What is a jungler?
One of the most common issues that many new players will find is the confusion of a jungling position. When players start playing LoL, laning is the first aspect of the game they see. Laning is very straightforward - you see creeps, towers, and enemies to kill; so you kill them, get gold, and build items to kill them faster. That is how players up to level 30 learn, practice, and play the game. However, suddenly they are thrown into a jungle with no clear defined goal to work towards. Most beginners will instantly revert to a mid-game play style where they clear creeps in the jungle to farm and, with their basic knowledge of ganking, attempt to kill others who are still laning in an uneven fight.
Without going into greater detail on play styles, gank potentials, special lane match ups, etc., I hope the reader of this article builds upon their definition of a jungler.
The hardest aspect to grab of jungling is balancing it’s dynamic properties. There is always something in the jungle to do or somewhere to be in the game, but what you prioritize to do is the a skill junglers need to master. Moreover, managing time to get the most accomplished in the game is a required skill directly derived from prioritizing jungle goals. Although these concepts are broad, application of these concepts are important to successful jungling.
Regardless of your goal, your job is to simply create an advantage for your team through accomplishing a huge list of goals. Imagine, if you will, a giant to-do list posted beside you. The first jungler of either team to accomplish the most on that list will win. In essence, jungling is like playing an errand boy. Although an errand boy seems to be a pointless and unhelpful job title, you should not overlook the helpfulness of an effective, efficient errand boy. Although many may hope to influence an errand boys job by giving him many tasks (i.e.: 1200 elo, GANK MY LANE NOW YOU BAD JUNGLER - as you smite blue buff); it’s important to remember that it’s up to the errand boy himself to determine which is most important. Always keep your focus and try to accomplish as much as you can on the list. Moreover, remember that some things on the list are always more important or easier to accomplish than others.
Successful jungling is a careful balance of goals to be accomplished with special consideration to specific priorities. A jungler is nothing more than a player that accomplishes these goals; the more effective and more efficient you accomplish these goals the greater chance your team has to win. Whereas laners follow a linear paved road to victory or defeat, junglers create new roads dependent on different situations. An experienced jungler will be able to recognize previous situations they have encountered and journey on a more smooth road than previously encountered. The more situations one has seen when jungling, the better decisions they can make in the jungle to influence the game.
tl;dr: A jungler is one who prioritizes and balances goals based on specific situations to shift the balance of power in favour of their team.