League of Legends: 8 Radical Ways to Rebalance the Jungle

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Hecarim, League of Legends
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

If you haven’t heard recently, Riot has decided to rework the jungle once again. This time, there won’t be any massive, systemic changes, but simple rebalancing of gold and experience. Response to these changes from junglers has been fairly mixed. Some junglers think it’s the end of the world, while others don’t see this as drastically altering the League of Legends meta.

Regardless, these changes throw yet another wrinkle into a role that deals with constant change again and again. Since it’s clear that what Riot is doing to balance the jungle has not worked, these are eight extremely radical suggestions for how Riot could change the jungle role to make it easier to balance. These would probably need to be pushed to preseason for the expansive testing the changes would require, but since we’re months out from that, here they are to gnaw on.

1. Remove Smite

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Going with the biggest one first, just remove the Summoner Spell Smite altogether. Right now, junglers get a lot of heat for either not ganking enough or not securing objectives (missing Smites).

The art of securing an objective is far more complicated than “get it low and have your jungler time it properly.” It actually requires the other four members of your team to position properly and prevent the enemy from stealing the buff. But still, junglers get blamed constantly for poor Smites.

Riot has acknowledged that a big problem with balancing the jungle is that, although it is considered a very powerful role, it’s one of the least-played roles. A big reason for that is that junglers get most of the blame in their games, so removing Smite solves that issue.

Another advantage of removing Smite is that it also opens up junglers to be more unique with their choice of the other Summoner Spell. Imagine a world where Hecarim jungle could take Ghost and Flash, or a weak early game jungler like Shyvana could take Exhaust to improve their ganks without sacrificing Flash. Removing Smite would force Riot to rebalance the jungle monsters so that Smite is not required to clear the jungle and open up the role to more skill expression from players.

Fixing the League of Legends jungle may take extreme measures.

2. Get Rid of Double Buffs

One of the biggest complaints from laners is that it’s impossible to fight a jungler early in the game when they gank with double buffs (both Blue and Red Buff). One solution would be to just prevent junglers from ever having both.

Make it so that whichever buff the jungler takes later, Red or Blue, is the only buff the jungler gets. You could also rework this so that Smiting the buff gives the jungler the buff’s effects.

Not only would this reduce the heavy power junglers have early, it would also cause them to be more strategic about when and how they take buffs. Players will want to get the maximum efficiency out of the buffs and therefore path so that they are clearing camps (and restoring mana) while using the Blue Buff versus ganking if they have the Red Buff’s burn and slow.

This would also influence how junglers open the game, since players would know if the enemy jungler started on Red or Red side, they’re going to be ganking soon, versus farming if they just took Blue. But it also allows junglers to play mind games, faking a Red side start but actually taking the Blue for a quicker clear and ganking a bit later. These kinds of mental tactics have largely been forgotten in recent seasons, where junglers just auto-pilot their most efficient path every game.