Undercut Magic – A Rundown of AP Supports in Season 8
Tue 12th Jun 2018 - 8:40pm
With the release of Pyke, the first legitimate AD Support in League of Legends, we are seeing a return of damage-oriented Supports to the solo queue meta. However, with Pyke seeing his introduction to League of Legends being met with him being on the forefront of the ban list in ranked games (I myself banning him every game on the release patch for good reason), if you want to bring damage to the bot lane from the Support role you will have to go to the slightly more traditional AP Supports (since running a second AD doesn’t work as the gold starvation is too impactful on the non-farming marksman). So, therefore, I’m going to give you a rundown of the ten AP supports that can be played (within reason) in the bot lane while building full AP with a Support item. The ten champions covered are being looked at with a full AP damage build (even if they can build a more utilitarian route and do so with the competitive meta) and I hope to provide you with a selection for a new pick to your pool.
Now I hear you say, "Annie used to be meta! Why is she at the bottom of the pile?" Well, it's simple. The nerfs to her auto-attack range and surprise factor. This lack of power just makes Annie too telegraphed and unable to utilize Spellthief's effectively. Despite Annie having good engage and decent damage, the lack of consistency and easier counterplay just makes Annie a sub-par AP support today.
Karma is, and has been, a frequent meta staple in recent times, so why is she so low down on this list? It’s simply down to one word: scaling. Meta Karma scales in the mid and late game with utility items such as Redemption and Ardent Censer but AP Karma doesn’t build these items and so she doesn’t scale as well as her AP ratios aren’t great compared to her base ability values that let her bully in the early game. It is this scaling disparity that moves Karma so far down this list to ninth.
Zyra has been a Support for many seasons now, despite her initially being designed as a mid laner. Zyra saw a lot of play in Seasons 3 through 5 and subsequently she saw a gradual stream of nerfs go her way. Eventually this resulted in Zyra going into a power trough that she hasn’t emerged from in some time. While AP is her correct build, it is her lack of power that has resulted in her being place eighth on the list. However, she could climb if the recent buffs (on Patch 8.11) have a decent impact on the Rise of the Thorns.
What can I say about AP Support Veigar? Well, it's about being a huge hit or miss pick as either Support Veigar will get the AP via his passive and items early to become a threat to the enemy ADC or he will be straight up useless. However, Veigar is in a good power spot, so he isn’t lower down on this list. These factors together make Support Veigar very hard to judge.
AP Morgana finds herself surprisingly high on the list for a plethora of reasons. Like Zyra, the Fallen Angel was designed a mid laner but has been a staple in the Support role so her base damages are decent to high, but the reasons AP Morgana is so high on this list are the fact she still retains her pick potential from the three second snare on a successful Dark Binding and her disengage potential from Black Shield means that she still retains some utility while bring extra damage from her AP build. A respectable rank of sixth for a respectable amount of potential.
Lux Support is surprisingly high on this list. When I have played this pick I have found it a case of being squishier than a sponge holding acid. This is likely due to Lux having a miserable starting HP of just 490 at level 1. So why is Lux so high on this list? Well it may be due to AP being the optimal itemization route for Lux, but, in my opinion, it is more due to what Lux brings as a package when it comes to directing a teamfight. The wave clear to deny dives, the pick potential of the double snare, and the huge amount of area of effect damage gives Lux immense teamfight potential and this is the main reason the Lady of Luminosity finds herself in the top half of this list.
Now, now, put the pitchforks down, I’m not trolling. First, I want you to consider what the jobs of a Support are. To me, it is to gain vision and zone control of unseen areas (either offensively or defensively), while either killing the enemy ADC (especially if your damage oriented) or peeling for your own. Well during my time testing Support Teemo, the two things he does very well are getting zone control (thanks to good use of a Sightstone item and his ultimate, Noxious Trap) and killing the enemy ADC (or at least shutting down their damage thanks to his Q, Blinding Dart). This alongside the respectable damage from the AP build makes Teemo a surprisingly effective Support that has more than earned his surprisingly lofty place on this list.
Korea’s latest AP Support flavor. Fiddle finds himself at third on this list because he is probably one of the most obnoxious support to lane against as his E, Dark Wind, makes things very difficult as he can poke you from behind your own minions while he can disengage single engage threats very easily with his Q, Terrify. His ultimate forces you to ward awkwardly or face that AoE Crowstorm. These three things together create an AP Support package that is disgusting, hence why Fiddlesticks is so high on this list.
The go-to bot lane mage for several seasons now has been Brand and, to be honest, for good reason. The fact of the matter is the immense burn damage (and synergy with Liandry’s Torment) alongside the huge AoE from his ultimate and chaining of passives in choke points creates an AP Support who just does his job of AP nuking in the bot lane very, very well and that is hard to beat. So while Brand may only be second, he is definitively an AP threat that you should be wary of, even with the lower gold supply of Support.
So why is Vel’Koz the king of the hill here? Well for the fact that Vel’Koz can do everything that those below him can do to an equal or better degree (this includes poking, wave clear, nuking and picking off enemy targets) with his increased damage output (via his true damage passive, Organic Deconstruction) and long range on his Q. It is this simple fact that pushes the Eye of the Void that bit further than his competitors, and so he tops this list of Ability Power-oriented Supports.
To conclude, the AP support can bring in a lot and fill a lot of holes within a team composition. However, this means they have to fit the comp and when they don’t, they tend to fail. But an AP Support can still be a great tool and should you pick up one of our top 10. I hope you do so and that it works in the right way with the right teammates. With that, I leave you with the thought of GL, HF, and GG.
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