The Support role in Smite has a lot of nuances that most people are unaware of, I’ll try to cover as much of the role as possible in the following guide. NOTE: The meta is always changing so even by the time this guide comes out some things may be different.
Support has a few phases as the game progresses, to make this a bit easier to follow I’ll break this guide into four high level phases.
- Pre-Start Phase
- Laning Phase (First ~3 minutes)
- Roaming Phase (starts at 3 minutes and could end anywhere from 15-30 minutes)
- Team Fight / FG Phase
Usually you’ll hear people talk about “Early Game”, “Mid Game”, and “Late Game”, but this is skewed slightly for Supports because our early and mid game are pretty much the same, except for the first 3 minutes of the game.
HOG3 (Wrath of the Gods)
HOG3: Deals 480 Damage to 3 enemy minions or jungle objectives. This will automatically kill the Fire Giant or Gold Fury if they are at or below 25% health.
A good rule of thumb I follow is to make sure I have HOG3 by the 10 minute mark. This allows you to grab an early gold fury, if your ADC has enough damage, and contest gold fury if the enemy team decides to try an early gold fury.
Having HOG3 also acts as a preventative measure in the enemy team trying to do any sort of early objectives. Just having HOG3 can prevent the enemy team from even attempting to do an objective because of the threat of you stealing it away.
Body Blocking: Since you can take more damage than your ADC you should be aware that if your ADC is getting attacked you should attempt to take the attacks for them. This can be extended even into late game because late in the game you can take ALOT more damage than everyone else on your team (usually).
Phase 1: Pre-Start Phase
I’ve decided to add an additional “Pre start” tier in here to talk about the prep work I do before the game begins.
Normally, as a Support, I’ll grab my first item (currently Watcher’s Gift), 3 healing potions, hog1, and 2 wards and leave the base as quickly as possible. Each item here has a purpose, if I’m running late I sometimes just grab Watcher’s Gift and my wards and run out, but healing potions are useful if you happen to get attacked, and hog is useful If you somehow are unable to get back to base and have to go immediately to your team.
IMPORTANT NOTE: With Watcher’s Gift you’ll be receiving full gold even if your ADC gets last hits on minions, this means DON’T LAST HIT whenever possible. This will allow you and your ADC to get full gold from all minions. (If the ADC is not around and minions are going to die, you should last hit them because you don’t get full gold if your minions kill the enemies minions).
I like to and be out of the base by 1:20 seconds remaining before the game starts because this gives me plenty of time to do the following steps. (Note: You can leave later than this but the goal is to get back to your starting area before initial jungle spawns (10 seconds into the start of the game).
When you leave the base with your wards, depending on what side you’re on, the plan is to drop those two wards, port back to base, grab 3 mana potions, then get back out to help your team. Below I go through my start based on if I’m in left or right lane.
Note: “Me before team except after 20.” Is a quote I heard from someone streaming. What this means is that, as support, you are a better sacrifice than anyone on my team in the early and mid game. So If I can give up my own life to save one of my allies, I should do it. The only time this changes is in phase 4. This is because, as Support, you should have HOG3, which allows you to secure the two big objectives (Gold Fury and Fire Giant).
Left lane is best lane, true story. When I’m in left lane I like to place my wards initially at mid camp, and one near the enemies blue camp.
This gives a few, potentially, overlooked benefits:
- Vision! Getting vision on enemy gods not only shows you where they are but vision with wards shows you their items, which will come in useful in some of the following points.
- If the enemy ADC/Support are starting blue (this could allow for those taking right harpies to contest left harpies).
- Who is in what roles (in a normal situation, the Support, ADC, and Mid would be at mid harpies. A quick look at items will determine the roles of each god on their team).
- Whether the enemy support took HOG1. If they didn’t, they’re going to be slower to take blue buff and the Support/ADC could potentially steal their blue (putting my ADC at an extreme advantage over their ADC).
Once you drop your wards and evaluate whether there are any changes to be made to the starting strategy you’ll usually fall back into the normal start of a game. The normal start is for the Support and ADC to go to blue camp, secure blue buff for the ADC, and head into lane to start Phase 1.
Right Lane is not as optimal of a starting lane (in my opinion). All of the nice benefits I listed above count for the enemy team in this lane. Since the Support, ADC, and Mid usually start at mid harpies, the ward placement is slightly different in this case. I’ve placed a ward near our blue buff as well as at the enemies blue buff.
