Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ganking: Part 1 - Top Lane Guide



Welcome to a three part series on understanding ganking. One of the most frequently asked questions from beginner junglers is how and when should I be ganking? Although experience is the ultimate factor for a player to gage how and when a gank should be attempted, this article series will attempt to highlight some norms and conditions to ganking the top lane. The other two parts of this series will cover the other two lanes.

This article is dedicated to my previous top laner and current ADC from my team - HoopsScoops, who taught me the importance of influencing top lane instead of just leaving them on an island.

Learn the intricacies of ganking top lane after the jump!

History and Meta of Top Lane 

At the end of season 1 and the start of season 2, top lane used to be an island. The 'Island Rule' stated that top lane should be left alone for success in the jungle because of the minimal influence they had on the map during the early laning phase. Many pro streamers emphasized this rule and let top lane passively farm until mid-late game. The 'Island Rule' was created due to the natural position of dragon, where influence on the top lane would not be able to influence the team's potential to secure dragons early. The early game objective which defined the pace of the early NA meta, essentially, left top laners jungler-less. It wasn't until the explosion of Moscow 5 and the de-throning of the NA scene did players realize the potential top lane had to snowball excessively could win games.

Top lane champions have a tendency to be extremely mobile, high damage, and high escape champions. Favouring champions similar to Riven, Jax, and Singed, these champions are extremely strong when they have two to three items to make them almost unstoppable and are extremely slippery and difficult to kill. Regardless, these champions are simple to kill extremely early. Furthermore, champions of top lane tend to snowball excessively. An early kill and extra item in the lane could easily result in laners being completely zoned from creep score (CS). As a result, the 'island rule' no longer applies because securing kills in top lane is worth a lot in the long run. It is worth missing ten to twenty jungle CS, a buff, and using multiple summoner spells to get the kill top lane. As a result, an ahead top laner will be able to demand the attention of the enemy jungler during mid-game allowing the team to secure dragon or influence the map with the additional player who is not on the island. If the jungler continues to ignore the lane after the snowball, the enemy team will, essentially, be playing four versus five. In conclusion, the importance of ganking top lane comes into play when the opportunity cost of a small early game advantage is overcome by the pressure exerted by a snowballed top laner mid-late game.


Time and Conditions for Ganking Top Lane 

The most common 'time frames' to gank top lane are very early-game, and mid-game after dragon has been secured. Although the 'island rule' has been made mostly obsolete, the possibility of losing dragon is still an important factor for junglers to consider; therefore, top lane should, generally, be avoided when early-to-mid-game comes along and dragon becomes more of a possibility for team to attempt.

Early Game Time Frame 

Ganking top lane early-game is one of the most effective strategies to gain an influential advantage for the team. The term early-game can be defined as the moments in the game before dragon can usually be attempted, contested, or completed. However, in the case of ganking top lane a successful time frame for an early-game gank can be defined within the parameters of the first several minutes of the game. As top laners are generally extremely hard to catch, it becomes easier to gank them when they are ward-less, low level, and missing abilities. Although with the introduction of Crystalline Flask top laners are frequently starting wards, most top laners are not warded before the first back / buy. Albeit ganking a lane without a ward seems natural, top lane is a much more difficult lane to gank due to the meta champion pool and should take priority over other lanes.

Post Dragon Time Frame

Another common 'time frame' for ganking top lane would be mid-game after dragon has completed. The dragon time frame is generally when a team can tank dragon and kill it without it taking too much health from the jungler. Therefore, a jungler who goes top lane during this time frame will have dragon taken from them at the risk of forcing their team to contest dragon at a disadvantage. When the dragon time frame exists, experienced junglers would choose to hover around mid and bot lane. After dragon is completed, ganks on top lane can be executed without risking an objective on another part of the map.

Snowball Condition

Snowballing is one of the most significant factors when it comes to choosing to gank top lane. To snowball a champion, or prevent a champion from snowballing too extreme determines requires pressure from a jungler on top lane. Many champions, such as Riven and Darius, are extremely strong at dominating their lane and are picked to snowball their lane. Ganks for these lanes are especially potent and should be attempted as frequently as possible. On the other hand, when your top laner is playing against heavy snowballing laners it is also important to ensure that they are not snowballed against.


Riven is great example of a top lane champion on the enemy team that you may or may not want to gank. Riven has many small dashes on a low cooldown that can be used to escape ganks effectively. However, when Riven is ahead in her lane she can easily take over the pace of the game. Furthermore when a Riven is snowballed, she can easily 1 v 2 your top laner and yourself, the jungler. Sometimes, letting a lane that has snowballed die is the best choice.


