Pre-Season Patch 4.20 – Opinions on the New Jungle


Recently Riot released a patch, namely Patch 4.20, that has changed a lot about the game. As expected, it is the pre-season, so there are big changes to come to make the game more diverse. I thought I’d take some time to look at the jungle changes of the new patch since they are the biggest changes overall.

  1. Rift Scuttler (Mr. Crabs)

This is one of the more interesting changes that Riot has implemented that is a bit underestimated. The monster itself has a 3 minute respawn time and when slain gives a speed shrine that gives about a trinket wards range in vision by the dragon or baron, depending on the side of the map you kill him on. A free speed shrine gives you the ability to engage, disengage, roam from the mid lane faster, while the vision being unkillable, gives you a free ward for 90 seconds that watches the opening to the dragon pit. There are many potential scenarios where the speed shrine can give you an insane advantage and because of this, I expect junglers to try to push their advantages into the bottom side jungle more often than usual, to be able to protect and ensure that they kill this little fella to have the utmost chance in a dragon fight that can decide the game.

  1. Smite Rewards

With the new preseason, they’ve added a lot more variance to League of Legends from a jungler’s standpoint that will add complexity to mastering the jungle role. Previously in the jungle, you really only used smite to aid you in clearing camps and to secure important objectives, but now there’s a twist on every time you smite a large jungle monster.

The previous Golems, now named Krugs, when smited will grant you a buff that will give you an on-hit stun every first and fifth attack, which gives you a way to sustain yourself throughout the jungle by taking less damage, and your first auto attack deals a high amount of true damage on first auto but consumes the buff. Attack speed based junglers like Warwick will likely be able to start off by clearing this camp with smite and soloing every other jungle camp with this buff because with his innate sustain, the ability to take less damage because you’re constantly stunning things, keeps you healthy throughout your jungle clear.

The previous Wraiths, now named Raptors, when smited gives you a buff that tells you the next time you are detected by a ward, then gives you true sight for 10 seconds, to be able to clear that ward and any other wards in the area. Since the patch, this buff itself has made blue side a much stronger side, especially in the early to mid game because of the simplicity of smiting the wraiths and walking into dragon area and clearing at minimum 1 ward just from using your smite to clear a camp. Overall, I like that they put this into the game, but the fact that you get true sight and can clear multiple wards ruins the idea of this camp for me because it gives too much control.

The new wolves, named Murkwolves, when smited creates a spirit that will watch over the side of the jungle you smited it on for you and will move directly toward whoever is in that side of the jungle. I haven’t seen too much of smiting this objective, but I do see scenarios of it being useful, like if you don’t have bottom side control and you’re a weak jungler who wants to protect their bottom lane from being dove. The spirit itself can be smited one minute before your buff comes up as well to spot an invade in case one happens, but the other camps just seem a bit stronger atm.

The wight has been changed to a large frog named Gromp. When you smite it, you gain a buff when attacked you will poison the target for a moderate amount of damage over 3 seconds, the buff once again lasting 90 seconds like the rest. This is an incredibly underrated buff because it’s the only one that can be used in combat, and helps your clear time. I think this is the camp that the tanky/sustain junglers like Nunu will likely start because his damage is rather low besides his burst damage from smite and consume, so this camp would increase his speed greatly, although smiting this before invading someone’s jungle is strong as well due to the amount of power it gives you in skirmishes.

The red/blue buffs now give you bonus incentives to smite it. The red buff when smited restores 20% maximum health, and the blue buff restores 25% maximum mana. When trying to escape I can imagine scenarios where someone needs to smite the red to live or for a burst healing in a fight based around red buff, but overall these changes are just to make non sustain junglers have a fighting chance at clearing the buffs early without being too punished for it.

  1. Monster Changes

With all of these added changes that can help you clear the jungle easier, Riot needed to implement a way that the jungle couldn’t be farmed quickly and abused for EXP/Gold. With this idea, came major changes to the health, damage, gold, and experience to those of the jungle camps. All small camps double in respawn time, from 50 seconds to 100 seconds, but in return were given a bonus 20% health, attack damage, gold, and experience. This makes the camps harder to kill, but more rewarding in the long run. I’d say the biggest change that is still somewhat overlooked is that at some point Riot decided that they should not have camps spawn at 1:55 anymore due to the bot laners having the advantage of double golems, yet they’ve reinstated that spawn point to try to change the jungle route diversities. Sadly, the problem is that bot lane’s can easily do Gromp or Golems and just sacrifice a potion for the advantage of level 2 so early.

I’d say these changes in general have pushed a lot of champions that are less mechanically sound into the meta like Warwick and Nunu. The other junglers previously strong in the meta that didn’t have strong sustain like Lee Sin or Jarvan aren’t that weak right now in the jungle, but require some start up time that doesn’t allow them to pressure as early as they used to. They can really only clear buff to buff and lose out in experience because they need to recall while champions that are currently stronger like Nunu and Warwick can clear the entire jungle and come out on top. The sort of farm to level six mentality is very boring in my opinion but stronger which makes warwick a strong pick right now with a winrate hitting nearly 60% in solo queue.

