BUILD GUIDE: Jungling: a Beginner's Guide by tapobu

by tapobu (last updated over a year ago)

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Hello, Tapobu at your service once more. I've been told by many that my Skarner jungle guide was pretty ok and that maybe I should write some more stuff. So this is me writing some more stuff.

Why am I doing this? Because jungling is intimidating as hell. I remember my first time jungling Udyr. It was terrible beyond all belief, and I swore never to jungle again. Obviously I'm not very good at sticking to resolutions. Anyway, not only is jungling super-intimidating, it is currently the most OP position on a team. A good jungler is in your face, killing your team, taking your stuff, and there's nothing you can do about it. A bad jungler is equally noticeable - either he's too aggressive, or too passive; maybe he has no map awareness; maybe he can't respond to counterjungle; maybe he just doesn't know where to go or what to do next. Given the wonderful LoL community, being a bad jungler is often a really sucky experience, and I don't want any of you to be bad junglers.

*** This guide is in a period of total rework for season 3. Some information is still very useful, while others (picks, items) are being revised.

Season 3 changelog

  • Updated some champion info, masteries, items, leash mechanics. 12/30/12
  • Updated champions again cuz I forgot a ton. 12/30/12
  • TWO NEW SECTIONS: Season 3 meta 1/2/13
  • Added a new JARVAN video in the bottom of the guide! 1/28/13
  • Minor updates (thanks Inzek for noticing!) 1/28/13

If you notice anything outdated, post here or message me ASAP! thanks!

Season 3 replays anyone?

As of right now, my videos are 99% outdated. Please send me your replays so I can commentate them. Win or lose, I still want them. Please? Message me the link and I'll commentate.

What is Jungling?

Jungling, in short, is farming the creeps between lanes. It's more than that though - it's a very intricate and amorphous process. It's never the same way twice, and if you play it the same way twice you're going to get outdone. To be a decently good jungler, it takes a lot more knowledge of LoL than it does to be a decently good laner. Don't let that intimidate you though - everyone has to start somewhere.

What does it take to be a good jungler?

Jungling takes a lot of knowledge and skill, in a very different variety than the knowledge and skill it takes to run a good lane. Here are some of the more and less obvious attributes of a good jungler.

  • Map awareness. You CANNOT be a good jungler if you don't know what's going on. Are you farming creeps? Glance at minimap. Are you looking for ganks? Glance at the minimap. Are you going b? Glance at the minimap. Develop a pattern, and eventually it will become second nature to you.
  • Knowledge of jungle champions. If you don't know what you're up against, you're a passive jungler. You can't invade that Nocturne if you don't know what to expect. When a jungle champ is free, play him at least once. Learn his kit, and learn his limitations. As you advance in jungling, you're expected to know more and more about what to expect, so you are ready for anything.
  • Good warding habits.Whenever possible, I carry a full stack of 5 wards with me. Sometimes I drop 3-4 at a time in the enemy's jungle, just so I know exactly where they are and what they're doing. If you plan to be somewhere for a while, ward up the area. If your lanes are too dumb to ward, do it for them. Ward dragon, ward baron, ward jungle entrances and exits. This is your job. You are not too good to buy wards. Later I'll have a list of ward locations.
  • Patience. There is a great and terrible divide between the way laners and junglers understand each other. Laners believe they have the more difficult job, and that a jungler is there to serve them. When a jungler isn't protecting their lane, they get angry. Worse, if an enemy jungler is threatening them, they get furious. If you fly off the handle at every laner that get pissed at you, you'll be banned before the week is out. Patience will also keep you from forcing ganks at a disadvantage. Junglers who lack patience will tower-dive enemies near death and most likely end up dying. Late game, they'll initiate at bad times rather than wait for an advantage. And they'll rage.
  • Discretion. It is, as they say, the better part of valor. Know when to go in, when to get out, and when to put that ridiculously idiotic Tryndamere on ignore. This goes right along with patience. Discretion = knowing what's a good idea and what's a bad idea. If top lane has been ganked 3 times and is begging for help, but they still manage to push out, chances are they're bad and you're gonna get double killed if you help. Why not go help that AP carry who knows what he's doing and get him nice and fed to combat the fed top lane? Junglers who lack discretion will often charge in at stupid times, have bad ganks, and won't know where they ought to be.
  • Alertness. You can't jungle on autopilot. You can't jungle while half asleep. You have to be alert but not jumpy from a caffeine high or buzzed from alcohol. Good sleep patterns, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can go a long way to keeping you alert during a game.

This is an uncompleted list; there are many, many good qualities in a jungler

What does it take to be a good jungle champ?

Ok, so I haven't scared you away yet. You still want to jungle. So let's pick a champ. Here are some qualities I find useful in a jungler. Keep in mind that ANYONE CAN JUNGLE. Some champions are just better than others.

Also, when I say a champion is "good" or "bad" at a specific characteristic, that doesn't mean they're a good or bad pick in general. It just means they do or do not fulfill that particular desirable trait for a jungler.

  • Strong single-target damage Where AOE damage used to be essential, season 3 has now seen a rework of the jungle, and strong single-target damage is preferable to decent AOE damage. Thus a champion like Warwick is only a "little" weaker than Udyr, as opposed to season 2 where he was way weaker.
  • Natural move-speed buff and/or Gap CloserThis is still essential for ganking. If you want to go hard into a lane, you need a gap-closer of some sort, whether it's a dash or a huge move-speed boost. Champions like Skarner, Udyr, and Volibear have a move-speed boost, whereas champions like Xin, Vi, and Khazix have great dashes. Both are effective, but dashes are somewhat preferable because it immediately tells your lane, I AM COMMITTING TO THIS FIGHT.
  • A kit that works with tankiness. This is less important in season 3 than it was in 2. Now, junglers can be tanks or assassins, depending on who you pick. The thing is, IF you go for an assassin, YOU MUST GET KILLS OR YOU ARE WORTHLESS. So if you are just learning to jungle, err on the side of tankiness. The best choice is a tanky champion that does a lot of damage. Xin Zhao, Warwick, and Volibear are good examples.
  • Crowd Control.The more the better, and the sooner the better. This is what gives you free kills early game. Champions like Maokai and Nocturne have CC available as soon as lvl2 or 3, whereas champions like Skarner and Warwick don't really start to shine til lv6. That said, once Warwick and Skarner hit 6, you're going to have some easy, easy kills.
  • Mana independence. This is still important, but not as important thanks to the new jungler items that give mana regen. Unfortunately, sometimes you are going to get invaded and lose your blue, so you have to survive without mana immediately. For guys like Amumu and Fiddlesticks this can be hard, but for champs such as Warwick and Xin, it's just a minor setback that means you can't spam as much. Learn how to jungle a champion without spending as much mana, and you will be far better off in the long run.
  • Synergy with This is what the new jungle's all about. Forget your Madreds, the Spirit Stone will win you the game. Because of the increased cost of vampiric scepter, I no longer believe Wriggles Lantern to be a viable item and thus I do not build it except in very rare circumstances. Why is Spirit stone better? It does everything philo stone does PLUS gives you a damage bonus. It builds into three different items, all of which are very useful. Would your champion have used Wriggles in the old jungle? Now try Ancient Golem or Red Lizard. Is your champ an AP? Go for the wraith spirit. My absolute favorite item is ancient golem, but to each your own.
  • Late-game effectiveness.If someone falls off late-game, what's the point? If you play that squishy assassin and don't get kills, you are useless. For starting jungle, play champions who can tank AND do heavy damage. Examples are Warwick, Volibear, Cho'gath, and Lee Sin.

