Riot is trying to make a major shift.
Ever since the start of the new League of Legends season, Riot Games has been pushing out consecutive patches loaded with both system, champion, and item changes. The devs’ entire philosophy and approach have completely changed from season 12 after seeing a stale competitive and highly bot-centric meta going into 2023.
After bringing major updates to ADCs and the fighter class, as well as pushing engage supports back into the meta, Riot is trying to nerf the power of early-game junglers in the latest Patch 13.4. By nerfing the experience champions can get during the early levels, the balance team is hoping to reduce the potential snowball from these champions.
Now that players have had a few days to test out the new changes, how is the jungle meta shaping up in League Patch 13.4? While its still tough to predict exactly what is going to happen, we are already starting to see new patterns coming up.
Here is our in-depth analysis of the League Patch 13.4 jungle meta.
While there are stronger and more optimal picks at different levels and Elo, the general trend seems to be greater diversity in the jungle pool.
If we take a deeper look at the numbers, there is a well-spread number of junglers having a decent pick rate. At Platinum Elo and above, there is a total of 23 unique champions above a four percent pick rate, according to League stats site U.GG.
Ban rates also have stabilized compared to the previous patch. Elise, who used to have astonishing ban rates at the Challenger Elo in Patch 13.3, is now dropping heavily in priority. Despite the nerfs to Elises damage, she still remains a strong pick, but shes no longer the No. 1 jungler anymore.
The larger diversity in the jungle pool is not only related to the number of champions but also to the different classes of junglers.
Aside from the usual strong early-game fighters, were starting to see AP champions like Ekko and Evelynn having greater success and higher win rates, according to U.GG, as well as low-economy tanks like Rammus, Zac, or Sejuani.Image via Riot Games
This gives a lot more space for creativity and the possibility of seeing different drafts and team compositions. There isnt a small group of best junglers anymore, but a larger group of champions that rewards victories based on well-executed games.
In Patch 13.3, the most optimal strategy was to pick an early-game jungler and spam gank lanes to impact them and snowball. But now, junglers will have to balance their farm and their time spent ganking. That said, the experience nerfs on kills are extremely impactful, which can potentially lead to another issue for the role.
Junglers in Patch 13.4 are going to be a lot more underleveled compared to in the past.
Given the reduced amount of experience from both kills and jungle camps, junglers will now find themselves always behind in level compared to solo laners, which is something that didnt happen as often before.
Unless youre able to get an incredible number of kills, it will be almost impossible to be on par with your solo laners. Remember that levels (which are earned with experience) increase the champions stats, as well as their abilities damage.
This can partially explain why low-economy junglers are slowly returning to popularity: since they dont need as many resources or experience to be impactful, they can funnel the gold or kills toward other teammates. It also proves why snowballing junglers are struggling to be as oppressive as they used to be.
Despite the increased diversity, there are some champions that are performing better than others in Patch 13.4, mainly due to some factors that are outside of the jungle system changes and unrelated to the experience nerfs.Image via Riot Games
Vi and Jarvan IV, for example, are performing well with positive win rates in Patch 13.4, according to U.GG, thanks to the Black Cleaver buffs from the previous patch. The item offers greater value for its cost, making them two of the best skirmishing champions of the patch. In a similar fashion, Wukong is another bruiser champion with a good win rate and a solid pick rate (7.8 percent).
Among the low-economy champions, Rammus is the one performing better. Actually, he is the jungler with the highest win rate in the current patch, sitting at 52.13 percent, according to U.GG.
When it comes to magic damage junglers, Fiddlesticks and Evelynn are the two standouts, followed by Nunu and Zac.
Even if were seeing loads of champions being played in the jungle, which is what Riot intended with the experience nerfs and the healing buffs on monster kills, the jungle meta still heavily revolves around the bot lane.
Now that the role is harder to snowball, its far more worthwhile to give resources to the carries of the teams. Considering that drakes are still too powerful, its only logical to see junglers hovering permanently around the bot lane.Image via Riot Games
This means that whoever can impact the lane more and allow their ADC to take the kills and gold will improve their chances of victory. If we take a look at the best junglers of the patch, you can also see that they all have great gank potential with their kits.
Despite the balancing changes toward the jungle meta, Riot will still have to figure out a way to make the bot lane less impactful.
Weve had major attempts at shifting the meta in the previous patches, and it looks like Patch 13.4 is no different. Riots implemented changes are causing some shifts in the jungle as well, giving space for more champions to operate effectively.
Whats more important is that you can play different classes of junglers and be relatively successful. That said, junglers will be dominating less in solo queue since their snowball potential has been reduced. The experience nerfs mean that they will be underleveled compared to other members of the team, possibly lowering their carry potential.
While this is an overall healthy change in the game, there is still one big issue that Riot has to fix that heavily influences the state of the jungle: the bot-centric meta. As long as dragons are going to be the most important neutral objectives, we wont be seeing a major meta shift.
Luckily for us, Riot is well aware of the issues around the jungle and is looking to tweak various things in the upcoming Patch 13.5.