TL/DR: Here's a guide on how to win games with only a sightstone.
“I know one thing. When you all run up on him, you best be more.” - Omar Little, The Wire
Let's try a little thought experiment.
Let's say you're in a LoL tournament with a substantial cash prize for winning, but nothing for second place. You and your friends find yourselves in the finals. The organizer comes up to you guys and explains this tournament and its really weird rules. In effect, the final game takes place with 25 minutes already on the clock to start and most champions having gold and items already. The outer towers are down but the rest are up, and both teams have one dragon. You then have a choice of which team to play on:
- Team 1 has everyone with two items completed.
- Team 2 has everyone with THREE items completed, but one champion is AFK. They're not allowed to play, and Team B has to make do with four men.
Which do you choose to play as, for all the money?
I bet you took Team 1, didn't you? So did I. Let's face it, this is something we already know: numbers trump items and gold. That's the point of ganks, to have a fight where you outnumber them. That's the point of wards, right? To make sure you're not outnumbered.
But, a running theme amongst warding guides is that they're defensive; they'll just let you see the bad man coming. Instead, you should be seeing your wards, and your sightstone, as an offensive tool. In other words, not only should you use them to avoid fights when outnumbered, you also need to pick fights when you outnumber them. Here's how you can go about it:
THE BUS SCHEDULE
I really like how they added the buff timers to the scoreboard, and if you see the buff die, you get the timer kept for you. I call it the “bus schedule”, because when that timer runs out, their jungler's gonna be hit by a bus. Obviously, this works for dragons and barons too, but the highest percentage plays are on the enemy team's buffs.
Think about it. Their team will certainly pull together for dragons, barons, and sieges, but very often the jungler will be taking second blue alone, at worst, he'll have his midlaner with him. Since that midlaner was just in mid, we'll know. The jungler almost never has any help taking red, it's usually either him or his ADC there alone. All we need to do is have three or more men in that sector of the jungle at that time, and we'll get a kill. From there, we can roll it up into a dragon or tower. You know, as long as we don't miss the bus.
The buffs are on five-minute timers, and appear at 1:55. Typically, the first buff dies shortly after 2:00, although it's more like 2:30 these days. That means the next buff will come around 7:30, the one after that at around 12:30. In other words, when the minutes on the game clock hit 2 or 7, the buff is spawning soon. Think about that...
Let's be frank here, trinket wards suck. One minute isn't long enough to make a tangible impact. On the other hand, the three-minute sightstone wards are great. Three minutes is six minion waves, plenty of time for the game dynamics to change.
Now, if your wards last three minutes, when should you go ward to make sure you get to the bus on time? The answer is 2:30 to 2:00 ahead of time. Not 3:00, because if the victim is late, your wards will disappear before you're ready. Not much later than 2:00, because your wards lose their worth once the objective is taken and you can only have three out at a time; might as well be losing wards with little time left when you replace them elsewhere.
GANK MY LANER, I GANK YOUR JUNGLE!
One of the most important things a jungler has is his threat that he may be anywhere; and he loses it if he shows up on the enemy team's minimap. If he shows top, bot lane knows they're safe as long as the mid laner's still on screen.
If I'm supporting and I see that the jungler's top, I can't do much about it four minutes in and haven't backed. I don't have teleport, and I'm not going to drop my ADC to go drop a one minute ward somewhere. However, if I've got my sightstone and I see the jungler gank, I thank him; his jungle's mine. In three wards, I can light up half of it. If it also happens to be 2 minutes before a buff's gonna spawn, I thank him more. He's just given us a kill, a buff, and a dragon.
NOT THE TARGET, THE APPROACHES TO THE TARGET
It's convenient that both buffs have bushes next to them to put wards in, huh? Don't ward there though, that's lazy. You already know that the objective is where they're going, so you don't need a ward there itself. Instead, ward the pathways to the objective to see them coming. For example, If I'm attacking the blue buff, I'll ward as follows:
Mid lane access path to wolves (ward can see wolves)
Five way junction behind blue buff
Three-way junction between mid lane and blue buff (can see hallway midlaner takes to blue buff)
Attacking red, we have:
- Raptor bush edge (ward can see raptors)
- Curved bush across from red (can see red and krugs access path)
- Choice of clearing between raptors and river, or side lane tribush. Depends who I see as a bigger threat, mid or bot lane.
With deep wards like these, you'll see anyone well before they're to the objective in question, and they'll last long enough to be there when the objective's up. Practice it in custom games, and you can be in and out of their jungle in seconds. You can be back to hold your ADC's hand in no time.
Okay, going to drop the wards was the easy part. Now, how the hell do you get these solo queue yahoos to come to the bus stop? Well...
I'm going to level with you here, I don't have a surefire way to get a solo queue player to pay attention. They're like cats, and if they happen to see the red dot of a laser pointer? Sorry son, you're not going to be able to get their attention.
However, I can tell you what grabs their attention. Mainly, it's farm. Try as I might, I can't get a grass-eating vegan to stop planting potatoes, but if they're not farming at the moment, it's not that hard to get them to go chase a kill. The exception is junglers. As long as they're not Trick2g fanboys, they're used to looking for enemy champions to eat. I have a high success rate by saying “VI! Enemy blue 90 secs, wards deployed.” They look at the timer, see the fresh wards, and they seem to be appreciative of having a play all laid out for them in a minute.
So, my attempt at a solution: Waveclear.
Fuck the pushing lane, I want my ADC to be ready to go in a minute or two. I don't want to miss the bus. So, I'll do what I can to get his laning time minimized by hitting high-health minions. We don't need to harass that much, just hold onto that health and mana. Hopefully they don't stop to back when the bus is about to arrive. /sadpanda
When it's time to go catch the bus, ping all of the applicable laners (use a red ! ping, it's the most attention getting), then flag ping the objective. If you've got the deep wards down, even bronzies can see that the target's there, and that he or she's alone. And like I said, you can't get them to stop chasing farm, but you CAN get them to go chase kills. Might as well use that power for good, by providing them with one or two targets, completely surrounded by vision.
Naturally, this works with every timer. Since you swapped your yellow trinket for a red once when you got your sightstone (YOU DID DO THIS, RIGHT!?), you can also clean a bush. Naturally, this is a great way to set up ambushes. If you know they have an objective timer, you can instead forgo taking the objective and just set up an ambush on the way. It doesn't happen often in solo queue, but those of you know that when it does, it almost always works. Flag pings are your friend. Also, if you aren't sure that they have the timer, you can always “slip up” in all chat:
/all drag 1 min
Oh, the other team will come to drag in about 45 seconds. Sweep a bush in 35 seconds, and watch as you get multiple kills. And then the objective. You know, because it's there and you're all alive.
Remember, numbers trump gold and items, so the point is to be less concerned with the gold and items. Instead, try to find situations where enemies are typically alone. In your next game, try it. Watch yourself and think “can the other team ambush me here?” If they're not on the minimap, they can. Ask yourself, “If they're all in that bush, do I live?” Probably not.
And finally, ask yourself this:
“How do I get that fear into my opponents?”