Hello fellow LoL'ers. I recently wrote a guide for some of my friends on how to support. While I'm by no means an expert, I thought this might be good for new players.
The support is the utility man/woman. The guy you can always rely on. The one who gives out a lot without expecting much in return.
Supports donít get kills, nor do they farm or get lots of gold. What they DO do, however, is help their team to victory by taking shots, protecting weaker members, and ensuring their ADC turns into a fed little monster who pubstomps the other team into the dust.
In the process, they rack up lots of assists, and sacrifice themselves to save teammates very, very often.
As a note, these are my theories and strategies on supporting, and should not be blindly followed, but should be considered as guiding principles, not overarching dogmas.
Types of Supports:
There are actually two major types of supports, as far as Iíve noticed. One class is the Tank Support, and the other is the Utility Support. The difference between the two is their stats and tendencies.
Tank Supports would be those like Taric, Nunu, Alistar, etc who have a lot of strength in their inborn tankiness, allowing them to take many hits in the early game. However, generally, their abilities donít lend themselves to Primary Supporting, (more on that later.) These supports have a lot of strength in Secondary Supporting.
Utility Supports would include Soraka, Sona, Janna, etc, who are not necessarily tanky, but have Primary Supporting capabilities. They donít take hits, but they can help their ADCís immensely.
This gets into a question of what exactly is Primary and Secondary Supporting. The main difference between the two is how they benefit the ADC.
Primary Supporting are abilities that directly benefit the ADC in some way. These would be heals, mana regens, speed boosts, shields, and any other ability that gives a direct stat boost to the ADC.
Secondary Supporting are abilities that benefit the ADC in an indirect way. For example, Crowd Control (CCís) are abilities that slow, silence, stun, blind, or knock up enemies. This allows for escaping, and tying down enemy champs so the ADC can kill them. Other Secondary Supporting abilities increase tankiness, so the Support can take more hits and survive better, while knockbacks/tackles can keep enemies off an ADC.
Some champions are hybrids, and can effectively use both types of abilities, since they are blends of the support types. Taric has the best of both worlds, and Alistar can do similar things.
My go-to spells are Heal and Exhaust. However, other combinations would be up to the ADC, as they may have a preference. Never get Ignite, as that is for killing, which you will do very little of. Teleport and Revive are mostly useless.
In general, you want to start with a Faerie Charm, 2 Health Pots, 2 Mana Pots, and 2 Sight Wards. This will vary due to mana costs and champion differences, of course. Build a Philosopherís Stone, and Kageís Lucky Pick as soon as possible. Grab Ninja Tabi or Mercuryís Treads, situationally.
Build the philosopherís stone into a Shurelyaís Reverie, the Kageís Lucky Pick into a Shard of True Ice, and grab a Ruby Sightstone, followed by a Runic Bulwark.
The last item should be one of the following, depending on the champion and situation:
Thornmail, Locket of the Iron Solari, Frozen Heart, Sunfire Cape, Bansheeís Veil.
Of course, this is a non-exhaustive list, as certain champions may benefit more from other items.
The first thing you do as a support is warding the bushes. The first place you ward is the far bush from your turret. This is because you will likely be staying in the closer bush, so you want to be able to see what the other support is doing in his bush. If youíre pushing really far, itís unlikely that there will be anyone in the bush closer to your tower. Therefore, this is the bush you want to ward first. Next, ward the river bush, UNLESS the other team doesnít have a jungler. If they donít, the only threat of ganks come from mid, and a handy bit of map awareness and miaís will take care of that. However, if they do have a jungler, the river will be the most likely avenue with which they will attack from, making it critical to ward.
For the rest of the game however, ward these locations, ranked in order from 1, the most important, to 4, the least important. (Thanks to riotoflegends.blogspot.com for the handy picture.)
If you canít remember all these positions, make sure you at the very least ward the river extensively, with two wards in the mid bushes, two at baron and dragon, and two at the far river bushes closest to top and bot lanes. Other ward positions will be situational depending on how the enemy team moves.
