L is for Jungle – it means afking for me

There has been a lot of posts on r/dota 2 recently about legion commander being run in the jungle. People post ways to stop legion commanders going to the jungle such as warding their camps (your own teams camps), posts asking people to stop grieving their own team just because they have a legion jungle, pictures and memes about legion commanders losing the game terribly when they jungle, etc.

The traditional response to “should I jungle x” is no, with the exceptions of enigma, chen and enchantress since they possess abilities from level 1 which allow them to farm the jungle by converting jungle creeps to use as their farming tools.

Lut looking at the meta statistics (for this month) of the heroes with the top average number of last hits at 10 minutes into the game reveals some very interesting things.

In the <2k bracket the top 11 farmers at 10 minutes, their average last hits and their presence of being run in the jungle are in order:

Enigma – 47 – 90.95%
Nature’s Prophet – 40 – 76.02%
Shadow Fiend – 39 – N/A
Lone Druid – 38 – 38.83%
Lifestealer – 36 – 49.76%
Lycan – 36 – 44.04%
Legion Commander – 36 – 41.19%
Alchemist – 35 – 5.53%
Anti-Mage – 31 – N/A
Axe – 31 – 43.30%
Chen – 30 – 84.67%

Of these heroes all of the carries but Shadow Fiend, Antimage, and Alchemist are run primarily in the jungle more than or almost as often as they are run in the safelane. In particular among the ‘greedy junglers’ ie hard carries like legion commander, lycan and lone druid they are run in the jungle around 40% of the time, while lifestealer actually jungles far more often than he safelanes. Enigma and Nature’s Prophet are special cases since they can farm the jungle quickly with summons. Axe can farm jungle camps though is not usually considered a carry, and Chen farms the jungle but also ganks with his creeps.

The other greedy junglers Doom (29), Bloodseeker (28), and Ursa (27) are a little further behind, but not by too much.

In the 2-3k bracket there are very similar rankings although as last hitting skill becomes better carries in the lane (such as Jug, Medusa, TA, Void) start puling ahead of heroes like Axe and Chen.

Enigma – 54
Lifestealer – 45
Legion Commander – 44
Shadow Fiend – 44
Lone Druid – 44
Lycan – 43
Nature’s Prophet – 43
Alchemist – 41
Anti-Mage – 40
Juggernaut – 38

As you move into 3-4k the rankings are still very similar with some more safelane carries getting more cs:

Enigma – 58
Lifestealer – 50
Shadow Fiend – 49
Lycan – 49
Legion Commander – 48
Anti-Mage – 48
Juggernaut – 48
Alchemist – 45
Nature’s Prophet – 45
Lone Druid – 44
Bloodseeker – 44

The ranking still hold partly true for the 4-5k bracket, but again more laning carries start to take higher positions:

Enigma – 59
Lycan – 54
Shadow Fiend – 54
Anti-Mage – 54
Lifestealer – 52
Juggernaut – 52
Legion Commander – 49
Gyrocopter – 48
Bloodseeker – 48
Meepo – 48

Finally we can compare the figures to the heroes with the top last hits at 10 minutes for 5k+ players:

Enigma – 60
Shadow Fiend – 59
Lycan – 59
Anti-Mage – 59
Meepo – 57
Juggernaut – 55
Sven – 55
Terrorblade – 54
Lifestealer – 53
Broodmother – 53
Gyrocopter – 52
Wraith King – 52
Troll Warlord – 52

A couple of conclusions can be drawn from this.

Firstly, for low skilled players who lack the appropriate knowledge or mechanics to reliably secure last hits in lane farming the jungle as a greedy carry will in most cases result in gaining more farm in the early stages of the game than they would get if they ran in the lane.

Secondly, and conversely to the first point, higher skilled players are far more likely to get more farm if they farm the lane rather than the jungle. Ie a hero farming a lane will be able to get much more farm going safelane they would going jungle – but only if they have the mechanical skills and technical knowledge to know how to reliably last hit while under pressure.

Thirdly, even though in higher skilled games carries can get more farm in lane, greedy junglers will more often than not get as much or more farm by 10 minutes as many other traditional safelane carries as well as other mid heroes. For many of the heroes the differences are not vast, but in some cases the difference is significant. Low armour strength carries like Tiny and Chaos Knight or squishy agility carries who can be bullied out of a lane by an aggressive dual offlane for example like Naga and Weaver, have significantly lower farm at 10 minutes than the greedy junglers.

Finally, the greedy junglers – in particular the three “L” hereoes – Lycan, Lifestealer and Legion Commander, consistently get the highest levels of farm at ten minutes acorss all skill levels despite being run in the jungle from 40-50% of the time.

Legion Commander starts falling off once you pass the 5k mark as players are able to anticipate and counter jungling heroes and are able to abuse and take advantage of a team playing 4v5 with an afk jungle farmer. Her farm stops rising at an average 49 cs at 10 mins in 4-5k and stays at 49 at 10 mins in 5k+ Lone Druid also caps out at 44 cs in the 3-4k range and actually falls down to 43 cs in the 4-5k+ ranges.

Heroes get more average CS at ten minutes the higher up the skill bracket you go as is to be expected. Not only do people have better last hitting skill in lane, but they are also more effective at jungling by using choke points and creep aggro tricks etc to improve their farming efficiency. They also have less wasted time on the map and will spend most of the first ten minutes actively farming, while lower skill players will run out of regen and need to go to the fountain to heal, stop actively farming past the early game and start fighting, etc.

So it is particularly understandable to jungle on the greedy carries in lower skill games where people are much more likely to come out of the laning stage ahead on farm if they jungle than if they lane. In lower skill games people also know far less well how to take advantage of an early game lead and turn it into a stomp.

In higher skill games though people have very little excuse for jungling – they can get much more out farm of the lane.