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 10.6.
- 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.
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.
- Great initiator
- Strong AoE control (slow/stun)
- Has disengage tool via his Q
- High mana costs
Grabs, pulls, and hooks allow for zone and lane control. Pair that with Nautilus’ sustain and crowd control and you got yourself a support that can be played against almost any matchup. Nautilus presents great pressure in the lane while at the same time being decently easy to play. If you’re looking to peel for your ADC and take engages upon yourself, Nautilus is a great choice.
The Resolve primary tree is the core for tank, engage supports. Aftershock is the best keystone and it lets you absorb more damage in the first couple of seconds after an engage. Shield Bash allows you to have a bit more pressure during the laning phase alongside Bone Plating, while Revitalize looks to help you survive for a bit longer if you’re at low health. The Inspiration secondary is designed to give you more sustain in lane and increase your mana cap since your mana costs are quite high. The increased CDR will allow you to engage more often, too.
Nautilus’s skill priority is the following: R>Q>W>E. The reduced CD on your hook will allow you to engage or escape a fight more often. The W increase will make you tankier. E max is last since the increased damage isn’t really required for a support. If you were to play Nautilus mid, E max would be a priority to allow you to clear waves. In the bottom lane, your role is to protect your ADC and force fights. Therefore, the additional damage on E isn’t as valuable as the reduced CD on your hook or the increased health pool from W.
Look for ways to engage on the enemy laners when they want to go for the last hit on cannon minions. They’ll be focused on getting it and might not be prepared for you to engage. Try to use Shield Bash for additional burst damage at the beginning of the fight. Don’t keep it for survival.
In team fights, look for ways to catch the carries off guard. Coordinate with your teammates and lock them down with your Q>auto>ultimate. Most squishy champions won’t survive this CC chain if properly executed. While playing aggressive and looking for picks is your primary role, if your carries are having issues with the enemy divers, try to sit back and peel for them instead.
- High utility
- Untargetable via attachment ability
- Adaptive playstyle
- Can’t initiate fights by herself
- Relies on having a fed carry on the team
Yuumi is one of the most popular picks in solo queue after recent buffs. When she was released, she became one of the most picked supports since many players found her innovative playstyle fascinating. After receiving multiple nerfs Yuumi disappeared from the scene but has recently made her resurgence after the recent buffs in the latest patches. She became highly contested in both pro play and solo queue.
The Sorcery primary is essential on Yuumi. The tree grants her increased poke potential, the additional mana that she heavily requires, and additional CDR, which is always welcome for a champion whose job is to spam her abilities on CD to amplify the power of the carry she is attached to. The Precision secondary tree grants you more mana to spam your abilities and cut down allows you to be deadly even against tanks by doing more damage the more health they have.
Yuumi’s skill priority is R>Q>E>W. You want to max Q since it increases your poke damage and allows you to punish enemy champions out of position more often. E max is second to make your carry more mobile and deadly with the additional attack speed. W max is last since the impact of this ability is not felt as much as the other two.
Yuumi is one of the more fascinating supports to play. You will spend most of your game attached to a champion and will rely on their movements. You need to have trust to be able to play this champion. Without trust you’re better off playing other champions who can move by themselves.
During the laning phase you want to proc your support item as often as possible. You can detach from your carry to auto attack enemies to proc it faster. But be aware that if they have Crowd Control, they might engage and kill you swiftly since you’re squishy.
While other champions can roam and impact other lanes, your job is to sit on your carry and help him grow stronger as the game goes. Be careful when warding since you might get caught and blown up before you can react. Always try to swap between allies in team fights, since your healing with the core items is insane and can be the difference between a won teamfight and a lost one.
- 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.
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.
- Infinite scaling
- Strong utility
- Global ultimate
- No dash
Senna is the newest support in the game. Her kit is unique since she’s a mix between a support and a 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 makes 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 the following: 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 rarely being used by your solo que 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 as a primary damage dealer once you get some items and stacks.