Players who are new to MOBAs are often stumped when it comes to the jungle.
Though it covers most the map, the jungle is a place of intrigue and mystery. It is an area that many people are either unfamiliar with or have trouble with. In the hands of a skilled player, however, the jungle can completely turn the tide of an entire game.
A champion and a route
With the jungle meta changing from season to season, it is hard to keep track of the best champions for this role.
The one constant, however, is that you should be intimately familiar with the champion you choose. If you have never played in the jungle before, you might think that its monsters can be easily overtaken but that is very far from the truth.
Following that, you must carefully select your masteries, runes, and potential item paths. Do not dare think of any other spell except Smite.
Your itemization and overall build will play a crucial part in your many roles. For instance, will you opt for fast clear times or optimal ganks?
The next thing you should consider is the jungle path. There are multiple different routes you can take and they all have distinct pros and cons. If your lanes are safe, for instance, you might want to opt for a full clear. If they are getting pushed early on, you may want to consider grabbing a red buff and trying to get some early kills for your vulnerable lanes.
Embrace the map
Having great map awareness is an important skill for every lane in League of Legends. For junglers, however, this skill is absolutely essential.
As a jungler, you will constantly have to make choices that will influence the control you hold over the map.
For example, the jungle route you choose to take in the beginning may determine whether you can effectively counter-jungle, gank, or farm more. Moreover, you will need to be aware of where the enemies are all the time.
If you are unaware of the enemy jungler’s position, for example, counter-jungling will be a very risky bet.
Warding crucial points in the map should always be in your mind as a jungler. That way, you can ensure that you can gank successfully and that you will be in control of the action in your part of the map.
Timing is of the essence
Choosing the right time to gank is something that many junglers get wrong. For starters, you want to always communicate your intentions with your team. The community might not always be friendly but everyone will appreciate a heads-up if you are planning to help them or leave them to their own devices.
Your timing will also likely vary depending on the champion you are currently playing.
Someone like Lee Sin, for example, can be helpful very early in the game. Others, like Warwick, might need some more time before they can contribute meaningfully.
Losing the two buffs or any of the epic monsters is a huge blow to your team. Once again, you will need to know when and how to strike when it comes to securing such objectives. Communicating with your team is important but there are plenty of junglers who can take on these fights by themselves if the circumstances allow for it.
Moreover, you should always check respawn times and ensure that you are ready to go in and fight for these objectives. If the dragon is coming up soon and your bot lane needs some help, for instance, it might be a good idea to establish dominance in that lane before attempting to move in to dragon.