The ADC’s Guide to Playing With a Bad Support (By a Support Main)
We get it. It’s not always your fault that you lose lane as an ADC. Sometimes it’s the Support that costs you the game. Whether they’re auto-filled, tilted or countered, it’s up to you to make the best of a bad situation to win the game.
In this Mobalytics guide by PicklePants, I’m going to give you some tips and tricks to help you play with bad Supports in lane. We will make a followup post down the line to help Supports play with bad ADC’s too.
Before we begin, there may be a reason your Support cannot do too much in lane. For example, they might be having a bad day, they might be tilted, or they might be playing in a countered matchup which results in them having a hard time in lane.
While we can’t really help you too much in the first two instances, if they’re in a tough matchup, you shouldn’t expect them to be able to get too much done. For example, Blitzcrank vs Morgana can be a difficult matchup for the Blitzcrank, so you shouldn’t expect them to go for Hooks every time their Q is up.
Basically, lower your expectations of the Support in matchups where they’re countered as it will be unlikely that they can achieve what they’d normally be able to do unless the enemy makes a mistake. With this in mind, let’s get on to our first tip.
Watch the Supports positioning
In order for you to get kills, pick up minions and win lane, you need to keep a constant eye on the Supports positioning. If you do not look at where they are before you move forward, the enemy will focus you down, and force you to either blow Summoner Spells or maybe even kill you.
If the Support is really far behind you, they will be unable to impact the skirmish which leaves you in a situation where you are 1 vs 2. This is why it’s incredibly important that you always check where your Support is positioned before initiating a trade.
Fight the enemy, or look for a skirmish when your Support is ahead, in line or slightly behind you. Never initiate a trade if they are too far behind you of if they’re unable to impact the fight.
You cannot force the Support to position differently, so you need to play accordingly to their positioning to increase your safety and sanity in lane. If you know where to expect the Support to be positioned, you can play accordingly. For example, if they’re a tank, you should be positioned behind them. If they’re a mage or utility Support, stand in line with them.
There’s more detail in this guide on how to position as a Support, but it is of course, mostly focused on helping Supports. Some of the advice will help when playing as an ADC though, so give it a read.
Zone the enemy ADC
In many occasions, you have to do things that usually the Support would do themselves. In particular, zoning the enemy AD Carry away from farm when the enemy Support has left lane or has died.
In higher ELOs, Supports usually position themselves in front of the minion wave to zone the enemy AD Carry away from farm (they usually initiate this movement). But when you are playing with a bad Support, they probably won’t do this. In these situations, you will need to position aggressively to zone the enemy ADC away from farm and initiate this type of gameplay.
To do this, you need to put yourself in a position of aggression and force the enemy ADC to walk backward. If they walk backward and out of XP range, congratulations, you’ve zoned them away from the minion wave. If they stay forwards, you can look to play aggressively with the help of the Support. Usually, if you walk forward and try to zone, the Support will help you and walk forward too. This is one way of “forcing” the Support to reposition.
Your ability to zone the enemy ADC will depend on many factors such as how strong you are early and the range of your basic attacks or abilities (lower ranges will reduce your potential to zone). While this image isn’t for an ADC, it will help demonstrate your ability zoning range as the longer the range you have, the easier it will be for you to zone someone.
You can zone the enemy when the Support is dead and when you have the advantage. A good place to start zoning the enemy ADC is when the minion wave is closer to your side of the map as they have to overextend to farm- which you can capitalize on to either kill them or force them to miss out on CS and XP. It can be harder to zone when the minion wave is closer to their tower (unless you’re ahead).
Depending on the game status and the matchup you’re in, you may be able to zone the enemy ADC away from their tower if you’re ahead by running behind the tower and putting yourself in a position of aggression.
Whenever you’re zoning the enemy, you need to keep in mind a couple of things.
- When will the enemy Support be back?
Avoid zoning for too long unless you’re ahead as the enemy Support may capitalize on your over aggression in order to get a kill.
- Keep an eye out for the enemy Jungler.
When you’re too far forward, the enemy Jungler may pay a visit to your lane, so keep an eye on the minimap at all times in order to survive.