The benefits to this placement strategy are:
1. Vision on Enemy Support/ADC. This will still give you information about items (such as if they have HOG).
2. Roles: If it was unclear who was in what roles, this should at least give you information on who the ADC and Support are (by both positioning and items).
3. Invasion: It is common, as pointed above, to contest blue camp if you start on right, the ward placement at our blue will help to determine if that occurs. Both wards actually assist with this because the top ward will show if the enemy goes straight into lane (to the right) or heads down (towards your blue). This doesn’t necessarily identify that they’re going to invade but it does give you additional information on if an invade is more likely.
NOTE: The bottom ward covers more of the blue buffs entry into the lane than appears on this map, however this is still a blind spot and if the enemy decides to go up the entire lane and come in that side, you may still be invaded without them crossing your wards.
4. GANKS! If enemies are missing from their blue buff it may indicate that the enemy team is looking for an early gank opportunity, be aware and notify the rest of your team (jungle/solo laner are highly susceptible to 5 man ganks).
Once you drop your wards and evaluate whether there are any changes to be made to the starting strategy you’ll usually fall back into the normal start of a game. The normal start for right lane is for the Support, ADC, and Mid to go to the right mid harpies, then for the adc and support to do their blue, then go into lane to begin Phase 1. There’s a second meta when in right lane that the
Phase 2: Laning Phase:
Now the laning phase begins! The first 3 minutes of the match involve you and your ADC in lane doing a few different things.
Quite possibly the most important of the aspects of the initial laning phase is getting poke on the enemy team. Theres a few strategies to doing this, if you have a ranged attack targetting it through enemy creeps towards the enemies to still be doing damage to creeps but also be doing damage to the enemy themselves. When enemy creeps are almost cleared dropping a taunt, or stun, or something to allow your ADC to get a few decent auto attacks on targets.
Getting poke leads to many things:
- When enemies are low on health they need to back off and are unable to secure last hits as easily.
- If the enemy Support gets low on health it forces him to use healing potions and also prevents counter-Poke on you and your ADC.
- Zoning experience: If you’re doing really well you can sometimes force enemies to back off so far that your enemy creeps are getting killed while they’re too far away to get experience. There’s a strategy of only doing damage to creeps when they are almost dead that could help with this (so your minions are taking as much damage as possible, preventing them from getting in range) but that’s more a responsibility of your ADC.
- Kills! Getting poke on enemies allows for you to either capitalize on a mistake they make or extend enough to get a kill on either the enemy ADC or Support. (Remember, this early, Supports are nearly as squishy as everyone else).
Leveling Up & Getting Gold
Two of the main reasons for being in lane as a support are to level up, and get gold. By the time you back (around 4-5 minutes into the game) you’ll need 1100 gold + in order to buy the bare minimum that you should be going back for (defense boots 2, 2 multi potions, and 2 wards).
Phase 3: Roaming Phase
Some people may be reading this saying “Whoa, you’re going to leave your ADC at 3 minutes? What are you crazy?”, and I am, but not for this reason. In the current meta the Support is expected to show up for the first respawn of mid harpies and contest them. (See Appendix for additional notes on respawn times) If mid harpies died relatively fast that means they should be respawning at around 3:10-3:15 into the game. Leaving your lane at 3:00 gives you plenty of time to rotate over and jockey for position to secure mid harpies.
There is one big thing that can cause a lot of issues for your team at this point in the game, THE OTHER SUPPORT DOES NOT ROTATE! (See Appendix for notes about enemy support types)
If the other support is not rotating, this is a huge deal, as you can imagine. Going 1v2 is certain to lead to death! ADCs are squishy and need my help. I must go back and cuddle with them!
NOT SO FAST!
When this occurs I’ve come to the following conclusion, especially when playing with an ADC that I’m familiar with.
Trust in your ADC
This is difficult and sometimes you’ll get burnt, however, if you stick to your guns and rotate and a few things happen, you’re already halfway to winning the game.
This strategy really only works if your ADC can play defensively. If the enemy support refuses to rotate the ADC will be splitting experience with their support. This means they’ll be leveling slower than your ADC, ultimately getting your ADC into their core items faster and giving you a big advantage going into the mid/late game.
The enemy support not rotating also cuts the amount of gank opportunities for the other team in half. Now you only have to worry about a lane rotating (which your other lanes should call) and the jungler rotating.
