Jungling – Boot Camp

Posted: October 24, 2011 by xenocidebrm in Jungling

Jungling is one of my favorite hobbies. I say hobby because many people see it as an undesirable task, something boring, unimportant, and grindy. I can tell you from experience that it is none of these things. Jungling with a Champion you enjoy can be one of the most fun and important parts of League of Legends. However, many people just don’t know how to go about jungling. Some read guides and watch YouTube videos, while others learn from their friends. While I’m still working on a comprehensive video guide, I can at least teach those of you looking to get into jungling.

What is jungling?

Jungling, in its most basic form, is using a Champion to kill neutral monsters in the forest portion of the map instead of enemy minions. Generally speaking, someone who is called a jungler will spend most of the laning phase in the jungle killing these monsters, also known as creeps. These creeps, like minions, give experience and gold to players but will not attack unless attacked first and give less overall experience and gold than the minions in the lane.

If they give less experience and gold than the minions, why would anyone ever jungle?

This brings us to the purpose of jungling: allowing another lane to have just a single player in it. The benefits of this are threefold. The first benefit is that the lanes with single players in them gain experience much faster than a lane with two or more people in it. Second, a lane with only one person means that players need not share the limited gold that comes hurtling down a lane. Finally, the third benefit is that it allows players to let their lane push easily. While the first two points might be obvious, it is not hard to see why people would be skeptical about having their lane pushed back towards their tower. I will touch upon this later, but for now simply take it as fact.

There are other less convincing claims about the purpose of junglers. Some people believe that junglers are there to donate buffs to other players. Others believe that the jungler only exists to gank. Still others think that junglers are really just ward machines who can guard the dragon and baron creeps. While these can all be important functions of a jungler, none of these apply to ALL junglers equally. However, it can be said that ALL junglers allow an additional lane to have one person in it.

Okay, so how do I jungle?

Now that would be a long article. Jungling is not simple because every Champion jungles differently. Let me repeat that. EVERY CHAMPION JUNGLES DIFFERENTLY. Expecting the same sort of jungle gameplay from Shaco and Warwick is simply not the correct way to think of junglers. If you want to jungle, you’ll have to learn one character at a time.

This being said, there are general rules of jungling. To start, since all of your early game experience and gold is coming from the jungle, you ideally want to clear out your jungle as fast as possible. Each character has a different ability that is better than the others for clearing the jungle, so you’ll have to find a guide or run the numbers to figure out which starting ability will let you clear the jungle fastest. The one thing that all junglers can grab, however, is summoner spells. Of these spells, one stands above all the others as the ultimate jungling tool: Smite. Smite deals 420 damage plus 25 times your character level.


There are some champions that can jungle without Smite. However, by taking Smite you can save an enormous amount of time over a game. Let’s do a little bit of math. We’ll say that the average jungler does about 100 damage per second. Smite has a cooldown of 70 seconds (with the appropriate mastery) and deals around 450 damage. That’s a measly 6.4 damage per second. The average early game jungle lasts around 4 minutes, starting at 2 minutes and ending at 6 minutes, or 240 second. Smite therefore adds 1536 damage to a jungle. This is equivalent to saving 15 seconds. Imagine having 15 more seconds for the rest of the game than another person. This sort of time wins or loses towers, teamfights, Baron, and ultimately games. Smite really is that good.


Runes and Masteries always play their strongest role at the beginning of the game. Since they only provide small bonuses, they are most pronounced at the beginning of the game. This is especially important for junglers because the jungle creeps you will be facing have superior damage and armor to the minions in lane. Generally speaking, the most efficient set of Masteries for a jungler is 17/3/10. In the same vein, the most efficient set of Runes are 3 Attack Damage Marks, 7-8 Armor Penetration Marks, 1-2 Attack Damage Quintessences, 9 Armor Seals, and your choice of 9 Glyphs. Again, each Champion is a special snowflake with slightly different needs. Find a guide or run the math to figure out which Runes and Masteries you should be using. If you’re not level 30, try to get your Runes and Masteries as close as you can to this guide, but understand that you may not be able to jungle properly.


