It’s been a while since I updated my Tier List, and with the changes bought in by the most recent patch I figured now would be a good time to revise the list.
As always, please note that just because a champion is not in Tier 1 doesn’t mean that I’m saying they suck. Tier 2 is still very good, and Tier 3 is also good.
Video that accompanies the Tier List, explaining the details and some of the specific changes:
How does the layout work?
- Each champion is placed in to a Tier, ranging from Tier 1 to Tier 4. The higher Tiers are better, while the lower Tiers are worse.
- Each Tier is split in to two sub-categories – A and B. The difference between A and B is very minor, often coming down to my preference. The reasoning behind having two Tiers is to insert a bit more detail while also keeping the list from being cluttered.
- There is no order within each Tier – i.e the first champion listed in Tier 1A is not necessarily better than the last in Tier 1A.
Chances are you will disagree with some of the placements in this Tier List. Please note that Tiers 3 and above are for good jungle picks. Just because you see your favourite champion in Tier 3 doesn’t mean that I’m saying it sucks. In fact, I’m saying it’s actually pretty good. There are over a hundred different champions in this game and to make Tier 3 puts you in the top percentage.
What defines a champion’s Tier?
I thought I should clear up my reasoning behind where I rank champions. Please note that at the end of the day it is all my opinion, and you may have varying opinions, which is fine. My placement of champions is not 100% fact and is more of a guideline forged from both my experiences and my opinions (though I try to sieve out any bias by running my list by other Diamond 1 players). So, in no particular order, the criteria that I take in to consideration:
- A jungler’s clear speed
- Their dueling potential and power
- Their counter jungling potential – how fast they can do it, how safely they can do it (a lot of this is down to play style rather than specific picks, but picks inevitably help)
- Their role within the current solo queue meta, i.e champions that can snowball early, that are tanky, provide good team utility, good engagers, good teamfight abilities, etc
- Their ability to gank, and how frequently and to what level of success
- Their versatility as a pick as far as what team comps they fit in to
- Their versatility as a champion as far as what role they can play in the team (initiator, peeler, soaker, carry diver/zoner, etc)
- How useful they are as a champion throughout various stages in the game
- How effective they are with budget builds (junglers don’t get much access to gold so have to still be useful with limited items)
- Ability to sustain in the jungle
- Objective control (sieging towers, taking dragon/baron)
Note that some criteria have a heavier influence on a champion’s Tier position than others. Ultimately, a champion’s position will be determined from a combination of these criteria.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Patch 3.12 Tier List
Champions in Tier 1 and 2 (both A and B) alongside those highlighted in bold will be given detailed write-ups at the bottom of the article. If you want to learn more about my ranking of a certain champion, Ctrl+F the champion name and take a look at the explanation at the bottom of the page.
Champions with their names in italics are those that have had their positions changed from the previous list. The arrows symbol next to their name will indicate whether they have climbed (↑) or fallen (↓).
A – Jarvan, Lee Sin, Elise ↑, Vi ↑
B – Udyr ↓, Evelynn, Nocturne, Zac ↓, Aatrox ↑
A – Nautilus ↓, Master Yi ↓, Hecarim, Kha’zix, Rengar, Maokai, Sejuani, Shaco, Xin Zhao, Cho’gath, Nasus, Volibear, Rammus ↑, Shyvana ↑, Olaf ↑
B – Nunu ↓, Dr. Mundo, Amumu, Malphite, Shen, Trundle, Fiddlesticks, Skarner, Riven ↑,
A – Jinx, Kayle ↓, Diana, Gangplank, Fizz, Jax, Morgana, Tryndamere, Zed, Twitch, Karma, Yorick, Darius ↑, Pantheon ↑
B – Ezreal, Gragas, Jayce, Renekton, Thresh, Leona, Warwick, Lissandra, Brand ↑, Alistar ↑, Wukong↑,
A – Katarina, Zyra, Singed, Rumble, Kassadin, Karthus, Fiora, Akali, Blitzcrank, Teemo
B – Vayne, Twisted Fate, Talon, Sion, Poppy, Malzahar, Irelia, Heimerdinger, Kennen
Jarvan IV- His late game damage may not be too high and his clear speeds are not phenomenal (though they aren’t awful either), but his ganking power is unrivalled. As soon as he hits level 2, his E+Q combo wreaks havoc in ganks and, later on, the same abilities when combined with his Ultimate make for very solid engages. He has great presence in mid game skirmishes and provides great utility to his team through the AoE Attack Speed buff on his E and % Armour Shred on his Q.
