In League of Legends, the 'Jungler' is the player who does not compete with an opponent in a 'minion lane' (Top, Middle, or Bottom), but prefers to gain his gold and experience by killing neutral monsters that can be found in the 'Jungle' of Summoner's Rift. While this role is not "required" to play or win a match, it is currently a standard part of Summoner's Rift team strategy. The total amount of gold and experience accumulated by the team is maximized through jungling. The ability to attack opponents from an ambush, also known as a "gank", is vital for high-level competitions.
Part 1 of 3: Choosing the structure of your items and champion
Step 1. In League of Legends, choosing the right champion is one of the most important parts of jungling (especially in season 5 jungle)
Choose a champion who has abilities that will help him stay alive in the jungle, such as built-in lifesteal, shields and/or life regeneration. Some of the junglers include Warwick, Master Yi, Vi, Lee Sin, Rek'sai, Cho'Gath, Pantheon and many more.
Step 2. Jungle Items
With each jungler you should start with the hunter machette, as many life pots as you can buy and a protection amulet (it's probably best if you buy the yellow first and then the red later). Pick one that best suits both your playstyle and your champion. You need to enchant your jungle item as fast as possible, the speed depending on your champion and the levels required (see item building section).
- The Rangers Trail Blazer is for improved stamina, as it gives you a large amount of life and mana when you destroy a jungle camp.
- The Poachers Knife rewards junglers for destroying the enemy team's jungle encampments. Be careful though, because once the enemy team sees you have this item in your inventory, they will expect you to be in their jungle.
- The "Stalkers blade" allows you to "smite" on an enemy champion and applies a braking spell, which is useful for chasing enemies and performing a "gank" on them.
- The "Skirmisher's Saber" also gives you the ability to smite against an enemy champion and "mark" them for 4 seconds. The marker provides a view of the champion and lets you deal extra 'true damage' with your basic attacks.
Step 3. Your item build
Which items you buy should depend on three things: the champion you play with, the build-up of the enemy team, and the build-up of your team.
- Your champion:
- For junglers who can deal a lot of physical damage (like Master Yi, for example), you'll need to build items with melee-focused attack power.
- Junglers that magically deal more damage (like Fiddlesticks) should build up their ability power.
- Some junglers, such as Amumu, are stronger when they build up their lives, armor and/or resistance to magic (also known as "building tanky").
- The build-up of the enemy team:
- If the enemy team is mostly AD champions, you should consider upgrading your armor.
- The same is true when the enemy team deals magic blows for the most part. Then you have to build up resistance to magic.
- If you're building attack power and the enemy team is improving their armor, you should buy at least one armor-piercing item. A few examples are Last Whisper, Youmuu's Ghostblade and Black Cleaver.
- For the same reason, it's useful to craft magic-piercing items, such as Haunting Guise or Void Staff, when you're building magic damage, and the enemy team is focused on building resistance to magic.
- The structure of your team:
- If this is possible, it is a good idea to find a balance in your team between attack power in the melee, magic attack power and tanky. If you already have powerful melee-focused characters and magic-focused characters ("carries") in your team, you may be able to contribute more to your team by building "tank", and protecting your powerful fellow teammates (in short 'peeling').
- If your team is without a powerful melee-focused or magic-focused character, you should consider which of these two is more appropriate as your champion.
Step 4. Choose Smite
Smite will help you quickly kill strong monsters and achieve the team objectives "Dragon" and "Baron" (see below). Since Smite deals a significant amount of true damage, it can be used to finish off strong monsters. Without having to worry about an enemy player stealing your kill. As your second 'summoner spell' it is normal to choose 'flash' or 'ghost'. With certain champions, you can also choose to 'teleport', 'ignite', or 'exhaust' as your other summoner spell. As an example, many Shaco players choose Ignite or Exhaust, which allows them to play very aggressively early in the game, which also adds to their chances of winning.
Step 5. Select masteries specific to the Jungling role
Create a new Mastery Page and distribute points based on survivability (Health/Armor/Rain) and damage dealt to minions/monsters. Required masteries for this role are Butcher, Summoners Resolve, Tough Skin, Bladed Armor, and Hardiness. However, be aware that these masteries will disappear after a while.
Step 6. Select runes that suit your champion
Maybe you want increased survivability, want to deal more damage, or move around the map faster. A specific runic page for the jungling role must be created before the match. A typical runic distribution is Flat Armor Seals, Flat Damage Marks, Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs, and Movement Speed Quintessences. Nevertheless, it is best if you adapt these runes to your champion and play style, as was recommended in the item building section.
Step 7. Buy Wards
If you have any gold left after teleporting and purchasing items, you must purchase Stealth Wards (aka “green wards”) and/or Vision Wards (aka “pink wards”). “Warding” can be very beneficial if used properly. Having a view of enemy champions, in their own jungle, can make the difference between death and a kill by giving your team the ability to dodge an oncoming surprise attack. Typical ward locations border the river, provide views of team objectives (Dragon/Baron), or can even be used for Counter-Jungling.
