Playing the role of a Jungler in League of Legends is much more complicated than playing a marksman or even a top laner. Because of this, many people tend to go for the “safe” meta jungle champs to make things easier for them. However, you can always try something new for a change, which is why we’re going to take a look at some of the best off-meta jungle champs.
Best Off-meta Jungle Champs – The Rundown
Are you in a rush to try something different in the jungle? Here’s our quick rundown on solid off-meta jungle champs worth picking.
- Annie – Good mid-game jungle with a guaranteed stun for every
- Ezreal – High mobility jungler with good range that works with CC-heavy teammates
- Malzahar – Deceptively good ganker and good damage mitigation courtesy of his voidlings
- Pyke – Pyke has good mobility and great post-gank recovery. Also, you don’t have to worry about getting flamed for kill-stealing.
- Twitch – Excellent ganking ability despite having no dashes or leaps.
These are five champs that are definitely worth giving a shot, but what exactly makes them work? Let’s see what each of them has to offer.
Annie is a bursty mage that has a straightforward kit. Her Disintegrate (Q) is a spammable auto-targeted poking tool that also scales decently well. Incinerate (W) loses a bit of range, but trades reach for even better AP scaling and area-of-effect damage. Molten Shield (E) can be used offensively to bring Annie in range for her other abilities or defensively as a damaging mobility buff. Last but not least, Summon: Tibbers is an excellent all-around ultimate that deals good damage and summons an effective bruiser unit to help in team fights.
What makes her work?
Damage and Utility: Annie doesn’t have an impressive start as a jungler; she needs to be hard-leashed until she gets to level 4. However, she has the potential to be great at ganks once she has access to three or more abilities. The secret lies in her ability to trigger the stun from Pyromania at will. With her passive stun ready, she can choose to stun a solo top laner with Disintegrate or disrupt a bot lane duo with a stun-loaded Incinerate. She also has a great team fight initiator with Summon: Tibbers, which can also trigger her passive stun.
While she can provide good crowd control ability, she may require teammates to buy time for her to get in range. Champions like Thresh and Janna can help her move faster while also providing initial CC that Annie’s own crowd control can follow up.
Ezreal is a champion whose kit rewards good player accuracy. His Rising Spell Force passive increases his basic attack speed every time his abilities hit an enemy champion. Mystic Shot (Q) is a straightforward ability lowers the cooldown of all his abilities (including itself) upon a successful hit. Essence Flux itself doesn’t do much, but it gives Ezreal mana if its second effect is triggered by another ability. Arcane Shift (E) adds a bit more damage (mainly for triggering Essence Flux), but it’s more useful as a mobility tool. Last but not least, Trueshot Barrage (W) is a global AOE skill shot that can deal heavy damage to multiple targets.
What makes him work?
Damage and Mobility: What Ezreal lacks in utility, he more than makes up for with damage and utility. His range and his attack speed bonus from his passive allow him to take relatively little damage from jungle camps. If he can consistently land his abilities, Ezreal can deal out more DPS than most ranged champions. His Arcane Shift not only allows him to speed up his jungle routes, but also the ability to bypass frequently-warded spots during a gank. Ezreal is also one of the few champs that can contest objectives from a safe range.
Ezreal shines when he can get his skill shot abilities to hit. Unfortunately, that means missing even a couple of shots could easily lead to a failed gank. That being said, it’s better to go off-meta with Jungle Ezreal if your team has a CC-heavy champion. He also works well with certain champions such as Braum and Leona whose passive also works with your own basic attacks.
Malzahar is often picked as a mid lane champ known for his good lane harass and crowd control. Call of the Void is an AoE ability that not only provides decent poke but also silences his targets. Void Swarm (W) allows him to summon voidlings that can block skillshots, increase his damage over time, and add more lane pressure. Malefic Visions (E) is a targeted ability that deals damage over time that is useful for pushing lanes and keeping opponents away from the minion line. His Nether Grasp ultimate is a channeled ability that does heavy damage and crowd control to a single target while also dealing a bit of AoE damage to other nearby enemies.
