It is rare when a player new to League of Legends (LoL) chooses to play support. Most of the time, people want to be the ones to carry the game and to make big splashy plays. However, this role is equally important to the game — and equally important to learn.
Why Support players are important in LoL
Why would a role that no one wants to play be so important? For starters, many non-support players hardly ward at all, even if they have the time and lane priority to do so. However, this is such a big part of the game that every player should be doing it. Playing support teaches players where the best spots to ward are and when is the best time to ward.
It is vital to always ward with lane priority so that you do not get caught out by your enemies. Vision also helps your own jungler understand where the enemy jungler is so that they can counter-gank or go after an objective while they are distracted. Without vision, there is much less use of the minimap, which brings us to the second point.
Looking at the minimap is also important for understanding where certain players are at certain times. Learning this helps you better set up ganks, understand when other laners have priority, and where the enemy jungler may be so that players can work around it so as to not get caught out.
This also ties into knowing when to trade. If a teammate or yourself starts to trade when the position of the enemy jungler is unknown or another enemy laner is missing, it can be a sign that it is a bad time to trade because both the jungle and enemy laner can be trying to close in on your lane for an easy pick.
Having priority in the bot lane is especially important for dragon control. If players were not watching the minimap, the dragon can be stolen right from underneath them. Even worse, if players do have map awareness but have no lane priority, that means that the dragon is as good as gone because you or your teammates cannot rotate to contest the objective.
How does it help you improve when you play support?
When players want to get better at LoL, they normally go back to the basics. They work on farming, trading, teamfight strategy, managing waves and other cornerstones of LoL gameplay. It can get very complicated quickly when you have to do all of them at once. If there is too much going on, it can be easy to lose sight of what you were trying to practice. This means that instead of getting a little better at everything, you get better at nothing because everything is so clumped together. This is where playing support can come in handy.
By starting out as support, players can learn the basics before they learn anything else, meaning that they would have a stronger foundation than other players. By queueing up as support, players can learn a lot from watching others and from their own actions. It teaches you integral parts of the game such as warding, watching the minimap and having map awareness, understanding the cooldowns of summoner spells and what it takes to trade.
The reason this is best to learn as a support is because as a laner, it can be difficult at first to keep track of the minimap, teammates, enemies, and the creeps they have to get. Starting out playing support allows you to have the time to check the minimap and send out pings to your allies to come help with something important or to avoid certain plays.
Lastly, and probably the hardest, is understanding the cooldowns of enemy summoner spells. As a support, players learn to relay this information by typing the time the enemy will have the spell back. This type of awareness makes it so your team can easily track these abilities and makes it harder for enemies to get the drop on you.
Now, the big question is ‘How does playing support help me with farm?’. When playing By watching your ADC farm you can understand how much damage a tower does to them, how to manipulate waves — and when you play ADC yourself, it helps you figure out how to farm with another laner.
Playing support does not give you this information as quickly and has to be worked for, but it gives players a good place to start. This way, when they decide to move onto another role, it is a bit easier to understand the other aspects and farming will eventually come to them as well. All foundational elements of good League of Legends play are present in the Support role, and it’s therefore well worth familiarizing yourself with it.