Warding is of the most underrated aspects of League of Legends. It doesn’t look as cool as the flashy outplays in teamfights, but knowing where your opponents are helps you set up and survive ganks, take objectives safely and get uneven teamflghts that are easier to win. Wards save lives, after all - and here are some tips how to use them right.
Pro play casters like to gush over huge outplays, but it is vision that usually ends up deciding who controls the map and takes the game. There are many fine details about vision control, but this article will help you get familiar with some of the basics. Knowledge is power - and in ranked games, power is victories and precious LP.
Wards give you and your team visions over a small part of the map around where they are placed. A ward follows the same rules for vision as a champion: the vision it grants is blocked by terrain and a ward can only see what’s in a bush if it itself is in that bush. Stealth wards are easier to get and you can have up to three at a time. They are called so because they become stealthed shortly after being deployed.
You can get wards in several ways. The one that is easiest to get is the warding token trinket. It start with one ward and will store up to two, generating a new ward every 240 seconds at level 1 - then decreasing to 120 seconds as everyone’s level increases As you level up, the duration of the wards also increases, from 90 seconds to 120 seconds.
Another way to get wards is through an upgraded support item. Each of them can get hold three wards after the first upgrade and four after the second, and they get refreshed every time you get to the fountain. However, you still have a cap of three stealth wards and one vision ward at a time - if you place a new one while already at the cap, the oldest one will disappear.
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Anything that reveals stealthed objects, like a red trinket or a vision ward, reveals a stealth ward and lets you destroy it in three hits. Just as importantly, vision wards and red trinkets disable stealth wards while they are active nearby, denying vision to the enemy. However, hitting a stealth ward will reveal you to its owner. The vigilant wardstone is a newer item that lets you hold three control wards, on top of its other bonuses. If you reach level 13 and have completed your support item quest, it upgrades, giving you a bonus to stats and increasing your ward cap - a very handy thing for supports.
Wards offer more than just vision, however. They can also be used for teleporting, which makes them invaluable in setting up ganks. Teleporting to a ward makes it visible (even if it had been stealthed before) but also turns it untargetable.The one exception are farsight wards, which are created by a farsight alteration, an alternative to the warding token that becomes available at level 9. This trinket lets you place a single ward from a very large distance. While these wards do not get stealth, cannot be teleported to, have lower sight range and die in a single hit, being able to place a ward from such a big distance can be priceless. They also do not expire, which means a handily - or luckily - placed ward can give you a lot of value.
Wards are powerful - but they can be countered. The Oracle lens, commonly known as the red trinket, reveals stealthed wards and opponents and disables revealed wards. In addition to letting you kill wards, it can switch them off (unless you attack them), letting you bypass them for a gank.
Control wards, meanwhile, reveal and turn off nearby stealth and farsight wards and even stealthed champions - but not those with true invisibility like Akali or Shaco. They also do not expire and even regain hit points if they are not killed - but do not get stealth of theor own. Be careful with where you place them.
Ward Placement is a pretty complex topic to get into details, but the gist of it is that you want a ward where it gives you the maximum information and can last for maximum time. Sadly, getting both is rarely possible, so you will have to settle for a balance. The river in front of the Baron or Dragon, the pixel bush, the tribrush or near the blue buff and Gromp are all good locations for a ward. When placing one, make sure you have enough time to act on the information you get from it. A ward placed in the closest river bush might let you see a gank, but if you are too far forward by the time you see it, you do not actually get any benefit from it. If the enemy team has champions that can bypass wall - such as Sejuani, Shaco or Lee Sin - you should adjust your wards to account for that, often by placing them further afield.
As the game progresses, make sure that you have vision over the objectives you will be fighting for. This includes neutral monsters like the Rift Herald, the dragons and the Baron. Warding the river outside of their zone and the space behind it is a great idea. Meanwhile, if you are pushing or being pushed on the map, place your vision in the right area to cover your flanks. However, if you know a big fight is coming, it’s best to save a ward or two for it rather than lighting up the jungle.
Also, it goes without saying, but check your minimap regularly. A ward lets you see where an enemy is, but it’s still on you to pay attention. Counting spawn and expiration times for stealth wards is a more advanced skill, but knowing what places are warded and keeping an eye on the map is pretty much necessary to get to higher rank.
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