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League of Legends: How to ward like a pro

Here's how to improve your warding game.

Warding in League of Legends is an often under-apprecaited art. At first, it can seem like an unnecessary chore, but as you rise up rankings it's importance soon becomes clear. If you want to climb into Gold or above, upping your warding game is just as critical to success as increasing your champion pool, or practicing your mechanics.

In this guide, we'll break down exactly how to ward, and explain all the ways that warding can help you become a better League of Legends player. We'll also look at how you can beat your opponents at the warding game, where some of the best places to plant wards are, and what you can accomplish with that vision advantage.

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League of Legends wards - the basics

There are a number of ways to acquire wards in League of Legends but they all offer the same basic utility: providing vision in a small radius around the area they are placed. Your allies can even cast Teleport on most of them! There are a few differences, though, all of which are explained below in our League of Legends ward list:

  • Totem Ward - The most basic ward type. When you have the Warding Totem trinket, you’ll gain a Totem Ward charge every 240-120 seconds. Each placed ward is stealthed, grants vision in the surrounding 900 units and lasts from 90-120 seconds or until destroyed. You can have up to three on the map at once per player.
  • Control Ward - These can be purchased for 75 gold in the item shop and last indefinitely or until destroyed. They also grant vision in the surrounding 900 units but also reveal stealthed objects, traps and champions. You can have one of these on the map per player.
  • Stealth Ward - Functions similarly to the Totem Ward. These are earned as charges on support-focused items. They are stealthed, last for 150 seconds and share the same placement limitations with Totem Wards.
  • Farsight Ward - You can place one of these with the Farsight Alteration trinket. It grants vision over the surrounding 500 units, lasts indefinitely but can be seen by your opponents. You or your allies cannot teleport to this ward.
  • Ghost Poro - A unique type of ward acquired through the Ghost Poro rune. Grants vision in the surrounding 450 units when placed in a bush. When an enemy enters that bush it is scared away and alerts your whole team with a ping on the map.
  • Zombie Ward - A unique type of ward acquired through the Zombie Ward rune. These wards pop up in place of an opponent’s ward when you destroy them, granting vision in the surround 1100 units while lasting indefinitely. They can be seen and destroyed by your opponents, and cannot be teleported onto.

Why is warding so important in League of Legends?

Warding is so important because vision is so important to League of Legends. You often spend so much of a game focused on the action surrounding you or in lane that it’s easy to neglect everything else that’s going on hidden in the fog of war. But there is so much that can be gleaned from having that extra insight into the goings-on away from where your attention currently lies.

Perhaps the most important reason of all to set up vision wards - especially in the early game - is to avoid being ganked. During the laning phase when your focus is on gathering gold and out-trading your lane opponent/s where possible, a surprise visit from another roaming laner or the enemy jungler can lead to your death and set you back in the game. Having a ward in place so you can see them approaching from further away can give you the time to retreat and prevent such mishaps.

In more general terms, it’s always incredibly useful to have as much information as possible about the opposing team’s current plans and positions so you can best adapt your strategy on the fly. For example, knowing that your opponents are making a move on Baron Nashor, you might decide it’s best to rally your team and interrupt them. Without a ward there, you’d have no idea that they were trying to take it and hand it over for free.

Information: this is essentially the greatest benefit to warding. Instead of playing in the dark to your opponent’s intention, with well-placed wards you can have a better awareness of the game as a whole. That is what gives you the opportunities to outplay the opposing team, respond to what they’re doing and feel safe knowing where all enemy players are at all times.

Where to ward in Top lane

There are a couple of useful places to ward in the Top lane. The most important of these during the laning phase is the river. You can hide the ward in the bush or just drop it in the water, this stop the enemy jungler or roaming laner from catching you with a gank.

You may also want to consider the small tri-brush behind you if you’re on the red side of the map. This is the prime spot where the enemy jungler may try to gank you from behind if the lane is pushed far forward. Also, the furthest section of bush away from you in the lane is a good spot for a ward as the jungler may try to sneak into the lane that way.

Depending on the stage of the game you could also move to ward the Rift Herald / Baron Nashor to ensure your opponents aren’t trying to claim either objective.

