League of Legends jungle tier list

Pick these junglers for free Elo.

Image via Riot Games

This article is brought to you by Gamer Sensei. Want to improve? Check out Gamer Sensei for your own personal coach!

Some champions in League of Legends are just much stronger than others.

For junglers, there are multiple considerations when weighing which champions are better. The most important thing to look at, and the most obvious, is whether the champion would be good at ganking and either securing kills or aiding their teammates in doing so. Behind the scenes, though, is where things get complicated.

Clear speed, invasion pressure, and macro mobility are all factors that need to be evaluated for keeping up with the enemy jungler. The best jungle champions are the ones that can do it all.

This list of top-tier champions can change depending on a number of things. Sometimes the meta shifts for no apparent reason other than players’ tastes, but usually there’s some kind of balance update, small or large, that’s behind the sudden change. It can be difficult to keep up on the flavor-of-the-month champs, so let us do it for you.

Here are our top five junglers for League’s Patch 11.16.

Shaco

Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Invisibility on a short cooldown
  • High burst damage
  • Can split-push to great effect

Cons

  • Needs to gank constantly to maintain relevance in the game
  • Weak teamfighter

Shaco has silently risen in popularity in recent patches while others meta junglers were nerfed. He’s a gank-heavy jungler who excels at pouncing on immobile champions and punishing their aggressive playstyle. While he’s strong right now with the new items, he does need to maintain a constant level of ganks to be useful. In the later stages of the game, he can be an amazing split-pusher that takes down towers in the blink of an eye.

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

The most successful rune page for Shaco is Domination as primary with Precision as a secondary page. Domination gives you access to Hail of Blades, alongside Sudden Impact, which is a great source of early damage to snowball. Eyeball Collection will empower your attack damage with every takedown and Ravenous Hunter acts as a good source of early sustain in the jungle.

The secondary Precision tree gives you access to Legend: Alacrity for more fluid auto attacks and Coup de Grace for the additional damage against low-health targets.

Ability priority

Shaco’s skill priority is R>E>Q>W. You want to max your E first since it’s your main source of damage in the jungle and during ganks. Afterward, maxing Q for the lower cooldown on invisibility allows you to sneak behind enemies more often. W is maxed last since it won’t do that much damage with your AD-oriented build.

Game plan

Shaco is an assassin jungler who focuses on ganking as often as he can and punishing overextended enemies. You’ll want to take the combination of Smite and Ignite in most of your games to have kill pressure. Focus on building various lethality items to ignore the armor from squishy champions and delete them from the Rift in the blink of an eye. Early on, with some help from your laners, you can do multiple jungle camps while the enemy jungler is doing their buff, then go for a direct level two gank on unaware laners or invade the enemy jungler.

With Ignite, you should easily be able to pick up early kills due to the high damage you have while enemies are under-leveled. If you don’t succeed but force a summoner spell, try to redo the gank and punish the Flash-less enemy. As the game goes by, look to maintain relevance by constantly ganking opponents. In the late game, split-push and ambush your opponent’s carries. Don’t try to group up since you’re a mediocre teamfighter and don’t bring a lot to the table in that regard compared to other junglers.

Lee Sin

Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Mobile
  • Insec
  • High skill cap

Cons

  • Gets outscalled by other meta junglers
  • Useless if falling behind

Lee Sin is the epitome of skill for many jungle players. Recent buffs helped him rise to popularity once again. His current role is mostly focused on being an aggressive early-game jungler who secures leads for himself and his team and snowballs them to obtain even more advantage. Lethality builds are the key to achieving that. While some junglers can just AFK farm the jungle and come out quite strong, Lee Sin needs to gank lanes to be efficient.

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

The Precision tree is crucial for Lee Sin. It grants him damage, healing, execute damage, and attack speed, providing all-around great stats for the blind monk. The Inspiration secondary tree is taken for the additional ability haste on abilities and the free boots at around 12 minutes, which is further decreased by takedowns on enemy champions.

Ability priority

Lee Sin’s ability priority is R>Q>W>E. His mobility and damaging tool is Q and should be maxed first. While some aggressive Lee Sin players go for E max second, W provides additional sustain for you and an ally and is much more beneficial, especially in games where you’re behind.

Game plan

Lee Sin is one of the most mobile junglers in League. You should use this to your advantage and try to gank lanes from unexpected angles. Always carry a sweeper to clear wards before you come for ganks. If enemies don’t see you, you can easily land a Q>R onto an enemy and kick them into your teammates so that they can finish them off. While Lee Sin doesn’t have the worst scaling in the world, he does get outscaled in the mid-to-late game, so you should focus on getting as much of an advantage as you can early on.

Once you get going and get your Mythic item, which should be either Eclipse or Goredrinker, you should aim to constantly gank opponents and secure the neutral objectives such as the Rift Herald or the dragons. To have successful attempts at any action, make sure to carry a sweeper ward and use it to clear vision to be able to gank from unexpected angles and secure objectives uncontested. While the lack of a trinket to give you wards might seem hard to overcome, you can bypass this weakness by having vision wards so you can dash towards something if needed.

Karthus

Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Global ultimate
  • Impactful even after death
  • Good source of magic damage in AD composition

Cons

  • Needs time to scale
  • Cannot contest early objectives

Karthus is one of the best ability power junglers to round out a full AD composition. This is mostly thanks to the utility from his kit, as well as his slow and global ultimate. Karthus is a power farmer with barely any cooldown on Q, allowing for a quick jungle clear. But he’s rather mana hungry and struggles with early ganks.

He’s contested in high elo due to his ability to turn fights around with his ultimate. Recent nerfs to other popular AP champions have made Karthus a great pick once again.

