General Guide by invalidtarget
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Change Log, Notes, and Other Junk
11/15/12: Began writing.
--Add a TL;DR after all major sections: Incomplete
-Knowledge Requirements for Carry Status: Incomplete
-Summoner Spell Options: Incomplete
-Optimal Runes Discussion: Incomplete
-Mastery Options: Incomplete
-Pros and Con's of a Good Support: The Champions: Incomplete
-Skill Awareness Tips: Incomplete
-Warding Map and Discussion: Incomplete
***Warding Map Picture: Complete
***Properly Format all sections: Incomplete[/colour]
Overall Status: UNFINISHED
Hello and welcome to my guide on how to support and effectively "carry" your team to victory. I am Invalidtarget, IGN Antichaos, and I main support in ranked (5v5, Duo, Solo) and normal queues. This is my first guide, which I have been putting off for months now, so I hope everyone enjoys!
Over the years of playing League, I have compiled a wealth of information and plan to share this with you here. From experience, I can say that a good support can change the course of a game (even if you were counter-picked on every champion) by allowing your team to overcome the odds against them.
Also I want to apologize for my "Wall of Text" way of writing. This guide / collection of information was not intended to be read during a match! I believe in giving as much info as possible so that everyone can draw their own conclusions and learn the maximum amount from this guide.
Knowledge Requirements for Carry Status
Being a support has a few requirements, however not all of them are essential though the more you qualify for the more valuable you will be to your team:
Map Awareness: Paramount, the better you are with this the fewer times you will be ganked (and effectively, the fewer times ANY lane will be ganked if you warn them!)
Warding Knowledge: Thats not to say, dropping a ward in your river bush and keeping it there. Warding knowledge is knowing when you should buy Vision wards or Sight wards (ie they have Eve mid), knowing where to PUT your wards (both Vision and Sight), predicting enemy movements based off of ward sight, and even includes knowing when to buy Oracles.
Champion Knowledge: One of the lesser yet still essential skills is knowing what enemy champions can do. Prime examples of this is Anivia's egg and Blitzcrank's Mana Barrier. These are two defensive mechanics, though there are plenty more examples. Knowing how to work around these or how to avoid or save someone from the more aggressive ones will not only save your life, but likely the lives of your team.
Situational Building: Knowing how to build support isn't always as easy as building GP5s and warding; sometimes it takes some more thought then that. Playing support isn't about building GP5s and waiting for your team to carry you: Take initiative! Be productive! CARRY YOUR TEAM!-- now, thats not to say build full AP and take CS, no. But the person who carries usually knows their characters skills and limitations well, knowing when to go for a kill or when its not worth it/ impossible to get one. As a support, hold yourself to that same expectation and take time to familiarize yourself with your abilities and limits. This is especially important for melee-oriented supports and tankier supports such as Alistar, Taric, Blitzcrank, and Leona. Knowing how much punishment you can take, when to turret dive, and how to best land your ADC a kill is paramount early game, and knowing what you can do mid-late game is also advisable.
Self Sacrifice: While not always ideal, sometimes its going to be you or your ADC who's on a 10-person killing spree and is worth a massive amount of gold. Obviously the best option here will be to sacrifice yourself instead for the teams greater good. A word of caution though: occasionally this will require some champion knowledge, as you wouldn't want to run back into chasing opponents only to let them jump to you and be in range of your ADC. Good examples of this would be getting chased by flash-mechanic or jump-mechanic enemies such as Talon, Jax, Kat, Leesin, Alistar*, Leona*, etc. All of these champions can use a skill to jump on you followed up by a flash to close the distance to your fleeing ADC/ Team. BE CAREFUL OF THESE SITUATIONS! Another such self sacrifice situation would include putting yourself between your ADC / Low HP teammate and a skillshot-based enemy (such as Ez, Blitzcrank**, Morgana, etc. By taking their skillshot you can ensure that your team gets away.
NEED TO ADD MORE HERE
Flexibility is key, though generally speaking you will go one of two routes, with only minor modifications.
Option 1: Deep Defense
Summoner's Wrath -While not 100% necessary, this mastery will definitely give your ADC an edge on their opponent. Take this is you are running Exhaust, as it will turn it into a powerful debuff for both offence and defence.
Greed -As a support, your goal is to ONLY kill creeps when:
-Your ADC is in base / dead and the lane is pushed onto your tower
-Your ADC is in base / dead and so is the enemy ADC. Aka, the lane is empty.
-You're clearing a vacant lane to protect the tower, and no one else is around to take the farm
Indomitable -This talent is overpowered. Definitely helps when taking creep damage during harass, taking tower shots, taking harassment, tanking ADC / Jungler / Gank squad of 5 people who came down hard on your lane / etc.
Option 2: Deep Support
Generally used on more passive supports who tend to take less damage. Janna, Lulu, and Soraka are great examples of this. You dont have a lot of threat value so you wont often be targeted as much. On top of that, you are ranged so that you can back off easily. You also rarely need to auto-attack, unless harassing...
Greed and Summoner's Wrath for the same reasons as above.
