How to Properly Invade in League of Legends
Sun 26th Jul 2020 - 7:33pm
Invading the enemy's jungle is one of the most impactful decisions you could make on the Rift. However, it can easily go wrong, so it is important to assess the situation and be sure it goes as planned. As you and your team load into the game, you can communicate whether or not you will want to invade. Keep in mind that certain team compositions work better than others, and you could be countered by a much stronger team comp.
Whether or not your team could win an invade depends on the champions, positioning, and timing. Another important thing to keep in mind is which ability you start with, as it can completely change the outcome of an invade. For example, Ahri could Charm with her E and Lux can Root with her Q. These abilities will easily shut down an enemy who gets caught by your team, and you can secure an easy First Blood. A good habit to get into is waiting to choose your starting ability at the last possible moment, so you know for certain whether or not you need to defend yourself from an invade or initiate one. The ability you choose can make all the difference in the fight, whether you need to catch an enemy off guard, or to quickly escape from them.
Initiating an Invade
So you load into the game with your team and you decide to invade. If your toplane reacts quickly enough, they, too can join in to increase your numbers and better secure a kill. Keep in mind that it will be harder to invade against champions like Morgana, Lux, Blitzcrank, or Thresh, who all could easily shut you down and turn the engage around. On the other hand, if you have these champions on your own team, it can make for a very successful invade.
Keep in mind that some champions do not hold up well in a level one fight, and can be especially weak depending on what ability they started with. For example, if your Elise already selected Q instead of E as you arrive in the enemy's jungle, she will not have much impact in the engage. This is why it is important to save your ability choice until the last possible moment, so you can react to an invade and come out the victor. Remember that the enemy can always Flash away from your team when you arrive, but this is still a successful invade, as they are now more vulnerable in lane.
Using the images below, you can see where you can position yourself to watch for the incoming enemy team. It is important to see where they could come from and from any direction. You will want to head to these spots immediately after spawning, as the enemy could already be on their way. If you spot the enemy on their way, you can either prepare for a fight if your team is ready, or you can flee the area to get to safety. If you do decide to leave, it is a good idea to leave a ward behind at the location to see if they stay or return to their side of the jungle. If you suspect the enemy is waiting to steal the monster's buff from you, you can pull the monster out a little ways to avoid getting sniped by an enemy over the wall. On the other hand, trying to sneak a steal on the enemy's buff can be risky, as their midlaner could rotate down and engage on you.
Be sure to wait for all your teammates to catch up before initiating the invade. If your toplane decides to go to their lane, since it is far from the bottom jungle, then be wary of the enemy's toplaner being nearby, though this is not common. If you get sighted by a fresh ward or an enemy running by, it is a dangerous idea to keep the invade going, as the enemy now knows you are coming. The trick of an invade is the element of surprise, and if your enemy is prepared for you, things can go wrong very quickly.
Topside Jungle Invades
More uncommon than other invades, invading in the enemy's topside jungle can still be beneficial. The jungler and toplaner can steal the enemy's buff before they make their way to the topside jungle. The midlaner should be paying attention in case they need to rotate up and help with any fights that may occur between the enemy jungler and toplaner, in the off chance that the jungler started in their topside jungle. Once you successfully steal the enemy's buff, you should leave behind a ward and continue on with your camps.
Knowing When to Leave
As stated above, you should not attempt an invade if the enemy knows you are coming. Surprise is the ultimate tool in getting the advantage over your enemy. You do not want to use too many Summoner Spells between your team to secure a kill, especially if you fail to do so. If you force your enemy to Flash away, this is still successful, and you can return to your jungle knowing your enemy is more vulnerable in lane for the beginning of the game.
Keep an eye on whether or not the enemy jungler has Flash, as some junglers will take Ignite and Smite, or Ghost and Smite, instead of Flash. This makes them more vulnerable to an invade, as they will not be able to quickly escape. Make sure you do not chase too far through the jungle or under turrets to secure a kill, as one mistake can very easily turn the invade against you.
If you secure a kill, or even multiple kills, especially if the enemy jungler was one of them, you can stay behind and steal away the buff to leave the jungler even more behind. Stealing resources from the enemy jungler ends up stealing resources from the entire team, as the jungler can end up far behind and not be able to successfully gank or secure objectives.
Invading Throughout the Game
Invades are not always at level one but can still be just as effective. Champions like Warwick, who can gain level 3 quickly while retaining most of their Health, can sneak into the enemy's jungle and engage on the jungler. This is effective against any champion who has low Health or Mana resources at early levels, but can be dangerous against champions like Trundle, Olaf, and Udyr, who can easily overpower you. Your midlaner or toplaner can potentially push out their lane and sneak away into the jungle with you to outnumber the enemy jungler. You should always communicate this information with your team, whether by text or pings, so that you can have each other's backs in case something goes wrong.
Rotating to help with an invade can make all the difference in the outcome, so you should always keep an eye out for your allies in case they need your help. Your enemy in lane could rotate to help their ally as well, so you should also keep an eye out for your laner leaving to follow your jungler. Even if you do not kill the enemy jungler here, stealing a camp, forcing them to Flash, or forcing them to return to base to regenerate their Health is still a successful invade, as each one sets the jungler behind and helps your jungler get ahead.
As the game goes on and everyone gets level 6, invades will end up being less effective as well as more risky. Always communicate with your team if you see an opportunity to enter the enemy's jungle. As a jungler, if you see the enemy jungler going botlane to gank, and you are not in the position to counter gank or gank another lane, you can use this opportunity to enter the jungle and steal away their camps on the opposite side of the map. Even if the gank is successful, the jungler will return to an empty jungle and will not be able to have a more impactful role during a fight, objective, or gank until they can catch up.
Invades can lead to an important early game advantage, but they can also lead to a crippling setback. Level one invades should never be done alone, and should have at least three members, with a fourth keeping an eye out if they need to rotate down to help. The more you have, the more likely you will be able to secure a kill. Be careful not to overextend into an invade or use too many resources to try and secure a kill. Know when to back off, once Summoner Spells have been blown or enemies have been killed. It is important to stay together when invading and take the stealthiest path through the jungle.
Communication is key when invading, and it is important to always have each other's backs. Rotating to help an ally can make all the difference and turn the game in your favor.