Early Game as the blind monk
Step 1: The Plan
When you play Lee Sin in the early game its very important that you have yourself a plan, or a general idea of what you want to accomplish in the first 8 minutes of the game.
The best way to begin formulating your plan is by deciding upon a jungle path
As Lee, you can start anywhere since you're an energy based Jungler, but I'll elaborate more on some of the starting paths.
To my eye, there are really only 3 major types of paths:
, the standardized
and the sustained
If you are on blue side, you start at red. If you are purple side, you start at blue. Your aim is to recieve a smiteless leash on your first buff camp, meaning you SAVE YOUR SMITE. After completing this buff you move to your 2nd buff camp, clear it with smite and gank the nearest lane (which is top.) This is a highly aggressive
path, and is probably the most common. If the enemy does a similar path, you will both reach top around the same time. Lee does however reach there faster than most other junglers, and can actually win most 2v2 engagements.
This is more oriented for a defensive counter-gank style. For example, you can pretty much start anywhere with this path and you clear your jungle normally. This path is good when you are against a jungler that has a very obvious path OR you have wards that will alert you to ganks. Generally this is good in the situation that your 2v2 fight (top + jungler vs enemy top + jungler) is weaker, which in some cases is a possibility.
No. You are lee sin. You are meant to be a threat in the early game there is no sustained path I recommend.
Once you have your path figured out, its important to know excactly what the enemy jungler is capable of.
Lee sin is an incredibly mobile and self-efficient jungler. He has high damage, great CC, and the ability to fight almost anyone at the early levels. Knowing your opponent and how to exploit their weaknesses will only help you get ahead.
He's easy to track, easy to kill. His damage might be decent early on, but don't make any stupid mistakes (like missing Q) and you'll come out on top every time.
Alistar has 2 forms of CC that will keep you in place for god knows how long. However, he neglects his jungle for ganking. Alistar will start blue, get level 2 and then gank mid. If alistar doesn't gank early, then he is doing something wrong. You should take the lead and just take his creeps whenever hes ganking. You know for a fact he'll gank after blue, so pay a visit to his wraiths, and then red. You shouldn't fight him, as his CC will keep you in place long enough for his team to arrive, but taking his jungle is a great way to set him behind.
Mundo clears the jungle at a super speed and he can start at either red or blue. If you know he started at blue, you should take his red. Mundo without farm is useless, so if you can find a way to shut him down, do so. If he's running exhaust, and you aren't, it will be a close fight, but if you both are running exhaust, you should outright win him. Just don't get kited by Cleavers and be sure to land your Q
Gangplank is a weak jungler. He has a slow clear with little sustain. His strength lies in his ability to snowball if fed, and his ultimate. If you can find a gangplank in his jungle, destroy him. Just be careful he doesn't orange your exhaust. He will start blue, so take his red. Without red, GP will have a hard time ganking.
Jarvan is like alistar in the sense that he spends more time ganking than farming. He's a weak 1v1er against bruisers early. You should just walk in and out of his jungle. Although, his CC is potent, so don't engage in a fight unless he's already low, or you might be ganked by his team-mates.
She out damages you, clears faster, and is overall a fucking threat. If she takes exhaust and you don't have it, get the crap out. If you have good team coordination, you can gank her in her jungle or in your jungle, as with a teammate with CC she can't escape with exhaust as a summoner
Counter with care
Maokai is like Alistar. Buttloads of CC. He can deal some nice damage early with his combo, but his CC is what's the problem. Counter his wraiths, take his red, disrupt his early set-up and you've successfully held Maokai back. Be warned, his ganks are strong, so careful warding is advised.
Counter with care
Like maokai, he has a lot of CC, but most of his damage comes from his shield, which you burst through in mere seconds. His early clear is slow, so take his red since he MUST start blue. You can fight him if he's low, but his array of CC will make it so that their team will be a problem. Also, he can anchor to walls for an easy escape.
Nocturnes Q adds a lot to his damage output and his shield can proc from 4 OF 4 OF YOUR LEVEL 2 ABILITIES. Be careful about his shield, fight him smartly and you will come on top. Otherwise, he will eat you.
Like all other gank oriented junglers, Rammus has a weak clear. Taking his wraiths and red is a good way to set him back, because Rammus needs level 3 to gank, delaying it will make your lanes more prepared and/or have the ability to stop him if he comes for a gank. His CC is a problem, so don't get too overzealous, but you will win in a straight fight.
Her clear is slow, she deals no damage and has no sustain. Her CC is okay pre-6, but nothing special. Destroy this girl. Take her red, take her wraiths, take her lunch money and make her cry.
Fight him with care
Shaco is a trickster, and thus will try to make your life hell. If he's taken exhaust, be careful about the trap placement and you should come out on top. Against a shaco, I always reccomend starting cloth and 5 pots so he can't catch you low on HP.
Fight him with care
Skarner is a beast. He jungles fast, stays at high HP, and has a great slow that will keep you around for long periods of time. If he's low, you should totally kill him with exhaust, but if he isn't, leave him. He will kite you around long enough for his team to arrive.
Fight with care
Trundle saps AD, has a pillar that blocks paths, a steroid, and a good clear time. Do NOT fight trundle.
Counter but do not fight
You can take a phoenix udyr in a fight, but a tiger will shit on you. You can try and counter him by warding his jungler, but he is a fast clearer. He is similar to mundo, so treat him that way.
Destroy him. His sustain may be high, but he has NO dueling power early on. His clear is also slow. Take his stuff, make him cry, make him feel like a Sejuani. Delay his 6 as much as possible and you've won the jungle.
Now that you have sufficient information about the enemy jungler, here are a few quick pointers to making your early game as Lee Sin as successful as possible.
The early game is all about making the early forces. You must plant a presence into this part of the game to be successful as lee sin.
- Ganking mid for a TF or Ryze at level 2 is almost always a sure kill if you play it correctly. a W/stuncard followed by lee's high damage output is difficult to get away from
- Ganking bot for a taric or alistar is just as fun. You probably wont get a kill considering AD's dont have alot of damage output, however, the burnt summoners and threat or Lee being around is more than enough to plant your presence onto this lane early.
- Ganking top for high burst damage champions (Udyr, GP, Wu Kong, Rengar) or for high CC champions (Nautilus, Cho Gath, Jax, Irelia) is very good. Even if you're not getting the kill, the top lane will either have to go back, or waste all his potions. Top is a very snow-ball based lane, and even with no kill, their top lane will suffer from a jungle Lee.
- Be sure to gauge your 2v2 power top lane if you are planning to do an early game gank. Getting counter ganked might be the worst possible thing, or the thing you need most to push the early advantage
Counter jungling is a bit more difficult than ganking, since it comes from experience. You need to know when to get the hell out and when to stay in. You need to be aware of the possibility of wards, and you need to purchase some yourself. Good targets to counter jungle are slow low sustain junglers such as Amumu. You can find/fight them at red. You can also choose to counter jungle early gankers by starting blue and going straight for red.
There are many ways to counter jungle the enemy, even taking the small camps of a blue starting jungle is effective, as well as setting up for ganks with your team. Lee needs to constantly be moving, clearing his own jungle ganking and counter jungling. The early game is the most hectic and most important standpoint for a lee, it is very important you do not mess up here.