What is a Jungler?
A jungler rely on killing the camps (neutral monsters) in the jungle to keep up with their teammates or enemies in terms of gold and experience. A jungler play a major part in a standard 5v5 game, they could affect the early game into your favor or the enemies based on how you play it. Firstly, if you want to be a good jungler, you will need to understand the basics. Jungling is not just about killing the neutral monsters in the jungle and ganking, there is more to it. Being a jungler has to have map presence for your team. A jungler starts by clearing the jungle camps, gain level advantage over the laners and take advantage by ganking or securing objectives.
As a jungler, your Talent would be Punish at all times, there is no exception because Punish is needed to clear the jungle quicker, securing objectives and the ability to purchase Jungle Items which gain bonus experience by killing the jungle monsters.
How to Jungle?
I'll be splitting it into four different parts which would be Farming, Ganking, Controlling and Taking Objectives.
It's the most basic thing on a jungler, start the game with a Hunter's Crossbow and head into the Sage (Blue) or Might (Red) Golem camp. Don't ever start with the smaller jungle camps because you would not reach Level 2 by killing them first which will slow down your jungling speed. Clear the entire jungle camp afterwards to reach Level 4 which unlocks your heroes' ultimate as soon as possible. Use Punish to secure and kill the Sage or Might Golem faster.
Arcanas are important because they could boost your jungle clearing speed by a ton. Whoever reaches Level 4 first can start pressuring the enemies quicker. Communicate with your allies so they could watch the jungle in the early game to prevent the enemies from stealing it.
Always secure your Sage/Might Golem to prevent the enemy jungler from stealing it.
Ganking, as known as "Gang Kill", where you and your teammates gang up to kill an enemy hero. Don't bother ganking if your allies minion are pushed into the enemy tower range, it would be impossible unless the enemy hero is low enough to dive. Look for vulnerable targets that are out of positioning, Try not to waste too much time by waiting in the bushes for a perfect gank. You should always check the lane before reaching to know if you could set-up a gank. Always communicate with your team, telling them that you are on your way to gank by using the quick chat. It's important to know how most laning matchups go so that you can prioritize which lanes are the easiest to gank or require an early gank to decide the matchup. Whenever possible, walk up to the enemy hero during a gank and save your gap-closer/mobility abilities for after, when they use their escape abilities. Also, by having Tier 2 Jungle Items, your Punish ability would be transformed into Frostbite that can slow enemy heroes which help in ganking.
It's also important to understand the situation before actually ganking:
- How much health does your laner and enemy laner has? Are your ally healthy enough to aid you?
- What hero are you, your allies and enemies using? You can't expect to have a successful gank if your ally laner has no damage or crowd control versus an enemy hero that has lots of mobility unless your team could bait their abilities into cooldown.
- Where are the enemy jungler? Can I win a clash if the enemy jungle appear to counter-gank? or am I fast enough to destroy the enemy laner with your team before the enemy jungler arrive?
When your ally teammate has pressured the enemy laner into their tower range, you can setup a tower-dive with your teammates. It is very risky but it's recommended to have at least 1 or 2 teammate by your side. Switch the tower aggro whenever you are low by stepping outside the tower range. You have to know where are the enemies, otherwise it could fire back at your team when they counter-gank.
Controlling the jungle could pressure the enemy jungler from farming safely and pressures the entire enemy team. A jungler can do that by counter-jungling. By predicting or knowing where the enemy jungle could be, as a jungler, you can steal the enemy jungle monsters which would impact their item powerspikes by slowing them down. For example, the enemy jungler showed up at the Dark Slayer/Top Lane, you could always check if there is any jungle monsters in Abyssal Dragon side, stealing their Buff Golems would be changing the jungling pace. The safest way is when the enemy jungler showed up on the other side, then you will have to worry about the enemy laners. Although, it can be really dangerous to counter-jungle at times especially when you have been spotted by the enemies. If you are new to jungle, I don't suggest counter-jungling.
Now, you don't just want to control the jungle but also the laners which comes to a term called "Counter-Ganking". Counter-ganking means that you gank a lane while the enemy jungler is ganking it. You could save your ally teammate or get a kill or two for your team. It's effective because the enemies would not expect for you to come. You and your teammate can focus on the enemy target that is easier to kill and rotate into the next target if possible.
Sometimes, you could even look after the enemies in the jungle and gank them with or without your team. This can be really effective on some strong early game heroes such as Batman that could bring down the enemy jungler easily. It could be really game-changing when you have succeeded.
D) Taking Objectives
There are different ways to get ahead in gold or experience in the game. It could be ganking and killing the enemy heroes, counter-jungling or taking objectives such as Abyssal Dragon, Spirit Sentinel and Towers. Taking objectives is very important because it could provide a gold and/or experience advantage to the team that controls it which is why there is always competition to fight for it. You should have your Talent - Punish readied to secure them.
When should I take the objectives?
A bad call for your team could lead into a great disadvantage. The safest way to secure the objectives is when your team has more members against the enemies in the objective area. Such as:
- The enemy jungler is attempting to gank your Laner on the other side.
- You have successfully ganked and killed the enemy heroes.
- The enemies are low on health, which forces them to recall back to the Altar of Life.
- When your team is ahead, which forces the enemy to back off or die along with the objective.
Sometimes, you could even sneak and kill the Abyssal Dragon or Spirit Sentinel alone or with your team quickly before your enemy knows. On the other hand, taking Towers are harder because the enemies can kill your minion wave easily and prevent your team from taking it down. Never try to solo the Dark Slayer unless you are a really fed carry with crazy lifesteals which is very unlikely to happen. When your team has successfully taken down the Dark Slayer, take advantage of it. Force a teamfight when possible, take down as much tower as your team can.
- Don't worry too much about your team criticizing and insulting you, everyone has to learn from scratch. You will improve with practice.
- Playing as a jungler can be stressful as it can control the momentum of the game. Everyone would be counting on you.
- If you have to choose either objectives or kill, always go for objectives first.
- In the late game, sometimes it's better to have your teammates to acquire the Sage/Might Golem buff depending on their role and heroes.
- Memorize the jungle respawn timer, you can save some time. (Sage/Might Golem respawns shortly after the buff has expired)
- Always keep an eye on the map. Gank when possible, help your teammates when needed.
- Don't ignore your teammates just to farm, the gold you farm won't be useful when your teammates are behind.
- Don't be afraid to be a shotcaller and get objectives.
- Don't tax your laners minion wave, it would put them behind in gold and experience, especially in the early game. Only defend when needed.
- It can be risky when you gank the Dark Slayer Lane while the Abyssal Dragon is up, the enemies could take it down easily without competition.