In League of Legends, the jungle role has received a lot of attention over the years. The jungle itself has been subject to the most change and more than any other role, the jungler receives the most criticism from teammates. At the same time, it is believed by many that the jungle role is the most important position for both teams as it can have the most impact on the game overall. With the preseason currently underway and season 9 right around the corner, a League of Legends Jungle Guide is an important tool to enable not only climbing but a better understanding of the game for all roles.
What is the jungle role in League of Legends?
Specific area on Summoner’s Rift
The jungle role is named after the jungle area on Summoner’s Rift that, without wards, is covered in darkness. It is for this reason that the jungle matchup is often described as a chess match between the opposing junglers. Both players are never sure where the other is at any given point in time and educated guesses must be made when making decisions about where to go next.
Speaking in terms of fundamentals, the jungler begins in the jungle and kills monsters in the jungle for experience and gold. After clearing camps, the jungler’s main responsibilities are vision control, objective control, and influencing lanes in the team’s favor. Influencing a lane by ganking is what is most typically met with the most criticism. Some players believe it should happen as much as possible while others believe doing it frequently is not at all necessary. This is an age-old debate that has been present in all skill levels, from the most unskilled players to professional teams themselves, going so far as to cause rifts and forcing players to be moved elsewhere.
In order to kill camps in the jungle, the summoner spell known as smite is incredibly important. Smite does a fixed amount of true damage to a monster, depending on the jungler’s level, which makes experience arguably the single most important game element to junglers. The jungler who is a higher level will do more damage with smite and will be able to secure objectives more easily.
Smite can be used on any camp in the jungle, which includes Dragon, Baron, and Rift Scuttler. With this spell, there is a lot of pressure on junglers as missed timing with it on an important objective such as Baron or Dragon has the very real possibility of costing your team the game. Too many times a close game will be decided by the enemy jungler stealing Baron with smite, which speaks to the immense pressure and decision making involved with the role.
What is the single most important skill for junglers?
Starting bot side
Nothing is more valuable to a jungler than knowing when to make specific decisions. Decision making will make or break any jungler and knowing when to take certain actions and the risks involved with it is what separates the merely good from the best. This process begins as soon as the game begins.
The jungler has free reign over his or her own camps at level 1 and choosing at which camp to start will affect the flow of the rest of the game. If a jungler begins bot side and needs a leash from the bot lane, a leash simply meaning assistance from another lane to help kill a camp, then the jungler can path top side and affect that area of the map first. This has the double effect of possibly making the bot lane come to lane late and miss extremely valuable early level experience.
This is not to say starting bot side is a poor decision, in fact, it is the most common starting point for most junglers. It simply means that it carries with it specific consequences. The opposite holds true for starting top side and carries the same effects.
Decision making extends far beyond choosing the starting camps. It also involves deciding where to go based on where the enemy jungler is likely or is unlikely to be. An important concept for all junglers to understand is counter ganking, which means anticipating to which lane the enemy is likely headed and waiting for him or her to appear to turn the tide and change a two-versus-one into a two-versus-two.
Counter ganking can singlehandedly decide the fate of a specific lane and being aware and watching your map is the key to figuring out where the enemy is headed. This is especially true for the lower ranks in League of Legends.
Typically, the enemy will hone in on overextended lanes. This can make for an easy read. Given how the vast majority of players will begin at the bottom side of the map, an overextended top laner is a prime opportunity for ganking for the enemy. However, the same can be said of any lane and by putting down vision, pushing into the enemy jungle, and using the availability of camps, as advocated by this League of Legends jungle guide, one can readily determine the location and become a better jungler, especially in terms of decision making.
What are the best champions to play in the jungle currently?
Stay clear of tanks
Choose champions with strong early game presence
Evelynn and Xin Zhao
Season 8 bore witness to a change away from tanks and this has stayed true in the preseason. Tanks are especially vulnerable in the jungle because they can be bullied very easily and can be exploited when contesting Rift Scuttler. Tanks provide utility for the mid and late game, but in most games, the game state never reaches that point. Playing junglers with a strong early presence is the most surefire way to win games.
Two junglers who specifically come to mind in this regard are Evelynn and Xin Zhao. Evelynn is strong because of her invisibility which creates an added complication to decision making for the enemy jungler and all lanes. Xin Zhao can contest objectives early and due to the nature of his kit, has very strong ganking potential as early as level 2. For the most part, many different junglers can be played, but tanks should be not be gravitated towards because of the aforementioned problems.
With season 9 quickly approaching, now is the best time to get ahead of the competition and figure out a viable strategy for climbing. Climbing can happen quickly for junglers because of the sheer amount of presence they can have in any game. Not only can one gank lanes, he or she can also take objectives and put down vision for the overall team’s benefit. When it comes to skillset, decision making is paramount for junglers and should be focused on when reviewing games and figuring out what mistakes were made. Furthermore, champion selection is another important element and attention should be turned towards those champions which a strong early game. Taking these factors into account from this League of Legends Jungle Guide, one can be ready for the beginning of the new season and be in an advantageous position to climb the ranked ladder.
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