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Melee Supports Comparison

Deshiba April 26, 2014 User blog:Deshiba

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Greetings fellow summoners!

With a new and exciting Braum Support Champion in the making, I thought it was about time to compare some numbers and effects between melee supports. To start this off let's refresh who these melee supports are and what they do!

Champions
AlistarSquare Alistar The beloved bull that tanks it up, applying irremovable Crowd Control damaging you with his mere presence and healing anything in range by roaring a lot. A true bully in the hands of a master.
BlitzcrankSquare Blitzcrank The automaton that loves to pick out a single target and debilitate it with shocking effects. In the right team a single target will get ganged up on and die before being able to respond.
BraumSquare Braum A friendly guy that walks around slowing and damaging enemies while shielding and hopping around. New guy in town, with all the new hotness.
GalioSquare Galio Often overlooked as a support, but brings bang for his buck by Slowing foes while speeding Allies. Using shields to increase durability and Golden statues to attract grubby people to attack him for his shiny's.
LeonaSquare Leona The overplayed stunning beauty, bringing a lot of crowd control to the table able to shut down one target completely and multiple targets when used correctly. A definite threat when engagement assessment has been mastered.
NunuSquare Nunu More prevalent as a jungler, but has his merits in the lane that is bot. With the permanent slowing snowball that decreases movement and attack speed, your ADC will have a definite advantage in both, with boiling blood chasing and a devastating team fight ultimate, he does fairly well for himself.
TaricSquare Taric The outrageously shiny gem of a knight will shatter your defenses while leaving you stunned is the last in this list. Able to heal his allies he is best suited to defend his carry against singular foes that overextend, punishing them greatly for their trespassing.

There's a fine balance in all these champions, where some have an overload of crowd control, others are more favorable in the utility department. So why is it that out of these melee beasts only Leona and Blitzcrank see any serious play as support champions? Personally I believe it's due to two things, questionable mechanics and lack of scaling.

Questionable Mechanics

What exactly am I talking about when I use this term? Mostly champions with some kit or mechanical issue. Namely Alistar, Galio and Nunu are in a bit of a bind due to some issues they have. So lets investigate a bit more here, so you can see my opinion is actually founded on something instead of just "stuff and things".

Alistar

His strong Crowd Control, tank nature and healing ability are definitely a good fit for a well designed champion, however:

  • His Q has a bigger animation then the actual hit box.
  • His W is supposed to be followed up by an AA instantly, but 9/10 times just doesn't due to the displacement.
  • His W -> Q combination is just hard to pull off, mainly due to the speed of his W and inability to queue-cast Q while in flight.

Galio

A niche AoE movement control tower that can double the armor and magic resistance of a single ally for four seconds has some issues:

  • His W only heals himself. (Really, tweaking this skill to have less defenses and just healing the target it is cast on has been a long time coming)
  • His Ultimate! Out of all the Taunts in the game, it is the only Ultimate one, and also the only interruptible one.

Nunu

Really plays well with hyper carries and does so much for 2vs2 engagement, and really a surprise Absolute Zero is devastating, if only:

  • His Q had any use in a bottom lane.
  • His E had less abusive functionality, allowing for Q to actually damage champions.

Lack of Scaling

Disclaimer

The number comparison is based on max level and for heals at least 2 targets healed by the non self healing ability. The damages from passives is calculated once only for repeating ones, namely Alistar's passive, Blitzcrank's ultimate passive, Braum's passive, Leona's passive and Taric's passive. The damage from all channeled abilities are max damage done. All damage will be for single targets hit.

Crux of the matter

The point here is to take you back to the top a bit, looking at the actually frequently played supports Leona and Blitzcrank. With Leona being the Queen of the hill due to her Crowd Control and Blitzcrank being the top grab and splat (out of favor due to thresh, but still functional) you might be deluded into thinking this is because Crowd Control trumps Utility. But I urge you to look at their base damages and scaling as well!

Champions Healing Total damage Total special Scaling
AlistarSquare Alistar 270+30% AP 587+130% AP 90 bonus AD during Unbreakable Will
BlitzcrankSquare Blitzcrank none 1100+220%AP 100% AD on Power Fist
BraumSquare Braum none 850+60% AP 2.5% of Braum's max. health on Winter's bite. 20% of armor and mr on Stand behind me.
GalioSquare Galio 425+150% AP on self 1156+194% AP 50% of MR is AP
LeonaSquare Leona none 870+150% AP +20% bonus armor and magic resist.
NunuSquare Nunu 250+75% AP on self 1400+350% AP none
TaricSquare Taric 440+60% AP 870+90% AP Damage for 20% of armor on auto attack and shatter. +10% bonus healing for taric's max. health. + 70 bonus AD and AP from Radiance.

When you see these numbers lined up, you'd think that Galio and Nunu should be at the top with Blitzcrank after that followed by Leona and Taric with Alistar as a sad panda. But the truth is, that Galio and Nunu need to channel their ability leaving their main CC and Damage tools in a tough spot. And Taric his main damage comes from Dazzle, which you might as well cut in half since you rarely get to cast it in melee range. So a more reliable damage output would be:

  • Alistar; 587+130% AP
  • Blitzcrank; 1100 +220% AP
  • Braum; 850 +60% AP
  • Galio; 940 +270% AP
  • Leona; 870 +150% AP
  • Nunu; 415 +131% AP
  • Taric; 710 +90% AP

This paints a much realistic picture of the sad truth that Galio and Nunu are front loaded onto their ultimates With the first just lacking control and the last just lacking reliable damage. It also explains why Leona and Blitzcrank get played more, their damage is just higher on top of their heavy CC and durability. Taric Just lingers behind because the armor scaling he gets barely catches up to Leona her base damages and scaling, 1 AP item out scales Taric completely.

Braum

The upcoming champion in the current PBE numbers is in a good spot, with his base damages being on par with Leona's and his utility being higher. In fact the max. HP scaling on Winters Bite pulls him over base damage wise. He's on his way to be a serious contender!

Closing Statement

In melee support land there's a lot of difference in use and power houses. The sad truth though, is that some are blessed more then others. Leona, Blitzcrank and Braum stand out in their stability and damage output. But does the heal, armor shred and AoE buffs that Taric provide make up for his abysmal damage? Did Alistar really deserve to be in a state where his skills deal about half of the average? Are front loaded ultimate skills that result in one skill wonders really something you should want in the league?

Decide for yourself, I for one would love to see some reverts on Taric and Alistar with reworks on Nunu and Galio. At least I get 1 of my wishes, here's a raised glass filled with high hopes for the Galio tweek!

Have a good one!

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