Slippery Condition

Sometimes, there are conditions where choosing to not gank top lane is the best option. Some of these conditions would include champions on your team that have no gank potential or favour another play style, or champions on the enemy team that are remarkably slippery or have snowballed.

Nidalee becomes a prime example of a top lane champion on your team who you would not want to gank for. She does not have any crowd control, nor does she have any burst damage abilities. Instead, Nidalee's skill set favours a long, drawn-out laning phase which benefits champions with utility. Instead of ganking top lane, leaving Nidalee to her own laning benefits your team the most. On the other hand, ganking a Nidalee is crucial in the early stages when she is vulnerable and ensures that your team can handle her split-push in the late game.

Tri-Brush Position Condition

Another condition to consider for ganking top lane over another lane would be the map, Summoner's Rift, itself. The position of the 'tri-brush' opens different, easier gank paths for ganking top lane. When jungling on the blue side, ganking top lane is much easier because the tri-brush allows you to go around and behind the enemy top laner; the tri-brush opens up unique and favourable positions when attempting to kill the purple top laner. However, when jungling on the purple side, ganking top lane is more difficult as the tri-brush is positioned on bot lane instead of top lane. Check below in the gank paths section for more information on the difference between blue and purple gank positions.


Controlling a Losing Top Lane

We have all seen the worst case situation in League of Legends. Where the enemy top lane Singed,  Darius, or Akali are so ahead of everyone else, they can simply walk through the whole team and destroy your chances at victory. You would like to blame your top laner; however, you realize that, ultimately, you cannot control how your top laner plays and you needed to have taken some sort of action. There are three common methods for controlling a losing top lane - pulling the top laner, letting a lane die, or multi-player ganks

Pulling the Top Laner

If a top laner is having a rough time, you can utilize the previously mentioned 'island rule' to your advantage. Force your top laner to make his way down to a global objective on the other side of the map to force objectives and favourable fights. The enemy top laner who has to react to an objective will  be forced to either continue farming and hope his team handles the situation properly, or follow his laner. Always remember, that by pulling your top laner you are trying to create a favourable situation. If at anytime the situation is extended and the stronger enemy top laner has gotten off 'the island,' ensure that your team gets out safely and on time. If done successfully, pulling a top laner can even out the global gold and halt a bad lane from getting worse in a team-play scenario.

Letting a Lane Die 

Minimizing losses may be the proper way to handle a losing top lane. In which case, simply inform your top laner that he has been sacrificed for the greater good of the team and he should give up his lane, tower and try to get what gold he can without dieing. You can actively let a lane die by simply choosing not to save his tower, help his lane, nor relieve pressure. That being said, by actively letting a lane die you should also be actively seeking to bring a lane up to speed. Only sacrifice a lane if your team is going to be able to handle 4v5 scenarios. Also, when top lane loses its tower it also loses its global attention of the enemy top laner. Make sure you are prepared to handle the enemy top laner roaming around the map and ward accordingly.

Multi-player Ganks 

Trying to bring back a dead lane is a very risky play; however, if done properly, you can turn a dire situation for the better. The key to handling a snowballed top laner is multi-player ganks. Safety in numbers has always been a key concept in League of Legends, and it applies to this situation as well. Pulling your mid laner for a gank can sometimes be unexpected by the enemy top laner who feels like he is strong enough to handle you and your top laner. By pulling your mid laner, you sometimes lose pressure on parts of the map that you want to retain. Try to executive multi-player ganks when dragon is down or when you can secure kills on the enemy mid laner. Always ward properly to ensure you are not counter ganked as a failed multi-player gank is almost always unrecoverable.


Following-up a Successful Gank

Congratulations, you have just managed to pull off a successful gank! You managed to secure a kill and an advantage for your team. What now? Many new junglers are not quite sure what to do with themselves after a successful gank. Sometimes, an effective gank for the lane, top lane specifically, has a lot to do with how a jungler handles a lane after a gank. There are generally, three things you may want to do depending on the situation - push the lane to the enemy tower, freeze the lane, or take the enemy tower. Regardless of what you decide to do, always ensure that is what your laner wants. They are the laner and they have final say on what happens in the lane. However, always ensure that your top laner is going to go back after the gank so the difference between gold is actually put into application.

