League of Legends: jungling fundamentals in 2023
Published: June 26 2023
Last updated: November 7 2023
If you want to learn everything about the Jungle role after the changes which came to the game in 2023, this guide is for you! We will cover Season 13, starting camp choice, suggested pathing update, jungling mechanic, and Deprioritizing Dragon in Solo Queue. Let’s begin!
The game keeps growing and evolving as League of Legends continues through its 13th season. With the ever-continuing changes to League of Legends, the fundamental game strategies require continued adaptation and new knowledge. As such, you must continue learning to reach new heights in your League of Legends career.
Among the five roles in League of Legends, the Jungle role remains the most versatile, difficult, and ever-changing position the game offers. So let’s look at some of the fundamentals of Jungling in 2023 and talk through some of the decisions you’ll need to make again in each and every game. If you’re new or want to cover all your bases, check out how our basics Jungle Role guide and the Jungle rebalance brought to LoL in Season 12 for further info!
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League of Legends season 13: Jungle starting camp choice
The default choice of starting camp in the 2023 Jungle meta is still to start alongside your bot laners at the Blue Sentinel or Brambleback. However, there is another option that gains popularity from time to time when strong clearing champions find their way into the Jungle meta. The method is to solo-start at either the Raptors or the Wolves camp, which makes your choices much harder to predict.
While this results in a slightly slower jungle clear in most cases, it hides much of the information about your pathing from your opponents and benefits your bot lane duo. With the importance of bot lane in the current League of Legends meta, allowing them to fight for the early level two can make or break certain matchups.
However, it is worth noting that only some champions can reliably start at both the Raptor or Wolve jungle camp, as these have the potential to deal more damage to your champion. A great example is the ever-popular jungler Kha’Zix, who will likely struggle to start at the Raptor camp independently due to his lack of area-of-effect abilities. Whereas a champion like Rek’Sai or Jarvan IV has a much easier time clearing these camps allowing for more flexibility in their pathing.
Instead, a champion with Kha’Zix can start solo at either of the buff camps comfortably. His ideal route starts at the Blue Sentinel, followed by the Gromp, optionally the Wolves camp, and then to the Red Buff, granting him at least level three before starting the Raptors or Golem camps which are much easier to clear after unlocking all three abilities.
A closer look at the suggested pathing update in LoL season 13
In a recent update to aid new players, the developers of League of Legends, Riot Games, added a feature that suggests the camp order for the first couple of minutes of the game to the Jungle role. While this mechanic is incredibly beneficial to the learning portion for new players, it also makes your decision-making immensely predictable, as essentially every character has the same “full-clear” path.
The path for Jungle is as follows:
Start at your Buff,
Clear Golems or Gromp, followed by Raptors or Wolves,
Cross the mid lane, then Raptors or Wolves,
Conclude at your final camp.
It won’t take long to figure out this path, but you must burn the order into your mind if you are serious about learning the Jungle role.
With Jungle being one of the least played roles at most ranks, you will often face players unfamiliar with all strategies and all aspects of the role. In these cases, you can easily predict where your opponent will be for at least the first five minutes of the game, making it less likely for you or your teammates to catch themselves in a bad situation.
Knowing where your opponent is likely to be, gives you the decision-making agency, as you can look to match where they go if you believe you and your laner(s) are stronger than they are.
Or, if you are in a weaker position, you can actively avoid your opponent and warn your teammate in advance to back off from danger. Similarly, if you don’t play the role frequently, your opponent is equally likely to make these predictions about your pathing.
In both situations, you can use these things to your advantage by deviating from the expected route. Maybe even take a chance at a level two gank if you can pull that off on your champion.
Jungle Mechanics you must know in 2023
While many of you are already familiar with the concept of dragging mobs, it is ever important to utilize this strategy, especially with the recent interface update to League of Legends. The recent update changed various camps’ aggression ranges and added a visual indicator of how far you can drag the monsters before they return to their places.
