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BUILD GUIDE: A Detailed Guide to the Support Role - Beginner to Advanced Support Play by CrAzY MoFo 13

by CrAzY MoFo 13 (last updated over a year ago)

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Runes

Unknown Section mastery

Introduction, Legend, and Acknowledgements

Hello everyone, my name is CrAzY MoFo 13 and I have decided to put together a guide to playing support after seeing many players both in-game and on the internet that either want to get into playing the role or are misguided about exactly what a support does. As I just mentioned this is a guide to playing the support ROLE and although I will show miniature guides on how to play champs like , playing support is much deeper than doing just that. This guide is written with 5v5 Summoner's Rift Soloque in mind but arranged team participants and other groups will still find much f the information just as applicable to their own ways of play.

A couple things to mention before I go any futher. For a lot of the champions in this guide I have used a star rating system out of 3 to explain certain things. This explains them:

(*) - ineffective/negligible
(**) - somewhat effective
(***) - very effective

Note: these are relative ratings, that is to say that although 2 champions may have a rating of 3 stars on something 1 champion may still be better than the other. Since this is not a guide to playing any particular champ in detail these are just rough estimates to pique your insight.

Also, when I say "standard support build" I am generally talking about a build that contains any/all of the following items that are most commonly seen on support champs:



Any exceptions to this build will be noted.

Another thing of worth to mention is the recent changes to summoner spells, masteries, and runes that Riot Games has made. These changes have impacted support champions in a big way - a positive way in my opinion that opens the game up to a lot more support options.The reason I really made this guide is to inform newer and intermediate players about the new possibilities for the support role - some of which may surprise you as you read on.

Before I can go any further I would like to give thanks to several key pro players. In particular, Nhat Nguyen of Team Epik Gamer, Elementz of Team Curse, Xpecial of Team Solo Mid, and Lemongod of A Picture of a Goose; I have learned many things from watching these players play and much of this guide is either a direct influence or a partial influence of their playing. The places where this is true are too numerous to bring up every time so just assume they are co-authors.

So, What is a "Support Champion" Anyway?

What is a "Support Champion"? Many players may think that it is a champion that can heal allies, others may think it is a champion with good CC, others still may think it is a champion that has high-scaling ratios and is not very item dependent. While many support champions have traits like that, a good support champion needs to be able to only really do two things:

  • Early game they must be able to help their bottom lane AD carry to farm effectively and win the lane versus the enemy
  • Late game they need to be able to protect their carry from being killed through a variety of ways that can include: CC on enemies, health and buffs for teammates, shielding allies, or even cheating death.

That is why choosing a champion to play support is really just one half of the equation. Support and AD carry should only be concerned with one thing when choosing champions to play: it is all about being strong together. If you pick an extremely aggressive early-game support like and your partner picks an AD carry meant to farm and shine well in late game like both of you will be at a disadvantage: the support will be unable to utilize their early game aggressiveness through lackluster performance on the part of the carry while the carry will be more susceptible to being bullied by enemies since they will have lackluster sustain.

This principle can then be expanded onto the general team dynamic. Without getting too far into the realms of metagame and teamcomps, aggressive bottom lane combinations allow your jungler to focus top and midlane while passive combinations suggest more early ganks bottom lane. You need to think about all these things when in champion select. How about a case study,

A team of these champions will have extremely good early-game potential and a better chance for early dragons/enemy buff control at 7 minutes:

(bottom support)
(bottom AD carry)
(jungle)
(mid)
(top)

This team on the other hand, will be extremely hard to kill early game, quite difficult for the enemy jungler to gank, and can farm very safely. They will also transition well into late game with AoE damage and good scaling and great CC.


(bottom support)
(bottom AD carry)
(jungle)
(mid)
(top)

Furthermore you have teams like this one that has great map mobility at level 6, allowing for great ganks and splitpushing.

(bottom support)
(bottom AD carry)
(jungle)
(mid)
(top)

Now that I've covered who can be a support, let me outline the new summoner spells, masteries, and runes and how to use them.

The New Summoners, Masteries and Runes

Summoner Spells: Recently Riot Games has made several key changes to the game League of Legends that impact supports in a major way. The first and probably the most important is the buff to , turning it from a gimmicky third-rate summoner to an amazing ability especially when combined with the new masteries. I forget which pro player said this, but essentially any character with a semi-decent kit and a good ultimate can now play support by running summoner heal. This is true and I recommend running heal on any support champion.

Besides heal, the nerf to combined with the new jungle allowing for more dynamic paths makes clairvoyance less necessary on supports. Again, this opens up the possibility for aggressive support summoners like and to be used in conjunction with heal. Be wary though, many AD carries are now running since it now removes exhaust and ignite, but they are no less useful on champions that have built-in escape spells like and to replace as a requirement.

Masteries: Out of all the new masteries the biggest changes come to the inclusion of masteries to buff summoner spells in the first row of a tree (therefore requiring only 1 point to use), the "Greed" and "Wealth" masteries, and move of "Swiftness " lower down the utility tree. The bonus ward distance from "Scout" is pretty much negligible so I don't recommend using it. These are a couple of the mastery pages I run now:

For general supports, gives 10% default CDR, 15% CDR on summoners, bonus starting gold, and improved heal
[http://i.imgur.com/4DSfb.jpg]

For supports that need more defenses, gives health per level, flat armour, flat health, bonus starting gold, improved heal, and movement speed
[http://i.imgur.com/zrplz.jpg]

Example of specialized page for specific champion(s), tailored for each group
[http://i.imgur.com/mJYjX.jpg]

