It is still pre-season 4 so things are still developing but a certain junglers have already taken the spotlight as the favored choices. I believe I can make a tier list that can be fair to most junglers albeit it will still be incomplete due to not being able to pick every champion so far multiple times. There are some champions that I've picked only once and I felt I could qualify some standing to them but it would ultimately be unfair to base a full judgment on them without testing them further. This tier list will not be in the "sub-type" bracket formula but in the old "one bracket to rule them all" formula due to still wanting to test things out and the need to determine all the factors that are important now. I will also list the champions I have not had any chance to test and observe.
Remember - this is not a tier list about which champions are the best PICKS but which champions excel as junglers currently. Despite that, I will still take into account some of their current allure into account as doing so gives credit to what is highly sought after in junglers for this current meta. Often times them being a good pick coincides to them being a good jungler but not always (see Riven and Wukong). A champion like Trundle excels in a lot of jungle aspects but may unfortunately fit none of the "prime jungler" requirements. Sometimes a champion can be a low tier jungler but be a high priority pick or be a very strong jungler but a low priority pick.
I will be adopting Foxdrop's "A and B" bracket formula for this one as it fairly divides the power levels in each tier...and it also looks cleaner. It is generally the case that a champion is assumed to be better than those in a lower listing. In many cases this tends to be true but in a few the difference is only very slight. The champions in the A rank are better than the ones in the B rank but both are still held to the qualities of whatever tier they are in.
Also keep in mind that Tier 1 and Tier 2 are generally easy to quantify while Tier 3 and below tends to be a messy cluster. Those tiers tend to have champions that excel in one or a few things and then suffer in a few key aspects OR some champions that don't fail at anything but have nothing special. The order in Tier 3, especially in pre-season, is not important and signifies little, if anything at all. Above all, this is all my opinion. I expect there to be people who do not agree with me but I hope it promotes intelligent discussion instead of flaming. Please understand that this is the first tier list of Season 4 and I am still learning things as well. I will be paying attention to what people say and hopefully people can sway me to test things further.
Before you read the tier descriptions, keep in mind that it is generally better to pick what you are comfortable with rather than what is apparently "strong." Shyvana is currently a top pick but you may be more comfortable playing as Sejuani.
Tier 1 - Champions that currently excel beyond their peers. Junglers that excel at power farming, swift ganks and transition well into late game (not necessarily damage) all while having no or purely negligible weaknesses. They also generally tend to be cost effective junglers or have some sort of powerful utility. They are either well rounded in these aspects or overwhelmingly excel at a few (ex: Shyvana is bad at ganking but is a very strong farmer). These champions also tend to fit the meta along with being competent junglers.
Tier 2 - These champions are very close to matching a lot of Tier 1 counter parts but their weaknesses tend to be more exposed or they do not excel in the aspects that are needed at the moment (ex: many are weak at power farming). They tend to be very stable junglers with balanced aspects and they may strongly excel at one aspect while having one exposable weakness (or several small ones). Most commonly, this tier is where strong junglers are placed that are powerful junglers regardless of meta but they are currently not prime picks and/or they do not bring anything that is needed in the meta at the time. These are often the champions that can rise to Tier 1 when the meta takes a shift in some direction.
Tier 3 - The champions in this tier are not bad and being in this tier is not immediately a terrible thing. Being in Tier 3 means that the champion is overall less balanced than those above them but they have an aspect they strongly excel at and/or something very unique that gives them an advantage. They're all generally lumped together and all the Tier 3A junglers are presumed to be basically equal. Some Tier 3 junglers can be potentially powerful picks in the right line ups or in the right situations while some of them are just outright powerful champions with average jungle potential. Sometimes a Tier 3 jungler will be picked because the team needs/wants the champion in their line up but cannot fit them in a lane or they were counter picked in lane yet they can still perform respectably in the jungle.
Tier 4 - These champions just have too many issues as junglers but can excel at a few aspects. They are generally overshadowed by a lot of other junglers so they'll rarely, if ever, see play outside of casual play.
Champions that need further testing - Gragas, Darius, Lissandra, New Skarner (only on PBE), Taric (always banned or picked first), Renekton, Mordekaiser, Rengar (he's always picked and sometimes just banned - I have not played him once). Yasuo will be added later - though I'm sure he'll suck at jungling.
The few champions that are not listed have yet to be played or fully tested. Tier 4 is basically random and of little importance but I actually love Jungle Zyra and some poor fool played Jungle Fiora against me for some reason.
