If you could turn the fog of war off, and have perfect vision of the enemy team at all times, you would, and you would almost certainly win every game you played. So why then, is warding something that few seem to appreciate? Today I am going to write about warding: the attitudes towards it in low to mid ELO games and why it’s important to do, with some information on how to do it effectively.
Attitudes towards warding
Anyone who’s ever played Support in soloqueue, be it through that being your favourite position like myself, or through simply getting last pick and being forced to play it, knows how frustrating most teams attitudes towards warding can be. There have been countless games where the statement “you’re the Support, you do the warding” has been said. While this statement is true if coming from your ADC in the laning phase, outside of the laning phase this is anything but true. While Support should be warding throughout the game, they shouldn’t be the only one doing it. Even with the Season 3 Mastery changes and full GP/10 Quints, supports still average the lowest gold income in the game, yet many players expect them to be warding everywhere at all times.
Warding is so easy yet so important.
It is clear from the fact that players want Supports to ward that they appreciate the importance of vision in the game, yet they refuse to pay the 75g to aquire it. One thing I think many don’t realise is that paying 75/150g for a couple of wards, which keep you from being ganked, is a far better investment than 150g towards your next item. After all, there’s no point in having items if you’re not alive to use them. The fact of the matter is, if every position bought one ward after the laning phase, the game would go so much more smoothly. If we assume the Support has a Ruby Sightstone and is using Vision Wards on Baron Nashor and Dragon, having the rest of your team buy one ward each gives you nine wards on the map! This is more than enough to cover every situation for being either aggressive and warding the enemy jungle as you push, or your own jungle if you’re being defensive. 75g is nothing to a Carry and the reward gained from it is huge. If you take away anything from reading this, I can only hope that it’s that warding shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of the Support.
So how can you ward effectively in game?
The object of warding is to gain vision of crucial areas of the map that you expect your enemy to be in. Gaining vision of these areas, especially when your enemy doesn’t have vision, gives you a huge advantage. In the laning phase it helps protect against ganks from the jungler and helps you make the most of your advantages; if you see the enemy is on the other side of the map you can push objectives like Dragon or Baron Nashor. Learning to ward effectively is a rather simple job and is one that will improve your game to no end.
In this guide to Support by TSM player Xpecial, we find a very useful section on ward placements for a variety of different situations. The information is based on playing as Blue team and suggests the most important positions for wards throughout the game. If we take the nine wards suggested earlier, as a team it is more than possible to cover large chunks of the map giving you a major advantage.This guide however is before the pre-season 3 changes and so fails to mention the utility of Sightstone. It does however give a great overview of basic ward positions.
I keep hearing about Sightstone being the best GP/10 item right now, is this true?
Sightstone doesn’t have any direct GP/10 stats like Philosopher’s Stone or Kage’s Lucky Pick, so the GP/10 you are hearing about comes from the money saved on buying wards throughout the game once you have it. In his Decemeber 8th Support Video Xpecial estimates the GP/10 gain from buying Sightstone at roughly 8GP/10. League of Legends user Siky formalises the math behind this in this thread on the official forums, and for those wanting a very in depth guide on the math behind why Sighstone is a great GP/10 for supports, Reddit user NuffzetPand0ra gives a fantastically detailed explanation in this thread.
While the math behind it is interesting for those who enjoy the theorycrafting side of League of Legends, I would not be doing my readers justice if I did not attempt to explain it in a concise manner.
Philosopher’s Stone costs 700g and gives the user 5 gold per 10. This means it takes 23 minutes of having the Philosophers Stone for it to return a profit to you. Because a Sightstone costs 700g and wards cost 75g each, we have to place 10 wards (rounded up from the exact figure of 9.3 wards) before we start saving money. If we place the maximum two wards as soon as we can every 3 minutes, this means after 3*5=15minutes the Sightstone has returned its cost in saved money. From this moment on, every ward you place with Sightstone saves you 75g, but as you can place two wards at once you’re saving 150g over the two wards you would have had to purchase at full price. This is a saving of 150g every 3 minutes or a saving of 50g every minute, which then through the simple sum of 50/6 gives you a saving of 8.3g every 10 seconds. This is 3.3gold per 10 higher than the highest GP/10 item Philosophers Stone.
As we can see from some rather simple math, Sightstone is the most effective GP/10 item you can buy early game as a support.
So where does this fit in with warding?
This is a fairly simple question really. Buying Sightstone as a first or second item gives a greater gold return in the long run that any GP/10 item you can buy, and with the added bonus of giving you four wards between every return to base. At this stage, Sightstone is a very strong item, allowing the support a lot more flexibility in lane and a greater gold return than before.
With Sightstone Riot has given players the opportunity to be a lot more flexible with their warding. Buying a Sightstone and a Vision Ward as a support in the laning phase will allow for the warding of Dragon and lane and ganking bushes around river with ease, making it that much harder for you to be ganked, which is after all, the entire point of warding.
Warding is a thankless task for most players, but is one that is truly essential to the outcome of the game. If done properly it can change the outcome of nearly any given situation, and can give your team the advantage in combat, in farming and in lane. I hope throughout this piece I have expressed the frustration many support players feel when warding, as well as provided information on how to ward and the best ways to do it.