Choosing your jungle champ

This portion of the guide is now in rework. If you see something that should be here but isn't, PM me and I will add it. I will be listing junglers in order of easiest to most difficult to learn, NOT in order of 'best' to 'worst.' I'll also throw in my personal difficulty rating learning the champ. This is my opinion, so if you disagree, that's ok. Keep in mind this is a DIFFICULTY RATING, not a USEFULNESS RATING. Some very easy champions are very useful, and some extremely difficult champions are rather useless (*cough* Shaco *cough*)

  • Warwick [1/10]. This is the easiest jungler to learn, but it's very difficult to master and very effective if mastered. Basically you start W, hit W at 1:35, take down the wolves (have team help/take small wolves), take blue, then max Q and level E at 4, R at 6. Level to 6 asap, gank lanes every time ult is up, profit. You have insane 1v1 power, insane sustain power, and insane late-game power even if you build tank. The trick is knowing when to ult. When I started playing wolf, my problem is I never knew when to ult, so I'd miss good ganks and get myself into terrible fights where I'd throw the game. Know how strong your team is and know who to ult in a team fight. (also, if I ever get time, I'll write up a S3 warwick guide).
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem

  • Amumu [2/10]. Another terribly easy jungler, and another jungler that can change the game if played correctly. The only difficulty is, everyone loves to invade him and he is annoyingly slow without blue buff. SO as long as you understand that, anticipate the invasion and kill them when they come. Your lvl1-5 will be kinda weak, but if you are good with skill-shots you can get off some ganks. Level 6 is when you really shine. If you use your combo correctly, you can kill any lane as long as your team is decent. And in team fights...walk/Q/flash up to enemy carry, spam all skills, profit.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem

  • Skarner [2/10]. This guy isn't as strong as he used to be, but he's still pretty easy to learn and very effective at catching people off-guard. Q is your bread-and-butter skill, with W and E both being good damage-negation tools at early levels. Now that W is weaker, I'd say a good order would be QEWQ. Then max Q, max W, max E, and always ult. At level 6, your ganks go from ehh to omgwtfbbq. The most important thing to learn as Skarner is when NOT to ult. Don't ult that Singed that's overextending. Don't ult the Malphite that hasn't ulted yet. Etc. If you get too cocky you can throw the game. Also, build tanky. If you are way ahead and decide to invest in something like Trinity force, the enemy might outscale your tankiness and render you useless.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem

  • Nunu [3/10]. Nunu is fairly easy to jungle, but he kinda sucks in season 3. He's fairly easy to learn - Q is a second smite, W gives you fast attack speed, E to gank - but to be really good at him, you have to know how to counterjungle. In old jungle, you could just walk in and Q a wraith and call it good, but now it takes a bit more planning since your Q won't kill a wraith. It's best to wait until later levels to counterjungle, and when you do go in, ward major buffs and come back when they spawn. For skills, go QWEE then gank at 3 or 4. Your ganks are a bit hard because you don't have any "hard" cc and your slow isn't that strong at first, so be sure to use your W on your ally for best effect. Try to catch someone way over-extended, and always give the kill to your ally if it can be done. As for his ult...at its worst, it is a distraction, and at its best it is a HUGE source of damage. If you want to absorb as many CC as you can, build a Banshee's Veil to ensure they have to cast two CC on you to stop the ult. You CAN go AP for enormous burst, but if you are interrupted...your damage really craps out fast. Anyway, give it a try if you want. He's not nearly as good as he used to be, but he was the first jungler I considered myself "good" at, and I still enjoy playing him from time to time.
Spirit Stone of choice: Ancient Golem

  • Volibear [3/10]. YES THIS IS A THING NOW DO IT. Volibear's kit is just brutal if pulled off right. His W is massive, massive damage that scales based on YOUR HP. His E is a huge damage negation tool in the jungle that no longer causes resets thanks to the new jungle. His Q is an amazing chase skill, especially in lanes with CC. And his R...well, his R just makes things unfair. For jungling, go WEWQ for full clear, or WEQ for lvl3 gank. Max W first, E second, Q last, and always R. Ghost is more useful than flash just because of the insane, insane move-speed you get with Q, BUT flash has its uses - I enjoy rushing in, flashing, and getting an immediate flip before they can respond. For items, just build lots of HP. Spirit Visage, Warmogs, and Rylais are all good options. Late-game, your main goal is to flip the AD/AP carries into your team to be easy kills. This means Ghost is uber useful in team-fights. But most of all, you want CC/Slow reduction in your masteries and items. Which means there is only one spirit stone for Volibear.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem

  • Xin Zhao [3.5/10]. Another fairly easy jungler to learn. Another fairly difficult jungler to master. Why? E. Early game, it goes like this: dash in, knock up, easy kill. Late game, it goes like this: dash in, get targeted, team doesn't follow, gg. Just like with Warwick's ult, you need to know when to go in. There are two ways to build Xin - the safe way, and the roflstomp way. You can effectively make him a high-damage killing machine, BUT you need to have a main tank who can take hits while you zerg their AD carry. If you are the tankiest person on the team, build full tank or heavy tanky-dps. For jungling, QWQE for fast clears or QE for lvl2 ganks or QWE for lvl3 ganks. Your ult is a little tricky, but you can use it in ganks to be really, really annoying. Example: target a minion BEHIND your target, ult the minion, target flies toward your enemies. This is also useful in team-fights - don't just think about what you can push away, think about what you are pushing toward your team. Also, don't buy sheen. People tend to buy Sheen on Xin because they think it's a great idea, but the reality of the situation is you use all your skills at once, rendering Sheen almost useless.
Spirit stone of choice: Red Lizard or Ancient Golem (Wriggles is viable too)

  • Dr. Mundo [4/10]. While his skills are fairly simple to understand and it will only take a game or two to understand the basic concept, pulling it off successfully in the jungle can be a bit harder. Mundo gets very, very low in his clear, and it's very easy to screw it up. In S2 jungle, you maxed W first. Now, it's better to take Q at level 1 for the huge single-target damage, and then level E for much safer jungle. For ganks, you really ONLY need Q for CC, but your W and E provide a ton of extra damage. Once you have your ult, you can use it as sustain in the jungle or to quickly invade and get out. It's really not incredibly useful for the regeneration until level 11 or 16, so don't go in thinking you're going to full heal at level 6 by pressing R. As you may be able to tell from Mundo's passive, E, and R, he is an HP champ. If you get him a spirit visage and stack tanky-HP items, you're going to both do a lot of damage and be very difficult to kill.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem (although the mana regen doesn't help him, everything else on this item is wonderful)

  • Nocturne [4.5/10]. Many people say this is an easy champion to learn. I have a lot of trouble with him, but for your sake I'm putting him near the top. Noc is a champ that can be built either as an assassin or a tank, but eventually you WILL need some form of tankiness. Level QE if you want to lvl2 gank or QWEQ for a full run through. Max Q, E, then W, always leveling R. The tough part about Noc is if the enemy has a flash or dash skill, they'll get away before E goes off. I HATE that. Never pick Noc against champions like Ezreal and Katarina or you will just never get a gank off. Early-game if you are getting kills, you can build pretty offensively, but by late-game you should have one or two tank items just in case you get in trouble. If you're not getting ganks, build tank or you're worthless.
Spirit stone of choice: Red Lizard or Ancient Golem

