Mistake is the play-caller, captain and Support player for the Taipei Assassins(TPA). After being ranked as the 84th world wide team, TPA managed to defeat Najin Sword, M5 and Azubu Frost to win the World Championships, taking out the #3, #2, and #1 ranked teams on an incredible tournament run. Mistake now shares with world some of his insights on the support role and bot lane in general.
You will find Runes, Masteries, Skill point allocation, Counters and general thoughts on every currently viable Support from a world class League of Legends player in this article.
Credit goes to Mistake, and I urge you to check his stream at: twitch.tv/mistakelolz.
Hope you enjoy!
I. Support Picks
- Alistar: Nerfed this patch. His WQ combo is hard to pull off, and too mana intensive. Madlife mains Ali, and Clg.eu uses him as a jungler. He is a good jungler, with great CC. If you want to play passive, you will never lose lane with him.
- Nunu: In my mind, he is only second to Sona. In the finals we chose to ban Sona and Blitz to pick up Nunu. Madlife doesn't use Nunu much so he was left as the best support. He has AS/MS debuffs on both E and R, making him good at protecting your AD.
- Taric: An underrated support in S2, I think we were the only team who managed to win with him. Taric's strong point is really relative to the Big Three of Corki, Graves and EZ. His E can mitigate a lot of early burst damage. Has burst second to only Sona. Sona has burst with Q-AA-R, Taric's burst comes from ERW, which is all magic damage. Taric is a great pick against heavy physical damage ADs.
- Blitz: Blitz is the most underrated support this tournament. He can do massive damage in lvl 1 scenarios by stealing buffs and grabing when the opponent fails to provide good vision.
- Lux: Also underrated. Only Azubu Frost uses her. You can switch her mid to confuse the picks. Her E and R have very good burst. She is similar to Zyra. In the current bot lane long range poke is fairly important, so she has her uses.
- Jayce: Only used by Koreans. In this patch Jayce is really too stronk as a solo top, so it would be a wasted pick putting him bot. In latter patches he may be used more.
- Zyra: Also underrated in this patch, in that people are not sure how to use her. Madlife plays her very well. She is similar to Sona and Lux, her strength is how she has an instant way to use her full combo as soon as she lands E. This is amplified with early burst ADs like EZ and Corki. She also grants vision with seeds.
- Janna: I love this hero. But she was unpicked this tourney. Part of the reason is that the Global Movespeed is not as important as it use to be, because people don't play lanes 1v1 anymore. The shield nerf was the harshest, she can't trade anymore since your AD loses the AD buff as soon as the shield is off. Current bot lanes emphasis long range bursts that can kill in one trade, Janna cannot do this.
- Sona: The strongest support this patch. Great early game damage, great passive, great sustain and also great CC. She just does too much damage and works into many team comps.
- Soraka: Not used much this tournament, W CD is too long, and people will not let you survive through early lvls. She also isn't threatening at all in a 2v1 lane. I would say this is her biggest weakness.
- Fiddle: Strong CC, ult that peters off in late game.
- Leona: A mediocre support in WC. She has a good initiate and good burst, however lacks any sustained damage, she is also heavily dependent on the skill of the user.
- Lulu: I used her a lot this WC. She can trade while receiving no damage in return. You pick her to make sure your AD can grow properly. Her R is the best protective skill for an AD since it directly gives HP to your champ. You can use her in different strategic settings such as double mids and fast pushes. With Shyvana and Oriana you can absorb massive damage in fights.
- Morgana: Developed by the Koreans to counter Blitz. She is similar to Fiddle, ult is weak late.
Any champion can support but you need to consider them as a team wide asset and probe their uses from there. In principle though, you need to have an ult that is non-reliant on items. Sona, Blitz have high utility ults, where as Morg and Fiddle need damage on their ults, making them second tier. You should base support picks on ease of laning, and overall team comp.
II. Runes and Masteries
A. Tank Runes: Gold Quints/Armor Reds/Armor Yellows/MR Blues
The most generic set of runes, good for tanky supports and builds a good income. Both Flat or Greater MR Blues work. On tanks I usually use Greater, but magic damage is getting higher on bot lane supports these days.
B. AS Runes: Gold Quints/AS or ArPen or AD Reds/Armor Yellows/MR Blues
I started my career as an AD player, so i feel confident in getting auto attacks in. Hitting more autos will eventually change the lane. Don't bring Magic Pen on reds, even if you are Soraka you won't be lvling QE first. MS quints don't have that much impact. If you want the MS, go for Tank Masteries.
A. Tank Masteries: 1/21/8
This Mastery page gives you 5% MS, which is enough for many initiation moves. Vigor gives good sustain. Remember to use Indomitable to come ahead in trades.
B. Ms Masteries: 0/16/14
This Mastery page is recommended if you don't want to use Gold quints. When playing support, you really only need either Gold Quints or Greed. After that build whatever you want.
C. Utility Masteries: 0/9/21
This is the page I run with Blitz, my Exhaust is always up before the other support.
- Alistar: Tank Masteries and Tank Runes, you could also go for MS Runes and MS Masteries.
- Blitz: Utility Masteries/ Tank Runes, but switch the reds for ArPen. In tournament play I copy Gosu Pepper's build and use Greater Mana reds. This gives you 1 extra pull, and also boosts your passive.
- Leona: Tank Runes, both MS and Tank Masteries work. She takes too much damage for Utility Masteries.
- Taric: Tank Runes but i switch out the reds for Magic Pen. All of his burst is magic damage. Both Utility and Tank Masteries work.
- Lulu: Red Magic Pen/ Blue Mana Regen (5 flat, 4 greater)/ Gold Qunits/ Armor Yellow. Any combination will work in the mana regen department. Lulu excels on 2v1s,
- Nunu: Tank Masteries, I use Tank Runes but switch out the reds for mana regen marks. I got this build from Gosu as well.
- Sona: Utility Masteries, use Tank Runes but switch out reds for mana regen. Gosu does this too.
- Janna: Arpen Runes, she gets to auto a lot, use Utility Masteries.
- Zyra: Red Magic Pen/ Blue Mana Regen (5 flat, 4 greater)/ Gold Qunits/ Armor Yellow. Same as Lulu.
You have to have some GP10 as a support, but I dislike Gold seals so I won't talk about them here. If you use Tank Masteries you should get two GP10s, if you are going MS or Utility just get one GP10. If you are only getting 1 GP10, go for Heart of Gold. I only take Philosopher first on Sona, Zyra and Lux. These characters have long range and win through attrition. Taric, Leona, Nunu, Blitz, Ali rely on burst and need to absorb damage, so rush Heart of Gold.
If you are a ranged support use Utility Masteries, and swap out mana resist blues for regen. (He says so but doesn't actually recommend this on any character.)
If you are going to play a 2v1 lane, Lulu and Taric are the best supports. Lulu also works well with double mids. If I'm not taking damage as a support then I use the 9/0/21 masteries, getting spell pen.
III. Support Counters
- Taric: Counters heavy AD carries, such as Graves, Sivir, Caitlyn, Ashe. Most of their skills do AD damage. However, as long as the Sivir isn’t stupid, you won’t get to stun her.
- Blitz: Doesn’t do well against EZ, since it is nearly impossible to land a hook against good EZs. He also does poorly against heavy tank supports, like Taric, Leona, Nunu or Alistar. His strength is in getting in the first strike, making it hard for the Support to help, and killing you in a single trade.
- Sona: Near invincible in this patch, by which I mean she has few counters, she is only really afraid of ganks. Koreans use Zyra against Sona, since she has very long poke, this is however a very skill oriented match-up. Zyra doesn’t have good base stats to go against Sona. Remember to use Q on the seeds, Q has ranged poke, which is much more annoying. You get 5g for killing a plant, but I get 300 for killing you, so don’t be shy on placing them. Oh, actually Blitz counters her, once Azubu picked Sona they banned Blitz, it seems we have a consensus on this.
- Janna: counters Leona, when she Es you can just Q, and she will not be able to fly to you, try it. No godly reflexes required. Same thing for Alistar, however he is harder to catch since he doesn’t have a wind-up animation on W. Jana is afraid of continuous poke trades.
- Nunu: (He goes into discussion of current support types) As of now we have the trio of OP supports that counter each other, Sona > Nunu > Blitz > Sona. Then we have the long range pokers Lulu, Zyra, Lux. Soraka is essentially a long range poker, but you need high lvls in e. And then their are additional Tank Support options like Leona and Alistar.
