Today I wanted to run a quick comparison of the jungle items!
First, let’s compare the Spirit Stone items. They have 4 sets of stats:
So what does this all mean? First, the stats on the Spirit Stone items are all worth ABOUT the same amount of gold:
Ancient Golem: 2169
Elder Lizard: 2281
Spectral Wraith: 2248
But on top of that, they have Butcher (the minion clearing passive), a unique passive, and a gold passive.
Butcher is the same across the items, so we won’t consider its value.
The unique passives are also VERY hard to value, so for now, we’ll leave them aside.
How to the gold passives measure up?
Conservation is worth essentially 80 gold every 120 seconds, or 6.67 gp10.
Bounty Hunter, on the other hand, gives you 10 gold per camp. Let’s assume you clear all of the camps constantly. Bounty Hunter will give you 40 gold every 50 seconds, 80 gold every 100 seconds, and about 96 gold every 120 seconds, or 8 gp10!
Gentleman Gustaf, that means that Elder Lizard and Ancient Golem are WAY more efficient than Ancient Golem, right? I can finally build straight damage from the jungle and carry!
Hang on! What happens if you stop clearing? Let’s say you go back to the fountain; it takes you 30 seconds to get back to clearing. That’s 24 gold you lose.
If you go back to the fountain once every 3 minutes, you’ll get 120 gold every 180 seconds. That means that if you visit the fountain MORE than once every 3 minutes, Ancient Golem will give you more gold.
What if you gank? It probably takes you about 30 seconds as well, so you lose 24 gold. You’ll get 40 gold if the ganks works out! So as long as you succeed 60% of your ganks, you’re breaking even!
What if you have to hold a lane? No chance of a kill there, so you’re probably just out 24 gold! Yes, you’re getting that sweet, sweet minion farm, but you’d get that with Ancient Golem, too!
But Gentleman Gustaf, I’ll clear faster with Elder Lizard/Spectral Wraith, and thus get more gold! This is true. On the other hand, you’ll be incredibly squishy on a (probably) melee champion, so hope that doesn’t ruin your farming.
But the true strength of the Ancient Golem is in the mid game, when laners start eating your camps. As long as you can clear one camp every 60 seconds or so, you keep getting the consistent gold from Conservation, whereas you will fall behind with the Bounty Hunter gold items.
So just looking at the Spirit Stone items, I’m a fan of all of them.
Ancient Golem is best for tanky junglers who are going to gank a lot, but it is good on everybody.
Elder Lizard is good on champions who can afford to just farm the jungle, due to long-ranged gank abilities. Vi, Hecarim, and Nocturne are all good examples.
Spectral Wraith is good on AP/mage junglers. Few are considered viable at the moment, but I think this item has the potential to make them so. Why? Because the passive guarantees you will be at full health/mana almost whenever you want. It makes the jungle into your fountain. Remember those fountain visits that cost you gold from Bounty Hunter? Spectral Wraith means you rarely have to make them! The one issue with these junglers is that there aren’t any who fit the bill quite like Vi/Hecarim/Nocturne when it comes to ganking/counter-ganking from the jungle. Amumu and Fiddlesticks come close, though, as does Elise.
Finally, we’ve got Wriggle’s Lantern. How much gold does it give you? Well, the Armor/AS stats on it are worth 1110. That’s already a bad sign for an item that costs 2000 gold. However, it does increase your jungle gold by 40%! How much is that? Let’s assume you get it at the 10 minute mark and power farm. The average gold for a jungle clear will be around 300 gold. This means you gain 120-ish gold per clear. You should get to clear 12 times, in 10 minutes, for a total of 1440 gold.
Gentleman Gustaf! That’s so much gold! Why ever buy Ancient Golem?
Compared to the 80 gold/120 seconds from Ancient Golem (400 gold over the same 10 minute period), this may seem strong, but it’s actually quite weak. Why?
First, the base stats on the item (20 Armor and 25% Attack Speed) are extremely low. Yes, you’ll make 1000 gold more from power-farming. Yes, that 1000 gold basically equals the stat difference between Ancient Golem and Wriggle’s. So you have to power-farm for the first 20 minutes of the game just to break even. And even if you did want to stop farming and gank, you’d have significantly fewer stats, giving you either less damage or less tankiness.
If you ARE going to power-farm, you may as well just pick up Elder Lizard or Spectral Wraith, because they will give around 480 gold.
Basically, if you buy the jungle items at 10 minutes and powerfarm until the 20 minute mark, you will have the following gold value at the end of it:
Ancient Golem: 2569
Elder Lizard: 2761
Spectral Wraith: 2728
But if you get Ancient Golem, you will continue to gain gold regardless of the pressure you exert, and with all three Spirit Stone items, you will have combat and sustain stats in between the 10 and 20 minute mark.
Yes, Wriggle’s has its own regen passive. Yes, that regen passive probably is worth something similar to the health/mana regen on the Spirit Stone items. But the Spirit Stone items also have their own unique passives which have some significant value (Tenacity/True Damage Burn/Infinite Sustain).
Basically, don’t buy Wriggle’s Lantern. But do buy a Spirit Stone item! They give you 2000 gold in stats, not to mention increased minion damage (extremely valuable) a unique passive (tenacity/true damage burn/infinite sustain), and probably 1000 gold over the course of a 50-minute game from the gold passive.
Mattias “Gentleman Gustaf” Lehman is a big time nerd-gamer who has been involved in both SC2 and LoL. He has ranked as high as Diamond 1 in solo queue and Diamond 3 in arranged 5s.
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