Age’s League of Legends Basics Guide: Part 8 – How To Jungle (Season 3)
A guide on how to clear camps, secure buffs, gank, counter jungle & support the lanes!
This is it! The last piece of the LoL guide series! If you missed the other sections be sure to check them out, you may find something useful in them! Now, you’re probably wondering “Why should I learn how to jungle?”. Well I’ll break it down for you:
- You have to learn every role – It doesn’t matter how good you are in one role, you need to learn how to play fairly decently in every lane. You don’t have to be amazing at every role, your team in most cases should help make up for that.
- You will eventually have to play as a jungler – As I’ve said in the other role guides, it will eventually happen. Better to learn it soon and be fairly decent then be crap because you’ve never tried it. And you should learn to be fairly decent at it because it is the 2nd most unforgiving role (the first being support) due to laners complaining about no ganks or missing smite.
- Learn how to time objectives – The blue buffs, red buffs, and Dragon are all objectives you want to keep an eye on in the early game with towers and Baron as the objectives for mid to late game.
Popular Jungler Oriented Items
These items are chosen based on the standard off tank jungler champions. For Ability Power or Attack Damage recommended items for more carry oriented junglers, you can check my Solo Mid and Marksman guides respectably for ideas. Here are some standard Jungler items that’d you’d want to consider. From left to right, these items are:
- Hunter’s Machete – An item that lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks.
- Spirit of the Ancient Golem – An item that gives the champion health, health and mana regen, cooldown and tenacity. In addition it lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks.
- Spirit of the Elder Lizard – An item that gives the champion attack damage, health and mana regen, cooldown, and burn damage over a short period with basic attacks and spells. In addition it lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks.
- Spirit of the Spectral Wraith – An item that gives the champion ability power, mana regen, cooldown, and spell vamp. In addition it lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks and reduces that cooldown on Smite.
- Wriggle’s Lantern – Gives the champion armor, attack damage, life steal, and the ability to place a regular ward that will go on cooldown for 3 minutes. In addition it lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks.
- Mercury Threads – Gives the champion magic resist, movement speed and tenacity.
- Locket of the Iron Solari – Gives the champion health, armor, cooldown reduction, an aura that gives ally champions magic resist and health regen and when activated, gives surrounding ally champions a shield based on the champion’s level.
- Spirit Visage – Gives the champion health, magic resist, cooldown reduction, health regen and increases the rate of self healing, health regen, lifesteal and spell vamp.
- Liandry’s Torment – An item that gives the champion ability power, health, magic penetration and does extra damage over time for a short duration on an enemy champion that you cast a spell on.
Summoner Skills are pretty much are Flash and Smite to stay safe and secure buffs. Sometimes I’ll use Ghost instead of Flash. Also, the jungler should always, and I mean ALWAYS have Smite. It is essentially your job to secure buffs especially Dragon and Baron. You don’t want to be the one your team gets pissed at because they lost Baron because you didn’t have Smite.
Runes And Masteries
Ok there are quite a few setups for jungling depending on a champions base movement speed and damage but here’s 3 setups I usually use. Feel free to use those as a base in order to make your own Jungler setups that you feel comfortable with. Masteries come into 3 different parts which I’ll cover in a bit. Note that all 3 masteries have the Summoner’s Resolve (top left in defense tree). Also, I take more armor than magic resist in the defense tree to mitigate damage while taking damage from monsters in the jungle camps.
For my runes it could vary depending on the champion but I pretty much use Flat Armor Seals and Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs to mitigate damage and Flat Attack Damage Marks and Quintessences for damage. Sometimes I might swap the marks out for Flat Armor Penetration ones or the Quintessences for Movement Speed or Life Steal ones if I need them.
The first of the masteries is the Tank Masteries which are 0/21/9 focusing on massive defense, movement speed and buff duration. Pretty much a tank for the team.
Second set is the Magic Masteries which are 13/17/0 focusing on magic damage and defense. Carry oriented but a bit tanky for jungle clearing and ganking early.
Third set is the Attack Damage Masteries which are 21/9/0 focusing on tons of damage and some defense. More carry oriented and depends on damage for fast clearing.
In the beginning, you’ll usually want to start out with Hunter’s Machete and 5 health potions. In the early stages of the game, the jungler farms the camps and you should learn how to time the buff camps to know when they’re back up. Here are the times you’ll need throughout the game:
- Ancient Golem (Blue Buff) – 1st spawns at 1:55, respawns every 5 minutes after death
- Elder Lizer (Red Buff) – 1st spawns at 1:55, respawns every 5 minutes after death
- Dragon – 1st spawns at 2:30, respawns every 6 minutes after death
- Baron – 1st spawns at 15:00, respawns every 7 minutes after death
For clearing camps, usually (if there’s no Level 1 invasions), you’ll want to start at Ancient Golem for a good supply of mana and work your way through the camps up to Double Golems. Clear other camps as they come up. You should be earliest around level 4 to gank however there are some champions that could pull off level 2 ganks. If you’re on a manaless champion, starting at Elder Lizard would be a better option because you’re not mana dependent.
