MountainManJake is a musician, writer, gamer, and total geek.
League of Legends: Support Basics
Playing as a support can sometimes be a bore. You don't really go for kills and you can't farm. However, you are the foundation for the bottom lane. A support is the one who controls the game in a sense. If you can manage to get your carry fed, you will probably win the game. You can do this by providing sustain, setting up kills and preventing junglers or any other champions from ganking the lane. What makes a good support is sustain, vision, and assistance. To break this down further we will start with sustain.
- Sustain: Sustain in my opinion doesn't always have to be a heal ability. It can be mana regen, armor buffs, magic resist buffs. It can just be crowd control which will prolong the life of your carry in a team fight. You can either use natural abilities or items bought in the shop to help you achieve this.
- Vision: Vision is the correct placement of wards and a good watch of the map. A good support should be able to time wards properly and ping when champions are missing. You can be bottom lane and still support all of the lanes.
- Assistance: A support without the abilities to set up a kill makes it pretty difficult for a carry. It is pretty hard to clear a whole lane if you don't have a support to at least start or provide any type of assistance. Anything from a stun, silence, slow or anything of that nature can help a carry move in safely and set up a kill.
Play the Part
Whether you achieve these three traits through items or natural abilities it doesn't matter. No one likes a support that is building like an AP carry, or a self-centered tank. If you want to fill the role, play the part.
Soraka is the support who made it possible for the rest of her predecessors. She is the exact definition of lane sustain. She can provide health, mana, armor, magic resist, silence, heal again and AoE damage. Her passive just automatically gives any nearby allies Magic Resist. Her Q is an AoE damage ability that is spamable. It also lowers all enemies' magic resist whenever they are hit by it. Soraka's W ability is called Astral Blessing. She heals an ally or herself and increases their armor by 25–105 depending on the level. This is a really big deal to use either at the beginning of a fight or right in the middle. It will allow your carry to conquer the other carry. That 105 armor boost late game is huge.
Next, we have her E ability which can either grant mana for an ally or silence a foe. This is a great ability for halting enemy supports. It will allow your carry to pick on someone without worrying about crowd control. Finally, we have her ult. This is great because not only will it heal everyone on the map, but it will also give Soraka any assists relating to the champions she healed. I think this is an overlooked factor of Soraka. You can stay way ahead of the opposing support by racking up assists from across the map. Soraka's only downfall is her passive-aggressive nature. She won't exactly devastate an opponent with crowd control like Leona or Alistar, but she will definitely get the carry fed. The carry can stay in the lane all day with health and mana being fed to them. This will increase experience and help both of you level faster to stay ahead.
Taric has had a few changes in the new patches. A lot of people hate it, others like it. I guess they were looking to give Taric more of an offensive edge, but it really hurt his support ability. He used to have a passive that restored his mana on his basic attacks, they recently changed it to dealing magic damage on his basic attacks. Considering Taric is in a support/tank role, I don't really see how this is useful. Even if you build him AP/Tank it really doesn't give him that much of an edge because of his lack of mobility. Back to the support role. Even though he was nerfed to affect his support ability, he still have quite a few tools to help him support the carry.
His Q Imbue is a heal that heals both his ally and himself. This is really great for bottom lane team fights as it automatically increases sustain for both you and the carry. His basic attacks shrink the cooldown so you may be able to cast this twice in one battle. Taric's W Shatter gives both him and the allies around him bonus armor passively and can shrink the armor of surrounding enemies actively. This is a good tool because it increases the sustain of your carry vs the opposing carry and can buff your carry when you get the upper hand. It is most useful with Taric's E which is an on-point stun that also does a bit of damage. This is what separates Taric from the rest of supports. His stun, other than Sion is the only on-point stun. It makes the support role fun and your carries will love it. When the battle is about to begin Taric can use his ult to not only increase his attack damage and ability power, but do quite a bit of AoE damage while he is at it. This is great with the combination of shatter because it will make your carry unbelievably stronger than your opponent. Overall, Taric is a support tank with a bit of an offensive edge. He can start a fight and actually contribute to the fight while it is happening. His only weakness is his lack of mobility and his mana use.
