Every role has specific builds for specific champions. Most builds are static, with 2-3 items changing depending on the enemy team or playstyle. In terms of itemization, support is a completely different story. The build of a support is never static, as you always have to adapt to the situation. The only static item in a support’s build is Sightstone. Some supports upgrade it to ruby Sightstone, but it largely depends on the situation. Without further ado, let’s take a look at itemization for support.
The Starter Items
There are 3 starter items you can choose at the start of the game. Most support have the choice of picking one of two, depending on the champion you play, but did you ever think on how important it is for you to use the support item in the most effective way to maximize the gold outcome? Let’s take a look at how the support items work.
The Ancient Coin is the most straightforward item of all three. It only requires to stay in the range of a dying enemy minion (1400 Range). For each minion that dies near you, you get 4 gold + 5 health. The Ancient Coin is the safest item and is the easiest to use. It upgrades into Talisman of Ascension . It grants 6 gold when near a dying minions + 10 health. Its active grants nearby allies +40% movement speed for 3 seconds. The active is useful for champions that can engage with the help of the movement speed.
Spellthief’s Edge has a 30 second counter, in which you have to attack the enemy champion or tower 3 times. Spellthief’s Edge grants 8 Gold for each hit, so that is roughly 48 gold a minute if you execute it correctly. This item is great, as it has a better gold value if you use it as it is should be used. If you are not able to hit the three basic attacks, you get significantly less gold. It becomes really hard in unfavorable matchups for your bot lane (Janna/Vayne into Leona/Ashe for example) where it is a risk to basic attack the enemies, as it can get you killed. If you get into an unfavorable matchup, buy Ancient Coin instead, as it doesn’t require you to hit the enemies. Spellthief’s is, however, a great buy if, for example, the enemy picks a melee support, as you can get the three hits easily when he comes close to use his Relic Shield. Spellthief’s Edge is used on ranged supports only. Spellthief’s edge upgrades into Frost Queen’s Claim , which deals 15 additional damage on hit and grants 15 gold per hit. Its active that summons 2 icy ghosts that seek out enemy champions, revealing and slowing them for 2-5 seconds. The active is useful for chasing enemy champions and checking areas for enemy champions.
Relic Shield works on a charge system. It has two charges when you buy it, and they recharge every 40 seconds. You consume a charge when you hit a minion that is below 200 – 285 health (based on level), executing the minion. It heals you and the nearest ally for 20 health and grants the kill gold to both of them. The item is great, as it gives you a lot of tankiness, making it almost a must buy for melee tank supports. You should almost always built on melee champions only, but Thresh is an exception, as he benefits a lot from the tankiness it gives you (it is a bit harder to execute minions on him). The only situation I see where you wouldn’t buy this item is against a very heavy poke lane that can poke you when you try to use the charges. If you think you won’t be able to hit the charges effectively, buy the ancient coin instead. The item upgrades into Face of the Mountain , which stores 4 charges, executes minions bellow 340 – 680 (based on level), heals for 50, and recharges every 30 seconds. Face of the Mountain also has an active that gives the ally you target a shield equal to 10% of your maximum health for 4 second. The shield then explodes after 4 seconds, slowing nearby enemies for 2 seconds. The active is great for peeling your ADC, as the shield is quite strong if you have a lot of health.
Why didn’t you mention the upgraded Eye items for wards?
I feel like the Eye items just aren’t worth the buy at the moment (as of Patch 6.16). The actives on the other items are very effective, and if you need that extra ward, you should buy a Ruby Sightstone, which is a good buy since they reduced the cost. The items with actives are just have a better gold value and are just way better. I would only buy one of them if I desperately need an extra item slot for pink wards or some other item.
Now that we covered the starting items, let’s take a look at the main items.
