So this is my first attempt at writing a guide. I've learned some very hard lessons from early play and thought I would try to pass on some of what I've discovered.
This guide is meant to give an overview of the support role and address some of the most common issues players have with the support role.
I play support hero's almost exclusively.
I've been playing HoN since Beta.
First things first. What is the support role?
The support role in HoN is the player who is most focused on helping the team as a whole. While every other role tends to focus on the individual to be effective, your job is to make sure that the rest of your team can do their job well. You will be giving up the most kills, getting the most assists, probably dieing the most, and spending the most gold on items that will not stay in your inventory (Wards) You will have the lowest gold per minute, exp per minute, and probably the most deaths per game. So why play support?
The major reason for playing support is because you are the pedestal upon which the team functions. No carry can support themselves early game. Imagine this team lineup if you will: Madman, Chronos, Flint Beastwood, Scout, Magebane. Who is going to get the farm? Who is going to mid? Who wouldn't be more effective on a team where they were the ONLY carry? Ultimately, the issue becomes, "How can we be the MOST effective." Support players answer that question with a resounding self-sacrificing gameplay style. You are the reason that Chronos can wreck a five man team late game. The support players are the stage dressers, prop teams, and CGI guys behind the scenes of a movie. Imagine if only the cast of a movie showed up to filming. What would happen? Nothing. You are just as essential to the team lineup as everyone else. The only difference is that you enable others to destroy the enemy instead of directly doing it yourself.
The support role in Heroes of Newerth is a role that is taken upon the players selection of their hero. This is important for several reasons.
1. When you random or select Nymphora and choose to play her, you have locked yourself into the support role. If you don't want to play support, don't pick support hero's. Don't pick Andromeda if you want to carry or tank. She can NOT do it. Moreover, don't cry about having to buy the courier and ward constantly when you pick Glacius. Find out who the support hero's are, and don't pick them if you don't want to support.
2. If you do play support, play it well! You're role is just as important as the rest of the teams. If the Carry has no babysitter, they will not be able to fulfill their late game role. (Unless their sn is Chu or something.) Know your role and do it well and you will enable the late game destruction of your super farmed Madman. I play with a group of guys who consistently attend what has become known as a "Nymphora Party" Hp and Mana are served for free and I am constantly on the receiving end of "I <3 fairy =D" messages from them. The point? You are important as the support, don't try to be a squishy semi-carry.
Support during the laning phase:
Support heroes during the laning phase should be paired with the carry, or at least with another hero who needs to farm. Support hero's should have boots, some form of hp/mana regen, and a support item of some kind, by the time the late game comes. That means, you should NOT have any more creep kills than is ACCIDENTAL. If you get caught attempting a deny early and get a single creep kill on accident, fine. But the point is you should NOT be killing creeps on purpose. Let the carry or other team member farm. You do NOT need the gold as much as they do. If there is a creep that is killable and they can't get to it, take it. But Nymphora should not be stun/podding creep waves during the laning phase.
Harassing in the Lane:
DENY DENY DENY: Since you aren't preoccupied with creep killing, DENY THE CRAP outta your creeps. For every creep you deny, the enemy team gets a fraction of the experience and no gold. Even if you miss the deny, you can often force the players who are trying to last hit to miss their timing. Worse case scenario, your creeps die faster, and the lane moves toward your tower where you have the advantage. Support heroes should always deny during the laning phase.
Creep Stacking (Big Thanks to Juggz97 for pointing that out) A creep stacking occurs when you pull the creeps out of their spawn camp at the right time for the camp to respawn a new creep camp. The pulled creeps then return to the camp with double the number available. This is incredibly useful to your jungleing carry as they can get double the normal gold and experience per jungle sweep. The way to creep stack is simple. You just wait outside the creep camp until 3-5 seconds before a camp would normally spawn. The creep camp spot will spawn new creeps when nothing is in the spawn point. (The reason for pulling the creeps out of the camp before engaging them after the 40 seconds mark in the minute is that the creep corpses will keep creeps from spawning in the minute the corpses are still there when the camp is scheduled to respawn, which is extremely detrimental to the carrys GPM.) So, wait until just before the creep camp would spawn, and engage the creeps, pulling them out of the camp. New creeps will spawn and presto, double the gold!
