We always hear people complain about how their carries fail the game. Trust us on this one, most of the time it’s your fault as a support. In League of Legends support can directly affect the outcome of the game. Here, we’ll teach you how to rack up W’s every time you queue for a match with a support. Grab a pen and paper and write these fifteen tips down because this stuff is pure gold for everyone trying to learn how to play League of Legends support like a pro and looking to rank up their ELO.
Understanding the Stages of the Game and Warding Accordingly
Just throwing down wards does not make you a good support. Warding is just one of the most basic things a support has to do and some people can’t even do that right. What we mean by understanding the stages of the game is to predict what the enemy team is about to do and what you’re going to be doing to counter that. For instance, in the first ten minutes of the game, there’s no point in warding the area between the tier 2 and tier 3 towers because you won’t be getting there till the late game. This is where you have to start preparing in advance.
In the early stages of the game, just ward their jungle and the mid lane. This will help you keep an eye on the enemy jungler and protect your mid laner from any incoming ganks.
After 10 minutes into the game, you should start preparing for ganks in the top and bottom lane as well. Ward the areas right next to the lanes so your carries can farm safely without getting destroyed by an enemy rotation.
In the mid game, you should start warding objectives. This includes both the Baron and the Dragon . Your team needs proper vision to take them safely. If there is a clash inside the pit, that could be bad for your team. On the other hand, if the enemy is taking these objectives, good warding will enable you to attempt a steal.
Late game is where the supports need to come in clutch. There are three things that can happen at this point in the match. You’re either destroying the other team, you’re getting destroyed, or the match is going neck-to-neck. In the first scenario, aggressive warding is the most viable option because the other guys won’t even be stepping out of their base. For the second scenario, you need defensive wards around your tier 3 towers. The third is a combination of the first two scenarios, you need vision all over the map. If both teams are doing equally good, they need wards in order to scout the enemy. This will allow your team to step out and push lanes safely. Without vision, they’ll get caught with their pants down and get completely destroyed.
Setting Up the Perfect Ganks
So, let’s get one thing straight, in League of Legends support is responsible for ensuring that their carries farm safely. But, that doesn’t mean babysitting your ADC in the lane for the whole match. You need to roam around the map and help other people instead. This is something that people often forget about when they’re playing support. You’re not supposed to just win your own lane, you have to help your entire team win their lanes as well.
Baiting the Enemy Carries
The best way to set up a gank is to coordinate with your team. Obviously, if you’re going to kill someone, you have to let your team know your intentions. Talk to your jungler and try to catch a carry off their guard. The best time to gank is when the enemy laner gets a bit overconfident in their abilities and steps out of their comfort zone. We’ve all seen carries throwing the game just because they start diving the tower for that one worthless support kill. Try to capitalize on this opportunity and grab on to the carry if you think they’re overstaying their welcome.
The second strategy is baiting. The concept behind it is to draw in the enemy carry with a potential kill for their team. Some people bait with carries too. While that’s a bit risky, it can always work out. You can have your carry sit a bit far in the lane at a low health while you hide behind them. A greedy carry will definitely jump out at the first chance of a potential kill and when that happens, you can easily pick them off.
The “Low Reward” Bait
That’s one way to do it, but the better way to bait a carry is with a support. Sit in a lane when you’re low and the carry will try to kill you 99% of the time. Supports are much easier to kill and carries often dive towers just to get 1 kill on their scoreboard, as we said earlier. While there’s a guaranteed chance you’ll die, you’ll be able to secure a much more important kill in the form of a carry. A noob support might think a 1-1 trade off is equal. But, a carry dying is much more devastating than a support dying like three times.
If you want to know more about roaming as a support, we also have a detailed guide on our website.
If you’re trying to focus on ganking, try picking up a champ that’s well suited to the role. Bard, for example, is great if you want to play a roaming support. Watch some Bard League of Legends gameplay before dropping in a match, he’s not an easy fella to play with.
