Previously, we’ve talked about what to do when you get autofilled as Support. Now, we’d like to discuss what items to buy if you want to play Support by choice. Don’t scoff now, playing Support is actually a decent way to climb. Why is it so? When you think about it, most players in lower ELOs only play Support when autofill makes them to. As a result, they are not good at all at the role. If you can get good enough at it, the overall skill of your team will be higher than the enemy’s, resulting in a win. Assuming that a player who’s competent at his role for his ELO is rated at 1, your team would have a total of five, while the enemies would have a 4.5, when their Support doesn’t have a clue what to do. Granted, some games will be annoying when it’s obvious that the AD Carry has no clue, however, that shouldn’t happen too often.
This guide will go over which items you should aim for in the early, mid and late game, depending on the type of Support you are playing at the time. We will talk about Sustain, Poke, and Engage Supports, split into three parts for your convenience.
When playing a Sustain Support like Nami, Soraka, Sona or, controversially, Janna, you have two options to start with. Spellthief’s Edge or Ancient Coin. The AP Support item is picked much more often than the Ancient Coin by professional players, mostly due to the extra AP, which increases your heals and shields a little bit. The pros are good at knowing what they can get away with when trading in lane, so the extra AP helps them have a bigger impact. If you are the better Support player out of the two on the Rift, as you’re likely to be if you’re playing the role by choice, the extra AP from Spellthief’s and Frostfang should really help you to have a bigger impact in the game.
After the first back, you should be able to get the first upgrade for your Support item and Boots of Speed. Go ahead and buy those. Also, if you can, getting a Control Ward and a couple of pots would be really nice as well. If, however, the enemies are camping Bot Lane, the Warding Totems aren’t enough to ensure that you have vision of the river most of the time, or your AD Carry doesn’t use the Warding Totem at all despite being asked, all of that goes out of the window. Just buy that Sightstone. Just don’t forget to swap your Warding Totem for Sweeping Lens! If that’s not the case, get a Sightstone the next time you go back to base.
Unless you are doing very well, you should have a Tier 2 Support item, Sightstone and upgraded Boots of Speed when towers start falling and teams start grouping. Concerning Boots upgrades… if your enemies have a skillshot-reliant Support like Blitzcrank, Thresh, Bard, or Nami, getting Boots of Mobility is always good, unless you really need the Cooldown Reduction from Ionian Boots of Lucidity. If the enemy team has a lot of slows, you might want to consider getting Boots of Swiftness instead.
Now is the time to go for your first big item – Redemption. This item is totally broken, especially on Sustain Supports. It gives you 400 Health, 75% Base Health Regen, 75% Base Mana Regen, 10% Cooldown Reduction, increases the strength of your shields and heals by 10%, and has an active that heals allies for 130 (+20 per level of target) and does 10% if enemies’ max health if they are caught inside when it’s done channeling, which takes a whoopass 2.5 seconds. Oh, and it also does 250 true damage to enemy minions. And you can use it while dead. All in all, Redemption is retarded.
After Redemption is done, it’s time to finally upgrade your Support item. Most of the time, Sustain Supports combine their Tier 2 Support item with their Sighstone to get Eye of the Oasis or Eye of the Watchers. While the actives from Talisman of Ascension and Frost Queen’s Claim are obviously nice to have, the item is generally more expensive and you still have to spend 800 more to upgrade to Ruby Sighstone. Unless you’re swimming in gold, it’s not recommended.
Supports aren’t really known for getting a full build together, so this section will be theoretical. At this point, you should have a fully upgraded Support item, upgraded Boots and Redemption. What to build next depends on the situation more than anything. Pros seem to default to Locket of the Iron Solari, though items like Ardent Censer, Mikael’s Crucible, and Zeke’s Harbringer seem to be popular. Just remember that as a Sustain Support, your job isn’t to kill enemies. It’s to save your teammate’s bacon. Just try to find the item which could help you do that the most. Just make sure to leave a slot for Control Wards and upgrade to Oracle Alteration. Also, for God’s sake, take the Windspeaker’s Blessing keystone!!!