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League of Legends Build Guide Author FantasySniper

Being Supportive: A Guide to the Support Role

FantasySniper Last updated on August 17, 2014
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Ranged Supports

[VS]

Tanky Supports

Ability Sequence

3
14
15
17
18
Ability Key Q
1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key W
2
8
10
12
13
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Havoc
 
 

Offense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Wanderer
 
 

Utility: 21


Guide Top

How to Read This Guide

I attempt to cover everything I can*, but my thought process may leave something out because it felt obvious in my mind, but not to you. If there is an aspect of the Support role you do not understand, a part of the guide you want me to redo/add, or simply something I missed, comment on it and I may even change the guide to accommodate for the info. I will put your name on the Contributions list as thanks if this happens.

*(I avoid case-by-case champion matchups and situations intentionally because covering the Support champions is not my goal, but the Support role. Also, going over the details of champion vs. champion takes up a lot of space...Eventually I'll add a Synergy chapter, though)

Most of this guide assumes general background knowledge of most basic LoL elements. If there is lingo you do not understand, I suggest reading up on them. Main ideas or basically anything I deem important enough will be highlighted in to make them more apparent, if they are highlighted in a light blue, this is important information to be remembered, if it is in an orange, it is something urgently telling you what you should not do and/or use.

This guide will be updated regularly to include any and all gameplay changes, so check back on it some time after an update to make sure that you are up to speed, or just to remind me that I should be working on updating it. If any info that I have seems outdated, simply fails to include new elements of gameplay, or could be improved (especially in format and presentation), please let me know.


Guide Top

Being a Support

When you are the Support, you are not the star of the team. You are not even the driving force. You are the foundation: if you were to all be climbing out of a pit, your Carries would be at the top of the rope, pulling the most weight, and you would be at the bottom, making sure no one falls under you. You must keep the mentality of being the one behind the scenes, the one making everything happen without even stepping up for the applause. This is being a Support.

Being a Support means being a team player. You may not be rewarded very often, but you are rewarded through the satisfaction of holding your team together, hand-in-hand through both victory and defeat.
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This video was beautifully done by ThePopushi, much thanks.


Guide Top

Support Setup - Choosing a Support

The champion you choose may very well determine the outcome of games. Supports tend to have CC, some form of sustain or protection, and a non-reliance on gold and farming because of their efficient stats on abilities. Below are pros and cons for supports available. "Skill Dependent" means they have a learning curve that makes them more difficult to be successful with. "Coordination Dependent" means they have a specific play style reliant on team effort that makes them more difficult to be successful with.
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Ranged Supports

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Ranged Support champions are generally ones that are squishy and influence the fight from a ranged position rather than entirely risking themselves. They also more likely to possess spells that assist in damaging the target.
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+ Strong Utility and Denial
+ increases range of
+ Multi-Purpose Spells
- Skill Dependent
- Coordination Dependent
+ Strong Utility and Damage
+ is available early
+ Strong Kiting
- Skill Dependant
- Reliant on
----
+ Strong CC and Denial
+ Highly Mobile
+ grants bonus AD
- Poor Harasser
- Lesser Damage
+ Strong Trading
+ 's varied effects
+ Scales Well
- Skill Dependant
- Needs MS to effective
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+ Dual Utility and Damage
+ Multi-Target spells
+ Increased Range through Allies
- is difficult to land
- Lack of Reliable Escape
+ Strong Damage
+ blocks CC
+ Innate Sustain through
- is difficult to execute
- Long Cooldowns
----
+ Strong Damage and Denial
+ gives mini-wards
+ AoE Effectiveness
- Very Squishy
- Scales Poorly
+ Strong Utility and Damage
+ Sustain through
+ reduces enemy MR
- Vulnerable and Squishy
- Coordination Dependant
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Tanky Supports

