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General Guide by Droseraceae

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Droseraceae

Basics: Choosing Supports [Update: 9/17/12]

Droseraceae Last updated on September 17, 2012
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Updates & Upcoming

Updates

  • Fixed Taric's picture (he was Sona for a while)
  • Added this section that you're reading right now!
  • Split "General" information up in to four sections, by topic! So it should now be easier to find what specific type of advice you're seeking
  • Updated to a hopefully easier to read format!
Upcoming
  • I will eventually learn how to code!
  • In-depth section discussions!
  • Non-traditional supports! Why they "work" and why they're not popular!
  • Links to favored guides for individual supports!


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General: Runes

Your purpose with runes is to increase your survivability so that you can continue to support your carry for as long as possible. Below is a suggested rune page. There are other runes that are viable but it is up to you to tailor what best fits your support style and that of the champion you are playing.

Runes

Greater Quintessence of Gold
3

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Mark of Armor
9


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In-depth: Runes

Listed in this section will be runes that I feel are worth talking about on supports. This can be because I believe they're useful or because I believe that they're a common pitfall that people fall for - thinking they're necessary when they're really just a waste of space.

General

  • Don't think about runes as individuals. Think about them as groups. There are very few scenarios that you will be using two different types of Quints/Marks/Seals/Glyphs on the same page ( Akali) and none of these are supports. When you want a stat - go all out for it: 3 Quints, 9 Mark/Seal/Glyphs.
  • For a support in the typical meta the arguments between flat and scaling runes are very simple:
    • flat armor is better than scaling armor because you will be facing physical damage early
    • scaling MR is better than flat because you will not usually encounter heavy magic damage until their mid is high enough level to gank.
Quintessences

Marks

Seals
  • Greater Seal of Armor: Great, see Greater Mark of Resilience above.
  • Greater Seal of Gold: Good, the additional income is noticable as 8 of these seals and 3 of the associated Quints will give you a full 5 gold every 10 seconds (just like Philosopher's Stone or Heart of Gold) beginning at 30 seconds. However, using these means that you're giving up on defense in their primary rune type and is only advisable on supports that are good at avoiding damage altogether ( Soraka, Janna, Sona etc). In this case, you can finish out the full set or use the odd rune placement for another stat - either way the bonus from either is small enough to not influence the game noticeably.


Glyphs


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General: Masteries

You should choose a mastery based on whether or not it helps you stay in lane as long as possible. However, there are plenty of masteries in the Defense and Utility tree that are very helpful for the job you are taking on. Below is a suggested mastery set-up that gives you survivability, CDR, supplemental income, mana and mana regeneration, lower flash CD and additional ward sight radius. It lacks perks such as additional experience. Like runes, your masteries should be tailored to your playstyle as well as the champion you are playing.

Masteries
1/5
3/1
4/1
3/5
1/1
1/5
3/1
2/1
1/5
3/1
3/5
1/5
4/1


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General: Items

You have some goals for what your items should accomplish: additional income and defensive stats. Additionally, these items need to be cheap so that you can continue to buy Sight Wards and Vision Wards as needed. However, past this point the items you buy are completely situational.

To start:

Item Sequence











Stealth Ward
75

Stealth Ward
75

Stealth Ward
75

Health Potion
50

Health Potion
50
To core:
Item Sequence











Heart of Gold
825

Boots of Speed
300

Aegis of the Legion
1100


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In-Depth: Items

Boots

  • Boots of Mobility: These are good for two things: roaming and extensive warding. If you do buy these, consider doing it early. If the game runs too long or you're spending most of your time sitting in lane (as most supports do) these aren't very useful. Remember that they give you no additional bonuses while in combat.
  • Mercury's Treads: These are your highest priority boots. The CC reduction is amazing on any character at any time. The magic resistance is nice when around their AP using champions, as well.
  • Ninja Tabi: These are only worth buying as a support if their carry has become very fed, or they are running a triple AD team (with top, jungle and their ADC).
  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity: These are only worth buying if you need early CDR and can avoid being in the middle of the fray .


Gold 5 per 10 seconds
  • Heart of Gold: The health is useful on every character. It is fairly cheap at 825g, and generates gold for no cost. It is a must on every support.
  • Philosopher's Stone: The health regeneration allows for decent sustain in a lane, for a support. The mana regeneration is helpful on the vast majority of supports. It is a must on every support if only for the later Shurelya's Reverie.
  • Kage's Lucky Pick: Useful on supports who scale well with AP, but does not build in to anything particularly amazing for supports. It is good, but not necessary.
  • Avarice Blade: The critical strike will not play much in to a support role. Youmuu's Ghostblade is not useful on any support, because the stats don't assist in their job. This item is not recommended.


