When Pyke was announced last week prior to the launch of Patch 8.10, a large swath of players took to Reddit, social media, and the official League of Legends forums to complain that this high-AD assassin would never truly be a support. One popular theory/complaint claimed that he was better off as a jungler due to his kill-sharing passive and high mobility.
We tried it out. It works—just not nearly as well as you’d think. The jungle certainly doesn’t suit him as well as supporting.
Sure, he has high mobility, high damage, and crowd control—and yes, those are excellent ganking tools, but unfortunately he’s missing a key ingredient. Where his ganks can be devastating, it’s much more difficult for Pyke to put himself in a position to gank compared to other junglers.
In other words, he can’t clear camps. Trust us, everyone, it’s real bad. To remain viable as a jungler, especially in the current meta where dueling around the Rift Scuttler is more important and camps yield less experience, he needs a lot of help from his laners. Not just with the leash, but he needs his laners to help him remain safe while he slowly farms his jungle, and it’s definitely quite slow.
The reason his camp clear is so bad is simply because Riot didn’t design him to be a jungler. His damaging abilities all have absurdly high cooldowns, which keeps him from being able to do much more than basic attack the camps. In lane, that’s perfect, because it forces him to dance around his ADC’s pressure and go in only at the right time. In the jungle, however, he needs those abilities to not be a slug, and he doesn’t have them often.
One of our early concerns about his jungling, though, was his squishiness due to not being able to build bonus health. This isn’t actually as big of an issue as we thought, but even though he isn’t dying very often to camps, he still can’t clear them very quickly at all.
To pull off Pyke jungle, you’ll need a bit of special attention from your laners and pristine knowledge of jungle pathing, which is a rare talent to have with the current Rift Scuttlers and changed camp experience. If you want to try it out, go for it—it’s still tons of fun, but your first few levels will probably be a little stressful.