League of Legends Support Guide

I love League of Legends. I have been playing the game for a few years now and have consistently been gold in ranked solo-que. This is the first season in which I am probably going to reach platinum and it is mainly because of my support play.

For this reason I have decided to make a guide on how to play supports in League of Legends at a medium to high skill level in ranked (I am not a challenger nor will I ever be one, so don’t expect godliness here, just a solid guide on how to support).

First, we will take a look at all of the main supports in L O L, then some of the niche supports that most people will get confused by you for supporting with, and then lastly, how to play the support role in a general case with all supports such as wards, baron and dragon calls, etc.

Main supports in League of Legends

  • Sona

Sona flourishes by being a support who is capable of healing as well as providing decent damage and poke, an AOE ultimate that stuns (rather it makes people dance which is even funnier), and speed boosts to her team which can really help when chasing enemies or running from them. She is widely considered one of the best and safest support choices and her only flaw in my opinion is her lack of CC before level 6 and her innate squishiness since she has low health and armor stats.

  • Janna

Janna us a fantastic support in most cases but really excels in poke comps. The reason she is strong in general is because she has a massive AOE team heal which can turn the tide in team fights as well as push some key enemies away from you such as melee champions that would 3 shot your squishy champions giving you additional time to kill them, run, or kite them. She also provides a small amount of AOE CC with her tornadoes and a nice slow. Now the reason she dominates for poke comps is because her long range poke tornadoes as well as her excellent engagement avoidance CC abilities. Engaging on a team with a Janna is a true chore and it is because of this that her team can just keep poking you down forever.

  • Taric

Taric is another widely used support because he has a reliable level 1 stun and provides your entire team with additional armor, damage, and one of them at a time a heal. He is used more in comps that are looking to engage rather than running from engagements because he can tank extremely well and stun people so that you can get in range to damage them. He is very versatile and works in most compositions, but using him in a poke comp for example doesn’t really make since because not only does he have 0 poke abilities, but he has trouble staving off engages.

  • Blitzcrank

Blitzcrank is my favorites support because he is immensely fun to play. He is great for comps where you want to either want to catch people out of position or engage on the other team. He can do this amazingly well because he has a long range grab ability that literally pulls the enemy champion into him (meaning into your entire team in most cases). He can then follow that up with a knock-up and then a brief silence. In most cases whoever he pulls if not a tank will die leaving you in a 5v4 engagement in which he can use his incredible speed to catch up and pull someone else as they run. Blitzcrank is the man in any team where you can catch people out or actually fight the enemy team. His flaw is that if your team is really weaker than your opponents and only tanks get in the front line for the enemy, Blitzcrank can’t really do much. He gives your team no sustain, and if he pulls a tank the enemy just engages on you and crushes you in fights. So make sure to only play him on teams where you have sufficient damage to kill people quickly.

  • Leona

Leona is similar to Taric and Blitzcrank except where she lacks the heals of Taric she provides more CC, and where she lacks the pull and speed of Blitzcrank, she will provide instead, increased tankiness and additional CC. Out of all the supports she is the best at getting into fights and stunning key champions. She has 3 abilities that can stun and one is an AOE long range ability. Leona is one of the best supports right now because of her ability to lock people down. She again isn’t great in comps where you want to disengage, but if you want to actually fight, she is a fantastic choice.

  • Thresh

Thresh is a special kind of support because he can both engage fights by hooking and pulling himself to someone then using his ultimate, but he can also disengage by pulling people to safety with his lantern and using his ultimate to keep enemies away. He is fairly durable as a tank, and Thresh is able to do well in the lane as well. For these reasons Thresh is one of my favorite supports. He is an incredibly safe pick and unless you need heals he can do just about everything a support would be needed to do. The amount of flexibility he offers to a team cannot be overlooked and so he is often picked or banned in ranked games.

  • Soraka

Soraka is a good support, but she has only a few specific uses. She is great for countering AP caster supports because she can simply silence them. She is great for playing a safe lane because she can just keep healing you and hopefully playing safe so that you can farm up in lane. What she is terrible at is anything CC related such as getting kills, engaging fights, disengaging fights, etc. This is why I personally hate Soraka and think she is a relatively useless support. Who wants a champion that has such little CC on their team? She offers so little to the team as a whole except for heals that I find her not playable in most compositions.

