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There are two basic paths for jungling. Your choice in path is also decided by which item you get first. For most champions, your item selection is going to end up with you getting a Wriggle's Lantern. Because of this, people usually start off with and armor and up to 5 health potions, or a lifesteal scepter. You'll always use smite as a jungler. If you aren't, you're either bad, or so proficient, that you don't need to read this guide anyways (And you're probably playing Warwick). Not everyone is meant to jungle. There's a guy out there whose sole purpose in life is to jungle with every champ available. Once League of Legends no longer gets played, he will commit suicide after becoming worthless. You are not this guy. You only jungle with champs that intend to jungle. That means jungling with melee champs. Champions that have a self-heal function are ideal. Champions like Lee Sin, Nocturne, Warwick and Tryndamere are excellent for this. There are countless others. Xin Zhao and Warwick are probably the easiest junglers in the game, as they self-heal the most. There are others that don't heal as much, but are still plenty viable and should still jungle. You generally want your AD melee carry to jungle, because they're the easiest to deny at the early levels. Tryndamere is ultra easy to shut down at the early levels until he hits 6. Because of this, he'll do better getting $$$ in the jungle.
When you're jungling, you're going against the clock, not against the players. After reading this guide, you will not come out with the best possible route for all champions, you'll just have a better idea of where to go from here. You'll want to read the individual jungler guides, or a third party site to get individual champion jungle routes. Personally, I prefer to jungle with champions with a lifesteal scepter that build into a Wriggle's Lantern, because I like to use as few potions as possible. They'll be self-sustainable at sooner and I only buy two potions instead of five, saving myself a valuable 105 gold at the early levels, versus other junglers.
As for ganking? Good luck. That's an art that is difficult to perfect and results vary from game to game. If your team is pushing hard, it is utterly impossible to gank unless you want to risk death at a tower dive, forfeiting your red/blue buffs. When their team is pushing hard and with low HP, it's a piece of cake to gank. I've found that this is the largest indicator of how well your jungler can gank. It is directly related to the opponent's HP and their position in lane. Expect idiots to rage at you for not ganking because they died while over-extending. It happens all the time. "WTF NO GANK" will happen frequently by people who push their lanes too hard, and then retreat and get their shit pushed in because they were stupid.
I need to make something absolutely clear. The success of the lane is the responsibility of those in it. If you lose your lane, it is your fault, not your jungler's. Your jungler has rare opportunities to take advantage of a situation and cannot simply "gank" because you told them to. At worst, they can feed. Most likely, they can help push a lane back and give you an advantage. At best, they can put a dent in an opponent's HP, forcing them to go back, or play defensively, allowing your lane to farm... or even wipe out the enemies in lane entirely.
The purpose of a jungler is to allow a larger accumulation of your team's levels and team's gold, not to frequently gank. Ganking is a courtesy and has a large luck/opportunity factor to it.
The idea of having a player in the jungle, responds to various needs in a game. It will allow to:
- Have 3 solo lanes (top, mid, jungle) for increased experience and gold gains
- Dragon Control, this is the key objective for early mid game, it gives almost 1000G to all the team and a good deal of experience, you will have 4 players to contest Dragon at any time 2 bottom, 1 mid and the jungler
- Normal lanes battle against other champions, Jungler battles against time which allows planning your next move in a better way (gank, counter jungle etc.)
- Lane Control, as the jungle is a roamer that can pop on any lane (with the right setup) to gank, this will make the enemy champions to burn summoner spells or at least retreat, taking pressure of the lane, denying experience and gold to enemy and in the best case, get a kill.
- Buffs Control, Blue and Red are very strong buffs that need to stay in your own team, and when possible, steal enemies buffs will put them behind
At the start of the game, it is very important to know where your jungler will start his path; there are 4 possible start points for any jungler
- Little Golems
Each of these paths offers different levels of security:
- Starting at Blue involves a high risk because the camp is very close to the river, which can enable ganks, counter jungle from enemy team. It will allow in most of the cases for a full clear and faster ganks.
- Starting on the other 3 paths is safer but will make the jungle go slower, so the jungler needs to pick his starting point depending on the own team level 1 fight capabilities and his own jungle needs.
At the start of the game all members of the team need to be ready to protect your own jungle, not many players realize this and just run towards their own lane. At higher levels of play level and premades level 1 fights are enforced to put the enemy team and/or the jungler behind so it is important for the team to be prepared for this and to defend your jungle. There is nothing worse than giving first blood and possibly a blue buff at level 1, this will put your lanes at risk and give a huge advantage to the enemy laner while putting your jungler behind.
If your jungler is starting at blue, teams need to be guarding the river for possible ganks and it is advised for one team member to guard the Wraiths camp, it is a very common counter jungle technique to smite the blue wraith before your own path if you know that the enemy jungler does not start there.
There is nothing worse for a jungler to get counter jungled, this means the enemy jungler will invade your side of the river to try to steal your creeps or try to kill the jungler. If an enemy jungler is spotted (map awareness for all lanes is very important) the lanes need to provide help since in most cases your jungler will be at low health and no tower close to run.
If the jungler is starting at Blue or Little Golems and leash is normally needed. The leash consists of hitting the Blue golem or the little golems so they not aggro the jungler right away, this lets him start with a more aggressive build and/or not taking too much damage to start ganks earlier.
Here are two good leashing video guides:
Different types of leash:
As stated above, it is not the main purpose of the jungler to be a ganker, ganking is an added benefit to the roaming nature of the jungle. Said that if the gank did not end on a kill is still a good thing, it may force the use of summoner spells and it will force the enemy to think it twice before being too aggressive or pushing the lane.
Most ganks need preparation, it is very hard for a jungle to gank your lane if you are half hp or if is pushed to the enemy tower , because it could end bad for all, it is recommended to get the enemy laner low health and if it is possible to force the use of summoner spells before a gank, communication is always key, always let your jungler know when enemy uses his flash spell so he can gank that lane before it comes off cooldown.
When your jungler marks your lane for a gank, you need to be specific on the gank target, mark the target with a ping and initiate so your jungler can go in with you.