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Complete Support Overview [S3]
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Over time I'll be cleaning up and adding visuals, as well as updating it whenever a new patch is released, if it affects support play.
We will talk about warding later.
These are very common supports, whose supporting abilities are very clear just by looking at their kit.
Now onto some unorthodox supports, these ones may need explanation.
- People play him as support, because his Bulwark greatly increases his carries defensive stats, and give them small health return every time they're attacked. He's also useful for his Idol of Durand, his AoE taunt. and Runic Skin, which will give him AP for building Magic Resist. Making him a perfect candidate for Runic Bulwark, a great Support or Jungle item. Smaller points, is his Resolute Smite is an AoE slow, and his Righteous Gust an AoE Speed up, giving him great utility in running or chasing.
- He's played as Support because of his Reap a 5 target silence, and his Terrify. Given that carries don't build Mercury's Treads, they take the full duration of the 3 second fear. It's on a fairly low cooldown as well, putting out a 3 second fear every 7ish seconds. and his AoE Silence every 7ish seconds as well, with max CDR. A Harmless Scarecrow will also benefit any AP on your team, and Crowstorm has habit of making the enemy team scramble and run, despite doing less than optimal damage.(Unless you're building magic pen.)
- A champion whose on the fence of support and AP Carry, much like Karma. If you play Zilean support, it's best to build him AP. He provides a even mix of Damage and Utility, as he can slow 2 people at once, or speed up 2 people at once, using Rewind and Time Warp. What makes him a support though, is his ultimate Chronoshift, giving your carry or anyone on your team really, a free Guardian Angel passive.
He can also snowball other lanes with Heightened Learning if its played correctly.
- This is a kill lane, on Support Pantheon you don't cs, or buy gold per 5s, so your goal is to kill. building him full armor pen and maxing your Spear Shot then Heartseeker Strike will make you do a lot of damage. Aegis Protection is also great for dealing with the enemies. Not a great support, because of his item builds, if you die once, you are significantly far behind.
- On the fence of being a support. She has the utility of a support, and the CC of a support, but it's not quite enough. The main things that separate her from being a good support, is that she needs to juggle harassing and shielding. Since her shield has a travel time, if she goes to harass with Command: Attack, which will do very little damage, they have a free ~1 second to return damage. Her Command: Dissonance is a speed up/slow up which is useful for chasing and fleeing, and she also has Command: Shockwave, an AoE position changer.
- It's a hit or miss lane, if you play support Nidalee, you won't be getting ganked often because of your Bushwhacktraps, but it all relies on you landing your Javelin Toss. The only point of Support Nidalee is her poking power and her Primal Surge on the carry, which will give them an attack speed steroid.
- She has a snare, an AoE Magic resist Shredder, a shield that gives immunity to CC, and an ultimate that slows and stuns everyone in its proximity. However, what prevents her from being a true support, is that her shield is virtually useless against a bottom lane with no CC who want to all in, or a strong ganking jungler who doesn't need CC, such as Shaco or Xin Zhao.
- Lux is played as a support because she has Lucent Singularity, an AoE Slow, and Light Binding that can snag 2 people at once. and if you build AP, you still do a fair amount of damage. Not to mention you have Prismatic Barrier that has potential to shield up to 10 people( yourself, all 4 teammates, then when it comes back it'll re-shield them.) She's very reliant on getting kills or farm to be useful though.
- Classified as a Support, but she's better in other lanes. She can heal, speed up, slow, and give invincibility, not to mention ranged AoE Poke. Her entire kit is good, however it lacks a hard CC, which is what people generally want from their supports now a days.
- She's a sub par Support because of her range. She has a massive shield, an ok heal, and a speed up/ slow down. But what really holds Karma back, is her skills range. She's out ranged by a lot of Supports, and will get poked out of lane.
and Lastly, : Support Annie will work if you snowball and build AP. Her main gimmick, is that she can zone early on. Simply have your stun up and stay in a bush, poking out to let them know you're there, and that they are in range in your stun, then back off. After her early game, if you don't score a couple of kills, assist, or farm, you'll be dead weight. Only useful for your AoE stun with Summon: Tibbers or Incinerate and minimal damage. She has major lane presence if she can ward bushes in lane. Her auto attack range is 625, which is astronomical.
Poke will beat initiate, Sustain will beat Poke, and Initiate will beat Sustain.
