Jungle Book: The role of the Jungler & What You Should be Doing
Welcome to It’s the Climb, where I will share some knowledge about getting better at League of Legends.
Welcome back, Summoners. Last week we worked on the very basics of warding. I went over what each lane’s role in vision control was at each stage of the game. This week, we’re going to talk about the responsibilities of the Jungler.
Why don’t we start off with the basics of the role of the Jungle? When jungling there are a few things that you are responsible for:
- Objective Control: This is less about towers and more about Dragon and Baron. You have smite and the free time to be checking these things. Keep timers. Dragon spawns at 2:30 and respawns 6 minutes after dying. Baron spawns at 15:00 and respawns 7 minutes after dying.
- Buffs: Whether you’re greedy or like to share, the buffs are your responsibility. Red and Blue buff spawn at 1:55 and respawn 5 minutes after the full camp is cleared.
- Vision: That’s right. I am here to harp on vision control once again. Placing deep wards to track the enemy Jungler, warding Baron and/or Dragon, or placing wards to protect the jungle all fall under your responsibilities as a Jungler. This is just as important as ganking lanes and farming the jungle.
- Ganks and Lane Pressure: You are the team’s libero. Besides getting buffs, placing wards, and farming up in your jungle, you should be making your presence known in lanes. Make an attempt to secure kills or steal a summoner spell. Also, it is perfectly alright to show up to a lane and play zone defense. Especially for your solo laners.
I know I brought this up last week, but this is a point that I really want to drive home. Do you want to make flashy jungle invades? Put up ward coverage in the enemy jungle. Are your jungle senses not finely tuned and you want to know when to counter gank? Ward the river and near buffs to figure out what route the enemy Jungler is taking.
There are reasons why warding is a very important part of the Jungler’s job. One, it frees up your time. With good vision, you can help your laners without necessarily having to constantly counter gank. While counter ganking is good, having to do it on the back foot can prove pretty fatal for you and your team.
Two, vision secures objectives. Dragon is much easier to secure when you are certain the enemy team isn’t coming to contest. Don’t want to get baited at Baron and die from walking into a bush? With the help of your team, vision around Baron in the mid to late game should be easy.
And I can see the counter argument. “I can’t afford wards, I need X item.” Guess what? No item is more important than map vision. I can’t believe there is a moment where you couldn’t afford the 75g on a back to pick up a Stealth Ward. Sorry, I’m not buying it. And neither is your team.
Lastly, vision doesn’t just protect your laners. Vision can help you from having your jungle stolen. Placing even one Stealth Ward at a jungle entrance can protect you from that Lee Sin who is constantly looking to duel you. As a Jungler, be aware that your team won’t always come to help you. So, ward up so that you won’t need their MIAs.
The hardest part of being a Jungler may not be any of the jobs you are responsible for. In fact, the hardest part of being a Jungler is what you “didn’t do.” Unless my team is 22-0 and the enemy Jungler is AFK farming, I have yet to be in a game where a death wasn’t my fault. Doesn’t matter if I was ganking a different lane, on the fountain, or securing Dragon with most of the team. If the enemy Jungler showed up or mid roamed for a gank and the laner died; it was my fault.
This is a scenario that all Junglers face. At times, there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do to appease our team mates. So, what is the solution? Do you run yourself rampant to put out all the fires in every lane? Do you pay the most attention to the lane that is complaining the most in hopes that they stop being toxic? Maybe you should rage back at them and type in all chat about how much of a noob your team is.
None of those are actually real solutions to the problem. Riot created a great feature in the game called Ignore. If you look at the game’s scorecard you will see speech bubbles next to everyone’s name on the far right. Pressing this will allow you to mute that player. You will still receive their pings, but now you don’t have to put up with their toxicity.
Let me be completely honest. There have been games where I had to mute my entire team. And because I could no longer be berated with their toxic banter, I could focus on the game. Guess what happened next? We won. Taking away their ability to berate you allows you to stay off tilt. No tilt equals better plays and decision making which leads to a greater chance of victory.
Speaking of your team mates losing lane remember that you don’t have to help them. For example, your bot lane is losing pretty bad. Your ADC has one kill and three deaths and has like 45cs. Your support has four deaths. On the opposing side, their ADC has five kills and one death and has 100cs. Your bot lane is 2 levels under. They don’t even have level 6. There are two things you can do in this situation.
