LoL Support’s Guide
LoL Support’s Guide by xXCepheiXx
I started playing ranked last season as a support main. I made a list of things that I think have helped me get better at the support role and win more games. Feel free to comment on them or add new things. Since my mechanics skills are mediocre, I focus more on the macro game knowledge side of supporting. I may be wrong or inaccurate at some points and would very much like to learn new things.
What is Support?
Novice support players and (sometimes) your team mates think of supporting as babbysitting the adc, so that the adc does not feed and lose lane, or even get some early kills. I went into playing support with this mentality and got smacked in my face. After 200+ games of playing support, I realized that there is much more to support than this: As the only player in your team who does not need to keep track of cs and regularly trade blows with the enemy counterpart, you have the most time to think. Therefore, you need to become the Eyes (credit to Asiatic_) and Brain for your team and collect, process and redirect information for your team members, so that your team wins the game through better decision making.
The Game before the Game
- Things to consider when picking a champ: Pick what you can play best > Pick what your team needs > Pick what counters the enemy laners. This is because picking a counter that you cannot play will lose you the game. Laning phase is just the first 10-15 minutes of the game. Unless your team screws up early beyond salvation, most games last longer. For the rest of the game you play support for your entire team, so picking what your team needs in a team fight is more important. Even if you get hard countered at bot, you still can play passive/safe and tell your ADC to freeze near tower. Try not to die (too much) in lane and you can turn it around later in game. If you can do all 3 while your adc is decent, you will most likely win botlane (unless you are playing on tilt or the enemy laner/jungler is smurfing/mechanically outplaying you).
- Things to consider at loading screen: It’s the best time to look at both teams and plan ahead. What summoner spells do we/they have. What cc, gap closers, blinks, (global) ults do we/they have. Which team is stronger early, mid, late game (just by champion alone)? Do they have an early farm jungler/mid or an early gank jungler/mid. Did the enemy sup take exhaust or ignite? Be mentally prepared accordingly.
- Be on alert if the enemy team has one or two late-game hypercarries. This means you need to finish the game around 30 min. If your team wastes too much time before sealing the deal, you are at a huge risk of throwing the game. If your team plays lane bullies that fall off late game, try to rush a win with the advantage you gained from laning. You won’t like the enemy Yi to get full build and become an unstoppable force stomping your entire team. On the other hand, if your team plays late-game hypercarries against lane bullies, try to survive laning as safe as possible and drag on the game if you are behind.
- Be on alert if the enemy team has at least one assassin. Assassins love nothing more than killing your adc, so you need an additional effort to protect and peel for your adc. If you know how to play different support champs, don’t pick a squishy sup or you risk giving the enemy assassin a double. Pick a tanky sup with lots of cc/disengage. In a team fight, save your exhaust for when the enemy assassin tries to burst down your carries. On the other hand, if you have a successful assassin on your team, remind him to leave some kills to the rest of your team. Because of their burst, assassins can take lots of kills, but they fall off late game and cannot solo carry the game then, if the rest of the team is not fed as well.
- Be on alert if the enemy team has a lot of cc. They can mess you up really hard if your team clumps up in a team fight. If you can, pick a sup with a good disengage. On the other hand, if your team plays the wombo combo, try to group up early, because you will most likely win the team fight if you can land your combo, unless you are too behind.
- Be on alert, if your team refuses to play tanks. It is statistically proven that a team without a tank will more likely lose the game. So even if you are the only tank in team, you just boosted your team’s win chance by leaps and bounds.
- Remember ＃1. So if you can only play one champ or one type of champ, stick with it. Use your better mechanics and champion knowledge to compensate.
Laning (If you want to carry as a support, winning botlane is a great start)
- When arriving in lane, help your adc to reach lvl 2 first. If you do, maybe you can play aggressive, if not play safe.
- Be patient and save your spells. Unless it is a spamable harassing spell. Look for the best opportunity to use them, e.g. when an enemy player mispositions or when you or your adc reaches a major power spike.
- You can play more aggressive if the enemy sup just missed their major cc spell, like blitz hook, morgana bind, jinx chompers. Or if the enemy adc just used a major damage spell/steroid with long cd to farm.
- You can play more aggressive or even all in, if the enemy support goes too far away to place a ward or sweep a ward, and you don’t expect enemy jungler to be around, and the enemy adc does not back away from your engage range. If you want to go warding, ping your adc to fall back before you do.
- Be careful if you have no vision of the river or side bushes. Or if the enemy players are behaving strange, e.g. suddenly playing very aggressive or enemy support dancing in your face with low health. You may get ganked. Don’t get tempted, if it looks like a bait, it is a bait. Murphy’s Law of LoL: Anything that can get ganked, will get ganked.
