Paradigm Shift: The Golden Era of Supports Pt. 1

Posted on at 5:43 AM by Moobeat
Salutations, ladies and gentlemen! Sr. Grimm here with another strangedosity, The Golden era of Supports”!


Continue reading for an analysis of gold generation runes and a breakdown of just how valuable several of the new S3 support items really are. 

( Note: This article is based on metrics taken from the January 16th's Preseason Balance Update 2 patch )


In Season 2 this role didn’t have much appeal. With a repetitive build and an unrewarding playstyle, players who couldn’t call another role fast enough felt as if it was some kind of punishment to be stuck as the support. It was baffling to see someone call Support (thank you those who liked to support in Season 2!) and an even bigger strangedosity to see a good support!

 NOW, in Season 3, Supports have more options for situational items that would best suit different games. Even with new ways to earn gold, a higher ambient gold accumulation rate and a revamped Utility Mastery tree, people still seem to have a negative connotation of the role. I know Support is not for everybody, but the stigma from Season 2 still seems to be telling people that “being Support sucks!” It makes me MAD to see the feeling still prevalent knowing all the new buffs, changes and choices made to jazz up the role!

This is not a guide for "How to Support in Ranked." Everyone has different styles when it comes to support Champs, builds, Runes and Masteries...different ways they react in certain situations. The purpose of this article is to give players a clearer view of all the options available to Supports in Season 3. So when the time comes, you can apply your new knowledge to guide your team to Victory!

There is a lot of debate about the effectiveness of “gold per 10” runes and the Greed Mastery . Instead of telling you, “This is the best one, USE IT!” I prefer to show you all the common set ups of runes and masteries for supports and you can decide which of those you liked the most. Below you will see a table that shows the time you must wait (without taking into account minion or assist gold during that period of time) to get 700 gold - which is about the cost of three of the core support items: a Philosophers Stone, Kage’s Lucky Pick, or a Sightstone.

Set up
Time till 700 gold
Time reduced by Pickpocket

No gold per second runes
No Greed Mastery


8:48

Ranged: -2 seconds
Melee: -3 seconds

No gold per second runes
4 points in Greed


7:59

Ranged: -1.5 seconds
Melee: -3 seconds

3 “gold per10” Quints
No greed Mastery


7:38

Ranged: -1.5 seconds
Melee: -2.5 seconds

3 “gold per10” Quints
4 points in Greed


7:03

Ranged: -1.5 seconds
Melee: -2 seconds

3 “gold per10” Quints
9 “gold per 10” seals
4 points in Greed



6:30

Ranged: -1 seconds
Melee: -2 seconds


In this next segment I will take a look at a few of the most popular support items, Shard of True Ice, Locket of the Iron Solari, Twin Shadows, Runic Bulwark, Banner of Command, Zeke’s Herald, and Will of the ancients, and see just how cost efficient they really are! We will see if the items are worth the money you invest on them, their possible uses and some tips!

Before we get too deep in, let's take a closer look on how I deduced the gold efficiency of each stat!


There are three ways theorycrafters calculate how much a stat is worth in gold. As an example, let’s say we want to figure out what the value of ability power is .We could :
A)   The values of all the flat AP items are tallied up, and then divided by the number of flat AP items used. Basically an average is found for the value of 1 AP. This method is not very well accepted by the Community.

B)    The most “gold efficient” AP item, which is the ‘Needlessly Large Rod,’ and calculate how much 1 AP is worth in relation to the cost. This method is more accepted than the first, but conflicts with the last method.

C)    The value of the lowest tier item who possess the wanted stat is taken (such as Cloth Armor, Null Magic Mantel, Long Sword, etc) and the gold value per 1 Stat Point is taken to calculate the Stat Point value of higher tier items. For example, the value of gold per 1 AP on an Amplifying Tome is used to calculate the gold value of all the AP items.

The last method in particular is quite nice when it comes to calculations, and apparently Riot also uses this method. Hope this makes things a bit clearer for all! 

Here is a table that shows the items used to quantify the gold worth of each stat using our preferred method C:



For example, here is the formula to calculate the value of 400 health: (400 health*475gold)/180 health. 475 gold is the cost of the lowest tier item that gives health and 180 health is the health you get for that 475 gold. This equation leads us to the conclusion that 400 health would be worth 1055 gold. As I mentioned earlier, Riot uses a ssimilar method as evidenced by Giant's Belt, which grant's 400 flat hp, being valued at 1000!

