King of the Jungle

By Erberk “Gilius” Demir   

You have to be confident to play professionally, but you have to be even more confident to play jungle.

To play jungle effectively, you need to have a holistic view of the game. There’s more to it than just focusing on trading in the lane or getting CS; you’re dictating the flow of the entire game.

It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, even I used to have my flaws – if you can believe it – but after some time, it comes naturally to you. You take charge.

I used to main mid lane back in the day but I got tired of my junglers always sucking, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

It was by far the most impactful role in solo queue and I liked to win games, so it was a pretty obvious choice for me.

It was crazy how fast you could climb the ladder if you learned how to jungle properly. It’s not as obvious now, but back then, it really was “better jungle wins”

Even though, naturally, I was insane as a jungler, there was still a handful of players that I looked up to when it came to learning more about the position: Insec, Diamondprox, and Svenskeren were the kings back then.

Diamondprox in Season Two.

Wow. That guy was a fucking god.

Whatever Diamondprox played, everyone else was playing it a week later. Whatever path he took, became the new standard jungle path. He changed the position completely, and that, in turn, changed the game.

There is no one like him anymore, I don’t think it’s even possible for anyone to be like him with the state the game is in now.

League of Legends is so cookie cutter now.

Right now, jungle is a very team dependent role; too much so in my opinion. It makes it pretty difficult to stand out as a player now.

You can’t carry from the jungle anymore in competitive play. After so many nerfs, it’s just not possible.

I think the last guy who hard carried from the jungle was Levi for the GIGABYTE Marines but then you see what happens when he moves to NA and has to adjust to the LCS meta… that’s how sad it is.

When I look for inspiration now, I look at Tarzan and Canyon in the LCK; those guys are so fucking good. They don’t even have that much competitive experience either, so in theory, they should only get better.

There’s so much bullshit in the game right now that, even without the actual nerfs, the influence of the jungler would still be too low. Aftershock on mages, every new AD Carry having insane mobility; it’s very frustrating.

Maxlore, Jankos, Mowgli and Memento are the only junglers in the LEC that are actually doing anything particularly noticeable at the moment.

It’s not that the others are bad or anything, they’re just not notable in any way.

I haven’t played against a lot of these guys in scrims or anything but I’m pretty sure I would at least be a top five jungler in the LEC – finding a team didn’t work out for me this season but I don’t think it came down to a skill problem, it was more of a perception problem.

It’s kind of funny when you look back at the old school jungle players who paved the way for this role.

It’s no wonder that they’ve nearly all retired now.

Cyanide, TheOddOne, Snoopeh, etc, what set them apart was that they were smart. They controlled games and facilitated their teams, and that used to be enough, but it’s not anymore.

They were all bad mechanically, undoubtedly. League was a newer game back in Season Two so junglers could get away with having weaker mechanics.

Today, pro junglers still need to be as smart as the old school players were, but also as mechanically as good as the lane players on their teams. That alone makes it the hardest role to stay relevant in. There are new players coming in every season in every region.

The turnover rate for this position is so much higher than other roles because of this fact.

It takes a whole other level of dedication to keep motivating yourself to get through all the bullshit and stay on top of the meta.

The love for the game has to overcome the effort required.

Kings of the Jungle like myself, Jankos and Svenskeren, who have stayed at or near the top of the game for so many years, it’s only because we all love this game that we can stay there.


 Erberk “Gilius” Demir