Lee Sin – Quite possibly the most versatile champion in the game. Lee Sin can literally do it all throughout all stages of the game. The only downside to Lee Sin is that he is particularly hard to learn and his damage definitely falls off late game. He can gank, counter jungle, duel, engage, peel, tank, assassinate – all to the same level of efficiency as those who can only do a handful of these things. Plus, he’s blind so he can’t see the hate that the junglers get in chat.
Elise – One of the most popular junglers (at least in high elo EU solo queue), the nerfs in Patch 3.10 turned out to be less punishing than I had first imagined – whether that’s due to my overestimations of the nerfs themselves or my underestimation of Elise players’ ability to adapt, the fact remains that she is still the Queen of the jungle. Elise is a good clearer, very strong dueler, and pretty good ganker. Her team fights are quite good too, with an ability to catch people out with Coccoon and jump on to priority targets with her Rappel. She is also flexible with her builds and roles, being able to go both tanky (relying on her base damage and % damage for DPS) and more caster-assassiny, for more deeps.
Vi – There are three main reasons as to why Vi has climbed from 2B to 1A: other champions got nerfed, people remembered she existed, and the slight meta shift. The current typical bans are predominantly mid lane assassins such as Fizz, Zed, Kassadin, and Ahri. These champions are great at snowballing and can be unstoppable with just a few kills. Even without the kills they can be extremely troublesome to vulnerable members of the team. Vi is the BEST mid lane ganker in the game. The gap closer on her Vault Breaker leaves very little time to react to her ganks, and at level 6 her Ultimate almost guarantees a kill. Vi has amazing clear speeds due to the %maxhp damage (which shreds buffs, Dragon and the big creeps with high hp) and the attack speed steroid on her W, the auto attack reset/AoE damage combo on her E, and the high damage with a fully charged Q. She can solo Dragon better than most for reasons previously mentioned, she can duel with high effectiveness, counter jungle, gank, engage team fights, peel, carry dive, and her builds can vary from full tank to pseudo-assassin. She has crazy mobility and her kit synergises amazingly with itself – Vi does it all. Click to check out my Vi guide.
Evelynn – The only champion in the game that forces the enemy team to play a completely different style due to her almost permanent Invisibility. One thing solo queue is not very good at is adapting, which is why you’ll often be successful using unknown cheese strats as the enemy wouldn’t have figured out how to play versus them – that is, until the strat becomes popular and it stops working. Outside of her Invis, Eve clears pretty quickly and has good sustained damage for dueling and ganks. She is also pretty good at clearing waves and split pushing, and (most importantly) has a great engage tool, being able to appear out of thin air at 1,000 miles per hour to then slow everyone in an area with her Ulti.
Nocturne – Possibly one of the best solo queue carry champions, Noct will always be up-there in the solo queue Tier List standings. He has a great AD steroid (steroid = self-buff) on his Q that makes him extremely powerful in both duels and ganks, unmatched by anyone in his raw DPS. He clears very quickly and can counter jungle just as effectively. Come level 6, he is almost guaranteed a kill with his Ultimate and in late game he can punish carries that are out of position. He can also opt to build flat tank or take a more damage-focused build and act as an assassin/heavy damage bruiser, or (my personal favourite) be somewhere in between.
Udyr – Udyr is a very frustrating champion to play versus. When played Tiger, he can be a total jungle bully and out-duel pretty much anyone while having very high burst and sustained damage in ganks. As Phoenix, he clears ridiculously quickly without losing much damage. He can counter jungle very effectively and pretty safely, as it’s very hard to catch a lightning fast and indestructible man-beast-rage-monk. He is a very solid jungler whose only downside is a tendency to fall victim to particularly powerful kite teams. Even then, it’s impossible to truly shut him down.
Zac – The nerfs from Patch 3.10 hurt Zac a bit more than first anticipated. His clear speeds (though still decent) have suffered enough to bump him down to 1B. This has also caused him to take more damage in the jungle (slower clear speeds = more time spent clearing = more damage taken), but he is still a very good jungler who has GREAT ganks with his engage range and CC (even more powerful at level 6), has a good variety of builds and roles (tanky initiator or magic damage off-tank), and unmatched late game teamfight power. He can set up plays for your team, engage on enemies from crazy distances, and CC the crap out of multiple targets.