As for how I calculated %MS...Well... I didn’t! I didn't since it’s variable and after 415MS any additional movement speed is reduced to 80% of the listed value. For the purpose of this article, I just used the lowest flat MS in the game (325 MS from Sona or Blitz) and used the MS formula: (Base MS + Flat MS Bonuses) × (1 + %MS) × Slow Ratio. The result was 345 MS you get a bonus “flat 20 MS” when you get a Twin Shadows (6% MS), and then: (20MS*350 gold)/25 MS = 280 gold. In other words 280 gold is the minimum value of gold worth from MS, in normal conditions. MATH!

Now for our lovely set of items! You may notice a few items, such as Sightstone or Shurelya's Reverie, are missing. Well, I consider these core items on most supports and will be providing a more in depth look at them in future article.

Shard of True Ice

Cost Efficiency
Stats Given
Gold Worth
45 AP
979 gold
6 mana regeneration
360 gold (per ally)

The stats you get from this item are worth 1339 gold. To be gold efficient you need to share the aura with at least one ally. For example, 979g + 2 allies *(360g) = 1699g…..BANDERSNATCH! Let's just round it up to 1700g!

Note: This doesn’t take into account the item’s “Lucky Shadow” passive  ( It's the passive that keeps on giving!! )  or the active because they can’t be quantified.

Tips
  •  This item is beneficial for mage-supports like Sona or Zyra. If your team has Champs who can lead the charge like Singed or Mundo, or a fast initiator like Malphite, use the Active Slow on them to make the enemy easier to catch!

  •  The active can be used on minions or pets like: Heimerdinger turrets, Malzahar Voidlings, Tibbers, Zyra’s plants (extremely situational, since can be destroyed easily), Shaco’s clone and boxes, Mordekaiser and Yorick’s (ultimate) ghosts, Jarvan’s Demacian Standar(the flag!) and Elise’s Spiders.

Locket of the Iron Solari

Cost efficiency
Stats Given
Gold Worth
425 health
1122 gold
35 armor
700 gold
10% CD reduction
360 gold
10% health regeneration
322 gold

The stats you get from this item are worth 2504 gold. It’s already gold efficient without taking in consideration the active’s Shield!

Tips
  •  This item works great against heavy AoE compositions; at level 18 the shield will absorb 230 damage!
  •  If you're at new using items with active abilities, consider practicing this: After buying such an item, keep repeating to yourself, “Use the Locket, use the Locket!” at the beginning of every team fight. 
  •  The Locket’s active range is the same as Janna’s Monsoon.


Twin Shadows

Cost efficiency
Stats Given
Gold Worth
40 ability power
870 gold
40 magic resist
800 gold
6% movement speed
X or 280 gold

 “X” is a variable gold value because % MS is more efficient if you have higher base/flat MS.
At the same time this value can’t be less than 280 gold – in normal situations of course.
The stats you get from this item are worth 1950 gold (the least amount possible); it’s already gold efficient without taking in consideration the Active’s enemy seeking ghosts.

Tips
  • Contrary to popular belief, Twin Shadows does not reveal invisible units since summoned minions do not have true sight; champions who are stealthed at the moment Twin Shadows is activated will not be targeted or chased by the ghosts. I did some testing and realized that if an enemy had any kind of stealth ability (for example Rengar’s  “Thrill of the Hunt”) and you use the active before your enemy goes stealth, the ghost will follow him but will never touch or reveal him. Instead, the ghost will stay stuck behind the target (in a weird situation your enemy will turn back and the ghost will reveal him)
  •  It’s a tool for scouting, it can help you to see if there are enemies at Baron, Dragon, near you, which way they ran away, etc.
  •   If an enemy tries to escape from your team, you can easily slow him with the ghosts to make him (or them) easier to catch.

