Support is the role in LoL that demands overall game understanding. Support champions are high utility champions that create advantages and opportunities for their teammates to capitalize on. A skilled support gives their team the edge it needs to claim victory, and can turn the tide of battle with just one well-timed play.
HOW TO PICK RIGHT SUPPORT IN LoL
The most popular supports at the moment are Janna, Thresh, Alistar, Annie, Braum, Lulu and Leona. These champions are so popular because they have every tool they need. All of them have ways to peel for their mates and initiate fights or disengage from them.
Picking the perfect support is made by analyzing your team composition as well as the enemy team composition. If your team has strong team fight presence but lacks initiation tools or the enemy team has many immobile champions then you should pick Alistar, Annie, Braum or Leona. These supports can start fights very easily with their AoE crowd control that allows the team mates to catch up and dish out the damage. If your team consists of immobile carries such as Kog’Maw, Jinx, Orianna, Ryze or Ashe or the enemy team has many mobile champions that can reach to your back line very quickly then you should play champions such as Janna, Alistar, Thresh, Braum or Lulu because they have many crowd control abilities that will stop the enemies trying to hurt your mates and thus will lead to won team fights.
In case you are new to the role and do not know how to play all these champions just yet, you should try easy champions with which you cannot do anything wrong, such as Lulu, Soraka or Morgana. Because these champions do not have to be in danger to do well and all of their abilities can help the team they are easy supports that can be played by anyone and even beginners can have an impact in team fights.
TOP TIER SUPPORTS FOR RANKED SOLO QUEUE
Even though there are many supports in the game and most of them are good in certain matchups there are some champions that work well in almost every matchup. These champions are top tier and if played right they can win the lane and the game by snowballing their team’s advantage.
The top tier supports in solo queue right now are Leona, Thresh and Morgana. All of them provide great initiation tools as well as great peeling. All of them have a lot of crowd control and other sorts of utility such as Thresh’s lantern and Morgana’s Black Shield.
SUPPORTS FOR ADVANCED LOL PLAYERS
If you aren’t a new support player then you have enough experience to play the champions with a high risk high reward factor. There are only two of these in the support role and those are Bard and Tahm Kench. These two are the newest supports in the game and they are very powerful if played correctly. If they aren’t played correctly on the other hand, they could lose the game.
BARD AS ADVANCED SUPPORT: BASIC STRATEGY GUIDE
Bard is a champion for advanced players because of his abilities that require good timing and great placement. Everyone wants to get as many chimes as possible as fast as possible, but there are many players who do not think about the marksman they leave behind during lane phase. Leaving lane in a bad moment could get your marksman killed or just put them very behind, so you must always be careful when you roam to collect chimes. The best time to do so is when the enemy laners recall to buy items or if they do not have good ways of initiating a skirmish you can just tell your marksman to push the lane so that you can go collect chimes and ward. Another thing that makes Bard a hard support is his ultimate, Tempered Fate: “Bard sends magical energy arcing to a target location. On impact, all units — allied, enemy and neutral — in the target 350-radius area are put in Stasis icon stasis for 2.5 seconds, becoming untargetable and invulnerable but also unable to perform any action”. The fact that everyone is affected by the ultimate makes it’s timing and positioning very important because if it lands on your team mates it could lose your team the fight and maybe the game. The best time to use the ultimate is when you try to initiate a fight because there won’t be any team members near the enemies and thus the ultimate cannot land on champions it shouldn’t.
TAHM KENCH AS ADVANCED SUPPORT: BASIC STRATEGY GUIDE
Tahm Kench is the newest support in the game and also one of the hardest champions because of his Devour ability as well as Abyssal Voyage. Devour is an ability that’s very versatile as it can be used to either save a team mate, harass the enemy team or take an enemy closer to your team and kill them there. The hardest thing to do with this skill is to eat an enemy champion because you firstly have to stack An Acquired Taste three times since Devour won’t work if you do not. Hitting enemies three times is very hard because if you aren’t tanky enough or they can kite you, you might die before you get to hit them, even if the slow on Tongue Lash is great, you might miss it. Another important thing about Devour is eating your team mates. If you eat them and do not manage to get away from danger or get in an even worse position then you will have wasted it and potentially killed your team mate because they might’ve had a way to escape before you ate them. Abyssal Voyage is a very interesting ability because it allows you to take an allied champion to a place that’s very far away, the ability having a range of 4000 at level 1 and 6000 at level 3. This ability is great at starting fights where the enemy team is circled and don’t have anywhere to escape, but if your team does not follow or if you land it poorly then all you will do is give the enemy team two or more kills and potential objectives which might turn into a great advantage over your team and an opportunity to snowball and win the game from that mistake. Even if it’s a dangerous ability to use in the later parts of the game, early and mid game the ability is great at letting your marksman farm while also being able to group for fights or objectives. Using the ability this way will make your marksman gain a substantial creep score advantage, thus gaining more gold than the enemy marksman and being able to reach the late game build faster.
Even if the two supports have things that make them harder than the others, you can play them safely, for example you can use Tahm’s Devour to peel enemy champions away from the carries of the team and you can use Bard’s Tempered Fate to catch enemies that go away or just use it on the enemy backline if your mates don’t have any way of getting there soon enough.
MASTERIES FOR SUPPORTS IN LoL
Since there are two types of supports: melee and ranged, you have to make two mastery pages because they play differently.
MASTERIES FOR RANGED SUPPORTS
Ranged supports usually go 0/9/21 and put one point into Fleet of Foot, three into Expanded Mind, three into Summoner’s Insight, one into Alchemist and Culinary Master, max out the gold gaining masteries as well as Intelligence and Inspiration and take Wanderer as the last tier of masteries. Into the defense tree you should take Block, Recovery, Unyielding, Veteran Scars and Juggernaut. These masteries give you a good amount of movement speed, gold, experience gain and sustain from potions while also making you bulkier so that you can survive more damage while skirmishes are going on or when there’s a gank happening.
MASTERIES FOR MELEE SUPPORTS
Melee supports work best with 0/16/14 masteries because they are always in range of enemy attacks and they have to be able to survive. In the utility tree you take Fleet of Foot, Expanded Mind, Summoner’s Insight, Alchemist, Culinary Master and max out the gold gaining masteries, while in the defense tree you max out Block, Recovery, Unyielding, Veteran Scars, Juggernaut, Hardiness, Reinforced Armor and Resistance. Even if you have points into the utility tree, you will still be tanky enough to survive the early to mid game. Many melee supports also have ways of increasing their effective health, for example Leona’s Eclipse which gives her a lot of armor and magic resist, or Alistar’s Unbreakable Will which reduces all damage taken by 70% for 7 seconds.
RUNES FOR SUPPORTS IN LoL
Ranged supports often go for Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration because they help your basic attacks as well as spells to deal more damage, thus increasing the overall harass you can put out, a mix of 4 Greater Seals of Armor and 5 Greater Seals of Health because they make you tanky enough to survive any skirmish, Greater Glyphs of Mana Regen or Greater Glyphs of Magic Resist, depending on if you want to be tankier or be able to use your abilities more often and for Quintessences, ranged supports often go for either movement speed quintessences or ability power quintessences since both are very useful.
Melee supports go for more tanky runes such as Greater Marks of Armor, Greater Seals of Health, Greater Glyphs of Magic Resist and Greater Quintessences of Health or Movement speed. Both types of quintessences work because you can always use more movement speed to get to champions in need of help faster, thus increasing your usefulness as a support. Overall, melee runes are giving statistics to make the champion very tanky early on so that they can survive skirmishes, ganks and harass.
SUMMONER SPELLS FOR SUPPORTS IN LoL
Besides taking Flash, supports take Exhaust or Ignite alongside it for maximum effectiveness of their role. Knowing which one to pick and when is very important because they might create advantages for your team in fights or clutch moments.
WHEN YOU SHOULD TAKE EXHAUST AS SUPPORT?
Exhaust is very good against assassins such as Zed, Talon and Ahri and it’s also pretty good to be used on champions that are tanky but also deal a lot of damage such as Jax and Irelia because besides reducing their movement speed, attack speed and damage it also reduces their armor and magic resist so that your team can deal more damage to them while they are in a weak spot. Exhaust is a great pick up when the team doesn’t have that much crowd control, like when you are playing Bard who only has two crowd control abilities or Tahm Kench.
WHEN YOU SHOULD TAKE IGNITE AS SUPPORT?
Ignite is great when you play against heal heavy champions such as Soraka or Dr. Mundo because it reduces healing effects on the target, but it’s also good when used before the enemy uses summoner spell Heal because it still reduces that heal. It is a very good summoner spell when you play a support with a lot of crowd control such as Thresh and when your lane has great burst potential, when you are playing Leona for example. Your full combo plus your marksman’s hits make up great damage that when used in combination with a good placed Ignite will destroy the enemy health bar and secure a kill for your team.
