Monday, February 25, 2013

State of the Jungle - Article 3

State of the Jungle: Article 3 - General Patch V3.02.0.30

State of the Jungle is an article series that details current meta changes in the jungle. It is aimed to inform players of all skill levels on how the jungle is currently played when effected by tournament results and solo queue formalities.

Check out what the LCS has brought to the jungling meta after the jump!

The first three weeks of Riot's League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) has set some major precedents for eSports and league of legends. Although it is completely off topic, the LCS production quality is almost on par to traditional sporting events and should be greatly commended; I thoroughly enjoyed watching the LCS! The LCS has brought one of the biggest changes to the jungle meta in Season 3, as such get ready for one of the longer State of the Jungle articles. Jump to the end for practical implications if you find this article too long.

Traditionally, there were two types of junglers players could choose from - bruisers, or supports. While bruisers favoured early and mid game pressure and control (e.g., Lee Sin, Nocturne), supports favoured mid and late game utility and innate tankiness that allowed laners to take jungle gold (e.g., Maokai, Nautilus). However, the LCS has main-streamed a new kind of jungler - the hybrid.

The classic example of the hybrid jungler was Dr. Mundo who was a strong early game jungler with good clear speed and a monster late game jungler who became unkillable; however, Dr. Mundo sacrificed early game safety and required a lot of farm. The new breed of hybrid jungler is now a strong early game bruiser who is innately tanky late-game and can act as a late game initiator. Hybrid junglers tend to build support-esque defensive items which will be discussed.

Common, popular hybrid junglers are Xin Zhao, Jarvan IV, and Vi.

Xin Zhao's popularity peaked at 40%, an almost 166% increase in popularity!
Xin Zhao is the perfect example of a hybrid jungler. He is a strong jungler with a lot of CC and damage early game because of his Three Talon Strike, and Audacious Charge. Moreover, he is innately tanky late game because of his ultimate, Crescent Sweep, which gives him additional armour and magic resist per target hit. He has sustain and, when you level audacious charge first, area of effect clear. Following the initial weeks of LCS, Xin Zhao's popularity has sky rocketed through the roof as the premier hybrid jungler.

Jarvan IV and Vi are also good hybrid junglers as they are both have abilities that make them innately tanky and are strong bruiser junglers early game. Traditionally, Xin Zhao and Jarvan IV would be played as bruiser junglers; however, the question is what makes them different from bruiser junglers of the past and makes them hybrid junglers of today. The key difference is itemization.

Instead of building popular jungle bruiser items like phage, brutalizer, and wriggles, hybrid junglers are prioritizing defensive support items like Locket of the Iron Solari  (Locket) and Aegis of the Legion (Aegis) which were primarily popular on support junglers. Popularity for Locket has increased along with the popularity of Xin Zhao. However, Aegis, a previously common item, has not seen an increase at all. This is primarily due to the fact that Locket is seen to be more practically cost effective than Aegis. 

Locket of the Iron Solari's popularity increased from 2% to 6% 

In a Reign of Gaming Blog Article by DiffTheEnder, Locket and Aegis are compared against each other. Although I would encourage everyone to take a look at the actual article, the general consensus of the article states that Locket, when used effectively, would benefit a team greater than an Aegis. The LCS series would show that pro players follow a similar conclusion as Locket  is seen being rushed on every hybrid jungler before Aegis. 

Although Locket is being built first on hybrid junglers, Aegis is still a core item on every hybrid, support, or even bruiser jungler. Aegis is one of the, if not the, most mathematically cost effective item in League of Legends; albeit, Locket is more practically cost effective. As such, both Locket and Aegis are core on the modern hybrid jungler. 

Changes to Sightstone make it build out of a Ruby Crystal
Where does this leave Sightstone in a junglers items? Previously mentioned in State of the Jungle Article 1, Sightstone, introduced in pre-season 3, became a popular junglers item which essentially replaced the Heart of Gold in a support junglers build. However, following the increase in cost of Sightstone, junglers are favouring this item less as it delays your item build significantly and does not provide any real stats against items other junglers are building. It has become too expensive for a jungler to build without it hindering actual gameplay - a jungler who has built a Sightstone is noticeably weaker than a jungler who has not.

So, what should you do as a common solo queue player like myself? Pick Xin Zhao, build Locket and Aegis, play like a bruiser early game, and become innately tanky like a support jungler late game.

Welcome to the Hybrid-Locket-Aegis Jungler meta.

1 comment:

  1. Sightstone trash building way but its "not bad" item

    really need alot of buffs its so shitty if it went to math side