Struggling to learn how to play jungle in LoL? Here is everything you need to know about the most unique role of the game.
The Ultimate LoL Jungle Guide – From Basics to Advanced
If you have just started playing LoL, be aware that the learning process can be troublesome and discouraging. There is an incredible amount of things that you have to know, even to just start playing the game, and it will definitely feel overwhelming at first.
That being said, this is why we got you covered. We will be going over everything you need to know about the jungle and how to become a great jungler that can style on others and have the enemies type “jungle diff” in chat.
Please remember that the jungle undergoes a lot of changes and that Riot Games loves to change things up from time to time to make the gameplay more refreshing for us. Luckily for you, I’m a jungle main myself so I’ll make sure this jungle guide will always be up-to-date.
Now that we made some premises, let’s go over the basics of the jungle and the most fundamental things you need to know about the jungle.
What is the jungle in LoL?
Jungle is a section of the map that connects the three lanes on Summoner’s Rift. A jungler, compared to the traditional lanes, obtains gold and experience by slaying the monsters that spawn and respawn in predetermined locations on the map. By doing so, his laners are able to obtain more experience and gold while the jungler moves around the map.
How is the jungle divided?
Based on the current version of the game, there are 16 different monster camps on the map: blue- and red-side jungle areas have an equal area and there are two non-boss monsters.
The jungle is effectively symmetrical around the center of the map, and they are divided by the River. The non-symmetrical elements on the map are the neutral objectives such as Dragon, Rift Herald, and Baron Nashor. The former spawns in the alcove situated on the bot side of the map while the other two are in the top part.
What does the jungler do in the game?
The jungler is the one who usually clears the monsters in the jungle and performs multiple tasks around the map. By moving around the entirety of the map through the jungle, the player is responsible to help his teammates and perform ganks, which are unexpected attacks on the enemy laners. They are usually a great way to help snowball a lane and give kills and assists to other teammates so they have more resources to win the game.
But this is not the only thing the jungler does. Another vital task for junglers, especially in coordinated play, is securing the neutral objectives we mentioned earlier. Since epic monsters like Dragon, Baron Nashor, and Rift Herald provide team-wide buffs (temporary or permanent), the junglers need to make sure their own team can secure as many objectives as possible. Thanks to the Summoner spell Smite, which is unique to the junglers, they have a great execution button and secure it.
While these two are the most common tasks junglers perform, there are also other occasional things they can do depending on the game state. They can provide extra vision control for lanes or hold and freeze minion waves so that their laners don’t bleed out resources.
Overall, it’s a complicated role that requires a good level of coordination with the laners and a strong understanding of the game, especially the macro game. Understanding what the win conditions are and how the game should be played based on the team composition are vital elements to becoming a strong jungler. Not to mention you need strong mechanics to be able to pull off ganks and plays whenever needed.
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Types of jungle monsters in LoL
We mentioned how monsters are essentially the way junglers farm gold and experience. Unlike minions, monsters are neutral, meaning that they do not fight for either team, and they will only attack a unit if they are attacked.
The monsters’ level is based on the average champion level of both teams in the game. As their level increases, so does their bounty (gold and experience), but also their damage and resistances. Junglers have a special item (which we will see later) that allows them to fight camps more easily and give out more gold and experience so that laners cannot abuse and take camps.
Monsters will chase after the target that is attacking them but only until a certain point. They have a patience bar above each monster’s health bar which basically indicates how far they can chase you. If the patience bar is emptied, all the camp’s monsters will stop fighting and walk back to their camp, quickly regenerating health and patience, while also ignoring any damage originating from outside their leash range. They cannot re-engage before some patience has been regenerated. Additionally, if the monsters move extremely far away from their camp, they will instantly run back to their designated location, rapidly regenerating health; in this case, they will not re-engage until their health and patience are both restored to full. The monsters with a visible patience bar are:
- Blue Sentinel also known as Blue buff
- Red Brambleback also known as Red buff
There is one monster that doesn’t attack champions and it’s the Rift Scuttler, which can be found in the middle of the two rivers. He only runs away from the source that attacks him. Dragons and Rift Herald do have a patience bar and can reset if the limit is exceeded. Baron Nashor, instead, doesn’t move in the alcove (pit).
