- 1 Chapter 8. The art of ganking
- 1.1 Understanding what a successful gank actually means – might not be what you expect
- 1.2 Which lanes should you gank, which lanes should you ignore and how to recognize good ganking opportunities?
- 1.3 All about executing a gank perfectly
- 1.4 How to Tower dive correctly
- 1.5 The mistakes you must avoid when ganking
Chapter 8. The art of ganking
Understanding what a successful gank actually means – might not be what you expect
A lot of Junglers have the misconception that a gank is successful only if it ends with a kill.
This could not be further from the truth and I will explain why.
Remember that Jungle is a supporting role. Not in the sense that it fulfils the same functions as the Bot lane Support, but because it is meant to support and assist the laners.
And killing the enemy laner is not the only way in which you can assist a lane. Obviously, the perfect scenario would be to gank for your laner, get a kill and then help him push the wave.
This way, you benefit your laner by giving him a lead in gold and experience over his opponent. But believe it or not, you are also benefiting your laner just by showing up in the lane or when you get spotted by a ward in the River.
Even if you didn’t do anything directly, after the enemy laner has spotted you, he will be forced to play more passively and give your teammate a relief from the pressure he might be exerting.
It also brings pressure for whichever lane is nearby, because they will know that you are close and that will influence them to play safer, since you could still be in the territory.
Now, let’s assume that you ganked a lane, you got some damage off but you couldn’t kill the laner or get his hp low enough so you can force him to recall and spend his TP.
Even though you couldn’t get a kill, you still helped your laner out, since your teammate now has a health advantage on his enemy he didn’t previously have.
Obviously, even if you cannot get a kill, you want to get the enemy laner so low that he has no other option but to recall, or even better – to blow his Summoner spells.
If you do that, the gank is even more successful, because your laner will have more tools at his disposal than the opponent.
This is especially true if you are ganking the Top lane and you force the enemy Top laner to TP back, which will immediately release a lot of pressure on your Bot lane, since he will no longer be able to make a Teleport play there.
Another thing you can do to support your laner if a gank cannot end with a kill, is to place a ward for him. Just clear the enemy ward with your Sweeper and place a ward to give him vision.
The conclusion from all of this is that you should not be discouraged if not every gank you do ends in a kill.
In fact, the higher you get in the Ranked ladder, the “smarter” your opponents will be, and the harder it will get to pull of kills from ganks. So after you’ve decided to gank for a lane, you should be thinking of the ways in which you can maximize your impact, even when you don’t get a kill.
Which lanes should you gank, which lanes should you ignore and how to recognize good ganking opportunities?
This is something I see a lot of Junglers even in Diamond struggle with greatly.
What determines if a lane is worth ganking or it should be ignored?
Here is the rule of thumb you should follow – always prioritize the lanes where a kill seems 100% guaranteed at that specific time. Your goal as a Jungler is to be as efficient as possible with your time and that’s your main priority.
Like we covered previously, there are many definitions of what a successful gank is, but since your goal is to have the maximum impact on the game, you should be prioritizing what seems the most rewarding at the time.
If you don’t get the kill, of course you should try to follow the advice from the previous part of the chapter and make the most out of the situation.
So, it is generally better to gank for winning lanes, because you are more likely to get something out of that gank, especially if the enemy Jungler counterganks you and it ends up being a 2vs2.
Even if a lane isn’t necessarily winning yet, you should look at the matchup and think about how a successful gank might impact the dynamics of that lane.
Maybe your teammate’s champion has certain advantages over the enemy’s and 1 kill would totally decide the outcome of the lane? This means that you should prioritize ganking for him, because you will get a very high return of your time investment.
Also, if a gank seems really easy due to the enemy laner overextending without ward coverage – you should go for it 100% of the times, because it’s a “guaranteed” kill.
This makes it obvious that you should prioritize ganking for lanes that have some sort of crowd control ability – a stun, knock-up, slow, disable or a root. This makes it much more likely for you to get that kill.
Also, is the enemy laner playing a very squishy champion that doesn’t have much health or any escape abilities? Or maybe he is really low on health? This makes him an easier target and therefore you should consider ganking him.
If a lane is losing, think about if it is worth ganking for it or not. If your laner is behind, but there is a great opportunity to get something out of a gank, then you should assist him if you are around.
If you see that your laner is tilted, raging or 0/5 at the 8th minute, simply ignore his lane and play around the stronger teammates on your team.
It might feel tempting to go help your teammate, but usually there is a very good reason why they are 0/5, so you don’t want to spend your resources on them.
Chances are that at this point, the enemy laner is able to 1v2 both of you anyway, which will put YOU behind, too. Just stick with your winning lanes and play around them.
All about executing a gank perfectly
There are a lot of factors that go into executing a gank as perfectly as you can, and I will go over them one by one.
The first factor is where you choose to gank from.
You see, laners are vulnerable from multiple different areas. They can be ganked from in front of them via a lane gank, from their side by the river, and from behind. They can even get Tower dived.
After you have decided that ganking for that lane is a great opportunity, always think about where the enemy laner is most vulnerable from, while you are on your way towards that lane.
