League of LegendsSupport

How to Play Support – Ultimate Season 10 Guide

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Introduction to Bot Lane

What is a Support?

Support is the position that focuses on utility in the game. It is the role that binds all lanes together. You create plays around the map and deliver aid to anyone who needs it in the team. Your task is solely to provide vision by warding specific areas on the map where the enemy team may be and keep your allies alive as long as possible in any upcoming teamfights. From peeling, buffing, and healing, supports are the silent game-changers that bring pressure to the Summoner’s Rift.

Why is there only one support per team?

Support mainly focuses on assisting and helping allies to be stronger. There is only one support because the team would lose damage dealers in the team otherwise. Supports do not build damage, and will only work as utility and aid to the team. They do not try to get the kills; they help their team get them (except Pyke). You engage enemies and set up skirmishes in your favor, you sustain allies to keep them away from harm, and you deal enough damage while poking so your team will get the kill that will boost your position in the game to victory.

What types of champions can play support?

Sustain

Sustain champions are what we call the healers of the game. You are the beating heart of the team, and if you live as long as possible in a fight you’ll have the chance to turn the tide around for your allies. Your goals are to keep supporting your allies with your shield and healing abilities. You make your allies’ defenses better with items, spells, and buffs. By doing so, you’ll keep them alive in teamfights, especially squishy champions like your ADC. Items like Redemption, Ardent Censer, and Athene’s Unholy Grail that increase healing and defenses of your ADC, are excellent for support champions. Great examples of sustain champions you can use are Soraka, Nami, Lulu, Taric, Janna, etc.

Poke

Poke champions only focus on one thing… poking. You want to maximize your abilities to deal damage, as you have higher stats early on in the game. Most poke champions have the ability to stun, root, and bind enemies, allowing your allies to deal damage, especially your ADC. Unlike sustain champions, you not only focus on healing and protecting your allies. You can burst enemies down with your abilities, which makes it better for your ADC when you know they are champions like Ezreal or Kaisa that need to ramp up before dealing a lot of damage. You may be fragile, but you have the strength to burst down enemies, and that will shock them in the lane as you provide harassment and healing at the same time. Poke champions use items like Twin Shadows, Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, Shurelya’s Reverie, and many more. Champions that are amazing at this are Bard, Karma, Morgana, Sona, and Yuumi.

Engage

Engaging supports are champions that are great at creating plays around the map. They have the ability to attack by using skills that can hold enemies, allowing his/her allies to create plays. Most engaging champions have knock-ups, CC, hooks, or a combination of these. This makes it easier for junglers or other allies to assist them in the lane and get kills. You have the power to intimidate enemies with your abilities and snag them to your bidding. Typical engaging champions are some form of tanky champions that can easily peel for the ADC and reel them in for a nice kill. You receive damage and then yank the enemies for your ADC to hit. The only problem you’re going to deal with are poke champions that can cast abilities outside your range, so you rely on your skills to catch up. Most engaging champions have items that soak damage for the ADC, like Locket of the Iron Solari, Knight’s Vow, and Zeke’s Convergence. Champions that are great with this are Thresh, Nautilus, Alistar, etc.

Early Laning Phase

Leashing

One of the early things you do as a support is leashing. When your jungler is near the vicinity taking the Blue Sentinel, then you have to typically help them dealing a few hits to the buff or even healing them to keep them healthy before moving around the map. This is a basic move for support and ADC in solo queue, as it helps the jungler move around the jungle camps with more HP than doing it solo in the early game. You can help out your jungler when doing this. Once you’ve set up your jungler on good terms, look to communicate with them for a gank later on. This increases the chance of the bot lane winning, especially when you have placed wards to secure your lane from any counter ganks.

Minion control

As a support you have 4 support items you can choose from:

Spellthief's Edge Icon

Spellthief's Edge

This support item gives you ability power, which is perfect for all poke champions. The sole purpose of this item is to give you gold when you poke enemies in the lane. As a support, you’re not going to take away the minions for your ADC, so if you’re using a poke champion, then harassing enemies with this item will help you earn more gold. It also gives you mana regeneration, which is perfect for constantly casting your abilities to your targets.

Spectral Sickle Icon

Spectral Sickle

Instead of adding ability power, this item adds more attack damage in the early game. The Spectral Sickle has the same ability as the Spellthief’s Edge. It gives AD supports such as Senna the ability to constantly cast abilities and deal damage to their targets. 

Relic Shield Icon

Relic Shield

The Relic Shield is a tanky support item for AP champions. To gain more gold, you can last-hit a minion and give both you and your ADC CS. It also gives back HP to your ADC, which is great when trading in skirmishes.

