Sometimes, in esports as in business or athletics, it’s valuable to look in unusual places for inspiration! In a story that has been told and retold for centuries, King Leonidas of Sparta led his three hundred soldiers to a last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae. These brave men fell while defending a key pass from the invading Persian army. Though outnumbered, they held their position until enemy troops found a flanking route and surrounded, then slaughtered them. Many League of Legends players can no doubt empathize… The disastrous defeat could have been avoided if Leonidas had practiced proper warding!
Why are wards so important? Many newer students ask such questions, as the value of map control is not an easy thing to understand. It takes a great deal of experience to realize that a ward showing no enemies is often as valuable as one that shows all five! Vision is a piece of a puzzle; like other competitive games, it’s much easier to outplay your opponent in League of Legends if you understand their intentions! By seeing where the enemy is – and isn’t – you’ll be better prepared to escape ganks, farm safely, and avoid nasty surprises when you go for a push or a kill. Let’s look at some of the places that you should keep an eye on in bottom lane! Alternatively, check here for my guide to top lane warding!
Warding to Win: Bot Lane
Each lane plays differently at high levels, and even in casual pub games distinct patterns can be found. The Bot Lane is typically where we find the ADC and Support players. Even though the Support has a greater responsibility for vision, the lane has two people and both are responsible for warding it correctly! Cooperation is essential: if you’re out of wards, ask your partner to place one where necessary. With two pairs of eyes and trinkets, you should (almost) never die to ganks! If you can avoid the most obvious ganks, you’ll waste enemy time and put the pressure on them to make a successful move!
Both players in Bot Lane should start with a Warding Totem. When the support builds Sightstone, a swap to Sweeping Lens is optimal with a timely upgrade to Oracle at level 9. The ADC should upgrade to Farsight, to stay safer and not have to face-check! Both of you should buy Control Wards; investing 200 to 500 gold per game lets your Supports buy useful items sooner and can make a huge difference! But where exactly should your efforts be focused? Let’s take a look at some visuals to better understand all the options!
Blue Side – Early Game
Here are the areas you need to ward when playing from Blue Side during early game. There are two priority spots where you’ll almost always want vision. Ward #1 when the enemy is winning the lane – or even at #9 if you’re being pushed under tower and you might get dived going for #1. On the other hand, you ward #2 when you’re pushing the opponent. These are good spots to check with your Control Wards too; you can use #3 when threatened because it’s slightly harder for the enemy to destroy and easier for you to defend.
Spots #4 and #5 are for bush control. Nothing is scarier than uncertainty, and giving vision of this shrubbery helps you indirectly take control of the area. In some cases, you can consider a Control Ward at these spots to sneakily set up a gank. Alternatively, you can ward this area before Recall to proactively establish a safe zone for your teammates!
Your first Recall as a Support is a critical time: on your way back it’s a good idea to try to gank mid, because the enemy will often forget to call miss. Regardless of whether your gank attempt succeeds, it’s good to be productive during your return to bot lane. Depending on the enemy Jungler and Support, you should ward one of spots #7, #10, #11, or #12. If you’re not sure of the enemy Jungler’s location, it’s fine to ward at #11 or #12 and return to lane behind Dragon. If you know he’s not around though, you can ward deep in enemy territory at #10 or #6! These two give great vision, especially if you are pushing heavily or against specific champions like Bard.
Finally, use spots #7 and #8 to check the Drake – the latter if it’s too risky to venture downriver! To sum up, your warding for early game should revolve around spots #1 to #9, with #10, #11, and #12 occasionally before or after a Support roam.
Purple Side – Early Game
Obviously the ward spots are similar to Blue Side, but there are some differences in priority! Spots #1 to #4 are essentially the same, while #5 serves as a great defensive ward. Especially if enemy mid laner is missing, consider having a Control Ward here so you have forewarning of ganks when pushed to tower. Also worth mentioning, you can ward #1 safely from the cliffside when river is unsafe!
Ward #6 for fantastic river vision, but use #7 instead if the enemy Jungler can solo kill the Dragon and might sneak into the pit. Just as on Blue, Support should roam a bit after the first Recall and ward deep at #8, #9, or even #10 if it’s safe enough!
Blue Side – Mid / Late Game
Entering the mid game, warding possibilities become near-endless! The Support player generally takes on providing vision across the whole map, but here we’ll retain our focus on the bottom half. If you want a more complete picture of the options, check out my Top Lane guide as well!
There are two aggressive priorities for ward placement: one to control the Drake spawn and the other for safely sieging the inner towers. Now if the enemy is clever, they will ward the entrance to their jungle when you start pushing towards the towers. Keep in mind the possibility that they could Teleport to the ward behind and catch you by surprise!
The defensive priorities should be your focus when playing from behind. These spots are also good to place a Control Ward, to cover the Drake, the entrance to your jungle, and the ever-dangerous bush next to your mid tower. If the enemy is heavily sieging your bot tower it’s fine to prioritize that side, although in general the middle lane is more important! The situational warding spots are all useful and pretty self-explanatory: think ahead and decide which to use depending on the objective you prioritize! If the map is dark and enemies are lurking, try to be proactive and ward the paths they might use to flank you!
Purple Side – Mid / Late Game
Again, make a plan and ward proactively! If you’re ahead, take control of the enemy jungle with vision, use Control Wards to clear their vision, and focus on the objective! Generally towers are priority over Drake. Try to secure Dragon when it’s safe; e.g. get a pickoff, take a tower, and on your way back you slay the Drake! If you’re behind, it’s better to farm rather than fight for some Dragons, especially if you have poor vision, they have stronger teamfight, or if it’s a Cloud or Ocean Drake. Drakes are generally not your priority unless the enemy is stacking Infernal or Mountain Drake. As a Support, move with teammates; as an ADC, hang back and wait for teammates to investigate scary spots. When you’re the carry, ward as safely as you can or check the bushes with abilities, but avoid being the frontline!
With the right approach, you’ll find your games are a whole lot easier: be proactive, determine what your next objective is, and take control of the area before committing to that objective! Having a plan of your own will help you understand your opponent’s intentions – and counter them thoroughly! Hope you learned from my Warding Guides, and keep an eye out for the next part in a couple weeks… Remember, warding keeps you safe: you should always have protection!