Never Take CS
Getting last hits on minions with a support can be quite challenging. In League of Legends support champs usually have low damage and can’t really take last hits from a carry that’s designed to farm. But, that doesn’t stop most supports from trying it. In the lower brackets, almost every so-called support tries to steal a few minions from their carries. In their mind, a few minions don’t hurt, but they’re actually crippling the farm of their carry. The sad part is that due to their low damage, they can’t take last hits, but their meaningless effort makes the carry miss them at the same time. If you’re also someone targeting CS, then please go and read the basics of roles in League of Legends so you can grasp what it means to be a support and not be a pain for your carry.
If you take a look at League of Legend support in the top brackets, you’ll see that they rarely take any last hits. They play entire matches while having less than a dozen last hits. On the other hand, supports in low ELOs have more than that just 10 minutes of the game. You might be thinking that if you can get farm with a support hero, you’re a good supp. Trust us on this one, you’re a terrible support if you do this. Supports don’t need that much gold and they certainly don’t need it as bad as the carries do.
But, if you’re really intent on getting last hits, do it after your carry leaves the lane. Even if it is for a few seconds, you’ll be able to score at least a couple of creeps and that is all you need to do in order to get ahead in farm as compared to the enemy support.
Utilizing the Mid Lane for Farm as League of Legends support
Another good way to farm is by taking over the mid lane right after your mid laner dies. Mid lane does tend to get pushed a lot and the enemy carry will try his best to take the mid tier 1 tower. You can counter that push by teleporting to mid and start taking some CS. This will prevent your tower from taking extensive damage and help you get some items as well. But, keep in mind, you’re a support to leave the lane as soon as your carry comes back. Don’t overstay your welcome to become a cancerous support.
There’s also one more way and that is to purchase gold generating items, but that will be explained a little later.
Support Doesn’t Have to Mean Too Many Deaths
In League of Legends support champs usually have a lot of deaths, but in lower ELOs, feeding is really common and their first excuse is “Dude! I’m a supp”. Well, we hate to break it to you, but that isn’t a viable excuse. Sure, supports have low hp and they are easier to kill as opposed to other carries in the game, but a good support doesn’t put himself in a spot where he is vulnerable to dying without much struggle from the enemy team.
This is a big problem in the lower brackets. They think that they’re a support, so its fine if they die just to put down one ward. It’s not fine, even though support kills aren’t that groundbreaking for a carry, they still help the enemy team get a bit of gold. And, with over a dozen deaths, you’re giving the enemy much more gold than they truly deserve.
You shouldn’t put yourself in a risky situation without some bigger motive. Try to play it safe and don’t go all rambo on a carry 1v1 because there’s a good chance they’ll kill you even though they were the ones walking away on a sliver of hp. If you hate that, well then welcome to the support life. You’re not going to like it here…
If you find yourself dying a lot, there’s are a few tanky supports that you could play Naut or Rakan or someone else with a lot of hp under their belt. Naut has his Titan’s Wraith Shield and Rakan has his own shield in the form of Fey Feathers These supports will help you overcome the problem of repeatedly dying and you won’t be putting your team at a disadvantage. Just stand in the front and tank all that damage. Even if you do die, you’ll be doing your carries a huge favor by keeping them safe.
However, you can still learn survivability with squishy heroes. Try to get in a position where getting to your first will be too difficult for the enemy team. Hide behind your carries and retreat if you think someone’s about to come straight to you. Though, you have to remember, dying isn’t all that bad. There are a few situations where dying as a support is not that bad. But, that tip is a couple point down our list.
Watch Out for Ganks
The best way to looking out for ganks is obviously warding, just like we discussed earlier. If you don’t have good map awareness and you entirely forget to look around the map, then this point is not one for you. However, there is a better, cost-effective way of predicting gank attempts that will work 99% of the time. The key to this is watching out for impulsive behavior in any lane. This seems a little vague, but let us explain and hopefully you’ll understand.
