The support role in League of Legends can often be a thankless job. A good support can go relatively unnoticed during the game, but playing poorly can get you ruthlessly flamed.
The types of supports in League can be split into three categories: Enchanters, engagers, and poke supports. While some champions cross over 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 outsustain 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 since 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 outsustain 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 11.15.
- Well-rounded kit
- Lantern acts as an engage or escape tool for teammates
- Can deny dashes with properly timed flays
- Flexible buildpath
- No escape ability
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 any of the newly released Mythic items. You benefit from most of them, so it’s a matter of game state to see which item is better for you.
The Resolve tree is essential on Thresh because it makes you tankier, which is crucial for any melee support. Aftershock gives you additional armor and magic resist when you throw some crowd control on an enemy, which you have plenty of in your kit.
As with every melee support, you’re going to have issues with taking towers, but Demolish is here to help you. It allows you to get some early tower plates if you get close to the enemy tower and give some additional income to your ADC. Bone Plating alongside Overgrowth’s goals give you additional health as the game goes longer and make you harder to kill for assassins and during the laning phase where you’re vulnerable.
The Inspiration tree gives some additional early sustain via the Biscuit Delivery rune and the additional item and summoner spell haste is always welcome.
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 them.
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 teamfights.
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. Remember to communicate your game plan with your jungler to ensure that you’re on the same page. This will help you win more games in the long run.
- Black Shield denies crowd control
- Low cooldowns, high-duration root
- High mana costs
Morgana is a great pick in the current meta with so many champions relying on engaging tools to one-shot enemies. You can deny most attempts with a well-utilized Black Shield or root. ome supports scale poorly into the later stages of the game,but Morgana is not one of them. You can use your flash-ultimate-Zhonya’s combo throughout the entire game to ensure good picks for your team, which will secure a clear path to victory.
The Sorcery primary tree is essential on Morgana. It grants her increased poke potential throughout Summon Aery and Scorch, additional mana that she heavily requires via Manaflow Band, and ability haste via Transcendence, which is always welcome for a champion whose job is to spam Q on cooldown.
The Inspiration secondary tree will grant you a Stopwatch, which is gold efficient and can be transformed into Zhonya’s later on. The increased item haste will let you benefit from your items more often.
Morgana’s skill priority is the following: R>Q>E>W. Q is your bread-and-butter ability. Enemies have a hard time dealing with the duration of the root, unless they have Tenacity from runes or boots. Maxing E second will allow you to shield yourself or your allies from incoming crowd control.
The extra shield will grant you a safety net against champions that have some magic damage in their kit. Max W last since you don’t need the additional damage as a support. You can keep it at rank one early on and use it to poke enemies with Summon Aery or Scorch and get free gold stacks from your support item.
Morgana is the perfect counter to engage supports such as Alistar, Leona, Thresh, and Rell, who are all popular right now. Your shield allows you to turn engages from those champions around and slowly chip away at their health or throw a root and let your teammates kill them.
During the laning phase, don’t waste your E to absorb magic damage. Keep it for incoming crowd control only. Try to use your Q to set up for your ADC to do some free damage on the enemy laners.
In teamfights, your goal is to catch people off guard with a Q and possibly follow up with Zhonya’s and R if your team needs more time to take them down. Try to use Black Shield on carries to protect them from crowd control and give them enough room to deal damage.
- 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. Demolish will help you take towers, 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 them 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 teamfights, 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 have a support that can be played against almost every matchup. Nautilus presents great pressure in lane while being 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 core for tanky engage supports. Aftershock is the best keystone since it lets you absorb more damage in the first couple of seconds after initiating. Shield Bash allows you to have a bit more pressure during the laning phase alongside Bone Plating, while Unflinching provides additional Tenacity and Slow Resist.
The Inspiration secondary is designed to give you more sustain in lane and increase your mana cap, since your mana costs are quite high. Additionally, the increased summoner spell and item haste allows you to engage more often.
Nautilus’s skill priority is the following: R>Q>W>E. The reduced CD on your hook lets you engage or escape a fight more often. The W increase will make you bulkier. E max is last since the increased damage isn’t required for a support. If you were to play Nautilus mid, E max would be a priority 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 hook or the increased health pool from W.
Look for ways to engage on the enemy laners when they want to go for a 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. You can dominate the laning phase by engaging often on your shaken enemies.
In teamfights, look for ways to catch the carries off guard. Coordinate with your teammates and lock them down with your Q, auto, ultimate combo. Most squishy champions won’t survive this CC chain if properly executed.
Although playing aggressively and looking for picks is your primary role, try to sit back and peel for your carries if they are having issues with enemies diving. Engaging and providing a lot of crowd control for your team is important, but remember to also provide good vision coverage to ensure that your teammates don’t get caught out. Keep up a vision ward around the most important objectives, such as Baron or dragons, to observe your opponents’ movements and see if you can collapse on them.
- Lots of CC
- Strong utility for teammates
- Easy to play
- No dash
Lulu’s rise to the meta is a result of recent nerfs to other supports who were dominating the bottom lane, in addition to some buffs to her kit. Speaking of her kit, it elevates the power of your carries and allows them to take on risky plays, knowing that you can protect them from imminent death. She synergizes really well with the new items, making her one of the best support picks in the current patch.
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 a lot of ability haste as you level up. 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 ability haste 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 second 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 that amplifies the power of your carries. She excels in composition with hyper carries such as Jinx, Vayne, or 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 Shurelya’s Battlesong or Moonstone Renewer, 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.
Remember to keep acquiring Control Wards as a support and give your team a lot of vision around the map. This will be crucial in acquiring a victory.