If we ask random players what the most difficult roles in League of Legends are, chances are… you’d get pretty mixed results, admittedly. Regardless, I think we can all agree that junglers have it tough, especially when you consider all the factors they have to go through. While champions in lane often focus on harassing and minion kills, junglers have alternative routes to choose depending on the lineup on both teams. They also need to constantly be moving and looking for opportunities to gank and help out their team. On top of that, they’re responsible for leading the charge into objectives and reacting to how the other lanes are doing.
Yes, the life of a jungler can certainly be difficult, and oftentimes you get flamed by teammates when they’re being camped in botlane. Today, let’s look at some of the ways you can improve your gameplay and just efficiently optimize the flow of your jungling routes. Without wasting any more time, let’s dive right into it!
Also check out: Good Mid Laner Guide
Know Your Jungling Path
This is probably the most basic as well as the most important. The key here is to know what your individual champion needs, and factors like mana management and clear speed will decide where you should go. In general, power spikes for junglers usually happen at around level 4 or 5. 6 for some like Amumu. Let’s take Lee Sin, for example. The blue buff benefits mana dependent champions a lot because of the regeneration it gives. For Lee Sin, the only meaningful thing you actually get is cooldown reduction. That said, it’s probably best to start off with red buff in most cases.
However, take note that your opponents know this, too. So it’s always important to secure your own blue by warding it, lest you have them invade your camp and leave you without a blue ward altogether. Keep your preferred lane in mind, as well. Do you go with raptors next, or wolves? Slowly make your way towards the lane you’re planning on visiting. On the way, try to avoid common warding areas or have your teammates place a control ward in order to make sure your opponents don’t see you coming.
Exploring your options is also a good thing. In Season 12, you have a lot of them. For example, a strategy gaining popularity right now is just ignoring the level 1 camps in favor of the larger camps. When you’re done and attempt a gank, you can reset the level 1 camps. It gives you a short term exp boost that could get you ahead of everyone else, including the enemy jungler. This gives you enough of a power spike to potentially gank more successfully.
Also check out: How to counter jungler invades in League of Legends
Be Aware of Where the Enemy Jungler Is
Knowing where the enemy jungler is at all times is very important. It is the single most important factor when deciding what to do next. If the river is warded and you see him running toward mid lane, you could either ping for your mid lane to back off, or you could help out and attempt a counter-gank. Of course, use your best judgment. If you’re at the stage of the game where all you have is a poke and move speed bonus, it probably won’t be as effective as an enemy jungler with 2 stuns and a dash.
It’s also a good indicator for whether or not you should attempt to invade their camp. Ultimately, it boils down between whether or not you want to avoid the jungler or if you want to just butt heads with the enemy jungler at every opportunity you can get. It’s a matter of preference and strategy.
Actively Look for Opportunities to Gank
Yes, we all know this, but don’t force it. You do not want to be fighting an uphill battle, especially when you’re playing with the type of jungle champion who is dependent on items or early game presence. Assess the risk and reward ratio and act accordingly. Opportunities to gank come in many forms, but they most often come in the form of an immobile champion, or enemy champions shoving the lane too hard towards your turret.
Junglers find themselves in the unique position of being able to dictate how fast the pace of the game goes. They can force objectives and affect the different lanes. In the early game, you will mostly be focused on the buffs and the Rift Scuttler. This is also important for vision, as you will be able to see if the enemy team is lining up to take a specific objective. In more passive games, each jungler will typically stick to their own side of the map, just farming peacefully there and going for the occasional gank.
Objectives like Baron, Dragon, and the Rift Herald are all very important. Though, an argument can be made that you get the most value out of securing the different dragons, since it gives a permanent buff that really helps out if the game goes on longer than expected. Rift Herald and Baron help out with pushing, but it expires relatively quickly. Rift Herald in particular could easily be misused and rendered useless if the enemy team is coordinated enough. Still, all are important, but if you must choose between the Rift Herald and Dragon, 9 times out of 10, I suggest taking the dragon.
Playing with the Map
You could force things to get heated by invading the junglers camp. The safest time to do this is when you see the enemy jungler appear somewhere. If he’s in bot lane, you could invade the top lane part of his map, as he would have most likely cleared the bot lane half on his way there. However, this forces you to be reactive, instead of proactive. If you want to force the enemy jungler to react, you can do so by ganking and securing objectives. This seldom has any meaningful downsides, as it usually catches them by surprise, especially when they aren’t in the area.
Also check: How to Apply Map Pressure in League of Legends?
Spotting Sunk Costs
Sunk costs basically refer to a lost cause. Sometimes, you’re going to have to cut your losses and focus on the places where you can actually make a meaningful impact. Focus on the lanes where you can make a difference. If a lane is just too difficult to deal with, consider if you’re better off helping other lanes get fatter in order to mitigate the loss of the lane that isn’t doing well.
Of course, use your best judgment. Help out when you can, but if you end up going there wasting time, it may not be the best option. In fact, they could easily turn it into a countergank, or simply just hang back until you leave. This gives their enemy jungler time to either react, continue peacefully farming, secure objectives, or simply gank other lanes.
The Ultimate Pattern
Before we proceed, let’s look at what the usual picks for junglers have in common. Shyvana, Malphite, Olaf, Amumu, Trundle. What do they have in common? They have ultimates designed for you to commit. In fact, most junglers have ultimates that encourage your team members to charge in after you. For this reason, knowing when to use it can either be a boon or a disaster. Learn when to use your ultimate, and subsequently, play around it. Contesting Baron could be tough when your ultimate is down with an enemy Orianna and Yasuo just peeking out the corner.
Also check: Does Yasuo’s Wind Wall Block Lux’s Ultimate?
Of course, even though skills like Amumu’s Curse of the Sad Mummy works great against multiple opponents, don’t be afraid to use it on a lone enemy champion if you run the risk of letting them escape without it. It’s all about balance, and because of that, you must also be mindful of timers. When the next objectives will spawn can be very important, as it lets you know when you should go all in or save it for the next potential clash.
With the current meta shifting towards more frequent ganks and high octane skirmishes, it can be easy to get caught up in the quest for kills and forget about the true objectives. Ultimately, we’re meant to be pushing the turrets, and kills are just a means to an end. By that same token, remember that this is a team game. Playing around them and everyone itemizing to help each other can be a deciding factor on who wins and loses.
Check out more of our useful tips and tricks, like this one on how to carry as a jungler.