Alistar is one of the most highly banned supports in the game. What makes him so deadly is his sustain and crowd control. He is one of those supports that have an amazing offensive edge with a small item or farm reliance. Alistar has the tools necessary to start fights, focus champions, provide sustain and be an unstoppable force. His passive lets him to AoE damage every time he casts a spell. This is pretty awesome in team fights. Alistar's Q is an amazing crowd control tool. He pops all surrounding enemies in the air for a second while also applying that AoE damage. This is great for stopping both carry and the support from doing anything while your carry shines. His W Headbutt is also great for focusing, escape and crowd control. You can choose to bump the support out of range so that you and your carry can focus on the threat, you can reject a ganking jungler by knocking them away from your carry or you can use a combination of Q and W to knock the carry into your own tower.
It is also great for escapes as it gives you can your carry room to get back to your tower. Next, Alistar's E is an AoE heal that not only heals you and your carry, but also all creeps around you. This is great for pushing the lane and provides sustain in a team battle. Finally, the best thing of all is Alistar's ult. It gives him a giant boost in AD and reduces damage from both attack and magic abilities. This makes Alistar unfocusable and gives you the offensive edge to actually contribute to the fight after the first burst. Overall, Alistar is banned because he has 2 stuns, a heal and tons of power. His only downfall is his mana consumption and his high cooldowns!
Blitzcrank is another highly banned champion. The reason behind this is his insane focus ability. His abilities allow him to totally devastate a single opponent in one burst. It is even lucrative late game when enemies are camping under towers. Blitzcrank's passive ability gives him incredible sustain. When he lowers to a certain percentage of health, he actives his passive which is a mana shield based on half of his current health. It is a good baiting tool that will trick carries into focusing him while your carry finishes them off. Blitzcrank's Q ability is his notorious grab. It is a skill shot that when it hits, pull the enemy to him. If you can manage to grab their carry you will most likely kill them if they don't have flash.
His E ability is a pop up that not only does quite a bit of damage, but it also will give your carry more time to get the kill. Blitzcrank's E is a movement speed and attack speed buff. This can help with chasing down an opponent, moving into position or running away. Finally, Blitzcrank's ult. It passively shoots a lightning bolt to a nearby enemy and actively does an AoE power surge that also silences opponents. It is a good finishing move after doing his Q and E burst. It also has a really low cooldown so you can use it often. Blitzcrank is banned often because he is just annoying to play against. Beating him isn't hard you just have to position yourself correctly. A good player who plays him will completely dominate the bottom lane.
Leona is one of those champions that just speaks itself. She has unbelievable crowd control and sustain and has the best ability to set up a kill out of any of the champions I have played. Leona's passive is really only effective when engaging in a fight. She marks whoever she has hit with light and when an allied champion attacks that target, they do additional damage. This is great with some of Leona's abilities because she can mark multiple targets at once. Her Q is a stun that does additional damage. It is a one-hit ability, so you will need to close range. This, on top of her many other crowd control abilities, will help your carry do a huge amount of damage. Her W Eclipse is a buff that raises her armor and magic resist. This makes her sustain skyrocket and will is very useful when using her next ability. After a short period of time, the buff expires and blasts all surrounding enemies with a bit of damage.
Her next ability is her E which is Zenith Blade. It is a skill shot root ability that pulls Leona to her target. If you aim this at the opponent's carry you will root them, you can use your W to buff yourself and follow up with your Q to stun them. This is a good 3–4 seconds of crowd control that will put your carry way ahead. If the opponent somehow survives this onslaught you can always use your ult to finish them off. Leona blasts light from the sky in a targeted area. Enemies caught inside the inner circle are stunned and outside the circle are slowed. Once again, another crowd control effect. This ability will either kill them or let your carry kill them. In the end, Leona is a tank with an edge that can set up kills and stay alive. The only thing she lacks is an ability to heal or give sustain to the carry.
Sona is exactly what a support should be. She has endless amounts of sustain, buffs and other goodies. She also has one of the most notorious ults in the game. She is extremely easy to play and I recommend her to anyone who is new at the support role. Just to start, her passive is called Power Chord. It can get pretty tricky but what it comes down to is that every 3 abilities she casts, her next basic attack will do extra damage. Depending on what her last ability casted was, it also has an additional effect to it. Whether that be bonus damage, damage reduction or a slow is up to you. Sona is really easy to explain. Her Q is an AD/AP buff that also does damage to the 2 closest targets. This, along will all her spells are spamable and will rack up a good bit of damage while also helping the carry farm and harass better.