When your jungle buffs (aka red and blue buffs) are back up the 2nd time around, you can consider donating them. Which means you give another champion one of your jungle buffs. Don’t donate a buff to laners that aren’t doing well because then the buff will transfer onto the enemy laner and then it’ll just get worse for that lane.
Usually blue buff is donated the 2nd time around to the mid laner (if they need it) and red buff to the Marksman when they can get time to get it. Of course if you’re on a really mana dependent jungle champion or behind in level, you might need your buffs till you build a good mana regen item or you’ve caught up.
Around the 7 – 10 minute mark is usually a good time for Dragon, be sure to have your Smite skill ready. Usually you’d want to gank bot to make sure the bot lane doesn’t interfere with you getting dragon. It is also why most junglers tend to camp bottom lane in the early phase of the game; to protect the dragon.
Baron is a good time around mid or late game when you’ve done one of the following:
- Aced the enemy team
- Taken down a high priority champions so that the enemy team can’t engage you while you take Baron
- If the enemy team is stuck in the base and you have no objectives to take
Try to visually analyse the DPS that’s going down on the Dragon / Baron and check the damage your Smite does (Smite’s damage increases per level). When the Dragon/Baron gets to or less than that health immediately smite to secure the Dragon/Baron. Getting it just right takes practice and you could accidentally pre-smite and miss so you could practice smiting Dragon/Baron in bot matches.
At some point in the game you should gank. However there are good times and bad times to gank.
Good times to gank:
- When the enemy lane is pushed up to your tower
- When you have a good amount of health/mana
- When the enemy lane is near or on you side of the river with no wards
Bad times to gank are the opposite of the above:
- When your laner is pushed to the tower
- When your low on health/mana
- When your lane is pushed up to the enemy tower with wards (consider sticking around said lane if they do not have wards)
When you can’t find good times to gank, you should farm your jungle. If all your lanes are pushed up and warded for safety, you can counter jungle. Counter jungling is when you go into the enemy jungle and steal camps from them in order to slow down the enemy jungler from farming. Note that you’ll have to be careful not to get noticed or have vision on the enemy jungler to counter jungle successfully
At some point, you may consider diving an enemy champion to get a kill. Like in my Solo Top guide, you’ll want to think about the following:
- Do I have enough health?
- Do I have enough mana (if you’re on a mana based jungler)?
- Do I have my skills off cooldown?
- Do I have an out?
- Where is the enemy team at the moment?
- Do I have a minions wave when I’m diving?
- How many turret shots can I take?
- Can anyone follow me up?
Essentially you want to dive and get out alive. If there’s a chance of you or your laner dying, don’t do it. When the jungler dies, it relieves a lot of pressure for the enemy laners because they know you, the jungler, the one who comes out of nowhere to ruin their day, is dead. So they have free reign on your lane for a little while which could lead to one of your towers dying. You can practice jungling and ganking in bot matches to help you get use to it.
When you gank a lane successfully (aka kill the enemy laner), there’s this thing called minion tax. This is where you take a few minions that are around from the laner in order to “pay” for the gank. In other words, you are taking some minions in order to keep up in farming since you have to move and position yourself for the gank and you may have to wait in a brush to make the gank happen. You don’t take an entire minion wave, just a few minions then get back into the jungle. However, you can take a wave if the lane is empty of champions.
Ganking Lanes & Invading
I guessing you might need a bit of help with jungling and invading paths so… here’s a picture!
I’d make it so I can just capture mostly the river because that’s all you really need… but… I’m lazy.
Anyways! The blue arrows signify the route jungling on the blue team can take, purple arrows are for routes the jungler on the purple team can take. Red arrows signify routes either team’s jungler can take. Note that these arrows are gank routes. They’re meant for ganks, not for supporting the lane if it gets pushed to tower for example.
These gank routes are meant to have the element of surprise (unless the area is warded) and a way to close the gap so that you can CC and or damage the enemy laner. So it should result into the enemy laner at the very minimum taking damage, decent gank if their summoner skills (ex Flash) were used to escape. Of course if you kill them it’s great. If they used summoner skills in either case it means that they’re vulnerable for another gank a bit later that will probably result in a kill. Note that Flash has a cooldown of 5 minutes or 4:45 if they have the Flash cooldown mastery, so you may want to consider ganking that lane again in the next 4 minutes.
The yellow arrows are the invasion routes. Basically you invade and retreat from and to the river. Try to be quick if you’re stealing blue/red buff and you don’t know where the jungler is. Again, invade when all your lanes are doing well, can steal buffs or some camp minions quickly, or if you can 2v1 with an ally in the jungle.
“Help, I need a gank!”
If you play as a jungler, from time to time, you see this. Hell, you might get called out in chat for not ganking right away. Just ignore the hate and try to gank as best as you can and when you can. Note that if the lane pushes out too far without warding vs the enemy jungler and you’re not around to support, they’re at fault. They’re taking a risk. So it’s not your fault in anyway.
So those are the general guidelines on how to play as a Jungler. Essentially you can be a tanky jungler or a carry jungler. Keeping buff safe and securing objective are your main goals. Of course, if an enemy lane is getting out of had, you gotta go show em who’s boss. As always, feel free to comment below or hit me up on twitter if you have anything to say about the guide. Have fun on the Fields of Justice!