Pushing the Lane

A common low ELO myth is 'pushing is bad.' This is false. Pushing, when done in the proper situations, is extremely powerful. Although pushing does put the lane at risk, when the enemy is dead after a gank you can push to the enemy tower and simply reset the lane. Pushing does three things for the team and the laner. First, it denies the team gold. Instead of letting the wave be slowly killed off, it is given to the enemy tower. This means that the enemy jungler who is now slowly making his way up to the dead lane will have less creeps to farm. Second, it denies the team experience. If a wave is pushing in a certain way, the majority of a wave may be kept for the dead enemy laner to come back. Third, it allows your top laner to not miss any CS and experience, albeit it is less experience with the jungler there, when you help him kill the creeps faster and lets him back faster to not miss the next wave. Generally, you want to push unless the laner does not want to go buy for a certain reason as it's positive effects for the team outweigh the potential positive effects for the laner. When you are pushing the wave for the laner, always try to not take any CS, especially the cannon creep, unless you are taxing the lane which is explained below.

Freezing the Lane

Freezing the lane is an extremely effective method when your laner is having a tough time in lane, or he is playing a lane bully (i.e., Darius) or a squishy ranged champion (i.e., Jayce, Kennen). After you secure the kill, let your top laner know that you are going to freeze the lane for him and that he should go back to purchase before the enemy top laner comes back. By freezing the lane, you are allowing your top laner to come back to the lane in a safer position and with more items. Make sure when you are freezing, you do not accidentally push the lane and only last hit when absolutely necessary. Freezing the lane also let's you gain experience and gold from a lane for an extended period of time, which is far superior to jungle creeps outside of the buffs.

Taking the Tower

Taking the tower early-mid game is a very situational decision to make following a successful top lane gank, there are two common situations where you want to take the tower. First, your laner is doing poorly and would not benefit from extended laning against his top laner. Second, you want your top laner to back and follow you to acquire an objective in another part of the map. Although by taking the tower early, you secure a global gold advantage; sometimes, it ends up denying your top laner safe farm if taken too early. Moreover, there are two common situations where you do not want to take the tower. First, your laner is snowballing and dominating their lane opponent, in which case you want to give the enemy top laner an incentive to stay in the lane so that you and your top laner can abuse him further. Second, your laner is a farm dependent champion. By taking a tower too early for a farm dependent champion, it may deny safe, consistent farm.

In top lane, pushing the wave or taking the tower, in that order, are the most common and optimal ways to handle the situation after a successful gank. Top laners are generally very strong bruiser champions who, if given the opportunity to, will take kills even after a succesful gank if your top laner does not go back to buy. I cannot stress it enough, that you should always help your top laner after the gank so that he can go back without losing anything or putting himself in a dangerous situation.


Lane Tax



Lane Tax. You've all heard it. The act of taking creeps as a form of payment for the jungler spending time to gank your lane. When is it acceptable to tax top lane? As a jungler who actually enjoy watching my lanes succeed, I would argue that it is almost never acceptable to tax, specifically, a top laner especially after a failed gank. Although it may be acceptable to tax a top laner after a successful gank if you are playing a carry jungler, it is almost always better to let the laner have the CS as money that is constantly comparable is better than money that is not. For example, an extra Doran's Blade on your top laner is going to be a lot more effective than an extra Doran's Blade on yourself as the enemy top laner has to handle the extra Doran's Blade where it only helps the jungler farm creeps faster. Although in cases where you've spent a significant amount of time in the lane to secure the kill it may be acceptable to take lane tax, in general you do not want to tax your top laner.


Relevant Top Lane Wards Locations



Blue Side: Common Wards from the Top Laner
1. River Brush Ward
2. River Ward
3. Tri-Brush Ward

These ward locations are commonly used by the enemy top laner. Generally, these wards are placed after the first buy; however, if the enemy is starting an unorthodox combination of items, they may have these locations warded before the first buy. Blue side top laners will commonly place a ward in the river (2.), while relying on their mid laner or jungler to ward in the wraith camp (8.)

Blue Side: Uncommon Wards from Top Laner
4. Behind the Tower Ward
5. Close Brush Ward
6. Far Brush Ward

These ward locations are uncommonly used by the enemy top laner. If the enemy laner feels like they will be tower-dived because they have been pressured for a significant amount of time or placed in a 1v2 lane, they may ward behind the tower (4.) Wards in the brushes of top lane (5. & 6.) are usually extremely uncommon. You can usually assume that there will be no wards in the lane brushes.

Blue Side: Common Wards from other lane
7. Top River J Brush Ward
8. Top Wraith Ward

These ward locations are commonly used by other laners which provide safety to the enemy top laner. These wards are used to spot the enemy jungler who may wish to bypass a tri-brush ward (3.) or an enemy mid laner who wants to gank top themselves.

Blue Side: Uncommon Wards from other lanes
9. Baron Ward
10. Blue Buff Ward

These ward locations are uncommonly used by other lanes which provide safety to the enemy top laner. These wards are generally placed by the enemy jungler who wishes to provide specific cover on global and jungle objectives such as Baron (9.) and Blue Buff (10.) Generally, these ward locations are only used in the mid-late game when these global objectives are in contention.

