The LPL is regarded as the most hectic league in the world for a reason. In a region that would 5v5 to contest a scuttle crab, objective control is very important. The best junglers in the LPL are those that can think ahead and beat their opponents to the punch when it comes to important objectives and early rotations. The path to being one of the best junglers in the LPL is a trial by fire, but those who come out on top are truly ironclad.
5. Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie — EDward Gaming
It says a lot about the level of competition in the LPL that the reigning world champion jungler could barely scrape his way onto the list. He’s certainly one of the more cerebral junglers in the LPL, and he often finds advantages for his team rather than himself. Jiejie only averaged a little over 2 kills a game in the regular season, but was close to the highest average assists with almost 8 per game.
Jiejie may not be the most lethal jungler in the LPL, but with players like Lee “Scout” Ye-cha and Park “Viper” Do-hyeon on your team, it’s hard to argue against Jiejie’s more supportive style being a good fit for EDG. His ability to find leads for his team is still a valuable asset to EDG, even if they aren’t quite as dominant as they were in 2021. However, Jiejie’s lack of carry potential sets him back from the rest.
4. Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok — JD Gaming
2020 was Kanavi’s year. After a rocky start in 2019, he stayed near the top of the LPL along with the rest of JDG. They took 1st in the 2020 Spring Playoffs and 2nd in the 2020 Summer Playoffs, with 2nd place finishes in both regular seasons. And while 2021 wasn’t kind to JDG, but Kanavi is one of the main reasons why they’re back near the top of the LPL this year.
Kanavi is the sort of player that does everything in his power to impact the map. Lee Sin, Volibear, Rek’sai... His champion pool is built to influence the map from the opening minutes of the game, a playstyle directly responsible for JDG's massive win streak during the second half of 2022 Spring. For a few weeks, Kanavi made JDG look unstoppable.
Unfortunately, Kanavi wasn’t able to maintain that superstar performance through the playoffs but if can play to the level he did in the regular season, he’ll be higher on this list come Worlds.
3. Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan — Victory 5
Between setting an LPL kill record in Playoffs and putting V5 in first place through the regular season, Karsa’s still going strong almost eight years into his career. He’s not afraid to put games on his back and, alongside Rookie, Karsa spent most of the split setting the bar for what the best jungler in the LPL should look like. So why is he not at the top of this list?
Simply put, Karsa is a player that requires momentum to function. He always seems to be confident in his ability to find the right fights and find early advantages. But, when Karsa has the wrong read, things aren’t pretty. Top Esports took advantage of this weakness in playoffs and stopped V5 in their tracks. Karsa isn’t a world-class jungler just yet, but he’s getting really close.
2. Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang — Top Esports
Being able to justify putting Tian so high up on this list feels like a great storyline in and of itself. This world champion jungler had a rough go of things after FPX's big win in 2019. He wasn’t bad, but he was inconsistent. We’d come to find out that this inconsistency came from a wrist injury, one that led to FPX dropping out of Worlds 2021 in the group stage and the subsequent implosion of the star-studded roster.
After some issues early on in the Split, Tian has really turned up the heat through Spring. Outside of his trademark Lee Sin, Tian wound up playing champions that were very simple. Volibear, Trundle, Viego, Hecarim; it’s much easier to be consistent when playing champs that don’t have skillshots. Instead of relying on mechanics, Tian uses strong macro play and intelligent pathing to get the better of his opponent.
He’s always finding early ganks, always maintaining CS leads. Always ahead on early objectives. What Tian lacks in mechanical prowess and flashy outplays, he makes up for with his ability to manipulate and control the map.
1. Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei — Royal Never Give Up
Midway through the Spring Split, Wei could have been edged off this list by many other junglers in the LPL. He had a weird pattern of picking Volibear and running it down consistently. For a time, Wei was the weak point for RNG. However, as both playoffs and MSI have shown us, Wei is still on top of the region.
Wei is a very elusive jungler. He’s at his best when he’s on champions like Lee Sin, Wukong, Viego, and Hecarim. Junglers that can get in and get out with ease. Even when RNG are behind, Wei succeeds at outsmarting the enemy jungler and turning fights in RNG’s favor. And with how much initiative Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao takes to beat the enemy mid laner to fights, this duo is a massive part of what put RNG on top internationally.
It’s frightening just how well Wei can play while still having so much room to improve.
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Carver is an esports journalist and analyst who specializes in Eastern League of Legends.