Selecting Your Support
Last week I talked about what Junglers you should be playing if you want to learn the role and prepare yourself for ranked play in Season 3. Today I’m going to continue along that theme with Support Champions. As was the case last week, if you’re already playing ranked games as a Support player then chances are you will know everything I’m about to tell you; but if you’re new to level thirty play and want to climb the ranked ladders with your team as someone who mainly plays Support, then this is the guide for you. I will run down what I think are the three best Support champions to really get to grips with the position, many of which will become champions you’re playing as you’re reaching the top ranked tier. This is not a guide to each champion but a friendly nudge to three supports that you must learn if you want to play that role. For those of you who know the role of Support and want to read a little more, check out my guide on Synergising your Support.
So which Support champions should I play?
Taric is simply fabulous, he truly is outrageous. Taric is my go-to Support champion for Soloqueue because of how versatile he is in the laning phase. If you’re playing with someone like Vayne and you need to be defensive early because Vayne just needs to farm, the passive armour aura on his Shatter (W) is fantastic in the early game, coupled with his Imbue (Q – Heal) means you should be able to keep your Carry alive. If the enemy ADC gets a little too aggressive you can always stun them with Dazzle (E). These exact same abilities can be used if you’re playing aggressively! A favourite combination of mine is Ashe + Taric for sheer burst. Once you hit level 6, the Dazzle from Taric followed by a Shatter, Radiance (R) means the enemy is stunned, has lower armour and and you and your allies have bonus magic and physical damage. You throw in Ashe’s Enchanted Crystal Arrow (R) and a few auto-attacks with Frost Shot (Q) enabled and there’s no chance the enemy is ever getting away. Both the armour reduction and the increased damage that Taric gives are both AoE spells which means he scales fantastically in to the late game and for team fights, and his Dazzle with a 1.5 second stun is invaluable in the late game, allowing for almost anyone you catch to be burst down. Taric is a brilliant support and is one that anyone learning the role has to learn.
Despite the fact that Sona has less health that a Melee Minion at level one, she is still an incredibly powerful support, with great mobility, poke, burst damage, crowd control and sustain in lane. She is without a doubt one of the most versatile support champions in the game and is one you must master if you wish to play support effectively. Sona has a great selection of abilities which makes her suited to a multitude of different situations. Her passive, which modifies her auto-attack depending on which aura is active, can be used to devastating effect. Stacked with her Hymn of Valor (Q) she can do large amount of burst damage. A simple auto-attack followed by a quick Q will have the enemy ADC or Support thinking twice before coming close to you again. Sona’s Aria of Perseverance (W – Heal) isn’t the most effective heal in the game due to her rather poor AP ratios (25% AP on her W) but that doesn’t mean it can’t be effective. Stacked with her Passive, an auto-attack with her (W) aura up will reduce the targeted enemies damage output by 20% for 4 seconds. You add in the fact that this aura gives off Armour and Magic Resist to allies nearby and you have an extremely effective initiation composition. Her Song of Celerity (E) while giving off a passive movement speed boost as well as burst movement speed when activated will slow the enemy by 40% for 2 seconds, while 0.5 seconds shorter than Exhaust in terms of active time on the enemy, the amount slowed is greater. Crescendo, Sona’s (R) ability is one of the best stuns in the game. It’s a long, wide AoE stun that is fantastic for either engaging the enemy or resetting a fight in your teams favour. If done correctly it can turn fights around or even help you chase down enemies and secure the kill. There’s little doubt surrounding Sona’s effectiveness as a Support champion, and although she does have her downsides, such as been extremely squishy at the start and being very mana heavy before you get some mana regen (I recommend Chalice of Harmony), she has the potential to be a game changing support.
Despite the fact that Riot recently hit Nunu on the head with the nerf bat, and the fact that his recommended items are for his Jungle build, he is still a great utility Support. Consume, Nunu’s (Q) ability isn’t amazing in lane, as although it gives some great health regeneration it will kill all but the Siege Minions and you don’t want to be stealing CS from your ADC. Nunu’s main utility comes from his Blood Boil (W) and Ice Blast (E). Blood Boil is one of the best steroids in the entire game, giving both you and the target 25/30/35/40/45% Attack Speed and 8/9/10/11/12% movement speed increases. Considering that an ADCs primary damage output is their auto-attack, free attack speed increases are extremely effective, allowing for faster farm, coupled with increased movement speed means your ADC can get in, auto-attack a few times and get out before they’re had chance to react. Once you throw in an Ice Blast (E) which deals considerable AP damage (85/130/175/225/275 +100% AP) as well as slowing the enemies movement speed by 20/30/40/50/60% AND decreasing their attack speed by 25% for 3 seconds, there’s little the enemy can do to escape you. This combination can be used either aggressively to pounce on to an enemy or defensively if you are engaged upon and need to slow the enemy and escape. Absolute Zero (R) on Nunu is by no means the easiest ability to time properly. The 3 second channel time which can be cancelled early if needs be (although that reduces the effect) is fantastic in team fights, slowing the enemy movement and attack speed and dealing large amounts of AP Damage. The main downside is for the full cast you are open to attacks for 3 seconds and any stun, such as a Dazzle from Taric will cancel the cast early. Nunu is tanky, self-sustaining and has fantastic support utility, and once mastered can be used in the Jungle as well as Support, so is a support that I highly recommend anyone learning this role learn to play.
Surely there are more supports?
Yes! But these three are just the three that I feel anyone wanting to learn the role must master. Once each of these are perfected you will have 3 solid champions are your disposal that work with a variety of ADCs. There are supports out there that I haven’t mentioned that I think one should learn, such as Lulu, Leona, Lux or Thresh, but each of those has a higher skill cap and shouldn’t be tackled until you are confident playing Support. Sona is by far the hardest of the three champions but is one I felt was worth mentioning due to how satisfying she is to play, and how easy she is to learn the basics of. I hope that those of you who read this will take something away from it and become the better supports this game desperately needs.
Join me in a few days when I’ll be taking on the task of outlining the must-learn Mid Lane Champions that you should know.