What should be my jungle path?

  • I'm trying to start jungling a little and have doubts on what my route shall be and when should I go for an invade/gank?

    Right now I would start with Warwick.

    Another thing. Will I need some help to kill some of the beginning mobs?

  • There are several jungle paths, depending on your jungler and when you first want to gank.

    Junglers usually fall into two categories:
    Red Start Junglers and Blue Start Junglers

    Some examples:
    Red Start:

    • Shyvana
    • Lee Sin
    • Riven

    Blue Start:

    • Maokai
    • Skarner
    • Olaf
    • Warwick

    The Red Start route is:
    Wraith -> Red buff lizard -> Wolves -> Wraith -> Blue buff golem

    The Blue Start route is:
    Wolves -> Blue buff golem -> Wraith -> Wolves -> Red buff lizard

    Each route gives you level 2 directly after the first buff, giving you the option of an early gank, depending on your jungler and if one of the lanes is in a situation where you can gank.

    You use your first smite on the buff creep to finish it off and then when you reach the other buff creep on either route, your smite should be back up again or be close to it (less than 5s cooldown).

    Usually your teammates should cover you against early invades by positioning themselves near the entrances to your jungle. Once the Wolves or Wraiths are close to spawning (1:40), your teammates should help you clear that jungle camp by attacking the smaller creeps. If they accidently steal one, it's not that big of a deal, you should still get level 2 after the buff.

    At 1:55 the buff creeps spawn, at which point the mid player - or in case mid is a melee champion like Fizz - the top or bottom lane should auto-attack the creep once and then just run away. This gives you a few seconds in which you can attack the creep without it attacking you, which allows you to kill it while taking a lot less damage. As mentioned above, once the creep gets low enough for your smite to finish it, use the smite.

    There are smiteless openings but they rely on your teammates staying to attack the buff creep to at least about half health which can cost them precious XP and gold in their own lane. That can put them behind early, so I do not recommend doing that in solo queue.

    Depending on your Champion, you might want gank after the buff or continue with normal farming. Champions like Lee Sin always gank straight after the red buff, other junglers like Maokai usually wait until they have both buffs. In any case, you should always gank at least as soon as you have both buffs, though where you gank depends on the lane situations and which side of the map you are on. If your champion does not rely on mana or cooldowns - for example Lee Sin - you can give the first blue buff to the mid champion.

    When to invade is a complex topic. Basically, if you see the enemy jungler on the other side of the map, you can safely invade. For example if you are on the purple side and you have just ganked bottom after taking your blue buff, you then see the opposing jungler in the top lane, that means you can sneak into the opponents jungle and take one of the minor camps. If you don't know where he is, you should only invade if you have an oracles potion so you know when you are walking through a warded area and when you are strong enough to contest or at least escape from the opposing jungler in a 1v1 fight.

    As for full 5man invades at the start, you have to look at your and your opponents team composition and evaluate which would be stronger at level 1. If your team would be stronger, go for an invade. If your team is even or weaker, just have people on the lookout at the entrances to your jungle and once all 5 opponents walk in, run away and go to their buff and take that instead.

    Jungling is however not limited to the first 3-4minutes until you have the first two buffs, you also have to keep a lot of stuff in mind all game long. That is:

    • When do your buffs respawn (5 minutes from when they are completely cleared). Be there when they respawn, not 2 minutes later.

    • When do the enemy buffs respawn, it gives you an opening to steal or contest them if you are strong enough compared to the opposing jungler.

    • When you can take dragon. All of those should be the case for a safe dragon:

      • Your bottom lane just got a kill on their AD carry.
      • Your midlaner has pushed the lane to the enemy tower and is free to help.
      • You have enough health to tank the dragon until your AD carry and mid lane kill him.
      • Your smite is ready to finish off the dragon once he is low enough, preventing a sneaky dragon steal.
    • When the dragon respawns (6 minutes from death)

    • Where the opposing team places wards and which ways you can take to avoid those wards. Most junglers get an early oracles to remove wards which forces the enemy to play a lot safer because they don't know where you are.

    • Where the opposing jungler will most likely appear next

      • Your team pushed the lane too far and is vulnerable
      • Your team dominates their lane opponents, forcing their jungler to help
      • One of the buffs came up for the opponents, so he will be on that side of the map and most likely gank one of the two lanes nearby.

      If you can judge that correctly, you can countergank and either save your teammate or even turn the gank around and get a kill or two on the opponents.

    • Which summoners were used on which lane how long ago. If you saw them use Flash, stay nearby a little longer and the next time they advance slightly too far, jump on them and this time they can't escape anymore.

    Buff timing is the most critical factor right after the gamesense for ganks. If your midlane has to fight the opponent for even 30s when the opponent has blue buff and your teammate doesn't, it can put them behind and they run the risk of getting killed.

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