1: What is roaming, and why should you roam?
To make sure everyone is on the same page about roaming, I will briefly explain what it is. When a support is roaming, they leave their own lane in order to assist other lanes, often by taking the enemy laner by surprise as they do not expect you to be there in the first place. This should result in a burnt summoner spell at the very least, if not – you have done something incorrectly.
To understand why you should roam as a support you have to take a look at the goal of roaming, which is very simple – you leave your lane in order to create immense pressure in other areas of the map, preferably by gaining kills, or even better – opening up map objectives such as towers, dragons and buffs. By doing a successful roam that leads to a kill or a forced back you are creating opportunities to secure objectives, most of them uncontested or at least with one less person on the enemy team contesting them. This is the very reason you roam, you roam in order to carry other areas of the map rather than just bot lane. It’s a reliable way of carrying as a support, and it is important to remember that this is not something you see nowhere but in the LCS, but something any support main should be doing frequently, regardless of their ELO.
2: Which champions should you roam on?
Any support. There has been a lot of people suggesting you only roam on tanky support that brings loads of Crowd Control to the table – but in my experience this is incorrect. The only difference between roaming with tanky supports and non-tanky supports is their roaming style. You do not have to have a massive amount of Crown Control in order to roam, as long as you execute the roams properly.
It is worth noticing that some support are easier to roam with than others, andthese are the champions people often tend to bring up as champions you should roam on. Champions people often bring up are:
Yes, these are all very ideal supports to roam with, but keep in mind that roaming is not all about the CC – it’s about the element of surprise and being able to shove down a tower or go for other objectives without the enemy being able to react quick enough to be able to do anything about it. I would without doubt roam with any support, it is just a matter of how much I would roam. This depends on how your lane evolves, whether or not you are a playing an aggressive/defensive/hyper-aggressive/hyper-defensive lane, which Marksman you have with you and of course – which champion you play. I would like to present a short version of a tierlist of supports based on how easy they are to roam with, and how likely they are to get results out of their roams.
- S Tier: Braum, Alistar
- A Tier: Thresh, Morgana, Leona, Nautilus, Blitz, Annie
- B Tier: Janna, Lulu, Nami, Tahm Kench, Bard
This is my personal opinion, and you are allowed to disagree. I may have forgot one of two champions, but none I could think of right now. There are other tiers, but I won’t bother listing every support there is.
3: When should you roam?
Although roaming is a reliable way of carrying your team if you are able to actually get something out of your roams, you have to keep in mind this sways both ways. If you roam in situations where roaming is the correct answer you could be one of the largest carries on your team, but if you roam in situations where roaming is definitely not the answer – you could also be the person that puts your team in a terrible position. It is important to know which scenarios you should roam in and which scenarios you shouldn’t roam in.
When should I roam?
As a general rule of thumb:
When you are able to leave your lane for a given time while causing a minimal amount of negative consequences for your marksman.
In other words, the fact that you are roaming should not completely obliterate your Marksman, and there are a few key elements that have to be in place for you to roam safely.
- 1: Ward Coverage. Without ward coverage, roaming is generally a really stupid idea. You are bascially leaving your AD Carry in lane withoutany sort of protection, rather than with at least some protection, which he would have gotten out of wards. This means he has to hug his turret until you return, which is not very ideal at all. You are also unable to see whether or not the enemy laners have gone back or has left the lane. Having deep wards is not only great in order to call out ganks, potentially making you able to turn a 2v2 fight mid lane into a 3v2 fight in your favour, but it also allows you to go on roams later on based on jungler movements and avoid a scary 2v2 situation in mid lane versus the enemy mid/jungler. They provide yourself and your team with so many different fragments of information you could put together in order to dictate the pace of the game, as well as it helps your jungler set up his jungle route based on the movements of your enemies.
- 2: Vision Denial/Knowledge of enemy wards By denying enemy vision, or at the very least know where they no wards, you are able to execute your roams properly. If you are not able to deny them vision in your jungle or in River, there simply is not point in roaming mid, which in fact is the most common lane to roam to. Not only does denying the enemy team vision open up for ganks on your end, but it also forces the enemy team to play as if the jungler or yourself could gank at any point. It is very hard to play your lane the way you want to play it without the proper ward coverage on the map.
By having those two elements of the game under control, you have created the opportunity to go for roams without being detected. This does however not mean you could wander off at any given time. There are certain scenarios that gives you the opportunity to go for roams, but they require little to no hesitation.
There are only a handful of situations I chose to roam, these being:
- 1: When you shove a large amount of minions to the enemy tower: This is a perfect time for you to roam, especially if you have been able to deny the enemy team vision. The very second you have shoved the minions to their tower, move into their fog of war and rush mid lane; either through the river or through your own/the enemy jungle. You have to make sure you enter mid lane through the fog of war as well, so communicate with your mid laner or pay attention to mid lane every once in a while to make sure you never run through a ward. This is also an ideal situations to call for your jungler to create a 3v1 situation mid lane, improving your chances of killing their mid laner as well as grab up easy objectives afterwards.
- 2: When the enemy laners/your AD Carry returns to their base:This is also a very ideal situation for you to go roaming. This is very similar to point 1.
- 3: When you recall: This is probably the least common situation people roam in, yet it tends to be the most rewarding. When you recall, you buy items as well as you get healed to full hp/mana. While I recall, I always look for ganking targets – my favourite being top lane. Nobody expects the enemy support to roam top lane early on in the game, which is what makes this so hard to counterplay in a long 1v1 lane. Simply tell your top laner to make sure the lane freezes in the middle of the lane, and sneak into one of the lane brushes. This way you’re able to complete catch the enemy top laner off guard, and it results in a kill or a flash pretty much every single time.
- 4: If you are relatively far ahead in lane: If you are relatively far ahead in lane, leaving your AD Carry alone might be a smart move, as long as he is able to avoid dieing due to your ward coverage and by freezing the lane to his advantage. He gets some neat soloexperience, while you are able to assist other areas of the map. This is a win/win situation, and you should not be too afraid of leaving your AD Carry alone unless he has incredibly bad waveclear versus a strong dive composition.
- 5: When you get a kill: If you get a kill in bot lane, you automatically remove any pressure their bot lane would of had in a 2v1 situation in their favour. This means you are free to roam without putting your AD Carry at great risk, as he should simply not die in a 1v1 situation.
4: Roaming Tips
Based on personal experience, I would say top lane is the easiest ganking target, so roaming top is generally a great idea. To put top lane and mid lane in comparison with one another – Over 30 games on Braum I have executed 16 roams before the 10 minute mark in top lane, and all of them have turned into a kill for our team. As far as mid lane goes, I have executed 21 roams before the 10 minute mark, where 17 of them have resulted in a kill and 3 of them have resulted in no more than one or two summoner spells burnt on their end. This is because the top lane is a longer lane than mid lane, which gives you more time to kill the enemy top laner. The top laner often does not expect to be ganked by the support as often as the mid laner does, which means he often overextends slightly due to the fact he has a river ward that gives him a false sense of security, considering you are coming through lane.
A great way to gank mid lane is through the enemy jungle – given you have deep vision and/or have been able to deny the enemy team vision of their entrances. You are freely able to move through their jungle without being seen by wards(in most situations anyway), and show up behind the enemy mid laner, which is a very tricky gank to get out of.
I also have a few itemization tips: Early Mobiboots is very smart in order to improve your roams, as you are able to move faster between the lanes, being able to roam more often and spend less time moving between the lanes – decreasing the risks you put your marksman in when you actually roam. Another great item is Righteous Glory, as it allows you to quickly get into someone’s face after exiting the fog of war.