First Minute: Jungle

I’ve been ranking recently, and while I usually play support, sometimes I find myself in other roles. Jungle is probably where I feel least comfortable, and a bit unsure of what to do, so I’d like some advice. I know the general strategy - to amplify the effectiveness of my laners by rotating to gank or apply lane pressure, or to starve the enemy team with opportunistic invades, while making sure our own jungle resources don’t sit too long untaken.

But more specifically… what should I do in the first minute?

I’ve seen a few different openings from various streamers and teammates:

  • SIMPLE (kind of possessive) ROTATION
    Jungler takes WP buff, then Gold Treant, then healers (although sometimes leaves them for the bot laner), then heads to top jungle for CP buff, then Jeff & Marty, then top jungle healers (if they’re not gone). Then repeat. And occasionally go to a lane when pinged. A more proactive version of this is to rotate through bot jungle alone (while bot laner farms lane), then head to bot lane to apply pressure and/or try to poach the enemy healer camp. This seems like a slightly passive way to play, maybe good for when the team doesn’t seem that coordinated or on the same page.

    Jungler places cam at the entrance to bot jungle between mid lane and the dragon pit, bot laner helps farm jungle (jungler takes :goldtoad: - oops I mean gold treant - and WP buff, laner takes healer and healer’s buddy), then both laner and jungler head to bot lane for an early gank and sustained pressure. Past the first minute, this leads to occasional dips into the enemy jungle to steal their healer and buddy, and repeat trips through their own jungle. This strategy generally ignores the top jungle, leaving it to split between the top and mid laner.

    Jungler responds to what the mid/support combo is doing. If they appear to be taking the CP buff, jungler starts Jeff & Marty (to either share them with mid laner or take them for themselves, depending on how they leash the camps), ready to join teamfight if enemy mid/support/jungler come to steal. If mid/support are floating around enemy CP buff, jungler heads that way to help engage and steal enemy top jungle. Then cycle down to bot lane to steal enemy healers and cycle back through bot jungle. Sometimes turns into a version of the COOPERATIVE OPENING above, as the jungler and bot laner sync up.

    STEAL THE CAMPS! Starting with enemy bot jungle (WP buff, gold treant, healers). Needs top laner and support to help, usually, or a really aggressive and daring Inara. Sometimes turns into a gank of the enemy bot laner if they aren’t paying attention or responding to the jungle invasion.

I’m sure there are a bunch of other ways to do it, but those are the ones I’ve seen most regularly. What are the openings you use, and how do you decide which strategy to go with? Is it related to your comp? The enemy comp? A particular hero? Whether you’re playing a damage or utility jungle role? Or is just based on the day of the week? Let me know!


I often go red buff then gold oak and then two bears. I leave cp buff to midlane and take healing treant if botlaner doesnt want it.

For jungle i try to go depending who enemy toplaner is. If enemy toplaner is utility hero (like lance, san feng… they can be outplayed by botlaner or atleast farm well if they dodge their abilities) i roam wherever gank is possible.

If enemy is a damage dealing early hero like grump or alpha (very strong early, unbeatable early 1v1, cant be harrased because you mostly die by trying) i gank only mid and bot. Because if they freeze lane there isnt anything your botlaner can do about it and need your help unfreeze it. They can also invade healing treant and weapon buff.

Depending how my or enemy teammates play ( bad or good) this can all change.

Edit: casual player.

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That’s interesting - I hadn’t thought to pick a jungler based on the potential bot/enemy-top lane matchup, but it makes a lot of sense. You’re predicting where you may have to focus your rotations, like a smarty-pants team-player. :sunny_thumbs_1:

Are there ever situations/match-ups where you know an invade by your team is favorable? And is that usually initiated by the jungler, or the mid/support combo, or top laner? (obviously knowing there’s no hard rule, just looking for a general sense)

Well i only play soloq. Invading is pretty hard to do in that mode. I only try to invade enemy red buff jungle with inara due to her amazing perk and utility. If somebody joins me than its great if not i do what i can and get out. I almost always contest blue buff. Have no idea which comps/matchups would be great at invading. The little amount of matches i played in pentaq against other pentaq they just invaded by default and exploited better mechanics and fear in enemy (my)team. ( they would invade with ardan, celeste…).


