Welcome to this guide, I'm SmoothHomie and I've been playing smite for about 3 years now, currently my highest rank is masters. In this guide I'll try to explain fundamentals, match ups, general pathing, early game, ganking, rotations, objective control, stages of the game, itemization, and a tier list for ranked junglers. Guide is mainly directed towards newer conquest players, but those that already have experience in it might still pick up something. I also encourage you to discuss any parts of this guide and any recommendation or critique is welcomed.
Hope You enjoy this guide and find at least something useful in it, lets get started now.
We will quickly go through fundamentals, mainly because everything will be discussed in detail later on. They come down to: map awareness, warding, tracking the enemy jungler and jungle camp timers.
As in any other role, having a decent map awareness is a key to your performance. Knowing the location of enemies and their next one or two moves allows you to make plays according to them. It will directly influence your pathing depending on the jungle camp timers, timing your ganks, invading and playing the team fight properly in the late game. My personal advice if you find yourself having difficulties with it, set a timer that will beep every 5-7 seconds in order to remind you to check the map and have a quick look of what is happening.
Tracking the Enemy Jungler
Tracking at a first glance might seem difficult, but with experience and wards it usually becomes a menial task. For starters we know that in 99% of cases enemy jungler will start on their speed buff unless they are doing a cheese strat. Followed by back camps into most cases blue buff is your standard start. Paying close attention on the player icons and seeing when the enemy jungler hits level 2 will allow to determine you his clearing speed, whether you're faster or slower than him. This will in turn allow you to determine your next few moves. Do you want to a) look to clear mid harpies before he comes and establish a control of them or b) do you want to look for an either first blood opportunity or to force someone out of lane thus gaining pressure knowing you will have a man advantage for a brief time. Other useful thing you could use from tracking is invading enemy camps, if you know that the enemy jungler is camping one of your lanes you can either a) counter gank said lane, b) gank on other part of the map or c) look to invade on the other side of the map thus gaining advantage over him in case his gank fails.
Warding is your bread and butter in every single role. It allows you to be safe in general, make a pick on enemy and make proper decisions depending on what information you have from them. We will divide it in, early to mid game and late game warding.
We can divide match ups determining on the clear speed, stronger 1v1 and faster rotations as winning, even and losing match ups.
Winning or beneficial match ups are the ones where you know you will out clear enemy jungler and will have more impact through the map in early to mid game. In these match ups you will be mainly looking to play aggressive as possible and look to deny any farm from the enemy jungler through the invades. Be wary of any possible enemies rotating to jungle camps while you're invading! You don't want to find yourself in a 1v2 situation unless you're confident you can take a kill or relic and get out alive, otherwise you're giving up unnecessary gold and experience to enemies and all the early pressure you could had. Ward aggressive and lock to pick off enemy jungler or gank lanes according to his pathing.
Even match ups are the ones in which you have same amount of pressure and can hardly kill each other in 1v1s unless one of you make a mistake. Playing in such match ups is all about outsmarting the enemy jungler, predicting his pathing and course of action will allow you to plan accordingly and gain leads based of his mistakes. Putting the enemy jungler behind in such a way will also allow you to play more and more aggressive as the time goes.
Losing match ups are those where we know that even if enemy jungler makes a small mistake there is still a decent amount of chance that you will lose the engagement. Thing we are looking to do here is to minimize our losses, by counter invading and counter ganking. This way you are making sure not to fall behind in most of cases and in some situations you might even end up being ahead.
Phases of Game
Timing Your Gank
In order to time your ganks, you need to keep an eye on a)minions, especially in the duo lane. Knowing that will help you determine whether the enemy will have to overextend in order to get the farm. b) location of enemy jungler and possible rotations, you don't want to get surprised and what was once a winning fight to turn into a losing one. c) Possibilities of lanes being warded and trying to avoid wards in order to increase the likelihood of your gank. And lastly make sure that your buffs on other side of the map aren't up. You don't want to leave an opportunity for a free invade.
Ganking itself isn't complicated if you know the position of enemies and potential wards, but in order to make your gank have the highest probability of success you need to take into consideration of the god you're playing, gods that are enemy team playing and what relics are up on each side. The simplest way to explain this is if we imagine following scenario:
You're playing Mercury, your ultimate is down, your relic of choice this time is Blink Rune enemy duo lane Sylvanus and Ullr are overextended and your duo lane Rama and Ymir have a sentry on their entrance to the lane next to the purple buff. This way you're sure that enemy duo lane won't spot you until you're in a safe distance to start the gank. You spot the enemy jungler going into the right jungle duo to a ward in mid lane, you know that only possible rotation now is their mid laner but even then he is most likely to come late. You decide to go with the gank. In order to maximize your chances of success you decide to blink over the wall on Ullr, Ullr will definitely react to your gank by trying to leap away. This way you have your dash to follow through and as long as you're able to avoid the axe stun you should be obtaining a kill. Or another possibility here is that you decide to focus Sylvanus after knowing that Ullr is out, this way you're guaranteeing a kill for sure.
So in short, your goal is to save your moving abilities in order to be able to follow the enemy in case if they decide to make a run for it, or in case you don't have one try to tell your duo lane to force it. Be wary of enemy relics and make sure that any possible rotations are either not coming or would come to late when you're sure to be able to disengage safely.
Before we start with this chapter, we won't talk about any specific builds but rather we will discuss possible item pick ups and in which situation they should be picked up.
We will divide junglers in two separate groups, physical and magical ones.
Physical junglers usually have more early pressure over their magical counter parts, they have more possibilities to build aggressive in early and usually tend to have more crowd control. Let's take a look what items you're able to build on them.
Please keep in mind that this tier list is mainly personal opinion of me and some friends, SS in this case means something that you're almost guaranteed to win and the chances are lower as the list goes down.
Thank you for reading this guide, hope You have enjoyed it and found at least something useful. Once again, I'd like to encourage you to discuss anything inside of this guide, look for a better possibility and not take it for granted.
P.S. Shot outs to Eledee for helping me out.