- You do not need to kill the enemy.
Zoning them and forcing them to miss out on a wave or more of minions is more than enough. You do not need to commit to killing them.
We’ve made a separate guide on zone in lane, give it a read if you want to learn more.
Buy Control Wards
Regardless of how good or bad your Support is, you need to get vision in your lane by buying and placing Control Wards throughout the laning phase.
After your first back, try and get a Control Ward and place it in a bush in your lane to scout for vision. Throughout the laning phase, make sure you buy and place Control Wards when you need too.
I cannot tell you how many ADC’s never buy Control Wards or only buy 1 throughout the game. Regardless of how highly you speak of your Support, there is no reason for you to never buy Control Wards during the laning phase or throughout the game.
In this image, you can see some potential good warding locations in the bottom lane. Make sure you place Control Wards and vision according to the situation. If you’re ahead, place wards more forward, and when you’re behind, place defensive wards.
This image was taken from our in-depth-everything warding guide, check it out!
While you should never rely on just your Support to buy wards in the first place, there is increased emphasis on you buying and placing wards throughout the laning phase so you can spot the enemy Jungler before they show up in your lane.
Play less aggressive
In many cases, playing aggressive with a Support who is not very good will often backfire and cost you the lane. Trying to get them to commit to trades when they don’t want to will often leave you in a worse position. So the thing you need to focus on is trading when it’s less likely to backfire.
For example, when playing against a champion who has a hook like Blitzcrank or Thresh, moving forward and trying to trade when their hooks are down is probably safer as most players know that a good time to trade is when the enemy wastes a hook.
It’s not ideal, but if your Support really is unable to trade, then you could default to playing really safe and never trying to trade. You should take this route as your last resort, but you may need to default to this when your Support is “afk” in lane.
Instead of trying to fight heavily and get kills, you could play relaxed and try to go even: only playing aggressively when your Jungler is there to assist you.
What you could also do is wait for the Support to make the first move or communicate via pings so you’re both on the same page. For example, focusing on farming until your allied Alistar gets a good engage off, or waiting for Leona to get her Ultimate before playing aggressive again.
There are some other things you can do to get your Support to play better in lane. In this section, we will discuss a few non-toxic ways you can get them to be more impactful.
Communicate via pings
If you ping “on my way” when you want to go in, the Support may react to it and start to play aggressive and follow up. Be prepared to ping multiple times to ensure they go in with you.
Alternatively, you can ping your Support away to tell them you don’t want to engage or fight at this time. Do not be afraid to ping often, just don’t be too oppressive with pinging as they’ll end up not doing anything you want them too. Try and find a mix of being friendly and forceful.
Here’s a guide how to improve your communication (via pings and more). Give it a read if you want to improve your boost your comms skills!
Generally speaking, some people don’t know they’re being annoying, so if you give them a gentle nudge and just say something like “hey, can you stand in line with me?” or something on those lines, they might react to it and start playing in line with you.
There is no need to be toxic when asking your Support to position themselves more aggressively or asking them to do something like warding, they may genuinely not know what they should be doing.
Are you the type of person who is toxic or is passive-aggressive but doesn’t mean to be? You might be able to improve on that with our guide on how to be less toxic.
Lower your expectations
We touched on it previously, but when you’re playing with someone who isn’t very good, you should lower your expectations on what they can do. For example, land skill shots or protect you.
Adjusting your mindset that you have to play differently will help you in the long run when you’re playing with somebody who isn’t very good. Expecting the bare minimum in lane and expecting them not to help you much will stop you from getting killed and falling behind and getting frustrated.
In the bottom lane, there are two champions who have shared responsibilities. When you’re playing with a Support that you’d rather see on the enemy team, you will need to pick up the slack so you have a better chance of winning the game. If you play as you would normally without thinking twice, you’ll fall behind and struggle to win as you’ll be unable to rely on them to help you.
All-in-all, it will be down to both of you performing badly if you do not adapt to how your Support plays.
If you have any questions or want to learn more, check out PicklePants stream.