With the competitive season behind our backs, it’s time to reflect on the year. Europe had once again an incredible season; G2 Esports managed to win the Mid-Season Invitational, and came second during the World Championship, where all three European seeds made it out of the Group Stage, which is a massive feat in itself.
So with the off-season here, we can take some time to honor the best LEC players in their position. This time? Let’s take a look at one of the most important roles in the early game: the jungler.
Junglers make or break a team. They are the glue that keeps everything together and they provide the early to mid game assistance that a team needs to thrive. There are many different types of junglers out there: some of them like to gank and play aggressively, while others stick more to the vision plan.
The best junglers can do it all; they are playmakers when they need to be, but can also support their laners if all they need is some extra wards. So with these things in mind, let’s get to our top performing junglers of the 2019 season.
Jankos – G2 Esports
It should be no surprise that Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski made it onto this list: The LEC Summer Split MVP made it all the way to the Worlds finals with his team this year, and he’s had a phenomenal season. Jankos loves to play aggressively in the early game, which is why his nickname is ‘The First Blood King’. This stems from the time that he was playing for H2k, where he had by far the highest first blood rating in the League. He never stopped playing aggressively though, even when he was up against tough teams like SK Telecom T1 or DAMWON Gaming, and he’s proved that he was one of the key components of making it all work.
When a team has players that can carry from every single role, it’s difficult for a jungler to know where to allocate resources to. Carry players often require junglers to hang around their lane to make sure that the plays that they make are backed up by help from the jungle. If every lane has players that want to carry, the jungler is the one that needs to make the important choice of what lane has the biggest chance to succeed. Jankos did this time and time again, choosing the right ganks and hovering around the right spots for protection. His domination in the Summer Split can be easily seen through his stats. He had a KDA of 6 and an average gold difference at 15 minutes of 606, which is about 400 higher than the next player. That’s seriously impressive, and we can’t wait to see what stats he can break in 2020.
Broxah – Fnatic
You can’t talk about LEC junglers without mentioning Mads “Broxah” Petersen. While Fnatic ended their Worlds run against a tough loss against FunPlus Phoenix, Broxah proved to be the foundation of Fnatic’s success. He’s most known for his incredible Lee Sin skills on the Rift, and with all the plays that he made on him during the 2019 season, he could fill a ten minute highlight reel all by himself. Broxah has the mechanics and the game knowledge to keep the enemy jungler guessing and come out on the most unexpected time to rack up kills for his team.
While Broxah’s rankings might be a bit more average than Jankos’, in the most important stat, Broxah ranks at the top. In the First Blood percentage, he ranks first out of all starting junglers at a whopping 55 percent. Broxah has shown he’s the playmaker of Fnatic, roaming around the mid and bot lane to create space for Fnatic’s pressure points and diving in around the map to nab kills. Time after time over the past year, he’s shown that he was one of the key pillars in what made Fnatic’s early game so scary, but heading into 2020, LEC pros can rest a little bit easier, as the Dane is heading to the LCS under the Team Liquid banner. Can he keep the momentum?
Trick – Schalke 04
While Kim "Trick" Gang-yun didn’t go to Worlds or win a split, he showed how big of a difference a fitting jungler can make. Trick came into a struggling Schalke 04 side after an abysmal Spring Split, picking up one of the most important roles in a team that simply wasn’t performing – and he made it all tick. Trick wasn’t as flashy as Broxah or Jankos, but he focussed more on macro plays that had an impact on the entire map – and he literally changed the game for Schalke.
Controlling vision, counter ganking, invading and pathing are all important aspects of the jungler role too. Most famous junglers these days are known because of their aggression or mechanics that can solo-carry games. Trick is not like those junglers; when the enemy jungler is ganking, he is creating a bigger advantage elsewhere on the map. If his opponent gets a kill, he trades the dragon. If his opponent doesn’t get a kill, he gets a free dragon. It’s important to put emphasis on smart play sometimes. After all, the goal of the game is to destroy the enemy Nexus, not who gets the most kills. Trick has already shown us that he’s one of the best junglers in the LEC; can he show us even more epic plays heading into 2020?