You don’t need to be the carry to carry
The laning phase is one of the most important and impactful phases of the game because it sets the foundation for the match’s flow. Having a strong early game can be a very good way of gaining an advantage and snowballing a lead. In this Mobalytics guide by Picklepants, we will teach you 4 tips and techniques that high ELO players abuse to dominate the bottom lane as a Support.
1. Watch your positioning
As the bottom lane has 4 champions residing there, it’s important that the Supports are in suitable positions at all times. Many ADCs or Bottom laners complain about their Supports not doing anything in lane and that they are alone in a 1v2 matchup. Although their complaints are often undeserving, sometimes it may be an actual symptom of poor positioning.
There are 3 main categories that every Support belongs to: Utility, AP/Damage, and Tank. Utility Supports are champions that provide protection, healing and shielding such as Janna or Soraka. AP or Damage Supports are champs such as Zyra or Brand whose main goal is to poke down the enemies and deal damage in lane. The final champion type is Tank Supports – the beefy players that protect their ADC and often look to engage like Alistar or Braum.
Depending on which category your champion falls under and what playstyle you intend to use, you will have to switch up your positioning in lane to best-suit your situation.
For Tank Supports, they need to be positioned next to your ADC or slightly in front of them. This is because most Tank Supports usually engage on to the enemy in order to get ahead. If you do not stand near them, the enemy will be given an easier time in lane. This is because they know that you’re not in a position to be a threat to them as they will be well out of range of all your abilities.For example, if a Thresh is standing behind his ADC, he will be unable to be in position where he can use his hook on an enemy champion. This will allow the enemies to be further up lane and be relatively greedy with their positioning as you not in a position to stop them.
As a Mage or AP Support, you need to be in a position where you can throw out your abilities and auto attack the enemy frequently. For you to do this, you need to be next to your ADC while shimmying forwards and backwards to use your abilities. Traditionally, these types of champions are quite squishy and they are prone to being killed if they are caught out of position. To prevent this, they need to stand in a position where you cannot get hit by the enemies abilities.
For example, Zyra is a notorious squishy champion, one hook or one simple engage from an enemy champion can often see Zyra heading back to spawn. For her to do the most damage and get the biggest lead in lane, she will need to position herself so she can not get targeted by the enemy. When she wants to poke the enemies, she should position herself further up in the lane, and once she has used her abilities and used all her damage, she will have to play safe and fall back into a more defensive position until she is able to cycle through her abilities once again.
Utility champions are some of my favorites to play. They are usually very safe champions who thrive on protecting their teammates while also ducking and weaving through the enemy’s abilities. Utility Supports will usually be stood around the carry to to shield and protect them. As Utility Supports offer next to no damage in lane (depending on your play style and who you play), you will have to position slightly behind or next to your carry.Supports who play predominantly Utility based champions often get slack for being boosted or trash. While this may be the case for some players, you can always tell the difference between a so-called “boosted” player and somebody who actually mains their champion. An auto-fill or “boosted support” will stand too far back and not do anything in lane, compared to a Support main who will be positioned correctly at all times.
Supports need to always be positioned close to the ADC. If they are not near them, the ADC will struggle in lane. Depending on your champion, and depending on your play style, you may have to switch up your positioning. Furthermore, depending on how the lane is going and who you are against, you will also need to adjust your play style accordingly.
2. Abuse your gold income
Gold is a sought-after resource in League of Legends. It is important to get as much gold as you can to get your items as quickly as possible. There are some ways you can get rich quick by slightly adjusting your play style.
The number one way of increasing your income is by utilizing your starting item. For champions that take Relic Shield, the best way to get the most gold from it is by making sure that you always get the cannon minion when it’s available.
There are also some other things you can do to get more gold. At level 1, you want to use your first stack on a melee minion on the first wave as soon as you arrive. In a standard wave, you should prioritize your stacks on melee minions as these give the most gold. You could then use your second stack on another melee minion on the first wave or you could hold off and use it on the second wave. By wave 3, you would have had another stack available assuming you killed a minion on the first wave, you should then use it on the cannon minion.
If you take Spellthief’s as your starting item, you want to use your abilities on the enemy champions when you have available stacks. This will give you a lot of gold if you consume all of them. Trading when you have all the stacks available is the best way of trading efficiently to achieve the most gold.