I decide where I start my jungle depending on several factors (in order of preference except in some cases):

  1. If my Midlaner is too bad in early I will go directly to do the Crystal Treant and give you the buff.

If my opponent can beat me in a 1vs1 at level 1 and Crystal is armed from the beginning I go for the Crystal Treant even if I am from Weapon and if Weapon is armed I go yes or if I go for the Weapon Treant no matter if I am going to arm my Crystal hero.

  1. If they invade my jungle and beat us if or if I go to the opposite side and try to steal as much as I can watching that they will not surprise me doing so.
    For example:
    (I am Krul)
    Krul and Adagio go to the Weapon Treant but they see that they will not be able to win the 2v2 against a Grumpjaw and a Warhawk, in addition in the distance comes another rival, Krul decides to retire and steal the Weapon Treant of the rival and all the other monsters that can and then he goes to make his Crystal Treant.

4.If my hero is from Weapon or Crystal (if it’s from CP I go for Crystal Treant, if it’s from WP I go for Weapon Treant)

5.If my Carry removes the buff of Weapon when I arm myself Weapon give it to the Carry and I will try to catch the enemy’s Weapon Treant (if it is not too late)

And then I do what you said here.

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I vary a bit based on who I’m playing, how fast they farm, and where their power curve is. If I’m playing a hero with a weak early game, slow farming, or poor escapes (Miho comes to mind due to her early game) then I start with the more passive first minute that you mentioned. If I have an especially strong early game and help from he captain I might start with invading the enemy red side (Alpha’s good for it, because unless she ends up in a 1v4 at level 1 she probably won’t die, and if she does pull the whole enemy team into the jungle to fight her that’s helpful in its own way).

I usually start with the the CP treant and ping it for the mid-laner, but if the mid-laner delays in taking it I’ll grab it myself. It’s not that I really need that buff, but it’s the easiest for the enemy to steal so it’s just not worth leaving for later (it helps keep the enemy out of your jungle if they see that gone too).

From there I usually cut across and take the enemy blue side. That has two effects: first it reduces their safe farm, and second, it will tend to keep the enemy jungler from going to help their laner on that side, since junglers typically move from farm to farm. If I’m playing Inara I’ll Scout the enemy red side before I really start farming, and snipe their gold oak or red treant from them if I can, then run (I don’t consider it a proper invade since I only take the lowest of low-hanging fruit).

I don’t really try to gank in the first couple of minutes, but if an enemy laner is close to my path I will always divert and clip a chunk of their health before running off. Again, not really ganking because I’m not trying to kill them, but it will make them think twice about threatening my laner, and probably give my laner a little advantage in his fight.

On my first circuit, I usually hit the Gold Oak last (unless I’m playing someone with a weak early game), but I try to plan my routes to catch it as soon as it respawns after that.

I vary my path a lot. I have priorities though.

  1. Check our CP buff; feed it to the mid laner if they want it or take it to stop the enemy from getting it.
  2. Avoid decisive fights in the very early game. Every fight is for a macro-game objective — chunk a laner so they will need to teleport, steal the buff the enemy mid needs, make them put cameras in their jungle to keep me out instead of putting them in lane bushes, etc. Never commit to an early game fight. If you don’t know what you mean to accomplish then you shouldn’t be in that fight.
  3. Check the enemy CP buff; fight for it if needed, but more to delay them and make things easier for mid by distracting them there.
  4. If my laner is fighting the enemy laner as I pass, chunk the enemy laner. Only try for a kill if it’s going to be quick (I’m usually in and out in 10 or 20 seconds).
  5. If my laner is wounded, start a healer and ping it for them; most laners can’t solo a healer at level 1 if they are wounded, and keeping them in lane longer really helps long term.
  6. Gold Oak.
  7. Anything in our jungle that the enemy jungler might invade for.

