Support 101 - A Guide to Playing Support

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Kulex

Senior Member

08-15-2011

Introduction

After losing seven of my last nine ranked games, I feel that playing at this moment is not a good idea. Seeing some of the supports in my recent games, I decided to take this time to write the first of what will be a series of guides. I'm choosing to write the support guide first because support seems to be the least understood role, even though it is probably the easiest in my opinion. I'm writing this in hopes that people who take ranked games seriously will read it and benefit from it. Whether a game starts and you don't have a support on your team or you have a support that doesn't know how to play it, you're already at a disadvantage before the game even starts. Having a good support on your team really improves your chances of doing well, and the support role is no less important than any other role. That being said, let's get into this.

What is a support?

A support champion is one that has some kind of ability that directly benefits or supports a teammate. These abilities are most common in the form of a heal or a shield. This doesn't mean that every champion with a heal or shield is a support. For example, both Kayle and Morgana are listed as support champions, with heal and shield respectively. Now, they CAN be played as support, but it doesn't mean they should be. Why? They both need farm to be effective. In the current meta, a support should be able to do their job with hardly any farm. Yes, Kayle can heal your lane, and Morg can shield and snare for your lane, but as the game progresses, they fall more and more behind without farm. This is why they are not good support choices.

The main supports at the moment and in this current meta are Alistar, Soraka, Sona, Taric, and Janna. Each and every one of them can do their job perfectly fine with little or no farm. Of course having more items means they can do their job better (more AP = better heals, higher CDR = more stuns/silences/heals, etc.), but these five can do what they need to do and let the carry have the farm they need to make a difference. So, when your team asks you to play support, don't play Kayle or Morgana or Lux, pick one of these five and you're already setting yourself up for success.

Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells

Most often runes and masteries are more personal preference than anything, and for the most part that's true with support. However, some runes are always better than others. For supports, you want to maximize defensive and utility runes and masteries to stay alive and sustain as much as possible. Mana regen runes, armor/magic resist runes, and utility quintessences are most popular. Supports are probably the only role of champion that gold /10 quints are going to be useful, since you won't be taking farm and need some form of income. Solomid.net has a good collection of guides, take a look and see what people use, and just do what works for you.

99.9% of the time you will take flash, and 100% of the time you will take clairvoyance. No questions asked.

What support should I play?

Just like every other role, different supports are better in different situations. Depending on what ranged AD you're laning with, you will change the support you play. If you are a late pick and know what the enemy has bottom lane, you can change your pick to counter their lane, as well. For example, if your lane partner is aggressive, you may want to pick up Taric or Alistar, as they are the most aggressive of the five main supports. Their hard CC can really allow your partner to harass the enemy out of the lane and help secure kills.
If your lane partner is more passive and is just planning to farm as much as possible, Soraka or Sona or Janna will be a better pick, to keep your lane partner healthy and alive while they get the farm they need. If the enemy lane looks like it will be quite aggressive, pick up Soraka or Sona to really keep your lane as healthy as possible until help arrives.

Your lane shouldn't be the only thing to consider. Look at the rest of your team composition. Let's say you have Amumu, Annie, and Miss Fortune. Sona would be an excellent pick here. Between Amumu's ult, Annie's AoE stun, and Sona's ult mixed with a well placed Bullet Time, the enemy will be taking incredible AoE damage while they are stuck in hard AoE CC from well timed ults. If your team is lacking CC and bulk, Alistar may be a good pick. An AoE knockup on such a low cooldown is an incredible form of CC, and he barely needs any items to be effective. If the enemy team has someone like a Fiddlesticks or Karthus that you just really don't want in the middle of your team fight, Janna is a good choice. Her ult is a great tool to separate the enemy team and knock some dangerous champions out of the way for a few seconds. If your team is heavy on AD damage, you may want to grab Taric. His ult can really make your AD carries a lot scarier than they normally would be.

Early Game

When the game starts, you want to CV their fountain to see what items they have bought and what they're doing. If they're moving out very quickly they may be trying to invade your jungle. Knowing what items they have can help your team decide what items would be best to start with.

There are a few common starting item sets for support. The most popular is starting with a Faerie Charm, 1-3 wards, and 1-2 health potions. Starting with a Faerie Charm gives you an early component to your Philosopher's Stone, an extremely important item to get early on supports. Early wards allow you to have early map awareness, keep track of their jungler, and counter aggressive bottom lanes (more on this later).

A less common starting set is to take boots, one ward and one health potion. This seems most popular on Alistar in my experience, and perhaps on Taric. The reason this is viable for those two is that they can roam quite well, and boots allows them the early mobility to roam. The downside is that it prolongs the time until you get your first gp10 item (Philo Stone).

After guarding your jungle, CV'ing to find the enemy team, and helping out at blue or wherever your jungler started, you'll make your way to bottom lane. During the laning phase, your job is to keep your lane healthy, help your partner farm, and don't take the CS. Remember when I said supports can do their job with little or no farm? The minion kills are much more valuable when put on an AD carry. If you're alone in lane and your partner went back to shop, then by all means take the last hits. There is no reason to waste them. Your first items should be a Philo Stone, boots 1, and a HoG. You should have wards in your inventory at pretty much all times of the game. Early game, you are responsible for warding your side of the map. The entrances to the river are good ward spots, and the bushes in bottom lane are useful to have warded against an aggressive lane.

An early oracles can help your team tremendously. By clearing out the enemy wards, they have less map awareness, letting your jungle roam more freely and gank more successfully. This forces the opposing team to buy an oracles to counter yours, and if they don't, you have an amazing advantage.

