Wards are a staple part of Dota 2 gameplay. These static items can be positioned just about anywhere on a game map. What makes wards so important? These handy items provide players with vision, enabling them to sight nearby enemies. This oversight is invaluable, helping you perfect your strategy and decide your next move. First-time Dota 2 players are often clueless when it comes to warding. Thankfully, our expert guide will have you warding like a pro in no time.
An Introduction to Vision
You’ll need to use the in-game minimap if you want to master warding in Dota 2. Nowadays, most video games have a minimap or HUD feature. However, it’s particularly important in MOBA games.
In Dota 2, the minimap makes it clear what your team can actually see. Things like map structures, nearby heroes, and items will all be featured on this map. Each hero (or unit) has a limited sight radius, although allied units get to share what they see with teammates.
When a game commences, only a fraction of the map will be visible. Beyond the immediate vicinity of allied heroes and some structures, the rest of the map will be covered by the so-called fog of war. Anything within this haze will be invisible to you and your allies. If you want your team to come out on top, you need to focus on clearing this fog and improving your vision credentials.
A lot of factors influence vision. It’s important to remember that Dota 2 has a day/night cycle. Your vision radius is almost twice as large during the day cycle. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Certain heroes like Night Stalker boast enhanced vision during night cycles.
Map terrain also limits vision. Everyday obstacles like trees and structures can conceal enemy combatants. What’s more, if your enemy has the higher ground, their vision will have far better vision than yours. The good news is that warding provides you with an easy way to bolster your vision and gain an edge over the competition.
Let’s Talk About Wards
In Dota 2, vision is largely fuelled by wards. Sentry Wards and Observer Wards are purchasable items that can be deployed during a game to provide much-needed vision.
With an Observer ward, you can unlock vision with an impressive 1400 radius. This vision radius isn’t impacted by the day/night cycle, either. When you ally one of these units to your team, it’s almost having another hero in your lineup. There are some drawbacks, however. Although they’re visible, Observer wards can be spotted by an enemy Sentry ward. Once sighted, they can be destroyed by offensive spells and items, with no way of protecting themselves. Furthermore, they’ll only remain on the map for six minutes after being placed.
Sentry wards don’t provide you with vision, but they can be used to put a dent in the vision capabilities of the enemy. These useful items can quickly sniff out the presence of Observer wards. The downside? Unlike Observer wards, Sentry wards are visible. This makes them exposed and ripe for the pickings if enemy heroes are in the vicinity.
How to Make the Best Use of Wards
Each team starts a game with two Observer wards and four Sentry wards. You can store up to four Observer wards and 10 Sentry wards at any one time. This might seem like a lot, but it’s easy to waste their potential if you’re not thinking seriously about warding.
When it comes to warding, placement is key. Does your team currently have the upper hand? It’s worth leaning into an aggressive style of play. Placing your wards deep in enemy territory is a good move. If you need some placement inspiration, check out the Dota 2 tournament here and see the kind of tricks the pros pull off.
Are you having trouble holding ground? Defensive warding is the way to go. Placing wards throughout the jungle will ensure you’re not pushed back further by the enemy. The more the play, the more predictive you’ll be able to be when placing wards. Target rune spawning spots where enemy combatants are likely to appear. It’s also worth placing wards in the vicinity of enemy shrines. Your rivals are going to eventually need those aura pick-me-ups, but you can make life difficult for them with some wise ward placement.