The basics of laning and roaming for the support role
Hi, I'm LuckyGnom. I was able to reach diamond elo in three roles: Mid, Top, and ADC. However, when I finally decided to settle into the ADC role, I've realized that I couldn't improve efficiently without the knowledge of the support. Add my inherent interest in the role, and this is how this guide was born. What you'll read below is an updated and extended interpretation of the guide made by T1.Wolf and translated by me for my YouTube channel. If you prefer a video format, you can watch the video below, but be aware that you'll miss a lot of new information. For everyone else, welcome to the guide that will teach you how to properly lane and roam as support.
If you feel extra generous, you can also follow my stream, where I play LoL, analyze replays, and coach: https://www.twitch.tv/luckygnom
Why laning is so important?
1. First of all, the laning phase is a phase of the game where you have the most control. When it comes to 5v5 activities you have 4 teammates, which is 4 potential mistake makers. This means that you control only 20% of actions. In the lane, you have only 1 partner. Technically this means that you have control over 50% of actions, but in reality, it’s closer to 60% or 70% because support is the main figure in the bot lane. What I'm trying to say is that you should be good at things that are in your control. Since the laning phase is one of those things, you have to be good at it.
2. Secondly, having a good laning phase is important because you can literally 1v9 the game by being stronger than other people on the map. As support, the way you 1v9 the game highly depends on what type of champion you play. However, regardless of your champion type, you'll quickly discover that way easier to do your job when you're ahead rather than behind.
3. Thirdly, having a good laning phase is important for the team morale. If bot lane is winning, players are willing to be focused on a game even their team is hard losing. This gives you time to stabilize the situation and, maybe, even turn the tides.
All of these points are especially important in high elo. Generally speaking, this is D2+ elo. The biggest difference between high and low elo is that high elo players punish mistakes better. This creates an interesting web of interconnected situations that make it impossible to climb unless you can consistently win your lane every game:
- The team that played the laning phase better gets ahead.
- Because they are good players, they know how to snowball this lead.
- The losing team knows this too, so they start to lose hope and often surrender very early.
It's important to mention that winning the laning phase doesn't always mean killing your opponents and destroying their turret. In some matchups going even, or losing by a small margin, equals winning, but this is a story for a different guide.
Why do you need to roam as support?
I will slightly rephrase a quote from the guide made by T1.Faker on how to roam as a mid-laner, which I also translated for my YouTube:
A lot of low elo players avoid playing support because they feel like they can't carry games. They might lane well, get their ADC ahead, but then someone one-shots their "baby", and they lose the game. This happens only because low elo support players don't understand the biggest advantage that their role has.
Every single role in the game needs to farm, even junglers. However, support is the only role that gets enough gold without killing minions or jungle monsters. It doesn't matter in which lane you will kill a minion with your
The biggest advantage of the support role is that there are no restrictions in terms of map movement.
You're free to go anywhere you want, at any time you want. Roaming is your reliable way of carrying. You can and should influence the map with your active map movement. It lets you create immense pressure on the map, allowing you to act as a second jungler. Roam to get kills or to create pressure, then translate this pressure into objectives. This way, you'll make fed not only your ADC but the whole team.
With that being said, you can't just leave your ADC on an island against two opponents. So, let's take a look at actual practical bits of advice from T1 Wolf on how to lane properly and how to translate lane advantages into proper roams without screwing your ADC.
How to lane with low-skilled ADC?
The first piece of advice from Wolf is to evaluate your ADC partners' skill level. To do it, Wolf keeps attention to his teammate and evaluates how does he lane. What exactly does he observe to come to a certain conclusion? Wolf keeps attention to:
- How much HP his ADC loses during the first minion waves.
- How many last hits his ADC misses.
It's important to understand that you can't compare your teammate to some non-existent perfect challenger elo player or perfect professional player. Even if you're a top 10 challenger player, you will still get in games with grandmaster and master elo players. Obviously, these players will play worse than a lot of pro players. Instead, compare your teammate to his direct opposition. In fact, there is always a chance that even the best ADC on your server will perform worse than his opponent in the concrete game.
That's why you should only care about if your ADC plays better than the opposing ADC right here, right now.
