General Guide by Agoraphobic
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
---What To Expect From This Guide---
This guide was created for both new players and veterans alike. In this guide we will focus on the fundamentals of what separates a bad support from an exceptional support. In addition will be discussing tips, tricks, and elaborating on what a support actually is.
Lastly I'll be breaking down Masteries, Runes, Items, and Champions.This guide is quite long and I must apologize for my long-windiness.I hope this guide will help people realize what a support actually entails and helps improve upon your skills to become an exceptional support. This guide is helpful for both supports and non-supports, as it allows you know what to expect from an exceptional support.
---What's A Support, Is It For You---
As a support, the first thing you must come to terms with, is that the support role is the most thankless role in the game (especially at low elo). Most people only see supports as a healbot, a ward slave, or an aura newb. Supports are quickly blamed for anything that goes wrong and are rarely given any credit when you help win the game. Your team has high expectations for a support and many fail to meet such a high expectation.This way of thinking of course couldn't be farther away from the truth! I truly believe that the support role is the number 1 most important role in the game! That's right, you heard me correctly, no other role is more vital than the support role.
I imagine many of you are shaking your heads and saying no, X role is, support is the least important role in the game.
Let's discuss what it actually means to be a support and why it's so critical to be an exceptional support.
---What Does It Mean To Be A Support---
You have taken the most crucial role in the game and you must enter the game with the mindset to help every player on your team win. A support doesn't just focus on their own lane, the support must be 100% focused on the entire map and know what every player is doing, both enemy and friendly. Think of yourself as a Sage of old, as information is what you hoard and share with very few. Your job is to control the flow of information letting your team know everything that's important that that's going on, while denying the enemy team information. In simple terms you and your team needs to know what's happening on the map, while keeping the enemy team blind and clueless of as much of your actions as you can.The best and easiest way of controlling information is simply the use of wards. The most important job that you have is to watch which enemy players are buying wards, what type they're buying and where they're placing them. If possible you need to place a pink ward to see the enemy ward and kill it, or at the very least let any potential friendly gankers know they have to take a different path to gank.This serves 4 purposes; The first is to deny the enemy vision of a certain area, effectively blinding them allows your jungler to do more successful ganks. Secondly your team and you now have vision of said area, making it safer for them to operate in the area. Thirdly, the enemy is lured into a false sense of security, believing their ward is undetected and they're safe until you're ready to make your move. Lastly you gain gold for killing the ward, as well if any other enemy player places another ward for you to kill in the area.Using Clairvoyance or placing green wards in strategic spots (dragon, baron, enemy blue/red, friendly blue/red) you're able to allow the Jungler and your team to know when an objective is available. Nothing is more satisfying as watching an enemy jungler trying to get their blue right next to your ward and mid and bot/top lane surround and kill the jungle, as well as taking the buff. A good support will help the jungle by saying when an objective is up, in example; enemy blue is up *pings the location on the map*. In addition you can help the team by saying the location of the jungle.
Let's say the jungle is at his red at top, why is this information for the team important you might wonder?Top or mid lane can be expecting a gank so they can play a bit more cautiously, while bot lane knows they can push harder and farm safely. Your jungle now has three choices; Firstly, help guard one of the lanes that is going to get ganked. Secondly, counter jungle the enemy jungle on the other side of the map. Lastly help the farthest lane from the enemy jungle by ganking safely without worry of unexpected help from the enemy team.You need to be vocal and keep on top of things. You should never stop relaying vital information to your team by the use of chat, pings, Clairvoyance, or wards. You see an enemy going up to top lane and they walked past your ward? Ping it anyway, don't assume your top lane has seen it, it's better to be safe than sorry. You see someone's lane has a mia, call it, especially if that lane didn't call it.In addition call when you see it's safe to grab dragon or baron, then rally everyone to quickly and safely secure the objective. Be sure to counter ward via oracles or a pink ward, nothing gets your team killed faster than an unseen ward.As you can see, how relaying vital information allows options for every lane and allows the team to know what's going on. If a fight breaks out in the jungle, a simple ping from you will allow the closet lanes to quickly go help the jungle, securing an objective, as well as possibly some kills.
This was quite a bit to take in, but there is a bit more to being a support!
---What More Can A Support Do---
On top of all everything else, there's a role that only you as an exceptional support can fulfill. Not only is this vital to the success of your team, you must know when to do it without feeding, it's simply to be a martyr. A martyr you say, as you amy know while laning it's your job to keep your adc alive at all costs, help him secure kills, help him farm safely, and lastly make sure he is always safe.The above picture was a game where I would literally knockup, headbutt, and charge into the enemy to save my adc. Although I was able to walk out of it, I had readied myself to die to save him and tried my best after he was safe to stay alive(Alistar is hard to kill). Many of the other supports most likely would have died saving the adc. Because of my constant attention and willing to sacrifice if need be, my adc didn't die once during laning phase.Let's say you and your adc engaged the bot lane, suddenly the top lane teleports in, of course both of your reactions is to run. While running you realize they're going to kill your adc or even perhaps you as well if they catch up and dive the tower.
If you're reasonably sure that the adc is going to die, it's your job to do everything in your power that he lives. That's right, even at the cost of your own life. That's right I'm saying if you can reasonably see your adc getting away if you can delay the enemy team just for a few seconds, you must charge head first into them and try to get them to chase you. More often than not the enemy will stop to chase and focus you, buying time for your adc.Dying to save your carry is not to be confused with intentionally feeding, even if you're being accused of it. Sometimes your adc is that bad, unexpected events occur, a mia isn't called, an enemy teleports in, or it might just take everything you have to keep your adc alive.There may be a few of you that are saying why in the world should I die for something that might or might not be my adc's fault (overextending, being greedy, diving)?
