Autofilled: Five Exceptional Support Picks for When Your Time Comes
Fri 15th Nov 2019 - 8:06pm
Alright! Time to play some solo queue. We hit the "play" button, queue up mid/top, get into our lobby, and....
Oh no, we're autofilled at support. We don't play support! Guess we better just pick Lux like everyone else does and build full damage.
Wait, no? What's that we're hearing? There's better picks? Are you sure? But I thought Lux support was the pinnacle of solo queue supports because of damage right? It's all about the numbers.
Alright, we're all ears, but hurry up, the timer is ticking fast and we still haven't locked in
Sound like you? If this is you, (and I'm sure this has definitely been you at some point, this article is for you. Today I'm going to share with you a few of my favorite (and consistent) picks in terms of supports that I think you should be quick to lock in when autofilled.
Let's dive in.
Nautilus, The Titan of the Depths
This pick would probably be my second favorite on the list. Introducing a man who needs no introduction - Nautilus. This guy is a fortified bastion of mystery and intrigue, coming from the waters below with an anchor to drag down the LP of those who find themselves crossing his path.
Nautilus brings a plethora of advantages to your team. His early-game damage in lane between levels 1-3 is pretty absurd. He brings three guaranteed (barring interference from things like stasis and untargetablility) forms of crowd control: a stun that's triggered on his first auto-attack on any target, a close-range area-of-effect slow, and a knockup that hones in on its target until it arrives, even knocking up other enemies that may also be in the trajectory. He not only works well with all of the basic support items like Knight's Vow and Zeke's Convergence, but also can build tankier items like Frozen Heart (one of my personal favorites into anything not Jhin and Ezreal), Thornmail (good for those sustain comps), and even Randuin's Omen (looking at you, Yasuo mains). His engages are strong enough to reliably play into anything, even going toe-to-toe with strong disengage champs like Janna. Long story short, if it's caught by Naut, it'll never be for naught. See what I did there?
I'll also let you in on a little hint: I almost always autolock Nautilus whenever I see an enemy Vayne, Xayah, or Ezreal. With Vayne, you never have to worry about her annoying tumbling and stealth if she's running away from your knockup all teamfight or dying because she was hit by it. It's almost a guaranteed trade with Xayah for ults, which allows your enemies to follow up on her. Lastly, it gives you a way to catch Ezreal, whose Arcane Shift paired with the common Iceborn Gauntlet build makes him a formidable foe and extremely slippery target.
I detailed in another article how to effectively play as and against this champion. If your team composition lacks a solid form of hard engage, lockdown, or peel for your priority damage dealers, Nautilus is your man/deep sea diver guy.
Janna, The Storm's Fury
Of all of the picks on this list, Janna might be the most consistent of them all. Janna usually is among the top 5 to top 10 supports in solo queue in terms of win rates and has been that way for a sizeable majority of the time since becoming a champion in the game. Like Nautilus, Janna brings a lot of crowd control, but uses it in a different way altogether. Where Nautilus is looking to catch people out of position, Janna is looking to disrupt and divide the members of the enemy team while disengaging enemies who get to close to priority targets. A good Janna can literally be the difference between an ADC getting caught out and dying and an ADC turning a fight around for the pentakill.
Janna is one of those champions that I would consider easy to play mechanically, but hard to master in terms of macro and efficiency. The key to being a high-ranked Janna isn't in your ability to cast and land her abilities, but your timing and purpose for using each thing as well as your positioning when you actually cast them. In her kit is a delayable area-of-effect knockup, a targeted slow that, when not used, grants her passive movement speed and the "ghosted" effect (allowing her to move through units), a shield usable on both allies and turrets that also gives bonus attack damage, and an area-of-effect knockback for enemies that also serves as a channeled healing spring for friendly targets. And if you're playing with the Forecast skin, you also get really cool and funny commentary as you cast each and every one of your abilities.
Janna can be played with any traditional marksman in the botlane, but really excels in lanes where your job is to nurture and protect that poor defenseless ADC until they become an unstoppable lategame hypercarry killing machine, think alongside Jinx, Kog'Maw, or Vayne. If you choose to go the more aggressive route, then the more damage, the better. You'll want to pair alongside something like a Lucian, Jhin, Caitlyn or Draven. You'll find it harder to work with champs that require a frontline of sorts to actually function (as you aren't tanky in the slightest, which means you won't be soaking much damage up), so you'll probably want to consider something else if your ADC locks in something like Miss Fortune or Kalista. In terms of what to play against, you'll want to pick Janna when the enemy botlane is looking to all in you with hard engage. Janna typically struggles against mage supports, as they outrange and outdamage her, Morgana, and Blitzcrank.
If your team needs a bit of disengage or just a little backline protection and reinforcement in the form of shields and heals, Janna can be a solid choice for your team to rally behind.
Soraka, The Starchild
Soraka is your quintessential support, or what you'd imagine a support to be: someone who goes around dishing out clutch and reactive healing to all of the people in her squad to keep them from dying. While she has no shields, hard engage, or oppressive sustained damage, Soraka brings to the table a heal-over-time, a global ultimate that heals everyone on the team at the same time, a spammable heal in the form of her W, and an area-of-effect silence that can also function as a root if the enemy stands in it long enough. She also gets an absurd movement speed buff when running towards allies who are severely damaged, aiding her in her ability to get to the action and patch people up as needed.
Although unrelated to her actual prowess in combat, she's only 450 BE in the item shop, so you can pick her up early (even on brand new accounts) and learn her fast. She's also relatively easy to play, with a straightforward and linear playstyle.
