How to Play Support in League of Legends
Support plays a vital role in League of Legends. These essential players are masters of the game, efficiently controlling its flow and dictating its outcome. Support characters are also integral to the performance of their ADC, which usually translates to their late-game success.
In this entry, we’ll give you an in-depth guide on how to play support in League of Legends. With the following tips, you’ll learn how engaging the role can be and how to carry your team as a support main.
How to Play Support in League of Legends – Guide and Best Tips
A considerable part of your in-game performance depends on the champion select lobby. You can choose between two main categories of support characters:
Players typically choose enchanters due to their ability to shield their carries and keep them alive. They’re at their best when paired with a powerful carry the enemy team must focus on in fights.
Enchanters employ healing or shields to ensure the carry can deal enough damage to get your team ahead in fights. They also offer peeling abilities that can effectively keep melee champions and assassins from harming your carries.
Some of the most popular support enchanters include Soraka, Nami, Sona, and Yuumi.
Tanks are chosen for support mainly due to their engagement potential. This type of support needs a lot of crowd control (CC). Champions without these abilities usually can’t afford the items to address this weakness.
Support tanks typically prioritize buying items to protect their carries even if they enhance their abilities to a lesser degree. These items include Knight’s Vow and Shurelya’s Reverie.
Some of the best support tanks you can pick are Alistar, Thresh, and Leona.
Summoner Spell Options
Another crucial choice you need to make before the game starts is your summoner spells. In most cases, support champions pair their Flash with Exhaust, Heal, or Ignite.
Ignite is most commonly seen on tanky support champions with early access to CC, such as Blitzcrank and Alistar.
Heal is an excellent option if your ADC doesn’t take the spell themselves. It’s not the most efficient summoner spell on supports, but it’s better than having no healing in your lane at all.
Finally, Exhaust is your best choice if you want to help your carry peel the opponents. It’s usually taken by enchanters, like Lux and Zyra.
Once you’ve made all the preparations and arrived in Summoner’s Rift, it’s time to start your early game. In general, you’ll be paired with an ADC in the bot lane. Your main job here is to provide safety for your carry while they farm gold from minions. You should also try to prevent the opponent from doing the same by poking them.
Additionally, you shouldn’t take minion gold for yourself – it can infuriate the ADC. Kill creeps only when it seems your partner will miss it or your Relic Shield charge is active, allowing you to share the gold.
Furthermore, look for poking opportunities whenever possible, especially if you’ve picked an aggressive support (e.g., Pyke, Nautilus, and Rakan). Try to outperform your enemies during trades, enabling you to set up an easy kill with your engage abilities.
Most of your mid-game gameplay should center around roaming. This strategy is best used when your lane partner doesn’t need you. The enemy may have gone back to base, the wave might have crashed under your turret, or the opponent is low-HP. In these cases, you want to roam throughout the map and help other teammates.
Although most supports don’t have a high damage output, their CC is enough to secure kills when roaming. The best time to gank other lanes is when the opponent is low-health and pushed too far under your turret. But if you manage to get a quick kill, try not to take it – giving it to your teammate sets you up for success in late game.
Another option when roaming is to see if the junglers are fighting in the same camp or setting up vision. Here, you can easily come to your teammate’s rescue and turn the tables on your enemy, securing an easy kill.
To ensure an effective roam, you need to communicate with your team. Let the teammate you’re ganking know you’re coming, allowing them to prepare for combat. This will also tell your ADC they’re alone in their lane, meaning they should be more careful.
Plus, don’t forget to provide vision as you’re roaming—place wards in the river and the enemy jungle to keep your team up-to-date with crucial developments.
Late game typically starts at the 32 to 35-minute mark of your match, when some champions reach their full build. At this point, you want to stick with your team and keep doing what your character does best.
A single move can decide the outcome of your match in this phase, so you need to make smart plays. For instance, if you’re an aggressive support, see if you can catch an opponent out of position. Start the fight and focus the enemy carries (e.g., ADC and mid laner) to minimize damage.
Otherwise, wait for the opponent to make a mistake and keep placing wards to prevent the enemy from catching you off-guard. You should also shield your carries and activate your items at the right time to help secure the victory.
We’ve mentioned warding a few times, but this tactic deserves a special section because it’s integral to your support gameplay. It’s one of your primary responsibilities, and your teammates expect you to place Vision Wards throughout the map nearly all the time.
The most significant bot lane ward locations are bot river brush and bot tri-brush. If you’re on the blue side, your bot laner will usually prefer Vision Wards in your bot tri-brush. On the other hand, Vision Wards are more effective in bot river brush for red bot laners.
The reason for this placement is simple – Vision Wards are most helpful for the jungler when they’re on your team’s part of the map. Defending them is also much easier if the enemy jungler engages them.
Warding your bot lane brushes is also wise during the laning phase. For example, Warding Totems can keep the opponent’s support from trading with your bot laner or setting up engages. Plus, Vision Wards in the turret-side bot brush enables your jungler to gank your lane undetected.
As previously noted, support players often roam through the river in the laning stage to obtain more vision. Warding in the bot-mid brush is common when players want to notify their team of the enemy jungler, and mid roams. Here, they need to coordinate with your jungler for deep vision in the opponent’s jungle.
Here are a few other tips for effective warding as a support:
- Ward the opponent’s Wrath Camp when the game starts – This strategy will tell you where the enemy’s jungler is headed, enabling you to begin aggressively or fall back in case of a gank. As a result, you can easily set up or prevent kills.
- Place Pink Wards to counter Dragon Wards – Besides granting vision, Pink Wards also let you detect and eliminate enemy wards. Consequently, your team establishes control over dragons and blinds the opponent to your ganks. If the opponent counters your Pink Ward with one of their own, go back and look for other opportunities to engage them.
Support champions often have little control of wave management in their lane. They lack waveclear potential and damage, meaning they need to communicate with their partner to gain an edge over the enemy.
One of the most widely-used wave management methods is to hit Level 2 in your bot lane as soon as possible. To reach Level 2 on both champions, you must eliminate the first creep wave and three melee minions in the second one. Your role here is to help lower the creeps’ health without taking the kill. You’ll need to use your auto-attacks in most cases since you’ll have just one spell at Level 1.
If you can reach Level 2 before the enemies, your best bet is to start extended trades or go in for the kill. Three things will be working in your favor at this point:
- Both you and your ADC will have unlocked an additional ability.
- You’ll get passive application of your champion stats.
- You should have a larger minion wave because you killed the creeps faster.
Another point to remember is to freeze the lane when necessary. This strategy is usually applied when your partner returns to base and a wave is heading toward the turret. You’ll need to suffer some damage from the minions outside the turret range until the ally creeps arrive. This way, your ADC can make it back to lane for all the experience and gold that would otherwise be missed.
Take Your Support Game to New Heights
Support may not be the most difficult role in League of Legends, but it can determine the game’s outcome. The most important thing is to be patient with all crucial aspects we’ve mentioned, such as roaming, wave management, and warding.
Part of your in-game success is also determined in the pre-game lobby, where you’ll be able to counter your enemy with certain champions and spells. Moreover, stay up-to-date with the patches to check which support champions have the best stats.
Have you ever played support in League of Legends? Do you think support champions need buffing or nerfing? Let us know in the comments section below.