The location of monster camps can be seen on the mini-map. If a camp is killed on ally vision, their camp marker will disappear from the map until they respawn. Certain camps have timers that will display on the map when they are close to respawning. A camp that is killed outside of ally vision will not update its status until vision of its location has been gained. That said, Dragon, Rift Herald, Nashor, and Scuttle Crab’s respawn timers will always be visible to all players.
Be aware that the respawn timers on the camps do not begin to count down until all monsters in the camp have been killed or disappear.
How often do monsters respawn?
Depending on the type of monster, each one has a unique respawn timer once it’s killed. The first jungle monsters all spawn at 01:30, with the exception of Krugs and Gromp, which spawn at 01:40. Below are the respawn timers of each type of camp:
- Krugs – 2:15
- Gromp – 2:15
- Raptors – 2:15
- Wolves – 2:15
- Blue Sentinel also known as Blue buff – 5:00
- Red Brambleback also known as Red buff – 5:00
The first dragon spawns at 5 minutes and respawns exactly 5 minutes after every time he’s killed until a team obtains 4 dragons. Baron Nashor and Rift Herald, instead, respawn every six minutes. In particular, the first Rift Herald spawns at 8 minutes while Baron enters Summoner’s Rift at the 20-minute mark.
N.B: Scuttle crabs spawn at 3:30 on both sides of the river initially. After both are killed, a scuttle crab respawns every 2:30 on one side of the map only (chosen randomly) by the system.
How to play Jungle in LoL – the fundamentals
Now that we’ve gone over the theoretical part of the jungle, it’s time to explain how a jungler should initially learn the role. While we did mention the different tasks a player should do in-game, it’s something that only the best players in the game can do. Considering you might be just starting out, here are the best tips and pieces of advice to get better at jungling.
Learn how to farm camps
This is the most important thing you should master as a jungler. Farming camps is not just about killing it but making sure you do it in the fastest way possible while maintaining the highest amount of health possible. You need to be close to full life when performing ganks so you don’t risk dying and giving out free kills.
Each champion has its own unique way of farming camps efficiently. Since it differs from champion to champion, we recommend watching videos of the strongest junglers on each pick and seeing how they use their abilities and optimize their time when clearing monsters. Most players will kite the camps close to the next one so they can reduce the time of travel when moving from one to the other.
Know the different pathings
Clearing the jungle can be done in many different ways and pathing is usually referred to as the order (and thus the movement) of the farmed camps. Below we will leave the most common and effective jungle clears:
- Full Clear – you clear all the camps on your side of the map, starting from either Blue or Red buff and clearing all six monster camps, one after the other
- Level three Double buff – you get both buffs + one camp (usually Gromp) to get level three and gank
- Full Blue or Full Red – it’s essentially only a full clear of one side of the map. It allows you to get level three the fastest way so you can gank.
- Vertical – Instead of farming horizontally, you split the map vertically and farm the monster camps on one side of the enemy jungle. This is an advanced clear and it can be risky since you are vulnerable to ambushes.
To start off, we recommend mastering Full Clear and any three-camp clear so you can start ganking the lanes. Understand how long it takes a champion to farm based on the different pathings and try to optimize it in the best way possible.
How to perform a gank
Ganks are plays that you make on the lanes so that you can punish the enemies or give an advantage to your own team. Whether it’s a kill or letting your teammates get a health advantage over the opponents, or even burning the enemies’ summoner spells, you want to get a net-positive lead once the action is over.
While there are many ways to perform a gank, the common way is to gank lanes that have overextending enemies and good gank potential. Whenever we speak of gank potential, we refer to the tools the team has relative to the opponent. Ideally, you want to have good crowd controls and summoner spells, and the enemies in a position where you know you can engage so that even slippery opponents can be caught. You will find a specific page about how to make the best ganks possible.
Additional tips to master the jungle in LoL
Use Practice Tool to master the clears
The Practice Tool was created specifically to train particular mechanics and jungle clearing is definitely one of the. It provides players with a safe and controllable environment and it can be quickly repeated time and time again.
As a beginner jungler, you should focus on getting used to fighting each unique camp of monsters and navigating to the next one. After clearing the entire jungle once, the player can then reset the game using the Practice Tool UI to go again immediately. Try to remember exactly what you have done in each clear and how that impacted the clear time overall.
Learn which Jungle Companion is best in each game
Jungle Companions are the newest addition of the season. They are little pets that help junglers farm the camps and will attack enemy champions.