Aggression in Your Lane
So, first let’s talk about aggression in your own lane. Usually, if a carry is playing really passively and instantly walks ahead and starts diving the turret, this means that there is someone lurking behind, ready to gank. This part is pretty easy.
But, there is also a second aspect and that is being too passive. If the enemy laner is getting harassed out of the lane, they’ll probably play extremely carefully and just come in to get some CS. If they have an opportunity to take a couple of CS without getting too damaged and they ignore it, this means that the carry is waiting for someone to get to the lane and gank. They’re purely playing the patience game and buying time till help gets there.
Aggression in the Other Lanes
Now, let’s talk about a completely different type of aggression; aggression in the opposite lane. While most supports don’t watch out for other lanes, if you’re going to learn and predict player behavior, you’re going to have to focus on all three lanes. So, suppose the enemy top laner starts pushing unnecessarily. This is your first indicator that there’s an incoming gank. If they leave the lane right after pushing, warn your carries, because a gank is definitely coming.
This seems like a bunch of useless, negligible stuff, but try it in a game. You’ll be surprised at how effective this is. You won’t just be saving yourself and your carry, you’ll be crippling the farm of the opposite laners. If you get back as soon as they come for a gank, they’ll be wasting a solid minute of their time just running around the map. They’d much rather prefer spending this minute farming or doing something that actually benefits them.
Understand Your Champion’s Role as Support
Basically, there are two types of supports; the tanky ones and the squishy ones. The tanky supports can get in an AD’s face and soak up damage to protect their carries. The squishy supports are supposed to sit on the side lines and dish out any damage to knock down enemy carries. We explained a little bit about this earlier when talking about supports and their deaths. So, we won’t explain which of the two types of supports you should pick. While understanding the extent of your champion seems like a piece of cake, this is something most people struggle with in the lower ELOs. We’ll use a few examples to help elaborate the extent of each champion.
If you decide to play Zyra, you need to understand that you can’t stand in the midst of a fight and only poke people from the sidelines. That’s all the champion needs to do. She just needs to get her roots and seeds down and successfully get off Strangle Thorns . You can’t survive in the middle of the fight, you need your ADC to take the blunt of the fight because you’re too squishy. If your team is leading the game, then the enemies will definitely be targeting you first. You’re an easy kill and they’ll just love an easy kill to knock down at least one of the five champions.
If you want to play on the front line aggressively, you can play Nautilus or Braum. The two heroes can scale really well against enemy carries and it can be quite difficult to knock these two bulky supports down. We already talked about Naut’s Shield. Braum has something even better. He can block projectiles and completely negate enemy damage with Unbreakable
Understanding your champion’s limitations are extremely important if you want your ADC to do well in the bot lane. League is a highly diverse game and that is what makes League of Legends so popular. You need to scrape the bottom of the barrel before you can call yourself good. That is why you have to learn your role. You’ll get absolutely destroyed if you don’t do what you’re supposed to and this will leave your carry in an awkward 2v1 scenario that’ll make it difficult for them to farm. The best way to understand a support’s extent is to spam one support at a time. Master each support till you’re good enough to play any supp given to you. That’s how you rank up by just playing support.
Harass, Harass, Harass
We’ve already said that you’re not supposed to take CS in the bot lane. Some amateur supports are probably wondering, “What am I supposed to do then? I can’t take CS, so am I just supposed to sit here AFK?”. No, you’re not. Your job is called harassment. The entire purpose of a support early game is to make the enemy laner’s life as miserable as possible. You have to keep peppering them with shots to ensure that they can’t trade last hits with your ADC. This will enable your carry to sit pretty and farm safely without getting damaged at all and at the same time, put the enemy laners at a significant gold deficit.
