One concept that can be hard to understand in League of Legends are the differences between the roles, particularly solo lanes (like Mid and Top) and Jungle, since it almost seems like they’re playing an entirely different game. Whether you’re a new player that needs clarification, or a veteran that’s having trouble coordinating with your allies in the game, this guide will nonetheless be a good basis of information to understand lane-jungle dynamics.
Today, we’ll go in depth into the roles of the Jungler and Lanes, and more specifically how they should work together on Summoner’s Rift.
To make it simple, the jungle is occupied primarily by one champion, and only certain champions are able to effectively kill monsters for gold and experience. This is generally what prevents a lot of champions from being meta Junglers, since playing a champion that can’t clear effectively will easily be punished by the enemy team.
Lanes, on the other hand, can include a much more diverse cast depending on matchups and which lane we’re talking about, so most other champions find one or two of these lanes home as they scale up by killing minions instead of jungle monsters. Now, let’s get into the gritty details:
For a team to succeed, Junglers need to know how lanes both should and are playing out relative to their pathing (what monster camps they clear in what order) decisions, and conversely laners should understand how Jungle pathing influences the pressure of the map. A simple way to think of this is that the Jungler carries a certain level of pressure, which they can use to prevent or enable plays across the map.
From a laner’s perspective, this ties in heavily to figuring out if you are weakside or strongside (more on that below), which in turn plays a part in figuring out how you will want to play your lane. If you play like you have your Jungler by you to assist when they actually aren’t there, you open yourself up to be collapsed on.
For laners, paying close attention to how Jungle champions path through their first clear is key to being able to anticipate the windows that the enemy has to pressure your lane. The general idea is to ensure that your wave is not in a vulnerable state when the enemy Jungler is hovering your side of the map, but obviously, this can vary if you have a response (if you reasonably expect to be able to handle a gank, can turn on a dive, or have a counter-gank ready).
For Junglers; the wave state of each lane, as well as important CDs (ultimates, summoner spells) and recall timers are all obviously important to consider when determining how you might want to path. It’s also particularly important to anticipate longer-term goals like global objectives. There are two forces at work here.
Every Jungle champion has an optimal route that benefits solo-income the most with minimal compensation (like needing to hover a lane without taking another camp), but realistically you have to be adapting your pathing and clears to take into account that lanes will vary with gank opportunities, potential roam timers from your Mid and Support, as well as invades. Catering to lanes that fit into your win condition (or eliminate/mitigate your loss condition, more on that below) will offer more hidden value to your team than a simple gold lead, so do not fall victim to prioritizing arbitrary spikes in Level or finishing an item when more meaningful opportunities exist to set the tempo of the entire game.
The principle here to follow is: A good understanding of how Jungle wants to path and the dynamic between each Jungler and each lane should always influence how you execute your own early laning to some degree. Conversely, Jungle should constantly consider the balance between their optimal clear with the potential opportunities to gain more meaningful team leads, and so they should adapt to each team’s particular composition.
Of course, being a solo queue player means that you can only really work on half of this equation. If you’re finding difficulties with your allies, and it seems like they fail you no matter how well you play out the lane/jungle, why not buy a lol account to relax and learn new champions?