Ivern in Season 14: 5 Things to Focus on

Season 14 is here, and Ivern plays completely differently. Here's 5 tips for adapting your playstyle to the new season!

Ivern in Season 14: 5 Things to Focus on

Season 14 has been weird for Ivern. Since ganking is much more difficult, not only is it harder to punish laners, but laners also don't need their jungler's hover as often since they're safer from ganks. Since Ivern's main advantage is that he has more time than other junglers, what do you even do with it anymore?

On top of the massive changes to ganking cadence, there's also the new Void Grubs objective, which is somehow even more awkward for Ivern to solo than drag. And if that wasn't already bad, the new item system has negatively impacted many of Ivern's staples (Shurelya's, Cosmic Drive, etc). So with all of those downsides, is S14 doomed for Ivern?

Ivern's winrate on the current patch (14.4). Rank 43/167 in Emerald+ Winrate.

If you've been playing at all this season (or if you've recently looked at winrate data), you'll probably know that the answer is no, Ivern is not doomed. In fact, he's actually kinda good. This type of situation interesting because if so many factors are stacked against Ivern, that also implies a roughly equal amount of positives to balance it out. In this article I'd like to highlight 5 of the biggest differences between S13 and S14 Ivern.

Bush Placement

I've been telling Ivern players to improve their bush placement for almost as long as I've been playing the champion, and the skill has only become even more relevant this season. The map changes have created a lot of unobstructed open space, perfect for controlling with bushes.

Large open space, perfect for bushes.

Bushes not only help your team push into these open areas, but also defend them if you already have control. Under the right circumstances, Brushmaker can be one of the most useful and impactful abilities in the game. This is especially true when you have champions who want to create threat off vision with poke, hard engage, channeled abilities, or pure burst (which is basically 75% of the champions in the game). If you place your bushes right, Ivern becomes the single highest utility champion for objective fights. No other champion's kit can even come close.

using mid prio to prevent enemies from walking up to ward their own jungle

So let's talk practical application. As a start you should be buying far more control wards per game. I'd even go as far as to say that 2x Control Wards is a better use of inventory space than even Forbidden Idol at the later objective fights. This opens up opportunities to control areas that would otherwise be extremely illegal.

Once you've stocked up on control wards, there are 3 conditions to be looking out for when finding opportunities to block entry to an area:

  1. An objective to contest which is spawning soon (Rift Herald, Drag, Void Form Blue/Red Buff, etc). You should identify this pretty early so you have time to plan and coordinate waves.
  2. At least 1 lane with prio to allow safe access to the river/jungle to set up. If your team is too weak to get lane prio the enemy team will just push into your bushes with numbers advantage for free.
  3. Champions who have threat off vision. These can be Poke Mages like Ziggs/Xerath, Engage/Pick Supports like Blitz/Rell (especially with hexflash), Burst Mages like Lux/Syndra, or even Weird Camping Specialists like Heimerdinger/Fiddlesticks.

If all 3 of those conditions are present, you're free to drop a control ward and make the game unplayable for the enemy team. It's also worth mentioning that Ivern himself also has a lot of threat off vision with Q and Daisy, so the 3rd condition isn't even that necessary if you're ahead enough. Here are some more examples of areas to control (with Ivern Q range indicator for reference):

controlling the entire mid-river entrance with 1 bush
controlling the enemy jungle surrounding blue buff and topside river with 1 bush

Again, this is extremely OP if done right. The only reason I can think of for why riot has left this in the game is because nobody uses it properly (not even pro players LOL). Make sure you're taking advantage of it going into season 14.

Scaling and Protecting Laners

As I mentioned earlier, Ivern has a lot less to do during the early game. Contrary to what most people think, Ivern has historically been a very early game skewed jungler since most of his major advantages come from being able to do more on the map while other junglers are stuck to their camps. He also has an absurdly powerful 2v2 when paired with the majority of champions, which has been another one of his early game strengths to play around.

But now that the game's early pacing has slowed, what exactly is Ivern supposed to look for? Where do you find consistency? The answer is stability. One of Ivern's biggest upgrades this season has come from the new entrances and space around the mid towers. This is because it gives Ivern entry to the front of his team's mid t1 tower from his blue-side. But why is this such a big deal?


The answer is once again bush placement.

Ever since 13.11, Ivern's bushes have disappeared once you lose vision of them, meaning you have to stand in them (or use a ward) if you want them to stick around. One of the few ways to cheat this rule is with towers. Since they grant True Sight in a 1095 unit radius, your bushes will stay for their maximum lifespan of 45 seconds as long as the tower stays alive.

This trick has only been sparsely useful throughout season 13, but now that the space around the tower has been cleared up, there is much more space for bush placement. But even more importantly, an entrance connecting Ivern's blue-side to the front of the tower has been opened up. This means that you can place a bush within the tower range by the entrance and then freely enter/exit/camp the bush without the enemy being able to know (enemy wards placed in the bush are also revealed by the tower). Here's an example of it being used in an actual game:

mid diff ff

This POV is taken from Dun, a challenger Viktor player who I played against a few days ago. As you can see he was absolutely destroying my Zed and the game should be won. However, I noticed this losing lane and took action.

bush placement

Now that I've placed those 2 bushes, Viktor can no longer play the game. Not only can he not see Zed, but also has to respect the bottom bush since I could be in it. This turns his completely winning lane state into an even one with no advantages to either side with minimal investment from me as Ivern. Now what you should be thinking by this point is that this is the most disgusting and uninteractive strategy in the game and has no business being in League of Legends. Dun would agree:


dun's reaction to zed getting the world's most undeserved win

And for the record, I would agree as well. If anything, this is more proof that Ivern's rework was a massive mistake that should be reverted. However, that's a completely different topic. For now I'll just enjoy the funny bush tactics.

