Bruisers are champions that love to fight in close quarters. Essentially, Bruisers are a class of melee champions that are able to survive as well as deal damage and fight constantly for long periods. Since Bruisers are short-range champions, their biggest problem is getting close to the enemy carries.
Historically, Bruisers are champions that have always been associated with the top lane. Over the years, however, we have gotten a steady influx of this category of champions in the jungle role.
Many of the Bruiser junglers are good picks but when it comes down to finding the best out of the lot, we have to look at the champions in more detail.
This class of champions has always been a core part of League of Legends. This is because Bruisers have the ability to single-handedly change the game. Most of the champions of this category have the propensity to outlast their opponents by built-in healing or survivability provided in their kits.
These fighter champions make items that give resistance as well as damage. The champions who are able to make the best use of these items are often the ones that outshine the other fighter champions. We will now take an in-depth look at the Bruiser junglers that overshadow their counterparts.
Also read: Best Junglers Against Tanky Teams
5. Lee Sin
The first champion that comes to mind whenever you think of a bruiser jungler is, without a doubt, Lee Sin. Given how important the Bruiser role has always been, it is only fair that the most iconic jungle champion is also a Bruiser.
Lee Sin has been a constant feature of the jungle role in every meta that the game has gone through. The champion is able to adapt to all types of game situations. In the early game, Lee sin can play super aggressively as there are very few champions that can even hope to brawl with him in the early game.
Lee has the ability to change the direction of any game by finding a pick onto the enemy carry. He has the ability to “Insec” an enemy champion towards his team. This play has the potential to change the direction of any game from losing to winning in an instant.
The Blind Monk scales really well with all Bruiser items available in the game. You do not have to be picky with your build pathing. This flexibility is something that has played a part in keeping Lee Sin a top-tier jungler through the years.
We will be talking specifically about Darkin Kayn as he is one too strong of a Bruiser champion to not include. This is because Kayn has insane built-in healing in his kit as well as percentage health damage to deal with the enemy fighter champions. He is able to outlast his enemies quite easily.
A lot of the items that Bruisers tend to go for focus on giving healing and survivability to the champions. These items give Darkin Kayn or as he is often called, Red Kayn ability to fight for a long period of time and survive longer than even other Bruiser champions.
Kayn has the ability to move across the Rift very quickly and also get close to the enemy carries by moving through walls. Red Kayn has an AOE knock-up and the ability to heal a lot of his missing health via “Umbral Trespass”.
The only drawback of Kayn is that he is quite weak till he gets his transformation. Kayn gets stacks from his passive according to the type of champions he fights with. To play the Bruiser version i.e Darkin Kayn you need to fight with the enemy melee champions. This will give you stacks to then transform into the Darkin.
Also read: How Do Kayn’s Forms Work?
For people who like to play in a super aggressive manner and an all-in play style, Vi is the optimal bruiser champion in the jungle. There are multiple reasons why Vi is such a good champion for aggressive play. She is also a great pick to master for people who wish to have a reliable, point, and click engage.
The reason behind this is that Vi’s ultimate is a guaranteed lock-on ability that knocks up the target and keeps them in place for your team to follow up on your engage. You have the ability to get in range to use the ultimate on a high-priority target by using the “Vaultbreaker” as a gap closer.
A good thing about Vi is that you do not need to make a lot of damage items to be a threat. You have good enough base damages on your abilities that after a couple of damage-oriented items you can focus on making defensive items to help keep you alive.
Vi harmonizes exceptionally well with items that give bonus health and resistances. The reason is that her passive, the “Blast Shield” constantly gives Vi shields based on her maximum health when in combat. This also gives the Piltover Enforcer much more survivability when diving into the enemy team.
Hecarim has been a hallmark of the jungle role because of how strong he is in the early to mid-game. Hecarim thrives in the early stages of the game because of how quickly and healthily he can clear jungle camps. You can use the advantage you get from this in various ways.
First of all, you can try to help your lanes early and set them up for success. You can also look to dominate the enemy jungler by invading him or monitoring his movements. If the opponent has picked a champion that has a slow clear he can not hope to contest with Hecarim.
Hecarim has the “Devastating Charge” that gives effective early ganks due to the combination of high burst damage and pushing the enemy toward his ally. In the mid-game fights, Hecarim can gap close as well as fear the enemy team with “Onslaught of Shadows” giving himself and his team a clear opportunity to win.
For the most part, you will not need to change the build pathing from game to game much due to the consistency of the champion. This gives the player one less thing to worry about during the game. You can pour all your energy into looking for ways to win rather than mulling over your build pathing.
Also read: Best Juke Champions
Olaf is arguably the strongest early game bruiser champion in terms of fighting with enemies. This is why he has been played frequently at the top lane as well, but jungle has been by far his most effective role. Olaf has a fast early game clear but you have to be willing to give health as a trade-off for the fast clear.
One of the main reasons why he is so strong in the early game is the “Undertow”. Olaf throws an ax to not only deal damage but also slow all enemies hit, he can then pick up the ax to significantly reduce the ability’s cooldown. He can do this repeatedly to have unmatchable early-game DPS.
Olaf’s early game prowess can be a double-edged sword. To compensate for having such a strong early game, he does not scale very well past a couple of items and his late game is notoriously weak. In a lot of the games, you have to go for broke looking for advantages in the early game.
If Olaf is indeed able to get advantages in the early game, he can be a menace to deal with in skirmishes and fights. His ultimate “Ragnarok” makes him immune to crowd control giving him the ability to essentially run unhindered towards the enemy carries and try to eliminate them.
As this is a relatively small list to comprise the best Bruiser junglers, some key champions had to be overlooked. Viego in particular deserves an honorary mention because of his ability to single-handedly win any fight for his team with one reset of his passive.
Among the above-mentioned champions, we can see that each champion has a distinct play style. Each of them offers different ways to make an impact on the game and each of them is good enough to be picked in any situation.
Usually, Bruisers are champions that excel at team fighting and none of the above champions is an exception to that rule. They all have the ability to either make fight-winning plays or just overrun the enemy team if they have any sort of advantage.