How to win Bot Lane: Supports
Thu 17th May 2012 - 9:30pm
One of the most popular first picks in competitive play is support. They make good first picks because they're inherently hard to counter. The problem is that suCCessfully counterpicking a support will not ensure your teams advantage like counterpicking top lane will, it will just make the lane a bit easier. So instead of counterpicking a bot lane match up, supports are frequently picked by how they will help the overall team.
All champions have strengths and weaknesses, and if you can hone in on one of those and cripple them you can give your team a huge advantage. Here is a look at the champions commonly played bot lane and how to pick against them.
Disclaimer: These picks are only concerning which champions can make the life of the support hard. The theory is that if you can dominate the support, the AD carry will essentially be alone in lane which will allow you to gain the upper hand.
Janna is one of the most popular support picks for good reason. Her utility is insane and her ability to make plays is almost unparalleled, but she does have some weaknesses.
How to beat Janna
Janna's strength lies in the fact she has an absolutely inane amount of utility. She has a knock up, a knock back, a slow, and a shield/ad buff all on top of a passive move speed increase. There is simply too much crowd control in her kit to pick one champion which avoids it all, so the best thing to do for Janna, is pick someone with high mobility.
A champion with a gap closer makes for a strong lane against Janna. Graves and Ezreal are both great picks because their gap closers aren't too strongly attached to their damage output. This is why Tristana has a rough time dealing with Janna; although she has a gap closer, it is a huge part of her burst so saving it until after she has been CC'd means that she has a hard time scaring Janna into using that CC. To some extent, Caitlyn's 90 Caliber Net and Vayne's Tumble can work, but aren't quite as effective as others. On the support side, a champion with a gap closer will help you reinitiate a fight, as will any long range CC.
It is also very helpful to have a good burst champion to quickly cut down Janna's Eye of the Storm, making Graves and Corki Great picks against Janna. By quickly dropping the shield you can quickly take away an advantage that often coaxes players into overextending to harass.
Good picks against Janna: Graves, Corki, Ezreal | Leona, Blitzcrank, Nautilus
Weak picks against Janna: Ashe, Twitch, Sivir | Alistar, Soraka
Alistar is extremely popular for the same reason that Janna is; he is a wellspring of utility. He has 2 forms of CC and a heal meaning there are almost no situations where he can do nothing to help.
How to beat Alistar
Alistar in lane will almost always be looking for when he can jump in with a Headbutt Pulverize combo, or a Flash Pulverize. Above all, to beat Alistar, positioning is king. His heal is small enough usually that specifically picking a champion for the heal debuff is almost a waste. Mobility is a great bonus, but all you really need to beat Alistar is good mechanical skills.
One thing that can be very helpful is a champion that has strong harass or good range. If you can keep alistar using his heal on cooldown, or force him to put all of his points into heal, it will give you more lane safety. Having longer cooldowns on all of his abilities well help ensure that if you do get initiated on, you can get out of the fight before his CC is back up. Another thing that can be very helpful is vision on the bushes. For this reason, Caitlyn's traps can force Alistar to initiate from disadvantageous locations giving you a better chance to move to safety. As a support, this can mean buying more wards than normal to keep the bushes warded.
If it's not possible to completely avoid Alistar, say you're having a very rough time in lane, you should focus on mitigating the strength of his Headbutt Pulverize combo. This can be done with Sivir's spell shield, the silence on Soraka's Infuse, or the shield or polymorph on Lulu's kit.
Good picks against Alistar: Sivir, Caitlyn, Ashe | Soraka, Lulu, Janna
Weak picks against alistar: Kog'Maw, Tristana, Vayne | Taric, Blitzcrank, Nunu
Soraka is the queen of sustain, she can single handedly keep almost all ad carries full on both mana and health. Even after the sustain nerfs Soraka remains a very strong bot lane choice, especially for lanes that want to just farm up into late game.
How to beat Soraka
Sorakas plan in lane will likely run along the lines of "Heal the carry, place a ward" for most of the laning phase. So to deal with Soraka, there are a few things to keep in mind. Her heal applies a large armor buff, but it has a relatively long cooldown, for most of the laning phase it will be around 17-20 seconds. The armor buff lasts 5 seconds giving you around a ten second window wherein you will want to get your burst off. Another approach is to simply pick a champion with a healing debuff that can be applied when a fight starts, or characters with strong armor debuffs such as Corki and Taric.
To really best Soraka in lane, a kill lane is ideal. With enough CC and burst, it is possible to kill Soraka before she can get any of her heals off. Another great decision against Soraka is an early oracles. Because Soraka lacks much utility beyond sustain, warding becomes a very important job. If you can shut down her wards you reduce her to a heal bot; this is of course on top of the normal benefits of getting an early oracles.
Expect a jungler with strong CC against a Soraka lane to make up for Soraka's lack. This makes an early Oracle's an even more attractive idea as it will allow you much stronger control of the entrances to your lane. That in turn will give you the opportunity to set up strong counter ganks, or safely position yourself for a very aggressive lane.
Good picks against Soraka: Miss Fortune, Tristana, Corki, Vayne | Taric, Blitzcrank, Sona
Weak picks against Soraka: Kog'Maw, Sivir, Caitlyn | Nunu, Lulu, Nautilus
Sona has one of the strongest ults of any support, Crescendo can allow Sona to stun an entire team in a teamfight situation. In lane, it gives her the capability to stun both the AD Carry and the Support at the same time allowing for uninhibited focus of one character.
How to beat sona
Sona has relatively strong sustain, as well as having one of the more complex kits of any support. Depending on what spell was most recently cast her, passive Power Chord can deal large amounts of extra damage or slow. Because Sona's kit is so diverse she can fit and adapt to various different roles depending on how the lane is playing out.
To beat Sona, it's important to take advantage of her weaknesses. For her to be really effective in lane, or to deal with different situations, Sona must use a large amount of mana. As a very spam happy champion, Sona can easily run low, or out of mana during lane. Keeping pressure on Sona, especially with heavy harass, can force her to swap between Aria of Perseverance and Hymn of Valor for the heal and armor/MR buffs. Another weakness that is often overlooked is that Sona is huge. Sona's hitbox is large enough that she becomes a very easy target for skill shots, making the jobs of Ezreal, Blitzcrank, and Corki considerably easier.
It can be especially helpful against a lane with sona to have a strong ganking jungler, someone like Skarner or even a good Pantheon can create a living hell for Sona.
Good Picks against Sona: Sivir, Caitlyn, Miss Fortune | Taric, Blitzcrank, Lulu
Weak Picks against Sona: Vayne, Ashe, Corki | Soraka, Nunu