Camp Theft and Selfishness

One of the important parts of scaling is putting money onto yourself and making sure you hit your item spikes. Luckily, the combination of having a lot of extra time on your hands and the map becoming more open has led to counterjungling and camp theft becoming a much more viable option for Ivern.

Easy to get in, easy to get out.

Since there's less ganking potential, camps become a much more important resource for junglers in the early game. Not only should you be punishing the enemy jungler whenever they're cross-map, but you should also be squeezing out every last bit of lane prio to turn them into invades. Again, putting the enemy jungler behind on camps is much more important this season compared to the last, so always be looking for opportunities.

Also, if you thought that I'd let this point go by without talking about bush placement, clearly you don't know me well enough. Here's a cool bush you can do when stealing blue:


enemy cannot even see the bush that ivern is standing in as he marks and smites blue

Itemization and Dawncore

Let's talk itemization. As mentioned earlier, Ivern's staples were all significantly altered to not be as good on Ivern:

  • Cosmic Drive was changed to now only grant movement speed on spell hit. This kills the item pretty hard on enchanter Ivern, making it only good for his heavy AP builds.
  • Shurelya's Battlesong lost the passive that grants movement speed on Heal/Shield and is now just the active. This hurts particularly badly for Ivern since he used both the active and passive very well (especially for Daisy engage since the active also boosted her).
  • Zhonya's Hourglass lost it's ability haste, Fiendish Codex build path, and now costs 250 more gold, making it both harder to purchase and less useful once acquired. Zhonya's was one of Ivern's best items, as it significantly increases his options as a champion, so this one hurts pretty bad.

There are very few positives about the new items for Ivern compared to the previous season. However, there is one single item that turns it all around: Dawncore. It's the new item that I rush every game, and it's currently my favorite item on Ivern as a whole.

dawncore my beloved

Now you might be wondering why I'd rush an item that scales with the rest of your inventory, but that part matters very little. The important part is the 18 Summoner Spell Haste. On top of Cosmic Insight and Lucidity Boots, Ivern's smite cooldown drops to 60.8s, which is massive. Not only do you get increased pathing flexibility from the extra smites, but you also can go for more invades and steal more camps (which are extra good this season). You also bring flash down to a 202.7s cooldown, which is not the reason you're purchasing it but a greatly appreciated bonus to accompany any risky invades you might be going for.

Also, don't be fooled by the Dawncore winrate. It might look like it's hard underperforming compared to every other item, but that's because people suck at using smite on Ivern. I don't really have any data or proof outside of my wins to back my point up, so you're just gonna have to trust me and my instincts on this one. I swear it's good.

As for my current build path, I've been going Dawncore -> Redemption -> Moonstone every game. I don't want to talk too much on specific builds since they easily become outdated, but that's what I've found to be most consistent if anybody was wondering.

Grubs and Objectives

So lastly, let's talk about the new objectives. Previously, map objectives were staggered in such a way that you could bring your team to do 1st Drag -> Rift -> 2nd Drag -> 2nd Rift -> 3rd Drag without giving up a single one if you had enough of an advantage to win the fights. This allowed Ivern to abuse his early strengths in even-numbered fights and his early ganking to snowball out objective victories pretty consistently. However, times have changed.

Since ganking is less frequent, many junglers have now opted to solo objectives using their spare time between clears. Also since both Drag and Grubs spawn at 5:00, it's a very common scenario to find both junglers trading the objectives. But if you're stuck botside while the enemy jungler is soloing grubs, it's easy to feel forced to start the dragon alone.

If you've played Ivern at all after 13.15 (the patch where they nerfed his W onhit), you'll know just how bad Ivern's objective soloing is. If you thought that was bad, wait until you see his grub take:

jungler drag/grub clear times. (Estimate Timers for 1400g + Jungle Pet, Level 5, and 1 Smite Charge) don't mind yuumi she just wanted to be included

As you can see, Ivern's objective solo speeds are around 2x slower than other junglers (and actually closer to Yuumi in clear speed than Lee/Hec). So what do you do about this? There's many ways you can approach this problem, but let's start with the most important thing:


First drag and the first 3 grubs are not that important, so often times stealing a camp and putting pressure on a lane cross-map is enough to offset the losses. Since you're playing to stabilize and scale, it's a lot better to be patient and play around lanes until they're unlocked enough to help you with the objectives. Paying such a crazy time tax to force soloing an objective will only destroy your chances at scaling. It's almost never worth it.

Long story short, focus on tempo over objectives, and only take them when they're convenient. Your goal is to get the map into a comfortable and stable state during the first 10 minutes, so make that your top priority.

Closing Thoughts

Ivern has been really tricky for me to adapt to this season, mostly due to how comfortable I was on the previous versions of Ivern. This is the first time I've had to majorly adapt my playstyle in League, so I didn't quite stick the landing in the early season. However, I've made it back to challenger and hopefully it's only uphill from here now that I've gotten the hang of things.

I'm still not sure if I actually prefer S14 Ivern over S13, but regardless, here's to more interesting updates and discoveries in the future. Thanks for reading!