How to: Wait outside the camp until the clock reads X:57 or so. Aggro the creeps and run them out of the camp. Make sure they remain outside the camp until X;00 reads on the clock. New creeps should spawn and stack the camp.
Creep Pulling: On the short lanes (top for Hellbourne, bot for Legion) there are creep camps close to the lane just on the backside of your 3rd tier tower. If you time it correctly, you can aggro this camp and pull them into the lane. Your own creeps will attack them and follow them back to their camp. Doing this will cause the lane to push toward your tower where you have the advantage. If you have an enemy support who is doing well and denying alot, the lane will push away from your tower (this is very bad because their tower will support the battle and you are in more danger of enemy ganks.) Pull the creep wave and allow the next wave of enemy creeps to move unopposed down the lane towards your tower. If you are in your short lane, they are in their long lane, and can't do this back to you. A word of caution, pulling the wave can get you ganked if they catch you in the jungle. Make sure you know the enemy position before you pull.
Uber Pulling: Now suppose you stack the camp AND pull the creeps. Just pulling the creeps will cause you to delay the enemy creeps and your creeps fighting. If you stack the camp THEN pull, the neutral creeps will completely kill your creeps. The advantage? A total creepwave of gold and experience is completely denied. Even when you as a hero deny a creep, the enemy gets a small portion of experience. Creep pulling this way places them outside of the experience range of the creeps which brings the grand total of experience for that wave to absolutely Zero. Imagine your carry having double the number of creepwaves in experience and gold at the end of the laning phase...because you the support did a phenomenal job of creep pulling. Pretty scary for the other team eh?
Ganking: (Revised under suggestion by readers. Thanks guys!)
Thing number one, participate in ganks only when your carry can handle being in the lane alone. If you leave your carry open to being killed by enemy team members you aren't doing a good job. Only participate in ganks when it is safe to leave your carry alone.
Thing number two: Roaming- Sometimes it is beneficial to leave your carry and wander into another lane to drop a quick gank on the enemy heroes. While I would love to give you a list of times to do this, it is almost entirely situational. Map awareness will help you decide. If you realize that your Andro Comet will allow a kill on the Legion Thunderbringer in the middle who is aggressively pushing the middle lane all during the laning phase, drop out of your lane and hide. Wait for him to push again and stun him. Your mid gets a kill and gold and you get a share of it. This can be a great way to build up some of the gold you need to get those boots you've be so desperate for! Don't just Roam for the chance of possibly getting a kill. Leaving the lane causes you to lose experience. You already are sacrificing your gold for your carry, you won't be any use to anyone running around at level 9 after 45 minutes. Only leave when you are reasonably sure that you can assist in a gank.
Thing number three (Aka the cardinal rule of support): Do NOT under ANY circumstances kill-steal. Nobody on the team needs the gold and exp less than you. You're carry is the most desperate and you are the least. If you are the ONLY player who could accomplish a kill before the nearly dead enemy gets away, do so. If they are going to escape or be killed by you, cut em up. However, if your Madman is invis and his barrel role is 2 seconds from coming off cooldown, a Glacius nuke is the LAST thing that needs to happen. Support heroes, the key to doing your job effectively in this case is a button you will find one key to the left of your J button. Use it often.
Support During Teamfights: Your job will depend on your hero. If an enemy hero is about to get away and you can kill them, do so. Otherwise, stun, heal and do all you can to lock down the enemy team and keep your team alive and kicking. Stun, Heal, do whatever it takes, and (Read Carefully) Die if necessary. It is MUCH better for you and your team if you hero block the incredibly angry Devo from hooking your carry who has only a few hit points from the last teamfight. Die for you carry if it saves them.
