Imagine finding yourself in the following situation. You queue up for a game of ranked to finish off your night with mid and marksman as your roles, hoping to play some Lucian. But instead you find yourself cursing the solo queue gods as you got autofilled to the support position. Despite begging your team to switch with you, you find yourself stuck with the role. So how are you going to get through this? Through this article, you’ll be able to navigate your way through a game of support from the pick-ban phase all the way to the explosion of a Nexus.
When thinking about the support role the champions can be categorized under 3 possible areas: Sustain, Harass, or Tank. While there are subcategories, all champs can easily be under those three categories. Luckily, there are easy champions to play for each category which we’ll go over.
Sustain – Janna
Key items: Janna, like most sustain supports are able to buy either Ancient Coin or Spellthief’s Edge depending on your playstyle. In the case of Janna, Ancient Coin is far more popular and would be what I personally recommend as well.
Skill leveling priority: For Janna, your Eye of the Storm (E) skill is the first skill to max. It offers a lot of sustain and a nice boost to the target’s AD. Afterwards Zephyr (W) should be maxed as the increased slow to enemies and movement speed to allies is too good to pass up.
When to choose: The best time to pick Janna or most sustain supports is in a protect the ADC composition or to simply help an ADC that has a weak early game make their way to their power spikes. In general, you should avoid picking sustain supports, or at least the pure sustain supports like Janna and Soraka, into very aggressive team compositions.
Harass – Zyra
Key items: For Zyra and all other harass supports, the support item you should get is Spellthief’s Edge. It provides a nice boost to the damage output of the harass supports while rewarding them with bonus gold.
Skill leveling priority: With Zyra, the skill you should prioritize maxing is Grasping Roots (E). While the overall damage is slightly lower than Deadly Spines (Q), the root makes up for it completely. Afterwards, you should max Rampant Growth (W) in order to get a quicker recharge on your seeds. This allows you to get some quick vision when needed as well.
When to choose: Zyra along with other harass supports should be picked along with an aggressive early game ADC in order to push an advantage during the laning phase. Otherwise the best time to pick these types of supports would be in siege or poke compositions.
Tank – Nautilus
Key items: As most tank supports (apart from Thresh) are melee champions, the best support item to buy should be Relic Shield. With the execute and the small health regen, Relic Shield is a great item for the tank supports in lane.
Skill leveling priority: The main skill you should max with Nautilus is Riptide (E), it a great source of consistent damage, especially while in the middle of a team fight and it provides a nice slow as well. Once your E is maxed, you should max Titan’s Wrath (W), which will provide Nautilus with another burst of tankiness.
When to choose: Most tank supports have a lot of pick potential, and because of this they fit well in pick compositions. Along with that, tank supports can fit well into teamfighting compositions or just general aggressive compositions in general.
As a support, this is the most important part of the game. The laning phase will likely determine the relevance of your ADC. With the current preference of teleport for the solo lanes, bot lane skirmishes can easily become a full out teamfight. Because of this, it’s important to work well with your ADC in order to gain a significant advantage over the enemy duo lane before that moment. Of course, depending on the champion you play, the laning phase may play out differently.
However, in general there are a few specific things you should be doing:
1.Keep control of vision in the river area, either with wards deep into river (blue side) or into the tribush, you should try to have a constant vision in case the enemy jungler ganks.
2.Try to zone the enemy ADC away from the minions, while in some matchups, that may be hard, ideally, you should try to deny the ADC as much experience as you can.
3.Proc your support item as much as you can, while this doesn’t apply to Ancient Coin users, the other supports should be trying to proc their item as much as they can in order to maximize gold generation.
While support itemization can be quite diverse at times, there are still some core items you should be going for, to better understand support itemization i’d suggest you check out this article by Nerdflame from Dignitas a read.
At this point in the game, your instincts from other roles are able to kick in depending on what type of support you’re playing. At this point, there’s nothing super special for the support role to do, simply play according to the role of your champion (keep the carries alive, act as a frontline, etc.) and work with your team towards victory.
Congratulations! You’ve made your way through a game of support. Hopefully you’ve learned the basics on how to play support, and if you’re still confused, just fake it until you make it! Now enjoy your autofill protection and good luck! Hoping for some help in another role? Don’t worry, I’ll be covering every role in the coming weeks so look out for those articles!