Thursday, May 2, 2013

Basics of Jungling Guide

Everyone has to start somewhere. From low levels to low elo, everyone learning to jungle should understand the basics of jungling.

This article is aimed to inform new players who are attempting to learn how to jungle about the basics on starting in the jungle and starting effectively in the jungle. I will go over common champions played, runes, masteries, summoners, using smite, and jungle routes.

Learn the basics of jungling following the jump.

Common Junglers

There are three general kinds of junglers who are picked depending on the game and the situation. Matching the needs of your team with the type of jungler is crucial to the success of any team. While there are many champions who are viable to be junglers, these fit the most commonly demanded roles of a team and are most commonly chosen. While there are other kinds of junglers like carry junglers or ability power junglers, these champions are high risk, high reward and should not be considered when just learning the jungle.

Bruiser Junglers

These junglers are extremely strong in the jungle and are commonly known for their ability to dominate laning phase, jungling, and early-mid game. These power houses are extremely safe in the jungle. However, their utility and potency fall of mid-late game as other junglers outshine them. These junglers are commonly bruisers who have very high base damage but lack inherent tankiness. 

Examples: Lee Sin, Vi, Nocturne

Hybrid Junglers

These junglers are situated between support junglers and bruiser junglers. Their skill sets provide both damage and inherent defense; however, they do not excel at either. These junglers fill many roles depending on the demands of the team and are relatively strong in all stages of the game. These junglers commonly have strong initiation, strong clearing, strong ganks, and strong damage; however, they, by no means, provide the best. These junglers are as strong as they are safe. 

Examples: Jarvan IV, Xin Zhao, Nasus, Skarner, Hecarim

Support Junglers 

These junglers are relatively weaker than the other two kinds of junglers previously mentioned. While their base damage is relatively low, these junglers excel in late game confrontations with exceptional initiation abilities or utility provided to the team. Furthermore, these junglers are able to be extremely difficult to kill due to their skill sets once they get going. These junglers are also efficient gankers as their utility from their skill sets allow CC to be provided to gank targets, but certainly lose to skirmishes against other junglers and laners. Junglers who are able to make it out of the laning phase against a bruiser jungler will find that support junglers outshine their bruiser counterparts significantly in late game.

Examples: Amumu, Nautilus, Zac, Maokai, Cho'Gath


The two most common rune pages jungler use are the AD rune page and the AS + MS rune page. These two pages fit the majority of initiator and bruiser junglers that were previously discussed. While armor penetration marks, armor quintessences, and many more runes can be used for jungle pages, these two pages are the most common for junglers and fit most AD junglers.

AD Page

9 Flat Attack Damage Marks
9 Flat Armor Seals
9 Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs
3 Flat Attack Damage Quintessences

The AD rune page can be used with most bruiser and hybrid junglers. Generally, you want to use the AD page with champions who have high base damage and scale well with AD, or champions who have built in attack speed or mobility. The extra AD given by this rune page will increase your gank potential with more damage and clear the jungle faster.

AS + MS Page 

9 Flat Attack Speed Marks
9 Flat Armor Seals
9 Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs
3 Movement Speed Quintessences

The AS + MS rune page can be used with most hybrid and support junglers. Generally, you want to use the AS + MS rune page with champions who are picked for their utility and CC. These runes allow the champion to clear the jungle faster and move across Summoners Rift to initiate team fights or gank more quickly.



The 21/9/0 mastery page can be used for bruiser junglers who are considered quasi-carries. These junglers scale better than their counterparts and do well with with the offense tree. When taking the 21/9/0, make sure another person on your team can fill the initiator role as junglers who take this mastery page are better suited for following up an initiation.


The 9/21/0 mastery page can be used for bruiser junglers or hybrid junglers who are considered bruisers and initiators. These junglers are strong in the early-mid game and act as bruisers; however, they are strong initiators or damage soaks in the mid-late game who benefit from the defense tree greatly.