Part 2 of 3: Routes and Tactics
Step 1. Start with gromps or krugs
If you can persuade the nearby lane to help with the first camp, it will increase the speed and safety of your first clearing. Use potions to keep your life going when you get injured. After clearing your jungle, you should (especially if you're low on HP) upgrade your Hunter's Machete to one of the four jungle items discussed earlier. Good to remember: 'Blue' and 'Red' targets take 5:00 minutes to reappear. Remember when they will appear again. Continuing to apply these buffs to your champion will help your jungling and ganking (see below) immensely. In the time it takes for monsters to reappear, keep clearing your jungle. Remember to always save your smite for the final blow to strong/epic jungle monsters to ensure a kill. At higher levels the enemy jungler will try to steal your buffs. When you waste your smite, they can steal your buffs from you with their smite.
Step 2. "Gank" when an enemy champion spreads out too far in a lane
“Ganking” is the term for attacking the enemy by surprise, either from the side or from behind. Usually a teammate will ask for a gank if a player from the opposing team gets too close to your team's defense tower. However, a good jungler will keep an eye on the mini map to notice such situations. Be sure to let your teammate know that you're trying to perform a gank with a chat or with "pings" on the map.
Step 3. Coordinate with your teammate to track down enemy wards
A ward from the opposing team will see you approaching to perform a gank, thwarting your attempts to get a kill. If your allies are desperate for a gank to be executed, have them place a pink ward in the area to get a view of the enemy's wards.
Step 4. Counter-Gank
If the opposing team performs a gank on one of your lanes, the ensuing battle usually takes a while. Find out as soon as possible and go to the fight to help. Even if you arrive late to the fight, you may still be able to finish off an enemy champion who is left with very little life, or save an ally.
Step 5. 'Farm' 'lanes' if your allies are not present
If your teammate is in the process of purchasing items, or is simply on another part of the map, minions will begin to march out of their lane toward your team's defense tower. Take steps to prevent this by killing the minions, which will also give you extra gold and experience. Just make sure you pass this on to whoever is guarding that lane first, as this can make them angry from time to time. If you are going to hit the enemy back in a lane, you have to do your best to chase the wave of minions all the way back to the enemy defense tower. This prevents the enemy from gaining experience and gold.
Step 6. Secure the objectives of the game world - Dragon/Baron
These 'Boss-like' neutral monsters give gold and experience to your entire team, and can make the difference between winning and losing. Dragon appears after 2:30 minutes, and it takes 6:00 minutes after being defeated before he reappears, while Baron appears after 20:00 minutes and it takes 7:00 minutes after being defeated before he reappears appears. Both of these objectives will most likely require help from teammates to be able to kill them (especially Baron). A good tactic is to place a Pink Ward in the area to prevent the enemy from seeing what is happening there before attacking these targets. It's also helpful to try these things when your team has control over most of the map.
Part 3 of 3: Advanced Tactics
Step 1. Give the blue buff to your middle lane
Middle lane champions tend to have a lot of mana, so they benefit immensely from the increased mana regeneration and reduced cooldown provided by the blue buff (actually known as the Crest of Insight). Ping the Blue Sentinel, if you choose to do so, to enlist their help. This will give them the message to go there and kill him along with you.
Step 2. Steal the Red or Blue buff from the enemy
Once you succeed in doing this, it will not only give you extra experience and gold, but will also prevent the opposing team from using these buff benefits. The easiest way to do this is to place wards in and around the enemy jungle so you can see what is going on in these areas. A good player can tailor not only the reappearance of his own buffs, but also those of the opposing team, for maximum effectiveness. When you proceed to steal a buff, watch out for enemies in nearby lanes, and retreat if you see them coming to stop you.
Step 3. Check an enemy's items
Once enemies are visible on the map, they will be shown with their most recent items. Check to find out if there are any enemies with wards and see if they have already put down the ward or not. Get an idea of which lane is best for a gank. For example, if you see that a bot lane has not bought any wards, it might be a good idea to gank them while they have a limited view.
Step 4. Learn Counter-Jungling
Counter-Jungling is the farming of the enemy's jungle. This can leave the enemy behind in his amount of experience and gold, making them less of a threat. Remember, though, that the enemy can do this to you too, if you're too busy in their territory.
- When teammates ask for 'ganks' (which is usually indicated by a 'ping' at the enemy champion), it is advised to perform a gank whenever you see the opportunity. Ganks are always needed. Performing a gank in this lane will show where it is on the map, and if you successfully gank on the enemy and kill him, it will give the laner a chance to get back on par with his/her her opponent.
- Remember your base. Trying to score a 'Last Hit', 'kiting', having an overview of the map and placement are all factors that will help you excel at playing regardless of your role.
- Do not engage in jungling if you are not comfortable with it. Play some custom games or Co-op vs Al as the jungler to get used to it. If you intend to play ranked games, it is recommended that you are good.
- It's common for players to feel that a bad lane score is the jungler's fault. When this happens, don't get discouraged. Instead, focus on the last game. Many games will start badly but end with your team being significantly stronger in team battles at the end.
- Think about previous games, not about how bad they went, but about how you could have acted better in the given situation, to get a better result. You could download LoLReplay to watch matches you've played in the past, or you can watch video streams of Pro players on Twitch.tv
- Players can often lose lanes with no chance of recapture. In such cases, they can ask for ganks when it is not best for the team. A player who has died multiple times is not worth as much to the enemy team (due to the 'Bounty' gold bonus) as a player who has a 'kill streak'. It can be beneficial to focus on the winning lanes, rather than one that has already been lost. This is a decision that often has to be made by the jungler.