Welcome to the Jungle
Welcome everyone to my analysis of the new jungle that is arriving in season 5. Today I am going to be focusing on a small but important part of jungling, the initial clear. Compared to last season, the new jungle is going to be a little bit slower and quite a bit more punishing. A more expensive machete means fewer potions; while this won’t prevent most standard (and many non-standard) junglers from working, it will make it riskier across the board.
Before I begin I just want to put this here. Individual times could easily vary but they should still provide a reasonable place for comparison. In addition, all clears are done without a leash. This is done to provide a worst-case scenario and eliminates the variability that comes with leashes. Finally, as this information was gathered on the PBE it is subjective to any last minute changes, but it should be consistent with patch 4.20.
Introducing the New Jungle Paths
There are two new jungle paths that I am focusing on for this analysis: the Krug Path and the Gromp Path. These two paths both follow the same pattern, starting by smiting the named small camp to hit level 2, than grabbing both buff camps starting with the closer. The path can be seen below. An immediate smite on either small camp should give it plenty of time to recharge right around your arrival to the second buff camp.
There are a couple of reasons behind my choosing of these paths.
- First off, frankly they are new and therefore more interesting to analyze than a Buff->Camp->Buff route.
- Second, the only major difference is getting your first buff sooner, which may or may not be a benefit given the increased difficulty of early ganking.
Additionally, because smiting red and blue only give health and mana respectively, you are probably not getting the full benefit out of your first smite bonus. Whether these new routes truly will be the best I cannot say, it may in fact vary from champion to champion, but I believe they are highly worth considering.
The major difference between the two jungle paths is a trade off of speed for sustain. In all cases, the Gromp path proved to be the faster of the two routes, although by how much varied from champion to champion. The Gift of the Toadstool passive deals a good amount of bonus damage, especially for champions that lack strong AoE abilities. On the other hand the Krug path tends to be the safer path thanks to the stun effect from Gift of Heavy Hands, with tanky champions such as Amumu being notable exceptions.
Reading the Graphs
Displayed below are graphs detailing the time at which each champion reaches level 3, which occurs after clearing the second buff camp. Because sustain is very important in the early minutes of jungling, in addition to speed I have also placed each champion into a risk category based on their remaining health. Now I will be the first to admit these ranks are somewhat subjective and they are not a perfect account, but I tried to be as objective as possible when making these categories.
Low Risk – Low risk champions can generally make it to level 3 with a strong health pool, no less than 60% hp remaining. They should have no problem taking another camp or even attempting a gank without much risk of giving away an easy kill.
Average Risk – These champions clear level 3 with around 50% hp remaining. They generally should be able to manage another camp, although some champions will naturally be riskier than others. They may even be able to gank, although it will definitely carry the risk of giving away a kill.
High Risk – These champions should probably be heading back to base immediately. They end with low health, no more than 40%, and often are only a few hits away from death. Whether they can survive clearing the next camp will vary from champion to champion but either way you would be easy pickings for an invader. Ganking at this point would likely be suicidal.
Click to expand images
Now you may notice a small handful of champions who are conspicuously missing from the lists.
Alistar – His major flaw in this analysis is that he is slow as molasses. Sure he has great sustain, but in both routes he is a full 10 seconds slower than the next slowest champion. To put it another way, many of the faster champions could be buying their first item by the time Alistar reaches his second buff. That being said, there may be hope for the jungle cow yet; given the fact that early ganks are likely to diminish he may actually succeed in filling a niche roll by killing a single camp and immediately ganking at level 2.
Evelynn and Wukong – These guys don’t make the list because without a leash they don’t survive the clears, which means they will be forced into less efficient routes or simply need to return to base at level 2. They are too squishy and lack shields or sustain to make up for it. Other less common junglers who fall into this same position are Blitzcrank, Gnar and Zed.
The raw data table for the graphs can be found at the end of the article.
Proponents of Change
Below I would like to highlight some of the champions that seem to be benefiting well from the new jungle changes. Obviously none of these champions are guaranteed to make a splash, it takes far more than just an initial clear to make a jungler tick, but their early advantages seem to indicate a higher potential for jungle prowess. Naturally there are other champions who do well in the new jungle, perhaps even better that those listed, but these the ones that I think stand out in terms of both speed and sustain.
These junglers are the ones who can really power through the jungle at a breakneck pace. Probably more important is their ability to stay healthy while doing it. The all have natural synergy with the Krug passive and the shields or heals to make Gromp’s passive work, giving them an added layer of versatility that should make their start more unpredictable.
3:10 Krug | 3:05 Gromp
Diana looks to start out strong in season 5 thanks to her powerful AoE spells and a shield to keep her health up. She is an extremely fast clearer, one of the best, and is especially notable because she may be the best speed demon at applying lane pressure right after her first clear, rather than just focusing on the jungle. She clear the jungle with Low to Average risk, depending on which path she takes.
3:13 Krug | 3:06 Gromp
Nocturne hits the jungle hard and fast, with his passive giving him the AoE and sustain needed to stick around far more effectively than other squishy junglers. Nocturne is the most vulnerable of those listed here, having Average to High risk depending on the path, but this will really only prevent him from attempting ganks he doesn’t want to do anyway. He has always been a potent level 6 ganker and a solid start should set him up for that quite nicely.
3:14 Krug | 3:06 Gromp
Skarner is another jungler who seems poised to have a breakout season. He is very similar to Nocturne, being someone who likes to power through to level 6, and thanks to his built in shield and stun he should have no problem doing so. Skarner clears the two paths with Low to Average risk, and thanks to his CC abilities he can put out respectable lane pressure as well.
