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Identifying and Fixing Jungler Mistakes with DIG eXyu

Want to know where you’re going wrong as a Jungler? Want to know how to fix that? Tune in right here and see eXyu’s advice on improvement!

Jungle is one of the hardest roles in League of Legends. With all that a Jungler needs to process, it’s hard to tell where to begin on your path of improvement and what exactly you’re doing wrong. So, we’ve brought in DIG’s Jungler Laurence Lin “eXyu” Xu to help shine a light on common Jungler issues and what we can do to fix them up!

Mistake #1 - Poor Clearing

eXyu: The number one thing I see from lower ELO Junglers is that they simply do not know how to clear their camps well. And that honestly makes them so much slower and inefficient with both their resources and time. When you get to a high level as a Jungler, Jungle becomes all about time spent. Seconds add up and mean a lot at a higher level, and lower level Junglers miss the opportunities that better Junglers are in position for because they simply aren’t at the right place at the right time due to their poor pathing and clearing. This, thankfully, is the easiest thing to fix with time investment.

So, how do we fix clearing issues? The Practice Tool, of course! While most games will involve you receiving some sort of leash from your laners, which will enable a faster clear, learning how quickly you can work through your camps without a leash is the first step. Being able to rely on yourself and your knowledge of your Champion’s damage is huge at laying out a game plan for how you’ll be working your way through the Jungle. Because the fact of the matter is, you never know when your laners will simply not listen and leash for you, instead going for wacky invades, odd fights before Minions spawn, or in some cases, particular Champions like to have positioning forward in lane to enable them to make a cheese play on the enemy. An example being Xayah-Rakan in Bot, or Darius or Olaf in Top.

Secondarily, camps can be kited in unique ways to maximize both your damage to them and the damage dealt to you. Take some time to research how your particular mains can interact and abuse the tether ranges on Jungle camps. A Champion like Fiddlesticks, while not as efficient as he was before, can pull off wacky starts to camps that allow him to transition seamlessly. Additionally, a camp like Krugs can be taken advantage of by kiting the smaller Krug around the larger Krug, helping you maintain your HP for a transition into crab or a gank on that side of the map regardless of Champion. It’s small interactions and mechanics like these that will enhance your Jungle clear time and efficiency.

Mistake #2 - Focusing Too Much on Ganking

eXyu: Junglers have this idea that they have to gank only, right? Well, that’s not necessarily the case. Their job is to gank but when it’s correct to do so. Your primary job as a Jungler is Map Control, not Ganking. And sometimes, especially in an effort to mimic what Pro players do, you’ll see some lower ELO players really play hard for a gank, forsaking their camps and free objectives for a kill or Flash.

The reality is, when you watch Pro play and watch how Junglers stay and wait for a camp up to a minute or even more, you’re not seeing all the things that have gone into setting up that play. You’re lacking the context of the conditions that make going for specific gank so important. So, as a lower ELO Jungler, think about your job less as a Ganker and more as a pressure tool for the map.

Improvement from this mistake comes from understanding and mindset. Typically, you can first glean how much you’ll be ganking in-game based on your Draft. If you’ve drafted a Champion that likes to gank a lot, someone like Xin Zhao or Jarvan, you’ll naturally be geared towards looking for these plays and instances that you can make them happen. But first, before you go anywhere, you’ve got to first assess your lanes and the Champions in them.

Say you’ve got a Champion like Jarvan and you’ve decided that because the enemy Top is on an immobile Champion like Nasus, that you want to make that early play on Top. But, your Top Laner is playing Gangplank or another Champion that lacks a form of soft or hard-CC that can enable your gank. You have to make the recognition as a Jungler that your Top Laner is likely going to be able to provide very little other than damage for your time invested into them. While this gank might blow a Flash or it might get them priority in the lane, your goal as a Ganking or Carry Jungler isn’t to enable your lanes to have great states, it’s to get fed and carry the map yourself.

So, weigh your options before you start your path. Should you path towards the Gankplank, or should you path towards the lane where you have Ashe-Leona against Vayne-Sona? Consider your matchups and who’s likely to win hard if you influence them, or who’s likely to enable you if you show up. Put emphasis on those lanes for ganks. Otherwise, you should be simply looking to clear your camps, take what’s given to you in enemy mistakes, and be in position to contest neutral objectives like Grubs, Rift, and Dragon.

Mistake #3 - Not Playing Carries

In that same over-ganking mindset, many players view Jungle as a facilitating role. It’s often viewed as a ‘Support with income’ meaning they’ll reach some powerful items thanks to their farming of camps, but they should otherwise be looking to enable their lanes and not take the games over themselves. Of course, this is a viable strategy as a Jungler and there are Champions like Ivern, Sejuani, and Skarner who can play this supportive and enabling style extremely well. But it’s not the only method of solo-queue success…

eXyu: Generally, I just think it’s more impactful to play carries if you’re looking to climb. Carries tend to have far more impact on the game whereas utility or tanky Junglers tend to rely more on their teammates. A lot of Solo Queue is about mindset, and I think a climbing and winning mindset starts with you thinking that you’re the better Jungler and that you’re the carry on your team. So, you want to be playing those Champions that can take and use the resources.

