What exactly is vertical jungling? Before explaining this term, let’s understand one thing – “Your” jungle is the jungle on “your” side of the map containing your red and blue buff. While you usually rotate in this jungle area, what do you do when you want to disrupt an enemy jungler’s rotation?
As well as yours, enemies’ jungle also contains red and blue buff, and that’s where vertical jungling can come in handy. It allows you to alternate between, for example, your top side (blue buff) and enemies’ bottom side (red buff). It’s not an easy task to perform because it requires a great deal of skill to know the enemy jungler’s whereabouts, and you should not do it if you have bad laners on that side of the map.
Vertical jungling is optional in most cases, and it’s voluntarily used when it can benefit your team. If your team has strong lanes near the side, forcing the enemy into vertical jungling could be helpful. On the other hand, being forced into vertical jungling can be tricky if you cannot fight the other jungler. However, if you are being forced and wards display enemies jungler going to your buff, you’ll probably have enough time to use vertical jungling on his other buff.
Let’s say you decide to go on enemies red buff while enemies jungler is on his blue buff. There are two possibilities here, either the enemy jungler will come and fight you on the red buff (which is good if he’s terrible), or he’ll go on your red buff. The first case scenario is pretty much obvious, you’ll have to fight him, but the other case is probably the better one because this way, you’ll be able to gank the top lane without the enemy jungler showing up there to stop you.
When using vertical jungling, the jungler decides to split the map diagonally and not horizontally down the river, which is the standard way of splitting. This way of splitting can be combined with lane swapping, which is considered a very successful strategy because of the mirrored map. So, if you know how to use vertical jungling, it can help you in various ways. Gaining a level lead early in the game can be crucial and lead to victory.
To conclude, vertical jungling can benefit your team if you have strong laners, especially on the side you’re “stealing,” and with a mid laner who can push the other in early. So, again, do NOT vertical jungle if your side laners are weaker than the enemies’ laners. However, if the situation is favorable, a good jungler will try these tactics. But, always be aware that the other jungler is probably familiar with this strategy.