Phase 2: Protect mid
Once you've bought a couple core items and feel comfortable leaving your lane for a bit (and your partner is prepared to solo if you're support), you'll want to adopt some altruism and spread the wards around. Bottom should always have wards coming out from the support player, who should have bought the Ruby Sightstone for an endless supply of wards. But your mid-lane buddy is spending all off their gold on snowballing into the carry of your dreams. Placing your wards around their lane helps them doubly: it saves them money and their life by preventing ganks.
As blue team (the one that starts on the bottom of the map), there are four primaryu spots I love to place shrooms at on the north side of mid lane, pictured below. If you're playing support and just planting a ward, I'd go with the central brush clump.
The placement is pretty similar on the south side of the lane, but (if I'm on blue team) I place them a little more aggressively to allow mid to push the tower without leaving themselves vulnerable to the side path. For red team Teemos, just reverse which side you're more aggressive on.
Phase 3: Set the trap
Alright, by now you've done a good job warding through early and mid game. You've avoided ganks, saved your mid's life a couple times, and earned enough gold to snatch up some hefty AP stats. Your shrooms are ready to evolve from alarm systems to heavy health bar drains. In the later stages of the match, wards and shrooms should be used to set up traps for your team to ambush enemies.
Ward locations at this stage tend to shift away from lane entrances and go deeper into the jungles now that your champs are strong enough to survive expeditions into enemy territory. Assuming you're not being pushed back into your base, key spots to grab are the wraith brush, the red buff brush, blue buff brush, and, of course, good ol' Baron.
Doing all of these wards is probably overkill, but as you play, you'll start to get the hang of which ones are needed at that particular moment depending on the flow of battle. You'll usually want have at least three of them up whenever possible to help track enemy movement. All of these camps are key tactical objectives that will make the difference come teamfight time, and you need to be aware of when they're being fought for so that you can interrupt them if needed, or steal them if possible.
Ideally, the warded vision will allow you to spot isolated enemy champions and engage on them before they have a chance to regroup with their allies. At worst, it will allow you to proceed on your normal plan with confidence, thanks to knowing exactly where the enemy team is at any given time.
The wall hop
Keep in mind that many spots can be warded safely from over a wall, such as dropping a ward into the Baron chamber from the red team's jungle, or hitting the tri-brush from inside that same deadly boss chamber to check the jungle. Wall-hopping wards can be a huge advantage during standoffs, giving your ranged champions the line-of-sight they need to hurl death at opponents who can't even see it coming. Base walls are another great spot for ward vaulting—particularly useful when one team is pinned inside their base by super minions.
Just one step more...
Teemo's shrooms become more flexible at this stage in the game as well. Now you have the option to either ignore the vision perk and use them to push creep waves or focus on setting traps for ambushing enemy players. The former is straight forward, but the latter requires watching player movement throughout the game to identify walking routes that the enemy frequents. It's what we'll be working on for this guide because it's a great way to train your mind to spot the frequently traveled routes and gain a sixth sense about ward placement.
You must always be aware of the status of all three lanes and how that will affect what routes the players will use to travel. If top lane is pushed all the way to their inhibitor, shrooms by your top lane river entrance will likely be wasted.
Some of my favorite trap lanes are enemy team wraith camp brush to my team's wolf brush, mid-lane river to baron, and the crossroads at enemy blue buff. You don't have to hit all of the spots at once with these—see where lanes are fighting and make your best guess at which paths are the most likely to be traversed soon. This is definitely a skill you'll develop over time.
You should see that in most areas, and especially Blue crossroads, we're hedging our bets by placing the shrooms in places where multiple paths intersect, and spacing them out far enough that the DoT will wear off right as they run into the next one if they continue moving forward. This ensures maximum damage, and the enemy will usually have to return to base if they hit even three of them.
1. At first, you will only be able to think of a few "must have" ward spots. But as you begin to play more and focus on placing shrooms in right locations, you'll start to find yourself analyzing the geometry pecularities of the map that lead champions through specific locations much more often than others. Placing a ward half an inch to the right can actually make a huge difference.
For example, champions walk through the jungle river entrance near mid lane all the time, and the game will always pick the most efficient route for the champion to travel. So you can look at the terrain sticking out and draw a mental line connecting the two path entrances to see where they will walk. That route is the perfect place to throw a few mushrooms. You can also use this to calculate what line-of-sight the champion will have and place your wards in tiny nooks that are less likely to be revealed by invisibility-seeing buffs.
Below I've drawn the efficient route the path-finding will run the player on who clicks towards bottom lane river from mid lane, highlight in orange where your ward grants line-of-sight on them.
2. There will come a time when you'll prefer to use your immense knowledge of where people walk on the map to ensure that players don't step on your mushrooms . They last 10 minutes and serve as excellent vision wards, but only while they're undisturbed.
Especially as an AD Teemo, whose shrooms do very little damage, the little guys are more useful as vision-granting wards than land mines. You'll need to walk a thin line of placing them near heavy traffic areas while placing them in odd nooks and crannies where they won't get stepped on and exploded before their time runs out.
Here are a few example locations you can use to ward the river with shrooms, granting line of sight on all the primary routes while maintaining a very low chance the enemy will step on the mushrooms.
3. Being aware of key objectives opening up, or when and where your team is going to push next will allow you to place mushrooms in the battlefield before the fight happens . Talking to your teammates is absolutely essential, but it's also important to note if the enemy team seems to prefer to congregate or teamfight in a certain part of the map. For example, if you notice that the mid often runs to gank bottom lane, make sure you put shrooms in the river near bottom lane. That will ensure that the shrooms are where the fight will happen, even if you can't be there.
4. This one is very situational and the payoff is debatable, but placing wards in spots that let your teammates hop terrain can save their lives. Champs like Katarina and Lee Sin can leap to friendly targets, including wards you place. It's rarely worth placing them beforehand, but it's good to keep in mind when choosing the specific location for your ward in an area.
5. I focused solely on the LoL map in this guide, but once you understand the core ideas, you can apply them to the maps in Dota 2, Heroes of Newerth, Smite, and the rest . One other important element to remember in Dota 2 is that it's terain is 3D and height matters. On top of that, trees can be destroyed to cut makeshift paths through seemingly impassable terrain. Still, placing wards near lane entrances and prime objectives is always a safe bet, and a good place to start as you master the travel paths of other maps.
Good luck out there this week, adorable Teemos! As always, you can download and play League of Legends for free . Teemo is one of the cheaper champions, and you can pick him up for $4.50 or 1350 IP if you don't already own the cutest killer with a blowdart gun. Once you've mastered wards with Teemo, taking care of ward duties on any other champion will be easy.
Five goals to aim for as you learn to ward with Teemo:
1. Avoid three ganks before hitting level six thanks to your wards.
2. Receive a "thank you" from a teammate who benefits from your wards.
3. Place more than 50 wards/mushrooms in a single game.
4. Escape an enemy chasing you in the enemy jungle by leading them over at least two mushrooms.
5. Draw a smiley face with wards.