The Mindset of a Support in Smite
Wed 27th Apr 2016 - 2:50pm
Playing support in Smite is one of the most rewarding and challenging things you can do. It requires game awareness, skill, and knowledge of other Gods, and many other small details (which I will not delve into in depth). If one has a lot of experience playing other roles in Smite, then they can probably play support with varying degrees of success. However, becoming a truly great support requires a mindset different from that of an ADC, jungler, etc. In this article, you will learn what that mindset is, as well as possible ways you might incorporate it into your play.
So What is This Mindset?
A support wants to make the game easier for their teammates, while securing victory. So how do we do it? Simply put, the mind of a support is all over the place. A cluster of information is constantly being analyzed: enemy tendencies, ward placement, zoning, ganking, roaming, and so on. With all of this needing to be utilized, it may be easier for one learning this mindset to break up the information into “parts”. Eventually, all of these parts will become second nature, but only with diligence and practice.
There is one sentence word that truly defines what a support embodies. Selflessness. A good support cares less for himself than he does for his teammates and the overall success of the game. This selflessness includes blocking skillshots, tanking towers and phoenixes, and “giving” kills to your teammates. However, this mindset of selflessness should not come into play in certain situations.
A support should never die for no reason, nor should they take damage for no reason. In some cases, this is obvious; you shouldn’t continue to tank a objective if you are about to die (unless the objective is low on health). While in other cases, it is less so. That leads up to a particularly important topic.
Kills, Deaths, and Assists: Does the Score Really Matter?
Short answer is no. Long answer is also no. Score is a bad indicator of whether or not someone is a good support. One could have a 0/0/0 score (zero kills, deaths, and assists), and still be an excellent support. There are (many) times in which a support must die to save their teammates, which makes the death count a poor judgement of player skill.
Supports will also garner kills occasionally, especially on high damage Gods such as Bacchus or Ares. A support may also “confirm” a kill, that is, to “kill-steal”. Kill-stealing is a negative term that is often misused. A support should obviously not take kills that a teammate can get easily, but there are situations where it may be impossible for a teammate to get a kill, in which case you must deal the final blow.
Assists are very arbitrary in Smite. You can get assists by being near a battle and not even hitting an enemy (this may have changed in season three). One might have a low assist score as a support due to the lack of kills occurring near them. Many high-level games have relatively little kills, so it is unlikely to see a support go 0/0/40 (forty assists).
Abandon your ADC if they make bad judgement calls consistantly. It’s completely okay to make mistakes here and there, we all do it. But if your ADC doesn’t learn from his mistakes (overextending, failing to listen to VGS callouts, etc), then leave the ADC in their lane, and help another. It may sound ruthless, but looking at the grand picture of the game, it is the best decision.
The ADC will be:
- (hopefully) less likely to make “suicidal” mistakes, as they are alone
- able to catch up in gold/experience (think solo lane)
While you as a support will be able to:
- assist your teammates in securing their lanes
- tank objectives
- roam and gank (not applicable to every God)
One might think that leaving your ADC alone against two gods would certainly lead to a kill, but against a good support, that shouldn’t be the case. A good support wouldn’t want to let the enemy ADC get ahead by stealing experience from their own, and they also would want to help lanes that you assert your presence in. In fact, if your ADC is ahead, it is common practice to leave your lane early, to maintain your ADC's lead. This line of reasoning leads into another important aspect in the mindset of a support, which is when to leave a lane.
When to Leave Your Lane
There is some common sense involved in this section that many seemingly do not follow, so I will quickly touch on that. If you see a teammate being ganked in the nearby jungle, quickly confirm your ADC’s safety and support that teammate. The goal of a support is, once again, to win the game. You obviously can’t win the game if the all of your teammates are dying, yet it is often the case that I see people stick to their lanes, worried that they are not doing their job properly if they leave it, even if it's to help another person. So please, if you see a teammate requiring help in the jungle or their lane do try to help them. Saying VCC (Be CarefulQ) isn’t very useful.
With the common sense out the way, when should a support leave their ADC and roam lanes? This between Gods and situations. If your lane is being pushed aggressively, then it may not be a good idea to leave for quite a while. That call is up to you, and your game sense. In general, however, I like to leave my lane at around level six, which is when I have my ultimate and first item completed. You may leave earlier if my ADC is ahead, or later if experience and/or gold is necessary to fully utilize your kit.
So… What is the Support Mindset?
What I have given you is the tools along with some advice to understand the mindset of a support. The golden rule of thumb is to ensure your allies get ahead while not falling behind yourself. Playing as an ADC with a good support makes laning trivial. To become the support that can make the life of your ADC easy requires a good understanding of the support mindset, something you must learn to develop. I learned the support mindset by completely forgetting that kills existed for me. I simply pretending I did no damage, and that the only way I could help was to set up kills for my team while keeping them and myself alive.
You must develop this mindset of selflessness yourself. If you are struggling to learn what this mindset is, I recommend watching professional supports on Twitch. I recommend Craig “iRaffer” Rathbone’s Twitch stream (link here), as he is currently the world champion support, streams often, and will answer any questions you have so long as they aren’t silly (aka, don’t ask “how do I play support”). Please be aware that sometimes he makes judgement calls that are not appropriate for all levels of play, such as instantly confirming a kill (though he will have known that his teammate’s abilities were down).
I hope that you learned a little more about the support role in Smite in your quest to improve as a player, and as a teammate.