- Look at mini map and track enemy jungler and mid laner’s movements. Tell your team if enemy mid or botlane goes MIA or where jungler was last spotted. Tell your tunnel visioning CSing adc, mid or even toplaner to back, in case you predict a gank coming. If you see enemy jungler has just ganked top, warn your mid to be careful, because he may be the next to be ganked, and you can play a bit more aggressive at bot. But keep in mind that the enemy jungler will likely gank your lane next according to the usual jungle path. If the enemy jungler just ganked mid, be extremely careful, because he may just be doing scuttler and on his way to bot next. By doing this, you can also help your jungler setting up counter ganks.
- Look at mini map and keep track of enemy jungler, mid laner and top laner’s levels. They may gank bot when they hit 6. Especially if they have a major power spike at 6 like a global ult (e.g. Shen, Pantheon, Gangplank, Karthus, Ziggs, Rek’Sai, Nocturne) or invisibility (Talon, Rengar, Kha’zix) or easy kill skill (Kata, Annie, Akali). Since they are solo laners, they usually hit 6 way before you do, leaving you vulnerable. Likewise, keep track of if your toplaner or enemy toplaner used tp to get back in lane. Tell your toplaner to pay attention to this. It is an important piece of info that can turn the tide of a fight. If the opposing botlane has some global ults, like JInx, Ashe, Ezreal, Draven, Shen, Soraka or Tahm Kench, you need to warn your team mates when they hit 6.
- Position yourself close to your ADC. This have several advantages. You can peel better against enemy engages and jungler ganks. Your adc can follow up when you engage. You can body block enemy skill shots and attacks or movements.
- When playing against poke combs, try not to take free harass, especially as a melee sup against ranged sups. If the harass is a spell shot, use your minions as your shields. This also forces the enemy team to push against you if they poke you through your minion wave, setting up easy ganks for your jungler. If you get poked down early and are forced to back, getting an early boot will help you dodge the harass. Your adc can get a second Doran’s blade or a vampiric scepter to heal back some of the poke damage.
- When playing against engage/all in combs, respect and avoid the zone that their champs create. Use your minions as your shields Try to poke them down from a distance, so they cannot all in on you. If you have a cheap spamable harassing spell, use it whenever it is off cd, you can hit and you do not put yourself in danger. If you are ranged/have longer range and can harass for free, exploit this fact. Every auto counts. If you have the frost item, you even get free gold for it.
- When playing against sustain combs, kill their sustain. Kill Soraka first or poke her down, or you will lose the trade. On the other hand, when playing a sustain comb, tell your adc to man up and trade/harass aggressively, because you can heal him up. But you need to pay extra attention not putting yourself in a vulnerable position, because the enemy bot may focus you if you do.
- When playing against a kill lane with hard cc, like blitz grab, thresh hook, leona zenith blade, if you get cced and you can suck up some bunches, your adc should immediately start attacking their adc, while their adc is focusing you. If you are tanky and want to all in or your jungler is ganking bot, sometimes it is even a good idea to get yourself hooked/grabbed on purpose just to put that cc spell on cd. Just make sure the enemy jungler/mid is not near and you want end up near the enemy tower. If your adc gets hooked/grabbed and neither of you has a cheap skill to reposition him quickly or disengage the attack, immediately engage, cc, exhaust, attack the enemy adc to minimize the damage the enemy bot does on your adc. If you are playing blitz, don’t grab that leona or alistar, unless you are under tower or your jungler is ganking to secure a kill.
- Sometimes, the biggest threat is not the adc. Brand or Zyra support deal more damage early game, so you should kill them or poke them down first. Also be careful if the enemy support took ignite. This makes an early all in every dangerous. Play safe early, your exhaust will be more useful than his ignite later on.
- Use bush vision/invisibility to your advantage. Unwarded bushes are a huge zoning tool, especially with an engage/CC support. They also create the risk/possibility of lane ganks. If you are about to get a major skill, like an early engage or your ultimate. Skill up in an unwarded side bush. You may catch your enemies off guard, because they don’t see you level up and get that new spell. Remember, just because enemy players can’t see you in a side bush, it does not mean that they don’t know you are in there. They can still land their skill shots on you, even if they just aim a hit or miss directed at the bush where you are in.
- Exhaust has many uses. Use exhaust on enemy adc, when you are going all in. Use exhaust on anyone slipping away when your jungler is ganking to secure the kill. Use exhaust on enemy jungler diving your adc in a gank/team fight. Use exhaust on enemy assassin (roaming bot) trying to burst your carry down. Use exhaust wisely, don’t waste it.