  • Rammus [5/10] This is not an effective jungle champion right now. If/when he becomes effective again, he will be fairly useful, but for now his early game has taken too much of a hit. That said, when Rammus works, he's a fairly decent jungler that can do insane ganks out of nowhere. For leveling, take WQWE for full clear or WQE for an early gank. Max E first - whether you get one or two points in W early on is personal preference, but two points will give you faster farm. Another option is to level W/E evenly, favoring E of course. The strategy is simple - roll in, smash into someone, press E, press W, walk backwards, profit. The problem right now is his roll was nerfed, his shield was nerfed, and his taunt was nerfed. And then his base HP was nerfed. And then I think they nerfed his penis size too just cuz they could. So basically...watch and wait for Rammus to be useful at something other than ARAMs. And when he is, remind me to update this guide!
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem - only option

  • Maokai [5/10]. I put him below Noc because that W can really mess you up if you use it improperly. If you W someone like Ezreal and he double-flashes you under the tower, you're dead. Learn how to use Maokai's kit, THEN take it into ranked. For jungling, take EQWE. Be sure to set up saps starting at 1:05 at wolves for fastest clear time. Toss the last one right as they spawn for extra damage. As soon as you have QW you can gank. W in, then Q right as the W ends. Toss a sapling somewhere in there too for extra damage. If you sense an invade or want to spot a bush, use E instead of facechecking as it can act as a short-duration ward. Maokai's ult is also a game-changer, both in terms of damage and damage negation. If you get fed and want to built a little AP, his entire kit can pack a HUGE punch. Most important in team fights is Maokai's passive. With spells flying all over, auto-attacking basically keeps you constantly healing throughout a fight. Use that to your advantage - more HP means more sustainability thanks to this passive.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem

  • Shen [6/10]. Despite being easy to use, he's very slow and not incredibly effective unless you're really good with him, thus he is this far on the list. The important thing is to watch the map so you know when to ult, and Shen-level map awareness is not a thing for beginners to try and grasp. For jungling, take QWQE for full clear or QWE for early gank. You aren't going to even be doing Warwick-level damage, so be prepared for a slow journey. You should probably start Red simply because if I see a Shen jungling, I'm going to try and steal his red because I know he's slow as hell. Thus if you want your red, get it before the other guy does. IF you get an early kill, give blue to your mid for extra win. Once you are level 6, watch lanes VERY CAREFULLY. If you're REALLY good with Shen, you can gank one far lane, get a kill, then immediately gank the other far lane for more kills. This absolutely destroys enemy morale.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem

  • Shyvana [6/10 to me, maybe very easy to you?]. Depending on your playstyle, this is either a very easy champion or very difficult to learn. For me, it's difficult so it's farther down on the list. The fact is, you have no CC, but you have a ton of damage. If you know how to gank/invade aggressively, you can do insane amounts of damage very quickly with your skills. When you auto, be sure to auto THEN press Q for three very fast auto-attacks in a row. If you can cast E before this, it does even more thanks to armor pen. For jungling, max W first for mobility or Q first for single-target damage, whichever you prefer. If you're really good, you can also take exhaust with her to give her extra ganking power, but I find it gets me in too many difficult situations. As for her ult...you can use it either for a powerful initiation CC or as an escape. The trick is to get behind the enemy and ult them back toward your team, otherwise...you just keep them safe. Sidenote: if any of you are really good with Shyvana and have a replay I can commentate, I'd absolutely love that.
Spirit stone of choice: I hate to say it, but Wriggles is probably best for her. If you're not getting kills though, go Ancient Golem just so you can survive and then build damage after you get a few mid-game kills.

  • Jarvan IV [6/10 due to skillset]. If you can hit his E+Q combo, you're good with him. If you can't, you're bad with him. Practice this in bot games or normals, then take it into the jungle. His clears are decently fast, his ganks are potentially devastating, and his level 6 means that you're 100% going to force a flash or get a kill. Unfortunately because the flash option is available, he's not a sure kill like some junglers. Late-game, you're absolutely insane, CC-ing several people at once, giving your team aspd bonus, and singling out a very obvious target for your team to kill. As with the Warwick ult, you need to know who you can go in on and who you can't. More importantly, you need to know when to cancel the ult. If you're taking tons of damage or the enemy flashed out, keeping the ult on is more of a hindrance than a help. Just press R again to break it. For jungling, level EQEW in all cases, because EQ allows you to gank. Max E first for the passive bonuses and cooldown, then Q for the extra damage or W if you need extra tankiness. Always get R.
Spirit stone of choice: ? I'm guessing Ancient Golem, but he might actually be more effective with Wriggles. Let me know what you think.

  • Cho'gath [7/10]. I'm sure you've seen lots of people in tournaments playing Cho jungle lately. It is very effective if played well. That said, it is difficult to play well. Whereas some champions like Xin can just run into a lane and instantly start sticking to the enemy's butt, Cho takes more finesse. If you miss the Q, your gank has failed and you might as well leave. This means that if your enemy spots you, you will probably fail your gank, unlike with quicker junglers. That said, Cho is perfectly happy sitting back and farming. He takes down creeps very quickly and benefits greatly from the increased gold in recent patches. The best way to gank with Cho (unless the enemy is a total idiot who doesn't ward) is to come in from behind a lane that's pushing and wait for the perfect opportunity to Q. Not only are you going to catch them off-guard, there's also a good chance the enemy jungler will come, at which point you can get them both with your very high lvl6 burst. In team-fights, how you play depends on how successful your early game was. If you are the tankiest thing on your team, feel free to tank. If you are NOT, stand back and cast Q/W, going in only for R and then getting out again very quickly. You'll often find yourself doing the latter, as full-tank Cho takes a lot of gold to really be effective. This is because death carries an extra penalty for Cho in losing his stacks, so it's very easy to reverse-snowball on him by thinking you're still tanky after you've died a few times.

  • Olaf [7/10...damn axes]. This guy's deceptively difficult to learn. Whereas laning is all about maxing E and true-damaging the hell out of the poor fool on the other team, jungle Olafs have to be able to hit the axe. And for that reason, this guy is hard as hell to jungle properly. He's best played when you have lanes with decent CC - Ryze mid, Taric/Leona bot, etc. Then THEY CC the enemy for you, you rush in, hit your axe (or still whiff it if you're bad like me), and tower-dive/pentakill all day. Although you CAN effectively build damage on Olaf, jungle Olafs won't have the gold to spend on all the items that make heavy-AD Olaf so great. Thus the cheapest thing to do is go heavy HP with a little AD here and there. Remember your ult gives you a huge armor/resist bonus, so...rush in and enjoy the carnage.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem (although if you get fed, Wriggles is OK here)

