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33 Votes

Jungling 101 - What You Need To Know!

September 14, 2012 by Xenasis
Comments: 19    |    Views: 406323    |   


After great success with my League of Legends jungling guide on Mobafire, and great interest with jungling on DotA (and having since having essentially 'switched' from LoL to DotA 2), I thought I'd make one for DotA2 as well. If anything, DotA needs a guide a lot more than LoL does, as the actual jungling is a lot more intense and harder than LoL, whereas it may be argued the ganks and their management is the hardest part of LoL's jungling, which is situational.

I've seen many requests or questions as to how one jungles on a certain hero, how to jungle in general on DotA, and indeed I was as confused as many of these people, and I see no reason as to why it should remain archaic knowledge.

What this guide WILL give you -

A basic introduction into jungling, for with a jungler on your team, being a jungler, and being against a jungler
Some essential knowledge about junglers
Some simple tips and tricks for jungling

What this guide WON'T give you -

In depth guides/information about every single jungler
Jungling routes specific to one jungler only (I'd advise visiting specific guides for this)
Tips on how to improve a jungle at a professional level

Hopefully, it will help ease your confusion if you want to try and delve into DotA2's jungle, as I myself found it somewhat daunting to begin with. There is quite a lot of flexibility in DotA's jungle, but I hope this guide helps to put you upon the right tracks. You never know, you may end up really loving to jungle!

Pros/Cons of Jungling

So, what's the point of a jungler? Is there any reason not to have one? Why would you have a jungler in the first place?

In DotA, it's completely viable to have and to not have a jungler, and it's very situational whether you get one or not in a professional level game.

Pros -
+ You have someone on your team who's unpredictable, the enemy doesn't know where you are unless they've warded really deep into your jungle (which you should never let them...)
+ You can help gank lanes that might otherwise be struggling
+ Don't waste the heaps of XP or gold that reside within the jungle that would usually, otherwise be wasted
+ Somebody on your team is assured farm (and a LOT of it), and cannot be denied unless your jungle gets warded and/or ganked, though your team CAN react to that.

Cons -
- You have to have somebody on your team who cannot instantly react to an important fight, and more often than not won't be able to instantly access a Town Portal Scroll like side lanes can at the side shop.
- Some people might not be able to handle a 2v1 suicide lane (top lane for Radiant, bottom lane for Dire), and it does require some pretty particular picks (such as Windrunner or Queen of Pain who can farm relatively safely) to be able to pull it off.

What Makes a Jungler?

You might have asked yourself "why can X hero jungle but Y hero can't?" Those reasons are easier to understand than you'd think.

There's quite a few factors, I'll briefly go over each. Some heroes can manage having horrendous aspects in one (such as Lycanthrope's ganks being really bad due to no innate CC) by having a much better aspect in another thing (such as Lycanthrope's really good building fitting in to jungling (Vladimir's Offering is good for jungling and Lycanthrope in general), relatively good speed, and Summon Wolves being all the survivability he needs), or just being all around decent at everything (think Nature's Prophet or, to a lesser extent, Dark Seer).

Ganks -
Ganks aren't all that important for most junglers on DotA 2, and many of the top picks (like Lycanthrope and Nature's Prophet) usually will spend most of their time farming, though it can really boost a jungler's viability, with the perfect example being Bloodseeker. He has a horrendous speed but Rupture and Bloodrage make for a very, very potent ganking kit. Don't be fooled, however, having something like a Black Hole, Open Wounds or something can really turn a lane around, and would help turn otherwise bad junglers (with the perfect example, again, being Bloodseeker) into potent ones. It's worthy of note that some jungle creeps that Chen and Enchantress can grab can hold things such as nets, stuns, and other things of that nature, making themselves great gankers, too.

