So it’s at the ten minute mark, you’ve been ganked three times by their Maokai top while your Dr. Mundo couldn’t care less. This can often feel rather frustrating to even the most experienced player in the League. It’s a team-based game, and your teammate is letting you down, throwing you under the bus against a powerful champion while he farms Wraith camp. Again. I understand your anger dear friend, but trust me when I say the jungler wants you to win your lane just as much as you do. But their mind is often preoccupied with so many other things, and I think you’d do well to be more informed of the numerous responsibilities BEYOND ganking any one lane. I’ll cover each one in detail below, but for the summoner on the go, here’s the TL;DR list: Dragon control, buff control, counter-jungling, and their own level and item build.
“What does Dragon have to do with ganking my lane? All I want is to kill their Irelia.” One of the greatest strengths of the jungler is mystery. The fact the enemy does not know where I am keeps them from getting hyper-aggressive, knowing there will be a possible 1v2 or 2v3 in their near future. One great example of this global power is Shen’s ult. The chance of having another champion in the fight to deal with keeps lanes more passive than they otherwise might be. With that in mind, consider the enemy team’s thought process if I gank top at the 8ish minute mark with Dragon up. Their jungler (their Smite) is top lane, as far as the jungler can be from Dragon. They are probably taking considerable damage from minions/towers/the enemy lane. Drawing all available resources from the bottom side of the map, at worst it will be a 4v3, for us. Sounds like a pretty good deal for the enemy team if you ask me. With all these facts in mind, a gank in the aforementioned situation would, in best case scenario, end up as a kill for us (~450 g kill + assist) vs 950g for the enemy team. Ummmmm...
"Smite me, if you can" - Timing their smite spell on Baron Nashor is one of the most thrilling moments for every jungler.
The Dragon has been taken, and won’t be back for 6 whole minutes. Plenty of time for our Udyr to get in at least one gank on my lane, right? To put it plainly, maybe. Don’t let this discourage you, we still care about you, oh beloved laner. We just have more objectives to worry about ahead of time. Even with the recent nerfs, the red and blue buffs are still extremely powerful, and claiming them can make or break a game (see any M5 game from IEM Kiev, in particular ones vs. TSM). In early to mid game, the buffs are my responsibility to give out or take at my discretion. It has become standard that 2nd blue goes to mid, and all subsequent ones after that, and I get most of the red buffs. Now buff control and counter-jungling are closely tied, and I can think of a very common situation that has massive repercussions on the game due to a mistimed buff. You are purple spawn side. At 6:55 the enemy jungle shows bottom lane for a gank. Suddenly massive pings go off at the enemy blue. It is in the same mindset of the Dragon situation encountered before that I call on you for assistance. The only people in the area for blue spawn side are mid and top. If I (your jungle), mid and top come for their blue (typically spawning around 7:05-7:15 if they started blue), it’s an easy pick up. Whoever gets this buff has a much easier time in lane, and more importantly it tips the scales of the midlane in your favour tremendously. After this successful pick up at their buff, I go back and give our mid our blue. This permits our mid to push relentlessly against the enemy and gives them the freedom to roam for ganks, invade the enemy jungle (alone or with your jungler), and generally bully the enemy mid lane. All these opportunities can really help pull a game in your favour, and it was a result of the enemy ganking us!
With all these other objectives to deal with, there’s still one more that takes precedence over ganking a lane. My well-being. That is to say, keeping up on levels and gold with my team. Unfortunately my camping tri-bush gains me neither gold nor experience, and so I must often leave you for the sake of not falling behind. The jungler will always lag in levels, but with disciplined clearing it’s not too dramatic. The last thing you want is your jungler who is 3 levels behind walk out and get dunked by the enemy laner (I admit to doing so early in my jungling career; it was a really good lesson on the importance of farming).
Now, after all these points have been covered in my mind, I will head to your lane for that oh-so-important gank. It’s definitely part of the job description, and it’s a part that is immensely enjoyable: waiting for the perfect moment to strike, leaping from the brush, coordinating flawlessly with my lane, the chase, the kill! First Blood!!
I just don’t want that gank to set us behind because some greater objective was not taken in to account. I implore you to keep this in mind the next time you’re in game and getting a little frustrated at the jungler apparently ignoring your existence. We do have a responsibility to the team first, whether it is dragon control, buff control, or our own levels. If you really need a gank and they do seem to be totally non-observant, a polite reminder will always be more effective than “/all Noob jungle GG afk”.
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I'm the ACM for LoL.NA. I think one of the best things about E-Sports is the connections and communities that are built around the game. My hope is that we can get E-Sports on the same level of traditional sports in the broader world's minds.
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