  • Trundle [7/10]. Very difficult to use, very weak early game, but ridiculous late-game as long as he can hit things. The reason he's not played often is because he doesn't have any non-auto damage until lvl6, at which point he gets an ult that is horrible until late-game. CAN you be effective early game? Yeah, sure. And if you are, you're going to destroy things all game. But his ganks are tricky, and his kit makes you feel more powerful than you actually are. If you're going to jungle him, go QWQE for clear or QWE for early gank. You're going to have to repeat-gank a lane because their flash basically renders your pillar all but useless. IF you get to late-game, however, you are basically a super-tanky beast in team-fights, actually STEALING the enemy tank's tankiness and the enemy AD's AD, all while hitting super fast thanks to your W. But, uh...good luck getting there.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem (then Trinity in a fast game or Wits End in a slower game) or Red Lizard (only if really fed, then get an aegis or some other tank item asap)

  • Hecarim [7/10]. Like Trundle, he's kinda weak early game but absolutely destroys everything late-game. The reason he's so far down on the list is because in order to be not completely useless mid-game, you have to get off his rather tricky ganks early game. For jungling, you go QWE for lvl3 gank or QWQE for lvl4 gank. Max his Q first, NOT his W - because Q is up more often and thus gives you more damage overall, killing enemies faster and saving you the HP you would've gotten back by leveling W first. Also, learn how to ult properly. If you aim from too close, you'll whiff the whole thing and look ridiculous. If you aim too far away, you'll just send enemies running safely back to tower. For late game, trinity force + full tank seems to work fairly well, but you can always build more damage or more tank as needed. The important thing is pop the W in the middle of as many enemies as possible, then watch as your HP bar never goes down.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem if you're new to him, or Red Lizard if you know what you're doing and have gotten a few kills

  • Udyr [7.5/10]. Believe it or not, this guy is very hard to use effectively. If you are bad at Udyr, he is a super minion. If you are good at Udyr, he's a beast. The reason he's so hard to use is he doesn't have any targetable skills. So it's all about your positioning. If you don't know where to be, you're useless. If you are in the right place, it's devastating. Early-game it's all about running all over the map catching people off-guard. Late-game it's all about being tanky as hell and stunning everyone in a teamfight repeatedly. For jungling, you can go Q or R for your clearing skill. R is faster, but Q is way stronger single-target damage, and it WILL steal a buff faster in an invade. What I like to do is go wolves, blue, enemy red, gank. It's slightly easier to pull off with Phoenix, but the gank is more effective with Tiger, so take your pick. In team-fights, Phoenix does more all-around damage, but Tiger does brutal damage to a single target. Again, take your pick, but remember that Bear is most important late-game for the stuns. OH, and one more thing? Ashe is going to kite you all day long. Enjoy.
Spirit stone of choice: Ancient Golem

  • Fiddlesticks [8/10]. Why yes, AP jungling is a thing now. And Fiddlesticks is quite good at it. Unfortunately, he's very difficult to use. Fidd is very prone to invasion by aggressive junglers like Lee Sin, and his ganks are absolute fail if he gets spotted by a ward. BUT...if he isn't spotted...and he gets off his CC...that's a kill. Maybe two kills. In fact, the game might bug and give you a pentakill just for free, because you're just that overpowered. For jungling, get Drain first, then Dark Wind, then the fear thing (I don't remember which is which key! baaaah!) Max fear as soon as possible only leveling dark wind when the jungle mobs start to get tough.
Spirit stone of choice: Wraith (then get a Zhonyas ASAP or you fail)

  • Lee Sin [9/10]. This is one of the highest skill cap junglers in the game, but if you're good with him, you will carry games. I hate him. I suck at skill shots and his kit really isn't my style at all. That said, if you get good with him, you will win games. Lee Sin players are a constant pain in my backside because they're just so stupid aggressive. Whether they chain-gank a lane or invade/kill me at red, they're always a pain. Learn Lee, play Lee, win with Lee. But I swear if you use him against me I will find you and I will kill you.
Spirit Stone of Choice: Red Lizard or Ancient Golem (though if you get fed early YOU SHOULD GO WRIGGLES)

  • Shaco [2000/10]. Yes you can still do it. No I'm not going to tell you how. Look up a Shaco guide if you really want to know because I am the worst Shaco ever. He's very, very hard to learn, but it sometimes occasionally pays off if you are good at him.

Runes for junglers

Depending on who you play, here are some runes you should get:

Quints (purple): Armor pen, flat damage, flat HP, flat AP, move speed
Marks (red): Attack speed, flat damage, magic pen, armor pen
Seals (yellow): Armor
Glyphs (blue): Flat resist, resist per level, attack speed, AP per level

Runes you don't need: Mana, mana regen, mana regen per level, mana per level. See a trend here?

PROTIP: Tier 1 runes are super cheap for the stats they give. Buy these until lvl20, they'll hardly set you back at all. Then you can combine them for tier 3 runes.

Masteries for junglers

With the dawn of season 3, there are many, MANY new options for masteries.

21/9/0 is very effective for champions with no need of buffs. I love using them on Warwick because the extra damage makes him quite a bit faster. If you would rather have a faster clear time and take slightly more damage, use these.

21/0/9 is great for AP junglers like Fiddlesticks. Naturally you'd go into the AP side of the offense tree. An AD 21/0/9 is not as effective just because you really need the extra bit of tankiness the defense tree gives.

9/21/0 Ehh.. It's ok. You could spec AP or AD in the 9 and have a tank with some small bit of penetration. If you want to play safe but still have some pen, go this way.

0/21/9. Still my favorite, but 21/9/0 is starting to win me over. If you really don't need more damage and just want to be all-around tanky, go this route. I still use it on Volibear and Maokai.

Jungle starting items

Well, this is rather simple.

Any questions?

Take 5 potions if you need them, two wards if you don't, or a combination of the two if you're fancy like that.

"But sir, what about boots?"


"What about regrowth pendant?"


"What about cloth---"


The Hunter's Machete

As you may have been able to figure out from above, the Hunter's Machete is a necessity to all junglers of all varieties. Not only does it provide a huge damage boost, it also builds into four really awesome jungler items. Well, three really awesome jungler items and Wriggles Lantern. Yes I'm biased. Deal with it. BUT even if you aren't planning to upgrade this wonderful item, it's STILL good just for the extra damage you get. Anyway, let's break it down, shall we?

- This item adds 10 true damage to basic attacks vs monsters and increases your total damage value from any source (except smite) by 10%. This means Rammus's spikes are 10% more effective. It means Fidd's drain is 10% more effective. It means auto-attacks are around 15-20% more effective. This item is an equalizer. It makes the slowest damage champions that much closer to attaining the power of the highest-damage champions. Always buy it at level 1, unless you are a terrible player.

- Remember season 2, where everyone would build a philo stone that cost 800 gold? Well now this exists, and it costs 800 gold. It gives you all the regen of philo plus a 20% damage bonus to monsters, plus that 10 true damage bonus. Again, this only affects monsters, so it is MADE FOR JUNGLERS. Even if you don't want tier 3 jungle items, GET THIS ITEM.

- While in my mind this is inferior in every way to the Spirit Stone, it's still decently ok. The thing is, it won't provide you the philo stone bonus. It won't provide you the 20% non-auto-attack bonus. It just gives a little chance for your auto-attacks to hit really hard. So unless ALL YOU DO IS AUTO-ATTACK, this item is a poor choice. If you are a champion like Olaf, Nocturne, or Trundle that is largely based around autos, this is an ok choice, but you're going to have to spend 800+ more gold in order to get an item that sustains you like the Spirit Stone does.

