Jungling has always been a problem for a lot of League of Legends players with some players avoiding it entirely. Why? Because it’s so completely different from every other role in the game and if you’re a bad jungler then your team will definitely feel it. It’s a hard role, much like support, and it’s one which you generally don’t get a lot of praise for. If you’re good, then no one will care, if you’re great then prepared to get flamed by everyone on your team. Especially the ADC.
If jungling was an issue for you before then now, with all of the pre-season patches, prepare for trouble with the latest changes. The problem with the newest jungle is that it forces the player into a very specific type of play. This in itself is an odd move for Riot, a company who seems very focused on letting players explore and expand in their gameplay. In the last season you could gank, get your team some kills, heal up and then gank a few more times. After the pre-season patches it’s a very different story.
If you remain gank focused in this patch then you’ll have issues in the jungle. Instead you need to constantly keep farming and keep getting gold whilst also attempting to gank your allies lane. If you stop farming then you’ll get behind incredibly quickly and it’ll definitely impact your mid game as you’ll be a small ant compared to the enemy jungler who will be a giant beetle. Managing the two, the jungle and your ganks, is an issue and requires a complete change in thought process. That’s why I’m here to help!
Think of the jungle and ganking as two different resources. The jungle, and the creeps inside the jungle, is a resource which constantly grows and it’s up to you to trim it down and reduce it in size. Think of it as a hedge. If you let it get to big then it’s going to be uncontrollable and ugly however if you keep trimming it then it’ll be small and useless. You need to keep the jungle down to a sustainable point. Items which can help with your management of the jungle are the three items made specifically for the jungler: the Spirit of the Ancient Golem, Spirit of the Elder Lizard, Spirit of the Spectral Wraith.
All of these three spirit items have a unique passive called conservation. Conservation builds up gold every 1.5 seconds up to a cap of 80. Whenever a large monster is killed, up to 40 of those stacks will be consumed and will grant 1 bonus gold per each stack. So if I have 20 stacks of conservation and I kill a large monster then that will grant me 20 extra gold. The conservation passive is what we can use to indicate the resource of the jungle and determine whether we need to trim the jungle’s hedges or just leave it and let it grow.
It boils down to is this: conservation should never be at 80 stacks. If it is then you need to immediately go kill some large monsters. Don’t even let conservation get to the point of 80 stacks. A good way to do to this is to farm a big creep and then go gank an allied lane.
If you haven’t realized there are two issues with this way of thinking.
The first is that sometimes an allied lane immediately needs a gank. For example, mid lane is getting ganked by the enemy jungler and the enemy mid laner is moving into stun and finish him off. If you’re at wraith camp and you think you have a chance of saving your allied mid laner and killing the enemy champions then you need to immediately go to mid lane. Let’s say you go to mid lane and you save your ally and maybe even get a kill but you’re left with 100hp. You now need to port back and heal up. Now let’s say bottom lane is in need of a gank so you go there and help out but once again you’re left with little to no HP and are required to port back. You can already see the cycle, can’t you? You still have 80 stacks of conservation after five minutes of ganking and you will be behind in experience and gold.
Now ganking 24/7 isn’t a bad strategy it’s just that it requires your team mates to be able to capitalize on your ganks and win their lanes and then the game, something which not a lot of players can do in soloQ. If you have a team that is smart then ganking them and being behind in experience won’t be an issue as they’ll be able to carry you mid game whilst you catch up. The thing is, you’re lucky if you find a team like that.
It’s also important to note that as a jungler you should be focusing on top and mid more, unless bot lane has a Jinx, Lucian or Vayne, due to the bot lane’s weaker impact in the game (If you want to read a more in-depth article about botlane, you should click here).
The second issue is that one of the three jungle items will set you back by 2000 gold so it’s going to be nearly ten minutes in (if you’re lucky) before you even get access to the conservation passive. If that’s the case then how do you manage the jungle before then?
A good clear is to start at Blue buff, then go Wolves, Wraiths, Red and then gank mid. After this jungle clear you’ll be halfway through level 3 and should have enough hp to gank. If your gank fails, or succeeds then keep killing the creeps in the jungle until you see an opening in an allied lane. If you can’t gank any lanes, because your allies are pushing too much then don’t worry and just keep farming your jungle. If you really want to gank a lane, then tell the player in that lane that you’ll be ganking soon so that she can be prepared for your gank. Try to aim to do one gank per 1-2 minutes, and keep jungling in-between then. Speaking of ganks let’s talk about the resource that is ganking.
Think of ganking as an empty dining table. Whenever you successful gank you put a biscuit on the table which a team mate then promptly eats. If you fail a gank, and die, then a small chunk of the table falls away. The more ganks you fail, then more of the table falls off meaning that you have less space to put biscuits on it which means that even if you do succeed with a gank eventually there will be no more space to put a biscuit.
Okay, maybe that seems a little confusing. Basically if you fail loads of ganks then it won’t matter if you pull off a successful gank later on because your allies will be so far behind that they won’t benefit from them. If you succeed at ganking their lanes early on then it will give your team a bigger impact.
With this in mind then, it’s best to ensure that your ganks are properly timed and that they will be successful. There’s no point in ganking a lane just for the sake of it, make sure you really think about how you’re ganking and when you’re ganking otherwise you’ll just waste time and the jungle resource will just grow more and more out of control and you’ll become a bigger and bigger detriment to your team.
Balancing these resources is hard. You need to feed your team however you also need to trim your jungle. It’s a problem which a lot of players suffer with. I’d say the best way to keep on top is to think of farming the jungle as your main purpose with ganking being your secondary goal. This way you’ll focus more farming and becoming strong during the mid game whilst also making sure you’re ganking enough to help out your team.
Even if you’ve nailed down this new ganking pattern then there is the problem of which jungler to choose. For the time being I’ll make two suggestions: Amumu and Malphite.
Amumu is easy because you just need to max your W and then auto-attack monsters to clear the jungle. When it comes to mid game, time your ultimate (which is a 2 second AoE stun) properly and get the enemy ADC inside and you’ll be set. Malphite is much the same, max out your E (which deals AoE damage) and then gank with your ultimate. I hope this week’s column helped anyone who’s struggling with the new jungle.
Oh and if you really liked this article, you can always check out my other one where I talk about the new season 4 ranking system!Related: Guides, Jungling, MMO, MMOGames