Support Item Changes and What It Means for Support Champions
Tue 4th Jul 2017 - 9:16am
As you have no doubt heard, 7.12 brought huge changes to Support Items. Here’s a quick rundown of the item changes, along with what it means for the meta and what different types of Supports should build with the current changes.
Locket of the Iron Solari
In summary, Locket’s base shield value went down and it now scales off bonus health. Locket no longer is a go-to item for all Supports. It is an early buy for tank Supports, but for other Supports, it becomes a 4th, 5th, or last item purchase. Depending on the game, some Supports might not even buy it at all.
Health and health regeneration down, while Mana regeneration increased. Base heal decreased but now scales better off heal/shield amplifiers (3x as much).
Added magic resist and more armor while removing ability power. Passive now creates slowing storm when triggered, instead of granting ability power and critical strike chance. This storm is triggered when casting your ultimate near your ally, causing ally’s basic attacks to ignite for 10 seconds. Enemies inside your frost storm are slowed by 20% and your ally’s attacks burn their target for 50% bonus magic damage over 2 seconds.
Athene's Unholy Grail
Now converts mana regeneration into ability power (5 AP per +.25% bonus mana regeneration), with less cooldown reduction.
Banner of Command
No longer grants mana and added Point Runner as a passive to help siege/defend turrets.
Added cooldown reduction and removed health regeneration.
Added armor and cooldown reduction, while reducing the health added. No longer grants Catalyst of Aeon’s Eternity passive (as the build path changed). Slow nova now automatically triggers if an enemy champion is within close proximity
Meaning for the Meta
Tank Supports are back. Braum, Tahm Kench, Blitzcrank, Taric, and Alistar all benefited from the item changes to bring them back into the focus. Blitzcrank even saw play in the LCS. Tank Supports now have a means to gain cooldown for their abilities. This is the biggest change that brings them back to top tiers of Support Champions. This was something they heavily missed compared to other types of Support, which had multiple options to gain cooldown reduction. The changes to Locket make it an excellent Support item for tank Supports. At level 18, Locket’s shield gains 36% of your bonus health. Simply buying standard tank Support items like Knight’s Vow and Randuin’s Omen will make Locket stronger. With the scaling off bonus health, tanks now have a shield to rival built-in ability shields like those of Lulu and Karma. Tahm Kench, at the moment, can take advantage of Zeke’s new passive (canceling his Abyssal Voyage, R, procs it). Together, these changes leveled the playing field for tank Supports. Locket, Knight’s Vow, and Redemption are good buys in any situation as a tank Support. Other items, depending on the situation, can include Righteous Glory, Zeke's Convergence, Randuin’s Omen, Gargoyle Stoneplate, Frozen Heart, or Abyssal Mask. This gives a good balance of utility, while providing the ability to be a tank.
While tank Supports benefited, damage supports are out of the Meta. Malzahar himself was changed to bring him back to the midlane. Others, like Zyra, just find themselves at a disadvantage building Support items, as they will not scale even close to the amount as Locket would on Braum or Redemption would on Soraka. They can still go the AP damage route, but this will not provide the team any utility. It can also be very gold dependent.
Shield and healing Supports are still in (perhaps even more if that is possible) with more build variety. Supports like Lulu no longer are set in their build path as they once were. These Supports can choose from Ardent Censor, Redemption, Athene’s, and Zeke’s as their first couple items and then build Mikael’s Crucible, Locket, Banner of Command, or Zz’Rot Portal depending on the situation. As mentioned before, Redemption now scales 3 times greater off heal/shield amplifiers. This means that the common first two items of Ardent and Redemption now both build off each other. However, with Redemption’s base health decreasing, it no longer has to be the first item built, as was commonly done prior to 7.12. Athene’s now gives AP off of bonus mana regeneration, meaning buying Redemption, Ardent, etc will grant AP with an Athene’s purchase. Riot even nerfed Karma as these item changes were made due to how powerful shield and healing Supports can be off these items. One thing to keep in mind is that Athene’s cancels any Harmony (like Mikael’s).
Here is some sample optimal item builds (with Keystone) and what it now allows each Champion to do. All are built with the Gold Item/Sightstone combined, which can be changed depending on your preference. Although, with the changes in Support items, having the extra slot seems more valuable now with the amount of options now available to build.
