League of Legends Ganking 101
Ganking is seen as an ordinary task but it is actually an art form. Whether you are picking up jungle for the first time or you are a cold-hearted veteran roaming the Amazon rainforest, learning how to be more effective when it comes to assisting your laners and getting ahead is key to becoming a successful Jungler.
In this Mobalytics guide, we’re going to give you some tips and tricks to help you become a more effective Jungler and to make ganks result in more kills for yourself or your allies. Before we get into the topic at hand, we need to provide a little disclaimer.
It’s highly recommended that you look up a champion guide you are playing to understand how some of this information will affect you. Not all of it is going to be consistent and helpful on every champion you play, and for some champions, it may even be the complete opposite.
1. Understand your champions win conditions
One thing you can search for and find out is what your champion’s win condition are. If they are an early game champion, then you will need to be rather proactive in the early. If they need time to scale, you’re not going to be very strong at the beginning of the game.
Some of the champions who are strong in the early game include Lee Sin, Jarvan and Elise, and these champions need to be as proactive as possible and gang whenever they can. Scaling champions aren’t necessarily strong in the early game and need some time to come online.
For example, Master Yi isn’t the greatest ganker on his own, and Amumu and Eve can’t really do too much until level 6.
When you are playing as somebody who isn’t strong early on, your focus will be on farming and getting as much gold and XP as possible so you can get your power spike quickly. Once you hit your power spike, you should be looking to gank as often as possible.
For many champions, the first power spike is there Ultimate while others might need a certain level (other than 6) or until they get their first item. That doesn’t mean that somebody who isn’t strong early cannot help their laners at all. You should be proactive and help when possible, but just understand that it might not always be possible.
2. Understanding your teams win conditions (early on)
Take note of what champions your team consists of. Do you have a hyper carry or do you have a squishy bot lane? Does the enemy have great gank set up and does the enemy Jungler have good pressure early on?
There are a ton of questions you should ask yourself when the game is loading.
If your bottom lane is pretty vulnerable, you may wish to prioritize getting them ahead. If there is a hyper carry or somebody who is incredibly strong once fed, you may want to focus on helping them more than someone like a tank.
A good Jungler will be utilizing their champions win condition to get their team ahead.
If your team’s win condition is to get bot lane fed, make sure you help them and do what you need to get them ahead. Do not leave the bottom lane alone to play 2 vs 3 as the enemy Jungler will be prioritizing their lane over any others.
If your allies are very weak in the early game or need time to come online, try not to force anything in their lane. It is very difficult for somebody who is weak early on to assist a Jungler if they have nothing available to offer and this can result in them falling behind.
Try not to force anything in particular if your allies cannot follow up properly. Some champions don’t even want ganks: they just want to farm and scale.
Champions that come to mind are Nasus or Ornn who can’t really assist too much (depending on the matchup of course) and will be just wanting to farm for as long as possible.
3. Play around your Ultimate
Even if your champion is early game dominant, you should look to play around your Ultimate to maximize kills. Most Ultimates (for Junglers at least) come in one of two forms: either tons of damage or crowd control/utility. Whenever your Ultimate is up, you should look to use it as more often than not, it will result in either a kill or a blown Summoner Spell.
If your champion doesn’t necessarily have the greatest gank pressure, you may be only ganking whenever your Ultimate is up and farming while it’s down. Some examples of this are champions like Amumu, Shyvana or Malphite.
These champions don’t necessarily have the strongest gank pressure without their Ultimate as they might struggle to help lanes without prior setup or crowd control.
Regardless of your champion, you should always try to gank whenever your Ultimate is up. It is a key ability that can provide kills and give your team a lot of gold and map pressure. For example, Sejuani’s Ultimate is fantastic and if you use it in a lane with a lot of damage, it is going to result in a kill every time.
If you do not actively use your Ultimate, you are potentially missing out on gold, experience, map pressure, and a ton of other things that can win you the game. This is why it is incredibly important that whenever your Ultimate is up, you try to use it.
To make full use of your Ultimate, you should try to use it in the best possible lane. What I mean by this is that some champions have more pressure than others, and if the likelihood of you using the Ultimate and killing the enemy is slim then you should probably use it somewhere else.
For example, using it to help a tank vs tank in the top lane isn’t the greatest use of a crowd control Ultimate. This isn’t the case for Ultimates that can be used to execute like Evelynn or Lee Sin though as a kill is a kill after all. CC Ultimates like Shyvana’s or Amumu’s are best used on squishy, immobile carries like the ones that run wild in the mid or bot lane.
