Paragon, like any MOBA, is often won or lost based on the amount of information you and your team have on the enemy. Key to this is a constant amount of vision so that you can not only predict the movement of your enemy but prevent their actions from happening. Wards and Shadow Wards are critical to success in Paragon and are vital for not only gaining vision over your enemy team, but to also counter-jungle and secure easier “ganks” as a result. Effectively, if you know exactly where the enemy are at all times you can comfortably play around them.
There are two types of Ward in Paragon: Scout’s and Shadow. Regardless of which you own, they all provide vision in a set radius around their location when placed down. When an enemy enters into this radius, you and your team will be alerted and you will be able to view them on the mini-map. What differentiates both Ward types is the following:
1. Has one charge
2. Always visible
3. Low cost (1 card point)
4. Cannot be upgraded
1. Has two charges
2. Stealthed when placed
3. High cost (3 card points)
4. Can be upgraded, depending on the attributes of the Shadow Ward card
5. Can be seen if detected by another Shadow Ward or if an enemy player is stood in a Shadow Pool
Irrespective of which Ward type you have, you can place them anywhere in Agora. It’s important to note that Wards only last for 3 minutes and can be destroyed. If your Ward is destroyed or despawns, simply return back to base to replenish your charges.
As mentioned briefly above, Wards are an imperative part of Paragon because they provide you with vision. Junglers such as Khaimera or Grux are a constant threat to anyone in lane and their sole purpose is to “gank” those who are stationed in the left, middle or right lane. Having a Ward situated inside the Jungle, near your lane, provides you with an early warning system so that you can retreat to safety.
While Wards are undoubtedly valuable for self preservation, they’re also incredibly useful for pinpointing where the enemy team are. If you know their location, you can not only counter them easily but pin-point them for an easy gank. If the enemy also has Towers down, this makes it particularly easy as they push down a long lane.
Fundamentally, a Ward will save your life (many times over) while giving you and your team enough vision to easily counter and kill the enemy.
How your Shadow Ward will look once placed. Notice on the mini-map Blue eyes detonate your Ward, Orange the enemies.
When should I purchase a Ward?
While this might be up for debate, I would suggest immediately. The very first points you have, should be a Ward. For the first 15-20 minutes of Paragon, it’s all about farming your lane. You can only farm effectively if you can guarantee your own safety and Wards facilitate this. While many might argue for Strike Tokens, health or mana potions, you do not need them. In fact, no build does. A Shadow Ward (if you choose an offensive version) provides damage and mana, or damage and health. Freezing your lane effectively, using only basic attacks and not antagonizing the enemy can comfortably see you never run out of mana or take damage. Should you want to and when you’ve secured your first three card points, you can then pursue your standard build. I've yet to read a valid argument for not taking a Shadow Ward with the first three points.
Where should I place my Ward?
Wards are an alarm system that provides an early warning of incoming players. If you place them immediately next your lane, you won’t gain enough warning - against someone in travel mode - to actually retreat safely. If a Jungler is running towards you in Travel Mode and you’re in the middle of your lane, you need at least six seconds to begin to retreat. A Ward placed near the Shadow Pool (or either side of the middle lane) will not provide enough notice and more often than not, you’ll die to an approaching enemy. If you can, you should always place your Ward deep into the Jungle so you’ve plenty of time to react.
My recommended locations for placing Wards (denoted by the Orange circles)
Which Ward should I take?
Without question, you should always take a Shadow Ward over a Scout’s. The kind you choose is entirely up to you, but I would strongly recommend one that allows you to build early game damage (three x1 Cast or Strike). This will not only help your early farm when last hitting, but will also ensure your damage is enough to harass the individual(s) you’re laning against. The value of a Shadow Ward is not only the ability to build damage onto them, but because the Shadow Ward itself is invisible when placed and comes with two charges. Gaining double the amount of vision thanks to two wards is invaluable but the fact they’re invisible - unless someone counter Wards - ensures they often last for a considerable amount of time.
What should I do if my Ward is killed or if my lane enemy is also Warding?
My best advice is to always place your Ward after your lane enemy has placed theirs. This gives you an advantage in the fact you can place yours, detect theirs and then kill it. The enemy you’re facing will only have one charge remaining and again, the moment they place that you repeat the process. It’s common against a skilled player that you’ll constantly be fighting for Ward supremacy and that in itself becomes a mini-game when laning. However, if you try to always place your Ward second, hunt theirs when they return back to base or have your team stand in the Shadow Pool to uncover them, you should come out on top.
Where else should I place Wards?
Key locations such as Buffs (Red, Blue and Black) including your own and the enemies are vital locations. It’s also worth placing a Ward next to the Orb Prime to be sure the enemy aren’t sneakily securing it. A final valuable location, certainly if the enemy has a Kallari, is to the left or right of your lane where the furthest Harvesters are located. A well skilled Kallari will often lurk there, in the knowledge that players typically Ward where a jungler gains access to the lane.
Should I sell my Ward at any point?
Honestly, I wouldn’t. Wards are invaluable all game and I would argue gain greater importance towards late-game than early. When a single death can cause serious problems for you and your team, having vision on your enemy so you can stay alive (and hopefully gank them) can prove invaluable. As long as you base your build around it including a Shadow Ward all the way through, there’s absolutely no harm in not keeping your Ward.
How are enemies killing my Wards without placing their own?
As mentioned briefly above, Shadow Wards can be detected if an enemy player is using a Shadow Pool. If an enemy player stands in one, their team will then be able to see it before killing it. Doing this is a key tactic and one your own team can utilise. It’s also worth noting that if the enemy team has a Kallari and she is stealthed, she too can reveal Shadow Wards for her team to kill.
Will I lose potential damage by taking a Ward?
Technically yes but the most you will lose is a measley 6.5 damage. Offensive Shadow Ward cards provided 6.5 energy or physical damage and a further 6.5 on upgrade completion. The highest damage card, with no Shadow Ward facility provides 6.5 energy or physical damage with a final bonus of 13. The difference, 6.5, is entirely negligible early, mid and late game. Considering the benefits you and your team gain from having a Shadow Ward, the tiny damage loss is entirely irrelevant.
Is there anything else I should know?
The best advice I can give is that you always have your Shadow Ward up and active. If its been killed and it’s safe to leave your lane for a few minutes, go back to base and restore your charges. Ensuring you have an active ward in vital locations ensures easy lane farming, counter jungling and an ability to rotate lanes to gank unaware enemies.
Think I've missed something? Let me know and I'll add it to this guide!
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