- Great for HP and tenacity. With this item, you do not have to build the very expensive Merc Treads, and that alone makes it worth it to me. In addition, you get a ton of HP, which helps you SO MUCH early game. You can tower-dive so, so easily with this item. Get it. Use it. Love it.

- This is what Wriggles would be if Wriggles actually provided you with decent amounts of damage. It costs a bit more than Wriggles, but if you're going to spend this much on an item, you want something that gives more than minor buffs to a few stats. This bad boy gives you 50 damage, extra monster damage, regen, and a true-damage burn. Basically Wriggles Lantern and Philo Stone had a love child, and out came something actually useful. Just be warned, it's a big investment for something that gives you no tankiness, so a good option would be to build the spirit stone, then build a tanky item, then return and finish this later.

- Great for AP junglers. Not only does it give a whopping 20% spell vamp, it also gives you 10% CDR and philo stone regen. As with Lizard Elder item, it leaves you pretty squishy early on, so unless you're getting super fed you might opt for something tankier first.

- For those content with mediocrity, Wriggles has a lot of little things that, together, are still only mildly useful. You can do camps, buffs, and dragon really fast. You have a bit of extra damage, a bit of extra armor, and a bit of lifesteal. Some champions like Nocturne really need all these things and it makes them very useful. But if you can avoid getting it, avoid getting it.

Season 3 meta: Assassins and Tanks

If you've spent any time jungling in season 3, you know that people are really, really big into building AD caster assassins who build black cleaver. Examples are Talon, Pantheon, and Khazix. They are very good at abusing a metagame where people do not build tanks anymore. If they do build tanks, they build "old-style tanks" with a bit of HP and lots of armor/resist. Even in these cases, people rarely build "full tanks" because they lack damage and can't carry a team of bad players. Thus the rather useless armor/resist stats are left relatively low, and damage is much higher. You see this on Amumu, Malphite, and others. They rush into a fight, blow all their damage, get focused, and die while their assassins run around destroying your squishies, and you can't do anything about it. How does one counter this?

Enter the HP tank.

Why HP? A few reasons.
  • Armor and resist are now more expensive. Chain vests are 720 and null-magic mantles are a whopping 840 gold.
  • Armor items are less effective. Black cleaver shreds a tank's armor in no time flat, leaving you defenseless against any AD-based assault.
  • HP is cheaper and cannot be "shredded" or "ignored" by items such as black cleaver and brutalizer.
  • HP items are the most powerful items right now. They have the best passives, the best actives, and the best extra stats.

Now, I bet you're wondering, what use is a no-damage HP champ? My answer to that is: who said anything about damage? Let's consider the HP champs of the game for a second.

  • Ever the crowd favorite thanks to his Brolaf skin (which I loathe unconditionally). His passive makes him attack faster if he has lower HP. Therefore, if you have a ton of HP you can have insane DPS while being relatively safe at low HP. Next, his W. More damage based on a percent of his HP. Not only that, his ult gives him extra flat armor/resist. Therefore you don't need as much on him.
  • Another fan favorite. Mundo's biggest downside in s3 is his pre-6 survivability. He gets low in the jungle, really low. After 6 though, he quickly becomes a machine. Obviously his ult gives him way more HP based on how much HP he actually has. Aside from that, his W is basically a Sunfire cape on steroids, his Q deals a % of enemy's HP damage, and his E does 100 extra damage on auto-attack, which goes up if he has lower HP. Mundo is a beast, and he can carry games.
  • My Little Hecarim hasn't gotten much play yet, but it's going to change, I promise you. He doesn't need as much HP because his HP steroid is based on the enemy team. Cast W, watch enemies take a ton of damage, watch your HP bar go up. Thus because you don't need as much HP, you can afford damage items, which scale incredibly well with Hecarim.
  • Ehhh...she does scale with HP thanks to W, but she has a hard time carrying because she lacks the single-target DPS to get her through the S3 jungle. It's possible though, and I'd love to see it pulled off.
The epitome of all HP junglers. I build around 4000hp on this guy in any given 40-minute game, and then I kill everything. Not only does Voli's passive give him more HP when he's low, his W gives him tons of damage based on his HP and his enemy's missing HP. Not only that, his E and R synergize with Rylai's very well, so you can slow the entire team at once with this item.
  • Forever my favorite. Warwick, like Hecarim, does not need to focus solely on HP because he gets so much back with his Q and R. For Warwick, Ancient Golem and Spirit Visage are often enough, allowing you to focus on damage items like Wits End.

Season 3 meta: HP items

Let's look at the HP items in the game, shall we?
/ - Small amount of HP, lots of other stats, and it makes your entire team tankier. Someone on your team should have this item. In and of itself, it's really not that bad for tankiness, but it only gives a bit of extra HP to you, the driving force of the team, so get a top lane or support to build it if you can.
- Some HP, some mana, a ton of resist, and a spell-blocking shield. This is a good item, but it's not a good fit for most junglers, but it can work. If you intend to be a full-tank and you don't have any healing steroids, Banshee is a good alternative to Spirit Visage for resist.
- Now we're talkin. This is a wonderful item that gives you tons of hp HP, a little damage, and the all-important peel. It's not my first choice for an item because it's so expensive and gives no survivability outside the HP, but it's ok if you are going for more of a bruiser than a full-tank.
- No, it's not a fully upgraded item, but I am going to list it. Its price is now down to 1k gold, which makes it extremely affordable for the average jungler. Not only that, it builds into a lot of really wonderful items, all of which are useful on some jungling champ or another.
/ - Ehh, more for the AP champions, but I wouldn't discount it. It's a nice thing to have for Fiddlesticks or Diana, but not much of a jungler champ.
- u mad bro?
- Great, great item that gives 500 hp, 70 armor, and a slow every time you get hit. They want to shred you with cleaver? K, have fun hitting slower and being an easy target. Oh, and the active. USE IT. It's wonderful.
- Decently ok if you're going for the tanky-AP Amumu or Maokai, but it's not really a 'tank' item per se, so I avoid it.
- This is a fun item. It's an AOE Frozen Mallet for champions more focused on their abilities than their auto-attacks. Cho'gath and Volibear put this to great use.
- Not as useful as it used to be, sadly. Still a good pick, but better left to supports.
- CORE ITEM ALERT. CORE ITEM ALERT. YOU ALMOST ALWAYS WANT TO BUILD THIS ON AN HP TANK. Notable exception: Hecarim. This item gives you regen/mana regen, lots of HP, and TENACITY. This means YOU DON'T NEED TO BUILD MERC TREADS.
- CORE ITEM ALERT. Spirit Visage only gives 200hp, BUT it gives other stats you need. The 50 MR means you won't need to build any more MR items unless you're vs a really fed AP carry. The CDR is also nice, but most important is the fact that all healing effects are 20% more useful. That 30% heal on Volibear is now 36%. 60% heal on Mundo is now 72%. You get the point. This enhances your effective HP a huge, huge amount. So basically, the more HP you heal, the more HP this item is worth.
- For the HP tank who's always in the middle of a fight (read: for every HP tank ever in the history of the world). There are other items that are better, but if you just want HP, armor, and extra damage, it's solid.
- A little HP, but this item is mostly about damage. If you are tanky enough that you can survive five people attacking you for a good ten seconds or so, Trinity is ok, but it's just so expensive...it often leaves you feeling far too squishy to make effective use of its damage. Better for top lanes.
- The mother of all HP items. For champs like Mundo with extra regen, it's amazing. Not only that, it synergizes with Spirit Visage, which will increase your HP regen by 20%. So 1.5 becomes 1.8%hp per second. The down-side to this item is it gives you no armor or resist, so it's just pure fluff if you don't already have those stats.
- A good last item if you're already tanky enough to survive the apocalypse. It increases the overall damage of your team by a lot, and if you're an auto-attacker it gives you a bit more HP by vamp.