Support for Mid/Late game: Depends alot on the circumstances. If lanes need pushing and your carry isn't in the area, kill you some creeps. If the carry is in the area, let him know where the creep wave is so he can farm. Buy the items to keep your team alive during team fights. Nymphora does NOT IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE NEED A HARKON'S. I CAN NOT stress this enough. Aside from boots and wards, every item you should have should come from the section of recipes where this ----->:NomesWisdom: is found. If you have anything outside of this list, you do are not fulfilling your role efficiently.
Starting- Starting items will depend totally on your hero. However, some basic guidelines should be followed. The first thing you should do is grab the courier. Don't wait for someone to ask who is getting it. Volunteer the courier immediately and spend the two-hundred gold. Don't forget to share Grab some runes of blight or a health potion (unless your nymphora). I almost always start out building power supply. If you have a targeted heal you will be using it mostly on your carry. Even a mana battery with one or two minor totems is a great way to keep your early health and mana going. Remember, your job is not to be a powerhouse, its to keep your carry healthy and farming. Get starting items that will best assist your carry and ensure their lane presence first. Second, power supply will greatly increase your early game lane presence. However, don't buy the whole thing (you won't be able to if you got the courier like you should.) Finally, if you are the only support, guess what, your starting out with even less gold because you will be buying a ward too. The ward should be placed on the cliff face of the closest runespot to your lane. This allows your mid to monitor the rune spawn and control the middle lane (not to mention refilling their bottle when they get it.)
What NOT to get at the start of the game:
Marchers - Every time a player who is not Swiftblade buys marchers at the beginning of the game, I assure you the other team lets out a sigh of relief. Boots give you no stats, no increased lane presence, and no greater method of healing your carry. They do nothing for you except make you a LITTLE faster. When you are doing more damage, have higher mana regen, higher armor, better lane presence, and the ability to keep your carry healthy, there is no comparison. Do not under any circumstances disgrace the name of support and buy boots. If the above comparison wasn't enough, you can't even buy a ward or courier! NO items is better than marchers at the beginning, at least you are on the way to something useful.
Bracer/Talisman - Also won't let you get the courier. However, assuming you only had to buy the ward because you were not the only support, buying the whole bracer/talisman early on won't increase your lane presence as much as buying part of the them and working up to the finished product a little later. If you plan on going with a bracer/talisman, buy the cheaper parts and work on a power supply first. Having pieces of both is more beneficial than have just one. Get a bracer later, don't buy the whole thing at the beginning.
Anything that is not from the Support Recipes: The reasoning behind this is pretty simple. Lets say I'm Nymphora. I have a TON of gold from the recent teamfight we won. I have an option to consider. Should I grab a Stormspirit or work towards a Harkons Blade. Stormspirit should always win out. Harkons blade will increase your dps, but your low dps will only bring you up to a level that is a higher dps than the enemy team's support. You simply cannot outdamage a carry of equivalent farm. However, if I grab the Stormspirit, I can now DISABLE an enemy combatant in the next teamfight. Imagine the enemy team's Warbeast has just bought his Shieldbreaker. Next teamfight when he shows up? *Stormspirited! Oops warbeast, the team fight is over and we won the 4v5. Now your all alone surrounded by the enemy team. While Stormspirit won't disable for an entire teamfight, you get the picture. A relatively slight increase in dps or stats or tankiness is simply not as effective as a disable or other support item. Stick to the recipes organized under your Namesake!
Wards - You are the support, if both runespots and several key spots are ever in the fog, you are NOT DOING YOUR JOB. Even the little amount of gold that trickles on it's own is enough to buy wards. If you have to walk around with ZERO items, keep the spots warded. Apart from babysitting your carry and dieing to save them, this is a primary role.
Nomes -Stats. +4 Strength
Aura - +3 Armor
+1 Mana Regen
Heals for 25% of mana cost for items and abilities used
If healing exceeds max health, a shield of equal value is placed.