- Don’t be lazy when warding. Try to get a pink at first back and put it in the lone bush between mid and drake. It gives important intel on enemy mid/jungler movements. Sometimes, it can save you and your adc if you ward further in river instead of the river bush, so you get warned earlier in case enemy jungler or mid is doing a river gank. Remember though that some champs like Lee Sin can cross walls, so you may still need to ward river bush. Before you do a major all in, try to get as much vision of surrounding bushes (river bush, tribush, side bush) as you can. You don’t want to be surprised by a camping enemy jungler after you went in with no way out…
- Don’t chase enemy botlane behind their tower. If they back, just take farm and shove your minions into their tower and back. If you have enough vision of the tribush and river, and the enemy mid is not MIA, you can attempt to take bot tower or at least deal some damage to it.
- It’s good to know some tricks and combos on your champs, but don’t be surprised that the enemy bot knows them too and are prepared to counter.
- At level 6, expect an all in. If you expect to reach level 6 first, ward up the surroundings and go into all in position, e.g. hiding in bush, let the enemies push out against you. If the enemy duo is expected to reach 6 first or has a very powerful ultimate spell (think of Leona, MF), retreat back to tower can tell your jungler to set up a counter all-in.
- If you know your jungler plans to gank your lane from the river or tribush or sidebush, because either of you pinged for a gank, first tell your adc to let the enemy bot push into you. Be the one to walk up and engage on the enemy adc (or support, depending on who is the more favorable target). If you play a melee support, you can pretend to be taking a cs with relic shield to get in range. If you are a ranged support, use side bushes to close the distance. Time your cc on their adc sightly before your jungler arrives at your lane, so that your jungler may chain his cc onto yours. On the other hand, if you see the enemy adc suddenly letting you to push into their tower or their support walking up to you, it is a tell-tale sign that you are about to get ganked.
- If both of you at bot are low, don’t ping your jungler for a gank and just back to base. You likely cannot get a kill even with a gank and might even die to a counter gank (their jungler is likely heading to you too, since you are low and easy to kill).
- If your adc dies or needs to back very early in game (e.g. due to level 2 all in) and you have at least half your hp, you can solo def tower, soak up the exp and take some extra cs. Try to play safe, because your adc is down a level and needs to farm up. Call for jungler help. On the other hand, if your adc scored first blood, expect the enemy jungler to gank you soon after the enemy laner returns. Later on in laning phase, try to back with your adc, or go ward/gank mid if you don’t need to. After level 6, neither of you can solo def your tower, unless you are an Alistar with ult, because you can easily get dove under tower, if the enemy bot has their ult or jungler help. If you are about to lose bot tower anyway, don’t overstay and give than a free kill too. You can try take their tower, when they are backing.
- Help your adc to manage the minion waves in lane. If you need to hard push the wave into enemy tower to deny enemy adc cs or to reset the wave, help your adc do so with autos or spells. If you need the wave to push against you, don’t attack the wave and let your adc last hit only. If the wave pushes into your tower, help your adc to cs under tower. You may need to aa the ranged creeps one time for your adc to take them.
- Watch replays of your own games and look at your laning phase. Ask yourself questions like: Who initiates a trade and comes favorable out of it? Why? If you or your adc dies, try to find out the reason. Was it because of mispositioning / a spell being on cd / missing a spell shot / jungler gank? If you win the lane, think about what made your laning superior to that of the enemy laners. If you lose the lane, think about why you did and how you can improve. Don’t blame it on the adc, because there is always something that you can do better as support, regardless of how well your adc plays. Most of the time, laning phase at bot is decided by the plays that the supports make, since the adc is mostly focusing on csing, harassing and following up your engages. If you want to be a better support, you should try to win botlane even with a bad adc.
Roaming as Support (for additional map pressure and carry potential)
- Before you ever attempt to roam as support, you must communicate with your team mates first. In particular, you need to tell your adc what you are about to do and that he should play safe. Otherwise your adc may feel that you are abandoning him and rage on you. Ping in advance to tell your team mates where you are heading.
- If the enemy bot just died or recalled, or your adc recalled and you dont need to def tower or take minion exp, or if you are walking out of base after a recall and your adc has enough vision to not get himself killed, you can roam (mid). Even if you cannot gank mid, you can still ward river, drake or even the enemy buff for your mid/jungler. Ganking mid as support is especially effective, if you can coordinate with your jungler to gank from both side of the river at the same time. If you are a tank support with some levels and some tank item and you know enemy jungler is not mid, you can even do a 3 man tower dive on the enemy mid with your mid and jungler. Walk in from behind their mid tower, when your minions are drawing tower aggro. Important: On your way mid, ward up for your adc and tell him to play safe until you are back.
- If the enemy bot just died or recalled, your adc is dead/low/recalling, your jungler is near, both midlaners are in lane, but you do not want to risk doing dragon (because e.g. smite is not up), you may either opt for ＃8 or you may want to help your jungler to counterjungle by warding the enemy jungle and guarding your jungler while he steals their jungle creeps. You may even surprise a lone enemy jungler there, whom you can kill 2 vs 1. Just watch out for bot death timer and retreat, before they are back in lane.