During the laning phase, youíll spend most of your time in the bush. However, to do this, you must establish bush dominance. Essentially, you walk into the bush, and kick the other supportís ass, so he stays out. Youíll probably need the ADCís help for this. If you can establish bush dominance, youíre in a good position for the rest of the laning phase. If not, you can still play effectively, but your ability for surprise attacks is diminished. Tank Supports will generally have an advantage in bush dominance.
If you establish bush dominance however, surprise attacks become extremely deadly. To score easy kills for your ADC, you want to follow this map. Green is allied, Red is enemy
Allow the enemy team to push by falling back. As you remain in the bush, your ADC will continue to farm. Very often, the enemy ADC will temporarily get ahead of his support to poke your ADC with one of his more long-ranged abilities. This is when you seize your chance. Engage the enemy by driving a wedge between their ADC and support. Keep the support away through any means possible, and CC the ADC while hitting him with everything youíve got, but making sure to let your ADC get the kill. With your combined focus on their ADC, and the confusion and likely divided focus, you will most likely prevail.
The enemy ADC will try to run, which is what your CCís and Exhaust is for. With this situation, you are almost guaranteed a kill, thanks to bush dominance and surprise.
During laning phase and middle phase however, it is very important to remain in what I call the ESR, or Effective Support Range. The ESR is, essentially, range of your CC in relation to your ADC.
In this picture, the green dot is the support. Suppose the Green Circle surrounding him is the maximum range of his CC. The Blue Circle is his ESR. The ESR roughly encompasses what he can reach in a very brief period of time. Keeping his ADC within his ESR is critical. When his ADC is in trouble, he must be able to reach him in time to use a CC on whatever is attacking his ADC. Most of the time, if the ADC is within in his ESR, so is the enemy champion who is attacking him. If you stay within this range of your ADC, you should be fine. However, if you possess a heal, it may be more effective to stay within the ESR of your heal, not your CC, depending on the situation.
In addition, remember to supply your ADC with heals and other boosts throughout the laning phase, and always be on the lookout for ganks.
After laning phase is definitely over, you still want to stay with your ADC. Team fights should start to occur in this phase. As the support, itís your job to initiate fights. To initiate team fights in the most effective way, you want to isolate the damage dealers on their team, and use your CC, allowing your team to swoop in and kick ass. Go where your ADC goes, and continue to ward everywhere. However, keep in mind that youíre still probably not tanky enough to soak up huge amounts of damage, so be careful.
Youíre a full-on tank now. Initiate fights, throw out all of your support abilities, use your heal, and all of the item abilities you have to win the game. If your team breaks apart, go with a teammate and help set up ambushes with your CC.
-Your job is the most difficult during the laning phase. If you survive it mostly intact, you should be good for the rest of the game, unless one lane is ludicrously fed.
-Your ADCís life is valued over your own. In fact, everyoneís life is valued over yours.
-Save GP-10 items for last, when upgrading. Without them, you wonít have a source of income to replace the lost minions.
-When saving a teammate, heal, and THEN use your CC. Your CC is pointless if theyíre dead. The only exception is if your teammate is chased under a tower. In that case, CC first so the tower can murder them.
-Always consider your laning synergy. Some supports donít work well with champions. Tank Supports work better with offensive ADCís, and mana-hungry/weak early game ADCís go better with utility supports.
Some specific questions for you, if you don't mind.
You say that it is the support's job to initiate group fights, and yet I primarily play Soraka, a support with little ability to CC. Am I still supposed to initiate with Soraka's puny silence, or should I leave that job to somebody else?
Next Question: I had a discussion with my team in a game a while back. I take Exhaust over Heal (my second spell is almost always Flash) because Soraka already has two effective heals, and only one semi-effective CC. Our ADC was fine, but our jungler spent a decent amount of time yelling at me for taking Exhaust over Heal. Was he right?
Third Question: Where is the best website to view to see more in depth information about specific support/adc combos?
Thanks in advance. I found your post incredibly helpful.
Do you have any advice for playing as a Utility Support against a Tank Support? My experience has been that Tank Supports have so much innate durability (comparatively) and raw CC that they completely overwhelm Utility Supports during the early game.
You can't just back off, because then they'll zone you and your ADC out of gold and exp, but if you try to push back they'll just beat you in a straight up fight and you give up kills for nothing.
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