Tank vs Support in bot lane
I'm still a relatively new player, so feel free to spell out what I'm not realizing. I'm also only 1300 ELO, so I have no firsthand experience with how things play out in upper ELO outside streams.
I'm trying to figure out why I would choose Soraka/Janna/Sona/[pure support] to compliment my bot lane when I could pick something far tankier (Maokai, Malphite, ... even Alistar) and to provide the same role. Whenever I go with a true support in bot lane, I feel the laning phase is solid, but in the transition to mid/late game, I feel more and more useless relative to using a tanky champ. Maybe I just suck/need more experience in late game support?
I choose Soraka for her awesome sustain, I provide poke/harass to discourage opponent CS where I can, and as we transition to late game, I try to provide clutch silence/heals where I can. Once I use these abilities, I feel relatively useless as I stare at my long CDs.
If I choose Malphite, I still get to harass/run some interference, but when we transition to mid/late game, I provide awesome initiation, CC, and am much more "useful" (in my noob opinion).
I used to think "well, I'll go true support if we already have a tank solo top or jungling," but even with TWO tanks, I still feel more useful. Maokai/Malphite initiating is hella CC/interference for your AP/AD backup to fulfill their roles.
I know people say "win your lane, win the game," but I've noticed in Ranked games, people don't /ff so easily at 20. More often than not, they hang in there, and fight tooth and nail rather than lose ELO. The longer the game drags on, the more it starts to feel like a 4v5 match (or 4.5 vs 5 match if that sounds too dramatic).
Is it just my ELO? Is it a valid alternative strategy? Am I just bad at support?
TL;DR I think tanks contribute more to team fights mid/late game than supports, so why not bank on a long-term strategy than gamble on an early surrender from a dominate laning phase/early game?
If the enemy carries / support setup is good bot lane and your carry gets them self poked its GG. You will get denied so hard and just be a tank standing in the bush. The strategy your suggesting calls for much more aggressive play where bot lane just likes to farm until ganks and 2v3s. Sure you can pick a tank and not play aggressive but then your basically a wasted champion until team fights. Support tank hybrids are fun to mess around with in my opinion, Leona is one of my favorites. She gains massive def from her W so she has great poke potential with her passive, but if your vs a raka/sona then its GG for your lane, gona be **** near impossible to widdle them down.
TL;DR, support is the safe choice
Dogman's TL;DR is spot on. It's the safe choice. However, if you see the enemy go with a support choice that doesn't have a consistent heal, by all means try out a tankier champ.
I tend to play support a lot, but in my opinion, playing tankier champs at support requires a great deal of knowledge on matchups and exceptional map awareness. Also, you must avoid any and all unnecessary damage. If you end up taking too much poke, you are useless to your carry. And if you're low and unaware of where the enemy jungler is, well, it could spell early disaster.
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