Speed -
Needless to say, Lycanthrope, for example, tears through the jungle, whereas Bloodseeker does not. The large farm he can get over other junglers ensures that, indeed, he is a better pick overall. Higher speed = more gold per minute. More gold per minute = better items. Better items = won games. It can mean heroes that jungle quickly, like Enigma get a Mekansm AND Blink Dagger at 15 minutes or less, which is of course absolutely crazy, and can greatly contribute towards won games.

Survivability -
Someone like Nature's Prophet is a perfect example of survivability. He takes (or should take) no damage when jungling due to the fact he has his Treants to take the hits for him, meaning he loses no health, only his temporary Treants do. Someone like Axe or Lifestealer might be considered a lot less survivable and therefore safe to jungle with - it is easier to gank you if you're low health, and might result in you not being able to jungle as much due to lower health.

How it fits in with your usual build -
This one might seem a little odd, but it makes sense really. Quick examples are Ursa and Lycanthrope who would probably build a Vladmir's Offering anyway, but it is a REALLY good item to jungle with and builds really well for a jungler, as is the story with Axe and Vanguard. Examples where this isn't so good is in Enigma, who, despite the fact he farms really well in the jungle, usually builds into items such as Mekansm and/or Blink Dagger as soon as possible, neither of which are much use in the jungle (except maybe the Headdress part of the Mekansm), and he cannot make anything from a Ring of Basilius should he choose to purchase one.

Who Can Jungle, Then, And Why/How?

In no particular order, here are a list of what heroes can jungle, and why. The skills I have listed as the reason for jungling should, as a rule of thumb, be taken at level 1 and maxed first -

Because of Demonic Conversion.

Because of Fury Swipes and synergy with Vladmir's Offering.

Because of Summon Wolves and synergy with Vladmir's Offering.

Because of Enchant.

Because of Holy Persuasion.

Because of Counter Helix.

Because of Nature's Call and Teleportation (if he was in a lane, teleporting somewhere would mean that lane has one less in than it should do, and usually you do want to put him in a solo if he's laning).

Because of Ion Shell.

Because of Blood Bath.

One of the few heroes that can work for an early game (alone) appearance in the jungle and can later transition to lanes. You want to stack LOADS of (large, usually) creep camps, kill them from a distance with Shadow Poison, and reap the sweet, sweet rewards.

Because of Summon Spirit Bear.

Because of Feast.

Skeleton King
Because of Vampiric Aura.

This is not a 100% complete list of people that can always definitely jungle and therefore anybody else that ever tries will fail and shouldn't do it. This is just the more common/well known picks. I also may have forgotten someone, I am only human.

Which Camps Are Where?

In DotA, a random camp of a varying degree of difficulty will spawn in each jungle camp at every 1 minute into the game after they initially spawn at 0:30. So, they will spawn at 0:30, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and so forth. Needless to say, the harder the camp, the higher average gold and experience you gain for killing it.

This includes wards (hence why warding is so strong at shutting down junglers, to add to the fact you know where they are), heroes, and jungle creeps themselves. You can, however, manipulate this to your advantage, as we will go over later in the creep stacking/pulling section.

(Credit to the image I manipulated at to help create this image, and credit to the DotA 2 wiki in which I got much detailed information (and the pictures, which I would have taken myself, though there is absolutely no point in re-taking the same screenshot when it already exists) about each camp from in the following chapters)

The Small Camp

Most heroes, except those like Enchantress, Chen, and maybe Enigma (due to the fact they can easily take hard/medium (in Enigma's case) camps by converting a creep to their control) will start here, as it is the least strenuous and intensive camp of them all, saving the harder ones for once you have a few more levels/abilities. If you're new to jungling or worried about it, try and kill these guys a lot.

These camps can include -

Harpy Camp
(1 Harpy Storm, 2 Harpy Scouts, focus the Storm first!)

Kobold Camp
(3 Kobolds, 1 Kobold Tunneler, 1 Kobold Taskmaster, focus the Taskmaster first, he has too much swag to stay along much longer!)