But, harassment isn’t that easy. You can get caught while trying to trade shots with the enemy carry and that is an easy kill for them. It is much better to harass with a ranged support against a melee hero. Don’t ever try to harass with auto attacks if you’re a melee support against a ranged carry. You’ll get damaged way more than you harass and you can die too.
Again, that will leave your carry solo in a lane that just got a kill. They might have also received a level from the kill that gives them a decent advantage. They could possibly dive the tower and take out your carry too. There are a lot of ‘if’, ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’ here. You need to learn to overestimate every minor thing if you want to be a game-changing support.
Harassing with auto-attacks is one thing. But, you can also step it up a notch and spam a few abilities to harass the enemy laner. For example, Sona and Nami are good if you want to keep the laners on their toes. Sona has her Power Chord and Hymn of Valor to trick the enemy laners while Nami can constantly spam Aqua Prison to woe her foes. Pick supports that have a low cooldown on their abilities and you can keep up the lane pressure and ensure that your carry can farm easily.
This is quite an advanced tip and something that most players aren’t familiar with. This tip is quite complicated and deals with a variety of different things that have been discussed throughout this article. Minion aggro affects your harassment, your survivability and most of all, your carry’s ability to farm.
The Call for Help
So, let’s talk about what agro actually is. Turret or minion aggro is the response from them when a player nearby generates a ‘call for help’. Due to the call of help, the tower or the minion will stop attacking the current target and switch to another, high priority target. The reason for that is auto attacking. When you auto-attack a champion near enemy minions, they will stop attacking their current target and focus on you. Usually, supports notice aggro when they’re harassing the enemy laner. Late game the damage from minions is negligible, but early game, a few minion hits will drop you quite low. That opens up kill potential for the enemy laner and usually, they will indeed get the kill.
That’s how aggro affects you directly. But, there’s another way aggro affects your carry indirectly. When you run up to harass an enemy carry, the minions will run to you. This will disrupt your carry’s ability to farm and might make them miss a couple of minions every wave. While most of the time this doesn’t happen, but if you’re not careful, you’ll actually interrupt your carry’s farm in an effort to improve it. You can counter this by only harassing when all the minions are healthy and none of them are about to die. This will give your carry the chance to reposition himself for the next last hit. Another way to harass is with your abilities. For some reason, using your abilities on an enemy carry won’t proc minion aggro. Your carry missing a couple of last hits every now and then might not seem significant, but its highly damaging in the long run. Also, you have to remember that Riot Games is constantly tweaking creep behavior. Keep an eye on League of Legends patch notes to keep up with all changes.
Buying Gold Generating Items
This is the best way to get gold as a support. Fortunately for us, Riot introduced gold generating items for the League of Legends support roles. While, these items don’t give you that much gold and you probably won’t even have half the gold as your carries, but it’s more than enough for what supports need. You’re just going to want some gold for warding and a couple of main items to help in team fights. So, instead of stealing minions like low ELO supports, you should rather just focus on getting these items. However, there are quite a few items that grant gold in League of Legends. So, let’s just talk about a few of them and in which situations they should be picked.
The first item we should talk about is the Relic Shield . Relic Shield is usually just picked up by tanky supports like Thresh. Spellthief’s Edge is a good item for supports that like to harass the enemy laners a lot in the early and mid game. And, finally, the Ancient Coin is for supports that are sort of like the jack of all trades. Supports that can’t harass and dish out damage, or even just tank a few hits should opt for the Ancient Coin.
However, there are a few exceptions. Consider a champion like Janna. Spell Thief’s works really well on her. But, if you’re in a bad situation where harassing the enemy laner is not a choice, then you should definitely go for some other item. Ancient Coin would be a decent option here. A detailed guide about getting gold as a support is also posted on our blog.
Don’t Get Salty
Let’s face it, not every carry in the world is like Pray or Faker. Sometimes, your carries will fail early game. It could be because they were counter-picked in the lane and they can’t keep up their CS. Or they could be lagging, or you didn’t support them good enough, or they were harassed out of the lane or something else.
