For the past few months, I've been maining jungling on League of Legends. From jungling that much I've learned a lot of tips and tricks which I think could help many of you aspiring pros. While this is by no means a complete guide, and I wouldn't for the life of me consider posting it as one, see for yourself if you can find any good information in here.
For this 'guide', I did assume at least a basic knowledge of how to jungle. I won't be telling you what to do at what time in the game, or explain to you which jungler does what. There's other guides for that. This guide also assumes you are at least level 30. A lot of things in this guide don't really matter too much before level 30, and are only vital in ranked play. It's still useful information though, so I suggest looking through it either way if you want to jungle. This guide just gives some extra pointers which will hopefully help you on your way to 'mastering' the jungle (you can't really ever master it).
Some mistakes you can make, tips and things to think about:
Ganking a lane just because the enemy laner is low. If that enemy laner is not stupid, he'll be on the lookout for you. It's very easy for a person who's already aware you might be near to land his cc on you and escape, wasting your time and possibly (mostly early game) costing you enough hp to where you'll have to go back instead of being able to keep farming. Likewise, your allied laner might also be low, and get killed in the process of the gank because he overextends for it. Don't overcommit just because he looks tasty, bide your time until you see a good oppurtunity.
Lane positioning. As mentioned in the example of the low hp enemy laner, people expect you. You need to, more than a laner, know exactly what they can do to escape and what you and your laner can do to stop it. Unless you or your lanemate can land a sizeable slow or cc before he can stun you, an enemy Sion is hard to gank. However if he's positioned close to your tower and you have a speed boost, you can still catch up to him after he stunned you. There are so many things that factor in to a gank, and this one alone is already extremely complicated.
Lane control. There's more to do in lanes than just gank. There are a few situations where you actually want to stay in a lane for a bit. If you've just killed an enemy and there is no one from the other team in the lane, help your lanemate push the creep wave up to their tower. This will make the enemy laner lose experience and gold to the turret. If your allied laner has to back while the creep wave is pushed up to your tower, you can take over the lane for a bit for some free experience and gold. Do be careful though, you don't want to push the lane so your lanemate is in a gankable position when he returns. Just go for last hits.
Tradeoffs. What will you or your laner get out of the gank? You will obviously lose time, mana and possibly hp from a gank. What do you gain? The possibility of a kill of course, and your job is to gank when that possibility is as high as it can be. But sometimes you need to gank even when you know you won't get the kill. If the enemy laner uses his escape summoners, you know he's open for a gank the next time around. If he loses a lot of hp or mana and has to back after the gank, your laner gains an exp and gold advantage. Or if the enemy laner has to continue laning with a disadvantage, your own laner can really come out ahead by zoning. Likewise, if you/your lanepartner might take serious damage from the gank, or if you suspect the enemy team to be around somewhere, you might want to think twice about rushing that enemy player.
Psychological impact. More than any other role, the jungler can play mindgames on people. If you camp top lane for a while, the enemy laner will start to play far more carefully, knowing he can die if he ever overextends even a little bit. Forcing people to play defensively can give your own laner the oppurtunity to get ahead and snowball the game in your team's favour after the laning phase.
Efficiency. Probably the most important skill to learn as a jungler is to be efficient. How do you spend your time between farming, warding and ganking most efficiently? If you need to get your red buff and your mid and top are already crushing their lanes, it's probably best to just farm the small camps aswell, especially if getting that wraith camp gives you an extra level in that cc skill to enhance your chances of a successfull gank, or gives you the gold to complete a big item which might increase your dps or tankiness significantly/ has an active or passive which is a great help in teamfights or gank initiation (Do not underestimate Shurelya's on junglers, if bought early your ganks are extremely scary). Likewise, your top laner might be behind, and even though it will put you behind, camping top for a minute might be very efficient, since it can allow your laner to get his lane back and possibly even come out ahead. Or, you know that enemy jungler is a strong ganker at the level he's currently at, and by warding around the map instead of just clearing camps, you prevent a few of his ganks. You need to be able to weigh off all these decisions at every moment in the game (though they're most important early game), and it's a skill that doesn't come easy. Practice, practice, practice.