Late Game Situational-Lot of DPS? - Get Astrolabe. Health Regen Aura and AOE heal
Lot of Magic Damage? - Get Barrier Idol. Massive Magic Armor = Win
I can hear the rage now.
"WHAT ABOUT SHRUNKEN!"
A. No. Magic immunity for you is not as good as high magic armor for everyone. Remember the above statements. You are support, you are not that important for you, but for what you can do for your team.
I would like to introduce something that I haven't personally run across in the forums now. Much talk has been made in comparisons to carries. Some characters are "hard" carries. This implication of this is that they 1.) Carry better than any other character. & 2.)They can only fulfill this role. Sandwraith is an example of a hard carry.
Another level of carry heroes is known as the "soft" carry. Soft carries will not be an powerful a carry as a hard carry in the late game. The trade-off for this is that a soft carry generally needs less farm and less time to reach their maximum effectiveness. Pestilence would be an example of a soft carry (in my opinion. Soft carries seem to be a topic of some dissension.) Finally, the classification of "semi" carry is given to heroes who can carry, but are not locked into that role. They can't carry as well as Madman or Pesti, but they require even less farm to be effective and may also fill other roles on the team. An example of a semi carry would be Puppet Master.
All this talk about carries and classification of carries is essential because if anything is certain in a game of HoN, it's that gametime will pass. The carry will ultimately determine much of how well the team does in a game. His support, as much as his personal skill, will determine how well he does. If a hard carry has terrible support, he will need incredible personal skill to overcome a weaker competitor with good support. The converse of this is true as well. That being said, I believe that it is important to classify support heroes as well. It makes no sense to classify all support heroes on the same level, since some heroes can obviously support better than others. To this end I would like to introduce three classifications similar to the carry system. The rationale behind this is that with a carry system in place, without a support system in place behind it, leaves an almost incomplete spectrum to the support/carry roles on a team. While I will not attempt to place initiators, tanks, nukers, and the like on the spectrum (as I believe they will all be specific classifications of support/carry heroes) I believe the spectrum should include levels of support and carry.
The spectrum - Hard Support, Soft Support, Semi Support/Carry, Soft Carry, Hard Carry
Hard Support - Any hero who provides the best support for their carry, and is locked into the support role except upon extremely rare occasions. Needs very few, if any, items to be effective throughout the game. Items should enhance their ability to protect and maintain the farm of their carry and keep the team alive in teamfights. DPS is NOT a concern for a hard support. As always, a "carry" can be manufactured with right items, but Nymphora will not carry as well as a Madman of equal farm.
Hard support heroes are: Andromeda, Nymphora, Glacius, and Empath.
Soft Support - Any hero who provides good support, but may require some items in order to reach their maximum effectiveness. They can't support as well as the hard supports, but still should support and focus on the team as a whole. Another aspect of a soft support is their increased ganking ability. This group of heroes are much better as single and team focused ganks than their hard support counterparts. An Engineer may not seem like a support hero, but ultimately you are there to do damage during teamfights and allow your carry to farm. The potential DPS isn't the issue. While Engi does have great DPS potential, there is only so much farm to go around. If an Engi is running around with 75% of the available farm and a Madman has only gotten 25%, the team is doomed. However if the opposite is true, the team has a good chance of winning.
Soft Support heroes are: Engineer, Ophelia, Voodoo Jester, Succubus, Torturer, Demented Shaman, Defiler, Witchslayer, Vindicator, Jereziah, Pollywog Priest, and Tempest.
Semi Support - This is where the line starts to blur. Semi-Support heroes can almost always semi-carry. Their support ability is no where near the hard support heroes and they require even more items to support effectively. However they require fewer items to carry to their potential, but their maximum carry potential is much less than their hard carry counterparts. As a result, most semi-support heroes are also semi-carries. Using these heroes can land you in either role depending on how your team plays and what heroes are on the team. Also, be ready to take on the carry mantle if you have a hard carry that isn't farming as well as they must.
