The jungle is changing again. Riot Statikk previewed preseason updates to the jungle last week and explained the reasoning behind those changes.
Riot’s main goal is to reduce early jungle pressure on lanes, which it feels has gotten out of control with the current jungle. To combat this, the jungle camps will deal more damage and scale better throughout the game. The camps will also provide more gold and experience in an attempt to break up the meta of gold-per-10 tank junglers.
The changes should shake up the current roster of junglers. However, will the changes help the champions that need it most?
Kha’Zix is jungled in approximately half of his games. Kha’Zix currently has the fifth lowest win rate among common junglers. On release, his kit and lore seemed to fit in the jungle perfectly. He’s a stealthy assassin insect whose kit relies on jumping from the shadows and devouring his enemies. In short, he feels like a jungler. However, his clear times in the jungle are slow, and he usually can’t get enough gold to fund a proper assassin item build.The new jungle, with more of an emphasis on single-target clearing and a higher gold flow, should allow Kha’Zix to perform better as a jungler. He’ll be able to clear the weaker small minions quickly with Void Spike (which will also heal him) and then focus down the isolated, stronger large minion with the bonus damage on Taste Their Fear. He’ll also benefit greatly from the new The Black Cleaver, which will build from The Brutalizer. Given Kha’Zix’s problems fighting bruisers in top lane, he should find plenty of fresh prey in the new jungle.Grade: C
The new jungle should be rife with opportunities for trolling. Trundle is jungled in approximately 85% of his games, but he’s one of the least-picked champions in the game and he only wins about 45% of the time.While Trundle has never been a particularly prominent champion, he really fell out of popularity in S2. This was partly because he had to focus each jungle minion down individually, as he only has single-target damaging abilities. Trundle just can’t farm the jungle enough to pay for a strong item build.Trundle is still one of the most dangerous champions to come across in the jungle, and the new jungle should make him even more deadly. His dueling capability is practically unmatched because of his AD leech from Rabid Bite. He’s also very well sustained in the jungle—while his sustain is almost overkill now, the new jungle will deal more damage and value sustain more. He should be able to start with boots and apply gank pressure all over the map, including the enemy jungle (where the opposing jungler might drop to low HP because of the increased jungle damage).While an increased emphasis on sustain and single-target clearing should benefit the troll greatly, other problems still plague Trundle. He’s on the wrong side of the mobility creep, his animations are slow and he’s been practically ignored by Riot in the past. However, the new jungle could be just the buff he needs to return to viability.Grade: A
Rengar should be a true predator in the new jungle. He’s in a similar situation to Kha’Zix: his clear time is mediocre and jungling in Season 2 makes him less of a threat than if he were to lane.Rengar is jungled in more than 50% of his games, though, so players like his current power in the jungle. Despite being banned in more than half of all ranked games, Rengar’s win rate has plummeted to about 45 percent. Riot hit him hard with nerfs, but he’s still strong if played properly.While Rengar and Kha’Zix are similar, their build paths differ greatly. Kha’Zix benefits more from building attack damage, while Rengar can build defensive items and still be a threat. This is because Kha’Zix has much higher AD ratios on his abilities, while Rengar tends to rely on his base damages and survivability to kill targets. Because of this, Rengar is less reliant on items than Kha’Zix is—so Kha’Zix might get a bit more of a boost from the new jungle than Rengar will. Nevertheless, Rengar will certainly benefit from the increased farm and experience from the jungle. He should also profit from the new version of The Black Cleaver. Rengar’s kit lends itself to the new jungle very well; his Battle Roar will clear out the small minions quickly, while Savagery will focus down the big one in each camp. In short, both alien and predator should find a new hunting ground in the Season 3 jungle.Grade: B
Rengar Popularity and Win Rates
Alistar - “Mess with the bull and you get the horns!”
For most of Season 2, Alistar was the king of the jungle. He had it all: a self-heal, a kit focused on AOE clearing and some of the scariest early ganks in the game. He also transitioned well into late game as a strong initiator. Both players and Riot found their own ways to shut Alistar jungle down. Players banned him, and Riot nerfed him. Alistar is barely jungled any more in the current season—he only takes Smite 25 percent of the time. Given that fact, the new jungle should be the last nail in the coffin of jungle Alistar.It’s unlikely that Alistar in his current state will even be able to jungle properly in Season 3. The same could be said for other tank junglers like Nautilus, Sejuani and Rammus. These champions have trouble clearing the current jungle, so unless Riot gives them some attention, they will never see play. Ultimately, Alistar will no longer warrant a ban, unless that ban is for support Alistar. Riot has made it clear that it doesn’t like the kind of gameplay that jungle Alistar creates. Hopefully the other tank junglers with poor clearing ability won’t also be casualties of the new jungle. Junglers like Alistar should have some trouble clearing the jungle early on—but it shouldn’t be impossible.Grade: D
Master Yi has the lowest win rate of any common jungler at 42%. He is jungled about 45% of the time, based on summoner spell statistics. While he clears the current jungle quickly, his ganks are weak and his transition to the late game is very difficult because of the low gold income from jungling.At first glance, the new jungle should give Master Yi a nice boost. He’ll be able to clear the weaker small minions with a single Alpha Strike, then focus down the stronger large minion with the attack damage bonus from Wuju Style. He’s ultimately a farming jungler, which should be stronger in the new jungle. His ganks will still be his weak point—as a champion with no crowd control, that’s unavoidable.Master Yi’s biggest problem isn’t the current jungle. It’s his lack of a ranged auto-attack. While the new jungle should help him finance his expensive build, he’ll still have to build mostly glass-cannon to deal enough damage. Building solely damage items on a melee champion is rarely a good idea, as it’s easy to be kited or focused down before hitting any targets.However, the new Sword of the Divine could almost singlehandedly return Master Yi to viability. If it remains in its current state, it would enable Master Yi to perform the role of an AD assassin that his kit was originally designed for. Combined with Alpha Strike and Highlander, a Master Yi with a Sword of the Divine is a target any carry should fear. When an item’s active grants 100% critical strike chance and attack speed, it doesn’t matter if a champion is ranged or melee—they’re going to kill something.Grade: B
Master Yi Popularity and Win Rates
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