Aatrox – The EU scene fell in love with jungle Aatrox as soon as he was released; this was reflected when pro players such as Cyanide and Diamondprox started running him in the LCS. As far as solo queue goes, Aatrox has even more upside. His clears are pretty good due to his passive’s attack speed augmentation and his resourcelessness, allowing him to spam abilities to clear. His CC for ganks is quite scary with a gap-closer knock up (think of an Alistar that still has huge damage) and a long-ranged slow. His burst is also very good and he can put out a decent amount of sustained damage with his W. At level 6 he can become somewhat of a raidboss with his increased range and attack speed. His dueling is great, his W means he will never fall below 50% hp while jungling, and his revive passive allows him to pull off some extremely ballsy early plays, including flat-out tower dives. Unlike most other revive passives (Anivia, Zac), Aatrox drops tower aggro while reviving, meaning he can escape scott-free if there are minions nearby. His team fighting is also quite formidable and he can be a real nuisance to deal with.
Nautilus – No one in the game has more CC than Nautilus. He boasts a whopping 4 forms of CC – his Passive, Q, E, and Ultimate. And these aren’t crappy little slows like Trundle’s Q has, these are solid and reliable slows/snares/knockups/hooks. These make his ganking and late game engages amazing. Naut clears pretty quickly and has a fair amount of gank damage when his W is up, but without it has abyssmally pathetic DPS. He isn’t great at counter jungling and can be a bit vulnerable to more aggressive invaders like Lee Sin and Udyr, but by building full tank (as you should when playing Naut), he’ll always be useful come late game and in mid-game skirmishes. The reason for his drop in Tiers is because the current popular junglers will eat Naut for breakfast if you’re not careful. Similarly, the high damage assassin mids will obliterate a weak jungler, making it imperative to be able to hold your own in the jungle.
Master Yi – Riot realised they went a bit too far with Yi’s recent rework. His subsequent nerfs toned him back a fair bit and put him in a more sensible place, but he still has huge potential to carry if you can play him right. It seems odd to use the words “Yi” and “skill” in the same sentence, unless the latter is prefaced with “takes no”, but the nerfs made Yi take a bit more skill to play. He is still pretty faceroll, but it’s harder to get to that ‘unstoppable’ point now and you have to pick your fights and allocate your time more carefully. Yi still has great clear speed, great counter jungling potential, and great dueling power. However, he definitely doesn’t bring as much to the table for team fights as someone like Zac or Jarvan would. He relies on other people to engage and bait out enemy CC so he can swoop in and 4 shot the enemy carries. He can be VERY weak if he falls behind though, almost to the extent of uselessness, but he has unlimited late game potential meaning you can split push, farm, and become a huge force later on in the game.
Hecarim – Hecarim is very similar to Nocturne in his role and ability to carry solo queue. However, unlike Nocturne, Hecarim has been receiving a steady flow of minor nerfs, which has obviously taken its toll. It’s a similar situation to what Nami went through, except she received buff after buff after buff until she finally became arguably the best support around. Early on Hecarim clears a bit slowly and is very fragile, but he really shines late game with items. He boasts probably the highest consistent DPS out of any jungler when he has a few items, and whereas normally this wouldn’t be ideal because junglers don’t have much access to gold, Hecarim can farm extremely quickly and easily get the required gold.
Kha’Zix – Bug boy is still my sweetheart jungler and he is very powerful in solo queue. However, he relies a bit too much on snowballing. If you are a competent Kha’zix player then this may not affect you too much, but as far as his overall strength goes, he can easily find himself behind. If Kha’zix gets behind, he can be extremely useless and he lacks the farming speed to be able to get himself back in to the game like Master Yi can, meaning he’ll be relying on his enemies to make mistakes, which is always risky in solo queue. His damage in dueling and ganking is very strong though, and he can counter jungle quickly and safely with the Isolation on his Q and the ability to jump over walls. As an assassin jungler, he doesn’t quite fit the meta too well so it’s best to have a tankier top laner for teamfights.
