Captain, please save them! : The Support Manual 2.12 (5v5 WIP) by Rawrzi

Captain, please save them! : The Support Manual 2.12 (5v5 WIP)

By: Rawrzi
Last Updated: Feb 4, 2018
9 Votes

Notice! Top

Rawrzi wrote:

The build guide shown below is the basic support build. Keep in mind different situations requires different items and build priority order.
I am trying to make this guide fun and easy to understand. I would not go in-depth analysis per hero for this is a general guide. If you are not satisfied or you want a topic about captains to be explained here, please leave a comment and vote!

Introduction Top

Hi I am Rawrzi from SEA region and this is my support hero guide.
I am a support role main a.k.a the "Captain". I draw vainglory fanarts and stuff at my free-time.

They say, the roam/captain/support is the easiest role to play upon the world of Vainglory

Which is TRUE. However, since it is the "easiest role" out there, it is almost always taken for granted therefore, most players hate and play as it badly. Think of it as being the knight in a shining armor (wait what? That's Lance!) to save a damsel in distress. But in Vainglory terms, it is your Laner & Jungler.
But fear not! because what you are about to read are the stuff you can do to improve when playing as a Captain/Support. Especially once Vainglory 5v5 comes.

P.S: Pardon for the blackclaw above. I haven't really prepared a new banner with all the heroes in Vainglory. ill create one soon!

Explanation Top

The Captain is one of the keystones for winning a game whether it is Ranked or Casual.
But no matter how important it is, It's a dull job. Why is that?

Being a captain requires the traits:
  • Map Awareness - I cannot stress this enough. With this, you will have time to react and save your laner/jungler before the enemy ganks them.
  • Buddies Concern - If you care for your teammates you will come to their aid whenever they need it.
  • Patience - Seriously, most of the time you will be camping at the mustache bush or go running around the area of kraken to place/detonate mines.
  • Use of pings in a good way - This works well on party games and on soloQ? not so much. But trust me, combine this with your map awareness and your team won't have to fight losing battles.
    > Seen all enemies are on the lane? ask your jungler to steal their jungle.
    > No enemy is on the lane? tell your team to check the jungle shop.
    > Sensing a fight you cannot win? ping your teammates to fall back.
  • Alertness - As a walking healing/blocking machine, you must know when to properly use Crucible or Fountain of Renewal. If you're gonna use it for personal needs, YOU ARE NOT BEING AN EFFICIENT SUPPORT.
  • Basic knowledge about synergy - This is an important skill if you are aiming for overall secure kills amd what captains works well with the laner/jungler of your teammate. I recommend reading guides for each hero that can be in a captain role.
  • Flexibility- this refers to your mastery and comfort when picking any captain hero out there. Remember synergy? Yeah, you can't do well if you have no idea how to use that captain right?
TL;DR: You must be willing to sacrifice everything from gold earning, item building, damage output and even your own hero life, if it can win you the game or teamfight.

Not all heroes can be played as support! Top

This is the common mistake especially on lower tiers such as using SAW, Petal or Krul then you choose to build utility items.

Why can't I do that?
- Because that way, you are wasting your kit and damage output possibilities. Also if your chosen hero is particulary squishy you won't be that useful as other heroes who are really made and labeled as Captain on the hero select screen.

But I have seen a support <insert a random hero> on streams!
- Of course, this does not apply to higher tier plays where draft modes requires flex & counter picks which basically makes the enemy think youre going jungle but you're actually the support for your team. more explanation from brokenmyth here. But that does not mean every hero can be used and be viable with a support build.

But I want to be a support main no matter what!
- Then start picking heroes that were meant to have the support role. By practice, you will eventually learn what works and what not works as support on certain heroes.

