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Welcome to the Jungle

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This thread is for the discussion of jungling and jungle-related matters. I've included a brief beginner's guide to jungling as a public service.


The jungle is a dangerous place, filled with guns, roses, and gank opportunities. Jungling itself is an art, and while art is a matter of expression there are some cardinal rules you must follow:

  1. Know thy champion.
  2. Waste not thy time.
  3. Smite thine objectives straight and true.
  4. When thou holdeth or taxeth a lane, miss not thy last hits.

Breaking these rules is a sin worthy of being cast into the deepest fires of Elo Hell.


[table]Blue | The buff granted by the Ancient Golem.

Blue camp | Refers to the Ancient Golem camp.

Buff camps | The Ancient Golem and Lizard Elder jungle camps.

Camp | A location in the jungle where neutral monsters spawn.

Counter-jungling | Stealing jungle camps from the opposing side of the map, or disrupting the opposing team's jungler.

Gank | Surprise attack on a lane, usually executed by the jungler or a roaming mid lane champion.

Hold | Farming a lane and protecting its tower, typically while its allied laner is away.

Red | The buff granted by the Lizard Elder.

Red camp | Refers to the Lizard Elder camp.

Small camps | The Wolves, Wraiths, and Big Golem jungle camps.


=Jungling 101=


I do not recommend jungling before level 20. Having tier 3 runes and a plethora of mastery points makes an incredible difference in your ability to jungle effectively. It won't take you long to get that far, so enjoy the learning the other aspects of the game first.

==The Jungle==


Credit to LoLWiki for the wonderful image.


For new junglers I recommend Amumu, Jarvan, and/or Nasus. These three champions represent slightly different variations within the same jungle style, which should help bring into focus what your strengths and weaknesses are. It's also good to have several options available, as your preferred champion will sometimes be banned or picked. Amumu and Nasus are also relatively cheap.

Master Yi, Nunu, and Warwick are technically the cheapest junglers. However, Master Yi is a highly contested ban/first pick at the moment, Nunu is an extremely technical counter-jungler, and Warwick is completely useless for ganking before level 6 (which makes him not all that viable).

==The Setup==

Runes are assumed to be tier 3.

Runes: Attack Damage Quints, Attack Damage Marks, Armor Seals, Magic Resistance Glyphs



Place your remaining mastery points based on your champion's role and needs. You'll typically be diving deep into Offense or Defense.

This is just the basic, universal setup. "Optimal" setups will vary wildly based on your champion, both team's compositions, and other conditions.

==The Route==

There are two basic routes you need to know.

The Standard:

For many junglers this route will require assistance from your team.

  1. Start at either the Ancient Golem or Lizard Elder. Do not use Smite.
  2. Run straight to the other buff camp.
  3. Clear the camp, using Smite to last hit to secure the buff.
  4. Look for a lane to gank/hold.

The Extended:

On junglers with weaker clears, or who aren't receiving assistance, this is the preferred route.

  • Start at either the Ancient Golem or Lizard Elder. Use Smite.
  • Clear the three small camps.
  • Clear the remaining buff camp. Smite should be available, use it.
  • Look for a lane to gank/hold.

With experience you'll eventually grow out of fixed routes, but for new junglers they're helpful to give some structure to an otherwise abstract and complicated role.


Ganking is one of the more difficult parts of jungling, particularly for new players. It's an extremely complicated topic with nuances and tricks far beyond what is covered here, but for now approach ganking in the following manner.

  1. Consider your health. Don't gank when you're weak.
  2. Ask the lane about any wards their opponent may have placed.
  3. Avoid any known wards.
  4. Avoid being seen as you enter the lane.
  5. Cut the target off from their escape route as much as possible.
  6. Close in for the kill.

Remember that ganking should be a surprise to your opponents, but not to your allies. Ganking is more than wandering aimlessly into a lane.

=The Meta=

The current meta heavily favors junglers with strong early game presence, with a slight preference for those who transition into tanky initiators later.

The most competitive junglers at the moment are Zac, Jarvan, Elise, Nocturne, and Nasus. Other notable junglers include Master Yi, Amumu, Sejuani, Eve, and Udyr. This is not an exhaustive list.

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On the topic of ganking:

Avoid any known wards.

Avoid being seen as you enter the lane.

People don't look at their wards all the time, especially if they're last hitting or trading with their opponent. So if you know where the ward is (or you've made an educated guess), you can sit outside vision range, and wait until you think they are preoccupied.