Vi - Power farming, hard crowd control ganking and mobility are the name of the jungle game right now. Vi farms the jungle quickly, has a very powerful and almost inescapable level 6 gank and is very mobile both in ganking and farming. She combines the three traits that are currently very attractive on junglers. To add to this, she is rather sustained both health and speed wise and will rarely lose momentum. She clears camp fasts but she is not the fastest camp clearer yet despite this she can still power farm thanks to the mobility her Q grants her. While she cannot do this initially, since she needs to gain some levels first, she is able to maintain a 4 camp clearing pattern and eventually add a gank in between her camp clearing. She is restricted by how much mana she has as to how quickly she can do this (and her E stacks) but she is known for having reasonable mana sustain. To put it simply, she farms the jungle well while providing very deadly ganks every now and then. Her weakness comes in the fact that her pre-6 ganks are not always the best (depends on her targets) and that she is a one-trick-pony. She is not always the best pick against certain team comps and as the jungler for certain team comps.
Shyvana - She is similar to Vi in that she can power farm the jungle and even keep 4 camps on respawn but she takes it up a notch by sacrificing ganking potential for even more ridiculous speed. Shyvana is currently the fastest farming jungler in the game who can keep 4 camps on lockdown and thus guaranteeing herself the boosted gold pretty much immediately. Most other farming junglers can lockdown the 4th camp after a clear or two but Shyvana can do that immediately. She gets to the point where she can farm all the camps and still participate in a gank or an invasion. The other increase in power for her is the fact that games are seemingly taking longer now and she is able to guarantee herself a late game power spike. She proceeds to become a high damage fighter late into the game who is also difficult to kill. Her weakness is obviously the fact that her ganks tend to just outright suck. She needs help when it comes towards ganking unless the enemy laner just has a deathwish and lets themselves be killed. Shyvana is also not a tank and has no "true" initiation or reliable crowd control so her teammates have to supplement that by bringing along a laner with initiation or Orianna. There is a reason why she has been seeing more top lane than jungle play since you don't have to risk picking a weak top laner just so you can have some sort of initiation.
Lee Sin - He always tends to be one of the stronger junglers in the game (though with a certain grey area in Season 2) and this season seems to be no different. He is nowhere near as fast as Shyvana or even Vi at clearing but his mobility between camps allows them to match their jungle clearing speed. He also buries all the other top junglers at ganking. That said, his biggest strength and attractive quality currently is how well he deals with the other power junglers. Lee Sin's match ups tend to be favorable and, in some cases, extremely in his favor. He utterly dominates Evelynn in dueling and counter ganking. He can juke Vi to no end and he can peel her from whatever teammate Vi decides to jump on. The same applies to Shyvana as Lee Sin can just peel her from his teammates with relative ease. In short, Lee Sin's versatility and vision granting abilities are making such an attractive pick currently. He can deal with other power junglers, including the annoying Evelynn, with relative ease and fill almost any niche the team may need. His weakness tends to be the fact that his late game is not as strong as the other powerful junglers. He is still useful but he does fall off somewhat. He either becomes fragile due to building pure damage or deals less damage due to building tanky. He tends to transition into a support/bruiser late into the game.
Evelynn - She is an arguable champion currently. Some feel she is extremely overpowered while others feel her counters are very severe but players are either too lazy or ignorant to take advantage of them. Nonetheless, she is currently making the game hell to play for a majority of the players thanks to the fact that stealth reveal has been gimped all around and she is able to run around almost undeterred. She is also a very fast camp clearing jungler with high mobility between camps at the cost of her stealth which does not matter when clearing. She can farm all 4 camps after her second clear though she may not want to as she can gank with impunity thanks to her stealth. It really does help her that she is strong late game and games are taking longer than before to finish. Her weaknesses are very real and crippling if taken advantage of. Despite being such a terror currently, she is very vulnerable as a jungler and she tends to get her ass whipped by the monsters themselves. Invasion did get weaker but certain jungle duelists should have no problem going into her jungle just to assassinate her and keep her down. She is also very easy to counter gank with any jungler that has some form of crowd control. As long as the laners play safely, most experienced junglers can deal with an Evelynn...given they pick a jungler that has at least a fair match up vs her.
Elise - She is actually one of the most powerful junglers currently but she is so similar to Lee Sin that I just did not want to write another portion for her. She does not have the vision reveal that Lee Sin has but she is much more straight forward than him and has the safety of range - she is also magic oriented.
Kha'Zix - He's better this time around thanks to the wight camp and his mobility. There is not much to say here except that he has extremely high damage, an easier time clearing and less worry about invasions. He is not a tanky character so pick him only if you have laning teammate who chose a beef champion.
Amumu - I'm speaking more about AP Amumu right now. I was wrong in saying that the spectral wraith wouldn't be useful on a lot of champions. I was only half right as it turns out it is basically useless on slower AP junglers but it is insanely powerful on junglers who could power-farm if they had the mana for it. Amumu still has the glaring early game weakness but that tends to be overcome quickly. He is insanely fast, arguably even faster than Shyvana, once he gets the spectral wraith. The obvious contrast is that he has to purchase it first before he can match her. He becomes a holy hand grenade thanks to his insane farming potential with the item.
