See Through the Changes: A Guide About Warding in Season 6
Wed 3rd Feb 2016 - 8:56am
With the new season came a new warding system. To summarize the most important points, purchasable Green Wards are out, Trinkets have been overhauled, Vision Wards are cheaper and Sightstones have fewer charges. All these changes cripple our ability to spread out light over the rift. Basically, this leaves us in no man’s land. Vision is severely cut to a point at which it can be difficult to even ward the most important spots on the map properly. But why is this important? Doesn’t this only matter to geeky Supporters and Krepo? No, it does not, and it is very important for every single player in every single game. League of Legends is not only about winning a game, it is about winning consistently. One game is not going to get you to Challenger; winning consecutive games is what lets you rise. Winning consistently is achieved by playing smart and playing smart requires knowledge. A smart man, called Sun Tzu, once said:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
To be honest, he pretty much described consistency in League of Legends. You need to know your champion to be able to win, if you know your champion well enough, you can make outplays and win games. However, if you are unaware of your enemy’s whereabouts, you cannot make smart outplays. You will always take a gamble if, or if not, the enemy Jungler is waiting for you to overstep your boundaries. Therefore no, the Vision War is not only for geeky Supporters and Krepo. Winning the Vision War, as in real warfare too, gives one side the advantageous position of being able to make smart decisions, and when this side also knows how to take such decisions, they can and will eventually force the issue and win a higher percentage of games.
Mid and Bot lane have been pushed. Wards cover all the jungle exits. Enemy vision has been swept away by Shen. KT take an easy Dragon after smart vision Play.
Now that we covered the “why” let us get to the “how”. First and foremost: the Vision War is a team effort. No Support, actually not even a Tank, should be forced to facecheck and/or place Deep Wards all alone. Besides, due to the 3 Green Wards and 1 Vision Ward per player restrictions, it is not even possible to gain vision control alone. There are 5 fingers in a fist, as there are 5 players in a League of Legends team, only if all the fingers work together, the fist will strike efficiently. You have to work together to work successfully or you will get picked off and killed one by one.
Know your Goal
The first step, as in every strategy, is to know, what you want to accomplish. Just blindly following a step by step plan copied from some pro players will not win you the game. Strategy is different than building a chair. You can certainly build a chair by following a premade plan and need not think even once about the result. Strategy is to create a step by step plan, and being able to adapt it on the run if needed to reach the goal in mind. There are three main goals you will want to accomplish by warding and clearing enemy vision:
- Tracking the enemy Jungler
- Gaining control over jungle sides for rotations
- Gaining control over neutral objectives
The places you want to ward and/or sweep hugely depend on the intended outcome. Hence, if you want to use your resources efficiently you have to know beforehand what this outcome looks like.
H2K place some nice deep wards inside Fnatic's jungle to gain control over the area. They can now safely steal the enemy Red Buff.
Gather your Resources
You cannot fight a war without supplies. In this scenario resources are not fuel, food and ammunition, but Sightstones, Tracker’s Knives, Trinkets and Vision Wards. What resources does your team need to get? Your Support should rush a Sightstone, there is no viable reason to skip it (except for Boots of Mobility if your tactic uses a roaming Support) and it is crucially needed to be able to provide enough wards. But this alone is not sufficient, you will need more Green Wards to provide enough Vision to gain control over an Area. These additional Wards are provided by Tracker’s Knife, another Sightstone or Green Ward Trinkets. Trinket Wards are very limited and short in lifespan, therefore it is highly advisable for your Jungler to buy either Tracker’s Knife or a Sightstone. There is almost no way around it actually, if you are serious about getting enough vision. Combined, there should be between 0 and 3 Green Ward Trinkets, 3 only if you are way ahead, 0 only if you are way behind, explanation later on, in most cases you will want 1-2 of them. Not in the early game though, as in the early game, you will have 5 Green Ward Trinkets.
KT have gained control over the River and the Nashor Pit through Vision Wards. The relevant jungle exit (Mid lane) is warded and Gangplank is spotted recalling without TP. After Lissandra pushed Mid Lane KT can safely take Nashor without even having to fight.
Aside of placing Green Wards to lighten up dark places you will also need to clear enemy vision. This can be accomplished by sweeping or by placing Vision Wards. Two Sweeper Trinkets will provide you with a decent clearing ability. However, always have at least one of them in the mid to late game. Vision Wards should be bought by every player as there can only be one of them per player on the map. To gain control over an area, 2 to 3 Vision Wards are absolutely necessary.
The last Trinket you might want to go for is the Blue Trinket, which allows you to gain vision over a small area from a very far distant, placing a visible ward with one HP. This Trinket is important to facecheck bushes and to check neutral objectives without risking an enemy ambush. One Blue Trinket is almost always going to be worth. When your team is behind, you will have to facecheck more often, because your enemy will be able to gain control over the fog of war pretty easily. By running up to 4 Blue Trinkets however, you can frequently check the Nashor/Dragon area and deny your enemy whatever trap or sneaky move they are trying to pull off.