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

The Domination tree is important for Karthus. It grants access to additional damage from Dark Harvest, Cheap Shot, and Eyeball Collection, which synergizes well with Karthus’ ultimate, alongside additional sustain from Ravenous Hunter to make your clear healthier. The Precision secondary is great on Karthus since Coup de Grace increases your ultimate damage directly onto low-health targets and Presence of Mind increases your mana regeneration to allow you to use E more often.

Ability priority

Karthus’ ability priority is R>Q>W>E. Your Q is your primary damaging tool in both the jungle and teamfights. Learn how to aim with it to maximize damage output on a single target to zone out the important carries of a teamfight. Max W second since its width gets increased with level. While the damage from E is good, the utility from the slow is much more useful and it will allow you to get into range or escape much easier.

Game plan

Karthus is a power farmer who needs to reach level six as soon as possible to influence the game. While his early game isn’t the worst, he needs items and levels to get going. Don’t look to contest objectives until level six since you’ll most likely end up dead and behind, while also giving an advantage to the enemy.

After you get level six, watch over the map and look for low-health enemies to finish them off. Remember not to use it wastefully since it has a high cooldown early on. Use it for guaranteed kills only. Keep farming as the game goes on. Don’t focus on attempting to gank too much since it might be telegraphed. Try to farm up, get items, and use your ultimate on cooldown for kills.

In the later stages of the game, make sure to avoid casting ultimates unless you are sure you won’t be interrupted. If you want to do as much damage as possible, you can go for a Flash into the opposing team, then pop Zhonya’s. After they kill you, activate your ultimate for a lot of area-of-effect damage.

Nidalee

Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Six abilities at level three
  • Mobile

Cons

  • Falls off in the late game

Nidalee is one of the most mobile League junglers, making her perfect in the current early game-centric meta. She is fun to play and has access to six basic abilities at level three, similar to Elise, another powerful AP jungler. With a lot of players picking AD-oriented champions in the solo lanes, Nidalee is a great pick to round out an AD composition.

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

Nidalee benefits the most from the Domination tree. It grants her access to additional damage from Dark Harvest, Sudden Impact, and Eyeball Collection, which synergize well with Nidalee’s plan to get ahead early on. Ravenous Hunter is a great sustain rune to keep you topped up in both the jungle and outside of it.

The Sorcery secondary gives you access to additional ability haste and movement speed while in the river to make you a huge threat when you go for the scuttle crabs.

Ability priority

Nidalee’s skill priority is R>Q>E>W. The first spell is your bread and butter, allowing you to farm camps quickly and poke enemies from afar. E is maxed second for the additional healing and W is maxed last due to its lackluster utility.

Game plan

Nidalee is an early to mid game-centric jungler who wants to get ahead as fast as possible. You excel at farming camps quickly and should use that to constantly gank overextending opponents around the map. Avoid farming monsters solely because if you won’t have any impact on lanes, you’ll be less useful. Nidalee is not a champion that can take over games easily since her gameplay is telegraphed once teams start grouping up, so you should try to get your teammates ahead.

There’s plenty of build paths available, but the best one is aimed at picking up a lot of damage early on by acquiring the Night Harvester. With this Mythic item, you’ll be a huge menace during your ganking attempts since the additional damage early on is very impactful. Avoid farming jungle minions throughout most of the match and instead focus on picking up objectives and ganking.

Elise

Image via Riot Games

Pro

  • Six abilities at level three
  • Untargetability via spider form E ability
  • Strong burst damage

Cons

  • Gets outscaled by other meta junglers
  • Hard to come back if behind

Elise is one of the most popular AP junglers who excels at snowballing the game early on. If you fail to snowball, however, you’re most likely going to become a crowd-control bot.

Elise can exploit enemies starting from level three, when she gets access to three human-form abilities and three spider-form abilities.The ability to become untargetable allows for early dives on low-health opponents while minimizing the risk of dying to a tower.

Item build

Screengrab via Riot Games

Elise uses the Domination tree. It grants her access to additional damage from Electrocute, Cheap Shot, and Eyeball Collection, which synergize well with Elise’s burst damage. Relentless Hunter makes you mobile and lets you  roam the map much faster.

The Sorcery secondary tree works really well with the aggressive playstyle of Elise. Nimbus Cloak allows you to close the gap between enemies faster by using Smite on them, and Waterwalking lets you move around in the river and contest Scuttle Crabs early on.

Ability priority

Elise’s ability priority is R>Q>W>E. Your Q is your primary source of direct damage. It serves as a good initiation tool when ganking to deal maximum percent health damage and acts as an execute when you go into spider form. W is maxed second for the additional burst damage, while E is maxed last since the extra damage acts better than the lower cooldown on your CC. The best CC is death.

Game plan

Elise is an aggressive jungler that should focus on roaming the map on a constant basis and invading the enemy jungler. Having access to six abilities early on makes her extremely strong. Use that to your advantage and punish enemies who are out of position with swift ganks and dives under tower.

Contest the Scuttle Crabs early on with Waterwalking, which grants you additional movement speed and ability power while in the river. Focus on maintaining an aggressive playstyle and constant ganks. The moment you start focusing on farm is the moment you lose the game.

Elise doesn’t scale as well as other junglers, and you should keep that in mind if you intend to go to the late game. Your goal is to build an advantage early on and allow your team to carry the game. If you can’t build an early lead, however, look for creative flanks in the later stages of the game and avoid sticking around with your team since your utility won’t be as high compared to other junglers. By going for flanks and using your crowd control to surprise your enemies, you might be able to win teamfights and secure a path to victory.