LoL Support Macro - Support's Way To Victory
Support is a very complicated role to fill. You will have to focus on a lot of things during the game, make risky plays, sometimes sacrificing your life for the good of the team. Laning phase is largely your responsibility at the bot lane. Support is very similar to a Jungler role when it comes to distinct a good support from a bad one. There's a massive difference between a good and a bad support, and it's very noticeable. This guide of course - also will begin with a very important section.
Support Champ Select
There are various Support roles that you can fulfill in this game. Supports are not always there to bring the best out of their teammates (Marksmen most of the time), sometimes they can be that major force that will carry the lane, kill carries and then carry - the whole game thanks to their utility or damage.
Your Support choice should most of the time complement your team, counter enemy teamcomp, or carry your botlane, so your ADC can snowball, take objectives, and win any fights happening around the map. But it won't always be about ADC. You can go roaming to support your jungler who can carry as well.
Your main concern should be picking something that will make your laning more favorable. Because why would you pick something that will counter enemies Late game (like picking Janna against an Engage team composition), if you won't even get to Late game because you fell off during the early stages of the game? It is why you should pick something that will allow you to gain some early advantages. Pick something good for the upcoming matchup.
Soraka will be great for those AD Carries who can't really fight in the early game and will scale hard into the mid-game. Good Soraka enables them to take some trades and make mistakes during those fights because she can reliably heal up her allies by a huge amount. She scales hard into the Late Game, being a perfect counter to engage or assassin-based teamcomp. She can also completely shut down champions like Zed or Katarina with her silence.
Janna, Sona, Lulu, and Nami are great all-around supports for poking, disengaging, and buffing their Marksmen. Those four champions have some hard Crowd Control, they can buff their ally's attacks, they have a debuff that can be applied to enemies, and they also come with a reliable heal or shield. They are fantastic for carries that can trade and poke in the lane. With shields and heals, they make a great counter to the poke as well. As they will most likely go for Ardent Censer, Redemption, and so on, they work wonders with the hyper-carry type of champions that need protection - Jinx, Twitch, Kog'Maw, Vayne, etc. It means that sometimes you will have to drop your correct macro play to babysit the carry, as otherwise, he will die.
Leona, Taric, Alistar, Rakan, Nautilus, Blitzcrank, Pyke, and Thresh make incredible sturdy supports that can engage on the enemy, or catch single targets off-guard and set up some kills. If they don't use their engage and lane-carrying capabilities, they will somewhat fall behind in the mid-game (besides Pyke cause he's a little bit overpowered and can work on his own as a midlaner). While they fall behind pretty hard in specific unsuccessful scenarios (especially Leona), they can still be useful due to their peeling or picking potential, which are invaluable both in organized team play and in Solo Queue.
There are also pure AP champions that can be there to fulfill the role of an AP Mage at the botlane. Lux, Zyra, Brand, or Morgana will do great if you want to use them to set up some kills and provide some excellent AP damage for the team. Due to their nature - they also set up some easy picks with their CC, and they can easily execute their enemies quickly.
Support's Early Game Goals
Win conditions will be different each game, depending on your champion of choice, your ADC, and enemy matchup. Some champions like Leona or Pyke will want to focus on creating favorable trades, and all-ins, Soraka, Sona, and Nami will try to poke and heal, etc. But laning as Support is a very complex thing to learn, despite it looking the same as other lanes on the surface. When it comes to this role - there's something beneath that, don't allow yourself to become but a slightly better version of a minion.
It is one of the most critical, mechanical things in the game when you want to get some advantage. You can do it with your ADC in various ways, creating multiple scenarios in which you can do something to ruin the day for your enemies.
Smart Wave Control will allow you to reach Level 2 faster. And as you already know, engaging on enemies at Level 2 can bring some major advantages that will translate into your early laning. Of course - as long as you don't make any mistakes, and you remain safe from enemy Jungler's gank. Push the lane using some autos or AoE pushing abilities (Karma's Q, Morgana's W, Soraka's Q). Level 2 advantage won't be really useful on champions like Soraka or Bard, but for champions like Thresh, Leona, Pyke, Morgana, or Blitzcrank - if played out correctly, can win your lane from level 2 and onwards.
As mentioned before, your Mid-game at Botlane will start as soon as one tower goes down. Most of the time, the first tower to go down will be at the bottom lane unless there's a strong pushing champion at the top or mid, and they are completely wrecking their enemy. In any other scenario, in 99% of cases, it's your lane that will transition into advanced map pressuring, positioning, and objectives. There are a few things that you should be aware of when it comes to playing a Support in the Mid-game.
Advance & Deny Vision
Vision is one of the most important things in the game. The only consistent way that you can ensure having the lowest amount of deaths possible is by map awareness. And vision plays hugely into that. The general rule of thumb is to never push beyond your ward-secured area. As soon as the enemy tower falls, your enemies lose a vital vantage point. Suddenly, moving around their Gromp and Blue Buff area becomes very risky without vision. If you make a macro decision of staying in your lane (which can be more valuable macro-wise than swapping sometimes, but you have to be ready to take some 2v3 or 2v4 fights). It will be essential to set up at least two wards that will allow you to react to roams and ganks before the danger appears.
Denying vision forces enemies to go blind into the jungle to ward, or follow for objectives like Dragon or Baron. It can create a few outcomes. It's a perfect way of doing sneaky Barons, setting up ambushes and taking easy picks, that will hopefully lead to some objectives.
You want to make as little mistakes as it is possible, and your ward line can, for example, prevent your primary carry from giving away that 1,000 shutdown gold for free.
Follow your ADC
Following your ADC seems logical most of the time. Especially when they have no escapes or hard outplay potential similar to Vayne, Kai' sa, or Caitlyn. It's your responsibility to follow them, protect them from any harm, set up picks, place vision around their positions, and to allow them to get objectives around the map safely, at least if they are smart.
It will happen in every rank possible, even as high as Grandmaster, where players will still make dumb macro decisions that will put them behind in their match. It means two things. One - a lot of times, you will have to be the one forced to lead them. Two - if they still want to make bad decisions, don't take part in their actions. Simple as that.
It's some kind of paradox. On the one hand, you should try to do everything to play for your team and aid them in combat scenarios. On the other hand - you should not follow your team into the vast pit of demise and lost teamfights. Sure, you will be flamed a lot when you don't follow your team. But you have the choice - head straight into unfavorable fight, or avoid it and search for pressure points elsewhere. You can join your teammates in watching the grey screen or survive. The only instances where it's justified for you to die is to sacrifice yourself for a fed carry or making a good engage. Other than that - let your teammates die if they wish to. If you can do something (you are Thresh, and your "W" Lantern is off-cooldown), go for it. But it's not worth it to waste time on trying to help your teammates if you know that you won't get there in time to do anything besides dying as well.
It translates into your ADC as well. Do not reinforce the wrong map movement by following your ADC everywhere. Ping them, try to reason with them, set up a good example, try to make them follow. And if they keep doing their thing that doesn't advance your win condition…
Find someone to Follow
Most supports won't be able to do much on their own. It is why you will need to find someone strong enough who will be able to snowball the game. All you have to do is follow them so that you can help in any scenario they get into. Provide some utility for them, ward around their zone of control, secure objectives with them, siege, do skirmishes, set up dives, save them, engage so they can get good kills. Basically, find anyone who can push your team's win condition further. Some ADC's may get upset because of it. They will claim that they are the carry, and you are their Support bound to follow them everywhere they go. However, following fools was never a good thing. There are two possible scenarios:
- Eventually, he will understand that it's not him, that carries the game, and he will start following you.
- He will remain upset and will do anything to punish you for ruining his game, which means trolling or rage quitting. There is not much you can do about it other than reporting.
You need to get used to ADCs' ego, which is oftentimes overgrown. Be humble, and if he gets mad, type "sry" in the chat to calm him down, even if your heart is screaming some bad words and curses. Support role, especially in lower elo brackets, requires a lot of humility, as even though you are the carry sometimes, people still consider you a "ward machine."
