This guide was written especially for those just starting our with their first few games. In it I will give a basic overview on the concept of “Jungling”. I assume that you have played the in-game tutorial, but other than that you should be able to use the concepts in this guide even in your first few games. Let our safari begin!
Where is the jungle?
There are three lanes or roads leading from your base to the enemies base, divided by a river in the middle. In general, all the forested area on the map that is not the river or one of the three lanes is referred to as the jungle.
What is jungling?
Normally players will gain gold and experience by moving along one of the three lanes and killing enemy creeps. Jungling is the term used when a player instead tries to gain gold and experience by killing the neutral creeps in one of the many camps littering the forested “jungle” area of the map.
Advantages to jungling
-Junglers will generally get gold more quickly than other players. This is because a jungler will always get the last hit on a creep (as they are usually fighting alone), and only the player who deals the killing blow to a creep gets that creep’s gold.
-A jungler’s teammates will generally get experience more quickly than the other team. This is because experience is split among two heroes sharing a lane, such that a hero who is alone in a lane (commonly referred to as a ‘solo’ or ‘solo lane’) levels up faster than either of two heroes sharing a lane. Normally there are five heroes splitting the experience from three lanes (2-2-1), however if one hero jungles there are now effectively four heroes splitting the same experience (2-1-1). Just remember that solo lanes mean faster leveling, and a team with a jungler has two solo lanes.
-A jungler’s moves are harder to predict. Because a jungler spends most of his time outside of the enemies field of vision, it is harder for the enemy team to guess where he is or what he is doing at any given time. This makes it easier for a jungler to assist one of his teammates in a surprise attack, or ‘gank’, on an enemy player.
Disadvantages to jungling
-Junglers will generally level up more slowly than other players. This is because those who fight in lanes are frequently nearby dying enemy creeps, and every player near a dying creep gets the experience for that creep. Note, however, that the more experienced the jungler the faster they kill neutral creeps, to the point that some very skilled and efficient junglers have little or no experience disadvantage.
-A jungler’s teammates may find it harder to ‘push’ early on. Remember that a jungler’s team effectively has two ‘solo’ lanes? Well, this can create a situation where there is only one allied hero in a lane with two enemy heroes. While this can be advantageous in that the lone hero levels up faster than the two enemy heroes, the disadvantage is that a lone hero finds it very hard to gain ground, or ‘push’ into enemy territory. Very often in such 1v2 matchups the solo hero will be forced to play defensively, missing out on potential player or tower kills.
-A jungler is less able to help friends in danger. If you have a teammate that is in the same lane as you, they are actively watching your back in case enemy players try to sneak around, push, or attack you. If you are attacked, a jungler teammate will often times be too distracted to notice or too far away to help until it is too late. Experienced junglers try to keep an eye on what is going on in the three lanes while they are killing neutral creeps so they can still help their allies as much as they can to mitigate this weakness.
How to spot a jungler
-The best way to spot a jungler is by their summoner spell selection. If they chose spells that are especially useful against neutral creeps, such as smite, rally, or heal, then they may be a jungler. Smite especially is often a dead giveaway.
-Another clue is their choice of hero. While many heroes can be built to jungle effectively, a player planning on jungling will usually pick a hero with lifesteal or some other ability that confers an advantage against neutral creeps such as Warwick, Nassus, or Amumu. Warwick especially is often a dead giveaway.
-The most sure way of picking out a jungler is by finidng the missing person. If the game has started and you can only see 4 enemy heroes in the lanes, odds are the odd-man out is busy making a rumble in the jungle!
How to play with a jungler
The key to playing with a jungler is defense, patience, and communication!
-Defense: Since you have one less person to help you push lanes or attack players, don’t take too many risks and play defensively. A solo hero that strays too far from a tower is often a dead hero!
-Patience: If you are constantly being pushed back to your tower by two opposing heroes, don’t get frustrated and do something rash. Avoid taking damage, get in whatever pot shots against the enemy heroes as you can, and wait for the time to be ripe for action! Low level heroes have a hard time doing any significant damage to a tower if there is even one hero defending it, nor can they take more than a few hits from a tower in the early game. Trust in your tower!
-Communication: When the enemy heroes are low on life, low on mana, or feeling safe from harm, then is the time to strike! Ask your jungling ally to help you in a surprise counterattack! With timing, coordination, and a little bit of luck, such surprise attacks can be among the deadliest in the game.
How to play against a jungler
If you are playing against a jungler, focus on his playstyle’s weaknesses. His team’s towers will be easier to push so look for opportunities to get two or even three heroes in a lane and push for a tower kill. While he is busy in the jungle you can be double-teaming his allies and overwhelming his base defenses. Don’t go out too far on your own though, especially at low health, as you will be more vulnerable to getting killed (or ‘ganked’) by the enemy team’s jungler. However, consider that the jungling hero is also very vulnerable to YOU. When fighting neutral creeps a jungler may let himself drop to half health or lower, especially in the early game. If you sneak off into the enemy jungle and find a hero preoccupied with creeps and at low health/mana, the hunter has just become the hunted!
How to jungle
There are many well-written guides on playing a jungling hero, which go into far more depth on each individual hero than I will here. I will, however, give a few basic tips to get you started:
-I recommend starting off with Warwick as your first jungling hero. His innate lifesteal ability, as well as his set of abilities focused around the jungling and surprise attack playstyle makes him very well equipped for those new to the playstyle.
-Don’t forget your armor! A higher armor early game can make a significant difference in how much damage you take from the neutral creeps, and the less damage you take the less damage you have to heal or lifesteal back.
-Don’t be afraid to run away! Sometimes as a jungler you will bite off more than you can chew, or maybe a fight just doesn’t go your way. Running back to base to refill on health and potions is a minor setback compared to the pain and humiliation of dying to neutral creeps. When the going gets tough, the jungler gets out!
-Slay the dragon early and often! As a jungler, your job is to slay the dragon (the southern powerful creep in an alcove off the river). Your own skill, hero, level, and item build can all have an effect on how soon you can slay the dragon, but once you are able to you should try to kill him as much as possible. Each time you kill the dragon, your whole team gets a significant experience and gold boost, which contributes a great deal to your team winning the game.
-Potions save lives!: Health potions are rarely recommended items on a hero, but for a jungler they are a great way to boost your early game killing speed by lowering your risk of death and reducing your time spent warping back to base. Since you are jungling, you will be getting above-average gold anyway, so why not spend a little on a lifesaving draught?
Thanks for reading my guide! If you are a new player and have any further questions about anything in LoL please don’t hesitate to send me a message in game and I will try my best to answer correctly. I can also run you through a tutorial game if you want, though I am usually only online late at night.
Also, if you are a more experienced player and have extra tips and hints about jungling or countering a jungler, please leave your comments below