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Why Challengers play Jungle or Support; The two 3v3 metagames


If you ask around about the current Meta in 3v3 many people will answer that there really is none and every team has their own strategy. While that is still mostly true, during Season 3 two strategies have crystallized out of the mass which were vastly dominant over the others. In this article I am going to analyze both Metas and give tips on how you can use them properly, especially in the early stages of the game.

The Jungle Meta

The gameplan when playing with a Jungler is to apply a lot of pressure, early as well as later on. The most viable Junglers in 3v3 are those with high jungle-clearing-speed and good ganking potential by providing either a lot of damage with gapclosers or generally CC. One example for that would be Udyr: His clearing speed is high on Tiger and insane on Phoenix, he has a speed-boost to kind-of close the gap to his target and he also has a stun.

Applying pressure? How?

When playing with a Jungler you should also pick two other champions that are quite good at pushing on early levels. As soon as the game starts they should immediately start pushing out their lane. Doing that you will gain more map vision and pressure since the enemy can’t really move out to your side of the jungle without being way behind your frontline which makes them susceptible to being caught offguard. By pushing the lanes so hard you will also be able to easily access the enemies jungle and deny them a lot of farm. The enemies also have to be way more scared of ganks as soon as they know you’re in their jungle which makes them play more defensively, letting their lanes push themselves to the turret, eventually miss out on farm they couldn’t get safely and it will often make them freeze their lanes if possible.

Playing against another Jungler

If your enemies also use a Jungler it becomes even more important to apply lane-pressure by pushing hard. Especially your botlaner should try to get level 2 as fast as possible. You should invade their jungle OR gank directly after your Jungler killed the big Wolf (smite the big one and kill it off, then start running, it will give him lvl2 considering he started at Wraiths). More often than not you will see the enemy Jungler run for the Health relic at exactly that point and sometimes you can abuse that fact and get a kill out of it by ganking him with the Botlaner and the Jungler. If he does not run for the relic he is probably just clearing his whole jungle which means he is most likely at Golems or Wolves.

Your Jungler has three options now (after taking the Health relic):

  • He can either search and interrupt the enemy Jungler or in the best scenario steal away his camp and maybe even kill him. While he is doing that your laners need to keep their enemies on the lanes and if the Jungler needs their help (for example if he is a weaker duelist than the enemy Jungler) they need to move quickly.
  • In many occasions you will also find an easy gank on botlane. If your laner pushed early on he will reach level 2 before the enemy does while the lane can’t be pushed too far for you to gank yet. It should be quite easy for you to gank there and at least force summoner spells.
  • Sometimes, but very rarely, your toplane will get pushed hard by the enemy laner, which makes him an easy target for a gank. If that happens you should definitely go for that.

The rest of the gameplan just consists of constantly applying pressure, counterjungling, ganking and forcing objectives like Altars and Turrets when you are able to. If you managed to successfully apply enough pressure the enemy laners will have quite a bit less farm than yours and your Jungler will be way higher level and will have a lot more farm than theirs.

This matchup is very reliant on the early game and as long as no throws happen the team with the early advantage most likely wins the game. It also depends a lot on team coordination and the junglers dueling strength at level 2.

Playing against a Duolane

While pressure is still a very important part in this matchup the synergy between toplaner and Jungler is probably the most influencing factor here.
A Duolane usually takes Golems and/or Wolves and then comes to the lane. Your toplaner should push as fast as possible so he can reach level 2 quickly. Then, when the Duolane starts actually laning, their support will try to zone out your toplaner.

Right there the Jungler comes into play: If he is able to catch the support overextending a bit you can usually explode him with the doublebruiser-lineup while the enemy bruiser can’t do much about it. And even if he can join the fight in time two bruisers usually overwhelm only one bruiser with his support who should also only be level 2 at that point. If your toplaner states he is just fine and can farm against the two people on top though OR you are not able to get a gank off you should gank the botlane early instead.

The resulting gameplan out of that pretty early gank is to constantly push the lane as two people, pressure and steal their jungle, make them stand pretty much at their turret. Duo lanes rely on having top lane dominance and being able to constantly farm their lane and their Jungle, and if they can’t do that you’re going to have a huge advantage in the later stages of the game. Also, if the Duolane gets pushed their botlaner can’t play aggressive because he can never know where the enemies currently are which eliminates any threat from that lane as well.

Very effective strategies against Duolanes are also constantly ganking the botlane and, when taking their jungle, leaving only one small creep.
So to sum it up you could call this matchup the “Denial game”. If you deny them, you win, but if you let them deny you or if you simply don’t manage to deny them and let them farm, they win. Their trump is the toplane-dominance as well as that they only need to let two players farm while yours is having someone running around who they can’t get vision of as well as having a third damage dealer. Whichever team plays their trump better wins the game.