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Tanky Support champions are usually tough and influence the fight by drawing attention towards them and away from your squisher teammates. They are also more likely to possess spells that assist in receiving less damage.
----
+ Strong CC and Denial
+ Sustains lane through
+ gives incredible durability
- Skill Dependant
- Easily Harassed
+ Strong CC
+ transports Allies
+ Free Armor and AP through
- Skill Dependant
- Coordination Dependant
----
+ Strong CC and Damage
+ MS and AS amp through
+ Difficult to Evade
- Skill Dependant
- Reliant on
+ Strong Utility
+ provides and lowers Armor
+ Sustains lane through
- Coordination Dependant
- Mana-Hungry
----
+ Strong Denial
+ protects you and ally
+ Block any projectiles with
- Coordination Dependant
- Lesser Damage
+ Strong CC
+ MR and Armor amp through
+ provides damage to your team
- Coordination Dependant
- Scales Poorly
----
Beyond them, there are champions that do not fit the support role quite right enough to be placed above because they lack consistency, late-game prowess without their scaling, or simply can't compete in the current meta. Any champion with an asterisk* is one I have tentatively placed here, but may still be viable choices.
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Guide Top

Support Setup - Summoner Spells

Here is an explanation of Summoner Spells available to the Support Role. Flash and Exhaust should be your go-tos for almost every game.
----

It is a very powerful positioning tool than can let you evade or engage. Take it most, if not all, of the time.
Very useful for being able to protect your team by mitigating the damage of a specific target.
----
Counters sustain, tanks, and even gives vision on the target. This vision does not affect stealthed targets.[/color]
Use only if your lane partner does not have a protective spell. Otherwise not recommended.
----
Should not be taken. Your team can manage its mana well enough without it.
Gives ineffective vision and should not be taken.


Guide Top

Support Setup - Runes and Masteries

Runes

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Runes vary greatly, but here are the ones commonly found on Support pages. I have nothing against scaling runes, and they are okay to use so long as they are in their primary slot.

Always have at least 6 defensive runes in both your Glyphs and Seals. The defense is practically required for your early survival.
----

Masteries

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As a Support, you have access to little gold because your lane partner is the one farming and taking kills. The Utility tree provides plenty of gold generation along with stats and effects that are invaluable.
The Defense tree offers stats for defensive supporting.
The Offense tree offers stats for aggressive supporting.

Variations such as 4/5/21, a convenient page for Supports who want CDR without entirely sacrificing defense, or 0/16/14, a more defensive page that sacrifices utility, are acceptable.


Guide Top

Support Setup - Items

Here is an explanation of items available to the Support role. Choose the best for any given situation, while taking into account enemy damage types, your scaling, and what your team needs in general.
----
Vision is the most valuable asset. As a Support, you should be controlling the map and its objectives.
----

