Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why You Suck At Support

30 minutes into the game and you’re a 0-7 CM with nothing but boots, a magic wand, and a tp. A team fight breaks out and you go in to nova and frostbite but you die instantly as you get caught in all the AOE flying around.
While waiting to respawn, you realize you’re a walking feed machine and debate whether you should just sit in the fountain for the rest of the game rather than give the enemy team free gold and exp.
And worse, you have no idea how you ended up in this situation.
This is a very common scenario among players that are new to the support role. Even experienced support players may find themselves in this situation from time to time.
It is largely a result of something I like to call the “Autopilot Support”.

What is the Autopilot Support?
Basically it’s when you are playing a support and blindly follow a set of guidelines without taking the context of what’s happening in the game into account.

These are the main guidelines that lead most support players to their doom:
1. Buy chick and wards. Upgrade the courier as well.
2. Let your carry have all the cs while you harass the opponents and deny.
3. Roam around the map and gank.
4. It’s better for you to die instead of someone else.

The list is exactly what a support should be doing which is why it’s hard to avoid falling into the trap. You get a false sense that you are being useful while in reality it’s not the case.
Although the guidelines sum up the support role pretty well, doing these things excessively without thinking can actually be harmful.

These are the common mistakes that support players make which slowly add up and lead you into the feeder CM situation:
Buying both chick AND wards at the start of the game
Either get one or the other. Stat items and regen are far more important. If possible, split the duty with another support. Don’t try and be the hero support that takes on all the burden because it will only hinder your development.

Upgrading the chick to crow when the game starts
Most of the time, courier use isn’t in very high demand for the first 3 minutes or so. Better to get wards or more stats/regen. Once people start burning through their starting regen is when you want to upgrade the courier.

Trying too hard to harass in lane
I often come across supports who try to harass at the wrong times or in the wrong position and pay for it. They draw creep agro on them as they trade hits with the enemy and come out with a losing exchange. Once they use up their regen they’re pretty much useless as they have no gold and need to play passively.
Or they stick around trying to harass as your creepwave is dying and get killed because they left themselves exposed.

Mindless roaming
A lot of times supports spend way too much time wandering the map looking for gank opportunities that never come. As a result, they end up underleveled and underfarmed.
Watch how the lanes are going and learn to recognize when enemy heroes will become exposed so you can get there on time. If you don’t see any opportunities developing, stay in your lane and soak up exp or pull.

Neglecting farm
If nothing is happening in the game, go get some farm. It’s not uncommon to come across a creepwave that your carry won’t be able to reach quickly. Take advantage of this and get every cs you can.
The jungle is a great source of income and the majority of supports have spells that let them kill neutrals with ease.
Supports DO need some gold in order to function properly. They need to get boots, bulk up with hp, and continue to buy wards/tps. Going through a whole game with only 3cs means you’re probably doing something wrong.

Trying too hard to place wards
Newer supports feel the incredible urge to keep wards up at all times and will force themselves to try and set them up. They then proceed to get easily picked off as they roam into enemy territory to try and place a ward.
Always keep in mind where enemy heroes are and if it’s safe to ward a certain area. Sometimes you may have to opt for a less than optimal placement because it’s just too dangerous to put it where you want.

Too many wards
Recognize when you are buying too many obs and sentries instead of getting items for yourself. This is how you end up with no items late into the game. It’s okay to delay warding/dewarding a bit to farm a bracer or 2. Try and split warding duties with another support if possible.

If you find yourself doing several of these things, you are probably a victim of autopilot support syndrome. No worries though as several people, myself included, have encountered this problem.
The next time you are supporting, be aware of these mistakes and make an effort to avoid them.  You will find yourself dying a lot less and being a bigger asset to your team.

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