Rengar – He takes a lot of damage early on, despite having a consistent heal. Ironically, by using your heal you’d actually be doing more damage to yourself because you’ll be clearing slower than if you had used an empowered Q. His counter jungling is overall pretty good, and his dueling can be sublime if you catch an enemy in their jungle, especially because there are often enough bushes around for you to take full advantage of your passive. The burst damage on his Q makes Rengar a pretty effective assassin in mid game and even in team fights, but if he fails to take someone out of the fight he can be almost useless.
Sejuani – Still a very good champion despite the fairly recent hard nerfs. Her Ultimate is second to none as far as engaging team fights go, and a good 3-man Ult can secure victory in a fight on its own. She also has strong ganks even from early on, with a gap closer than can also be used to creatively dodge wards (e.g dodging Tri bush ward at bot by jumping over to Dragon pit). If she gets ahead she can be a huge bully, especially when building a bit of damage, e.g a Liandry’s. However, she gets quite low when clearing early so can fall prey to aggressive invades.
Shaco – Great in the hands of an experienced player, useless in the hands of others. Shaco is completely hit or miss – even to those that are good with him (though they’ll hit more than they’ll miss). He almost completely revolves around snowballing and causing chaos in the early game. It’s no secret that he lacks team fight pressure, but he is a wildly underrated assassin. A good Shaco can completely zone carries out of fights or even take them down himself; he can also build a bit tankier to be even more effective in 5v5s. Regardless, early game is where he shines and his slippery-ness means he can pull off some very annoying yet amazing plays.
Xin Zhao – Not as strong as he used to be but strong nonetheless. He has high dueling damage, good burst for ganking and also a reliable CC. He sustains well in the jungle due to his W but doesn’t clear particularly fast. Later on, his engages can be very effective but are more useful as a follow up where he can jump on an already impaired enemy and split them off from the rest of their team with a well timed Ulti. His high damage early/mid game, while he’s still very tanky, can be used in tandem to snowball his team in fights and objectives. Later on when he loses that damage, he can still zone a carry from a fight.
Cho’Gath – One of the most reliable and stereotypical junglers in the game. As far as any jungling criteria goes, Cho’Gath meets them all (and to a pretty decent standard too). He is, however, a master of none of those criteria (save for sustain, which becomes less valuable the later the game goes on) and as such gets outmatched by junglers that specialise in only a few of those criteria (Elise, for example). Still, he is a very solid jungler and always worth adding to your repertoire.
Nasus – Relatively bad as far as actual jungling goes – he uses too much mana when clearing, clears very slowly (even slower if he wants to farm his Q) and is a bit too reliant on buffs early game. He can easily fall victim to aggressive counter junglers early on, but there is no denying his utility in team fights, both mid and late game. Nasus turns super-Saiyan, runs at the enemy ADC, Withers them, and shreds the rest of the team’s armour. He can absorb a lot of punishment and zone extremely effectively. He also works very well with a budget build, and although his early game is not his strong point, his ganks can be quite good too with the simplicity of his Wither.
Volibear – Voli is a very solid jungler, and in the right hands is very similar to an Udyr (must be something about Bear genes). Tanky, high damage early, strong ganks, good at soaking damage, and in mid game can effectively assassinate enemy carries with his Ulti and W. If a Volibear gets ahead, be very afraid. He is one of the best junglers in this section and is knocking on the doors of Tier 1.
Rammus – Rammus is an OK jungler (hah). Ganking wise his speed allows him to sneak up on people or even gank through wards without an enemy counter play. He doesn’t have great CC though and relies on getting a good taunt off in order to be useful in teamfights. If your team is ahead, Rammus is 10x more effective than if you’re behind, because he gives you relatively nothing in terms of team protection or disengage (unless you count the “every man for himself!” tactic as disengage, in which case he’s amazing because he can never be caught). Also, if you’re ahead you can Powerball+Taunt anyone out of position and make endless picks. Knowing this, try to snowball and gank as much as you can early.
Shyvana – ‘Control Junglers’ have fallen out of favour from Season 2 to Season 3, with the current meta favouring heavy ganking bruisers. ‘Control Junglers’ are those that, well, control the jungle – keeping the enemy jungler in check, heavily counter jungling and counter ganking, farming up and having a more indirect pressure on the lanes. Shyvana is the best control jungler and can be very powerful when played correctly, even in this meta. Her dueling power is one of, if not the best, out of all the junglers. Tagging someone with your E and beating on them, especially in combination with the Auto attack reset on your Q (PLUS the fact that the ability hits twice) and the constant damage provided by your W, really puts out a lot of pain on to the enemy jungler. Her ability to counter jungle is unmatched, and she can really set enemy junglers behind. Her poor ganks and poor team fight presence (although a lot better since 3.9) set Shyvana back, but when played with the correct intentions she can be very potent.