Steel Shoulderguards Icon

Steel Shoulderguards

Steel Shoulderguards are similar to the Relic Shield but for AD champions. It works best for engaging champions who’d deal damage while peeling for his/her ADC in the lane.

Trading

Trading is the most basic thing you need to think of in the lane. Whenever the enemy laners try to harass you, you need to be able to harass back. Trading blows with them balances your HP bars, which makes it easier for you to deal with your opponents. If you keep receiving blows after blows from your enemy in the bot lane, you’ll likely back off and recall with your ADC and lose CS, gold, and experience, or get killed along the way. You have the abilities to constantly trade hits with them, and when the opportunity arises you can even try to set up plays for your ADC. Just be wary of your surroundings, as junglers will likely try to gank you, which would be detrimental for your ADC. You want to help your ADC grow and carry your team later in the game, so you need to be constantly healing and peeling for them while also blocking and casting abilities. Being a support takes skill and knowledge, as you have to manage a lot of things around the map.

Warding

This is one of the key things you need to remember as a support. The ultimate goal of a support is to aid your team to victory. You can do this by placing a lot of vision around the map. Warding in season 10 is only limited to 3 yellow trinkets and 1 Control Wards, but it doesn’t mean you can’t clear out areas where enemies placed their wards. You need to constantly clear the bot lane from enemy wards, as they may use them to counter-gank you or even let their top laner teleport and assist their bot lane. It is crucial that you don’t only focus on getting your ADC kills, but also control the map. The support that can control the map controls the moves around Summoner’s Rift.

Defending against ganks

Junglers will always try to gank your lane, as they don’t want to get your ADC all farmed up and ready to carry your team in the late game. They want to kill them constantly so your ADC won’t be in the zone of aiding your team to victory. As a support you want to essentially protect them from being killed by ganks. Most supports can root, bind, stun, or even damage junglers. Whenever you notice junglers or enemy laners trying to gank your lane, try to cast your abilities before they close the gap. It gives your ADC time to move away or even Flash from their abilities. Sometimes you also need to sacrifice yourself to keep your ADC alive as long as possible. This is the work of a support, and you need to position yourself ready for any gank that may occur.

Assisting with ganks

Junglers are not the only ones who can gank lanes. Supports can help allies win fights, as your skills can heal or even CC enemies in place, which makes it easier for your laners to deal with them. When you have enough gold to get your item, you can recall and place wards in different areas of the map. If you know a fight is about to happen on the other side, you can easily assist your allies and save them from being killed. But don’t forget to communicate to your ADC and make him hug the tower to make sure he/she doesn’t die in lane. Do this when you are pretty confident that you know the enemy is about to attack in those areas. Never let a dull moment in the game turn into a game-changing event for the enemy. Being a support means you have to take care of not only your ADC, but the rest of your team as much as you can.

When to recall

The best time to recall is when your lane is already pushed, your ADC has an item to build, you have enough gold to get an item, or you’ve just finished a teamfight in the lane. Recalling is the safest way to keep your health in check as well as having the chance to look at your minimap to see who needs help and what areas your team needs wards. Your decisions to recall usually will be based on the position of your ADC and midlaner. You need to keep them alive, as they will always be the main damage dealers of your team. They can turn the fight around in a second, so you need to be ready to assist them as much as possible. To avoid a possible assassination that will turn the fight in the enemy’s favor, keep their HP bars healthy and recall if everything is all according to plan or when you’ve cleared your way to any objectives or teamfights.

Level 6 power spikes

Skirmishes will entirely change once you’ve reached level 6. Especially in the bot lane, you mostly share the experience with your ADC, and the fastest duo to reach level 6 will surely win a fight in the lane. You want to be prepared at all times and be able to get to your power spike before the enemy does. Supports like Soraka, Nami, Janna… can bring a big difference in teamfights with their healing and CC ultimates. Thresh, Alistar, Taric… can peel damage like no one can do once they’ve reached this level, giving them the chance to set up nice plays for their ADC. If the enemy will reach this level first, you need to back off and play safe before trying to trade against them, as having an ultimate will surely turn the fight in their favor. 

Turret plating

Every tier 1 turret since season 9 has plating. They make the turrets tougher giving them armor, magic resistance, and health bonuses, which makes the early game a little bit slower. Your goal in the bot lane is to give your ADC as many turret plates as possible so they can use the gold earned to get their core items before the enemy ADC does. There are 5 plates you can acquire in the lane. You need to prepare yourself and strategize how to give them to your ADC. Pressure your enemies in the bot lane so when they recall, you have the opportunity to push the waves and slowly take the turret plating before 14 minutes. They will disappear by then.