Yellow Trinket is in general the best choice when starting. Treat it like any Green, except put priority over its use because it is a renewable resource. Upgrade it to become a Greater Vision Totem for free Pinks, and treat it similarly to other Pinks, while still putting priority over its use.
Red Trinket is for aggressive vision control. It is difficult to use effectively because you will have to learn how to notice where wards are, and times that you are safely given the chance to destroy them with minimal loss. Oracle's Lens gives true sight, so if you don't immediately spot anything, continue the search.
Blue Trinket is a poor device for vision. It is not recommended for the simple reason that you can easily walk to your objective and have constant vision for much longer. Nonetheless, it is best used in the jungle, where targets can easily be lost while chasing and you can periodically check on objectives like Dragon without risking yourself. Farsight Orb provides more range for across-map vision checks.
Sightstone is essential to being a Support. It should be bought every game and should be in your inventory by your first or second major purchase, if not sooner. It will generate enough wards to keep your area bright before you back for more, and is infinitely efficient because of it. It should be upgraded to Ruby Sightstone when reaching the end of your build.
----
Gold Income items assist in removing your dependency on farm and kills. One should always be in your inventory when starting a game. Attempt to get the advanced version as soon as possible, the legendary version can wait until you have Sightstone.
----
Ancient Coin line is the most passive and your safest option because it provides the most sustain and the simplest gold production, so it is best used on Utility Supports who have little constant interaction with the enemy. Your lane partner doesn't even need to succeed in farming to benefit. The final upgrade possesses a very powerful active than can be used for quick escapes or engagements.
Relic Shield line is the option for Tanky Supports that provides beneficial survival stats and the most risky gold-generation. It assists in securing gold while sustaining both you and your lane partner, but you have to execute minions, which will often put you at the range for taking damage. The active gives a single ally a shield that scales with your health and delayed AoE damage.
Spellthief's Edge line is for harassive Supports because it provides gold return for damaging enemy champions and structures, along with AP and Mp5 to scale off of. Its active is strong for peeling or chasing targets when using the slow, but aim it carefully because the projectile will burst on the target location, not the max range.
----
Boots are important for ensuring you can move effectively. Buy Boots of Speed right before you finish your Gold Income item, and finish them by the time the laning phase ends.
----
The cheapest movement option, use when you don't expect to be targeted during combat.
Best consistent movement option, use when you need chasing prowess during combat.
Use to counter CC and magic damage. Strong against teams with plenty of peel.
Use to counter AA-reliant champions, such as ADCs and bruisers.
Best used on supports that scale from damage.
Do not use unless you are absolutely hurting for CDR.
The additional movement speed helps in all situations.
Use to contest enemies closing in on your base.
Use when you find yourself leading the charge or retreat for your team. Especially useful on champions that are more mobile than their teammates
----
These are situational items often found on Supports, use them under the advised situation for the best results.
----
Use on champions with a consistently accessible heal or shield to boost the DPS of your teammates.
The active provides soft-CC to chase or kite.
Best used when you can consistently damage a target with spells, yet any hard CC does not last longer than the passive.
Use on champions that could need follow-up CC after spells.
Best used to maximize your damage output with spells, especially towards tanks.
Counters sustain-reliant champions, such as Vladimir or Soraka.
Recommended to give sustain and rounded, scaling stats.
Ensures that your carries can continue dealing damage. Best used on the more potent and long-lasting CC.
More offensive alternative to
Best used among champions that are usually in the fray among enemies.
Use to counter magic damage and boost any sustain you may have.
Use to counter AA-reliant champions, such as ADCs and bruisers.
Use to counter AA-reliant champions if you are the main target of the battle.
Recommended for protection against all damage types after having resistances.
Use for protecting your team from magic damage dealers, especially AoE.
zeke's herald
Generally should not be used, but acceptable if you have an AD-heavy team composition.
Do not use if you still plan on being a Support.
Do not use. You are not supposed to be pushing lanes, and pets benefit little from it.
Do not use, you'll be much better off with either of the upgrades.
Not recommended, unless you are ahead with or .
Should not be used, but acceptable against an AA-reliant enemy team composition.
Not recommended, but acceptable if you have an AP-heavy team composition.


Guide Top

Support Setup - Ability Priority

Whenever gaining a level, you gain a point to be used in upgrading your abilities. You cannot level an ability to rank more than half your level, and ultimate abilities can only be allowed to rank after reaching level 6, 11, and 16. The concept of ability rank priority is hard to generalize beyond "level the most useful first", so I will explain it using the example of Nami:
----
Know the effects of the ability:

Determine the effects of ranking it:
  • Aqua Prison does not stun better, the damage increases and the CD lessens.
  • Ebb and Flow increases in sustain and damage, the cost increases and the CD doesn't lessen.
  • Tidecaller's Blessing increases in damage and CC, the cost increases and the CD doesn't lessen.
  • Tidal Wave increases in damage and CC, the cost doesn't increase and the CD lowers.
Tidal Wave appears to have the best ranking, so it will be our priority. CC is more important than damage, and even if the CD becomes lower, you won't be guaranteed the opportunity to use it again, so Aqua Prison becomes our lowest on priority. Ebb and Flow and Tidecaller's Blessing seem equal in their benefits from ranking, but Tidecaller's Blessing is more consistent, so Ebb and Flow can take the priority over Tidecaller's Blessing. Now the ability priority for Nami is this:
----
> >
----
So in summary, your best utility should be ranked first, sustain, defense, and CC take priority over damage, and CD is not significant until it reaches a point where you can use it multiple times in a fight.