Dr. Mundo - He is basically the same as Shyvana except that he has worse sustain (early) in exchange for better ganking. Shyvana and Dr. Mundo go through a weird dance where they trade in power in every other spike though Shyvana ultimately ends up being the higher damage dealer in the late game. Shyvana's W mobility gives her the edge over Dr. Mundo currently as they both clear camps quickly but she's able to move across the map better. However, he may potentially be better than Shyvana in the jungle if things start panning out differently. They are both beastly late game with Dr. Mundo being harder to kill and Shyvana killing harder.
Fiddlesticks - He was just nerfed so his position may or may not be affected. That said, the spectral wraith item helped his mana issues quite a bit but the item is not helping him as severe as it is helping Amumu. That said, what ultimately helps Fiddlesticks is the addition of the wight camp. Fiddlesticks still has the early invasion weakness but subsequent invasions have been nerfed thanks to the addition of trinkets and having one additional camp to farm. The wight camp is easy for Fiddlesticks for starters but the fact that it exists means he will always have at least two camps to farm if he were to be invaded. He can gain the precious levels that he needs in order to become a threat. In addition, he still solos dragon like a boss.
Olaf - Much like Udyr, he is a very fast jungler that is restricted by his mana pool. Olaf's Q burden is very noticeable early and it will hinder his clearing. His ganking is moderately strong with dependency on your accuracy with his axes and his damage is moderate (high if you can hit your axes). He quickly starts gettings out of control if he is left alone to farm and run amok. He can be shut down but it only serves to slow him down. Out of the 4 power farmers mentioned in the explanations (Udyr, Shyvana, Dr. Mundo and Olaf) he is the most gold dependent and requires more rev-up time. Still it is nearly impossible to kite an Olaf who has his ultimate up and his true damage will render even tanks unable to stop him.
Nocturne - Probably someone we predicted would be much stronger but did not turn out so. He is still very powerful - I mean he's in Tier 1 after all - but his place has been taken by Vi. He is, essentially, a weaker Vi currently.
Udyr - He is very similar to Dr. Mundo and Shyvana but with more versatility and innate tankiness. He has much better dueling potential than both and arguably more utility. However, he has a severe mana burden that the other two do not. While this mana restriction can be circumvented, he must obtain some means of fixing it. It is fortunate that there are plenty of items that are strong Udyr that help his mana issues. He tends to get kited harder than Dr. Mundo and Shyvana (though she has a hard time if she does not pull off a good ultimate).
Hecarim - This greedy tank has seen better days. His favored damage item was changed to the point where it is no longer useful for him. The new jungle beats him to death and thus he can't as well as before. He needs gold in order to contribute in team fights but he is having a harder time obtaining that gold. He has definitely seen better days. The advent of power farmers is also not good for him either.
Jarvan - Still a strong ganker and overall good. He is still potentially the best jungle tank in the game but not the best jungler overall. His nerf hurt but what ultimately is doing him in during Season 4 is his lack of sustain and his slower clearing. He is by no means a power farmer.
Nautilus - He is one of the junglers that most benefited from the changes. He new smite and masteries have helped him immensely and he is essentially having a much easier time. There is no need to say how powerful he is at team fights (4 forms of crowd control) but it is important to note just how great his clearing is now. He is as fast as Shyvana, Vi and the rest, at clearing camps (at least when he gets 2 ranks into W) and he'd farm just as well if he had as much mobility as them. He is very vulnerable to invaders till of course but at least the new wight camp makes invasions weaker. TLDR: His early weaknesses were padded and thus he has a better chance of not being shut down.
Aatrox - He has the same features as Vi but with better ganking pre-6 and better carrying options. He is a bit slower than her but a lot more sustained. Aatrox is one of those champions who may be fully "unleashed" when he jungles. As a jungler though he has essentially no weaknesses while also carrying high damage, decent utility and excellent match ups vs other junglers.
Nasus - He is more akin to a support jungler than an actual bruiser but there is arguably no safer jungler in the game than Nasus. Even though he does not get as tanky or as painful as his lane counterpart, he can still EVENTUALLY obtain that status. He is strong at taking objectives and at pushing while also being an powerful sustained jungler who rarely has to retreat back to the fountain. His ganks are strong thanks to his wither being a targeted spell. His wither spell can also help him avoid dealing with enemy junglers as it allows him to just waltz away from someone who intends to kill him. His E tears armor, his Q gives "infinite" scaling, his W is a strong debuff and his ultimate is a boatload of free stats - he's ridiculously gold efficient. His weakness does lie in that he tends to get kited though.