Her W is a heal that gives bonus armor and magic resist. It also heals herself. This is a great sustain tool. You will probably be able to get this off 2–3 times in one fight which will help you keep your carry and yourself alive. Sona's E ability is a movement speed buff. Use this to help chase an enemy down or to run away. Finally, her Ult Crescendo is a "skill shot" stun that sends a wave of music and stuns all enemies that are in its path. This is great for setting up a kill or stopping an enemy right underneath your tower for a quick kill. Overall, Sona is easy to play, hard to master. If you can get a good handle on how to use her passive she can be the best support in the game. Her only weakness is that she has no mobility or natural escapes and is really squishy. Keep an eye on your health bar and you should do fine.
Thresh is an AP/Tank/Support champion that is pretty hard to play but really fun to play. He adds a new dynamic to the game and has quite a bit of crowd control. What makes him so special is his passive. He can harvest "souls" from fallen creeps and champions to permanently raise his armor and ability power. The longer he is around, the harder he gets. I have seen people build Thresh super tanky, AP off-tank, and even AD so he is really versatile when it comes to the Field of Justice. Moving on to his Q ability. It is called Death Sentence and Thresh pretty much lassos a champion and can either pull the enemy to Thresh or pull Thresh to the enemy. This is a really useful tool because it can be a stun, a kill set up and even a juke/escape. It is a skill shot so it might be hard to land in a lane.
Dark Passage is Thresh's W ability. He throws down a lantern and anyone around it gets a shield. Allies can also click on the lantern to pull themselves to it. I have seen entire teams jump on the lantern through the jungle to gank a champion. It is both hilarious and effective. Thresh's E ability Flay is probably his hardest ability to learn. It is either a knockback or a pull depending on which direction you aim it and you can knock them side by side, back and forth or pull them to you. It is a good tool for throwing off enemies skill-shots as well as using it as an escape. It is Thresh's highest damaged ability and is pretty spamable. Finally, you have Thresh's ult, The Box. Thresh puts a prison around him and traps all enemies around him. If they decide to break the walls down they suffer a bit of damage and 99% slow for 2 seconds. Yes . . . 99%. This is pretty ridiculous considering that he could be trapping and entire team within those walls. In a nutshell, Thresh is a pretty versatile champion that can play support, solo top or jungle. He is very hard to kill and scales on farming even though he doesn't kill a single creep. He can set up a kill, provide sustain and crowd control. His only downfall is his inability to contribute to a fight beyond the first burst.
More Champions to Be Discovered!
- "League of Legends": 7 Annoying Champions
- "League of Legends": 7 Good Jungle Champions
- "League of Legends": 7 Good ADC Champions
© 2013 MountainManJake
Samuel Franklin on September 09, 2015:
I used to play alot of Taric but that was back in the day when there was really only a few other options (Soraka, Sona). These days the support pool is much, much larger and more versatile and I'm thankful for that although I do miss being the only support champion with CC (especially at level 1!)
BUTTPLUGS on April 29, 2015:
you said blitz has 2 e's :P
omfg on January 05, 2014:
wtf where is lulu?
MountainManJake (author) from Seattle on September 16, 2013:
It's not in order buddy.
thegecko on August 23, 2013:
I'm afraid Alistar isn't even classified as a support anymore =\
And I agree, Nami definitely should be up there. Nami is awesome.
songoku on August 19, 2013:
Is this a joke? Taric as number 2 omg. And where is lulu?
I would rank Thresh as number one though to his damage and his grabs and ult. Then Leona for sick CC and Lulu for harass and to easily zone the other couple if you have a nice damage on adc.
Sona on 4th for sick Ult and heal but also harass.
Nami somewhere in between all this.
thegecko on April 21, 2013:
LOL Can't argue that =D
MountainManJake (author) from Seattle on April 21, 2013:
With the players on Summoner's Rift, the chances are slim!
thegecko on April 20, 2013:
Yeah, if they get targeted, it becomes a problem. Hopefully you have some great dps and cc by then from your mates :)
MountainManJake (author) from Seattle on April 20, 2013:
Thanks for the comment gecko. I agree but at the same time champions like Soraka, Sona and Lulu have trouble with sustain late game.
thegecko on April 20, 2013:
One of the things I don't like about tanky supports like Taric and Leona is that if your lane does poorly, these champions feel the pinch. Already in the poorest position, they can no longer afford to buy items that will keep them viable unless the rest of the team does well in team fights.
But supports like Soraka (my main), Sona, and Lulu can continue to be quite useful with their abilities alone, despite the lack of good items.