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While ganking is more than wandering into a lane, tactical lane wandering can most definitely help your lane get a reprieve from aggressive pushing. If you know it's heavily warded and your side is in trouble, start wandering down so the other team stays back a while (even if it's only because they're trying to lure you into their own gank).

I think I've spoiled myself with my 2 go-to junglers, Zac and Vi. I'm too used to being able to go through walls for others to seem as good to play.

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Jarvan is basically as good at wall hopping as Zac is. and I personally find it easier to land his standard combo than that of Zac's out of the bushes.

Vi, on the other hand, was for a very long time my preferred jungle hero, and she remains really strong even with the nerfs to her W's early damage. I think she is seeing a comeback because she does all the popular things Monty mentioned which the current metagame asks for, she tanks up easily, initiates from a looooonnnnng way away if necessary, and does excellent damage regardless of how you build her. She remains the bruiser that beats all other bruisers, but can no longer out-muscle certain opposing jungle heroes like she used to (Udyr and Nunu can basically ignore her and counterjungle her all game until a teammate assists.

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How do you handle gearing in the jungle? It seems like Ancient Golem is to just to good to pass up on almost every single jungler I play excluding Yi. Excluding the Tenacity and Butcher passive, it has more than a +500 gold value on the stats and the tenacity passive lets you skip Mercury boots and build mobility, CDR, Armor, Movement, etc.

So first off I guess, what are the situations where you don't build golem? Secondly, when do you build it (time frame within the game)?

Using Jarvan as an example since he's one of my favorite junglers I like to build Ancient Golem but I feel like if I start Golem I don't have the damage to ensure ganks. Even landing an eqw combo doesn't seem to guarantee anything without the lane I'm ganking doing damage and it doesn't seem like I can constantly rely upon that. I'm only in gold so maybe that's a problem where I should make more use of a damage dealing jungler or should I delay the golem and just hold on to the machete and build damage early? The problem mainly seems to exist if I'm trying to gank through enemy vision as they make it back to just outside of tower range when I land my knock up.

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Ancient Golem is 100% rushed on tanky junglers who rely on excellent initiation/utility and/or item-independent damage for their usefulness, the prime (but not only) examples being Amumu, Nasus, Sejuani, and Zac. In 99.9% of games the first item on these champions should be Ancient Golem. They're going to be building mostly, if not purely, tanky anyway and there's little reason to ignore such an incredibly cost efficient tank item (that happens to also help you jungle).

There are a number of other junglers who will often rush Ancient Golem first, but not always. Junglers such as Elise, Jarvan, Lee Sin, or Nocturne (again, these are just the prime examples) will want Golem eventually, but will sometimes sit on Spirit Stone for a time while building other items. Depending on their team composition, the success of their ganks, and other factors they may build a cheap damage item first. They have enough innate damage and utility that they don't need to, but if they have an advantage they can buy a damage item to run with it.

Finally, there are a number of junglers who build Ancient Golem first as a last resort. Hecarim, Trundle, Vi, and other junglers like them really need to build a damage item first to be relevant. They can build pure tank and be somewhat useful, but they're not quite as good at it as all the junglers listed previously. If they get a few kills and some lane tax early they'll rush a big ticket damage item (e.g. IBG, BotRK, or BC respectively) and carry the game, but if they'll fail they fall back on Golem and do what they can from there.

I hope that answers your question. Feel free to dig deeper if that was insufficient.

Regarding the Jarvan example specifically, are you maxing Q or E first? Q makes for stronger ganks because it has a lower cooldown and makes your passive, ultimate, and any auto-attacks do more damage through its Armor Reduction, and will also allow your ally to do more damage if they're AD. If you're maxing E first your clear is more mana-efficient, but your ganks suffer. For this reason most Jarvans max Q first, and then max W second for mid-game tankiness.

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At low levels of ranked would you say it's advisable while jungling to pick a champion who can take the kills away from bad players? I just recently started with Hecarim and I'm finding it a lot easier to control who gets kills with him than I was with Zac or Vi. If the lane I'm ganking is good - excellent, they get the kills. If not, I'll more often than not take them (or a portion of them) myself. My KDA (and win ratio) is far better on Heca than it was on any other jungler I've played, though over a smaller number of games so far.

I'm silver 5 and have been in a cycle of getting up points and then losing them all in immense lose streaks, for context.

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It's really hard to tell the difference between "bad" and "having a bad game", so I usually don't intentionally take kills away from lanes. That said, I very rarely intentionally give lanes kills unless I'm 110% certain that the target won't get away.

Basically, if you're worried about "carrying" from the jungle just make sure that the vast majority of your ganks succeed, and be ready to tell the team it's time to push towers/objectives.

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