Playing support in League of Legends is like baking. You have to work your ass off behind the scenes and then listen to everyone else get the praise. Support players toil in the background doing the essential work that is needed for a perfectly-baked victory. Denying and achieving vision. Keeping the all-important AD carry alive. Applying CC and much of the time acting as the front line absorbing damage. In fact, the current meta is shifting away from play-making supports like Thresh to champions with more simple ability interactions, such as Alistar; even fewer supports are making it into the “highlights” reels of YouTube.
If a baker does a bad job of course they are going to receive complaints; but if they perform perfectly it’s generally the visible staff that receives the praise! In fact let’s complete the analogy. The mid laner is that guy flipping pizza bases (really skilled, but secretly everyone wants him to mess up). The top laner is that big, burly cleaner in the backroom that someone occasionally calls on to get something off the top shelf or unblock a sink. The jungler is the delivery man that brings ingredients (if he didn’t show up at all everything would likely grind to a halt). Lastly the ADC is the lowly cashier; standing in the limelight soaking up all the admiration. Meanwhile, the support is still slogging away in the background, hot as hell, and rolling out perfect roll after roll.
You may detect just a hint of bitterness in my tone and it’s true that I main support in League of Legends. This can be regarded as a strange decision given the abuse from YouTubers, friends and the community in general. However, I do firmly believe that although every role is enjoyable for me; I was made to land hooks and save those squishy ADCs. Support is a specialized role that requires a whole different mindset to the others, as well as the absolute top tier of mechanical skill.
This is because, though they won’t admit it, your team will more times than not need you to use your tools effectively in order for them to succeed. Warding is generally seen as a support’s job (even though really it should be a team-wide endeavor). Any pro player will tell you that vision control is one of the most important things when it comes to winning games- this means that the support is entrusted with the majority of this one massive task. Of course, when you are stuck in Bronze and none of your teammates know how to use the mini-map this really doesn’t make much of a difference.
However, the problem here isn’t totally with other people’s reactions or opinions as, if you consider yourself a support main, you will already have acquired a relatively thick skin. The main problem is that the game itself doesn’t value the support role at all. Due to the necessity of increasing the power of the ADC as quickly as possible, they take all the creeps and gold from kills, supports are often left completely under-leveled and under-powered from a lack of good items. The support items increase gold-over-time and include other ways of acquiring more funds, but they really aren’t sufficient in getting any semblance of power until the late game. Because of this, many support players can begin to feel weak or even useless in the game, and this in turn can dishearten them and discourage them from continuing to play support.
I was, at first, a huge believer in Riot’s new matchmaking system where you specify what role you want (and a secondary role) before finding a game. However, after playing enough games of putting “ADC” as my primary role and “Support” as secondary, I’ve resigned myself to staying in the back making the bread after never actually getting the carry role. It’s become a running joke for me- to put “Bot” as my primary choice and find a game within a millisecond because the system has found someone that put support as a choice.
The fact is though that this really isn’t the system’s fault. Long before the draft mode support has been the least popular role. In ranked you could bet that if you were last pick you would likely get stuck with support. In blind mode you could saunter lazily to the “Support” keys while everyone else fought over mid- with no fear of being out-called. The glaring truth is this: that of the hundreds of times I have literally given my life as a support in order to save a Carry, I have been thanked maybe twice. When our ADC gets a Pentakill everyone is amazed by them, but little notice that they would be long dead and buried without me! As you can tell, playing support requires deep breaths and counting to ten at times.
Support does suit a particular kind person. I discovered long ago that, while I could hold my own in most other roles, I got huge satisfaction from the support role. Turning what would have been a loss into a victory by soaking up damage, protecting squishies and just binding everyone together gave me a huge buzz. A few weeks ago I got fed up of the lack of appreciation and played ADC for a while and to be honest (sorry to offend you ADC mains) it really is not that hard. Whereas the jungler has to be aware of the entire map, as does top lane, and the mid laner has about ten different angles they can be attacked from, ADCs have a specific role (watching their back)!
Recently (due to the matchmaking system) I’ve gravitated back to playing support, and I’m happy. Because, despite the fact that “Carry” isn’t in my name, I have consistently done just that. Supports have the tools to be the main driving force in games and set up victories for your team and all in a way that promotes teamwork, as opposed to selfish play. The rest of the community don’t realize that supports will rise like triumphant chocolate muffins to dominate the annals of League of Legends fame.
Despite the lack of gratitude, as supports we know in our selfless and humble hearts that we are the most important role. Despite the audience refusing to acknowledge our efforts, we know that without us every crafted cake would fall flat. And despite the fact that the cashier is getting all the praise, we know that when our team bites into the steaming perfection of our labor; they will taste victory.Related: eSports, League of Legends, MOBA, PvP, Riot Games