Jungling – How to Jungle

Posted: October 31, 2011 by xenocidebrm in Guides, Jungling

At last, the long awaited article on HOW to jungle! Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a merry guide!

As I’ve said, jungling is ultimately an art, but many of the activities you’ll be engaged in can be broken down into points. I’ve created a point system for newer junglers to get an idea of what they should be doing and when. The goal as a jungler is to get as many points as possible before the end of the laning phase (when any tower on your side goes down). This is useful not only in game when you want to figure out what to do but also after the game when watching the replay. I highly recommend that all players watch replays of their games as it allows you to see what you’ve done right and what you need to improve on.

Jungling Point System

Action: Points Added/Subtracted

Killing a Small Camp: 1 Point + 1 Point before 5 Minutes

Killing a Buff: 3 Points

Holding Someone’s Lane: 1 Point + 1 Point per Opponent in the Lane

Helping a Teammate in Your Jungle: 3 Points

Ganking (No Kill): 2 Points

Ganking (Kill Secured): 3 Points

Warding Dragon: 2 Points (only after 3 minutes)

Warding Baron: 3 Points (only after 15 minutes)

Killing the Dragon: 4 Points

Killing the Baron: 5 Points

Killing a Tower: 6 Points

Action is on the Other Side of the Map: -1 Point

Dying: -1 Point

Feeding a Buff to an Enemy: -2 Points

Not Taking Smite: You’re not jungling, go to lane.

In-Depth Analysis of the System

Killing a Small Camp: Generally speaking, the killing of small camps is only important for gaining levels early game. After 5 minutes, it is usually okay to ignore them and let laners who have pushed their lane take the camps.

Killing a Buff: Buffs are always important and you should always be looking to clear buffs as soon as they pop up. If you don’t need the buff, ask a teammate to come get it, most teammates are more than happy to get buffs for free.

Holding Someone’s Lane: If an ally dies or needs to go back, holding his lane can be a blessing or a curse. If his lane is pushed towards the enemy, you probably won’t get any XP or Gold off of minions, but if the lane is pushed towards your tower, you stand to gain a ton of XP and Gold, certainly more than you would by jungling. The more people in the lane, the more important it is to hold the tower from going down, but don’t get super obsessed with the tower, it usually isn’t worth your death.

Helping a Teammate in Your Jungle: If a teammate strays into your jungle, it’s usually not to take a stroll in the park. They may be chasing someone at low HP or they may be running away with low HP themselves. Go help them out! They’re in your jungle, make sure they understand that you don’t take kindly to trespassing!

Ganking (No Kill): Many people feel that a gank without a kill is not truly a gank and merely a waste of time. These people are what I like to call “wrong”. By trying to gank and not getting a kill, you still send a message to the enemy: I am not a passive jungler and I will kill you if you overextend. In this way you can help your team out by making the enemy play cautiously. Don’t gank if your lane is pushed up too close to the enemy tower.

Ganking (Kill Secured): If you can secure a kill with a gank, good job! This gives you even more of an advantage as the lane will net a bunch of Gold and you can usually either push down the tower or get Dragon/Baron. Don’t tower dive to do this unless you are 100% sure you can get away without dying. Again, don’t gank if your lane is pushed up too close to the enemy tower.

Warding Dragon: While this may not seem to take a whole lot of effort (it doesn’t), it is extremely important to ward the dragon. He gives 190 Gold to everyone on the team that kills him, so if you let the enemy get him you literally give them 950 Gold. Dragon doesn’t spawn until 2:30, so don’t ward him before then. You can usually wait until around 5 minutes into the game to ward this camp.

Warding Baron: Like Warding Dragon, this action is easy but important. An enemy team missing for just 60 seconds can do Baron early game, and later on they can do it in a mere 30 seconds. Always keep this guy warded up after 15 minutes, which is when he spawns.

Killing the Dragon: As I said earlier, gives the team that kills him 950 Gold. Very important.

Killing the Baron: Even more valuable than dragon, gives the team that kills him 1500 Gold and a mega-buff to AD and AP.

Killing a Tower: Although doing this will only net your team 750 Gold, it also denies your enemy protection from ganks and makes the map more dangerous for them. This makes killing Dragon and Baron easier as well.

