Oftentimes you hear about doing things a certain way based on “how the game is going.” In today’s article I’d like to look at some ways the you can both feel the way a game is going, and manipulate that flow in your favor.
It’s good to have multiple champions with diverse skillsets so that you have the flexibility to adapt to different scenarios. While most summoners have multiple champions they can play comfortably for at least one role, one factor that most junglers don’t think about is how pushed their lanes will be. If, for example, I’m jungling for a midlane Nasus, it’s smart for me to pick a good ganking jungler, because I know Nasus isn’t going to be pushing, and in all probability will be getting pushed in, so great gank opportunities will arise. On the other hand, if I have a Ziggs midlane, I know that he’s going to be pushing, and those ganks won’t be nearly as possible, so someone who can rack up farm will be a better choice.
But wait, theres more! When considering a lane you can’t just think about one side, you have to think about both. Maybe that Ziggs is going against a Morgana or Lux, and they’re going to be pushing just as much. It’s impossible to tell in champion select who will be pushing their wave better, but if you ping for your Ziggs that you’re coming to gank, and let that Lux push up a bit, by the time you get there a good opportunity can open up. If you’re the one going against a non-pusher, but you really need to squash them early, Nasus being the quintessential example, then you can still find that opportunity around when your laners recall and come back to lane. Maybe your laner can fake a recall and wait in the wings for that Nasus to push up a bit, and then gank them with you, or maybe after recalling they come back to lane 10 seconds slower so that he pushes the wave up that little bit to get him out of position, or even just recalling when he doesn’t have to so that he’ll push it up. Any way that you can bait him into thinking he has freefarm time will allow you to punish him, if you act immediately.
Okay, that takes care of considerations with laners, but let’s take it one step further. Let’s take this one step further and assume they are capable of designing lanes that have good jungler/laner synergy. If, for example, you see a Vi/Leblanc Combo, you can bet there will be scary ganks made, because what Leblanc lacks in sustained pushing power she gains in assassination prowess, and Vi has the CC and mobility to spike that kill potential through the roof. But is that unbeatable? Of course not. If you can see and feel what your opponent is going to be doing, you can plan for it- in this case with a strong counterganking jungler. Estimating countergank potential can be a little sticky, but a good counterganker primarily has 2 good traits: mobility and Dueling potential. Lee Sin, Yi, and situationally Khazix are all good candidates, but remember, it’s all in relation to the enemy combination as well. A strong counterganker wont be as strong against a Shyvanah, and even an Ammumu can countergank a Nautilus. All of these examples assume relatively full health bars from all parties at the beginning of the engage, but that’s not very realistic, so make sure you weigh the matchup against the actual details of the situation when making decisions.
Whose Buff is it Anyway?
There is often a conflict between the mid laner and the jungler over who gets the Blue Buff, and it brings to question where that buff should go. Of course, with Smite, it’s fairly easy to ensure that the jungler can get it, but should they? As a rule, the jungler gets the first blue because they need it to spam spells and survive the first clear intact, as well as have experience to get those early levels faster. However, by the time the second blue comes up, in a semi-normal game they should be able to clear their jungle almost as well without blue as with it. If for some reason this isn’t the case (e.g. Maokai), then blue will probably be better on the jungler, because it will translate to both more camps cleared and more ganks. However, if the jungler is able to clear decently while still having enough mana to gank, then it should absolutely go to a laner, because the extra mana it gives translates to significantly more spell spamming.
Imagine if one laner gets blue while the other doesn’t. The laner with blue will be able to spam spells and push the wave, forcing the opposing laner to either spam spells to clear the wave as well, or lose out on farm to their tower. If they lose farm to tower, they can easily lose the same gold as a kill over the duration of the blue buff, and if they spam spells into someone with blue buff, they will run out of mana first and be unable to keep spamming, causing them to lose out both on farm and all of their kill pressure. Add to this the fact that the laner who got blue buff will have an experience edge, and will therefore hit levels faster, and it’s easy to see how they can beat their lane into submission.
In other words, you should want to give the Blue Buff to a laner, but if you are dependent on in it then take it for as long as you have to to do your job, and give their lane some extra love since taking the buff will put them at a disadvantage. If they are manaless and don’t want Blue Buff, consider whether or not they could use a Red Buff instead.
Rotating as Towers go Down
Do it. No really, just do it. When a tower goes down in a lane, recall as necessary, clear 1 wave fast to get it pushing into their territory, and then start taking that pressure to another lane. If your enemies don’t follow, you get more turrets (for free), and if they do then you have a gold advantage for your teamfights, and more gold advantages waiting once the enemy wave pushes back. The jungler has the opportunity to lead the way with these rotations, including dragons as necessary. For more on why it’s unnecessarily risky to stay in a lane after the turret goes down, see this.
As I discussed in Jungling 301, it’s very possible to know how some things are going to happen before they happen, and use that knowledge to change the outcome in your favor. Of course, to do so with 100% accuracy is beyond human capabilities, but to have contingency plans for when you’re wrong isn’t. Get in the habit of predicting where action will happen, how it will go down, and who will come out on top, and plan your moves multiple steps in advance. That means picking a different champion than you normally would in some cases (broadening your champion pool when necessary), assigning buffs differently than normal, and ganking/counterganking/counterjungling differently than normal. League is a game of adaptation, and in order to have the best adaptations, you need to be thinking like a Chess grandmaster- multiple moves ahead.
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