Purple Side: Common Wards from Top Laner
1. River Brush Ward
2. River Ward
3. Tri-Brush Ward

These ward locations are commonly used by the enemy top laner. Similar to blue side ward locations; however, purple top laners are more likely to place a ward in the tri-brush (3.) and let the enemy jungler or mid laner ward the J brush (7.)

Purple Side: Uncommon Wards from Top Laner
11. Behind the Tower Ward
6. Close Brush Ward
5. Far Brush Ward

These ward locations are uncommonly used by the enemy top laner. Similar to blue side uncommon wards from the top laner, these wards are usually extremely uncommon. You can usually assume that there will be no wards in the lane brushes.

Purple Side: Common Wards from Other Lanes
7. Top River J Brush Ward
8. Top Wraith Ward


These ward locations are commonly used by other laners which provide safety to the enemy top laner. These wards generally provide cover to the enemy purple top laner from the river as purple side top laners generally like to ward the tri-brush instead of river.


Purple Side: Uncommon Wards from Other Lanes
9. Baron Ward
12. Red Buff Ward

These ward locations are uncommonly used by other lanes which provide safety to the enemy top laner. Similar to the blue side uncommon wards from other lanes, except it covers the enemy red buff (12.) instead. Furthermore, top laners who feel extremely threatened by ganks will likely place wards in the tri-brush (3.) and outside the baron put (9.)


Different Gank Paths and Positions of Top Lane

Blue & Purple Side: The River Gank


Explanation:
The 'oldest trick in the book' is done by every jungler from Bronze IV to Challenger tier. The key to an effective river gank is timing and early game lane control by the top laner. The river gank plagued top laners in Season 2; however, with more top laners starting wards it has become less of a threat. Go from your jungle entrances through the river and into the enemy brush. Used most effectively as a purple side, but works as blue side too. Similar ganks would be the blue side tri-brush gank from river.

Conditions:
- Lane is even or being pushed
- Unwarded in common ward positions
- Most effective post first ward / buy / back (2-5 minutes)


Blue Side: The Brush Lane Gank


Explanation:
A more unexpected gank by the enemy top laner. Go through the lane when minions cannot see you (Tip: Check the vision of your minions to compare how far the enemy minions can see you) and enter the brush. Then, either wait for the enemy laner to be aggressive or tell your laner to push to the tower so you can enter the second brush and gank the enemy laner when the wave pushes back. 

Conditions:
- Lane is a little bit pushed
- No minion vision on the entrance of the brush
- Unwarded in uncommon places
- Works well with a hard CC on your laner
- Works well with a mobile jungler 


Blue Side: The Tower Dive 


Explanation:
This is the seldom part of the game where you can get up off your chair, yell "TOWER DIVE" and charge in bravely.  More realistically, this is one of the most riskiest ganks in the game and should not be attempted lightly. The key to an effective tower dive gank is not being seen by wards so that the enemy team does not have time to counter-gank effectively nor does the enemy laner have time to leave the lane and proper execution. Usually, if you want to tower dive it means your laner has been winning and pushing the whole time and the enemy laner has not needed to ward. However, if the enemy laner has warded in common ward locations, go through the outer top lane jungle entrance. 

Conditions: 
- Your lane is winning and you want to snowball the lane further
- The enemy laner has not bought new items for a long time
- The enemy mid laner is pressured and your mid laner can follow effectively
- The enemy jungler may be seen elsewhere on the map
- The enemy laner is low HP
- The enemy laner just used CC or escape abilities before the attempt to dive 
- You and your laner both hit skillshots and CC abilities, do not attempt to dive if you miss these abilities or it will go terribly wrong
- You or your top laner can tank the tower effectively 
- Fresh minion wave, preferably a cannon wave, is about to hit the tower against an already cleared minion wave


Blue Side: The Lane Gank 



Explanation:
One of the most unpredictable and deadly ganks; however, it only works in the worst of worst cases. There are no tricks, no hiding - simply go through the lane and run down the enemy laner. The key to a lane gank is ganking a non-mobile champion who relies on wards for safety where you can chase and kill him as he runs the long distance from your tower to his. Similar to the tower dive gank, conditions for this gank are extremely specific although for the opposite reasons. This is the perfect gank to use against Darius who thinks his double wards let him bully and push all day. 

