Those of you that watch my games as Udyr notice I often take risks and dive into the opposing team’s jungle with the aim of taking out their minions. There are two main benefits to doing this:
- My jungler gets stronger
- Their jungler gets weaker
As games progress and if you are able to maintain this level of counter-jungling, you’ll gain as much as a 4 level leader over their jungler which can provide your team with a decisive advantage in any engagement!
When is a good time to invade their jungle?
Much of your decision making will be based around logic and inference.
If enemy jungler is visible in the top lane
If you see the enemy jungler heading to the top lane and attempting to take on your champion, you can sneak into their southern jungle and take out the Wraith camps as well as the Double golem camps (Assuming you are purple). If you are on the blue side, you can head straight up and knock out their wolves and possibly go for their blue buff.
If enemy jungler is visible in the bottom lane
Likewise, if you see the enemy jungler in the bottom lane, go ahead and invade their wolves if you are on purple side. If you are on blue side, you can tackle their wraiths, their double golems, and attempt to steal their Elder Lizard red buff.
If enemy jungler is visible in the middle lane
If you see both the middle champion and the jungler there, it may not be a good idea to counter jungle. You may have to help reinforce the middle lane so as to ensure that your middle tower doesn’t fall. However, if the middle lane champion is no where to be seen and you know that they were low and health or mana, you can safely deduce that they recalled to base. This frees you up to go for any of their jungling camps.
Going for Wraiths may be risky. If the middle champion comes back and the jungler peels off, the Wraith camp may be the first one they head to. Don’t do this unless your middle champion is near by and can help bail you out.
Remember, it’s best to do this if you know where all the champions are. If you have visibility the top lane champion and 3 champions on the bottom, but you don’t know where middle is, you could assume that they are clearing out their own jungle in an attempt to increase their experience. This provides you an opportunity to attempt a gank!
If your team is on the ball, they will communicate the locations of the enemies in their lane. For example, if Morgana dominated Brand in the middle name and was able to visually confirm that Brand Recalled back to base, then you know all 5 champions have been accounted for.
Should you clear out the whole camp?
The jungle respawn timer doesn’t apply until the entire camp is cleared out. Doing so completely messes with their timers and slows down the respawn rate which in turn, slows down their jungle.
What about their buff camps?
Going after the opposing team’s buff camps is a high risk, high reward move. The buff minions don’t die quite as quickly as the other camps. If you stick around too long, you run the risk of being discovered. If you are busy fighting it, you may not have enough health or mana left to fend off the enemy jungler when they do eventually show up.
If you do want to go for it, I suggest dropping a ward in the bush such that you gain visibility into the camp itself and know exactly when to go in.
What I like to do is save my Smite for the last minute and try to smite the buff mob before they can. However, since their Smite is often up, it may not always work. What ends up happening is you taking on the jungler while they have diminished health and reduced mana.
You may be better off just taking them head on. Now they have to worry about the buff mob and fending you off.
For added insurance, ask your outer lanes to push as hard as they can.
When I play on the purple team and attempt to secure and gank red, I ask my bottom lane to push that bottom tower. Now the opposing team’s AD carry and support champion in the bottom lane have two choices to make:
- If they attempt to gank me at their red, it leaves their bottom tower defenseless allowing my bottom lane teammates to push and eliminate it.
- If they don’t leave, I can easily escape without being punished.
What champions are best suited for counter-jungling?
Champions that have fast jungle clear times due to AoE effects tend to be the best at this.
- Dr. Mundo
The most important skills you need when counter-jungling is to have high awareness. Know what your escape routes are. Plan ahead and think where you should run to in case a Champion comes from a certain direction. Think about your outs (to use a poker term). Counter jungling benefits aren’t immediately known. It will take some time for the effects to be really noticeable.