With the Mid-Season Invitational beginning in two days, eleven of the best junglers across all regions will show their skills on an international stage for the first time this season. While this international tournament is filled with talented junglers, the jungle meta in 2021 League of Legends continues to undergo several changes. While everyone will need to adjust, here are the players Upcomer expects will be the best junglers at MSI.
1. Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu (DWG KIA)
At the top of the MSI jungler list is none other than DWG KIA’s Canyon. The 2020 League of Legends World Champion Finals MVP is also one of the best players in the world. His performance during the 2021 League of Legends Champions Korea Spring Split earned him another MVP award, after all.
Although there are other skilled junglers at MSI, Canyon is simply the best player in this position. During the regular Spring Split, Canyon topped almost all LCK jungle statistics. He had a win rate of 77% in 43 games played and a leading gold and experience difference after 10 minutes. His Kill/Death/Assist ratio was also the highest, as well as damage to champions per minute.
What makes Canyon so fearsome is that since winning Worlds in 2020, he has continued to improve. His synergy with his team also makes it hard to catch DWG KIA unawares. Also, Canyon’s champion pool is quite diverse, with options like Hecarim, Kayn, Udyr, Graves, Pantheon, Nidalee and a few others.
Currently, Canyon is the only MSI pro to hit Challenger on the European West server with a 70% win rate across 64 games. The 19-year-old jungler enters the MSI with a huge skill gap between him and everyone else, international success and world class team members. It was easy to put him at number one.
2. Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei (RNG)
Since making his League of Legends Pro League debut with eStar in 2020, Wei has shown no signs of slowing down. After signing with Royal Never Give Up in December 2020, Wei has established himself as one of LPL’s top junglers. Although Wei does not lead most of LPL’s jungler statistics, he ranks among the top four in most.
Wei impressed in the LPL Spring Final series against FunPlus Pheonix. His accurately timed top lane ganks helped his team neutralize FPX’s Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon in the last two games. Those crucial ganks and his ability to steal objectives makes him a very integral part of RNG’s success. While Wei has no international experience, he has shown he can hold his ground against world champions.
3. Robert “Blaber” Huang (Cloud9)
The story of Cloud9’s recent domestic success cannot be told without mentioning Blaber. The C9 jungler is miles ahead of many of his North American counterparts in every relevant category. The two time Spring Split MVP had the most kill involvements for a jungler in the League of Legends Championship Series. He also leads in damage share and damage to champions per minutes.
Blaber’s aggressive style fits in perfectly with C9’s gameplay. The NA jungler has also formed a good synergy with the experienced Luka “Perkz” Perkovic. Yet, while Blaber has flourished on the domestic scene, he will have to prove himself on the international stage. Given the relatively low level of competition he has faced in NA, there is no doubt he would need to work much harder in making those aggressive plays to be considered among the best junglers at MSI.
4. Javier “Elyoya” Prades (MAD Lions)
After winning the League of Legends European Championship Spring Split in his debut year, Elyoya carved his name into the league’s history. The LEC Rookie of the Split displayed the best jungler performances during the playoffs.
According to Oracle’s Elixir, Elyoya finished the Spring Split as one of the best performing junglers. His huge lead in gold and experience difference after 10 minutes helped create early game advantages for his team, MAD Lions. He also holds the most kill participations for a jungler in the LEC at 73.7%.
Asides from this, Elyoya actually has a wide champion pool range, having played 11 champions during the spring. Additionally, at the LEC post spring press conference, he stated he was excited for the jungle changes coming to the MSI patch. These jungle changes will strengthen several champions to encourage diversity of jungle picks at MSI.
While Elyoya may be a rookie with no international experience, his playoffs performances against some of the best junglers in the world showed he can withstand such pressure. In an interview, he emphasized getting his mental state to match those of the experienced players and not worrying about his rookie status.
5. Kim “River” Dong-woo (PSG Talong)
PSG Talon’s River rounds out the list of best five junglers at MSI 2021. After an impressive end to 2020, River helped his team secure another international appearance. This could be because his gold and experience difference in the early game significantly increased compared to the previous year.
While River has dominated the PCS jungle statistics in Spring Split, he needs to transcend beyond regional dominance at MSI. During the Pacific Championship Series Spring Split and playoffs, PSG Talon controlled most of the early games and objectives with help from River. However, the PCS jungler has a lot of work to do in helping his team win games against tougher opponents.