Jungling is arguably one of the most challenging roles in League of Legends. It’s harder to have a high creep score and you need to have the perfect timing while ganking to ensure you or your teammates get the kill. It takes a lot of skill and ability to read the enemy jungler’s movements simply based on which jungle camps are vacant and which are not.
One of the terms that are often used by Esports commentators in League of Legends matches is “Vertical Jungling”. Although there’s no fixed rule or guidebook on how to go about the jungle, but some regular and predictable patterns have been developed over the years by jungle players. It not only helps track how to grow as a jungler during the game and buy the items one needs but is also a way of keeping tabs on the enemy team’s jungler.
The usual method of jungling is to either go blue or red, regardless of whether or not you are team blue or team red. If the blue buff is taken first, the nearby jungle camp is cleared and then the red buff is taken as the first priority. So if you are team blue and go for the red buff first (in the South), you have to go Westwards for the blue buff. Similarly, if you are team red, taking the red buff means you are North of the map, and then taking the blue buff on your side means you are East of the map.
Vertical Jungling refers to a de-facto arrangement where after taking the first buff (red or blue), you go straight to the enemy jungle to capture the other buff. All this while, the enemy team’ jungler is also doing the same in your side of the jungle. Both are aware of and expect each other’s movements like this before getting into combat against each other. That’s why it should be understood as a “de-facto” arrangement. It basically means if you are in the enemy jungler and taking their buff and no one from the enemy team is nearby to check on you, the enemy jungler is most likely doing the same in your jungle as well.