  • Lulu

Lulu is amazing to have on a team. She provides no healing, but she can shield and speed up champions, she can CC a little by slowing, polymorphing, and using her Ultimate to knock people up. She also has the added ability of using her Ultimate to provide extra security and health to the most fed carry on your team allowing them to get even more fed in engagements. She can both cast her ultimate on them for added life plus shield them for some damage and speed them up which is just amazing for fights. This makes them incredibly hard to kill and thus a much larger threat in fights. She can also do some decent damage for a support and although she will probably never be focused, she can draw a little fire away simply because she is a nuisance.

  • Nami

Nami is a support who is all about counter engages. She can engage fights herself yes, but if you save her spells to counter engage she will wreak absolute havoc on a team. The bubble can hit and bubble up sometimes all 5 members of the enemy team + the tidal wave can literally turn the tide in team fights. She is fantastic because she can heal people up during the laning phase as well as both engage and counter-engage fights. She has disengage as well, but she is not usually used for that as much. Her best skillset is as a counter engager, so if you place her on a team with other champions who also counter engage she is in her element and is exceptionally valuable to the team. If you place her on a team expecting her to hard engage, she can do that as well, but not nearly as well as other champions.

  • Alistar

Alistar is a special kind of support. He is very tanky especially with his ultimate on, and he is able to simply walk into the middle of teams, knock people up, and headbut people into ackward positions during fights. He can be a monster or he can be useless depending on how well he is played, but he has no ranged abilities, so he has trouble engaging without his flash up. I feel like Alistar has fallen out of favor recently because I haven’t seen him played much. I still feel like he is a great support, but others view him as inferior because he is sort of an in-between support like Taric is. If people want a healer they take Sona, if they want a tank they take Leona, so Alistar is only chosen in cases where you want both types and even then Taric is usually chosen over Alistar because he is move viable with his ranged stun and buffs he gives the team.

  • Zyra

Zyra is a unique class of support (similar to Lulu in style) because she has no heals and is also cannot tank damage. What she is good for is moderate damage and good crowd control. Her grasping roots can lock down a few enemies while her strangle thorns Ultimate knocks up the entire enemy team. She is great for team fights as a result and so is best played in AOE compositions. She is a strong laner because her plants can harass and give vision in the bushes. Overall I value Zyra immensely on most teams I see her played on, but she is not able to be played all of the time because in certain compositions that simply do not involve many team fights, she is not that powerful.

Off Brand Supports

  • Fiddlesticks

Fiddlestick’s ultimate is a game changer. If he gets into proper positioning with it during a team fight he can do a thousand or two points of damage to all five enemy champions. For a support this is extremely powerful and so Fiddlesticks if played in a proper team fighting composition can really be of high value. The other benefit to fiddle is that his fear is a great single target CC ability and can be used in lane to CC the enemy ADC or in team fights to stop whichever carry is wrecking your team. He is a good support, but can’t tank and also can’t heal anyone, so he is definitely off brand and not commonly played even though he has power when he does get played.

  • Annie

Similar to Fiddlesticks but with more safety, Annie possesses an AOE stun as well as some moderate damage. She is far tankier than Fiddlesticks as a result of her W ability and she can use her Ultimate without having to channel it. She again though is not truly a tank nor can she heal, so in long term engagements or in poke/split-push situations she is not that great. Her core strength just like Fiddle and Zyra tends to be team fighting. Annie has grown in popularity and with the recent decrease on her Ultimate Tibbers ability cooldown she can use it pretty much every single team fight. Annie is one of the best off brand supports in my opinion and she will probably remain that way for some time to come.

  • Nidalee

Nidalee really doesn’t make since in almost any composition but I see people supporting as her and I get very confused. I have never supported as Nidalee in a ranked game and taken it seriously because I feel she is only really useful in poke comps and they would almost always require a Gragas for disengage. This doesn’t happen often, so she really doesn’t have much use in my book. She is not a tank, her heal is minuscule, and her poke is not even that strong especially lacking the AP you get from having items. So why are so many people playing Nidalee? I honestly couldn’t tell you… I feel like she is played for fun because people love to chunk people with spears and think she is good as a support. The fact of the matter is, she is not very viable and I don’t think fits well in the support role.