We know two types of support items, utility items and defensive items. The starter items are a separate category, but they fit in both types
Utility items are the core of every support. Boots and Sightstone are items we always buy on supports. The type of boots depends on the champion you play. If you play a heavy roaming support, you can opt for Mobility boots (they give you 115 movement speed out of combat) or Swiftness boots (swiftness boots aren’t as good anymore after the nerf). If you play a champion that relies on a skillshot (such as Thresh or Blitz’s hook), you can opt for boots of Lucidity (they give you 10% CRD on spells and summoner spells). If the enemy team has heavy AD (especially on squishy supports), you can also buy Ninja Tabis (they block 12% of damage from basic attacks). For the Sightstone , there are only two choices. You always buy the basic Sightstone. If you run out of wards a lot or think you need the extra ward, upgrade to the Ruby Sightstone . The other utility items are focused on protecting your team. Mikael’s Crucible has great stats and a very useful passive. It removes any debuffs from the targeted ally while also healing them. You buy Mikael’s if the enemy team has hard CC, especially targeted CC your ADC can’t dodge. Locket of the Iron Solari gives great tank stats, while also having an active that shields all nearby allies. It is extremely useful if the enemy team has very high area of effect damage. Ardent Censer is an item that gives you Ability Power, Mana Regen, and Cooldown Reduction. It also has a unique passive, which increases the amounts of heals and shields. It is very good on supports that have shields and heals, as it increases them by a big margin. Righteous Glory has an active similar to the Talisman of Ascension. You buy it under the same condition as the Talisman, but don’t buy both. It just isn’t worth it in terms of gold value. A thing to point out is Righteous Glory can only be used offensively as you only get the movement speed when going towards enemy champions. ZZ’Rot Portal is an item that is being used a lot for team compositions with 1 split pusher and 4 team fighters in the mid lane. It gives some stats, but the main thing is the active that creates a portal which spawns little voidlings that push the lane and can destroy towers. In the aforementioned mentioned composition, the split pusher goes into one lane, the other players go mid, while the support places the portal on the third lane so it doesn’t get pushed up. Another way of using it is if the enemy team is sieging your towers, as the voidlings will kill minions. . Zeke’s Harbinger is one of my favorite support items. It gets a great combination of stats, while it also gives you a great active that helps your AD Carry. When near, you and your AD generate charges with basic attacks and spells. When you reach 100 charges, both you and your AD Carry get 20 % increased ability power and 50% critical strike chance for 8 seconds. You can buy this on nearly every support, but it is especially good on AP Damage supports as it increases your AP. It also helps a fed AD Carry snowball really hard due to the critical chance. Banner of Command gives a ton of stats plus an active that buffs an allied minion. The item helps you push lanes with the buffed minion. Ohmwrecker gives you good defensive stats (Health, Armor, Base Health Regen and CDR) while also having a unique passive. The passive prevents an enemy tower from attacking for 3 seconds. The item is ideal if you want to execute tower dives without risking too much.
I would also like to point out most of the utility items also belong in the defensive category, as they do give defensive stats.
Defensive items give you Armor, Health, Magic Resist, and Health Regen to help you survive in lane and teamfights. In mid to late game, you usually try to build a combination of utility and defensive items, depending on the situation (damage supports are exceptions). Thornmail should rarely be bought on supports. The exceptions are when you are the only tank on your team and have to play as the frontline versus an AD heavy team, or when you are getting focused by AD assassins as it gives you 100 Armor and has a passive that reflects damage. The reason you shouldn’t buy it on supports is the enemy team will usually try to focus your carries, and if they don’t focus you the item won’t help you. Ice Born Gauntlet is also used rarely. It has some defensive stats, it gives you Mana, and Cooldown Reduction. It also has a passive that does damage in an area and creates a zone that slows enemies. Banshee’s Veil gives defensive stats, but has a spellshield passive that blocks one spell every 40 seconds. It should bought versus teams with single target CC or high burst comps. Other items include Dead Man’s Plate (Armor and health), Randuin’s Omen (Health, Armor and reduced critical strikes + active slow), Sunfire Cape (Health and Armor + AOE damage), Spirit Visage (Magic Resist, Health, Health Regen and Cooldown Reduction) and Warmog’s Armor (Health + Health Regen). You should build these items based on the situation.
Supports should always carry at least one Pink Ward (two is recommended if one gets destroyed). You should use Pink Wards to negate enemy vision or to give vision to spots that aren’t frequently found by the enemies. It can also be used as a substitute for the sweeper trinket when doing dragon or baron. Health Pots should be bought on a regular basis. Always have Health Pots with you in the laning phase. Sometimes you have to sacrifice an item for it (for example, if you have 300 gold early in the laning phase, instead of buying boots, consider buying three Health Pots and two Pink Wards instead). It is important that you never buy more than 3 pots, as it will be a waste of gold (you will rarely use more).
Damage items on supports are less common and are not standard among support, but it is based on the situation.
You should start with a Warding Totem trinket as it will give you wards until you get Sightstone. As soon as you buy Sightstone, replace it with the Sweeping Lens trinket. At level 9, replace the Sweeping Lens with Oracle Alteration (it’s free).
This is it for my guide on support itemization. I hope you learned something new about items on supports.
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