How to Climb in solo queue as a Jungler in season 13
If you struggle to climb in solo queue as a jungler, here are some of the best tips to increase your chances of victory.
Full Guide on how to Climb solo queue as a jungler
Jungle is the role with the highest agency during the early-to-mid game. Great junglers are able to have an incredible and consistent impact on the map: whether it’s through ganks, invades, or dives, they are able to hard carry and build leads for their own team.
That said, the role is also probably the hardest to master. Contrary to common belief, juggling requires insanely high game knowledge, macro sense, and impeccable time management. In this guide, we will be going over the best tips to climb in solo queue as a jungler.
We’ve created a guide on how to climb in solo queue this season, but this will be specifically focused on the jungle role.
There will be tips for all types of elo, but this guide is specifically made for players looking to master the role and improve over time. It’s best suited for players between gold and platinum Elo, but players from other ranks will be able to learn a thing or two from it. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
Mastering the jungle clears
Riot reworked the jungle system at the start of season 13, to the joy of all jungle players (lovely). Of course, I’m being sarcastic, but among the various jungle changes, the developers tweaked the system to help newcomers master the role faster.
They got rid of the mechanic which allowed players to farm two camps at once and made jungle clears overall healthier for most champions. This increased the room for mistakes for most players, especially those at lower Elos.
On top of that, they implemented a jungle path recommendation for players, based on what the best players do on a specific champion. I don’t personally use it, but following what the system tells you is a great start to mastering a jungler.
Mastering the jungle clears is not always about making the fastest full clear. While that is important, especially on some picks, there are also other aspects to consider. For example, champions like Jarvan IV never really want to full clear since his goal is to gank early. He can initiate ganks at level two and level three so if you find good angles to gank, you can give up the clear to make plays on the map.
Generally speaking, try to assess whether the jungler you’re playing wants to make early ganks or prefers farming. Below I’ll put a small list of popular junglers to give a better idea. Power farming junglers that want to take the resources for themselves usually want to full clear, while bridge champions like to impact the map with ganks and coordinated plays, at the expense of farming:
- Full clear: Master Yi, Fiddlesticks, Hecarim, Udyr, Lillia, Kha’Zix
- Ganking: Lee Sin, Jarvan IV, Elise, Sejuani, Gragas, Zac
It’s not always that black and white when it comes to playing jungle. Being flexible and adapting yourself and your pathing according to the game plan or goals is key to becoming a top jungle player.
The best way to master the jungle clears is going to practice tool and record the time needed to clear X amount of camps. You can do it as a warmup before going into ranked games but also every time a jungle champion you play gets buffed or nerfed, so get a good idea of how impactful the change will be.
Try to assess when it’s best to use your smites: if you have a healthy clear, you can always leave the second smiting of your first clear to contest scuttle crab. Otherwise, use both of them to speed it up. It’s always going to be a trade-off, so think before using it based on what you want to do next.
Watch high Elo players for the jungle clears
If you struggle at improving with some of the jungle champions, I always recommend watching some of the high ELO players. Just like most sports fans watch the moves of their favorite superstars, you can always learn a few tricks by emulating what the best players in the world do. Also, don’t bother looking at your ELO right off: even if you happen to lose some games, focus on improving rather than the numbers. If you actually are getting better as a jungler, you will be able to climb solo queue eventually.
Understand which lanes you should be ganking and when
Ganks are the most straightforward way to pick up kills and take over the game. It’s also the best way to give your laners an advantage: in a team-based game like League, not ganking puts the entire team on the back foot.
That being said, there are many different approaches to ganking, as well as many factors to take into consideration with your game plan. A jungler should always ask himself three questions:
- Why am I ganking?
- Is the gank actually feasible or not?
- What’s the outcome I’m looking for?
Every situation will have a different solution so there is never a black or white answer. What you have to do is assess quickly assess the situation and have a forward mentality. Try to picture the situation in your mind first and then see whether it works after.
The best junglers excel at quick thinking and reactive decision-making: things can change in a matter of seconds or even fractions of it but they will always be ready or have a second idea right after. This is why the role is made specifically for players who want to outsmart their enemies by thinking critically and elaborating good strategies and making them work with strong mechanics and great execution.
With that being said, let’s take a few examples and go through some of the common cases for each question.
Why am I ganking?
Ganks are not always about killing the enemy laner, especially the higher ELO you are. Yes, punishing the enemy laner is important, but there are other important elements to consider. For example, you can gank a lane and help your laner push the wave so he can get a reset without having to worry about the enemy freezing the wave.
You can also make “fake ganks” by simply showing up on the lane to stop the enemy’s aggression. To put it simply, there are many reasons why one can gank a lane.
