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Who is Jungling?
We need a Jungler.
I call Jungle.
Why do we Jungle? The Jungle on Summoner's Rift is a very interesting place. It is filled with fantastical monsters, fierce beasts, and savage Undead. With some awareness in the Jungle you can see some Bold Invasions, Heroic Defenses, Cunning Ambushes, Great Escapes, Daring Rescues, and Desperate Counter attacks. The Jungle is an Elaborate Labyrinth in which a wrong turn can lead you to Giant Golems, traps, bipedal lizards, Fire-breathing dragon's, or just into overgrown foliage in which even worse can be hiding. You can find Swords & Sorcery, magical rewards, treasures, death, romance. . .
But in this arena in which teams are rewarded for their cooperation, these tales of High Adventure are not enough to lure us into the jungle, especially in the opening stages when we are at our weakest and there are perfectly good roads that have defensive fortifications and armies of minions to do or die at our bidding. So what does lure us into the Jungle? Why is a Jungler considered necessary? Over the last few months I have noticed there is a lot of confusion both here and in game on why people Jungle. Let us explore why we explore the Jungle.
In the typical 2 x 1 x 2 formation, (without a Jungler) ganking can be difficult. While your opponent is using their fierce weapons and mighty magicks to do their best to prevent you from completely rolling over their army of zealous minions (and you, in turn, are doing the same) it becomes very evident when that sudden lack of skilled resistance has departed. At which point it is usually best for your team to mention it, "Excuse me, by the way, I haven't been poked with a sharp stick for sometime, as the owner of the stick seems to not be present." Then your team is aware that there is a pointy stick wielding madman on the loose. There is nobody keeping a close watch on a Jungler, and nobody there to point out that he is missing and not to overextend.
This is not the reason we jungle. While the ability to show up unannounced in a lane and bring local numerical superiority, that oft needed extra damage, and most often another healthy warm body that hasn't spent the last 5 minutes getting poked by a sharp stick may tip the scales and get kills, it is not reliable. In order for Jungler to gank successfully he must truly rely on the opposing side to idiotically overextend and/or to fail to ward their entrances. Given the easy and preventative measures to being ganked by a Jungler we can safely rule this out as the primary reason to have a Jungler. Why would we hold a position in such high esteem if its primary function could be shut down by slight competence from players in a lane? It is certainly a task that the Jungler can, and should, perform when appropriate but unsuccessful ganks do not necessarily mean a bad Jungler.
Lane Coverage rather easy to understand, covering the lane while someone goes back. In the standard (non-jungle) formation it really only applies to the mid lane since the side lanes can usually alternate. However it can sometimes be incredibly difficult for the mid lane to go back when they really need to, especially if their opposite is an aggressive pushing character. Pulling someone from the side lane can sometimes be difficult or a case of "too little too late." But it could also occur if one of the side lanes had an aggressive fight and your side took a resounding loss, ranging from both dead to so low on health it is impractical to stay. A Jungler, being a natural roamer, can easily pull into a lane, preventing towers from going down or just keeping the push from going too far.
This is not the reason we jungle. There are lots of advantages to having the Jungler hold a lane. It can supplement his exp and gold if he has cleared the Jungle, it allows a break for shopping for people in a lane, etc. However if the Jungler is constantly holding a lane it can actually hurt him and the team, as he is not performing his primary task. Also, a Jungler can hurt his team if he pushes out the lane. This is often tempting if both sides have decided to go back at the same time. It is fine for a Jungler to hold a lane and last hit, but if he takes the opportunity to completely decimate a wave of hapless minions, the very teammates he was trying to help may now be extended much too far forward. A good Jungler will resist the temptation to push a lane to their enemy’s tower.
Keeping them Honest
Far more important than actually nabbing a kill during a gank, is simple random presence. Whether you have someone committed to the jungle or not, if your opponents are able to apply too much pressure at your towers it may need some sort of intervention. For example those characters who have a long reach and the tower is scant protection. Showing up uninvited for a "gank" is a good way to alleviate pressure. If you are an entire lane team, someone in another lane should attempt a gank, and then just go MIA for extended periods of time. Create an environment in which it does not feel safe for these long reaching characters to put too much pressure on your team. Nobody can accomplish this better than Junglers and their constant MIA status.
