Guide to the New Jungle

Posted: November 30, 2011 by xenocidebrm in Guides, Jungling, Patch

It’s been pretty quiet here at No ELO, mostly because we’ve been waiting for the Volibear patch. After the start of Season 2, Riot has begun a rolling remake of their game. It started with the introduction of Dominion and update of the League client and has been followed by a rework of the mastery system in addition to the current patch remake of the jungle. They also plan to remove dodge and hopefully iron out the older character models, as they did with Janna and Gangplank.

But you’re not reading this to hear speculation on Riot’s model for the future! You’re here to see what the new jungle is like. So let’s take a look at the differences between the new and old jungle.


The first thing you’ll notice between the new and old jungle is that the new jungle has green buffs at all the smaller camps. These are healing buffs and are always on the toughest creep of the bunch (mini golems are now made of one big and one small golem). These healing buffs grant slight healing but serve to assist sustain in the jungle as well as give counter-junglers a reason to take the smaller camps. I really don’t notice the health returns while jungling, but presumably this will help out some of the less sustainable junglers.

Further emphasizing killing the largest monsters in a jungle camp, gold and experience gains have been more unevenly stacked. The largest creep in a jungle camp now contains the majority of the gold and experience, making it more important to kill the larger creeps first.

Red and Blue camps also had some changes, including reducing the starting health of both camps to make them easier. The experience they give has also been boosted, theoretically allowing for some shortcut paths which involve killing the larger jungle creeps along with Red or Blue to reach level 3-4 and/or gank more quickly. However, Red and Blue give less gold than they used to.

A minor tweak to the Red and Blue buffs nerfed the slow on Red buff and increased the early game advantage of Blue buff while decreasing its late game necessity. These changes make ganking with Red buff harder but make champions who have trouble with mana sustain early on very happy.

Madred’s Razors and Wriggle’s Lantern have been nerfed to compensate for the easier jungle. The Razors now proc 5% more often but for 200 less damage, while Wriggle’s proc simply does 75 less damage. These items are still good and should be used by junglers even with the nerf.

There have been a few other changes, but they are mostly quality of life changes. The one thing I haven’t mentioned is, however, the real overhaul to the jungle: all the small camps respawn faster.

Billy Mays Here

The jungle just got easier. I know what you’re thinking: What about the jungle paths? For most junglers, the normal paths work just fine. For slower junglers, grabbing blue and cycling the small camps is the fastest way to jungle. However, there have already been discussions about neat new shortcuts using experience quints and the utility tree to cruise through more quickly. Definitely consider putting more into the Utility tree as a jungler now, as you won’t need the Defense tree as much for sustain.

Some people have been worried that this makes jungling too easy. As a jungler, I strongly disagree. In many ways the jungle is now far too unforgiving and difficult. It is true that all the camps have become easier. This turns jungling into something more akin to laning but without an enemy. Sure, you get experience and gold slower, but if it’s essentially a safe lane who cares?

This is where I say the jungle has become even more competitive than before. Despite the fact that you CAN farm your jungle for the entire game, it’s very easy to fall behind the other jungler if they are even a few seconds faster than you. If this continues the whole game, you can easily end up 100 creeps or more behind! A faster jungle also means more ganks or jungle steals and since jungle experience and gold is at a premium messing up costs you a lot more than it did in the old jungle. If you fail a gank, you’re pretty much done as a jungler. If you find a buff or camp stolen, say goodbye to that early Wriggle’s.

I will say that the jungle has opened up a lot of new characters, but it shuts down a lot of old ones. Anyone who has high AoE damage can crush the new jungle. I expect to see Cassiopeia, Karthus, and Renekton junglers thriving. On the other hand, if you cleared the jungle even remotely slowly, you now essentially cannot jungle. Sayonara, jungle Warwick, Amumu, and Fiddlesticks.

SMITE IS STILL MANDATORY. It helps you clear the jungle faster which is now the priority in jungle. If you don’t take Smite you will fall behind rather quickly. In other words, Smite is more essential than ever. Like Confucius said in his Allegory of the Cave, “If you don’t want to take Smite, don’t jungle.”

Habits of the Native Jungler

If you know how to jungle, you won’t have to change the way you jungle. As long as you clear fast, clear safe, and gank often, you’ll find the jungle is a lot easier to do but much harder to do well in. If you’re new at jungling it’s more important than ever to use custom games and VS AI games to practice the jungle. If you’re an experimental jungler, now is your time to shine. Try crazy things, do dumb strategies, and play around. The new jungle is ripe with meta-fruit waiting to be plucked off a posteriori trees.