The 0/21/9 mastery page can be used for hybrid or support junglers who are considered initiators and utility machines. These junglers are strong in the mid-late game and benefit from the defense tree; however, they are not considered bruisers or do not require the additional damage from the offense tree. Therefore, they are teched into the utility tree instead of the offense.



This is a mandatory ability to take on every jungler. You take it, not because its good, but because your team needs it. It doesn't help much in skirmishes or escapes, but it does one very important role - it secures objectives. Global objectives like blue buff, red buff, dragon, and baron can be secured with smite as it does the highest true damage in the game in a single ability. Read the section below to learn more about mastering smite!


This is a good option on many junglers. It can be used offensively to initiate instantaneously or to counter-flash after someone; it can be used defensively to escape over walls or dodge fatal abilities. While its cooldown is high flash is an amazing ability on almost every champion, even on champions who have built in flashes.


This is another good option on certain junglers. While its effect is not as instant as flash its good for covering long distances. Champions who thrive in drawn out fights like Nasus and Volibear make good use of ghost. Ghost lets junglers stick in team fights much better; however, for champions who excel at catching enemy champions out of position, flash is a better option.


This is another good option on certain junglers. It is best on junglers who are strong at escaping or negating catch potential. Champions who have built in flashes can consider taking exhaust. It is extremely strong in early-mid game ganks and can guarantee kills even if enemy champions use their escape summoner. Also, it is useful in late game situations on champions who dive AD carries as this summoner negates mostly all damage from AD carries.


Securing Objectives

Large global objectives like Baron or Dragon provide your team with global gold and buff advantages that can easily dictate the pace of the game. Always make sure that your smite is up when you are attempting these objectives and check the damage of your smite by hovering over the smite icon. Be aware, enemy junglers who are higher level than you have higher smite damage making it more difficult to secure objectives. It's generally a bad idea to attempt global objectives if the enemy jungler is two to three levels higher than you. Keep your eyes on the health bar and make sure you smite the dragon or baron when it gets low enough, but make sure you don't sacrifice all your map awareness and don't realize when your team needs to turn and fight instead of completing an objective.

Dragon re-spawns every 6 minutes, and baron re-spawns every 7 minutes.

Try working on your smite for Baron with this smite stealing simulator! 

Early game Buffs

Blue and Red Buff are strong camps for early game that can easily chunk a champion out of health quickly. Smite helps to clear these camps as fast as possible. Always make sure you smite the last bit of HP, similar to securing global objectives. Always try to get your team to give you a smiteless leash on your first buff, it helps with your clear time significantly! Be wary of doing camps without smite up as it can easily be stolen by the enemy team and you can be counter-jungled effectively during. That being said, try to do buff camps when your smite is up.

In this game (starting at 17:20), GGU NintendudeX and CLG Chauster battle it out with their knowledge of smite and positioning for early game buff control. While Chauster gets a smiteless red start, NintendudeX is forced to smite on a blue start. As a result, Chauster is able to steal away NintendudeX's red buff. However, this results to a stand-off between both junglers for Chauster's blue buff. Chauster eventually secures the three buffs as he waits for his smite to go back up. Both junglers feared getting caught counter-jungling or clearing the blue buff without smite.


The damage for smite can be found in the table above. While remembering the damage for smite is not expected, you should always check your damage of smite, by the method discussed above, before you do an objective or buff. Always try to use smite on the objective as close as possible to the damage of the smite.


Now that you've chosen a jungler, the rune page, the mastery page, and the summoners the first thing a jungler has to do is his initial clear. There are three main factors when a jungler considers which path they should follow, assuming you're not looking to counter-jungle or get counter-jungled.