It get's complicated when you have supports like Alistar, who can heal and initiate, but he get's countered by Poke and Sustain. The poke component beats his Initiate, and his sustain isn't high enough to out sustain some other champions, so it's a low level of sustain, meaning another combo with higher sustain will be able to beat him. Shields also count as Sustain, so Lulu's Help, Pix! and Janna's Eye Of The Storm come to mind.
This rule that Poke beats Initiate is arguable, but I feel it's right. Given the 2 popular poke champions Lulu and Sona, and 2 heavy Initiate champs, Blitzcrank and Leona, this rule says Poke will beat initiate. A good Lulu or Sona can actually beat a Blitz/ or Leona. The whole point of this rule is that the Poke champion will harass down the initiating champion early on so they're low enough that they'll hesitate on engaging. And when they hesitate to engage, they lose their presence and snowball ability.
Regarding Sustain beating Poke, put simply, Someone like Soraka, who has a heal, will beat a Lulu. The reason for this is she can heal all the damage that Lulu does over time, and Lulu will either run out of mana, or it'll become a farm lane.
Initiate does well against Sustain. This one is a very simple concept, Sustain champs want to take a little bit of damage and sit back and heal it up, Initiate want to burst them from 100 to 0, so for a sustain champ, once they get hit, there's no backing out and healing back up.
21 points into Utility is almost always a must. Taking a point into the improved Summoner's Insight , and then 3 into Meditation is good. Supports use a lot of mana. After that you can either choose Mastermind or Artificer . This depends on who you're playing. If you are playing someone such as Sona or Fiddlesticks, the lower cooldown summoner spell mastery will be very beneficial, so you can use your Flash more often to help initiate.
Grabbing Biscuiteer and the Explorer is good. Even though they don't seem like a lot, the Biscuit in combination with a Health Potion can out heal a low level Ignite. The Explorer's Ward is very useful for spotting an invade as well.
Always take Wealth , and Greed . If you're a ranged support with a long auto attack range, or a kit that can utilize your auto attacking often, take Pickpocket as well. Examples that come into mind are Sona, Lulu, and Thresh. Lastly, pick up the Intelligence and Nimble masteries to top off the Utility Tree.
If you're going 9/0/21, in the Offensive tree, you should put 4 points into Sorcery, then Blast , and Arcane Knowledge . Using these masteries you aren't expecting to get harassed often.
If you're going 0/9/21, put 4 points into Durability , then mix 4 points into Hardiness and Resistance , then top it off with Veteran's Scars .
Go 0/13/17 if you feel you are going to be trading often, take the Block mastery for more survivability.
Flat Armor Yellows
Flat Armor Reds
Flat MR Blues
Scaling MR Blues
Flat Mana Regen Yellows or Blues
Scaling Mana Regen Blues
Gold per second yellows
Magic pen Reds
Flat AD Reds
Scaling AP Blues
Flat AP Quints
Flat Health Quints
Gold per 5 Quints
Now that you have a list, let me explain how each works and is useful.
Flat armor yellows are without a doubt the most important runes. They'll give you a big boost to your armor, but if you feel you're champ isn't going to be harassed a lot, or you can play the lane safely, you can switch them out for Gold per second yellows. If it's going to be a lane where you just want to sustain, switching some, but not all, of them out for a few mana regen yellows, would help keep your mana up to spam your heal more.
Flat armor reds are optional, since reds are usually offensive quints, you may feel they aren't worth it. You generally want these on already tanky supports such as Leona or Taric, to make them even harder to kill in lane, giving them much more presence. However, on more poke reliant supports such as Sona, you can swap these out for Magic pen reds instead, to increase your overall damage.
Flat MR blues are useful. A lot of combinations have magic damage, including Ad carries. Taking 3 flat MR blues and swapping the rest out for Scaling MR blues is a typical thing to do. However if you're fighting a heavy AP Bottom lane, such as Tristana/ Taric, or Miss Fortune/ Leona, taking all flat MR runes would help you a lot in lane.
Flat AD reds, I would only take these on people like Sona or Lulu, who constantly poke with auto attacks. Otherwise, stray from these runes.
Flat Magic Pen reds are a solid pick. These go well with poking champs, however you have to think about who to put them on. You wouldn't use them on Janna, because she only has 2 spells that can use them, and they're spells you don't max, however on Sona and Nami, who max a damaging spell first, it would be useful.
Scaling AP Blues are ok, you can use them for starter runes if you don't have enough money for real runes. The reason they're just "ok" and not great, is because you miss out on a lot of MR, if the lane you're against is really safe, or has little to no magic damage, you can take these. Or if you know you can safely harass.