Here are a couple of fun strategies for the new jungle I’ve seen around:

Shaco Double Buff: While it was possible in the old jungle to get both Red and Blue buff in 15 seconds using clever boxes and runes, it is now possible to do this with a 100% success rate. Place 4 or 5 boxes just behind Blue buff then run to Red buff. At Red, place down as many boxes as possible and do Red when it spawns. Your Jack-in-the-Boxes should solo kill Blue Buff and get you Red Buff. By Smiting the big Wraith at the Wraith camp you used to be able to reach level 3 this way, but you’ll need Experience Quints and the Awareness Mastery in the Utility tree to reach the same level now.

Nasus Jungle Lane: Nasus is a great solo laner, but the new jungle can now be farmed. Since Nasus has an AoE ability plus lifesteal, he can jungle infinitely. On top of that, as long as he remains unharassed he can farm the jungle nearly as well as a lane without losing too much creep score.

Dual Duo Lanes: There is no dedicated jungler on this team. Instead, all lanes will push hard, then retreat to clear their jungle. Top lane gets Blue, Mid gets Wolves and Wraiths, and Bot gets Red and Golems. Lane accordingly, no Smite necessary (though it’s a good idea to have one for Dragon/Baron).

  1. Gorgosch says:

    One point already insight, but very important to follow especially on low elo.

    If nobody is jugling in you team. And have tough time in you lane or you can kill minions fast, but should not go close to their tower.

    Than take down the wraith and wolves. Should be easy for most chars.
    I have done this quite often lately with great success. this works also very good in duo lanes. If one can hold them on bottom, he gets more expierience and you get some save gold.

    • damndirtycat says:

      This is an excellent point. If you don’t have a jungler or your jungler is going to be busy and/or away from their jungle for more than sixty seconds, feel free to take their smaller camps.

  2. […] jungle guide,” completely unsurprisingly.  As it happens, our very own DamnDirtyCat posted a Guide to the New Jungle on the 30th.  It’s pretty excellent, and I’d recommend checking it […]

  3. Gorgosch says:

    I have trouble with you sentence that the expirience is increased. For me it looks like a reduction. If i start at golems. What I liked most on lets say Nocturne for example. I won’t be level 2. This continues. After wraith and wolfes, i was still levl 2. This made blue golem even a bit tougher, and deleayed the whole leveling process significantly.

    So my question is: Are you sure with the increased xp or was it changed after your writing and is now lower.

    I am especially courious, since I am currently investigating what the fastest way is to get level 5 on Warwick to solo Dragon for the team as fast as possible. Since blue buff is needed that is a tricky queistion now.

    Even with XP out of utility try i was not level 5 before blue ran out.

    Starting: Golem, Wraith, Wolves, Blue, Wraith, Golem, Wolves, Port back.

    • damndirtycat says:

      Only the Red Buff and Blue Buff had their experience gains increased. The smaller camps had their experience gains decreased. Also remember that you no longer get the Awareness mastery when you spend 9 points in Utility tree. You need to spend at least 12 points in the Utility tree to reach the Awareness mastery now. That and/or Experience quints should get you to Level 2 at the Mini Golems.

      However, as you noted, even with the Utility tree the Blue Buff runs out before you reach Level 5. This is simply a result of the new jungle giving fewer rewards early game. Only the fastest junglers can reach Level 5 and still have Blue Buff with your path. As Nocturne, I recommend using the traditional full clear jungle path, which lets you reach Level 5 and 6 fast. Stonewall008 demonstrates the full clear here:

      • Gorgosch says:

        Thanks for you answer Damndirtycat.

        It is really not easy to find up to date information about the jungle. The video link you provided is with the old jungle. The root may work but defenetivly not the levles shown.

        I am looking for a champ thant can solo dragon as fast as possible.

        this looks like a valid taktik for me, since opponents in low elo, or no elo won’t expect this. So you will be not disturbed.

        Of course i tried the 12 Points utily. Was not sufficient.

        Right now I do not have the 3 Experience quints to check this our.

        I am also not sure if the lost of the 10? ArmorePen will be a to big lost, to solo dragon.

        I have the feeling that we are right now in a experimental face, to find out optimal jungle skill tree and runes to reach certain objectives.

        I could not find any youtube vidoes that are uptoday and have the quality needed.
        Biggest Problem here is that the patch is so recent, and no source of my knowledge is touching this topic deep enough.

        Other objectives (maybe even better) are of course how do i gank?

        Why am I looking for fast dragon?

        Cause I am almost independend of my teammates for the first 8min and will give the team a hugh boost with this early boost.

        After I have solved this riddle I may look for other strategies.

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