Try to avoid taking farm in the early game because it will put your starting item on hold. It will also deny you getting the stacks from it, nor will you be able to get the gold it grants. Another way of earning gold from this item is auto attacking the enemies tower, every auto attack you do will consume a stack and grant you gold.
We have already wrote a separate guide on how to earn more gold as the Support which you can find here.
3. Be a hawk
Vision and map awareness are crucial for every role but as the Support, you will take charge and be a hawk for your team. It may not show up in the stat sheet, but you can carry games by calling out things like ganks and when objectives are spawning.
You need to have good ward coverage with your lane being warded at all times. This will help to prevent enemy ganks in your lane while also giving your team a lot of useful information. Knowing where the enemy Jungler is will help not only you stay alive, but it will help your whole team. If you spot the Jungler on the map or somebody missing from a lane, you need to ping it in case someone else doesn’t.
As you are not actively last hitting or focusing on farming, you should take responsibility for map awareness in the bottom lane. While both you and your ADC should keep an eye on the map, it can be difficult to keep watch and farm at the same time. If you’re experienced at playing other lanes, you will know how difficult it can be.
Do not be afraid of pinging your team when an issue arises. If you see the enemy, let them know about it. When I play Support, I will spam ping whenever they show on the map. I will also ping as soon as somebody leaves their lane too to give my team information.
You should look to ping whatever you feel needs attention from your team. Some things you need to look to ping are: enemy laners missing, Junglers shown on map, dragon spawns, towers and enemy missing summoner spells. There are a range of things you can ping for your team and what we listed are not the only things you can do.
4. Be proactive and helpful
As the Support, you have to be rather selfless in the game. You may have to sacrifice yourself for the greater good to keep your ADC alive. Being helpful in game and doing the right thing for your team is important, but how do you do it?
Being helpful requires you to be proactive and understand what is going to happen, before it happens. There are multiple things you can do to be proactive in lane and help your allies in the early game.
Help your carry farm under tower
In the early game, towers like to gobble up minions as if it is going out of fashion. Without your assistance, your allied laner will struggle to last hit and get all of the minions. You must help them to get all the gold that they can.
- Melee minions which are the front minions can take to tower shots followed by one auto attack to kill. This means that the tower must hit the minion twice and then be finished off by your ally.
- The Cannon minions take 7 tower shots followed by one or two attacks to be killed.
Your AD carry will have no problem last hitting and finishing these minions off. However, they will struggle with the ranged minions.
- Ranged minions require one auto attack and one tower shot followed by your carries basic attack to finish them off. Ranged minions can only take one tower shot, so they need to be hit before or after the tower shot and then finished off by your ADC.
Unfortunately, allied minions will often steal some of the last hits from your ADC, especially under tower. You will need to help them to secure the last hits. If an allied minion has started auto attacking one of the minions and it looks to be at near-lethal health, do not auto attack it and instead, let you carry finish it off.
Here’s a great video tutorial by League of Legends themselves which gives you a visual aid to last hitting:
— League of Legends (@LeagueOfLegends) July 31, 2017
Keep it warded
It may feel like we are beating a dead horse at this stage talking about warding but it’s true, warding is incredibly important.
Make sure to never ever ever have multiple stacks of your warding trinket at any time. Warding is super important and you need to have your lane warded at all times. If you are pushed up in lane without wards, the enemy Jungler may surprise gank you. Here’s a little rule to follow: if you’re pushed up in lane, you need to have more offensive wards. If you are being pushed in, you will need defensive wards. If the lane is even, you will need both.
On your first back, you need to make sure that you have purchased a Control Ward. You will need to place this in a spot that can help not only your lane, but every lane out. Try to ward discreetly so the enemy does not know that a control Ward has been placed. A good time to ward is straight from base as the enemy will not see a ward in your inventory.
There are a lot of variables that going into making a good Support. Unfortunately, nobody becomes a great overnight – there are a ton of resources out there to help you improve as a support which you can use to your advantage. The best way to improve your early game is by continuing to play and gaining valuable experience. Buy a Ward, Save a Life.
If you have any questions or want to learn more, check out PicklePants stream.
Thanks for reading! Let us know if we missed any early game techniques for Support in the comments below. As always, you can find Picklepants in our Discord if you have any questions!