Before we go deeper, we need to learn a few terms.
On the left, you can see my HP before the trade. On the right, you can see my HP after the trade. This Thresh should probably roam.
So, let's say you've realized that your ADC has lower skill compared to the opponent. What should you do now? In this case, Wolf suggests not to fight for the lane prio. This is because if either of you loses a lot of HP, you might be forced to recall and lose a whole wave of minions, which is a lot of experience and gold. If you decide to stay in lane with low HP, you might be ganked and lose experience and gold anyway. On top of that, it's really hard to turn the 2v3 situations if your ADC isn't good.
Instead, Wolf suggests letting the opponent push you in and farm as well as possible under your turret. Also, this decision will make your opponents overextend. Their positioning will give you options for a favorable engagement because they will be near your turret trying to harass you or damage the turret. When you'll see opponents making a positional mistake, ping onto the target that you'll engage on and go in. It's important not to hesitate!
What should you do if opponents don't make positional mistakes? The only thing that you can do is use
The most important part of playing with a low-skilled ADC is to preserve your HP and wait for the opportunity to force a favorable fight. Either in a 2v2 situation or when one of your allies decides to help you out.
How to lane with high-skilled ADC?
It's very comfortable to play the lane when your ADC is good. So, Wolf suggests fighting for the prio, pushing the lane as much as possible, and, of course, warding. The idea is to force the opposing jungler to gank you and to outplay him. When you notice opposing jungler on your wards, you'll need to immediately decide if you can go for a 2v3. Often, the minion advantage will give you this option.
Basic ward places for both sides that save me from ganks every game.
First of all, minions will make it hard for the opposing bot-lane duo to start a fight with you. Big clumps of minions deal a lot of damage, plus they block a lot of skill-shots.
Secondly, if the opposing duo decides to shift the engagement burden onto their jungler, then you'll be able to create a 2v1 by turning onto him immediately after he shows in the lane.
Finally, if the opposing jungler completely ignores your lane, it will be possible to kill the opposing bot-duo after they get low on HP.
Laning with good ADC is mostly about creating as much pressure as possible by pushing the lane and playing as aggressively as your matchup allows.
How to lane without mid and jungle prio?
Even if you were lucky to get a good ADC, you still have to respect the ability of other lanes to influence your lane. You have to constantly pay attention to who has prio in the mid-lane and on what side of the jungle your jungler currently is. In fact, my experience says that if you are stuck in the Gold 1 - Diamond 4 elo range, most likely, you don't pay enough attention to this.
I thought I was winning, but in reality, I died to mid-laners' roam in just a few seconds. Just take a look at the minimap.
If you constantly push the lane in games where you don't have mid and jungle prio, you'll be chain ganked. So, if your jungler clears the top side of the jungle and your mid-laner doesn't have prio, Wolf suggests giving up the prio and letting the opponents push the wave into you. Eventually, your mid laner will have prio, and your jungler will be on your side of the jungle. This is when you can ask them to come to gank your lane if the opposing duo overstays near your turret.
Essentially, your plan when playing without mid and jungle prio is the same as when you play with low-skilled ADC. Preserve your HP and wait for the opportunity to force a favorable fight.
How to lane with mid and jungle prio?
Let's say both mid-laner and your lane can easily get prio when they want. Basically, it means that both of you are stronger than your lane opponents. In this case, you can create a very cool play that will snowball the game out of control in your favor.
Step 1: Crush a big wave into the opponents' turret. This will make the next incoming wave slowly push into you.
Step 2: Don't let this slow-pushed wave reach your turret. Instead, create a freeze near your turret until your jungler is going to be on your side of the map.
Step 3: The moment when your jungler will be on your side of the map is the moment when you need to break the freeze and start to slowly push the wave into the opponents.
Step 4: Try to find a trade with the opposing bot lane while you're slowly pushing the wave.
Step 5: Ask your jungler and mid laner to dive together with you and a huge wave that you crushed into the opponents' turret.
If the dive is going to be successful, the lane will be over because the opposing bot lane will lose too much gold and experience.
tl;dr: Create a big minion wave by slow pushing of the bounce-backed minion wave, force a trade while you're slow pushing, dive low HP opponents together with your mid laner and jungler.