Conditions:
- Enemy laner is pushing to your tower, hard
- You and your top laner are playing mobile champions with good CC
- Enemy laner is not a fast, mobile champion 
- Enemy laner has common and uncommon positions warded


Blue Side: The Tri-Brush Gank 


Explanation:
The Tri-Brush Gank is a two step process. The first step is determining the entry point and the second step is determining the exit point. There are three entry points for the Tri-Brush Gank. First, the river purple top inner jungle entrance which is commonly warded. Second, over the baron pit entrance which is less warded but only available to certain champions without using flash. Third, the long route uses the purple top outer jungle entrance which is commonly warded by the mid lane and jungler. 

Conditions: 
Inner Jungle Entrance
- Early game when common ward positions are not warded (2-5 minutes)
Baron Pit Entrance
- When common ward locations are warded
- You are playing a jungler with a free flash (Jarvan, Lee Sin); alternatively, use flash
Outer Jungle Entrance
- When the enemy mid laner has not warded common ward locations
- Early game when common ward positions are not warded (2-5 minutes)



Explanation:
In the second step of the Tri-Brush Gank, a jungler must determine the exit point of the gank. Although sometimes this step is not as important as the entry point. The first exit point is initiating the gank through the tri-brush itself, then walking out through the purple lane entrance. Make sure the minion wave is past the tower to give the enemy laner less warning (Tip: check the position of your minions to make sure they are past the tower, your minion positions mirror the enemies).

Conditions:
- Tri-brush is not warded
- Enemy laner / lane is in the middle or a little pushed
- Enemy laner is warded in the river 
- Minion wave is past the tower 


Explanation:
The second exit point of the Tri-Brush Gank is going around, hopping over the golem wall will make it faster, and walking past the tri-brush to gank the laner. This avoids actually entering the tri-brush and gives the enemy laner less warning if the tri-brush is warded. Again, exit through the purple lane entrance and make sure the wave has passed the tower. 

Conditions: 
- Tri-brush is warded
- Enemy laner / lane is in the middle or a little pushed
- Enemy laner is warded in the river 
- Minion wave is past the tower 


Purple Side: The Tower Dive



Explanation:
Similar to the Blue Side: Tower Dive Gank, it is an exceptionally conditional and risky gank that should be executed with caution. The key to the tower dive gank is execution and not being seen. The main difference between the tower dive gank for purple and blue side is that purple side easily bypasses common ward locations. This gank position can also be used for standard non-dive ganks where you will take 2-3 shots from the tower to get behind the enemy; however, this variant of the purple side tower dive gank is quite risky in the early levels and should not be attempted. 

Conditions: 
- Your lane is winning and you want to snowball the lane further
- The enemy laner has not bought new items for a long time
- The enemy mid laner is pressured and your mid laner can follow effectively
- The enemy jungler may be seen elsewhere on the map
- The enemy laner is low HP
- The enemy laner just used CC or escape abilities before the attempt to dive 
- You and your laner both hit skillshots and CC abilities, do not attempt to dive if you miss these abilities or it will go terribly wrong
- You or your top laner can tank the tower effectively 
- Fresh minion wave, preferably a cannon wave, is about to hit the tower against an already cleared minion wave


Purple Side: The Lane Brush Gank 



Explanation:
Similar to the Blue Side: Brush Gank, the key to success with a brush gank is not being seen by the minions by the jungler and not telegraphing the gank by the top laner. Typically, this is easily accomplished against a very aggressive top laner. Do not try this gank against passive, farming top laners (i.e., Vladimir). Alternatively, let your top laner push to the enemy tower and wait for the wave to reset, which is quite time consuming.

Conditions:
- Lane is a little bit pushed
- No minion vision on the entrance of the brush
- Unwarded in uncommon places
- Works well with a hard CC on your laner
- Works well with a mobile jungler 

Purple Side: The Lane Gank



Explanation:
Similar to the Blue Side: Lane Gank, this gank can be used on a heavily warded enemy laner who is constantly pushing and bullying your laner. Ensure that you and your top laner can run down the enemy laner for a successful lane gank. Furthermore, do not walk through the tri-brush to get to the lane as the tri-brush is commonly warded for blue side top laners. 

Conditions:
- Enemy laner is pushing to your tower, hard
- You and your top laner are playing mobile champions with good CC
- Enemy laner is not a fast, mobile champion 
- Enemy laner has common and uncommon positions warded
- Do not walk through the tri-brush unless it is not warded


Purple Side: The Hidden Angle Gank Variant 1


Explanation:
One of the most complicated ganks for purple side which can be used extremely effectively against relatively safe top laners with no inherent flash (I.e., Olaf, Rumble, Vladimir, Elise).The Hidden Angle Gank works when the lane is pushing a little towards your side, but the minions have not reached past the purple side tri-brush wall. If you are playing a jungler with an inherent flash (I.e., Lee Sin) you can hop over the entire wall or the top part of the wall and proceed to run down an enemy. Alternatively, you can jump closer towards the enemy when they move forward to CS as they can not see you past the angle of the wall. 

