Truly the unsung heroes of the League of Legends world, the support players are the glue that holds a strong team together. Whether it’s by providing vision, setting up kills or saving teammates in the nick of time, supports accomplish a lot with very little, and often receive even less praise for their contributions. It’s rarely flashy and often thankless, but good support games can be just as satisfying as any other role.
That said, that lack of flashiness and general sense of being unappreciated tends to see people shy away from the support role. Not farming? Spending most of your very limited gold on utility to make others shine? It takes a special kind of player to dedicate themselves to the role. Furthermore, plenty of people may just not enjoy the support champions that are frequently circulated. After all, everyone loves playing the fancy assassins.
Well, what if all it took to bring more people into the fold was showing the variety of support character picks on offer? I’m not talking about the support Singed picks that do their own thing, or the full mage build Lux supports that steal all their lane partner’s farm. Instead, here are four champions that you don’t often find in the support role, but can still work excellently if you play them right.
Perhaps the most no-brainer of the characters on this list, Vel’koz has been seen and accepted as a niche support for some time now. Fulfilling the very heavy offense approach to support that other mages like Zyra or Brand offer, Vel’koz offers no direct utility to his lane partner but does offer high damage for low cost.
Landing a Plasma Fission from an unexpected angle does a good bit of damage and provides a hefty slow, which can be followed up with a stun to get picks in-lane. His stun can also be used to stymie incoming dives or set up teamfights nicely, right in time for you to unload your ultimate into your enemy’s face for massive damage. High base damage means you’re not as reliant on items as other mages are, so you can get by early with little gold.
Just as long as you aim your abilities carefully and focus them on your foes — and not your marksman’s potential farm — you’ll be tearing shreds through the bot lane in no time.
Playing Sion support follows a similar principle that playing Leona support does: be a terrifying tank that offers a wall for your lane partner while also using your crowd control to secure kills and advantages. Leona might ultimately manage this easier, but Sion is perfectly functional as a support.
His Decimating Smash is great for setting up kills if you can channel it long enough to get the stun effect, and his Roar of the Slayer can dramatically slow enemies if you land it. He’s also able to shield some of the damage he takes on initiating, and gets extra bonus health just by using Relic Shield in-lane.
Even if you make a mistake and die, your passive offers you the ability to get a vengeance kill and balance it out. Then, once your ultimate is online, you can set up kills whole lanes away by charging at foes. There’s a lot of fun to be had, and you can easily catch unsuspecting opponent’s with the Sion pick. Give it a try!
In much the same way as Sion support, Malphite offers an alternative tanky pick and can function remarkably well this way. With his point and click Seismic Shards applying slows and damage from range, he can harass enemy laners easily and win trades because of his passive shielding him.
When serious engages do happen, he can follow up with his Ground Slam to shut down the enemy marksman’s attack speed and swing trades in his team’s favor. Wait too long, and his Unstoppable Force ultimate can quickly guarantee a kill leading into an objective.
Combining all of this with his bonus armor and natural tankiness, and Malphite can provide a lot of utility on a tight budget — perfect for the bot lane, even if people don’t realize it.
1. Lee Sin
Since his release, Lee Sin has been one of the most consistent and adaptable champions in the game, and it’s this flexibility that allows him a surprisingly effective spot in the support role. With a lot of built-in stats and damage, it’s easy for him to be effective and useful for the team without much farming required to get him online. More importantly, he’s likely to be carrying those all-important wards for positioning anyway!
You can skill up in any order and still find value in the lane with it. Focus on Safeguard to keep your partner protected, level Sonic Wave first to deal poke damage and set up a fight, or use Tempest to slow enemies and leave them vulnerable to your allies. Then, of course, you can round it all out with a well placed Dragon Kick to catch an important target out and secure a kill.
Perhaps the only downside to selecting Lee Sin is that he’s one of the most potentially complex and high skill cap characters in the League. But if you can put in the time to master him, you’ll be causing devastation wherever you take him.
And there you have it, four unusual but awesome selections for the support role in League of Legends. If you have thoughts or a niche pick of your own that I haven’t mentioned here, be sure to share in the comments!