You want to support? You want to play support?!
Let me guess, you think it’s just sitting there, being a pansy, chucking down a ward occasionally and typing “soz” when you steal a kill? Get out. Go back to top lane.
Support is hard as balls. I hate support. Do you know why I hate it? It’s because it’s hard as balls. You need to know everything about the lane. You need to know your ADC’s cooldowns, his health, his damage capability, the enemy ADC’s exact same, YOUR OWN health and cooldowns… You need to know a lot, is what I’m saying.
Sure, you could pick Taric, stun the first person to walk into range, flash in and Shatter and then walk away. Yeah, you could do that. Congratulations, your ADC might get a kill. Too bad that the enemy ADC also killed you, won the trade against your ADC and now has the lane to themselves.
Let’s break it down:
What do you need to do as support?
A lot of things. Just… a lot of things.
Wards: You will be warding. Sounds simple I know, but you need to know the right places to ward. For example, a vision ward is very strong right now due to the Oracle’s nerf at the beginning of Season 3. That delightful pink ward allows you to control the river. Push your lane slightly, pink the river brush, and congratulations; assuming the enemy support didn’t ward the tri-brush, you have total coverage of the river.
Paying attention to where the enemy wards are: Where is the support going? Oh, he’s just going to river, probably warding no problem. NO. Follow him. Find out where he puts the ward; did he place it in river brush? Tri-brush? At dragon? Where is he warding, so as to give you a better knowledge of the best place to pink ward.
Poke: Depending on the champion, you may be largely responsible for poking the enemy duo away from CS. What’s that? You’re playing Nami/Sona/Lulu/anyone with ranged poke, and I see you sitting in brush? Stop it. Attack them, dammit!
Time the minions: Knowing when to initiate trades is of paramount importance; if you begin a trade with the enemy duo when they have the minion advantage (that is, they have more minions in range than you do) you will likely lose the trade due to the enemy minions hitting you. Remember, minions will swap targets to an enemy champion if their friendly champion is targeted. Use this to your advantage! Know that, when you have a minion advantage, that’s when to initiate, to force them to attack you!
Support your ADC: You’ve already got a long list of things to manage, but perhaps the most important is the one you’re named for; you need to support! You need to be helping the ADC get fed, feeding him kills, enabling him to catch the enemy (or just straight out catching the enemy for him) or doing things as simple as tanking damage for him. Is that an Ezreal Q coming for your ADC? Walk in front of him and take it, especially if you’re naturally tanky like Taric/Leona/Alistair. You want your ADC as strong as possible for team fights and tower pushing, so it’s up to you to make sure he can do what he does best.
Sadly, sometimes the ADC will be terrible. It will happen. They’ll just be goddamn terrible. You can still do things; you can create really, really obvious situations wherein the ADC can get kills. It can be hard, it can be daunting, but it’s your job dammit.
Make shot calls: Another key important task is to try and be the one to call shots. As a support, you often have abilities that enable you to initiate onto the enemy (except someone like Soraka) so it’s often your job to be the one to start a fight, to pick out the enemy carry, to win the game. That’s right, I just said that supports win the game. Very rarely have I totally stomped my lane and then go on to win the game without my support. It’s the supports who ensure your safety, your dominance and your success.
Worst of all? It’s thankless. People will rarely give you the credit you deserve. The ADC will get a “gj” or “gg”, but you will get nothing. But you will know. And, most likely, your ADC will know as well but be too proud to admit it. But know that, when you’re in the end-game chat with the “victory” message displayed proudly, and all your enemy teammates are saying to report their ADC, whereas your teammates will all be honoring their ADC, you will know.
And sometimes, something magical will happen. The ADC won’t thank you in-game, nor even after chat. They’ll just go along with everyone about how great they are, never mentioning you. It will appear thankless and pointless; hell, you’ll think about giving up support altogether.
But then… You get a Teamwork honour. You might even get a covert friend request, maybe a duo partner in future.
And it will all be worth it.
Next time, I’ll continue this segment about supporting with a post on the different supports, there strengths and weaknesses, objectively, and my feelings about them from a subjective standpoint.
See you next time!