Olaf – I think this is the placement everyone was interested to see. The recent Olaf changes were heralded as nerfs and left a fair few people puzzled as to their justification. Why nerf someone who is already useless and never played? That’s like dropping a nuke on East Camden. Still, these changes turned out to be much more positive than first impressions would have suggested. The slow on his Q was increased and no longer decays, his W now has a flat, lowered mana cost and grants Olaf a healthy chunk of attack speed, his E has an AD ratio and refunds health is the target is killed alongside a cooldown that is reduced by each attack, and finally his Ult now gives him passive defensive stats and activates to turn him in to a killing machine with a huge flat AD steroid. Basically, Olaf is now more of an actual fighter that utilises basic attacks as opposed to a huge immovable object that lobs axes and deals true damage. I think this is a healthy change that makes Olaf more interesting to play and introduces some counter play – if Olaf wants to be CC immune, he must sacrifice his passive defensive stats. He has to actually fight you now. People argued that the minimum distance added to his Q would make it too difficult to clear the jungle, but if you position yourself near a wall and chuck your axe at it you’ll automatically pick it back up again without having to move. At any rate, Olaf’s new kit makes him pretty deadly when ahead and also makes his fights and ganks at level 6 very scary due to his AD steroid. He still retains the characteristics that made him a great jungler in the past, such as being immune to CC and having a low cooldown, long range slow.
Maokai – Good ganking and good team fighting. His ulti helps soak up a lot of damage late game, but he doesn’t have much damage of his own at any stage in the game. He isn’t that fast at clearing, especially without blue buff, and can fall victim to some forceful counter jungling. If Maokai gets invaded early, it can be hard to come back in to the game. Luckily for him, however, he is not a carry jungler and can still be useful despite being behind due to not needing very many items.
Nunu – Oh how the mighty have fallen. Nunu is a broken champ. The fate of all broken champs is really quite one dimensional – either they’re way too strong, or way too weak. The biggest reason why Nunu is so much worse now is due to the exp changes on the buff camps: the mini creeps now hold a larger portion of experience granted and the buff itself gives less. This is bad news for Nunu as he can no longer Consume+Smite steal a buff and instantly get level 2, making it hard for him to snowball (no pun intended) that advantage. It also means that the junglers who are counter jungled have an easier time getting back in to the game as the leftovers (mini creeps) are now more valuable. Yeti boy can still be effective at controlling the jungle and has pretty effective ganks, but he is no where near as strong as he used to be. In my opinion, Vi and Shyvana do what Nunu does but to more effectiveness.
Dr Mundo – The biggest downfall of Mundo is how vulnerable he is early on. Ironically, this is also when he’s at one of his strongest points. Early, Mundo’s damage is insane, almost entirely due to the steroid on his E, giving him massive amounts of AD. He can chase people down forever, constantly lobbing Cleavers at them, and whereas it’s not the greatest engage tool, it can also be used as such. Disengaging is also something that Mundo does extremely well with his Cleavers, keeping the enemy from chasing his team down. What holds Mundo back from being an amazing jungler is his lack of a reliable hard CC – he’s more of an in-your-face pest.
Amumu – Amumu is a good jungler but is too reliant on his Ultimate. He is also at the mercy of the enemy jungler as far as early and mid game go, which is always very stressful for your team because it means they need to look after you (good luck relying on your team in solo queue). He’s not totally helpless though, and even if he gets behind he has relatively decent ganks and an amazing Ultimate for locking down team fights. If he does get ahead he can actually deal a lot of damage too, especially if you have some extra points in his Q.
Malphite – This rock can’t cook (and probably can’t smell either); he clears too slowly and doesn’t have much damage. Similar to Amumu, he is too reliant on his Ultimate to be useful. However, his ganks are pretty good and very easy to execute, and if he gets some extra levels in his Q he can put out a fair bit of pain early. The attack speed debuff on his E is very useful in team fights but surprisingly underutilised by Malphite players as far as the priority targets they use it on (personal observation, doesn’t affect his Tier placement). Malphite is one of those champions that is always pretty useful, as he can build tanky and carry with a good Ulti.