Late laning phase

Roaming

All laners in the League of Legends need to learn how to roam. Roaming is important, as you have to assist your allies in the lane or prepare for objectives that your team needs. These are the reasons why you are going to roam at the moment:

  • When an ally from another lane requires assistance to counter enemies trying to gank them – you need to be wary of the enemy’s position, and when you know that they are about to attack your ally’s lane, you need to be able to assist them as a support.
  • When an objective is coming up – you can never neglect vision play as a support. This is one of the most important things you need to manage when playing one. The bot lane is the closest lane within the Dragon’s Pit, so you need to prepare the area before it even spawns. You want to place wards around the Dragon a minute before the taking, as junglers and the enemy support will also try to contest it. You need to be able to clear the area and avoid any problems when the Dragon arises.
  • When a teamfight is about to break off – sometimes you need to sacrifice protecting your ADC to win upcoming teamfights. If you know enemies will likely take the Rift Herald and your jungler will contest it, you need to be able to help them. Communicate with your ADC and tell them to either play safe in the lane and just focus on farming or join the fight on the other side of the map. This ensures getting the Rift Herald and gaining more advantage in the game.
  • When your team is about to siege a turret in a lane – If an ally has the Rift Herald ready in his/her trinket, then they would likely need assistance in sieging the lane. Help your teammates push as much as you can with the Rift Herald so you can get more gold and more vision around the map. Once you finish pushing, you can then place wards further in the enemy’s jungle camps and lanes.

Counter-jungling

Once you’ve placed wards around the enemy jungle camp, you can look to kill the enemy jungler with your jungler. If you know they are in the vicinity, you can get to them before they get to you. Talk to your jungler and use your skills to hold them down and get a kill. Try to ambush them before their allies know you are coming. This is a great way to be effective with your jungler and exert more pressure on the enemy team. You want to constantly bring your A-game as a support. You need to move around the map and aid allies so they will carry you in the late game. You have the mobility to do so that is why you need to utilize it as much as you can before it falls off. Then you’ll just be someone who protects your carries later in the game.

Tower-diving

Tower-diving is when you attempt to attack the enemies under their turret. It is a precise strategy that should be planned out perfectly, as you’d lose more if you can’t do it right. You need to be able to share damage inside the turret range while also assassinating the enemies cowering near the turret. But before charging inside the turret, there are some things you need to have so you can do it precisely.

  • Have enough damage to burst the enemies under the turret – When charging under the enemy turret, you need to know your damage output. If you’re going in with 3 tanks, then you’ll likely lose to the enemy. You need to be able to deal damage in a short amount of time. Having a jungler like Lee Sin, a support like Alistar, and an ADC like Caitlyn, is a well-balanced composition ready to dive towers.
  • Know how many hits you can take for the team – If you are playing as a sustain champion then you don’t want to receive hits first. You need to cast heals on your jungler to keep them alive as long as possible. When they move out of the turret range, you can then take a few more. If you are a poke support, then look to cast your abilities and hold the enemies so your carry and the jungler can easily burst them down. If you are an engage champion, you can peel as much damage as you can so your allies are able to safely charge in and do what they need to do. You can hold off far longer than they can, and will be able to escape with ease.
  • Know where the enemy jungler is – Before attempting to do tower-dives, you need to know the positions of the enemy team, especially their jungler. Talk to your allies and place wards around the enemy jungle camp so you’ll know if he/she comes to counter your play. This gives you the needed information to attack and tower-dive the enemies in the lane.
  • Have the summoner spells and ability cooldowns of your enemy timed – Tower dives are better done when you know their ultimates are down and their summoner spells, such as Heal and Flash, are also out. This makes them very vulnerable and susceptible to all your abilities, giving you a better chance at winning the tower-dive.

Using Exhaust/Heal/Ignite

Your summoner spells will always depend on the needs of your lane and how you play them. If you know you can’t trade well with the enemies in the bot lane, then you can use Exhaust to reduce the damage output of the enemy ADC or acquire Heal to help yours trade better and live longer. If you are playing as an aggressive champion, such as Bard, Blitzcrank, etc., then you can use Ignite as your summoner spell, as it provides more damage in the early game, which makes harassing better. Play at your strengths and strategize on what your allies need against the enemy composition.