IV. On AD&SUP Combos
If you have an EZ, Graves, or Corki you should go with a tanky support. You have high CC good burst and a movement skill to deliver it. TPA rarely uses these three, because Bebe doesn’t like them, and we feel Kog and Vayne are underrated by the teams in the World Championships. M5 had the same idea, if you watch the reply they took Vayne as soon as we took Kog. We try to give them room to grow into hypercarries, by doing lane swaps, double mids etc.
Caitlyn, while not underrated, is definitely underrepresented. She was only shown iirc, in the Sk vs CLG game. Tristana has also been forgotten, she is a skill burst, Sivir is as well. Misfourtune and Varus are auto attack bursters. Ashe is in the past, doesn’t work very well now. If you have a poke AD you should use a poke support as well so you can synchronize your trades. I remember we had a game with EZ, Lulu and that combo works very well.
V. Skill Allocation
- Alistar: R>Q>W>E. It’s ok as long you don’t put too many points into E. Try to judge the situation and lvl E accordingly. Madlife maxes W first.
- Blitz: R>Q>W>E. Max Q or Max W first, maxing e doesn’t do much. At level six you do insane damage if you if you have lvl 3 Q. If you go W first you won’t need boots that early and you can bring armor pen for high damage.
- Nunu: R>W>E>Q. E or W first. If you have an AD that uses AS, Misfortune, Vayne, Kog, get W first. On poke ADs get E first.
- Taric: R>W>Q>E. I use to do E first, but W is definitely better.
- Sona: R>Q>W>E. QWQWQRQE. Get Q first, take E at lvl 8. It doesn’t help that much in ganks, you could use better laning with QW.
- Lulu: R>Q>E>W. QEQEWR. Max Q first. It hurts as hell, has asinine range, and you can do tricks with it with E. I like the E as well, but Q is how I max it.
- Janna: Shield first then the MS buff.
- Zyra: R>E>Q>W. EWQEER. Max E first, remember to use Q for plants.
- Lux: I’m not familiar with her, but I’d say max Q, damage is better.
- Soraka: Not much to say here. 王者無敵’s(TW solo que player known for playing a heavy roam style Pantheon support, 2000+elo, triple ganks with jungle to snowball the game heavily.) method is good. You can try it out, just don’t roam like he does. Maxing Q is nice for solo que. But please don’t let your AD sit there to dry. In 5v5s it is often required for the support to control the lane. Watch our game against Azubu, when Stanley went up against Vlad he was down near 20 cs but had a lvl advantage. This is due to the support zoning out Vlad. You can see M5 loves to do this as well. Maxing Q gives you good damage and it synergizes well with magic damage ADs like EZ.
- Karma: Riot wants her to be a support, but she has CDR issues. She simply needs some form of CDR before Kindlegem, her R is on too long a cooldown.
A good principle is when you go defensive masteries go double GP10. When you go utility masteries go for one GP10. If you are going for a kill lane go for HoG, if you are a poke support go for Philosopher Stone. On Blitz solo que I like going for HOG and Glacial.
Max CDR is 40%, if specing utility grants 6%, in the offensive tree there is CDR too, but it’s not as useful. Where do you get the rest of your CDR? From kindlegem, it combines into Shurelia’s and Zekes, so it is a nice buy.
The four aura items on supports are Aegis, Iron Solari, Zekes and Shurelias, sometimes you can go WOTA, but don’t go Frozen Heart or Randuin’s, they’re too expensive. Buy Zekes if your AD is really carrying hard, buy Shurelia’s if you need kiting or chasing, or if your AD sucks and you need to bail him out. Get Aegis on tanky supports. I bring this on Sona as well since you need to get to the frontline to cast R. I wouldn’t consider Soulshroud, it has good stats but is too expensive. Double Aegis is never a waste, maybe on Weixiao it is though. You only get Iron Solari if they have a Karthus.
*Originally posted on Reddit r/lol (10/17/12), I am the translator and poster. Spoken permission was given on stream for recording and dissemination. Note that this represents the player's thoughts on competitive play, and your solo que experience may vary. Editing has been done to create better presentation, the first paragraph has also been altered for a better introduction on the player. If you are interested in the following discussions you can search for them in this link to the original post.