Season 3 meta: Iceborn vs Trinity

This item is new to S3, and in my humble opinion, it is one of the best items in the game right now. It is basically a combo Trinity Force and Frozen Heart, only a little weaker than each. The result is: after a spell, your auto-attack slows in an AOE. This is basically better in every way than Phage's one-target % chance slow, because it's AOE and happens EVERY TIME. Not only that, it costs WAY less than Trinity or Frozen Heart. It gives champions like Skarner the armor/mana they want so badly from FH, and the damage they want so badly from Trinity. Now, Skarner already has a Q slow, but for a champion like, say, Warwick, this item is just overpowering. Basically, you need to buy this item on any champion that has mana. Assassin or tank, buy this item. Buy. This. Item.

tldr: Buy. This. Item. Also find a new guide, this whole thing is one big tldr.


  • Small camps (wolves, wraiths, double golem) spawn at 1:40 and respawn every 60 seconds.

  • Large camps (blue buff, red buff) spawn at 1:55 and respawn every 5 minutes.

  • Dragon spawns early in the game and respawns every 6 minutes.

  • Baron spawns at 15:00 and respawns every 7 minutes.


The Leash

Thanks to season 3 changes, the leash is rather different now. Your allies can continue hitting your monsters for as long as they want, and if you get the last hit, it's pure profit.

What I always have my team do when I'm jungling is straight-up take the small wolves / small wraiths. It gives them a little tiny boost and makes the job way faster for me. Unless you're a fast-clear champ like Udyr, it's often a very good plan to do this.

As for the buff...if they have the time and the patience, have them keep helping for as long as they can. Save your smite if you can, and use it to steal an enemy buff or take your second buff before it can be stolen.

A deeper explanation of wards (slightly outdated)

Some have disagreed with my opinion that having a stack of 5 wards at all times is a good idea. Here's the thing:

1) Vision = gold. If you can see where they're going, and they can't see where you're going, you can ambush them for free kills. Well-placed wards will prevent you from dying, help you get kills, and net in a profit much greater than the cost of the wards.

2) Your build doesn't matter for the first 15-20 minutes of the game. The reason Skarner/Udyr are rated so high in junglers is because they are SO STRONG with little or no items. Watch my Udyr game, see how long it takes me to get an actual completed item other than boots. It takes a long time. But after a while, that initial investment of wards + philo stones starts to really pay off in a big, big way as I finish item after item and end up with an almost completed build.

3) Randuins Omen and Shurelya's Reverie, which are core items on most good junglers, build from Gold Per 10 items. This means that they are MUCH cheaper than they appear. The third item of my jungler triforce, Wits End, is 2k gold - very inexpensive compared to, say, infinity edge or trinity force.

4) You are not an AD carry. You are not an AP carry. You are utility. Every gold you earn does not have to go into items. If you are used to playing AD/AP carry, you will be very annoyed by having to buy wards all the time. I don't care. Do it anyway. It will absolutely make you a better jungler and a better team player.

That said, let's move on to good warding locations.

Early game:

You MUST ward enemy jungle exits. You SHOULD ward any unwarded lanes. You MIGHT want to ward enemy jungle pushes. For invasive wards, prioritize blue bush, wraith bush, red bush, side-bushes by wolves.

Mid game: Ward dragon, baron, side-bushes by mid lane, buffs.

Late game: MUST ward baron. SHOULD ward wherever you expect fights to be. Enemy jungle / your jungle very important. Ward enemy paths to baron if you plan to do baron.

On this map, the big dots are spawn camps, and the small dots are good warding locations. The numbers are:
1 = blue golem
2 = wolves
3 = wraiths
4 = double golem
5 = lizard
Most junglers do camps in order of 2, 1, 3, 4, 5, 3.

How to gank

Below is a map for ganking, linked from an Amumu guide on mobafire.


Note that there are several ways to gank a lane. Top lane can be ganked either through the river, or by going around baron. Mid lane can be ganked through the river, or from beyond the river. Bot lane can be ganked through the river. IF you are purple, you can also gank bot lane the same way top lane is ganked, e.g. by going through enemy's jungle and around the dragon.

Now, let's talk about a few specific types of ganks.

  • The river gank. This is as basic as it gets. Come in through the river in an attempt to surprise a target, and gank them. This works very well for Rammus, who comes in so fast the wards don't even matter. Overall it's not a very reliable gank except in the first 5 minutes, and even then it's not good for bot lane.

  • The back gank. This involves going through the enemy's red buff area and coming out beyond the river. This is tricky because you could get caught by the enemy jungler. It's very effective though, because either the lane will have to spend double on wards, or they will get ganked constantly.

  • The bush gank. This is sometimes the only way to gank bot lane, and it is extremely effective. What you want to do is go back and come up a lane that is pushed (bot or top). Hide in the side bushes and let the lane counterpush, and when they extend enough you jump on them. These bushes aren't always warded, but sometimes they are so be careful.

  • The Nocturne gank. Gank from wherever the hell you want. Tell a lane to initiate, and then fly in on the wings of angels, delivering the final, killstealing blow. Hover over your ult to see the distance before you press that button.

Your First Jungle Game

Ok, so you've bought a champion, gotten a few runes/masteries, and you want to try jungling with them. Here's my suggestion: Before you go into a game, take a friend into a custom and practice your path.

For your first time, regardless of champion, I suggest this path:

Wolves, Blue, Wraiths, Wolves, Red, Double.

This is the most basic and simple path to learn and is good for most champions who have mana, Shaco being one notable exception. If you're low level, you can probably do this path with Cloth+5 with or without runes.

After you've gone through it once or twice, load up a vs AI game if you're new with the champ, or a normal if you've used them to lane in past games.

Now, there are three important aspects to jungling, each more complex than the last: farming, ganking, and invasion. You want to learn them in this order. For your first game, focus on farming, and if you are able to get off some good ganks, that's awesome. Chances are your top lane will be a 1v2, so give them some extra love. If there's no enemy jungler, take their stuff too, and just sit around top lane ganking repeatedly. Don't even try invasion on your first game. Do not take a single step into the enemy's jungle alone.

Basically, as a starter, you want to get very used to the rhythm of your jungle. How long does it take to farm? When are you able to gank? How long does it take you to get from one end of the map to the other? Learn what your champ can do, and what he can't do. It's ok to die to jungle creeps, it's ok to do stupid things. My first game, I didn't get off a single gank and ended up repeatedly dying to jungle creeps. If you can do better than that, you're solid. Just remember this: you will get better. Someday you'll be on solomid.net writing these guides too, and people will listen to what you have to say. Just keep at it.

Advanced Techniques: Farming

Farming doesn't take much, honestly. Here's a few tips.

