ByFrank Fields, writer at Creators.co
Storyteller. World builder. Bant loyalist. My life for Aiur, Magic, and Esports.
Frank Fields

Low jungler diversity has largely kept the jungle from evolving on its own, but #RiotGames still makes enough changes to keep the League of Legends jungle fresh.

Of all the roles in League, Jungle showcases the difference between professional play and Solo Queue more than any other—champions like Nidalee flourish in pro play, but are poor performers in Solo Queue. Keeping that in mind, we try to take the best of both worlds with this tier list.

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Let's take a look at the top junglers for Patch 6.21:

5. Vi

Play rate: 8.06% | Win rate: 51.75%

Strengths:

  • Insane hard crowd control
  • Mobility over terrain
  • High damage output and tanky stats

Weaknesses:

  • No sustain in jungle
  • Slow early clear speed
  • Limited options in teamfights

Jungle champions in League are often picked for their mobility, dueling power, and damage output, but few do all three as well as Vi. She is able to execute creative ganks because of her ability to traverse terrain, and is able to duel enemy champions in the jungle better than most junglers.

But unlike many other strong early gank champions, Vi doesn't lose effectiveness in teamfights. Her ultimate (Assault and Battery, R) is nigh impossible to dodge, and can often guarantee a kill on a high priority target.

Vi also excels at controlling engagements with Vault Breaker (Q), disrupting enemy frontlines and assassinating squishy backlines—the only downside is how telegraphed this playstyle is, since she has few other options. But with her teamfighting prowess and early game power, Vi has few equals among junglers.

What's Changed Lately?

  • Blast Shield (Passive) cooldown reduced - buff
  • Vault Breaker (Q) cooldown reduced; knockback tweaked - buff
  • Excessive Force (E) gain two charges upon first level up; mana cost decreased; damage increased - buff

4. Nunu

Play rate: 7.26% | Win rate: 53.66%

Strengths:

  • Extremely safe jungling with fast clear speed
  • Cheap and low cooldown sustain
  • Low cooldown crowd control

Weaknesses:

  • Low damage output
  • Bad dueling power
  • Poor scaling

Nunu thrives in the early game. Consume (Q) gives him a ridiculously fast clear speed, and an annoying propensity for counterjungling that is difficult to stop. Because of his ability to clear the jungle so quickly, it frees him up for both ganking lanes and harassing enemy junglers, all while retaining an experience lead.

Unfortunately, Nunu's ganks are not particularly strong. To help out his laners, Nunu is forced to find opportunities to make use of Ice Blast's (E) low cooldown and gank long lanes or while enemy laners are overextended. Because of this limitation, Nunu is effective at ganking top and bot lanes, but not as adept at ganking mid.

Nunu does have a powerful ultimate (Absolute Zero, R) for teamfights, but he still doesn't scale particularly well because of his low damage, and few offensive abilities. It's important to get the most out of his strong early game, so that you can be ahead for when his power begins to wane. When done properly, Nunu's strong early game sets his laners up for success, and allows him to be disruptive in mid game teamfights.

What's Changed Lately?

  • Consume (Q) Well Fed bonus reduced - nerf
  • Visionary (Passive) Starts with five stacks at beginning of game and after Recall - buff
  • Attack damage increased - buff
  • Feed the Yeti passive added to Consume (Q) - massive buff
  • Absolute Zero (R) cast time removed - buff

3. Zac

Play rate: 7.46% | Win rate: 51.46%

Strengths:

  • Great sustain in jungle
  • Incredible initiation range and crowd control
  • Tanky stats and revive passive

Weaknesses:

  • Terrible dueling ability
  • No ranged abilities
  • Horrid damage output

Zac's playstyle is slow and methodical; he requires a lot setup time to be effective, but his patience is rewarded with huge payoffs.

Zac has a pretty quick jungle clear, and decent sustain from his Cell Division (Passive). But just because he is good at clearing and sustain, it doesn't make him a great early game champion—he has almost no ability to fight enemy junglers who invade him, with a long cooldown crowd control ability, and no single target damage.

Where Zac thrives is ganking and starting fights in the mid game. Zac has unmatched initiation range with his Elastic Slingshot (E), letting him start fights from almost a full screen away, frequently surprising enemy teams by getting around their vision control. After jumping into the fray, he is able to disrupt enemy teams with the crowd control of his ultimate (Let's Bounce, R).

Zac's long range initiation makes him one of the most frustrating champions to siege against, since you never know if he's waiting around the corner preparing to jump on top of you.

What's Changed Lately?

  • No major changes

2. Olaf

Play rate: 8.31% | Win rate: 50.47%

Strengths:

  • Fast jungle clear speed
  • Consistent ganks with repeatable crowd control
  • Great sticking power in teamfights

Weaknesses:

  • Often easy to kite
  • Damage output almost entirely from melee
  • Gated by mana in early game

Olaf is a consistent early game threat that holds a steady power curve throughout a match. He's able to clear the jungle quickly because of Undertow (Q) having almost no cooldown. This also allows him to gank lanes easily and consistently.

His dueling power is very strong for similar reasons, and because of the powerful true damage component of Reckless Swing (E). His sticking power, high damage output, and crowd control immunity he gets from his ultimate (Ragnarok, R) makes him a great frontliner.

Olaf's main obstacle is his range: he is almost completely dependent on melee attacks and has no way of speeding himself up to close distance. Against certain team comps that can kite him effectively, this can become a huge liability. But assuming he is able to flank effectively, or get movement speed ups from champions like Karma or Sivir, he becomes a near unstoppable force.

What's Changed Lately?

  • Vicious Strikes (W) lifesteal increased - buff
  • Ragnarok (R) bonus resistances increased - buff

1. Lee Sin

Play rate: 33.46% | Win rate: 50.23%

Strengths:

  • Unparalleled dueling power
  • Almost unrestricted mobility
  • Utility, initiation, and high damage

Weaknesses:

  • Extremely difficult to play
  • Relatively slow clear speed
  • Hard to use crowd control

In most circumstances, saying a character is "hard to play" is a cop out, but Lee Sin really is one of the most difficult heroes or champions to play in any MOBA game; this is why he continues to have such a low win rate compared to his strength.

Lee Sin is completely reliant on his Sonic Wave (Q) / Resonating Strike (Q) combo for initiation and ganking. He also requires creative use of Safeguard (W) for initiation and closing power, and he has to do this with very precise timing and accuracy.

Of course, if you can play Lee Sin effectively, he basically does everything. He can be built as a tank or a damage dealer, can fight junglers in their jungle and still escape, and is impactful at nearly any point of the game. Lee Sin is a notoriously difficult champion to balance because of the versatility and mobility in his kit, but the difficulty in executing some of his more stellar plays—in particular using Dragon's Rage (R) to assassinate a high priority target—tends to keep his win rate in check.

Lee Sin is hard to pick up, but worth it to master.

What's Changed Lately?

  • Iron Will (W) sustain values increased - buff
  • Safeguard (W) shield increased - buff

Poll

Who is the best jungler in League of Legends?