Health Sustain Part 2: Surviving the Jungle

This is a follow on from the previous part of the series looking at sustain from champion’s kits. The support edition can be found here but today we’ll talk about sustain in the jungle.


Junglers are in a unique position within League of Legends in that they will almost always take damage while attempting to gain gold and as such being able to sustain through the early game is actually a useful trait. Although he doesn’t see play as frequently anymore, Warwick was considered one of the best junglers back in the day because he had such strong sustain (and brutal post 6 ganks).

However the jungle has become a much safer place since season 1, well from the point of view of jungle camps anyway, and the number of ‘viable’ champions has grown. It isn’t essential to have sustain from your kit though champions with these traits are still useful.

Sustain comes in many forms:

  1. Sustain from your champion’s or allied champion’s kits
  2. Lifesteal or Spell Vamp from Quints or Masteries
  3. Lifesteal or Spell Vamp from items
  4. Health Potions
  5. Health Regeneration

Junglers are able to benefit from all 5 forms of sustain listed above.

Sustain from champion’s kit can take many different forms from bonus Life steal or Spell vamp, Shields, Heals, Damage Reduction or even health regen when you kill units.

Lifesteal or Spell vamp quints and masteries aren’t vastly common on junglers outside of niche cases like Dr Mundo or Tryndamere. However if farming the jungle to reach level 6 early is important then gaining sustain from here might be beneficial for your champion.

Spirit of the Spectral Wraith and Wriggles lantern currently share about the same build rate showing that junglers are picking up the items however they are about 1/3rd as popular as Spirit of the Ancient Golem. This doesn’t mean that junglers aren’t buying the items for the sustain I just believe that the current meta doesn’t always have the gold efficiency to spend money on keeping yourself alive in the jungle in this way.

Health potions are a staple of the jungle and most, if not all, champions will start with at least one health potion in their initial purchases with most buying 5. Additional health potions are useful for keeping yourself topped up and prevent any potential easy kills from invades and when ganking a lane.

Health regeneration isn’t prioritsed as a sustain stat but every champion has base health regeneration that is further augmented by Spirit Stone, if they purchase this item.

Meet the champions

Let me preface this by saying that this isn’t all of the junglers who have sustain and the more niche picks, like Yorick from the recent season 3 championship games, haven’t been discussed. Even despite this i’m fairly certain i’ll still get some “you missed out X champion but included Y?!”.

I’m going to break this list up slightly into champions that have similar types of sustain and as such some may make an appearance in several of the lists.

Base Stats

Base stats will help a champion ‘sustain’ through the jungle through health regeneration and armour. Runes and masteries have been ignored here so we can focus on the base stats of the champions themselves. Obviously the values are lower than those you will see in the average game for these reasons.

Jungler Stats4

First things to note is that the table is sorted by physical effective health at level 1. Physical effective health is the amount of physical damage you can take before being killed and takes health and armour into account.

Any column with a + in it shows how the stats of a given champion changes as they level up. For example Amumu gains 84 health and 3.3 armour every time he gains a level.

Things to take note in this table is that there is quite a large variation between survivability in the jungle. Even if we ignore Fiddlesticks, who is bottom of pretty much every column because of drain, there is still a difference of around 100 effective health between top and bottom in the list. This allows the higher base health champions to take between 2-3 hits from each of the wolf camp or another hit from Blue/Red buff early in the game.

Also there is some variation in the survivability of champions as they move up through the levels. Cho’gath has unnaturally low health scaling, though he gets to supplement this with feast, while Trundle has one of the lowest armour scalings in the game, but again his ult allows him to steal armour and make himself tankier in this way.

Health regeneration is another interesting stat and does show a mild correlation with physical effective health. You are more likely to have higher health regen and higher health regen scaling if you have more effective health but there are outliers like Nasus at the lower ends of effective health and Zac at the higher ends.

If we take the time between when you start your first buff and the time you first hope to gank a lane as 1.55 – 4.00, which is quite a big window but this should be more than enough time for even the slower junglers to be ready to gank, we have 2 minutes and 5 seconds which is 25 5 second increments. This leaves the variation between health regenerated to be ~250 at the top end to ~200 at the lower end of health regen.

It’s not huge but how many times have you lived from a tower dive at under 50 health?

Spirit Stone

Spirit stone provides 14 health regeneration per 5 seconds. This stat is more or less universally ignored when it comes to itemisation budget because people cannot see the effect of increase health regeneration in the same way you can easily see having more HP or AD. However even in the best case scenario from the champions listed above, Tryndamere is only able to match the health regeneration provided by Spirit Stone at level 6.

While for a champion on the list with no sustain, Evelynn, is only able to match the health regen provided by spirit stone at level 12. So for an item, and stat, that increases your health regen by more than double for most of the early game it is still considered garbage. (I’m not saying I think you should itemise health regen, I don’t think its worth it, but in this case its actually quite useful because it happens to be part of your build.)


