League of Legends: An extended beginners guide to warding
Thu 8th Aug 2013 - 6:51pm: League of Legends
There are many things that separate bronze players from higher divisons. Mechanics, decision making, teamwork, and intuition all play a huge part in sepearating the many below from the few above. Among all of the skills that I have seen which prove an obstactle to climbing the ranks is warding.
Information is king in League of Legends. Many professional players have even gone as far as to say wards are the most powerful item in the game. Spotting a gank, having sight on a Baron attempt, or catching a enemy champion alone can all turn the tide of a game.
Even to a novice player the value of warding is fairly obvious, but just knowing that does not necessarily translate to proficiency. Knowing where and when to ward is a skill that can come with a great deal of difficulty through observation and experience. The purpose of this guide is to explain some of the basic reasoning and objectives for placing wards in certain locations. In all likelihood, this is not the first guide of this kind, but I'm hoping to write something that is comprehensive enough to provide an easy reference for players learning to improve their game.
Wish I could have found a better Summoner’s Rift map (Riot pls)
Blue - Defensive lane wards
Orange - Aggressive lane wards
Green - Defensive jungle wards
Red - Aggressive jungle wards
Purple - Global control wards
White - Scouting wards
Black - Sieging wards
(These are positions you would place wards when playing from the purple side (bottom left))
Ward placement: This is stating the obvious, but it is always best to place wards in bushes. It not only sights out the bush but it protects the ward from being sighted by pink wards unless they are placed in the same bush. This can be advantageous since it forces the enemy to use their pinks in specific locations to remove your wards. When you know where they are, then you have the opportunity to circumvent their area of sight. Wards should only be placed outside of bushes for specific purposes.
Game progression: The aggressive wards represent wards which pose more danger for you to place and push your vision forward so that you can more safely exert pressure on a lane. By taking turrets you are reducing the enemy team's global presence in those areas and the aggressive wards become your new defensive wards as you continue to press the enemy team back toward their base. If you are being pushed then placing wards even in the defensive areas presents a greater risk of being caught out.
Scout wards: These wards should be placed upon a turret as you destroy it, especially those in the Mid lane and the enemy base. These provide a great deal of information on where the enemy champions are headed as they leave or cross over the lanes in their own territory.
Siege wards: These wards are almost necessary when you are engaged in a siege. Whether you are the aggressor or defender seeing the enemy team will make it much easier to hit them with poke and spotting one or more of them moving away is invaluable information if you are fishing for a engagement.
Final note: I am writing this guide from the perspective of blue side. For some lanes this is more or less different but for the most part if you are playing from purple side you can just exchange Dragon for Baron. If I receive a lot of positive response, I may consider writing a purple side guide which will provide greater information for top and bot play.
With the introduction of patch 3.8, this side of the lane lost a lot of its early game advantage. Since double golems don’t spawn until 1:55, Blue side can no longer get an early experience that can lead to early level 2 aggression. Now it may actually present a small disadvantage due to the additional opening by the turret, making it more vulnerable to ganks from behind if the lane is even or pushed.
Since I’m assuming anyone reading this section is a support, I will be going into greater detail regarding the state of the lane for each ward position. The added complexity of a lane with four players and the likelihood that you will be using more wards than your Top or Mid players merits a bit more elaboration.
Even lane: In all likelihood, this will be the first ward you place as it grants a great deal of information about what the enemy support is doing. If they are lurking in the bushes then this provides you with sight to see if they are trying to line up pokes or pulls. If they are a squishy support you want to attack first, then this will let you spot out opportunities to dive if they get too close.
Pushed to your turret: Difficult to place when you need it most. It is best to place this quickly if you believe the enemy is trying to push in the lane. If you have a ward here then it is very easy to spot out enemies approaching for a lane gank. This is mostly useful is your jungler is keen on counter ganking and needs an early warning. You can also watch the enemy supports movements to see where they are trying to ward.
Pushed to enemy turret: Essentially useless unless anyone on the enemy team is running teleport. If they are and you think the enemy placed a ward in this bush (which you are unable to get rid of) then it is best to see them coming early.
Even lane: Not very useful unless the enemy support is trying to bully their way into your bush. Alistair and Leona love having control of your bush so they can lurk around and get good angles to dive on your AD carry. if they bully you out then just drop a ward in and harass them back into their own bush.
Pushed to your turret: If the enemy has pushed you in toward your turret then this ward begins to serve the same function as your enemy bush ward. Having a ward here will let your AD carry farm more safely under turret with forewarning of poke from the support. This will let you spot out an enemy champion coming in for a lane gank. If you play it smart you may even be able to tempt them to stay by playing it a bit risky without giving them an opportunity to actually dive you, wasting a ton of the enemies time.
