I’ve a notion that might be somewhat revolutionary to a lot of you. Are you ready? Here it goes:
An AD Carry is only as good as their support.
Even though it’s still one of the most under-appreciated roles in the game, a good support can be the difference between a win and a loss in lane. It can be the difference between a pentakill or an ace for the enemy team. It can, if played properly, completely change the outcome of the game.
The problem is, at lower levels there are too few good supports. Far more often, you get people who are forced into the role; selfish lone wolves who expect that they’ll still be able to carry the game on their own. Far more often, you get people who don’t know how to play support – people who seem literally incapable of playing the role well. That needs to change.
The first step towards bringing about that change is to ensure more players take the following advice:
Know The Meta
While mechanical skill certainly plays into whether or not you’re a decent support, it’s far more important that you understand the metagame of bottom lane. If your AD Carry is playing Draven, which support would be the most devastating pick? If they’ve got a Vayne, what combination can you choose to mess up her game?
If it’s not obvious already, you’re going to need to do a little homework. This should be enough to get you started.
Teach Yourself League of Legends Psychology
You want to know the reason Blitzcrank and Thresh are so often banned? It isn’t solely because they can completely cock up an AD Carry’s positioning. It’s because they have the potential, simply by being in lane, to psychologically destroy the other team. If you’re against a Blitzcrank, and you don’t have vision of where he is at all times, you’re going to be afraid to go into lane. You’re going to change how you play, simply so you can avoid being grabbed.
See, there’s a sort of subtle psychology to bottom lane, more than in any other lane. Once you understand it, you’ll find that you’re able to more easily predict what your opponents – and what your own teammates- are going to do in any given situation. You’ll be able to more effectively support because you’ll be able to react before your foes even realize they’re acting. Same deal with your allies.
I haven’t quite gotten the hang of that, myself: I usually play top or mid. Working on it, though.
You know a sure-fire way to tell someone’s a bad – or at the very least, inexperienced- support? They attack the minions while the AD Carry is trying to farm. Don’t do that. Most carries tend to be extremely item-dependent, particularly going into late-game. If you deprive them of minions, you’re depriving them of gold. You’re putting them at a disadvantage against the other team. In the worst-case scenario, you might well lose them the lane, causing them to fall so far behind their opponents that they won’t be able to keep up.
So, yeah. Don’t attack the minions. Seriously.
Remember how I said psychology is important? That plays heavily into something called zoning. Depending on which support you’re playing, you might have a great deal of harassment potential. Make use of that – whenever you see one of your foes move out of position or make a mistake, punish them for it. Keep them scared of you, and mess up their AD Carry’s farm wherever possible.
Talk to both your carry and your team. Keep track of when your rival support wards, where they’ve warded, and how long the ward will be up for. Let your jungler know if your lane needs help. Co-ordinate with your teammates regarding ganks, pushes, and positioning. Really, this is one of the most basic concepts of League of Legends…yet people still don’t seem capable of doing it.
This is not a single-player game. Don’t try to play it like it is.
Learn How To Ward
Often, one of the more difficult aspects of playing a support is knowing when, where, and what to ward. Since I’m still getting the hang of playing support myself, I’m not going to try to give you advice on that. Instead, I’m just going to tell you to read this. It’ll help.
Oh, by the way, you should constantly be buying wards if you’re supporting. Sight-stone is considered one of the most important support items for a reason. If you don’t think you need wards, I’m sorry to say that you’re probably terrible at the game. I hate to be that guy, but…wards save lives.
There’s one thing worth noting here, though: warding isn’t exclusively the supports job. While the AD Carry can prioritize other items above wards, both mid-lane and top-lane should keep themselves stocked up, as should the jungler. Knowing the location of the other team is the first step to drawing them out and crushing them beneath your heel.
On that note…
Remain Aware Of Your Surroundings
Map awareness: learn it. While playing, you should periodically be checking the mini-map, watching for the location of the enemy team. Your AD Carry, depending on skill level, might not always be paying attention. If you notice there’s someone missing, or the jungler appears to be moving into position for a gank, make that fact known. Keep a close eye on where your team is and what each individual team member is doing, as well.
This is particularly important if you’re a champion with a global ult, like Soraka. Timing your global heal properly could be the difference between a successful gank and a double kill for any other lane on the map. Keep that in mind – you might not be carrying, but you’re no less important to the team.
Gather a Decent Support Pool
Eventually – particularly if you’re playing ranked or draft – your support of choice is going to be unavailable to you. They might be banned, or someone might have grabbed them before you could get your paws on ’em. As such, you need to collect a few different champions that you don’t mind supporting as.
Of course, that’s not the only reason. Remember how I mentioned synergy earlier? Your chosen support isn’t always going to jive with what your ADC wants to play. Having a varied pool makes it likelier you’ll be able to pull out one that’ll work.
Don’t Expect Glory
You are not the carry. You’re not going to score a pentakill or single-handedly crush an entire lane. Your foes aren’t going to run from you in terror. Chances are, you’re probably going to be blamed for a lot of stuff, and not all of it is going to be your fault. The nature of playing a support is that you’re not carrying your team to victory – you’re enabling someone else to do that job, instead.
If you go into the role expecting you’ll be able to single-handedly win the game, you’re going to be disappointed.
Be Willing To Make Sacrifices
Last, but certainly not least, don’t be afraid to die. While as a general rule you want to avoid getting killed (every death is more gold for the other team, after all), there may be some situations in which it’s unavoidable. In those situations, if your death will guarantee that one of your other teammates can escape, don’t try to avoid it. Be willing to die, that others may live. It sounds harsh, but if you’ve been doing your job, your teammates are worth more gold than you, anyway.