To support or not support, that is the question.
I’ve been playing League of Legends for about two and a half years now, and have over 1,000 games under my belt in multiple roles. Yet, when I made the change to start playing support when season 2 started, I did so for a myriad of reasons and don’t regret doing it.
This article will attempt to explain the intricacies of playing support in solo ranked play (which I do a lot of); as playing with a team (like I do) or duo-queue (which I also do), is not really indicative of your abilities as an individual.
Support players are looked upon in League of Legends in a variety of ways. Great support players are usually noticed a lot less than their carry counterparts; and while they are acknowledged as being great, a victory won’t be exclusively attributed to the support “carrying” the game. Mediocre support players are usually found in solo-queue, and are either praised for an individual good play, or harassed for virtually any mistake both they AND their ADC make (I would gather they get blamed even more than the jungler does).
That being said, playing support in solo-queue should not be frowned upon by our general population of players. Usually the support is the role left over, or the role nobody wants to play; and there are always exclamations of joy and surprise when somebody claims they main support.
Playing support can over a gamma of possibilities for your team in solo-queue, which I will list in no particular order of importance:
- Be the ward… sounds obvious to many players. “The support should ward!” Yes, they should. But knowing the HOW, WHERE, and WHY of warding is an art unto itself. Do you know if they have an aggressive jungler that might try to gank your lane level 2-4? Do you have a counter support with an aggressive, initiating nature (Blitz, Leona, etc)? Do they have an aggressive counter jungler, or is your team looking for a counter jungle themselves, then you probably need to ward either your blue or red to make sure it isn’t counter-jungled. It isn’t easy to ward, and having the proper vision of the map assures your team can the enemy team out of position, providing easy kills, and snowballing any particular role at any instant of the game.
- Zone out the enemy ADC while protecting your own. This is a lot harder than it sounds, and I’ll go ahead and tell you why. If you have a poke support, then you need to do so, it does your lane no good if you don’t exploit the enemy ADC coming in for a last hit by punishing them with a good poke to the face. You can also influence the lane by healing minions, shielding them, giving them attack speed, and so on. Thus forcing the enemy ADC to venture further up into your lane, so as to give your jungler a better opportunity to gank, your ADC the opportunity to poke even harder than you do, or let you initiate on the enemy support for the kill.
- Learn where the enemy carry has warded. Look at your counter’s wards, do they suddenly have none in their inventory? Guess what, they probably warded. Time them if they leave lane, and watch were they come in from. They either warded dragon, the tribrush or the brush just by river. That being said, if you think know where they dropped the ward, drop a pink one yourself and take it out !
- Initiate a teamfight, peel the enemy team from your ADC, sacrifice yourself if it means your ADC can stay in lane and farm, and forego items for wards. The little things that make your team stronger.
- WATCH THE MINIMAP. You don’t have to CS right? Then take the initiative and watch the minimap at all times. You can ping a retreat for any member of your team, watch for wards placed in other lanes, or see when somebody uses flash, ignite, exhaust and make note of the time on your chat. You should also keep timers of dragon, baron, and if you can the enemies buffs.
Reasons why supporting sometimes stinks:
- You get blamed for your ADC dying while engaging an unfavorable match up.
- You get blamed for not warding the entirety of the map.
- You get blamed for “KS”’ (While on this subject, it’s not terrible for the support to get a kill or two in lane. The whole point of a kill is to let the enemy ADC miss out on farm, and increment the amount of farm your team’s ADC is getting. A support getting first blood usually means an instant GP10 item, and in some cases two! This means more wards, more lane control, and an easier win)
- You don’t get recognition at all when you win, and get blamed extensively in a loss. (Happens… quite often, but it doesn’t matter in my honest opinion. You can play the best game of your life, but still lose sometimes. It’s okay! Just learn from your mistakes, and analyze where you could have helped more in teamfights. (Maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t have use exhaust on the enemies support, try the enemy ADC next time.)
Supporting is a fun role, and can be very rewarding if you are looking to get better as an individual. You can have the map awareness that so many players wish they had, you can know when to last hit for CS with almost any champion (This happens over many games, as knowing when the ADC is coming in for a last hit or will be coming in is the perfect opportunity to either engage or poke), and you acquire a timer in your head for where the enemy team is at all moments (did they start blue, red, are they top or is he in the brush waiting for you to overextend. Is the enemy mid an assassin and coming down for you, did the top lane take teleport and you should expect a gank?) Supports are the unsung heroes of LOL, and the role is a lot more complicated than what most players fathom.