Continuing our series of guides on Support itemization on League of Legends, we will now look at what you should be buying in the early, mid and late game. Different from the Sustain Support, which seeks to negate enemy damage instead of doing some of its own, Poke Supports try to be the carry in the Bot Lane, at least in the early game. When he a Poke Support is good, its allied ADC might as well not exist at all, because his Support ends up 1v2ing the enemies, unless they take proper and coordinated steps to stop it. Unfortunately for those who play Solo Queue, such coordination is often lacking, allowing the Poke Support to get up to some crazy shenanigans.
For the purposes of this guide, a Poke Support is an AP Mage, like Zyra or Brand, though some other CC-heavy mages could also work, if you’re up for trolling a little bit. If the champion does have some kind of CC and you build as a Support (meaning that you get the Support item and Sighstone), there’s no reason why it couldn’t work at least a little bit in low ELO.
Just like with most Sustain Supports, you should start with a Spellthief’s Edge, three Health Potions and a Warding Totem. To avoid getting chunked for most of your health, try to poke from behind the minions, just as the enemy AD Carry starts his auto attack animation to last hit a minion. Keep in mind, that Spellthief’s Edge has three charges. Try to use them up as much as possible to get enough gold to do a proper buy before you back.
Once you do, aim to get a Frostfang and Boots at least, Sighstone if getting camped by the enemies, just like with the Sustain Supports. Your second back is no different either, just get a Sighstone and a Sweeper Lens. Everything else is just bonus. Once you have your Frostfang, Boots of Speed and Sightstone, the build diverges from what you would build on a Sustain Support. On a Poker, you have to start working towards building more damage to keep up with the stats your enemies gain because of levels.
The first item rushed by pros on a poke Support like Zyra is Liandry’s Torment. They start it off by getting a Haunted Guise due to the value of the Magic Penetration against opponents who only have 12 or less Magic Resist from Runes.
After your Haunting Guise is done, the game should be reaching the Mid Game phase, where teams start grouping and roaming around the map. That point is where you should upgrade your Frostfang and Sighstone into an Eye of the Watchers. Also, it’s a great idea to get some more Magic Penetration by upgrading your Boots of Speed into Sorcerer’s Shoes. The priority of Eye of the Watchers over Haunting Guise and vice versa depends on the state of the game. It could change from game to game. A good rule of thumb to go by is asking yourself whether you’re likely to stay in Bot Lane long enough to get Haunting Guise or not. If not, you’re better off with Sorc Shoes and EotW.
Once Eye of the Watchers, Sorcerer’s Shoes and Haunting Guise are done, go ahead and finish Liandry’s Torment and start working on a Rylai’s Crystal Scepter. You need it to have a little bit more crowd control in teamfights and to be able to hit your abilities more consistently. When choosing which parts of the item to go for, consider the current situation in the game. Is your team the one ahead and is more often than not the aggressor in the fights? Get a Blasting Wand first. Are you guys getting engaged on and chased down? Buying Health makes more sense in those circumstances.
As an aside, the abovementioned build order suits Zyra, the most popular Poke Support in the game, better than Brand, another great option. If you’re playing Brand, the priority between Rylai’s Crystal Scepter and Liandry’s Torment is reversed. Brand is extremely skillshot reliant, meaning that by getting Rylai’s Scepter first, you will make your abilities easier to hit. In the end, you will more or less arrive at the same end result.
The thing that makes Zyra and Brand such overwhelming Supports to deal with is that the synergy between Liandry’s Torment and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter make both champions so strong that they could fight for the leader’s spot on Damage Done to Champions, even though they don’t really have that many items when compared to a Mid Laner. With that said, you should always remember that you’re a Support. Make sure that you have a reason aside from “More DEEPS” when you decide to buy a Rabbadon’s Deathcap. To actually compete with Mid Laners while building straight AP, only without farm, you would need to be extremely fed. It’s a much better option to just get more bang out of the AP you do have by getting Magic Penetration.
For that reason, you should look to finish your build off with a Void Staff or Abyssal Scepter if the enemies have more than a couple of AP champions. Also, once again, don’t forget that you queued as a Support. Try to reserve a spot in your inventory for Control Wards, unless the game is a clown fiesta and getting more damage will truly help you win.