Continuing our series about the champions you should learn to play if you want to climb in the next League of Legends ranked season, we will talk about the Jungle today. The Jungle was actually changed in the preseason, shifting the metagame. The removal of Strength of the Ages and it’s replacement’s introduction also influenced the current strongest champions in the Jungle. Without further ado, let’s talk about the strongest Junglers so far.
At the moment, Jungle monsters give A LOT of gold and XP. As far as the current state of the game goes, Jungle players are better off farming the Jungle instead of ganking. If you farm effectively, you could come out of the Jungle a couple of levels above even the enemy solo laner. Everyone knows what happens when the two meet. This makes it so that the best farming Junglers become automatically stronger than the rest. Which champ farms better than the dragon? I can’t think of one.
The problem with Shyvana is that she doesn’t really have any crowd control of her own, except for the knockback from her Ultimate, Dragon’s Descent. This is the only reason why the Dragon isn’t completely overwhelming. Even though she does a lot of damage even while building tanky, she can still be kited with some effort. The lack of reliable hard CC also makes Courage of the Colossus, the new Resolve Keystone, which grants a bigass shields when you apply hard CC to enemies, a less than optimal choice for the champ.
The current meta awards Junglers who can farm well, build tanky and do a lot of damage. A huge plus is the ability to use Courage of the Colossus. With not one but two ways to trigger the Keystone, Hecarim fits the definition of what’s good at the moment to a T. Improving on Shyvana’s weakness, Hecarim is also much harder to kite, having two ways to catch up, as well as using the Ghost Summoner Spell.
When building Hecarim, you’re best off just getting Skirmisher’s Sabre, rushing Trinity Force, finishing your Jungle item with Cinderhulk, and then continuing to build full tank. Your kit give more than enough damage to kill carries with TF alone, tanky items only amplify your deadliness by giving the champion enough time to burn down the carry.
In this meta, Vi has everything. Ways to trigger Colossus, damage up to her eyeballs, good farming speed, a reliable way to get to that person you need to kill with Ult. It is hard to decide which is the best way to build her. While some people prefer Warrior Jungle item, usually Skirmisher’s Sabre into Trinity Force into full tank, some others get Black Cleaver instead of Trinity and also build stuff like Sterak’s Gage or Titanic Hydra. If you are fed, that could be a great idea, your levels and damage would protect you from taking too much pain. However, you should never build like that if you’re behind the enemy Jungler and the rest of his team. That will only make you get dead very quickly.
Special notice – if you want something that can get a carry no matter what while also being tankier than Vi usually is, try Nautilus. The CC Lord is awesome in the new Jungle. Courage of the Colossus is… retarded on him too.
Finally, getting away from all the tanks, let’s look at a damage Jungler. In the preseason, his abilities got tweaked a little bit. Now, your Q cooldown gets reduced when you attack an isolated target with it. If you aren’t behind and catch someone with it, that person is going to have a hard time. Also, the changes to invisibility mean that Kha’Zix can become truly invisible with his Ultimate. Just beware of turrets because they are the only thing that can reveal you.
Out of all damage Junglers, Kha’Zix is probably the best right now. If you know what you’re doing and get someone isolated, you can kill anyone. Rengar is following close behind his buggy rival, however. While the champion is different than before, having more ways to play against him due to his invisibility mechanic being changed to something like Evelynn’s, he can still one shot squishies like it’s nobody’s business.
In the end…
The recent Jungle changes made it so that a quarter of the Jungle cleared is worth the same gold as a kill. As a result, Junglers are staying more in the Jungle, not ganking as much as we were used to, except for the obligatory level 2-3 gank, which happened in the Bot Lane in the last two or three games. This is one of the reasons why we predict that damage Junglers will soon fall out of favor even in low elo. Assassins are useless when behind, while tanks can still get tanky due to the cheaper nature of tank stats. The gold and XP creep Junglers are experience is making it so that it’s actually more important to shut down the enemy Jungler than it is to win lanes. Are you shaking your head, denying it? How many times have you finished the laning phase ahead of your opponent, only to get rekt by a Jungler, which had 3 levels over you? Yep, that’s what we’re talking about.