Forest Troll And Kobold Camp
(2 Forest Troll Beserkers and 1 Kobold Taskmaster, focus the Berserkers down first)

Forest Troll And High Priest Camp
(2 Forest Troll Berserkers and 1 Forest Troll High Priest, focus the High Priest first due to the fact they heal)

Gnoll Assassin Camp
(3 Gnoll Assassins with ranged attacks and poisoned weapons)

Ghost Camp
(2 Fell Beasts and one Ghost with an attack slowing effect, focus the Ghost first)

The Medium Camps

These camps share a few similar creeps as the large camps, as some are in between medium and hard in difficulty. These will be most heroes' focus throughout the early jungling period. There is one camp on each side (top lane for Dire, bottom lane for Radiant) which makes it possible to pull one of these to your creeps, but on to that later.

These camps can include -

Centaur Camp
(1 Centaur Khan and 1 Centaur Outrunner, the Centaur Khan has an AoE stun and should be focussed down first)

Mud Golem Camp
(2 Mud Golems - IMMUNE TO MAGIC, can be hard for heroes like Dark Seer to take down, and immune to spells such as Enchant and Demonic Conversion)

Satyr Camp
(2 melee Satyr Soulstealers with a 100 mana burn/damage spell and 2 ranged Satyr Tricksters that have the ability to Purge debuffs from allies and buffs from enemies. Focus the melee Soulstealers first.)

Ogre Camp
(2 Ogre Maulers and 1 Ogre Magi, the Magi has an ice armour spell which works almost exactly like a rank 3.5 Lich ice armour, and is one of the best late game spells to have for heroes like Doom Bringer, bonus 8 armour is not to be mocked. Focus the Ogre Magi first.)

Wolf Camp
(2 Giant Wolves and 1 Alpha Wolf, both with nasty 20% 2x crit passives, but the alpha wolf has a +30% damage aura (making it an ideal target for a Doombringer's Consume), and as such should be focused down first.)

The Hard Camps

These camps are usually too hard to be attempted early game by most heroes and should be postponed until they have gained a few levels (I'd say 4-5 as a rough level amount for most heroes, with people like Enchantress being exempt from that). They are, however, a good source of powerful creeps with powerful abilities for heroes like Enchantress/ Chen to Enchant/ Holy Persuasion.

These camps can include -

Centaur Camp
(1 Centaur Khan and 1 Centaur Outrunner, the Centaur Khan has an AoE stun and should be focussed down first)

Large Satyr Camp
(1 Satyr Hellcaller, 1 Satyr Soulstealer, 1 Satyr Trickster. Focus the Hellcaller (big red one) down first. Also - Trickster has a Purge ability that is EXTREMELY good against certain heroes late game if you want a Doom Bringer to pick it up)

Ursa Camp
(1 Ursa Warrior, 1 Furlbolg Champion. Focus the ursa down first (big red one). Largely considered the hardest camp in the game, and it should be noted that the Ursa Warrior has a nasty AoE stun and damage thunder clap that deals 150 damage.)

Wildkin Camp
(1 Wildkin Warchief and 2 Wildkins. Focus the Warcheif (big one) down first. It's important to note the Warchief has a Tornado ability. You place it down and move it like a unit. This can be extremely useful to either automatically win a lane (send it down the middle or follow a laner) or to clear HUGE stacks of creeps (we'll cover this later) as Chen or Enchantress without any bother to yourself.)

Troll Camp
(1 Dark Troll Warlord and 2 Dark Trolls. Focus the Troll Warlord (big one) down first. The Warlord also has a ranged net ability which stops movement of an enemy for 1.5 seconds and can be great when encountering enemies in your jungle as Chen or Enchantress.)

The Very Hard/Ancient Camp

These camps should only be attempted later on into the game and are very difficult for most heroes. Once you have some lifesteal or if you're a really strong jungler such as Nature's Prophet or Lycanthrope you can easily take these down around level 7, or earlier, but with difficulty. Most are immune to magic (except the big Black Drake) bue NOT Composite damage (just like a Black King Bar's immunity) and as such can be stacked (something we'll go onto later) and damaged with Wild Axes and abilities such as it. These obviously give huge amounts of gold and experience.

