It wouldn’t be a League of Legends preseason without changes to the jungle.
With the introduction of the 2021 preseason in patch 10.23, the jungle has seen some changes for both the monsters and items. The primary changes have been made to the jungle items, as Riot has aimed to remove the mandatory jungle items while still keeping different Smites in the game.
Riot has also introduced some adjustments to all jungle camps, primarily to nerf ranged junglers from kiting the monsters around. This strategy has been very effective throughout the 2020 season and enabled ranged junglers to clear camps without taking that much damage.
Let’s take a look at how the jungle has changed for the 2021 preseason.
The most notable jungle change for the 2021 preseason is the jungle items. Previously, players could choose from different jungle items that would empower the Smite, while giving necessary stats for clearing the jungle camps.
This will change in the 2021 season, as Riot has removed those items and made it possible for junglers to build completely normal items like any other role on the map. The only items that remain are Hailblade and Emberknife, which are both possible to purchase from level 1.
Both items will have the necessary stats to clear the jungle in the early game and will consume itself after the player has used Smite five times. After consumption, the player’s Smite will be turned into either Chilling Smite or Challenging Smite.
Hailblade is the new item that turns a player’s Smite into the Chilling Smite. This Smite can be cast on champions, which will apply a 20% slow and deal 20-156 true damage.
The item itself costs 350 gold and provides Omnivamp against monsters, a burn to monsters, mana regen when in the jungle or river, and an experience bonus for each large monster kill. The item is perfect as a jungler’s first purchase in the game.
Hailblade is the best option for junglers that want a bit of extra utility. The Chilling Smite is great for a bit of damage, but the slow is also very valuable to keep a target in place.
Emberknife is similar to Hailblade in stats, except that it turns into Challenging Smite instead. The Challenging Smite is great for champions that want to deal a lot of damage.
When using Challenging Smite on an enemy champion, it is marked for four seconds. In that time, attacks and abilities deal 48-125 bonus true damage over 2.5 seconds and the damage dealer takes 20% reduced damage from the Smites enemy.
The Smite is therefore ideal for assassin champions such as Rengar and Kha’Zix, as they want to dish out a lot of damage in a short amount of time.
The changes to the jungle items will likely make it easier for junglers to create alternative build paths, as they don’t rely on getting an expensive jungle item at the start of every game.
All neutral jungle monsters have also gotten some slight adjustments on patch 10.23 to hopefully make the jungle a more balanced role. Riot has mainly been focusing on increasing the movement speed of all camps, to prevent players from kiting monsters around without taking much damage.
Furthermore, the armor and magic resist has been adjusted on most camps by removing the armor and magic resist scaling. Many camps have also seen some slight adjustments to health and gold values.
For some of the bigger changes, Riot has made it so the Rift Scuttler spawns with a 60% max health shield. This shield can be broken if the Scuttler is immobilized. To balance it out, the Scuttler no longer restores health and mana when killed.
The healing from killing Rift Scuttler has instead been added to Gromp, to make it easier for both sides of the jungle to take advantage of this. Gromp now restored both health and mana when killed and doesn’t have increased damage on its first three attacks. The changes have made it way easier and valuable for players to kill Gromp.
Riot will be monitoring and adjusting the preseason changes until season 11 starts in the beginning of 2021.