It seems like a lot (and the first circuit is more than a minute), but the key thing is that since most heroes just lack damage when they start with a Stormguard Banner, I don’t stick in fights until someone dies — I hit with my biggest damage and move on. I always try to make the enemy spend more players and more time dealing with me than I took doing whatever I did. If I can get the enemy gold oak that is amazing, but as soon as they try to slow me down I move on. It’s important to always make he enemy put forth more effort than you put forth.


The best way to play as a jungler usually comes down to playing around what your team is doing, same as a captain, i.e. go to the lane that needs help and rotate around that area then pressure, however it also depends on what kind of jungler you are.

If you are an assassin, it’s best to rotate your jungle and go for opportunistic invades, but don’t full push into enemy territory or help lane if you can avoid it. Just build up a snowball.

As for ‘bruising’ junglers, they are usually best for the full on jungle invades and early lane pressure, but the lane pressure ability often falls off and objectives or turret stealing becomes a better option outside of teamfights.

‘Carry’ junglers are best at rotating their own jungles and rotating to apply lane pressure that just gets stronger over time, but they should not be invading enemy jungles without backup, and should have good vision in their own jungles so they can control the terms of an invasion.

Utility junglers are best for rotating in all jungles early game to build up items and abilities, but later game you will largely be helping and defending your team while your carries use the jungle for the buffs and an extra boost in gold/health. You can still help out with the objectives though.

So yeah, being a good jungler isn’t about one set strategy, it depends on the hero you pick to jungle and why, but one good tip is if you are a versatile jungler (with strong cc and the like) to almost always play around your team. If you are a pure dmg jungler or have only soft cc in your kit, you are better off ignoring your teams issues as much as you can to simply invade all jungles and build up a big lead over the enemy, then swoop in with that lead and bumrush the enemy team to victory.

To actually answer your question, the first thing you should do as a jungler is figure out what kind of jungler you plan to be, and set up vision for your first rotation area, for example setting a cam in the bushes leading from bottom lane to wp buff jungle if you are a jungler that is going to help a laner, or setting vision in enemy jungle and immediately racing back to yours if you’re going to just rotate jungles.

Next you usually want to get the wp buff first and gold if you’re a jungle rotator, or wp buff and health if you plan to rotate to lane immediately, going for gold instead if your teamate in the lane is fine.

Basically in your first minute you want to at least set down some vision and generally get wp buff. After that you should decide on a basic plan while observing the map to see how the battle is playing out, and adjust accordingly, or not.

Also @Inktomi’s advice is superb! Not enough people realize taking cp buff is so vital! Same with top laner taking the cp jungle healer if they can. Wp buff jungle is a necessity to some degree, but taking cp jungle can sway the fight.

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Thanks for bumping this, @TheInterpreter! It’s really nice to read more comments on how folks approach their jungling.

Also, @Inktomi, I totally forgot to respond, but wanted to agree specifically with the “don’t waste time” mindset. Rotate to a lane, get some hits in and move on to get resources elsewhere. If the gank is on, great, but if not, be efficient and move on to the next thing. :sunny_thumbs_3:

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Yeah no prob! Jungling is a fine art that is much harder than laning to me. If ya do it right, your jungler sways the whole match!

I haven’t ranked in a while but the 1st minute rotation in scrims is backs gold oak red buff then take some bot lane ambient. Side laners usually take healing treants but in ranked some might opt to stay in lane so in that case they’re yours.

Jungles probably the most interesting role in the game. How you manage your rotations is really dependent on what kind of jungle role you’re playing and what the enemy composition is.

My standard go to rotation is to take one of the two backs leaving the other for midlane to take to get them to lvl 2. Moving across to my gold oak, WP buff and then up into lane (assuming lane took healing buff).

However how you then manage your rotations going forward is dependent on kind of Jungler you intend to be. I’ve a preference to play a support jungles like Ardan (who I thinks very good) or Yates. If this is the case then your primary role is to share buffs and jungle with your laners, effectively maximising their gold potential.