Runes: The addition of gold per 10 seals are the biggest improvement to the new runes for support. These new runes add up to 2.3 gold per 10 or 5.3 when combined with the already-existant Avarice quintessences. In essence, this means that by running these runes you can now have an effective or at level 1!. These runes really become noticed when combined with 2 or more of the other gold per 10 items and it is not uncommon for me to have an ending gold pool comparable with my carry or beating my jungler when I run these runes. Here are some of the rune pages I run for supports:

For supports like Alistar who are very mana hungry
[http://i.imgur.com/i7sdV.jpg]

Default for very aggressive supports
[http://i.imgur.com/AvMof.jpg]

I get this if I can't get the 10% CDR from masteries
[http://i.imgur.com/nAyz1.jpg]

Default for tanky supports
[http://i.imgur.com/VQ0yj.jpg]

As you can see 1 size does not fit all but there are many similarities. Pretty much all supports will want to run flat armour marks and Avarice quints (but a few do benefit from Swiftness quints) but the damage-dealing part of your lane should be left to the carry - early game you want to absorb the damage if possible to better protect the carry.

Now that I have covered the basics of runes, summoners and masteries, I will move on to the basics of actually playing support.

Playing Support Champions for Dummies

No matter who you are for support you will be following essentially the same beginning game ritual. Though there are many different builds you can do with a support, pretty much all of them benefit the most from rushing a so the following build should work in most scenarios (assuming you have the increased starting gold from Wealth):

+ + (you can lose 1 ward or potion if you do not go into Wealth)

This build is good for champions that need early mobility (i.e. )

+ +

From here, depending on who your jungler is and where they start, if you are on blue team you should move to get double golems for your carry and yourself (leash/tank the hits but don't zone yourself out of XP). If you are on purple team, go to wolf camp and do the same. In this respect, blue team has somewhat of an advantage in that the double golems give more XP and gold than the wraiths do, but they also do more damage to you. But why should you do all this? The reasons for this are twofold, first these camps will respawn by the time your jungler gets around to doing them (assuming they start in the half opposite you), and secondly it will put you ahead of your enemy laners by gold, but more importantly, experience. Early game having even 1 level advantage on the enemy is a huge deal and that advantage is doubled on champions like , or who deal relatively large amounts of burst damage early on.

Now that you're in lane you can begin to support your carry. Without getting too far in detail, try to zone and harass the enemy when possible and keep your carry out of harms way with whatever your kit provides. If the enemy is a combo that benefits well from brush control, don't be afraid to use a ward in the lane brush - it is not a "waste" of a ward to deny them that advantageous position. At the same time, you will want to hide in the brush so that the enemy cannot see you. Obviously, if they ward the brush this is somewhat of a moot point.

Be wary to who the enemy jungler is. A jungler like can clear the jungle very fast and will use a path that resembles wolves -> blue (by 2:15 latest) -> wraiths -> golem/red -> red/golem finishing a full clear around 3:20 - 3:40 depending on a variety of factors. Udyr is also a very strong ganker at level 3/4 and early warding should occur. A jungler like has relatively weak ganking potential before level 6 and dropping wards later can be benefitial. One caveat, this particular champion can jump into lane from across the map with and can therefore avoid wards.

Warding in itself requires a decent amount of explanation and will be reserved for the next section.

Warding

The following is taken verbatim from Xpecial's "Support Role Overview" (available: http://www.solomid.net/guides.php?g=6097 ), though this guide is somewhat outdated the role and placement of wards has remained unchanged since then and I could not put it any better myself:

"Sight Ward – 75 gold; lasts 180 seconds. Places an invisible green ward that gives sight in 1100 range.

Vision Ward – 125 gold; lasts 180 seconds. Places an invisible pink ward that gives true sight (sees invisible units) in 1000 range.

Oracle's Elixir – 400 gold; lasts until death. Places a true sight buff on the consumer that gives true sight in 750 range.

All three of these are consumables and each take up a slot in one's inventory until the consumption.

Vision Ward vs Sight Wards: Sight Wards start off as being worth 100 gold (75 cost + 25 gain) and around every two seconds, the ward's value goes down by one gold to a minimum of 25 gold. In short, any time you know the enemy has a ward in a spot, it is advantageous to destroy it with a Vision Ward provided it gives vision in that spot.

Oracle's Elixir vs Vision Wards: It only takes a few wards to completely recuperate the costs of an Oracle's, making it an excellent investment, provided the carrier is not killed with it. Vision Wards, on the other hand, are safer but don't give any sort of long lasting benefit and don't completely recuperate costs.

“When is a good time to get Oracles?”
Generally, it is advantageous to pick up an Oracles as early as possible so wards can be cleared. But wards aren't as common early on and it is much more dangerous for the carrier due to the lack of vision and the lack of tank items. In short, it is ideal to pick up an Oracle's if your team wishes to dominate map control in order to set up for important objectives."

[http://i.imgur.com/YzNOH.jpg]

***Note: although Xpecial did not show it, the bottom tribush is also a very important place to ward early game

Timers, Plays, and Making Calls in Soloque

Due to the nature of having to concentrate on scoring CS, harassing, and getting kills, AD carries as well as the Mid and Top lane often have less concentration available to keep track of things like enemy positions (exact, not just mia) and buff timers. Though an amazing player no matter what role they are playing can know all these things, it is unrealistic to expect anyone to do so and, frankly, foolish to expect anyone in soloque to be that in tune with their surroundings - even in ranked.

Here are timers for all of the jungle monster camps:

  • Dragon: Spawn 2'30", 6 minute respawn
  • Baron: Spawn 15'00", 7 minute respawn
  • Red/Blue Buff: Spawn 1'55", 5 minute respawn
  • All other camps: Spawn 1'40", 1 minute respawn

Because of the hand-holding nature of your role, it also falls upon the support to keep a good track of the following things:

  • enemy ward placements (particularly bottom lane) and when they will expire
  • enemy jungle buff timers
  • dragon/baron timer
  • positions, or at least "mia" of EVERY enemy
  • as accurate as possible a position of the enemy jungler
  • the state of the enemy bottom lane (i.e. ults/summoners up/down, likelihood of successful ganks, etc.)
  • whether your lane should push to tower, fall back, freeze push, etc.

