While the Support role doesn’t require you to focus on farming and getting CS, there are other important things that you need to keep your focus on. It’s often seen as one of the easier roles in the game and while I agree to some extent, it’s not always as simple and clear-cut as some may think.
In this Mobalytics guide by PicklePants, we will discuss 5 mistakes that many Support players make that are hindering their performance and preventing them being a better Support. Despite what many of you may believe, I have played the Support role consistently at a Diamond level for the past 3 Seasons with this one being my best – even with its ups and downs…Remember that the little things add up! Some of these mistakes may be gameplay aspects that you know and are aware of but you may not be actively reminding yourself to keep them in mind. If you can brush up and refine these areas, you can win more games over the long run.
1. You slack on your map awareness
Map awareness is crucial for all roles but more so for the Support. Asw e said, you’re not actively farming or focusing on killing minions and gaining gold like the other roles. This allows us to focus on the map more often and you can really benefit your team greatly because they can farm while we keep them covered with lifesaving pings. We’ve already made a guide on this subject if you want to find out on how to improve your map awareness.
When farming, it is not uncommon for players to neglect the map or not have the best map awareness and it’s pretty easy to see why. Tunnel vision is prone to happen when you’re concentrating on last-hitting and it can be quite difficult to prevent yourself from forgetting about the map. It would be beneficial for the Support to help everybody out by keeping their eyes on the map at all times while consistently providing the team with information regarding the location of the enemy.
During the laning phase, I like to keep an eye on a map and see where everybody is and what everybody is doing. This also allows me to spot the enemy Jungler or see if an enemy laner is missing and heading bot for the traditional 4 man dive pre-10 minutes. I would like to think that I have good map awareness and it’s something that improves gradually over time.
There are a few things you can do to improve your map awareness. One way of doing this is by using the F-keys. Using the F-keys and looking at what your laners are doing will help you understand how their lane is going. Another way of improving your map awareness (which was popular in Season 3) is where you have a video open tells you went to look at the map.
You do not need to “literally” keep your eyes on the map at all times, but you need to have a good understanding of where your lanes are, where the enemy is and what is happening on the map. Looking at the map every few seconds should be enough in most cases.
2. You don’t position properly
Positioning is key in the laning phase and in team fights. Basically, you need to have good positioning throughout the game otherwise you will see yourself getting killed over and over again. You’re also you putting not only yourself behind but also your allies.
If you’ve read any of my previous guides, you would know how often I talk about positioning in the laning phase and honestly, it feels like I’m beating a dead horse right now. Positioning is incredibly important as it will not only allow you your ADC to farm, but it also allow them to poke the enemy and actually be able to win the lane!
I’m not going to go into complete detail on your positioning in the laning phase because you should know by now and if you want to, you can read the guide here. But, if you want a TLDR, you generally want to be in a position not too far up in lane where you can be poked down by the enemy, but you don’t want to be too far behind your ADC either.
You should try to walk around your AD carry so you can pressure the enemy and be a threat to them and “potentially” go in on them. If you’re too far behind your ADC, you’re not going to be a threat to the enemy and this will allow them to have an easier time in lane.
Do your best to apply pressure to the enemy and not give them a free lane. Positioning is also crucial in mid game skirmishes and late game team fights – as a Support you should also know how to peel properly and know how to do so against different champions and team compositions be sure to revisit our article on peeling to learn more.
3. You don’t adapt to the game state
In League of Legends, there are many different ways the game can be played. With over 140 champions and over 100 million active players – it’s very situational and what you should be doing depends on context. It is important for you to adapt to every situation and do the best you can in every game you play. League is not one dimensional and instead, it has many different factors that make up the game. It’s rare to find games that have exact same one after another (unlike the traditional 2v4 bot dive as shown below).
Many people may feel that the game is pretty simple and you should follow the same rules every game. While I would agree to some extent that there are certain rules you need to follow and recreate in every game, it’s not a simple and as easy as you may think. To avoid throwing shade on any YouTubers or content creators, I’m going to use this guide as an example to prove my point and help you understand this subtopic.