Using CV at the right times and right places is a good skill to have. When you are going for a gank or a dragon, try to find the enemy jungler. If he is no where near your lane, you can safely gank without risk of being counter ganked.

Mid Game-Late Game

By now the laning phase is over and hopefully your lane did well. From here on out, your job is to ward ward ward, kill wards kill wards kill wards. Baron and Dragon should be warded at all times, and when you are going for a big objective kill like either of those, the area around them should be warded as well. That means behind Baron, and the entrances to the river near them.

Tip: Warding directly under Baron makes it extremely difficult for the enemy to kill that ward.

Items to consider are Shurelya's, Aegis, Soul Shroud, Randuin's, and Frozen Heart. The earlier are easier to afford, but the later can really rain on the parade of a team heavy on AD carries. It's all situational, so buy according to your team's needs. Even items like Stark's and Abyssal Scepter are effective if your team is heavy in physical or magic damage respectively.

Your boots are going to be CDR or Merc Treads. If the enemy has an exceedingly high amount of CC, you will have to get Merc's. If you get CDR, another tenacity item like Moonflair Spellblade is a great choice.

Team Fights

Your job in team fights depends on what support champion you are playing. I'll break down the basic team fight for each support:

Alistar: You are the team's tank and can take one hell of a beating when your ult is active. You need to be in the middle of that fight knocking the enemy team up and headbutting harmful enemies away to protect your carry. Headbutting the enemy carry to your team for a fast kill is also a great way to use the combo. Use your heal whenever it's up, and don't be afraid to die for your team if it means winning the team fight.

Soraka: You need to be on the outside of the team fight, since the enemy team will want to focus you and you can't take much of a beating. Heal the target that is being focused, and silence the enemy that needs to be. This could be an AP carry that will really hurt your team, or the enemy Amumu that wants to get his ult off. Know when to use your ult to save a teammate or bait a kill.

Taric: Turn your ult on and heal the target that needs to be healed. Your stun on the right target can turn the tide of a teamfight. Shatter is the skill that you need to know when to use. MOST of the time, not using it is the better choice, since it gives your team a large armor boost, and the damage from it really doesn't compare to the significant defensive advantage it gives your team.

Sona: You also need to be at the back of the fight, spamming your abilities when you can. Using her passive correctly to reduce the damage of an enemy carry can really set you apart from other Sona players, and ulting at the right time can win the team fight for your team. Try to hit as many enemies as possible, and make sure to hit the hard hitting carries and dangerous CC bots on the other team.

Janna: Your tornado is an incredible skill when it hits multiple targets, since knockup is the best form of CC there is. Your shield is most often going to be used on the AD carry on your team to give them an insane damage boost and keep them from getting killed quickly. Your ult should be used to seperate the enemy team and remove major threats from the fight. When used correctly, an ult followed by tornado and a slow on an enemy really shuts them out of the team fight for a significant amount of time.

Closing

I hope that by taking my time to write this up, I have helped some people. Hopefully knowing the basics of playing support will lead to more people playing the role, and having better supports in games. A good support will really help your team throughout the entire game, and the difference between a good support and a bad support is incredible. Hopefully, those of you that read this will learn something out of it. If I helped one player become better at the game, then writing this was worth it. Practice makes perfect (but don't practice in ranked games!), good luck and have fun!

EDIT: Guide is now up on solomid.net in the Generic guides section.


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Kulex

Senior Member

08-15-2011

Lol a downvote three minutes after I posted it. Don't think someone could read that in three minutes, and a downvote with no response.. Not that it would be anything but "tl;dr" anyway.


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HotSteamedFag

Member

08-15-2011

wait after the patch comes...


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Yahrah

Senior Member

08-15-2011

you mad cuz your effort wasnt good?

i didnt read it


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Yahrah

Senior Member

08-15-2011

Your elo is only 1400.


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Siegfryd

Senior Member

08-15-2011

How to play support, a guide:
healhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhe alhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealheal healhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhe alhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealheal healhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhe alhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealheal healhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhe alhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealheal healhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhe alhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealheal healhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhealhe alhealhealhealhealhealhealhealheal
wards


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Kulex

Senior Member

08-15-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahrah View Post
you mad cuz your effort wasnt good?

i didnt read it
Trololol all day long.


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Kulex

Senior Member

08-15-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahrah View Post
Your elo is only 1400.
Yet I'm smart enough to write a guide like this. Shows that ELO isn't a perfect indication of skill/knowledge.


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Yoonieee

Senior Member

08-15-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by iException View Post
Introduction

After losing seven of my last nine ranked games, I feel that playing at this moment is not a good idea. Seeing some of the supports in my recent games, I decided to take this time to write the first of what will be a series of guides. I'm choosing to write the support guide first because support seems to be the least understood role, even though it is probably the easiest in my opinion. I'm writing this in hopes that people who take ranked games seriously will read it and benefit from it. Whether a game starts and you don't have a support on your team or you have a support that doesn't know how to play it, you're already at a disadvantage before the game even starts. Having a good support on your team really improves your chances of doing well, and the support role is no less important than any other role. That being said, let's get into this.
Sure supports are easiest to pick up but they do need to know every role in the game. Every single jungle route. Who to heal. Who to silence. When to ult. Where to position. Where to ward. When to cv. Supports may be easiest to learn but they are one of the harder roles to master.


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Kulex

Senior Member

08-15-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by lS2l View Post
Sure supports are easiest to pick up but they do need to know every role in the game. Every single jungle route. Who to heal. Who to silence. When to ult. Where to position. Where to ward. When to cv. Supports may be easiest to learn but they are one of the harder roles to master.
This is true. Supports do have to be more aware of everything else in the game, but just knowing the basics will help your team more than not.