Ganking in League of Legends is an art form, and knowing how and when to gank requires a huge, powerful brain and incredible game sense (Okay, I’m a Jungle Main). In all reality, though, it can be challenging to determine when you should be ganking, when you should be invading, and when you should be farming. A lot of Jungle mains get stuck in low elo because they do not understand when to gank and who to gank.
They will try to force ganks on losing lanes, which will, in turn, allow the enemy team to pick up an extra kill and snowball the game. On the flip side, some Jungle mains believe they can AFK farm all game and expect their team to win 4v5 until they finally decide to play. One of the most crucial skills in the Jungle is to balance your playstyle to adapt to each game dynamically.
Some games will require you to power farm and look for kills in the mid-game, while others will require pressure relief and counter ganking. In this Jungle guide, we’ll cover when to gank in League of Legends and how to gank in every situation that you may come across.
When to Gank vs. When to Farm
As we talked about above, there is a balancing act for Junglers to practice when they play the game. Whether you should farm or gank depends on a few factors. It would be best to think about what Champion you’re playing, whether you are currently even, behind, or ahead of the enemy team, and what the enemy Jungler is doing in the game.
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Does your Champion have strong ganking potential? Do they have a lot of CC (stuns, slows, etc.)? If not, does your team have the stuns to make up for your lack of CC, and can your DPS burst an enemy down? Some Champions, like Master Yi, will not gank very often early game unless they find an irresistible opportunity or can gank for a laner with hard CC. On the other hand, Champions like Shaco are practically built to constantly gank in the early game and create opportunities out of thin air.
Many players make the mistake of over-ganking in the early game. Whether the ganks work out or not, ganking often can put you in a tough spot. If you are not constantly clearing your jungle camps, you will fall behind in levels, making it difficult to fight enemies later in the game. If you’re already behind on levels, then consider clearing your Jungle before attempting to gank because if that gank doesn’t work out, you will have wasted even more time.
The Enemy Jungler
We talked about dynamically adapting your jungle style in the introduction. Make sure to pay attention to what the enemy Jungler is doing. Even if your Champion relies on farming and doesn’t come online until the late game, you do not want to be stubborn with your gameplay. If the enemy jungler is constantly ganking, you need to do something to relieve the pressure. Either answer their ganks with counter ganks or objectives. If you farm and tell your team to “play safe,” you will lose most of your games. In League of Legends, you need to be proactive to climb.
Ganking a Pushed Enemy
First off, we’ll talk about the classic gank that you will utilize in every game you play. You just finished clearing your Jungle, and an enemy laner is pushed up to your turret with no wards. They are practically waiting for you to run in and eradicate them. While this is a fundamental gank and simple in concept, there are some things you should consider before committing to a gank. We’ll cover the two scenarios that you’ll run into when preparing to gank a pushed-up enemy.
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The Enemy Champ is Low
If the enemy Champion is low, then the gank becomes pretty easy. You can run in and burn their Flash and land a kill most of the time. On the other hand, if they are full HP unless you are fed or on a Champ with high DPS, then you will want to wait for your teammate to engage so that you can play off of their CC and damage.
As long as you and your laner are healthy, there is not much risk in these ganks, and you should at least attempt to score a kill. The main thing to watch out for is being counter-ganked by the enemy Jungler. Think ahead of time about whether you and your laner can win the 2v2 vs. the enemy laner and Jungler.
Your Teammate is Low
If your teammate is low, this type of gank becomes a lot riskier. You may end up baiting your teammate into dying, which will allow the enemy laner to snowball the game even harder. When considering ganking for a low teammate, you need to look at the minion wave and the enemy Champion.
If the minion wave is massive, then there’s a good chance that your laner will die just trying to engage. If the enemy laner has high DPS (someone like Renekton), then there is a good chance that they will trade kills during your gank, which would be a regrettable situation for your team.
Ganking a Pushed Teammate
Many junglers will only try to gank lanes when the enemy lane is pushed, which means they will miss out on a lot of ganking opportunities. When all of your lanes are pushed, you need to learn how to spot non-obvious ganking opportunities in the forms of lane ganks and counter ganks.
A lane gank involves coming in through the lane instead of the river or tri bush. These can be more difficult to pull off since your team needs to be pushed far enough that you do not get spotted creeping into position. Most of the time, you will want to get in the furthest lane bush that you possibly can, without being seen by the enemy lane, then wait for someone to engage and capitalize on the lopsided fight. Mastering the lane gank is critical to climbing as a Jungle main.
You have to be more aware of the entire map as a Jungler than in any other role. Even if you notice a teammate is low and pushed to the enemy turret, then there is a good chance they are about to be ganked. You can either spam ping them to back up, or you can use the opportunity to set up a counter gank. Counter ganks are a great way to get yourself ahead of the enemy Jungler and snowball a lane simultaneously.
If your teammate is pushed up to the enemy turret, then a turret dive may be an excellent choice. Many Junglers are too afraid to dive because it is a hazardous ganking style. If executed poorly, it could lead to an enemy double kill. Before committing to a turret dive, assess where the enemy Jungler is, how low the target is, and how healthy/tanky you and your laner are. Turret dives are a fantastic tool in your arsenal, but they are also a great way to throw a game if you’re not careful.
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Use objective timings to determine when you should gank and where you should gank. Is Drake about to spawn? Then maybe it is time to gank bot lane. Are there still three minutes left on the Dragon timer? Then perhaps your time is better spent farming and trying to get ahead so that when you do battle for Drake, you will be able to carry the fight.
On the other side of the coin, you need to understand when not to gank. If Drake is about to spawn, you probably shouldn’t be ganking top lane, especially if it is a risky gank. If you end up dying top, you will be handing the enemy team a free Dragon, and even if you live, they may still take that Dragon while you’re top.
You can use the same strategy against the enemy laner. If Dragon is up, and you see them on the top side of the map, now may be the time to force a gank bot lane and take the free Dragon. If you cannot gank bot, maybe you can gank mid, which will allow them to roam to bot lane or Drake with you. Before you gank, think about what you are trying to get out of the gank. More importantly, think about what information you’re giving up by ganking at that moment.
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When to Gank a Losing Lane?
“Never gank a losing lane.” Many high elo Junglers have given this advice, and it is true. The reason for not ganking a losing lane is because there’s a good chance they will drag you under with them. If you gank a losing lane and end up dying, then you may have just thrown the entire game. However, this is just a rule of thumb that you can and should break in certain circumstances.
If your lane is losing hard, but you are fed, then there is a chance that you can shut down the fed enemy laner. It would help to analyze how far behind your teammate is and how strong the enemy is. If you believe you two can win a 2v1, then ganking the losing lane is a fantastic opportunity to shut down the enemy team’s one beacon of hope and leave them ready to FF at 15.
On the other hand, if you are not strong enough and end up getting 1v2’d by the enemy laner, then you just threw your lead in the trash and will be forced to bow down to the real carry.