It’s me again with another Rafaela guide. This guide aims to discuss and explore various scenarios and useful tips when playing as Rafaela in different situations.
This guide is a complementary guide to my Comprehensive Rafaela Guide (check out my profile or the subreddit’s guides wiki for links). I would highly recommend to check out the comprehensive guide first before diving deeper into this guide.
Alright then, let’s save those cores!
General Things to Keep in Mind
The following are some general tips in playing Rafaela. Always keep these items in mind, it can improve your Rafaela gameplay in almost all situations.
Stay alive. A dead support doesn’t mean any good for the team. Since Rafa is a backline support, you may want to position yourself carefully in teamfights. Generally, don’t stay in a position where sneaky assassins can jump out and smack you into resurrection. Natalia isn’t that much of a threat now that her invisibility can be broken by Rafa’s S1, so that’s one point for you. Personally, I find Hayabusa, Gusion and Lancelot crazy threats to Rafaela’s survivability, so beware of those three.
Immortality is conditional. While this item may be useful in several scenarios, for Rafaela, this item is purely optional and situational. Assess the situation you’re in and decide whether you need to buy this item or not. In my gameplay, I am inconsistent in buying this particular item. But generally, you may want to buy this item if your team is solid and you find yourself a priority target by assassins instead of your core (some assassins do that because they think killing supports is easy and that the team won’t prioritize protecting supports over cores).
Mute trash talking bastards. The in-game chat doesn’t feature much strategic discussion in this game. It is mainly used by bastards with a foul mouth to upset other players in their team. Rafaela players often find themselves being the blaming sheep of these kind of players. To keep your mental health sane enough, just mute those mouthful asses.
Ignore ruling c*nts. Players who rule their team around in draft pick or player selection lobby tend to be underperforming motherf*ckers. They dictate other people what they should do while refusing to be told by their teammates. They play on their own and blame people for their own deaths. They tend to be most, not all, Indonesian (and SEA) players. If they dare to tell you not to use Rafaela, don’t listen to them. Instead, use your own instinct and some tips from this guide to decide whether you should pick Rafaela or not in your team comp.
Be aggressive but play safe. Your S1 has relatively short cooldown, and even shorter with 40% CD. You can be aggressive from early game, but remember to play safe from the edges. If you can take down objectives alone (and you’re sure you won’t die in the process), do it, but remember that participating in teamfights is your priority as a support (and a way to farm assists to collect extra gold and EXP).
RECALL OFTEN. In general, if your health or mana is below 50%, recall. Don’t risk yourself dying because you decide to camp. Rafaela is not a camping support, and after taking significant damage, she must retreat or else she will die.
Hero Pick Guide for Ranked Mode non-draft
Since these ranks (Warrior, Elite, Master and GM) doesn’t do draft pick in ranked mode, you don’t have to worry about the enemy team picks. Instead, you have to worry about your team picks. The following tips might be useful (this also applies for draft picks):
Don’t pick Rafaela if your team has two tanks, even if one of them is playing offlane (I’m looking at you, Uranus). Don’t sacrifice your team damage output. EXCEPTION: The only exception to this tip is when your team is a 5man coordinated team and decides to implement hyper carry strategy. In which case, all other four team members should buy roaming masks in Level 1 and retain the mask for the first 9 minutes of the game, while the hyper should equip retribution, buy the jungle item, and farm from all lanes and jungle objectives in the first 9 minutes of the game.
I cannot stop stressing this already but you should, must, and have to ignore trash talking and ruling c*nts in your team.
RAFAELA IS A SUPPORT NOT A MAGE. I’m quite surprised that some people say, when picking Rafaela and there’s a mage in the team, “Don’t pick two mages.” (I’m looking at you, Indonesian players). She is a goddamn support not a mage, not even a mage/support or support/mage, get your facts straight. There’s absolutely no problem having a mage and a support in one team.
If your team doesn’t have tanks, it’s entirely up to you whether to pick Rafaela in your team. Some team comps decide not to rely on tanks at all, and that’s perfectly fine. But remember, she is squishy, so building tank items on her won’t help much. She won’t soak much damage, and will most likely die first when placed in the front line, even when fully built with tank items.
Generally, tanks and supports are both roamers. Having at least one roamer (and at most two of them) in a team is a must, whether its tanks or supports.