- When you roam into enemy jungle to place deep wards and you don’t have your team mates to back you up, only go in as deep as you can savely retreat in case you get spotted. If enemy laners can cut off your return path, then you are in there too deep. Also consider if you have enough hp, cc for self-peeling, movement speed or flash to get out of a bad situation.
- If you play a tanky sup with a good engage, you can gank your own lane. Roam mid, gank mid, roam back bot, gank bot. Or return to lane from the river side instead of going from the lane. Don’t do it if you play a squishy sup without a good engage, because you will be cut off from your adc and die before you can do anything. Remember to ward the bushes around river, you don’t want to be surprised by the enemy jungler while doing this.
- You can roam to toplane to secure a kill/First Blood for your team or coordinate an early attempt on Herald with your jungler. Most of the time the enemy team won’t expect this.
- Early Mobis helps you to move around map faster.
- Do not roam if your adc needs you to survive, in particular if the enemy bot has kill pressure on him, e.g. both enemy bot players have ult or you are playing against a kill lane with a hard cc support like Blitz/Thresh/Leo. Unless you know that your adc has very advanced mechanics, don’t trust your adc to be able to dodge their cc while you are not there to help him!
- Do not roam if the minion wave is pushing against your tower and you are behind in level. You need every bit of gold and exp that you can get then, or you will get even more behind. Most likely your adc is also behind when you are behind, and it is not safe to leave him alone.
- If you see that the enemy support is roaming through your wards, you can roam mid too to set up a counter-gank. If it is too late to follow mid, you can punish the enemy support by playing aggressive on his adc instead.
- For more tips on roaming as support, check out this guide from KeonkwaiJinkwai: LoL Roaming as Support Guide
Vision and Intel (Seal the deal to secure a win or turn a loosing game around)
- Think of Vision as the third hidden resource of the game beside exp and gold and it is your responsibility to master this resource. Always try to maximize and optimize the vision your team has and create an advantage in this resource. Other roles carry games through a lead in gold and exp that can be used to take down objectives. You as support carry games through creating a lead in vision. Your team will naturally make better decisions if they have better vision of objectives and enemy team movements. If two teams have similar gold, exp and mechanical skills, the team with a vision advantage wins. Yes, you can direct the flow of the game with the vision you provide for your team.
- Warding is the bread and butter of every support. So get sightstone ASAP. No excuses.
- Ward up around objectives or the side of jungle, where you think the next fight will be. The team with the better vision has the upper hand.
- If you have the gold for it, always have a pink somewhere on the map and have at least one pink in the inventory. Always have two pinks in stock, if the enemy team has a champ that plays around invisibility.
- Every ward counts, so get the most out of it. Sometimes the bush is not the optimal place to place a ward, and you can see more if placed in the center of diverging path ways. Don’t forget that lane wards are important to track enemy movements, especially late game when both teams lack towers. Wards in enemy base can be used for a nexus steal. Also remember not to put yourself in a vulnerable position just to place a ward (the same it is with CS or kill).
- Always sweep or place a pink before a drake or baron fight. Deny enemy vision.
- Press TAB to look at what the enemy team and what your team are building. That is important intel. Remind your team of counter items. Some games are saved because your jungler or top switched to a tank build rather than continuing damage build in time. If your adc gets cced a lot or the enemy team has a Zed, kindly remind your adc to take an early QSS. If your adc can’t kill their frontline because of e.g. Mundo, remind him to build Last Whisper earlier and take Executioner’s Calling. Also rushing BotRK may be a good idea.
- Press TAB to see who of your team is feddest. Tell your team to make plays around his lane and protect him.
- Press TAB to see who of the enemy team is feddest. Tell your team to focus that guy and try to catch him and gang up on him when he is alone.
- Keep track of dragon, baron, death timers. Any timers, inhibitor timers, baron buff timers.
- After you have won a team fight and you are still alive, proceed to place some deep wards in their jungle. You can also venture into their jungle to place wards, if you have destroyed enough enemy towers to create map pressure. But don’t go in too deep then and turn on your (upgraded) sweeper on your way in to check if their jungle entrances are warded.
General and Late Game (To become a better player and enjoy playing the game)
- Be versatile with your build. Build MR, AR or utility depending on what poses the biggest threat and what your team needs the most as the game goes on. For example, if enemy mid is fed, get aegis first. If enemy adc/bruiser is fed, get randuin/frozen heart first.
