Welcome to the worst position on the rift! This guide is intended to put the position in perspective for potential support mains to understand the struggle they are getting into, as well as the voices of the current supports to either vent in agreement or rage in anger at my personal opinions. That being said I have not played League for a long time and would not say I have an extensive knowledge of the game. This guide is simply my opinions on the position I have chosen to play and the consequensces of my choice. Feel free to accept or decline any exposition I give as they are only one supports opinions. Enjoy.
Support: A description of the role
In a nutshell the support is required to "support" the team in what ever way necessary, with out any of the resources provided. You cannot cs, you cannot take kills and you have minimal build freedom. Regardless of what you are not given, the support is still expected to assist the team in laning, team fights, vision, dragon/baron attempts...etc. Imagine a five man military team with four guns. Yup, you drew the short stick. The role is not sought after because the role is not imposing, this is why supports must create an imposing image. Generally speaking, an imposing support has a kit with high amounts of crowd control, good peeling ability and is partially why they lane with the adc. No bot lane engages the support with a healthy carry in basic attack range behind them.
The Bot Lane: How laning effects the game
The bot lane has the highest priority to succeed because the carry must get fed. A winning bot lane equals a fed adc, and a fed carry is much more valuable than a fed mid or top laner (those are still important too). As a support it is your responsibility to assist your carry in this pursuit.
Let me be very clear. Losing bot lane does NOT mean you have lost the game. Winning bot lane does NOT mean you have won the game. QUITTING is why average players like myself lose. I cannot tell you how many times my carry has given up after loosing tier one or how after winning bot lane we get too full of ourselves and their determined carry gets fed from our complacency. Bot lane is a very valuable asset for a teams success. Keep in mind however that it will not destroy the enemy team's nexus any faster than mid or top. The point here is that winning a game and winning a lane are two very different things.
The First Blood Effect
This is a personal theory of mine that I think should be understood better. First blood does much more for a team that simply give bonus kill gold. When I began playing league I started top lane. As I continued to learn the position I realized that if my team got first blood, I would feel a tenseness in my body release. In the moment of first blood my gaming morale either shot up or sank. The first blood theory is that when a teammate gets first blood, the other lanes immediately feel a power shift in their favor. This power shift can be everything a team needs to communicate appropriately and snowball for a win. Conversely, if the enemy team achieves first blood, you should find that the tenseness you felt has now increased. This leads to poor communication, bad decisions and of course a potential loss.
Furthermore, I believe the effect is amplified if it occurs in the bot lane. If my carry gets first blood, in my head I immediately think "its gg boys." That feeling positively effects my gameplay more than anything else in the game.
Once again let me clarify. First blood in no way means you have won the game. It simply gives you a competitive edge. In my opinion, the reason why LCS players are so successful is that they don't let themselves be effected by morale shifting events such as losing lane or first blood. They understand that this does not mean they have lost. Any team in any situation can win.
Division of Power: Who does what
Let's revisit the concept of teamwork. The carry and support must work together in order to be successful. Neither have authority over the other. Neither the support or carry can win bot lane by themselves. You must treat each other with the assumption that they know what they are doing and communicate. If they suck there isn't much you can do sadly. Bite the bullet because that is the problem with both support and adc positions; Solo queue is the worst.
Regardless of this sad truth, both of you have responsibilities in the lane. There is a simple division of power. The carry is assigned to deal all the damage. He takes all the cs, he takes all the kills, he takes all the towers. This is his role. As a support, you have two jobs. Eliminate things that prevent the carry from doing his job and create opportunities that help him do his job. That is it. Every choice you make is for your carry. It must be done with him in mind no matter what.
Warding: How to eliminate your carry's biggest obstacle
The fog of war is potentially the greatest threat you have. Not knowing whats around you is extremely dangerous, even under tower. You have all heard the phrase "knowledge is power," in league "vision is knowledge." Vision protects your carry from the enemy jungler's ganks and allows for greater awareness of your enemy support and carry. Your carry does not have the time or gold to waste on wards as he is to busy funding his Infinity Edge. The task of keeping the lane warded falls to you.
