Our League of Legends: Best Support Champions 2018 guide explains how to play support and pick the strongest support for your team.
The support player in League of Legends often goes underappreciated, although it can be one of the most important and impactful roles on your team.
There’s a lot of diversity within the role too, and so every champion in this category isn’t just about monitoring your team’s health bars. Sure, there are a number of supports that serve as healers, but there are others that bring crowd control, shields, engagement tools and disruption skills that are all extremely useful for the team.
At the start of a match you’ll almost always find yourself in botlane paired with the ADC, where your job is to ensure they can gather gold with relative ease, while also looking for opportunities to poke or secure kills on the opposing pair. Vision is an important part of your job too, to prevent the pair of you from being caught out of position by roaming players. Much of this strategy will carry over into the later stages of a match too.
While you have many different responsibilities, how you play will also depend on the type of support you pick. We’ve highlighted five of the best support champions in the game right now, covering a few niche specialities that will bring unique advantages (and disadvantages) to your team composition.
Nami is highly rated as one of, if the 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.
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.
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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.
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 skill 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.
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.