Pushed to enemy turret: Again, almost useless unless you suspect the bush is warded and the enemy team has a champion with teleport.
Even lane: Assuming the lane is fairly equal, this will likely be the second ward you place. This should only be placed after a few minutes unless you are expecting an early gank and feel you have reason to be worried about it. This is usually far enough since most junglers don't yet have much mobility and will likely have a hard time making it to lane before you can back off. Placing it in the bush allows you to see an enemy jungler with a wall jump trying to sneak over the wall from their jungle. If you don't think the enemy has this warded out yet, I recommend hanging out in the bush for a few seconds so the enemy team thinks you warded deeper. Mind games.
Pushed to your turret: Not very useful and pretty much impossible to place it there if you are being pushed in. Much like the enemy bush ward this can provide your jungler with enough of a warning to come into your lane for a counter gank. Its only real benefit is that it can show you exactly where in the river the enemy support is warding.
Pushed to enemy turret: I don’t recommend placing a ward here while you are pushing into the enemy turret unless the enemy jungler or Mid has a wall jump. Warding deeper in the river provides you with an earlier warning otherwise. This can be especially helpful against ganks for very mobile champions.
Even lane: An inferior ward to the river bush except in two circumstances. If the enemy team has a jungler who excels at invading or has a wall jump then you may want to consider warding tri-bush instead of river bush. Sneaky junglers will try to pincer you by going through your red jungle or jumping into tri-bush from dragon pit.
Pushed to your turret: Once the enemy team has you pushed in, this ward and your forward bush becomes most useful. This is especially true if the enemy Mid is missing. The enemy team may be setting up for a four man turret dive. ent that is useful if you believe the enemy team is planning to dive you on your turret.
Pushed to enemy turret: Pretty unnecessary if you have the river warded out. Almost entirely unnecessary if you have the river warded and the Mid entrance to your red jungle is warded. Only a good idea if you have reason to believe the enemy team will be circling around through your red jungle, especially if your turret has been destroyed.
A note on warding dragon. If the enemy team has a Nunu or Nasus jungle then you will need to ward this early. Nunu can and will solo dragon as early as level 3 and Nasus as early as 6. Dragon spawns at 2:30. If the enemy team has a Nunu then you may want to ward it as early as 3:00. In the case of Nasus, just watch your junglers level and ward when they are nearing 6.
Even lane: This place is preferable to ward instead of river or tri-bush when the enemy has an extremely mobile Mid or jungler. Having the ward further up the river can give you extra time to back out before the jungler can reach you.
Pushed to your turret: As I have said, when you are pushed to your turret it is best to ward your tri-bush. Placing a ward here has the disadvantage of leaving you completely blind to dragon. The enemy team may be pushing for this very purpose. If you think they might be trying to sneak a dragon then ward into the pit over the wall. This minimizes your exposure and gives you the information you need to make your next move.
Pushed to enemy turret: The same as even lane. If you are winning your lane you may want to consider warding more aggressively into the enemy jungle instead. Look at the jungle warding section for some options on how to sight out the enemies Blue jungle.
Top lane is one of the more difficult positions to protect yourself. A long lane without another player dedicating their gold income to preserving your life is likely the reason that it is so prone to snowballing. As a consequence, you need to try to do more with less and coordinate with your Mid lane to protect both your lanes from invaders. All the same, if you have the gold when you go back then you should pick up one or even two wards.
Although Top lane is just as prone to pushes as Bottom lane, you want to ward in roughly the same locations no matter the condition of the lane. Instead you may want to watch how your Mid is warding the Top of their own lane to try to maximize your vision in your shared river.
In a 1v1 situation, wards in these bushes lose a lot of their utility. For the most part you will only need to ward out these bushes against specific Top champions who can make the most of them such as Garen, Rengar, and Kha’Zix. Even then it is difficult for them to spend much time in the bushes without missing out on farm.
As with Bottom lane, if your opponent is aggressively pushing in the lane then they may be trying to clear vision for a lane gank. Dropping a ward in the enemy bush can provide your jungler or Mid with enough warning to counter gank. If you are more confident, then placing a ward in the forward bush will allow you to sight them out and keep an eye on them while farming under your turret.
Probably the first ward you will want to place. It is likely also the most effective, especially if your Mid lane isn’t doing their job and warding the Top side of their own lane. This grants vision of the bush itself, a good distance down river, and will catch an enemy ganker the moment they come out of the enemy tri-bush. Definitely the most conservative ward for Top lane.
An excellent ward for aggression or if you expect the enemy jungler to gank after taking red. Most heavy ganking junglers go Blue then red then attempt a Top or Mid gank. If it is Top, then tri-bush is their straightest course to you. If your Mid has warded to gain vision of the other enemy red jungle entrance then this effectively sights both river entrances and provides you with complete protection from everything but wall jumping junglers.