It is not surprising to hear, then, that to be a great support you must know EVERY SINGLE champion in the entire game, their strengths and weaknesses in various roles and how they can impact your lane and a fight. This sounds like a tall order, but it is really necessary for my next point about plays.

Since you are the brains behind the brawn of bottom lane, being a good support means that you need to be capable of making plays and calls. Early in the game you will be the one to tell your jungler if he should concentrate ganking bottom or spend his time elsewhere, you will be the one to call for a gank from mid when they reach 6, and though junglers commonly make the call for a dragon play early on, most of the damage in that dragon fight will be coming from your carry so you need to know if that dragon get is possible.

The most important plays you will be making however, is calling how your lane should be played. You need to gauge how the enemy carry/jungle are doing compared to you and make a decision that generally falls into the following categories:

  • Push wave to enemy tower: gives you better control of dragon, warding ability, and the ability to chip away at the tower but leaves you more susceptible to being ganked - do not do this without good ward coverage. Though the enemy carry can potentially lose cs to their own tower at low to mid elo at high elo this is less likely.
  • Let the enemy push, freeze lane before your tower: allows your jungler to gank your lane easier but also gives the enemy more dragon control, ability to place wards in river. "Freezing" the lane means your carry should autoattack and lasthit (with your help on the autoattack part) just enough so that the waves stay even in the number of creeps and neither your lane pushes out nor their lane pushes to your tower where cs can be lost.
  • Let the enemy push to your tower: has same advantages/disadvantages as above and is what the above generally turns into if your carry cannot "freeze" the lane well. CS can be lost to your tower with this. If the enemy wave is too large it may prevent ganks by minion block or aggro damage, be aware of this.
  • Lasthit only, keep lane in middle: This is not really a strategy more than a passive play where you let your opponent make a move in order to then respond to them. No real benefits or disadvantages by doing this.

Soloque: (***This section is going to get into some kind of mind games. Skip this if you're not playing soloque or duoing with a partner bottom lane***) As far as playing soloque goes, think of your carry like this guy:



Basically, you should assume that your carry has an extremely powerful kill potential but is a complete child, they need you to do all the thinking and hard work in the shadows and all they really want to hear is "QUICK KILL THAT THING RIGHT NOW"

In soloque people don't want to be told what to do, but, assuming they're not trolls, they do want to win. If you simply suggest that they do something and it is a smart move they should follow you. Just remember the following: always be civil and polite in soloque or your team will ignore everything you say. Time for another case study:

Your carry dives into a bad fight 2v2 with your heal on cooldown. They (naturally) blame you for not healing them and call you a "noob". Here are a couple responses that you could make with an explanation of what each does,

  • "Wtf my heal was on cd you retard, you suck and only have 30 cs at 11 minutes" Here you are basically venting frustration, you provide no positive support and do not accept any responsibility that bottom lane is really a 2-person lane. If they're doing bad 9/10 times there's something you could have done to help earlier even if it was a suggestion of an item choice or even a strategy.

  • "Woops, my bad. My heal was on cooldown, sorry" While being polite and civil this statement doesn't go far enough. You are also making yourself seem weak and unskilled at your role by taking all the blame on yourself.

  • "I apologize, that was uncoordinated and my heal was on CD. However, dragon is up in 30 seconds. Mid and jungler be ready to force a fight at dragon." This statement does not blame your carry directly but also does not make you solely responsible. Furthermore, it provides some direction of where the team should go next and a plan of attack.

When at champion select, be sure to explain that you are playing support. Picking a very unconventional support pick like will often have players calling you a "troll" or "noob" but if you explain why you are choosing them skilled players will be able to understand. People who are really new will probably not understand but don't worry, you will prove it to them, wont you?

Make sure to communicate with your team early and often; say things like, "Graves come with me to take their red spawning in 30 seconds," "Do you want a Stark's Fervor or an Aegis of Legion first?" or "Gank bottom whenever you can Lee Sin." You will find that your teammates in soloque (especially at lower elo) will be mostly unresponsive but you don't lose anything by informing them on your intentions.

Unlike any other lane, a fed bottom lane can carry an entire team to victory 9/10 times (within reason of course). If your other lanes are being crushed and not doing well, try to keep calm and let your teammates know how well you guys are doing. Don't hold it over their heads but assure them that during teamfights you and your carry will be able to take the fed enemies as long as the carry can stay alive and do damage. Tell your teammates who to focus and CC, protect your carry, and let their damage carry you all the way to the nexus.

Champions - The "Big Five"

So, I've finally gotten down all the aspects of playing support that apply to all champions. It is now time to go through and provide a bit of general information about every champion that can possibly play support. We will start with the so called "Big Five", named so because they are, by far, the most commonly-seen supports. The reasons for this are that all of these champions have some form of heal, cc, and are not item-dependent.

----------------------------------------------------------

Alistar: The Minotaur
Base Stats: 
  • Damage (55.03 dmg, 2 damaging abilities, all abilities proc damaging passive ability) (***)
  • Health/Regen (442 / 7.25 hp5) (***)
  • Mana/Regen (215 / 6.45 mp5) (**)
  • Armour (14.5 Armour) (***)

Available Buffs: None.
-----------------------------------------------------> (*)

Available Debuffs: None.
-----------------------------------------------------> (*)

Available Boosts: Health from
-----------------------------------------------------> (**)

Crowd-Control: Knockup from , knockback from .
-----------------------------------------------------> (***)

Other Utility: Percentage physical and magical damage reduction to self with , can break all forms of CC with same. Situational Tanking abilities.
-----------------------------------------------------> (**)

Special Recommendations: is a general recommendation as it can be deadly when combined with and . Putting points into the defense tree will increase Alistar's tankiness.