  • Give blue buff to your mid if a) they use mana, and b) they have proven themselves to be competent players.
  • If you're starting wolves/blue, explain to your bot lane that they can take your double if they want. Have them bounce it between each other so they don't take damage. It'll respawn before you get there. If it doesn't, you're jungling wrong.

Basically, farming's easy - you kill jungle creeps. Getting invaded is not. This part of the guide will explain how to deal with invasion and keep your farm up. Techniques go from simplest to most advanced.

  • WATCH OUT FOR LEVEL ONE GANKS. If there's someone with a lot of hard cc on the enemy team, like Cho, Alistar, Blitz, etc. they could very easily invade your blue. The best plan is just GET OUT. Have your support CV the blue at 1:50, and half the time you can scare them off your buff. Just do not die at level one, cuz that puts you immediately behind.
  • Ward entrances. This is the #1 technique to stop invasion. If you see them come in, you ping them, your team comes, and they die. It's just that easy.
  • Don't take buffs alone. If you can't protect your buffs, at least don't die trying to get them. They're the #1 thing an invader will try to steal. Good invaders watch the time to know when buffs are up - every 5 minutes, lizard/golem spawns. Be there, and bring a friend.
  • Watch the lanes. If a lane disappears, they're coming for you. This will happen when you're doing buffs if they warded it.
  • Don't fight a higher level jungler 1v1. He'll kill you. His team probably knows what he's doing and will come and help him. If he wants to fight, he knows something you don't, and if you stay you'll probably die.
  • There's a good chance your stuff could be warded. A good invader will ward your bushes - ALL of them. If someone's doing this to you, get an oracle and VERY CAREFULLY farm wards.
  • Don't invade them unless you know what you're doing. This is the #1 way to secure a loss for your team. My stuff's stolen? Ok I'll steal his stuff too. You have been slain.

Advanced Techniques: Ganking

In the opinions of the laners, this is the most important thing. If you can't gank well, you can't jungle well, and people will rage at you. Techniques go from simplest to most advanced.

  • Watch for pushing lanes. If your guys are at your tower, that's a good time to gank. If they're at the enemy's tower, and there's an enemy jungler THEY are probably going to get ganked. Ward for them, and tell them to be careful.
  • Don't tower-dive unless you know what you're doing. Tower-diving at bad times is a great way to lose a game.
  • Pressure mid. This is so, so important. If mid wins their lane, mid can gank too. Mid's probably the hardest to kill if they're good, but if you DO kill them, it's VERY easy for a mid champ to snowball out of control.
  • When you're ready to take dragon, gank bot and force them out of lane. When they're dead or too low to fight you, take dragon. Make sure smite is up, and make sure mid knows about it.
  • Ward enemy jungle exits, so you can see when the enemy jungler's coming to gank. Some lanes will do this, some lanes will not. Don't expect it if you're under lvl30. Only do this if there's an enemy jungler, obviously. Keep dragon warded early game, make sure you don't lose this.
  • Be aware of enemy wards. Some will say warded, others will leave you to guess. If you come in for a gank, and an enemy gets really cautious suddenly, it's probably warded. If you go out, and come in again, and watch for the moment they become cautious, you can figure out where the ward is.
  • Sidebush gank: If a lane is pushing, come up from behind and hide in the sidebush (top or bot only). Tell them to back off, and when the enemy counterpushes, you kill them.
  • If you gank for a lane and they mess it up horribly, chances are they'll mess it up horribly again. Instead, gank for lanes where you can get kills. Get your GOOD players fed, so they can carry the bad players. A fed nub is still a nub, but a fed player who is skilled will win you the game.
  • Most advanced technique: If you are blue, you can gank top through the enemy's jungle without getting hit by the tower. Purple can do this bot lane. If you are skilled with invasion, this is the best way to secure kills in those lanes. Only do it if you know where the enemy jungler is.

Advanced Techniques: Invasion

So you've mastered the first two, and you want to really own the jungle. All right, let's get to it. This is something you only really wanna do if you have a fast jungler. No Warwicks allowed. Once more, it's most basic to most advanced techniques.

  • Know what you're up against. If you've never seen x champion jungle before, be VERY cautious about invading them. If you've had trouble with x champion, you might just not want to do it altogether.
  • Smite-steal. This is fun, and rage-inducing. It's a lot harder in new jungle, but possible. Ward a buff bush, wait where they can't see you, and smite the buff when it gets in range. You get the buff, enemy jungler gets nothing. This is one of the simplest things you can do, and this is how I started counterjungling.
  • If you see the enemy jungler ganking, holding a lane, etc and you aren't near enough to stop them, just go into their jungle and take their stuff. As long as they don't move to stop you, they don't know you're there. If someone dies and the jungler has to hold their lane, you get free stuff. Leave a single minion if you want, to ensure it doesn't respawn.
  • Ward enemy jungle bushes. Notice how in each section of the guide, wards branch further and further into the map? Well, now I want you to ward your enemy's blue, red, wraith bush, and those side-bushes between mid and blue buff. Not all at once, of course - that cost adds up fast. Just ward the places you intend to return to. Is your top lane having trouble? Sit around in the top half of the jungle, and ward it up good so you absolutely, 100% know if a gank is gonna happen.
  • Killing an enemy jungler is sometimes an option. If you can catch them at low hp, or completely off-guard, you can make short work of them. Just be careful, cuz a good lane will respond and come help. If you get your lanes to work with you here, you can get a double, even a triple, kill.
  • On the flip side, don't expect your lanes to help you. Many times, I've set up good jungle ganks, pinged, waited, and...died because my lanes were too busy tryharding with their CS count. Murphy's law: The enemy lanes are always aware, but yours never are.
  • A good jungler will ward to stop you from invading. Remember every bit of info I put in the farming techniques section? A good jungler will do all that. Get an oracle, eat his wards, set up a gank if he gets oracles, etc. Eventually, however, it gets too expensive to keep invading, and you might as well just stop. If you're getting ganked, etc. in his jungle, just stop. Know when to step up your game, and know when to quit.

Here is an updated guide to counterjungling.

PROTIP: Counterganking

This is something I'm learning myself. I spoke with a pretty high elo guy recently, who told me I needed to add in a section on counterganking. What this entails is predicting the movements of the enemy jungler, and showing up when he shows up. This can result in either stopping the gank, or killing him. Either way, you are putting a major damper on the enemy jungler.

  • Watch your lanes. If mid lane just hit 6 and has CC, there's a good chance a gank is coming to get the free kill.
  • Know your enemy's path. If it's around 3:30 for a Rammus, he's about to gank the nearest lanes. Mid/top for purple, mid/bot for blue. Be there.
  • If an enemy is having a lot of trouble, they will probably be demanding a gank. A pushing lane is a sign that the enemy jungler will gank there immediately. Be there.
  • If an ally is low, there's a good chance a gank will be coming to finish them off. It'll likely be a tower-dive, so if you are someone like Rammus or Skarner, you can really wreck them under the tower.
  • Ward priorities in enemy's jungle. Wraith bush lets you know where they are in Red jungle, Blue bush lets you know where they are in Blue jungle. If they show up in either of those bushes, a gank is going to happen soon.
  • Try to know enemy buff timers. If you know they're getting lizard, they are probably going to attack the nearest lane soon after to take advantage of the buff.

