It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a season of light, or a season of darkness, wholly depending on who one choose as their starting jungler. Presenting, a tale of two junglers and their vision.
Peanut the duelist
The ROX Tigers have a much-touted 2122 average gold difference at 10 minutes, the highest of all Korean teams by a significant margin. It’s impossible to talk about the Tigers without referencing this, or the myriad of other impressive statistics that accompany the team’s 6-0 start.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, a few of the more notable and frequently referenced statistics regarding the first-place team reveal a concerning lack of vision. Of all Korean teams they are last in wards placed per minute (3.30), last in wards cleared per minute (1.49), and last amount of invisible wards cleared (23 percent).
Much of this has to do with the fact that new jungler, Yoon “Peanut” Wangho, doesn’t ward.
A duelist who would far prefer to kill you in your own jungle than place a ward, Peanut rarely takes Tracker’s Knife, which would give him a larger arsenal of wards, even without a Sightstone – which he also infrequently buys. More often than not, Peanut opts for Skirmisher’s Sabre and Challenging Smite, giving him a damage boost against his jungle opponents, whom he enjoys killing in their own territory. With a lowly 0.47 wards per minute, Peanut is the worst warding jungler in all of Korea, -0.35 below the average and -0.16 behind the next-worst warding jungler, e-mFire’s Kim “Crush” Junseo.
The Afreeca Freecs, who have had a fairly strong early game in many of their matches but wholly fail to understand their mid or late game win conditions, took full advantage of this lack of vision today in their surprising Game 2 win over the Tigers. Here, the Tigers’ draft — a squishy triple-AD composition supplemented by Lulu and Braum — combined with their lack of vision actively contributed to Afreeca’s win. Additionally, Afreeca's mid laner Son “Mickey” Youngmin was able to pick up one of his best champions in Twisted Fate, applying a large amount of pressure in other lanes. Without the appropriate vision to support their AD poke composition, the Tigers were punished for their draft and their hubris.
Game 3 was a rout, with top laner Song “Smeb” Kyungho admitting in a post-match interview that the loss made the Tigers angry. Perhaps they should be a bit angrier with their jungler, whose lack of vision will certainly cost the team in the future as the rest of Korea begins to figure the Tigers out.
“Aggressive” is a word not ascribed to Bae “bengi” Seongwoong since his days on the rising SK Telecom T1 2 in 2013. Known for throttling opponents in the early game and never looking back until the nexus was crushed, bengi precipitated this on Vi, Lee Sin, Jarvan IV and even Nunu. Even then, bengi wasn’t known as a proactive ganking jungler. Instead he would aggressively stalk his opponents in their own jungles, securing a vast vision net that allowed SK Telecom T1 2 (later called SK Telecom T1 K) to push all three of their waves down their opponents’ throats.
While these invades weren’t necessarily bloody, their part in bengi slowly choking out his adversary while the rest of the team kept waves pushing is not to be underestimated. A more recent example of just how potent this strategy can be executed occurred in the fifth game of SK Telecom T1’s Mid-Season Invitational 2015 semifinals series against Fnatic. Bengi thoroughly dominated Kim “Reignover” Yeujin through aggressive pathing, starving out the Fnatic jungler from his resources, en route to a 2/1/12 Nunu performance.
No sooner had Graves been locked in today for bengi then the jokes came rolling in about bengi’s aggression, or recent lackthereof. Bengi has had a rough start to 2016, with vision generally nerfed and ganking duelists like Kindred — until she was disabled — and Nidalee back in fashion. If bengi cannot place a strong vision net, SK Telecom T1 suffers. This additionally ties into why new top laner Lee “Duke” Hoseong often looks so out of place. Without proper forward or flanking vision in place, he has fewer teleport options, and appears quite lost.
Graves has a reputation as an aggressive jungle champion due to his burst; however, he requires a noticeable ramp-up period that occupies the jungler early. A well-farmed Graves can group with their team as soon as they hit their early item spikes for devastating results, but for a more proactive early ganker, Nidalee, Elise or Rek’Sai would likely be one’s champions of choice.
Choosing a triple AD carry composition with bengi on Graves, mid laner Lee “Faker” Sanghyeok on Corki, and AD carry Bae “Bang” Junsik on Ezreal, SK Telecom T1 looked far stronger today than they did against e-mFire last week.
Bengi’s Graves was a bengi Graves. He quickly pathed into the jungle of SBENU Sonicboom and secured deep wards to track jungler Sung “Flawless” Yeonjun, slowly chipping away at his farm. With bengi comfortably ensconced in the jungle, his vision net provided the necessary information for SK Telecom to succeed.
Emily Rand is a staff writer for theScore esports. She loves Peanut on the ROX Tigers but wishes that he would ward a bit more. You can follow her on Twitter.