Want to find a good support champion to master? Evaluate what their abilities can offer a team.

League of Legends: What Makes a Good Support Champion?

Jul 13, 2017
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Support players in League of Legends are tasked with controlling vision, peeling for the ADC or other carries, and making sure that they’re picking a champion who suits the needs of the team. Supports don’t generally farm, and while they can be damage threats, they aren’t meant to steal kills from the carries. Because they don’t collect farm or kills, the best support champions have to get the job done with little income, and can’t depend on building expensive damage items like Triforce or Deathcap. Your itemization options are somewhat limited as a support, which means the best champions for the role have to rely on their abilities to be effective.

What Does a Good Support Champion Do?

These are the various types of utility that support champions can offer a team. I’ve also included examples of champions that excel in specific areas — this guide should be a useful tool for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your team’s lineup.

Initiation/Hard Engage

Examples: Leona, Alistar, Rakan

Initiation is the ability to start a fight on your terms when the opportunity arises.

Disengage

Examples: Janna, Nami, Maokai

Disengage spells like Janna’s Q and R or Nami’s R can be used to frustrate diving champions and escape teamfights that have turned badly.

Healing

Examples: Soraka, Sona, Karma

Healers are great against poke lanes and DPS champions, but fare a little worse against burst damage.

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Shielding

Examples: Janna, Karma, Lulu

Shields are less reliable against poke because you have to respond quickly to projectiles, but they are better against burst damage than healers. It’s better to frontline your damage mitigation against a truckload of damage than to try to heal from it afterwards.

Pick/Catch Potential 

Examples: Morgana, Blitzcrank, Thresh

These champions can start teamfights, but less reliably. They’re better suited to pick off an unprotected champion for a free kill. You should look for pick-offs when your composition doesn’t want to group up for 5v5s. Make sure you get vision control first!

General Protection

Examples: Tahm Kench, Zilean, Taric

Tahm Kench excels at saving your squishy carries from champions like Vi, whereas Zilean is best suited for reanimating suicidal divers like Olaf.

Tankiness

Examples: Galio, Sion, Braum

Some team compositions just need a reliable tank who can bring CC (see below) and absorb skillshots.

Damage

Examples: Velkoz, Brand, Zyra

You can’t go wrong with tons of damage. These champions work as supports because they have high base-damages, allowing them to deal tons of damage without buying ability power. Damage supports also work by getting zone control, where you gain control of an area like the Dragon pit and punish anyone who tries to enter.

Crowd Control (CC)

Every good support has some form of crowd control. It’s essential for peeling enemies off of your carries and increasing their chances of survival during teamfights.

Which Support Champions Should I Ban?

If you want to ban a support, Blitzcrank is a great candidate, especially if your champion pool is weak against his pick playstyle. However, you’re more likely to land a “hit” by banning Thresh, who has both the highest win-rate and pick-rate of any support. Thresh is the winning-est support because the champion is a veritable Swiss Army Knife of utility: he builds tanky, can start teamfights on his own with Death Sentence, save stranded teammates and scout fog of war with his lantern, peel with Flay, and disengage with The Box. His QWE all have multiple uses, although, in an odd twist of fate, his ultimate is his least compelling skill. If you are looking for a support champion to master, Thresh is one of the best choices out there.

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Joseph Schmidt
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Joseph is a devoted League of Legends player who loves discussing strategy and helping players get better at the game. When he's not gaming, Joseph can be found playing electric guitar, enjoying nature, and taking photographs.
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