Recommended Laning Partners:


Partners to Avoid


Overview: Though he is considered one of the "Big Five", Alistar is somewhat of a niche champ. Because of his high damage potential from lower levels, as well as his ability to tower-dive, he synergizes amazingly with carries that can drop high amounts of burst damage. However, he is almost completely useless in defensive farm-up-into-late-game lane. He also has a semi-spammable AoE heal that works on minions, this can be used to deny lasthits and push the lane.
Though he has a decent base mana pool and relatively high base mp5, Alistar's abilities, combined with the fact that he often has to pop 2 for a combo, makes Alistar a VERY mana-hungry champion early game - missing even 1 combo can set you back more than you think. Alistar also has very high base cooldowns on all his abilities which make him a very bursty support.
Much of Alistar's appeal comes from his which allows him amazing tanking abilities for a limited time and for its ability to break all forms of CC (including supressions).

Difficulty Level: (***)
A bad Alistar is easy to spot, they are generally the ones who enemies to safety or into your dying teammates. The real skill of Alistar however comes in the ability to land the + combo: essentially a miniature , this combo is done by using and immediately pressing "Q" once the animation starts. Correctly gauging when to use is also key to playing Alistar well, too early and the enemy can wait it out, too late and you will already be dead.

----------------------------------------------------------

Janna: The Storm's Fury

Base Stats:
  • Damage (49 dmg, 2 damaging abilities) (*)
  • Health/Regen (356 / 4.5 hp5) (*)
  • Mana/Regen (302 / 6.9 mp5) (***)
  • Armour (9 Armour) (*)

Available Buffs: Attack damage boost from , percentage movement speed boost from .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)


Available Debuffs: None.

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)


Available Boosts: Healing from (ticks per second)

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)


Crowd-Control: Knockup from , slow from , Knockback from .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)

Other Utility: Janna is the only champion that has the ability to shield towers from damage with .

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)

Special Recommendations: synergizes well with when used correctly.

Recommended Laning Partners:



Partners to Avoid



Overview: Janna is a defensive support champion with a great amount of CC. Her is one of the best AD steroids in the game (often related by mentioning that it is a free at level 5) that also provides a good shield. Janna has very lackluster damage however and is very weak in lane, becoming stronger and more useful as the game progresses. Because of her ability to knockback/knockup entire teams (which cannot be reduced in any way) she is one of the best late-game support champions. She also has unparalleled mobility with her which is good because she is all about positioning.

Difficulty Level: (*****) A good Janna can literally reset teamfights and save multiple teammates. A bad Janna can actively hurt her team by pushing enemies towards your squishies. Because of this, combined with her very situational healing ability, she is quite hard to learn - even harder to master.

Those wishing to improve their skills at playing Janna will need to have quick reflexes in order to place before your carry takes damage, as well as being able to accurately gauge the distance will travel based on charge time.

Expert Janna players will be able to effectively use to both propel the enemies squishies into your entire team (to be killed) and keep the enemies tanks/initiators from getting at your teammates.

----------------------------------------------------------

Sona: The Maven of the Strings

Base Stats:
  • Damage (47 dmg, 3 damaging abilities) (**)
  • Health/Regen (380 / 4.5 hp5) (*)
  • Mana/Regen (265 / 7 mp5) (**)
  • Armour (8 Armour) (*)

Available Buffs: Attack damage and ability power from , armour and magic resistance from (doubled when activated), percentage movement speed from (active), movement speed from (persistent).

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)


Available Debuffs: 4-second debuff on all damage sources from a single target by 20% with + , 2-second 40% slow on a single target with + .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)


Available Boosts: Single-target untargetable heal from that effects nearby ally with the lowest health.

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)


Crowd-Control: AoE stun with .

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)

Other Utility: None.

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)

Special Recommendations: Synergizes well with + though the damage reduced is multiplicative.


Recommended Laning Partners:



Partners to Avoid:



Overview: Sona is a buff-bot at heart, she benefits her team just by standing around and not dying. That being said, there is much more to playing Sona than meets the eye. Though she is one of the most aggressive supports in lane with her strong poke, during teamfights she should never initiate and always stick right beside the carry; this is partially because of her limited CC and extreme squishiness (the squishiest of all support champions).

Unlike most aggressive support champions Sona has both low base cooldowns and a naturally-occuring heal for her carry. These facts allow Sona and her carry to come out ahead on small poke exchanges, chipping at the enemy until a kill is possible.

The main drawback to Sona is the fact that she contains no form of hard CC until level 6. This means that her lane is more susceptible to early-game ganks than, say, or .

Sona, along with Taric, are the only champions who have the ability to raise the ability power of nearby allies without . For this reason, she is also a benefit to teams with champions that need AP.

Difficulty Level: (***) Sona gets a bad rap as being a "roll face on keyboard and win" champion. While it is true that at lower elo Sona can do well just by being around as a witness, playing Sona well requires perfect positioning, fast reflexes and a good concept of how many stacks the player currently has.

A bad Sona can be differentiated from a good Sona by the use of the latter's ; this ability is essentially an AoE that can easily stun an entire team if used right and flip around teamfights. A good Sona can be differentiated from a GREAT Sona by the use of the latter's ; + is great early game but somewhat useless late game as the enemy gets health + resistances, + is a very good ability that remains as useful early game as it does late game (it also works on Dragon/Baron), + is a good single-target slow that can stop enemies from escaping ganks.

