Just as it is in so many other competitive games, the support player in League of Legends can often find themselves feeling somewhat under-appreciated by their team. Have no doubt about the importance of this role, however, as it can be one of the most impactful roles on your team's odds of success - or failure.
In LoL, the support role is also a hugely diverse one, and there's much more to handle than simply checking in on your teammates's health bars, and throwing the odd top-up around. Although there are champions that focus specifically on the healing side of things, many others are built around the idea of crowd-control, initiating, and disrupting some of the more problematic enemy plays as well.
Regardless of who you choose, you'll almost always start off each match by buddying up with the ADC player in the bottom lane. Your challenge here is to assist them with hoovering up as much gold as possible, while also seeking out opportunities to pick off the odd enemy player that wanders your way.
Because of these potential combat opportunities, it's also vital that you maintain vision on the shape of the battlefield, so that you and your ADC don't get eliminated by roving bands of enemy players. Although this is your early game focus, you can expect much of the match to play out in a similar fashion.
That's the broad overview of your role, then, but the champion you pick will of course give you other specific jobs to perform as well. In this article, we've picked out what we believe are the very best support champions in the game right now, and explain how they operate within this particular niche.
While Nautilus doesn’t have the healing powers of Soraka and Nami, he’s got some serious utility and survivability to boot. He’s all about closing the gap between himself and the enemy, before rooting them in place and letting his allies do the rest.
His Q, Dredge Line, does exactly this. It’s a large anchor which is hurled forward, and if it lands on an opponent it’ll drag himself and the opponent close together. If it hits terrain it acts like an escape tool or effective gap closer. It’s great for surprising a vulnerable enemy in lane, or for engaging a fight.
Follow up a hook with his W, Titan’s Wrath, and your opponents will have to deal with a big shield that blocks damage and auto attacks which deal damage over time. It won’t be a tonne of damage, but it’ll be enough for them to pop a health potion or at least attempt to reposition, panic and fall into your allies’ trap.
So once you’ve hooked an enemy and press W, you’ll want to hit E pretty quick. When activated, Nautilus slams the ground, dealing AoE damage which slows any enemies in its radius. It's another fantastic tool for when you’re in the midst of a fight as it’ll hamstring your opponents and make it harder for them to escape or reposition.
For some serious CC, Nautilus’s Ultimate, Depth Charge, is incredibly strong. He fires a shockwave into the earth that chases an opponent, knocking enemies into the air. When it reaches the opponent, the shockwave erupts, knocking his target into the air and stunning them. To make the most of it, identify an enemy you want to remove from a fight, or who is simply out of position - they won’t be able to escape. And it’ll set you up for your Q, W, E combo.
Finally, Nautilus’s passive, Staggering Blow, causes his basic attacks to deal increased physical damage and root his targets briefly. While it can’t trigger more than once every few seconds on the same target, it’s still another root to his already root-laden arsenal.
To help you master Nautilus, we’d highly recommend Noxro’s guide:
Janna carries games in subtle ways, operating from the sidelines with frightening efficiency. She’s got an easy to land slow, and her Whirlwind can wreak havoc with the enemy team’s synergy, knocking them into the air for a second or two and disrupting their movement or abilities.
Let’s not forget about Janna’s shield, either. Again, it’s an easy point-and-click ability, and it also grants bonus AD to those who’ve been granted added protection. It can be the difference maker in all manner of situations, both saving allies or giving them enough of a damage boost to narrowly execute enemies.
Janna’s Ultimate, Monsoon, throws enemies back and heals those within its radius. It’s great for displacing threats, peeling enemies off your carries, and can even be used offensively if you spot an opportunity to Flash in front of your target and push them into your team. While it requires positional awareness, it’s a game changer.
This video by GameLeap is well worth a watch:
Nami is highly rated as one of, if not the best, supports in League of Legends at this time. That’s mostly due to her versatility, as she has a range of abilities that offer healing, buffs, engage and crowd control. She’s also a safe pick in many lineups, so if you’re unsure who might best suit your team, or excel against your opponents, then you can feel comfortable taking Nami.
Breaking down some of her abilities in more detail: her W - Ebb and Flow - is your main form of healing and harass in lane. You can target it at an ally for a straight up health boost, but it can also bounce to enemy targets in order to deal a little poke damage as well. Be cautious you don’t overdo it and drain your mana too quickly, though.
Both her Q ability, Aqua Prison, and her ultimate give Nami some very powerful engage tools in the laning phase and much later into the game too. Landing the former can be quite difficult at first, but after practicing the timing you’ll be catching out enemy champions in no time. The latter is especially strong when Nami is approaching a fight from the backlines.
You can cast Tidal Wave early to give your allies some bonus movement speed so they can charge into the fight, while any enemies caught in the churning waters will find themselves knocked up and slowed. It’s a very powerful tool in team fights.
For help getting to grips with Nami, we highly recommend watching this video guide. It'll really help you get up to speed!
Although Pyke is the newest champion to leap into the skirmishes of the Summoner’s Rift, he’s already established himself as a strong support pick in League of Legends. With his ability to catch out opponents and generate extra gold, you can help push your team into a commanding position with some early kills, while also offering significant crowd control effects in the late game.
Bone Skewer, Pyke’s Q ability, is his primary engage tool, allowing you to impale targets and pull them towards you. If you catch a squishy target with this you can then follow up with an additional stun from Phantom Undertow to give your allies more than enough time to secure a kill.
Pyke also has the fun element of being able to roam as a support player more easily thanks to his Ghostwater Dive ability. This allows him to enter stealth and ambush opponents in other lanes to set up kills and snowball your team ahead. It can be a risk to leave you ADC alone in bot lane to do this, but the advantages are huge if you’re successful.
