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League of Legends Build Guide Author Apathy

Support-Carries: The Backup Plan

Apathy Last updated on August 28, 2012
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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To make a long story very, very short, this guide is about how you can play a second carry on bottom lane as a support, and profit from it. The above cheat sheets are champions I feel would be good for the support-carry role, but other champions may work too. If you want to skip the explanations about why it works, you can skip stratght to the chapter "On the lane".

Words used in the guide:
Support-carry: YOU. You agree to be the support and not farm, but you build DPS-support items and have natural damage.
Primary carry: The official AD carry.
Conventional support: The kind of support that just stands back and heals, and buffs the carry.

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How it began

Since seeing many double-carry team compositions dominate both the lane and the late game, I had to start thinking. Somehow, despite having both carries sharing farm on bottom lane (occasionally having one going solo top), they were able to drag the game until they had the advantage.

Surprisingly, many double-carry bot lanes are able to win the lane against standard support-and-carry or tank-and-carry lanes! There had to be a reason behind it. Then again, double-carry lanes are not that strong too, and the splitting of farm does present a difficulty. How can we overcome this?

This beginning led me through a long train of thought that I will explain in-depth to you as you read through the guide below. The end result was the buring question: Why should a carry have to carry alone? The answer: he can easily choose not to.

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Sharing the burden

Having a single carry is a problem caused by having only 5 members on your team. How is it a problem? Well, if you hack into your opponents' team chat, you will probably hear things like: "kill vayne we win" and "AIM THE BLOODY AD CARRY!" . Your AP carry depends on cooldowns and also drops off late game. Your offtank deals enough damage to be a problem -- but only to those that don't build a single durability item. In other words, nearly all of your damage in concentrated in your one carry: a convenient target for the opponent team.

Should there be a way to have another teammate to share the burden of the late-game DPS, distract anti-carries and make eliminating the damage source much harder, you can take more risks with safety and gain more rewards, thanks to the awesome failsafe of not being the only source of DPS. So assuming you can find a teammate who can get money without stealing from you, dish some damage and assist you along the way, wouldn't it be great?

The problem with a double-carry lineup is having both carries unfed and useless if laning together, or feeding/getting zoned on top or mid lane. I'm not saying the strategy is not viable, just that it has its flaws. How could we possibly overcome that?

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The magical answer

What if, the least useful (late-game) person on you team could up a respectable DPS, win you the lane, and farm well when you are not around? Wouldn't that solve some problems?

Readers, as you already know from the guide title, the solution is to have your support double up as the second carry. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? HOW CAN SUCH A THING WORK?

I'm here to answer that.

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Why Support-Carries work

1. High damage output on lane
Before everyone gets more than their starting items, a support-carry does as much damage as an actual AD carry. Having the equivalent of 2 AD carries on lane means dishing far more damage (both burst and sustained) than the normal carry + support lane, since conventional supports don't deal much damage. In other words, you win the lane because you have the damage to win any direct fight.

2. Avoids farm competition and/or wastage
When you have one player designated as the support, even a support-carry, there is no question as to where the farm goes. Even if the support-carry gets no farm at all the whole game, it is still on par with conventional supports in that both only offer their skills' utility to the team. On the other hand, the support-carry can make much greater use of available farm whenever the AD carry is not on lane, or after laning, when there is an empty lane to farm.

3. Great synergy with items
The most important reasons why support-carries work are Zeke's Herald and The Black Cleaver. Other similar but slightly less compelling reasons are Aegis of the Legion and Frozen Mallet. Carry-supporting items increase the bearer's DPS as well. For a conventional support, these stats go to waste, and the support is merely spending money on the carry's stats. For a support-carry, however, these items give immense value for money as they make good use of the DPS obtained from these items and stay relevant to the game. Also, focusing on these items buff the AD carry like there's no tomorrow, but conventional supports don't find it efficient to build them.