One, you can make a lane presence gank. This is a little risky. Your laners aren’t going to be able to contribute too much and the only ally you have is your turret. Make sure you have a sweeper and bring Mid lane if you can. Don’t commit fully for a kill. If you’re thinking about ganking bot lane, so is the enemy Jungler. And if your mid laner is coming, so is their’s. The 4v4 math may not be in your favor. Only commit to stealing a summoner spell or two and getting pressure off your bot lane. This could end in your death though, be aware.
Two, ignore bot lane. This is going to sound pretty cruel, but hear me out for a second. The best case scenario is you kill the enemy ADC and that’s if everything goes right. The most likely scenario is you steal a summoner spell. The worst case? Everyone dies. However, if you focus on Mid and Top you’ll be able to snowball other lanes. Sometimes a lane is a lost cause and your presence isn’t going to do much but get you killed or make you fall behind along with that lane.
Remember you are not a ganking machine. This a lesson I have had to learn the hard way. There are games I fell terribly behind the enemy Jungler because I responded to every ping for help. Then I would look at my CS and my items and go, “hmm, this doesn’t seem right.” This isn’t to say AFK farm the jungle, I am just saying you need CS and gold for items too. Which brings me to my next point.
You are not Trick2G. You will not be “Opening the Gates” any time soon. Please stop trying. There are a few issues I have with Phoenix Udyr MadStone build. The first, is the amount of early farm focus. The second, is that one of the reasons it works so well for Trick is his synergy with SirhcEz to allow him to coordinate ganks in the top lane. Also, Trick and SirhcEz play in Diamond ELO. Their laners can be trusted to handle themselves in lanes. If you’re trying this in Bronze, know this, you are destined to fail. This is your friendly PSA from an enemy Jungler and team mate tired of your shit.
This last bit of information will have to do with everyone’s favorite purple worm hydra thing, Baron Nashor.
This Guy. This guy right above here. He does not equal you win the game. In fact, he can and will lose you the game. You don’t have to be a member of Dignitas to know that sometimes Baron is just a terrible idea. Remember all that text space I spent on proper warding? Remember how I put a special emphasis on how Support, Top, Mid, and Jungle should all take part in vision of control of Baron? Well, there are two things that happen when your team says they have vision on Baron.
One, your team places one single solitary Vision Ward near the pit. No one has swept in any bushes. Someone placed a ward over the wall. This, is your team’s vision plan for Baron and they are now pinging like mad for you to come and secure it. Okay, this could work. If there is all five of you there and it is late enough in the game, your team has a decent chance of bursting Baron down before the enemy team has a chance to react. But here is what will happen most of the time.
The enemy team will show up when Baron is at about 50% health. Your team will panic. You will call off the Baron attempt and ask your team to either bail or team fight. One of your team mates will commit to Baron, another will run like there is no tomorrow, someone is going to carpe diem into the enemy team and die, and you and the support are going to be screwed. Oh, and the enemy team? They got three or so kills, maybe one death, and Baron buff.
Two, your team has a Vision Ward in the pit and another one in a bush. Someone has swept the bush behind Red buff to check for wards while placing one there as well as by wraiths. Someone else has warded the river entrance from Mid lane. You start Baron. If the enemy team begins to show up, you see them from a mile away. Your team gets to make the calculated decision to either burst Baron down and leave or cancel Baron and either leave or go for the surprise team fight.
There is a good chance you can get a pick with your vision control around the pit. And even if one or two of you die, the fight should have been in your favor and your team should still be able to secure Baron even if you died. This may seem somewhat fanciful, but considering this is how all of my non-ace Baron secures have succeeded I am going to assume something about this scenario is correct. While this statement isn’t always true, if it works in the LCS it’s probably going to work for you.
I’ll admit it. Jungling is not always fun. It’s a hard thankless job. You’ll get blamed a lot. You’ll get counter jungled and no one is going to come help you. But remember, it is the power of the Jungler to help turn a game around right out of the gates.
Last, but certainly not least, when it comes to gaining ELO remember this: