Stylin' in Support: A Meta Guide by Aphromoo
Wed 2nd Sep 2020 - 8:39pm
Playing Support in League of Legends is a job often overlooked by inexperienced players. As you climb the Ranked Ladder, a smarter player will begin to understand that the true value of a good Support player cannot be overstated, as they are responsible for an insane amount of control through all stages of the game. But don’t take this from me; we had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with DIG LoL’s superstar Support, Aphromoo, about the importance of his role and everything you need to know to start learning to play Support like a pro!
Learning the Lane
Support right now is a very dynamic position; not only in the viable champions, but also in the way that they can shape their team and influence a match.
Aphro: “The meta always revolves in a circle; now we’re at the enchanter part of the meta, and there are not so many melee Supports anymore. I enjoy that a lot, there is more variety in champions right now and people can be more flexible.”
And this is reflected in the pick statistics of Supports that we got to see in the 2020 NA LCS Spring Split (during the regular season). Of the 36 Champions that are classified as a “Support Champion”, 19 of them were played in at least one game, from the tankier Tahm Kenches to the more magical Morganas. This begs the question, however, of where to start when learning Support, and where to focus your attention in a constantly changing game.
Aphro: “Pick three champions and master those. Look up guides, learn what you need to build and how to play them, and then learn wave control. That’s the best advice I can give for players who are starting out in Support.”
And wave control IS really that important. Learning the differences between freezing, pushing and the appropriate times when to do either is incredibly important, and if you’re not already familiar with wave control then that should become an absolute priority. Finding three champions that you can become comfortable with is a very important way to learn the game, and regardless of the current tier lists you should find three champions that work differently in playstyle. As an example, a balanced trio of champs could be Leona, Morgana and Pyke, to balance their Tank, Enchanter, and Assassin playstyles.
The Champion Pool
Focusing a little more closely on the actual champions you’re likely to encounter right now, as Aphromoo previously said we’re currently in the middle of the Enchanter meta. Now what exactly does that mean? Enchanters, as defined within the game, are:
“Enchanters focus on amplifying their allies' effectiveness by directly augmenting them and defending them from incoming threats. Enchanters themselves are often quite fragile and bring relatively low damage to the table, meaning they really only shine when grouped together with others.”
This applies to champions such as Janna, Soraka, and Lulu (just as some examples), but in actuality the top of the tier list has been taken over by Lux and Morgana. This pair of sweet Supports, while classed as enchanters, are capable of taking over the bot lane by pairing their high utility with some ridiculously strong damage, so taking advantage of their presence in the meta is a surefire way to gain an advantage before the game even starts… in the right hands! Aphromoo is a well-documented fan of the Enchanters, as they line up directly with his preferred playstyle, so let’s see what he had to say when asked about his favourites and preferences right now.
Aphro: “Lulu and Morgana are my favourite Support champs for sure. There’s no real best, it just depends on what ADC you have, as that will open up what’s good with that champion. You need to consider your comp - “Okay do we need a frontline?”, “Do we need to play for poke?”, and then you’ll pick accordingly.”
While these champions are the strongest right now, Enchanters are notorious for being the easiest targets in a fight thanks to their squishy item progression and lack of mobility. This makes Assassins and other champions with the ability to lock down the back line of a team even more valuable in draft, and as such we can see a consequent shift in the Mid Lane tier lists to Assassin champions such as Zed and Fizz. When asked, Aphro had an understandably passionate perspective on the topic:
Aphro: “Yeah, f*** Teemo man. And Shaco. And Talon. All of those. F*** those champions. They’re just not healthy, not healthy for the game at all. Like why do we need a champion who just jumps over every wall in the game and there’s no way to stop it?”
The Shopping List
With Tankier Supports, the discussion is considerably simpler when it comes to itemisation. Gargoyle’s Stoneplate and Knight’s Vow are the two most commonly bought tank items in the game, as they provide a large amount of tankiness and utility to the team so that Champs like Nautilus and Leona can jump into a fight without getting blown up straight away. For Enchanters, their build path is dependent upon a greater set of circumstances; Athene’s Unholy Grail finds itself a common purchase thanks to the enhanced healing and shields that it provides to the Enchanter, but this is where the similarities begin and end between most Enchanters. The healing-oriented Enchanters may opt towards Ardent Censer, to increase their usefulness as a healer, damage-oriented Enchanters can find value in defensive AP items like Zhonya’s Hourglass, and Enchanters playing with a particularly aggressive team can provide teamwide support with Locket of the Iron Solari, for those hard-engages.
Aphro: “I think most items just suck man not gonna lie - I don’t really find any item fun, haha. The only item I really liked back in the day was Stark’s Fervor- the lifesteal aura it gave to your team, as well as the attack damage was awesome. I miss Soul Shroud too, and I want Deathfire Grasp back man! DOTA has the “Push Stick” (Force Staff), where you can just shove anyone in any direction. Those are Support items in DOTA, like bro…”
Okay, so the items may not be the most exciting, but nobody ever said the life of a Support was necessarily glamorous! This is also reflected in the fact that a good Support player will inevitably spend a larger proportion of their gold income on wards than players of any other role. Your vision score should always be S+ quality, or else you’re simply letting your team down (and exposing yourself to flame). This is one of the biggest differences between LCS and Solo Queue, as the average player will not often recognise the importance of wards and simply prioritise fights. Don’t believe me? Let’s see what Aphro had to say when asked about how important warding is.
Aphro: Very important. If you’re not warding, your team is just gonna die. Without your wards, your team only has Red Trinkets and the occasional Control Ward, so you’re responsible for maintaining the majority of the vision.
With all of this taken into account, you should be well on your way to learning the ropes and understanding the method behind the madness of a Support player. Aphromoo’s expertise and sage advice will more than surely improve your game (if you follow it closely!), so we’d like to thank him for taking the time to provide his insights on his role. You can catch my pre-playoffs interview with Aphromoo here and keep up to date with him on Twitter @Aphromoo. GLHF!