  • Malphite

Malphite is a special kind of support because he can’t lane exceptionally well before level 6 and he also has no heals. The thing he can do though is knock up an entire enemy team with his AOE Ultimate and turn the course of a team fight in seconds. Also, he can of course tank damage and reduce the attack speeds of enemy champions which is a pretty big deal. Malphite excels in comps that require both a tank and a form of hard AOE CC for team fighting. She is kind of like Annie except she trades in damage and early laning power for tankiness and the ability to mitigate damage in team fights. He is a very strong pick in the small number of compositions he works in which is why he is still chosen some times, but if the enemy team doesn’t have a lot of auto-attackers he isn’t all that great. Do not ever pick him against a mostly AP team of “You Will Lose”.

  • Teemo

Teemo is a fun pick for a support and mostly not taken seriously although he does have a sweet spot in many compositions. If your team wants to counter a double auto-attack lane he is great or if the enemy team has a lot of auto-attackers in general like Tryndamere he is wonderful. He excels at kiting, blinding, and leaving mushrooms all over the place for map control plus catching people out of position. He can provide constant DPS which is a big deal for a support since most cant and has many uses, but in the current meta which is to play a healer or a tank support he doesn’t fit the classification well, so he isn’t a common pick and if you play him you may even get reported since most people hate Teemo support players. He has his uses, but until the meta changes I doubt you will see him in a support role very often. I still like him as a support though.

  • Shen

Shen is a support made for invades of the enemy buffs early game due to his taunt. He also is great for global Ultimate comps like having a Karthus with a Shen and Pantheon on your team or some strange compositions like that. He doesn’t work well as a split pusher being a support because he can’t usually win the 1v1 duels if the enemy sends only 1 person to deal with him. He is a good tank, and he has a nice taunt and a good shield for protecting your carries, but aside from that playing Shen as a support really doesn’t add a lot of value to your team. I don’t like him in the support role but think he is a really strong top laner due to his ability to split push and join your team with his Ultimate if needed.

  • Nunu

Nunu is a funny support because he doesn’t do much damage and he cannot provide heals or even CC all that well. What Nunu does well is keeping your ADC buffed up with his blood boil ability and kiting enemy champions away from your carries. His Ultimate is a good way to get lucky and damage some people or face-check a bush, or to get someone to blow a stun during a fight, but it really isn’t that useful outside of slowing people down. Nunu is mostly played because he is annoyingly hard to kill, never focused during fights, and can buff and slightly peel for the ADC he is in lane with. So for example, if you are a low elo support playing with a high level ADC you may want to play Nunu and just help the ADC do his thing. Nunu hardly ever gets any glory as a support and can’t make any game changing plays outside of lucky baron and dragon steals with his Consume or those hilarious ultimates that the other team lets him get off.

  • Morgana

Morgana is a viable support in my book. She has a good CC ability that is ranged so great for engagements, she can use her Ultimate to stun and slow the entire enemy team, and she can spell-shield her carries which allows them to get moves off without being stunned or silenced, or whatever the case may be. She is not too tanky and can’t heal, but she is a good support none the less. I expect to see more people playing around with her in the future simply because she is so useful as a support. Her main weakness is that she doesn’t have sustained damage or heals, but she makes up for that with her spell shield and her crazy long stun plus that sick Ultimate she has.

  • Lux

Lux is a not so common support that is either hit or miss literally. If she hits skill shots she is good, if she misses you are pretty much throwing the game. I would trust lux to support if I knew she was going to land her skill shots, but because this is not a guarantee, I do not really like Lux as a support over the more common picks. Her CC is good, her damage is good, she can even shield people, but she is like 90% skill shot reliant and that is asking a lot in high pressure team fights, dragon engages, and even in the laning phase when you really need a hard CC to get a kill or to stop the enemy jungler from killing your ADC. Like I said she has her place and she is definitely doable, but she has to land skill shots and that is not reliable and therefore not something I want on my team most of the time. From what I have seen and heard others tend to agree.

  • Karma

I don’t know much about Karma to be honest. I don’t play her at all and have seen her only a handful of times. She just beat me in a recent ranked game as a support because her shield can increase movement speeds, and her poke in pretty strong early game. I would say she is good for these reasons and pretty much that is it, but like I said take that with a grain of salt because I do not know her very well at all. You will have to decide her worth for yourself.