A quick overview for those unfamiliar with the concept; you can drag the monsters away a brief distance from their starting location. Dragging is a strategy in which you walk short distances throughout the combat with these jungle camps during the downtime period of your auto-attacks or during the cooldowns of your abilities. At worst, these small movements (to wherever you plan to go next) allow you to move quickly throughout your jungle, as you spend (slightly) less time moving between camps or possible other targets. And while doing it optimally, it results in the jungle monsters dealing less damage to you during combat due to their repeated movement delaying their attacks.
One step above the mob dragging mechanic is where you plan your movement to maximize your area-of-effect abilities. Learning this takes some getting used to, but it is required if you want to master the role of the Jungler. While this won’t impact every champion, many popular champions heavily benefit from the small optimizations of your movement. Great examples of this include Maokai and his Sapplings, Graves and his Buckshot passive, or champions like Vi, Nocturne, and many more.
For Maokai, the optimization may include dragging the monsters toward nearby jungle Brushes to enable the Sapplings’ passive that grants it more damage when it finds its target after hiding. Similarly, Vi becomes a much faster clearing champion if you optimize her E, which causes a cone of residual damage to the monsters standing behind her primary target.
Another example is Nocturne, which requires some decisions for both his passive and his Q - Duskbringer, as the trail left behind could give away your location if cast in the wrong direction.
Strong & weak side of Jungle role in LoL
If you have ever watched a cast of a professional League of Legends game, a topic that comes up frequently is the Weak vs. Strong side. Your strong side is where you have an advantage over your opponents. That may include your jungler clearing his camps nearby, your laners finding a lead, or your support player leaving the lane to assist your teammates. Similarly, the weak side is where your Jungler isn’t, your laners are even or behind, or where your support has left the lane to impact other areas of the map.
Being aware of your teammates and their positions is vital to success as a Jungler, as your positioning can easily sway the game in either direction. As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid playing in areas where you are weak, as that may result in further losses if the enemy jungler matches your location in a fight. Similarly, it is also your job as a jungler to try and anticipate the needs of your laners whenever possible. Some simple things you can consider looking out for are whether they are in danger or are looking to push out their minions to return to base to pick up some more tools to get back into the brawl.
Similarly, a big part of the jungler's task is protecting your laners when the enemy tries to set them behind. A common tactic is to try and “stack” the minion waves by slowly killing the first (or multiple) minion waves and then fast-pushing the next wave allowing a large group of minions to enter the tower range. This dangerous situation requires your attention, as not responding can result in your teammates’ demise, and as we all know, they may well give up before it is over because of it.
The Case for Deprioritizing Dragon in Solo Queue
As we all know, the bounty system has been a blessing and a curse for League of Legends. In some games, the system allows you to catch up. In others, you feel you really weren’t as far ahead when the notorious bounty message popped up. I periodically review some of my games, especially when I’m looking for insights into where to improve, and I noticed myself and my opponents often hesitatingly taking the first or second Dragon while the other team fought for the Rift Herald, as you often see in many professional games.
That idea lines up with the concept of the weak and strong sides we briefly covered earlier. But especially in games under the Diamond and above ranks, where most of the player base reside, taking the first or second dragon of the game rarely had much of an impact. That is worth considering before you direct your team to this objective next time.
Connected to the Objective Bounty system, the most notable point is that the Dragon plays a significant role in deciding when the system activates. While we don’t know the exact values, as this is kept a secret by the developers, we can go off the assumption that the Dragon is worth roughly 1000 gold for your team. The roughly 1000 gold makes sense, as that is approximately the value of the stats these dragons provide.
Something I’ve noticed, while anecdotal, is that when behind, not taking the first or second Dragon of the game, even if it makes “sense” to trade it for the Rift Herald, significantly improves the teams' chances of winning. Because you don’t “buy” the dragon for its 1000 team-gold value, the objective bounties activate much sooner than they otherwise might, making a comeback easier to attain. Similarly, when ahead, it may make sense to wait until after the objective bounties activate to take on the Dragon objective, as this may give you several more minutes to build your gold lead.
While this decision may change as the dragons receive continued changes, think about whether your team effectively uses the buffs the dragon provides. A later (8-10 minutes) Ocean Dragon has a much lower impact than one killed at the four-to-five-minute mark. A Mountain Drake is much more valuable with several front liners on your team, and similarly, the Chemtech Drake currently just doesn’t do much at all.
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