What makes him work?
Damage and Utility: Before level 6, a Jungle Malzahar isn’t that much of a threat. However, his ganking ability gets better once he has access to his ultimate. Perhaps the most important thing about Malzahar as a jungler is his Void Shift passive which makes him immune to crowd control. A lone enemy with only a single crowd control ability won’t be able to halt Malzahar’s advances. Furthermore, clearing the jungle is relatively safe for Malzahar because his Voidlings can easily soak up the damage. A roaming jungle Malzahar is also great at pushing lanes thanks to his wave clear so your team can get the early gold advantage.
Like with other low-mobility champs, Malzahar’s ganks become much more effective if you have a CC-heavy teammate that can help you buy time. Also, if you time your ganks with a cannon minion wave, you can pretty much secure a tower for that lane for superior map control.
Pyke is what most players would consider the first true support assassin. The ripper’s revenge has a kit that revolves around the philosophy that the best form of crowd control is death. Bone Skewer (Q) is a versatile skill shot that can be used to deal heavy damage or to hook enemy targets. Ghostwater Dive (W) is a mobility tool that also camouflages him to help him get in position or to escape to safety. Phantom Undertow (E) is a high damage AoE dash attack that can also be used to secure kills or disengage from unfavorable fights. Last but not least, his Death from Below ultimate is an AoE execute that refreshes if it kills a target and grants extra gold to Pyke and an assisting teammate.
What makes him work?
Damage and Utility: Lack of early health aside, Pyke actually has the tools to function as an excellent jungler. Ghostwater Dive gives him excellent mobility, allowing him to move from one jungle camp to another. The ability also gives him camouflage, which means an enemy will rarely be able to see him approach a lane. Once in range, he only has to land Phantom Undertow, followed by a Bone Skewer to pull the enemy away from safety. Finally, he can secure the kill easily with Death from Below without worrying about “stealing” gold from his teammates. After a successful gank, his Gift of the Drowned Ones passive allows him to heal off any damage he took, which means he can resume farming or go straight to his next gank in fairly good shape!
Pyke is the perfect ganking partner for lane champs that have weak early game. He can provide the necessary crowd control and damage that these late-game champs lack in their first few levels. Once Pyke gets his ultimate, he also does a great job at funneling much needed gold towards teammates that have fallen a bit behind.
Twitch is a “hyper-carry” champ, which means he has a rather weak early game and a near-unstoppable late game. His Deadly Venom passive burns targets hit by his basic attacks with true damage. The effect can be stacked up to six times, which is where the attack speed bonus from Ambush (Q) comes in handy. Deadly Venom stacks can also be applied using his Venom Cask (W), which also happens to be a persistent area-of-effect slow. Enemies affected with multiple stacks of Deadly Venom faces the threat of being bursted down with Contaminate. His Spray and Pray ultimate not only increases the range of his basic attacks but also causes them to pass through multiple targets which are perfect during team fights where you want Deadly Venom stacks on as many targets ASAP.
Why does he work?
Damage and Utility: A jungle Twitch is very similar to jungle Pyke; they both excel at getting close enough to a lane undetected and securing kills. While he lacks any form of crowd control outside Venom Cask, he can still secure kills because of his superior range. By the time an enemy knows that they are being ganked, they already have full stacks of Deadly Venom, within lethal range of Contaminate’s burst damage, and too close to run outside of Spray and Pray range.
Twitch has a rather weak early game so you should consider picking him if two (or all) of your lane champs have a decent late game or lane bullying abilities. This way, even pre-level 6 ganks will have a greater chance of success and you won’t have to worry too much about your team losing ground to because you don’t have great early gank pressure.
Best Off-meta Jungle Champs – Conclusion
That wraps up our discussion on the best off-meta jungle champs in League of Legends! We hope this has helped you come up with even more creative ideas for off-meta Jungle picks. For unconventional champs in other roles, feel free to check out our general guide to off-meta picks!