Xin Zhao + Skarner + Volibear + Cho Gath + Malphite - They are quite literally the same thing. They were basically not affected by the jungle and are strong overall picks with some weakness in some form. They are not really worth talking about aside from mentioning that they are worthy picks similar to how they were in Season 3.
Nunu - He's still a dick to play against but invasion was nerfed all around. He is a very powerful jungler but his "purpose" has made almost irrelevant without the proper set up. He can potentially rise to Tier 1 again if his focus becomes needed again.
Shaco - Think of him as a weaker Evelynn with safer jungling at the expense of speed. He has arguably better ganks and definitely stronger split pushing though. He is generally easier to shut down though.
Maokai - He has seen better days. His lack of mobility and power farming is what is keeping him down. He is still a very powerful jungler though and definitely one of my favorites. He's a safe pick and he utterly counters certain laners. He's become more situational is all.
Sejuani - This has been beaten to death but she is essentially Nautilus on a pig. She did not benefit from the changes as much as Nautilus did and she still has some early game sustain issues - and she still sucks at dueling.
Master Yi - Think of Shyvana with more damage but less survivability. Master Yi is arguably the best split pushing jungler in the game and one of the strongest late game jungle carries. However, one mistake and he instantly explodes making him a risky fighter. His gold dependency and his fragile nature make him a difficult pick for a lot of team comps but he can be outright deadly when an answer is not set up for him.
Trundle - One of my favorite champions but currently nothing special. He has no team comps that accommodate him currently and he cannot power farm. He is a very powerful jungler but the new jungle does him no favors. Invasions have been nerfed and he cannot do any of his former bush tricks (with his wall). For all his power - the world around him does not welcome him. I will play him more due to him being one of my favorite so I purposely put him lower in the tier list as a precaution. I do not want to try to justify his position in a higher tier without fully understanding if his former jungle strengths are still "strong." I fear that if I put him in a higher tier, as he really is a very strong jungler despite not being a good pick currently, that if I find out his strengths are worse than before then I'll try to come up with some BS to not lower him.
Yorick - He is surprisingly better this time around. He's not remarkable or anything but how awesome his ghouls are at traveling with him between the 4 camps is quite the sight. He has the utility from his ultimate so it is very dependent on whether or not his teammates can make good use of it (or if he casts it properly). His super sustain and ability to rarely lose duels (as long as he has mana) makes him a safe pick. He cannot keep up with the power farmers though.
Kayle - The new masteries are so wonderful on her and the spectral wraith is a beastly item on her though she does not need it at all. Her ganking is still wonky but her jungle dueling improved thanks to the "bush" nerfs --- though this is honestly a moot point. Her early clearing (which was her worst) became much better thanks to the power granted by the offensive tree.
Wukong - He's a troubling case currently. He has always been (and still is) an average jungler in a lot of aspects of jungling but he's always had the nifty benefit of being a badass in team fights thanks to his ultimate + initiation. It turns out that he is greatly benefitting from the Season 4 changes and he is a monster in team fights and with the Spirit:Lizard. He is definitely a very strong jungle carry/initiator but he is still rather average as a jungler. He does not have sustain, his first clear is troubling, his dueling potential is mixed and his ganks offer no crowd control until level 6. He also does not farm as fast as any of the power farmers. He is a champion you pick in order to carry - which he can do rather well - and not because he is an exceptional jungler.
Riven - This is basically the same thing as Wukong. She is arguably overpowered beyond a doubt and you would pick her if you want a potential jungle carry. Tier 3 has no order so she is not lower than Wukong. They both have advantages over each other- Wukong has initiation and Riven has ganking- and both are rather average-decent at jungling.
Pantheon - He still has godlike ganking pre-6 and post-6 but he is severely weak in most every other aspect in the jungle. The change to his W is very negligible.
Diana - The new spectral wraith item can help her power farm but she doesn't really do much prior to that. As an AP jungler she is one of the best but when compared to all other junglers at once she tends to come up short.
Gragas and Rengar - I have yet to play them. Rengar is always picked or banned or I'm last pick and my team did not pick an AP champion or an initiator/tank. Often times I find myself not able to pick Gragas for similar reasons or because I feel he will not fit my team composition.
Yasuo - He has yet to be tested but I am sure he will suck as a jungler. He has a lot of problems just clearing and he has no real ganking tools. There is basically no reason to play him in the jungle. He is much better suited as a laner.
Zac - He's a lot better this time around (since his nerfs in Season 3) as he's a fast clearing jungler with good movement through camps thanks to his E. Other than that, he is still fundamentally the same. Think of him as a jungler with similar clearing capacity as Vi but with a softer form of ganking at level 6. His pre-6 ganks are arguably better though.
Follow me on twitter
Follow me on Facebook too!
Watch me on stream!