JungleMath: Optimizing Damage, Minimizing Damage Taken

After seeing many Asian junglers start by attacking the smaller golem first, I was curious as to why they do this and why NA and EU junglers focus the bigger golem first. I also calculated to see if any other buff had a non-traditional focus order, with traditional being big first then small monsters.

The Setup

The best way to figure out whether to target the bigger monster or smaller monster(s) was the calculate the damage per health of the two golems. Units with a higher score do more damage for the quantity of health they have and therefore should be focused by single target damage first.

Much like team fighting, the team’s damage is used most efficiently when taking out the other team’s carries. The highest damage/EffectiveHealth is usually the ADC, in other words the champion with the highest damage and the lowest health, and this is exactly why ADC is usually the highest priority in late game team fights.

Below I’ve calculated the value of the damage/health based on each camp’s stats between buffs spawning between 2:05 – 3:00 and 3:00-3:59. Since the armor and magic resistance of the two are the same (buff camps are an exception), I will not need to take into account effective physical health or effective magical health as they will take equal amount of damage from either source of damage. Therefore in these cases,  resistances do not affect our calculations. Big monsters and their respective little monsters have the same attack speed too, so all we need to do is account for damage to compare their respective DPS (damage per second). I’ll show the full breakdown on the first camp, the golem camp and then write condensed calculations for the rest.


2:05-2:59 Big Golem:
Health= 1200
Damage= 54
Damage/Health= 0.045

2:05-2:59 Lesser Golem:
Health= 450
Damage= 30
Damage/Health= 0.067

Oca opt

What does this all mean?

golem square

The Lesser Golem’s Damage/Health ratio is 48% higher than that of the Big Golem, meaning that it is preferred to do damage to the Lesser Golem than the Big Golem, assuming single target damage only. From 3 to 4 minutes this ratio changes to 44%


wolf square

The Lesser Wolf’s Damage/Health ratio is 93% higher than that of the Giant Wolf from 2 to 3 minutes into the game, meaning that is very beneficial to focus the Lesser Wolves with single target damage. From 3 to 4 minutes, this ratio changes to 80%.


wraith square

The Lesser Wraith’s Damage/Health ratio is 90% higher than that of the Giant Wraith from 2 to 3 minutes into the game, meaning that it is also very beneficial to clear these smaller camps with single target damage. From 3 to 4 minutes, this ratio changes to 79%.



So how do we optimize damage done while minimizing damage taken?

Well from our calculations we can see that for all the jungle camps, as long as damage isn’t being wasted, you should focus the smaller monster first with single target damage. However don‘t smite the small monster as smite’s damage is ~200 damage higher than the little golem’s health in the first clear and much higher than any other small monster.

The other thing we have to be wary of when it comes to wasted damage is AOE (Area of Effect) damage. You might want to focus the big monster if your champion can apply enough damage to kill the little minions in the camp. This applies to junglers with low cd AOE spells like Hecarim, Zac, and Amumu. 

As an example, Fiddlesticks clearing the golem camp. You want to auto the little one, E the big one, then finish the little with another auto attack before using drain to kill the large Golem. If you E the little one some damage will be wasted as the last bounce does more damage than the health remaining on the little golem.

Another thing to take into account % health damage. Elise does 60 more damage on her human Q on a full health big golem than on the small golem because of % health damage. In this case, you would definitely clear the camp faster by focusing the bigger golem thus optimizing damage done, but it may increase damage taken slightly. The damage may not seem like much but it can be as much as 30 damage!

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I finished season 3 at plat 5 with under 80 wins playing all roles. My love for thinking and reading about the game almost equals that for playing League of Legends. My favorite quote is "Perfection is many small things done well". Leave me a comment on what you would like to see in the next article!

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