  1. Jungle Items

As previously mentioned, the Hunter’s Machete has been raised in price from 325 gold to 400 gold, and gives a bit more damage and some sustain, but in general is just a different machete, not necessarily a better or worse version of the previous one besides the fact that you now are going from four potions in the jungle to two.

With the new patch came four upgrades to the Machete.

The first is Poacher’s Knife, when you smite and kill a large monster it will give you half the cooldown on smite, you gain +20 gold and you gain a 175% movespeed increase that decays over 2 seconds. I’d say this upgrade is essentially worthless currently because the amount of times you use the other upgrades are just better in general, especially with the increased jungle times. If you don’t take the extra effort to time their camps, you might walk into their jungle and there are no camps there and you’ve wasted a lot of time and gold on this purchase.

The second is Ranger’s Trailblazer which decreases smite’s cooldown by 15 seconds and deals half damage in an AoE and stuns for 1.5 seconds, restoring 15% missing health and mana. This is probably the most used jungle item just because it gives hope to champions like Jarvan and Lee Sin to actually be able to sustain during the jungle and clear while still having strong clear times and skirmishing ability. It helps you farm the jungle and stay healthy, which is the most important thing for these junglers because it helps them skirmish in the long run.

The next is Skirmisher’s Sabre. With the new changes this item grants the user the ability to smite the enemy champion and deal true damage to the enemy based on level on auto attacks, gives vision of them, and reduces their damage by 20%. The name gives itself away that this is the strongest item for skirmishing. The only problem is that this item is really only for skirmishers like Xin Zhao or Warwick because they can already sustain in the jungle. The previous skirmishers are forced to build Ranger’s Trailblazer to maintain high health to be able to pressure. Lately this item has been the go-to for junglers with CC that can hold down a target and get auto attacks off, being used almost like a DFG for Warwick ultimate.

And last but not least, the Stalker’s Blade which gives the ability to smite an enemy champion dealing true damage and slowing for a whopping 50% for 2 seconds. Initially everyone thought this would be insanely broken due to a castable true damage with CC, but as more and more people played they realized that this is somewhat balanced because the champions that could have abused the CC are mainly the ones that can’t stay healthy in the jungle and need to go Ranger’s Trailblazer, like Lee Sin. I still see the CC as a really strong and broken mechanic, but you need a jungler than can sustain the jungle, not use smite because you want to save it for ganks, then use it in a gank which is hard to find.

  1. Jungle Item Enchantments

To spice things up, Riot created the idea of enchantments. Not only in boots now, but into each of the four jungle items, there are now four enchants you can buy for that jungle item, giving 16 different avenues any jungler can take for their core item of choice. More than likely each person will choose the enchant that relates to their characters core stats, so I won’t go into much detail on that.

First up is the Devourer enchant. This enchant is very similar to that of feral flare in regards to it giving magic damage on auto, stacking up by one or two magic damage based on killing large monsters or by getting kills and assists. I can tell you right now with confidence that this enchant is going to get nerfed simply because compared to feral flare, the amount of damage and how quickly you can get the item compared to before is just way too high of damage, way too quickly into the game.

Second, we have the Juggernaut enchant. This enchant gives you 500 health, 10% cooldown reduction, and 35% tenacity. Interesting item, obviously will be bought on tanks, and it is strong because it gives tenacity, which is inherently a difficult stat to buy. If you are facing an all AD team, you often don’t want to pay the 850 extra gold to get magic resist with your tenacity, so in a lot of ways this item has helped like Ancient Golem did previously.

Third, the Magus enchant gives you 80 ability power and 20% cooldown reduction. Obviously AP junglers would use this enchant but I have yet to see it because generally if you’re a jungler you don’t want to invest so much gold into AP when you could be investing it into getting tankier. I’ve only seen this enchant on fiddlesticks, where I still see Elise’s taking the Juggernaut enchant to stay relevant and tanky.

And last, the Warrior enchant that gives you 45 Attack damage, 10% CDR, and 10 Armor penetration. I see use for this enchant in the squishy assassin champions like Kha’Zix who would do great with another item in his late game that gives him even more CDR and Armor pen.

All of these items are essentially your core mid game purchase that affects how you come out of the jungle, so I expect to see mainly Juggernaut enchants, but due to Devourer’s insane potential I see that being the other widely used enchant on junglers.

  1. The Dyrus Special

Dying to any camp with your buffs no longer loses your buffs, could be some random path that requires you to die to get a faster recall, but I doubt it’s viability. This is mostly just to ensure that the first few times of people learning the jungle when they’re feeling brave, don’t die and get too punished by it.

That’s all I have to say about the new jungle, I’m excited to see what other people come up with as I’ve been having a lot of fun theorycrafting on my own time about what I think is strong in regards to champions, routes and builds.


by Tony Gray, on December 6, 2014