Shen – A particularly slow jungler but very effective in ganks (if you can hit the Taunt) and late game, due to his global Ulti. He has great sustain thanks to the Health Regen on his Q and shield on his W. His damage is not great and it’s not particularly sustained either. Click to see my Jungle Shen guide
Trundle – One of the best actual junglers in the game (opposite of Nasus, who kinda sucks as an ‘actual jungler’). Good clear speeds and great sustain. Trundle is also an amazing duelist because he has a plethora of steroids/buffs and shreds/debuffs. His Q gives him AD and shreds it from the enemy, his W gives him Movespeed and Attack Speed, and his Ulti steals both Health and Resists. In a 1v1 situation, Trundle is really hard to beat. To this extent, he can bully you as much as he wants and steal all of your jungle. However, he really lacks in mid game or late game fights. His Pillar is extremely unreliable, varying from amazing to useless. He’s very good in poke comps because he can Pillar the enemy and disengage if they try to engage on to you (typically hard engages are poke comp’s biggest nightmare). Due to the limited gold he receives, he really only works as a full tank or off tank, which doesn’t unlock his true potential as a high threat duelist. Click to see my Jungle Trundle guide
Fiddlesticks – A very unique champion, similar to Shaco. AP junglers very rarely find their way in to a jungle meta that is dominated by bruisers, but Fiddle is always an exception. He requires a very specific play style in order to be effective that requires a lot of practice to master. He can snowball games quite hard and punishes the denizens of solo queue by exploiting their carelessness and lack of awareness. His sustain is obviously top notch due to his Drain, and he can tear teams apart with carefully constructed Ultimate positions. His Fear is one of the scariest (hah) CC abilities in the game. On the other hand, he doesn’t clear all to quickly and can be easily bullied around by certain junglers – namely anyone that can interrupt his Drain.
Skarner – Skarner and Shyvana are very similar champions as far as their popularity (or lack thereof) has been. Both of these champions excelled in the Season 2 jungle when AoE clearing was more important, and bruisers with good CC and team utility were less favourable. Skarner is actually still a pretty decent jungler, definitely not as good as he used to be, but also very under appreciated. When built similar to a Hecarim (Spirit of the Elder Lizard and Frozen Fist) he can deal immense amounts of damage while also being pretty tanky. Still, he struggles to hold his own in the jungle and his E is pretty much a useless spell.
Riven – In my personal opinion Riven is overpowered as a laner. She has too much damage and utility for her kit, and her resourcelessness means she can be extremely relentless in her dominance. An AD scaling shield and great kit synergy make it extremely hard to shut her down, too. As a jungler, Riven has great clear speeds and fairly good (but not great) ganks. She can also be fairly formidable at dueling other junglers, but this is usually only if she is somewhat ahead in either items or levels. At the end of the day Riven is a carry champion, and carries do not fare so well in the jungle due to the limited gold/levels they receive in comparison to the laners. When snowballing, however, her potential can match and exceed that of lane Riven and she can wreak total havoc.
Jinx – In the actual jungle Jinx fares fairly well for an ADC, similar to Ezreal. Her utility is what makes her slightly better than Ez, but the fact remains that ADCs do not belong in the jungle. As with every other carry jungler, Jinx does not get enough farm to make her consistently reliable and threatening. If allowed to snowball early or lane tax heavily then she can be as strong as any other AD late game, but it’s not realistic to rely on such conditions. Another reasons why ADCs struggle as junglers is because of the lack of a second summoner spell – ideally, two combat summoners are needed to position properly in team fights and Smite can’t contribute to that. However, her clear speeds aren’t too bad and her lack of sustain is easily remedied by a standard ADC build. Her ganks aren’t great due to an unreliable skillshot CC, though with red buff they become significantly more powerful due to the long range application of her rocket launcher. Tougher junglers will be able to destroy Jinx in straight up duels but she can hold her own adequately in most situations. Her mid game team fights and skirmishes are her shining point, as her traps can turn fights around on their own. If you want to check out my in-depth Jinx jungle guide, take a look at the video below!