These camps can include -

Large Golem Camp
{1 Granite Golem and 2 Rock Golems. These creatures are all immune to magic. Focus the Granite golem (big one) down first.)

Dragon Camp
(1 Black Drake and 2 Black Dragons. The Dragons (small ones) are immune to magic. Focus the Black Drake (big one) down first.)

Thunder Lizard Camp
(1 Big Thunder Lizard and 2 Thunder Lizards. These creatures are all immune to magic. Focus the Big Thunder Lizard down first)

Creep Stacking/Pulling

Creep Stacking -

This is a method of getting more creeps in one particular jungle spot by pulling creeps out of their initial spot by getting their aggro, then making sure nothing (including them) is near where they spawned at the minute mark (such as 2:00) so an extra camp spawns there as they are returning, with there being two, or more (as this can be done multiple times to get huge stacks up to numbers like 5 if you so desire and are good enough to do it) camps in the one place.

You do this so that junglers like Dark Seer and Axe can tear through entire creep camps in a very short space of time rather than doing them one by one, or even if not an AoE based jungler, heroes like Lifestealer can greatly benefit from it too, since they spend more time actually killing creeps and less time running around or waiting for creep spawns. For junglers like Lifestealer that want to do this, look to the Jungling Spots section below which can be vital to it.

So How Is It Done?
You want to pull creep camps out by going in to the camp spot at 53 (e.g. 1:53, 3:53, 5:53, etc) seconds into the minute (or 51 seconds if the camp is well stacked already (as they run into each other) and/or contains ranged creeps) and then running outwards so that you end up getting the creeps right out of the spawn location when the creeps spawn. You can then just let them walk back of their own accord, or follow them if you want to kill your stack so far.

Screenshot examples coming soon.

Creep Pulling -

This is a completely different tactic but still similar in the fact that it requires precise timing and is done in a somewhat similar fashion. Creep pulling is where you take creeps from the jungle into the lane as the creeps going to that lane are arriving (as a note, in a public game I'd make sure your lane wants this as it does mean no creeps arrive to the lane for a while), which makes your creeps attack the jungle creeps and therefore do all the hard work for you AND deny the enemy team of gold/XP! Make sure to get the last hit on the jungle creeps if you do end up doing this, however.

You will do this at primarily (though it can be done to other camps, it is a lot harder, and this is a guide covering basics alone) top lane for Dire or bot lane for Radiant, bringing the Medium Camp towards the creeps then letting them fight each other. This is, since it's so close to a lane, risky and easy to counter by invasion or warding, so make sure you keep one eye on the lane you're jungling near at all times when doing this to prepare from potential ganks.

Screenshot examples coming soon.

Starting Items

In DotA, starting items are actually really, really varied when jungling. There are a multitude of starts that you can use, though many are extremely specific, however, I shall try to illustrate a few outlines of starting items you can get. As a rule of thumb, you can jungle on any hero with one of these three starts. Even if it isn't optimal in one particular situation, for a new jungler (hence, one learning the BASICS), it will still be a good choice and will work.

Ring of Basilius Based Starts -
These will either start with a Ring of Basilius and a Tango or 2x Clarity potions (if you still need lots of mana even after the ring, like Lycanthrope and Enigma). You should only EVER start with a [[Ring of Basilus if you yourself are not taking the damage (e.g. you're Lycanthrope) unless you've randommed or something. It gives you more mana to (for example) use more Summon Wolves and also gives (for example) those wolves more armour to take more hits and more damage for a faster clear. It's worth nothing that this item builds into Vladmir's Offering.