Your job is to recognize the carry. It's not always your ADC. Sometimes it will be better to leave your 1/5/0 ADC on his own, so they can farm at the sidelane to come back into the game. Follow your jungler, top, or mid, depending on their current power level, power spikes, and team value. The risk is that your ADC will be offended for you not babysitting him with 1/5 KDA, and he will blame you for his poor performance. Ignore it; he's useless anyway. There will be a moment in the game when he will realize that he has to be carried, and he will start following, or he will refuse to cooperate. If the latter happens, well, the game was lost the moment you had this n00b in the lobby. You can't avoid it.
Don't tell yourself that ADC is your only hope of carrying a game and that you should follow them no matter what. Going for such a Tunnel Vision is a big no-no. Macro is all about finding the best answers to all questions that occur in the game. And one of them is - who should you follow? Answer it, make your choice, and regret nothing.
It ties heavily to your vision. So, you have your vantage points, you've got your wards placed, you see every point of major interest. But it won't mean anything if you don't look at the map. If you are a supports, this is the main concern of yours, that the message of something happening on the map should get to other members of your team. Don't play with fire, believing that your teammates are paying attention to something that is not happening around them. Ping a lot, warn your teammates. In Solo Queue, it's also good to make some quick text callouts, like: "If two bot - Baron," or "Turret > Dragon." To see if you have the possibility of claiming something - you need to look at the map. The more intel you get, the more you will be able to take for yourself.
Of course, as always in Solo Queue - sometimes your teammates won't listen. It's annoying, but what else can you do? You make a perfect Baron call, but two of your teammates remain mid and get engaged on by four enemy team members? It happens. Sometimes having an ideal vision, and a great support who pings everything will still result in team members getting flanked. It occurs in every elo bracket. And you won't be able to do anything about it. That's just how it is.
Presence & Picks
Vision Control, Map Awareness, Following your most reliable carries. It will mean nothing if you are not present around the map. Most of the time, you should be teamed up with at least two other members. Having a 3-man skirmish team can be powerful if utilized properly. Basically, if there's a chance of something favorable happening for your team, you should be there to provide everything necessary for the mutual success. Everything will serve taking objectives. Your carries will control waves, farm, and deal most of the damage in skirmishes. You are the one to set up valuable picks. What are those exactly?
Valuable picks will translate into objective taking opportunities. It's important to know who you should focus on if you want to advance your strategy the the utmost efficiency. It will depend on both teamcomps, map positioning, and specific champions.
Killing a Jungler will be vital if you are preparing for any Neutral Objective. Especially when you are facing someone who can execute camps with abilities that deal more damage than Smite, or can set up a 1,5k HP burst. Someone like Evelynn, Lee Sin, Cho'Gath, or Nunu can easily put themselves into a situation in which they will outdamage the smite with a split-second burst of execute ability combined with smite.
Killing Ziggs, Syndra, Xerath, or Lissandra will be mandatory if you want to reliably siege Turrets. Even setting up a substantial slow pushed wave won't work against these guys unless you've got a Baron Buff.
You have a perfect team for 5v5 fights, but enemy Malphite constantly makes it harder for you to win? Or maybe enemy Kayle counters your assassin Katarina or Zed? Track those enemies through vision and try to make killing them before a fight a part of your win condition.
Sometimes your win condition will be Hard Crowd Controlling the enemy carry. Sometimes when pure macro - playing the map and taking objectives - won't work, you can figure out who exactly is shredding through your entire team. LoL is a team effort game, but it's not rare to see a true one-man army opponent who carries by himself. If you are a support that can ensure a lockdown like Leona or Nautilus or if you have large damage output like Zyra, Pyke, or Lux - you can try to win games like that, if your macro-heavy playstyle doesn't work.
There is an ultimate question every support player asks himself: "When I give the right call, and my team goes for dumb stuff instead, what should I do?" For example:
Your call: Let's do Baron!
Your team: Nah, let's go mid.
Your call: we have a free inhib top!
Your team: Nah, let's go mid.
Your call: we need this Infernal Drake!
Your team: Nah…
What should you do in such situations? Paradoxically, the answer is straightforward. Can you solo Baron as a support? Or solo Drake? Or split push effectively? Can you survive in a lane vs. enemy solo laner, whoever would that be?
