This final, third part of our guide series about Support Itemization will cover which items you should go for when playing Engage Supports, like Thresh, Alistar, Braum, Leona, or Nautilus. Before you get the wrong idea, calling this type of Support champions Engage Supports DOES NOT mean that they are the ones who engage full on teamfights in the late game. Unless unreasonably fed or using some kind of cheese like Rylai’s + Liandry’s on Brand or Zyra, tanky Supports are not strong enough to be the ones to engage a full teamfight and survive for longer than a couple of seconds. Even if you’re playing an engage Support, your job is to support, not tank. That means that you should do everything in your power to provide vision and peel for your team.
Just as in the previous parts of this series, we will talk about Engage Support itemization in three parts—Early Game, Mid Game and Late Game.
As an Engage Support, you need stats that would allow you to take some punishment in the early game trades and skirmishes. Obviously, the best Support item to facilitate this is Relic Shield. At this point, it has to be noted that if the champion you play can be called an Engage Support, it’s more than likely that it has some kind of hard Crowd Control, which means that you can benefit from the Courage of the Colossus Keystone. Please use it! The number of Thresh, Braum, Leona and Blitzcrank players who use Bond of Stone, Thunderlord’s Decree or some other Keystone is too damn high.
Okay, items. Obviously, you should start with Relic Shield, three Health Potions and a Warding Totem. After the first back, get a Sightstone and a Sweeper Lens. Different from Sustain and Poke Supports, Engagers get the stat they need the most in the Early Game, Health, from Sighstone. This makes rushing the Tier 2 Support item needless. Next, you should work to buy and upgrade your Boots of Speed. Probably the best option is Boots of Mobility, though Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Mercury’s Treads or even Boots of Swiftness could also be an option. Hell, you could even buy Ninja Tabi against a full AD team. After that, start working on buying Redemption.
Okay, when the teams start roaming around the map, you should be ready with your Boots ready to go. You might even have Redemption completed! Now, you have a decision to make. Do you need the active of Face of the Mountain or not? Believe it or not, it’s not a clear cut decision depending on many factors. Unless you can quickly think of a specific reason to get it, it might be more useful to use Eye of the Equinox. If you do decide to get FotM, don’t forget to upgrade your Sighstone.
Now, with an Eye of the Equinox or Face of the Mountain + Ruby Sightstone, Tier 2 Boots, and Redemption complete, The next item you should probably get is Locket of the Iron Solari. Nowadays, it gives you a decent chunk of Armor and Magic Resist, together with a handy active that gives a shield to take the bite out of AoE burst damage spikes.
After the Mid Game build is done, the rest of your items are hugely dependent on the situation in the specific game. If you elected to buy Face of the Mountain, you only have one free slot in your inventory. More than likely, it’s better used as a place to put Control Wards instead of any items. If, however, you went with Eye of the Equinox, you made your life a little bit easier by having a couple of free slots in the inventory and one less active to use or forget to use, more than likely.
If you do have two free slots, you might consider many different items. Banshee’s Veil, Guardian Angel, Frozen Heart if you could use some Cooldown Reduction, Mikael’s Crucible if your carry gets CC’ed and dies, Knight’s Vow to take the bite out of the damage he takes, Banner of Command to make pushing a lane down more effective. There are numerous options to choose from.