Scaling Mana Regen Blues can be another alternative, if you're playing a champion that is constantly using mana and can't solve it's mana problem so easily. Champions like Sona can use these.
Onto Quints, there are 3 that I would use.
Flat AP Quints, they're decent, and work well on supports built around their harass. They also add a lot of punch to heals and shields. Take these if you feel like you won't die.
Flat HP Quints, probably my favorite, if you need more tankyness level 1 or want to snowball it by being an unkillable zoning machine, take these. They give good durability, they work pretty well on any support, and I generally use them on any support that I haven't played or tested before. These are a must have if you're against a kill lane such as Jarvan-Leona.
Gold per second Quints, These are optional. You can use them on anyone, however it's just a trade off, do you like health more? damage more? or do you just want money. Taking these will lower your early game by a lot, but will pay off in late game. These will earn you 540 gold by the 30 minute mark, which is more than the cost of the 70ish health the HP quints will give you, or the 15 AP form the flat ap quints.
One of the most important things about runes though, is it's mainly personal preference, you have to try things out and see if you like them and if they synergize well with not only yourself, but your champion.
Well, there are 3 other spells you can take, , or and . The only time I would take Heal over Exhaust or Clairvoyance as a support, is if the enemy is doing a heavy AoE Comp, as it'll cut their damage by a bit, and added with a Locket, it'll help your entire team by adding just about a giant's belt to everyone.
So when do you take Exhaust and when do you take Clairvoyance? Well, you can take Clairvoyance if at least one person on your team has Exhaust. Such as a Jungle Shaco. If you have one on your team, you can grab Clairvoyance and help him invade, or use it to scout out ganks and the position of the other jungler. You always want one Exhaust, it'll be very beneficial late game when carries turn into monsters. 80% of the time though, grabbing Exhaust is a very safe way to win a lane. Exhaust will make you win trades by reducing the overall damage by anyone, and slowing them. If the carry packs Exhaust and you have Clairvoyance it would work well, but you have little kill pressure without Ignite.
Clairvoyance is a tricky spell to take, because it doesn't help your lane much in winning, more so going even and preventing aggression, while aiding every other lane by giving them insight on ganks or positioning.
Faerie Charm, 2 sight wards, a Vision Ward,and 1 Health Potion/ Mana Potion
Rejuvenation Bead, 2 sight wards, a Vision Ward, and 1 Health Potion/ Mana Potion
Faerie Charm, 3 sight wards, and 2 Health Potion/ Mana Potion
Rejuvenation Bead, 3 sight ward, 2 Health Potion/ Mana Potion
Faerie Charm and Rejuvenation Bead with 2 sight wards
Crystalline Flask, sight wards, and Health Potion/ Mana Potion.
So you might want to know, which combination do you want? Well that's a fairly easy question. Almost all supports want to get either Faerie charm or Regen bead, 2 wards, a pink ward, and 1 potions.
Depending on if your champion wants strong brush control, such as Taric, or if the enemy has strong brush control, is when you'll decide to get a pink ward over a normal ward. If you're against a strong poke lane, that doesn't need a lot of brush control, going 3 pots and 2 potions will give you more sustain, while still keeping control over the lane.
Regarding the choice between Faerie charm and Regen bead, well, if you're champion uses mana a lot, has a low mana pool, high mana cost, or low cooldowns, you should take a Faerie charm. If you're champion 100-0's the enemy if he catches them, you should take a Regen bead. Examples of champions that take Regen bead, would be Blitzcrank and Leona. They don't use a lot of mana, because one good skill shot and they've already won.
For the other options, starting Faerie and Regen bead, with 2 wards is risky. You have no sustain, and only 2 wards. The benefit of this, is that you'll get your gold per 5 extremely fast. However, you'll be leaving lane at about level 3 to get your Gold per 5, meaning you leave your carry alone at level 3 to fight a 2v1 until you get back into lane, which can be very risky, and will probably zone him out on exp and cs.
Starting Flask, wards, and pots is also a decent start. It works well on champions such as Pantheon, or kill lane champs. It's practicality on normal supports is very low, and it's better to just start regen bead or faerie charm, as they will help you grab your Philosopher stone faster(If your getting one).
If you take the travelers ward in your masteries, dropping it down in tribush or wraiths at the 1 minute mark will make sure you can see anyone coming into one half of your jungle, leaving the other side up to another laner, or yourself, to defend. Putting the travelers ward in tribush can help prevent the enemy lane from trying to stop double golems if you're on blue side.