It is why you should follow your dumb teammates, cause if you're going for your calls - no matter if they're correct or not - and you leave your team, you put yourself into a disadvantage. And it will be your fault if you lose. It's SoloQ, not a One-mind-five-bodies-queue. You are responsible for your own moves. You're not accountable for your top laner feeding solo, for the jungler missing smite, for the mid laner's failed dive. You are the only constant, unchangeable factor in each and every game.
Late game Supporting
You will do the same things over and over again as Support in the late game. Place wards down, clear enemy vision, provide utility, engages, healing, damage, whatever you've got in your champion's kit.
Vision and making picks will be even more important than in the mid-game, as deaths are heavily punished at this point in the game. Death timers are at about 1 minute grey screen time, and there's a lot of things your team can do during 60 seconds. Everything will be harder in a 4v5 scenario. You won't be able to contest Baron unless you make a pick my some miracle. You can't contest drakes cause you might get wiped, bringing you further down into disadvantage. You can't properly defend towers as your team can get dove. You basically have to somewhat stale the game, without making any mistakes. And it will be tough NOT to make mistakes unless you are ahead with powerful carries in the team.
Continue to aid your teammates with your damage or utility. Keep them alive or help them get kills. Peel for your carries, protect them from danger, do absolutely everything, so after the teamfight, you gain as much advantage as possible. Killing five enemies, while four of your teammates are still alive at this point, can lead to a victory in 50 seconds, provided you have the waves placed correctly.
They say that a good support player places at least one ward per minute. Vision war, especially in higher elo, is crucial. In lower elo, where people hardly look at the minimap, it's not that important, but Platinum+... Things change. Having the vision superiority puts your enemies in the wrong spot. Either they will face check and risk their lives, or you take the objective for free. It is precisely why you don't want to be on the other side. The good macro requires you to be in the right spot at the right time. You want to get close to the neutral objective approximately two minutes before it spawns. Drop the vision around the pit in places, where your enemies are likely to appear. The vision will tell you whether you can contest the objective or not.
As a support, until the end of the laning phase, you are the primary Dragon Pit guardian. After a couple of changes, there aren't many champions who can easily solo Dragon in the early game, but if you are facing Shaco, Warwick, Vi, or Nunu, you should be aware of it. After you push your opponents in, you can try to go for a deep vision in the enemy jungle. A single ward can give you a lot of useful information. However, be careful not to leave your ADC without the nanny for too long. Support and jungle can pretty much influence the whole map. In the lower divisions, many players do not expect the Support ganking mid after the first back. If you have some sort of CC, you can go for it. Sometimes your presence alone is enough to turn the tides of how mid lane goes.
Don't be afraid to roam, but pick the roam timing carefully. Good ADC with experience will understand your moves, and they will play passive until you are back. A bad ADC would require at least five supports around them to remain relevant, they will take a hit or several when you're gone, and they will back when minions are crashing on your tower. No bueno. It happens even in diamond ranked games... especially in diamond games. So if someone flames you for smart roams, and your ADC dies out of stupidity, their macro has to improve, as it's garbage. Magic of this game's community.
Lastly, there is a saying that supports' full build is four items, boots, and a Control Ward. You can't control vision effectively without it. During the laning phase, it's not that important to have one in the River Bush or the Tribush. If you lose lane control, you lose the warding game as well, which puts your team in 105 Gold disadvantage (75G for a ward + 30G donated to the enemy). However, in the mid-game and onwards, Control Wards are an essential part of the good support inventory. So don’t forget about that. Some things may actually change with a new season, but those will mostly be based on micro, and not macro.
This is the end of our Support Guide. Please proceed to our other guides regarding Macro in League of Legends - League of Legends Top Chad Macro, League of Legends Mid Macro, or League of Legends Jungle Macro Domination. There's also our League of Legends General Macro Guide that you should absolutely check out. Read all of those if you want to know what your allies and enemies have to struggle with so you can pave your way towards victory. When in doubt - watch a gaming video about macro on Youtube. And then - report back to us so you can give us some healthy feedback! See you on Summoner's Rift!