Runic Bulwark
Cost Efficiency
Stats Given
Gold Worth
400 health
1056 gold
30 armor
600 gold
60 magic resist
1200 gold
10 health regeneration
360 gold

The stats this item gives are worth a total of 3216 gold……very cost efficient!  Now let’s talk about the aura…
Aura Gold Worth
Aura Stats
Gold Worth
10 health regeneration
360 gold
10 armor
200 gold
30 magic resist
600 gold

After everything has been calculated - the aura has a total gold value of 1160 gold per ally!! Now, you may be thinking, “Cost efficiency per stat isn’t everything that should be considered.” So! I’ll show you a stat comparison:
  •   30 Magic Resist – This is the same amount of MR you get from a Guardian Angel, and is also equivalent to one-and-a-half Null-Magic Mantles
  •  10 Armor – Sounds like a small amount, but when you find yourself dead in a teamfight you may think, “If I only had 2/3 of a ‘Cloth Armor…”
  •  10 Health Regeneration -  The same regeneration you would get if you buy 2 Rejuvenation Beads.
Tips
  • The RB works great against heavy magic damage compositions.  Just by standing near a team fight, you’re helping your team by boosting their MR!
  • It’s very common for magic damage based tanks, like Amumu or Nautilus, to build an Abyssal Scepter. The Runic Bulwark is an excellent choice to “nullify” the effects of the scepter’s aura.
  •  If one of your allies also builds a RB, you and him will stack the aura, in other words both of you will get a bonus “20 armor, 60 MR, and 20 health regeneration”.

This item compliments the following supports VERY well:
  •  Taric: RB and Shatter will give to nearby allies a bonus “40 armor and 30 MR” (Outrageous!)
  •  Soraka: Her passive + RB gives an amazing “10 armor and 46 MR”.
  •   Sona: When you use Aria of Perseverance your team gets “25 armor and 45 MR

Banner of Command
That right there is a promoted minion.
Cost Efficiency
Stats Given
Gold Worth
40 AP
870 gold
30 armor
600 gold
10% CD reduction
322 gold
10 health regeneration
360 gold (per ally)
The stats you get form this item have a total value of 2152 gold, therefore it is not cost efficient. However it should be noted I’m not taking into account the Active (Promote) or the 15% increased damage to minion... which is a much tougher cookie to crack!

Sr. Grimm’s official spoiler: (future article about this).

Tips
  • Well, this is item is completely situational, commonly used for split-push team compositions.
  • The Valor aura actually increases the damage dealt by: Heimerdinger turrets, Malzahar Voidlings, Tibbers, Zyra’s plants, Shaco’s clone, Mordekaiser’s and Yorick’s  ghosts, Elise’s Spiders.
  •  You will get all the gold earned by the “promoted minion;” an interesting way to use this item is to promote a minion in a different lane than the one you are pushing (common strategy mid game-late game).
Zeke’s Herald

Cost Efficiency
Stats Given
Gold Worth
250 health
660 gold
15% CD reduction
483 gold
20 AD
800 gold
10% life steal
400 gold
You are getting 2343 gold worth of stats, apparently not cost efficient; BUT this item has an aura.
Aura Gold Worth
Aura Stats
Gold Worth
20 AD
800 gold
10% life steal
400 gold

WOW! 1200 gold worth (per ally) in an aura! Wanna hear a comparison? This aura is like giving your team an invisible “Long Sword and a Vampiric Scepter”.

Tips
  • If you find yourself in a situation where your team deals a nice amount of AD damage (example: Bursty AD mid or AD Bruiser, don’t forget your ADC) a Zeke’s Herald will greatly help them. (Remember it’s like they have an invisible Long Sword and a Vampiric Scepter).
  • If you can build it early, your ADC will have “extra sustain” allowing him/her to stay in lane for extended periods of time without needing to go back to base to heal.

Will of the Ancients

Cost Efficiency
Stats Given
Gold Worth
80 AP
1740 gold
20% spellvamp
550 gold

You are getting 2290 gold worth on stats, not gold efficient. At least you take into account the aura
Aura Gold Worth
Aura Stats
Gold Worth
30 AP
653 gold
20% spellvamp
550 gold

1203 gold worth (per ally), phew…..that’s a lot of spellvamp for your team fellas!.
Tips
  •  If you find yourself in a situation where your team deals a nice amount of AP damage (example: AP Jungle or AP Bruiser, don’t forget your AP carry) a WotA will give them sustain and more AP.“You are very helpful fella!” they will say.
  • Now that WotA is built from a Kage’s Lucky Pick, this item can be viable on mage or tanky supports


Be on the look out for part two of the Golden Era of Supports, where I'll be examining the true power of the Sightstone and more!

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