– Honorable Mention –
3:07 Krug | 3:00 Gromp
It would be unfair to talk about speed demons without mentioning the king of clear speed, Master Yi. Honestly he hasn’t really changed much; he still rips through the jungle faster than anyone, albeit with some more risk than he is used too. Yi fills the same role he always has, and even a bit more risk is not going to change much.
This group of junglers should really come as no surprise, considering how valuable sustain is, and while not quite as fast as the speed demons they are all able to hold their own with above average clear times. Their incredible natural sustain allows them to clear both Krug and Gromp path with Low Risk; in many cases not even relying on potions to get the job done. This makes them versatile, and unlike the speed demons they are probably going to do more than focus on clearing their own jungle.
3:12 Krug | 3:05 Gromp
Olaf really stands out among high sustain champions with his ability to clear the jungle at an absolutely breakneck pace, rivaling the speed demons listed above. To do so though requires a lot of finesse thanks to the way his passive and W abilities work. It actually requires you to be very conservative with potions, allowing Olaf to fall to dangerously low health in order to increase speed. This does make him High Risk mid clear and should be done with caution, but it pays off in the long run and allows him to recover into a very comfortable position without sacrificing speed.
3:20 Krug | 3:10 Gromp
Elise has always been good at surviving the jungle thanks to her natural sustain and ability to juggle monster agro with her spiderlings, a trait which seems more important than ever. Although she is more potion reliant than the other junglers in this group, her ability to have a very strong and safe ganking presence at level 3 makes her stand out.
3:17 Krug | 3:09 Gromp
A classic control jungler, Nunu could once again resurface thanks to his ability to directly pressure the opponent jungler and make their life difficult. His most noteworthy trait is his ability to get through the jungle without potions when starting from Gromp, allowing him a (mostly) unique ability to start with a ward, opening up all sorts of avenues for play especially in the competitive scene.
3:20 Krug | 3:10 Gromp
Fiddlesticks is naturally a very well sustained champion and, like Nunu, has the ability to start with a ward rather than potions no matter where he starts in the jungle. To top it off his drain makes him very dangerous duelist against anyone who cannot knock him out of it. These strengths should make him a potent threat in the new jungle.
– Honorable Mention –
3:34 Krug | 3:19 Gromp
Like the rest of the champions on this list, Warwick has extremely high natural sustain and doesn’t need potions to keep his health up. Where he really suffers is from his very slow clear speeds, among the slowest of any potential junglers. This leaves him vulnerable to simply having his jungle snatched out from under him by the myriad of quicker champions.
Enemies of Change
While some champions seem to really benefit from the changes, others are far more adversely affected. While everyone is at a bit more risk in the new jungle, these champions really stand out. This by no means spells an end to these champions ability to function as junglers, but it certainly makes them far more risky. The champions here are always at a High Risk, or worse, when following either jungle path.
3:22 Krug | 3:13 Gromp
Kha’Zix, ironically, falls on this list. He is receiving a small but significant 2s nerf to his W cooldown. Fewer Void Spikes means less speed and sustain on a champion that was already feeling the pain in the new jungle. With poor sustain and above average clear times, Kha’Zix probably won’t be applying early pressure anytime soon, so his advantages will have to come solely from the new item changes if he wants to stay relevant.
3:11 Krug | 3:06 Gromp
Like Kha’Zix, Lee was already hurting from the changes and upcoming armor nerfs will put him into an even riskier position. However he still maintains clear speeds on par with the speed demons, so he will likely have a much easier time sticking with the meta than everyone’s favorite void mantis. Considering his extreme versatility and popularity, it is unlikely he will ever fall out of favor completely, but hopefully he will become less oppressive towards other champions.
It is worth noting that by taking W second instead of E, you can sustain much better and it takes a lot of the risk out. It does however cost a lot of time, ~10s in both directions. Whether one skill will end up better than the other I cannot say, but either way it looks like Lee will be much less dominant than he was last season.
As I mentioned before, these two are especially notable because they haven’t even made my lists. They are simply too squishy and lack the natural sustain needed to survive early on. Now granted a good leash could make all the difference, but the extreme vulnerability of their early clears may make it far more difficult to justify choosing them over other junglers.
So it seems like the season 5 jungle will be a very new place, especially during the very early stages of the game. It is certainly a much more dangerous place and this is advantageous to champions who can survive well. However with so many new changes to itemization, it is impossible to say who will or will not come out on top and we can only hope that jungling becomes a more interesting a varied place to play.
Below you can see the raw data table that I used for the charts. The runes listed are formatted as (Reds+Quints) and the rest of the pages are all filled with 9 armor yellows and 5% CDR + Mr blues. Rune pages and masteries are based on what I could find from pros, although they are not customized for individual champions.
So for example, all AD focused champions, whether using an (AD+AD) or (AD+AS) page, use the same 21/9/0 page.
|Elise||3:10||3:20||HPen+AP||21/9/0||1 pot for Krug path|
|Fiddlesticks||3:10||3:20||MPen+AP||21/9/0||No pots needed|
|Lee Sin||3:06||3:11||AD+AD||21/9/0||Q->E for speed, Q->W for sustain|
|Nunu||3:09||3:17||AS+MS||9/21/0||No pots needed|
|Shen||3:23||3:35||AD+AS||9/21/0||1 pot for Krug path|
|Udyr||3:02||3:11||AD+AS||21/9/0||R->Q for speed, R->W for sustain|
|Warwick||3:19||3:34||AD+AS||21/9/0||No pots needed|