Monday, December 10, 2012

Gank Potential Guide

Don’t let this team be yours; learn when to gank properly and appropriately and stop the massacre.

One of the many decisions a jungler has to make is deciding when to gank. However, there are many factors when it comes to determining when to gank. The biggest difference between a low ELO and high ELO solo-queue junglers is the ability to recognize gank potential. Gank potential is the potential for a jungler and laner to successfully execute a gank. The ability to recognize gank potential will result to gank effectively and efficiently. Everyone has played with or against a jungler that appears to kill every lane he walks in and is constantly everywhere; this is not luck. In this article, I hope everyone can learn to be the jungler that is everywhere and nowhere at once.

Gank Potential is the prospective probability for a jungler to successfully execute a gank on a lane. There are many factors that equate to gank potential; one of the most common ones that laners recognize is when a lane is extremely pushed to the laners tower putting the enemy out of position. However, this is not the only factor. The following theoretical formula can be used to determine gank potential. These may not be the only factors; however, these are the ones I recognize.

Gank Potential = CC + Damage + Resources + Escapes + Champion Mechanics + Position

These factors are not prioritized on position; they are all equal in importance. Moreover, these factors come from both the jungler and the laner. Although this has been a very long article, I will try to summarize the main points of it in point form below. If you find a point interesting, read below on the certain aspect.  

  • Crowd Control is important to gank potential; choose champions with hard CC for easy kills when ganking  
  • Outside of CC, damage is important for a gank to be successful; too much CC without damage makes a poor gank when a player is more naturally tanky  
  • Champions with health, mana, and items are easier to gank for and champions without are harder to gank for especially when comparing it to an enemy laner  
  • Champion mechanics such as skills sets, and match-ups influence gank potential and gank priority immensely

Crowd Control

Crowd control (CC) can be categorized into two forms of CC. Hard CC, and soft CC can be major factors to a successful gank. Although there are many forms of CC, ones that deal with positional control are the most important to be considered when ganking. Hard CC is crowd control that forces a unit to not move or move a certain way - taunt, stun, root, fear. Soft CC is crowd control that slows a unit. When ganking it’s important to not stack hard CC on the enemy target, stacking CC would essentially lower the amount of CC you have available. Stacking soft CC, while not as essential as hard CC, is not as effective. When slows in League of Legends are stacked, the strongest slow will be applied completely while the others are applied sequentially with 65% reduced effectiveness. It is also to important champions or items that give slow reduction / tenacity make champions more difficult to gank.  

CC Champion Examples: Maokai, Nautilus, Alistar.

Shen's taunt ability is a prime example of effective hard CC with a 1.5 second hard CC at level 1 


Although having CC is extremely helpful, having too much CC sometimes results to a lack of damage. Junglers can generally get away with having too much CC and too little damage in the early levels where champions don’t have as much HP; however, when champions get items and more HP ganks with no damage are extremely difficult to execute. Bruisers and initiators who work together on lanes, specifically relevant to top, can provide a perfect balance to gank potential. Champions with finishing moves and high base damage like Darius are effective and simple to gank for. Most early game mids bring a lot of burst damage to ganks. Also, some champions are much more dependent on their ultimates for ganks which provide most of their damage in their skill sets (Kassadin, Diana, Darius).

Damage Champion Examples: Nocturne, Lee Sin, Olaf. 


Damage and CC are the two most easily recognized and most important factors to gank potential. One must also consider resources to all parties such as health, mana, and items. Champions who lack health and mana to assist a gank or escape a gank are much more likely to respectively positively or negatively effect gank potential. Also, champions who have purchased items recently are stronger to gank than those who have not; ganking champions who have not purchased when compared to your laner who has is a lot easier.

Enemy champions who have natural escapes or defensive crowd control abilities can be difficult and detrimental to an effective gank. Champions like Ezreal with two effective flashes or Riven with many gap closers make escaping ganks extremely easy. Also, champions like Cho’Gath who can simply CC the enemy players trying to gank him and walk away are difficult to gank. Gank champions like these early to avoid their skill set from being influential to the gank potential.
Champion Mechanics

Deciding who and when to gank isn’t completely dependent on how successful the gank will be; instead a major factor which should influence ganks should be champion mechanics and match-ups. Lost lane match-ups in champ select should be either ganked frequently to ensure the lane wins or not ganked at all to ensure other lanes win. Many times, junglers will gank an unfavorable lane matchup once, get a kill, and expect the lane to be won. This is false. Many times a simple 400g difference is not enough to handle champion mechanics. Moreover, some champions need to be ganked frequently in order to ensure that they don’t make significant mid-late game differences. These champions such as Mordekaiser, Singed, Vayne, etc. can all lose lane and still be a hinderance to the victory of your team. Furthermore, Champion mechanics can determine gank potential. Champions like Nidalee and Singed, who become borderline-ungankable at level 6 due to strong escape potential should be ganked pre-6 as many times as possible.

Even in High ELO play, sometimes players forget about champion mechanics. In this example, popular pro player wingsofdeathx out plays an enemy Veigar and Malphite in a high ELO solo queue game. Veigar and Malphite have lots of CC to hold Renekton in place (although Renekton does manage to juke the cage by Veigar); however, Malphite has not been building any damage and Veigar’s ultimate is only optimally effective against AP champions. As a result, they do not have enough burst damage to burn through Renekton’s naturally tanky ultimate HP allowing Wing’s to kill them 2v1 under the tower. 


Of course, the most obvious factor when it comes to gank potential is positioning. Many players will determine when a jungler should gank simply on this factor. If an enemy player is out of position by being pushed in their lane, the laner will automatically believe that he can be killed simply. However in high level player, players have realized that this is not the only factor when it comes to gank potential. When a player realizes this, it becomes safe for them to push even without warding.
Failure to understand gank potential can result to fatal game mistakes. Below is a perfect example of a fatal mistake made by a team who has failed to understand gank potential. 

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