Shields come in a few different shapes and sizes here. There are some champions who will attempt to use their shields on more or less every camp, like Shen or Udyr, while there are others who might not be able to use theirs so frequently.

  • Amumu – Tantrum reduces physical damage taken by 2 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 10
  • Jarvan – Golden Aegis causes Jarvan to gain a shield that mitigates 50 / 90 / 130 / 170 / 210 (+ 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 per nearby enemy champion) for 5 seconds. 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 second cooldown
  • Lee Sin – Safeguard causes Lee Sin to gain a shield blocking 40 / 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 (+ 80% AP) damage. 9s cooldown
  • Malphite – Granite shield provides a shield which absorbs 10% of Malphite’s maximum health. Refreshes if Malphite hasn’t taken damage for 10 seconds
  • Nautilus – Titan’s Wrath grants Nautilus a shield that absorbs 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 / 300 (+ 10% bonus health) in damage. 22 /21 /20 / 19 / 18 second cooldown
  • Shen – Shen’s Feint causes him to gain a shield that absorbs 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 / 220(+ 60% AP) damage. 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 /5 second cooldown
  • Udyr – Turtle Stance grants Udyr a shield for 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 / 220. 6 second cooldown
  • Vi – Vi’s Blast Shield grants her a shield whenever she uses ability granting her a shield equal to 10% of her maximum health. 18 / 13 / 8 second cooldown.

Much like with supports from the previous article, there are many different strengths of shield. Nautilus has the strongest shield in the jungle in terms of base numbers, and max health scaling while Malphite and Vi’s shield will vary between ~50 at level one up to ~300-400 depending on item build.

The interesting thing with these shields is that although Jarvan, and to a lesser extent Malphite, both have shields to enhance their sustain they aren’t able to take full effect of them compared to the other junglers. Jarvan because he’s potentially limited by mana and Malphite because it would slow down his clear time, by waiting for the shield to recharge before you engage a given camp.

The other junglers use their shields more or less on cooldown when clearing camps so should be able to utilize the full effect in keeping themselves alive.

Amumu’s ‘shield’ is a little different to most of the shields in this category. It provides a small shield against all basic attacks, reducing them by a set value rather than providing additional health.

Passive Healing

I’ve decided to call passive healing champions who can’t help but retain health through their auto attacks or passives. The following health potion calculations are done based on the BASE health of a champion and will change as champions level up and gain additional stats.

  • Cho’gath – Carnivore heals Cho’gath for 17 + (3 × level) health every time he kills a unit. At level 1 Cho’gath gains a health potion worth of health (150hp) every 8 monsters killed
  • Dr Mundo – Adrenaline rush regenerates 0.3% of max health every second. Mundo gains a health potion worth of healing every 95 seconds at level 1.
  • Maokai – Sap Magic heals Maokai for 7% of his max health on his next melee attack when 5 spells have been cast around him. Maokai requires 5 applications of his passive at level 1 to get the same amount of healing from 1 health potion.
  • Nasus – Nasus gains 14 / 17 / 20% life steal from Soul Eater. Nasus needs to do 1071 damage that is affected by life steal to regain 1 health potion worth of health at level 1.
  • Nocturne – Nocturne’s Umbral Blades heals him for 10 / 18 / 26 per enemy hit, 10 second cooldown and is reduced by 1 second per basic attack. Nocturne needs to hit 15 enemies with his passive to gain 1 health potion worth of health at level 1.
  • Trundle – King’s Tribute heals Trundle for 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6% of the dying units maximum health every time one is killed near Trundle. Depends on the strength of the creatures dying around Trundle.
  • Volibear – Chosen of the Storm heals Volibear for 30% of his maximum health when he falls below 30% health. A single application of Volibear’s passive at level 1 will exceed a health potion worth of healing.
  • Warwick – Eternal Thirst heals Warwick for  3 / 3.5 / 4 / 4.5 / 5 / 5.5 / 6 / 6.5 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 health whenever he attacks a unit. Each successive attack against the same target stacks Eternal Thirst up to a maximum of three stacks. Honestly depends on how long Warwick is able to attack a single target but overall Warwick doesn’t have to worry about matching health potions worth of sustain because he kit is built around it.
  • Xin Zhao – Battle Cry heals Xin Zhao for 26 / 32 / 38 / 44 / 50 (+ 70% AP) on every third hit. Xin requires 18 auto attacks in order to exceed 1 health potion worth of healing at level 1 of his W passive.

Passive healing is unlikely to save you in the same way that a clutch shield or heal from a support will. However this isn’t the place that this sort of healing shines. Small increments of healing that build up over a long period of time, for example while clearing the jungle camps, shows the strength of this kind of sustain.

It’s hard to put an exact number on the healing for the above characters, because different runes and masteries will change how easily and often they can proc the passive healing. What it will probably account for is using fewer potions in the jungle while clearing. So if you aren’t playing one of these junglers then you will need to consider whether you should be buying additional health potions on your first few backs.

