Our guest writer for this Mobalytics Partners Program spotlight is ItsAmarantha, a medical school graduate who is also a variety streamer. Outside of gaming, she also includes medical content on her channel related to her research and work in pediatrics.
Good to Know You!
I have been playing League of Legends since Season 3. My highest rank was Plat I in Season 6, which I achieved basically solely by playing Ahri mid lane or support.
In 2018 however I took a break of LoL since my work schedule was so demanding I couldn’t put in the hours anymore to improve, so I lost a lot of games and got frustrated, so I gave up.
This League journey might sound familiar to some of you…
However, in 2020 I got fully back into the game and it was heartbreaking to see how bad I had gotten in both micro and macromechanics.
I decided to pick streaming back up and playing a bunch of support since the role had evolved so much I never got bored of it.
At this moment I am trying to rank up again and do my research to get back up to date with the game. We also hold tournaments in which every one of the community may join and I cast them!
Every Sunday, I also invite a Master or Challenger player on my stream to coach me and teach us some essential things that regular lower rank players might not think about!
Since support is my primary role AND I am a girl I stand right now for the challenging task to write an unbiased article about this subject! Have a good read summoner!
Support throughout the years in League Of Legends
League of Legends is a dynamic game. Over the years, the game has gone through a lot of changes and this seems to be a trend Riot Games will be continuing in the future.
However just like in the real world, no matter how evolved the surroundings are, there are still some things that seem to never change.
The argument surrounding the toxicity of players, ongoing client issues, and questionable matchmaking in normal games are things that casually come to mind when thinking of ‘problems’ that Riot Games didn’t find a clear cut answer to yet.
However, within the community itself, there are multiple misconceptions that survived the 10 years of League of Legends’s existence and one of them is the unpopularity of the role as Support.
Throughout the different seasons, no other role in League of Legends has gone through as many changes as support has.
Slowly but surely with the rise of esports and online streaming, the negative mindset around support is slightly changing for the better. Players are starting to see the potential supports have to influence the game to a victory.
Thresh, the playmaking carry support: A snapshot of one of the games played on the subwars on ItsAmarantha’s channel.
Why is Support perceived as the most “unpopular” role?
Some of the most common arguments are that supports have a “low” impact in the game and that they are therefore dependent on their teammates performing well.
Support seems to also be defined as one of the least challenging roles in League of Legends by the community. A part of players will argue that toxic AD-carries refrain them from playing support.
Another argument is that players sense they are “slaves” to the wishes and needs of AD-carries and that this gets them frustrated and therefore aren’t eager to pick support as a main role in any queue.
Some of these arguments might have had some truth in them during the early days of League of Legends where you had champions that mainly dealt damage such as AP or AD-carries, tanks, and champions based on shielding and healing the carries.
However today with over 30 viable supports to choose from, and the state of the game in Season 10, the game overall got more strategic and complex, and playing a solid game of support only got harder, and frankly, more fun over the years.
A typical support build back in the day, think Season 2-4, consisted basically of full wards and a bit of extra health. However 10 years down the road a lot has changed and completely counters all of the previously mentioned arguments.
Support used to be picking Janna or Sona, building a Sightstone and Shurelyas, and warding every possible dark spot on the map. With every season, more and more changes were made to support items and gold income, putting this role really on the mini-map and giving it playmaking and game changing possibilities.
Support players are not just resigned to being a passive participant in the game waiting to press heal or shield whenever your carries are in danger of being damaged anymore. To be honest, the META is completely open these last couple of seasons where even AP-carry champions such as Vel’koz can thrive in the bot lane.
Saying that you can’t carry as support, but you can as a mid or top laner also is not true in the current state of the game. The days where you can pick a random AD- or AP carry champion and 1v5 are really over.
League of Legends today is more of a team player based game and as support you have together with the jungler the biggest impact in securing objectives and leading a team to victory.
The way to play Thresh and carry your team to victory: snapshot out of the subwars of ItsAmarantha.
Why are supports strong?
Opinions differ on this matter. Players have been frustrated about the changing meta where tanks and AP-mages are dominating the bot lane and therefore punishing players who enjoy to play a traditional AD-carry and healer or shielder as support.
On the other hand supports like Nautilus, Leona, Thresh, Lulu, Morgana, and Senna can provide more value, adequate peel for the carries and game-changing CC that can secure kills and lead a team to victory.
Overall, the consensus is that most supports in the current season are strong when played correctly. So is it just a matter of skill that determines whether a support carries a team to a win or not? Partly yes, however mechanics alone won’t guarantee you a spot in Diamond or higher elo.
A huge part of being a successful support is hidden within game knowledge and a sense for strategic ward placements and supporting the right team members at the right time.
When the better support makes the better play for their team:
Is it hard to climb in ranked as a support main in League of Legends?
For this article, a survey was conducted amongst over 250 volunteering players (of which the majority play on the EUW server) to shed some light on how they perceive playing supports in the current season. 57% of participants were support mains.
This survey showed some interesting results, where roughly 70% of all participants agree that supports are considered strong in the current meta.
Players that weren’t support mains found it overall harder to climb ranked as support and deemed the role not strong more often than support mains did.
The most popular type supports overall are off-tank hook-engaging supports like Thresh, followed by traditional tanky supports such as Leona and Nautilus.
Even though with the many changes League Of Legends has made where supports have better gold-income and therefore have more variety in switching up potential builds according to match-ups, in combination with a hugely increased champion pool, 63% of the participating support mains find it hard to climb in solo or duo queue.
