League of Legends – Supports: Bot Lane’s Real Heros

Posted: 05/03/2012 by exacttec in League of Legends
Tags: , , , , , , ,

SUPPORTS, It’s not for the weak of heart, and it’s especially not a role that should be relegated to the lowest Elo on the team!

There are two champions in the bottom lane, usually. You’ve got your AD Carry, and your Support. Let’s have a look at a to-do list for the Carry:

AD Carry to-do list:
– Don’t die
– Last-hit a ton of minions.
– Try to win trades with the enemy carry
– Get kills whenever possible

Simple stuff. You need to farm for late-game while staying alive–and trying to stop the enemy from doing the same. That’s your whole job in the laning phase, outside of dragon fights. How well you do depends on your skill, but as a whole it’s pretty clear-cut. Now let’s look at the support’s to-do list:

Support to-do list:
– Keep your carry alive to farm
– Provide map control via green and pink wards
– Keep track of enemy wards placement and timers
– Keep track of buff and dragon timers
– Harass the enemy
– Provide bush control via wards and Garen impersonations
– Take every minion that your carry misses
– (Optional) Help your carry last-hit
– Decide when to go for kills
– (Optional) Use Clairvoyance to track the enemy jungler

Want to know the reason that so many people hate playing support? They’ve never read that list. They pick Soraka or Sona because some jerk didn’t let them call dibs on mid lane omg and they stand around in bot lane pressing heal while their AD carry is left to 1v2 the enemies. They buy wards grudgingly while they complain that they can’t carry their noob team from bot lane. And they lose, because they’re terrible at their job. Here’s a single-question test you can use to see if you’ve been playing Support correctly:

1. Has your entire influence on the game been comparable to that of a health potion? (Circle Yes or No)

If you answered Yes, then you’re doing something wrong. If you circled Yes on your monitor just now, there may be no hope for you.

So let’s talk about the things on that to-do that you do so well.

Keep Your Carry Alive
Pretty self-explanatory. Your carry needs money. She needs to get that money by killing creeps. She needs to be alive to kill creeps, unless she’s Kog’Maw (note: Kog still farms better while alive) Heals keep carries alive. So do shields. So does *standing in front of them to die instead*. Don’t die needlessly, but if one of you has to die, volunteer. You make just as much money dead as you do alive. Speaking of things that keep your carry alive:

Providing Map Control
If nobody’s running a kill lane like Leona + Jarvan, bot lane is all about farming. Except, of course, when the jungler shows up. So you need to be prepared for him to appear when you wish he wouldn’t. Here’s a non-exhaustive map of good ward positions for bot lane.

Too! Many! Wards!

Shh! We're hunting Junglers

Wards in the tri-brush cover part of the river and the path behind dragon, which is a popular gank route. Wards in the river cover the river. And wards in the bottom brush prevent lane-ganks (and should be in the brush closest to the enemy’s tower to give you advance warning) while also preventing the enemy support from using the brush to zone you out. Dragon should be warded to tell you when the enemy team tries to take it, or when the mid champion is heading to bottom.

But that’s only half of what map control entails. The other half is using pink wards or an Oracle’s Elixir to remove map control from the enemy. If the enemy support wards your bottom brush, they keep you from zoning them from it. However, you can pink ward it, earn yourself 25g and cost the enemy 75g, and continue to zone them freely for the next 3 minutes.

If you pink ward the tri-brush, your jungler knows that he has a safe route to gank from. And you should always pink ward dragon before you take it–you don’t want someone Flash+Smiting it or killing it with a long-range skill right as it’s about to die.

Phew, glad we’re done with the warding section. If that got any longer, I’d–

Keeping Track of Enemy Ward Placement and Timers


Now, having map control is awesome. Also awesome: killing the enemy. To do that, you generally need your jungler there for a numbers advantage. And your jungler needs to know where the enemy has warded so he can gank. Pink wards, as I’ve mentioned, work well. But there are other ways to keep track of enemy wards.