This brings me to another point I want to make. If you are heading towards a lane and your teammate tells you that the lane is warded, make sure you ask him to specify and ping to you where exactly the ward is.
When a player wards his lane, it gives him a sense of security and protection. He will usually then start to play more aggressively and open himself up for being collapsed upon.
So, if you see a good opportunity for a gank, don’t just give it up because the lane is warded. Instead, make note of where the ward is and simply go a different way.
Which other way can you take? Maybe you can go behind the laner? Or, you can still gank from the river? Or maybe, you can do a lane gank?
Always think about what your options are before you decide to give up a great ganking opportunity.
The next important thing you need to consider is the enemy laner’s Summoner spells and escape ability status. Does he have his Flash or his escape ability up?
Get into the habit of asking your laners whether the enemy has their Summoner spells available or not at the time you are ganking. Knowing that their flash will be unavailable for the next 2 minutes is a huge hint for you to take immediate action.
If he does have Flash up, would it still be possible for you and your ally to kill him?
Also, make sure that when ganking, you are at full health or at least 80% of your max amount, because if a 2vs2 situation occurs and the enemy Jungler is lower health than you to begin with, you and your ally will come out victorious.
Another piece of advice I can give you is to always make sure you observe the minimap before you take action. The more information you have, the better decisions you can make.
Did you get a glimpse of the enemy Jungler sneaking into that tri-bush, in an attempt to countergank you?
If that’s the case, estimate whether or not you will win a 2v2 situation based on the information you have available at that moment, and either proceed with the gank or back off.
In order to execute a gank flawlessly, you also have to be really in tune with your champion’s mechanics.
Knowing the little intricacies that go with the character will help you tremendously and this only comes with taking the time to practice playing him.
If the enemy laner has an escape ability of some sort, always position yourself in such a way that you can catch him even if he uses his escape, if possible. This will also maximize the chances of you getting that kill.
Another thing you should do right before you execute the gank is to sweep the bush that you are ganking from with your Sweeping Trinket to see if there is a ward, so you know if you’ve been spotted and you should change directions.
My last point when it comes to ganking successfully has to do with channeling the ally laner’s crowd control abilities with yours.
In other words, you should not use them at the same time, but rather one after another to disable your opponent for a longer period of time, which will give you a higher chance of getting that kill.
How to Tower dive correctly
Tower diving effectively is a skill that can either break or make your game, depending on how well you execute it. To be able to properly execute it, you need to have some information at hand.
First, does the enemy champion you are about to Tower dive have their flash up? How low are they in health and mana?
How much vision do you have in the area and do you have an idea where the enemy Jungler is at that time? How healthy you are and what abilities and Summoner spells do you and your laner have up?
How many turret shots can you or him safely tank before the kill gets secured?
Can you get out of a predicament if you get outplayed? What are the chances you can get outplayed or outsmarted? How healthy is the opponent you are trying to Tower dive? These are all factors which you need to take into consideration before making your decision.
Remember, your goal is to successfully execute the technique without trading kills. Practice, practice, practice and you will get to the point where it will get natural for you to evaluate all of this information within a split second.
The mistakes you must avoid when ganking
Since I’ve noticed from my experience as a coach that it always helps to look at things from a different angle, let’s take a look at the different mistakes you should avoid making when ganking.
The first mistake is to gank when you are low on health. This is an extremely bad idea, because if you are already too low, there is an almost 100% chance that you will lose a 2v2 situation when the enemy Jungler pops out of nowhere.
Even if he doesn’t show up, you should never do it. Especially if you carry double buffs with you because you would set your teammate extremely behind if you give off a kill and the double buffs to his lane opponent.
Another mistake you should avoid making is helping a lane that is already lost terribly. Let’s say the score is 0/4 or 0/5 and there is a 50cs difference between your laner and the enemy’s.
No matter how fed you may be, at this point your laner is useless and the enemy might even be able to 1vs2 both of you, which will put you behind their Jungler. Don’t do it, ignore such a lane and try to impact the other ones.
Another mistake you must not make is to gank from the wrong direction. In other words, don’t approach him from a position from which the enemy laner is not vulnerable, because he will just back away.
The next big mistake you should avoid doing is forcing a 2vs2 when you and your teammate clearly cannot win it. Instead, ping your ally to go back and retreat into your Jungle or go to a different lane.
Another mistake a lot of Junglers make is to farm all the time. Remember, your job as a Jungler is to support the lanes and impact the game that way.
If all you do is powerfarm, you are basically counting that you will get strong enough to solo carry the game that way. And as we already established, the long respawn times in this Season’s Jungle don’t really favor powerfarming.
Instead, farm when you don’t think you are going to have a meaningful impact if you decide to gank a lane.
Also, never invade the enemy Jungle if you are too low on health, it’s not worth risking to get killed like that.
Another mistake people make is not looking at the minimap before they decide to gank a lane. Observing what the situation is will help you make more informed decision, so get into the habit of looking at it often.
A lot of Junglers also choose very bad clearing paths that are inefficient, and they never adapt their item build path. Those are two areas we also covered in a pretty big detail so far.
The last mistake that is worth pointing out is running around the map without a real plan. Don’t just go around the map waiting for something to happen. Instead, think efficiently and plan every action you take.