Welcome to this guide, I'm SmoothHomie and I've been maining support for about 10 months now. In this guide I'll try to explain fundamentals, general match ups(writing specific match ups would take too much time so I might do a video on it in near future), wave management, rotations, objective control, late game team fighting, build possibilities, and a personal tier list for ranked supports. Guide is mainly directed towards conquest players, from beginners to those that already have experience in it. I also encourage you to discuss any parts of this guide and any recommendation or critique is welcomed.
5.21 - Nothing changed, patch before the worlds.
We will quickly go through the fundamentals mainly because everything else is going to be discussed later on. They come down to: map awareness, understanding your role in your current team composition and warding.
This is going to be your bread and butter, depending on it you will be making most of your decisions, mainly including: how you play your lane before level 5, general warding areas, rotations and counter rotations, objective calls and etc. My personal advice if you find yourself lacking in it to set a timer that will beep every 5-7 seconds in order to remind you to check the map.
Understanding your role
Support gods can be classified in two general categories that have some small subcategories. They are engage and peel supports, but that doesn't mean that engage supports can sometimes peel and vice versa. Perfect example of that would probably be Athena, you can save your taunt for either offensive or defensive use depending on your team composition. An example of when Athena could probably peel is when you have an engage solo laner and jungle that can dive enemy background, mainly it would be something like Cu Chulainn solo and Ne Zha or Hun Batz jungle.
Your job is to be aware of your compositions flaws and benefits and look to play in the way it's going to be the most effective.
Few examples of peel support would be: Geb, Ganesha, Khepri, Kumbhakarna.
And those of the engage: Ares, Sobek, Bacchus.
Warding is your bread and butter in every single role and even more so as support. It allows you to be safe from gank and make proper decisions depending on what information you have from them. We will divide it in early game, mid game and late game warding.
Types of Match Ups
Match ups can be divided into three categories: beneficial, even and losing ones. Here we will cover how to play each one, how to push your leads and how to gracefully lose the lane. Be aware that pressure in lane in most cases depend on the support, but don't forget to keep in mind adcs as well, those such as Rama, Ullr, Izanami, Anhur have a huge amount of either wave clear or kill pressure and others like Cupid or Jing Wei not so much.
Beneficial or winning match ups are considered ones who have almost guaranteed chance to win the pressure in lane, few of high pressure supports are: Sylvanus, Ymir, Ne Zha, Cerberus, Artio. Winning a lane doesn't necessary mean that you have to get kills, it also involves being able to out push enemy duo lane and invade their buffs off the cool down, generating an experience and a gold lead. Important opportunity for snowballing the lane is once you hit the level 2 and 3. Exact moment when you hit level 2 in lane is: after two waves and one more melee minion, after two waves plus small creeps on a buff(a huge opportunity to turn on enemy duo lane in case they decide to contest the purple) or a wave, a buff and two melee minions. Having another two abilities up over the enemy duo lane gives you a decent amount of kill pressure or an opportunity to force the enemy either to back to base or consume their potions which in return allows you to continue your pressure against them. Another important snowballing opportunity comes by hitting level 3. You can deny enemy team hitting the level 3 sooner if they decide to go for their purple by freezing the wave and denying creep experience(note, if by some chances one of you miss a creep somehow calculating exact time when you're going to hit level 3 gets a bit harder!)Be aware of the possibility that enemy jungler did a red buff start! Best way of noticing that is to keep the eye on enemy solo laner, whether he goes for his blue buff after the first wave or not. In case he goes missing on the map there is a possibility for the early jungler gank.
Even match ups are those where you clear the wave at almost the same time, having a complete wash, in these scenarios it's mostly the best idea simply to secure your own purple buff unless you have an opportunity to poke enemy duo lane depending on your match up, whether you have an early game adc such as Anhur or a late game carry such as Rama or Artemis is the most decisive factor, most of the cases forcing early fight with late hyper carry is an unnecessary risk where you could farm and out scale the enemy team in mid to late game depending on your power spikes.
Losing match ups are those where you are guaranteed to get out cleared and/or are in risk of getting killed, an example is support that has barely any wave clear in the first couple levels such as Geb, Bacchus and Fafnir. The best possible way to play it out is to look for an early poke on enemy duo lane, depending on the match ups. Forcing them to step back a little bit and allowing you to be the ones who will start hitting the wave first. In that case you can either out clear or make the first wave push even. Allowing you to even secure your own buff or look for a further poke and pressure on the second wave which would in turn allow you to invade their own buff.
Wave management in duo lane is really important, in winning match ups you are mainly looking to keep the wave constantly pushed and showed into enemy turret causing enemy to lose gold under it and allowing you to invade where enemy duo lane is forced to choose between having the experience from the wave or contesting their own buff. In even match ups, depending how the laning phase goes you can look to either push the wave, keep the waves neutral in mid or look to freeze in front of your turret line, allowing you to be safe from any possible ganks. In case of losing match ups you're looking to mainly have the wave neutral if you don't win the early poke or have the wave freeze in front of your turret line for the reason mentioned above.
