Support in League of Legends is probably the least popular role that players can choose. Find out how to excel in our League of Legends Support Guide.
This is mostly because most supports aren’t damaged dealers or have flashy gameplay, but the impact of a good support on the game cannot be under-stressed. Supporting your carries or making big engages are fun aspects League offers to its player base, and combining this with lower queue times means support is a great role to consider when climbing. But how do you decide which champions suit you better or how can you improve your support gameplay? Well, this guide has all the answers you are looking for.
What does a support do in League?
Of course, supports will not carry a game by themselves, their job is mainly to fill the needs of the overall comp. There are different champion archetypes that perform different tasks and as such fit different team compositions.
It is important to remember that these classes aren’t set in stone most of the time and a champion can find multiple ones at the same time. A good example of this is Rakan; a great team fighter that can make impactful engages, or a more defensive champion focused on peeling his ADC.
Engage supports include some of the most popular champions -both in solo queue and pro play- like Leona, Nautilus and Alistar. Having reliable engagement is one of the musts in League so you should make sure to add at least a couple of these champs to your pool. These champions are generally tanky and have a lot of CCs in their kits but they tend to lack damage or the ability to peel effectively.
When playing engage supports in lane your goal should be to gain control of the brushes near the alcove to pressure the enemy bot lane. Looking for a good opening to pounce on the enemy ADC is always important, even if you don’t kill, you can always trade your summoners for theirs. Of course, be mindful of your champion’s power spikes, a level one Alistar isn’t on the level with a level one Pyke.
Roaming with engage supports is always another option, but be mindful of your wave state before you do so. Mainly, the best time to roam is after your first back, or after you die and respawn. Most supports in higher elos will always roam mid after they base and buy the first time.
After the laning phase, or during if your ADC can solo lane, you can play with your jungler to look for invades, the enemy jungler, or any rotating players. Your biggest job in the mid to late game is to face check when going for vision control, occupy space to zone the enemy and look for different angles to start a team fight.
Wardens are more defensively oriented tanks, and they are mostly focused on peeling, so their carries can dish out damage. These champions are a little harder to pilot and aren’t strong in the meta at the moment, so you probably won’t see them as much in your games.
While Warden supports aren’t as aggressive as others during laning, you can still look for openings to catch the enemy bot lane unaware. For example, even though Braum doesn’t have as much CC as Leona, a well-timed Braum Q is enough to do the job. But unless you have a specific synergy with your ADC (e.g. Lucian-Braum) you probably won’t be too aggressive and wait for team fights to shine.
And don’t think you don’t have to roam when playing a Warden either. Sure, you may not have the engage potential, but roams aren’t always offensive. If you know the enemy support will go mid after their base, always make sure to match them.
After the laning phase and during mid to late game is when these supports shine. You should team up with your jungler to clear enemy vision and put your own. As you are inherently tanky, you shouldn’t have too much problem face checking unless you are behind.
During team fights, your primary job is to stop the enemy engages by peeling for your carries. Most Wardens have abilities in their kits that either shield, give resistances or directly stop an enemy. Use your tools to help your teammates so they can dish out the maximum amount of damage.
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Enchanters are the healers and shielders in League, and what most people think when they hear the word support. These supports are generally paired with a hyper carry, they can buff and help them in carrying the game. While there is a perception that enchanters are easy to play sometimes, it can get hard to do it optimally.
Even though enchanters are mostly squishy and easy to kill, their range and the ability to poke means they should play aggressively to dictate the lane. Beginners make the mistake to play these champions like heal bots and stay behind their ADC, but this is a grave mistake as it greatly reduces your early impact.
During the laning phase, you should be constantly trying to poke the enemy bot lane and make it hard for them to farm. Brush control is once again important, so you don’t get jumped on by the enemy support. Eventually, you will get engaged on but stay calm as your shields and CC are enough to turn the fight most of the time.
In the lower Elos, enchanter players tend to not roam much, while if you watch higher Elo games you will see them actually leave the lane to help their team a lot. You can always buff your jungler for a gank or save your mid laner with a counter gank.
Playing mid to late game on enchanters is wholly different from playing a tanky support. Of course, your team still needs vision, but you cannot face-check any brushes as a squishy champ. So, you need to move with your jungler a lot more while doing it.
Team fights are also a lot more different. Unlike Wardens who also support carries, enchanters can be the target enemy team focuses first. This means your positioning has a way bigger importance. As an example, if you are playing Soraka you should be keeping your eye on the enemy Akali while also keeping your ADC topped up. If you can manage to juggle these responsibilities, enchanters have the potential to change how fights play out.
