The impact of the jungle role in professional League of Legends can’t be understated. A jungler’s ability to exert cross-map pressure and secure all-important objectives makes them an incredibly powerful asset to any squad. They’re instrumental to a team’s success.
In previous years, the jungle meta was focused around crowd control and utility. But in League seasons 10 and 11, there’s been a shift into a more damage-oriented style of jungling. The most-played junglers in the 2021 LEC Spring Split were Lillia, Hecarim, and Graves, all champions picked for their ability to output damage alongside some basic forms of utility. The responsibility for hard engage and crowd control has moved much more into the support role in the current meta. That’s left junglers with the responsibility of setting up plays across the map and providing the damage output to make those plays work.
With that being said, the LEC’s junglers have had one hell of a task on their hands this split. In a region whose primary focus is mid-game teamfighting, jungle setup is crucial for the success of a lot of Europe’s best teams.
Here are the top five junglers from the 2021 LEC Spring Split regular season.
Razork was a generally strong individual performer who was unable to translate individual strength into a higher position in the LEC standings. But “generally” is the operative word here since Razork is one of the highest-variance players in the entire LEC. When he pops off, he pops off in a huge way with 26-percent kill participation for Misfits across the split and the highest damage per minute of any jungler in the league at 432, which was 20.6 percent of his team’s total average DPM, according to Oracle’s Elixir.
But the responsibility on his shoulders to output damage means that sometimes he makes plays that absolutely don’t need to be made and spends a lot of his time dying from overextensions or risky calls. He had the second most deaths of any jungler in the league at 60 and accounted for 24 percent of Misfit’s total deaths, putting him at the eighth-highest death count in the league. Without him, though, it’s hard to imagine that Misfits would have made any proactive plays whatsoever. Sometimes, capitalizing on teamfights off the back of Razork’s deaths has actually been a net benefit for the team.
Ultimately, Razork is a good jungler who’s trying significantly too hard to be the single source of carry potential for his team. Whether that’s an issue with Misfits as a whole or with Razork himself is impossible to say, but it’s clear that these hail-mary engage attempts aren’t doing the roster any good.
Selfmade’s playstyle this split has been difficult to truly pin down. He’s been consistently putting up the best statistics in early CS, gold, and experience across the league’s junglers and he’s just as kill-hungry as ever with 67 kills across the regular split, the third-highest of any jungler in the LEC, according to Oracle’s Elixir. Graves is still by far his best champion, producing a 75-percent win rate and 4.6 KDA on the infamous jungle marksman.
But the issue for Selfmade comes in translating those early leads into meaningful advantages for his team. Fnatic’s issues during this split have been numerous and obvious, and despite Selfmade’s ability to secure early advantages for himself, he hasn’t been able to turn those advantages into leads. It’s not as if he becomes a completely selfless player after 15 minutes, either. He receives 20 percent of Fnatic’s total CS and total gold after 15 minutes, the highest of any jungler in the league. He’s being given all the tools to succeed and is able to put out reasonably impressive damage statistics with those tools, but it still isn’t quite enough.
His individual performance has been impressive, but it’s difficult to put Selfmade any higher on this list simply because that strong performance hasn’t translated into strong results.
Elyoya came into the LEC this year with big shoes to fill. Although his performance fell off toward the end of his tenure, MAD’s previous jungler Shad0w made the LEC’s All-Pro team last summer in his second competitive split and was an incredibly iconic and important player in some of MAD’s most dominant wins. To take over for such a beloved player was no small feat, especially for a jungler taking his first steps onto the LEC stage.
But this split, Elyoya has proven that he’s more than worthy of his spot on MAD Lions. He’s been instrumental to so much of the team’s success and 2021 has seen MAD rebuild their playstyle around him. Though that’s a lot of responsibility for someone so young, Elyoya has proven that he can rise to the occasion. His champion pool is the largest on MAD Lions, with 10 different champions played across the course of the Spring Split (not including his legendary performance on Qiyana in the mid lane).
He also leads the LEC’s junglers in kill participation, having taken part in 73.7 percent of MAD’s total kills across the split, according to Oracle’s Elixir. He holds the third-highest first blood percentage in the league with 41 percent and these numbers reflect his ever-present playstyle, focusing on providing pressure on the top side of the map alongside Armut and Humanoid. He’s been served well by the carry jungle meta, but his time on Movistar Riders before moving to the LEC has shown that he’s more than just a farming player with Sejuani and Trundle both appearing in his champ pool.
It’s hardly surprising that Jankos is near the top of this list. As the glue that binds together one of the greatest European teams of all time, he’s been instrumental to almost every single one of G2’s dominant victories throughout the Spring Split. He’s played through innumerable jungle metas, and from Nidalee to Sejuani, he’s shown dominance in just about every single playstyle that exists.
His stats this split have been impressive to say the least. He leads the league’s junglers in kills with 85 across the regular season and has the second-highest damage per minute at 451, according to Oracle’s Elixir. Even with a kill score that high, he’s still fairly low in terms of kill participation for LEC junglers, which is proof of G2’s incredibly kill-hungry playstyle.
It may be surprising to some that Jankos isn’t taking the top spot on this list. And the simple reason for his position is that having possibly the best laners Europe has ever produced around him makes the job of the jungler a lot less challenging. He has the security of knowing that nine times out of 10, all his lanes will either go even or win. Setting up for objectives becomes significantly easier when your laners have complete and total control.
Inspired is, almost without a doubt, one of the best junglers to come up in a major region in the past few years. Only a year after his competitive debut, he’s proven time and time again that he’s worthy of his spot on one of Europe’s best teams.
And that’s what Rogue has become: one of Europe’s best teams. So much of their success is centered around their mid/jungle duo. And with the combination of Larssen and Inspired at the helm, they’ve looked nearly unstoppable throughout the course of the 2021 Spring Split.
Off the bat, Inspired has the highest KDA of any LEC jungler at 5.5 and the seventh-highest KDA out of every single player in the league, according to Oracle’s Elixir. He secured first blood in 50 percent of Rogue’s regular-season games with a champion pool of early-game powerhouses like Lillia and Graves. But he’s also proven that he’s capable of playing a tankier, more supportive style on champions like Udyr and Jarvan.
His gold and CS share post-15 minutes is relatively low among the LEC’s junglers, but he’s in the top three for CS, experience, and gold advantages at 10 minutes. That makes Inspired the picture-perfect example of a jungler who’s able to power farm in the early game and then translate that early lead into advantages for his team.
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