General Guide by ADRyzeHuehuehue
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
So this is my first guide, hope it's not too controversial
Item choices etc. explained below so don't downrate just because you don't like the cheat sheet!
So I tend to play support in ranked - sometimes duo, sometimes with 4 friends in a ranked tea - and I'm not very experienced right now; this is a rough guide to starting supports in ranked play at beginner's  ELO.
I can't swear that it works every time; I can't swear that it works at higher ELO as I haven't been there [yet, here's hoping!] but it has been tested so far. Without further ado, a guide to the most fun supports I have found; somebody's got to play supp and if you have fun and do well you can find yourself very popular indeed!
Pros / Cons
Active Supports as I have christened them [and these are by no means all, Blitz/Janna] are basically champs that have to take an active role in lane, position well and be aware of enemy position to have a maximum but active impact on the game.
- Not Soraka aka interesting
- Ability to roam and carry other lanes - after turret down these champs should go to mid as replacement "junglers" for ganks
- Very interactive in teamfights - short cooldowns and CC for maximum effect
- High[er] skill cap for playstyle
- Not Soraka aka effort to stay in lane
- May need communication with carry - especially Leona and Lulu without heals, but Taric and Alistar just for getting off a combo with your CC
- High[er] skill cap for playstyle
Masteries and Runes
These take a mixed role -
Magic pen; no other marks are particularly useful compared to the little bit of extra early game harass
Armour; flat because you will be against a carry. Obvious much? Others include; Replenishment/Clarity for mana-hungries.
A word of warning - mana-hungry is a lifestyle, not a champion flaw. If you are bad at conserving mana some of these champs can be a real pain to master, but with practice getting a balance for sustain relies on communication and a good sense of timing.
MR/level; alternative are obviously flat MR, though since you won't be encountering much serious magic damage until midgame teamfights this is kind of moot.
Cooldown reduction; explained later
Movement speed! Active support means roaming and mobility, and why would you not want MS?
Cooldown reduction; explained below
Masteries are a hybrid, but I like them this way.
- Move real fast
- Sustain inbuilt with HP5 and MP5
- Little bit extra tankiness, especially vs. AD
- Buff your summoners
- GP10 - Support's best friend
Y U NO CDR?
Plenty of items have significant chunks of CDR, and it is not really difficult to cap at 40% with the remaining item slots left free - think Randuin's, Frozen Heart - and it is a throw up between 8% or 3% move speed. The latter is my preference; in particular if you don't like Zeke's by all means switch in some CDR masteries/runes, but I would seriously caution going against any Move Speed in both.
Starting items - in case you didn't know, these are pretty standard.
GP10 and sustain/tankiness from Philo's and HoG early on is a no brainer.
Boots - tailored by support
Alistar and Leona already tanky as heck [Ali ult, Leona Eclipse] and benefit most from roaming and positioning in fights; they are also best at arriving in a fight and ****blocking enemies trying to kill your teammates, hence Boots of Mobility.
Lulu really benefits from some early CDR, with longer cooldowns on her general spells and buffs not really relying as heavily on combos. No tankiness or speed bonus - if you're running Lulu into the middle of a teamfight, you're doing it wrong.
Taric is inherently faster than the other two tankier champs, and also has less inherent tankiness and durability when needing to stay in the middle of a teamfight for Dazzle/Radiance/Shatter; Mercs treads suit this perfectly, as he has more inbuilt armour from Shatter.
Shurelya's and Aegis - if you don't like these on supports, I will find you. And I will admonish you most sternly
Ah yes. Zeke's.
Why do I keep it on all my champs? Simply put, I love it as an item. It is tremendously useful as an aura, but now the base stats benefit you [mmmm, CDR...]. It is definitely a must, and I have put it even before the other two items, on Leona and Lulu - both of them have no heal and your carry will appreciate the effort of getting some lifesteal. With the nerfs to Vamp Sceptre as well it is even more worth it than before.
Do observe the order - Leona gets her extra Kindlegem before Aegis as she loves CDR
Must I justify Clairvoyance and Flash?
Escape and initiate with Pulv/Radiance etc., good at all points in the game
CV - these lanes are not as blasé about survivability as others, and not as passive; junglers scare them, especially those without heals, whilst conversely spying and contesting a blue buff is wonderful pressure on the same jungler you resent so much.
Make sure your carry knows what your skills do! Tell them to go in when they see you ping, and then make sure they familiarise themselves with your ability to buff them, heal them, use CC etc. The sooner they can trust you to do a job, the sooner they can do theirs comfortably without wimping out and losing trades.
Number one cause of a support without a heal losing lane - a carry who won't commit to bursts of harass.
Taric - Flash with your Radiance, Shatter and Dazzle in quick succession is a fantastic tool for ganks in lane but teamfight initiate generally. In late game rolling teamfights, with 40% CDR, you can initiate at your base and have back up by the time you have chased the enemy back to theirs.
Alistar - Tankiest of all these builds with auras that shut down a pesky enemy carry. Flash Pulverize to your heart's content in the middle of the team, but remember to have your ult up. Timing is key with since your spells are potentially more devastating but also have longer cooldowns, don't use them just to find they all land before your team is attacking. Remember that your ult breaks CC - take that Ashe arrow and counter initiate!
Leona - Got any CC? With 40% CDR you are a monster, tanky as all hell and your teleport stun combo Zenith Blade and Shield of Daybreak is on a 5 second cooldown. Abuse the range on your ult, but unless it is on a squishy NEVER use it to initiate.
Lulu - Different to the others. Best played with a tanky DPS rather than a full blown tank on your team (aka use metagolems rather than tanks) since your ult makes that person a monster. Hang at the back and fire your Glitterlance through as many people as possible, and make that enemy carry fuzzy.
Map Control and Wards - Support Basics
Why do we take
What clinches a game of good players [hehe ranked good players, but in the top half of ELO hell at least] is map control. If you know who is where, you know what they are doing, or at least can guess. This is why we take CV, and this is why wards are so crucial. Every time you recall and have spare gold, buy a ward or two.
Focus on laning. Wards in the large bush behind the lane on purple side and between the entrance to jungle and dragon. With the nerf to Vamp Scepter, if your carry has some spare gold, try getting them to invest in Wriggles - very cost effective, armour is always nice, and the extra ward can cust your costs in half. Simple.
CALL SS. This is essential throughout the game but especially here. If turrets are down in other lanes, ASSUME THAT PERSON WILL ROAM, but if it is not and they are gone, do it. It saves lives. Keep dragon spot warded, as much for the monster now as well as for ganks.
Start warding Baron at about 20-30 minutes depending on how badly you are losing, earlier if worse etc. If you are on the back foot, dot wards through your own jungle, and use CV to secure buffs. Do the opposite if you are pushed to steal but also to watch out for counterganks on your extended lanes.
Don't give up! A bad laning phase for an active support is normal (well, not really Taric) but teamfights will see you take a much more influential role than that combo that bullied you earlier (unless you fed them. This is not recommended).
Hope you enjoyed basics from the perspective of a beginner support player. The more people understand how these champs function [including members of the team in other roles] the better a place LoL will be!
Please leave comments below, criticism accepted but try to be constructive. I realise it is a wall of text at the moment but I am too tired right now, and too new to creating guides, to do anything fancy. I will update when I try new champs like Blitzcrank, Janna etc. in ranked environment.
Thanks for reading!