Conditions:
- Lane pushing slightly towards your tower 
- Blue side melee minions are not giving vision past the wall
- You are a high mobility jungler
- Enemy is not extremely mobile
- You and your laner have the potential to run down the enemy laner
- There is no tri-brush ward, and only a ward in the river


Purple Side: The Hidden Angle Gank Variant 2


Explanation:
This is perhaps the most difficult gank to grasp in top lane; it is a mixture of the lane gank and the first variant. In this case, there is a very specific location where a jungler can stand that the enemy laner will not have vision of if the lane is even. Furthermore, the common locations for top lane wards such as river and tri-brush will not spot you. Follow the location in the image above for the 'sweet spot' where the minions won't be able to spot you, a tri-brush ward won't be able to spot you, and you are one flash away from being beside the enemy top laner who goes up to last hit a ranged creep. 

Conditions:
- Lane is evenly pushed
- Blue side melee minions are not giving vision past the wall 
- You are a high mobility jungler
- Enemy is not extremely mobile
- There is a ward in both the river and the tri-brush


Purple Side: The Sprint Gank


Explanation:
Similar to the Hidden Angle Gank, this gank relies on a high mobility jungler to run down the enemy top laner when they are pushed and only warded in the river. When the laner pushes to your tower, quickly run down and execute a river gank. Although this can be classified as a river gank, it's more effective later into the laning phase when wards are commonly placed in the river.

Conditions:

- Lane pushing slightly towards your tower 
- You are a high mobility jungler
- Enemy is not mobile
- You and your laner have the potential to run down the enemy laner
- There is no tri-brush ward, and only a ward in the river. 


Champions of Top Lane 

These champions are the most played top lane champions of the meta. Although there is a huge selection of top lane champions, these are considered are 'meta' picks and will be explained how to gank for them and how to gank against them.

Akali
Ganking For
- Priority: Low before level 6, High after level 6
- Gank after she attains her ultimate
- Snowballs heavily
Ganking Against
- Priority: High before level 6, Low after level 6
- Gank before she attains her ultimate
- Wait for her to use her Twilight Shroud / Make your laner burn her Twilight Shroud
- Champions that reveal other champions (i.e., Lee Sin) are amazing for catching her in Twilight Shroud

Cho'Gath
Ganking For
- Priority: Low
- Gank after he has levels in Rupture and Feral Scream; let him initiate the gank with Rupture
- Ganking for a Cho'Gath with Feast is much more successful
Ganking Against
- Priority: Low
- Gank before Cho'Gath purchases Rod of Ages or has stacks on Feast
- Gank early for more gank potential; less health and less CC to stop the gank
- Wait for Cho'Gath to use Rupture before you gank him, or dodge Rupture when ganking

Darius
Ganking For
- Priority: High
- Gank for him often, and early; he snowballs extremely hard
- Darius natually pushes a bit, try a lane gank!
- Darius has a ton of kill potential early and post level 6; try ganking for Darius with any champion with a hard CC
Ganking Against
- Priority: High
- Ganks on him are quite succesful as long as there are not too many creeps and he is not too fed such that he can 1v2; he naturally pushes the lane with his abilities and has no inherent escape
- Darius snowballs hard and will constantly dominate a lane and team fight with his base damage and resets; shut him down early!

Elise
Ganking For
- Priority: Medium
- Elise is a long-term laning champion, preferring to poke the champion down with her Q
- Elise does have a lot of burst, make sure she hits her stun for the gank to be successful
- Try ganking for an Elise level 2; otherwise let her run the lane to her own accord
Ganking Against
- Priority: High
- Elise is a tough lane opponent who will destroy any laner without any pressure
- Gank her often to make sure your laner can snowball and kill her in lane with all-ins
- When she rappels make sure you just stand in the middle and don't run her closer towards the tower

Gangplank
Ganking For
- Priority: Medium
- Gank for a Gangplank early because of his strong damage levels 1 to 2.
- Leave him to farm the lane and let him use ultimates to help you in skirmishes elsewhere on the map
Ganking Against
- Priority: Low
- Gangplank has a CC removal, movement speed increase, and AoE slow making him extremely difficult to gank
- As long as your laner is farming with him, most common top lane picks bring more utility than Gangplank in mid-late game
- If the Gangplank is building double GP5, make sure you punish him