Your adc needs to stay alive for several reasons; First, get fed by farming, getting kills, and gaining experience. Second, Your adc might be worth a gold bonus, you don't want the enemy team getting that ever. Lastly he's called a carry for a reason and you're called a support for a reason.
In short your life is less valuable than the adc or another fed ally.The last important thing is, a support must be flexible and take up another role in addition to supporting in a game. This means instead of building support items, building items to pick up the extra slack that your team is needing mid/late game, as well in addition to warding and relaying information.
Does your team need more damage? Pick up AP items that will help with damage and healing. Does your team have no tank or way to initiate? Tank items and be bait to try and get them to focus you first to start the fight.
---Cardinal Sins Of A Support---
On a final note before we move on to something more important, I must speak of a few things that really separates an exceptional support from a bad one. One of the basics that's always overlooked is general etiquette and the golden rule. Always be polite to your team and the enemy, especially if they're rude. A team divided at the start has no chance of winning against a team united at the start. The above picture is my current honors as of date from actual games, not farming or begging.You must never, never, never, ever steal farm from your adc or the person that you're laning with (unless you're alone or they want you to farm). In addtion if at all possible you shouldn't intentionally try to take a champion kill from someone else, unless you have to secure it. Blatant ksing from someone just to wrack up kills is entirely different than securing it for your team.Another cardinal sin is buying a Doran's item at the start, instead of getting wards starting out. Not only are you effectively crippling your lane, you're not in control of the flow of information. If the enemy support is even half way decent, they will take advantage of this and your lane will fall.That's right you will be the support that everyone hates, reports, and truthfully you have only yourself to blame. You're playing support, it's different from every other role in the game and it takes a certain type of mindset to play it.This is how your entire team will feel when a support steals farm, starts with a Dorans, or intentionally ks. (Warning: Flashing Color)
I can't stress enough how bad doing any of these cardinal sins are for a support.
---Items Of A Support---
Playing an exceptional support is all about itemization, starting from your starting buy at the nexus. Then continuing with each buy with each back slowly preparing for your final item sets. Below is a recommendation of how I build almost everyone of my supports, of course this is only a suggestion and you can change items as you see fit.
Although their are two items that I must insist you always get; The first is Mejai's Soulstealer, this works on almost any supports and should only be skipped if you find yourself dying too much. Secondly you will always buy Wards, I mean all day, everyday. You should have a minimal of two wards in your bags when you go back into a lane or team fight. Ideally two pink wards is the best, although a green and pink would suffice.
Now that we have discussed viable items, let's discuss support roles and items that fit each role.
---Roles Of A Support---
As I said earlier, a support is able to take on another role mid/late game. Let's discuss a bit more what exactly each role means for a support.
Your job is still to ward and relay information, however your job is to help the team start a fight and peel any enemy off your team.
All of these three items are great for a Tank Support.
---Runes And Masteries---
Running gp10 quints and seals will drastically increase your money generation starting at 1:30. I can't stress enough how important these are for any support, this essential is a free gp10 item starting out. Thus when you get your other two items, you will essentially have three gp10 items and have a major gold advantage mid/late game. I recommend leaving these alone and I'll explain why in the gold section.
In addition I prefer flat ap runes just to give me that extra boost early game, these can be changed out if you prefer.This build is the standard support build that relies on getting additional experience (a must for any support), extra starting gold, extra gold generation at 1:30, heavy cooldown reduction, increased ward vision, mana/mana regeneration, and extra bonuses to summoner spells. All these focus on making you a better support and grants you bonuses in everything that a support values.
No matter what anyone tells you, Summoner Spells are a choice and not something that is mandatory. I will give an explanation of what each spell does, how it's used by a support, and lastly my rating. This of course is my opinions and changing them out is your preference.
---Gold All Day---
If I can't kill creeps or I have to try not to ks, how do I earn gold? The answer is simple; gp10 items (gp10 stands for 5 Gold Per 10 seconds). That's right starting at 1:30 you naturally start earning gold, what gp10 item's do is give you additional gold per second for having them in your inventory. Ideally you want no more than 2, you want them before the 10 minute mark (15 minute mark at the latest), you want items that you benefit you and items that can be upgraded to something useful (gp10 items only sell for 50% of their cost, instead of 75%).Here is the gp10 items that you will want to pick two of to build with your support. Starting with the base items, then finishing the buy when you can. Ideally you want to make sure you can get a gp10 and a ward or two each buy before the 10 minute mark.You may think, why even use a gp10? Below is a chart that shows gold earnings.
This chart shows the amount of gold sitting earned normally. (No cs, towers, kills, assists, buying other items or champion gold bonuses taken in account)As you can see normally it takes about 25 minutes to start profiting over a not having a gp10. Running gp10 runes, masteries, and two gp10 items is the most efficient way in earning gold, as well as buying wards and other items that you required. Buying gp10 items after the 10 minute mark begins to get less and less profitable and running more than two gp10 items holds back your build even longer. Taking more than two is very risky, especially if you don't make it to the late game.
The chart of course doesn't take in account buying wards and other items. However the time will only vary slightly purchasing items.
Indeed this was a very long read and has taken me several hours to finish this. I'm very long-winded, but hopefully I divided it up to make it easier to read. This is as well as my first guide and really hope it helps.
I honestly hope this guide has helped you understand your support better and help people that support to become exceptional supports that can help carry games. My goal is to help all supports become better and have people realize all the work that goes into being an exceptional support. Thank you for taking the time to read, please feel free to post any questions, concerns, additions, or thoughts.
Special thanks to jhoijhoi for a great guide teaching how to make a great guide (hopefully I followed) and for the dividers that was used in this guide.
Other Thanks To
- You for taking the time to read this and respond
- and anyone else that has helped me become a better player.