How to climb as a Jungler in S10
Season 10 of League of Legends brought a breath of fresh air upon the game. Game’s are not as long as before, and the average duration of a game has shortened due to the two heralds and dragons spawning more frequently. How did the Jungle Meta and climbing ranks as a jungler change drastically? That’s one of the questions I will be trying to answer in the article below, while presenting 9 tips on how to climb as a Jungler in S10, based on years of experience.
1. Play to improve, not to win
To me, that will always be one of the most important things regarding rank climbing, no matter the role.
We are often so fucking short-sighted, that we forget that climbing rank is mathemathically guaranteed, if we are constantly playing better than the other players in our games. To climb more, we must simply be better! A way to do it, is to take away as much as possible from each game played, trying to find our own mistakes, which you can later on write down. That will allow you to focus on them in the future, eliminating your weaknesses one by one. You cannot do it, if instead of putting your focus on the journey, your only bloody focal point is the result.
Focus on your own mistakes, as the goal is to improve yourself, not to improve teammates that you will never meet again. If your singular goal is improvement, you are also less likely to become tilted due to unlucky streaks of several losses in a row. If you become better, the tables will surely turn!
It is simple – next time you queue up for Solo Queue, think about improvement, not your LP. No matter whether you’re being stomped, or whether your team stomps the enemy, try to always look for your own mistakes.
2. Have a limited champion pool
In my experience as a Jungle Coach, one of the most common mistakes shared by plethora of my students was mistaking versatility with the ability to play any jungle champion.
The fewer champions you play, the better for your macro/map awareness. Since you know your limited champion pool by heart, you’re less likely to commit mechanical missplays, allowing you to spend more time actively thinking about the game’s progression. It’s way better to be a master of three champions, than a mediocre player of ten. Junglers have it easier than laners as well when it comes to counter picking, as it’s not as straight forward in the jungle.
Even Challenger players have their own favourite champions, that they play the most, knowing that’s how you climb rank as a Jungler.
3. Gank as much as you can
Rule as old as League of Legends itself. The jungler that puts more pressure on the map usually wins the game. Ganks help the lane win, and since victorious lanes have the priority, they can allow you to take objectives such as Drakes and Heralds for free. They can also allow you to put pressure on the map, as they allow your laners to roam along with you or place deep wards.
Junglers like Graves and Karthus can work well in competitive environment, but I would not recommend them for SoloQ games. Their ganks are just too weak while in my opinion ganking is the best way to climb rank as a jungler. It’s also much easier because Solo Queue players have less map awareness and communication than a Pro team.
Pick a champion with ganking tools such as stuns or roots. Gank as much as you can, but if that’s not possible, try to minimize the downtime by taking the forest camps.
4. Track the enemy Jungler and ping him
Tracking enemy jungler is much more complicated, and to be honest I see it happen mostly on the higher ELO. If you want to climb as a jungler in s10 that’s one of the things that you definitely need to work on. To track the enemy jungler you need:
- Info on where the enemy jungler starts
- Knowledge about the usual jungling routes of other champions
- Constant map awareness / map reading
- the ability to concentrate on two (or more) things at a time
- Knowledge about counter jungling
A ward is not always enough to spot the enemy jungler, but using the minimap and deduction skills we can often figure out where he MIGHT be. Some of the examples could be:
- When taking Drake, you can let your Top Laner know the enemy jungler might be around, if it’s clear he’s not trying to contest you on the lower part of the map.
- When counter jungling one part of the enemy forest, you can be nearly sure the enemy jungler is on the other side.
- After ganking Top Lane, it’s safe to bet that the enemy jungler is currently in the lower part of the map, as he did not try to countergank nor defend the top tower.
One of the most commonly made mistakes among my students is the lack of pinging about the enemy jungler position!
5. Play around winning lanes
Ganking the losing lanes is the most common mistake that stops players from climbing rank as a jungler. Remember that the jungler’s role is not to save lanes that are long beyond saving, but instead snowballing ones that are doing well. Why? That’s simple!
We don’t gank a lost lane, because that’s where the chances of failure are the highest. We are destined to lose a 2v2 or 3v3 fight involving the enemy jungler, or even a 2v1 fight if the enemy laner is fed enough.
We gank the winning lanes, since they have the highest chance of success. Our jungler is ahead, and we are more likely to win a 2v2 or a 3v3 skirmish. There’s also a chance that the enemy laner is low on health due to harass from our own teammate. If the enemy refuses to recall, and hangs on the lane despite low health, he should make for an easy kill, a dive if neccessary. That enemy is also less likely to still have FLASH!
