Building Junglers (Part 2: Utility tanks)


Since season 3, utility tanks junglers are almost standard and the most common way of jungling. Here I’ll be doing a standard build path and masteries/runes choices that these junglers should take as a standard guideline for every game.

This doesn’t mean you should follow this build every time! You should still try out new stuff and experiment. But this is a cheat sheet if you’re ever wondering what you should do next to become better at the game, and an in-depth analysis of build choices for this particular role.

Rune Choices


  • Glyphs: I always use a mix of flat Mres (magic resistance) and per level Mres because I find it to be a good compromise in between a weak early game Mres and a weak late game one.That’s a personal choice, it should fit your playstyle (early ganker or not) as long as you have magic resistance in your build (a few exceptions you’ll see below).
  • Seals: Armor, always armor, whatever the build, it’s like taking smite to jungle. Why? Because otherwise you’ll just die to ganks.
  • Marks: these are the main variations between each utility tank builds, I use Mpen (magic penetration) on champions that don’t rely on auto attacks that much to deal damage and that don’t scale well with attack speed. These champions work better with Mpen marks. (ex: Amumu & Zac)
  • Quintessences: They really define your playstyle, so I wouldn’t copy mine if I were you. Try out stuff and see what you prefer; there are a lot of viable Quints choices out there. I’ll talk more about them later. I take health, because I like to towerdive early, and counter early burst.


  • Marks: On a lot of AP tanks, attack speed is a very viable options as they will help you clear camps faster. Either they have a very strong base attack speed (ex: Maokai) or they have auto attack that can be empowered by skill (ex: Cho’Gath & Nautilus)


  • Quintessences: another one of my favorite Quints are hybrid penetration. They are so cost efficient that they work great on champions that deal hybrid damage. Read my article about them if you’re not convinced :)


My Nunu build is the popular one that we have seen a lot since the 3.8 patch.

  • Glyphs: CDR works great, you basically want to almost max you CDR as soon as possible. By doing this you’re handicapping your early game, trusting yourself to be sufficiently ahead of the enemy jungler in getting your items faster and making up for the weak Mres.
  • Quintessences: I feel that movement speed Quints have lost some of their efficiency because junglers can’t really start with boots since S3. But they still are a great counter to kiting (combined with MS buff skills), they still give you better map control than your enemy jungler and make counterjungling easier.

About Quintessences

There are a lot of viable options of Quintessences, just try them out and see what fits your playstyle. Almost every choice works if it fits how you play, I’ve even seen a few junglers play with experience Quints and do really well!

Here are some standard options if you want to try some:

  • Movement speed
  • Health
  • Armor
  • Hybrid penetration
  • Armor penetration
  • Attack speed

Let’s see the masteries next


Standard AP tank mastery page that benefits from the attack speed early game to clear camps. I’m also considering using this mastery page on Volibear since he deals more magic damage than physical in team fights mid-late game.

People often ask me why Unyielding & Block are so good. I usually tell them that it gives you a lot more effective armor than actual armor, but what’s effective armor? This guy did the best video I’ve ever seen that explains it all.


Standard AP tank mastery page that doesn’t benefit early game from attack speed to clear camps.


Standard tank page focused on objective control. Extra movement speed, increased buff durations, summoner spell CDR. This is pretty neat for counterjungling and taking objectives.


The Nunu mastery page. As I said you’re sacrificing a lot early game because you’re going to be counterjungling and betting on yourself that you’re going to be ahead in gold and levels compared to the enemy jungler.

This is why you’re maxing movement speed and CDR along with the usual counterjungling utility points. If you want to know more about this guide check my article about Nunu jungle since 3.8 patch.

Now how do I Itemize this in-game?

Spirit_of_the_Ancient_Golem_itemSpirit of the Ancient Golem (SotAG) & Boots

One of the most gold efficient items without its two passive effects (one of these being the extra tenacity). It makes it one of the best options for utility tank junglers.

The statistics it gives are also exactly what any utility jungler needs:

  • Health (Tanking)
  • Cooldown Reduction (Spamming utility)
  • Health & Mana regeneration (Jungle sustain)
  • Unique passive: Butcher (Camp clearing speed)
  • Unique passive: Tenacity (Always useful)

You also won’t need Mercury Tread’s as boots since you’ll already have Tenacity (also, it won’t stack). This will give you more boot choices!

  • Ninja Tabi: Hard counter to teams that have a lot of auto attackers
  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity: 25% CDR with the CDR from SotAG
  • Boots of Swiftness: Best counter to kiting
  • Boots of Mobility: Insane map control

Randuin’s Omen & Frozen HeartFrozen_Heart_itemRanduin's_Omen_item

Randuin’s Omen and Frozen Heart are the only two items that reduce the attack speed of enemies.
Frozen Heart is gold efficient even without its aura and gives one the highest amounts of armor in the game. Randuin’s Omen isn’t gold efficient without its passive and active effects, but its unique effects can be essential in teamfights.

  • Randuin’s Omen is a direct counter to Blade of the Ruined King as it gives armor and reduces the attack speed and movement speed of your enemies, each of the actives will cancel each other. It works well against kiting and when you want to impair your enemy’s movement to make it harder for them to position themselves. Above all it is a counter to champions that rely heavily on their auto attacks to deal damage but works better if you are one of the focuses in team fights (so that the passive processes). This is why it is picked by a lot of AD bruisers that deal a reasonable amount of damage.
  • Frozen Heart can be a better buy if you benefit widely from the mana and the cooldown reduction it offers. It’s also best to pick it up if the enemy carries do not tend to auto attack you in team fights, since the enemy carries won’t need to auto attack you to get the Frozen Heart attack speed debuff, they just need to be in range. In any case Frozen Heart and Randuin’s Omen work best when bought against fed AD carries, a strong AD based enemy team composition and strong auto attackers.