It’s also important to understand whether the gank is important to your win condition and whether you’re not simply punishing a mistake by the enemy. There are certain matchups that can swing in one side’s favor simply by giving a kill or extra experience. For example, Viktor is quite weak early on, but if you manage to gank him and give a few takedowns on the mid lane mage, he will be able to get access to his upgrades faster. His E, in particular, makes shoving waves a lot easier and essentially doubles the damage he can deal to the enemies.
Generally speaking, you want to impact lanes that need to snowball and are strong early game. For scaling lanes, instead, you want to make sure they can scale safely so unless it’s a free play with almost no downsides, you can focus on farming and just cover for eventual counter ganks.
Is the gank actually feasible or not?
Aside from the reasons behind a gank, it’s important to consider whether the gank can work out or not.
- Do the champions involved in the play have the damage to kill the champion?
- Is the enemy low on health enough to be killed?
- Does the enemy have information on the play that’s about to happen?
- Does the enemy have tools to escape like disengaging abilities or flashes?
These are all questions that you should know the answers to when preparing the gank.
It’s not necessarily mandatory, but getting as much info as possible will give you an edge when it comes to executing the play. When playing solo queue as a jungler, you always want to maximize the results for every play you make. Wasting time will net you nothing, but it will hand the knife to your opponents, as they can decide on a play to respond to the gank, or the attempt of ganking.
What’s the outcome I’m looking for?
While this is not as important as the other two questions, you should still ask yourself what you want to get out of the gank. Is it a flash? A kill? Pushing the waves? It’s a good habit to know what kind of outcome you would ideally want to get, and compare it to what you got. By pondering the expectations and the results, you can also understand whether it was worth it, and it will help plan the following plays.
Learn how to track the enemy Jungler
The aforementioned part was more of a mental approach you should be having while playing jungle. This, instead, will focus more on the gameplay.
Learning how to track the enemy jungler is a crucial skill to master for every role, but specifically for the jungler himself. Being able to locate the enemy as much as possible will help you plan ahead and play with less uncertainty. If you know that the enemy jungler is on top side, for example, you will have a much better time performing a dive on bot lane, knowing that he/she won’t be able to join the skirmish.
Other situations where tracking the jungler can give you an advantage:
- To prepare an invade
- To steal jungle camps
- To get into position for a counter gank
- To warn your allies about incoming ganks/dives
- To know where the vision is placed
The best way and most reliable way to track a jungler is by constantly looking at the minimap. Considering jungle clearing shouldn’t need much focus, you can always watch the map simultaneously. By looking at the wards on the map, or Scuttle crabs, or ganks, you can locate the position.
For these reasons, wards are crucial to getting intel on the enemy’s movements. There are many ward vision points, and it’s highly dependent on the situation. That said, you can check out our warding guide in the near future to learn more about the importance of vision control.
To put it simply, tracking is an essential skill for any great jungler, and it will give you many edges at all times, in any game.
The final tip to climb solo queue in the jungle – stomp early game
In lower ELO’s, snowballs are more likely to lead to victories, regardless of the team compositions and what kind of champions are played. The concept is simple: the more gold and experience you get, the stronger you’ll get, and the higher the chances of you carrying the game.
Unlike competitive play, relying on your allies to win games is not a consistent and successful playstyle. You need to learn to bring your own mechanics, game knowledge, and game sense to the limit and get a lead for yourself. And just like all laners, destroying the enemy jungler is a great way to snowball. There are a couple of ways to do it, depending on what champion you play and what your playstyle is like:
- Steal away jungle camps
- Farm better and faster than the enemy
- Make the right counter ganks
- Strong map awareness and tracking of the enemy jungler
- Gank more than he does
- Secure most neutral objectives
- Win skirmishes (1v1, 2v2, 3v3 etc.)
Having a strong early game usually includes most, if not all of the points above. While it’s definitely hard to achieve, being consistent and having clear ideas on what you should be doing in most scenarios will give you the edge.
I myself had to spend a few months’ time struggling to fix my own weaknesses and champion pool. Learn a few champions and master them to perfection. By doing so, you can put most of your focus on the decision-making since your mechanics are going to be solid.
Conclusion on how to climb solo queue as a jungler
Low ELO is hard to climb in solo queue,especially for a jungler. This is because the role is a lot more reliant on the team. The inverse, however, is also true: great teams need great junglers. While we haven’t covered much about mastering mechanics and other stuff, learning the jungle role is much more about the thought process and decision-making. By working thoroughly on these key aspects, you should be able to see big improvements over a short period of time.
Thank you for reading my own jungle guide. If you want to know more tips about League in general, feel free to hit me up on Twitter!