In the previous section, we talked about positioning and how helpful it can be. This example is a general tip that allows you to improve as a whole rather than in a specific situation. For example, if you are against a Blitzcrank, positioning too far up in the lane and getting picked as a mage champion could completely ruin the game for you. This means that you should position in a different place, adjusting to still apply pressure but from behind friendly minions. Another example would be if you are winning lane. You do not want to give the enemy an opportunity to get back into the game, so, you want to position yourself further up in the lane so that you can continue to dominate the enemy and keep them under pressure.
This isn’t necessarily our fault and it isn’t necessarily Leagues fault. It’s just how the game plays out. Adaptation is key when every situation is different. You have to go against the grain of what everybody suggests to do your own thing to win. Now, some advice can be pretty spot on throughout the game but there are so many different factors in the game that makes advice not always correct for the situation. To find out how to identify your win conditions, check out our recent article.
I’ve gone slightly off topic here but I wanted to give you an example so you understand this section properly. Just because somebody says something or somebody suggests to do something at certain time, it doesn’t mean you have to do it. Instead, you should use your initiative and your skill to know what you should do. With that said, you should try to take on board what people suggest and what advice they give because more so than not, the advice can help you to adapt to other situations.
4. You ward ineffectively or inefficiently
When you think about the Support role, the first thing many players would think about is vision. Vision is incredibly important as it gives your team information that can help them out in the game by reducing the amount of unknown variables. For example, knowing the location of the enemy Jungler or knowing when an enemy is rotating can help your team react in the best possible fashion and reduce the likelihood of getting ambushed.
I’ve had plenty of people ask me “What vision score I should aim for by 10 minutes” or “how many Control Wards I should place in a game?” The answer to this question is, the number you need. You should place wards where you need vision, and you should replace and continue purchasing Control Wards throughout the game. You need to keep placing vision around the map throughout the game especially in areas that you are wanting to conquer. Currently, there are no complete vision guides in existence because of the game being so situational and forever changing. So the best way to improve at warding is by watching the higher ELO Support streams and VODs and understanding where and why they ward. You can also ask them why they decided to ward in specific places as this gives you a whole new light and insight on the mind of a Support player.
Another mistake I see a lot of players doing is not taking advantage of the free wards that Riot gives you throughout the game. If you have 2 stacks on your Warding Totem, then you are not taking advantage of early game vision which can win you the game and save your life. Furthermore, I see a lot of players upgrading their starting item, getting the quest done and then not using it in a valuable way and not placing wards on the map. What’s the point of playing Support if you’re not going to ward?! Keep placing wards throughout the game in high traffic areas where you need vision, and fight to deny enemy wards when it’s safe to do so.
5. You don’t build properly
Once again, going against the grain can be very helpful when it comes to playing the game. Itemization is key when you are playing as the Support as you have a wider choice of viable items for the champions that you are playing. This means it is important to pick the right item at the right time instead of repeating a cookie-cutter build every match.
There are many different build recommendations for your favorite champion. Riot even has a designated recommended shopping list for everyone which shows items that could be good on them, however, you shouldn’t blindly follow what Riot suggests. Instead, I recommend that you study and learn from the build path of professional players. Pro players know the best builds for each champion and they tend to put in more statistical and mathematical decisions when it comes to what they build and when.The best place to find professional players build paths is by using the website Probuilds. This website shows every game and build path that a player chooses and in which order. This can be very beneficial if you are unsure what to buy on your champion. For example, you may see a Janna build Ardent Censer first in one game, but then in a different game build Redemption first (remember #3, adapt!).
Overall, it is incredibly important that you try to buy items that will benefit you and your team instead of auto-piloting and building the same items every game. If you are against a full AD team, you may want to buy armor items or if you’re against a full AP tea, prioritize magic resist items. This is just one example of how you can adapt your itemization.
When it comes to improving as the Support, you may have to go back to the beginning and relearn the basics. It’s pretty easy to get yourself mixed up with the season coming to an end and throwing all the basics of being support out the window. We’ve discussed 5 things in this guide that you can improve on to become a better player. Best of luck, Summoner.
Thanks for reading! What are some of your tips for playing Support? Let us know in the comments below! As always, you can find Picklepants in our Discord if you have any questions.