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Carry me!! A look at 5 Supports

By Joe 'YouGoJoe23' Staller
Jul 12, 2012 18:58


ImageContinuing on from my previous article on AD carries, today we will be following up with a glance at the often over-looked support role. We’ll be covering Soraka, Janna, Taric, Alistar, and Sona.

You can carry a game as a support. Or at least, as well as you can in any other role. Support is disregarded in solo queue play due mostly to the lack of direct damage to enemy players and typically having the lowest gold to work with. I’m going to classify a good support as one that offers heals/shields and/or lots of crowd control, all while depending minimally on items and levels. I consider these to be the best qualities of a support, and they were what I based my selection on. The other supports aren’t bad, I just don’t have all day to talk about every single one.Image
Soraka, the Starchild:
Pros:
- Massive burst heal
- Mana sustain
- Silence
- MR shred
- Global heal
- MR aura buff
- Ranged

Cons:
- Weaker pre 6
- Low CC
- Squishy

I’d call Soraka one of the most ‘vanilla’ supports in the League. Her kit lends itself almost exclusively to helping allied champions. She has been and still remains one of the strongest supports in the League. However, she does offer less aggressive opportunities than some other supports. For this reason you’ll often see her in competitive play, as everyone plays much more passively and Soraka really synergizes well with passive play. Lanes like Soraka/Graves and Soraka/Ashe are farm and poke oriented, with their goal to outlast the opponent by going for big trades, then sustaining back up. Recently however, we’ve seen a rash of good aggressive lanes containing Soraka that utilize her Q very effectively. Soraka paired with a Corki, Ezreal, or Kog’Maw take full effect of her, and can be quite powerful lanes. The reason being is these three ADs do significant magic damage at early levels, and the MR shred on Q can really amp up the damage done. In addition, Soraka encourages this spell-spamming by being able to replenish her allies’ mana. With a few Starcalls, a silence, and an armor buff to your AD from your heal, you can really promote some high damage aggressive play as Soraka.
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Janna Windforce, the Storm's Fury:
Pros:
- Shield
- Global passive speed increase
- Slow
- Knock-up
- Game-altering ultimate
- Ranged

Cons:
- Heal is only on ult
- More defensive for a support
- Squishy

Janna set the bar for aggressive supports not too long ago, with her range and shield offering her good opportunities to go in and harass an enemy laner, with the tornado to disengage if needed. Additionally she offers great team fight control, and her passive is not to be over-looked. It often gives you that little extra boost to catch an enemy, or escape a gank. She is hailed as a top-tier support, and with good reason. The popular Ashe/Janna lane is based heavily on movement, with Janna complimenting the kite potential of Ashe very well. The same principles apply to Ezreal/Janna and Vayne/Janna. The ability for Janna to protect these carries in a team fight with disengage, shield, and Zephyr slow earn her the well deserved spot of top-tier support.
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Taric, the Gem Knight:
Pros:
- Stun
- Armour aura buff
- Ultimate damage aura buff
- Armour shred

Cons:
- Melee
- Heal is sub-par
- Mana hungry

Taric has been seeing a rise in popularity lately, as the sustaining ability of most other supports is getting nerfed. This allows for Taric’s armour aura to do as much work as a heal by preventing the damage that otherwise would have had to been healed. And the benefit of maxing his W first are two-fold: extra armour and extra armour shred. When paired with an AD that can take full advantage of the stun/shatter combo like Graves, Corki, and Ezreal, Taric can easily begin controlling his lane. To round it all off his level 6 burst is off the charts. Popping your ult and going in for stun/shatter will make even your auto attacks do outrageous amounts of damage. His weakness really shows after lanes break. In teamfights yes you have a stun, and a heal, and good auras. But after you do your Taric thing, you’re left sitting there like a lemon in the middle of the team waiting for your cool downs to come up. This lowers Taric’s quality where his ranged counterparts have the advantage on him of not being in the middle of the fight. However, in heavy burst comps, Taric is fabulous.
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Alistar, the Minotaur:
Pros:
- 1.5 – 3 second stun at level 2
- Incredibly tanky at level 6
- Good sustain

Cons:
- Naturally pushes the wave
- Melee
- Long cool downs

There has been a significant decline in support Alistars and an increase in jungle Alistars. However, the bull-man can still hold his own botlane. His stun has a range of duration because the shortest one would be just the straight W->Q, whereas if you W an enemy in to a wall, then wait before popping Q you can get a much longer disable. Since you have a hard on-point disable, Alistar works well with high single target burst like Corki/Graves/Tristana. His main draw back in lane is the AoE heal and Trample passive will naturally push your lane, and you must work with that when playing as Alistar. This is another reason he is more common in the jungle now. As for teamfighting, your main objective is to disable high-priority enemies with Q, and peel for your carries with W. Whatever role you’re in, Alistar will perform these duties quite well as his disable durations do not scale off levels, and thus he is always at full effectiveness.
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Sona Buvelle, the Maven of the Strings:
Pros:
- Good sustain
- Movespeed buff
- High poke
- AoE disable

Cons:
- Skills are weak if not maxed
- Only one hard CC
- Squishy

There has been a recent resurgence of Sona play, particularly as a very aggressive support when maxing Q for poke in lane, which when combined with ranged autos and her passive can do tremendous damage. Ashe/Sona and Ezreal/Sona lanes are good poke/kite comps and Sona’s E works naturally with these carries’ need to kite. The bonus resists and health from W are just icing on the cake at that point. Her ult also carries a lot of weight as it is instantaneous and a rather large AoE, which works effectively as a full stun. In teamfights this spell is crucial to land on high priority targets, and can often be used defensively to keep targets in place for your carry to attack. Heals in the team fight are always good, and the movespeed has the kite/chase utility. When combined with Shurelya’s you have ultimate positioning power for you and your team.

Agree? Disagree? Comment in the section down below and let me know what you think!


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