Potentially, depending on how good you are at rotating, you could also get ahead of the enemy support in gold and experience as well. Mid harpies are worth a lot and without their support rotating in to help secure them you should be able to secure at least one side, and probably both if you get help from mid and jungle.
Note: Keep in mind, starting to rotate does not mean you completely abandon your ADC. I struggle to rotate into solo lane because I feel like I need to be somewhere on the ADC’s half of the map in order to cover him in case he has to back, or he gets ganked. However, the solo lane should be getting ganks from the jungler so you don’t have to rotate over their until you’re in a comfortable spot to do so. (Rotating cross map is sometimes good when you’re preparing to port back to base anyway. Coming out of the jungle with the jungler on a solo laner who isn’t prepared for it can often lead to an easy kill).
Note 2: Leaching experience is almost never a bad thing. I’ll usually rotate and grab mid harpies and help mid clear a wave before backing (making sure to let them get last hits). This allows me to keep closer to the other enemy players in both gold and experience.
Phase 4: Team Fight / FG Phase
After about 20-30 minutes most engagements will involve the entire team and your job will be to initiate, taking as much damage, including the enemy team ultimates, as you can for your team while they do damage to the enemy team.
You should have had HOG3 at or around 10 minutes and have attempted/secured a gold fury at this point already, but in this phase fire giant becomes a contested objective, so being in the general vicinity of fire giant is extremely important as the support, as your HOG3 could secure you a fire giant from the enemy team.
There’s two ways that a fire giant can be engaged, by your team or the enemy team. I’ll go through my thought process in each of these cases.
Your team near full strength: If the enemy engages and your team is near full strength you can directly contest the objective. Fire giant does a lot of damage so going in and engaging the enemy could end up in a pseudo 6v5 situation (including fire giant doing damage to them) which could lead to an easy clean up of the team.
Your team is weak: If the enemy engages fire giant and your team is in a weakened state, you can do the above strategy again, hoping fire giant weakens them enough that you can still get the upper hand, or you could go for the steal.
With HOG3 you can single hit fire giant when it goes under 25% health, so waiting for the enemy team to get close to this situation and going in there with a blink, movement, and some sort of interruption on the opposing support allows for you to get in there and hog the fire giant, stealing it.
In this case nearly any amount of loss is acceptable if you can deny the enemy team from getting FG buff, if you’re alone and die but take it, that’s acceptable. If you’re with another player a take it and both of you die, that’s acceptable. Optimally if you give your life securing FG then it’d be best if at least some other people are up so they can get the benefit of the buff even though they weren’t assisting with securing it.
One last note about this phase is calling when to go for an objective. This is somewhat obvious, yet difficult to determine, whenever you are in an obvious superior situation, going for gold fury or fire giant makes sense. These situations can include:
The entire enemy team is dead, duh.
The enemy support is dead: In this situation, assuming none of their other players have HOG3, you are in a far superior situation, assuming you aren’t afraid of getting 4v5’d you should be able to go for either FG or GF.
Enemy team is weakened, but support is alive: this is a difficult spot to call an attempt. The situation outlined above could happen in reverse, the enemy support coming in and stealing fire giant. In this situation zoning is very important. The bare minimum that needs to be on fire giant is the support, to secure it with hog3, and situationally the best damage dealer, if your support is taking damage too fast. Everyone else, especially those with stuns, or zoning abilities (such as Hun Batz ultimate) should be used to keep the enemy support from coming in. Another good strategy for zoning is doing an insane amount of damage, if the ADC / a hyper carry (see appendix for note about hyper carry) can peel off and focus on the support or anyone attempting to interrupt the attempt it works as a very good zoning mechanism (Similar to getting poke in phase 1).
Respawn timers are something that is being tweaked still, however they are currently setup as follows:
Mid Harpies: 3 minute
Small Harpies: 1:40 minutes
Jungle Buffs: 4 minutes
Gold Fury: 5 minutes
Fire Giant: 5 minutes
Enemy Support Types
ADC vs Carry vs Hyper Carry:
I see ADC as a role, that role is usually made up of a carry or a hyper carry.
Carry and hyper carry are degrees of power of gods. You can have an assassin that is a hyper carry or carry, all it does is define a god that is really good late game, it is just varying degrees of power.
Example of a non-hunter carry: Kali, Chronos.
Example of a non-hunter hyper carry: He Bo, Mercury.
Example of a hunter carry: Neith, Cupid, Anhur
Example of a hunter hyper carry: Artemis, Rama.