While the following isn’t to be regarded as a strict guide, I have some designs over what team comp would be best for a Rafaela gameplay. The details will be explained in each respective sections.
Rafaela, EXP Laner, Gold Laner, Mid Laner, Jungle. See Rafaela as a Roamer.
Rafaela, Tank, EXP Laner, Gold Laner, Mid Laner. See Rafaela in Two Roamer.
Rafaela, Tank, Mid Laner, EXP Laner, Jungle. See Rafaela in Gold Lane.
Rafaela, Tank, Mid Laner, Gold Laner, Jungle. See Rafaela as Offlaner.
Rafaela, Tank, EXP Laner, Gold Laner, Jungle. See Rafaela in Mid Lane.
Hero Pick Tips for Draft Pick
While the following tips above also apply for ranked drafts, the following tips are specific for ranked draft pick. A great portion of the game depends on the heroes picked in draft. Draft is a way to plan gameplay strategies ahead, and its important to carefully pick heroes that can synergise with the team while at the same time counter pick enemy heroes. The following are tips for picking Rafaela in draft:
Rafaela should be first/second pick. This may seem obnoxious but I’ll explain my reasons. Specific heroes can be countered by specific heroes. For example, dash/blink heroes can be countered by Khufra and Minsitthar. Regen/Lifesteal heroes can be countered by Baxia, Sea Halberd, and Necklace of Durance. Atlas and Khufra can be countered by Diggie. But Rafaela is a hero that can be countered by anyone. Hell, even D-tier Vexana or Lesley can kill Rafaela easily. For that reason, players should prioritize Rafaela as a first pick or second pick, so that enemies “will pick whatever hero they like because anyone can kill Rafaela easily.”
Imagine this scenario: your team picks Khufra first. Now enemies won’t pick dash heroes knowing they would be countered. Your team picks Khaleed, Ruby, Alucard, or Yu Zhong first. Now enemy team will try to prioritize Baxia, or you’ll find their build full with Sea Halberds and Necklaces of Durance. Or imagine if Natalia, Hanzo, Gusion, Lancelot, or any assassin is picked first. There’s a high chance enemies will avoid playing as Marksman and/or Mage.
But what if Rafaela is picked first? Would enemies prioritise a certain hero to counter her? No way. They will pick whatever hero they like because they know Rafaela’s counter is basically anyone. Then your team can follow up easily, picking counters for the enemy picks. This draft strategy uses social engineering to a certain degree. We make use of Rafaela’s weakness to potentially exploit enemy’s overconfidence.
This is called a strategy. In solo or teamed matches, I often find it easier to counter enemy picks when Rafaela is the first pick. One thing certain, is that you will most likely not encounter Natalia in the enemy team if Rafa is already picked. It is a common knowledge that Rafa is Nata’s hard counter.
Rafa can counter bush-dependant heroes. Because her S1 automatically aim heroes within range, even if they were hiding in the bush, Rafa can easily reveal hiding enemies and warn your team ahead of their presence. For this reason, Rafa can counter heroes that depends on the bush in their gameplay, like Natalia and Hilda. Just make sure you keep a safe distance while scouting them.
Rafaela as a Roamer
Ideally, your team will consist of Rafaela, EXP Laner, Gold Laner, Mid Laner, Jungle. This means Rafaela will take the roamer’s role and your team plays with no tanks. It is highly recommend that this setup is played by a 5man coordinated team.
In the early game, your focus is to secure the early game of any hero you think will be your team’s ADC, whether its the jungle, mid, gold, or EXP lane, and try ganking the enemy with the jungle. In the mid game, your focus is to delete turrets and the turtle by planning and coordinating attacks. In the late game, assess the situation you’re in and decide your next move. You may be used as a bait to lure out enemies into chasing you, if needed. Try attacking enemy jungle camps if possible, or make them attack yours and ambush them en route. Or create a diversion so your EXP Laner can steal their turret, or even the base.
The core build for this setup will be Tier 3 roaming mask, Rapid Boots / Demon Shoes, and Enchanted Talisman / Ice Queen Wand.
Rafaela in Two Roamer
In this scenario, the ideal setup is Rafaela, Tank, EXP Laner, Gold Laner, and a Mid Laner. Your tank and you will assist the gold laner in the first 3:30 minutes so they get maximum farm early game. In the mid game, both of you roam and assist lanes and push objectives and the turtle. In the late game, your tank and you can bait enemies by purposely attack their jungle camps while your teammates hide in the nearby bushes. As always, in the late game, assess the situation and decide your next move.
