A Change of Vision; Vision wards and Oracles

The entire vision game has changed in pre-season and its actually something i’m relatively happy with as a player. I do miss the vision war, it was probably my favourite part of playing support, but the availability of wards through the trinket system and the limiting of true sight is a change for the better.

Season 3

Items that were important in the sight game in season 3:

  • Sight (Green) Wards/Ghost Wards: Stealthed. Unlimited allowed on the map per player. Last for 3 minutes with 3 hp. Detectable with true sight. Cost 75 gold
  • Vision (Pink) Wards: Stealthed. Unlimited allowed on the map. Last for 3 minutes with 3 hp. Provide true sight. Cost 125 gold
  • Oracles Elixir: 5 minute buff applied a small true sight radius around the champion. Cost 500 gold
  • Sightstone and Ruby Sightstone provided 4-5 wards on every recall, allowing 2-3 to be placed on the map at any one time.

Green wards were used in order to provide vision across the map. Pink wards would be set up to deny vision of a certain area, like Dragon/Baron or maybe a key jungler gank path, while Oracles would be used in mid-late game to clear vision across the entire map.

The above set of rules meant that vision wasn’t all that interesting of a meta game, whether you enjoyed it or not, because vision wasn’t a limited resource. There could easily be 10 wards on the map at any one time and a well placed pink ward actually didn’t matter in the long, or even short term, because there was likely to be another ward nearby that granted vision of you anyway.

Then the teams would buy oracles elixir and you’d end up with a situation where one team could easily dominate the vision and from that point forward there wasn’t really a chance for a team to come back into the game.

Additionally after an area was swept of wards the other team, usually in the form of the support, would have to buy additional wards in order to replace those that were destroyed and this was drawing them away from item purchases.

This limited support’s gold even further and it was more than likely that they were purchasing the oracles in the first place. However coming into pre-season Riot stated that they didn’t want any one person to be responsible for vision and to also limit the power of true sight in the vision game.

Season 4

So what’s changed?

Sight Wards have been renamed Stealth Wards but have remained largely the same in their function. However they are now limited to 3 on the map per player at a given time. This has given the vision game 2 big changes.

  1. Ward placement now matters because you’re limited to having 3 up at any one time.
  2. If teams want to maintain the same level of vision as before then supports cannot be the only people buying wards

Oracles Elixir is gone and has joined Heart of Gold in the big item shop in the sky. Playing as a support, and maybe a jungler, oracles was a great item to have but having all of your vision destroyed was just frustrating. I like the change but I frequently wish there was an item like Oracles in order to clear things like Teemo shrooms and just random areas of vision that can’t necessarily be picked up with sweeping lens. I think the pro meta will revolve around starting with yellow ward trinkets and then moving to the red trinket in order to deny key vision.

Sightstone has had a minor buff because you can now place 3 of the 4 wards straight away without having the limit of 2 that existed in season 3. Ruby Sightstone remains the same as an item I think should be purchased on all supports but I don’t believe its a rush item any more.

Vision Wards now have infinite duration, are limited to 1 per person, have 5 hit points but are no longer stealthed and on top of all this they are 25 gold cheaper than before. This is actually one of my favourite changes for vision and has provided a situation where pink wards are now an objective within themselves because they aren’t stealthed and therefore are very easy to destroy.

I think this is something that will take a while to get used to but you should be actively trying to defend pink wards when you place them. If you can use them to bait enemy champions to their death, then all for the better.

What this also allows is intelligent placement of pink wards to potentially provide you with vision in an area for the entire game. There are many bushes on the map, over the wall from red buff, circle buff near baron/dragon and some brushes/areas towards the rear of jungle, that aren’t checked often but can occasionally catch a glimpse of the enemy jungler.

Click to enlarge

Although they will be found if someone goes into the brush if it catches a glimpse of the jungler then the ward has done its job. When playing top lane as blue side i’ve started pink warding at the brush past baron and then using my trinket ward to ward tribrush. This means if i’m going to be ganked its only really going to be coming from lane, which allows good security when playing aggressive.

In many of the high ELO games, and it is slowly filtering down to other leagues, vision wards are actually becoming an important fixture in counter-jungling because they last the entire game. It means that when counter jungling you have to destroy the pink ward first, which takes a lot of time, and if you then continue into the jungle they know you’re there.

I am glad that the community is starting to accept pink wards as being a useful part of the game because they took a lot of stick for being so easy to destroy.


The vision game has changed significantly and its going to be interesting to see how the pro players decide to use and abuse these changes. I’m personally purchasing more pink wards than I did last season as a top and mid laner in order to abuse the new mechanics available to us. I was going to write a part on trinkets but I feel that the information is already out there from other bloggers and I don’t need to elaborate. To weigh in with my own opinion I think red trinket is currently underused and the 475 gold upgrade is really strong. Don’t forget to use this upgrade if you’re looking to deny the enemy team vision of key areas of the map.

The OGN is currently using a lot of wards with supports still not picking up a huge number of items but it could lead to a situation where one team’s support spends a lot of gold on wards while the other is attempting to build tanky/damage and become a 5th threat on the team. Both strategies will have pros and cons and only time will tell what is stronger. However I don’t think we will see a situation where a support will outright carry a game in the way Kassadin can.

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Esports and Blogs Manager for Cloth5.com. I'm a Plat 5 all around player, I know I should pick a role but it's too much fun playing all of the champions! Add me on Fridgecake or Yawnedeverywhere and i'd be happy to have a game. Currently playing Hearthstone, Gangsters 2, GTA 5 and Football Manager. Follow me on twitter @C5Fridgecake or check out my stream

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