4. Do not dive early on
An early dive is usually done by an overzealous Jungler which is quickly followed by a call to surrender. In the early game, you should never try to dive the enemy as standard because very few players are healthy enough to survive a dive. You should never be diving the enemy as they will have the Tower to protect them and unless they are incredibly low, they might be able to turn around the dive. This is why it is recommended that you never dive the enemy.
In addition to this, let’s assume that you’ve not tracked the enemy Jungler. If you try to dive, they might show up and counter the dive resulting in a 2 for 0 trade in the enemies favor. You should always try to track the enemy Jungler and if you do not know where they are, then they could be around any corner and that includes near the lane you want to dive.
On the other hand, you can dive if your champion is tanky or has an ability that can save them. For example, diving with Master Yi can be easier compared to some other champions because his Q can drop tower aggro, and most tanks can take a few tower shots. Do not dive at all if you are less than confident that you can get in and out without dying or without blowing Flash. Do not dive if your ally is not able to dive with you and don’t dive if it’s 50/50.
Please note: you can dive post 6 on most champions, just don’t expect it to always work in your favor. You should never force a dive if it’s not necessary.
5. Do not spend a lot of time helping lost lanes
Some matchups can be very difficult for your allies and it’s rare to have three winning lanes. The problem is, you shouldn’t try to intervene in some lanes if they are counted or lost. As an example, trying to assist a lane that is very behind will not always result in successful gank. They may be behind in levels, items or sometimes even skills. When this is the case, it’s not always valuable spending your time trying to assist them.
Let’s suggest your top laner is 0 and 3. Trying to help them will be very difficult because the enemy is so far ahead that they might be able to turn the exchange around and it may result in a 2 for 0 in the enemies favor. When a lane is this far behind, you cannot help them on your own. You may need assistance from nearby lanes to help you beat the enemy. A superior numbers advantage can often help these lost lanes.
Now, it’s better for you to spend your time trying to help lanes that are already doing pretty well themselves or ones that are at least even. You can have a much high impact on the map if you can get these lanes further ahead. In addition to this, using your Ultimate on a guaranteed kill is much better compared to something that’s less than 50/50.
You may want to help losing lanes if they are being zoned away from farm, or if you can actually kill the enemy. I just wouldn’t recommend that you spend too much time trying to help them as you will fall behind yourself if you continue trying to assist a losing lane.
As a bonus tip, if a matchup is very difficult to gank, the same applies and you shouldn’t spend too much time in their lane. As an example, if the enemy laner is a Heimerdinger or somebody who is very difficult to kill, you might not want to try and help them unless it’s guaranteed to result in a win for team. Just like a losing lane, enemies who are hard to kill such as Heimerdinger can turn around exchanges very well.
In order for you to counter gank, you need to have good map awareness and the ability to track the enemy Jungler. Lucky for you, we’ve made a separate guide on how to track the enemy Jungler, give it a read if you want to know how to track them.
One way of becoming a better Jungler is by helping your team achieve things. One of these things includes taking objectives such as the Drake or the Rift Herald. If you are not in a position to counter gank, you could try to do something else on the map such as one of those two things.
Alternatively, you could try your luck and gank a different lane where the Jungler is nowhere near. If the enemy is in the top side of the map, you could try to help the bottom lane or take the Drake if they have priority. If you cannot do any of these things, you could try to invade their jungle and steal away their camps to delay their power spike and reduce their gold income.
6. Optimize your Pathing and First Clear
Another way of becoming a more effective Jungler and subsequently a better ganker is by practicing good jungle clearing and kiting when necessary. Many players just walk to a camp and start auto-attacking it without paying too much attention to their ability to kite and take less damage.
Most Junglers are able to kite every camp to some extent. If you can research and practice good jungle clearing then you are going to find that you are able to do more on the map and be more of a pain for the enemy team.
I would recommend that you check sites like Mobafire and give your desired champion a little research to understand the best way for them to kite each camp. In addition to doing research on how to kite camps, you can also look for your Junglers most efficient clearing path. Every Jungler has one or two effective paths that give them the most XP, best chance to gank and the healthiest clear.
We have some examples on our Instagram including the one that is pictured here. If you follow this route, you’re going to have a very effective clear which will allow you to gank or at least clear the jungle in a more effective way (and potentially gank).
Take note that pathing like this does need constant adaptation and you need to do your research every patch to stay updated. Another thing you can do besides looking at Mobafire for clearing the jungle is by watching one-trick streaming on Twitch and copying the jungle path that they take as they usually have it down to a T.
At the end of the day, you can’t be everywhere on the map, but you should try to utilize your champions kit to make up for the fact that you can’t be in 3 lanes at once. Hope that some of these tips will help you or at least remind you how to be a better Jungler.
If you have any questions or want to learn more, check out PicklePants stream.