Necessary and viable end-game items
  • Aegis of the Legion: This item is a must for all supports. The stats are very cost-efficient and the aura goes very well with the job you are attempting to accomplish.
  • Frozen Heart: While expensive, the debuff aura is useful for your team and the armor allows you to stay alive much longer. If a tanky character on your team is building this, however, you should not.
  • Randuin's Omen: While expensive, the stats (health, health regen, armor) are amazing for a support. Even if a tanky ally has this weapon - you can build it anyway. If the actives are used at non-overlapping times, there's no redundancy.
  • Shurelya's Reverie: This item is a must for all supports. The stats are amazing for your purpose(CDR, health, health regen, mana regen) and the full team speed buff active is such a huge utility it's too good to pass up.
  • Zeke's Herald: This item is very good with certain ADCs (ex: Kog'Maw) or team compositions where more than two others benefit heavily from attack speed and/or lifesteal. The CDR and health it gives you also allows you to support more efficiently.

Non-viable end-game items
  • Eleisa's Miracle: The stats aren't bad, but they're not worth turning your Philo in to this instead of Shurelya's. There's no active, and the tenacity is better putting on Merc's if you really need it.
  • Locket of the Iron Solari: The shield is based on your level, of which you will probably be the lowest on your team. Even at max level or while ahead the shield is small. The bad active is really all that makes this unappealing - the stats themselves work well for supporting and laning in general.
  • Soul Shroud/ Mana Manipulator: The health Soul Shroud gives you is not very high, and that's the only defensive stat from it. The mana regeneration isn't particularly high in either incarnation. The CDR buff is less than that of other support items, and the fact that it's an aura doesn't really give a consistent benefit to most of your team.


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General: Spells

Exhaust: This is one of the best in-lane support spells. Your ADC should be bringing Ignite or Heal, because this works the same on you as it does on them but not vice versa.

Flash: You need an escape? You need an advance? You need to get over that wall? Flash has you covered. You won't be getting as much gold as everyone else, so this spell can keep you alive where Ghost cannot.

Clairvoyance: This spell offers utility for your whole team, but not in your lane. Using it means sacrificing Exhaust and requires substantial knowledge of jungle paths. It isn't detrimental to your team, but it can hurt your lane.

Heal: I see a lot of supports take this. Do not take it instead of Exhaust. If you're taking this, it will have to be instead of flash - in which case you better hope you never get caught. This is preferable on your AD carry because they will then get the full amount and as they are the one who needs to survive longest, this is ideal.

Ignite, Promote, Ghost, Teleport, Smite, Clarity, Surge, Cleanse, Revive: Don't.


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General: Gameplay

As stated, the main purpose for having a support is warding. Click here for a guide on warding. This includes pictures, so it should be easy to get a feel of where you should ward. It also includes some nice tips on Vision Ward battles, Oracle's Elixir and when you should be warding.

Smart-casting: learn it.

Words you should learn: here.


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Alistar

Pros
  • CC Heavy
  • Sustain ability
  • Multi-purpose ultimate
Cons
  • Risky knockback
  • Sustain ability pushes lane
  • Easily killed by true damage (ex: Ignite)


Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • Pulverize is best at level 1 over Headbutt for camping a bush or invading a jungle. It cannot accidentally save an opponent in these situations.
  • Only one point is needed in Headbutt and Pulverize for the CC to be fully effective, this allows you to improve your heal ability early.


Pairings
Best Match:
  • Varus has a slow and a root that can be chained together with Alistar's CC.
  • Both can initiate and follow up on the other's initiate.
  • Varus excels over hit and run exchanges, which Alistar can pull off better than most CC supports (See: Blitz, Leona) because he has a sustain ability.
  • At level 6, Varus can hold an enemy in place under their turret while Alistar uses his ult to tank it.
Good matches:
Caitlyn, Corki, Draven, Ezreal, Graves, Miss Fortune, Sivir, Tristana, Twitch, Vayne
Poor matches:
Ashe, Kog'Maw
Additional Tips:
  • At level 2 and every subsequent level, he can perform a combo with Headbutt and Pulverize which allows him to move to the enemy champion without knocking them out of his carry's range.
  • At level 6, Alistar's ultimate allows him to tank the enemy turret very well which can be used to kill an opponent left alone.
  • In team fights, Alistar's best asset is his ability to peel enemy assassins off of squishier allies, instead of trying to CC the enemy's carry.