This, too, is not the reason we Jungle. Although, I think this one of the most valuable activities that the Jungler can do during the laning phase. Create an environment where the fear of a jungle gank is more powerful than an actual gank. Although, don't rule out the possibility of setting up a false sense of security to set up for a successful gank as well. It really depends on how well your team handles themselves. If your team can't handle that constant pressure then make your presence seen early and often. If your team can draw them in with little risk, then a surprise gank is more appropriate. Knowing which strategy to use and when really makes a good jungler. Nothing bothers me more than a jungler that rarely pokes his head out of the jungle.
Last hitting minions is probably the single largest source of gold for characters. Global Gold can be one of the biggest game buffs on Summoner's rift. Dragon, Baron, and Towers give everyone on the team gold. It puts your team that much farther ahead as a whole if you can get these buffs. I have been on teams that get behind on kills but ahead on towers and dragon kills that late game have rallied for the win. There is almost a direct correlation between the amount of gold a team (as a whole) earns and win rate. However, greed can be a double edged sword. Competing for last hits with your teammate can sometimes be a frustrating task. Especially if you are playing that melee carry/tank with an early slow attack speed and not a lot of damage and you are laning with one of those ranged super farmers or AOE powerhouses. It's bad enough that every time you go up to last hit you are getting dinged by pokey sticks and ranged magicks, but to have that last hit taken away by a Vayne shooting safely behind you, can cause your teeth to grind.
This IS the reason we jungle. That's right, Greed. Picture a world (a world that looks very similar to Summoner's Rift) where every minions is being last hit. Gold is flowing into the pockets of your team and your opponents. How do you get the advantage? Well, you could kill them, or much more practical you can turn to another source of last hitting minions. . . the creatures in the Jungle. If your team has a Jungler, and the other does not, then you have a completely untapped source of gold that your team has access to. Clearing just your Jungle provides 348 gold, which is roughly the equivalent of getting every last hit for 3 minion waves. 3 minion waves takes 1:30, if you are sharing a lane, you are also sharing last hits, so double it to 3:00. Clearing the jungle takes about 2:00.
So if you have a jungle, and the other team does not, then your team is receiving approximately 25% more gold than the other team. Unfortunately, most often the other team does not wish to be outdone, so they also send a Jungler out.
The most effective tactic to use against a team with a Jungler is the Deny tactic. The art of Denying has to do with separating the solo player from the minion brawl so that he does not get last hits or exp. To do it most successfully you often have to deny yourself last hits as well. Successfully denying the solo lane access to their minions completely negates the advantage of having a Jungler at all. Ganking can be difficult if they are doing a good job of denying, because they have pulled the minions so far, however "keeping them Honest" can often save the solo lane.
How to you Gauge Success?
To gauge success of jungling the Jungler should compare his level to the duo lane, and the solo lane should compare their CS to the worst of the duo lane. If both are lower then the Jungler should probably give it up and go to a lane. as his team isn't being served by being in the Jungle. If one or the other is lower, than abandoning the jungle should be considered. Successful junglers spend a portion of their hard earned money on wards for their team. It is another way to protect their team without actually being there.
When do you stop Jungling?
It is time to stop Jungling when the first tower gets pushed over. At which point the Jungle is open to all. The Laning phase is also over at that point so calling MIA's gets a little lost as well. Hopefully, you had something to do with that tower getting pushed over, because you helped your team get it down. Also, once the jungler gets past level 6 they should be spending less and less time in the Jungle and more and more time trying to help lanes. This will become evident as the gold and experience that the jungle provides starts to become less than what you could earn at the same time in a lane. (Minions increase, Monsters do not.) 2 or 3 full passes is usually enough.
Why do we Jungle? Riches.
What else does a Jungler do? Show up uninvited, early and often, and buy wards.
When do I stop? At the end of the laning phase, for sure, earlier if you can help your team get towers down.
Absolutely do not fall into the trap of "over-jungling." This is probably the worst thing that a Jungler can do. By "Over-Jungling" a Jungler will get so caught up in clearing monsters, grabbing buffs, etc that they neglect their team. Often times "Over Junglers" will stay in the Jungle long after it has become no longer profitable.
From the Crown of Thorn: Welcome to the Jungle
Asperon Thorn 20:02, August 18, 2011 (UTC)