Perhaps Pyke’s most interesting skill, however, is his Death from Below ultimate. This is especially good at finishing off enemy champions as it can execute them when they’re below a certain health threshold, and be immediately recast if you secure a kill.
At the same time, allies who assisted are awarded gold as if they achieved the full kill themselves, meaning you can generate some serious monetary advantage for your teammates and take the lead in items.
If you're struggling to get to grips with this support Champion, the video below will give you some essential pointers:
More great League of Legends guides:
- 1. Best Carry - LoL: Best Carry Champions 2018
- 2. Best Duos - LoL: Best Duo Combo Champions 2018
- 3. Best Support - LoL: Best Support Champions 2018
- 4. Beginner Champions - LoL: Best Beginner Champions 2018
- 5. Early Game Champions - LoL: Early Game Champions 2018
Bringing high damage and some formidable crowd control to the table, Morgana is a powerful and unorthodox support. She excels at setting up kills for her teammates and protecting them from damage, while also dishing out some significant punishment of her own.
Her Q ability, Dark Binding, is where the majority of her power lies. With this you can catch out a single opponent and hold them in place for a considerable amount of time for your allies to follow up on. The skill moves at quite a slow pace, however, so be sure to anticipate your target's movements to ensure you grasp them. Pairing this with her W ability, Tormented Soil, can add some extra damage in there too, and while your target is powerless to escape.
Morgana’s E skill, Black Shield, is also perfect for when you’re paired with the carry in bot lane. This not only absorbs damage taken by the target, but also prevents them from being affected by disabling effects while it is active. Timed well, you can save your lane partner from potential disaster if an opponent is about to land a stun or a grab on them, and swing the trade in your favour.
Lastly, her ultimate has huge potential in teamfights. Soul Shackles sends out a number of chains to nearby targets, slowing them for a short duration and then stunning them if they remain tethered for too long. Launch yourself into the opposing team with this ability and you can lock them in place for some huge follow-up damage. It’s even better when paired with the Zhonya's Hourglass item, as the effect still persists while you’re immune.
Have a watch of this Morgana video if you'd like a video guide to mastering this support champion:
Thresh has always been high up on the list of the most viable supports in League of Legends, bringing half-decent tanking ability, but mainly lots of crowd control and lockdown to help your team engage in fights and secure kills. He doesn’t bring much damage to the Rift, but all of that utility can give your carries the time they need to take down the Chain Warden’s unfortunate target, or escape in a pinch.
Thresh’s biggest playmaking ability is his Q, Death Sentence. This throws a chain in a straight line that latches on to the first enemy it hits, which you can then activate again to pull yourself towards the target. You’ll want to master landing this on exposed enemies – especially squishier and vulnerable ones – in order to excel as a Thresh player.
Death Sentence is brilliant when paired with a couple of his other abilities too. The first of these, Flay, whips your chain in a chosen direction, forcing enemies that way and also briefly slowing them. It can be used both offensively to lock down a target, or defensively to push an enemy away if you need to run.
On the other hand, Thresh’s ultimate, The Box, can really force a fight. This ability creates a number of walls around Thresh that damage and slow any enemies that hit them, making it perfect for setting up kills for your teammates.
All of that control, plus the ability to bail out trapped allies with Dark Passage, make Thresh one of the most consistently handy champions to have on your side.
Here's a very useful Thresh guide that explores the ins and outs of mastering this support champion:
Similar to Thresh, Alistar brings a whole lot of tankiness and crowd control to the support role. You wouldn’t expect much less really, given that he’s a giant and fearsome minotaur!
Alistar’s strengths lie is his powerful engage and lockdown abilities that can completely hold a target in place for your team to burst down. You’ll be the one charging headfirst into battle – quite literally – with Alistar’s W, Headbutt. This brings you right into the face of your opponent, while also knocking them back a little. Positioned well, you can pin a target against a wall to give them no escape, or follow it up with an immediate Pulverize to send them briefly flying into the air.
If that’s not given your allies enough time to kill the target, then there’s one final stun remaining in his E, Trample. This move deals damage around you and builds up stacks if it hits an enemy. At five stacks your next auto attack will deliver a one second stun to the target.
As you can imagine, all of these skills make Alistar especially strong at engaging opponents so that his allies can secure kills. In the late game you can be a menace across the map too, surprising targets with ambushes from the brush or knocking up the entire team in clustered fights.
If you like the idea of playing a more aggressive support who’s often on the front line leading their team into battle, the Alistar is the pick for you.
Finally, here's Noxro's handy guide to getting started with Alistar:
Despite Yuumi's angelic appearance, she can be a serious menace in lane, attaching herself to allies and sending off a surprising amount of poke damage with her Prowling Projectiles.
When she's attached to allies, she follows her partner's movement and is untargetable by everything except tower damage. Her abilities also fire from her ally's location, and there's no cooldown to bounce between her teammates. Although, if she detaches herself entirely, she'll need to wait for the cooldown to partner up.
It's this ability to hop between allies that makes her difficult to catch, but also a zoning monster, as she uses her teammates as vessels to fire off extra damage or send off some sudden stuns.
Yuumi's Ultimate launches waves of magic damage that root enemies after multiple hits, while her E heals and increases her ally's movement speed if attached. Combine all of your abilities and you can turn one of your allies into a speedy stun bot (preferably the tank) for a perfect engage. Or if you're on the backfoot, you can quickly attach yourself an ally and get them out of there fast.
To play her effectively, you need to be aware of your allies' positioning and look for an opportunity to empower your teammates, not only to gain greater advantages, but also to get them out of trouble if need be.
Here's TSM Treatz guide to help you get to grips with this tricksy feline: