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Winter Season Jungle Changes: More Lethal, More Depth

Winter Season Jungle Changes: More Lethal, More Depth

  • ROAM
  • |
  • Jan 29, 2016


Update 1.14 introduces the new Winter Season jungle.  At the heart of these changes is the desire to creative a tradeoff between efficient jungle clearing and battle readiness. If you want the most gold possible in the shortest amount of time, you’re going to be vulnerable at low health to a Krul jumping down your throat and smiting your soul. Let’s first summarize the changes …


  • The Gold Mine always returns to neutral after capture.
  • Minion Candy now works on neutral jungle miners and lasts the full 60 seconds. Remember: If it’s neutral, a candied miner can still turn on you!
  • Jungle camps are now more powerful overall, with more defense, damage and move speed.
  • Heal camps now restore more health & energy to compensate for tougher monsters, and the restoration scales with your level.

PlayoffBeard, Hafu & ROAM (from right) hosting the Autumn Live Championships
PlayoffBeard, Hafu & ROAM (from left) working the  Autumn Live Championships analyst desk.


Strategy and diversity sit at the core of these jungle changes, rewarding those with precise calculation. Let’s take a detailed look at each change:


Gone are the days when one team “controls” the Gold Mine as a capture-and-hold point. This helps prevent mid-game snowballs and makes every Gold Mine payout worth fighting for (and steal-able)!

  • If it’s safe to take Gold Mine, you can do so at any time without having to worry about maintaining possession. If you cannot take it, then pop a Minion Candy to make it a more difficult objective for the other team.
  • Leash the Gold Mine mid-teamfights to pull it within range of the enemy team, and focus on using your positioning to maximize neutral miner damage to the other team, while minimizing the damage to your own. Remember: The Gold Miner deals ranged attacks! 


  • A reminder on the basics: An ally Minion Miner will provide crucial jungle vision for your team, fight on your side and make your lane minions stronger vs. enemy heroes and turrets. Controlling a single mine is a win-win; the only real decision is whether to take it immediately at 4 minutes or whether to wait until Minute 8 when it’s worth a ton of gold.
  • Now that you can take one Minion Mine without over-pushing your lane or feeding the enemy extra gold, you can use a candied miner as an extra jungle ally to fend off invasions (or help keep invade gains). This is especially important with the new jungle lethality. You may need the help of an extra friend when if you’re forced to fight at half-health.
  • Using a Minion Candy on the new Gold Miner is an obvious choice, but the most successful players in Update 1.14 will also utilize Minion Candy to buff Minion Miners. Not everyone realizes that you could always use candy on a Minion Miner; it just hasn’t been important until now.
  • Minion Candy now lasts for the full 60 seconds once being popped on a Minion Miner and alongside the added Health introduced in 1.13 we can expect them to be a great support in the jungle.
  • Prevent early-game snowballs by capturing a Minion Mine early to help you defend when playing from behind. And with the vast amount of gold and XP available if a Minion Miner is stolen, it’s worth carrying a Minion Candy or two to defend your jungle friend.


Jungle camps now have more strength, defense and move speed. But to prevent premature casualties, the healing camps provide extra health and energy. This puts more depth precisely at the way we choose to distribute jungle aggro (who the monster hits) and how opposing teams can meet head-on in the middle jungle.

  • In order to properly maximize XP and bonus gold (on Ironguard Contract), jungle duos must know how to take on the jungle camps. To effectively do this without sacrificing levels, they have to learn how to split out the damage as well as the aggro. Do not kill one monster at a time. It’s best to evenly split the damage across all the monsters, then have the roamer leave the vicinity just far enough to to still gain bonus Ironguard gold but not XP. Leaving XP range is known as “hyper-leveling.” This helps your jungle carry reach Level 2 before your first fight.
  • Keep in mind that your roamer cannot simply tank all the jungle monster damage like before. You’ll need to spread the damage between your jungle duo in order to not cripple one jungler or the other.


  • Aggravated jungle camps will now pursue you with more move speed. This means these more lethal monsters will pose a danger to both melee and ranged junglers.


  • Jungle monsters will get tougher over time as you level up, so they won’t be push-overs at any point in the match. That means these tips will consistently apply throughout the game.


  • Stealing the enemy’s back jungle camps are now much more punishing to you. You might steal the gold, but you’ll walk away with a health meter reflecting the jungle battles you just had. It’s important to remember just how risky it now is to steal enemy back camps, even if you secure an early kill. You’ll be very vulnerable in the time afterward.


  • The placement of Scout Traps is now even more effective when placed properly to deal damage, especially in early levels. Not only can these net you a kill with a trap, but it can also save your jungle camps from being stolen.


Kraken is the heavily contested objective of the late-game. Having Kraken be available more often results in more team combat, contested areas and strategic decisions.

  • Kraken’s respawn timer is down from 4 to 3 minutes.
  • Kraken is slightly weaker to basic attacks and slightly more resilient to abilities.


With all these Winter Season jungle changes, there’s much more depth in how to approach jungling. The new jungle opens up new possibilities while keeping the learning curve balanced for both new and experienced players. Experiment with different jungling styles — conservative and aggressive alike — as this will not only improve personal mechanics but team coordination as well.

You need to be extra-thoughtful when deciding how to approach jungling. Carefully decide each match between the ultra-efficient jungle clears we’ve grown accustomed to and battle readiness. When that enemy team tries to catch you underprepared, will you be ready?

ROAM is a former Vainglory competitive player widely considered one of the best roamers in the world. He now works for Super Evil on secret projects of great import.