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Blitzcrank

Pros
  • CC Heavy
  • Defensive passive
  • MS buff to initiate and escape
Cons
  • No sustain ability
  • Easily blocked by minions
  • Ultimate passive can push the lane
Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • Overdrive allows you to position yourself quickly for Rocket Grabs, or to initiate an exchange with Power Fist instead, so save Rocket Grab for when they flash away. It can also be used defensively to escape ganks while in lane or while out warding.
  • Only one point is needed in Rocket Grab and Power Fist for the CC to be fully effective. This allows you to level up Overdrive to get a higher movement speed boost.


Pairings
Best Match:
  • Grievous Wound coupled with Blitzcrank's CC almost ensures early kills.
  • Double Up is a strong single-target burst ability early in the game.
  • Make it Rain can be placed to slow an enemy's retreat after the knock-up from Power Fist.
Good matches:
Caitlyn, Corki, Draven, Ezreal, Graves, Sivir, Tristana, Twitch, Varus, Vayne
Poor matches:
Ashe, Kog'Maw
[/list]


Tips:
  • When laning with someone else with CC - try not to waste disable time by grabbing or knocking up too early
  • At level 1, Blitzcrank excels at jungle invasions due to Rocket Grab pulling an enemy to your entire team.
  • At level 2, Blitzcrank should be very aggressive as he his two strongest CC abilities.
  • At level 6, Blitzcrank should avoid standing within range of minions due to his ultimate's passive.
  • At level 6 and every subsequent level, Blitzcrank should use his ultimate's active after grabbing an opponent but before knocking them up - the silence will stop them from flashing away between his Q stun and his E knockup.
  • Late game, Blitzcrank's ability to initiate is unmatched (by supports). Grabbing an opponent over a wall can be devastating and you can place your wards to allow you to do this more often.


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Janna

Pros
  • CC capable
  • Absorption Shield
  • MS buffs to initiate and escape
Cons
  • No sustain ability
  • Very easy to burst down
  • Ultimate knock back can deny your own team kills as well.
Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • Eye Of The Storm is multi-purpose: use it when your AD carry is dealing damage or when an ally is taking damage. This utility makes it the best first choice to level.
  • Zephyr gives Janna a strong passive movement speed buff that works alongside her passive. Leveling it second allows you to use it for safer warding.
  • Howling Gale's CC is the same strength at all levels. This makes it the best choice for waiting on leveling it up.


Pairings
Best Match:
Good matches:
Caitlyn, Corki, Draven, Ezreal, Graves, Kog'Maw, Sivir, Tristana, Twitch, Varus, Vayne
Poor matches:
None
[/list]


Tips:
  • Janna can easily displace enemies. Use Zephyr to slow an enemy, Howling Gale to knock them up while you move behind them to Monsoon them back towards your team. Ideally, that cast of Monsoon will also knock their teammates away from them, making them easier to pick off.
  • Janna's Howling Gale and natural quickness (( Tailwind + Zephyr) allows her and her lane partner to escape ganks very well.


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Karma

Pros
  • Sustain ability
  • Absorption Shield
  • MS buff to initiate and escape
Cons
  • CC incapable, cannot stop channels
  • Heavenly Wave and an upgraded Soul Shield will push lanes.
  • Her passive AP boost is not particularly noticeable while playing from the support role.
  • The lack of an ultimate ability makes her level 6 and all subsequent levels underwhelming.


Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • Alternating points in Heavenly Wave and Soul Shield allows you to support in fights as well as sustain after the fight is over.
  • Soul Bond is not a particularly strong MS buff or debuff. Its best use is for returning to lane after dying or recalling with your lane partner. Save it for last.


Pairings
Best Match:
  • Both Karma and Sivir are deceptively difficult to kill.
  • Both Karma and Sivir have significant early game burst without items.
  • Sivir's ult and Karma's Spirit Bond work together for pursuits and escapes.
  • Best match doesn't necessarily mean good.
"Good" matches:
Ashe, Caitlyn, Draven, Ezreal, Graves, Kog'Maw, Tristana
Poor matches:
Corki, Miss Fortune, Twitch, Varus, Vayne


Tips:
  • Karma's only redeeming factor is the fact that she has access to two very powerful support effects: healing and absorption shields.
  • Using both of Karma's defensive abilities on a low health ally will make them much harder to kill. Use this to bait opponents in to over-committing.