Active Healing

Active healing is the opposite of passive healing and as such it is an action or decision that the champion has to make. Although most of these decisions are fairly straight forward, such as using Warwick’s Q, you can choose not to use the abilities and therefore not gain the sustain.

Aatrox – Blood Thirst heals Aatrox on every third attack for 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 (+25% bonus AD) and three times as much if he’s below 50% health. I’m not familiar enough with Aatrox to offer any honest advice on when this should be used rather than Blood Price.

Dr Mundo – Sadism heals Mundo for 40 / 50 / 60% of his maximum health over 12 seconds. 75 second cooldown. Can be used in the jungle, especially early game, to augment clears.

Elise – While active Skittering Frenzy heals Elise for 4 + (4% AP) health when she or her spiderlings attack. 12 second cooldown. Couldn’t find any reliable data on the uptime of this versus the attack speed of the spiders.

Fiddlesticks – Drain heals Fiddlesticks for 180 / 292.5 / 420 / 562.5 / 720 + 135 / 146 / 158 / 169 / 191% AP. 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 second cooldown. So Yes, Fiddlesticks gets approximately a health potion, or more, worth of regeneration every time he uses drain.

Hecarim – Hecarim’s Spirit of Dread heals him for 20% of the damage dealt by any source within the area. Healing is capped against minions for 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 health. Hecarim should be able to hit the healing cap against minions more or less everytime he uses this from level 4 onwards. Provides a health potion worth of regen every three uses.

Lee Sin – Iron Will grants Lee Sin 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25% life steal and spell vamp for 5 seconds. 9s cooldown. At early levels Lee Sin has to deal a huge amount of damage, 3000, in order to match a health potion worth of regen but because this provides spell vamp as well as life steal it will proc off of his Q and E spells.

Nunu – Nunu’s consume heals him for 90 / 130 / 170 / 210 / 250 + (75% AP). 17 / 15 / 13 / 11 / 9 second cooldown. Nunu’s consume provides him with over a health potion worth of regen every second use.

Shen – Vorpal Blade marks a target and subsequent auto attacks heal Shen for 6 / 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 + (1.5% max HP) over 3 seconds. Subsequent hits refresh the duration. It’s complicated.

Tryndamere – Tryndamere’s Bloodlust consumes all his current fury healing him for 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 (+ 30% AP) + 0.5 / 0.95 / 1.4 / 1.85 / 2.3 (+ 1.2% AP) per 1 fury consumed. Max heal 80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 300 (+ 150% AP) 12 second cooldown. At 0 fury it will take 5 applications to generate 150 health, at max fury it’ll take 2 applications.

Udyr – Turtle stance grants Udyr 10 / 12 / 14 / 16 / 18% life steal. 6s Cooldown. At level 1 Udyr needs to deal 1500 damage in turtle stance to match the healing from a health potion.

Warwick – Hungering Strike heals Warwick for 80% of the damage dealt. 75 / 125 / 175 / 225 / 275 (+ 100% AP) or 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16% of target’s maximum health (+ 100% AP) if they are a champion, which ever is higher. 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 second cooldown. At early levels Hungering strike provides a health potion worth of healing roughly every 2 applications.

Zac – Each time Zac uses an ability on enemies he shreds a chunk of himself to a nearby location. Zac can move over these chunks to regain 4% of his max HP. Zac’s blobs will always restore health at least equal to the amount spent so they are almost always worth picking up in the jungle.

Active healing isn’t easy to put an exact value on because most of them scale in some way from ability power or maximum health in addition to passive’s like Zac’s who is completely dependent on the number of abilities he uses to clear a camp. However i’ve tried to suggest how long it might take to match a health potion worth of regeneration for the abilities.

Active regen can potentially be quite high especially on champions like Warwick, who has a very low cooldown on Hungering Strike, or Mundo, who has high raw healing from his ultimate.


Healing in the jungle isn’t particularly interesting because nine times out of ten you’re just against the AI of the jungle camps, who you can evade quite easily if you start to fear that you could die. However in terms of keeping yourself alive for ganking, counter jungling or repelling jungler invades keep the fact that some junglers sustain better or worse than your champ may allow you to outsmart them.

As an example if you see an Eve or Sejuani without and potions heading back into her jungle then you know that they may end up being on low health within the immediate future. You could attempt to counter jungle them knowing that they may be too low to force you out of their jungle or just pick up an easy kill because they are low.

Next time i’ll be looking at the topic that inspired this series and that is sustain mismatches in top lane. Or as I like to call it, “FML i’m against Yorick/Vlad”.

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Esports and Blogs Manager for Cloth5.com. I'm a Plat 5 all around player, I know I should pick a role but it's too much fun playing all of the champions! Add me on Fridgecake or Yawnedeverywhere and i'd be happy to have a game. Currently playing Hearthstone, Gangsters 2, GTA 5 and Football Manager. Follow me on twitter @C5Fridgecake or check out my stream

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