This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide to jungling by any means; I intentionally do not touch on almost all the things seen as most important to jungling. I basically just want to get the point across that there’s a ton of simple, highly-accessible information that mostly goes completely ignored despite being super important due to how mundane and obvious it seems.
Master/Challenger jungle main here.
I see a lot of posts from laners struggling to pick up jungling. It’s extremely easy to get “lost” as a beginning jungler. You feel like you have to be everywhere on the map, applying pressure in every lane, counterganking the opposing jungler, controlling dragons and buffs, putting down proper vision, etcetara. And it’s all true – these things are extremely important. But as a newer jungler, these are not the things to focus on learning.
To break this down a bit, consider League in general. There are two large categories of raw information – static and dynamic.
- Static information does not change from game to game. How much gold does a minion kill give? At what time intervals do creep waves spawn? How many creeps do you need to go from level 1 to level 2? How long do wards last? How long do buffs last, and how long does it take objectives to respawn?
- Dynamic information changes from game to game, because it is largely based on player choices and player decisions. Champions, team compositions, builds, play-styles, gold and objective differentials, vision, etc.
Proper understanding of both kinds of information is important to proper play and proper jungling. Good play is built on good decisions, and good decisions are built on proper knowledge. You don’t know where to go? A big part of that is because you aren’t looking at all the information available to you. Junglers tend to strive to understand dynamic information, while static information goes largely ignored. But as a starting point, learning static information is much simpler, and much more reliable.
The majority of the posts I see in this subreddit are bronzes/silvers asking things like, “What do I do versus x champion?” “What should I do when my lanes are 0/5 10 minutes into the game?” For a beginning jungler, this is completely the wrong focus. It’s like trying to learn about specific opening moves in chess, or the play-style and tendencies of your specific opponent, when you haven’t even memorized how each piece moves or how the board is set up at the start of each game.
As the name suggests, static information does not change. Whether you’re bronze or challenger, whether you’re playing Amumu or Rengar, whether you’re 0/5 or 10/0, it does not change. This is the basic “how can a pawn move?” that you need to learn first, because this is information that is 100% relevant every single game, and 100% reliable every single game.
- How long does it take a small camp to respawn? (1 minute, 40 seconds) You need to commit this to feeling and to memory. You need to have a rough feeling for when camps will respawn, small as well as large, to structure your jungle path. As a laner, you’re expected to know that waves spawn on thirty second timers. As a jungler, the same kind of information is relevant.
- How long does Baron buff last? (3 minutes) This is simplistic information that can help you avoid game-ending mistakes. Enemy team got baron and you didn’t get the timer? Just add 4 minutes when the enemy team’s baron buffs run out, and there’s your timer. Get there a minute beforehand, ward it, and warn your team. If baron spawns without you realizing it, and your team is split around the map farming, forcing you to run in by yourself into a possible 1v5 with no vision to check it, you have made an absolutely inexcusable fuck-up and very likely lost the game.
- How much gold does Gromp give? (62) How much gold do I need for T2 Jungle item + Boots? (775) Most jungle camps give roughly 60-70 gold base, scaled up by the extra gold from your jungle item. Getting a rough idea of how much gold each camp gives lets you structure your item buys. Have 625 gold and thinking about backing? Consider killing two more camps, so you can get T2 jungle item+boots+potions on your buy instead.
- How many camps do you need to clear to hit level 3/4? (For level 3, 2 buffs + small camp. For level 4, full clear of first spawn. i.e. Gromp > Blue > Wolves > Raptors > Red > Krugs will get you to level 4.) Knowing when you will hit important level points is very important, as both a laner and a jungler. A mid laner needs to know that the 7 creeps = level 2. A jungler absolutely needs similar knowledge.
The information you receive from this is not necessarily, on a game-to-game basis, game-changing. But it is consistent. If you learn it once, you will never need to learn it again. It is reliable information you can use to guide your decision-making each and every game you jungle, ever. Getting better as a jungler, and as a player, doesn’t need to be about making game-changing realizations and acquiring insane mechanics. Before learning to mindgame the enemy jungler, you need to learn the basics of how the game actually functions. Get on League Wikia and read. Get into a 1v0 custom and practice your clear, and note your gold/exp. First things should come first.
tldr; Jungling is complicated. First learn the easy stuff that never changes. It’s simple, but it’s more important than you think, because it’s the stuff that you bring with you into every single game. And solo queue is nothing but a battle of consistency.