According to the responses on the survey, players in Iron or Bronze tend to play more AP-carry type supports. Almost all respondents of this rank category answered that the role of a support is to “feed the AD-carry”.
Players in Silver to Gold however seem to perceive to be struggling the most in terms of carrying as a support. Around 60% of these players agree there is more to the role of support than simply helping out the AD-carry but don’t know how to carry a team to victory when they do not win the lane.
Platinum and high diamond players seem to perceive it to be easier to climb as a support.
Some respondents have mentioned that duo queue has helped tremendously in carrying games more easily as support, that is of course if the communication with your duo queue partner is optimal and if both parties have some game knowledge and are willing to improve equally in the game.
Most of the time, this isn’t the case and one player improves more quickly than the other and then duo queue might actually cost you LP instead of gaining you some.
Competitive play modes such as Ranked or Clash will always be frustrating and losses will fall harder upon players than when they are chilling with friends in Normal queue.
Climbing in ranked regardless of your elo is first of all a mental game where the team that plays together for objectives and tilts less easily than the other team will be more likely to secure a win.
Mostly a lack of willingness to learn macro and micromechanics in combination with a bad mindset will generally make it hard to climb as any role in solo queue. Losing games in Ranked as support are mainly due to:
- Not knowing your match-up and not being able to pair your support to your AD-carry or team
- Buying the wrong support item and not being able to build properly for the needs of your AD-carry and team
- Playing too passive and not initiating, poking, not actively providing strategic vision and/or not helping securing objectives
You might be able to pick up some wins as a solo lane carry, but overall climbing if you don’t have game knowledge will be impossible, even for you Zed and Yasuo mains…
How to carry as support in solo queue
The real reason why it might feel hard to carry as support is because players simply don’t know how to play a good and solid game in this role.
Regardless of the type of champion you are playing in the bot lane and yes, also regardless of your KDA, there are some key points to master to be a decent support and make a difference in the game.
A bad support indeed won’t be able to carry a team to victory because they still play with the mindset of heal, shield, and CC and then question why there is no GG in chat after the game.
Winning a game starts as early as champ select where you have to question your pick according to the ADC you are paired with.
Does it make sense to pick an engage type support like Leona with an ADC that has a really weak early game against a lane that has a stronger early game? Of course not… but do you think about it?
You will have to think strategically about your item build to provide the best possible stats to help your teammates into victory, this starts as early as thinking about which warding item to buy since this depends on the match-up and not on the champion.
Consider buying Relic Shield for traditional healers instead of Spellthief’s Edge in match-ups where poking the enemy might get you in a lot of trouble. Just avoid losing to Boris guys!
A support player is someone who knows how to (ab)use the utility of his champion to help their AD-carries secure kills, stay safe, and farm up. Level 2 plays a very important part in gaining lane-control and will make your laning phase a whole lot more relaxed when executed well.
Simultaneously with helping the AD-carry during laning phase, supports also enable gank opportunities for the Jungler by having ward control over the enemy bot lane.
Knowing the position of the enemy jungler and conscious placements of vision on the map can save your teammates at all times. A good support always has a good eye out for the map and helps set up and execute objectives around the map.
Vision will always be a cornerstone of a good support, however, since the changes to wards back in Season 6, you have to be a lot more strategic about their placements and coordinate with your team to apply optimal vision for every different stage of the game.
This also means that as the game progresses, supports can roam the map and help secure objectives or set-up kills for other team members. This also means your AD-carry sometimes just has to learn to farm up alone.
Just make sure to communicate where you are going and what your plan is using smart pings.
Also, one tip that people too often forget is…stop playing ranked when you are losing 2 or 3 games in a row. There is no way you aren’t in a bad mindset after losing 3 games in a row. Playing League whilst being tilted will not benefit your playstyle and definitely not your rank. Take a break, tomorrow is another day!
An important note to hit is that the strategy towards victory stays kind of the same regardless of your support pick… Yes, even when you are playing AP-carry champions such as Vel’koz and Lux 😉.
Criticism and misconceptions that support mains face
A last point to briefly touch upon concerning support mains is the criticism support mains face by the community. Not only are support mains being degraded to have no skill, but toxic players will also go as far as calling support players ‘girls’, ‘e-girl support’, ‘e-thot support’ regardless of the gender of the player.
According to common perception ‘almost’ all girls that play League of Legends only play support. This has caused males to refrain from playing it, since they are afraid for being called out on it. We conducted a Twitter poll to see how many girls actually main support.
The results show that the majority of responding girls do not main support. 115 out of 213 participants say to be maining other roles than support. This amounts to 54.4% of participating girls.
Here’s a link to the survey.
In our survey, 60% of support mains report having been mocked by other players for maining this role. All players stating they are a girl in the survey have been mocked for playing this role.
Some of the most common criticisms support mains face according to our survey are the following:
- You are a support main because you can’t carry games on your own and you need others to do it for you
- Males are being mocked for being girls when they choose to pick champions like Soraka, Nami or Lulu
- Female supports are being called out for being boosted when they achieve a certain rank being a support main.
I hope my article has changed your mind towards support mains and will make you realize that all the previously mentioned quotes are uncalled for and have no truth behind them.
League of Legends has luckily started taking steps into punishing and banning toxic players more consistently, in the end, it is the player’s responsibility to look at their own behavior and adjust it according to the situation.
Everyone plays this game to win, every player is another human being, so stay kind and hop on the elo grind.
If you like this article and you like to discuss points more in-depth don’t be afraid to follow me on my Twitch channel! We have a nice community of very knowledgeable people always willing to help out or give advice!