- Know your item actives like the back of your hand. They are your hidden aces beside your skills. If your adc is fed, get Zeke’s Harbinger to get him more fed. If your team needs minions (split-) pushing for you, consider to get Banner of Command. If you need to save your carry from CC, get Mikael’s Crucible. If your team cannot effectively siege towers in late game, consider to get ZZ Rot Portal. If your team lacks a tank to effectively tower-dive, get Ohmwrecker. Those are some underrated support items rarely used in low elo. Their actives are sometimes better than champion skills, if used correctly.
- Early game always ward dragon. Late game always ward baron. Put a pink in the pit. Maybe your team can surprise them at baron pit. But do not try to “check” on baron alone, if you have no vision. Do not face-check bushes around baron or drake, because you need to be prepared for a baron bush ambush. Since it’s S6, don’t neglect Herald. At around 15 min, the herald buff is easy to take and very formidable for the one team planning to siege or push an early lead.
- Late game, always stay close to your team, even if you go warding. If you have enough vision of enemy movements, try to catch an enemy champ away from their team. Move with your entire team to kill that one guy and proceed to destroy the rest of the enemy team 5 v 4. It is an easy way to end a game (that may work very well in low elo).
- Late game, don’t give free vision of yourself. Denying the enemy team vision of you will create huge pressure on them. For example, if your adc is farming bot and you are there to guard him. Don’t just stand next there next to him giving enemy team free vision of you, even telling them that they can safely do baron, because two men are bot. Instead, ward the surroundings and hide in a bush in near proximity. You may even get an easy kill if you see an enemy assassin walking alone in your jungle to pick off your adc. At super late game, when both teams have reached full build and full levels, the one team with a vision advantage (= knowledge of where the enemy team is moving) wins.
- Remind your team to go for objectives. Be the shotcaller. Tell them drake in 1 min. Tell them don’t chase for kills in enemy jungle, go for mid tower instead. After mid inhibitor is down, tell them there is no objective mid, push another lane instead. If your team just won a team fight and is recalling, tell them to get that free tower or drake. Or tell them to group at baron to contest baron buff when the time is right.
- Always be the chill guy/girl. Enemy got first blood/first drake/first tower? 0/5 in the first 10 minutes? Tell your team to calm down. Say “Don’t worry, we win late game”.
- Be positive. Type “gj” or “gg wp” whenever your adc/laners get a kill or your jungler ganks successfully. Positive feedback encourages positive play. Don’t criticize them for their mistakes. Often they feel bad about it themselves and will just play worse if you rub their screw ups in their face. If you screw up yourself, type “sry mb” and shrug it off. Don’t feel bad, because you just learned something new. This one is true for everyone playing LoL, but is especially important for supports, since you are in a duo lane at bot and rely on your team to do damage.
- Never type too much in chat unless you need to. It takes too much time, makes you vulnerable all the while and distracts your team. If you must type something game related, be concise and try to keep it within 3 words.
- Use pings for your team’s advantage, but don’t spam pings. If you think a laner will get ganked, because an enemy laner is missing. Ping in his face to go back. It is more effective than pinging “Enemy missing” on your own lane, which your laner may not notice because of tunnel visioning. If you want to engage on someone, use the “attack ping” to tell your adc who you want him to focus. on You can optimize your combined damage output if you and your adc focus on the same target.
- Learn some macro minion wave control. Be able to keep the wave at bay for your ADC to maximize his farm and deny the enemy ADC farm. If your carries are not farming and you are about to group and siege an enemy lane soon, make a detour to another lane and kill the backline minions of a minion wave. It will create a huge minion wave pushing in your favor. Just don’t come late to the team fight, because your team can’t fight without you.
- It’s ok to get a kill or two as support, especially early game. KS = Kill Secured. Just don’t be the dick who takes every kill. Feed your carries the kill on a silver platter if you must.
- Post-laning phase, it’s ok for you to farm, especially if a minion wave is hitting tower anyway. You also need gold to get your items. Sometimes even more important than the gold, you need to farm EXP to get levels.
- It’s ok for you to die if your carries can live and win the team fight, BUT try your best not to die. Every death counts. Usually, the team with the support that has the least death wins. Never die for nothing. If a team mate gets caught and you know you cannot save him, don’t rush in and give enemy double.
- Add players you like to play with, so you can play together in the future. Especially important as support, because you are supporting a team, so that they carry you to victory.
In this second part, I will talk about some observations on decision making that I have made while playing support. This may be interesting for other roles as well. And I also want to give my thoughts on Season 6. Since many of these points are speculative and only based on my limited game experience, I wish to use these points as initial inputs to kick off a discussion on them.
Little Habits and Little Mind Games
- When arriving at Summoner’s Rift, always be prepared for a level 1 invade. Immediately rush to the upper bot jungle entrance in order to secure the spot and place your first ward there.
- Do not level your first skill right away. Depending on if you/your team wants to invade, counter-invade, hard leash for jungler, level 1 all in at bot, you may want to level different skills.
