What Should You Take for Support Masteries?

You don't have to have 21 points in the Utility tree

9/0/21. 0/9/21. 8/0/22. 1/17/12. 9/9/12. 1/3/26. 1/14/15. 1/4/25. 1/11/18. 1/13/16. 1/15/14. 1/22/7. There are a lot of legitimate mastery setups you can take when you support, and there are probably other ones I've missed.

Looking at the advice and pages of some high level supports shows us a small silver lining for what it means to support. Whereas the pool of supports is the smallest of the five roles (this despite introductions at useful novelty picks like Yorick or Fidd by RoG's very own Elementz), the number of viable mastery setups that is much larger compared to the other four. AP and AD carries pretty much always have 21 in offense, with the other 9 being the other wiggle room.

Rather than try to tell you what you should always be taking on which champ or which builds I prefer or why, I'm going to analyze the different mastery choices from a support point of view, addressing their pros as well as cons where applicable.

Offense Masteries for Supporting

From left to right, we start with the least used tree, offense.

Summoner's Wrath, or Summoner's Wrath.png

Summoner's Wrath is the most important ability here as you will almost always be taking exhaust. The armor reduction can mean the difference in a team fight for much of the game. The 1 point in all of those 1/x/x mastery combinations? This boy right here. If you aren't taking exhaust (and you should be), don't take this--and you probably shouldn't be in the offense tree in the first place.

Arcane Knowledge, or Arcane Knowledge Mastery.png

If you're going to stay in this tree it's almost always because you want Arcane Knowledge. Take this if you are champ that is poking and intending to do a lot of damage. The cooldown masteries required to get it are Sorcery , which gives you cooldowns. Supports generally have medium/long cooldowns on their abilities. 8-0-22 is viable for healing/shielding champs that you aren't trying to do damage with, like Soraka, Janna or Taric.

The rest

You don't want the minion damaging mastery as you aren't cs'ing. The effectiveness of damage runes is much greater for poking and harrassing than ap are, so if you're going to further up the tree, take the damage points. Lastly, if you are doing something weird at low elo where you are a harrass build and you know you can get away with it, you can also put 9 points into weapon expertise if you know you're going to be doing a lot of ad poking and harrassing. This is not something I ever see at competitively play, but it can work at regular and lower/average levels of play.

Defense Masteries for Supporting

This tree can be your biggest tree when supporting, especially if you're running tanky or similar, like Leona.

Lines One and Two in Defense

If you dip into this tree it should be to get armor to endure the auto-attacks and the physical abilities the other lane is going to throw at you. You don't want to be the support that is dying all the time because you can't run and are too squishy. 3 points gets you 6 more armor, and another 3 can get you MR. At the second level, you can get hp/5, which will help you to do more trades, and some health. 

Veteran's Scars, or Veteran's Scars Mastery.png

If you get 9 points in defense you should be grabbing this. This alone gives you 30 health, which is the equivalent of more than one flat health quint and more than 5 flat health seals, health's primary rune. The required durability points give you 6 health per level, which means at level 6 you'd have 66 more health. How many times does a support barely survive with only 66 health or less? Every other game, maybe? And, with this ability, you can still have your 21 points in Utility.

Past Veteran's Scars, or Indomitable Mastery.png, Siege Commander Mastery.png, Initiator Mastery.png, Enlightenment Mastery.png, and beyond

Once you get past Veteran's Scars you are giving up cooldown points and an awesome 21st point, Mastermind. So, you have to be playing a game where the cooldown of flash, exhaust, and your abilities can be given up and aren't as important because you are using these instead. Indomitable continues the tankiness trend, and is very helpful if you are going to be an all-in or tanky support, or one that trades frequently even at higher levels. Alistar, Taric, Leona, Yorick, Galio, Shen and Sona are all candidates for this. Initiator is more efficient than utility's swiftness for giving your roaming and indeed initiating movespeed, so if you plan on doing any of that points are great there, and I generally recommend you get them if you're getting indomitable. Siege Commander is interesting and some people may like it, but for me towers are taken down by carries or won teamfights and it won't make a difference. I don't recommend Enlightenment or anything past it because it requires you to give up the most important mastery for supports, Greed. Furthermore, Enlightenment is scaled cooldown and flat is better for supports. The cooldown options in the other trees are much better.

