With Riot announcing that they were trying to expand the jungle pool in League of Legends, here are 10 champions we think they should target to make viable in the role.
Earlier today, Riot released a Dev Corner post with a couple of thoughts as to how the balance team is looking to attack the League of Legends meta going forward. In addition to their promise to rework Tahm Kench, getting rid of Soraka top, and make Stopwatch an item that every champion can’t have, they also gave an interesting look at their thoughts on the jungle:
When we’re digging into our results and follow ups from this year’s preseason, we were really struck by a problem in the Jungle role that we’d never been able to fix – throughout League’s entire history, low Elo players have preferred the jungle position least of all 5 positions, regardless of whether jungle is strong or weak relative to the other 4 positions. We think this will take a variety of changes to fix in the long term, but we want to also do some short-term work to improve jungle appeal. In 10.4 we’re going to try adding a handful of champs that we (and you) love into the jungle pool. We’d be doing very focused changes that buff these champs’ jungle clears but leave their lanes unchanged. Not all of these may ship but here is our current list:
– Garen (we’re also doing some light changes to make bruiser items more viable compared to attack speed builds)
Now, Diana is already a semi-meta jungler, but these other four champions are decidedly not junglers. The response to these new junglers has been fairly mixed but, in the spirit of being positive Pauls and not negative Neds, we’re going to help Riot out and give them 10 champions not currently played in the jungle that we think should be considered.
Going by what appears to be Riot’s thought process for their initial list, these champions will all be ones that are popular in solo queue (outside of the jungle) but also have a low pick rate in pro play. We’ll discuss how and why to make them junglers so Riot if you’re listening, here you go!
Way back in Seasons 4 and 5 when I first started playing, I watched a lot of Nightblue3. At that time, he played a ton of Fizz jungle so I picked it up as a result. It was a lot of fun, super underrated, and helped get me to Gold for the first time.
Following Fizz’s rework (and revert) as well as the changes to jungle camps, Fizz has a lot of trouble clearing the jungle. I’d love to see Riot do something unique with his somewhat useless passive to help him in the jungle (for instance, he dodges the first or every fourth attack from neutral monsters?) so I can get back to hopping over walls for unique gank paths.
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A lot of people are resistant to this, but when Talon’s rework first dropped I thought his terrain traversal made him tailor-made for the jungle. He has a decent clear once you get Tiamat, but he just needs a bit more sustain for those first few jungle routes.
A lot of people will recoil at this notion, but she’s one of the most popular ADCs in League of Legends, she’s already picked top lane in addition to AD Carry, and her kit is kind of perfect for the jungle. She has CC on her Condemn, percent max health true damage that allows her to kill neutral objectives very quickly, a way to traverse some jungle walls, and invisibility. As long as she’s weak enough to invade early, I have no problem letting her try to scale up in the jungle like a Master Yi does.
I know, I’m evil, but hear me out. She has slows and a CC in her kit to keep enemies from escaping, she has enough shields to theoretically clear the jungle without taking a ton of damage, and she’d be the counter to all the strong assassin junglers Riot seems keen on making viable. Just give her a way to put Pix on jungle monsters to perhaps maximize her damage on those AoE camps and I think you have something there.
If you’re going to make Zed and Talon viable in the jungle (and hopefully Fizz), why not throw in one of the other reworked assassins into the mix. Being a manaless champ means that Kat would be able to give over Blue Buffs with ease and her daggers give her a lot of unique options for jungle pathing, while still somewhat gating her routes because she needs to be around some object to bounce it off.
River Shen was a meme, but let’s make it a reality baby! He has all the tools you’d want in a jungler (CC, terrain crossing dash, some ability to mitigate jungle monster damage) plus the advantage of the anti-Karthus ult to protect someone and initiate a gank. I’m personally just a fan of more globals in the jungle whenever possible, so make this happen for my boy Shen.
7. Twisted Fate
Speaking of global ultimates, let’s make the old Unicorns of Love proud and finally figure out a way to make TF an actual, viable jungler. I don’t think it would be that hard, given he has CC and some mana sustain. Maybe just make his red card do bonus damage to monsters or heal himself.
This one’s a little bit inspired by one of my favorite jungle Youtubers, Virkayu, but Zyra jungle actually makes a lot of sense. Like Shaco, she has some object that can tank her camps to let her clear healthily and also serves as her main form of crowd control. Just make the plants a bit more durable against monsters and I think Zyra could bloom in the jungle.
Another one that I think Riot is on the money with their decision to try and make a jungler. Garen really lacks tools that a jungler would want, but he does have the potential to be a god-tier clearer like a Shyvana. All he really needs is for his spin to do more damage to monsters or his shield to block monster damage and he’s golden.
All he does is portal around the map collecting chimes, stunning people, and healing his buddies. That sounds like the perfect recipe for a supportive jungler in the same vein that Ivern was supposed to be. As long as his Meeps do bonus damage to monsters or something, Bard could absolutely be an incredible jungler with his mobility and long-range engage.