Recently there has been a massive overhaul to the entire vision system in League of Legends. Stealth Wards are limited to three placed per person at any time, Vision Wards are limited to one per person which lasts until destroyed, and Oracle’s Elixir has been removed. In order to balance these new mechanics, they introduced three new items that have to do with vision.
Place a Stealth Ward that lasts 60 seconds on a 120 second cooldown. At level 9 it automatically upgrades to last 120 seconds on a 120 second cooldown. You can also pay 475g after level 9 to upgrade it again to either place a permanent Vision Ward (Greater Vision Totem) on a 180 second cooldown or place a regular ward (Greater Stealth Totem) that lasts 180 seconds on a 120 second cooldown.
Reveal nearby invisible traps and wards for 4 seconds on a 120 second cooldown. At level 9 it automatically upgrades to reveal invisible traps and wards for 6 seconds on a 60 second cooldown. If you upgrade it for 475g after level 9 (into an Oracle’s Lens) it will not only reveal the area but also give you stealth detection for 10 seconds (similar to Oracle’s Elixir.)
Reveal an area up to 1500 range away for 1 second on a 150 second cooldown, any enemies spotted by this will be visible for 5 seconds. At level 9 it automatically upgrades to 2500 range. After level 9 if you upgrade it for 475g (into a Farsight Orb) it will reach 3000 range with a 90 second cooldown.
The most popular of these new items is the Warding Totem, because it is a free ward that you can get at level 1. Now, don’t think for a second having a Warding Totem means you don’t need to buy wards; the duration is shorter than the cooldown and if you rely 100% on your Warding Totem to keep you from getting ganked, there will be a significant gap in vision where you might get ganked, and will most likely die.
Getting the most out of your Trinkets is just about timing. Junglers more commonly start near bot lane to get a leash from bot lane, so for top laners you can expect the jungler to arrive top lane (if they go for the gank) around 3:00 – 3:20 so dropping your ward around 2:50 will tell you if they decided to come top or go to another lane/continue farming. Mid lane can do the same, they can drop the ward on the top side of river at 2:50 to get the same information.
However, if the jungler doesn’t get spotted they can easily be bot lane around 3:40. Depending on where the lane is will change where the ward should go, generally dropping a ward in the river is the standard/safe method unless you’re being pushed in, then you’re most likely safe but you can drop a ward on the tri-bush/river-bush if you’re still nervous. Otherwise, bot lane Trinkets can and should be used on the lane brushes to get some control over the lane.
Junglers should use their trinkets both aggressively and defensively. Usually, early game it’s a good bet you use your ward to try and spot out the enemy jungler. If you believe they might invade you drop a defensive ward before you go to clear your second buff, otherwise dropping your ward on the other side of mid lane or simply replacing one of your lanes trinket wards when it runs out is a good use. If you’re an aggressively jungler you can also use it for early invades, but switch to Lens later and simply purchase wards instead. You can buy wards but you can’t buy Oracle’s anymore and vision denial is huge.
The Sweeping Lens is most commonly seen on junglers and supports, but rarely do they start with it. A nice thing about the trinkets is that you can sell one and buy another any time you shop. So you can start with a Warding Totem on support, and when you get your Sightstone you can swap it out for a Sweeping Lens which allows you to control vision, which is immensely important at bot lane and something people seem to do less since the changes.
In the standard game everybody should be starting with a Warding Totem. The Support and Jungler should swap to Sweeping Lens as soon as it’s convenient. For support this would be when they purchase a Sightstone, same for Jungle Lee Sin, but on most other junglers you want to swap out for the Sweeping Lens at roughly 6-10 mins into the game, depending on when you back for your first/second purchase (Often junglers back around 4/6/9 minutes into the game depending on their clear, ganks, and who they are.)
In most games upgrading your trinkets isn’t really necessary. Having one person upgrade their Warding Totem to a Greater Vision Totem (Vision Ward) when inventories start to fill up is a very good idea. Against Stealth Champions (Akali, Twitch, Rengar, Etc) having both the jungler and support upgrade their Sweeping Lens as soon as possible is not only a good idea, but it’s highly recommended to massively reduce the threat of the enemy team.
Generally, having your Jungle and Support carrying Oracle’s Lens (the final upgrade for Lens) when the game starts to reach 25-30 minutes in is a good idea, especially if you’re ahead. It gives you the most vision control which allows you to control the Baron area which is something you really want to do to force the enemy into fights. It’s not always about taking Baron. The top laner is often a wildcard, they can use both the Lens and Totem effectively so they can buy whichever you need more, Lens for controlling vision or Totem for gaining vision.
