Dardoch's Jungle Guide for Season 11: Prepare for 2021
Sat 9th Jan 2021 - 2:10pm
When it comes to playing Jungle in league of Legends, few people have a better understanding of what’s been, what’s now and what’s to come than Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett. With the level of experience he has gained over his professional career, even a huge item overhaul isn’t enough to stop him. Throughout this guide, we will be teaming up with Dardoch to give plenty of tips and tricks that you will need to conquer the Jungle in League of Legends right now. Read on!
The Benefits of a Good Jungle Path
Let’s start with the basics. In order to succeed in the Jungle, the most important first step to take is realising how important your role is. We’ve heard it before from pros, high elo players and analysts alike, but the key to a powerful team is the Jungler’s ability to unlock plays across the map and create opportunities for their 4 allies. If you allow your enemy Jungler to roam freely between lanes, it’s only a matter of time before they outlevel and overpower both you and your laners. So, with this in mind, an effective Jungle path is necessary to ensure you can stay a step ahead of the enemy and call the shots in your own game. Take it from Dardoch himself:
Dardoch: “There are a few basic, important reasons why it’s important to have a good Jungle path. The first is that you’ll be able to move towards the lane you most want to help or gank for, so you can influence the game as soon as possible. The second is that you’ll be able to clear camps that are optimal for your specific champion.”
Rengar, for example, is far better at taking down smaller camps in the earlier stages of the game because his AoE damage is limited to one ability.
To lead on from this, once you’re confident about your own path, you can begin to take note of another important feature of Jungling in League of Legends: timers. Timing is everything when it comes to executing the perfect gank, taking buffs with precision and generally being there for your team when it matters. The simplest way to begin tracking timers is by simply… holding tab! You can see the timers attached to each of the major buffs around Summoner’s Rift so that you can understand where you should be and in how long, whether you’re taking the buff yourself, playing for vision, or looking for a steal.
Dardoch: "Generally speaking, you always want to be tracking what path the enemy Jungler is taking. Conveniently, Riot added (a while ago) that all the camps are 4 CS each, so you can easily count where they’re at in their path. When (the enemy Jungler) shows, it’s as easy as pressing tab and going ‘oh, he has 12 CS, so he’s done 3 camps so far and he’s come from this side of the map with Red Buff so I know that (x) and (y) are still up.’ When you see them next make a play, you can walk into the opposing side of the map and clear those camps out instead."
Efficient Clearing vs. Inefficient Clearing
Now when it comes to the specific path you take, some paths are definitely going to be more efficient by others. What do we mean when we say efficient? Well, let’s look at an example:
A Blue Side Lee Sin in the Jungle plans to gank Top Lane early on, and decides that the best way to get there is by killing smaller camps so that he can arrive quicker and with more HP. He takes the Red Brambleback, Raptors, and Murk Wolves and then heads to Top Lane straight afterwards to influence the lane before things get out of hand.
Meanwhile, the enemy Kha’Zix takes the Blue Sentinel, Gromp and Red Brambleback and heads towards Top Lane straight afterwards.
Depending on the skill difference in the players and strength of each champion, the players may arrive in the Top Lane at slightly different times, but there remain two key differences that we need to examine: Lee Sin will arrive at Level 2, while Kha’Zix will arrive at Level 3, and Kha’Zix will have the added power of the Red Buff.
In this example, Kha’Zix has a more efficient jungle path than Lee Sin, and as such will provide greater utility to his teammates when moving around the map. That being said, the Level 3 gank has lost a little of its importance in this new season, as addressed by Dardoch below:
Dardoch: “In the new season, it’s more beneficial to simply farm your way to Level 3 and take down as many camps as possible before the Scuttle Crab spawns. This is generally the safest and most efficient way to go about things in the Jungle.”
Changing your Jungle Paths
Finding an optimal path is not always easy, and depending on which champion/s you play, you may find some differences between your jungle path and that of others. The best thing to do is practice your own champion before diving into Ranked so that you can establish an understanding of your preferred movements and the do’s and don'ts of moving through the Jungle. As far as the most common mistake/s go and difference in Jungle paths, Dardoch’s got you covered:
Dardoch: “The most obvious difference in Jungle path is Ivern; he cannot get a leash, so he’ll mark the buffs and move a certain way to ensure he doesn’t just lose his camps. Outside of Ivern, the most important thing to learn and one of the biggest mistakes that people make in the Jungle is properly kiting Jungle camps. It’s really the number 1 problem that people have when starting, and without effective kiting it can give the impression that it’s just a super hard role, so open up VODs of pro or high elo players and learn from them as soon as possible!”
But all of this can be a little challenging to comprehend if this is your first rumble in the jungle. As such, here are our last tips to optimise your pathing, direction and strategy, starting with the beginning of a match. Where you move before minions spawn can be the difference between catching on to a sneaky move made by your enemies and getting embarrassed before you have a chance to carry! The first piece of advice is a rather simple one: plan your first, ideal gank. Consider whether you will focus your attention on Top or Bottom first (if instead you'd prefer to focus on Mid, Red Buff is a great choice for the extra damage), and start on the opposing buff first so that you can clear your way up there. This way, even if you don't find a perfect opportunity to gank you can move into the river for the Scuttle Crab and continue moving around without feeling stuck. We threw it over to Dardoch for his specific strats on early positioning below:
Dardoch: "In solo queue, it's most traditional to run into the side where you're NOT starting, and then when you move over to your starting buff you'd drop a ward to cover that entrance. While your exact starting buff depends on your champion (Graves, for example, doesn't need a leash and can start wherever he'd like regardless), a super aggressive start for any game is buff > buff > gromp, or even buff > buff > buff if you choose to invade. This way, you can have double buffs and Level 3 when you decide to gank."
With that, we come to the conclusion of our preseason Jungle Guide! We hope there’s something for you, whether you’re an older player or new, to learn from and would like to thank Dardoch for sharing some of his expertise with us for this article. We hope you can take this knowledge onto Summoner’s Rift for your next game, and that you’ll cheer Dardoch and the team on when the 2021 season finally begins. GLHF!