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Leona

Pros
  • CC Heavy
  • Increases allied burst damage
  • Zenith Blade cannot be blocked by minions.
Cons
  • No sustain ability
  • Small window of defensive prowess (3 to 6 seconds)
  • Zenith Blade can put her in compromising positions.


Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18


Pairings
Best Match:
Good matches:
Caitlyn, Draven, Ezreal, Graves, Miss Fortune, Sivir Tristana, Twitch, Varus, Vayne
Poor matches:
Ashe, Kog'Maw


Tips:
  • Leona thrives off of assisting aggressive AD carries. Her addition to their damage coupled with her strong CC turns most exchanges in your favor.
  • Zenith Blade will cause Leona to automatically attack whoever she dashes to. Use this to get Shield of Daybreak off quickly without a hitch.
  • At level 2, Leona should be the most aggressive. Most champions can not deal with her ability to initiate or the damage that she and her carry can deal.
  • At level 6, Leona can initiate with her Zenith Blade or Solar Flare. Sometimes, it's best to wait to use Solar Flare until after your Shield of Daybreak to ensure a hit.
  • Leona's only ability decent a stopping enemy ganks is Solar Flare. If you're being camped by their mid-laner or their jungler it may be best to save it for that purpose.
  • During team fights, Leona is exceptional because she can disable their AD and/or AP carry while still peeling an assassin or off-tank from her carry. Use Solar Flare at range to stop their DPS while using Zenith Blade and Shield of Daybreak to disable opponents who have penetrated your backline.


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Lulu

Pros
  • CC capable
  • MS/AP buff
  • Absorption shield
  • Ultimate can turn around bad situations.
Cons
  • No sustain ability
  • Easy to burst down
  • Glitterlance can be hard to control, especially with smartcasting


Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • Help, Pix!'s shield increase can help your AD carry by blocking damage, as well as tagging on some additional magic damage from your passive.
  • The increased duration you get by leveling up Whimsy makes it the best second choice.
  • Glitterlance is essentially designed to be leveled up last. As you get the entire 80% slow (despite degradation) at level 1, you won't need anything else from it as a support.


Pairings
Best Match:
  • Help, Pix!'s on hit effect works with Mystic Shot
  • Ezreal has AP scales that benefit from Whimsy's ally boost
  • Both Ezreal and Lulu focus on poking the enemy
Good matches:
Ashe, Caitlyn, Corki, Draven, Ezreal, Graves, Kog'Maw, Miss Fortune, Sivir Tristana, Twitch, Varus, Vayne
Poor matches:
None


Tips:
  • Before level 6, Lulu is best at poking - not trading. Use Glitterlance's full range to keep opponents at a distance or Help Pix!'s shield to avoid damage when they do get close.
  • At level 6, Lulu's ultimate can help make trades go smoother as well as to avoid or improve ganks. The slow aura is just as important as the health buff - remember that.
  • In team fights, use Glitterlance and Whimsy to keep your carries from being assassinated. Wild Growth can be used on your initiator or carry as the situation dictates. As a support, Help, Pix! is almost always better used defensively, but remember that it can also be used to give sight to targets attempting to flee through brush.


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Nunu

Pros
  • CC capable
  • MS/AS buff
  • Targeted MS/AS debuff
  • Absolute Zero can turn around bad situations
Cons
  • No hard CC, cannot stop channels
  • No sustain ability for his lane partner
  • Absolute Zero can be easy to avoid, and easy to stop


Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • The combination of Blood Boil and Ice Blast will make it difficult to trade with Nunu and his lane partner.
  • Even one level of Consume can allow him to stay in lane for a long time, leaving it best to level up last.


Pairings
Best Match:
  • Blood Boil helps Vayne trade more effectively early in the game, and works well late game with Silver Bolts
  • Ice Blast shuts down the enemy ADC during exchanges so they don't decimate Vayne's weak early game.
Good matches:
Draven, Miss Fortune, Kog'Maw, Twitch, Varus
Poor matches:
Ashe, Caitlyn, Corki, Ezreal, Graves, Sivir, Tristana


Tips:
  • Blood Boil gives you an attack speed buff as well. Use this to add as much damage as possible to an opponent you've just caught with Ice Blast.
  • Do not be afraid to use Consume if you need the health. You're more useful alive than keeping the lane from being pushed.
  • At level 6, try to position yourself correctly for Absolute Zero so that the enemy cannot simply flash out. Additionally, be aware of what CC the enemy has yet to use - if the enemy Janna has already used Howling Gale, forcing her to use Monsoon to stop you isn't the worst thing in the world.


