Support Morgana: A Quick Spotlight
Tue 16th Apr 2013 - 5:03pm
Hello everyone! My name is Darwin and I am one of the new trial writers for Team Dignitas' Blog. This article will cover a twist on the popular champion Morgana, the Fallen Angel. Although Morgana was made popular in the mid lane by professional players such as Andy "Reginald" Dinh she has fallen relatively far out of her favor due to her less than threatening laning phase. Instead she has found new life in the bot lane.
First popularized by Jacob "MuffinQT" Lowry, support Morgana focuses on countering aggression coming from heavy CC supports like Taric, providing peel for AD carries that don't have their own escape such as Draven, and providing counter aggression with Dark Binding and Soul Shackle. I generally pick her as a counter to some of the more common supports: Taric, Alistar, Leona, and Zyra all come to mind. She is less effective against champions like Lulu and Sona who can just poke through your Black shield.
Although most people reading this blog are familiar with Morgana's skills, I am going to cover them again with new analysis on how to use them effectively on the bottom lane.
Passive: Soul Siphon
Morgana has Spell Vamp, healing herself whenever she deals damage with her spells.
While this has its usefulness, without ability power or putting many points into Tormented Soil it's effects are limited. It can however still make a difference in a fight and should not be forgotten.
Q: Dark Binding
Morgana releases a sphere of dark magic. Upon contact with an enemy unit, the sphere will deal magic damage and force the unit to the ground for a period of time. Fires a bolt of dark energy, rooting the first enemy hit for 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 seconds and dealing 80/135/190/245/300 (+0.9) magic damage. Cost: 60/75/90/105/120 Mana. Range1175.
This skill is centrally important to playing support Morgana - second only to black shield. It has an incredible variety of uses ranging from initiating a fight, lead or follow-up CC for a gank, as well as peeling and escaping. There are few things more satisfying than sniping a powerballing Ramus at max range as he tries to gank and watching spin his wheels for two seconds while you escape to safety. I generally max this skill second, unless the other lane does not have much cc, in which case I max it first for the increased bind duration.
W: Tormented Soil
Infects an area with desecrated soil, causing enemy units who stand on the location to take continual damage. Curses an area for 5 seconds. Enemies on the cursed ground take 25/40/55/70/85 (+0.2) magic damage and have their Magic Resist reduced by 4/5/6/7/8 every second.
While AP Morgana will generally max this skill first, it is much less effective on support Morgana. I almost never put more than one point in this skill unless I have no other options. It is useful to drop under your enemy's feet after you land a bind for some follow up damage so don't neglect it. That being adding power to Black Shield or snare duration to Dark Binding is far more worth your while.
E: Black Shield
Places a protective barrier around an allied champion, absorbing magical damage and disables until penetrated or the shield dissipates. Shields an allied Champion for 5 seconds. The shield absorbs 95/160/225/290/355 (+0.7) magic damage and prevents disables until it breaks. Cost: 50 Mana. Range: 750.
This is your bread and butter skill as support Morgana. It's uses are almost limitless. You should almost always be casting this on someone else - unless you are the only target of the other team. It can be used as a tool for allowing your AD carry to escape a gank unscathed, or to counter the opposing bot lane's CC during a trade. This shield will literally block every form of CC that isn't a wall. It can be used very effectively to bait out the other team's CC and then turn the aggression back onto them. It is important to note two things about this skill.
First, it is NOT a cleanse. You must have the shield in place before the CC takes effect or you will have wasted your ability. Because of this you must stay relatively close to your AD at all times (not the much smaller cast range than your other abilities). Second, Black Shield does not block turret shots. I am not sure how many times I have seen Morgana's (myself included) put Black Shield on someone in hopes of saving them from the turret. Unfortunately it won't work. I generally max this skill first, especially if the other team has heavy CC or high magic damage (Leona and Taric are good examples).
R: Soul Shackles
Latches chains of energy onto nearby enemy champions, dealing initial damage to them and slowing their Movement Speed, and then echoing the pain a few seconds later and stunning them if they remain close to Morgana. Dark chains latch onto nearby enemy Champions dealing 175/250/325 (+0.7) magic damage and slowing them by 20% for 3 seconds. After 3 seconds, they are dealt an additional 175/250/325 (+0.7) magic damage and are stunned for 1.5 seconds. Enemy Champions can break the chains by moving away from Morgana. Cost: 100/150/200 Mana. Range: 625.
Morgana's ultimate is still as game breaking as ever while playing her as a support. The major difference is that the likelihood of you having a Zonya's Hourglass is much lower than if you were playing mid and taking all the CS. Instead a support Morgana player must be more patient with their ultimate. Instead of flash initiating with it like normal you have to sit back and cast it on those pesky bruisers and assassins who are diving your AD carry. It's still a highly effective tool for securing kills and saving lives, just one that has to be used correctly. Take a point in this skill whenever possible.
In lane phase Morgana is mostly passive. You want to maintain good ward coverage and bush control at all times, zoning the enemy carry and harassing with auto attacks whenever possible (if nothing else for the +3 gold if you brought Pickpocket!). However this passive play quickly switches to all out aggression when one of two scenarios occurs. First and most common is that the other team's support will underestimate the power of your Black Shield, see what they think is an opening, and attempt to "all-in" you or your carry. Unfortunately for them you were waiting for this and had your Black Shield on the proper target before the crowd control could land.
With their most important spells on cooldown it is time to turn that aggression against them. Land a Dark Binding on either laner (preferably the carry) and continue to harass with auto attacks. If you don't get a kill you will at least force a flash from them. The second scenario generally occurs when you are already ahead. Once you are you can easily zone their carry with proper pink ward control over the bushes. If while zoning you manage to land a binding relatively near your AD carry it is again time to pounce. Be sure to keep Black Shield ready in case of any counter aggression.
During team fights Morgana is a peeling machine. Your Dark binding can be used as an initiation tool - and if you see a clear shot by all means go for it- but is usually saved for to peel for your carries. Bruisers diving your back line will generally forget all about you, making your bindings even easier to land. Soul Shackles should be used for similar peeling ability. Where and when to use Black Shield requires a bit more thought and practice. If you have a very dive heavy comp (champions such as Nocturne, Xin Zhao, Akali etc.) then it can be advantageous to Black shield your bruiser or assassin in orde to keep them getting CC'd on their way to the enemy's carries. On the other hand if your team lacks those hard initiates then using Black Shield as additional peel for your carries to prevent them from being locked down is the right move.
I hope you have enjoyed this quick look at support Morgana, and appreciate any feedback or criticism you might have.