Also be aware that some semi-support/carry are much better at one aspect of their role than the other. Nighthound is a much better Semi-Carry than Accursed. However, Accursed and Nighthound have almost comparable Support abilities. This is where I would place most nukers, tanks, initiators, and the sub-classifications of roles. Accursed can tank much better than Nighthound can. Be aware of the line blurring in this part of the spectrum.
Semi Support/Carry heroes include (but are not limited to): Slither, Accursed, Corrupted Disciple, Night Hound, Magmus, Plague Rider, Bubbles, Myrmidon, Chipper, Blacksmith, and Armadon.
Some common issues players have with support.
"Why do I have to buy the courier?!"
A. Because your the support. Your carry needs as much lane presence and every drop of income they can get. Further your solo lanes need to be able to refill bottles or grab more health and build items as needed. As a support hero, you do NOT need gold as much as your other team members. If you have a problem spending gold on items that will not stay in your inventory, see the first important reason above. Support hero, suck it up, buy the monkey.
"Why do I have to buy wards?!"
A. See above answer
"What do you mean I can't kill creeps! I need items too!"
A. Not as much as your carry does. If you have items and your carry doesn't, you lose. If you don't have items and your carry does, you can still win. End of story. Farm after the laning phase in the lane where you carry isn't.
"Everyone needs items thought!"
A. Some need them more than others, and you do not need them the most.
"Dude! (Insert your favorite support hero here) can carry!"
A. If the hero you placed in the slot above can carry better than they can support, they would call them a carry. What they CAN do is not the issue, the issue is what SHOULD they do, which is support. Play Madman or SW or some other carry if you want the creep kills or flashy items
One rule of thumb:
Forget the green number in your K/D ratio. Replace it with the orange number at the end. Your assists should take the place of your kills. A good support won't be taking many kills, but may die often. You assists should be amazing. Its not uncommon for me to go 2/5/21.
If I missed anything, please feel free to comment! Thanks for reading, and remember, Real Pro's Support.
Last edited by J1337; 02-08-2011 at 11:44 AM.
Excellent guide J1337. The only suggestion I would make is regarding your comments on ganking. I think you meant to say what I'm going to suggest, but your wording is slightly confusing. Support heroes can and should be involved in ganks when possible. However, they should strive to let the carry hero make the kill if at all possible. Of course, it's better for the support to get the kill than for no one to get it, but support heroes should never make a kill that a carry hero can reasonably make.
On second thought, it occurs to me that you may have been suggesting that the babysit hero should remain in the lane to continue supporting the carry rather than run off trying to gank to get gold to buy the items he/she doesn't need. On this point I agree with you, except in circumstances where the carry has reached a point where he can survive on his own for a bit while the support contributes to a teamfight or saves a teammate from a tower dive elsewhere on the map.
The latter was my point, however the first is equally valid and should have been included. Thanks!
Well, just something I'd like to add: Support heroes DO have to start roaming after a while. If the carry is racked up with a bit nice farm already, you should leave him alone for a second and gank other lanes.
I agree with you. My point is that support heroes shouldn't take the kills during ganks if it can be avoided. I think the roaming starts after the laning phase, not during. Leaving a low level carry w/o a babysitter isn't a good idea in my opinion. Only after they have farmed enough to be safely left is roaming an option. For most carries, this usually doesn't happen until after the laning phase anyway. Good point though, thanks! =)
Great basics. i play a lot of support too, and even with heroes that can tank or gank, i always try to think first on my team with my builds (usually get barrier idol over shrunken, and daemonic bp over other luxury). ON the other hand, often people laugh at my kd (.5) and don't look at my ad (about 2 i believe).
Behind every sandwraith faceraping 5 guys, there's a supporter that did his job, and is a role that should be encouraged. Great job doing that.
Universe uses HoN as means for showing us, that no matter the beauty of our plans, or how crafty our strategies are, when you develop a foolproof plan, it develops bigger and better fools. -
How do you counter the other supports? I'm always getting dominated 1700+ when I play supports. I can only carry or gank.
