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According to my calculations if I place 2 wards every 3 minutes I'll get my money back in 15 minutes. After that it is a huge win to have the item. In most games I won't fill up my inventory or if I do it will be well over the 30 minute mark.

So is it viable to buy this item on any other role than a support? (I'm assuming that the support player also buys it.)

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You might consider reworking the title of your question. –  Toast Jun 27 '13 at 14:48
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Only if you're playing Lee Sin on mid in my opinion. Makes for interesting plays and the item just works on him extremely well if you're counter-jungling/roaming. It would probably be my second/third item if I decided to get it. And yes, I understand Lee Sin is not an AP mid, but that's besides the question. –  Nick Jun 27 '13 at 15:10
    
I can also see it working for Katarina, since she has a blink mechanic similar to Lee Sin's dash. But then again, I suppose it may just be better to simply build more AP on her. –  Schism Jun 27 '13 at 17:12

4 Answers 4

Overall, I believe it's a bad idea. Some things to consider:

  • A Sightstone costs a lot of money up front. In fact, you can't buy it at the start of the game, unlike a ward or 2. That means you will be without any wards for several minutes at least, when you are most vulnerable to ganks, and a death because of that will cost you much more gold than you saved. Also, if you leave the lane early to complete the Sightstone, you may miss cs because your opponent is still in lane and could push the wave into your tower while you buy.

  • You forfeit AP/mana items in favor of a little survivability. You may not have enough damage to win trades, in which case a couple more hit points won't matter. Getting zoned out for a few minutes or outright killed because you can't deal enough trade damage will again cost you much more gold than you save.

  • Do you really need 2 perma-wards? That means you push hard all the time and/or you prefer champions that are slow and lack non-ultimate escapes. Consider whether 1 ward per 3 minutes could be enough. Ward 1 side of the river and position yourself closer to that ward rather than the middle of the lane. That way, you have enough vision in either direction to run away from ganks.

In conclusion, smarter play and map awareness will dramatically reduce your need for wards. I do not believe a Sightstone is a viable item choice for carries, AP or AD.

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For map awareness: you'll still need wards. But I agree perma-wards might not be necessary. Punctually placing wards might be good enough. Therefore you can just buy them as you need them. –  M'vy Jun 27 '13 at 13:30

Assuming you place enough wards during the game to make it worth and you can afford to lose tempo it should be a good item.

The drawbacks of this is that Sighstone is pretty expensive to buy at first. It only provide 180 health points for 950g. This will hinder your power compared to a champion going for a more offensive item.

However, sometimes power is not everything. If you (and the team) can take advantage of map awareness for a better play, this will be really worth. However, if you can't take advantage of a better warding, this will more prevent you from getting strong enough to win.

If you are already playing defensively and need a better protection against ganks, this can also be a good shot.

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Purchasing Sightstone on a mid-lane champion is a defensive strategy. I would only recommend it if the opposing jungler is a serious problem for you, or you're well ahead and you want to maintain the lead via map awareness.

Because the mid lane role typically focuses on burst damage, you're almost always better off buying damage.

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I Agree with Hackworth that it's not a really good investment and it will put you a little behind in items in your lane

But if you know your ennemy laner can't kill you without the jungler it could be worth it considering the gold you will not loose avoiding death and you will not give to your opponent. And if you consider that you are also helping your jungler to prevent invade from his jungle I would say that it's a little bit more team oriented than the selfish mentality mid ;-)

And there is some situation where you have additionals advantage : If you have champions (katarina, Lee Sin , jax) that can use the ward to escape by jumping on it.

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