Sunday, November 24, 2013

Preseason 4 Jungle Changes

I'm excited for Season 4 I think the changes will have a big impact on competitive play. Since I love jungling so much the first thing I did after patch 3.14 is play one game with each of my favorite junglers: Dr. Mundo, Hecarim, Nautilus, Evelynn, Zac, Rammus. I'll go over each champion and give my opinion on their current status and what changes effected them most.

First I should briefly go over the most important changes for junglers:

  • New jungle camp - Wight. This is just one monster by Blue buff that can provide a little more gold to very fast clearers, but mostly will give junglers a positional advantage because you can have more variety in your routes.
  • Updated jungle items - actually might not help that much. These have gold bonuses now so I thought they would change the jungle completely but the impact isn't that huge. You should still build the same items you used to on your old junglers. It just means junglers that liked these items now have a slight advantage. Also most people agree Wriggle's Lantern still sucks.
  • Trinkets - These are big. So far I think the sweeping lens is best for junglers as it let's you clear enemy wards. You can clear a ward then come back a short while later for the gank. Also a warding trinket would be fine if you want to help your laners ward but I think it's less good on a jungler. Now that there are more free wards available it also makes ganking a bit more difficult, but still possible.
  • Masteries - These were changed so much its still hard to tell who's going to come out on top from these. A lot of experimenting still needs to be done before we know the best setups to use and who will get advantages from them. Right now, the defensive tree just seems better for junglers. The jungle creeps do too much damage now to go without a lot of defense. I think these changes will make tanky farm junglers the best now. I've been running 4/26/0 in the jungle and the masteries deep into the defense tree are just so strong.
  • Smite - Now has a 40 instead of 60 second cooldown which is a pretty big deal. Every jungler can clear faster now.

Now I'm going to go through each jungler I've played so far and give my opinion on their strength in the current state of the preseason.

  • Dr. Mundo - muahahahahah Mundo goes where he pleases. Mundo is strong again! The extra camp allows Mundo to continuously farm which is what he's best at. Also the mastery changes were great for Mundo. In defensive tree there is Juggernaut (+3% maximum health), Perseverance (regenerates 3% missing health every 5 seconds), Second Wind (increases self-healing by 10% when under 25% health), and Legendary Guardian (reduces duration of crowd control effects by 15%). These are all so good on Mundo. I would rank him as tier 1 in season 4. I think he will hit a sweet spot where he's good enough for competitive play but not so OP that he gets nerfed. My #1 pick right now. Also FYI none of the new jungle items are great for Mundo I'd just rush Spirit Visage, which is so strong right now.
  • Hecarim - meh. He was becoming less popular throughout season 3 as more and more nerfs hit him. Season 4 changes didn't really hurt him but it didn't do him any favors either. I rank him as Tier 2. His ultimate is still great but there are better choices. Also I tried using Spirit of the Elder Lizard on him, but I feel it's just such a risky item that will only work if you are ahead. I recommend skipping jungle items and rushing Iceborn Gauntlet. 
  • Nautilus - still very strong. I don't think the new season effected him too much. He got a minor buff in the last patch so that helped and Spirit of the Ancient Golem is slightly better. I thought he was one of the best junglers already though and I think he still is. Tier 1.
  • Evelynn- a little worse. Changes to Spirit of the Spectral Wraith helps her sustain and clear in the jungle but it takes a while to build and is a big investment. I question whether it would be better to skip it altogether though and get an early Haunting Guise. She's always been situational because your laners really need CC to make ganks work, and that hasn't changed. The changes to masteries made her defense too low and really hurt her early clears and sustain, so I'd rank her as Tier 2.
  • Zac - Very good. I think the mastery changes helped Zac because he's so health based. The same things that help Mundo, help Zac. He can also farm pretty fast if you max W first and the new jungle is all about farming. I rank him Tier 1.
  • Rammus - Even worse than before. It's harder to gank now and Rammus's slow clear speeds hurt him even worse now that other farm junglers got buffed. He relies on his laners so much to take action when he ganks and it's so difficult to do anything without their help. Still, his taunt is so OP at rank 5, that he is still viable. Any idiot laner can pay attention long enough to kill their opponent if they are CC'd for 3 seconds. So I rank Rammus as Tier 2.
Overall, I feel the jungle changes are going to discourage ganking as frequently, and despite Riot saying carry junglers will be more viable, I think the opposite is true. Due to the masteries deep in the defensive tree being so strong and the addition of the extra jungle camp, I think we will have a return of the Season 2 meta of farming tanky junglers like Dr. Mundo and Shyvana.

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