Friday, May 17, 2013

Supporting on a Budget - Beginner setups so you no longer say "I can't support"!

While I make Support Cards that cover most supports and how to build them, not everyone is interested in supporting as a main role (like myself and the target audience of those cards). Some people don't want to build 10 rune pages for all the different support combinations, and instead just want to be prepared in case they are left in the dreaded 5th pick and left to support, and can choose something other than AP Nid botlane.

So, here is going to be a short guide on the runes/masteries/setup/mindset to successful supporting when support really isn't your thing - and maybe you can find the joy and make it your thing! (not probable >_>). 

Item Set

First thing to create in your support build is your item set. You can make them individual to each support that you like if that is your thing, but since you aren't looking for some revolutional specialization, I would just make one support set and put it on all of your support champs. Mine looks like this: 

This has all the general items a support will get, not in any particular order but this will set the options up for you right in your face allowing you to easily see the tradeoffs between each build as most building as support is stream-of-consciousness (how much gold do I have to spend on this back?!?).

However, for those of you looking for an easy outline (a general idea) I would say for melee supports the typical build is philo -> sightstone -> boots 1 -> Aegis/Locket (depending on jungle) -> Mercs/Ninja tabi -> Shurelya's Reverie. For Ranged supports (except thresh who fits above) I go philo -> sightstone -> kage -> boots 1 -> cdr boots -> Twin shadows/Shard of true ice -> Shurelya's > Locket/Aegis. For both of those builds my ruby sightstone timing depends on when I leave lane rather than a specific time in the build order. 

Rune Setup

Alright runes is where supporting on a budget really comes from. For most people they would rather save up that IP for some sick top laner axe smasher rather than girly support runes. So, we're looking for 1 cheap page that can be made and used on all supports. For this I would go with my "Patoy" page. This is made up of: 
9x Magic Penetration Marks - most people will have these already from AP mid. 
9x Armor Seals - this is a MUST for bot lane and good in most roles, so a good pick up. 
5x flat Magic Resist, 4x flat Mana Regen Glyphs - you may have these from other roles, if not you can pick the MR up for 205 each and go for scaling mana regen for 205 each. This split gives good balance of MR for mid-late and mana regen for early. 
3x Gold per 10 Quints - This is the one cost for the support page, and it is worth it. 

This is a basic page that you can use on almost all supports to success. Other pages for specific supports often will be a bit more tuned to their use (as seen in the support card's runes), but this page can be used as it gives a good balance of all the stats the supports need to be successful and is built out of relatively cheap parts. 

Mastery Pages

Going with the theme from the item build above there are two main mastery pages I use, one for melee support (or when I'm going to harass a lot and get into the thick of things with a ranged support), and one for ranged support. 

Melee-Support Page: 

This is the standard def-utility mix page. You go for summoner cd, mana regen, and gold in utility. The one you can change around is summoner cd for maybe mana or item cooldown, this can be suited to your preferences but summoner cd is great on supports so you can flash on them and burn their flashes as well as exhaust a lot. The defensive portion is standard as well, you just go for armor > mr and hp & block. 

Ranged-Support Page:

This page is lesser used in general, a lot of people go 9/0/21 or 0/9/21 and I think that for the most part that is not useful, the extra few points in defense usually only surmount to a very negligible amount of hp since the s3 nerf to early defense tree, and the extra points in offensive are not as good as the extra utility points. This page sets you up with 10% cdr at level 1 which is great for most ranged supports, more shields and heals and fears. Also, as seen above most ranged supports are going to get active items such as twin shadows or shurelya's so item cooldown is a great mastery here as well. 

Support Mindset

While this isn't going to be the focus of this 'guide', I wanted to touch on some recurrences I see when people are forced to support who don't want to support (or are bad at support), so here are a few (circlejerky, sorry) slight tips for a quick "how to support" (note: if you wanted to learn more I have a large ppt about it and while its a bit dated the concepts are the same, here).

  • In lane make a presence. Many people find support boring because they play support in a boring way, sitting in a bush waiting to Leona E or sitting back and Soraka healing only. Take opportunities to harass the opponent with ranged supports as their ADC goes to last hit. Threaten your stun or engage with melee supports as they farm. 
  • If you want to play an aggressive lane, the first thing to do is ward. When you play forward at the creepline or even in front of it make sure you have strong ward coverage as this is when you are most vulnerable to ganks. It's a bit counterintuitive to the other roles but the most aggressive items aren't straight damage items but comprehensive wards and counter-wards. 
  • Your teamfight role is not to execute low hp targets. Don't go around teamfights trying to finish opponents or chasing low hp people. I see Leona players do this all the time, your time is way better spent defending your squishies from bruisers than chasing down that one enemy who is fleeing (even if you may catch said enemy). 

Champs to Own

The last part for supporting on a budget is picking the support! After attending PAX East and talking to a bunch of LoL fans there I know that everyone has their own favorite wonky support (Malzahar! Xerath! etc.), this guide is aimed at ranked play and it will stay a bit more orthodox. These are a few cheap supports that give a variety of playstyles and thus can be picked in many situations, so you can have your bases covered while keeping the cost low (so you can afford more axe swingers!)