This bush also sights out wall jumping junglers that may be fishing for a hard engagement over the rock beneath the enemy Top turret. Beware the crook in the line of trees to the right of the tri-bush. If the jungler approaches from double golems, they can hide out against the wall, just outside of your wards vision.
Inferior to the river ward until around 20 minutes (earlier if they have Nasus or Nunu) when you need to begin worrying about enemy Baron attempts. It may really only be more effective against ganks from mobile gankers who, for some reason, are not approaching from tri-bush.
If the enemy team has an invading jungler, then you may want to consider supporting your own by warding Baron instead of river bush. If your Mid has also warded the Top of their lane conservatively then these two wards will sight out both entrances to your Blue jungle.
While there are a great deal more entrances into Mid lane, as well as more walls for gankers to hide behind, Mid lane is also the shortest lane and requires the least warning for you to back up to the safety of your turret. Since this lane has two sides, the jungler is going to need to travel the most distance to attempt a gank from another angle if they think one side is warded.
Warding this lane also requires the most consideration. You can get a lot of information both for yourself and your jungler by exposing yourself to place deep wards. You can also sacrifice your in-lane security by warding further away from your own bushes to gain more river information. Finally, both your knowledge of their jungler champion and observation of their ganking habits can allow you to tailor your ward placements to them individually.
Top river bush
A good early ward against junglers who typically start at Blue. After hitting level 3 at red buff they will typically either continue to farm or gank Mid or Top. By placing a ward here, you can attempt to tempt the enemy jungler into staying around as long as possible (wasting as much as their double buffs as possible). Afterward you can favor this side to conserve your wards while avoiding the Bottom side of your lane. You can also limit your exposure by warding over the wall.
Blue banana bush
Similar to the Top river bush, the banana bush can be used early to ward out an early gank from the enemy red jungle. This location has some advantages and disadvantages compared to the nearby river bush. The disadvantage is it doesn’t actually provide sight of the bush the enemy jungler will likely be standing in, increasing your risk. There are two locations a ward can be placed to provide you with different information.
This sacrifice is made for the good of your team. Unlike the river bush, the banana bush sights out the entire entrance to the enemy red jungle. If the enemy jungler is attempting to swing around up river toward Top or the entrance to your Blue, you have a pretty good chance of not only spotting it, but also to which of the two they are actually headed. Since this location provides sight of its own jungle entrance, you can spot an enemy jungler invading toward your wolves.
By placing the ward nearer your jungles end of the bush, you can spot whether the enemy jungler is headed toward your wolves, your Blue, or your lane. This knowledge comes at the sacrifice of the aforementioned knowledge you would get from your lane.
In either case you can still ward over the wall to limit your exposure.
This location requires a bit more exposure. In exchange you get even more river information of the river and further sacrifice the information you will be getting for your own lane.
This ward actually allows you to see the Baron entrance. Although this doesn’t provide actual sight of Baron as does the Baron ward, it lets you know if they are attempting it (assuming their entire team doesn’t have wall jumps). You can also see exactly where enemy roamers are headed, being able to spot whether they head up river, in toward your Blue, your wolves, or your river bush.
Bottom river bush
Similar to the benefits of of the Top river bush, this bush can provide warning of an early gank from a jungler who starts at Red. Assuming they don’t gank you immediately after they hit level 2, most Junglers who start at Red will head to Blue then to Mid or Bottom. You can play this out almost the same way.
Again, you can very easily place over your own wall to minimize your risk. Unlike your Top bush, this river bush provides a full view of your jungle entrance you so can tell if the enemy is invading through your Wraiths entrance.
Purple banana bush
This is perhaps the riskiest bush to ward for Mid as it places you furthest from your turret and potentially pincering you between the enemy Mid and Jungler. Is with the Blue banana bush, it provides a split of the benefits of the river and Dragon bush. Similarly, there are two ways to place it.
Of the two placements, the more aggressive one has some unique benefits. If you are pushing in the lane then you can see the jungler coming in from the Blue jungle early and back off. This may also spot the jungler moving toward their own Blue (especially if they are donating it to their mid) which provides a good opportunity to either increase your mid aggression or attempt a steal. An added bonus is that this placement provides an excellent early warning for your team if you are attempting Dragon, informing your next move.
The advantages provided by a ward in Baron bush are similar to those of the Dragon bush with a few additional disadvantages. First, the information it provides about your jungle entrance can be gained by placing it in either of the other bushes. Second, while still useful, knowing which entrance of the jungle the enemy jungler is headed into is less valuable than your own jungle.Third, it provides less of an early warning than the Purple banana bush and without the vision of the river bush.