Soraka can be played with anything except maybe Kalista optimally (as Kalista needs someone she can throw at the enemy team and the last thing you want to throw at your enemies is a defenseless Soraka). Her healing spells and the high early-game base damage of her offensive spells allow her to bolster and reinforce aggressive laning to secure a lead or kills early. When used defensively, her heals, slow, and silence also allow her to repel assault after assault while buying the precious time needed for her ADC to scale up to be a prominent threat in the game. Unlike Janna, Soraka excels into poke matchups where she can utilize her healing to play the attrition game better, but she is abysmal into matchups where the goal is to jump in on you hard and fast. She's a very forgiving champ in terms of taking damage, but not so much in terms of getting caught out, as she has no escapes whatsoever. Also like Janna, she is vulnerable to champions that have hooks or long ranged snares/bindings as their main offensive spell, so things like Morgana, Blitzcrank, and Pyke. Speaking of assassins, she doesn't do well into comps with lots of those either. But in sustained fights? Soraka's your girl.
Morgana, The Fallen
If you haven't noticed yet, there seems to be a recurring theme among my recommendations for you: the presence of solid and (relatively) easy-to-land and low-cooldown crowd control and a presence in both sustained and short fights. This time, I'm going to throw a bit of a curveball.
Morgana reinforces the idea of crowd control with Dark Binding, a long-range snare that lasts so long that your Nexus will probably fall before you're free from it. To sum it up, if you get hit with it and any enemy is near you that does even a modicum of damage, you're probably better off just opening your item shop up and preparing your next buy. In addition to this is an area-of-effect tether that turns into a root if you're in range of the tethered enemies long enough. These also last very long, so it's easy to see how annoying and crippling Morgana's crowd control can be. But what makes Morgana so annoying isn't her ability to disable and crowd control, but her ability to negate crowd control effects.
Yes, I said it, negate. Meaning none. Null. Nil. Zero.
Black Shield is probably without-a-doubt in the top five for the most game-changing abilities in the game. The ability to negate crowd-control not only on yourself, but other allies too, is extremely powerful and underestimated a lot by people in solo queue. She makes even the people who engage fear engaging, as they have to worry about all of their important CC cooldowns going to waste and being stuck as a result of getting bound on the way out. Mage supports give Morgana the most trouble, as the doesn't have the damage to go blow for blow with them, but even they must be wary of catching a Dark Binding. Lastly, she has more damage than most enchanter supports and the ability to negate anything they'd try to apply to an ally.
If you're looking to simply laugh and dance around the battlefield as you hand kills on a silver platter to your teammates and watch your enemies cup their faces in their hands while their CC bounces off of your teammates, then Morgana is the pick for you.
Leona, The Radiant Dawn
Without further ado, my favorite pick on the list - Leona. Praise the Sun indeed.
Leona for me is like a prettier Nautilus with lower cooldowns and a way to increase the damage her allies do to the target that she locks up (via her passive, Sunlight). Pair this with Font of Life from the Resolve rune tree and, not only will your ally do more damage to your enemy, but also heal off of it! It's the best of both worlds. Leona also comes equipped with a spell that you can use to immediately get temporarily tankier so that when you go in, you know you're going to be soaking some damage. She has a fantastic gapcloser that also roots the target in the form of her Zenith Blade, a ranged area-of-effect stun, and an on-hit stun that also doubles as an auto attack reset if need be.
(One of the last things you want to do is be at the center of a Leona ultimate)
And man, can she do it all? Whether you want to play Draven and threaten the enemy with absurd amounts of kill pressure or sit on the Kog'Maw until Baby Baron grows up into a tiny behemoth, Leona has a style for everyone! With her only detriments being her lack of reliable sustain and recovery (which can be somewhat remedied by the Relic Shield item line) and her mobility, she brings pick potential, good fight initiations, respectable disengage, solid tankiness, absurd amounts of crowd control, good skins (because "skin to win"), and an overall troublesome experience for anyone who just so happens to be on the enemy team.
If you're not worried about the heals and just want a general bastion that can (a) find and lock down targets for you or (b) keep the baddies off of you while you do your thing, Leona is 100% my most recommended in terms of a support. With lots of mastery points in her, I can easily say that she's my most reliable and go to support pick. But, as with Nautilus, just make sure you ban Morgana prior to locking her in.
So now, there really is no excuse. These are some of the most easy-to-execute, influential, reliably consistent, and high-reward support picks in the game. Best of all, you'll never have to worry about someone calling you out for being a troll or something else for picking these picks. These champs are inexpensive in the champion store and notoriously banned among non-mage-support picks because of how influential they can be in games. Sure, sometimes you might need a bit more damage, but before you consider picking simply to match the KDAs and damage numbers of your fellow summoners, consider how much better your team would be with:
- A frontline that's unstoppable when it chooses to engage because of a Morgana's Black Shield.
- A team that's nigh-unkillable in sustained fights because of the presence of a Soraka.
- A team that the enemy can't stick to thanks to spells like Monsoon or Howling Gale from Janna.
- A reliable way to completely negate a person's presence in a fight thanks to brutal crowd-control from Nautilus for Leona.
If you still disagree, then perhaps you should go your own way. Whatever works for you, right? But if you're getting autofilled, you should be looking to play the most viable and consistent things you can; not only for you, but for the sake of your team, which is depending on you to not only play alongside them but support them.
With that being said, I'll see you (and your autofills) on the Rift.
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