Hi, I’m Casxiterite, and I’ll be introducing some basic concepts and tips on how to play the support role in League of Legends. This guide will mainly focus on the in-game aspects such as laning, warding, and team fights. There will also be mentions on suggested items for different types of support champions.
Please keep in mind that this guide contains a lot of in game terminology and is intended for experienced players who wish to pick up on support. Completely new players will have a difficult time understanding some parts of the guide.
So, let's get started!
Picking a Support
Supports are split into different categories –
tank supports, mage supports, and utility supports.
Other people may categorize the different kind of supports into
poke supports, kill lane supports, and sustain supports.
Tank supports tend to have hard CC, amplifies the carry's damage, and go all in on the enemy laners.
Mage supports tend to do a lot of damage by poking the enemy down with excessive burst without taking damage.
Utility supports tend to offer sustain or CC to protect the carry.
There are also off-meta supports, but those will not be discussed here.
Technically, you could pick anyone and support with it. But a lot of it depends on both the enemy team and your team. Pick a champion that offers something your team is lacking.
For example, pick a tank when your team is mostly squishy. Pick a CC heavy support if your team lacks CC. Pick a disengage support if the enemy team has a full engage team comp. Pick whatever your team needs. You get the idea.
Another way is to pick a support that counters the enemy bot lane matchup.
Generally, poke supports win against kill lane supports, kill lane supports win against sustain supports, and sustain supports win against poke supports.
None of this is absolute, since there are many other factors that determine whether a lane wins or loses. However, the best thing to do is to pick a support that you’re comfortable playing with.
Runes and Masteries
There are many champion guides online that will suggest runes and masteries for specific support champions, so suggested support runes and masteries will not be elaborated in this guide. There are general support rune pages, however, and those can also be found in other similar guides. You can always customize your pages based on personal preference.
Standard supports grab
Flash and Exhaust
but some supports also grab
Flash and Ignite.
Flash is a good escape mechanism as well as a decent engage mechanism.
Exhaust reduces stats and slows an enemy, making it easier to peel for your carry.
Ignite reveals the target, reduces heals, and secures kills, which is decent for kill lanes.
Always start with a yellow trinket ( Warding Totem), but remember to switch to a red trinket ( Sweeping Lens) once you have Sightstone. Please upgrade your trinket to Oracle Alteration at level 9.
There are three starting support items:
Typically, tank melee supports (i.e. Braum, Taric) start with Relic Shield, since it gives good pushing power and nice sustain.
AP or utility/poke based range supports (i.e. Lux, Nami) tend to start with Spellthief's Edge, which offers good harass, mana regen, and ability power.
Ancient Coin is mainly for added health regen, which works well on supports like Soraka.
Some people prefer having other item starts such as Doran's Ring, but these starting meta support items offer a good source of gold income.
Get Health Potions with your remaining gold.
Early Laning Phase
After you get to lane with your carry, your main goal is to reach level 2 before the enemy lane does. To hit level 2, you gain experience from the first wave and then three melee creeps from the second wave. Help push the wave by:
- Auto attacking the minions without messing up the cs.
- Zone or auto attack/poke the enemy laners.
- Try not to stand there and do nothing, although there are certain exceptions.
If your lane reaches level 2 first, go full aggressive and attempt to grab a kill or burn some summoner spells (even doing extra damage puts you at an advantage), but always know your limits. If they are probably going to hit level 2 before you, play safe until you catch up in levels.
Other Laning Tips
Don’t farm when your carry is there, but you can farm up the minions when your carry goes back to base. That way, you gain gold and experience without letting your carry lose anything. However, always stay safe.
You can also try to help your carry last hit minions or push. Try to set up the farm so that your carry can last hit more easily under tower. For last hitting minions under tower, auto the caster minions once. Do not hit the melee minions under tower. For pushing, hit the minions that aren’t being aggro-ed.
It is more difficult for enemies to CS under tower, so it is advised to keep the wave pushed. However, that makes your lane more susceptible to being ganked. If you want to play safe, you can keep the wave frozen or pushed back. That way, the enemy laners will have a harder time initiating a fight or poke you and your carry.
During mid game, people start to roam and teamfights happen. It’s okay to leave your carry to farm in peace if the enemy laners aren’t pressuring your carry. Go help other lanes if your enemies are pressuring other lanes.
Please ward while you are in lane to maintain vision control of your opponents. Good spots to ward are either in the river tri-brush, the brush in the river, or further up near the dragon . Also ward in the brushes in your lane to see enemy laners hide in these brushes or to prevent a potential lane gank.
It is good to ward river with your trinket after hitting level 2 if you’re pushed up. That way, you can prevent a level 2 enemy jungler gank. Your carry can ward there after your trinket ward runs out.
Also, try to buy a Control Ward if you have the gold after backing. A good spot to put a Control Ward down for blue side would be bot side tri-brush or the brush in front of blue side’s red buff. For red side, good spots would be the river brush, one of the laning brushes, or one of the brushes in the river near blue.