Swapping lanes

Whenever you gain the upper hand on your lane and the toplaner or midlaner is having problems with their lane, you can look to swap lanes. This is a great way for them to play safe and hug the turret so they can get back up. Your lane will not play aggressive, as they don’t have the means, so you can place your ally and let them soak some gold and experience with ease. You can then push the enemy they were facing in the lane and bring more pressure around the map. Keep swapping so no enemy is much stronger than your ADC during the mid game. Always assist your carry, as they would look to gank and bring him/her down to get back in the game. This is important to remember as a support, as even though your carry deals heavy damage, ADC champions are mostly squishy and easy to assassinate. So do your part and protect them as long as possible. They deal the damage, you protect them.

Mid Game

Split-pushing

Split-pushing is when you focus solely on destroying turrets and gaining pressure by having more minions attacking the lane. You can look to split-push only when you have a split-pusher like Jax, Irelia, Master Yi, an ADC, or just someone who can deal damage to turrets fast. Aid them through providing vision around the area so you’ll know when enemies are trying to counter your split-push. DO NOT split-push alone, as you don’t have enough damage to do so. You’ll only end up getting killed by the enemy team, which would be bad for your allies as no one will be protecting them at the backline.

Objective control

Objectives are always key to winning the game. As a support, you need to have enough vision to know when the enemy is trying to get an objective. Leave vision around the Dragon and Baron Pit whenever possible to avoid any steals from the enemy team. Constantly clear these areas with Control Wards and Oracle Lenses so you can make sure no enemy is going to take it. As the late game approaches, placing vision on your own would be difficult. Try to have a teammate with you when clearing these areas to make sure you won’t be assassinated. Low ELO supports just walk into the objective and they’ll get ambushed by enemies. As soon as you see an enemy trying to take the objective, communicate to your allies, and contest it. An objective may be the reason they will be able to power-spike through items and levels, and you don’t want that to happen.

Late game

Team-fighting

Teamfights are where supports shine. This is where you are able to maximize your skills and items and help your teammates gain the upper hand in the game. Always remember to position yourself away from assassins, mages, ADCs or anyone who can instantly burst you down. If you are a sustain support, then look to heal your allies at the back while keeping yourself safe from the enemy team. As long as you live, you can try to turn the fight by constantly protecting your allies and keeping them alive. If you are a poke champion, you can look to initiate the fight with your abilities, as they can deal a lot of damage. AP poke champions can effectively use abilities when they have a Zhonya’s Hourglass ready to click whenever they are cornered. Allies can then help you escape and reposition to spam skills even more. Engage champions on the other hand will always be in the middle of the fight. Your role is to peel damage while protecting your carries with items like Locket of the Iron Solari, Knight’s Vow, and Zeke’ Convergence. Don’t go in too much and leave your carries alone, as they will likely be assassinated. Different situations will happen in teamfights, but your goal will always be the same, keep the numbers advantage and hold the enemies off as long as possible.

Rift Herald

Rift Herald spawns twice before the 20-minute mark. This is typically far from the bot lane, but you can look to help your jungler if they need assistance. Place vision on the enemy jungle camps so you’ll know when they are about to contest the objectives. Rift Herald is a powerful monster that can help your team siege turrets faster. Talk to your ADC if you’re planning to rotate so he/she won’t be surprised because you’re not staying on the lane.

Baron Nashor

The Baron Nashor is one of the strongest buffs you can take in the game. It adds more power to the team that kills it and empowers the minions to deal more damage to turrets and enemies. Teams will always try to contest this buff, so position yourself where you can cast your heals, shields, and buffs safely. You want to look out for enemies that try to kill your carries and your jungler. They will likely be the target, as they can damage the Baron and possibly get it for the team. If you know that the enemy team is about to engage, protect your allies with abilities that can slow, root, bind, etc., them from moving forward to the pit. This will delay their charge and may give you enough time to finish the buff for your team. If they reach your team in time, try to move back and stop attacking the Baron. Help your team and protect them with your items and skills so you can beat them through a teamfight and come back for the Baron once more.

Finishing the game

Once you have enough damage, abilities, items, and buffs in your team, you can easily split-push or siege turrets together and break down their base. Your role will always be in a safe spot to protect your allies from any harm. Teamfights will likely happen, so be ready to deliver all you can to the team. Don’t hesitate to assist your allies, as it may win you the game and finish with a victory.

Summary

In summary, a support seeks to protect and save lives. You want to constantly place vision around the map and remind allies about the enemies’ position. You have to macromanage and assist teamfights and create harmony around your team’s abilities. This role helps a team grow early in the game making them formidable foes for the opponents. To carry is to make sure you know the whereabouts of your enemies and how you can set up plays and counters for your team. It requires patience, versatility and mechanics to be a great support in the game. Thanks for reading the Ultimate Season 10 Guide to Support lane, and I hope this can help you climb into Challenger!

Contributors

  • Influence
  • Geb Vence
  • Rodz

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