Action is on the Other Side of the Map: This modifier is applied to any other action. If something big is happening across the map, sometimes running there just isn’t worth the time. Try to maximize your points, occasionally running across the map is a good idea.

Dying: Dying is bad, mmm-kay?

Feeding a Buff to an Enemy: Subtract two for every buff you give to an enemy when you die. This is super bad because now the enemy has an extra buff in addition to you having lost your own buff. Try not to ever do this.

Not Taking Smite: Seriously, get in bot lane and play support, Warwick.

Meta-Analysis of the System

The idea behind this point system is to incentivize certain actions and dissuade other actions to give players an idea of what they should be doing as a jungler. If certain actions are unavailable, there are always other actions to perform. Ideally, you want to select a jungle path as well as a jungler type (both of which have been discussed in the Basic Training article) and perform your jungle path. Once the path is complete, you are free to choose what actions you will perform, prioritized by the number of points you will receive as well as whether or not you can even perform them (if you cannot kill dragon by yourself, for instance, don’t try to do it just because it will give you points). If two actions are equally valuable, the choice is completely up to the jungler and will teach the jungler to make split-second decisions about where to go and what to do.

How can this system apply equally to everyone?

Okay, so points are cool and everything but we know that not all junglers are equal. The short and sweet answer is that it doesn’t apply to all junglers equally. Because jungling is more an art than a science, your individual experience and choice of champion also factor into this point system. These are very difficult to quantify and therefore this is a guide and not a ruleset for jungling.

Why isn’t action X included in this point system?

There are two possibilities here: either I forgot to put it in or, more likely, it was intentionally omitted. There are a number of activities that are either too complicated to quantify (for example, counter-jungling) or are not necessarily applicable to the majority of junglers (for example, helping out in teamfights).

How do I know I’m doing well?

Generally speaking, if you’re doing well in a game, you’ll have a lower creep score than the lanes and a number of kills plus assists twice as large as your number of deaths. If you have zero deaths, having zero kills and assists is fine as long as you are actively looking for places to help your allies or are split pushing like a madman.

Why should I take Smite over another summoner spell?

Don’t come crying to me when the other jungler steals your Buffs, ganks more quickly than you, and gossips about your jungling impotence at the summoning pool. Jungling without Smite isn’t badass, it’s just plain bad.

  1. nmTd[ says:

    The point value of a failed gank really depends on who you’re ganking, who you’re playing, and whose lane you’re ganking. Some champions make ganking them virtually impossible, such as Ezreal, Vladimir, or Kassadin. Some junglers can gank damn near anyone, anywhere, any time (Lee Sin, the blind monk). Some laners lend themselves more towards having their lane ganked often and easily can confirm kills. If you’ve got something like a Blitzcrank and Lee Sin trying to gank anyone who doesn’t have native blink abilities and you fail, then it shouldn’t be worth any points.

    But that’s just splitting hairs. In more general terms, I’d say a kill gank is 3 points, a “made them use flash to escape” gank is 2, and a “they just walked away” gank is 1.

  2. Shaikot says:

    I wish people would understand the importance of doing a level 4 or 5 gank to get the enemy to blow their flash or ghost, so you can come back at level 6 with ulti and get the kill. I ROUTINELY walk into lane and fake a gank at level 4 or 5 to get the enemy to use their summoner abilities, and come back as SOON as I hit 6. Without their summoner spells, 9 times out of 10, a gank as soon as you hit 6 will net a kill.

    I usually jungle as Nocturne, and when you first hit 6, if they have no summoner abilities, they WILL die. If I jungle Udyr, you can usually gank at 4 or 5 because you don’t have to wait for that “ulti” ability. As Lee Sin, if you come in and get them to waste summoners at level 4 or 5, and you jungle quickly to hit 6, tell your bottom or top lane to let them push, and when you come back in one minute, with your ulti, you can slow and kick them into your own turret, and almost always net your team a kill, even if it’s not yours.

    When your team tells you that you suck because you didn’t get a kill at level 4 or 5, laugh at them, and come back a minute later, then remind your team that you got the kill because they didn’t run away because you made them use their summoner spells already.

    Most importantly, DO NOT BE AFRAID to fake a gank to try to use their summoner abilities, even if YOU don’t get the kill, it gives your lane a good 2 minutes that they can heavily harass that person because they don’t have that “panic button”.

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