----------------------------------------------------------

Soraka: The Starchild

Base Stats:
  • Damage (48.8 dmg, 1 damaging ability) (*)
  • Health/Regen (375 / 4.5 hp5) (*)
  • Mana/Regen (240 / 4.3 mp5) (**)
  • Armour (7.4 Armour) (*)

Available Buffs: Flat 16 MR from , Armour from

-----------------------------------------------------> (**) (early game) (*) (late game)


Available Debuffs: MR shred from

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)


Available Boosts: Health from / , mana from ***note, this is the only ability in the game to give mana to allies***

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)


Crowd-Control: Silence from

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)

Other Utility: Global heal from

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)

Special Recommendations: None, the standard support items, runes, masteries, and summoners are ideal for Soraka.

Recommended Laning Partners:



Partners to Avoid



Overview: Soraka is the most defensive-oriented of all support champions; 3 of her 5 (as her E is really 2) abilities are recovery abilities. With this in mind, she should be picked when your AD carry needs to farm well into late game or if you are running a team comp that will need to outlast the enemy through several small skirmishes. She is also, by far, the best healing support in the game with a healing output of over 1000 health points at level 18 by using , , and - note that 2 of those abilities are also multi-target. Soraka's passive is also very good at mitigating a lot of the damage caused by champion abilities early on, making her a good counter to a champion like .

Soraka's shortfalls come in the form of no initiating ability whatsoever and no cc that can stop an enemy in their tracks, as well as very lackluster damage output unless stacks from can be achieved.

Difficulty Level: (*) Soraka is one of, if not the, most accessible supports to new support players. Newcomers to Soraka can learn the basics of warding and keeping a carry healed without having to worry about initiating fights or hard-CC'ing the right enemies.

Advanced Soraka users should familiarize themselves with the appropriate time to use for offense and when it should be used defensively. Advanced players will also be able to keep enemies at maximum stacks from .


----------------------------------------------------------

Taric: The Gemknight

Base Stats:
  • Damage (58 dmg, 3 damaging abilities) (**)
  • Health/Regen (468 / 7.1 hp5) (***)
  • Mana/Regen (255 / 4.1 mp5) (*)
  • Armour (16.5 Armour) (***)

Available Buffs: AoE armour buff to allies with , AoE attack damage and ability power buff with

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)


Available Debuffs: AoE armour reduction debuff with

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)


Available Boosts: Health from , mana recovery to self with .

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)


Crowd-Control: Single-target stun from .

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)

Other Utility: His will heal him even if used on an ally.

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)

Special Recommendations: Taric's early game armour buffs can be made even more effective by adding Armour marks and seals to his rune page. Because of his in-your-face attitude early game, putting points in the defense tree is very useful.

Recommended Laning Partners:



Partners to Avoid:



Overview:

Taric is, in essence, a stunbot and buffbot. His is a very strong ability that can allow you to dominate early exchanges with the enemy bot-laners. Taric excels at bullying enemy champions early game but falls off later game as enemies gain armour pen and tenacity and your heals become less effective.

Taric's passive, , has very situational usefulness, only effective when pushing lanes. Another large negative Taric has is the high mana-cost of his ; though it is a great single-target heal having to use it a lot to keep your carry healed up will leave you without enough mana to do anything else.

Difficulty Level: (*) Most of the skill at playing Taric comes from a) stunning the right people in teamfights and b) knowing when to use the active on your ; not surprisingly then, Taric is one of the easiest supports to play.

The Lesser-Used (But no Less Important!) Supports

These support champions are almost completely ignored compared to the above champions. When seen they are generally seen as counterpicks or niche champions only. While this is true for some, each of these champions excels at a certain aspect of supporting that none of the "Big Five" can even come close to.

----------------------------------------------------------

Ashe: The Frost Archer

Base Stats:
  • Damage (46.3 dmg, 2 damaging abilities) (**)
  • Health/Regen (359 / 4.5 hp5) (*)
  • Mana/Regen (173 / 6.3 mp5) (*)
  • Armour (9.3 Armour) (**)

Available Buffs: None.

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)


Available Debuffs: None.

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)


Available Boosts: None.

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)


Crowd-Control: Slow from , slow (on auto-attacks) with , single-target skillshot stun with , AoE slow around target stunned with .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)

Other Utility: Line-based vision with that reveals a small portion of the map for several seconds, bonus gold from units killed with , global stun/AoE slow with .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)

Special Recommendations: Support Ashe absolutely needs to be effective since she is all about positioning and kiting. Ashe can also benefit from , though not as much as . Those uncomfortable with their kiting ability may want to run .

Like all supports without a healing ability, ashe needs to be effective. She also synergizes unbelievably well with which, when combined with can allow ashe to scout 2 areas of the map at once.

Ashe is one of the only supports where is not a good item choice.
Ashe has enough mobility with to stay out of enemy damage and using the active from this item means Ashe has to get close enough to be damaged, where she will die very fast. If you need an armour item I would recommend to take focus OFF of you.

synergizes well with Ashe and an early can help the fact that you have no healing abilities and a low base hp5.

Recommended Laning Partners:



(champions that are either highly-mobile early game, can mitigate damage early game, have long ranges, or good escapes)

Partners to Avoid:



Overview:

Support Ashe is a bit of a niche champion. Even though she has some decent early poke with and (though the passive is very unreliable), overall she has the worst early game of any support champ in the game. Because of this Ashe is only viable when picked with an AD carry that can, more or less, take care of themselves early in case of ganks or fights gone wrong. Early game bot lanes with a support Ashe need to ward early, bunker down and farm until 6 (assuming no easy kill presents itself).

