“Support is a very difficult role in competitive play because the only two skills that transfer over from solo queue to competitive play are the laning abilities and team fight abilities. All of the warding and map rotations are totally different making it a little bit of a challenge for a lot of new supports. There is definitely room for people who are in the master and low challenger realm to improve just a bit and challenge LCS players.” ~ Silver

Want to improve your support play in League of Legends? Whether you like to play Janna, Alistar, Bard – or even less traditional supports like Gragas – in this guide you get 10 universal tips to become a good support player.

Tip #1: Learn One Champion at a Time

One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you when learning support is to take on one champion at a time. This means you should become very comfortable with one champion before proceeding to learn the next. Learning how to play all the support champions at once is inefficient as you fail to learn the ins and outs of each champion. The ultimate goal is to have a champion pool of four to five support champions, where you are very comfortable on two to three of those champions. These are the champions you main for support.

Here’s some advice from challenger support Lohpally:

“Find champions that fit your style and are comfortable and just focus on getting better at those first before branching off, don’t overwhelm yourself with champion mastery.”

Here’s some advice from challenger coach Silver:

“Try to focus on one or two larger ideas and once you master those, move on.”

Tip #2: Learn the Specific Capabilities of Each Support Champion

The champions in League of Legends designated for support can be categorized into different groupings. There are a few different kinds of supports, in terms of method and role. Many of these champions may be capable of doing different roles, but not all champions are able to do them equally. Let’s go through a few different types of supports.

I like to call champions such as Soraka, Sona and Janna “dedicated supports” because they allow their ADC to farm safely, help set up potential kills, and they  make sure that their ADC is healthy. They generally rely on the strength of their raw abilities. On the other hand, champions like Zilean, Karma and Morgana can be referred to as “AP supports” as they focus on winning their lane by using their abilities to contribute damage to the enemy lane. Play to the strengths of each type.

Tip #3: Identify Your Mistakes as a Support

I find lower elo players ask questions like, “I main support but I just can’t get out of Silver elo… what do I do?” Well, the first step to improve is identifying what you’re really struggling with. You have to realize that every champion for the role of support is powerful in its own unique way, and you have to make sure you’re playing these champions right without making mistakes. For example, knowing when to engage with a champion such as Alistar is necessary in order to win your lane. Engaging at the wrong time can give the enemy bot lane a double kill and put your ADC along with yourself behind in gold.

One of the best ways to recognize your mistakes is to watch replays of your gameplay. “The main tip I have for people improving in solo queue in almost any role is to look at your own play before you start blaming everyone else,” says challenger coach Silver. “95% of the time there is something however small that you can improve on that would have made at least a little bit of a difference in the outcome.”

Tip #4: Vision Control

A big mistakes I see with low elo supports is a lack of vision control. Many low elo players believe that putting out wards and maintaining good vision is not necessary. Ggood vision around the map is one of the biggest factors in winning a game. If you recognize that you do not have good vision control as a support, force yourself to put more wards on the map.

Tip #5: Keep in Mind Cooldowns of Your ADC and Opponents

While it is difficult to know the exact CDs of your ADC and lane opponents, top-tier supports have a good idea of when the abilities of their ADC and opponents are on cooldown.  Knowing the CDs of your fellow teammates and opponents can help you recognize when to initiate and when to play safe.

Tip #6: Melee Support vs Ranged Support

When you play a melee support against a ranged support, try your best to hit level two first and then use this advantage to immediately engage. After this first engage, be cautious when trying to engage, and ward the opposing bush to have vision of the enemy support. Avoid getting poked down, and try to all-in when possible.

Tip #7: Observe Lane Patterns

Depending on the enemy lane’s champions and play-styles, they may choose to play the lane aggressively or passively. It is your job to recognize this pattern. If the enemies are passive for the majority of the time but they suddenly begin to play aggressively, be cautious as there is a good chance that your lane is getting ganked.

Tip #8: Harass as a Ranged Support

It is vitally important to harass the enemy ADC and support if you are playing a ranged champion such as Nami or Morgana. Even if it means harassing the enemy champions with just auto-attacks, taking that bit of health away from them will relieve some pressure off your ADC and help your lane overall. Your spells can be very effective as well.

Tip #9: Summoner Spells

Summoner spells are very important. Having your summoner spells up while the enemy bot lane doesn’t gives your ADC and yourself a huge advantage in a two vs two. Keep note of summoner spells and try to force a fight if you have this advantage.

Tip #10: Try Lead the Team

“Support players are the leaders in lane and not enough people realize that,” said challenger coach Silver. As a support, it may be effective for you to make the calls in solo queue on when to engage, which objectives to go for next, etc. Helping the team be organized can lead you to victory. I often find that teams in solo queue need a leader who can step up to the plate and make the calls. In addition, make sure that you keep a positive mindset throughout your games as a support because a negative atmosphere usually leads to defeat.

Found these support tips helpful? You will like Summoner School, the complete guide to become a dominant player.