How to get better at warding in League of Legends

Warding and vision can turn the tides in League. Here's the ultimate guide on how to use vision to your favor.

Image via Riot Games

Released in 2009, League of Legends is, alongside Dota 2, the most popular MOBA game that has, over the years, evolved from a simple and fun game commonly played with friends into a highly competitive game with an outstandingly talented community and pro players. Since League’s casual and pro players are repeatedly looking to improve and fix even the smallest mistakes in their gameplay, the game, even for an average player, has become synonymous with learning, progress, and improvement. 

League’s complexity and intricacy don’t only lie in its strategic and analytical nature that forces players to improvise on the spot, but also in its distinctive, yet mandatory concepts that separate the game from other MOBAs. Although the theory of League is still a work in progress packed with game-defining ideas, the most relevant ones include laning, teamfighting, decision-making, and warding. While all of these concepts are, without a doubt, essential to master, warding and vision, in general, are often disregarded, especially in low-Elo play.

Two inseparable League terms, warding and vision are critical skills that demand little to no mechanical mastery and yet are idolized the higher you climb across the divisions. Although this is still an understatement, wards and vision, like teamfights and positioning, can be the breaking point and can save a game on the verge of collapse. Since warding and vision entail unparalleled dedication to learning, sizeable game understanding, and a hint of inventiveness, mastering it is no joke. So, we’ve put together a warding and vision guide that systematically outlines the essential warding and vision cues. 

What is warding and vision?

Screengrab via Riot Games

One of the most well-known League mechanics is the fog of war. Functioning as thick nontransparent darkness concealing the enemy team once in the comfort of their own half of Summoner’s Rift, the fog of war can be revealed by champions, turrets, abilities, and wards. Since champions and abilities only temporarily reveal the fog of war, the most consistent means of taking a peek into the enemies’ territory are wards. 

Wards are utility items bought in the item shop that reveal a surrounding area of Summoner’s Rift. At the moment, there are four types of wards: Stealth Ward, Control Ward, Zombie Ward, and Farsight Alteration. 

Vision is, on the other hand, the term that includes both warding and destroying the enemies’ wards to deny them vision. 

Why is warding important?

The reason why warding and vision control are essential win conditions in a game of League lies in the value of information. Since relevant information such as rotations, unexpected ganks, and brush camping can easily change the course of the game, cleverly placed wards can always give you the edge over the opponent because you’re already on full alert. 

Besides, warding and vision not only give you time to prepare for an incoming gank or a teamfight, but thanks to deep wards, you can track enemy rotations, positions, and even the items they’re building to counter you. 

Who needs to ward?

Generally speaking, warding and vision control falls under the support’s list of duties. Although supports are armed with at least four Stealth Wards and a Control Ward, the vision game is not limited to them. When it comes to vision, the rule “the more, the better” applies since every bit of intel you can get your hands on can help you decide your next move. So, whenever you have extra inventory space and 75 gold in your account, invest in a Control Ward.

Types of wards

Screengrab via Riot Games

League has, just like every other multiplayer game, drastically changed colors over the years. Since large-scale game renovations normally include the introduction of new items and the removal of older items no longer in use, the warding system was no exception. So, Pink Wards and Green Wards were removed to make room for Stealth Wards, Control Wards, Zombie Wards, and Farsight Alteration. 

Stealth Ward is the beginner item that has a 120-second cooldown and becomes stealthed after a few seconds. Typically invisible, Stealth Wards can only be detected with Scryer’s Blooms or Oracle Lens. 

Control Ward is the 75-gold-worth ward commonly bought in the shop. Unlike the Stealth Ward, Control Wards are clearly visible, not requiring either Scryer’s Blooms or Oracle Lens to destroy them.

Zombie Ward is a rune-dependant ward that leaves a lesser ward after destroying the enemy ward. Even though Zombie Wards only have one HP, they still reveal the surrounding area and last for 120 seconds. 

Similar to a Zombie Ward, Farsight Alteration is a one-HP ward that reveals an area of the map from a great distance. Farsight Alteration can be acquired in the item shop after reaching level nine. 

Other vision sources

Screengrab via Riot Games

Even though wards are the main source of vision in League, there are, excluding champions’ revealing abilities, four more fundamental area-revealing features: Ghost Poro, Scryer’s Bloom, Oracle Lens, and Scuttle Crab residue. 

A Domination tree rune, Ghost Poro, after your wards expire, leaves behind an untargetable Ghost Poro that grants vision and can be scared away.

Scryer’s Bloom is a map plant that, once activated, reveals a large area. Since Scryer’s Bloom is such a strong tool, it only respawns every five minutes. 

Although Oracle Lens is typically used to reveal Stealth Wards, it can also reveal the silhouette of both hiding and stealthed enemies.

The infamous bane of junglers’ existence, Scuttle Crab, after being killed, leaves an AoE movement speed buff to the team that killed it and also gives vision.

Early-game warding

Early-game warding, as a rule, should be oriented toward preventing unexpected ganks and roams. Although the most commonly shared tip advises warding the nearest river bushes, tactical warding of the enemy jungler’s camps and deep river wards can save the day. Thanks to these wards, you’ll be able to see a gank coming from miles away, and you’ll have plenty of time to either escape the gank or plan your counterplay. 

On top of that, having early-game vision on objectives such as dragons and Rift Herald is of the utmost importance since you can easily react if the enemy team starts a dragon in an unfavorable position and punish them. 

Mid and late-game warding

Mid and late-game warding usually depends on if you have a lead and you’re looking to extend that lead, or if you’re playing defensively to scale and turn the game. 

In case your team is snowballing, the best warding spots are definitely the enemy jungle since you can easily catch enemies off guard as they are farming, rotating, or even looking for their next pick.

If you’re playing from behind and desperately need to get back in the game, your safest bet would be warding your own jungle to punish the isolated champions and gradually level out the gold discrepancy. 

Since objectives raise in importance in the mid to late game, it’s integral to keep them warded to punish sneaky attempts at Baron or drakes.

The best warding spots

The golden rule of warding suggests that wards should reveal the critical map points such as the river, objectives, and the enemy jungler’s camps but should be cleverly placed to avoid easy sweeping. 

During the early game, junglers have a rough idea of where your wards should be placed, like pixel brush and the river brushes. So, to avoid them clearing your vision early and ganking you, ward deep in the river.

Screengrab via Riot Games

Warding the enemy jungler’s camps not only helps give you a safe laning phase, but it can help you and your jungler track their pathing and their next play. 

Since the recent meta heavily rewards teamfights and objective taking, sneaking your ward in the dragon or Baron pit can save you from losing an objective for nothing.

Mid and late-game deaths, more often than not, are a sign of a lost game. To avoid these unfortunate incidents, plan and carefully place the anti-flank wards.

In conclusion, warding and vision control play a critical role in League since they influence not only the teams’ decision-making but also unlock the potential risk-free plays that can capitalize on your lead. At the same time, tactical warding and vision control can also help you find priceless picks when behind and be your lucky break to get back in the game.