- If your jungler starts topside, do not go in lane ahead of your minions. This will tell away that your jungler started top, unless your jungler is a Shaco. An experience enemy jungler can use this piece of info to their advantage. Wait for the minion wave to pass you, then go in. On the other hand, if the enemy bot goes in ahead of their minions (and their jungler is not a Shaco), tell your jungler that their jungler started top. Congratulations, you just gathered the first piece of intel!
- An exception to ＃3 is if you want to surprise the enemy bot in the side bush and do a level 1 all in/trade. On the other hand, you need to be prepared in case the enemy bot is hiding in the side bush. If you are a squishy sup, use a ward to check side bush. If you are a tanky sup, you can body check.
- Keep track of when the enemy bot places a ward and estimate the ward timers (60-70s early game). This is important intel, because you may find a time when enemy wards have expired while their free wards are still on cd. This creates a window of opportunity for your jungler to gank or for your to engage from the bush.
- If your adc has pushed the creep near/into enemy tower, and your river ward has expired, while neither you or your adc has a ward up, you can go to river to pretend to be warding while the enemy bot has vision on you. This may create an illusion for the enemy bot that the river is warded and delay a jungler gank. But you should still ask your adc to let the wave push back until your wards are off cd, because the enemy jungler may still gank from the tribush.
- You can increase the successful of your jungler ganking bot, if you know how to bait/tempt the enemy bot to engage on you right before your jungler arrives. There are many kinds of baits. If you are low health, you can do a “misposition bait” where you allow yourself to be engaged on. You can do a “pink ward bait” where you drop a pink ward at a spot easy to clear for the enemy support, tempting him to go clear that pink instead of bodyguarding his adc. You can do a “lane recall bait”, tempting the enemy sup or adc to do free harass/recall delay on you. This is especially effective when combined with the “low health bait”. If you have a sweeper, you can do a “sweeping bait”. Just go to the tribush or river bush and pretend to be sweeping enemy wards. This will prompt the enemy bot to play more aggressive, because you are gone. If that bush is unwarded, your jungler can camp in there. If that bush is indeed warded, your sweeper will disable the ward, creating a window of opportunity for your jungler to rush through that bush and catch the enemy bot off guard. If you have a pink, you can also drop it in river bush/tribush/sidebush and clear enemy wards. This allows your jungler to pass there, but the enemy bot may become cautious after loosing their vision.
- The counter to all baits is a superior vision control. If the enemy bot does something strange/stupid and you have no vision of the surroundings, it may (or may not) be a trap to kill you. But if you do have surrounding vision or know that the enemy jungler/mid is not near, it is indeed a mistake that you can capitalize on to your advantage.
- If your opponent misplays and helps you or your adc to get a kill or get out alive, type “thx champ name :D” in all-chat. Your little display of gratitude may send your opponents on tilt.
- Sometimes your opponents will mock you in all-chat in order to tilt you. Don’t let them. Just mute them. Let them waste time typing in all-chat for nothing.
- Sometimes your team mates will flame you. Mute them. Don’t even bother telling them that you have muted them.
- If you see a player, either on your team or enemy team, typing a lot of passive-aggressive speech in team chat or all-chat, chances are high that this player is playing on tilt (in a loosing streak). If he is on your team, try to calm him down and kindly remind him to play safe and focus on the game. Don’t let his temper affect you and mute him if you must. If he is on the opposing team, pay special attention to his lane. You may get some easy ganks and easy kills there and snowball the game.
- If you have trouble laning against a certain match-up, it is a good idea to play that champion yourself in some normal games. You will get more familiar with its kit and experience its strengths and weaknesses. The next time you face the same match-up in a ranked game, you are better prepared.
- If you want to improve your main role, a good way is to play some other roles in normals (even if you will lose lots of normal games initially). This allows you to look at things from the other perspectives and widen your overall game knowledge. As a support main, I find playing any other roles helps me get better at my main role. For example, playing some games as adc allows me to see how hard it is to follow up an engage, when your support went all in without pinging, while you are still focusing on cs. Playing as jungler allows you to know more about jungle paths and gank patterns, making it easier to predict jungler ganks. It will prompt you to think, if I were the enemy jungler, would I come gank bot lane right now? If yes, which gank path would be the optimal one to choose? Anticipating jungler gank, even when you have no vision or knowledge of where the enemy jungler is, will make you and your adc a lot safer in lane. Likewise, playing some games as mid will let you learn about roaming strats. Which midlaners are notorious for roaming bot? At what levels? Learning to roam will also help you when you play support, in case you want to roam mid to return the favor. Even playing top, the lane furthest away from bot, will benefit your supporting. You will know how toplaners use their tp. Using tp to gank bot is a huge investment for a toplaner that can make or break a game for them. If they tp bot without getting anything, they are automatically in a loss, because the enemy toplaner will get lots of free farm and free exp and become ahead in levels. So it is only worth to tp if the toplaner can get at least a kill, a tower or a drake. Most of the time, only if the jungler ganks at the same time can the toplaner maximize his investment into tping bot. This kind of info allows you to anticipate when the enemy toplaner may suddenly turn up in your lane.
