Best jungle champions in League of Legends

Pick these junglers for free Elo.
Briar smiles strangely in the new Feeding Frenzey League of Legends teaser trailer.
Screenshot by Dot Esports

Some champions in League of Legends are far stronger than others. For junglers, there are multiple things to consider when weighing up which is better.

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The most important thing to look at (and the most obvious) is whether the champion is good at ganking and either securing kills or aiding their teammates in doing so. Behind the scenes, though, things get complicated.

Clear speed, invasion pressure, and macro mobility are all important factors 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 several 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 with the flavor-of-the-month champs, so let us do it for you. Here are our top junglers for League’s Patch 14.1.

Kha’Zix

Kha'Zix chasing his prey in haunted woods.
The old school assassin is back among best junglers. Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Great gank potential
  • Snowballs heavily

Cons

  • Falls off in the late game
  • Squishy and easy to pin down

Season 14 shook the meta in its entirety, removing Mythic items and adding new ones into the mix. Among this chaos, Kha’Zix has quickly became one of the best junglers in the early season 14 meta. His enormous damage and pick potential are tough to match early on, and once he starts snowballing, his kill threat is off the charts.

Kha’Zix build

There are two ways to build Kha’Zix as a jungler. You can either go for a fighter build with the Conqueror rune, or become a full-scale assassin with First Strike and items like Youmuu’s Ghostblade, Voltaic Cyclosword, and Edge of Night. We definitely recommend the second due to the build’s sky-high damage. With Kha’Zix’s E and R, you have tons of mobility under your belt, so your main goal is to take down as many squishy enemies as you can.

Ability priority

There isn’t much philosophy to Kha’Zix’s ability priority. You should always level up your Q first as it’s your main damage tool, especially when facing isolated enemies, like in the mid or top lane. Afterward, put points in your W to maximize your damage even further, continue with E, and end with R. The evolution process should be the same.

Game plan

Kha’Zix’s game plan couldn’t be simpler. As an AD-based jungle assassin, your goal early on is to get to level three, then start ganking enemies, ideally in the solo lanes, since they’ll have isolated targets.

Getting ahead of the opponent’s jungler is pivotal for Kha’Zix, as his snowball potential is arguably the highest in the game. Once you achieve that, focus on single-handedly taking down carries with your wombo combo. Even if you fall behind as Kha’Zix, you should look for flanks.

Graves

Battle Academia Graves splash art
Yeah, you don’t want to allow Graves to get ahead. Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Great late-game carry potential
  • Strong and healthy jungle clear
  • Heavily counters the AD meta junglers

Cons

  • Doesn’t have exceptional ganks
  • Struggles heavily from behind

Whenever carry champions become meta in the jungle, Graves is always going to be there to join the show. And this patch is no exception. The Outlaw’s popularity is rising again, with strong pick rates, according to U.GG, and positive win rates at most Elos as well. 

Graves build

Graves always goes for Fleet Flootwork as his keystone rune since it’s his main source of sustain and grants a small movement speed boost to chase or kite enemies during skirmishes. By building several items, he can heal more than 200 health points with a single proc. Despite numerous new options for items, Graves’ road is pretty standard for a AD-based brawler in Patch 14.1. The Collector and Youmuu’s Ghostblade remain essential, while new options like Volatic Cyclosword and Sundered Sky are simply far too strong to ignore.

Ability priority

Graves’ most common maxing order is R>Q>E>W. That said, go for E at level one to stack armor as soon as possible, further reducing the damage taken from the jungle camps. Afterward, though, max your skills in the above order.

Game plan

When playing Graves in the jungle, your goal is to collect resources for yourself and snowball the game as much as you can. Focus on power-farming the monster camps and clear them as soon as they spawn while looking for chances to pick up easy kills with ganks if possible. Also consider invading the enemy jungler, but make sure to stack the E passive so you don’t get shut down immediately.

It’s worth minion-farming, too, especially if the gold cannot be picked up by your allies. You can always do that while they are recalling to base, roaming on the map, or dead. Overall, you want to funnel everything you can and get as many items as possible with Graves. By accelerating your own economy, you can reach the power spikes faster and get into a position to take over the game. 

If you’re able to do that, then Graves will become almost unstoppable: He can burst down most targets with his quick combos, and he won’t die due to the mobility from Fleet Footwork and his E. Ideally, you should look for flanks to take down squishy targets, but if you can’t find the right angle to kill them, you can also chunk the front line with armor penetration.

Kindred

Kindred watching from the shadows.
The deadly duo has seen a resurgence in season 14 so far. Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Massive carry potential
  • Can make the game a nightmare for the enemy team
  • Rapid wave clear and strong at ganking

Cons

  • Much tougher to master compared to other junglers
  • Can struggle later on without a big lead

Kindred was not only featured in season 14’s cinematic trailer, but also returns to the Summoner’s Rift in style. The perilous duo is a nightmare to play against and make perfect allies by your side, but mastering them isn’t exactly a piece of cake.

Kindred build

Because they’re an AD-based ranged jungler, Kindred’s priority is the Press the Attack rune from the Precision tree. It will allow you to excel in auto attacking enemies by adding additional adaptive damage to your attacks. The item build itself doesn’t vary much from most of the AD carries nowadays. Kraken Slayer and Guinsoo’s Rageblade are must-haves, with the newest addition to the game, Terminus, also being mandatory.

Ability priority

As Kindred, the maxing order is R>Q>W>E. There isn’t much philosophy to it, as you want to maximize your damage early on. That said, after your first level-up, pick W to improve your jungle clear on level one. Afterward, develop your abilities in the above order.