ITEMIZATION AND BUILDS FOR SUPPORTS
Support item builds depend very much on what you play, what your enemies are playing and how the game is turning. To take the best out of your items you should analyze these situations and adjust them to what you need. There are three items that bring gold income:
- Relic Shield which gives the wearer 75 Health and a passive which lets you kill minions to generate extra gold and health to a team mate nearby
- Spellthief’s Edge which gives it’s wearer 5 ability power, 2 gold generation, + 25% base mana regeneration and a passive which increases the damage you deal by 10 and gives you 5 gold each time you attack
- Ancient Coin which gives the wearer +25% mana regeneration and a passive which grants them 3 gold and 5 health whenever they are around a minion who dies, but not by being hit by the wearer of Ancient Coin.
Each of these items are starter items which should be bought in the beginning of the game and they are very useful from the early game to the late game either by helping the support directly or their team. Tank champions with the exception of Alistar should purchase Relic Shield because they need the extra health and the passive effect is extremely useful to them and their marksman in the early game, ranged supports should buy Spellthief’s Edge because it increases their harass and gives them a good amount of gold over time and Ancient Coin should be purchased by supports that have sustain abilities such as Soraka’s Astral Infusion or Alistar’s Triumphant Roar because it gives them extra mana regen and health while also giving the most gold out of all the gold generating items. Soraka could be played with Spellthief’s Edge, but if she has to heal a lot then she’ll fall short of health and the enemy team could focus her and get an easy kill.
Besides the gold generator you should start the game with one Sight Ward, 2 health potions and a Warding Totem. This will ensure that you have enough vision until you have enough gold to go back to base.
On your first recall you should buy Sightstone if you have the gold for it. It is the most important item in a support’s arsenal since it provides a way of maintaining vision and thus making you be safer. When you buy Sightstone you should immediately swap your trinket to Sweeping Lens because there is a cap on how many wards you can have up at any time in the game and that cap is 3, so Sweeping Lens will be more useful to you to take out the enemy wards and maybe set up a gank from your jungler.
If you do not have gold for Sightstone you could either buy a Ruby Crystal to get closer to it or upgrade your gold generator, depending on how the game goes. If you are winning lane or if it’s a farming lane then you can upgrade the gold generator because you will probably have enough gold to buy Sightstone when you recall next.
After buying Sightstone you should upgrade the gold generator and buy Boots of Speed. If you can buy a Vision Ward then it’s great because it is very important to denying enemy vision.
After finishing all the gold generator upgrades you will have to analyze what’s going on in the game again because this is where the build can change. If you are playing a champion who cannot knockback enemies that have a lot of crowd control then you could buy Mikael’s Crucible because it’s very important to keep your carries alive since it gives them some health and more importantly, it cleanses the crowd control. If the enemy team has many ability power based champions you should rush Aegis of the Legion to complete it into Locket of the Iron Solari so that your team has a magic resist aura that will help them negate some of the damage while the shield will help them survive some of the damage. Another important item that you can buy after finishing the generator is Frozen Heart. This is good for champions that find themselves into the battle close to the enemies because it slows their attack speed. It is very good if the enemies have champions reliant on basic attacks such as Irelia or Jax if you peel a lot or if you play a support that can initiate fights such as Leona or Alistar and you want to slow down the enemy attacks until your team catches up and starts putting dents into them.
After finishing one of these items you can either go for others if you need them or if you are a melee you can get tankier by buying appropriate items. If you are a ranged champion you can buy other things that can help your team such as Banner of Command which you can use on a lane to make it push all the time so that you can either siege on the other side of the map or set up for an objective.
It is imperative to upgrade your trinket to Oracle Lens very soon because it allows you to find more wards and thus deny more vision and making the enemy team be less secure.
Most of the time, the best Boots of Speed upgrade option is Mobility Boots because you need to roam a lot to put up wards.
WARDING AS SUPPORT
Early game you should always keep tribush warded, as well as river (near dragon if the enemy team doesn’t have a jungler who can jump walls without being spotted) and the lane bush near the enemy duo.
In the mid game you should put a pink ward in the river, in the bush near dragon if it isn’t already pinked. If it already has a pink ward then you can put it into the bush in the enemy jungle, the one between the raptor camp and the river.
From there on, as the game advances you have to ward places where the enemy team might be, this means deeper wards if you’re winning or wards closer to your base if you’re losing.
Support is one of the hardest roles in the game, not only because of the awareness the player must have, but because of some of the mechanics involved too, but if played well it can be very rewarding.
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