When we watch LoL games, we often ignore what the junglers are doing and we tend to focus more on the lanes.
The importance of good jungle pathing, being efficient in clearing it, and invading the enemy’s jungle at the right times is crucial for the jungle role.
Being a good jungler requires having perfect control of what’s happening on the map: state of the lanes, waves, and the main focus of this piece, timers. Besides having in mind the spawn timers of the main objectives (heralds, drakes, barons, …), the respawn timers of some jungle camps are the key to a good invade.
Before going into it, we should highlight some important information that will be useful during the read: jungle camps spawn every 2 minutes after killing them, while red and blue buff do so every 5 minutes. Also, every time a camp respawns, it has more health and deals more damage but grants more experience.
Invading camps is key in the jungle matchup since you get extra gold and experience that at the same time is denied to the opposite team.
We will see how Inspired uses respawn timers to get ahead in the matchup.
Game 1: Udyr (Inspired) vs. Olaf (Jankos)
Udyr (red side) starts clearing his jungle from top to bot, starting on the red buff at minute 1:30.
Olaf (blue side), cleared from bot to top, starting on his raptors at minute 1:30. It took him about 10 seconds to finish them. That sets the first of our timers: at 3:40 Jankos’ raptor camp will respawn.
Both junglers perform a full clear ending in opposite scuttle crabs:
Around minute 3:40, Udyr, the jungler who clears camps the fastest, heads into Jankos’ raptor camp:
He won’t be able to get it this time since Jankos was spotted on a ward after securing the top scuttle:
Inspired had no mid lane priority, so he just placed a ward and left.
That ward gave Inspired key info: the raptors were cleared by Jankos around min 3:55, so this sets a new important timer: 5:55 for level 3 raptors.
Inspired recalls while Jankos had to kill the raptors camp to prevent Inspired from stealing it. Jankos also gets his level 2 Krugs before going back to base which gives Inspired a key tempo advantage.
Inspired buys the Ionian Boots of Lucidity that gives him +45 movement speed and +20 ability haste which allows him to clear his camps even faster.
He does his Krugs and Raptors level 2 camps and goes straight to Jankos’ wolves.
Pay attention to how he goes right into the wolves: that implies awesome time tracking. He didn’t know for a fact that Jankos started in his raptors but being there when they respawned at 3:40 confirmed it.
What does this mean?
That around minute 3 Jankos was clearing his wolves, so they should respawn at minute 5:00. The exact moment when Inspired is there to take them and place another ward:
Jankos has no choice but to clear his gromp and since there’s no option for a gank, he recalls again.
And we face the moment we anticipated before: 5:55 for Jankos’ level 3 raptors.
Rogue’s midlaner was on base so Inspired takes Trymbi with him. Jankos is late for the play, and Inspired steals another camp.
Jankos heads top while Inspired takes the first drake but he looks completely lost, tries to go for a gank in mid lane then heads bot side, tries to invade, finds nothing and is spotted on a ward. Take a look at the sequence and just follow Jankos on Olaf:
Inspired had vision on Jankos, so that meant the 7:00 Jankos’ level 3 wolves were probably not taken, so Inspired moves from his camps straight to Jankos’, clears wolves and gromp and sets up a perfect gank from behind that grants him the first blood.
He then recalls and clears from bot to top to secure the first rift herald that Jankos can’t contest.
In the first 10 minutes of Game 1, Inspired managed to:
- steal 4 camps from Jankos,
- get the first blood,
- secure the first two objectives: Herald and Drake,
- be 1 level ahead of Jankos.
Game 2: Nidalee (Inspired) vs. Nocturne (Jankos)
This time the early difference will come thanks to the team composition and champion synergies.
