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 10.3.
- 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.
- Black Shield, which denies CC
- Low CD, high duration root
- High mana costs
Do you like watching your enemies rage over three-second long snares on an insanely short cooldown as they inevitably die of old age? Then Morgana is for you. With a get-out-of-jail-free card in her Black Shield and great zoning ability with her bindings and crowd control, Morgana is infuriating to play against and super rewarding to play. Be careful, however, to not mess up your ADC’s farm with W. And hit your skill shots.
The Sorcery primary is essential on Morgana. 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 Q on CD. The Inspiration secondary tree will grant you the Stopwatch, which is insanely gold efficient and can be transformed into a Zhonya’s later on. The increased CDR will allow you to spam Q more often, which is your primary job as Morgana.
Morgana’s skill priority is the following: R>Q>E>W. Q is your bread and butter ability. The duration of the root is infuriating and hard for enemies to deal with unless they have Tenacity from runes or boots. E second will allow you to shield yourself or your allies from incoming CC. The increased amount of shield will grant you a safety net against champions who have some magic damage in their kit. W max is 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 Nautilus, Leona, Thresh, and Pyke, who are all popular right now. Your shield allows you to turn around engages by those champions and slowly chip their health down 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 CC only. Try to use your Q to set up for your ADC to be able to do some free damage on the enemy laners.
In team fights, your goal is to catch people off guard with a Q and possibly follow up with Zhonya’s>R if more time is needed for your team to kill them off. Try to use Black Shield on carries to protect them from CC and give them enough room to do damage.
- Well rounded kit
- Lantern, which acts as an engage or escape tool for teammates
- Can deny dashes with properly timed flays
- No get-out 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 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 team fights.
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 team fights, you should analyze if it’s a good idea to engage or be the peel your carries need behind. 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.
- 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.