The thing is that there are a thousand things that could go wrong and make your carry fail the lane. You don’t win your lane every game, and if you did, we’d say there was something broken with the game. There’s no reason to start flaming every time the carry misses a CS. And, this is something that supports of every ELO do.
There are two possibilities when your team has a bad early game. They either lose or they come back and win. And, trust us on this one, you’ve got no idea how much good morale affects the outcome of a game. That’s why you need to stay cool and instruct your team on what to do. In League of Legends support champs are usually the shot callers because they are the ones that are the play makers. Even though they don’t get the kills, the carry can’t get the kill on their own.
You don’t have to be Nelson Mandela and constantly motivate your team. Just don’t do anything that ruins the atmosphere of the game. If you become the type of support that blames carries every two minutes, then they’ll also give up entirely and you will most definitely lose the game. Don’t cuss at all, not only will that ruin the game for others, it will drop your honor level too. Just take a look at what KaSing had to say. He’s a reputable name in the League of Legends Esports community and his view on flaming really clarifies why.
Pink wards win games. How can we make this simple? Enemy wards is equal to easy ganks which is equal to easy kills which is equal to you losing the game. You can prevent all that from happening by destroying enemy wards. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, it sort of is.
Anytime you think that a specific place is warded, instead of not going near it, buy a pink ward and destroy the enemy wards. It’s a simple trick, there’s nothing too hard about it and for League of Legends support mains, it is sort of like their most important job. But, it’s highly crucial. Early game, enemy wards will make it very difficult for your jungler to gank because the enemy knows when he’s coming.
But, it’s the mid game that can be a real deal breaker. Mid and late game is where teams tend to ward the baron and the dragons . If you want to secure those valuable objectives, you have to check them for wards before you actually head into the pit.
Oh, and we all have seen those ward wars where an enemy wards a place, you deward it, the enemy sees this and wards that place again, and you have to deward it again. In League of Legends support ward wars are highly common. This can be a tiring cycle but don’t hesitate to compete in such a war if the opportunity presents itself.
Sacrificing Yourself to Save Your Carry
This is the exceptional situation that we mentioned when we were talking about supports and the number of deaths they have. In League of Legends support deaths are bad, but when they’re for a bigger purpose, they are perfectly justified. And, saving your carry from a death by sacrificing yourself is a completely valid option.
Okay, so basically sacrificing yourself is an option when the enemy team has two choices. They can either go and kill you, the support. Or, they go and kill the carry. Remember, both you and the carry are low and will definitely die if the enemy team catches up to you. A smart team will know that a kill on the carry is a thousand times better than killing a support. So, they’ll choose the carry. However, if you want to save your ADC, you’ll have to make that choice for the enemy team and offer up yourself on a silver platter. That’s what sacrificing is all about.
Although, you have to ensure that the kill isn’t that easy. You can’t just walk right up to the enemy when you’re a hit or two away from dying. They’ll kill you and proceed to slaughter your carry too. The trick is to buy time. Juke them out, make them run around a bit, try to get them to work for the kill. If you can do that, congratulation, you just saved your carry from a brutal death and potentially saved the game at the same time.
Holding a Minion Wave
Holding a minion wave is a really basic and high beneficial strategy that is all about maintaining the lane equilibrium. So, basically, when your carry dies and you survive, you shouldn’t abandon the lane. Your job now is to ensure that when the carry returns, the lane equilibrium in your favor. The minions should be close to your turret, otherwise the carry might find it difficult to farm coming right back from a death.
The technique here is to just take last hits on creeps. Don’t auto-attack creeps, otherwise the lane will push. Keep last-hitting till your carry returns to the lane. However, you need to understand what type of hero you’re facing. If there’s a hero like Caitlyn, then run as far as you can. You can guarantee she’s coming for that tower because of how good she is at sieging with the damage amplifications from Headshot . But, if you’re against someone that’s playing passively, you can safely farm. In the League of Legends gameplay clip by PicklePants, you can clearly see how Taric is holding the lane efficiently without pushing it and not letting it push at the same time.