Guide Top

Warding

Vision is your most valuable asset in a game and ensures that you will always be able to keep an eye on your enemy and important objectives.
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Stealth Wards provide an entire minute of vision and can't be destroyed without using True Sight, obtainable only through Sweeping Lens and Vision Wards. They must be maintained in order to ensure vision, but their advantage lies in being difficult to detect and counter. They do not detect stealthed Champions and cannot look into brush they are not already in.
Vision Wards will give indefinite vision until they are destroyed. They do not have to be replaced until they are destroyed by an enemy champion, so place them where they will still be hidden and safe, but offer the vision you need. They also give True Sight, which allows you to see through a champion's stealth, such as Evelynn's, Rengar's, Shaco's, even Akali's, but still cannot look into brush they aren't in.
----
----
Above is a map of potential warding spots. Choose wisely depending on what control you can have over the map, and what area your team is trying to be active in. Try to only use Vision Wards in the best spots.
Warding in the OK spots is something that usually should only be done if you quickly need vision of a contested area, such as Baron , Dragon , or your base towers. Warding in the path of minions is generally discouraged, but if your team does not have adequate control over the wave, save yourself the trouble of being pressured for quick reactions.


Guide Top

Playing

When playing as a Support, it usually depends on case-by-case scenarios for you to be really able to determine what to do. For the sake of this guide's readability, I will cover tips and tricks than can be applied to a great majority of situations.
----

The Laning Phase

----
  • Punish the enemy every available opportunity. Harass with AAs against shorter-ranged enemies. If the enemy ADC is about to last-hit a creep, their AA animation prevents them from attacking you while they're attacking the creep, use this to safely damage the enemy ADC.
  • Keep yourself within range of your lane partner. Being able to use a spell on them or help engage at a critical moment means you can determine the outcome.
  • Do not waste your resources for anything. Always optimize and conserve. Always use your potions if you are below 75% of either mana or health.
  • Be aware of engage and harassment ranges for you, your lane partner, and the enemy. Don't engage if your lane partner cannot follow up. Avoid giving the enemy the opportunity to engage. Stay behind minions to prevent most skillshots from reaching you.
  • Power spikes in the bottom lane are twice as powerful. Watch both teams for advantages in level because they indicate the arrival of another skill and higher stats.
  • Focus the enemy ADC! CC the enemy ADC to prevent them from dealing damage. Focus any damage you have on them to help your lane partner get the kill. If need be, remind your lane partner that they should be damaging the enemy ADC, not the enemy Support.
  • Never let yourself stop moving, even when attacking. Attack move by canceling your AA animation after your projectile has been thrown, so you can cover more ground to prevent their escape.
  • Back to Base when your health or mana becomes too low. If you cannot properly contribute without over-risking your or your lane partner's life, don't even try.
  • When warding, be aware of the enemy movement. If they can get free damage or instigate a fight on either of you, don't try.
  • Be aware of when you will miss out on gold; don't leave as creeps are about to die and be aware of whether or not you will get any gold for harassing. With Relic Shield line, focus on executing siege minions and melee minions, as they grant the most gold.
  • You purchase priority should be your advanced gold item ( Frostfang, Nomad's Medallion, or Targon's Brace), Sightstone, Boots of Speed, and your legendary gold item ( Frost Queen's Claim, Talisman of Ascension, or Face of the Mountain), in that order. After these initial purchases, proceed to your situational items.
  • Buying consumables is something that should always be considered. More Health Potions and/or Mana Potions means you can take it easier in lane. A Vision Ward gives ward-clearing prowess and jungle-safety for the entirety of it's life. Try to hold off from buying Stealth Wards, though, that gold could be much better spent on other, longer-lasting items, or simply be saved up.
  • Do not take CS unless your lane partner cannot get it. Otherwise, do not touch the minions unless you need to freeze or push. Early on, it is difficult to farm under tower: Soften minions with a single hit, if they are not already being attacked, so they will have low enough health to be last-hit by your lane partner.
  • Zone the enemy with your presence. Control their movement as much as possible, with the goal of preventing engagements, harass, and farming.
  • Do not take kills unless your lane partner cannot get it! Do not let enemies run off if they can be easily killed, either.
  • Be aware of the enemy Jungler. If they disappear into the jungle , let your team know with the ping. If they are ganking top-lane, it is now safer to push to tower or plan something with your own jungler. Same applies to the enemy mid-laner, if they have been gone too long, let your team know and be aware that they might gank you.
  • When the enemy jungler ganks, ping accordingly and get to your tower as fast as possible. Avoid using the brush if you can because it will only take longer to get back.
  • When they tower dive, and if you can risk it, bait them under tower and let them be targeted, then try to keep them under turret range using CC or more baiting.
  • Ask your Jungler to gank if the enemy is pushed to tower and you will be given the health advantage. If the enemy is missing, ask your Jungler to take Dragon .
  • When taking Dragon , ward the immediate area, keep track of enemy movement, and assist in whatever way you can. Do not let it target your higher damaging teammates, as its attacks reduce their damage output and healing. If you see the enemy, let your team know, never attempt to take Dragon while someone can steal it, always turn and fight.
----