There are four bushes in the bot lane and as a support you should make it a priority to keep vision on all of them. River bush is your top priority followed by your near and far lane bushes and the and the bush just below dragon pit in the red side jungle.
Keeping vision on the lane can be difficult and expensive. That is why supports use a Sightstone! This is your holy grail. ALWAYS build one. 95% of the time it is the first item I buy. It is necessary for your lanes success. As restrictions still apply, you can only have 3 stealth wards on the field at a time. Use a pink ward for the tribush and stealth ward the other three. Make sure to space them out at the ends of each bush to maximize vision range. taking your first back around 1000 gold will get you a Sightstone, a pink ward and a few health pots for added sustain.
By mid game make sure you have vision on dragon and baron and deep ward occasionally in the enemy jungle, it is probably a good idea to upgrade to a Ruby Sightstone as well. Any vision anywhere is a good thing.
Supporting: creating opportunities for your carry
Laning objective: First off, you must be aware of both the enemy support and carry. Your priority target is the carry. You are looking for them to make a mistake; waiting for them to be in a position of weakness. For example, the carry is in front of their minion wave, they are far away from their support, they are cornered by the map wall or they are typing a message in a bush you have warded. You want to exploit the enemy carry by capitalizing on their poor decisions. If you have a good adc, he will react on your engage.
The support is trying to prevent you from zoning their carry. You must watch them in relation to the enemy carry. If an engage leaves you or your adc wide open, one of you is liable to get death sentenced by Thresh or zenith bladed by Leona. Being a successful support is all about positioning. How, when and where you engage are the tell-tale signs of a good or bad support. Be a good support and look for the proper openings.
Because bot lane is a team effort it doesn't matter how good you are if your adc doesn't follow up. You could have the best positioning in the world and it won't make a difference if your carry fails to engage. Support is such a hard position because you have to rely on someone else to be successful. Don't take it personally if you are doing your job and your carry won't contribute. It is not your fault (though they will probably blame you anyway).
Lane presence: Make sure the enemy carry knows you are there. Teach him some respect for you and your carry by being present in the lane. Get up in his face if you have the opportunity to trade and escape. If you truly want to help win lane the best thing you can do as a support is deny the enemy carry cs. It takes practice not to feed, but with enough time and patience you can learn how to easily punish your enemy for trying to take a creep. This can be executed very well if your adc follows up with you. The cs gap you create will be what wins you the lane.
Peeling: Having to get enemy threats off of your carry is an inevitability. This is why supports have high crowd control. Slows, stuns and knock ups are what you use to engage as well as disengage. This is also the reason that supports usually run exhaust (as well as the damage reduction). Sooner or later your carry will be under duress and it is your responsibility to prevent further punishment with what ever disrupt your kit provides.
Team Fights: Protect your carry, lockdown the enemy carry. Land cc where you can. It's okay if you get focused and killed. Better them waste time killing you than your carry and teammates.
With the current meta there are really only two types of support. You can either be a beefy cc tank, or a pokey cc mage. In my opinion tanks are the better choice as they provide the cc and the defense unlike the mages who are much squishier. Don't misunderstand, I think mage supports are extremely viable. However, in my opinion the current meta lends itself to beefy crowd control supports like Leona, Braum and Thresh.
Always get a Sightstone, either Face of the Mountain or Talisman of Ascention and boots with good movement. You absolutely need the Sightstone for vision and one of the two items to produce gold for what you would lack in cs. I prefer boots of mobility but that it just a preference. The more movement speed you have the better your presence and effectiveness in laning phase and late game.
For runes and masteries build tanky. Utility is helpful but the defense you have will be more effective in lane. When it comes down to it it is really just your preference and play style. Armor, Health and MR are the best runes to build in my opinion.
Support is a sucky position, but it can be a lot of fun. I will not go so far as to say it is the most difficult position but it is one of the hardest to learn and master. If you chose to try it good luck and may God be with you because like it or not you are in for a hard time. I hope this was informative for those who wanted to learn about the position, comforting for the supports who feel the same way and extremely enraging for those who think this is all useless and bad information. Thanks for reading.