While mages are played in support, they don’t support anyone in the traditional sense. These champions tend to be mid laners who cannot survive in a solo lane and also can work with a lower economy. This means high base damages and access to CC. They can be quite fun to play, but keep in mind some ADC players won’t enjoy playing with a mage.
If you pick up one of these champions, your primary job in the lane is to bully the enemy laner by constantly poking. Most mages have at least one long-range ability they can use to poke. This is important for two reasons: mages don’t scale well as they cannot reach high AP numbers, so you need to push your lead fast, and you need the enemy to be low, so they cannot all in you. Getting engaged on is a death sentence for most mages as they are squishy and they lack defensive tools.
While you can successfully roam with a mage support, you really shouldn’t try unless you are heavily behind in lane. As mentioned, the point of mages in the bot lane is to poke the enemy ADC out of lane and make them miss creeps while you take plates and the tower. Once you did that, you should also rotate to other lanes to get as many plates and towers as you can get with your ADC.
Vision control is significant as you will spend most of your time pushing lanes in the early game and after laning you will heavily rely on catching people with your CC. But similar to enchanters, you are squishy and you need your teammates to help you with warding.
Team flights aren’t the strong suits of most mage supports. Except for Swain and Brand who can excel in 5v5s, most others would prefer to be in a significant lead and sieging towers using their advantage. If you are behind, try to play with the vision. Maybe camp a brush before an objective, so you can pick an enemy before a fight.
General tips and tricks
In the bot lane, supports tend to dictate how a lane will go. Most of the time, you should look to play aggressively to not give any ground to your enemy, unless you are in a counter matchup. But also keep an eye on the minions and try to help your ADC with their goals. If they are trying to push help them hit the minions, or if they are freezing help them zone out the opponent.
Vision is one of the most significant aspects of the support gameplay. If you are pushing in lane it can keep you safe, if you are getting pushed in it can protect you from dives. But this doesn’t mean just warding something off cooldown. Try to track the enemy jungler as if he is on the opposite side of the map, you don’t need to ward the river and maybe you can choose to ward lane brushes for control. Work on your support item, so you can get access to your sweepers at the earliest. As a plus, Zombie Ward is an amazing rune anytime you can go with the Domination tree.
We talked about roaming a lot, as it is very important for any support to do. But be careful how you are doing this. You don’t want to leave your ADC in a vulnerable position, so make sure the lane is either all the way pushed or when your ADC can for sure survive 1v2. On the other side, don’t make yourself vulnerable, either. This means, if you are roaming into the enemy jungle, don’t do it alone. Most supports cannot kill enemy jungler 1v1, so this can only result in you dying. When you roam into enemy territory, do it with your jungler or mid laner.
Focus on your duty. We talked about what every class of support excels at, so don’t try to do things your champion’s limits cannot achieve. Don’t try to engage with Lulu, or just don’t sit behind your carries with Leona without any other engage on your team. Always try to maximize your champion’s capabilities.
Last but not least, your summoner spells. Especially in the low Elos, most people run Flash/Ignite and only use the former to run away. Don’t be afraid to use your summs to be aggressive and trade them for the enemy carries’. Also, be flexible. Exhaust is must take against some champions in the game, e.g. Kennen and Diana, and sometimes you can take even take Heal so your ADC can switch to Cleanse or Teleport.
Best champions to climb with
Naturally, with different patches, different champions will come in and out of the meta. But this doesn’t mean they are unplayable, and there are some champs that are always viable. These suggestions are mostly for the players in the lower Elos and they can help your climb significantly.
Leona and Nautilus are the first two champions that come to mind when someone says engage. These two are always played, and even if they aren’t at the top of the roster, they are usually viable. When it comes to Wardens, it’s a much harder choice. With once the fan-favorite Taric not looking great at the moment, the only Warden we would recommend for you is Braum, unless you can play Tahm Kench with Senna.
If you are looking to play enchanters, your options will vary depending on your play style and your lane partner. Enchanters rely a lot on their synergy with their ADC, as we can see from the combos of Kog/Lulu and Lucian/Nami. If you are new to the role, we would recommend going with Lulu as the Fae Sorceress is always at the top of her class. If you are more comfortable with the role and know more about positioning, then Soraka is the way. She is great at the moment and she’s never been unplayable. Other honorable mentions are Seraphine, Karma and Yuumi.
Mages are extremely popular in low ranks and almost nonexistent in higher ones. Unless you are one tricking, we wouldn’t recommend playing them against higher-skilled opponents. But in low Elos, no one can say they aren’t effective. Xerath and Vel’Koz have always been tilting for ADCs to play against with their skill shots, but they can be somewhat meta-dependent. The Mage we can recommend at the moment is Brand as his damage numbers are great and he is a more forgiving champion than your other options.