Support plays a vital role in League of Legends. These essential players are the masters of the game, effectively controlling its flow and dictating its outcome. Support characters are also integral to their ADC's performance, which usually results in their late-game success.
In this entry, we will give you a detailed guide on how to play support in League of Legends. With the following tips, you'll learn just how engaging the role can be and how to carry your team as your primary support.
How to Play Support in League of Legends – Guide and Top Tips
A huge part of your in-game performance depends on the champion select lobby. You can choose between two main categories of support characters:
Players usually choose enchanters because of their ability to protect their wielders and keep them alive. They are at their best when paired with a powerful transport for the enemy team to focus on in combat.
Enchanters use heals or shields to ensure that the transport can deal enough damage to keep your team moving forward in fights. They also offer peeling abilities that can effectively prevent melee champions and assassins from harming your carries.
Some of the most popular support enchanters include Soraka, Nami, Sona, and Yuumi.
Tanks are chosen for support primarily because of their engagement potential. This type of support requires a lot of crowd control (CC). Champions without these abilities usually cannot afford the items to address this weakness.
Support tanks usually prioritize purchasing items to protect their transports even if they upgrade their abilities to a lesser extent. These items include Knight's Vow and Shurelya's Reverie.
Some of the best support tanks you can choose from are Alistar, Thresh, and Leona.
Summoner Spell Options
Another crucial choice you need to make before the game begins is your summoner spells. In most cases, Support Champions pair their Flash with Exhaust, Heal, or Ignite.
Ignite is most commonly seen on tanky support champions with early CC access, such as Blitzcrank and Alistar.
Healing is a great option if your ADC doesn't take the spell itself. It's not the most effective summoner spell on supports, but it's better than having no heals in your lane.
Finally, Exhaust is your best bet if you want to help your carry peel opponents. It's usually taken by enchanters, like Lux and Zyra.
Start of game
Once you've made all the preparations and arrived in Summoner's Rift, it's time to start your game. Typically, you'll be paired with an ADC in the bot lane. Your main job here is to keep your transport safe while they harvest gold from minions. You should also try to prevent the opponent from doing the same by pushing them.
Also, you shouldn't take gold from minions for yourself – it can infuriate the ADC. Kill creeps only when it looks like your partner will miss it or your Relic Shield charge is active, allowing you to split the gold.
Also, look for sting opportunities whenever possible, especially if you have chosen an aggressive support (eg Pyke, Nautilus and Rakan). Try to outmaneuver your enemies during trades, allowing you to set up an easy kill with your engage abilities.
Most of your mid-game gameplay should focus on roaming. This strategy is best used when your lane partner doesn't need you. The enemy may have returned to base, the wave may have crashed under your turret, or the opponent is low on HP. In these cases, you want to roam the map and help other teammates.
While most supports don't have high damage, their CC is enough to secure roaming kills. The best time to gank other lanes is when the opponent is low on health and pushed too far under your turret. But if you manage to get a quick kill, try not to take it – giving it to your teammate sets you up for late-game success.
Another option while roaming is to see if the junglers are fighting on the same side or setting up a vision. Here you can easily come to the rescue of your teammate and turn the tide on your enemy, ensuring an easy kill.
To ensure effective roaming, you need to communicate with your team. Let your teammate know you're ganking that you're coming, allowing them to prepare for the fight. It will also tell your ADC that he is alone in his lane, which means he needs to be more careful.
Also, don't forget to provide vision while on the move: place wards in the enemy river and jungle to keep your team abreast of crucial developments.
The endgame usually begins between 32 and 35 minutes into your match, when some champions reach their full build. At this point, you want to stay with your team and continue doing what your character does best.
A single move can decide the outcome of your match in this phase, so you need to make smart plays. For example, if you are an aggressive support, see if you can catch an opponent out of position. Start the fight and focus on enemy transport (e.g. ADC and mid laner) to minimize damage.
Otherwise, wait for the opponent to make a mistake and keep placing protections to prevent the enemy from catching you off guard. You also need to protect your transports and activate your items at the right time to help you achieve victory.
We've mentioned protection several times, but this tactic deserves a special section because it's an integral part of your support gameplay. This is one of your main responsibilities, and your teammates expect you to place vision barriers all over the map almost all the time.
The most important Ward lane bot slots are the River Brush bot and the tri-brush bot. If you're on the blue side, your laner bot will usually prefer Vision Wards in your tri-brush bot. On the other hand, Vision Wards are more effective in river brush for red bot laners.
The reason for this placement is simple: vision wards are more useful for the jungler when they are part of your team on the map. Defending them is also much easier if the enemy jungler engages them.
Keeping your bot lane brushes on is also a good idea during the laning phase. For example, Warding Totems can prevent the opponent's support from swapping with your bot laner or setting up engagements. Additionally, vision guards in the turret side bot brush allow your jungler to gank your lane undetected.
As stated earlier, support players often run down the river at lane stage to get more vision. Protection in the bot-mid brush is common when players want to inform their team of enemy jungler and mid roaming. Here they need to coordinate with your jungler for deep insight into the opponent's jungle.
Here are some other tips for effective protection as a support:
- Guard the Opponent's Wrath Camp Early Game – This strategy will tell you where the enemy jungler is heading, allowing you to start aggressively or fall back on a gank. As a result, you can easily configure or prevent kills.
- Place Pink Wards to Counter Dragon Wards – In addition to giving you vision, Pink Wards also allow you to detect and eliminate enemy wards. Therefore, your team establishes control over the dragons and blinds the opponent to your ganks. If the opponent counters your Pink Ward with one of their own, go back and look for other opportunities to engage it.
Support champions often have little control over wave management in their lane. They lack potential and wave damage, which means they have to communicate with their partner to gain an advantage over the enemy.
One of the most used wave management methods is to get to level 2 in your bot lane as soon as possible. To reach level 2 on both champions, you need to take out the first creep wave and three melee minions in the second. Your role here is to help lower the health of creeps without killing them. You will need to use your auto attacks in most cases since you will only have one spell at level 1.
If you can get to level 2 before the enemies, your best bet is to start extended trades or go for the kill. Three things will work in your favor at this point:
- You and your ADC will have unlocked an additional ability.
- You will get a passive application of your champion stats.
- You should have a bigger wave of minions because you killed the creeps faster.
Another point to remember is to freeze the lane if necessary. This strategy is usually applied when your partner is returning to base and a wave is heading towards the turret. You will need to take some damage from minions outside of turret range until the ally arrives. This way your ADC can get back on lane for all the experience and gold that would otherwise be missed.
Take your support game to new heights
Support might not be the most difficult role in League of Legends, but it can determine the outcome of the game. The most important thing is to be patient with all the crucial aspects we mentioned, such as roaming, wave management and protection.
Part of your in-game success is also determined in the pre-game lobby, where you can counter your enemy with certain champions and spells. Also, stay up to date with patches to check which support champions have the best stats.
Have you ever played support in League of Legends? Do you think support champions need to be buffed or nerfed? Let us know in the comments section below.