This is a guide made for general supporting that you can implement into your play in almost every support game. Heroes of course play differently but in this guide I wanted to list things that touch every aspect of the support role
Step 1: Picking
Now every game in solo ranked starts out the same way with picking from side to side. I made a guide about picking the right support for the right game before so I won’t go into it so deeply now. Generally tips to picking are that supports are naturally picked among the first ones and counterpicking the enemy is a luxury but if you can get away with it of course picking to counter your enemy is good.
Step 2: Deciding your lane
Now most of the time supports main role in the early laning stage is to secure your own safelanes farm and make the enemy offlaners job as hard as possible. In some cases dual aggressive lane is good, especially when the opponents have a weak lane and your own safelane is already secured by another support or a really strong sololaner like bloodseeker. By weak lane I mean a low damage trilane or duallane like anything with spectre or even a slark and a strong lane would be either a high damage carry with a support or any trilane at their safelane.
Remember to be really smart with the dual offlaning because if you just afk with your offlaner there you just gimp your both exp and farm with the cost of your opposing offlaner getting an easier game against your safelane. So my advice is that if you don’t know what you are doing in the dual aggressive lane, don’t do it because if you screw it up your whole team pays the price.
Step 3: Using your starting gold
Basic kit: Salve, tango, 2x clarity, courier, 2 wards and sharing mid 2 tangos, offlaner 1 obs
This is your go to build on every support, slight exeption for earthshaker and skywrath since you need more clarities so replace salve with 2 more clarities. This is the basic stuff that is needed every single game, clarities are always better than branches for extra mana for you or someone in your team, for example you don’t want to have a wraithking on your lane that can’t use his stun.
2nd support kit: Salve, tango, 2 clarities, smoke ( optional ) and set of sentries.
I always prefer getting a set of sentries to secure that I can actually pull if the spot is blocked or I can deward the enemy offlaners ward that looks over the flank for ganks, this means our safelane can control the wawe better by pulling and denying enemy vision over us so the opposing offlaner haves to play more safer or he will most likely die because he cannot see you.
Step 4: Time before the runespawn
In every game I try to shop as fast as I can, usually with the “basic kit” and haed off into my safelane for spotting the opposing offlaners ward because if you don’t see where he places the ward you have to start guessing where his ward is but if you see him or stop him from placing it at the beginning you can either deward or stop him from placing the ward altogether.
After this I secure rune for the carry or midlane with the team and head off into the lane and go to receive the enemy creepwawe because if the offlaner has blocked the lane so the ranged creep comes first and the creepwawes clash the enemy ranged creep dies first and then the result is extremely bad because the lane will push towards the enemy tower no matter how hard you try to deny your side of the creeps. Now I mention this because it is really important to go to the lane and receive the creepwawe by letting the first coming ranged creep a couple times thus stopping its movement and then the enemy melee creeps come before the ranged creep and then the result is much better for lane control.
Step 5: Laning Stage
If you are solo supporting your main goal is just to zone the offlaner out and making his game as hard as possible since when you do this your carry will have much easier time with early laning especially if they are weak early on like slark is relatively weak.
Biggest thing to remember is that don’t aggro the enemy creepwawe and if you do try and reset it as fast as you can because if the enemy creeps are hitting you and not your own creepwawe guess what’s the result? Bad lanecontrol.
The ideal situation is that your carry controls the wawe so well that it holds position near your tower and you are between the creepwawes and the offlaner zoning him out of experience completely.
Now in some matchups this is not possible to do, for example if you are a lion solo support against a clockwerk you can’t zone him out completely no matter what. This is the situation when you just have to deny creeps with your carry, don’t take too much damage and if your pullspot isn’t warded stacking it and pulling it thus denying the wawe. If you try to singlepull and then chain it to a medium camp on radiant or hard camp on dire the enemy offlaner can just come screw that up and stealing farm and experience from you. In this situation you just have to deny creeps from the offlaner, try keep lanecontrol as good as possible with your carry and going for runes when they spawn.
Step 6: Watch the clock
Now time management as a support is really important, watch the clock when the runes spawn so you secure a rune for yourself or your mid and stacking camps also requires you to watch the clock a lot.
Step 7: Keep yourself busy throughout the game
In the laning stage you keep yourself busy by controlling the wawe and denying experience from the offlaner and when you gain enough experience your kill potential against offlaners gets higher so going for kills is always good gain for your time investment.
Stacking is never bad, keep an eye on the clock so you can stack on the way back to the well or when you are walking somewhere. Usually the time investment of 10-20 seconds is worth it if you succeed in stacking.
Again watch the clock, be on the runes when they spawn, not 10 seconds late or even 5 seconds late, be on time.
Step 8: Always upgrade the courier at 3 minutes
Don’t make any excuse here, always upgrade the courier at 3 minutes even though you don’t have boots. Everything else isn’t on your priority list than the upgrade right away because your mid and offlane will be needing the flying courier as soon as possible. Also walking couriers tend to walk to their death really easily because they take really low amount of damage to die and you don’t want to give your opponents extra 175 gold because you didn’t upgrade the courier at 3 minutes.
Step 9: Keeping wards up
This is really important when laning stage ends, your timing for next set of wards is naturally when the first ones end so in the time 7-8 minutes is really important to get the next set of wards and placing them. This is on your priority list again, if you have boots that’s all you need. Just get the next set of wards. Stick, wand, bottle, tp are 2nd in the list but wards are the highest priority purchace because when the first wards expire it tends to be the time that cores or supports rotate around the map when the laning stage is ending so spotting that movement will save your teammates lives.
Also is just good to buy wards into your inventory whenever you can, you never know when you get the space and time to be able to really place key wards and when that time comes you really want to have the ward ready instead of waiting courier to deliver them.
Step 10: Keeping a tp ready
No matter what the case is you always keep a tp ready in your inventory. This is applied after 6-7 minutes and lasts through the entire game. TP can save ally when ganked on a lane because the time you have to react to it is really minimal and keeping a tp ready all the time can be the difference between a win and a loss.
Also keeping a tp ready is good against a lot of heroes, for example if bloodseeker jumps you alone with rupture without any stunner to help him you can just tp out of danger. Also tping out from fights when otherwise you couldn’t run away is good, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved myself with below 100 hp because I’ve ducked into a FOG spot like behind a tree or up a cliff and doubleclicked TP to save myself.
Step 11: Don’t afk in vision of the enemy
Now I see this a lot, especially in midlane when laning stage ends when supports just afk mid and don’t do anything or staying in vision of the creepwawe in general accomplishing nothing. Instead of doing this as a support you can stack camps or just wait in FOG because you never know when someone is going to jump your core thinking they are alone and then you can just countergank them and kill them.
Step 12: Self sacrificing
If you can sacrifice yourself to save a core on your team it is always worth it. For example if you are pushing and your team starts to take a losing fight you can swap someone out with venge or run the other way to make the opponents run a different way so your cores can run away. Still keep in mind that sometimes it’s just better to save yourself when someone on your team decides to go 1v5, again game reading is important so you know when to go for the “save” play and when not to.
Step 13: Take lanefarm and experience when you can
Using all the space left for supports that cores leave you is really important. Getting levels and even few creeps is huge for starving supports. This I usually do when for example my mid dies in a fight and I’m left with full hp so I can stay on the lane until the core comes back. This same thing happens when people start ganking, for example storm or qop ganking a sidelane and the lane is left open for anyone. Just don’t die alone in mid so if the enemy mid is contesting the lane just leach experience.