Jungle Tips For Solo Queue

Image created by Nips (https://www.facebook.com/artbynips)
Image created by Nips (https://www.facebook.com/artbynips)

The number one question that I get asked when I am streaming is usually something along the lines of, “how do I get better at jungling?” Sometimes people ask which champions are the best for solo queue, which lanes are the best to gank, or they just ask for general jungle tips. I thought this would be a good place to address some of these questions and do my best to give some solo queue jungling tips, along with some champion suggestions which I believe to be strong in solo queue.

Jungling can be intimidating for newer players but hopefully with some of these jungling tips, it can be less stressful. While there are multiple ways to jungle, the overall goal while jungling is to control objectives. The best ways to do this are to create pressure, time objectives, and initiate fights.

Creating pressure can be done in a lot of ways, the most obvious of which is ganking.  As the jungler, most of the time the other team won’t know where you are so you have a lot of opportunities to gank.  When I’m jungling and I look for a gank, there are a lot of questions that run through my mind. Examples of these are “are there any wards on the way to the lane?”, “what cooldowns (especially flash) does the laner have?”, “is it likely that the other jungler shows up to counter-gank?”, and many others. Ganking is one of the jungler’s most powerful tools and when used correctly, can really snowball a lane matchup and control the pace of a game.

While ganking is useful, it’s not the most reliable form of pressure because most players are aware of where the jungler might be and don’t always let you just walk up the river and kill them. Other forms of pressure involve fighting the other jungler in the jungle, which when done correctly, can pull the opposing laners away from their lane to help their jungler.  Pushing lanes is another way of creating pressure because it can let your laner get a free recall while their laners have to sit under their tower trying to last hit so they don’t miss exp or gold.

All of these are effective ways to create pressure and although I wish there was a way to always know what the correct method is, there really isn’t. A lot of the judgement calls come from experience and the only way to get this experience is to play the game.

Aside from creating pressure, knowing timers is a really important part of jungling as well. Knowing that blue and red buff spawn five minutes after the camp is cleared and remembering that number can lead to successfully securing your own buffs or stealing enemy buffs.  Blue, red, and inhibitors respawn in 5 minutes, dragon respawns in 6 minutes, and baron respawns in 7 minutes.  By typing out the respawn timer of these objectives, it informs your team for when they should be ready to contest an objective and it hopefully avoids situations where your mid laner has 3,000 gold, half hp, and no mana right as dragon spawns. Knowing the cooldowns of certain ultimates and summoner spells are very important as well because it can let you know if a gank will work or not.  Flash has a 5:00 base cooldown and it can be lowered to 4:15 with at least 7 points in utility.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of creating pressure and timing objectives, I’d say the most important thing for a jungler is to be an initiator.  Most of the popular junglers have great kits for starting a fight and you shouldn’t be afraid to get into the middle of the other team to disrupt them and soak up a lot of damage for your team. The most effective way to be an initiator is to build tank items so that you don’t die immediately upon jumping in. Spirit of the Ancient Golem is a really good item for junglers because it allows them to have increased jungle speeds while still building defensively.

Granted, being a tank isn’t the only way to play jungle in solo queue and in certain situations, building dps can be more effective. Like I said in the beginning, this is just a guideline for newer junglers who are looking to understand more about the role. I’ll conclude this blog with a list of champions that I feel are strong in solo queue. But remember, champions can be interchangeable and (almost) anything works in solo queue.


Best Solo Queue Junglers: 

Evelynn– Right now, I feel that eve is the strongest jungler in solo queue because she fulfills the role of a carry and an initiator, while also being an amazing ganker with fast jungle clear times. Eve puts a lot of pressure on lanes because she can walk by sight wards without being seen and she deals very high damage. Eve can itemize offensively while still being hard to kill due to the shield from her ultimate and she can build zhonyas very easily.

Nocturne– Nocturne is the go-to champion that I tell people to play when they are trying to climb elo and learn how to jungle. He has a very straightforward kit and he is good at almost everything a jungler needs to be able to do.  He does a lot of damage, clears his jungle quickly, and can initiate fights with his ultimate. He can be built offensively or defensively depending on the situation.

Jarvan IV– Jarvan is one of the strongest early game junglers because of his high damage and mobility in the early game. He puts a ton of pressure on lanes and can beat almost any other jungler in a duel if played correctly. He’s really strong against champions without a natural gap closer because as long as they don’t have flash, they can’t escape his ultimate.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope these tips can help you improve as a jungler. Above all though, the most important thing is to keep a positive attitude, have fun, and always keep learning.


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by Will Hartman, on August 14, 2013