To keep things short, ignore the inting laner – stay away from him, or you will both be feeding soon. Think of a gameplan around the winning lane and snowball the game along it. Your job is to do it as efficiently as possible, to bring down the tower first allowing you to expand your map pressure.
PS: Mute the noob that’s crying out loud and forget about his existence.
6. Focus on objectives
It’s simple. Ganks give us gold advantage, and objectives bring us closer to victory. You need to find a balance between ganking lanes and finding opportunities to take drakes and heralds. Most of the time, when we are ahead, due to our lane priorities and map advantage we can tell where the enemy jungle might be. We feel safe, we are able to track the enemy jungler.
Some tips regarding drakes and heralds:
- Focus mainly on the drakes, as their soul gives your team a huge powerspike.
- Learn when to give up on the objective, if your position and strength at a time are weaker than your opponent’s.
- If your enemy grouped up for one of the two, you can do the other, resulting in a one for one trade.
- Look out for drake and herald spawn timers, and be ready beforehand – it might allow you to catch the enemy.
- Remind your team, so they can prepare themselves.
- Buy pink wards and use them to take objectives safely.
That’s one of the most important steps towards a higher rank when climbing as a jungler in S10.
7. Improve your Shot Calling
“You won’t climb SoloQ as a Jungler without effective pinging and shot calling” – that’s one of the truths my coaching students hear quite often.
Ping a lot, and do not be afraid that sometimes you’ll missread the situation. Even if your ping does not lead to anything, and your predictions about the enemy position were incorrect, that habit will lead to you becoming a better shotcaller over time.
Personally, I use the ‘back off’ red ping every time my team plays without me in the mid/late game. No matter whether we’re winning hard or losing hard. There’s no need to take unnecessary risks, and that’s a rule to live by for any players that wants to become more consistent with his results, and that wants to learn how to climb rank as a jungler.
Ping the enemy jungler, ping your team to take the Baron, ping your allies to back off, ping your top laner to help you push. Simply, ping a lot! Some things (ex. “play around Baron”) cannot be communicated through a simple ping, so we should write them down, but I would suggest staying away from the chat for the most part.
8. Change your mindset
Mindset is one of the most common factors that block us from climbing the ranks in lol.
You need to understand that getting pissed off, frustrated and becoming tilted is simply counterproductive. If you cannot cool your head off, you cannot truly focus on the game. You cannot adapt to the game, you take illogical decisions (you know which ones). Forcing ganks, thoughtless decision making, high-risk low-reward plays, etc. Just take a break!
Every time you get nervous due to your team’s poor performance, remind yourself that your only goal for the match is to PLAY IT FLAWLESSLY! You cannot control the other players, you cannot teach them how to play, you cannot take control over their decisions. All you can do is IMPROVE your winning chances by focusing on yourself and playing to the best of your abilities.
I cannot imagine climbing the ranks in League of Legends without breaks neccessary to relax between the most stressful games. Our brains need some rest, especially after a severe defeat. Personally, I take a break between every single game. A short one after a victory, to give myself time to yearn for another, and a long one after a loss, when I need to cool down.
9. Improve your macro knowledge
Understanding the macro game is incredibly important, and each person wondering how to climb as a jungler in s10 should try to dive deeper into that concept. From my experience as a coach I know that a common issue among junglers is their inability to play from behind, or the inability to close out long drawn out games. It’s usually a mixture of problems related to general League’s macro understanding and not understanding the jungler’s role in the macro game.
I’ll try to paint a picture with words, as I believe it does not require a VOD.
Your bottom laners just took a tower, and decided to swap with the top laner. Your job as a jungler? Play around them and their decision. Understanding the macro game and quick decision making will allow you to dive the enemy jungler quickly due to the numbers advantage (3v1). With the enemy laner down, you’re free to take yet another tower and a herald, effectively doubling your advantage over the enemy team. After the herald, you can regroup to take the remaining tier 1 tower, gaining even more pressure over the map. The enemy jungler might try to do the same, so try to be one step ahead of him – the tempo advantage gained from the swap might allow you to do that!
Macro game is a lot more than that. It’s about knowing (as mentioned at beginning) how to finish games, how to play from behind, what to do in mid/late game, what’s worth fighting for (and when), what to give up on, how to setup objectives, where to be and how to position yourself in the late game, understanding how to play around certain objectives, etc.
Players willing to expand their knowledge on macro game and other aspects mentioned in this article are welcome to check out our one-on-one Jungle Coaching for a step-by-step lesson on how to understand all of those concepts and apply them in your gameplay.
Examples of my Jungle Coaching: