The importance of other roles in LoL is obvious enough, but that of the jungler is a bit harder to understand for beginners. Playing jungle is quite interesting and adds a new dimension to the usual laning that most are used to. Learning more about this role lets players see the game more clearly at another angle, and also diversify their skill set in order to face whatever challenges there may be with confidence.
First of all, a jungler is able to gain experience and gold without having to share with the top laner or anyone else, so everyone gets an equal chance to level up and farm. Secondly, the jungler is mobile due to roaming around the map, which makes it pretty dangerous when played right. You can swoop in to help with fights, making your team a bit more unpredictable and harder to engage.
Another thing is that the jungler is responsible for the buffs that can be acquired from killing neutral creeps in the jungle. There are five of them, namely the blue buffs from the golem and two small lizards, the wolves, the wraiths, the two large golems, and the red buff from the giant lizard with two smaller lizards.
As a jungler, you’re essentially the wild card of your team, so it’s definitely an important role in the game. When you’re playing a champion that is good at jungling, you’ll be able to see for yourself just how good this role is.
Being a jungler isn’t as straightforward as being the usual top, mid, or bottom. With laning, you just last hit and don’t walk in too far forward to stay safe. On the other hand, the jungle is just like what the name suggests, a jungle that hides dangers. You wouldn’t know until it’s too late whenever there’s someone after you (unless you’ve warded diligently). Playing this role takes some experience to get right.
There’s also the matter of the neutral creeps themselves, which can be confusing at first. They’re your main source of experience and gold, so you have to be sure that you can handle them by yourself, which is why you need items and a champion with skills that can deal damage to multiple enemies at once or protect you from damage.
You have to be always on call for the rest of the team so that you can jump in and help them out. Whatever you’re doing at the moment, you’ll have to drop it once a teammate asks for help. Getting from one point of the map to another is an important aspect of being a jungler, so you should be fast and have mechanisms for mobility like Flash or Teleport.
Including a jungler on the team is usually a pre-planning decision. It’s not really a staple in most team compositions, so the jungler is more like an auxiliary that gets added in if the team has decided that they could use one for the game. So if you wish to jungle in a solo queue game, you may find it hard to convince everyone else to let you do it.
In the end, you may have to play a different role, and you can only pull it out if you’re playing with friends, which is most likely not often. The rule here is to jungle only if you’re sure that the team can control two solo lanes. If the answer is no, then don’t jungle and just lane like everyone else in that game.
It seems that the list of champions that are good for jungling tend to change at times with each season in League of Legends, but there are those that have become jungle mainstays.
A good jungler must have enough offensive capability to take care of the neutral creeps and enemy junglers while being hardy enough to not need going back home every so often. You also have to consider your chosen champion’s abilities, especially if they are ones that directly make jungling much easier.
At the start of the game, you may want to go with a Cloth Armor and 5 health potions to be able to sustain. Since Baron Nashor is the only neutral creep that does magic damage, that narrows your practical options down to armor for defense. You can also go with something like Hunter’s Machete and 5 health potions instead if you need more offensive capability in the early game.
The jungler can also fill another role, depending on the chosen champion. There are those that can do double duty as either tanks, support, carries, assassin, or utility. Look more into what your champion is good at and even read some guides and forum threads to see what you can do in jungling.
A good thing about junglers is that they can swoop in and gank when there’s an opening due to their roaming capabilities in the game. They are also free to switch lanes whenever they want, so a losing lane can be turned around in favor of the team when the jungler comes in to help.
Ganking itself is not a skill within the game that’s easily picked up. With experience, you’ll be able to assess by both instinct and tactical knowledge the status of the lanes and which one you should go to for a gank while in between going back to camp and killing minions and neutral creeps.
As a jungler, you have a certain degree of freedom in movement, so use it wisely. When someone needs you, don’t delay it because you’re still doing something. Your role as an auxiliary member of the team means that you are supposed to help out when things are dire for one of your teammates, so get to it and back him up as soon as you can.
Always wait for opportunities to come and not just to force one to open up yourself. If a ganking target looks suspiciously too easy that it could be a trap or is too far gone, then there’s no shame in backing off. Never force a gank and don’t let your greed or ego get the best of you.