The core items in this setup would be Tier 3 Roaming Mask, Demon Shoes, and Ice Queen Wand / Glowing Wand / Lighting Truncheon.
Rafaela in Gold Lane
This will happen if your team consists of Rafaela, Tank, Mid Laner, EXP Laner, and a Jungle. You will want your tank to stay with you early game so you can farm from the minions fast. In the first 3:30 minutes, try to farm as many gold as possible and prevent the enemy from doing so. Rafaela can deal significant damage early game to marksmen so they will fall back after being continuously hit by her S1. Ideally, clear the minion wave as fast as possible and spam her S1, trying to hit the enemy gold laner as much as possible, so that your minion will push the turret, making it harder for the enemy gold lane to last hit.
The core items in this setup would be Demon Shoes / Rapid Boots, Enchanted Talisman / Clock of Destiny, and Lighting Truncheon. Buy roaming mask as the fourth item (buy the wooden mask in minute 9 though and let the tier 3 mask be your fourth item) because Rafa’s gold will usually fall mid-game.
After 3:30 minutes, try to push one or two turrets, either alone or with your tank, and try to claim the turtle. In the rest of the game, you will be back in your support role, so play accordingly. Your jungler or midlane will be your main damage dealer, but you will deal significant damage because of Lighting Truncheon.
Marksmen are weak without their items, so don’t be afraid to play aggressive with them in the first 3:30 minutes of the game. If you’re lucky, you can claim your first blood/assist.
Rafaela as Offlaner
This will happen if your team consists of Rafaela, Tank, Mid Laner, Gold Laner, and a Jungle. Despite playing in the EXP Lane and being an offlaner, your support duties still exist, and you will have to proceed carefully between taking down objectives and supporting your teammates. You will not have your tank with you, so you are exposed to great risk of being alone.
In the early game, don’t play too aggressive. Most EXP Laners are strong early game, and they can whack you since minute 1. If possible, try to play safe, reach level 4 as fast as possible, and try to steal the gold buff by last hitting it with your S1.
After reaching level 4, if your jungler and tank approaches your lane, it’s time to plan for a gank and push turrets. Lure the enemy EXP Laner into attacking you, and have your teammates ambush them. If you are alone, never leave your lane, because the EXP Laner will most likely delete your turret instead of joining teamfights. Leaving your lane alone can also expose you to potential ambushes. Play safe.
You are an EXP Laner that is also a support. So you must split your priorities between taking down turrets and joining teamfights. Don’t be afraid to request backup if you are outnumbered, so your roamer knows which lane they should go to.
Your core items in this setup would be Demon Shoes / Rapid Boots, Ice Queen Wand / Enchanted Talisman, and Glowing Wand / Lighting Truncheon / Necklace of Durance. Buy roaming mask as the fourth item, but buy the wooden mask in minute 9.
Rafaela in Mid Lane
This has to happen when your team consists of Rafaela, Tank, EXP Laner, Gold Laner, and a Jungle. You are playing a support that deals damage and applies a degree of pressure to the mid lane, while also having to support other lanes that needs dire backup. Your tank will roam with the jungle, so you focus on clearing minion waves early game but don’t take the blue buff, give it to the jungler.
You only assist other lanes when they request backup. But make sure your tank and jungler are also en route, or else you expose yourself by wandering alone and can get killed by sneaky assassins before you even reach the struggling lane.
Don’t be afraid to request backup if you are outnumbered. Analyze the situation and decide whether you should join teamfights or apply pressure by attacking the mid lane turret.
Assist your jungler when they want to take the turtle, but make sure your lane is safe while doing so.
The core build for this setup would be Rapid Boots, Enchanted Talisman, and Lighting Truncheon. Buy roaming mask as the fourth item, but buy the wooden mask in minute 9.
This concludes my Rafaela laning guide. This guide assumes that the other roles play well and don’t feed the enemy by dying often early game. Hope it’s helpful to you in a way or another and that it can give you insight of Rafaela’s gameplay, or even improve your gameplay. Do tell me if you find this guide helpful and keep playing this game in a healthy manner!