Come level 6 however, Ashe becomes extremely scary and will allow you to bully the enemy lane with just the threat of being used. Rolling into late game is where Ashe shines as a kiter and an initiator. Try to keep your slows from up on as many enemies as possible with the primary target being the enemy initiator (esp if they don't have a gap closer like ) and the secondary being the enemy carries so they cannot position themselves well.

When chasing take a page out of your AD carry's book by attack-moving and animation cancelling. In essence, you want to cancel your attack animation as soon as the projectile leaves Ashe's bow and move closer to the enemy. This will the enemy cannot escape you without using a blink ability or CCing you in some way.

If you can help it, always teamfight in open areas while playing Ashe. If you are stuck in the jungle with no where to run you can't kite as well as you can in the river with open space all around.

With maximum CDR has a lower cooldown than but cannot be used globally. Make smart decisions when choosing which to use.

Difficulty Level: (*****) In my opinion, Ashe is the hardest support to play; she is a very high-risk high-reward support that can keep an entire team slowed permanently, has more utility than most other supports (including the only map-vision utility), and has one of the best initiations in the game. That being said, Ashe is weak at all points in the game even when played perfectly, most of the skill to playing Ashe as support lies in knowing how to CC and damage enemies WITHOUT taking damage instead of mitigating it or healing out of it. If you are unable to do this you will be a free kill for the entire game and might as well go afk, but if you can do it you can open up your team for easy initiations and fights.

The other difficulty to playing support Ashe is that learning her is a ground-up experience, there is no other support that will prepare you to playing support Ashe. Though it seems counter-intuitive, I recommend learning to play Ashe as an AD carry well before you try her as a support; this will be no easy task though, as she is outclassed by many of the AD carries available today.



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Gangplank: The Saltwater Scourge

Base Stats:
  • Damage (54 dmg, 2 damaging abilities) (***)
  • Health/Regen (495 / 4.25 hp5) (**)
  • Mana/Regen (215 / 6.5 mp5) (**)
  • Armour (16.5 Armour) (***)

Available Buffs: Attack damage and movement speed buff from

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)


Available Debuffs: Poison DoT stacking debuff from

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)


Available Boosts: Self-heal from

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)


Crowd-Control: Stacking slow from , AoE slow from .

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)

Other Utility: Global ultimate with , ability to remove all CC effects and debuffs on self with , extra gold gained from killing minions with .

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Special Recommendations: Early game support GP is very mana-hungry so it is recommended that you start with . Also, unlike most support champions, Gangplank benefits extremely well from . When playing on teams that do not need aura items as much synergizes well with support GP, the bonus AS will make the stacks from stick better, the movement speed will allow him to harass and position better and the critical-strike chance will make allow his to still do decent damage in late game. Playing support GP also means you have to build tankier as you will be getting up close to use your , items like are very good for this.

Support Gangplank is more item dependent than other support champions so Avarice Seals/Quints are encouraged as well as 3 gp/10 items.

is required as GP has no way of healing allies without it. Other recommended Summoner Spells are for utility and or for offensive lanes.

Recommended Laning Partners:



Partners to Avoid:


Overview: Support Gangplank is a champion that relies on early-game poke and extremely aggressive lane presence to do well. His high base health/armour, level 1 slow (from passive) and haste/AD steroid from give Gangplank a higher potential for level 1 kills than any other support.

One of the benefits of playing support GP is that it is incredibly easy to get assists with and . This, combined with runes, masteries, and gp10 items will often result in support Gangplank having an end-game goldpool on the level of his carry. Playing support GP, then, is somewhat of a gamble: doing well will give your team a support champion that can also deal damage and tank well, doing poorly will make you nearly-useless and a free kill. Every assist and kill as support GP will multiply your chances to get another.

Since playing support GP is all about dominating your early GP is a very good counter-pick against carries like - in short, champs that are squishy and cannot escape early game without and champs with lower auto-attack ranges. Simply hit them with (or walk up threatening to) in order to zone them early. It is for these same reasons also that support GP is a good counter-pick against slow junglers or junglers whose ganks are weak before lvl 6 like .

One last point about support GP. combined with makes GP a very hard person to catch, this allows him to get away with using 2 offensive summoner spells (heal and another).

Difficulty Level: (****)Though you have support GP can easily die early if you have bad positioning. Another thing to keep in mind is that will only do lackluster damage past early game unless you have a higher critical-strike chance. Further still, using effectively requires expert map-awareness. All these things combined make support GP a more advanced support to play.

Beyond all these things mentioned, Gangplank's only heal to his allies is from ; at low elo this will allow for many hilarious heal-baits, at high elo this is still a very useful ability for turning fights around. AD carries in lane with support GP should buy either a or a early on to make up for GP's lack of heals.

Support Gangplank is a very strong pick but should only be played if you have a very good grasp on the basics of playing support.

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Jarvan the IV: The Templar of Demacia

Base Stats:
  • Damage (50 dmg, 3 damaging abilities) (***)
  • Health/Regen (420 / 7 hp5) (***)
  • Mana/Regen (235 / 6 mp5) (**)
  • Armour (14 Armour) (***)

Available Buffs: Attack speed and armour buff on self from passive, double to self when activated with passive transferred to allies near standard. Global morale boost to team because you are Demacia.

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)


Available Debuffs: Percentage armour reduction on enemies in a line with .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)


Available Boosts: None.

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)


Crowd-Control: Line knockup with + , AoE slow with .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)

Other Utility: Can create impassible terrain with , percentage damage dealt with , shield from that increases by flat amount when more enemies are around. Free limited-time ward with .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)

Special Recommendations: Since Jarvan is such a natural armour tank is probably the only armour item he will need all game. is an extremely good item on support J4 as his AD ratios are very high, the passive will make him almost impossible to escape from, and the bonus health will take away focus from you (if there was any to begin with). Jarvan's synergizes well with especially if the enemy team is stacking armour. Because of the expensive nature of these item choices, like Nunu and GP, Avarice seals/quints are recommended.

