What makes one Jungler more successful than another one? Do Junglers arbitrarily roam the map and gank lanes they think they can kill?
Eventually, players who have gained more experience in the game begin to understand that not doing something does not necessarily mean you are not at fault. If you want to be a successful Jungler, making the most of your time on the map means being able to achieve certain goals. A method I have personally used in Solo Queue, which may seem very intuitive, has helped me to become a more efficient and successful jungler.
Welcome to another part of my "understanding" series on premeditated ordering.
What is premeditated ordering? It is a simple concept; before you begin the game, preferably in the loading screen, take a look at the champions on your team and the enemy team and set goals for stages in the laning phase. This can be known as proactive jungling. Understanding of champion mechanics, which comes with experience in the game, and understanding of gank potential, which can be read about in my previous post, will be vital to proper decision making. When in doubt, alert your team of your premeditated plan in the Jungle and ask for suggestions.
When you are in game, try to follow your premeditated order of goals and achieve them in the order you have determined. By doing so, you will no longer be randomly jungling and you will see much more effectiveness in the game. Players who randomly jungle will be noticeably less efficient and have a lot less presence on the map. The key reason to set objectives for every game is to achieve a goal that best suits your team composition and accomplish more than the enemy jungler.
What are some objectives you can set?
1. Buff Control
Some champions are much more effective at counter-jungling than they are at ganking (Nunu, Shyvana), these champions excel at clearing camps quickly and being difficult to punish for being out of position. When paired against an slow enemy jungler, make it a priority to control at least three of the four buffs on the map. Applying pressure to the jungle forces the enemy laners to take time out of their lane to defend the jungle.
2. Enemy Jungle Denial
Similar to buff control, certain champions excel at clearing camps. Denying the enemy jungler of gold by stealing camps consistently or pressuring the enemy jungler out of the jungle is an effective method to relieve pressure from lanes. If the enemy jungler is busy trying to handle you in his jungle, he will have less time to pressure lanes.
3. Jungle Farm
Some junglers farm more efficiently than other junglers (Dr. Mundo). By farming the jungle consistently you will be able to out CS the enemy jungler and be a more effective damage soak late game. If lanes are able to avoid jungle pressure, sometimes it is worth it to just AFK farm the jungle. In this case, ensure that lanes are attempting to passively farm and, simply, want to do their own thing.
4. Specific Lane Presence
Some champions need to be pressured early (Mordekaiser, Singed, Vayne) and / or are easy to pressure. If you leave these lanes to their own accord, these champions will become significant problems late-game. In addition, some champions need to snowball in order to be effective (Riven) and have enormous potential to do so. Remember, not doing something does not mean you are not at fault. If a champion is designed to snowball, it is a junglers job to attempt to snowball that lane. In these lanes, make it your objective to gank them often.
5. Denial of Aggression
Some junglers and laners are played to be extremely aggressive early-game across the map and have huge potential to snowball early (Shaco, Darius). Make it your objective to deny aggression against snowballing champions. Try going back early for wards for your laners, being a living ward for your laners, and warding off aggression by enemy junglers who are obviously trying to gank. Sometimes, preventing a champion from snowballing is as important as snowballing your own champions. Never let a lane get so out of hand that they will be able to carry a game unless you bring a lane to equivalent potential. In this objective, understanding lane match-ups, champion mechanics, and counter-picks are extremely relevant.
6. Objective Control
In mid-game specifically, securing kills in bot lane is extremely strong because it will always lead to an uncontested dragon. Champions like Nocturne are picked solely for their potential to gank through the many wards bot lane usually buys. Make it a known objective to your team that you will try to force kills in a certain lane so you gain objectives early.
What are these objectives determined by?
1. Champion Mechanics
The most important factor to successful premeditated ordering is the understanding of champion mechanics. A strong understanding of champion abilities and kit designs allows a jungler to make proper decisions on where they should be going. When in doubt, ask your team where they want you to go; players who specialize in lanes can and are willing to give you their input on the lane. In an obvious example, most top players will ask that you gank Nidalee before she hits level 6 and to just leave their lane alone when she hits level 6.
2. Gank Potential
Not being able to understand that lanes are free kills should be a jungler's sin. Make sure you understand gank potential and kill lanes who should be killed. The economic theory of opportunity cost states that the cost of an activity is measured to the value of the next best alternative. As a jungler, if you decide to farm wraiths instead of securing the easy 300 gold kill, the wraiths has effectively cost your team the difference between the value of a kill and clearing the wraith camp.
So, how is this applicable to a real game? Allow me to give you a hypothetical example.
Your Team Purple:
Mid: Twisted Fate
Jungle: Dr. Mundo
Darius V. Jayce
- Jayce is a counter pick to Darius
- Jayce relies on poke to beat Darius
- Darius will eventually be poked out of lane and lose out in farm
- Darius has high kill potential with high damage and hard CC
Twisted Fate V. Gragas
- Gragas and Twisted Fate have a fairly even match-up
- Twisted Fate's ultimate is not as useful as Gragas' ultimate in a straight up fight
- Twisted Fate has no early gap closer when compared to Gragas outside of summoner spells early
- Twisted Fate excels at post-6 map presence
Soraka & Ashe V. Taric & Graves
- Soraka & Ashe have very low kill potential early
- Taric & Graves have very high kill potential in general
Nocturne V. Dr. Mundo
- Dr. Mundo is a fairly weak early game champion who relies on spending a lot of health to clear
- Dr. Mundo is very good at disengaging fights
- Nocturne can secure kills easily at level 6
1. Gank Jayce top early because he is squishy so Darius can lane on equal terms with him. Darius has high kill potential and snowballs extremely well.
2. Try to take flash off Gragas mid so Twisted Fate has an easier time escaping ganks.
3. Do not go bottom until level 6 to avoid dragging pressure and attention down there.
4. Coordinate with Twisted Fate to gank bottom after Ashe has arrow to secure kills that can lead to an uncontested Dragon.
Of course, events do not always go accordingly to plan. Sometimes you have to drop everything you are currently doing and react to how the enemy jungler is playing. In which case you switch from a proactive approach to jungling to a reactive approach. However, even if you have to abandon your plan, it may be just as important to deny the enemy jungler from accomplishing one of their goals. A jungler who does not react properly to the presence of an enemy jungler loses map presence enormously.
Finally, I would like to apologize for the wall-of-text that was this post. I hope those who have actually read this can take something away from this huge post.
Obligatory wall-of-text tl;dr:
Understand champion mechanics and gank potential to come up with successful objectives for your team so that you are not arbitrarily playing the jungle role.
Look for the upcoming continuation of the "understanding" series in the special three part program on Ganking Lane X.