The most important factor in winning a game of League of Legends is not team composition, it is not individual skill, it isn’t even about dominating your lanes. All of those are nice, but if you don’t ward you don’t win.
There are three types of wards. Trinket wards, Sightstone wards and Vision Wards. During the first stage of the game, all trinket wards are one minute in duration, they provide basic sight and are invisible. Basic sight means they cannot see things that are invisible, so no seeing Shaco, no seeing Teemo Mushrooms and no seeing other regular wards. These can only be seen with the sweeping lens or with true vision. They take three hits to clear.
A Sightstone is 800 gold and provides 3 wards that last 3 minutes, and otherwise are identical to trinket wards. The wards regenerate upon recalling. They can be upgraded into many Sightstone related items. The items are mostly built out of the support items as an alternative to the Face of the Mountain, Frost Queen’s Claim, and Talisman of Ascension.
This is because if you are a support you should be rushing Sightstone. No excuses. It’s hard to justify buying Sightstone in any role other than jungler and support, but if you are either of those roles vision should be a primary goal.
Sightstone junglers dominated Season 5. They would upgrade their machete, then rush sightstone. Bulky mobile junglers who can swoop into their jungle, put wards down, and get out scot-free. Gragas, Rek’ Sai, Elise and even Sejuani at the beginning of the season. With the new machete upgrade that provides wards this style could see a return.
Vision Wards are 75 gold. They have no timer. They are pink. You can only ever have one on the map at a time and they have true sight. True sight reveals everything. They also take 5 hits to clear. They are really useful in areas where you cannot access often, and also in areas where you think will be warded.
Near dragon and baron, in a bush in a high traffic area in their jungle, in an area where their jungler is always coming near you, these are all useful pink ward locations during any game.
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have one or two pink wards in your inventory. In the words of Deficio, “Those who think buy pinks.”
It’s really good to have some in the inventory. You can move your pink wards depending on where the conflict on the map is. You can also use one as a sweeper if necessary. A player can place one where they know the other teams wards are, then they can move another pink ward to a more secure and informative spot.
This is not just about placing wards either, clearing wards is just as important. As a support, clearing wards is just as much a job for you as placing them and directly assisting the ADC. Once you get Sightstone you should be replacing your trinket ward with the red trinket, which sweeps wards.
At level 9, upgrading the sweeper even further is also very important. It can allow you to sweep multiple bushes with one trinket. Pink wards can also be used to sweep Sightstone wards.
If you watch pro play you can see the emphasis the casters put on ward placement. Smart wards along with smart decision-making can allow an entire team to passively dominate a game. Seeing one player on the other team can cause quite the chain of events to occur. Imagine you place a trinket ward in the enemy red buff. Then, you see their Gragas stop to take it. Here is some information you can derive from seeing their jungler farming:
- They won’t be interfering in any lane.
- Their top lane is alone.
- Their blue side jungle is clear.
- They don’t know they’re being watched.
- They are bot side.
Just having this information is one thing. Knowing how to use it is something completely different. Here’s what you can do knowing the jungler is in the bottom jungle. Your jungler can safely go in and ward the top side jungle, and they can then gank top. The midlaner can even roam topside and go for a 3-man gank, which can lead to an uncontested turret or Rift Herald. Bot laners know to be safe, but their jungler doesn’t know that. They can be hanging around bot to gank your teams ADC, only to get nothing and #WasteTheirTime2016.
Wards are the most important part of the game, and they’re also the cheapest. There’s no excuse. Get pinks, help your team, help yourself. Wards, along with clearing them and communicating, win games. Even the most fed of champions can get jumped in a dark jungle. They won’t be fed for long if they and their team can’t keep them protected.