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 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 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 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 12.5.
- Amazing protection for your AD carry
- Solid teamfighting
- Diverse kit
- Tough to master
After a few solid changes a couple of patches ago, Janna returns to the list of the best supports in the meta. She has always been a champion with a great kit for a support, however, her abilities didn’t always scale well enough. Now, with little boosts here and there, Janna is ready to help you climb the solo queue ladder.
The Inspiration tree is important for Janna since it aids her key values, making her a top support in today’s meta. Glacial Augment is one of the most common runes on many supports due to its icy zones that slow enemies down and decrease their damage. On Janna, there’s no better option.
To bring out the best from Janna, it’s advised to follow up with Perfect Timing, Biscuit Delivery, and Cosmic Insight. A free Stopwatch will always come in handy for a champion with no escape tools while having additional resources in the form of biscuits on mana-devouring champions is always helpful. You also want to have your Flash and Ignite off cooldown as fast as you can.
Bone Plating and Revitalize from the Resolve tree can save you on many occasions. Janna is squishy, so having a little extra defense in the form of those two runes will do you no harm.
On Janna, your ability priority should be R>W>E>Q. With Zephyr, you want to increase the slow you apply on your enemies, which is going to be pivotal in early skirmishes and teamfights. Later on, it’s best to maximize the Eye of the Storm to provide as much shielding as you can. While Howling Gale can make a massive difference in a fight, putting more than one point in it before level 14 doesn’t really do a lot for you.
Janna is ranged support who excels in teamfights. In the early game, you can play aggressively if you have an aggressive AD carry by your side. With your kit, you should be able to win most of the early skirmishes if you play them properly. However, due to Janna being a squishy champion, it’s easy to fail if you get caught in any type of crowd control chain.
In contrast to many other supports, as the game progresses your main and only goal will be to keep your carries alive. With Janna’s ultimate and Howling Gale, it’s easy to keep enemies away from your allies. With your other skills, players will also provide other players in your team with essential support, like shielding and slowing down abilities. All in all, your influence in teamfights will be enormous in most instances, but remember to stay alive in the first place.
Image via Riot Games
- Amazing poke
- An ultimate that can decide teamfights
- Incredible scaling with today’s meta AD carries
- Not very mobile and squishy
- Difficult to master
Renata Glasc is the latest support to join League of Legends, and she has already heralded herself as one of the best in the game. The Chem Baronees possesses a truly powerful set of unique abilities that can influence any state of the game.
Still, it doesn’t mean that picking Renata will instantly win you a game. There are sufficient ways to counter the champion. At the same time, she’s really tough to master, and many players will have issues playing her in their first matches.
On Renata Glasc, your best bet is to go for the Guardian tree. While playing the champion, you will be looking to make an impact in teamfights, and in most cases, you’re going to be at the back, shielding your teammates and providing aid with your other skills. For this reason, having Guardian to enhance survivability is recommended.
With the other three choices in the Resolve tree, you’ll improve your poking, sustainability, and tenacity, all of which are essential on Renata. Due to her not having any escape tools and being quite immobile, choosing Cosmic Insight is a good option. It’s also worth going for Biscuit Delivery since Renata is quite mana-hungry.
Renata Glasc’s skill priority is R>E>W>Q. With Loyalty Program, you have the ability to poke opponents and shield your allies at the same time. Since today’s meta is full of AD hypercarries, your best plan would be to go for W afterward to increase their damage and grant them additional survivability.
With Renata Glasc, players can sometimes get lost due to the many possibilities that the champion offers. The main goal during the game, however, should be to scale well into the mid-game where you can start wreaking havoc with your ultimate.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t think about skirmishes early. Although, due to Renata being quite mana-devouring, immobile, and squishy, those can often end up badly for you. Therefore, be careful in the first minute of the game, and always keep an eye on the enemy jungler’s location.
In the deciding teamfights, remember not to overcommit and stay behind your front line. Your abilities can influence the battles in a major way, so it would be a shame if you died early. Also, keep in mind that opponents are probably aware of your potential, and will hence try to eliminate Renata at the beginning of each fight.
- Great initiator
- Innate tankiness
- Lots of crowd control in his kit
- Relies on follow-up from teammates
Despite traditionally being a jungler, Nautilus best suits the support role. And looking at his abilities and the state of the meta in recent years, it makes sense In one-vs-one combat, Nautilus lacks damage, while in the jungle he can’t really wave clear as fast as other champions can. Nevertheless, Nautilus mains don’t have to worry since the champion is one of the best supports in the game.
With his passive included, Nautilus has three abilities that provide major crowd controls mechanics, so the reasoning behind Glacial Augment is partially self-explanatory. The other free runes picked from the Inspiration tree are also straightforward. With many abilities at your disposal, biscuits will help you replenish mana. With not much gold, it’s better to get Magical Footwear so you can save a few hundred for other essential items.
Font of Life and Second Wind do wonders for Nautilus. Most of the time, you won’t have a way out of skirmish, so the latter skill is going to enhance your chances of survival. With many CC tools, having Font of Life is just compulsory.
With Nautilus, the ability priority is R>Q>W>E. You want to decrease the cooldown of Dredge Line since it’s your main engage tool and the only ability that can serve as an escape route. Later on, to survive fights, it’s best to prioritize W instead of E since it increases your shield and additional damage you deal to opponents.
With Nautilus, you will often find yourself in a position to engage in early fights, which can give you and your partner an edge in the first minutes of the game. Although not every matchup is in your favor, especially if you get poked by a ranged support. Thus, rate your chances and decide whether it’s worth going in or not.
Because, even if you stay passive early, you can still make a tremendous impact once the mid game comes around. Your crowd control tools should be enough to control a teamfight and zone key enemies. You’re also tanky, which makes you a pain for enemy carries to handle. Your game plan should be to zone as much as possible and lock in targets with your crowd control.
- Easy to play
- Game-changing ultimate
- Can run out of mana quickly
Finally, we have found a support that focuses on healing. Soraka is an exceptional pick in today’s meta due to her ability to keep her allies alive, even if she’s not around. What’s more, with the potential to silence enemies, laning against Soraka can be frustrating, to say the least.
While playing Soraka, you want to be doing two things: healing your AD carry (and other teammates later on) and poking opponents. This, however, will mean that the Starchild can run out of mana pretty quickly. Thus, players will want to increase their mana with Manaflow Band, at the same time improving their poking potential with Summon Aery. Transcendence and Gathering Storm play along well with the two runes.
As much as Soraka can heal each other, the case isn’t so great when it comes to patching herself up. Therefore, pick Bone Plating to grant yourself a bit of sustain, while Revitalize will boost your shields and heals.
On Soraka, the ability priority is very simple: R>W>Q>E. First, you maximize your healing, your pivotal skill, and afterward, you go for Starcall, which is your main poking tool. Equinox has too big of a cooldown, either way, so choosing to prioritize it before Q doesn’t make much sense.
Soraka is a powerful enchanter that can poke out enemy duos in the bot lane. If a trade doesn’t really go your way, players don’t have to worry that much due to her healing, which will have your AD carry back on his feet right away. At the same time, opponents will probably choose to eliminate you in the first place, so have that in the back of your head once teamfights begin.
As the game goes on, Soraka players should stay behind and provide their team with needed healing. In five-vs-five battles, your Q and E won’t have that much of an impact, so think about who on your team can influence the state of the game the most. Protect this champion as well as you can, which should lead you to victory and some free ELO.
- 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 an additional utility, you could go Domination for the Zombie Wards as well.
Lulu’s skill priority is 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.