Supports are – for better or worse – what I’d like to think of as one of the foundations of a good team. It is a thankless job, but that isn’t why you do it, is it? Playing as a support champion entails making certain sacrifices. Without being too dramatic, you’ll need to think of your team first.
Your carry specifically will be on the receiving end of this, and they will be the ones feeling it for most of the game, if you’re doing your job right. This teamwork-centric psychology isn’t limited to support roles and champions, either. Generally speaking, sometimes, what is best for an individual champion may not be the best for your team.
So it’s not uncommon for you to have to make tough decisions on the fly in order to adapt to the current situation. For supports, however, this is just another mundane Tuesday, as your kit naturally gears toward – you guessed it – supporting your teammates in any way you can.
But unlike the other roles, your impact in the game is less direct in contrast to your teammates. They won’t directly feel it, and they may not even notice what you’re doing if everything is going well, but doing your job correctly is crucial.
You’re hardly going to be making pentakills in the later stages of the game, but that’s fine. A win is a win. So, how do you become a good support?
While there are tactics and behaviors common across the board in all ranks, you’ll still need to take your opponent’s and teammates’ skill levels and tactics into consideration, especially since you’ll be more dependent on your team later on to carry the game. It can be tough climbing the ranks as a support player, but it isn’t unheard of. Let’s have a look at some things you can do to improve your gameplay.
Also read: What Support Champion Should You Main
The Laning Phase and Zoning
This takes place in the early stages of the game. While not a definite prediction, it often offers insight into how the game will go. That said, it is essential to give your carry any and every advantage you can over your opponents, as it will make it easier for your side to secure minion kills, poke, or just zone out your opponents.
The last part, in particular, is significant. Zoning makes it challenging for the enemy champions to last hit for fear of something negative happening to them. Some champions like Blitzcrank, Thresh, and Leona, have very high zone potential because opponents will think twice about approaching them for fear of being CC’d into oblivion.
While these are all very heavy champions in the CC department, other champions can do it as well – even enchanters like Soraka, Sona, and Janna.
An excellent way to do this is by securing the brush whenever you can. That element of not seeing where your opponent is can help you significantly. The middle brush, in particular, is vital to secure. For well-coordinated teams, lane control is an actual thing. This might not be so common in lower ranks, but it’s something you’re going to have to learn when you climb the ranks.
Pushing too far leaves you open to enemy jungle ganks while having them push too far could prematurely destroy your tower, which ruins your farming time. So a good mix early on is to keep it in the middle. By zoning out your opponents in the middle brush, you can keep it in that sweet spot without being in too much danger. This will force them to either use a valuable ward that could otherwise be used for the river or just resign to their fate and be zoned out.
Something else we need to discuss here is holding the lane, and it can be done when your towers are pushed. Simply put, holding the lane is when you purposely tank the enemy minions in order to keep them at a certain point in the lane before your own minions arrive. This can cause the enemy team to lose the entire next wave when done correctly.
Also read: Best Off-Meta Supports
While the addition of trinkets have alleviated some of the pressure of supports in terms of warding, you are still primarily responsible for vision unless you have a teammate who has a natural form of warding, such as Teemo.
Besides the aforementioned middle brush control, you’re going to want to secure all entry points for the enemy jungler to enter in the early game. This minimizes potential ganks.
Warding is important throughout the whole duration of the game, and the priorities depend on what stage of the game you are in. Towards mid to late game, objectives like Dragon, the Rift Herald, and Baron are critical as well.
When you’ve pushed the enemy mid lane, you can opt to ward the enemy blue buff (to see if they’re coming to objectives) or the opposite side of the brush where they can lie in wait for an objective steal.
Opportunities to Roam
This doesn’t 100% apply to every champion in every matchup, but this is something you need to consider. Are the other lanes having a tough time? Does your jungler have his hands full? You may need to roam to mid to help out for a bit, but you also need to consider what it costs. It may leave your carry vulnerable to the enemy team.
Factors like how long the enemy respawns, where the jungler was last seen, and how well your carry can sustain himself on his own can be considered. If given the opportunity, your mid laner and jungler may thank you for creating space. Assassin-type supports like Pyke and other supports with good movement speed and the ability to traverse obstacles like Tahm Kench and Zac also excel at it.
Also read: Best Support Streamers
Check out the ADC from Both Sides
While League does put an emphasis on skill rather than depending on specific champions to dominate, certain champions do better in key areas than others, including trading and laning. You should have an idea about how a trade scenario will go. Caitlyn, for example, has a very high range and can poke at safe distances.
Does their support have a way to shield the carry? If you feel you will lose trades, maybe it’s better to just farm under the turret and wait for a gank to be safe. Always try to calculate the risks vs. the rewards and look for opportunities when they present themselves.
There are many ways you can be a good support in League of Legends. It’s such a mechanic-rich game that you really have free reign to be creative and develop your own still.
This was just an overview, and many improvements can be made, especially in terms of deeper warding and actual laning phase trading. Despite all this, we hope this article helped you out on your climb toward challenger!
For more LoL content, check out this piece on the best active ability items in LoL.