Jarvan players should always run more points into the defense tree than other supports as you will be somewhat squishy early game with no ability to heal, Vigor in the defense tree can help fight this somewhat but buying health potions at the beginning of the game is a necessity. Typical build of + + (if getting perks in the bonus start gold) is my recommendation. are often more useful to J4 than because of his off-tank nature so CDR should be bought with another item, perhaps with a or .

Jarvan absolutely has to run to be an effective support but for his second summoner spell the options are much more open. if very good as Jarvan is an extremely agressive support, is also good for early kills, is great for map awareness. is alright but you are already hard enough to kill and have a very good escape with + , is better than flash if you absolutely need an escape ability to feel strong.

Recommended Laning Partners:



Partners to Avoid:



Overview: Jarvan is a beast. Come level 4 a Jarvan and another burst-heavy champion like can (literally) jump onto the enemy bottom lane and score a double kill - no questions asked. However, his level 1 is sort of restricted to dropping to poke enemies and buff your ally. The interesting thing about J4 is that he is one of the only supports that deals damage comparable to a carry, helped largely in part by and which means that he can actually function well without his carry around. It is not surprising, then, that J4 is one of the best support champs to defend the bottom tower 2v1.

As Jarvan your role is to get aggressive, dive onto the enemy carry with + every time they step out of position; don't be afraid of exchanges, your natural armour from , shield from and health potions will either keep you from taking too much damage or heal you right out of it.

Because of Jarvan's tankiness and / allow him and a carry can duo dragon without a jungler's help relatively early in the game. Use this to your advantage to do things like have your junlger push top tower with the solo while you simultaneously get dragon but be careful, an enemy team with half a brain will send their players to stop you, often making the fight a 4 v 3. If this happens stay calm and assess the situation: a well placed + can easily let you win a 4v3 engagement with the right focus by your carries but some fights just can't be won 4v3, so know when to retreat.

At any point in the game your mentality as J4 should be more like a tank/initiator than a defensive support. Do not be afraid to jump on the entire enemy team (assuming they aren't super fed and can instantly melt you) to initiate a fight but always ALWAYS ALWAYS be mindful of your carry. Initiating a fight is all well and good, but if you left your carry defenseless and they get picked off by a you did something wrong. Always make sure your carry is safe and secure before comitting to a fight.

Remember that can be used in a variety of situations both offensive and defensive. Offensively, cataclysm can trap escaping enemies and separate a team during a fight, defensively it can forcibly peel an enemy assassin off your carry or block a jungle path for enemy advancement.

One last mention about Jarvan. percentage armour reduction is amazingly powerful against teams that are armour-heavy or stack armour, but not very effective against teams that utilize poke, placement, or quick movement to be effective. Keep this in mind when choosing whether or not to play Jarvan.

Difficulty Level: (***) Jarvan is, in many ways, a more aggressive Taric - so players that enjoy Taric should enjoy playing Jarvan. Jarvan's gives him more armour when active than Taric's but slightly less to allies (by 8). Taric's active is also an AoE flat armour debuff that is more useful early game while Jarvan's is percentage-based and line-targeted making it more useful later game.

One of the big differences between Taric and Jarvan comes in the way their CC works: since Taric's is a stun it can be reduced by Tenacity, Jarvan's + is a knockup and therefore cannot be reduced. Besides this, Jarvan can hit multiple targets with his while Taric can only hit 1.

With that out of the way, Jarvan is a very fun, relatively safe support to play. There are only 2 major tricks to playing J4 well, landing his + and knowing when to use/not use/TURN OFF his . A very bad J4 player can easily trap their carry inside the cataclysm and spell the carries death while a good one can provide an easy pen for a free kill on an enemy.

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Nunu: The Yeti Rider

Base Stats:
  • Damage (51.6 dmg, 2 damaging abilities (3 to minions/monsters)) (**)
  • Health/Regen (437 / 7.05 hp5) (***)
  • Mana/Regen (212 / 6.6 mp5) (**)
  • Armour (16.5 Armour) (***)

Available Buffs: Movement speed and attack speed buff to self and ally from .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)


Available Debuffs: Attack speed debuff from , attack speed debuff from .

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)


Available Boosts: Self-heal from .

-----------------------------------------------------> (*)


Crowd-Control: Slow from , AoE slow from .

-----------------------------------------------------> (**)

Other Utility: True-damage single target nuke to minions/monsters with , can use any ability for no mana cost with .

-----------------------------------------------------> (***)

Special Recommendations: Because of Nunu's relatively low range on and the fact that he needs to remain stationary for , Nunu must build tanky. and are both very good choices on support Nunu, but will require a lot of money to purchase. As such, it is recommended that Nunu run a rune page with Avarice seals/quints and buy at least 2 gp10 items.

Because of his very high AP ratios, is more useful on Nunu than any other support character ( has the highest AP ratio in the game with 2.5).

Nunu's mobility with is unparalleled early game, if you are comfortable with keeping up your stacks and managing mana, as a first item will give you range of the map for roaming/counter jungling.

As for summoner spells, Nunu should always run because he has no other way to heal allies. But with that out of the way a slew of other summoner spells are all good for Nunu: will synergize with your for both offensive and defensive purposes, will increase your counter-jungling presence by untold amounts, and will shut down the enemy bottom lane, can do wonders for early firstblood attempts, and even can be very useful for early dragon attempts and counter jungling (at level 1 smite + consume is equal to 825 true damage!). The choice is really up to you (flexibility of play being one of support Nunu's best traits! :D)


Recommended Laning Partners:



Partners to Avoid:



Overview: Nunu is a support champion that sits alone in ranks of support champions. He has very good early-game damage with and a high auto-attack damage (albeit melee attacks), he has the best level 1 buff with granting more movement and attack speed to allies and self at level 1 than and do at level 5, and he has a miniature smite with that can allow him great dragon control and counter-jungling opportunities.