- If you are the only engage in your team or you have the best engage in team, be that first engage.
- If the enemy team has a powerful channeling spell (MF ult, Kata ult, Malz ult, Anivia ult, WW ult), always save your major cc (stun, displacement) to interrupt that spell.
- If the enemy team has many assassins or bruisers with gap closers, always stay next to your carries to peel for them, either through spells, exhaust or bodyblock.
- Force a team fight in your playground. Your playground is where you or your team has set up vision control through previous ward placements and enemy wards clearing. This may be around drake, baron, tower or a jungle buff. You will have the upperhand there. You are the master of your playground. If you are even in team power, don’t allow yourselves to get pushed/pulled out of your turf, or the enemy team can sweep your wards and assume control. Don’t follow or chase an enemy player into their playground, which is the place where they have vision control while your team does not.
- In super late game, if both team have engage supports and are always grouped up, the one support that can land a good engage first will usually win the team fight for his team. But you have to ping (a lot) before your engage, because at this point your team mates may hesitate (since it is a “To be or not to be” situation) and miss to follow up your engage. You will die alone, lose the team fight and lose the game. One exception to this rule is if the enemy team has a really strong disengage (Janna, Gragas, Poppy). You may want to bait out that disengage first, before you all in, or focus and eliminate the one champ that has this disengage.
- Watch replays and look out for team fights. Watch replays of your own game and whenever there is a team fight. Make a list of things to check for, for example: Which team has a number advantage? Which team has a gold advantage when the fight started? Who engaged first and on which champions? Who focused who? When were major skills (ultimates) blown? Did any side start the fight with less ults or sum spells off cd in their team? Which team has more vision when the fight started? Which team has the better preparation anticipating this fight? If you lost that fight, try to find out why and how you personally can do better to help win a similar fight in future games.
- A good support tracks enemy movements through the wards placed. A great support will also sweep enemy wards as he goes to deny enemy team tracking your team down. A master support will predict and help his team counterplay enemy movements through game experience, even without seeing the enemy champs per se. (I am not a “master support”, but this is what I think is an ideal support.)
- As mid game has started (usually after the first tower has fallen), the dragon is not up and you see that both enemy top and bot is MIA, call your team mates to stop farming and rush to defend mid immediately. The chances are high that the enemy team is about to siege mid. If it turns out that the enemy team is not sieging mid, you can proceed to siege mid yourselves, since you have grouped up before the enemy team.
- If your team is already grouped and about to siege mid, but the enemy top or bot is splitpushing against you, do not rush to defend your top. Offense is the best defense. You want to be the ones creating map pressure, rather than be the ones responding to it. Always remember ＃4 Team Fights and use vision control to your advantage. The best thing to do is to force a team fight 5 vs 4 or 5 vs 3 even with you as support landing a good engage, and then to take one or two mid towers. This will also force the split pusher to return to defend his base. However, if your team is so behind that you cannot win a 5 vs 4, then you may want to kill the splitpusher and get at least something. If the splitpusher is pushing extremely fast (e.g. Trundle, Tryndamere) and threatens to take your inhibitor tower, you may want to send one or two players to stall him (optimally after you have won the 5 vs 4).
- If your team has difficulty sieging lanes (because the enemy team camps tower and has insane waveclear) and your toplaner decides to splitpush in mid game, while you are grouped as 4, do not engage on the enemy team in an unfavorable 4 vs 5, unless your toplaner says that he has tp to jump into the fight. Keep enough distance from the enemy, so that you may not get caught up and forced into a fight. But not too far away, so that you are still threatening to siege mid, in order to prevent the enemy team from collapsing on your splitpusher. Save your major cc for a potential disengage.
- If the enemy bot is “splitpushing”/venturing too far into your side, and you have enough vision control to see that they have no team back up, they are clearly overextending. Group up, kill them, then siege enemy lane in a 5v3. Also if the toplaner is splitpushing, while neither of your team is grouped about and about to siege a lane, send 2 to 3 men top to kill him. Just don’t go there with more people, because you will lose map pressure and farm elsewhere.
- In super late game, if you do not see the enemy team anywhere on the map and you have no vision control on baron, chances are high that enemy team is doing baron. If you see a lone enemy champ splitpushing bot, do not collapse on that one champ with your entire team, even if it is an easy kill, because the rest of the enemy team may be doing baron. Of course, if you have vision control on baron all the time, then you will be able to make better judgements.