Irelia
Ganking For
- Priority: Low
- Irelia is a farm dependent champion which is strong in long-term laning
- Ganking for an Irelia who is level 2, with Q and E, or level 11, with five levels in W, is the ideal time to gank
- Let Irelia farm and do her thing, try not to attract the enemy jungler up there
Ganking Against
- Priority: Low
- Irelia is a jungler's worst nightmare to gank, free recharging hops, free tenacity, and a stun when low HP
- Only gank an Irelia when the gank potential is extremely high
- Never tower dive a full HP Irelia unless the lane is snowballed to all hell

Jayce
Ganking For
- Priority: Medium
- Jayce is a farm dependent champion which requires two to three completed AD items to be extremely strong
- Try ganking for a Jayce around level 2 when he will have four abilities!
Ganking Against
- Priority: Low
- Jayce is a high escape champion with knock backs, slows, and speed boosts; either gank him before he is level two or ensure you have proper kill potential.
- Try ganking Jayce when just as he transforms to his cannon and uses acceleration gate to farm a creep wave

Jarvan IV
Ganking For
- Priority: Medium
- Try ganking for Jarvan IV when he hits level 2, his flag combo provides amazing kill potential for ganks
- Jarvan IV's ultimate may actually hinder a gank if the enemy champion has an inherent escape from it
Ganking Against
- Priority: Low
- Jarvan IV has hard CC, slow, and a unique terrain modifier; ganking a Jarvan IV is difficult due to his skill set and innate tankiness

Jax
Ganking For
- Priority: Medium
- Jax has good kill potential with his gap closer and stun
- Jax is a farm dependent champion; try not to create too much action in this lane and let him farm to get his core items
Ganking Against
- Priority: High
- Jax is a hyper carry which will be able to ruin games by himself; shut him down early to keep him down

Lee Sin
Ganking For
- Priority: High
- Lee Sin can either be played as a high snowball champion or a lane sustain counter pick; make sure you determine which one you are playing with
- Lee Sin snowballs well and can dominate a lane early; his high mobility compliments ganks very well
Ganking Against
- Priority: Low
- Lee Sin is a high escape champion; try to avoid ganking his lane unless you want to prevent him from snowballing


Malphite
Ganking For
- Priority: Low
- Malphite is a mid-late game pick for lane or a counter pick, let him plat the lane or just survive
- Malphite has little kill potential early and high kill potential at level 6; however, he should be using his ultimate on other lanes
Ganking Against
- Priority: Low
- Malphite has high survivability and movement speed with his Q
- No matter how much you shut down Malphite, during mid-late game team fights he's going to be just as effective

Nidalee
Ganking For
- Priority: Low
- There is almost never a reason to gank for a Nidalee; her kit thrives on laning and has very little kill potential
Ganking Against
- Priority: Before 6 High, After 6 Low
- Nidalee is a lane monster who aims to split push; make sure your laner has an advantage so that you don't lose to a split push Nidalee
- Nidalee's survivability increases significantly after level 6, gank her lane often before she hits level 6 because you are not going to be able to do it after

Olaf
Ganking For
- Priority: Medium
- Olaf has good kill potential with his Q and E
- Olaf thrives off trading in lane or being able to farm effectively in a 1v2, try letting him play his lane out without creating too much action
Ganking Against
- Priority: Before 6 Medium, After 6 Low
- Olaf has no inherent escape; Olaf's generally take ghost for late game and can be easily killed early game
- Try ganking Olaf extremely early; but do not tower dive him
- When Olaf hits level 6, he can not be crowd controled; leave him alone after level 6
- Try picking Jarvan IV against Olaf, his ultimate can either secure kills easily or force him to take flash

Riven
Ganking For
- Priority: High
- Riven is a champion that is made to snowball; snowball a Riven and the game is going to be a lot easier
Ganking Against
- Priority: High
- Riven is a snowball champion that needs to be stopped; stopping a Riven from snowballing should be a high priority for a jungler
- If you allow Riven to snowball, it should only be that other lanes are going to be winning just as hard

Rumble
Ganking For
- Priority: High
- Rumble is a lane bully and snowballs heavily; try to gank for him after he gets all 3 of his early game abilities or his ultimate
Ganking Against
- Priority: Medium
- Stopping Rumble from snowballing is sometimes necessary if he is starting to get a bit out of control
- Rumble has decent escape if you have no inherent gap closers
- A snowballed Rumble can easily 1v2 successfully, sometimes it's better to let a lane die

Shen
Ganking For
- Priority: Before 6 High, After 6 Low
- Shen has great kill potential with his taunt early game, take advantage of it!
- After level 6, Shen's ultimate is lackluster when used in skirmishes; try to create action elsewhere on the map so he can use it to its potential
Ganking Against
- Priority: High
- Shen has good escape early game with his E, make sure you get a good angle when you gank him
- Try creating action in the top lane after Shen hits level 6 so that his ultimate is not useful in skirmishes