  • Kayle

Kayle is a much better mid or top laner than a support because she is great at providing DPS in fights as well as pushing lanes. She lanes very well on his own, so I don’t see why people would want to play her as a support. She lacks the ability to tank, she has weak heals, and no hard CC. The only thing she can do well is shield with her Ultimate and provide some weak, somewht constant, DPS. However, because she gets so little farm I tend to think of Kayle as a really weak support who gets bullied during the laning phase and ends up losing her team the game. However, some people really like Kayle as a support… I just don’t see it.

  • Elise

Elise is a decent support, but she is only good in kill lanes and only when she lands her stun which is a skill shot, so it is not at all reliable. I don’t like Elise in any support role outside of kill lanes because she can’t heal, can’t tank too well, and lacks and useful support abilities outside of her hard to land one CC skill shot stun. She can however do lots of damage and so is good in certain kill lane matchups when you really just want to melt your opponents quickly in lane and get fed.

Proper Warding for Supports

As a support it is your job to make sure that your team has good vision across the map. You must constantly ward dragon and the entryways to get to your bottom lane as well as some buffs, and Baron after the 20 minute mark. 90% of the time the first item I buy after my first purchase at the beginning of the game is a sight stone. This is because wards are extremely important and I want to be using a lot of them. I also set my wards to a specific item slot that I use to smart cast them down. This way if the enemy runs into a bush or hops over a wall or something I can drop one really fast and we can still get the kill in many cases. Always remember to use wards early and often when supporting. Wards win games and lack of ward obviously do the opposite and cost you games. If on the purple side you want to ward the bottom lane tri-brush, if on blue you want to ward dragon usually, or the corner of dragon so you can see if they come through your tri-brush to gank you.

Pink wards are exceptionally important when doing baron, dragon, and if the enemy has people with stealth like Akali and Khazix. So in situations where you know you are heading to baron and dragon or to a teamfight involving a stealth champion on the enemy team always buy one and have it ready to cast on a certain number so you can cast it ASAP when you need to. Having a pink ward at the right time has won me many games that otherwise I would not have won, it is a smart item to have handy that many gold supports and below take for granted and do not use often.

Baron and Dragon Calls

It is best to let your jungler call the shots when it comes to Baron or Dragon, but if he doesn’t and you see an opportunity you should make the call. For example, going for dragon after you kill the enemy ADC in the bottom lane is usually a good play, it is also a very smart play to counter as quickly as you can to Baron after the enemy team gets your first inhibitor because often they have to back and do not have time to react to you. If you wait and dance around they have a huge advantage because the lane pushes with the upgraded minions so they will most likely win a fight or get Baron and you will lose the game. Rushing Baron after you lose your first inhibitor is one of the best moves I ever learned, just make sure you bring a pink ward so the enemy team loses any vision they have on it 1st. Aside from that, let your team decide on the calls, you are a support and should not be in charge of these matters too often. Your job is to ward around Baron and Dragon, not make the calls in most cases.

General Support Tips

In general as a support you will want to always focus the ADC in fights with your CC abilities when in lane and peel for your carries when in team fights. If you focus the tanks or the support of the enemy team often times you lose the fight because their carries can out damage yours since their supports or tanks have focused the main sources of damage on your team which was your ADC or APC.

Never walk around too far away from your team to ward especially late game, or if your flash is not up. This is a recipe for disaster, since you can and will get caught and throw the game for your team.

Try to go back when your ADC goes back so that you arrive in the lane together. If you are alone in lane you guys are going to have a lot of trouble doing anything useful, so stay with your carry pretty much all game, even when he goes back to base.

Usually take exhaust instead of ignite as a summoner spell because if you take ignite you may steal kills from your carry (which reminds me, always let your carry get the kills when possible instead of you taking them!) and he won’t get as fed and be able to do as much damage in fights as you will need him to do. Also, exhaust is better for stopping ganks, mitigating damage against your carry, and as a late game spell much more significant that ignite.

Hope You Enjoyed The Guide!

That concludes the support guide for League of Legends. I hope you liked it and learned from it. I am still learning myself, but I feel that if you apply some of these tips and better understand the supports and their values especially compositions that they go with, you can win more games. Now go out there and give it a shot, see what you have learned!

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