Also I think lots of supports have good range, andro is one of the exception. And are not only expected to deny, but also to harass, pull creeps back. During laning deny is important, but usually the carry with the hatchet can do that. Important to harass and pull the creeps for whoever your supporting. Many times heroes like tort can be really aggressive with harassing in lane.
Also: spend the 135 gold and ALWAYS carry a port stone (assuming youre not Nymph) 135 gold can : save your life, allow you to quickly defend a tower, or even halt a backdoor attempt.
Finally.learn to look to whoever you are babysitting and their items. If your Flint has a Geometers by the 19 minute mark, your Pro supporting! You may not even have marchers yet, but you carry is already a powerhouse on the map.
It may seem like you are getting dominated as a support. But remember, you are expected to die. If you go 0/6 or 7 in a game but your carry loses no farm, who cares? You still win! The point is not to avoid a certain K/D. The point is to avoid feeding. 0/7 in a game where your deaths saved your carry or soaked up an ult in a teamfight is totally different than 6 failed tower dives and a Catman eating you for breakfast.
One supports the team, the other delivers the gold and xp you do not want your opponents to have.
I played a Nymphora (my fav support) game tonight where I babysat our carry. I literally had a grand total of 7 creep kills at the 30 min mark. Our carry was a death machine. We win, my PSR goes up, and everyone's happy! =D
I've been playing long enough to have a gold shield. I still suck.:NomesWisdom:
On Countering other supports: This totally depends on the heroes in question. For example, Vindicator can harrass better than most other characters in early game. His DoT forces you to lose mana, or lose mana and hp. However, a good strategy to counter this is to pick Nymph and get your Nymph's grace ability first.
*Vindi uses his DoT
*Nymphora mana's her carry she's babysitting
DoT stopped, carry has mana again after they use a skill to stop the DoT, no harm done. Think about HOW the support is supporting and do something creative to throw a monkey wrench in it. Is the support great a creep pulling? Throw a ward in the creep camp. Do stuff to mess up the works for them. Nullify their harassing, protect your carry with wards, keep any stuns ready to go, and watch how they support, see if you can't make it hard for them.
I've been playing long enough to have a gold shield. I still suck.:NomesWisdom:
I miss some informations on counterwarding, harassing in lane, stacking creeps/ancients etc. Also supporters should not only buy a courier, they should upgrade it as soon as possible, especialy if your midlane use it to refill the bottle. Astrolabe in my opinion isnt wort to buy since it scales bad into lategame and supporters, as you described, get few to none farm, so it takes ages to farm it.
Also stormspirit/tablet of command/abysal skull are possible items for support heroes, depending on your farm and over all team setup.
Nevertheless solid guide for beginners so far.
Last edited by Gonzobrez; 02-04-2011 at 09:05 AM.
You should probably explain how to creep pull and the benefits of it for the carry you're supporting.
I mean, nothing here is really that ground breaking. I'd like to see some more stuff on like how to harass to allow your carry to farm, for instance, if this is meant to be a really serious guide. I also disagree with your statement on ganking... Agree w/ SaberMonk in that you definitely should be ganking within your lane and/or roaming, you just need to allow someone else to take the kill. You say that's what you meant but it should be clearly stated like that because the way it is now to a new player will seem like you should never gank.
No images? I am dissapoint (︶︿︶)
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Another suggestion is mentioning the buying of a monkey and wards (rather than boots if I read correctly) at the start of the game.
Also, adding colors to the paragraph titles makes it more pleasing to the eye
Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night
Awsm guide, really love it! Didn't read the other comments but ..
did you just leave out the stacking + pulling section?
Just curious about it
Maybe you might wanna add a small list of heroes that fufill that role as its best and maybe also add a list of support heroes that are often mistaken as initiator/semi carry or whatever ^^ just a thought
New Section on Support heroes, let me know what you guys think!
Last edited by J1337; 02-07-2011 at 06:03 PM.
I've been playing long enough to have a gold shield. I still suck.:NomesWisdom: