With nearly 160 playable characters, it should come as no surprise that some champion often times receive considerably more attention than others, as the player base tends to be drawn towards the more dynamic, meta picks. This in turn means that a good chunk of the older champions are often times forgotten, only to then burst onto the League of Legends scene seemingly out of nowhere.
The champions most vulnerable to this effect usually come from the older releases, whose play rates tend to be quite low in most cases, until Riot decides to buff them up considerably.
Despite a large-scale visual and gameplay update, the Keeper of the Hammer still failed to captivate the players’ attention for a long, long time, as it wasn’t until the introduction of the somewhat new Mythic item mechanics that Poppy finally received her well-deserved praise.
It is without a doubt strange how a champion capable of shutting down the highly mobile carries we nowadays tend to see hasn’t actually caught on with the Summoners, as Poppy’s kit and gameplay are anything but boring.
With so much versatility across her abilities, the Keeper of the Hammer is one of those picks players would hesitate to lock in, but as soon as they give her a chance, she’s guaranteed to make the list for the go-to Jungle carries of that player.
And in order to help you get a head start with Poppy, we are here to bring you the ultimate Jungle pathing and clearing guide, including a solid introduction to her ideal Runes, Summoner’s and items, along-side some useful tips and tricks you can start using right away. This being said, allow us begin by talking about the fundamental aspects of playing Poppy, before we dive into our main subject!
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Flash + Smite
Although Poppy is at her most powerful when played with great emphasis on movement speed, this does not mean that Ghost is more, or even as effective. Flash is required in order to reposition yourself for well-aimed Heroic Charge (E) casts, similarly to how Lee Sin players use it to aim their Ultimate.
Despite popular belief, Poppy Jungle is not most effective when played with defensive, Resolve path Runes. Instead, players want to further enhance Poppy’s omnipotent presence, by going with Phase Rush, Nimbus Cloak, Celerity and Waterwalking.
This allows Poppy to stick to enemy targets, and to continuously pressure the Map through rapid movement.
As for the secondary Runes, Triumph and Legend: Tenacity provide the most overall value when it comes to the later stages of the game, which is what we’re aiming for.
- Starting Items: Hailblade + Refillable Potion
- Mythic Item: Divine Sunderer
- Core Items: Defensive Boots, Dead Man’s Plate, Force of Nature
- Finishing Options: Spirit Visage, Thornmail, Randuin’s Omen
Since Spellblade effects work so perfectly with Poppy’s kit, boosting the Keeper of the Hammer’s trading power significantly, Divine Sunderer makes for an ideal Mythic option, providing sufficient damage for the entire game.
This in terms means that Poppy has plenty of space for defensive items, starting with the ever so strong Dead Man’s Plate, which suits Poppy extremely well, and Force and Nature, in order to further increase her movement speed and magic resist.
The final items are meant to counter the enemy team’s win conditions, and Tanks have a multitude of adaptable picks to choose from. Thornmail is quite standard because of the insane amount of healing League of Legends is packed with right now.
Q > E > W > R
In order to clear the Jungle effectively, Poppy will be maxing Q, as it deals the most damage overall from her kit, and is quite good against the monsters.
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The Best Jungle Paths for Poppy
Poppy’s primary clearing tool is her Hammer Shock (Q) ability, which deals percentage of maximum Health damage, despite it being capped against monsters. Steadfast Presence (W) will only be used during ganks and skirmishes, as it has virtually no effects when it comes to Jungle clearing.
We are going to cover the most advantageous starts from each side, but players should keep a few factors in mind when deciding upon where their Jungle pathing should start. These are:
- Which laners are going to provide more help in clearing the first camp?
- Counter-jungle opportunities, based on where the enemy Jungler is likely to start.
- Which lane would you like to gank first, depending on both the allied and enemy champions.
As for ganking, Poppy can simply walk up to the enemy Laners, either with or without Steadfast Presence’s (W) movement speed boost, in order to land a Heroic Charge (E) into the wall, locking down her target and ensuring that the gank converts into a takedown or burnt Summoner Spell.
1. Red Side, Red Clear
Starting our guide from the Red Side’s Red Buff, having to also mention that Poppy will want to go for a full clear during her first route, as it ensures that she will have plenty of gold to purchase her ideal first back items, Sheen and Boots.
Begin by hitting away at the Red Buff, making sure to get the most out of Iron Ambassador (Passive) by constantly picking up the buckler, in order to mitigate as much early damage as possible. Use Hammer Shock (Q) whenever it comes off cooldown, but pay attention to keep Red on the aftershock zone.
After securing your first buff, head north towards the Krug camp, patiently taking your time clearing it, using Smite on the largest mob to accelerate the process. Always keep the Krugs grouped up over Hammer Shock’s (Q) area in order to land the second burst of damage.
Now it is time to make your way towards the other side of your Jungle, stopping at the Raptor and Wolf camps to secure the conveniently placed gold. Use Heroic Charge (E) on the larger monsters and Hammer Shock (Q) to deal AOE damage. Both camps might leave their hit on your HP bar, so feel free to use the Refillable Potion in order to regenerate a bit.
As for the fifth camp, the Blue Buff is your target. Use Heroic Charge to slam it to a wall and keep it standing on Hammer Shock’s area of effect, while you continuously pick up the buckler in order mitigate some damage. The second Smite charge should be used on Blue, as soon as its HP falls below the 450 HP mark, allowing you to shift your focus towards the sixth and final camp belonging to your Jungle.
Repeat the same process with the Gromp, knowing that its very likely to leave you with a nearly full Health bar after you’ve slain it, allowing players to step into the River with confidence.
Once in the River, break the Scuttler’s shield using Heroic Charge (E) and slowly hit away at it until slain. Steadfast Presence (W) will act as a safety net against challenge attempts from dash-oriented enemies, in case you ever need this info.
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2. Red Side, Blue Clear
Taking a look at the Red Side’s Blue Buff start, things are pretty similar overall. Start by taking down the Blue Buff with the assistance of your Bot lane allies, which is going to prove quite benefic, as it accelerates your tempo.
Having secured the first buff, switch your focus to the Gromp, charging at it with Heroic Charge (E) to smash it against the wall, before using Hammer Shock (Q) followed by auto attacks to punch down its Health. Once at 450 HP, do not hesitate to use Smite on it, as it will keep your tempo going, allowing you to finish the clear with an edge over the opposing Jungler.
Next, we’re going to be heading towards the Red Buff, stopping at both the Raptor and Wolf camps in order to clear those as well. Get the most out of Poppy’s kit by using every aspect of her Q, W and Passive abilities, and heal up with the Refillable Potion if needed.
Once the multi-mob camps have been secured, the next objective is the Red Buff, which will be slain using the Keeper of the Hammer’s basic abilities and attacks, until it falls below the 450 Health threshold, at which point the second Smite cast will finish it for you.
Before stepping into the River, make your way to the Krug camp and clear those using the maximum potential of Poppy’s kit, in order to complete the full clear of your Jungle. In the River, break the Crab’s shield with Heroic Charge and secure it swiftly, before looking for a gank opportunity on either mid or top.
3. Blue Side, Blue Clear
Having to switch over to the Blue Side of the Map, the clears and routes will be mostly identical, besides the mirrored layout of the Jungle camps.
Beginning with the Blue Buff, have your Top lane assist you and make sure to use Iron Ambassador’s shielding to mitigate most of the damage, allowing you to hit LVL 2 without losing much Health.
Immediately head towards the Gromp and freely use the first charge of Smite on it, accelerating your tempo and regenerating some Health in the process, before heading for the Wolves.
The third and fourth camps on the list (the Wolves and Raptors) will raise a small threat, so do not hesitate to use the Refillable Potion, as you collectively clear them with Hammer Shock’s (Q) AOE damage.
Once the multi-mobs have been cleared, it is time to secure your second buff, meaning we have to slay Red. The second Smite charge was kept until this point, as you will be casting it onto the Red Buff once its HP bar drops below the execution threshold.
Lastly, make one last stop at the Krugs, clearing those accordingly, before stepping into the River to add some additional gold, experience and vision, allowing you to gank both Mid or Bot, depending on the positioning of the waves.
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4. Blue Side, Red Clear
And for our final starting position, the Blue Side’s Red Buff, players will once again benefit from having two allies’ assistance at the first camp, as it provides a considerable amount of tempo.
After you’re done slaying the Red Buff, make your way to the Krug camp and cast the first charge of your Smite onto the larger mob, using Hammer Shock’s AOE damage to effectively clear this camp.
It is then time to head towards the Blue Buff, stopping at both the Raptors and Wolves on your way there, holding on to the second Smite charge. These camps are most efficiently slain by using Heroic Charge (E) on the larger monsters, while Hammer Shock (Q) deal AOE damage to the entire camp.
At the Blue Buff, use your entire kit wisely on it, allowing Smite to finish the job. This leaves you facing the Gromp, which will restore most of your lost Health, enabling you to safely secure the Scuttler once in the River.
Having finished clearing all seven camps, start looking for a ganking opportunity on one of the solo lanes, before the first reset.
Tips and Tricks
- One of the biggest mistakes new players make is not using their champions’ entire kit, commonly neglecting to get the most out of their Passives or more meticulous mechanics. This applies perfectly to Poppy’s Iron Ambassador (Passive), as many Summoners tend to only occasionally pick up the buckler from the ground in order to receive its shield. Make sure to always get the most out of your champions, as the Passive shields Poppy for an astonishing 15 / 17.5 / 20% maximum Health, which is simply too valuable to forget about.
- As your primary ability, it is very important to accurately hit Hammer Shock (Q), and there is an easy way to do so. Instead of simply smashing the ground to deal damage and hope that the enemy lingers in it long enough for it to detonate, try aiming the ability as a slow, instead of a poke. Find an angle which cuts off the enemy the most, forcing them to walk through it despite the slow, assuring the extra damage.
- Steadfast Presence (W) can be used in two very different formats. First, if the enemy you are trying to lock down naturally has some form of dash in their kit, it is best to keep the ability until you lock onto them enough to deny it. Otherwise, do not hesitate to use it as a simple movement speed boost, if the situation calls for it.
- As for Keeper’s Verdict (R), first keep in mind that the ability will always send the enemies flying towards their base, so always make sure that that is the right angle to aim for. Secondly, this ability too can be used in two formats, first, the traditional disengage tool, but secondly, if you release its channel instantaneously, it will only be a knock-up, if that’s what the situation needs.
Poppy has been part of League of Legends for a very long time now, yet for the most of that time, players have not been considering the Keeper of the Hammer to be a viable pick in any meta.
However, considering the current state of League, it finally seems like Poppy can singlehandedly carry games by putting her allies ahead, through persistent Map pressure and her ability to keep her allies safe from dashes, charges and overall flanks. Additionally, Poppy also benefits from a great amount of flexibility in terms of itemization, as discussed during the analysis of her build, which allows her to consistently counter the enemy team’s carries.
With this much adaptability, combined with a kit that provides plenty of presence across the Map, Jungle players should absolutely give Poppy a try, emphasizing on collaboration and on putting the rest of her team ahead, then protecting them in team fights.
These being said, we will now conclude our Ultimate Jungle Guide, urging our readers to keep a keen eye out on our website, which we regularly supply with fresh League of Legends content, including similar guides!