1. What the lanes can do for you

Getting a 'leash' on the initial clear is important for a fast clear time; depending on how much damage you get on your first buff, you can either use your smite or save your smite. Generally, it is better to save your smite so you can do your next buff right after. Then, you will be able to get out of the jungle and gank faster, putting pressure on the lanes earlier. There are usually two factors that determine what lanes can do for you. Bot lane, with a numbers advantage, can easily give you a smiteless, but blue side bot lane will look to do golems and purple side bot lane will look to stop golems or sap xp from wolves. Top lane, with only two players to help you, is hard pressed to give you a smiteless or they will miss crucial initial minions and experience.

2. Where you want to end up

Deciding where you want to end up after your initial clear is important for efficient ganking and pressure. Deciding who and where you want to gank before you start the clear is important. If you want to gank top lane first, you should start at the bottom of the jungle so you end up at the top. That way, you save the travel time that you would need to make it back to the top if you started at the top and ended at the bottom of the jungle.

3. What your champion can do

Certain champions need to start certain buffs or benefit from it. Champions who are mana dependent need a blue buff to start to make use of all of their abilities to clear swiftly. Champions who are not mana dependent can take red buff first, so that red buff is constantly doing damage on camps. However, most champions who are looking to gank should try to end with red buff, as the duration of red buff can be used more for ganking than for clearing. Red buff provides a DoT (damage over time) and a slow that increases gank potential.

Blue Start

Smiteless Blue

1 - Start at Wolves then head to Blue Buff (Save Smite)
2 - Finish Blue Buff then head to Wraiths
3 - Finish Wriaths then head to Red Buff (Use Smite)

Blue Side Notes:
- Getting a mid laner and top laner to stay to give you a smiteless blue is difficult as they will miss the initial creeps and possibly die to a level two all-in

Purple Side Notes:
- Having the support, an extra person in comparison to blue side, makes it an appealing starting route
- Your bot lane may want to stop the enemy early double golems or sap experience off your wolves to prevent being level two all-ined

Smite Blue

1 - Start at Wolves then head to Blue Buff (Use Smite)
2 - Finish Blue Buff then head to Wraiths
3 - Finish Wriaths then head to Wolves
4 - Finish Wolves then head to Red Buff (Use Smite)
5 - Finish Red Buff then head to Wraiths

Blue Side Notes:
- A fairly inefficient route, only start this route if you absolutely need blue buff on your champion

Purple Side Notes:
- Generally, fairly unnecessary as the bot lane can provide a very strong leash on the purple side

Red Start

Smite Red

1 - Start at Wraiths then head to Red Buff (Use Smite)
2 - Finish Red Buff then head to Wolves
3 - Finish Wolves then head to Wraiths
4 - Finish Wraiths then head to Blue Buff (Use Smite)

Blue Side Notes:
- Generally very unneccessary as bot lane can provide a strong initial leash
- Bot lane may want to do double golems so you should expect a late leash on the red, regardless, it should still be quite effective

Purple Side Notes:
- A fairly inefficient route, only start this route if your champion needs a red buff start, or you're looking to do a fast level two gank top with a red buff

Smiteless Red

1 - Start at Wraiths then head to Red Buff (Save Smite)
2 - Finish Red Buff then head to Wolves
3 - Finish Wolves then head to Blue Buff (Use Smite)

Blue Side Notes:
- A very appealing route, as bot lane can provide a very strong leash
- It is possible to start Double Golems instead of Wraiths if your bot lane does not want to do it, starting Golems instead will actually give you more experience than starting Wraiths.

Purple Side Notes:
- Getting a mid laner and top laner to stay to give you a smiteless red is difficult as they will miss the initial creeps and possibly die to a level two all-in


Now that you've chosen a proper jungler for your team, applied the proper runes and masteries, chosen the proper summoners, and cleared your initial jungle, you can start ganking those players who are stopping you from winning your games! Prepare to be blamed for almost everything that is irrelevant to you and enjoy being the scapegoat of Solo Queue. Check out my other guides on how to improve your jungling! Remember - every single game is different demanding different choices for the jungler, use your experience and knowledge to guide yourself to victory by balancing whats more worthwhile to do.

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