That being said, there are three different types of companions, each with distinctive characteristics. While all of them are viable on each unique jungle champion, picking the most effective jungle companion can be game-changing. Below are the three different types that you pick up:
To give a broad idea of which companion you should pick for each game, here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Blue smite – build it on assassins and champions that want to quickly move on the map and get backline access
- Green smite – most bruisers and tanks, and whenever you’re facing team compositions with heavy crowd control
- Red smite – built on damage carries and champions that want to hard invade and fight
Play easy and utility-based jungle champions
Since mastering the role takes a lot of time and practice, it’s recommended to start playing easy champions with simple mechanics and that facilitate some of the fundamentals of the jungle. Champions like Zac, Warwick, Amumu, Sejuani are some of the best examples. They are tanks with forgiving mechanics and excel at pulling off ganks even if it’s not perfectly executed. Avoid mechanically difficult champions like Lee Sin and Kindred or you’ll probably be destroyed by the enemy team.
Watch and get accustomed to the Spawn Timers
Jungle is all about time management and maximizing the number of actions in the shortest amount of time possible. By consistently tracking the spawn timers, you can predict and choose a pathing so that you can clear the jungle camps as soon as they spawn, improving your overall economy. To track the spawn timers, press TAB and watch the icons on the minimap to know which camps are going to spawn soon.
Understand win condition and gank the right lanes
Even though players can freely decide which lanes to gank, the best players are always able to play around the right lanes and make sure their own teammates will get a lead no matter what happens. You want to assess your role in the team and play around the right lanes.
Now that the game is highly bot-centric, playing around bot lane is usually the right play: get your ADCs ahead and he’ll probably take over later in the game.
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Pay attention to vision control when ganking
The best ganks are the ones that the enemies cannot expect so make sure to get as much information as possible on where the vision might be. Use the Oracle lens and control wards to know whether you’re walking through a warded area whenever you’re about to perform a gank. If you don’t know whether the enemies have warded or not, it’s recommended to ask your laners so that you can plan out your gank path.
Cross mapping is a great way to counter the enemy play
This is a concept that usually exists at the highest levels of play: cross-map. Just like the term suggests, it consists in making a reactive play on the opposite side of the map to where the enemy jungler is. If he’s the top side, you make a bot lane play and vice-versa.
Since you are certain that he won’t be able to make a counter play to your cross-map. you’re likely going to have a numerical advantage and end up with an even or positive trade.
That being said, a cross-map doesn’t have to consist in ganking a lane: you can also take neutral objectives like Dragons, and considering they are team-wide buffs, it can be beneficial for all players on the map.
Take Lane Farm When Nobody Else Can
Even though monsters are the units you should be farming, this doesn’t prevent you from getting minions if no one else is able to get them. Rather than wasting those resources, it’s better to just allocate them to yourself.
If you happen to be close to a big minion wave and no other ally can catch it, make sure to walk up and grab at least the experience. Don’t farm too many minions, though, or you’ll get the debuff that reduces the gold earned from minions. Remember that you can also help your laners by managing the minions for them so they get into a more comfortable situation.
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Switch up the starting side of the jungle
Most junglers will usually start on the bot side of the map and while that is a simple yet effective start, there might be times when you want to start from the top side. This is usually done when you want to path toward the bot lane for an early gank.
Despite having a potentially weaker leash, you can allow your bot lane to get early lane priority and have them dictate the flow of the laning phase. Moreover, you can also make early ganks on the top lane or mid lane so you will have a lot of freedom in what you want to do.
Don’t Gank Losing Lanes
Just like the title suggests, it’s not worth ganking a losing lane since your ally is probably not going to magically win the matchup even if you show up in his lane. It can also lead to your opponent getting a double kill, which is something that can really swing things in the enemy’s favor.
That being said, this also doesn’t mean that you have to completely disregard him. Sometimes you can just fake a gank to ease off some of the enemy’s pressure and allow him to farm a bit. Don’t waste too much time on that, though, and try to get a lead elsewhere on the map.
Play on mute if teammates are being negative
Due to its ability to move constantly across the whole map, jungle is usually considered the most impactful role in LoL, especially in the early game. Unfortunately, having such power comes with incredible responsibilities and expectations coming from your laners, which might expect you to outright win on all your lanes.
If things go south and they start to be toxic and have negative behavior, mute them and focus on your own gameplay. Don’t mind what they say or do, and try to do your best to win the game. Riot Games now gives different options on how to mute the players. I would always recommend switching off chat when it’s not helpful, and pings if your allies are spamming too much.
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