Game plan

As Kindred, you have different goals at various stages of the game. Early on, you could look for ganking opportunities. With your dash and high damage, flanking enemies shouldn’t be a problem, especially with the updated terrain on Summoner’s Rift. Kindred’s prowess falls off a bit in the late-game, however, this doesn’t make you useless. Quite to the contrary. With your ultimate, you can become a perfect shield for your hypercarry, or continue looking for backline picks yourself.

Briar

Briar classic splash art
This all-in champion might net you dozens of wins. Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Global ultimate
  • Incredible sustain 
  • Built-in crowd controls

Cons

  • Takes time to pick her up
  • Can’t be shut down easily if mispositioned

If you’re looking for an all-in jungler, we got something for you. Briar is one of the champions released in 2023, and she’s hungry for blood. She’s a great alternative as a bruiser, carry-style jungler, and unless she gets nerfed in the upcoming patches, she should stay relevant in the meta. 

Briar Item build

Briar always goes for Conqueror since it further boosts her adaptive force during fights while also providing additional healing, which is an essential stat for her. Overall, this is a great rune that works at all times. 

Build-wise, Briar builds like most AD bruisers in the game: Youmuu’s Ghostblade is the core item, followed by The Collector and Death’s Dance. Finish off with Death Dance and one item between Guardian’s Angel and Spirit Visage, depending on which resistances you need more. 

Ability priority

Briar’s most common maxing order is R>W>Q>E. Always max W, Blood Frenzy, to speed up her jungle clear and increase her damage during skirmishes. Since E, Chilling Scream, has a flat cooldown and doesn’t scale with levels, max it last.

Game plan

When playing as a Briar, your main goal is to gank the lanes and pick up kills to snowball the game. Get to level three as soon as possible and start making plays on the map if the opportunity is available. Look at wave states and decide which lanes you should focus on. 

Once you unlock your ultimate, it should be even easier for you to look for pick-offs on the map. Always try to focus down the enemy carries first and play in tight areas so you can take advantage of the knockback effect on the walls. 

In teamfights, your goal should be flanking at the right time and making sure you can get access to the backline. Play the vision game, and don’t get caught, as enemies will be able to burst you down quite quickly. 

Nocturne

Elderwood Nocturne skin
With Nocturne on the enemy team, you can never feel safe. Image via Riot Games

Pros

  • Incredible map presence thanks to his ultimate
  • Strong skirmishing
  • Heavily counters some of the meta junglers

Cons

  • Doesn’t have exceptional gank potential without ultimate
  • Requires a strong macro sense

Over the past few months, Nocturne has grown to be one of the most popular junglers in League. This is because his kit is specifically designed to punish overextension and enemies’ mispositioning, which are very common at the lower ranks. He can reach enemies from afar with his ultimate, and he also beats most meta junglers early on with his skirmishing power. Thanks to the spellshield on his W, he can negate enemies’ strongest spells and get a big attack speed boost, too. 

On top of that, there are two viable builds he can go for: Bruiser or assassin. Depending on the enemy team composition and game state, he goes for either, allowing flexibility in his role.

Nocturne build

Nocturne always goes for Lethal Tempo since it further boosts his attack speed during fights. The more attacks he throws, the lower the cooldown of his passive and the more sustain he gets. The rune is particularly strong in early and mid-game fights, so take advantage of it whenever possible. 

His build is where things get interesting. Builds for most bruisers are fairly similar as of Patch 14.1, but Nocturne’s case is different. In order to get more Haste on his ultimate, so you can use it frequently and in many situations, it’s best to pick up Experimental Hexplate. With attack damage, attack speed, health, and two unique passives that enhance your mobility after using an ultimate, it looks like it was tailor-made for Nocturne.

Afterward, pick up some options like Eclipse, Axiom Arc, Edge of Night, depending on your specific needs. All of them are similar, however, and aim to increase your pick-off potential.

Ability priority

Nocturne’s most common maxing order is R>Q>E>W. That said, you should go for Q>W>E for the first three levels, since W, Shroud of Darkness, grants Nocturne extra attack speed to clear faster. 

If enemies have multiple strong abilities that you can spell shield, it might be a great idea to max out W second to give the ability a lower cooldown. Regardless, always max Duskbringer first.

Game plan

Nocturne’s game plan is quite straightforward: Reach your level six as soon as possible by farming the highest amount of jungle monsters. Once you unlock the R, Paranoia, start spam-ganking all lanes that are low on health and close to being taken down. Try to always punish the enemies and then use their death timers to secure objectives on the map. 

If you have a favorable matchup in the jungle, also try to invade the enemy jungler and surprise them with ambushes. The goal is to mess up their jungle clear and possibly steal their camps. Thanks to spell shield and the attack speed from Lethal Tempo, you shouldn’t have many issues prevailing in extended skirmishes.

Later in the game, your goal will be to either punish mispositioned enemies or coordinate with one of your side laners to kill the enemy trying to match the side lane pressure. Given Paranoia’s range, you can get multiple long-range engages. Don’t go in too early, however: Nocturne can be easily shut down once spell shield is on cooldown. 

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Author
Mateusz Miter
Polish Staff Writer. Mateusz previously worked for numerous outlets and gaming-adjacent companies, including ESL. League of Legends or CS:GO? He loves them both. In fact, he wonders which game he loves more every day. He wanted to go pro years ago, but somewhere along the way decided journalism was the more sensible option—and he was right.
Author
Davide Xu
Davide is a League expert with nearly 10 years of experience and knowledge. Once a young talent that wanted to go pro, he now enjoys talking about the game and competitive scene. @Dovi_X on Twitter