What if the opposing bot lane plays very defensively?
You probably noticed that one of the most important steps in our plan is to force a trade before the dive. The problem here is that opponents can play very safely and run away at the first signs of a possible trade. What should you do in this situation? Well, if opponents decide to play very safely, you can still get advantages from your slow push. This is how.
First of all, move past the minion wave and threaten the opposing bot lane. Since they would want to play very defensively, they will back off and try to last hit minions with skill shots. Block these skill shots! Deny them from the last hitting!
Secondly, try to move even deeper into your opponents. This will force them to fight or to back off even further. If they decide to fight you, they will play into our plan. If they decide to back off even further, they will lose experience from the dying minions.
That's how deep you should be according to T1.Wolf.
While you do all of this, keep attention to your ADC. Good ADC will move forward together with you. His movement will make it possible for you to use both options. However, low-skilled ADC won't move in together with you. In this case, you'll be able to make possible only the first option (blocking skill-shots).
How to roam properly?
We've learned how to get advantages in our lane regardless of the ADCs' skill level and mid-jungle prio. Now let's learn how to spread this advantage into other lanes through roaming.
When you want to roam, the most crucial thing is to hide your intention. To hide your roam, push the big wave into the opponents' turret and hide in one of the lane bushes. Don't show yourself for a little bit, and only then move to roam. Don't forget that lane bushes might be warded, so check them with
Usually, supports roam to the mid-lane. While you run there, check the bushes with
When you arrive at the mid-lane, you'll have two options depending on the opposing mid-laner positioning. If he is pushing the lane, then you can just walk into the lane and gank straight away.
However, if he is pushed under his tower, then you'll need to go behind the mid-lane tier 1 tower and gank from there.
Don't forget to ask your jungler to gank together with you. 3v1 gank is practically impossible to survive for the opposing mid-laner. Especially if your jungler will gank from the opposite side of you. For example, you gank from the bot side of the jungle, and your jungler ganks from the top side of the jungle.
The cool additional tip is to change map sides with your jungler. Let's say you pushed the big wave and recalled home, but instead of going straight back to the bot lane, you roam to the mid lane. You can try to gank the mid-lane from the top side of the map while asking your jungler to gank from the bot side. Very unexpected switcheroo.
The last part that you need to know is that you can't just leave your ADC alone. While you roam, the opposing bot lane will slowly push the wave into your turret. Generally, you want to be there when this wave finally crashes into your turret because this will be the best timing for the opponents to dive your ADC.
To sum up, roaming consists of three simple steps: push the big wave, hide outside of vision, roam while checking your path with
What is fake roaming, and how to use it?
Your opponents will expect you to roam after you do this multiple times. Because of it, it's also effective to do a fake roam. Do the same steps you do when you roam, but then choose one of the following unexpected options.
Option 1: Hide in the lane bush, but never leave. Instead, force a fight from there.
Option 2: Hide in the lane bush, leave it like you do when you roam, but, instead, of moving towards mid-lane, hide in the river bush and force a fight from there.
Option 3: This option relies on opposing support trying to match your roam. Instead, of moving towards mid-lane, ask your mid-laner and jungler to come to the bot-lane with you. Move behind the opponents' tier 1 bot tower, ask your ADC to hard push the wave into the current, and dive lonely opposing ADC.
Option 3 is a little bit dangerous for your ADC because he might get engaged on by the opposing support that decided not to roam. In this case, be ready to quickly join the fight and help him. You might even need to run through the turret.
To sum up, fake roaming relies on your opponents thinking that you went roaming or recalled home. Your goal with this move is to get an ambush onto them and possibly get kills from it. Obviously, you want to translate these kills into objectives: dragon and/or tower.
I hope you enjoyed the guide and learned a lot. Remember, this guide covers only the basics of laning and roaming. There are a lot of small game-specific situations that you'll need to figure out yourself. Also, there are a lot of small tips and tricks that can boost your skill level. The support role is the most brain-intensive role in the game. Never stop learning, and you'll climb for sure. Good luck and have fun with your games!
LoL YouTuber, streamer, coach. Ex-StarCraft 2 pro player & personal coach. Ex-WarCraft 3 team coach & manager.