Before you take one step into the jungle in a real game, try killing the jungle creeps in a custom game. While many aspects of the jungle have been fine tuned to a science (such as Masteries and Runes), jungling is still an art. Many times, I can do the safest and most reliable jungle in custom games hundreds of times but as soon as I step into a normal game anything can happen. Remove the variables and perfect your jungle without disruption. Set a goal for yourself: kill a particular camp without using Smite at level 1, reach level 6 as fast as possible, clear all the jungle creeps without using Recall, or something similar.


When you jungle, the worst possible thing for you to do is to freak out. In fact, this applies to League of Legends in general. Relaxing clears your mind and makes you more level headed. You will make better decisions, activate your abilities at the right times, and generally perform better. If you almost die to jungle creeps, don’t worry. Just Recall and keep jungling. If you fail a gank, it’s fine. A balanced game will see you succeed or fail half the time anyway. Teammates raging at you? It’s a game, /ignore them and keep playing. Never give up, but never allow your feelings to get the better of you. Play a game through, surrender if you need to, and keep playing. The more you play, the better you’ll get. If you’re not having fun, jungling just might not be for you.

Yeah but HOW do I jungle?

You’ll find out next week now that you’re out of boot camp! While you’re waiting, you should check out the Riot Nasus Giveaway Contest! You have a chance at a free skin and it only takes a few clicks, so what are you waiting for?

  1. Shade says:

    If you could give a list of janglers who do not require either leashes and those who do not require smite, as well as the spawn times (both initial spawn and time after death till respawn) of each of the camps?

    • damndirtycat says:

      List of junglers who do not require leashes: All junglers
      List of junglers who should still get a leash: All junglers except Shaco
      List of junglers who do not require Smite: None, always take Smite

      Spawn time of Mini Golems, Wraiths, and Wolves: 1:40
      Spawn time of Blue Golem and Red Lizard: 1:55

      Respawn time of Mini Golems, Wraiths, and Wolves: 1:40
      Respawn time of Blue Golem and Red Lizard: 5:00

      • Shade says:

        Following your Jungling guide video’s, isn’t Skarner also a jungler who SHOULDN’T get a leash?
        and thanks for the jungling times, ❤ you ddc

  2. nmTd[ says:

    You put “3 attack damage marks” when I believe you meant quints.

    Also, when jungling in normal games, you can more or less expect your teammates to rage at you. They tend to expect junglers to be Jesus-incarnate with 100% gank success rates and to be present in all 3 lanes at once. To top it off, since your presence is only seen for a few short, albeit key, seconds at a time, any slight errors (i.e. missing your skillshots on Nocturne or Lee Sin) tend to be taken overboard and reacted with an immediate “/all omg this _____ soooooo bad”.

    In general, people have no idea how junglers work, or how to set up a proper gank for a jungler. Just keep doing what you can and working with whatever they give you. Regardless of what they say, you’re being useful to the team.

    • damndirtycat says:

      Oops, you’re right, those Quints fixed with the magic of computers.

    • Capac Amaru says:

      Most teams I play in normals seem to think jungling is a waste of time and cripples the whole team. No one last hits so all the lanes are kept pushed, you wait in a bush for the perfect moment to strike and they either PUSH PUSH PUSH or they stand at the tower and wait for you to solo whoever is in the lane while they watch. If your jungle gets raided and you run into an enemy at a camp no one comes to help you. Stay out of the jungle for more than 5 seconds and your team will start taking jungle camps while their tower is being destroyed. If they get it in their heads that they dont like you they will steal your buffs and laugh at you. Ping and call for dragon and baron and no one will come, then they try to do them without you and get ganked. When you keep a lane pushed for a team mate who has wandered off for some reason, the second you step back in the jungle someone on your team will say ‘HURR DURR GTFO of the jungle and help you useless ****’ and they always either demand ganks because they want easy kills without having to work for it, or they say nothing, feed, and lose their lane, and blame you for no ganks, regardless of whether you just fed the solo lane three kills, or soloed dragon.

      When you play ranked, everyone wants a jungler, otherwise all the same as the above.

  3. […] you read the Jungling – Boot Camp article, you’ve got a general idea of what jungling is about. Now, it’s time for you to choose […]

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