Utility Masteries for Supporting

 Here's the most obvious tree, the great biggy.

Lines One and Two in Utility

Pretty simple: you will pretty much always be taking flash and you will always need mana and mana regen, so 7 points are pretty obvious. Swiftness is nice depending on what your pick is and how quickly you are planning on getting boots. Scout, which gives you larger ward vision, is underrated, and I recommend learning about what it can do. It's only one point! If you're going to be a ward-happy player or you think the game is going long considering getting it.

Lines Three and Four in Utility, or Greed.png, Transmutation.png, Runic Affinity.png, Wealth.png, Awareness.png, and Sage.png

Greed is the most important ability for a Support. This is the reason you should about never have fewer than 12 points in the utility tree. The spell vamp doesn't match what supports do, and you aren't planning on taking any buffs. Wealth is if you anticipate a very long first lane before your first recall--it's not a cost-efficient mastery but it can fit some styles of play. Awareness helps a lot as supports are always behind on levels. Sage doesn't appear to give much, but consider it if you have an aggressive lane. One point of Awareness requires you to get 3200 experience to get 40 bonus xp. Sage, on the other hand, gives you that 40 xp for every assist and kill. So, if you get even 6 kills/assists, you will have about equaled the max potential of one point of Awareness, because it takes 19,720 XP to get to 18. If you're going for bonus xp gain, I'd generally recommend getting the one point in Sage and 3 in Awareness if you aren't devoting 5 points to it.

It should be noted that the majority of your decisions are located in these lines and that this is where you should start your build. You should always, always be taking all four points of Greed, and then go from there. Do you want to get to 21 points in Utility? Do you want 9 in defense? 1 or 9 in Offense? 9 in both offense and defense? Whatever you do...always take Greed.

Lines Five and Six in Utility

If you stay in the tree, you obviously want the cooldown over the regen and the final mastery, which reduces your flash cooldown by over 30 seconds. Strength of Spirit is okay in the laning phase--strictly speaking it's better than the regen you see in the defense tree. However, to take it you either sacrifice high cooldowns, the magic pen from Arcane Knowledge, or the health from Veteran's Scars. In the mid and long game if you are focused on teamfights, Veteran's Scars is better. Also, all supports will have Philosopher's Stone, and many have healing spells. Think of it this way--a Blitzcrank with 2,000 mana will get 20 hp/5 from this, the equivalent of 2/3 a Shurelya's and 4/3 of a Philosopher's Stone. And this is after you manage to get to 2,000 mana, which will be later in the game.

The Old Man's Trees

I gave large listing of different mastery numbers and would feel lame if I didn't illustrate a couple of them. Here are a couple of the ones I use, 1-17-12 and 1-4-25.

 

Good luck with supporting and have fun with the different builds you can do.

 

This week's eyebrows:

Best,

Old Man Eyebrows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

Comments

  • #7 RisingChaos

    I think you're shortchanging Enlightenment, maybe it's just me but I eventually like to shoot for max CDR on supports and that gets you pretty close (similar to 8/0/22 where you get 10%). Supports tend to fall behind on levels as laning starts to fall apart, so it's not as good as Intelligence in Utility, but it's a reasonable substitute since you can't grab both masteries.

    More to the point I really wanted to make, Mercenary could very well make up for losing Greed if you want to go full Defense. A point in Mercenary is more valuable than a point in Greed so long as you receive a kill/assist once every 2:40 or sooner. I average about 12 K+A per game, which means for me it's better than Greed if my average game length is 32 minutes or less. I don't know my average game length, because the client doesn't keep that information, but I'm willing to bet that number isn't too far off. Some games are easy 20-minite surrenders and of the ones that aren't, few go past 40.