Remember not to take a skill until you're sure they aren't invading. Taking W on Soraka during a level 1 fight will be way less beneficial than taking your Q.
When taking double golems, the support starts off and stands close to the golems, kiting them but still remaining in aggro range to keep them focused on him. During this time, both the support and carry burst down the little golem, it doesn't matter who gets the small golem. After that, a big golem is left. the aggro should be start on the support, and passed to the carry when its almost dead, the last hit will heal the carry a small bit. If done right, you'll hit level 2 after the first wave of melee minions.
This can make the lane for you, it'll give you presence and zone them a bit no matter what, but if you're playing a lane who can utilize that level 2 such as Taric/Ezreal, it can get you an easy first blood if they don't respect your strength.
But once you lose control over a brush, how do you get it back? Well, there's a few things you can do to get brush control back if you need it. The first and simplest thing is to throw down a ward. Giving vision of the enemy makes them more susceptible to poke, pushing them back in the brush. Now, if they ward your brush, and try to push you out, you can react with a quick pink ward and take out their ward, denying them their vision.
Now if all they do is camp the brush, it's good for you. Having a Taric sit at the edge closest to you, on your brush, leaves him very open to getting ganked. Baiting out his stun lets the jungler come in for a quick uncontested kill.
If you're ahead of your enemy, and can walk behind their tower safely, you can throw a ward in the brush behind their tower, giving you a heads up on lane ganks.
Also getting killed while your jungler is on the top side of the map, will open up a free dragon for the enemy, so be weary of when to engage if you think it's a questionable fight.
Generally what supports will build is CDR and Health, although some build Magic pen and act as a secondary carry. Some build for utility.
So what do you build?
Generally you'll start by building a Philosopher's stone, its a great item that gives you gold flow and regen stats, and it also builds into a bigger item that's almost a core on all supports, Shurelya's Battlesong.
From then, if you have enough for a Sightstone on the next time you back, buy it. It'll be way worth it, because you get free wards everytime you back. If you want to increase you're poking ability, or start building towards a Will of the Ancients, Shard of True Ice, Morellonomicon, or Twin Shadows, build your Kage's lucky pick now, and pick up your sight stone next time you back. You should finish up your Ruby Sightstone next time you back, because it'll increase your ward coverage and boost your health quite a bit. It's also fairly cheap compared to the normal sightstone.
Onto bigger items, Shurelya's Battlesong is great. It gives you a good chunk of health, some regen, cdr, and an active that helps you engage or disengage. And it builds from a gold per 5 item, so its a great investment.
Locket of the Iron Solari is another great item. It's a little more pricey, so you can either rush it, or buy it in pieces. Similar to Shurelya's, it gives health, regen, cdr, and it has an active. This active adds a shield that scales with the holder's level to all teammates around him. It also gives a bit of armor, making it a great item on supports who stack resist and health.
Aegis of the Legion/ Runic Bulwark are tricky. Aegis is a good item, but it lacks CDR, so you'll either need CDR boots or to build both a Locket and Shurelya's, which can be very costly. Moreover, Runic Bulwark is the upgrade of Aegis, however you have to know when to build it, or you'll be wasting a lot of gold. Building Runic Bulwark only gives Magic Resist and a stronger Aura for Magic Resist. But it cost a damn lot. You should NOT rush a Runic Bulwark, only ever rush it if you're team desperately needs Magic Resist. Otherwise, build an Aegis and hold onto it until late game, after you have 1 or 2 more items, then finish up your Bulwark.
Boots of Swiftness: If they have a lot of CC and your job is to go in the center of things and CC everyone, buy Mercury's Treads. If you need armor and want to take 0 damage from the carry, build Ninja Tabi, if you want to have better poke and more utility, build your Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and lastly, if you want to roam then build boots of mobility.
Will of the Ancients is now a support item, since it builds out of Kage's lucky pick, you can invest in a Will early on and by late game when you start to group, you can finish it up and increase your teamfight ability heavily. You should get this if you have an AP top and an AP mid, unless you're champion is meant to be tanky such as Alistar. Getting a Will on [[Alistar is almost useless.
Shard of True Ice: This one's tricky. As of right now the only time you would ever build this is if you want to use it's activatable on an ally champion who is going to be engaging in the middle of everyone, giving them an AoE slow.
