Playing as a support is the least favorite role for many League of Legends players, particularly in solo queue.
What many people fail to understand, however, is that a great support can sometimes carry the entire game.
The problem is that the support role is greatly underutilized. There are many faucets to playing any support champion and recognizing all of them can be particularly difficult. This is especially true for solo players as communication is far more challenging.
Understand what a support does
If you are new to MOBA games, the role of a support may seem a bit baffling. In the early game, supports will sometimes be unable to do anything except sit around and provide some basic level of assistance to their ADC, either by redirecting incoming damage to themselves or by some basic warding.
As the name implies, this role is meant to provide support; not just for the ADC but for the entire team. Communication here is key. If your ADC is an aggressive player, you will need to follow suit. If they’d prefer to play defensively, you must ensure that they are as safe as possible.
Since many players wish to carry games by themselves, playing as a support can be a daunting experience. However, you must realize that supports are usually meant to complement a team and not lead it.
That does not mean you should never be proactive. If you land a well-placed Thresh hook on an enemy carry, for instance, you can instantly turn the tide of battle. It simply means that your priority is to protect your team and assist them in various circumstances.
Warding and timing
As you might have seen already, many supports furiously ward the jungle during the early game and then forget all about map control as time goes on. A true support will shine by maintaining vision control throughout the entire game with timely wards in strategic locations.
The placement of wards is a bit difficult to explain as it largely depends on the enemy team and the objectives you have already taken. For instance, if you have destroyed two towers in the bottom lane already and wish to push near the top, you should make sure that the entire area is visible to avoid nasty surprises.
Maintaining vision of important objectives is also vital. For example, your jungler may be unable to keep an eye on dragon. Then, it is your responsibility to ward effectively and make sure that your team can take as many objectives as possible.
Always on the lookout
As a support, many activities of a standard champion are now off-limits to you. For example, you do not need to worry about last hitting. Trading also takes an entirely different approach as you simply have to make sure not to take damage without a reason and to follow your ADC’s footsteps.
However, this does not mean you should simply move around doing nothing. In contrast, it means that you have the time and cognitive resources to focus on other tasks.
For example, you should not expect your ADC to trade, last hit, and keep an eye on the map all the time. Instead, you should have a high level of map awareness so that you can warn them of incoming ganks.
This also applies in fights. Has the enemy ADC overextended? Are you and your ADC in a safe position to engage? Do you know where the enemy jungler is? A support must always have the answer to these questions and more. That way, you can always react effectively and allow your ADC, and subsequently your team, to win fights by virtue of strategy.