The Scrying Orb is the least popular and for good reason. The cooldown being at 150 seconds is simply too long for use in most situations. There are some team compositions and strategies that can use a Scrying Orb well but it requires more organized and practiced play which you simply won’t find in solo queue. Unless you’re very confident in it I wouldn’t recommend buying the Scrying Orb very often.
There are a few situations I would consider having an Orb practical, first of all if you are going to buy an Orb dish out the extra 475g for the full upgrade, 60 seconds off the cooldown is more than worthwhile. The Orb’s best use is team fights; highly mobile opponents like Lee Sin, Rengar, and Ezreal who can abuse bushes to kite enemies around and win team fights can be completely countered by the Orb so use the active on top of the fight and you get vision of all your opponents for five seconds. It’s more than enough time to pick out priority targets and eliminate them before they become a problem.
Let’s go over some basic Trinket strategies. Start the game with five Warding Totems and at 6 minutes the jungler backs and purchases a Sweeping Lens. The support gets a Sightstone at level 8 but doesn’t swap to Lens. At level 11 they can buy a Farsight Orb for 475g for team fighting. The jungler at the same time upgrades his Lens to an Oracle’s Lens, and the top laner switches to a basic Lens.
You have a regular Lens on your top laner who can routinely use it to clear Baron of any wards. The upgraded Lens on the jungler can clear each one of the other brushes around Baron, giving complete control. The Support should be carrying a regular Vision ward as well should the team actually want to attempt the Baron. The ADC/Mid can use their warding trinkets to keep constant vision on both pathways to Baron. If a fight should break out in that area (which would be your intention by controlling that much vision) the support can drop the Orb active to get vision of the enemy team despite all the brushes and perhaps a lack of extra wards to place in the area, but the vision from the Orb is more than enough for a team to clean up a fight.
However, I wouldn’t recommend buying Orb very often, It requires too much coordination for proper use in Solo Queue. Rather, having 2 upgraded Lens, 2 upgraded Totems (one for ward duration and one for a pink ward), and having either 1 more regular ward or 1 more Lens from the top laner depending on what your goals are with your team comp is ideal.
Vision Wards still exist but have been altered vastly, they cost 100g and last forever but they’re visible and take five hits to kill. Basically, constantly Vision-warding common areas is no longer ideal. To get the most out of your pink wards you need to use them differently, defensively mainly and in unorthodox areas that still give good vision. Try to keep them out of the enemies path so you get the most out of the duration. Here are some good examples of good areas to use your pink wards.
Both of these “small” bushes get a lot less player traffic than other bushes in the river. So you can easily average a life time of 3-10 minutes per pink ward placed in either of these brushes, which is about ideal.
The best spots I’ve found so far for Vision Wards are to defend from dives and invades. If I’m playing ADC and I have an extra 100g my first back, I almost always buy a Vision ward and place it on my red/blue buff. I let Support/Jungle hold on to their Vision Wards for other purposes such as vision control at bot lane and dragon/buff control. If I’m top/mid lane I’ll usually buy a Vision Ward 1st/2nd back and place it on whichever buff is top side. These two Vision Wards permanently defend your buffs until an enemy is in the area, and if an enemy is spotted then they’ve done their job.
These are basic defensive wards to defend your own buffs:
Now as you can see, the ward to defend the red buff is not placed with vision of the actual buff. However, that spot will have a much longer average life-span for the Vision Ward while still giving enough vision to see if there are enemies inside your jungle. The Vision Ward will also be able to see any red buff being pulled into the bush, should you suspect an invade and glance over.
Additionally, you may place a Vision Ward directly beneath the Dragon, this will always yield vision of the pit, and will also be a nuisance to clear, like this:
No matter what camera angle you approach from and how much time you spend trying to click the ward, it’s impossible. The only way to kill that ward is to hit the dragon first and move it out of the way. This grants an attack speed slow on the attacker as well as some damage, which allows you more time to respond and interrupt the enemy.
For the best use of Wards and Trinkets, you will need apply your own experience and creativity. Playing and practicing and testing new things is how you perfect skills, even skills like these. Different team compositions versus different team compositions and different players, different strategies, etc. They massively change how all these things apply from game to game. If you put in the time to experiment and figure things out for yourself, you’ll help not only yourself grow, but the entire community. I’m simply providing a place to start! Good luck and have fun.