Kayle – High burst, decent clearing, great utility, and a mental team fight Ultimate. Kayle is good throughout the early stages of the game, but falls back as a pretty support orientated jungler when it comes to team fights. That’s not necessarily bad, however, if your team has a decent front line and engage. She has a good CC, heal/speed buff, and the godly invulnerability Ultimate. She does have to be careful of early aggresssion, however, as her sustain really isn’t that good and stronger junglers can have their way with her. Her frailty in the jungle and tendency to become a victim of bully junglers is what saw her drop Tiers, alongside Kayle’s inability to perform the same requirements as most other junglers, such as initiating and soaking damage.
Diana – I really enjoy playing jungle Diana, but it definitely has its flaws. As far as AP champions go, Diana is pretty good because she has a non-mana reliant clear (due to her passive) and doesn’t lose that much health thanks to her very powerful shield (W). She can farm the jungle with extreme efficiency, but she really lacks pressure until late game. As a mage, she needs more gold to have a decent amount of damage, without which she lacks a lot of impact. She has to adapt her build every so slightly for the jungle (I usually go Nashor’s Tooth -> Zhonya’s). However, if she gets some kills she can have a fair amount of pressure and once she hits 6 her ability to pseudo-engage is actually quite high, by jumping in to the enemy team and using her E. Late game this would be combined with her Zhonya’s to ensure she doesn’t instantly blow up. You need good follow up for this, however, which makes her less of a versatile pick.
Jax – It is commonly believed that Jax would be a very powerful jungler. To be honest, he is really not that bad (Tier 3 is not for garbage champions by any means) but he doesn’t meet his potential when put in to the jungle. His biggest issue is that he scales extremely well with items, and in the jungle he does not have the opportunity to build that many. Also, he uses too much mana to gank and can’t keep up consistent pressure. That being said, his clearing is not that bad if you use your W correctly as an Auto attack reset, and his passive (especially in combination with his Ult passive once he hits 6) means that he takes away buffs pretty quickly. Later on, however, if he lacks items he is fairly useless in teamfights because he won’t have enough damage to really pressure the enemy carries.
Zed – The general nerfs to Zed were warranted for his powerful laning, but they also hit his jungling when his ability to do so was already hit and miss. The biggest issue with jungle Zed is that he only gets one summoner (because the other slot is taken up with Smite), so it’s actually really hard hard for him to make an impact in late game team fights. He needs to snowball, and without Ignite he really struggles to do so, and later on he will be needing Flash to shut down enemy carries. The decision to run either Smite+Ignite or Smite+Flash is a tough one and really limits Zed’s effectiveness. Also, he lacks any kind of CC, making his ganks relatively weak. If he falls behind and cannot successfully assassinate targets, Zed is more or less useless in teamfights. I suggest farming a lot when you’re jungling him.
Karma – Karma may or may not be a good jungler for LCS, but as far as solo queue goes, she is very vulnerable to the enemy jungler. She has good utility, ganks, and team fight presence, but she struggles to hold her own versus powerful junglers. To this extent, she needs help from her laners. In competitive play, this situation is not that big of a deal, but when you are playing with 4 randoms, it’s risky to put yourself in that position. If you play versus a jungler that doesn’t punish you, or you pick later after a weak invade-jungler has already been taken, then you can have good results with Karma.
Yorick – Similar to Karma, it was a surprise when Yorick was picked up in the OGN. The reason he was picked was because it was a good idea for the team comp at hand. In that specific game, Yorick actually did pretty well. As far as his overall jungling goes, he leaves a fair bit to be desired, but can still be useful. A big problem with him is that he really offers very little in the mid and late game team fights unless he can take full advantage of his Ultimate – that’s to say, you have a very good and fed ADC. Junglers with more reliable CC will usually out class Yorick, and whereas he can hold his own relatively well, don’t expect to be able to launch any major counter jungling efforts of your own.
Lissandra – Again, this is one of my sweetheart jungle picks. I play jungle Lissandra fairly frequently, and whereas I love playing her, I recognise that she isn’t the best jungler around, to say the least. Her clears are pretty good because she can spam her Q, but she will run out of mana if she tries to gank too much. Late game is where she really shines as her engage potential and her Ultimate are simply amazing. Itemisation wise, someone like Lissandra is pretty bad for the jungle because she needs to build mana regen in order to stay competitive with her clears. I like to get a bit of CDR on her because then at the very least you’ll be a useful support-ish champion, as her slows and roots are pretty sustainable. But again, when invaded she can really fall struggle, like most mages will. She is better than a lot of other mages in the jungle, however.