4. Having a failsafe
If you have two AD carries, it's much more difficult for the opponent team to eliminate all the DPS from your team. You could play safe and have the two carries peel for each other, or take risks with one carry during a teamfight, safe in the knowledge that you still have good DPS if your gambit fails. You could engage on two fronts and have a AD carry's presence in two places at once. Also, if one carry is not doing well in the game, you can just have the other one step in to dish the hurt. Sometimes, it's even worth it to have the support-carry switch roles with the primary carry, taking all the farm and building big DPS items while the primary carry gets the auras. Other times, you don't even need the second carry and the support-carry can go tanky or aura to help the rest of the team.

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On the lane

Playing bottom lane with a support-carry is vastly diffrent from playing with a conventional support. Support-carries have superior damage on lane and should have their primary carry (and themselves) play aggressively. While they are commonly more fragile than tanky supports, the high damage will ensure fights are extremely one-sided.

When playing against conventional supports, take advantage of your lane dominance and try to get kills on lane. Failing that, try to zone the opponents so hard they can't even get experience. Be wary of jungler ganks, since your opponents will likely buzz their jungler every 30 seconds. Remember to always ward the river, tribrush, jungle entrance, dragon, enemy buffs, etc. for your own safety. With a well-executed counter-gank or just being too strong for their jungler, you can establish dominance the whole game by being multiple kills ahead on the lane.

Also, do remember that as the support, a support carry should go around and do things when he is not needed on the lane. Primarily this means warding, but sometimes you can gank mid, help your jungler (if he is the kind that suffers at buffs), annoy the opponent jungler, or even leave the lane just so that you can come back to gank it. I'm not recommending too much of these antics as you will lose out on experience, but many times fixing your mid laner's problem (the opponent mid laner) will win you the game, as will a stolen buff or a surpise kill in the jungle.

A word of warning: That strategy works well on normal, heal-and-shield, buff-the-carry supports. Laning against a killing support is a whole new ball game.

If you are laning against a support with great killing potential like Blitzcrank, Darius, Gangplank, Nautilus, Pantheon, Sejuani and Xin Zhao you should realise that their damage output is approximately the same as yours. However, these killing supports are much more tanky and usually chosen for their strong early game, with a good mix of damage, tankiness and CC. In other words, you can't win a direct fight now.

This kind of lane is much, much harder. Unable to initate as and when you want and win, you will have to use your double-ranged lane to whittle down their health and slowly turn the lane back into your favour. Use your spells and attacks to harass and try not to eat theirs. Done correctly, you will eventually win the lane and play it like the previous lane. A quick-fix to the unfavourable lane is a jungler gank, once you're ahead it's very difficult for these lane to turn the lane around again, since you use the money better than conventional supports (who may still lose to the killing lane after getting ahead).

When playing against another support-carry or double carry, may the better players win. The first fight usually determines who wins the lane. Don't lose it and play prudently.

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What kind of primary carry works well with support-carries?

To answer the question, you have to bear in mid what support-carries bring to the table, and what they need. While they are very diverse, support-carries generally lack CC compared to conventional supports and have limited sustain on lane, at least until Philosopher's Stone or Vampiric Scepter is purchased. They bring superior damage output on lane and late-game safety to the game. (A notable exception is Twisted Fate. He brings good CC but less early-game damage.)

Carries who work well with supports usually fill in the CC to some extent. Ashe, Caitlyn, Kayle, Kennen and Varus come to mind. They themselves are less useful for early-game damage, but the support-carry fills in more than enough. Corki's armor shred and Ezreal's or Sivir's AS buff work wonders with another AD in the lane.

The other carries don't really fit in with a support-carry, since they rely on others for CC and don't benefit other AD champions. Do let me know if I missed out a viable carry.

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What should a support-carry buy?

A support-carry doesn't always have to build like a actual carry. In fact, that's quite inefficient. It will take about 20 or so minutes before you will usually realise whether your team needs a backup carry. Thus, until you know, it's much safer to build generic items that don't specialise into each role. Remember, each support-carry is unique and requires certain stats over others. (For example, Urgot will get his Manamune no matter what role he's playing as.) The below items are just guidelines to the items that are efficient for support-carries in general.