NOTABLE HEROES IT CAN BE GOOD ON - Lycanthrope, Enchantress, Nature's Prophet, Enigma

Animal Courier Based Starts -
Since junglers do not have to face anybody in lane, they do not have to face any enemies with less gold than they do, hence it may be good to pick it up as a jungler. Usually you might want to pick up a few Clarity potions too, and Smoke of Deceit is never a bad pick up for some ganks.

NOTABLE HEROES IT CAN BE GOOD ON - Enchantress, Chen, Enigma

Stout Shield And/Or Quelling Blade Based Starts -
These will be taking a lot of hits and if they have a Quelling Blade, be dealing most of their damage through their own auto attacks. Hence, getting one of these on Nature's Prophet, for example, is silly, as lots of his damage comes from his Nature's Call, and they take most of the damage, too.

NOTABLE HEROES IT CAN BE GOOD ON - Lone Druid, Lifestealer, Ursa, Skeleton King

Of course, starting items are obviously unique. Take Dark Seer. You might end up choosing to take a Stout Shield and Animal Courier when jungling as him. It's both situational and unique. The three items above are just guidelines that every hero can take and be at least decent with. Do not be afraid to try combinations or variations if the hero in question can do it.

Jungling Spots (Semi Advanced)


This is exceptionally good for junglers like Lifestealer, Ursa and Dark Seer who do not want all the enemies attacking them at once, but would be detrimental to junglers such as Axe as his clear time would be slower, and may be hard to pull off for heroes like Lycanthrope and Chen to the point where it isn't actually worth it.

Essentially, these are little hidey-holes made by 'digging' through trees to get to a position where only one creep can attack you at once. There are a LOT of them that exist, and obviously there are also a lot of jungle camps, though I WILL get some screenshots of these up in the future. Essentially though, if you see a tree in a narrow line of trees that can make a square that's missing a side sort of shape, you can slot in there and kill stuff. Remember, Ion Shell can hit stuff close that still cannot attack you - it has a relatively high range.

These can be accessed using a Tango or, of course, Quelling Blade, however, people like Dark Seer will not start with a Quelling Blade. All you do is 'dig' to a small gap in somewhere where there are lots of trees until only one enemy can attack you. When this happens, stop 'digging', and you can use the hole again and again! These are really good for big stacks as people such as Dark Seer or just generally anybody that only wants one person attacking them.

Screenshots coming soon!

Counterwarding Junglers (Semi Advanced)

As we have previously discussed, jungle camps will NOT spawn if something is near. This includes wards.

Naturally, one of the best counters to junglers is to ward near them. Early game you'll want to target medium camps (so they only have the choice between hard and easy camps, making it extremely hard to jungle after they have killed the easy one) and late game focus on harder camps such as Hard/Ancient camps. Early game, if the opposing team is pulling creep camps in your long lane (suicide lane) this is THE counter to that. You slap a ward down and they can't pull lane creeps to their medium camp for a good 6 minutes.

There are two types of wards for an enemy's jungle, both are equally as viable and situational -

1. An Obscure/Hidden One (for easiness I'll call these "Hidden Wards")

These are the hardest to counterward (basically find and destroy using wards of their own) but do not give you much/any vision and only really stop creep camps from spawning. Hidden wards are traditionally hidden in trees. Usually, these will never really get anywhere else other than the camp, and might not actually see everything, but are very, very hard to find.

2. One That's Still Good For Sight (for easiness I'll call these "Scouting Wards")

Inversely, these are actually relatively good for spotting stuff (lots of the time (but not always) including the potential killer of that particular camp) as well as blocking the creep camps, but can be very, very easy to counterward and destroy by an enemy ward. These are traditionally placed at the area you wish to scout and next to the creep camp you wish to block. They're generally very easy to figure out where to put them. If it's right next to a creep camp and next to somewhere people walk, it's one of these.

I will get some examples of both types up soon!


(Dates in UK time format)

24/7/12 - Published.
14/9/12 - Updated it a bit. Removed references to Smoke of Deceit for the most part. Bigger updates will be coming soon!

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