Rotations are closely related with your map awareness and decision making. Knowing where approximately where each member of the enemy team is, how good is each of your lanes performing and where you would be most effective is all to be considered when deciding where to rotate.
Starting rotations usually occur around level 5 or 6, or by the time you complete your 2nd back(the one where you get your boots finished). Mid lane is usually the preferred lane to rotate to because of the fact that you can quickly answer to or make plays on both parts of map from that point. You can also opt to camp the enemy adc in order to make a lead on your adc or force invades. Another option is to casually chill if you sure that your team is going to out scale the enemy team and prevent any possible plays on your own team.
This is mainly for early to mid game
So we have talked about warding objectives in order to make sure the enemy team doesn't sneak them from us, now let us talk about objective control while your team is trying to take one. Having a decent vision from the possible entering paths of enemy team would make this easier, but in case you don't your job is to zone the enemy team off the objective while your team secures it if your current god is capable of that, ones that are quite potent in it are Sobek and Cerberus. Another option is to bait enemy team while faking an objective pull and pick off enemies incoming by ccing them for your team. In some cases you also might be the one securing the objective in case if you're a god with good confirm once again Sobek with his Lurking In The Waters and Ymir with his Shards of Ice while someone else zones the enemies.
In case you are suspicious of enemy team pulling an objective while you don't have any vision of the pit, in most cases it would be best if you face check it in case if you're a mobile support such as Fafnir or Cerberus for example and getting the vision of it for your team, if you lack mobility and no one else from your team with mobility is in position to check it would be preferred for you to check it once again if you decide to contest the objective, that way you're in position to cc the enemies on the objective or those collapsing on you in case of a trap and set up them for your team who even if you die will be able to get couple of kills in return.
This one is slightly more complicated to explain mainly due to the fact that there are so much possible situations and circumstances so we will just go over the most common ones. Late game Team Fights will usually occur either in the objective pits, jungle or during the sieges.
Objective Pits and Jungle Fights
Read above objective control, now the main difference is going to be that this time you will usually be in a 5v5 situation comparing to mostly 4v4 as mentioned above. Now it will once again come to understanding what is your role in your team composition, whether you're the one who is going to be peeling or engaging. Important part to mention about how important peeling is, is that if you're able to make room between your carries and enemy divers they can easily burn through enemy divers and allowing you to win fights.
Picking up jungle fights is also really dependent on your team composition, if you feel like your team has an advantage fighting in choke points around jungle(for example you have a Poseidon) then your main job will be to bait the enemy team by faking an objective pull. That can be achieved by grouping up at the pit, counter warding the pit, then proceeding to fake the zoning while enemy team tries to get the vision on objective. This will require a deeper vision that on the average because you must be aware of potential flanks from enemy team.
Late game sieges are sometimes really hard to pull off, unless you have a superior sieging team and can easily poke out the enemy team and force them off the phoenix then your job will be to bait enemy abilities and relics if you're main engage on your team. Perfect example is if you're Athena, you'd want to make constant resets with your taunt. Move in, taunt and try to get some beads and poke on enemy team, reset and regen with fire giant buff, repeat. In case if you're a peel support your job will be to take care of your back line, making sure that both of your carries are safe and not being zoned by enemy divers is your primary task.
The most common start on supports are Guardian's Blessing, Shoes, 3 Healing Potion and 3 Multi Potion plus a relic of your choice which will be discussed a bit further. You can also go for an upgraded relic by not going for Shoes.
Other possible start includes not going for Shoes and instead buying Chalice of Healing plus up to 5 more potions of your choice, this start allows you to absorb the enemy pressure in losing matches or make even more aggressive plays with double Healing Potion ticking.
Chalice of the Oracle is an interesting pick up which allows you to save gold after your 10th ward, but keep in mind it forces you to spend 400 gold at the beginning and it makes you extremely vulnerable in the laning phase due to the enemy support having a higher amount of potions in the start.
Other possible blessing are Mage's Blessing and Hunter's Blessing if you want to cheese and look for an early pick or play. Be aware that if it doesn't succeeds you will fall heavily behind due to Guardian's Blessing nature.
Items in Detail
Keep in mind, this is my personal opinion on the ranked supports, if you disagree with it feel free to comment and we can discuss it.
Also another note is that I don't recommend for those that have just started learning support to try warriors, mages and assassins support until they don't get some experience in the role.
Thank you for reading this guide, hope You have enjoyed it and found at least something useful. Once again, I'd like to encourage you to discuss anything inside of this guide and look for a better possibility, and not take it for granted.