Twin Shadows is like the bigger brother of Shard of True Ice. It's a lot more useful, since it synergizes well with chasing, global or long range ults, and is overall a great item if you want to add a little oomph to your heals or poke. You get some movespeed, magic resist, and AP, not to mention a sweet activatable that sends 2 ghouls to find the 2 nearest enemies and slow and reveal them for a few seconds.
Mikael's Blessing is more on the defensive side. It's very expensive, however if you're in a long laning phase, you may want it. It gives Magic Resist, Mana, and Mana Regen based on how much mana you're missing. So it's worthwhile if you want to stay in lane and poke all day. The active also heals and removes any CC that's on your carry, meaning if you're against a Ashe Leona bottom, you can lighten the combo a bit and shorten their CC. Great for people who can heal, as healing cost a lot of mana, and with this it makes your mana problems insignificant. The downside is, you're investing a lot of money into stats that won't make you more survivable in lane. (You get MR, but armor and health are not included in this package.)
Morellonomicon is an ok item. It gives decent stats, but it's passive is what's really worthwhile. Having someone like Soraka with a Morellonomicon against a team with Vladimir, Swain, Mundo, Sivir and Nami would be good. It benefits off of AoE spells, so if Soraka spams her Starcall while she has Morellonomicon, the second they dip below 40% health, they are going to stay there, in other words it's like an ignite, it slashes their healing and regenerative powers. The only situation I would get this is when the enemy team is heavily healing or regen based.
Athene's Unholy Grail is a decent item. It use to be very good on supports in season 2 due to the lack of good support items, but now it's fallen out of favor. It still is good if you want to go for heavy poke and sustain, as the regen will help a lot. It also shares the same passive as Mikael's Blessing, meaning you get more mana regen based on how much mana you have remaining. The difference, is this gives cool down reduction, Ability power, magic resist, mana regen, and mana back every time you get a kill or assist. This is a more offensive Mikael's, essentially.
Lastly, we have Zeke's Herald. Right now it's a fairly weak item because it cost a lot and doesn't give much in return. However, you should build this if your team can benefit off of bonus ad and life steal. It works pretty well on anyone, because the aura is for your team, and you get a bit of health and a bit of cooldown reduction. Not one of the best items.
So what do you build? Well you're build changes depending on the scenario. If you want to go even in lane, build defensively, such as rushing Mikaels and Ninja Tabi, Giving you a nice mix of armor and MR, but also a cleanse for your carry, and mana regen to help you sustain or counter poke.
But take into consideration your team. If your team has a lot of damage on it, but not a lot of CC, then you would want to get max CDR so you can use your skills and your CC as much as possible to make up for it. However if it's largely CC based, you can build more damage to help compensate for the low damage that your team does.
As for warding baron, you should have atleast 3 to 5 wards on you along with your sightstone if the enemy has an oracles, so you can keep constant vision. And Pink wards are an amazing alternative to oracles. Putting 2 or 3 down will basically give you the same coverage as an oracles, and they aren't bound to your characters life.
You have to be wary not to push your lane when you're harassing or else the enemy can get free farm at their tower. You're goal in this situation is to deny as much farm and experience as you can, while taking the tower as fast as you can. If the wave pushes towards you, you farm is slowly, if it starts to push towards the enemy, you push it hard. At that point, you can dive them very easily, letting the support take tower aggro at level 3 can lead an easy 3v1 first blood. You have to ward behind their tower though. The reason for this, is top laners can usually burst a support very fast. Meaning if you're pushing hard and putting a lot of pressure on them as they CS at tower, the second he jumps on you with another person, you're pretty much dead. If you wear your enemy down with your autos, to make sure he can't safely engage.
If you're playing an all in champion such as Leona, and your team has very heavy engage and all in potential, and the enemy has no engage, then you would follow up with your team and go all in. However if both of you have heavy engage, you want to sit back and peel for your carry while the rest of your team dives in to kill theirs.
Choosing when to peel and when to dive in with your team is basically what you do with support. and it's just a matter of, does my carry need me? If they aren't threatened or insta-gibbed by anyone in particular, you can go out and dive in with your team. If they do need you, then you help them. And make sure they aren't going to die in the middle of the fight. The second thing is, holding onto your CC. You need to recognize if any of the enemy champion has a strong ultimate that can be interrupted, if you have the CC for it. A great example is Lulu versus Katarina. If Lulu saves her ultimate or transform, she can stop Katarina the second she ults and reduce the AoE damage by a ton. If not, Katarina gets a full ultimate off on your entire team. When you recognize that, you have to hold onto that stun, or that slow, or knock up, whatever you have, and react when it's needed.