The support role in League of Legends can often be a thankless job. A good support can go by relatively unnoticed during the game, but playing poorly gets you ruthlessly flamed.
The types of supports in League can be split into three categories: Enchanters, engagers, and poke supports. While there are some champions who crossover into multiple categories, it’s a pretty safe golden triangle to go by.
Enchanter supports, like Soraka or Nami, focus on keeping the bot lane carry alive through the laning phase with heals and shields. Enchanter supports usually go well into poke supports because they can out sustain the poke, but struggle into engagers due to a lack of mobility and relative squishiness.
Engage supports, like Alistar or Leona, look to all-in the enemy bot lane during the laning phase with crowd control and high early game damage. They can capitalize on enchanters during the laning phase because of their lack of poke, but can’t deal with poke supports effectively as they whittle down your health before you can even think about engaging.
Poke supports, like Zyra or Brand, succeed by annoying the enemy laners as much as possible with long-range abilities, forcing them to waste their potions or heals. If an enemy gets greedy, they also have a fair amount of burst in their kits to delete them from Summoner’s Rift. Because of this, they can deal with engage supports, but enchanters can usually out sustain a poke support’s mana pool, rendering their poke ineffective.
With this in mind, let’s break down the top five supports for League’s Patch 10.15.
Image via Riot Games
- Great initiator
- Innate tankiness
- Lots of crowd control in her kit
- Relies on follow-up from teammates
- No get-out abilities once engaged
Leona is the epitome of an all-in champion. Once you’re in, you can’t back out. You get dragged into the fray with her Zenith Blade, and if it was a bad engage, you’ll pay the price. But her presence is terrifying and her crowd control gives you an opportunity to keep enemies at a safe distance from the carry. Leona is the kind of support that can play the lane both aggressively and defensively. Her mere presence in the lane can force enemy laners into playing safer.
Screengrab via Riot Games
Aftershock is the go-to rune for tank supports, especially those who have no way of getting out. Once you go in, you need to commit to your plays. The amount of CC you have should keep a target locked down and allow your team to burst it down. Font of Life will grant some additional health to your allies, especially your ADC during the laning phase, while Bone Plating combined with Overgrowth will make you difficult to kill for the first couple of seconds of your engage. The Inspiration secondary helps you have some extra sustain from biscuits and less cooldown on your abilities and summoners.
Leona’s skill priority is the following: R>W>E>Q. Her W is one of the most powerful basic abilities a tank could want. It grants her damage reduction, armor, magic resist, and has some decent damage for the laning phase as well. Maxing E second will allow you to have your engage tool on a lower cooldown. You max Q last since it doesn’t reduce its cooldown with levels. It only increases damage, which Leona doesn’t lack at all.
Try to understand your matchup. If it’s defensive, try to stay in between your ADC and the enemy support and ADC to allow him to farm up safely. If it’s an aggressive matchup, try to look for ways to catch them off guard and engage on them when they go for last hits. You should aim to get to level six as soon as possible and look for ways to help your jungler gank other lanes or set up a gank in the bottom lane to secure a drake. In team fights, either be the initiator if required or peel for your carries by sitting behind and locking down divers.
- Well-rounded kit
- Lantern, which acts as an engage or escape tool for teammates
- Can deny dashes with properly timed flays
Thresh will always be one of the best supports in League. He’s never really out of the meta since his Death Sentence hook can change the flow of a game immediately. His early laning damage with Flay makes trading with him almost impossible, while he can bail out his allies with a well-timed lantern. He can have a huge impact across the map once he gets Boots of Mobility and one-vs-nine any game.
Thresh is one of the best Aftershock users. His kit synergizes with it perfectly. After he goes in with a hook, he can instantly flay and keep the target slowed enough for Aftershock to proc and deal additional burst damage in the trade. Font of Life will grant your laning partner additional sustain, while Bone Plating and Overgrowth will grant you additional tankiness in teamfights.
The Inspiration secondary is extremely valuable since it has a free Stopwatch, which allows you to force risky plays in the mid game. The biscuits will grant you more sustain in the laning phase to survive as a melee support.
Thresh’s skill priority is: R>Q>E>W. The reduced cooldown on Q will allow you to pick off targets more often or keep a tank target locked down for a longer period. The E max over W will grant you additional damage and more opportunities to deny dashes or bring targets closer for your teammates to damage.
Thresh is a melee support who excels at locking targets down and bringing his jungler from the fog of war for a surprise gank or saving his carry from a dive with a well-timed lantern. His goal is to engage most of the time, but in teamfights, you should analyze if it’s a good idea to engage or be the peel your carries need. A well-timed ult alongside Flay and hook will allow your carries to survive longer and deal the damage you need to win the teamfight.
Always look to roam and help your top and mid laners to ensure they snowball and have enough support from you to allow them to carry the game.
- Infinite scaling
- Strong utility
- Global ultimate
Senna’s kit is unique since she’s a mix between a support and marksman. But she’s mostly been picked as a support since her release. She has high poke and all of her abilities offer protection and aggressive plays. Senna may be squishy, but she can lock down an enemy while keeping her team alive, which is an amazing combination to have.
The Inspiration primary tree is essential for Senna. Glacial Augment makes her extremely obnoxious for enemies to deal with and buys you enough time to keep doing damage or run away from the enemy. Biscuits will grant you additional sustain during the laning phase, while Approach Velocity alongside boots make you more mobile. The secondary Precision tree grants you the needed mana to spam your abilities, while Alacrity grants you the attack speed that you won’t get from items.
Senna’s skill priority is R>Q>W>E. Q max will grant you both healing and damage required to poke and sustain through the laning phase. It’s the perfect two-in-one combined ability. W second will let you follow up with a root more often on your Glacial Augment proc to get a pick or run away from enemies. While E is extremely powerful in coordinated play. It’s often rarely used by your solo queue allies, so it should be maxed last.
Senna is an infinite-scaling ADC support. She gains more damage and stats as the game goes on. Your goal is to poke early on and try to pick up souls to get to your power spikes as soon as possible. Use Glacial Augment to get easier W procs on enemies and allow your ally to poke without retaliation. If the enemy jungler comes to gank, use your E on yourself and your ally to escape safely since you can’t be targeted by ranged champions under the shroud.
Always keep an eye out for teammates with your ultimate once you reach level six. Act like a primary damage dealer once you get some items and stacks.
Image via Riot Games
- Strong kit
- Game-changing ultimate
- Strong roams
- No dash
- A poorly timed ultimate can throw the game
- Low range
Bard is one of the most entertaining supports to play in League. He’s a good, all-around support because of the scaling, sustain, roaming potential, and crowd control that he offers to the team. His kit is strong in the form of a stun, a heal, movement speed buff, a portal through walls, and an AoE Zhonya that can both win or lose a teamfight.
He went under the radar and kept receiving buffs up until recently when he received his first nerf in years. Even though the nerf was substantial and reduced his damage, he still has a high win rate.
Screengrab via Riot Games
While Bard can use multiple rune pages effectively, this is one of the most popular ones that’s easier to gain an advantage from. The Domination primary allows you to have a stronger trade pattern via the additional damage from Cheap Shot and ability power from Zombie Ward. Relentless Hunter will allow you to roam the map faster, collect chimes, and provide better vision coverage for your team. The Sorcery secondary will grant you additional movement speed via Celerity and increase your burst damage via Scorch.
Bard’s skill priority is: R>Q>W>E. The Q max will make your trade pattern much stronger and give you kill pressure if the enemies are at around 50 percent health. W max second will allow you to sustain yourself and your teammates for longer during siege situations or potentially save them from the last tick of ignite.
Bard is low ranged support who excels at roaming and bursting people down. You should look for opportunities to hit a Q on the enemy laners and then land two autos if they’re stunned, which will proc Cheap Shot, Scorch, and Electrocute. This is your main trade pattern during the laning phase, which punishes out of position enemies quite hard.
Once you get enough gold for Boots of Mobility, you should back, purchase them, and start roaming the map for chimes and assist your other allies with a gank. Due to Relentless Hunter and Celerity runes, you’ll be extremely fast and your ADC won’t feel your absence.
Once you get to level six, you gain access to one of the most game-changing ultimates. There’s no single right way to use it, though. You need to adapt to the situation and use it depending on the circumstances. Read the game and use it to save your ADC from a Zed if needed, to deny Vladimir’s Hemoplague ultimate on your team, or to stop an immobile and flashless enemy from escaping. The choices are limitless and that’s why it’s one of the best ultimates in the game.
- Lots of CC
- Strong utility for teammates
- Easy to play
Lulu’s rise to the meta is a result of recent nerfs to other supports who were dominating the bottom lane. She has a great kit which elevates the power of your carries and allows them to take on risky plays, knowing that you can protect them from imminent death.
The Sorcery tree is core on Lulu since it grants her additional healing and damage via the keystone Aery. Manaflow Band allows you to keep your mana topped up and keep on damaging or assisting your allies. Transcendence will give you 10 percent CDR when you reach level 10 and will convert additional CDR which you might get from items to additional AP. Scorch is taken to increase your poke potential during the laning phase, but Gathering Storm can be an option as well.
Inspiration is taken secondary for the additional CDR and biscuits to help you out during the laning phase. If you need additional utility, you could go Domination for the Zombie Wards as well.
Lulu’’s skill priority is the R>E>W>Q. E is maxed first to have the maximum amount of shield potential to ensure the safety of your team members who will carry. W is maxed second due to how strong the targeted polymorph can be on enemies. Every microsecond matters in a team fight so having the additional duration helps you and your team out tremendously. Q is maxed last because you don’t really need the additional damage compared to the utility on E and W.
Lulu is one of the best utility supports which amplifies the power of your carries. She excels in composition with hyper carries such as Aphelios, Vayne, Tristana who become monsters with the power of Lulu behind them. While she indeed has a strong utility kit, she is prone to dying often due to how squishy she is. You need to be extra careful especially during the laning phase not to waste your abilities.
Once you get going and finish the laning phase or you get your first core item of Ardent Censer, you should look to roam and help your other lanes as well when you see a possibility. If the bot lane is pushed and going down won’t do much then try to look for an opportunity on another lane for a surprise gank alone or with your jungler.