Counterwarding is when you take out your opponent’s ward to deny them vision, so it is always important to note where your opponents have placed wards. It is also nice to alert your teammates if your enemy has placed wards in the river area, in case your teammates wish to gank your lane.
After getting Sightstone, you should always try to keep dragon and tri-brush warded during laning phase. After laning phase, you can place some deep wards. However, always stay safe, and constantly change your warded areas based on where you need vision for the next potential teamfight. Ward objectives such as baron or dragon if they are coming up soon, as there may be a fight for these objectives. You can also ward in the middle of lanes once a tower goes down, so it helps see where the enemies are rotating to. If you are losing, ward your jungle as much as possible to see enemy rotations.
Wards aren’t useful if you don’t watch the map and track your opponents. Remember to
- Always watch the map to look for potential ganks coming down the river.
- Alert your carry with pings if you see potential danger.
- Call MIA if your lane opponents leave the lane.
- Follow your lane opponents if they leave to fight your jungler or other laners.
- Also watch other lanes to see what is going on, such as calling MIA for them, seeing where enemies are on other parts of the map, and overlooking enemy global ults.
Suggested Item Builds
Each champion have different item builds, and item builds are also dependent on what your team needs and what the enemy team composition is. I will give an overview on what items you can build next as support, but look at specific champion guides for additional details.
Everyone has different preferences on what to get for the first couple of backs, but here are some suggestions. One option is that you can grab boots, a Control Ward, and pots on the first back, so you could roam early and get deep wards. Upgrade to Frostfang and then grab a Control Ward and potions for AP supports. It’s totally okay to get Sightstone before boots, since vision is crucial in this current meta. I personally prefer upgrading my support item (i.e. spellthief’s edge into Frostfang), add a Control Ward, and then work on building a Sightstone, but base your first items on your current situation and personal preference.
Some people prefer upgrading their support items into the Sightstone upgrade instead of the support item upgrade. Use your best judgement.
As for boots, it is based on the champion you’re playing, the enemy team, and personal preference.
- Boots of Mobility or Boots of Swiftness can be used on tankier supports such as Thresh, Braum, and Leona.
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity can be used for ranged utility supports for better cooldown reduction.
- AP heavy champions can go for Sorcerer's Shoes.
Core items are heavily dependent on your champion, what your team needs, and what the enemy team has. There are specific champions that have deviated builds, but here is a general guideline on what items you can get.
For example, get Locket of the Iron Solari if the enemy team has AP damage, since it offers magic resist and armor, good stats, and a decent shield for teamfights.
- Randuin's Omen or Frozen Heart is nice if there are enemy AD champions, especially AD attack speed champions.
- Mikael's Crucible is great for clearing CC from a carry and provides an extra heal, which is good against CC heavy team comps.
- Banner of Command is also a good pick, since it gives the magic resist aura, extra AP, and ability to create a strong pushing lane.
- Redemption is also a good item overall for AOE damage and heal for your team during teamfights.
For AP heavy supports, build standard support items if you are behind. If you are ahead as an AP heavy support, you can grab some damage items such as
Do you protect your teammates or do you dive?
Generally, try to protect your teammates, but this depends on your champion and situation. Do remember that it’s better to keep your teammates alive so that they can kill the enemy team. Use your CC, heals, peels, damage, tankiness, whatever it takes to keep your teammates alive. Don’t die needlessly, but if you have to, sacrifice yourself if it means it’ll keep your teammates alive (so they can do more damage to the enemies).
For some supports, you can initiate a teamfight with your abilities (namely, your ult), but it is better to use your abilities to peel for your carries over chasing an enemy. Each case is situational, and there are specific champion guides that will elaborate more on how to play teamfights.
In simpler terms, don't be a selfish scumbag and go help your teammates.
Whew. We got to the end of the guide, yippee! A lot of playing support is based on personal preference, and it is something that will develop over practice. Thank you for reading my guide, and please leave comments below. It would be awesome to hear what you guys think, and I would love suggestions on how to make this guide better! Hope you learned a lot through this guide, and good luck on summoner’s rift!
Extra Sites with Great Information
Go to the League of Legends Wiki for comprehensive information on items, champions, etc.
To look up summoner's stats and other champion stats, go to OP.GG or LOLKING.
To check out how you compare with other players on certain champions, refer to LoL Skill.
To look up your game, refer to LoL Nexus.
For suggestions on what to build on champions, Pro Builds is also a good resource.
Another good resource is LoL Class.
Other sites for great information are on Solo Mid, LoL Nexus Champions, and MobaFire itself.
Thank you for helping me create this guide! I couldn't have done it without help from these great resources and pictures from the internet (and shout out to the people who helped me along the way). You can also check those out!
An in depth guide for supporting s4
Support 101 - A Comprehensive Guide
How to carry as a support in season 6