League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that has been going strong for more than 14 years at this point. And all throughout its history there has been a “role” that has been much different from all the others. That role is Jungle and, in this article, we’re going to go into detail in why we think this role is the hardest role in the game.
What are the roles in League
Before we start let’s briefly explain every role:
This is the beefy role; these champions are mostly melee bruisers that love getting in the middle of fights and doing a lot of damage while receiving quite a bit in return. They go to top lane and are expected to farm for a while before contributing to teamfights.
The most versatile in terms of champion selection. This role is mainly concerned with dominating the early-mid game and getting his team ahead, they start getting into teamfights as soon as possible nowadays. They are also deeply involved in every objective in the game from start to finish.
This is the role we’re going to be talking the most in this article, these guys are very important for most laner’s early game. The decision the jungler makes in the first 10 minutes of the game can decide entire lanes by itself. To gank or not to gank is the big question every asks themselves.
This role is similar to Top Lane but these players enjoy the support of another player throughout the game. They are expected to join fights a bit later but carry a lot of responsibility in the late game.
This is the support role, many types of champions can play here. From Tanks to Mages but the playstyle is somewhat similar, to help their ADC get ahead and help everyone on their team win teamfights and provide plenty of vision.
The Jungle Role
The main thing that differentiates this role is the way they acquire experience and gold in the game. Unlike traditional laners, junglers go into the jungle from level 1 and farm this way for most of the game. This means they can gank any lane at any time and provide an overload in any lane.
This means that junglers can potentially turn any lane into a 2v1 or a 3v1 in an instant so the choice of pathing can severely impact how the game is gonna go.
Many people argue that jungle is the hardest role in the game, let’s take a look at some of the most common arguments and we’ll see if they’re true.
Unlike other roles that are expected to know their own matchups only, junglers are expected to know which lanes are advantageous to gank and which ones are not. This is mostly an unrealistic expectation from most players as the game has so many different possible matchups that you can’t guarantee the junglers knows them all!
There are some exceptions but in general players should clearly communicate before things get out of hand and ask for help in a timely and respectful fashion.
Besides matchups, junglers also have to be constantly updated on how patches are going, failure to do so means they will not know which champions are suddenly overpowered and which matchups suddenly changed. No one wants the fed enemy top lane Illaoi to get a double kill because the jungler forgot to check how op she is at the moment!
While laning as a jungler is basically just killing non player characters, junglers need to make a lot of heavy decision during the game, from start to finish.
The decision to which lanes to path to can completely change the course of the game, and some players will react badly to being neglected. Junglers have to balance every one of these factors from game to game.
One of the most common mistakes is for junglers to gank lanes that are losing, the junglers feels pressured to help their laner and they end up getting killed and then flamed by his own team!
If you were to ask anyone who the most targeted role for toxicity is jungler is going to be the uncontested number 1 role.
Most players seem to take their jungler for granted, some even believe that the jungler is there to help them out, and act as a personal support very similar to the relationship between the ADC and support. While we know this is not the case, good luck convincing these guys about this.
The toxicity can take a heavy toll on jungle players, and make it harder for them to climb or for them to maintain their mentality from game to game.
Another big reason why jungle is so hard is the big difference in net worth between laners and junglers throughout the game.
Most of the time in an even match a jungler will be fourth on his team net worth, and unlike supports who are expected to die or to hang back as enchanters, junglers are expected to initiate and to gank constantly putting themselves in danger.
This makes jungle a very unforgiving role, if you fall behind you can expect yourself to become the weakest guy in your team and will be easy pickings for the enemy team, but you can’t expect to hide behind everyone or they will take objectives off you.
Lack of teamwork in public games
Unlike the other roles in the game which have a clearly defined function, junglers work best when they communicate with their team and coordinate their efforts. For example, by talking to your mid laner you can coordinate double ganks into objectives for a game winning play at barely 10 minutes in.
The problem then lies in the fact that in public, common ranked games, communication is lacking and is often better to say nothing lest your team start raging or blame you for anything that goes wrong. This can make the role feel weak in comparison and will require a great deal of adaptation from the jungler.
How to be successful as a Jungler
We described why jungle is such a difficult role, but now we’re going to cover some of the best strategies that players can use to get ahead and win more games.
Practice a lot and learn from the best
Junglers will benefit from general game knowledge so feel free to have more than one off role, and to experiment with a couple of entirely different champion types every once in a while, you don’t want to get stuck thinking like a bruiser all the time, it will limit your progress.
You also should seek to emulate some of the things high elo junglers do in their games, it can be difficult to see what they’re doing different at times but these guys are some of the most impactful players at high elo for a reason!
Focus on objectives not just kills
Kills are great but objectives are what truly wins games. Just the gold and experience lead that having a couple of dragons under your belt gives is enough to change most games. Focus a lot of your attention in planning how to do dragon as early and safely as possible and you will win many more games than if you just focus on having a positive KDA ratio.
The best kills are those that lead to objectives so it can be beneficial to focus on mid lane and bottom lane for this reason, kills in bottom lane can be specially effective for setting up a dragon.
Adapt to the game
In one match you might be playing like a carry and killing everyone with Nocturne but on the next one you could have picked Lee Sin and failed your first two ganks!
These are drastically different game states and your playstyle should match that. You can’t expect to 1v1 people successfully in the Lee Sin game and should look to peel for your strongest ally in the game.
Don’t tunnel vision on a single playstyle, try to adapt to what is happening from game to game.
Plan ahead and stick to your plan
A lot of players will constantly ask for ganks, they will ping you a lot and generally will act like whiny little children in the match. Don’t deviate from your plan just to help them out if you know its not a good idea.
Generally, the best thing to do is to start planning from the loading screen, plan ahead which lanes are you going to gank and think about why, it could be a beneficial matchup or that you feel like something is going to happen, believe in your own judgement!
We covered a lot here, but the main message is clear, playing jungle is quite hard and different from the other roles, unlike those roles junglers can’t just go into their lane and not think at all for minutes, junglers need to make important decisions all the time. Besides that, game knowledge and toxicity also make this a very unforgiving role to play.