The Group Phase

----
  • Focus objectives! You win games through dragons and towers, not kills. Pay attention to the progress of minion waves, and let your team be aware of creep farms about to roll into towers. Keep vision of Dragon when it is up, or about to be up, and try to have to have your team keep control of it.
  • Keep vision of highly trafficked areas when your team is trying to be active nearby. Don't let your team or yourself be caught because there was no vision control.
  • In teamfights, focus their biggest damage dealer. CC and damage them as often as possible. Make sure that this is your team's primary target.
  • Protect and sustain your biggest damage dealer. Peel for them and make sure they aren't trying to fight someone off alone.
  • Work with your team! Communicate to take objectives and make battle plans. Use pings to communicate swiftly and easily. Do not be toxic and uncooperative!
  • Do not get caught out, always stay near a teammate so you have a better chance of escaping, if not fighting back.
  • Keep aware of enemy movement, call out the appropriate pings when they leave your sight or are about to close in on a teammate.
  • When taking Baron , ward the immediate area, keep track of enemy movement, and assist in whatever way you can. It is very risky to try and take Baron without the enemy team being accounted for, watch out for any magic damage dealer because they can wipe your team given the opportunity, as its attacks increase magic damage taken.
  • Towers are not worth risking your life. Your team can attempt to destroy them at any time, so return when you have the advantage to take them safely. Inhibitors are, however, because they provide strong lane pressure for the next 4 minutes.


Guide Top

Contributions and FAQs

Contributors

----
As I work to improve this guide, some of it just wouldn't be possible without these people:
----
  • jhoijhoi for Making A Guide, I would have been totally and completely lost with it!
  • Laggermeister for Ten Commandments of Guide Writing, it made the expectations from the community really clear to me.
  • Lugignaf for supplying the template image of SR, it made my grueling search come to a relieving end.
  • Pallis123 for showing how to correctly display the Veteran Scars mastery, I can't believe I missed something so simple.
----

Frequently Asked Questions

----
Ask a Question! I'll give the answer!


Guide Top

About the Author

When I started out in the League, I began to gravitate towards the Marksman role, but very easily shifted to the Support role once I found my calling. Also because I couldn't stand the supports I was getting :P
Now I am a bot lane main who does some jungling on the side. I created this guide to explain the basics of being a Support, as I feel it is one of the least understood roles because of its unpopularity.

I didn't try to make this guide particularly flashy. Mostly because I don't have the resources nor know-how to create my own dividers and such. I also tried to make it as objective and formal as possible, it just irks me when I see authors applying their opinion as fact, and not stating it as such, or even being theoretical with their information.
Which is also why I placed this section at the end, since I felt it's unimportant as to the purpose of this guide, but I put it here anyways to leave some personal notes without ruining the integrity of my writing.


Guide Top

Change Log

>> 6 - 28 - 2014 >> Started writing.
>> 8 - 17 - 2014 >> Guide published.


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