and start to pop off.
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4. Xin Zhao
A dash, a stun, and an annoying amount of damage, Xin Zhao has everything you could ask for in an early game Jungler. Xin excels in skirmishes, and he unlocks the critical parts of his kit at level 3, so he can run the map from that point forward. Ganking with Xin is exceptionally straightforward.
Line up a nice angle to cut off the enemy laner, and let your team initiate a fight or engage with a stun. Next, you just need to run up and use your Q to knock up the enemy Champ. Remember you want to use Q as an auto-reset, especially early game, to maximize your damage (Auto – Q – Auto – Auto).
An important thing to remember is that you want to save your dash (E) until the enemy blows their escape or Flash. If you E in immediately, the enemy will flash or dash away, and you’ll have nothing left in your kit to catch them. Remember this tip. It will transcend every Jungler or Assassin with a gap-closing ability. You can Also use Xin’s W in a similar way to get the last bit of damage off if the one-shot enemy happens to outrun you.
Warwick gets a bad rap for being such a simple Champion. The way I see it, simple is better because you can focus on decision-making. Warwick is on this list because he is one of the best early game 1v1 Champs. He is one of the few champs that can beat Graves early game mano a mano despite Graves’s True Grit stacks. Warwick’s one-on-one potential comes from his passive healing, Q damage and heal, and W attack speed, all of which give him exceptional sustain. This sustain gives Warwick in a 1v1 or 1v2 situation and makes him extremely hard to kill.
Warwick’s strength as an early game Jungler is directly related to his strength as a duelist. This dueling potential allows you to invade a lot more often since, most likely, you will be able to kill the enemy Jungler along with any of his little friends that might roam to help. Couple this with the fact that your health will always be full due to Warwick’s innate lifesteal on Jungle camps, and you can be a menace to the enemy Jungler for ten minutes straight.
To master Warwick, you have to master the timing of his Q and E abilities, as well as his ult. Warwick’s Q will leap to an enemy and follow their Flash or dash, so if you time it right, you can stick to them through their escape. Warwick’s E is a damage reduction ability as well as a fear.
So you want to use it in a way that will reduce the damage of crucial enemy abilities while also positioning yourself to make the enemy flee in the optimal direction when your fear pops. Warwick’s ult is pretty self-explanatory and intuitive to use, but remember that you can E before you ult. E’ing will allow you to fear any nearby enemies to your target to leave you with critical seconds to assassinate your prey.
Warwick’s only real downside comes in his rigidness. His abilities work one way, and there’s not a lot of wiggle room. If he’s not fed, he falls off a bit later in the game and will be shut down pretty hard by intelligent enemies that know how to play against him.
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2. Lee Sin
One of the best parts about Lee Sin is that no matter when a list like this is made, he will be on it. Lee Sin is and always has been one of the best, most versatile Junglers in the game. He excels at just about every part of the game if you know how to play him, but he shines early and mid-game. He is insanely versatile with his ward hopping engage and does a crazy amount of damage thanks to his Q execute. He is one of the stickiest Junglers and one of the scariest when the person playing him has spent a lot of time on him.
Lee Sin takes a lot of time to master, and he has some of the most challenging mechanics in the game. If you miss your Q, then your entire gank fails. If you do not pick up some early game kills, he also falls behind very quickly. The good news is, an aggressive Lee will always find those early game kills, especially after level 6. Since Lee’s ganking is not always as straightforward as the rest of the champs and there is a bit of nuance in his kit, I’ll give some specific tips for ganking below:
Hold Your Q: Do not waste your Q on low percentage hits. If you’re ganking for someone with a stun, wait for their stun, then Q.
Q to Execute: Your Q is an execute. The lower the enemy – the more damage it does. So do not active your Q as soon as you hit it. Wait until you’ve maximized your damage output with your other abilities, then take the Q and get the execute damage.
Q to Stick: If you are ganking a Champ with a leap, like Ezreal. You will want to either predict their E or get up close with a ward hop before you Q. Once you land your Q, they will leap or flash away if you take it immediately. So wait for them to leap or flash before you take your Q so you can stick to them through their escape.
R – Q Combos: There are two ways to combo Lee’s Ultimate and Q. The easiest way is R first. Lee’s R kicks the enemy in a straight line, which gives you a free Q. Try to aim your kick at a wall so that your Q doesn’t have to travel as far. His R also does a crazy amount of damage, so your Q will do even more damage because of the Execute. The 2nd way is Q-R-Q, which will guarantee that you land the entire combo. The trick is that you have to hit that first Q and be close enough to R after.
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This pick probably doesn’t surprise anyone who has been a Jungle main for more than half a season. Early game Shaco is toxic, abusive, overpowered, and very fun. The most valuable tool in the clown’s arsenal is his Q. This low cooldown Flash turns Shaco invisible. Just the premise sounds OP.
On top of this, most Shacos will opt to take Ignite over Flash every single game, meaning if he ganks or invades you, you’re going to have a problem. Recent seasons have also seen Shaco become stronger than ever since his boxes help him clear camps extremely fast, which lets him farm XP and gank constantly.
A fed Shaco can effectively Q around the map, getting picks by the minute. He will not only wholly demoralize and tilt the enemy team, but his picks will also allow your team to grab every Dragon and Rift. One of Shaco’s biggest problems is that if he drops momentum for a minute, the game can quickly slip out of his hands. He must always stay a level or two above the enemy bot lane and Jungler. But overall, a good Shaco player can set up almost every game to succeed if they play their cards right, which is why he is our number one pick.
There you have it, our list of the best early game Junglers in League of Legends. Remember never to get tunnel-visioned on ganking and invading. Many Junglers have thrown games by invading at the wrong time and getting caught. They have also lost by forgetting to farm in between fights. Finding the perfect balance is difficult, especially on early-game Junglers, but doing so is crucial to climbing. We hope you enjoyed our list and wish you luck dominating your way to a higher Elo!