League of Legends 101: Planning your jungle pathing
Jungle pathing can be the hardest part of the role. Here’s our tips on how to master your pathing.
The jungler is one of the most impactful, yet intimidating roles in League of Legends. Unlike lanes, the jungle is not a linear, straight path where your goal is clear and your objectives are directly in front of you. The jungle is a confusing, swirling route of monster camps all providing different buffs with different priorities. Pathing with intent is therefore vital to developing into a successful jungler.
With multiple options and different prioritizes depending on your champion, jungling is inherently a fluid artform. These are some general tips and standard pathways to get you started!
Partial Clears – The red or the blue buff
At the start of the game, you’ll essentially have to choose between two options, red or blue buff. Red buff is a strong start for most champions and is an optimal standard path for those with decent AoE abilities such as Sett, Diana, Sejuani and others. For this path, you’ll start at the Red Brambleback, Killing red buff will put you at level two before proceeding to either your Raptors or Wolves. These types of AoE camps provide a great deal of gold and experience, so it’s vital to prioritize these right after your main buff.
You’ll blue buff will be next, as this will not just give you a double buff start, but easily prevent your opposing jungler from either of your two most valuable camps right off the bat. After this, you can opt to take Wolves or another AoE camp to get to level three and an extra boost of gold before your first trip back to the shop.
For the other standard start, you’ll be prioritizing the ‘big three’ single target camps. If you’re playing a champion like Lee Sin, Kha’Zix, Elise, or any other non-AoE champion, you should prioritize this route. You should still start red buff, but quickly move to the opposite side of the jungle. Here, you’ll quickly take Blue Buff and then Gromp. This is a significantly harder path considering these are all bigger damage camps with more damage.
Full Clear – When to full clear and why
After completing your initial partial clear, you are faced with several branching paths. You can either look for a gank, look to gain priority over a neutral objective, or continue farming your jungle. You should only look to full clear if your team is in a rather disadvantageous position, meaning that both of your solo laners are pushed in and you’re too low health to attempt scuttle crab.
This option may help your farm, but it is not the best option for a majority of junglers. Few champions, with the exception of Udyr, Hecarim, Olaf, and the likes, have fast full-clear times, meaning that your lanes will be more susceptible to ganks and you’re likely to lose priority over neutral objectives. You may get a marginal lead over your jungle opponent in the short run, but you should seriously weigh your options before committing.
Looking for a gank – What a good lane state looks like
The most popular pathway to go after getting your initial three camps is to immediately visit one of your solo lanes for a gank. The viability of this option is entirely up to your laners, as their lane needs to be a gankable state before you approach. For this to happen, your ally needs to be pushed in for the opponent to over extend. At this point in the game, relatively few champions can successfully pull off a tower dive even with perfect tower aggro management.
If you successfully pull off a gank, use that time to quickly farm, return to the shop, and look for a gank again. Likely your opposing laners will be more wary of a gank attempt, increasing wards and playing more under tower. As you get further ahead, you can try for risker ganks or just make regular appearances to keep them in check.
Scuttle Crab and neutral objectives
Scuttle Crab presents several advantages. Firstly, if you are low health after your initial clears, you have time to regain lost health. Second, the speed boost in the river you gain facilitates future ganks and rotations from your top or midlaner. Third, this will grant you some advantage in getting to your first neutral objectives, whether it be dragon or herald.
Scuttle Crab also grants a significant amount of gold, and if you’re able to transition into a gank before recalling, you’ll be miles ahead of your opponent and in a good position to repeat gank and get priority over future objectives. In conclusion, these are just some strategies for early game jungle planning. Jungling is an incredible complex role that involves improv, adaptability, and timings. Around late game objectives the role completely changes, but these jungle paths will get you started.
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Image Credit: Riot Games