Theorycrafting: The Walking Buff Support
Itemization for the support role in League Of Legends has always been a problem, fluctuating between a focus on gold income and utility. The most recent items, the trio of the Relic Shield, Spellthief’s Edge, and Ancient coin have alleviated this to a degree, offering gold income as well as utility in a way that can be molded to fit the champion being played. The recent buffs to the Ancient Coin has made it a much more viable and popular item, and the Talisman of Ascension that it builds into is an excellent choice for any utility support.
A support’s value, especially in higher level solo queue play, is directly connected to the amount of utility offered. Utility in itself is a concept that is constantly fluctuating in League, and can include disengage, healing, buffing/debuffing, and of course vision control. Now, with new and old items combining in fresh ways, there is emerging a largely new way to approach the support role which i call the “walking buff”. As a diamond support main, I like to devote an overwhelming amount of my resources to helping the marksman in particular carry the game. It is a well known platitude that a support’s job is to carry a marksman through the early game, but the idea is to expand this concept throughout the entire game through itemization. One problem that must be overcome as a support is that there are three items you essentially must buy: the gold generation item, a Sightstone, and tier 2 boots. Sightstone is particular is ideally bought on first back, as it offers unparalleled vision control. These items are essentially inescapable unless you deviate far from the standard support, and in the current meta that is fine. What matters is the itemization that comes afterward.
Whether playing Braum or Janna, a support often changes itemization based on the enemy team. But what I am suggesting is a standard build that performs one job very well, which is boosting the carry of your team to maximum potential. The most important item to this is probably the new Zeke’s Harbinger. This item adds a Conduit to an ally that, when charged through auto attacks and abilities, significantly empowers critical strikes and ability power. This means this item is technically useful on both mage and AD carries, and is useful on a large swath of supports as well. It also builds from a glacial shroud, adding some much needed armor and cooldown reduction for the wearer. This item is nearly impossible to pass up in my opinion, since it provides a damage boost for your carries that is really unlike anything else the support role ha sever offered. To add, I believe supports that already offered buffing and shields, such as Janna and Karma, work best with this item, not least because the next suggested item is the Ardent Censer. The Censer has always been on the sidelines, considered a viable item but never part of any core build. But combined with items such as Face of the Mountain and Locket of the Iron Solari, as well as on supports such as Janna, the Censer has great potential to greatly boost an AD carry’s damage. On the subject of the Locket, it or it’s counterpart Banner of Command are essentially required support items in this meta, but luckily the Locket in particular synergizes well with the Walking Buff support, adding a shield on top of its powerful aura.
Of course, this itemization can be flexible. If there is a top laner or jungler building Aegis, Mikael’s Crucible is a wonderful replacement particularly against teams with hard engage and lock down. Additionally, one might replace the Ardent Censer with Mikael’s on supports that offer very little frequent shielding or healing. Altogether though, this new itemization is likely going to become standard on utility supports, and will give supports far more presence and direct benefit through every phase of the game.