Lulu/Soraka/Sona/Karma (Windspeaker's): Censor -> Redemption -> Zeke's -> Athene's
First, Windspeaker's is the best Keystone for these Supports. Thunderlord's still can provide harassment in lane and is still viable, but with the changes to the Support items, Windspeaker's synergy is too good to pass up. With Redemption's being amplified 3x as much on shield/heal amplifiers, Winspeaker's 10% becomes 30%. Basically, you are giving up early game pressure for mid and late game utility. You should have enough utility in your kit to stay even in your lane with Windspeaker's and the gains given mid and late make Windspeaer's too valuable to pass up. With the base healing reduced on Redemption, it should not be build first. Building Ardent first (and combined with Windspeaker's), allows for redemption to have a strong impact when built. With the next item, you will have the max of 40% cooldown reduction. This is a perfect time to build Zeke's, as your ultimate will have the shortest cooldown at this stage, meaning you will have maxed out the Zeke's potential. Zeke's also covers the armor/magic resistance that is lost from not building Locket. It actually swaps the armor/magic resistance values of Locket. With usual amount of AD in games, this becomes more valuable than Locket's statistics. Also at this time, your shields should be very strong with this build and the extra small shield from Locket might not be very valuable compared to having the new Zeke's passive. I would then build Athene's, as at this time you should be able to gain around the most AP from the Dissonance passive.
Janna (Windspeaker's): Censor -> Redemption -> Zeke's -> Athene's
Janna is no different than the category above. I have it separate to discuss one thing, Zeke's. At the moment, there seems to be a misconception about Janna's ultimate making Zeke's irrelevant on her, as she knocks back enemy Champions away from her and thus out of the Zeke's storm. This does not, however, stop a teamfight, nor your ADC/teams basic attacks, who are the one's needing to be in the Zeke's storm. Further, Zeke's range is larger than Janna ultimate range. I repeat, Zeke's range is larger than Janna's ultimate range. Thus, when enemy Champions are knocked back from Janna's ultimate, they are still in the Zeke's passive range, meaning the Zeke's slow will still be on them, and your melee teammates will get the basic attack ignite from Zeke's if they leave your ultimate. Still, even after the initial knockback, the enemy team may re-engage the fight back into your ultimate area. Zeke's passive will still be active and you could be potentially still healing in your ultimate, keeping Zeke's passive up.
Thresh/Leona/Blitzcrank/Alistar (Courage/Stoneborn): Locket -> Knight's Vow -> Zeke's
For full tank Supports, Locket is the first purchase. It will give you your tank resistance statistics while giving you a shield to help keep up with healing/shielding Supports. Also, it should have some scaling on the shield value with the building of Eye of the Equinox. Knight's Vow should be built next to help redirect damage to your ADC onto you. Zeke's fits perfectly on tank Supports. Not only does it give armor/magic resistance, the new passive works best on the playstyle of these Supports. These Supports have ultimates that require them to be right in the middle of team fights. This means you should be in a good position to proc the slow on enemies and igniting your teammate's basic attacks. By the time your core items are built, you will also have 30% cooldown reduction. This was something greatly missed on tank Supports. For example, take Blitzcrank, a Champion that heavily relies on his hook (Q). With a missed hook, Blitzcrank basically became just an extra body in lane, with not a lot to add. With the cooldown reduction from these items, it allows Blitzcrank to have more of an impact with less down time. Alistar was in a similar position before these changes, as he heavily relied on his W-Q combo. After using this combo, his "usefulness" had a huge dropoff. The added cooldown levels the playing field for tank supports to heal/shielding supports who already had this cooldown in the past. Cooldown could have been gained by building Frozen Heart or Iceborn Gauntlet, but you lost out on a lot of health by choosing one of these two items over something like Randuin's. With this build set, you gain the cooldown reduction as well as the armor, magic resistance, and health needed to be a tank. You also do not lose out on all the mana from not building Frozen Heart, since Zeke's gives 250 mana.
Taric/Rakan (Windspeaker's): Zeke's -> Censor -> Redemption
Taric and Rakan have the ability to build two different ways with their playsyle and kits. With Windspeaker's on these two Champions, you will notice that Zeke's is instead built first and not third when compared to Lulu, Karma, etc. The reason is that these two champions have to be more into the middle of fights and not around the outer edge. Zeke's as a first item allows the build up of some tank resistance, allowing you to stay alive when you have to engage/disengage for your team. By the end of this build, you will be at the same spot as Supports like Lulu and Karma.
Taric/Rakan (Courage/Stoneborn): Knight's Vow -> Zeke's -> Locket
If you want a tankier build on Taric and Rakan, I would go Knight's Vow, into Zeke's, into Locket. Both these two Champions have shields in their kits, meaning Locket does not need to be built until it has other items built that will scale its shield value. Knight's Vow and Zeke's allow for the tank statistics needed for going up against an ADC and ganks from (most likely) an AD Jungler.
Riot achieved their goal of adding more variety back to the Support role, while trying to take out damage/AP Supports. Healing/shielding Support mains should be happy as they stay in the Meta and tank Support mains, which had been left out for some time, can now return to their glory.
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