Singed
Ganking For
- Priority: Medium
- Singed has good kill potential early with his flip; however, he is a champion designed to do the most damage while running away
- Try letting Singed draw the attention of the enemy jungler and creating action or accomplishing objectives elsewhere on the map when the enemy jungler is trying to kill singed
- Counter gank early for Singed as many junglers look to kill singed before he hits level 6
Ganking Against
- Priority: Before 6 High, After 6 Low
- Singed is a champion that will ruin a game if he gets out of hand; make sure he does not get out of hand
- Sometimes, Singed will farm past the tower; make sure you have enough kill potential before you go for the kill so you don't waste time
- Gank Singed before he gets his level 6 which makes him extremely difficult to kill
- Ensuring your laner can handle Singed is vital to a successful game against him, gank him early a lot
- Similar to Nidalee, split push Singed can carry a game easily
- Leaving a Singed to do whatever he wants to do may be the best course of action

Vladimir
Ganking For
- Priority: Low
- Vladimir is a farm dependent champion that wants to lane and get to late game
- Similar to Nidalee, try not to gank Vladimir unless necessary
Ganking Against
- Priority: Low
- Vladimir is a ranged farming champion that has high sustain and escape; avoid ganking him
- If you have to gank Vladimir, try ganking him before level 4 when he will not have Sanguine Pool
- Gank Vladimir early when he is still squishy

Wukong
Ganking For
- Priority: Medium
- Wu Kong has good damage for kill potential early; however, he really shines in his ultimate
- Instead of ganking for a Wu Kong, try pulling him from Top Lane into team fights where his ultimate can hit multiple targets
Ganking Against
- Priority: Medium
- Wu Kong's W ability let's him create an invisible clone which may allow him to easily escape ganks (Tip: When ganking a Wu Kong, target him with a ping; when Wu Kong goes into stealth the ping on top of him will disappear!)
- Wu Kong can be slippery if the kill potential is not there

Yorick
Ganking For
- Priority: Low
- Yorick is another example of a lane champion with one job; win the lane and use his ultimate on the AD carry
- Only gank for Yorick if there is no kill potential elsewhere
- Instead, try ganking for champions that Yorick will ultimate
Ganking Against
- Priority: Medium
- Yorick is a champion that will do his job no matter how much you shut him down
- Only gank Yorick to ensure that your top laner is not denied or shut down too hard
- Try ganking and shutting down the ADC who Yorick will be ulting.

Zed
Ganking For
- Priority: High
- Zed is a high damage, item dependent champion that, when fed, can one shot AD carries; try to get him kills
- Pick a high CC champion and let Zed apply all the damage for the gank!
- Let Zed's ultimate pick up the kill, it has a delay so don't be too quick to try and secure a kill
Ganking Against
- Priority: Low
- Zed has an inherent flash that makes catching him very difficult
- When ganking Zed, wait for him to use his shadow to harass so that he cannot use it to escape
- Keep an eye on Zed's energy! If he is low on energy he won't be able to jump out


Conclusion & Summary

As a relatively larger article than my previous posts, I feel obligated to provide some sort of synopsis for this article. Although I would urge everyone to read the entire post, perhaps I could help those who are a little less eager to read the wall of text above. Generally, my 'understanding' series posts revolve around revealing general decision making experiences for players who wish to play the jungle role more effectively; however, this post has been a lot more specific.

Although ganking a top lane was traditionally unimportant in the pace of the mid-game, it is important to understand that top laners have significant impact on late game which can influence and change the pace of a game that was imperfect in the mid-game scenario. Controlling the top lane to ensure that certain champions are not able to split push or do not snowball out of control is a hallmark of any good jungler. However, it is important to recognize that, as such a one-sided lane, sometimes a jungler's best bet is to just let that lane die. Regardless, ganking top lane should revolve around experience and understanding of gank potential. Try to gank top lane early, as missing abilities make normally slippery champions much easier to kill.

3 comments:

  1. Amazing Blog, Keep up the good work :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great article, really indepth. You mentioned Singed is a high priority for ganks (pre 6) because he has the potential to ruin a game by all by himself. I would like to add Nasus and Vlad to this category. You already mentioned Elise. She's more like Darius in Snowball potential but has escapes. If you pick a weak early jungler against these guys, or even pick a strong one but don't gank top anyway... You better have a damn good reason. Vlad is imo high priority early as he is still so squishy but becomes a farming machine later. He scales so well I don't even want to risk my toplaner to go even with him. I think we all know you can't let Nasus freefarm but it's still worth mentioning again. Thanks for the Article, definitely learned something as a jungler and top!

    ReplyDelete