Sounding The Alarm: Warding For Stealth Junglers
Wed 29th Mar 2017 - 9:46am
Stealth junglers can be a real hassle to deal with during laning. They jar you from your normal warding and force you to find opportunities to get a little further from lane than normal to ensure your own safety. For each lane, I'll show a map of good wards and then discuss what each lane should be looking to do to keep themselves safe. I'll start by covering Evelynn and then go over the three remaining stealth champions.
Evelynn is the one jungler that has near-permanent stealth. Control Wards are of absolute importance when attempting to contain an Evelynn. Evelynn is also the only jungler here without the need to gain levels to become a truly effective gank threat. Realistically, she can start hunting down enemy laners at any point.
Against Eve, you want to find out where she is starting her jungle path. This will let you know where she is most likely to gank after she gets her second buff. Knowing this is important, as having a Control Ward before the first recall is hard to justify with the importance of potions early in laning. It can also be difficult for laners to find a chance to leave lane long enough to ward an enemy jungle camp without falling behind in experience. This should be done whenever possible when playing a laner with significant push advantage early in the game, as Evelynn is only visible from a distance when in combat.
This map is intended to show good spots to place both Control Wards and Sight Wards when playing in a game against an Evelynn. Wards outlined in red are wards to be placed by the red team and the same goes for blue. Note that there are multiple Control Wards in both mid lane cases and on the blue top side and red bottom side. These are the Control Wards that can both be good wards, but depend on the state of your lane and the game as a whole.
Blue Side: The only way Eve will be a threat to a blue side top laner is if they push out very heavily or get harassed enough to be tower dove, though that really applies for any enemy jungler. Place your Control Ward in the long river bush if you do find yourself pushing. You can move it to the enemy tribush if you're confident you can defend it and want to open up easy ganking opportunities for your own jungler. Finally, if you're the one getting pushed in, put your Control Ward in the tribush behind your tower. It's the only spot that guarantees you advance knowledge of a dive attempt by Evelynn, even if it's only a second.
Red Side: Red side top laners have much less room to work with as far as natural defensive terrain is concerned. Your Control Ward here should be in your tribush unless you're winning your lane and the other entrance to your top side jungle (near mid lane) is also Control Warded. In that case, you can move your warding to the long river bush and start looking to get wards near the enemy Blue Buff or Gromp pits.
Blue Side: The best Control Ward setup available is to control the small "pixel" river bush on the right side of the lane and then you should try to generally play to that side of the lane. By placing this ward instead of the one in the bush connected to your red buff camp, you're protecting yourself from river ganks but also relying heavily on your bottom lane to keep their own tribush Control Warded. If your bottom tower goes down or you notice that the bottom jungle entrance isn't being covered, the safe move would be to push your ward from river to the aforementioned bush by the Red Buff pit and accept that you won't be able to push hard safely.
If you do manage to get a wave pushed into the enemy tower during laning, look to make a trip to ward near the enemy Razorbeak camp (or Red Buff when appropriate). As before, the best time to spot an Evelynn is when she's clearing her jungle camps.
Red Side: This is the same strategy as for blue side, but flipped to the other side of the river. One thing you should note is that you're relying on your top laner to Control Ward their tribush, which may be more or less likely depending on the matchup.
Blue Side: Like top lane for red side, the blue side bottom lane has to always worry about the gank path from their tribush that leads almost directly to their tower. This bush will be a point of constant struggle if the lane is relatively even or red side is pushing. If you're pushing as blue side, you can move your Control Ward up to the long river bush but, just as mid lane is relying on you, you're relying on mid lane to have a ward that covers the other jungle entrance.
In that case, the support should be able to find an opportunity to break up river and place a normal ward between Blue Buff and Gromp. As always, it is best to do this when your jungler or mid laner can float to the right side of the map and cover their back.
Red Side: Similar to the top lane for blue side, you can realistically place your Control Wards in one of three spots. The tribush behind your tower, the long river bush, and the enemy tribush. The best location depends on the location where the minion lines most commonly crash.
