Dota 2: Guide to Warding - The Basics
Tue 14th Feb 2012 - 4:20pm
Warding, believe it or not, is done by nearly almost all the professional and competitive Dota 2 teams out there at the moment. Ever thought that these ugly eye creatures were a waste of valuable 200 gold early game? Or ever wondered why they are so critical in the game? Read on to find out.
What are wards?
Wards come in two types - observer and sentry. Observer wards grant vision of an area of sight for 6 minutes at 1600 range at both day and night. Meanwhile, sentry wards grant true sight (reveals invisible units) for 3 minutes at 950 true sight range and 70 normal sight range. Both have their own jobs to do and I will go into detail later on it the guide.
Basically, the wards cost 200 gold each and have two charges, meaning they can be used twice before running out. There is also a restock time (like gem etc.) and you have to be weary of that, since you can't buy a million wards and have complete vision of the entire map).
Important to note before placing ANY wards - observer wards and sentry wards can be combatted by true sight, so if your opponents use a gem or another sentry ward in the area of your ward, your ward will be revealed and it can be destroyed. Towers have true sight, so don't place wards in the range of a tower.
Who carries wards? How are they useful?
Supports usually, though any hero with enough gold can carry wards. Early game, they cost a fair few bucks, so don't spam out all your gold on these, but do remember that having a ward in one place may have saved your carry's life, or may have set up a perfect gank.
So you ask, how are wards even useful? Observer wards are critical in any competitive game, literally giving vision of the map in the area. Placing wards on high ground means you gain a major advantage over your opponents if they do not ward, i.e. rune spots, common ganking areas, change areas, near Roshan, etc. They can help you spot out an enemy Roshan mission, or allow you to take down Roshan with ease, knowing your opponents are pushing another lane. It also gives you vision of your enemies in the jungle - making your observer wards practically a pair of eyes.
Sentry wards aren't magnificient for its sight range (see above). A meagerly 70/70 does nothing, but what is so special about this is that:
(a) It gives you true sight, meaning that it can reveal invisible units, i.e. that annoying Riki or Bounty Hunter which stalks up on you all the time can be caught and taken down early, you can detect smoke ganks to prevent your team from being wiped.
(b) Dewarding allows you to destroy enemy wards (if you know where they put them of course). Find common places, plonk your sentry down and watch your enemy cry as they have just wasted 200 gold. Great for rune control ;D
Weaknesses to wards?
Apart from the gold disadvantage and the dewarding potential, it is still a viable item on any competitive game (or pub game, doesn't matter). Only a tip, a gem of true sight has true sight, meaning all wards are revealed. Also, don't put your wards in tower range of your enemy, towers have true sight!
How to ward?
Warding is essentially simple - buy the item, get two charges, choose where you want to put the ward (in a visible location) and there we go. Apart from giving you a nice map to find locations where you can ward, I will give you golden rules on warding.
1. Always try and find the high ground to ward on, not low ground. Not only does it decrease sight range, it wastes your gold. High ground gives you a massive advantage of terrain meaning you get more in.
2. Don't spam or waste wards in unneeded positions, i.e. random ward in the middle of nowhere. If you're lucky, it might just come into use, but don't - it wastes gold, and your team doesn't need it.
3. Don't put wards near enemy towers. I know I've repeated myself, but just don't. It happens way to often in pub games, and it really is a complete waste. Also, it gives the opponents the idea to deward/they know you have wards up so they'll find another strategy to kill you.
4. When finding places for sentry wards, don't jump in and sentry ward a place without thinking. If a Broodmother spins her web here in the lane, a sentry in that location is a great idea, mostly early game where she has to stick to her lane. If Rikimaru appears for no good reason, chuck a ward down near you and stick to it. Chances are he will be revealed and your team gets an easy kill.
5. Placing wards near runes are the most basic and most valuable resource. You get vision of all the runes, and what better, you can deward if you wish, because many opponents love to ward near the runes as well.
6. Warding up the river entry positions are great, because they prevent you from getting ganked, as you know where your opponents are moving around the map, particularly in early game. Also, ward up in your own jungle, mostly near the entry point with the river.
7. Placing a ward near your enemy creep pull neutral spawn area will prevent the spawn of neutrals which means no creep pulling for the enemy. This is ingenious, and your enemy will either be dumbfounded and think its a glitch (unlikely) or they will have to use up 200 gold to deward you.
8. When pushing the barracks, you should place a sentry ward behind you if your opponents are missing, just in case they spring up on you from behind with a smoke gank (i.e. Na'Vi versus Moscow 5, The International Tournament 2011 - Na'Vi going for push, places sentry, an invisible Storm Spirit doesn't know about the ward, walks in, gets killed and it just about ended the game for Moscow 5).
Where to ward?
A great question. Technically, anywhere can be warded within your sight, but here are the best places to ward as shown on my diagram below. It is colour coded for maximum efficiency.
First of all, these are just sort of the basic positions where sometimes I might place wards. They are by no means definitive, but probably will steer you in approximately the correct path (sorry for my terrible MS Paint job on the minimap, best I could do).
Red - The two red dots on the minimap have been placed on the high ground, overlooking both rune which fall as well as giving a rather powerful grip on the all so important river. I have chosen these two spots are one of the most important warding areas because of two reasons - the rune control for ganking heroes, and the map control for roaming heroes, as well as spotting out enemy ganks and ambushes. Having a few wards there are invaluable early to mid game.
Green - This dot overlooks Roshan, and is important in only two situations: when the enemy team has an Ursa who can literally take down Roshan in seconds early to mid game with the right items, and also late game, when both teams are trying to gain an ascendency by taking the Aegis for their carry. This area should be warded, you can spot Roshan attempts and gank them down, or you can check whether or not it is clear for your own team to take down Roshan.
Yellow - By using one of the highest ground areas in the game, you are potentially gaining full map control. Wards there can give you vision of a neutral creep camp, and opponents directions between two lanes. What more could you want? One of the best warding spots in the game, in my opinion. Though, if you wish to ward your opponents area, it is dangerous in getting caught out and killed, so preferably do it together or when you know they are doing something else, not missing in action.
Black - More redundant, but placing wards near secret shops are quite close to futile, but still possible. You know the approximately direction of your opponents and can potentially escape ganks if they are gunning for you in middle or bottom lanes.
Purple - These are extremely well placed early game, with you on the lane avoiding roaming ganks which can seriously harm your farm and experience early game. If you ward that section of the river, you can ensure that you won't get killed early game (that is if your jungle is well monitored).
Blue & Brown - These two are more of an example ward placement in the jungle. Anywhere is fine, but also, creep spawn areas are particularly good, mostly if you are blocking your opponent's neutral creep spawn, so they cannot creep pull in their short lanes.
That's the basics of warding. Knock yourselves out, experiment and play your way to victory! Hope this guide helped, and if you have any questions, PMing me or adding a comment below is great. Thanks! :)