All things combined this leaves us with 7-9 Green Wards (2-4 of them Trinket Wards), 3-5 Vision Wards, 2 Sweepers and a Blue Trinket. These are your resources when going for a play.
ROX Tigers are forced to go for an unsafe Dragon because it would be the 5th Dragon for KT. The Tigers control neither the River, nor the enemy jungle, nor even their own jungle exits. KT can easily spot and flank them with a nice teleport from Fly, winning the game ending teamfight.
Ward Smartly; Fight the Vision War
You do not need to ward every single bush in the jungle to be able to gain control over it. By placing your wards at all the entrances, you can spot any enemy movement sufficiently enough to figure out what they are trying to do. When you spot two enemies entering the bot side jungle and not leaving it again, you do not need to know where exactly they are inside the jungle. Knowing the number of foes and their approximate positions is enough for you to make a smart decision, like invading the jungle and fighting them or falling back from your push on bot lane.
Also, if you spot four enemies in the bot side jungle, you can also safely assume that there are very few enemies on the top half of the map, even if it is completely dark. On the other hand, if you have warded up the bot side of the enemy jungle and there is no signal of the enemy Jungler, despite all his camps being up, you might want to warn your Top laner from a potential gank, as your enemy is likely to be in the top half of the map. Sometimes spotting no enemy is just as much of information as actually spotting him.
Vision Control over Nashor
Let’s take a look at how you gain control over Nashor. To gain control over Nashor, you need to control the enemy district next to it, hence the top side of the enemy jungle, and the River, including the pit itself. The most effective way to do so, is pushing mid lane (up to the inhibitor tower if possible) and then invading the jungle together. You want to have Green Wards at the three entrances, Vision Wards or swept bushes inside the jungle and Vision Wards or swept area in the Death Brush and the Nashor Pit. It can be enough to have control over the exits and the river, if you can spot your enemies out of position. Then you have to fight a war of attrition or rush the objective as fast as possible.
Fnatic go for Nashor without previously pushing Mid Lane or having any control over the enemy jungle. They are forced away and surrender the whole area to H2K.
You need to defend your vision while baiting out all the enemy Blue Trinkets and Spooky Ghosts by continuously trapping them. This is accomplished by pushing the lanes and then hiding in bushes inside the enemy jungle. The enemy now has to either facecheck their jungle or to use one of their facecheck tools. If they try to retake their jungle, you have to force them out. Do not just let them walk in and clear your wards or you will lose the war of attrition eventually. In other words, do not let the enemy waves push mid- and top lane, you need to stop the minions and push them back or you will have to run away and give up control. Also, be ready to catch enemies if they want to invade their jungle. By forcing the enemy to constantly trying to make sure you are not doing Baron and to regain Vision Control you provoke mistakes on which you can capitalize.
ROX Tigers go for Nashor because they have several Inhibitors down but they lack Vision Control. SKT threatens to engage and finally wins the fight. The Tigers proceed to lose the game teamfighting instead of split pushing and building up Vision Control.
Vision Control for Rotations
Getting enough vision to take Inner Turrets is a similar process. The importance lies within denying your enemy flank options while threatening to flank yourself. As soon as one Inner Turret is down, you can use Vision Control to take down the others pretty easily. Again, what you want to push two lanes, forcing your enemy to clear the waves, then invade the jungle between the destroyed Inner Turret and the one you want to take down. Clear enemy wards along the path between the lanes and place your own at the entrances and in the area of the tower to spot enemy movements.
Now push the lane with the destroyed tower and force your enemy to defend the Inhibitor Turret while also slowly pushing the lane with the targeted objective. As your wave is about to reach the Inner Turret, you rotate from the Inhibitor Turret through the jungle to the other lane. Your dominance over the enemy jungle now gifts you the tower because you can use the fastest way possible for your rotation, while your enemy needs to take a longer, safer route. You cannot be flanked without your knowledge, while enemies need to fear potential skillshots and engage spells from out of the darkness of their jungle. The same concept can also work out when taking down Outer Turrets or the first Inner Turret. It is however not as efficient for the latter because the rotation path is slightly longer and it is harder to deny the enemy a safe and rather short passage.
The fewer wards there are, the more important it is to place them consciously and with a goal in mind. Being able to see enemy movement and to hide your own from the fiery eyes of your foes is the key to consistent victory in League of Legends. Hence, if you want to see the big V more often on your screen, you should definitely coordinate invades and rotations for ward dominance with your team. It is reasonable to be afraid of the fog of war, for the night is dark and full of terrors, bringing some lights with you certainly helps a lot.
Hope to see you on the rift soon, and if you learned something, you might see me too.
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