General Guide by NMage92
Not Updated For Current Season
Introduction, Purpose of this Guide
Hello Fellow Summoners!
I won't bore you with personal details, that's not why you are here! Suffice to say I am a player navigating the League of Legends Solo Queue, and I'd like so share my experience playing support champions... so lets begin.
I hope to show you that far from the common (mis)conception shared by many League players, support is far from boring, and can be quite fun and exciting, as well as intricate and challenging!
This guide is based off the current meta-game, which will be explained. There will be times when your teammates/opponents will choose not to choose a champion which fits in with a "meta" team composition. At the end of this guide I will explain some strategies which you might encounter in solo queue, such as a "kill lane", as well as the popular tournament strategy of lane swapping bottom/top.
If you find any words or terms which you have no idea what they mean, please consult the glossary at the end of the guide which lists all commonly used League of Legends terminology.
What to Look For in This Guide
This is not a "basics" guide. Neither will it include any TL:DR. What you see is what you get. You didn't come here to be pandered to. If you want to get better, its gonna take time and effort.
However, it behooves us to begin by making sure you are aware of the basic ideas behind the role of a support champion.
From there, we will move on to a discussion of the current meta game, beginning by describing what that term means and how it has an effect on gameplay, finishing up with the current meta-game, the roles therein with some examples of team composition which follow the current meta.
From there we go more in-depth into bottom lane. I will take time to go over likely support and AD carry champions you will see in bottom lane (there will be times when you will be on a team with, or facing a non-meta composition— my advice to you there is simple: do the best you can) and the strengths and weaknesses of each champion, as well as which pairings have good synergy. Although it is somewhat reductive and simplistic to ask a question of the form "which champ is most OP right now?" I will explain which champions I believe are the "best" choices, and why (the usual answer in solo queue being: they are easiest to play/master/not suck at).
The Support's Job
Your job as a support champion is fairly simple at first glance, so simple it is summed up in the title: protect your team's bot lane carry, who will generally be an auto-attack champion, who dishes out the damage for your team along with a mage carry.
Generally, you and your lane partner, the aforementioned carry, will spend the landing phase in bottom lane, trying to get the most creep score on your carry as possible while attempting to prevent the enemy team's carry doing the same.
Sounds simple, right?
But that's why you are here.
Before I launch in to the more technical and complex aspects of support, I feel compelled to make sure we have a firm foundation to work off of. Rookies, gather 'round. Veterans, take a hike.... or a stroll. It's a beautiful day outside. Get some fresh air and some sun.... Where was I?
League of Legends, like most MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games out there, is a very intricate, complex, and many-layered game. Some would say it is so compelling precisely because it is so difficult to master, both on an individual and team level. It is even difficult to commentate and spectate as so many things are going on at the same time. How do we tackle this enormous beast? We break it down. There are several key concepts which you will need to understand, skillsets which you will need to practice, and details which you will need to remember and/or take note of while playing, in order to succeed and master the E-sport that League of Legends has come to be. This is true no matter which role you play, and is true of other video games, sports, and of excelling at many areas of life, in general. But I digress.
The Theory of Meta Game
Meta is a shortening of the phrase "meta game" (sometimes hyphenated to one word, with no meaning change). A meta game, put simply (and reductively), means everything related to a game, outside of "actual" gameplay. This may not seem that intimidating, until you start to think about what that means. Think about it. EVERYTHING that doesn't involve a mouse and buttons. The meta game usually dwarfs gameplay itself in terms of scope.
What is included in the meta game of League of Legends? Here are a few categories of information that are part of the League of Legends meta:
Phases of Gameplay
Champion Interactions (both positive and negative)
Personal/Team Styles of Play
Notice that these are CATEGORIES. Each has a lot of information contained within its field of view. When we take them as a whole the amount of information becomes staggering. League of Legends players process incoming data and integrate this information and how it affects gameplay at near-instantaneous speed. At least, the competent and professional ones do.
This is why practice and research is so important for the aspiring League of Legends player. Experience leads to better processing speeds and in-game decision-making, in addition to improvement of game mechanics over time.
Bot Lane in the Current Meta
Once again, we are going to take this enormous subject, and narrow it down to a manageable size so we can start to build a knowledge base to take with us into the infamous world of solo queue.