At minute 4:40, Odoamne on Renekton uses his stun on Karma, Nidalee lands the spear, and Inspired gets the first blood:
Knowing where the opposite jungler starts gives a good jungler really valuable information. At minute 1:16, Nidalee places a ward close to Jankos’ raptors:
G2’s bot lane was also a bit late to get in the lane, so it’s clear that it was a blue buff start for Jankos, which means he will clear his bot side jungle first. Around minute 3:00 he clears his red buff, which means it will respawn around minute 8:00.
Rogue was playing Lucian mid, a champion that can easily bully the lane and get mid lane priority even if he doesn’t want to. So right before minute 8:00, he uses The Culling (Lucian ultimate) on Caps, who was full HP, just to get lane priority and rotate with his jungler to steal the red buff:
Rogue trade the first drake for the Herald, but before getting that first dragon, Inspired sneaks into Jankos’ jungle to steal the gromp from him.
Follow Rogue’s jungler on the mini-map:
In the first 10 minutes of Game 2, Inspired managed to:
- steal 2 camps from Jankos (including a Red Buff),
- get the first blood,
- secure the first Drake.
Game 3: Lillia (Inspired) vs. Udyr (Jankos)
After a late invade where they get Rekkles flash and heal, Lillia gets Jankos’ bot jungle. Rekkles recalls and Inspired smartly cuts him off from farming. That move prevents Jankos from invading Inspired’s top side jungle and forces him to go help his ADC.
Rogue dive level 2 and Inspired gets the first blood for the third consecutive game:
At this point, Lillia stole 2 camps from Udyr and had her entire jungle left to clear. Udyr has no bot lane or mid lane prio so he can’t go into Lillia’s jungle.
Once again, Inspired is way ahead in the matchup.
After an aggressive trade between midlaners, both lose their flash and junglers come to help, getting one kill each:
Let’s take a look at the next sequence now: at minute 6, Jankos ganks top lane and goes into Inspired’s jungle. Inspired had started the drake, but immediately paused it and went into his jungle to protect the two camps that were up:
Besides, after clearing both camps, we hit minute 6:30. Given that Inspired stole Jankos’ red buff, he knows he started in his blue, therefore at 6:40 the blue buff would be up again. Ashe uses her E to spot Jankos, and Odoamne on Nocturne rotates with Inspired helping him deny Jankos a blue buff followed by a gank top to burn Wunder’s flash:
In the first 10 minutes of Game 3, Inspired managed to:
- steal 3 camps from Jankos (including a Blue Buff),
- get the first blood and another kill in the mid lane,
- secure the first Drake.
Game 4: Lillia (Inspired) vs. Udyr (Jankos)
The key play in the first ten minutes came after another blue buff invade by Inspired. This time, the jungle was vertically split after a G2 invade, so Inspired knew exactly the respawning time of Jankos’ blue buff, at 7:30.
He gets it using Odoamne on Renekton top prio, and G2 still go for a 4v4 top-side-river fight.
Renekton, Lillia, Orianna, and Thresh sound like a better composition for a level 6 teamfight than Karma, Udyr, Sylas, and Braum, and Rogue gets a 3x0, two of those going into Inspired’s scoreboard:
Then, with his team's help, Inspired secures the Herald, granting another minute 10 lead over Jankos:
In the first 10 minutes of Game 4, Inspired managed to:
- steal a Blue Buff Jankos (including a Blue Buff),
- help his team win a 3x0 team fight where he got 2 kills,
- secure the first Rift Herald.
Having a good jungler can absolutely turn a game in your favor. Getting the jungler ahead can be reached by using lane prio (usually mid) to rotate and invade the enemy's jungle but the jungler him/herself can, as we’ve seen in this article, use the respawn timers to steal camps and deny gold and experience to the opponent.
When a jungler is ahead in the early game, he/she is more likely to secure objectives for his team and use his advantage to get the laners ahead in their matchups too.
In this example, Inspired took the lead over Jankos in the early game in every single map. Shocking no one, he received the MVP of the series after Rogue beat G2 to advance to LEC Spring Finals.