Soraka - 450 IP.

Soraka is cheap and solid ranged support. When first playing her you can play a bit passive test the waters heal heal heal, but as you gain more expertise you can start using your sustain to harass a ton with bananas and Infuse. Can be surprisingly thrilling. 

Taric - 1350 IP.

Taric is the cheap solid melee support. He has a concrete stun and high stats so he is very forgiving and imo the easiest support to learn. He is good if they have a squishy lane and you want to go a more burst-oriented support. 

Janna - 1350 IP.

Janna is a more advanced ranged support. Good at protecting carries and disengaging, Janna takes a bit more skill to master than Soraka, and can be a bit more viscerally rewarding. I would practice her a few times in norm but she is a great choice.

Leona - 4800 IP.

While Leona is a bit more expensive, for those who don't enjoy support Leona has always been the godsend. She is more viscerally pleasing and you can net more kills (like you are Darius!). She is good in an aggressive lane and if your team needs an initiator especially. 


That is all, I hope this was helpful to those people who are not big on support. Maybe people can take a break from Volibear support to see the complexity in positioning and making the most of every opportunity of a support like Janna and seeing why it is so satisfying. If you guys have any questions or comments or concerns you can leave me a note below, and/or message me on twitter (or if its longer message you can find me on twitch


  1. Probably should mention Alistar, as well, if only because players can get him (and a skin) for free. He definitely takes a lot of skill, though, so if you went that route, you'd best spend a fair bit of time practicing him. (One of my friends did that, so he'd have one really good support pick if he got forced into it.)

    1. The tricky part of Alistar is that he looked like a tank, and you can _build_ him as a tank, but he early game stats make him surprisingly squishy and he can really only sustain a bit of damage if he has his ult. A lot of people have a hard time understanding this because his kit requires him to get right in the middle of the engagement, but unless you've already built a couple defensive items then you can get bursted down really quickly without your ult.

  2. What is the last row in the item set? :3 I suck at support but I like these tips would like the last row though! :D :D :D

    1. Aegis, shurelya's, locket, and bulwark

  3. Lulu is definitely a champ to own !

    1. Yeah, but she's still 6300IP right? That's a big price to pay for someone who doesn't intend to play her regularly.

  4. Why isn't Sona included? I don't play support that much, but she's really easy for a non-support main to pick up and play respectably (and I don't just mean aura-bot sona, I mean actively using pokes, heals, warding, positioning, flash-cresendo, etc.) Granted, my usage of power chords and such is probably way below a support main, but she certainly fits for a player without a ton of support experience to not throw the game.

    1. Cause Sona isnt as easy to play well. Easy to play yes but well in a competitive setting is different. If your playing her passively as a aura bot, then your doing it wrong. Her power comes from playing aggressively, but as a squishy champ she is hugely reliant on positioning to hit those power chords and great cresendos.

      I wouldnt include Sona in a non support main list cause if you play her poorly you can end up feeding more than supporting or supporting poorly.

    2. suggesting janna and against sona on the basis of difficulty............ seems legit.

      all you have to do as support is babysit your carry through lane phase. if the enemy isnt fed, yours doesnt need to be. keeping even > risking losing. sure its better to win lane but this is for "noob" supports. just run armor reds, max w, e away from ganks/when roaming and ult wisely. also know which power chord to use in what situation. early game? q is most likely best. teamfight? w the assassin or e the bruiser. ult people. simple.

      janna is a bitch to play when it comes to doing anything but shielding. q'ing properly (disrupt things like quinn/leona/lee sin) is hard, sacrificial w, ult is just so fucking easy to mess up/screw your teammates, etc. its not even funny how unintuitive janna is compared to sona.

      i would never recommend janna as a support to someone who wont bother learning her ins and outs. she is one to master. sona is one to pick up and play casually.

  5. Is there a reason randuin's is not included or is it not worth building this as a support? :)

    1. Its so much money that a support would most likely not be able to get.

  6. Personally I do Armor Reds and Yellows as it gives me more armor to survive engagements early on, especially with Sona.

  7. played nami a few games today. The cnage to mikaels and the small buffs this patch make her even stronger. expect more competative play.

    also spellsy- blitz/ nunu cards plx


  8. Spellsy I wrote you a private message on reddit, please check your inbox.

    Nice work btw :)

  9. Bad mastery pages, you should still have some points in defensive as ranged and you dont need the block for melee, the ms and cdr on most melee are better

    1. I can only really see that being useful on blitz with a 0/9/21 build.

      When playing leona, nunu, thresh I'd prefer block for early trades over CD reduction/speed

  10. Soraka is cheap and solid ranged support. When first playing her you can play a bit passive test the waters heal heal heal, but as you gain more expertise you can start using your sustain to harass a ton with bananas and Infuse. Can be surprisingly thrilling.
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