The Strength of Double Support Compositions In Heroes of the Storm
Thu 8th Nov 2018 - 8:38pm
Heroes deal damage to your team, and healing a part of it is crucial to win a fight. But why should a single player dedicate to healing his teammates? If your team can avoid taking a lot of damage, a single healer is enough, however this is not always the case and having two supports can help then.
Different Types of Supports:
"Support" doesn't always mean "Healer", that's where we usually divide "Main Supports" from "Off Supports", aka offsups. Depending on what the enemy team has, you can choose your main support for sustained healing or for burst healing. Then you can pick an offsup or another healer to fulfill the role lacking from your first support. Tassadar, Abathur, Medivh and Zarya are the most common offsups, but some other Heroes, like Yrel or Tyrael, can also be considered for the role.
Any hero who has a tool in his kit that a support could have can be an offsup. The most common off-supporting type is shielding, which prevents damage to your teammates and can be more effective than healing against burst damage. Damage reduction is also a strong tool, whether it is by reducing enemy damage dealt or giving armor to an ally to reduce the damage received. Supports are all about allies, meaning you can save them from enemies or help them get the kills. Enabling your assassins by giving them movement speed, attack speed, spell power, etc. is another type of supporting, especially when this boosts your ally's self-sustain. We can think of the classic Illidan/Abathur combo, which makes Illidan deadlier while helping him sustain through his trait!
The last type of supporting I want to talk about is stasis or complete protection. There are stasis and protection on allies with Auriel, Medivh, Blaze's Bunker or Tyrael's Sanctification, which is the perfect defense against pure burst damage. There is also stasis on enemies with Medivh's Ley Line, Maiev's Containment Disk, and Zeratul's Void Prison. A reactive Zeratul can save his team from a Combo by time stopping them during a Mosh Pit, take a damage dealer out of the fight, or even protect the Core from all damage! To clarify, a lot of heroes have supporting abilities while not being supports in most cases.
Shutting down Aggression, Sustaining the Fight:
Double support compositions excel at healing back a lot of damage and don't have the solo support flaw, where the healer cannot heal himself when he's focused. The enemy team should try to focus someone to get a kill, but having multiple ways to save people shuts down the aggression the enemy team can apply to one of your teammates. It's also very good for sustaining longer in a fight since you have more abilities available to heal or prevent damage. If you can make the fight long enough, the enemy won't be able to heal as much as you and that's an occasion to counter-attack with everything you have.
Which Supports go Well Together:
As mentioned earlier, there is the question of sustain and burst when you pick multiple supports, as well as damage. It's good if your team survives, but if you don't have enough damage to get a kill, that's also a problem. This is the main reason picking offsups is favored in most cases, they can deal more damage than most main supports or gain value somewhere else; just think of Abathur's value with the Ultimate Evolution and the experience he gets during the fight.
However, it is still very possible to pick two main healers and get kills, some of them can deal a lot of damage if they focus on doing so. An example would be to focus someone with the armor reduction from Tyrande and the burst damage from Kharazim. Nevertheless, the supports should not focus on their damage just because they are both able to heal, they have to focus on getting everything done, from healing to damage while providing the utility they usually give.
Communication for Healing Rotations:
It doesn't matter if it's for burst or sustain, the supports have to communicate in order not to waste their healing. The strength of a double support composition lies in exhausting the enemy resources while sustaining. Wasting your cooldowns and your resources is one of the worst things that can happen! Say, for example, you have Uther and Kharazim using Divine Shield and Divine Palm on the same person. This is clearly a waste of one ultimate and the same applies to your basic abilities. You should not waste them, and some communication can avoid such dramatic cases. This is also a reason why double support is underrated in Hero League, people don't talk much in voice and will try their best but waste half of their resources.
When can you Pick Double Support?
On big maps like Cursed Hollow, Abathur is usually a good idea and Medivh is always an option. Other than this, double support is pretty weak on big maps because either one support or the main damage dealer needs to solo lane, which destroys the strength of this composition that lies in sticking together.
A smaller map like Volsyaka Foundry, where a 4-man will usually stick together for rotations, is a better choice for such compositions. Double main support is only an option if your team can stick together most of the time. It's also very important to consider why you want to pick a second healer. Do you need to save your hypercarry at any cost because he wins the objective? Do you need to hold a point for a long time? Or do you simply need more utility against the heroes the enemy chose?
To clarify, Abathur being an exception, double support comps have weak maco and shine in teamfights, meaning you can pick the composition on maps where the team sticks together or where the objective is everything. The most common idea is to pick a strong damage dealer or hypercarry, since supports mostly lack damage and you still need a solo laner no matter the map. It is also possible to have a solo tank composition if one of the assassins can solo lane decently.
How to Counter Double Support?
In general, isolating a target so they cannot be healed is the best way to get a kill and snowball into a teamfight. A good catch from Garrosh or Stitches will probably result into a kill. Preventing the target from being healed is key, and can be achieved in different ways, such as silencing the supports or using straight up anti-healing with Ana's Biotic Grenade. If the enemy has shields to prevent damage, Varian can blow them up at lvl 13 with Shattering Throw. There are a lot of options to engage and get a kill even through all this healing, my preferred strategy being using Anub'arak's Cocoon on one support while focusing the other.
Double support compositions are still vulnerable to big combos like any team. If you get a good 5-man Mosh Pit, a perfect Ring of Frost, or a big Taunt on the enemy team, it doesn't matter who is affected, you won the fight.