With two people in the lane, there can also be two Control Wards. You can choose to cover two of the aforementioned spots or pick the best one and use the second ward to control one of the two lane bushes. This is useful for opening up lane ganks for your own jungler, denying Teleport wards, and generally having the upper hand in laning.
The Other Offenders
Kha'Zix will be the easiest champion to deal with purely from a warding standpoint. His stealth is tied to his ultimate and only lasts for two 1.25 second bursts. Moving your ward lines to jungle entrances should be generally sufficient to see Kha'Zix coming. However, even without his stealth, he is a threatening jungler because of the distance on his Leap.
Shaco presents a similar issue to Kha'Zix, but becomes a real nuisance much earlier. The invisibility on his Q, Deceive, starts with a duration of 1.5 seconds and gains 0.75 seconds with each rank, up to 4.5 seconds. By the time level 5 rolls around, you can expect to be dealing with 3 seconds of true invisibility.
An important thing to know is that placing a Jack in the Box doesn't remove Shaco's invisibility, but does cause one of those strange shining or shimmering effects at his location. This is will give you a short period to react and avoid complete disaster.
The best way to neutralize a Rengar is similar to playing around an Evelynn. Rengar's ultimate lets him generally disregard wards and have a large boost in movement speed in exchange for the indicators above the heads of enemy champions. Tracking Rengar throughout his jungle is the best way to know where you can safely go and which lane needs to worry about an incoming high speed stealth gank.
Before 6, try to avoid going near any bushes that you aren't sure are empty. Choose what you can keep warded and stick to it.
All of the champions that have been mentioned are adept at lane ganking. They can each take away that second or two that you usually have to react to a standard lane gank through their stealth. A common concept that applies here is placing a ward just outside of the enemy tower range. This is a good tactic in general to follow the movements of the enemy lane, but can also sniff out a lane gank by a jungler who thinks they're still outside of vision range.
Warding Against the Others
I left off Control Ward markers from this map layout as there is only one change from the Evelynn map I would make for the general case I'm trying to represent. The Control Wards in the tribushes behind blue side top lane and the red side bottom lane aren't valuable if you can use your normal Sight Wards to cover the river entrances to your jungle. In this setup in particular, your mid laners are warding away from you, meaning you should try to push your own wards as far toward middle lane as you can. Place your Control Ward in the small bush between Blue Buff and Gromp.
Blue Side: There are two common pairs of wards here. The first is Control Warding river bush and warding the enemy tribush. This would be the general case for warding top lane. In a mostly neutral push situation, you want the side and forward coverage to feel secure. This leaves open a gank path from behind, but the path would require taking at least one tower shot.
The second setup has a Control Ward at your Blue Buff and a ward at the river entrance to your jungle. This is the way to go if you're pushed to tower and might be afraid of a dive.
Red Side: Assuming the mid entrance to your jungle is warded, these wards are straightforward. Control Ward tribush and fight for a Sight Ward in river bush. If you can keep them pushed to tower, move your Control Ward to the river bush and place a sight ward that covers both the width of river and the entrance to the enemy blue buff area.
A good warding setup is to place a Control Ward in the small bush in the middle of the river and a trinket ward near the enemy Razorbeak camp or behind the enemy blue buff camp corresponding to which side you're warding and playing around. If your team loses control of this side of the jungle, you can push both of your wards back one bush (towards your own base) or switch sides, though I generally find it easier to play towards my red buff side as the immediate area is more open and hospitable to clean ward coverage.
The bottom lane wards are nearly identical to the wards for top lane. The big differences are the potentially doubled or tripled number of wards at any given time while laning and the higher attention placed on Dragons when compared to the Rift Herald.
With an extra champion in lane and the existence of Sightstone, you can be far more liberal with your ward placement. What that means specifically depends on you and the state of the game. You could place very aggressive wards in your opponents' jungle to track them. You could expand your ward line horizontally and help out both your jungler and your mid laner in the process. You could even keep dragon warded at literally all times if against a jungler that could solo it early.
Stealth can feel unfair at times but you can always do something to play around it. Hopefully I've laid out a decent groundwork for you to take something from and improve upon. Thanks for reading and as always, I appreciate any comments or feedback!
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