With minutes into the game, imagine yourself as a hunter stalking the jungle’s path towards the Red Brambleback. So eager were you to get that juicy red buff that upon setting sight on its camp, it was nowhere to be found and you start trash-talking the enemy jungler “BASTOS! P@*%!” At first, you might think that it’s his fault, desecrating your feeding ground all of a sudden. But then, you realize that this occurrence is normal in the game and is known as “counter-jungling.” Further inquiry might suggest a solution in order to prevent this, and truthfully, it is as prominent as the sun but as elusive as a fish in the minds of most players.
This solution, my friends, is called WARDING.
One might argue that if the support already has a Sightstone, why invest another warding item on the jungler? Another could also say that the availability of warding trinkets for all roles is more than enough. Well it all started around Season 3 where Sightstone was popularized on Lee Sin. It makes sense since it works well with his kit. But what was more noticeable rather was the fluidity of a team when they had a wider map vision compared to that of the limited warding capacity of a lone support. To further expound on the matter, here are a few points regarding the impact of jungle warding throughout a game.
The Tracking Ward Counts
As stated above, wards are crucial in counter-jungling. Whether it be offensive or defensive placing, wards serve as a tracker of where enemy champions currently are and may potentially be heading. Laying down some wards in the jungle in the early game is very efficient in counter-jungling as it enables you to sneak in and poach enemy jungle camps. It can also allow you to set up a potential pick or avoid the sort.
Luckily enough for the convenience of all junglers, a jungler item that had a warding ability was introduced way back in patch 5.22. This came in the transformation of Poacher’s Knife into Tracker’s Knife. But wait, there are two other jungler items, right? Is Tracker’s Knife significantly better than Stalker’s Blade and Skirmisher’s Sabre just because of its warding ability? The answer is both yes and no.
If we take a look at the pro scene of all five main regions (NA LCS, EU LCS, LCK, LPL, LMS), Tracker’s Knife has a much greater pick rate percentage compared to that of Stalker’s Blade and Skirmisher’s Sabre. This denotes the large preference of professional teams towards having a wider map vision rather than having extra crowd-control or combat ability. So if you firmly believe in “Wards Win Games”, Tracker’s Knife is your best option.
Eyes on the Prize
The “prize” here pertains to the variety of accomplishments that are vital in mid to late game. In line with the fact that Tracker’s Knife is much more preferable, data also shows that the latter two jungler items have a greater win rate percentage compared to that of Tracker’s Knife. Why is this so? Well here is the ‘NO’ answer to the previous question of whether Tracker’s Knife is better than the other two jungler items.
Tracker’s Knife is not your item of choice if you don’t have a good macro game mentality. Having the ability to ward as a jungler is not enough unless you know how to ward strategically. In pushing lanes, defensive wards around enemy jungle areas can give your split-pushing allies a wider breathing room. This will most likely make them more decisive in securing a tower and it can also draw enemy champions away from other lanes. In the offensive side, wards can give you minute opportunities for potential isolation picks. When an enemy champion travels carelessly, your team can score in a kill, which then lowers the enemy team’s numbers and sets them back into a defensive position.
With the supposedly-innate mobility of most jungle champions, you are much more flexible in placing wards all over the map compared to a support. Positioning your wards on key areas can allow you to tip the scale in your team’s favor when it comes to objective control. For example, upon setting up a fight around the dragon pit, a well-placed ward behind enemy lines can provide your top-laner a good spot for teleport flanking. This gives a higher chance of dismantling the enemy team, winning the team fight, and securing the dragon.
Clarity in Map and Mind
Considering all points above and giving the ward a try as a jungler, the idea of the vast significance of jungle warding will most likely make sense to you. Lastly, before you attempt to do so, here’s a valuable tip which will not only give your warding much greater effect, but your overall gameplay as well. Warding requires substantial map awareness and intuition, and it all comes with enough practice and experience. Because then again, what good is an eye if you don’t look?
That’s all for now. League on and prosper.