Thresh – I love playing jungle Thresh. Unfortunately for me, he was nerfed in Patch 3.10. I’m not disgruntled about it because Riot is balancing Thresh with his lane domination in mind, rather than his jungling (similar to Zed). Ever since they made Thresh’s extra-damage passive work off his E rather than his Q, Thresh has been a pretty decent jungler. His clears aren’t that bad when maxing E, his ganking is pretty remarkable (it’s Thresh after all) and his team fight pressure is very high. He also works very well as just a support, meaning he doesn’t need any gold to be effective, which is perfect for junglers. On the other hand, he really lacks sustain and can easily fall victim to a particularly nasty enemy jungler.
Darius – I’m of the opinion that Darius is a sleeper champion for solo queue. Not as a jungler, but his overall potency leans in his favour for when he is placed in the jungle. Darius’s clears are pretty good due to his Q, passive bleed, and the extra damage+auto attack reset combo on his W. He can almost spam his abilities while clearing as his mana issues are relatively low. To most peoples’ surprise, he’s also very good at dueling other champions and his ganking is not so bad with Mobi boots or red buff. He’s powerful in small skirmishes and can easily catch vulnerable targets off guard with a Flash+E combo. Finally, his item builds are very favourable for junglers – he can build full tank or hybrid, all at a budget.
Pantheon – Panth’s main issues are twofold: he is very mana hungry and his role of ad-caster/assassin doesn’t work too well in the jungle – also, because he isn’t a tank, his builds are quite sub-optimal for a jungler. He needs levels and items to dominate people and finds himself a bit starved when not playing as a laner. Similarly, his overall power comes from his ability to stomp lanes (particularly vs casters) and then roam and apply pressure elsewhere – all of that is lost when he is placed in the jungle. However, his snowball power as a jungler is quite high and it’s not overly hard to get the ball rolling. You may have to buy some health in order to be useful in the mid-late game team fights.
Brand – You wouldn’t normally want fire going anywhere near a forest, but Brand is an exception. Mages are at worst awful junglers and at best sub-par. Brand is the latter. His clear speeds and ganks can be pretty nifty if he has the mana to supply it, but he (as with all mages) is extremely vulnerable to jungle invades. A powerful jungler on the enemy team will make your life a complete misery. With that in mind and the fact that there isn’t much upside to an under-farmed Brand, it is risky to play him. If you take that risk and are successful, however, Brand can cause huge pains for the enemy team in mid game skirmishes and late game team fights.
Alistar – Mess with the bull and you get… well, probably 300 gold. Ali’s not a bad jungler if you totally ignore farm and can snowball lanes with his great ganking kit, unfortunately Ali’s ganks are all he reallly has. It’s never a great tactic for solo queue (especially lower elo) to pick a jungler that can’t actually carry themselves, and if for whatever reason your lanes aren’t snowballing by the 20 minute mark, you’re going to be in a sticky situation. In the same vein, Ali is at the mercy of the enemy jungler. I personally like to run 5 GP10 yellows and GP10 quints, rush Mobi boots and just gank gank gank. He can tower dive quite effectively at level 6 and his Flash Q->W back combo can secure a lot of kills, both in lane phase and in team fights. Seeing how pivotal Flash is to Ali, I like to get the Distortion boots enchant to reduce the cooldown.
Wukong – Similar to Jax, Wukong is a champion that many people would expect to be a good jungler. He’s certainly not awful, but he leaves a fair bit to be desired. His ganks pre-6 are pretty lack luster and rely on you catching the enemy out of position. His mana issues inhibit his ability to maximise his clear speeds and he has to rely on potions to sustain – a Crystaline Flask is not a bad item on Wukong for these reasons. Wukong and Pantheon share many characteristics as far as jungling and their problems go, but Wu has some upside in his level 6 ganking and skirmishes. Again, like Panth, he can snowball quite hard if given an early lead, but it’s a lot harder to do so on Wukong due to his rather poor early game kit.
Warwick – Ironically the purest ‘jungle’ champion in the game. Unfortunately for Ralph there are many more elements to playing jungle outside living in the jungle. Slow clear, bad ganks, little to no team fight presence, no benefit to the team. But hey, at least he can solo Dragon at level 8.