Support is the role in highest demand on Summoner’s Rift. Most players queue up with solo lanes and damage dealers as their preferred roles, overlooking the impact on the game a skilled support player can have. Just because they aren’t the wealthiest players in the game doesn’t mean they can’t create game breaking plays that decide the fate for their team.
It is possible to carry as a support player at any ELO. It’s how you do it that changes as you climb up the ranked ladder. Bronze “supports” will build glass cannon AP mages to compensate for their inexperienced solo laners. The higher up you go, the more you must adjust your play style to enable your teammates instead of enabling yourself.
This guide will highlight a few key concepts found in the play of carry support players. Support mains can use each of these concepts as tools to propel their team forward. There’s no reason to feel powerless as a support player.
Thresh and Blitzcrank are the go-to play making supports. Everybody wants to pull off the epic flash hooks, and that’s fine. The problem is that these champions aren’t always ideal, depending on team compositions.
If you’re up against a Darius/Wukong/Kennen/Alistar team, do you really want to bring any one of those champions closer to your backline? Understanding what your team needs in picks and bans can make winning the game much easier. Often times it comes down to whether your team needs engage or disengage. Make sure you have a good handle on 1-2 champions capable filling each need.
NSFW language! This classic Aphromoo clip shows what real lane presence looks like.
Lane presence is the easiest to spot difference between good support players and bad support players. If you think your job as a support is a simple as standing behind your ADC and healing/shielding when needed, you’re not doing it right.
The concept of lane presence is simple. You want to apply as much pressure onto the enemy duo as possible to sway trades into your favor and make it difficult for the enemy ADC to CS without taking any damage in return. This mostly involves auto-attacking when playing ranged supports, and threatening to engage on melee supports.
Creating a strong lane presence is an easy concept to learn, but a difficult one to master. It will likely take you some time to learn the line between trading aggressively and going too HAM. Stick to 1-2 champions so you are able to learn their limits sooner. Having too big of a champion pool is a problem.
Creating Map Pressure Through Roaming
Good support players roam early and often to create advantages for their mid laner, jungler, and some times even the top laner. Even a failed gank mid lane is often worth your time and effort. The enemy will be forced to play safer and ward the bottom side of the lane or else risk evading another support gank.
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Teaming up with your jungler to gank mid together increases your chances of success. If a mid lane gank doesn’t look like a viable option try following your jungler into the enemy jungle. Best case scenario you kill the enemy jungler. Worse case scenario you steal a few camps and put down a few wards.
You can’t just up and abandon your AD carry in the bottom lane whenever you please. One of the best times to roam is on your way back from a recall. You can often attempt a gank mid while your ADC safely farms the wave pushing in towards him. Any time you get a 2v2 kill bottom lane, look to roam. Enemy ADC MIA? Look to roam. Make sure you leave a couple defensive wards to protect your ADC on the way out.
Finding Opportunities Through Strategic Warding
Vision is a powerful thing in League of Legends. Using wards to grant you vision of certain areas of the map can create opportunities for you and your team that you otherwise wouldn’t have known about.
How and where you ward is dependent on your win condition. Is your team capable of quickly assassinating targets? Then place wards offensively. Ward deep into the enemy jungle in places the enemy doesn’t expect you to have vision of. You want to be aware of those moments the enemy Vayne is farming Gromp with 30% HP to get enough gold for her next item component.
Defensive warding is equally important against engage or pick compositions. If you’re up against a Fiddlesticks you know he’s going to try and ult your entire team. Placing wards in brushes a Fiddlesticks is likely to ult from can mean the difference between winning and losing a team fight.
Make Friends with Good AD Carries
One of the single greatest ELO hacks in League of Legends is to befriend good players. You don’t have to be all buddy-buddy, or even use voice communication. Just duoing with a player who you have good chemistry with can help you quickly rack up LP. The new 3-man Dynamic Queue limit means you can join up with an ADC and a jungler/solo laner. Start inviting good players to play with you. Good AD carries will love playing with a quality support player. Great supports are hard to find.