- Do not try to contest dragon or baron when you cannot, either because your team is too behind to win a team fight or you lack vision control. Loosing a drake will not set you too behind in game, but loosing one and giving an ace will. Loosing baron will not definitely lose you the game, but loosing one and giving ace will. What you can do instead is to group up and rush for a free tower, while the enemy team is doing drake, or in late game even storm their base base while the enemy team is doing baron.
- After 30 min (when it gets into late game) always group as 5, unless the enemy team is so behind that you can win a 4 vs 5.
- Watch replays and look out for team vision and player movements. Watch replays of your own games and maybe you will spot some recurring movement patterns that are typical for your elo. If you can anticipate such pattern, you can make better decisions in game to counter them. Watch replays of streamers and pros to see how team vision shifts and players move in high elo. They may have a better strategy in terms of how to react to certain patterns than you, that you may (or may not) adopt in your elo. It’s better to watch pro replays from the vision perspective of one side, and then watch it again from the perspective of the other side. This helps you to place yourself in the shoes of pro players, which you cannot do, if you were watching from the “god mode” that allows you to see the combined vision of both teams at the same time.
What to Expect in Season 6
- Games will be shorter on average. Riot has made it a lot easier to let the one team with a lead also expand that lead by buffing the pushing power of minions, nerfing tower defense stats and extending late game death timers.
- Games will be easier to throw (in late game). Extended death timers at late games means every death counts. A team mate dying for free at late game will easily cost you the game.
- Games will be harder. Before the new champ select, the team that has the most players playing their main champ or main role wins. Now, most likely everyone is playing a champ that he or she is comfortable with, so (ideally) the team with the better skill and team work wins.
- Herald is OP. It is the baron buff of early/mid game. And since the last patch nerfing its punch, a lot easier to get. It will allow the one team or lane with a lead to capitalize on that lead more easily, allowing the winning laner to take a tower objective sooner than usual. (Remember towers have less defense and thus are easier to take in Season 6!) The Herald buff lasts long enough for the laner with it to rotate with it and take more than one tower. Beside the top laner, it is a good choice to let the support take the herald buff, since you are less likely to lose it. It synergizes very well with Mobis and Banner of Command, allowing you to rotate between lanes very fast, turning you into a tower shredding “carry”. Around 12 min, it only takes 2 champs to take down Herald. As support, you can roam topside after you have recalled and work with your jungler, toplaner or even midlaner to steal an early Herald. With the reason given above, you should take that buff and help your adc win lane / help snowball other lanes. A good idea is too take another Herald at 19 min right before it turns into baron, giving your team additional sieging power for little effort. The other side of the coin is, don’t neglect Herald. You better set up some vision control there.
- Pinks are OP. They have always been, but especially Season 6 when they only cost 75 gold. IMO, there is no other item in game that is as gold efficient as pinks now. It is also a good idea to tell your adc duo (the bunch who are notoriously known to hate buying wards) to grab a pink at your first back, if he can afford it (after buying a BF). With two pinks at botside, one in the tribush, one in river, your laning phase will become very safe, your bot jungle will become a lot safer, your midlaner will be safer. Up till the point where your pinks get cleared, you will have enough free wards to clear the remaining blink spots, even if you have not bought a sight stone.
- Dead wards become a new source of intel. Being able to see when and where enemy wards expire makes it a lot easier to track ward timers and assess how much vision enemy players have. If you can forward this info to your jungler, you can set up some favorable ganks. Since most supports have some warding habits, you can better guess where the enemy support has placed wards and sweep them. It is also a good idea to look at how the enemy support is warding. If he wards in river bush instead of further in river, then you know he is a lazy warder. If there are not so many “dead” wards around drake and later baron, then you know the enemy team has poor vision control over them. Stealing dragon or baron comes into consideration. If you see a lot of dead wards near enemy jungler entrance, you better not venture too far into their jungle to place deep wards without backup and instead sweep their wards at their jungle entrance. If you see many enemy dead wards in your jungle, then you know the enemy team is taking over vision control over your own jungle and you better sweep some wards there. A good tip is not to place your own wards too close to where your previous wards expire. It will make it harder for the enemy support to clear your wards.
- When botlaners hit level 6, an experienced ranked team may coordinate a 4/5 men rush to botlane (jungler gank, mid roam, top tp) in order to score a double, bot tower, a drake and potentially also mid tower. It’s rare to see this in SoloQ, because it is just near impossible to coordinate 5 strangers to pull this off. But with the onset of DynamicQ, where the enemy team may be a 5 friends premade with teamspeak, brace yourselves. It may turn out to be a new kind of “Ranked Team”.
What are your thoughts on Mind Games, Macro Movements and Season 6? I welcome all forms of discussion! Happy New Season! :)