League of Legends Champions Korea remained on patch 6.2 last week, but that didn’t stop teams from innovating new picks and strategies. Rumble jungle suddenly appeared and has since become a popular pick in LCK and the League of Legends Championship Series in North America and Europe. Level 1 invades spiked in popularity, resulting in early game chaos atypical for the usually patient region.
Rumble jungle time
While KT Rolster did struggle in splitting two matches with Jin Air Green Wings and CJ Entus, it introduced jungle Rumble to competitive play. Historically played as a top, Rumble fell out meta with the rise of split-pushing duelists. KT cleverly baited the pick in Game 2 against Jin Air Greenwings on Wednesday, luring its opponent to pick an AD-heavy team comp so it could counter with a surprise Rammus top pick from Kim “ssumday” Chan-ho.
Evidently, KT was not the only team that practiced Rumble jungle, as Jin Air Greenwings retaliated with it in Game 3, and others like CJ Entus and SK Telecom wielded it later that week. Rumble has since caught on as a new jungle pick, seeing play in EU, NA, and even in Brazil’s CBLOL.
So what makes Rumble work? For starters, Rumble has great base damages that allowed him to team fight effectively despite being starved of gold in lane swaps as a top laner. With those damages, Rumble is able to clear effectively with high sustain through use of his Scrap Shield and the extra damage when he overheats. The movespeed from Runic Echoes helps him gets around and the AP gives him respectable damage, enabling him to invade safely and even duel in the jungle.
While he lacks hard cc, the slows from his Electro-Harpoon and Equalizer are effective with follow up CC, and his ability to dive towers from the fog of war is indispensable. As it is, Rumble is like Graves with AP damage and sustained damage over burst.
Despite a strong debut, Rumble ended Week 6 a record of 2-3, though that can be attributed to teams not having enough practice with it.
The land of blind invades
While LCS teams still invade for deep vision during the Level 1, LCK has had an armistice. Lane swaps are usually started blind, and the teams settle with whatever the lane assignments happen to be. Over time, supports invading the enemy jungle to harass the jungle-top duo starting on the weak side became more common, and last week those invasions escalated with supports taking Braum, who can apply stuns to multiple enemies through his passive.
In Longzhu’s match against SKT on Thursday, Kim “Pure” Jin-sun immediately set Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong behind by forcing him away from his red buff in Game 1. Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun was able to come in later and clear the red for himself, securing three of the major jungle buffs on the map. In Game 2 Pure invaded with Kang “Cpt Jack” Hyung-woo at Bengi’s gromp and forced him to flash to stay alive.
Following this match, others started to invade as well. Afreeca Freecs and E-mFire–recently rebranded to Kongdoo Monster– invaded each other in their match, with Game 2 exploding with five kills between them in the first three minutes.
As late invades became the fad, teams began adapting. In Game 2 against KT Rolster, CJ Entus’ Hong “MadLife” Min-gi and Ha “KKramer” Jong-hu left a ward in the river and spotted KT’s duo invading to check. The pair moved into a brush and waited for Ha “Hachani” Seung-chan to face check into them for first blood.
Such a catastrophic Level 1 cost KT the game after CJ snowballed the advantage into jungle pressure for Park “Bubbling” Jun-hyeong. Another early ward placement by Afreeca in Game 2 against SKT let Son “Mickey” Young-min secure first blood on Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan.
Is this a trend that entrench itself into LCK? While it would be enjoyable as a spectator to see early action in a meta where the first five minutes are nearly identical, the risks will eventually dissuade teams. Or perhaps the early power of Braum will entice them to continue such aggressive play. Either way, it’s been the most interesting development of the region this season.