    Greed is probably a little better because it should get you to your gold items faster. Unless you double kill the enemy laners after hitting Level 2 first or something, usually there isn't much killing going on in the early goings. But if Mastermind isn't the best mastery in the game, Juggernaut is and it seems like a worthwhile endeavor to shoot for the 21-pointer. There's no reason you need the one-point wonders at 9 in the other trees, so you could do 0/22/8 (max movespeed) or 8/22/0 (CDR) to grab both Initiator and Enlightenment; skip Honor Guard for Mercenary, of course.


    You could also go max gold and do something like 0/18/12 for 2/3 Mercenary plus 4/4 Greed. At that point I just prefer 1/15/14 though, Wealth isn't a good value mastery but it really opens up your initial item options: Cloth4 + ward, Regrowth + ward, gets you the fourth ward with Charm start or a potion with 2green/1pink.

  • #5 iWriter88

    Do people really not go harass builds as support? I'm thinking of Sona, and GoSuPepper's Sona is aggressive as fuck...so much harass.

  • #1 Arekk

    Why you suggest 2/2 in Indomitable and not 2/2 in Tough Skin. When you want to engage the other guys, you can draw aggro first as support and tank minions. They DO HURT if you don't have that mastery and a lot of times it made the difference. Countless times I escaped as support with 20 hp. From 15 minions it reduced at least 60 dmg.  If they hit me more times it can be anything from 100 to 200 dmg.

    Dunno, many pros use it for the 19/11 as ADC or whatever x/x/x as top lane bruiser. 

  • #2 A2ZOMG

    Tough Skin is a pretty bad mastery on supports unless you're playing a complete 0 sustain support that's aiming for the kill lane.  If you're trying to win trades over time, Vigor is a preferable mastery for most supports given a lot of winning trades is brush camping for superior positioning and poking, and rarely ever being in contact with minion aggro as a result.  And if you have sustain to facilitate winning trades over time, Tough Skin is overkill while Vigor would have actually added up more over time for poking oriented playstyles.

    Again though, I can understand it being more important on a 0 sustain support where if you end up not being able to get the kill, then you don't want to get abused by minion aggro during the times you do have to take it.

    Last edited by A2ZOMG: 9/4/2012 7:18:00 PM
  • #3 Arekk

    For trades I get why you don't want it (though everygame is full of kill lanes this days - at least on EUW from 900 elo to 2.9k elo). But even poke, do you know how trash Vigor is? 36hp per minute. So you get a pot worth of regen in ~4minutes. Yea sure, added up to regen runes it's ok, but that is useful vs a Darius top or something like that. But otherwise I find it a pure crap waste of talent points to use points in Vigor.

    Strength of spirit from utility tree is a million times better (specially on Janna!!), but again, 21 in utility is rare this days. 

    Edit: excuse my horrible use of multiple buts and other stupid things like this.

    Last edited by Arekk: 9/4/2012 7:29:20 PM
  • #4 A2ZOMG

    Vigor is a mostly bad mastery yes.

    Doesn't change that it's more practical on many supports who will practically never be tanking minion aggro.  Again you basically only want Tough Skin if you're a 0 sustain aggressive kill lane support, which by default is more likely to make minion aggro a bigger issue.

  • #6 Terrible_Guy

    Nope, I agree with the previous poster, I rather have points in Tough Skin over Vigor any day. Even when you "poke" the range minions will still turn and fire at you. With Tough skin, you'll hardly take any damage if any at all. Match that with Indomitable and you are taking 4 less damage from minions early game. This is pretty huge actually when it comes to being aggressive. If you plan on just being passive, then don't bother with Tough skin though. It'll be a waste.

     

    Peronally though, one thing the OP missed was how CRUCIAL improved recall is. How many times have you've been killed while hiding in a bush trying to recall to base while you know the enemy is coming? And then recall all those times that happened and you DIED because if you had recalled a split second sooner you'd be alive. Now try to remember how many more times you've died while flash was on CD for 15 seconds or under? Hrmm.... Yah, the improved recall will save your butt FAR more often than Summoner's Insight.

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