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Table of Contents
League of Legends is a MOBA game which involves the clashing of two five on five teams, fighting until one breaks into the enemy base and destroys the Nexus to claim victory.
It’s not always the case in LoL, especially if you have played solo queue on pretty much any server, but like many online games, LoL is a team oriented game and one that is played best when any given team is in sync with one another.
But this is not always achievable in the unforsaken land of solo queue on Summoner’s Rift. Aside from coming across trolls and uncooperative players, most people will funnel their resources into themselves and fail to realize the team-playing essence of the game.
This spirit is most commonly found in lower elos and stands as one of the main reasons that there are so many people who reside there. After all, it is called solo queue. But as you start to climb the ladder, you will notice that as well as individual skill, team coordination and cooperation is a lot better because these players understand the importance of playing with your team.
(Image Credit: Report Teemo by HeadcrabeD)
Sometimes, you cannot be the carry and instead, as a player in a team of four others, it is your duty to identify and then support your team’s win condition. Sometimes it might be you and so your team will have to do the same, but you will also find yourself in situations where your mid lane or ADC’s life must be highly prioritized over yours, if they are the one who is most likely to carry your game.
All of the above are traits that a good jungler should possess. In recent seasons, the role of the jungler has become heavily influential on the outcome of games, as the jungler is instrumental in setting up the rest of their team for success.
The best junglers will dominate the early game, roam the entire map and ensure they are always in the correct positions to take objectives, respond to skirmishes and most importantly, gank.
What is ganking?
So, what does the word “gank” mean and what is ganking? Essentially, the fundamentals of ganking are using the element of surprise to launch an attack on an enemy.
Ganking is a term that you will often hear being used in games other than LoL, like World of Warcraft and Dota 2, for example. It is gamer terminology and common vocabulary used by players to describe the act of “ganging up” on somebody and “killing” them. Hence, the word ganking is a combination of the two.
Ganking results in an unfair advantage for you and your team over the enemy, and when it comes to LoL, the majority of ganks you will witness will come from junglers. The reason for this is because of the many brushes of greenery that are located on the map of Summoner’s Rift. As you should already know, placing yourself in one of these brushes will render you invisible from the enemy, unless the bush has been warded.
Due to the locations of the brushes, (you will find many on the map, with most of them being spotted in the jungle and adjacent to the lanes), it is usually the jungler’s responsibility to move around the map and gank their teammates whenever possible and you will find the term to be most commonly associated with junglers, for this reason.
(Image Credit: Riot Games)
Technically, anyone can pull off a gank playing from any position on the map, but it is essential that you understand the fundamentals, likely scenarios and implications of ganking first.
When To Gank
- You have particularly tanky stats and can negate enough of the turret damage to secure the kill; this is possible when playing a champion like Sett, who can use his W ability to negate high amounts of damage from very early on in the game.
- Between you and your laner, you can tank enough of the turret damage together whilst executing the kill and both of your escapes.
- You are playing a champion that can de-aggro the enemy turret, such as Elise, who can use her E ability in spider form to repel above the ground and returning to reset the aggro of the turret.
- The enemy is low enough that you can easily get the kill and get out with no casualties.
- You are aware of the enemy jungler’s movements and have knowledge/used deductive reasoning to predict that they will be ganking this lane, as your ally is pushed very far into “no man’s land”, and are counter-ganking. This is an excellent way of negating an enemy gank and instantly turning the skirmish in your favor.
- You have more than one of your allies to execute the turret dive, for example, if your support has roamed and you are 3v1.
- You have monitored whether or not the enemy has escape tools, such as their flash or certain abilities that are on cooldown.
- For all of the above, you and your ally have your flashes available as a secondary escape tool.
Firstly, you must identify what kind of jungler you have chosen. If you are playing a jungler that excels in the early game such as Lee Sin, Vi or Olaf, then you can look to pull off ganks as quickly as possible to gain an early advantage on the enemy.
Other junglers require more time to farm, get enough gold to buy items to hit power spikes or level 6 to use their ultimates, and then they have the ability to begin ganking. Junglers such as Nocturne, Rengar and Shyvana require this extra time to be invested before they can look for ganks.
The optimal time to gank as a jungler is usually dependent upon the state of the minion wave. As a jungler, you do not want to look for a gank if your ally laner has pushed in their wave and is looking towards trying to inflict damage upon the enemy turret (for plate gold etc.).
Having said this, the only time that it is feasible to gank when your team has pushed in the lane and the enemy is under their turret is if:
As you can see, there are a lot of factors you must consider before ganking an ally, but remember, these are only applicable when the wave is pushed in and the enemy is situated somewhere near or under their turret.
Under normal circumstances, the best time to gank is when the enemy waves are pushed in and your allies are closer to their turret. This gives you more lane space to work with and increases the chances of your gank being successful. At most, surprising the enemy this way will always force a Summoner Spell out of the opponent, if you do not always get the kill.
Using the brushes to avoid being spotted is also the primary tool used by junglers to gank. Sometimes, it may be worth recalling to base, pick up an Oracle’s Lens/Sweeper instead of the default Warding Totem and roam the jungle to spot enemy wards using your Sweeper, denying vision.
(Image Credit: NERFPLZ.LOL)
This is extremely useful for you as it effectively allows for you to scope out enemy wards and eliminate them, to focus on areas that you may gank unnoticed for the next time that you come around.
In any case, as a jungler, you should be placing your own wards and destroying as many of the enemy’s wards as possible. This is called playing around vision control and is one of the biggest differences between low elo and high elo players.
Once you know there is no chance of the enemy knowing where you are, you can ping to your ally in their lane to let them know you want to gank, and then look to surprise the enemy when you have noticed that they are in a vulnerable position.
Sometimes, you may come across a ward when attempting to gank and still want to look ahead to execute it, despite walking over a ward. This is feasible with certain champs who have good gap closers, such as Kha’Zix and Rek’Sai, for example.
Even though the enemy might know you are coming, if they are pushed far enough ahead, you can pull off a gank and try to secure the kill, but always remember, you must track the enemy Summoner Spells to the best of your ability, in particular, the enemy’s Flash.
When Not To Gank
The worst time to gank is when your ally is heavily behind or the enemy is very far ahead. If the enemy is super fed, then the chances of you pulling off a successful gank, even if you follow the steps above, are very low. It is also very possible that you and your ally will both die, resulting in the enemy getting even more ahead.
If you are super fed yourself, then it just may be possible for you to execute the gank, but usually, the best thing to do if your allies are behind is to let them gather as much solo exp as possible and look to focus on other lanes, and prioritize objectives.
As mentioned before, if the enemy is under their turret, or your team’s waves are pushed in, then you do not need to force a gank as it could end up having the opposite effect.
Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation where you have ganked, both you and your ally have invested everything in terms of damage into the enemy, and they have survived. In this case, the safest thing to do is to back off, reset and recall to base.
When you are in the process of ganking, it is likely that the enemy is pinging for assistance from their jungler and they will usually already be en route to that lane whilst you are ganking, if they are not already nearby. Knowing when to disengage after a gank is vital in preventing the enemy jungler from cleaning up the fight, and picking up free kills.
And that concludes our general guide on ganking, the best times to gank and when not to attempt a gank. We hope you managed to learn something that you did not already know before.
Now what are you waiting for? Go out there and start ganking with style!
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