First off, you can use your eyes to see where they’re placed. If the enemy support walks into the river with 3 wards and comes out with 2, it’s safe to assume they dropped a ward in the river. Trust me. Now, also using your eyes, look at the clock in the top right corner of the UI. Add 3 minutes to that, and write down when the ward will expire. If he ganks immediately after that ward expires, he can attack while they still feel safe.

Not sure if there’s a ward in a brush? Enemy minions that haven’t selected a target will attack you if you are in a warded brush; their models will have a glowing yellow border if they’re targeting you.

Elementary, my dear Watson

Keeping Track of Buff and Dragon Timers

Here’s a list of spawn timers for you to memorize.

Blue + Red buff – 5 minutes
Dragon – 6 minutes
Baron – 7 minutes

Pretty darn simple, that. 5, 6, 7, in ascending order of importance. Now, whenever you see one of them get killed, write out the time it will spawn in chat. Your timely clairvoyance saw the enemy take blue at 7:15? It’ll be up at exactly 12:15; your team can take it before the jungler gets there. Dragon killed at 8:45? It’s back at 14:45; have your team ready 20 seconds in advance, because it’ll take them 30 to actually get around to going there.

Harass The Enemy

As a support, you don’t need to be attacking creeps. But Dan, you ask, what should I be favouring with my tender, pillowy autoattacks? Why, the enemy, of course! And weak though your attacks may be, they can add up over time. A Sona that maxes Q first can burst the enemy carry down to 75% health with a Q + Power Chord combo.

Alistar can headbutt the carry while he’s trying to last-hit to deny him farm, then heal off any harassment. And any ranged support can keep harassing with autoattacks and retreating to the safety of a brush. If they attack you back, that’s damage your carry isn’t taking, and last-hits the enemy isn’t getting. The more you harass, the less they can focus on farming. And of course the usual caveat applies: don’t get yourself killed, and more importantly don’t get your carry killed.

Provide Brush Control

Shurelia’s Zoning Tutorial is a must-watch for every player; support or otherwise. You need to understand what the simple act of sitting in a bush can do to the enemy (Garen players know this already, yes?). But the video is pretty self-explanatory; I’ll let her do the talking. And yes, that video is by former Riot Employee Shurelia, as in Shurelia’s Reverie.

Take Every Minion your Carry Misses – And optionally, Helping Them Last-hit

Minions don’t need gold. Towers don’t need gold. So if you see that your carry is going to miss a last-hit, whether so she can get a different minion or because she’s distracted by shiny things, take it. The “0-CS Support Meta” doesn’t mean that you get 0 cs; it means you take 0 cs from your carry. Don’t let the minion’s life be but a waste. Take his gold and plant a ward in his honor.

An optional part of this is to help your carry last-hit. If you see that two minions are being damaged at the same rate, you can infer that they’ll both die at the same time–and your carry won’t be able to last-hit them both. By attacking one of them once or twice, you ensure they die far enough apart that your carry can kill them both. And if you’re under your tower, you can also help your carry to last-hit the ranged minions. Ranged minions take 1 tower hit and 2 autoattacks (on average) to die. If you see a tower attack a full-health ranged minion, hit it once and let your carry finish it off.

Decide When to Go For Kills

Here’s the really tricky part. For all the power that carries have late-game, early on the support runs the show. You’re the aggressive one, you’re the one who’s keeping track of ability cooldowns and ward timers, and maybe you’ve been tracking the enemy jungler through the jungle.

So you’re the one who has the information needed to decide when it is a good time to fight and when it is not. Communicate with your carry; let her know with words or a ping when you’re going aggressive. Did the enemy Soraka just heal herself? Her carry is fair game for the next 20 seconds. Enemy Kog’Maw puked his Void Ooze everywhere? There goes his only escape.

So there you have it. Support — at least in the laning phase — is an incredibly complex job. It’s not for the weak of heart, and it’s especially not a role that should be relegated to the lowest Elo on the team.

  1. volume121 says:

    Pretty interesting :).

  2. fendermonkey says:

    Very fun and informative read.

  3. Ian says:

    Thanks dude!

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