Sorcery and Intelligence combine to give a total of 10% CDR at level one. Helps on spamming champions, such as Sona or Soraka
Pros and Con's of a Good Support: The Champions
Since there is not con to having a support on your team I will instead list here the Support Champions, their Pros and Cons, their Counter-Picks, and who they best synergize with.
Here are a list of characters whom some people feel weren't built for the purpose of supporting, but still do excellent in the roll:
Zyra -Made popular by high elo, this champion can do exceedingly well as a support. She gives sight through her seeds, can root and slow, and has a knock up ultimate. On top of all of this she can harass and zone champions by deploying ranged seeds high up in a bush away from creeps to grant sight and harass champions away from exp.
Teemo -Usually seen as the ADC or a solo-top champion, Teemo can also effectively support due to his map control, Blind, and DoT damage. Even without any damage items, teemo's poison still ticks for a lot leaving him with one of the most annoying forms of harassment in the game. His mushrooms make ganking his lane extremely challenging, dissuade people from entering bushes, can guard Dragon / Blue buff / Tribush / everywhere quickly (through use of his speed) without needing an actual ward in all of those places, and he can secure kills from anywhere on the map if placed properly. His blind makes trades w/ enemy carries rather one-sided as he does lots of damage through auto-attacks and poison procs, in addition to your ADC's damage.
Skill Awareness Tips
Obviously all champions can be equally as deadly if built correctly for the situation, but there are a few skills you should beware and watch out for. Some of these can be countered (I will explain how) and some need to just be avoided.
For space and time sake, I will not be putting in lesser threats such as lesser stuns (such as Riven's) which are more situational and annoying than devastating.
: Knock Back, AOE Knock-up, Tower-Dive Ultimate.
- Headbutt + Pulverize Initiate Combo
- Unbreakable Will
Generally speaking... He's annoying for any opposing team. Many talented players will pull off his "WQ Combo" where he actually jumps to a target and knocks them up immediately for a quick ranged knock-up. BEWARE ALISTAR'S WQ COMBO! Also, his ultimate is one of the most annoying if you are trying to tower-hug. Beware if you see Alistar running at you while you're under your turret because he will probably R + Flash + QW you while taking reduced tower damage, netting his team an easy kill without dying himself.
: Ranged Grab, Single-Target Knockup, Silence, Mana Barrier.
-Level 2 Rocket Grab + Power Fist Combo
-Level 6 Rocket Grab + Power Fist + Static Field Combo
- Mana Barrier
Ah Blitzcrank, one of the most banned champions in ranked play. He can pick and choose who he wants dead and virtually sign their death warrant. He is an extremely powerful pick and can net some easy kills if you can land his grab.
Warding, Warding Properly, and PRO Warding
There are warders, good warders, and teams-that-just-know-where-you-are at-absolutely-all-times warders. Which is the most preferred? Which would you want on your team if given the choice? Option number 3, I'm sure. The mark of an experienced support player (even if they aren't playing support in a match with you at the time) is that they always have dragon and baron warded. You may see your ADC, Mid, or Jungler also drop wards on either of these locations by habit. The other spots are not always necessary, but typically the more wards you have down the better, and the better they're positioned means fewer wards you need to buy to have the most map awareness.
There are always spots on the map that will be under used, and parts that will have high traffic. Choosing where to ward (after your basic locations) will fall on the support and occasionally the jungler, so be aware of enemy approach and escape patterns. One spot I almost always love to ward is the enemy wraith camp, by dropping a ward on the corner of the river-ramp entrance. This spot allows your mid and jungler to see when people either walk through river, attack the wraiths, or move through the jungle towards a different location (such as escape or attack vectors.)
If you see someone pop up in your ward's vision, take note of which direction they were going. If someone walks past my wraith ward, I know that they are either jungling at the wraiths (which I would see due to the ward position), moving to get red buff (heading south-west at a steep angle), escaping from a gank (either west through the wraith bush or south-east through the back lizard bush), or moving for either an attack on bot / Dragon steal (heading south east at a steep angle past back lizard bush.) I can ascertain all of this information simply by noticing when someone walks through this one high-traffic area, simply because it is placed in an ideal location to see as much as possible.
Another good spot to ward, though not always necessary or practical, is in the back of Baron and Dragon camps. In this location, someone with an oracles will likely bypass it if doing a quick sweep and most of the time enemy pink wards will be far enough outside the camp to see your ward. I will usually use this if I notice where the enemy is dropping their wards or if I know the enemy has an oracle and don't want to waste money on Vision wards until he dies.
Here is a map I have edited to show many of the typical warding locations. The rule of thumb is typically to ward inside of a bush if one is near, since wards cannot see into bushes they aren't placed in. Due to this, almost all of my wards are inside of bushes in this diagram, though a few of them are not. Examples of these are behind Dragon / Baron camps (to detect enemies attempting to steal the kill) and by the Wraith Ramp near mid. Most of these locations are for insurance and are by no means compulsory, the only wards that are needed 100% of the time are the ones indicated in RED.