Sunfire_Cape_itemSunfire Cape

This item isn’t cost efficient without its passive, and its passive costs 562 gold for it to be cost efficient. So why is it used so much ?

The stats it provides are great for towerdiving and it is a pretty cheap advanced item that combines a nice counter to AD heavy teams (Armor) and AP burst (Health). The passive it offers helps you clear jungle camps and minion waves faster which is great since utility tank junglers don’t have much damage. The passive will allow you to tear your way through jungle camps and make split pushing a good option.

Warmog's_Armor_itemWarmog’s Armor

Warmog’s is a great buy as long as the enemy team does not deal too much percentage damage while you have great scaling with health.

A lot of champions deal percentage damage, picture an AD Carry Kog’maw and an AP carry Fizz, they will dig through your health very easily and going for resistances would be a better choice against them.

Another thing is that if the enemy team comp has a lot of lifesteal/spell vamp, you’ll become a health pool for them to regen on in teamfights. Warmog’s is a full health item, so make sure stacking health is a direct counter to the enemy team. Stacking health is the best way to counter flat burst damage (like Leblanc’s as AP Carry, Grave’s as AD Carry).

Warmog’s is also a better buy if your champions scales directly with health, meaning that some of your abilities scale with health, a few examples of champions that have this are Volibear, Zac, Maokai. If all the other conditions are filled Warmog’s is one of the best items to buy for these champions.

Spirit_Visage_itemSpirit Visage

Riot has announced that Magic Resistance options for tanks will be updated soon, so I’ll be updating this part as soon as possible. Meanwhile tanks don’t have many options in terms of countering strong magic damage.

Spirit Visage is a very cheap item for what it offers. Health, Cooldown Reduction, and Magic resistance. It also has a great passive that increases your healing, regeneration and drain effects on yourself by 20% (this works for everything that use these words in their description: heal, restore, drain, regain, regen, or refund). It makes this item work better on champions that have lifesteal, spell vamp, or self healing built in their kit.

If the enemy AP carries are fed on the enemy team this could be a good pick up, flat magic resistance works best against AP DoT abilities, AP carries with short cooldowns & AP carries that deal percentage damage within their kit or with a Liandry’s Torment.

If you’re up against a strong burst team though, you might want to just consider stacking health since it is a direct counter to any kind of burst.

Aura Items

Aura items are very cost effective when you are around your team, the stats they provide makes them the best items in the game in view of their cost-efficiency. Having a low budget, utility tank junglers really benefit from aura items as they don’t have a lot of gold to spend on stats for themselves

Iron Solari & Runic BulwarkRunic_Bulwark_itemLocket_of_the_Iron_Solari_item

You should get at least one of these two items, choosing one over the other depends on the team compositions and how they are played.

  • Pressure points & Poke playstyle

If the enemy team or yours has a poke composition, and if that poke composition is maintaining pressure at objectives with their poke, you should go for a Runic Bulwark. It will offer extra resistances, along with health regeneration for you and your team at the pressure points for extended periods of time.

Thus spending time at pressure points will give you the advantage for you and your team.

  • AoE Damage, CC comp & Engage playstyle

If the enemy team or yours has an engage composition, and if that engage composition is doing their job right by engaging successively whenever they have an advantage, Iron Solari is your best option. It offers a burst of shield for you and your allies, that can tank a first burst of AoE damage in teamfights, giving you the advantage in teamfights.

Zeke's_Herald_itemZeke’s Herald

If you’re playing an AD scaling jungler inside a heavy AD team (AD mid lane, AD bruiser top) you might want to consider a Zeke’s Herald. It will give your whole team a great amount of stats that scale really well with AD champions (Basically +20 AD and +10% Life steal). When you are nearby one or more ally champions, Zeke’s Herald is gold efficient, so imagine how gold efficient it is in team fights.

It goes to say that this item works better in a team composition that favors team fights since you need to benefit from the aura.

Will_of_the_Ancients_itemWill of the Ancients

If you’re playing an AP scaling jungler inside a heavy AP team (AP mid lane, AP top) you might want to consider a Will of the Ancients. It will give your whole team a great amount of stats that scale really well with AP champions (Basically +30 AP and +20% spell vamp). When you are nearby one or more ally champions, Will of the Ancients is gold efficient.

It goes to say that this item also works better in a team composition that favors team fights since you need to benefit from the aura.

Be careful though, as some champions who become untargetable while dealing damage will not benefit from the aura (example: Vladimir’s Sanguine pool and Master Yi’s Alpha Strike)

Dealing more damage while still building tanky

I won’t talk much about that here, because I want to keep some material for part 3. As this is more focused on tanking for your team. But in general you’ll want items that either deal percentage damage or that apply debuff or CC to your enemies while still giving you defensive stats. Here’s a few examples of this:

  • Tanky APs: Liandry’s Torment, Rylai’s Scepter & Abyssal Scepter
  • Tanky ADs: Blade of the Ruined King, Frozen Mallet & Black Cleaver

I am not a big fan of people rushing Rylai’s Scepter and Frozen Mallet at all.

I’ll talk about this more in detail in part 3 of Building Junglers, meanwhile I hope you guys enjoyed the guide.

Also we’ve only just started a how2jungle stream, so if you want to you can follow us on! :D Thanks for all the feedback!

2 thoughts on “Building Junglers (Part 2: Utility tanks)

  1. Pingback: [Artigo traduzido] Udyr de Tigre com Lâmina de Doran do Diamond! | Ionia News

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