Anticipation. A jungler needs to think ahead. Your mid lane might be fine now, but the enemy laner gets a new combo at level x (important levels are 3/4 and 6) which can really mess your allied laner up, or vice versa. You need to know this ahead of time so you can (counter/take advantage of this) by ganking him. Or the enemy jungler can clear dragon very early, so you or your support need to buy a ward for dragon very early to avoid that. Just like efficiency, this skill comes with practice. You need to have seen these situations before, maybe many times, to realize what might happen ahead of time. And you need to be right every now and then too. If you made a wrong anticipation, it might set you or even your whole team back. That jungler that shouldn't be able to clear dragon early managed to anyway, or you fail some ganks that really put you behind in farm.
Do you really want that kill? KS is kill secured, they say, but it might be bad for your team if you get all the kills. I've lost games where I was playing Trundle because I took too many of the kills, and I didn't give my carry or ap mid the boost he/she needed to snowball the game (if you're wondering, Trundle is not a carry. Though I disagree with him being bad in solo queue, he is mostly a soak/peeler/disrupter. You can build him dps with triforce, but even then he will not have the impact your ap/ad carry has lategame). This goes for any jungle champion, be mindful of whether or not that kill is going to be best on you.
Control, control, CONTROL. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have control. I'm even going to break this up in a few parts:
1) Warding. Look up a guide on where to place wards sometime for starters. You might think you know all about it, but there are definetely some tricks, like specific ward combinations and placement for different parts of the game/covering certain objectives best. Realize you can see how much life a ward has left by clicking on it and checking its 'mana bar'. This way you can plan in a visit to that area when it runs out, so you can keep constant awareness.
2) Control buffs and dragon/baron. Always take timers for dragon and baron. Dragon has a 6 minute respawn timer, baron takes 7 minutes. Just take note of when it died and type that time +6/7 minutes into the chat, so you know when to be around it. If the enemy took it and it wasn't warded, do a recap of when their jungler/bot/mid where gone, and time it within that timeframe. If you take enemy buffs/saw an enemy take their buff/an enemy took your buff, time it. The timer for red/blue is 5 minutes. They are likely to note it soon and time it, and being there with your team ahead of time allows you to control the buff or maybe even pick up a kill on their unsuspecting jungler. Note that the timer doesn't start until the small minions have been killed too.
3) Control the team. If you're an experienced jungler you should have the most map awareness on your team. You know the most about team roaming, when buffs/dragon/baron are up, and where to ward. You should be the one to make calls on dragon or baron, or when mid lane should come gank with you for a secured kill and possibly a tower. Lets face it, laners like to focus on farming. A lot of them will not immediately spot a jungler, even when he walks through a ward. Anytime you see a lane is about to get ganked, ping it for your teammate. If your support is scouting/ward clearing in dangerous areas, stay around or notify the rest of your team she might need help soon. When you're playing a tanky/initiating jungle, walk infront of your team. Lead them to where they need to go. This doesn't just seem like a big responsibility, it IS. But that's jungling, a lot rests on your shoulders.
4) Control the enemy team. Part of this is warding, part of this is anticipation. Know at what times they are likely to group around/attempt to take objectives like baron, and make sure your team is around aswell. Even if they're not around, that means a chance for you to take the objective, which makes up for the time your teammates lost. When you see any of their lanes disappearing, call it if your respective allied laner doesn't. Notify the team when one of the enemy solo laners took down your tower in that lane. Chances are high they'll start roaming around the map to gank. When you see an enemy walk into 'your' territory early game (mostly your jungle), notify your team and surprise him. Know when the enemy team is where and control your team around that, and you'll win teamfights, prevent ganks and ultimately win the game.
Credit where credit is due:
SavageWolves: Reminding me to include lane coverage.
Something I also stress while teaching people to jungle is being opportunistic. This can encompass not only ganking, but covering lanes and counter jungling as well.
I taught myself how to jungle a few weeks after I started playing the game, and it's one of the main things I do. Often the whole farming/harass business just gets boring for me. I like to make plays too much to farm bot for 20 minutes.
One of the best tips I have for new junglers, who commonly don't think of or want to counter-jungle... is this:
Buy 2 wards, and stick them at enemy blue and red buffs when they're going to be up. If it's early game, just do one - you can easily go use smite to steal the enemy jungler's buff and gank him, setting him way back, helping your team, and demoralizing him.
If you are counter jungling enemy small camps, leave one alive in them. The camp won't respawn and this will set him behind a lot.
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