Where to ward in Mid lane

The Mid lane is a dangerous place with lots of open avenues where a gank can come from unexpectedly. Fortunately, there’s a lot of room for you to make an escape too.

Nevertheless, you should absolutely consider warding the two bushes in the river on the two sides of the lane. This is the most likely place another opponent will come from looking for a gank.

The thin grass paths on your side of the map are also worth considering, though far less of a priority for ward placement. Similarly, if you venture into the river, the two small bushes in here are good spots for a ward.

Where to ward as a Jungler

The Jungler has a fair amount of freedom when placing their wards, though there are a few standout places. The first two are your Red and Blue buffs. You’ll want to ensure these are warded in case the opposing jungler or team try to invade and steal them away from you. If you catch them trying to do this you can call for your team to assist in killing them, or take the opportunity to counter-invade and steal their buff in return.

From there you can fill the gaps where your team hasn’t warded so far. As you roam the most you can often be the one placing wards in front of Baron and Dragon to ensure they’re not being stolen away. When you go for an invade in the opposing jungle it can be worth leaving a ward or two behind so you can follow the plans of their Jungler and react accordingly - either by ganking a lane far away or invading the opposite side of their jungle.

Where to ward in Bot lane

Similar rules to Top lane apply for warding Bot lane. Again, you’ll want to ensure the river has a ward in it (either in the bush or further towards Dragon). The tri-bush is also important to ward if you’re on the blue team. Chuck a ward into the furthest bush away from you to prevent opponents sneaking into position that way too.

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It’s all well and good knowing why it’s so important to ward and where to ward in League of Legends, but if your enemies are just as aware of all the positives then you can expect they’ll be doing the same. That’s where counter-warding comes into play, and it's how you disrupt the opponent’s vision scheme to execute your plans unimpeded.

One of the best ways to counter-ward is with the Oracle Lens trinket. This item summons a small drone that follows you for 10 seconds and sweeps around the surrounding area to reveal stealthed units, traps and wards. With this active, you can clear opposing wards and collect a small amount of gold and experience for your efforts.

You can also counter-ward using a Control Ward, although this can be far less efficient if your opponent destroys it as soon as they find it. To prevent this, try and place your Control Wards in spots you've already got some semblance of control over. This way, enemies will be forced into your 'territory' to get rid of them, and since it's such a lengthy process, they might leave themselves open for attack.

General warding tips

That should cover just about everything you need to ward like a pro in League of Legends. Still, we’ll leave you with a few handy tips that fit any warding situation - master these and your team will thank you!

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  • Remember that you can place wards over walls. If it's a short distance, place your cursor over the wall and the ward will land exactly where you're pointing. However, if it's a longer distance, the ward should almost clip the wall and slide down it.
  • Always try to place wards in bushes rather than outside of them. If a ward is placed outside of a bush then you will not get vision inside. Placed inside, however, and you’ll see everything that’s going on inside and outside the bush.
  • Your allies can use wards for a variety of purposes outside of vision too. Teammates with the Teleport spell can cast it on many ward types to get around the map, while champions such as Jax and Lee Sin can use Leap Strike and Safeguard on wards for manoeuvrability.
  • If you’re feeling generous - and you should - allow your support to clear away wards if they spot them using Oracle Lens. They’ll appreciate getting some return on investment with the gold they’ve spent on the item.
  • No matter what role you’re playing you should always be placing wards. It’s not just the job of the support or the jungler - the whole team should be pitching in to provide vision as it’ll help you all win in the end.
  • Ensure your key positions in lane and key objectives are warded at all times if possible. Other wards can be placed more freely around the map depending on where potential skirmishes might occur.
  • When warding, try and think about where you'd like to have vision. If you're setting up for a fight over dragon, make sure you've got the pit warded up, as well as any areas in the jungle which enemies can approach from. This way you'll have a much better chance of counteracting the opponent's moves and may even catch them off guard if you're lucky.
  • If you have available wards on your Trinket, make sure you use them. Constantly create vision across the map as otherwise you're wasting resources!

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