A Champion I think can play this style well and really fits into low ELO is, funny enough, also capable of playing that tanky supportive style if things go wrong. That Champion being Volibear. He has a really easy and fast clear thanks to his E and passive. His Q is a point and click stun, which can’t get any better as far as tools go. And his ultimate lets you pressure and threaten opponents under-turret since it shuts them off if you dive with it. A good Volibear can really take a low ELO game over making it impossible for the enemy to play.

Otherwise, as you climb, you can start to look at Champions that are more damage focused and mechanical. Champions like Graves or Bel’Veth. Bel’Veth in particular is great because she clears fast and has a lot of mobility, and is pretty forgiving in that sense. But, I don’t think she’s the easiest Champion that you can pick up, especially if you’re entirely new to the role. For more experienced players coming from other roles, a Champion like Viego is also good because you can take advantage of your knowledge of other Champions while also being on that carry Jungler.

Mistake #4 - Showing Randomly on the Map

Vision is key in League of Legends. If you can see the enemy, you can devise a plan around them. And when it comes to Jungle, knowing where the Jungler is can turn lane states entirely on their heads. As a Jungler, you should be abusing your anonymity within the Fog of War. Even if you’re not putting a heavy emphasis on ganking, the fact that the enemy might think you’re close to your lane generates pressure, even if you’re on the opposite side of the map.

eXyu: This is probably one of the most common mistakes a Jungler makes, where you can tell someone doesn’t entirely know what they’re doing in the role. And in lower ELOs it happens a lot. A Jungler will randomly show on the wave as they’re crossing from one side of the map to the other. Or they’ll walk out into vision randomly, or cross over an area that’s been pinged warded.

For newer Junglers, you need to always be thinking about how you can take advantage of the fact that the enemy doesn’t know where you are. So, take time to think about where wards are if they aren’t highlighted and think about the Champion you’re playing and if they can get around vision one way or another.

For you creative gankers out there, Champions like Kayn, Shaco, and Zac are all great options if you’re wanting to pick-up a Jungler that can path around vision or gank at unique angles. Featured as a great ‘counter-meta’ Champion in another piece by us, we believe Kayn’s a great pick-up due to his draft flexibility by being able to go into a Bruiser or Assassin playstyle thanks to his form changing. Shaco also has a flexible style where he can opt for either AP or AD, but still playing the role of Assassin in both builds. Zac exists in that utility and tank space, but a lot of Zac builds incorporate items like Liandry’s into their pathways that can allow Zac to sneak in a deceptive amount of damage into his kit, especially if he can net a few kills for himself early.

Mistake #5 - Ganking Losing Lanes

It’s an adage as old as League itself, “Never Gank a Losing Lane”. But why though? And why do Junglers fall into this trap over and over again? Well, it comes partly due to the perception of the Jungler as we mentioned. When lanes start going south for your team, as a Jungler, if you aren’t wrapping around to alleviate the punishment in any way, you’re going to draw the ire from your team since it’s easier for players to blame someone else than it is to recognize that they’re at fault for losing their lanes.

Ganking a losing lane is often a recipe for disaster though, as typically, laners tend to be stronger than Junglers through most phases of the game. And this makes ganking a losing lane difficult as not only are you naturally behind them already due to your lower income as a Jungler, but so is your allied laner having likely be forced off the wave. If you couple this with items, health and mana resources, Summoner Spells, and what Champion the enemy’s playing, nine times out of ten, it’s better for you to clear your camps on that side of the map and get to pathing towards lanes you can influence without risk of dying 2v1.

But, there is some method behind the madness of ganking a losing lane. ‘Mental Health Ganks’ are thing, but it’s important to recognize when they’re viable.

eXyu: I like to think about what Canyon said about Jungling when it comes to ganking losing lanes. As a Jungler, you’re like an investor. You can invest in a stock that’s on the decline if you think there’s a chance it can bounce back. But if the stock is going straight to hell, some players just refuse to have any mercy. If they die once, they’ll die ten times. So, if you waste your time by playing towards these guys, you’re just going to make the game harder. So, it’s on you to recognize whether it's a dead stock, or a just a little dip in performance for the moment. When you make this decision, take the time to think about resources (HP, Mana, Summoner Spells, Items) and the Champions that are present before you go all-in on trying to boost up a losing lane.

Closing out

There you have! The most common mistakes for Junglers, and some methods to improve or rationalize your way through improvement of these mistakes. Thanks to eXyu for taking the time to sit with us. If you want to see more of eXyu off Summoner’s Rift, you can check him out at the following social media links!


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