Which support has the best damage mitigation in lane?

Which support has the best damage mitigation in lane?

Welcome back to another edition of #VVinning/A DIFFerent View! The subject of today's post is one that I focused upon during Reign of Gaming's launch and is one that I anticipate becoming a subject of discussion in the near future especially as the "holy trinity" of offensive AD Carries has recently been nerfed.  Even though this subject may be old to me, I suspect that the information in this post will be new for you!  When we pick supports, we always fall back to the same old champions, but hopefully the findings of today's blog will inspire you to try something new.

In the support role, there are many different viable champions, both for aggressive and sustain style bottom lanes; however, it isn't immediately clear to most people which support is best at mitigating damage to their carries.  The six most popular defensive supports that use shields and heals will be compared today, both in short-term burst potential and the healing potential over a period of time in lane.

Short-term (burst) mitigation potential of supports

Burst Heals, Levels 1-9

I used the assumptions listed below for my calculations.  I am aware that many of the supports I am covering have situational skill paths, so the skill orders that aren't 100% intuitive are listed below.  In most cases, I am looking at the supports maxing their damage mitigation skill first in order to make a fair comparison between champions.

  1. All supports have 0 AP.  Although many supports skill a few points in ability power in their mastery trees, it does not make enough of a difference to include ability power.  Keep in mind that ability power will only make about 2-3 points of difference max for most of these calculations.
  2. Alistar gets heal at level 3 and maxes it by level 9.  Heal calculations are for the ADC, not himself.
  3. Lulu and Sona both get a point in their sustain skill at level 2 and maxes it by level 9.
  4. All other supports listed get a point in their sustain skill at level 1 and max it by level 9.
  5. 6 creeps die every 30 seconds (this figure is used in regards to Alistar's heal).
  6. Janna does not channel her ultimate. 

What happens when your support brings summoner heal?

As you can see in the table above and in the graphical comparison below, Soraka is very clearly the queen of support, with the potential to heal her AD carry up to 700 HP instantly.  Lulu can almost match this figure, but it should be noted that some of her damage mitigation comes from her shield and ultimate rather than being direct heals.  All of the other sustain-style supports have trouble matching the instant heals coming from Soraka and Lulu; while the other four supports can both increase the effective health of their ADC by triple digits, the sheer difference in "burst" mitigation is incomparable, especially when the supports hit level 6.

Past level 6, Soraka's heal quickly pulls ahead of other supports with her global ultimate while Lulu's shields also come very close to Soraka's damage mitigation.  Out of the 4 "lesser" supports listed, Janna's damage mitigation is the highest because she shields damage, while Soraka, Taric, and Alistar directly heal their AD carry.  This is both a positive and a negative trait if your goal is to quickly heal your AD; while shields may reduce a greater amount of damage, they only apply for a limited time and enemy champions can work around the shield duration.  On the other hand, the effectiveness of heals is greatly reduced if your carry is being focused with ignite and/or healing reduction from the enemy team, which means that they may not be quite as effective if they are being dived or focused in a teamfight.


Damage mitigation of supports in the long term laning phase.

30 seconds of damage mitigation, levels 1-9

In drastic contrast to the short-term burst potential of the compared supports, the amount of damage mitigation provided over a longer period of time greatly varies in between difference supports.  Again, Soraka is the strongest healer, but Lulu also can prevent more damage because she has much lower cooldowns via her shields.  Between burst and long-term damage mitigation, you can see a pattern where the champions with shields (Janna, Lulu) consistently can prevent more damage than the healing supports, although their contribution may  be limited due to the time-limited shield system versus the permanent heal.

While shield champions grow stronger over the long term, Alistar becomes much weaker for healing a carry as he has the ability to heal himself for twice as much as the amount he heals his carry.  Taric fares slightly better as he heals both himself and his carry; factoring in the heal for both himself and his carry, he actually provides greater overall sustain than higher rated supports like Janna and Soraka.  This can partially be explained because these are the two most aggressive supports that are compared in today's blog.  Generally, as offensive power grows for the supports, so weakens their defensive power.

When looking at a visual representation of the damage mitigation potential of supports, we can see that the aforementioned shield champions are very strong; however, it should be noted that if Janna and Lulu do not completely mitigate full damage with their shields each time they are used, other supports may be more effective at preventing health loss.  Likewise, if the target is ignited or has healing reduction, shields may be more effective than heals.  If self-heals were included in calculations, Sona would have the strongest sustain of any support, followed by Alistar, Soraka, Taric and finally Janna.

Long Term Sustain with Summoner Heal

Final Thoughts

In terms of sustaining an AD carry, Soraka is the clear winner almost everywhere; in both burst and sustained healing, she has the strongest healing ability; however, Lulu can match Soraka's damage mitigation potential in burst and can even outstrip the damage she can prevent in the long term laning phase.  Similarly, Janna can prevent more damage than Soraka can heal if she uses her shield optimally within a certain timespan; otherwise, Soraka is the undisputed queen of healing and Lulu is the queen of shielding.

Supports that do not have as strong of a sustain, such as Alistar and Taric have offensive skills than balance out their weak sustain power; however, they should not be completely discounted from being played as healing champions because they can still displace quite a large amount of damage if it comes down to a fight.  Even though they aren't often picked to help sustain a lane, their offensive power often more than makes up for the reduced healing given by their skills.  Ultimately, each champion has strengths and weaknesses, and you must consider all of these things in champion select before making a final decision; damage mitigation alone will not win a game, damage alone will not win a game: you have to combine a multitude of factors to choose an optimal champion for your team composition.

TL;DR: Lulu possibly underrated in the support scene.

Honorable mention: In the last version of this post, I originally posted this chart showing synergy between AD carries and their supports, but I don't really think it's accurate anymore.  In fact, it probably wasn't even accurate 4 months ago, as you can tell by all of the old QQ in the comments below.


For more of my work: 
-- Find old posts at reignofgaming.net/blogs/a-different-view/vvinrar.
-- Look out for new posts on Thursdays and Sundays!
-- Find my Item Efficiency Spreadsheet at bit.ly/mathcraft

If you have any questions, feedback, suggestions, post requests, or anythign else you'd like to say:
-- Feel free to find me in the "A DIFFerent View" chatroom on the NA server. 
-- Leave a comment on this post. 
-- Contact me at [email protected]



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