League of Legends: Jungling guide – How to play jungle
What does a jungler do?
Where all the other players on your team will spend the early game gathering experience and gold in lane while attempting to emerge victorious over their opponents, you'll set off on an entirely different path as a jungler. Instead, you'll accrue gold and experience by defeating monsters dotted around your side of the jungle.
There are some tough creatures to fight in the trees, so junglers are usually stocky bruisers or tanky champions that can dish out a decent amount of damage while also being comfortable taking a few hits themselves. Of course, some unorthodox picks make their way in from time to time, but fighters and tanks are generally considered the safe option. You can find some of our top picks in our Best Junglers Guide.
It's not a complete player-versus-environment experience for a jungler, though. Once you've collected your buffs and defeated all the monsters on your side of the map, you can begin consulting your minimap for any lanes which might need some help. One of the best ways to do this is by ganking an ally's lane at just the right time, catch them off guard, and secure kills to gain an advantage.
It's knowing when to attempt these ganks and which paths to take which is what separates the best junglers from the rest, so keep an eye out for low health targets who've pushed a little too far forward in lane. This way you've got a much greater chance of ambushing them when they've got no way of escape.
As a player who can often oversee the entire battlefield, the jungler is also usually the one who monitors important buffs and objectives across the map such as the Elder Dragon and Baron Nashor. Keeping these key monsters warded, or scouting them to see if they’re being attempted is an important part of the junger’s job.
Finally, you'll need to keep tabs on the enemy jungler's position. By no means do you need to have the foresight of an oracle, but it's key that you're somewhat aware of which lanes they might target, and even how well they're doing in comparison to you. The best junglers monitor the opponent's jungler, perhaps warding the opposing jungle and catching them off guard as they're fighting monsters, or simply ganking the same lane to swing things in their favour.