How to improve in the Support role
Mon 11th Sep 2017 - 7:00am
It’s no secret that in almost any MOBA, the role of support is the role that the least amount of people really want to play. In many games, you will have one person on your team get “stuck” playing support which can lead to a number of bad outcomes, and that player might often be you. The best way to avoid finding yourself in this position is to learn and practice the role yourself. That way not only will you be more comfortable in the role when you play it, but you may find that support can be extremely rewarding and a lot of fun to play, despite what people may say about it.
Set up your teammates
One of your primary jobs as the support is to help set up your team and allow your carries to get kills. There are multiple ways to do this, but the most common way is through Crowd control. Crowd control is any ability that restricts the movements of your opponents, making it easier for your teammates to do damage to an opponent, while also making it harder for your opponent to escape.
Oftentimes your crowd control as a support will be the initiation or one of the first abilities used in a fight. When initiating, your team will follow up on that target with damage or even other crowd control abilities to keep the target locked down.
Another thing to keep in mind when your team attacks a single target is to allow your teammates to get the kill, rather than taking it yourself. This will give the damage dealers on your team more gold and experience and help give them a lead. While it isn’t crucial, your teammates will certainly appreciate it.
Peel for your carries
Alongside setting up your team for kills, the other crucial part of playing support is peeling for your team, or in other words, doing what you can to keep your team alive when they are in trouble. The easiest way to do this is by using your crowd control abilities to allow your teammate to run away and escape danger. Another way to do this is to body block, essentially blocking abilities and auto attacks from hitting your teammates.
Another important part of keeping your team alive is choosing good teamfighting relics. For example, relics like Shell and Heavenly Wings, often called "sprint" give your team different effects to help them take less damage when trying to escape from a sticky situation. Many support Gods also have abilities that provide similar effects, such as Terra ultimate or Khepri’s 2nd ability.
Build for your team
When building as support, aside from just building defensively, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself what it is that your team needs. Building aura items is a great way to make sure that you can be tanky while also providing buffs to your teammates who are near you. Items like Sovereignty and Heartward Amulet provide you with health and protections, while also providing protections to any teammates in a certain radius from you. There are many other great aura items to consider as well.
You can also help your team by building items that debuff the opposing team. Pestilence is a great example of a defensive item that reduces the amount of healing the enemy team is able to receive. Another example is Void Stone, which reduces your opponents' protections, making them more vulnerable to damage.
Another thing to keep in mind is that supports often receive the least amount of gold on the team, since you are trying to get your teammates ahead. Therefore, it is always a good idea to make sure that your build isn’t too expensive. Building a couple cheaper items first is never a bad idea, since it allows you to become a tanky teamfight presence sooner.
You won't always build the exact same items every game as support, so make sure you build situationally for each game you are in.
The number one mistake I see from people you aren’t familiar with playing support is that they stay in the duo lane with their hunter for 20 minutes until large teamfights start happening. It is a much better strategy to rotate around the map and help your entire team.
Doing this also allows your hunter to get more solo farm, which will help them get to the late game quicker. Doing your best to be wherever fights are going to happen is a good idea, since it allows you to help your entire team rather than babysit your hunter. So don’t be afraid to roam around the map and help whichever teammates are in need.
Don’t be afraid to die
When you are used to playing squishier Gods, it can become instinct to run from danger. As a support, you need to break this habit and be willing to sacrifice yourself in order to keep your team alive. Oftentimes as a support you will be a few levels behind the carries of each team, so killing you doesn’t reward as much gold to the enemy team as killing your teammates would. Additionally if you sacrifice yourself to keep your carries alive, it allows them to have a chance to either defend towers or objectives after the fight.
Support can be a very fun and rewarding role to play as long as you feel comfortable playing it. So next time you end up playing support, hopefully you can learn more about the role and enjoy playing support more!
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