On the plus side, warding Dragon bush is a shorter trip and therefore takes less time than the Baron bush. On the other hand, you cannot travel through a bush to do it so, if your enemy has that side warded, they will see you place it. It still provides a great deal of river information which can help to protect your Bottom lane and Jungler.
Jungling likely has the most variability in ward placement as much of it relies upon your goals for the game. As a result there are a more situational wards in the jungle than anywhere else. I’ve included the warding locations which maximize vision on the enemy Jungler and jungle camps.
Each location is broken into two sections, describing how the wards benefit you both in your own jungle and that of the enemy. In most cases you will be wanted to ward the enemy jungle unless you are either suffering from heavy invasions or your team is playing defensively and/or losing turrets and you need the extra jungle sight.
Your jungle: Usually not necessary early game as you should have your teammates spotting you on this buff. Try to place it as wide out of the curve as you can to maximize vision on both sides of the wall. If you can’t see the large golem that isn't too big a deal since you will still see an enemy approaching if they attempt a steal. Late game this ward is an excellent place to see if enemies are trying to transition between lanes while pushing or circling around behind your team for a gank.
Enemy jungle: Stealing this buff can be a huge contribution toward your victory. Mana hungry Mids and Junglers can be crippled by losing their Blue. If you need to place this ward quickly it is best to aim low. Losing some vision of the path below Wolves is preferable to not being able to see the large golem, especially if you are trying to smite or snipe steal. This ward also provides excellent vision of the enemy Jungler heading toward Bottom lane. If you are attempting Dragon, this placement provides vision of one of two paths the enemy team is likely to take to contest.
Your jungle: This is an extremely defensive ward for your own jungle. If your Mid is warding the blue side of their river, it is usually pretty unnecessary. This ward tends to show better utility late game if you lose your forward mid turret to spot out enemies trying to circle behind someone farming mid. If the enemy jungler is consistently diving your Mid from one of the nearby lane entrances then having sight can let you counter play.
Enemy jungle: This is an excellent ward to place in the enemy jungle if you want to put pressure on the enemy Mid. It provides sight of the enemy Blue jungle to track their movements between Blue, Wolves, and transitioning over Mid to their Red jungle. Combined with a river ward from your bot lane this basically lets you know exactly where their jungler is so you can sneak in and gank their Mid from behind or finish them between their two turrets. This ward also gives you great vision of an approaching enemy team during Dragon attempts.
Your jungle: Perhaps the only place in the jungle you may want to ward at game start. Most aggressive junglers will either try to steal your Red or kill you while you are taking it. This position gives you enough time to back off or call for help if you spot them approaching in addition to spotting them if they are waiting for you in the bush. If both entrances to Red are warded then it doesn’t have much utility. If not, then it might spot out roamers looking to gank Bot from behind.
Enemy jungle: If you plan on trying to ambush your enemy jungler then this is usually the place to do it. With patch 3.8 they will likely be heading here straight from Blue with less than 100% health. Warding this spot and sliding back around to the bush on the opposite side of Red can let you come in when they are at their lowest even if they pull Red into the bush. If not then you can see if they are trying to transition to gank Top lane after taking their own Red and act accordingly. Late game this also helps spot an enemy team heading to Baron from Top lane.
Your jungle: An excellent defensive ward against invaders. Not only does it spot them out but it provides enough vision to tell you if they are taking your Wraths, heading toward Bot lane or Red, or trying to circle behind your Mid. Made less vital by your Mid warding their lower river, it can still prove useful if you want to know exactly where invaders are headed.
Enemy jungle: Not only a good ward for a Jungler but also a more aggressive Mid player looking to push their opponent into turret. Combined with a river bush or tri-bush ward Top this will always spot out an enemy roamer entering Top river. This is the typical path that an enemy Mid will take to roam top, so it serves many purposes. This is also a must ward location if you are taking Baron to spot an approaching enemy team.
Your jungle: Not really a ward you need to place if you have warded out Wraith entrance. If you lose your first turret this can give you a lot of information on where enemies may be roaming when leaving Mid lane. If you're really playing from behind it can be nice to ward out to spot enemy ambushes and as a starting point to begin putting vision in your own jungle.
Enemy jungle: A much more situational ward that Wraiths entrance. This ward tends to have the most utility after you have taken their first Mid turret and are attempting to push in toward the second. Beyond that, this wards real advantage is that it actually sights out the Wraiths themselves if you want to steal the big Wraith or ambush the enemy jungle. If you are trying to sneak a Baron, this also provides a very early warning to back out.
Thanks for reading. These are not, by any means, all of the locations you can place wards. They are simply the locations which provide the most utility and success from my own observations. The situation you are in is very relevant to where you want to ward. Always try to use your best judgement and remember that having some sight is ALWAYS better than having none. I hope readers find this useful.