Because of all of this, a lane with Nunu playing support must be ready to play a little differently. First off, it is in Nunu's best interest, almost more so than any other support, to know where the enemy junlger is at all times - but for offensive purposes not defensive. Nunu's , , and allow him and his partner to easily push lanes to the enemy tower and this can be used to his advantage. A great lane for Nunu will contain him and a friendly AD carry like (i.e. high damage, very aggressive) against a defensive sustain lane like + . Pushing the enemy lane to their tower will then allow you and your lane partner to gank the enemy jungler at their blue/red buff depending on the side. Keeping timers on the enemy buffs and dragon is extremely important for a good nunu and a Nunu + Vayne with red buff is almost impossible to stop from getting kills, allowing for very easy zoning.

A team with Nunu can do dragon VERY early, especially if your AD carry buys , this needs to be used to your advantage. Because of this Nunu synergizes well with junglers like that can do dragon easily early. Rule of thumb, if your jungler can solo dragon at 6 or is very tanky, Nunu and a AD carry with should be able to get dragon at level 4 - interruptions by the enemy team will of course complicate this.

Be careful when using Nunu's for many reasons. If you don't health comparable with the enemy's top lane you will probably die almost instantly and if they enemy has any kind of hard CC or silence up it will be cancelled right away. For best results, one should use while in a bush as the enemy cannot see the particle effects until they enter the bush (they will still notice the slow and debuff though). Once Nunu has become tanky enough, do not be afraid to get up close and personal with enemies as long as your team and carry are nearby. If they enemy team focuses you with damage, you can easily get away with , but more importantly it will mean they wont be focusing your carry (who should be shredding them down as you take damage).

Difficulty Level: (****) Nunu is not an easy support to play because, as Nunu, making play decisions about when to go do dragon/steal enemy buffs/gank other lanes are as important as damaging and zoning the enemy bot-lane carry. Don't be afraid to be aggressive as you can always heal off minions with and some potions and don't be afraid to take charge of a team in soloque (but be polite!) and make play calls for things like dragon and invading.

When in lane make sure to gauge whether or not you want/should be pushing out. Though pushing minions the enemy tower can potentially lose them CS, good players can lasthit under tower without missing very many CS at all and will put you in a position to be ganked. Even though you can escape from most ganks easily with and good warding certain junglers like or will just be impossible to run from - so be wary if they are on the opposing team.

Nunu, probably more than any other support, will suffer if he gets behind early game; because of this, combined with his in-your-face nature, do not commit to fights you cannot win and DO NOT DIE. If you do for some reason fall behind early buy gp10 items, ward well, and make smart calls for plays in order to try to get ahead. If you are very far ahead of the enemy team and have some tanky items don't be afraid to towerdive if they have no hard cc to stop you - Nunu is surprisingly resilient.

TL;DR

Support is a very complicated and fun role with many more options for play besides the "Big Five".

Coming Soon!

Sections to be added:

  • "Elo Hell" and the Support Main/How to gain elo playing only support
  • Videos for various sections
  • Skill orders
  • Guide on positioning

Supports to add to mini-guides:

Those that just need to be written in:







Those that need to be played, tried, and written in:













Suggestions, critiques, and comments are welcome and encouraged. Please do not downvote without sharing why you do not believe it is a good guide, every bit of information will help me make this better!

Comments

April 25, 2012 - 01:46 PM #1

why wouldnt nunu matchup well with kog'maw, as he probably is the champ which profits the most from attackspeed?

March 23, 2012 - 02:25 AM #2

@linu it hasn't been updated in a while though, I'm going to look into that and possibly update it soon if there's enough want for it.

March 21, 2012 - 01:42 AM #3

Hey, just ran accross this guide of yours. You must have put a lot of work into this, it's pretty in depth. Quite well made and deserves more credit imo. So I'mma upvote this. Good job crazymofo!

January 13, 2012 - 10:10 PM #4

Give Zil a try, i was pleasantly surprised when i found him and been using him successfully the past few days

December 29, 2011 - 03:44 PM #5

@Nymph yes, those were simply ideal examples.

December 29, 2011 - 03:32 PM #6

Not to be picky but:



Regarding to "I apologize, that was uncoordinated and my heal was on CD. However, dragon is up in 30 seconds. Mid and jungler be ready to force a fight at dragon.", "Graves come with me to take their red spawning in 30 seconds," "Do you want a Stark's Fervor or an Aegis of Legion first?" and "Gank bottom whenever you can Lee Sin."



You don't got that much time to type such long sentences, except if you're already dead.



Instead "heal cd. drag 30s", "graves red 30s" < ping >, "graves starks or aegis?" and "lee gank bot".

December 29, 2011 - 12:11 AM #7

Just dropping this here: http://solomid.net/guides.php?g=11253



I think we should talk about this or that (:

December 28, 2011 - 06:07 PM #8

@BessaZika and @Nico - my original intention for this guide was to be more of a quick overview, with the possibility of writing full guides for each champ. But, if you guys would like all that in one place I can definitely put fuller guides for each champion. Just be aware that is will be a very, very, LOOOOONG page and General guides don't seem to have an option for a table of contents to quick-skip.

December 28, 2011 - 05:28 PM #9

Alright cool. Other than that this guide is probably the best general support guide on the site. Really nice job with this!



To make this over the top, you could add gameplay for each champ and then you would have yourself the damn support encyclopedia.

December 28, 2011 - 01:12 AM #10

Please u can add your skills orders?

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