Early Game Core:
Philosopher's Stone Get some gp/10 items (not all please) as farm comes sparingly to a support-carry. whether to get one or two is up to your personal preference and your team's requirement for farm.
Berserker's Greaves is a very worthwhile item for its cost. However, you can delay the boots upgrade in favor of an aura item first.
Zeke's Herald will turn bottom lane into a river of blood if the opponents are not smart enough to run and hide at their tower. It's just so worth it for 2 AD carries.
The Black Cleaver is not quite worth it enough for a normal AD carry as it delays core items and the crit stat. For a support-carry on a double-AD lane it's a gift from heaven.

Possible extensions of core:
Aegis of the Legion is very good for survivability and for helping people other than the AD carry. It also gives a noticable amount of AD as an aura.
Frozen Mallet/ Phage makes up for the lack of CC on a support-carry. It enables kills and some escapes and makes the support-carry have a scary-looking healthbar. Don't forget the AD component.
Shurelya's Reverie is a great help to all. It makes a huge difference, potentially a fight changer every minute. Also builds from Philosopher's Stone.
Guardian Angel helps you not be focused as you gain strong resistances and a second chance, which is Zhonya's Hourglass + 750 health after you should have died. Sonetimes baits people in without you dying.

Transition into AD carry mode:
Infinity Edge
Phantom Dancer

Transition into suppport/tank mode:
Randuin's Omen provides more CC and tankiness, and builds from Heart of Gold.
Warmog's Armor gives a really imposing healthbar.
Banshee's Veil encourages opponents to make mistakes just to pop the annoying bubble, and is really annoying for mages.

Example of a transition-carry build:
Zeke's Herald

Example of a support/tank build:
Philosopher's Stone Zeke's Herald Shurelya's Reverie (sell Aegis)

Example of a balanced build:
Philosopher's Stone Zeke's Herald

You have to be really flexible in your game when playing as a support-carry. Pay close attention the the state of the game in general and the status of your primary carry in order to build the right items.

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Mid game to late game

During mid game, players often stop farming lanes and roam around trying to get kills and towers, and balance this with keeping up in last hits. During this time, a support-carry should follow the primary carry around as much of the primary carry's effectiveness will be due to the support-carry's auras, protection and extra damage. If the primary carry is quiety farming and plans to continue doing so, though, the support carry can just ward up for safety and join the rest of the team. Usually, you should stick to the offtank when away from the primary carry.

During late game, everyone is gathering for teamfights and trying to push for the win. By now, you should have your core item build and have settled some way into your chosen late game path: auxilary carry, tanky support or tanky AD. Stick with your team and work on your coordination with the AD carry whenever you have the time to type (or talk). Your team's carries can be in two places at once and can do different things, and so try to use this to your advantage. The support-carry should always come back to peel people off the primary carry, and if necessary, sacrifice himself. Always try to stay in Zeke's Herald's aura range, and attack the same target if you have The Black Cleaver.

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A Possible Alternative

I haven't really tried this out, but this is another solution to the double-carry problem. Need someone who's willing to cooperate though.

The Cooperative Double Carry

Simply put, you have both players building somewhere in between primary carry and support-carry. You share the farm equally and split the support items. The efficiency of the auras (and other support-carry advantages) should help you hold the early game with less gold, so when you enter late game you have two carries with decent amounts of money. An example speaks almost as many words as a picture:

Philosopher's StoneZeke's Herald Shurelya's Reverie

Disclaimer: I don't guarantee this will work.

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That's all folks

You have reached the end of the guide. Great! Now get out there and try it for yourself. I'm sorry about the absolute lack of pictures and videos, but I don't have THAT much time. Do send me your stuff if you have tried the builds. As always, thank you for your time, and please send in any feedback at all, even if it's just a typo. I hate typos.

Also, I hope you can spread the message of this guide, either by word-of-mouth, posting to others, or a simple upvote for visibility. If you have the power to give a Scout Point or even feature the guide and this this is worth it, why not? It's always fun to experiment with the meta.


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