In this matchup you really NEED to snowball out of your early game. If you don’t take an advantage out of your early the Duo lane will just roll over you in the mid- and lategame. Also, if you have an early advantage but don’t snowball with it their team can easily come back into the game by just farming.
So once you have an advantage be sure to constantly apply pressure by forcing objectives, pushing, ganking, towerdiving the botlane as three, counterjungling and fighting; Don’t give them any room to breathe!

The Support Meta

While the Jungle Meta is always focused on early pressure this Meta is used in two different styles: The aggressive, strong Duolane and the rather passive, farming Duolane. Unlike above I will not explain the matchups against each Meta – that is because your gameplan looks pretty much the same no matter what you’re going up against.

The Aggressive Duolane

In order to play this style you need two champions on toplane that synergize extremely well, early and later on, but especially well on level 2. Examples would be:

  • Jarvan IV, Aatrox or Lee Sin with Leona
  • Xin Zhao with Nunu
  • Lee Sin with Lulu or Thresh

Almost no enemies are supposed to be able to fight your champions straight up 2v2 (as long as they don’t catch you offguard). Being so strong on early levels it usually enables you to shove your lane to the enemies turret, forcing him (the enemy who grabs the farm, not dependent on if they have a support or not) to lasthit under it which will make him miss quite a few and make him unable to move away from his lane while you invade the enemies jungle or gank botlane. Especially when the enemy runs another Duolane you should always try to gank botlane as often as possible. You can even towerdive him quite a lot if you can be sure the other Duolane won’t show up in time. Towerdiving against a Jungler is not recommended unless he is currently dead or seen on the map.

Just like the Jungle Meta it relies on a lot of early pressure, but it also has the potential to be able to just farm up your two champions and get them pretty much fed for the lategame while denying your enemies quite a lot of farm.

This lane is very strong when trying to deal with enemy Junglers since it can pressure the jungle extremely well. Also, if they find the enemy Jungler doing a camp they can most likely CC and burst him to death before the enemy laners even get a chance to assist him.

The Passive Duolane

The goal with this style of the Duolane is not to apply pressure, but to not get pressured. On level 1 you always take one or two jungle camps before you got to lane, push it, and, if you’re up against a solo-toplaner or stronger than the enemies Duolane, move into the enemies jungle to take their camps. An example of a Duolane setup that can farm up insanely quick and safe would be either Trundle or Aatrox with a Nunu as support.

You basically play as safe as you can and try to not give the enemy any early advantage whatsoever. If the enemy has a Jungler or a stronger Duolane on top your botlane needs to be especially careful since then they will often try and camp him, feeding up on him.

Of course you should not refrain from applying pressure if you are able to, but it is not your main goal with this strategy. It all revolves around both your top- and botlane outfarming and eventually outleveling the enemy by constantly farming their lane and their jungle, if not even the enemies jungle as well.
It helps if you can deny the enemy but do not take huge risks if you don’t necessarily have to!

If you manage to play safe enough and farm up you should be able to overwhelm the enemy in the midgame by teamfighting around objectives like Altars or Vilemaw and from midgame on you can usually snowball your way to Victory!

This lane excels at dealing with strong Duolanes that are supposed to constantly fight with you and push you to the turret. While they are pushing you can just take the jungle, then clear the minions under your turret and the enemies will never really be able to force a fight against you. If your botlane is careful enough to not get constantly ganked in the earlygame you usually just stomp lanes like that in the mid- and lategame.

You can also adjust strong Duolanes like Lee Sin and Lulu to this style if you go up against another strong Duolane and you gave them an early advantage or just feel they would be stronger than you in a straight up 2v2 fight.

Conclusion

Each Meta is good at something else and is strong or weak against another Meta. Which Meta you should choose really depends on your team’s playstyle. You should try to focus on one specific Meta though, switching between Jungler and Support Meta with the same mates usually doesn’t work out very well. Any Meta mentioned here should make you able to win against every other Meta as long as you use it right and your individual skill is high enough.
As final word I would like to mention that the top 4 at the moment in EUW consists of 2 teams playing with a Jungler, 1 Team playing an aggressive Duolane and my team playing the passive Duolane! 😉

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Koella

I’m Koella, a long-term experienced 3v3 player that has been around in the scene since season 1. Ever since that I’ve enjoyed helping newer players and am glad to be able to do that now for a bigger audience through Cloth5. :) Currently I’m playing with my team “Arcane Rebirth” that finished season 3 as the rank 1 team of the EUW server. I’ll gladly answer any questions on my Facebook-page! :)

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