How to be a Better Support

Artwork by ffsade


 

Hello everyone, I will be guest blogging for Reign of Gaming as a support specialist and I have a series planned out that covers topics about support a chapter at a time once a week or so. Today it is just an introduction and preparation for the series.

Who am I? My name is Lance Hotchkiss and I have been streaming for more than 6 months at this point. I have made it from mid/high plat in season 2 to a personal record of an lp in Diamond 1 of 61 lp this season. I have been as low as triple digits elo in season 1 so I can personally vouch that the system is not broken and that good players and consistent, perfect play will gain you rating much, much faster than complaining about your team. I also started up a 5v5 team of diamond Florida players I played with and against in local tournaments for the past 3 and 1/2 years. The team is Yolo Queue Strats. We are currently rated as a Challenger team at the #10 spot on the ranked arranged 5vs5 ladder on the NA. I hope you find this article of mine useful and look forward to the next chapters.

Introduction; the Tale of the Last Pick Support: Every solo queue player is aware of the inevitability of last pick often being 'forced' into supporting. This is common and it has quite an impact in solo queue, often times causing those last pick players to troll, call duo adc/top/mid/jungle...all to escape having to play that dreaded support role.

"But why?", I thought.

 

Back in the earlier seasons I saw a gap in the solo queue ladder and decided from my experiences playing with terrible supports that I would learn how to support so well that ADCs would pray that they got me on their team and dread me being on the enemy team. I ended up reaching to 2080 elo max in S2 playing mainly Support Janna(77% winrate), mid lane Morgana, and jungle/top Udyr. Having a strong support player ward, bait the enemy team into engages which my team had the advantage and properly interact in fights, wins games big time.

After playing with so many bad support players making mistakes who would camp the bush and essentially go afk, did not ward adequately/properly, and left their ADC or team during team fights, I decided the general playerbase had to improve. I think these guides will provide plenty of tips and advice because I do not want players to have to play with weak supports. Everyone needs to be able to carry a bad ADC into late game as Support, just like you have to know how to carry a bad support as ADC! After playing mostly bottom lane for the past 3.5, going on 4 years, I am ready to share my passion with the game with you and share with you what I know, what I love, and what I main: SUPPORT!!!



Chapter 1. Support Overview

There are a variety of ways you can support in League of Legends; shields, heals and simple damage reduction. There are supports with CC; stuns, fears, and snares to take advantage of positioning and ganking opportunities or massive teamfight supports, who support moderately in lane but excel in teamfights. The boring, common view of a support playstyle is summarized as: sit in the bush, place wards, do not last hit, do not KS, and use all your gold on cdr, wards, boots and oracles to clear enemy wards. This is not what support is all about...except maybe when you play Sona. But seriously supporting is really fun and fulfilling especially when you get to set up the 'alley oop' for your teammates or stun an engaging enemy, saving you ally from sure death and you get to tell them 'honor me for saving u' then telling everyone in all chat how you've saved more sinning ADCs with your blood than Jesus Christ himself, and simply being a big rough badass with a glass jaw. Normally when someone is going to learn the support role one must pick which support they'd like to learn with. The common choices are often said to be: Soraka, Sona, Taric, and Janna.

Why these champions? These are a few champions in the passive support bracket/area, with the exception of Taric to a degree, but these supports have a few things in common

• Sustainability (when you make a mistake the support can remove some of its' consequences provided you didn't die)
• Have point and click cc/slow ability(skillshots slow the rate at which you learn a role, point and click to heal, to stun, to cc? ftw! learning is fun!)

However, there exists a much larger pool of champions you can play to support once you have become more familiar with the position, with varying levels of skill and style of play! Here is a tier list of my personal favorite supports, starting with the top tier most common supports, down to the less common but still viable supports, and all the way down to some supports which can be considered viable but are less played and uncommon. Of course it comes down to the player playing the champion, but lets be real here, a support Kassadin will rarely, if ever, be able to carry a game if he has to lane against a Sona support, for example.

Commonly played 'meta' supports tier: Fiddlesticks, Janna, Sona, Nami, Thresh, Zyra, Lulu, Blitzcrank
Less common but still powerful support tier: Alistar, Annie, Jarvan, Karma, Leona, Taric
Situational/semi viable tier: Soraka, Nidalee, Morgana, Nasus, Volibear, Nunu, Kayle, Elise, Ashe
Semi Viable supports/low elo tier: Zilean, Teemo, Sion, Shen, Lee Sin, Darius, Lux, Malphite, Maokai, Nautilus, Sejuani, Lissandra, Orianna, Galio, Gankplank, Leblanc, Kog'Maw, Heimerdinger, Dr. Mundo, Cho'Gath, Veigar
Why this label Riot? tier: Viktor

Now that you have had a short introduction, and small tier list of supports, I would also like to show you how the list of supports breaks down in terms of general playstyles.
1b: The categories of support (aggressive/defensive/hybrid, ranged/melee):

1. Aggressive supporting: These champions played as support will be doing their best to hit enemy champions at opportune times (harrass) with their damage/cc/auto attacks in an effort to either pressure them from the lane or kill them. They usually have some sort of CC ability and some kind of damage reduction or resistance increase. They are often accompanied by a summoner spell such as ignite or exhaust and flash for summoners to help play aggressively. These supports tend to stick closer to the front end of fights to be able to land their final cc/damage combination that will secure kills for their allies.


2. Defensive supporting: These type of support champions will use their abilities, typically shields and heals, to support their ADC's farming while safely poking at the enemy team. These champions may also contain abilities that offer strong peeling during team fights to keep the enemy front line off of the ADC.


3. Hybrid supports: They are labeled hybrid mostly because these supports reside at varying degrees between offensive and defensive support champions. These supports will show up in both lists due to their dual nature. Their kits contain both strong support spells for allies as well as damage/cc spells needed to lock down and kill enemies. While they contain both offensive and defensive capabilities, they usually lack any form of sustain for their lane.

For your sanity and mine, I have only listed the champions from tiers 1-3 of my support tier list.

Defensive Support

Offensive Support

 

**Coming soon**

Chapter 2.  How to support, a basic case by case analysis of the support role

Chapter 3. Starting items for the support role

Chapter 4.  Ward placement

chapter 4 part b. - placement tactics and vision control 

Chapter 5 - Teamfighting

Chapter 6 - ???


 

I have stream: http://www.twitch.tv/lanceplayslol

I also have other content, OC, giveaways, and tips for free for everyone: http://www.facebook.com/lanceplayslol

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