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Sona

Pros
  • CC capable
  • MS buff
  • AD/AP buff + strong early poke
  • Armor/MR buff + sustain ability
  • Crescendo can be used to counterinitiate ganks or to secure a kill
Cons
  • Slow
  • Easy to burst down
  • Only two auras can be active at a time, choosing which ones to use in what order can mean life or death
  • Aria of Perseverance is non-targeted, meaning that you can accidentally heal a low health ally that has escaped instead of another who is still being targeted - the lack of control is frustrating


Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • If you're winning a lane, feel free to invest more in Hymn of Valor. Abuse your advantage.
  • If you're losing a lane, focus more on Aria of Perseverance. The sustain and defense can allow you to catch up.
  • If you're doing neither, alternate point investment in Hymn of Valor and Aria of Perseverance to get the best of both worlds.
  • While her speed buff is great for group advancements and escapes - it does a poor job of escaping after being caught warding. Level it up last so you'll be getting it around the time of team fights when you need it most.


Pairings
Best Match:
Good matches:
Ashe, Caitlyn, Corki, Draven, Ezreal, Kog'Maw, Miss Fortune, Sivir Tristana, Twitch, Varus, Vayne
Poor matches:
None
[/list]


Tips:
  • Sona excels at early poking with Hymn of Valor and Power Chord.
  • Aria of Perseverance allows her to shrug off poke equally between her and her lane partner.
  • At level 6, Sona's access to a strong AoE stun can be used very well in conjunction with allies such as Ashe and Varus.
  • In team fights, try to use Crescendo to disable as many opponents as possible. You cannot target your other skills so use them as quickly and often as possible to hope that they help the right people at some point.
  • Sona is a Jack of All Trades, Queen of None when it comes to supporting. You can't outheal a Soraka so don't try. Play to Sona's other strengths to exploit the opponent's weaknesses.


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Soraka

Pros
  • Silence
  • Sustain Ability
  • Burst heal ultimate
  • Ultimate can turn around bad situations anywhere on the map
Cons


Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • Astral Blessing can be used in or out of combat. The huge heal is great for sustain and the armor buff can turn trades in your carry's favor.
  • Infuse can be free poke or free mana for your carry.
  • Starcall is useful only on AP Soraka, leave it for last.


Pairings
Best Match:
  • Health and mana refills allow Graves to bully his lane as much as possible
Good matches:
Ashe, Caitlyn, Corki, Draven, Ezreal, Kog'Maw, Sivir Tristana, Twitch, Varus, Vayne
Poor matches:
Miss Fortune


Tips:
  • Soraka should focus less on defense and more on CDR. The general runes work nicely on her, but you should use your masteries to maximize your base CDR. Try:
Masteries
4/1
4/5
1/5
3/1
3/5
1/5
4/1
2/5
4/5
3/1
1/


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Taric

Pros
  • CC capable
  • AD/AP buff
  • Armor buff + armor debuff
Cons
  • Easy to burst down with magic damage
  • Using Shatter offensively can get you killed
  • Passive is negligible and difficult to use from a support position


Suggested Sequence:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • Dazzle's stun is 1.5 at all levels. While levels do reduce the cooldown, it's as effective on use at all levels. Get it first, level it last.
  • Shatter is an amazing defensive and offensive combination. Leveling it first lets you and your lane partner take more damage and deal more damage.
  • Imbue is good at sustain but not a particularly battle-capable heal (like Astral Blessing or Aria of Perseverance are) and is best to use after a trade or after getting hit with strong poke.


Pairings
Best Match:
  • Imbue keeps both Graves and Taric at high health in lane.
  • Shatter's aura stacks with True Grit, making the enemy ADC deal much less damage to both.
  • Shatter's active increases Graves' Buckshot and Collateral Damage
  • Dazzle is an excellent in lane initiate for Graves' combo
  • Radiance's aura increases Graves' burst and DPS
  • Radiance's active increases burst to their dual combo (Dazzle, Radiance, Shatter for Taric; Quickdraw, Buckshot, Collateral Damage for Graves)
Good matches:
Ashe, Caitlyn, Corki, Draven, Ezreal, Kog'Maw, Miss Fortune, Sivir Tristana, Twitch, Varus, Vayne
Poor matches:
None


Tips:
  • At level 1, Taric excels at jungle invades with his single target stun that cannot miss once cast.
  • Do not use Dazzle without reason. Unless you and your carry are going in, or you two need to escape you are wasting your mana.
  • If you initiate a trade in lane when you and/or your carry are not at full health - considering using Imbue. The on-hit cooldown reduction can mean a second heal will be up during or the same exchange.


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