So, you've played some LoL on the Rift and you've noticed there's four people on your team in the lanes, but there's five people in total. Who is that guy in the brushy stuff in the middle of lanes? Why is one of his summoner spells a lightning bolt? Why does he stay in there for eight minutes then stroll by lanes every once in a while? If you already know that's your jungler, then you're off to a good start.
Jungling in League of Legends is much different than laning, your main enemy is the little monsters and counter-junglers, not just little minions and the other lane champions. Not to mention your smite summoner spell is the handiest thing in securing an objective on the map. The jungler is quite the unique role, and in the current meta, necessary.
The purpose of this guide is to help a novice player at League of Legends start playing their new role in the jungle. This is not an advanced guide for intermediate or advanced players.
Skills and things you will need include:
- a moderate understanding of League of Legends meta, communication, and terminology.
- the knowledge that you are playing versus an equally-skilled amateur team on Summoner's Rift with the 1-1-2 with jungler format, or against bots.
- patience and general communication, without this you will probably need to start playing bots and asking for tips and tricks to not rage quit.
- (and of course, computer, mouse, keyboard, and game
Note: Arrows on images roughly correspond to the steps.
Step 1: Pick Your Jungling Champion
1. Pick a champion before queuing that may suit your play-style.
2. Make sure the champ you pick has good ability at either tanking monster damage, dealing lots of damage to monsters, or a mix of the two.
Tip: Try playing your favorite laner in the jungle.
3. If later in the guide you find the champ you picked isn't to your liking, try another! There's around 120 champs out there to try out, and all of them have a free week eventually.
4. After queueing, tell your teammates you're jungling. Communication is key in League of Legends in general.
Caution: If another one of your teammates called the jungling position before you, be nice and let them jungle while you choose another lane.
Tip: Picking whatever you want and locking without communicating properly is toxic and impolite. Don't do it.
Step 2: Suit Up Your Champ
1. Choose your masteries. Choose masteries that work well for the jungle, like reducing monster damage or improving armor/attack speed.
2. Choose runes. Buy and use runes that boost your stats that will give you an edge in the jungle, like armor to reduce the monsters damage or attack speed to clear them out faster.
3. Choose your summoner spells. Almost always use flash and smite. Flash has the best utility and smite is necessary to jungle properly with very few exceptions.
Tip: Don't forget to change back from smite if you go back to laning next game.
4. (Optional) Choose a skin. It's cosmetic and costs real life money, but it'll make your champ look like how you want, which is nice.
Step 3: Organize Post-selection/pre-game Positions
1. After the loading screen, buy your standard items. This includes the hunter's machete, two health potions, and a ward trinket. This helps with sustain in the jungle early on.
Tip: Some junglers take slightly different items to reach power spikes earlier, this is an advanced method only for certain champs, don't do it until you're confident.
2. Go to your bottom-lane minion camp. For the bottom side, it's the Krugs, for the top side, it's Gromp.
Tip: They'll both get you low on health, Gromp gives you a poison shield if you smite him and Krugs give you a stun.
3. Ask for your bot lane to leash you. This will hopefully provide extra damage to clear your first camp faster.
4. Level up the skill that will help you survive and clear the monsters early and the fastest first.
Tip: Survivability is typically most important in the very early game.
Step 4: Grind Out the Early Game
1. Make a decision whether you want to use your smite now or on the next monster. Smiting monsters give different buffs, it's important to know what. Usually junglers decide to wait on Krugs and smite red or for the other side smite Gromp and not use it on blue.
2. Depending on tankiness and clear speed, or if you're low on health and/or have a low clear speed, go back to base and buy or stay until you need to go back to buy more items.
3. Upgrade your items with the gold you get farming monsters in the jungle. Typically you want to finish building your machete into its final form first.
Tip: If you ever have extra gold, buy a ward. Helps keep vision on places that need it like your monsters and your lanes' blind spots.
Step 5: Gank Lanes
1. Look at surrounding lanes.
2. See if any lanes are pushed up towards your turrets and/or have low-health enemy champions that your person in that lane can't quite kill.
3. If all lanes are doing fine, (keeping sustained and pushed healthily,) continue farming your jungle.
4. If a lane meets the criteria in number 2, go to the brush near that lane and see if you can catch out the enemy to attack them or slay them.
5. If a gank is too risky, or is high risk low reward, abandon the stakeout and go back to farming.
Tip: You're hidden in the brush as long as you don't cast a spell out of it, stay in it until the moment arises when you can jump out and gank them.
Step 6: Mix Up the Mid Game
1. After some time, farm, and ganks, decide whether you need to go more on the offense or defense.
2. Buy the first of some end tier items to counter the enemy.
Tip: Counter attack damage with armor, ability power with magic resist, armor with armor penetration, magic resist with magic penetration.
Tip: Always look out for enemy item purchase patterns, clever countering will help you win most engages.
3. Plan to group and capture objectives such as inner turrets, or slaying the dragon or Baron Nashor.
Tip: With your smite, you do the most damage in a single blow to these high-tier objectives.
Tip: Watch the objectives and smite when you can do just enough damage with your smite to secure it.
Step 7: End Game
1. Stick with your team.
Caution: More often than not, splitting up towards the end game leads to getting singled out and ganked. If you need to split, make sure you're either tanky enough to hold them off until you can escape, or slippery enough to leave when you need to.
2. Build the last few items, preferably more team-oriented items.
Tip: The next few fights are probably the last, so make every item buy count for the big skirmishes.
3. Focus higher-priority champs when possible. This includes assassins with tons of sustained damage, mages with huge bursts of damage, and enemy fighters with big push potential.
Tip: It's not always possible to focus the main target mainly due to some being out of range or too slippery, so focus the next one in line and so forth based on proximity.
Step 8: Learn From the Game
1. If you won, learn from it. If you lost, learn from it.
Tip: No guide no matter how specific will tell you how to be the best jungler you can be. League of Legends is like playing 7 different chess games in space while a kid yells to you in German about how to play Calvinball. It's a diverse and dynamic game.
2. Congratulate and honor all supportive players and likewise choose how you deal with saltier players.
Tip: Ignoring them typically works out the best for mental health.
3. Reflect on what you did right and what you could have done better.
Step 9: Conclusion
You should know the basics of jungling now, and with some extra gentle guidance from friends or Youtube videos, you can jungle in solo queue without too much fear of sucking too bad. Don't expect to win every game, like any competitive game, losing will still happen, even to those on top.
It's learning from the mistakes, picking up tricks, and having a willingness to play that helps push those who try to greatness. And confidence. And reaction time. The point is there's a lot of factors and a guide won't help you find your niche, only time and trial and error.
This guide showed a very general, current meta overview of the jungling process on Summoner's Rift. This is not comprehensive, and towards the end it is impossible to tell anyone how to build without actually being in the game. But the beginning bit has generally been the same for many years with few alterations.