The jungler in League of Legends has one of the most unique roles in the game. They spend most of the their time tucked away in the foliage between the three main lanes of Summoner's Rift, fighting neutral monsters, gathering buffs and looking for ways to flank the opposing team.
How to play jungler in the early game
In the early game as jungler, you’ll be focused on completing your chosen jungle route. Before minions have spawned, though, make sure you and your allies are providing vision in the area around your chosen starting camp in case your opponents try to invade. Also, try to get your allies to leash for you. All this requires is them to land the first attack on a monster and then flee. This will give you a few seconds where the creature will try to chase after them and save you a few hits.
Once your route is underway, constantly glance across the map and into every lane to see if any opportunities are developing for ganks. Unless a standout chance arises, you’ll want to wait until you’ve finished a full route including both buffs before you try a gank yourself. Top and mid lane are your ideal targets, though you can try bot if you see something brewing. If you’re on low health, though, don’t be afraid to back to the fountain or clear more of the jungle – that’s better than forcing something and getting yourself killed unnecessarily.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for the enemy jungler. That could give you clues as to where he or she is looking for ganks or open up opportunities for you to invade their side of the map.
How to play jungler in the mid game
Continuing looking for the best lanes to gank. Staying nearby to a single lane, or ‘camping’, is a viable strategy if one teammate is falling behind or you think you can snowball a lane even further. Just make sure you don’t make it obvious and don’t stick around in a single location for too long if it doesn’t look like a gank is going to develop – your time can be spent better elsewhere.
Don’t neglect the neutral camps that are respawning in your jungle as they’ll continue to provide you with vital gold and experience. When the Blue Sentinel pops up again, look to gain the attention of your mid lane ally and they’ll be grateful if you allow them to take the blue buff instead of you to give them more mana regen in lane. Keep red buff for yourself, at least for now.
How to play jungler in the late game
Farming the jungle becomes less of an important task at this stage of the game. You’ll definitely want to take out camps as and when you have a spare moment, but your priority should be on the blue and red buffs. Ensure you’re getting them to the champions who will get the most out of them and always look to steal your opponent’s if you’re in a position to do so safely.
Other neutral objectives become even more important at this stage of the match too. You’ll be looking at Elder Dragon and Baron Nashor by now, so ensure they’re kept warded and be ready to make a move on them if you win a team fight or see your opponents split on the other side of the map.
General jungler tips
These are a few tips and tricks every jungler should know to improve their game:
Learn your route: It doesn’t matter if you just pick one and stick with it while you’re a beginner, but you must have a jungle route in mind when you start the game. Time wasted choosing which way to go means your opponent will be getting further and further ahead. At higher levels of play, though, be prepared to adapt or respond to invades. When you’re feeling brave, try an invade or two yourself!
Gank, gank, gank: The biggest impact you can have on a game is successfully ganking a lane. It’ll make your allies happy and put them further ahead in the lane matchup. Remember, look for low health targets and anyone who has pushed in close to your towers. Don’t stick around in a single lane too long, though, as you risk wasting time.
Ward important buffs and boss creatures as you undertake your route, to ensure your opponents aren’t able to take them for free. Find the right time to claim them for yourself too. Say, for example, you’ve just wiped out your opponents in bot lane with a gank, now’s a good time for your team to look for a Dragon.
The Summoner Spell, Smite, is a vital part of your kit. It’s a huge chunk of damage that you should save to kill off the tougher creatures so they aren’t stolen from you. Make sure the spell is up when fighting Dragon or Baron Nashor too. If you can steal either of these two from your opponent using it, you’ll be a hero!
Repeatedly glance at the map, especially as you move between camps. You’re extremely well-position to call out potential dangers to your team they may miss or react to them if you’re close.
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