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Let's Talk... Support

Tjmachado November 21, 2013 User blog:Tjmachado

Support, everyone's favorite controversial role. It seems like support manages to simultaneously get both good and bad reputation all the time, but let's just discuss it for a few minutes. I'll talk up here, and you guys can discuss in the comments.

Alright, let's begin:

Patience is a Virtue: Too often, I hear (see) people complaining about support, saying "it's boring" and "a waste of time." THIS IS NOT TRUE. The reason it's called "support" is because the support on a team is not supposed to get kills, just buff their teammates into next week and let THEM get the kills while you just roll in assists. Granted, you are entitled to your own opinion and if you like a faster play style and feel bored when playing support, then just don't. Pick a role more suited to your tastes, simple.

Oh, the Fickle ADC: Bottom lane is currently the only lane in which 2 players commonly share the same space (usually, double top or double mid can work though), therefore the Support and the ADC have the closest relationship out of the whole team, they depend on each other to do well. The support helps the ADC by healing and buffing them, and maybe debuffing the opponent. However, a Support alone has almost no waveclear and just gets destroyed by an enemy champion. The ADC needs to protect their Support as well. Often, I see an ADC get angry at their Support for stealing a kill, or maybe taking a lot of their CS. Just don't, please. The support isn't going to get a lot of kills, but sometimes they WILL actually steal the kill (maybe on accident, maybe they had to to secure the kill...), but you don't have to flame them for it. In fact, usually the Support even apologizes for a kill-steal (I've even seen someone I watch apologize for taking a single CS), as it is obvious that the ADC can use the gold more. BUT, where is the gold going to come from for Support items too? I mean the GP10 items can help, but it's not a lot at all. However, all of this doesn't mean that the support should play like an ADC, either. The support needs to build items and use their abilities in a way that helps their ADC. In fact, bottom lane probably has the highest power potential during the laning phase simply because a good Support knows how to play in a way that will carry their ADC all seven days to Sunday, while a good ADC is just good at what they do. If you get both of these at once, they usually can just crush the opponents in their lane without much issue.

To build Support, or not to build Support: Obviously the Support needs to build items to help their team, and GP10s are a must right now. But, how passive of a build is TOO passive? Where does the line fall between being a Support and just an irrelevant champion? I personally find that a bit of offensive mixed in with the support really helps. In fact, some items are perfect for that, kind of like the (now removed) Shard of True Ice. While AP (or AD) sounds weird on a Support, don't forget that a lot of shields and heals scale with AP, so adding AP into a build can add more than just damage. While this (and anything related to builds) is very dependent on champion, some supports CAN handle offense in their builds, so don't go yelling just because your Support has a bit of AP or something like that. (Obviously, if a Support champion builds full offense, then they're not really a Support, either. Balance is key.)

Who are you Playing as a Support?: Unconventional Supports, people either love 'em or hate 'em. I remember seeing things like "Support Heimer?" or "gg, noob support" when the Support picks someone unconventional, and the question is "why?" What prevents an AP Mid from being support? In fact, many kits actually have really nice synergy with the Support role, and the right items can make anyone a decent Support. It's not the pick, it's how good they are with the pick that determines how well a role or lane will pan out, and this goes for every lane.

Duo Support?: Here's something that happened (accidentally) in a recent game I played: we ended up with 2 supports. I ended up supporting top, no the other support went bottom. And it went fine. So the question here is this: What is stopping the support for going elsewhere? How would if affect the game if there was a solo ADC bottom and a Support mid or top? Would the solo bottom get crushed worse than the other lane against the duo? This is meta-breaking stuff here, so it's... It seems shaky, but doable.

UPDATE 1: The Pi Update: Oh yes, I went there. :) Anyway, patch 3.14 officially kicks off the S4 preseason, so now we have new masteries, a new jungle camp, and SUPPORT CHANGES EVERYWHERE. New items galore, which is nice to help with gold, and it's a nice balance check to add the condition of "But not the killing blow" to make the item more support-friendly. The items themselves are nice because they are different, each has a slightly different way of getting gold from it, and which on you use will depend on how you play as a support. The 3 new item sets each have their own methods (be near the death if a minion, hit an AA on an enemy champion, and kill a minion instantly with >200 health and give some gold to a teammate (This one seems good for an ADC, actually.)) However, the most interesting one of the gold-generating items is an old one: The Spirit of the Ancient Golem. The stack-building passive is actually great on someone like a support who will be getting Blue buff every now and again, and I could also see it on mid-laners too.The sad part about this is that it comes to the exclusion of any other gold-generating item, but that's needed for balance, so I can't be too mad.

Some of the new masteries are also better for the Support too. However, with any positive comes an "equal and opposite" negative. They removed my Mana Manipulator AND the Shard of True Ice! I'm really sad about that because those items are a core part of many Support builds, and they don't even have a replacement! The new crystal image (For the Ruby) also just looks plain weird, I liked the old one a lot better... Anyway, the changes to the vision system and the addition of the Trinkets should hopefully take the "ward all the things" concept of the Support that a lot of laners seem to have, and also just help the Support by saving them a few gold in general. Also, now a Support can have a weaker Clairvoyance while still keeping something like Flash and Exhaust for their summoner spells... Anyway, S4 will hopefully bring more things to the Support role. Pi Update for the win! :)


If you're still reading, then thanks! Sorry for the mind-breakingly large wall of text, and also for any grammar mistakes I may have made, I typed this out on my iPad pretty fast, but I recently started playing Support (I've been set on Sona since I got the game, but she's free this week so WOO!), and then I started thinking, and then... This came out. Yeah... Anyway, what do you guys think about the Support role in the game currently and about what I talked about here?

Happy Supporting!

-Tjmachado aka Shadows of Time

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