Warding is one of the most important aspects of League of Legends. Almost every kill in a game is the result of information that proper warding has given your team – says Fnatic’s support Hylissang. And it’s absolutely true. Solo kill top lane? Your toplaner was likely in the position to know that he wasn’t threatened by the enemy jungler and so he was free to be aggressive and secure that kill!
We got in touch with Schalke 04’s Odoamne, Fnatic’s Broxah and Team Vitality’s Jactroll. All three have a unique perspective when it comes to warding, as they all play different roles.
Of course, you can have the entire minimap lit up and it won’t matter unless you are paying close attention to your surroundings. You cannot only tunnel vision on your lane – “is my ward detecting the enemy jungler?” – instead, you must learn to focus on the entire map. When you glance onto the map every few seconds, you have to learn to quickly analyse everything you see. Does the top lane or top jungle ward see the enemy jungler? The information a ward gives you can either be that nobody is there; or somebody is somewhere. They are equally useful; if the enemy jungler is top lane, you know you are safe bot lane.
To gain as much vision as possible from warding, be sure to place wards in areas where the most traffic occurs. If you’re being zoned, you will have to think of creative ways to ward your lane so as to avoid ganks and falling further behind.
GorillA ensures that bottom lane is warded using an over-the-wall warding trick.
When placing a ward in a bush, try to place it at the very edge, so that it reveals the most vision possible.
'But that’s not my job!'
There is a common misconception that you don’t need to worry or think so much about warding if you’re not playing support. In fact, a good player of any role will always be conscious of warding and attempt to gain vision control for their team, as well as deny enemy vision whenever it’s possible.
Moreover, teammates can provide the necessary muscle for the supports to be able to ward safely. Mid-game, it’s often not possible for a Yuumi or Janna to venture deep into enemy territory to lay vision out. But, if they have a burly Warwick by their side, they’re much safer.
Deep wards can be more useful since they will alert your team about the enemy jungler’s whereabouts more reliably. They may take alternate ganking paths and your river ward will not catch them before they gank. Or it will spot them – when it’s too late. However, a deep ward on their red buff will always give their position away since they can’t just skip the buff or circle around it somehow.
"Sometimes a deep ward is much more valuable than a river ward."
If you’re playing jungle, warding around river and common gank pathways can help you predict the enemy jungler’s movement. Keeping track of the enemy jungler comes from experience, says Fnatic's Broxah.
"If they're playing Skarner or Rek’Sai, you can often have an idea of what pathing they will choose – and also, of course, trying to get some wards into the enemy jungle as well as the river will be a huge help."
Denying vision for the enemy can be just as valuable as providing vision for your own. Denying vision is useful in two ways:
- Most obviously, you can secure easy ganks and take objectives deftly if the enemy can’t see you.
- Less obviously, you can employ some mind games when the enemy has no vision and is forced to do guesswork. Swaggering around in lane and playing more aggressively will signal the enemy laner that your jungler may be nearby. If he has no way to make certain of that – no wards are telling him where your jungler is or isn’t – then the laner has to retreat and be extra cautious. In this way, you can bully him out of your zone and force him to lose CS – and therefore he will gain a massive disadvantage for essentially no reason.
"It’s really hard to get vision control once you start falling behind."
In order to predict where the enemy wards are, think about where you would place wards were you your enemy. Also take advantage of Scryer's Bloom plants. If you see an enemy place a ward, make an attempt to clear it ASAP as long as it’s safe.
Keep an eye on where the enemies are. If the enemy was in your jungle recently, there’s a good chance that it is now riddled with wards and that you should sweep through it.
Control wards are very valuable because they last forever and they don’t count towards your three-wards-at-a-time limit. They only cost 75 gold and, believe it or not, pro supports recommend that support players buy two on every recall. It sounds like a lot of money, but you will need these wards to combat enemy vision, take objectives safely, avoid ganks and save lives. Think of it this way – if you could avoid your death and the death of your ADC for a measly 75 gold, would you spend it?
"When I have about 550 gold, I try to recall to upgrade my starting item ASAP and buy a Control Ward."
Many supports do not buy a sixth item so that they can, instead, keep a slot free to keep buying control wards late into the game. This is especially beneficial if the enemy support doesn’t do the same thing; and they often do not, outside of professional play. Usually you will place a control ward in the Baron or Dragon pit when your team is taking that objective. If the enemy has no control wards, as the support has gotten a sixth item instead, they have no way of checking the pit since your Control Ward will be disabling regular wards.
A common mistake supports make is never refreshing their wards. This is particularly true for Control Wards – often placed in one, isolated, location and left there forever since they are never killed by the enemy. But it also happens with regular wards too.
Wards last three minutes, but that doesn't mean that a particular ward needs to stay where it is for three minutes or up until an enemy kills it. You might have wards bot lane, sitting there and still alive, with 90 seconds until they expire. But that doesn't mean they should stay there. When you only have three wards at your disposal, you'll need to make decisions as to whether or not you need wards there or whether them sitting there for another minute will be a waste.
"A common mistake is always warding the same spots and never saving wards for later."
If you've taken the bottom lane turret, and have rotated mid or top lane for example, you don't need to keep your wards down bot lane anymore. They are useless. So – refresh them. Place new wards mid lane or wherever you now find yourself, and get rid of the wards that are now in disused lanes.
It's very important to upgrade your Eye item so that your ward-carrying capacity increases. That way, refreshing wards is just a little bit easier. You will also need to recall whenever you're entirely empty of wards – just in case a need for them arises.
Although it is typically referred to as “the support’s job”, Odoamne, Broxah and Jactroll understand that warding is a team effort. Good vision control can be the difference between a loss and a convincing win!