The jungle role in League of Legends is complicated and comes with a variety of different responsibilities. As you climb the ranks, you will notice there are a variety of different playstyles used by all the junglers you meet. You’ve got your gank-heavy aggressive junglers who try to win the game in the first 10 minutes, your devourer junglers like Shyvanna and Master Yi who want to farm in peace for 20 minutes, and then there’s your hybrid junglers, like Elise, who do a little of everything. The best high impact solo queue junglers all share one thing in common: they control the map.
You are controlling the map when you are rotating around the map according to where your team needs you to be. If there are two mega-tanks in the top lane farming in peace, both mid laners have based, and you don’t know where your enemy jungler is, you should be hovering around the bot lane. It’s the only place the enemy jungler could realistically pull of a successful gank, and you need to be there to counter gank if it happens.
What is Counter Jungling?
Challenger player Pants Are Dragon lays down his rules of counter jungling. This video was released back in 2014, but the fundamentals are still solid.
To “counter jungle” is to invade the enemy jungle and farm their jungle camps. Counter jungling is a powerful way to earn map control and provide your team with valuable information on the enemy jungler’s location. When we steal an enemy jungle camp not only do we become richer, but we deny the enemy from farming that camp for 100 seconds/until it respawns next. We also gain important information about the enemy jungler’s location. If we invade the top side jungle and steal both the Gromp and Wolves without seeing the enemy jungler we can relay that information to our team by warning the bot lane of a potential incoming gank.
What Champions Are Best at Counter Jungling?
There are two key strengths a champion must possess in order to be a strong counter jungler: fast clear speed, to quickly mow down the enemy’s camps, and mobility, to get out safely if collapsed on by the enemy. The ability to duel the enemy jungler is an option, but not always a viable one. If your team is losing mid lane your easy 1v1 quickly becomes a difficult 2v2 when the mid lane collapses on you. More on that later.
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A few champions with a fast clear and high mobility are Nidalee, Udyr, and Gragas. You can counter jungle with virtually any champion in the game as long as you know where the enemy jungler is. If your bot lane gets level 2 ganked by the enemy Shaco, and you notice he only has red buff, you have a perfect opportunity to take his blue buff in return. The less mobility and clear speed your champion offers, the more conservative you should be in your counter jungling. The only exception is when you know the where the enemy jungler is on the map.
When Is It Safe to Counter Jungle?
Vision is key. As we touched on above, if you know the enemy jungler is on the other side of the map, it’s probably safe to invade the jungle as long as you keep an eye on the side lanes in your mini map. It’s possible there are defensive wards and you get collapsed on by the top/mid laner, but if your respective teammate follows it should be an easy 2v1.
You can really start bullying the opposing jungler when your entire team is ahead. If you are feeling comfortable dueling the jungler, and your side lanes are ahead, you can practically live in your enemy’s jungle as long as your laners are willing to collapse in case the enemy calls for backup.
Counter Jungling Wins Games
Counter jungling is an important tool utilized by all high impact junglers who want to carry the game. Look for opportunities to counter jungle when your team is ahead, or you are on the wrong side of the map to counter-gank. Remember, vision is key. If you don’t have good deep wards to keep track of the enemy jungler, beware of counter jungling. Getting caught in a 2v1 or losing a duel quickly makes the gromp steal not worth.
Good luck, and have fun!