This probably sounds like a lot of knowledge to remember. It is. Start with the most basic and move up. Watching your lanes is key to being a jungler. Watch hp, levels, pushedness, etc. Think, "what would I do if I were the enemy jungler?" Then assume they'll do that. Warn your lanes if you aren't near, or sit around the lane if you are near. If a gank's coming bot and you're blue, do double golems.

PROTIP: Proactive vs Reactive

If you jungle often, you've probably faced counterjungling. When you are counterjungled, you are forced to make a choice: Am I proactive or reactive? A proactive jungler will start to figure out where the enemy jungler's going to be next and how to stop him. A reactive jungler will only plan for himself - where do I want to be next? What am I going to do now that my red got stolen? Oh boy, that enemy jungler sure is ganking a lot. I wonder how I'm going to deal with that?

When I jungle aggressively, I rarely, rarely see a jungler that can undo me. When I get aggressive on the lanes or in the enemy jungle, a lot of times I see the enemy jungler get passive, just farm, and fail to defend buffs, lanes, or small camps. If you want to win games, you have to be proactive. So how does one do that?
  • Predict your actions. Start by saying, "where do I want to be two minutes from now?" Don't just say "Oh blue buff is up, I should take it. You need to start thinking of that ahead of time.
  • Predict your lanes' actions. Are your lanes responsive, or have they not said a word since the start of the match? A lane that talks to you is a lane that's awake and aware. A lane that doesn't talk might be half asleep, a poor player, or Korean. If a lane is aware, you can expect him to help you if you ping when you're invading or in trouble. Don't expect a silent lane to help you. If your mid is silent, be more careful in your invasions.
  • Predict your opponent's actions. So you always get blue at 7~ minutes when you start blue, huh? Well I bet that other guy does too. How about we go and mess him up a little? Observe.

Even with a poor invader like Rammus, if you know what you're doing you can be VERY effective in low-mid elo games. Be aggressive before your opponent gets a chance to.

  • If you get first blood on a gank, the enemy jungler is more likely to try and gank the lane you ganked. Ward and countergank.
  • If you stole an enemy's red buff at lvl1 invade, it is possible he could steal your red, ESPECIALLY if he saw someone coming from his jungle. Skip your blue and go there for a free kill.
  • If you catch an enemy jungler in an invade and kill him, he's very unlikely to try the same thing again unless he's very good or very cocky.
  • If you catch an enemy jungler in his own jungle and kill him, there is a chance he will start to ward up. Get an Oracle with that kill money.
  • If you steal an enemy's buff at the 7-minute mark, he's likely to be prepared at the 14-minute mark. Be ready for a fight at blue if you go in again. Alternately, use the knowledge that a small army is at blue, and gank a far lane or steal dragon if you're purple team.

The point of this section is, don't just ignore the information that's given to you by your actions. Every action has a reaction, and you need to be ready for that. Little things like this are what separate TheOddOne and SaintVicious from other 2k elo junglers.


After a front tower has been pushed down, mid game has begun. Here are some goals for you, in this order:

  • Keep lanes pushed. If all your lanes are pushed, the enemy can't capitalize on anything. They're forced to stay in their lanes, and they can't gank.
  • Get the other front towers down. Make sure whoever's won their lane is also ganking. They have more farm than you, so they'll have better items. If you want, you can farm top while they gank/push. Just make sure you don't lose a tower. Anyway, once your front towers are down, you have a lot more mobility, especially through the enemy's jungle. Just be sure to ward.
  • Dragon control. If you get 3 towers down, but the enemy's gotten 3 dragons, they're winning. They can eventually get their towers too, and then you have a major disadvantage.

  • Avoid team-fights unless you have an early-game team comp (leblanc, shaco, etc). If you're winning early, and your team is bad at team-fighting, you're going to lose. So put off those fights until you have a big enough advantage that even if your team DOES suck at it, you can still do pretty well.
  • Baron control. If you get 3 or so dead, and you're all alive, you can try a baron as early as level 10-12, provided you have at least one wriggles. If you win a team-fight, remember this: Barons lead to towers, but towers do not necessarily lead to barons.
  • If your team can't team-fight, don't do it. Splitpush and put off that team-fight until you absolutely have to have it. Often teams can be really good at beating you in a full-on 5v5, but they can't handle top and bot pushing at the same time. Capitalize on this.
  • Get the damn nexus. I know it sounds obvious, but some people have so much trouble just getting the damn nexus. Is the enemy team 3/5 dead? Are you pushed to their nexus? Well, stop getting the other inhibs and take the friggin nexus towers! If they're 1/2 hp, they regenerate. If they're gone, they're gone, and team morale is gone with them. Seriously, just knock them down already.


kinda bare in here, innit? help a guy out and send me your replays.

I spied on HookD playing Jarvan and he didn't suck!

OUTDATED Champ-specific videos

This section is reserved for videos of different champions, as I am able to make them. More will come in time. Check back frequently if you'd like.


Udyr for beginners:

Udyr for players who are decently good at the champ:

This is a Dyrus commentary of the beginners vid. The difference is in my beginner vid, it's me talking about basic Udyr strategy and in the Dyrus vid it's a pro player talking about what I did wrong.




Dr. Mundo (my new favorite):

Nocturne (played by HookD):

Maokai (played by HookD):

Rammus (aka FREE ELO if you're under 1500):

Jarvan (played by HookD) (temporary, I need a better example of early game Jarvan if you have any):

Final Comments

You can do this. It's not beyond your ability. If a noob like me can do it, someone like you definitely can. It's like mathematics. One concept builds on the next, but you can't go to the next one until you've mastered the basics. Master farm, master gank, master invade, then you've mastered the jungle. You just need to practice, that's all. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me here on the guide, or on my profile. Now, the jungle beckons. Get to it.


March 9, 2015 - 08:59 AM #1

This guide looks really cool, as well as the psychology guides for jungling and LoL that you did after. At least this one, I'm seeing is for season 3, so... I wanted to ask, is it still more o less usable? Are things too different? Haven't read it all yet.

May 3, 2013 - 02:15 PM #2

I would like to see Sejuani added.

I really appreciate this guide. The info on all aspects is really well formatted.

I am just a Silver player who plays support...but its tough to carry a game as support. I need to add this role to my game so i can increase my presence.

April 2, 2013 - 04:42 AM #3

yeh...i need to update this forever ago. :( i'll get there, i've just been crazy busy lately.

March 30, 2013 - 09:05 PM #4

That's a nice guide, you should mention Nasus, Vi, Darius, Shen, Elise as they are great junglers too.

January 20, 2013 - 04:27 AM #5

unfortunately i haven't seen much of diana jungle in season 3. if you send me a video, i'll put it up.

January 19, 2013 - 07:57 PM #6

Hey Tap, this great guide helped me get back to jungling. Also you missed out Diana as a jungler.

January 17, 2013 - 05:59 AM #7

Good job, but you left out Cho'Gath as a jungler.

January 5, 2013 - 03:57 PM #8

Thanks. Glorious update. Keep it up!

December 24, 2012 - 05:41 AM #9

Please update. You do such a wonderful job describing nuances that an update would most certainly contain some very valuable advice. S3 jungle seems to change viability around quite a bit and with a more lethal jungle I feel invasion/defense is likely altered as well.

It's not just the obvious sections that would benefit from updates.

December 19, 2012 - 04:47 PM #10

Yes, absolutely - the guide is still fantastic, very informative. great, if you're going to update! thx alot

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