But, an important point is to remember not to get too overexcited because you’re getting farm. Don’t hold the wave when you’re already at low hp. The enemy carry will definitely dive and wipe you out. It can really pay off though if you’re really careful. Those few seconds of farm won’t get you that much gold but it will definitely put you ahead of the enemy supports.
Support’s KDA Doesn’t Matter
In League of Legends support is a selfless role. You’re the one that’s supposed to be doing all the hard work but you don’t get credited with kills. You don’t even get a pat on the back for a job well done. Instead, everyone just praises the carry that’s getting all the kills. That’s just the way supporting works.
You’re like the Spiderman of the League world. You help the people around you but you’re going to be called a criminal in the Daily Bugle. This is something that really annoys low ELO supports. They don’t like the fact that they’re not getting kills and the game gets somewhat annoying for them. And, that is when they start doing something called KS.
Low ranked supports forget that their KDA doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s always nice to have a decent average. But, not having kills doesn’t mean that you suck as a support. Some novices do indeed think that more kills on a support think that they’re really good. But, the truth is that they’re egotistical kids that are throwing the game by robbing their carries of the kills. It’s easy gold and ks-ing a carry is just as bad as stealing last hits – Maybe even worse.
It’s so annoying when a Lux just uses Final Spark to kill a guy that was already dead. Or when a Sona crits someone with the extra damage from Power Chords . These are all problems in lower brackets. In League of Legends support in higher ELOs try their best to ensure that the carries are the ones that get the credit for the kills instead of the other way around.
There are a lot of things that lower and higher ELO supports do differently. And, trying to get a good KDA is something that lower ones always try to do and the higher ones avoid. Don’t learn from us, learn from the pros. If the Platinum supports don’t care how many kills they get, maybe you shouldn’t as well.
Remembering Enemy Cooldowns
This isn’t exactly a job for the support, it’s sort of a good habit to develop no matter which role you play. But in League of Legends support champs have to make up for their ADC’s negligence and remember what they are overlooking. As with most of the tips on this list, lower ELOs don’t really pay attention to enemy cooldowns. To be entirely honest, they don’t even keep an eye on their own cooldowns. They just rush into fights even when they don’t have their ultimates and complain when they get team wiped.
But, when you talk about higher ranked players, remembering key cooldowns is their bread and butter. They have cooldowns of every hero memorized and keep a close eye on everyone and exactly what they’re using so they know what’s coming. This is so common in the upper brackets that the team doesn’t even have to communicate that a ulti is down. They all know it instinctively.
Let’s not stray off topic here and try to understand why remembering enemy cooldowns is so important. Generally, when your team is at a significant advantage, it doesn’t really matter if the enemy has their ultimate abilities available or not. But, when you’re neck and neck, or worse at a disadvantage, you need to watch out for enemy ultimates. For instance, let’s talk about Twisted Fate’s Destiny . If you see your team getting wrecked because of it, don’t group up and push till TF uses the ultimate. This will give you a chance to avoid any fatal team fights.
Whenever you see that Twisted Fate wasted the ability on a single hero, group up and march down a single lane and push as fast as possible. League of Legends champions have a quite different cooldowns. Polish your memory and remember them all.
This works both ways too. If your team just used a key ultimate, there’s a chance that the enemy team is about to storm down a lane and do the same thing. There’s not much a support can do about this. Just warn your team and sit back and wait on your highground. You might not be able to knock them down without your ulti, but they can and they definitely will.
Implementing each and every single one of these League of Legends gameplay tips might be quite a hassle. But, it sure pays off. We can guarantee one thing, if you try out each and every single one of these tips all the time, then your win rate will rise significantly. Do you think we’re exaggerating? Try out these League of Legends support tips yourself and you’ll see exactly what we mean…