3 Steps to a 4-Buff Start: OGN’s Jungling Masterpiece

The first match of OGN Champions Summer featured defending champions Samsung Blue vs. a newly formed qualifier team, Incredible Miracle #1. Many of my friends skipped this match, predicting an easy 2-0 stomp by Blue.


The match was indeed a 2-0, but more than anything, it showed that there is as much to learn from stomps as there is from close games. In Game 2 of the match-up Samsung Blue’s jungler, Spirit, managed to take all four buffs at the beginning of the game on the back of a successful invade.

This four-buff start brought Spirit three levels ahead of the enemy jungler Smurf. Smurf only managed to hit level 2 at the 4-minute mark, due to the insane pressure and map movements displayed by Spirit. By the time the second round of buffs spawned, the game was already, in essence, over.

When the Nexus fell at 21 minutes, the kill-score was 29-3; the tower score was 11-0, and Samsung Blue was sitting pretty at a team KDA of 28.3. All of this was possible because of what Spirit did with the advantage he snagged at level 1. A lesser player would have accepted the 3-buff win, but Spirit took all he possibly could to create the biggest snowball in the history of OGN.

Step 1: Late Invade

The biggest mistake regarding invades in solo queue has to be the distinctive lack of the late invade. An early invade depends on discretion, and if caught by a ward, this gives the other team time to set up for a level 1 fight or for an easy counter-invade of their own. The late invade, on the other hand, gives the enemy team zero knowledge of your plans before it is too late to react:

The best case scenario, as we see happen in this game, is that the jungler is at the buff your team invades, and without any preparation, is forced to give up significant time by not being able to start a buff at 1:55.

Everything goes swimmingly for Samsung Blue in their late invade on the blue side blue buff. The enemy team is already walking to their lanes and cannot react to the invading 5-man squad. Lee Sin is forced to flash away and Spirit gets an easy buff on his Elise.

Step 2: Rotations, A Team Effort

What happens next, is the essential element of the 4-buff masterpiece. After securing the first buff, Acorn, Samsung Blue’s top laner, instantly teleports to the bottom tower and walks to his own blue buff, which Lee Sin is trying to take in response to the invade. He then pushes Lee Sin and Jayce off of the buff, secure in the 1v2, knowing that Ryze and Thresh are coming to support him if necessary.

This play shows how critical teamwork is to good jungling. Spirit would never have gotten a 4-buff if it wasn’t for Acorn’s brave 1v2, and Acorn would never have been able to do the 1v2 if Ryze and Thresh had not rotated down. Crucially, Samsung Blue’s support Heart, walks down all the way from top lane to ensure that this play can work. Spirit himself has to do nothing to keep his blue buff safe, and instead uses his time to go straight for the enemy red, where Heart stands guard to make sure nobody can contest it.

Not only does Spirit take the enemy red, he stops to take the wraiths as well. Poor Smurf on his Lee Sin struggles with his start on the mini Golems, after which he has to base immediately due his low health. He only hits level 2 later on after clearing wraiths and taking the wolf camp.

Step 3: Exerting Early Game Dominance

After Spirit takes the enemy wraiths, he ganks mid from behind, chasing out the enemy mid lamer and giving Ryze more time to lane safely. Then, to secure a strong experience lead, he takes his own red, his 3rd buff. What Spirit does next creates the snowball that turns his huge advantage into a huge advantage for the team.

Spirit recalls and instead of rushing his jungle item early, he buys Boots of Mobility. This sets the tone for his jungling in the game to come. Instead of continuing to farm and ensuring his advantage over Smurf, Spirit instead spends a lot of time walking through the enemy jungle and ganking lanes from behind. This gives him the opportunity to either steal camps and put Smurf even further behind, or meet Smurf and best him in an unfair 1v1.

Spirit spends so much time roaming and ganking that Smurf manages to almost catch up in experience. However, this is not the real story. The real story lies in the difference in pressure that the two junglers are exerting. With a Kog’Maw, Kayle, and Ryze on his team, Spirit knows that all he needs is to give his laners advantages and their insane late-game scaling will carry the game easily. Spirit manages to give his lanes advantages from very early on in the game by sacrificing his own farm.

A successful counter-gank for Acorn’s top lane Kayle provides first blood, and this lets Acorn push up the lane and win map pressure. Acorn uses this map pressure in the best way, teleporting to the 2v2 lane and getting a double kill. The pressure that Spirit won for Acorn’s lane allowed Acorn to teleport across the map and win another lane and earn his Kayle a killing spree by 6 mins.

Spirit continues to gank mid again and again. Dade on Ryze has a 20 cs lead on Lulu at 7 minutes, a match-up that should be dominated by Lulu’s amazing zoning and wave control. Even though none of Spirit’s early ganks on Lulu are successful, he chases her out of lane every single time, which gives Ryze crucial incremental steps towards getting ahead.

In the end, Ryze never even gets a chance to be relevant as Acorn’s Kayle and Deft’s Kog’Maw get so fed early in the game that they are able to push advantages and carry the game easily. Samsung Blue is already taking down Nexus turrets when the game clock strikes twenty minutes, therefore not even really giving IM a chance to surrender.

TLDR: Spirit’s Pathing

Mini Map

  1. Late invade on top side enemy blue
    –> Kayle and Thresh stop the enemy from taking friendly blue
  2. Instead of securing his own blue, Spirit uses the information on the location of the enemy jungler to invade his red.
    2.5. Counter-jungles wraiths
  3. Ganks mid
  4. Takes friendly red
    4.5 Recalls to base
  5. Ganks bot (top laner 1v1)
  6. Refreshes his blue
  7. Ganks mid
  8. Ganks top (2v2)


This game truly demonstrates how the jungler, in some ways, holds the team’s macro-level play in his own hands. It is the way Spirit decided to use his lead from the 4-buff that created the magnificent snowball that was that game, not just the significant lead that the 4-buff itself granted.

Spirit played out the game perfectly, creating pressure all across the map from the beginning to the end of the game. He bought Boots of Mobility on his first recall because he knew that in that particular game he did not need to carry; he simply needed to get his lanes rolling and they would win the game for him.

To anyone who found this interesting, I would suggest you see the game for yourselves. Spirit really teaches a class on how to create snowballs.

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Hi, I'm an Economics major at Reed College, Portland, USA, and an avid LoL eSports enthusiast. Although I sometimes watch NA LCS, my real love is OGN for its high level of competition. My favorite teams are KT Arrows and Samsung Blue. I'm a new writer so I would really appreciate any sort of feedback on my work :)

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