How to Cheese your Opponents as Early Game Support
Tue 7th Mar 2017 - 9:26am
At first glance, support may seem to be the most boring role for the early game. You sit there, tank the camps, sit in front of your ADC and then aimlessly walk around the map until you’re needed in a teamfight. However, Support has several surprising tricks that can be used to gain an early advantage that most of the scene looks down upon or even doesn’t realize. These strategies are known as cheese strats and have multiple applications that are extremely beneficial and shouldn’t be underestimated.
A prominent cheese strategy for most classes is to merely start the enemy buffs instead of lane or your own camps. For Supports, it has become much easier to invade in Season Four than in previous seasons. All you need is wave pressure level one and you can get an invade off on the enemies Purple and Red buffs if you do it well. Characters like Ymir and Athena have great clear and lane pressure so they can force the enemies away and clear the buff while the enemy is still underneath their own tower. There is a risk involved invading early as it can put you extremely far behind if not executed properly. If the enemy has decent enough clear to come and stop you from doing the buff or if you somehow die can give the enemies an early game advantage themselves, in which they can invade you and begin snowballing their lead.
Instead, you could also take the small minions from the Purple and Red buffs since they still give you a small advantage without putting you in as much danger as attempting a full clear of a buff camp. Taking the small minions after the first wave guarantees hitting level 2 before the waves hit. This is the most common cheese strategy in the early game since it requires little risk and gives you enough of an advantage to snowball off of.
- Proxy start
The Proxy start requires both a high clear ADC and Support, such as Izanami and Ymir. This strategy involves getting behind the enemy's tier one before 15 seconds and clearing the wave while tanking it. This cheese strategy essentially secures wave pressure, a full clear of one of the enemy's camp and their small minions on the other camp. You hit level two incredibly early, a time in which the enemies are still clearing their wave, so you have the chance to look for a kill while they have to tank the entire wave if you so choose instead of invading immediately. The risk with the strat is if you get rotated on; obviously since you are level one, there is almost no chance to get out if the enemy rotates, especially the mid laner. If the enemy mid chooses to rotate, it also allows your mid laner to get a decent lead in the early game so most mids won't rotate, especially since the strategy is unpredictable and uncommon to fight against.
- Camp Start
The third duo lane strat is to start at the Purple Buff. This requires a high camp clear support and ADC, Hou Yi has the best camp clear out of any ADC due to his Ricochet. Since most Duo’s rely on getting the enemy's camps to hit level 2 early, getting one of the camps puts a wrench in their plans since they don’t get as much farm as they were expecting and you maintain even amounts of farm as them so you end up being even during the second wave; which I mentioned before as being the best chance to kill your lane opponent in the early game. The issue with the stratagem is if the enemy lane has enough lane pressure to counteract yours, they can force you underneath tower during the first wave and maintain the pressure to make you lose more farm than if they were to simply secure both camps and reset the lane afterwards.
- Lane start
One of the strategies that have begun to take hold is the Support mid lane start. If your ADC has enough clear, they can sit in the Duo lane by themselves and soak up experience by themselves. This also means that your mid now has to split exp, however you also have more level one kill potential in a one vs. two in the middle lane; even if you only pressure the enemy underneath tower, you can look for an invade on either the red buff or yellow buff since both sides should still either be in lane or clearing other camps. The one major issue with the start is the dominance of Duo lane in the early game. They can invade both of your Duo side camps and maintain their wave pressure, which in turn allows them to gain a large gold lead over your ADC and possibly kill pressure if the ADC doesn’t play safe enough. Another counter is if the enemy Mid also receives assistance from the support, in which case the lane evens out and nothing can be gained outside of extra early camps for the Support; this isn't necessarily bad since it can prevent early deaths in either lane and maintain the status quo for farming.
- Mid Camp Start
If you trust your Mid to clear by themselves and you have enough early game camp clear, you can look to take the mid camps by yourself and possibly look for a kill on the enemy Mid since the wave won’t be cleared by the time you finish the camp. This start allows for more kill pressure level one in mid, however also heavily decreases the farm potential of both the ADC and Support if it fails, so it isn’t recommended unless your mid laner can snowball off of the early kill, characters that have large amounts of kill potential in the mid game can end up getting their power spikes sooner, so characters such as Zeus or Scylla could make use of the early pressure well.
The last cheese start currently is starting the solo side camps to have a large amount of early clear with the jungler and solo laner. The start guarantees that they will have more farm than their opponents off of the wave and have kill or invade potential after the Support goes to mid to farm. The issue remains the same as the mid starts since the ADC can be heavily pressured and you have no way to assist the ADC until you get enough farm to rival the enemy duo lane again since you will be a detriment if you return to the lane with a level disadvantage.
These are all the current cheese starts for Supports. As Season Four progresses and matures, the cheese strats will mature as well and eventually become meta. I wish you luck finding more strategies to garner early game advantages and happy hunting!
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