Do's and Dont's Top

One of the reasons why most hate playing this role is because you don't get the fun stuff like last hitting minions or slaying tons of jungle creeps. But that's what Captains are all about. You're there to give way for your Laner and Jungler to get stronger.
  • Protect the most squishy/item dependent hero early game.
  • Focus on buying utility items.
  • Always provide vision. Scout Traps and Flares
  • Do the facechecks if necessary (unless you're a squishy type like Lyra, Adagio, Lorelai)
  • Time your heals/blocks properly. Don't waste your heal on one hero unless he/she is about to die. Do the healing for the two of your pals.
  • Initiate the teamfight if you think your teammates are also asking for it. (Mainly happens when the kraken spawns). Make sure your teammates are close before initiating. Once again, DO NOT do this if you are the squishy like Lyra or Lorelai and without any escape mechanism let your tougher ally do it.
  • Run if you have to - It is better to survive for your team rather than dying in vain and helping the enemy earn an Ace.
  • Buy Weapon/Crystal Power items early game. Seriously, why?
  • Steal Jungle/Lane minions from your teammates. You will earn gold passively
  • Greed over kills. Don't chase if you're the last one remaining. You will just give the enemy a free Ace.
  • Using fountain/crucible when everyone else is dead.
  • Not building Atlas Pauldron when faced with high attack speed hero like Krul, SAW, Ringo
  • Leaving your teammate left for dead - I know this is kinda contradicting to my earlier explanation, but there are times when he/she can still be saved!

Remember that no one is perfect, therefore you might commit mistakes once or more! But stay focus to keep it as low as possible

Support Items 101 Top

This chapter explains each recommended and useful item for every support hero out there.
Keep in mind that different situations requires different item priority order, therefore you must be aware of counter-building against your enemies
Without further stuff here we go!

Ironguard Contract is your team's early game bestfriend. Free heals for your team! In the jungle? Just take all the damage as your jungler kills the creeps. Need to protect your laner? Camp in the mustache bush! Although, this item is not a good choice for healing supports like Lyra & Adagio
Oakheart is the base for all of support item builds, thats why you need it early game. What makes you a great damage absorber? Of course, more health!
Sprint Boots is not a great first item choice except if you are using Phinn. But get it as soon as the jungle shop spawns. Because every hero needs to get to places in time to save the day! Seriously, you need this.
Energy Battery is a situational item, it is only needed if your team is going aggro early game or you simply want to spam skills, specially heals. On my experience, I only buy it when using either Lyra or Catherine. Other than that, you won't be benefiting from more energy as a support.
Healing Flask is the new Halcyon Potion You might be thinking, "nah I wont get damaged anyway i wont be attacking enemies lol" wrong. In fact, you have to be a meat shield if you have to especially when you are trying to freeze the lane for your laner. Also yeah, you are supposed to cycle between helping the lane and jungle so you will barely have time to heal. It's a item free anyway.
These two items are also important earlygame, especially when the enemy has a Flicker, Taka or Kestrel. It also prevents jungle invades and ganks. Pretty self explanatory isn't it?

First Shopping
After earning alot of gold passively (Don't steal from your Laner/Jungler please!) you will have to spend it wisely. Is my enemy going aggro? Do they like hiding in bushes? Who are they targeting first on my team? With this info, think of the items you will need to have first.
Travel Boots is needed Phinn badly as his first or second tier-2 item. Other than that, you can ignore this, just buy Sprint Boots first.
Lifespring is a support/tanks best friend. Passive increased healing + more health. You will also need it for the infamous Fountain of Renewal so do not skip this as your first tier 2 item.
Flare Gun is a situational shop pick. Buy this if your enemies keep popping your Scout Trap and or they go invisible. If not, just buy a couple more of Flare or Scout Trap.
Light Shield is needed for Fountain of Renewal so buy it too if you still have some gold.
Hourglass is for Contraption or buy it if you have energy conservation problems. Also for more skill spam because of cooldown reduction.
Reflex Block and Dragonheart goes hand in hand to make Crucible. Also more health = more tanky powers.
But I would prioritize getting Fountain of renewal first tbh.

The Late game show!
Ok so this is it. This is the phase of the game that utterly decides which side will win. Let's just hope it's your side of the fold.
You should have Fountain of Renewal by now. Seriously, now all you have to do is to learn how to use this thing effectively and wisely.
Crucible is also the teamfight savior. Also gives you the health you need to survive no matter what life(the match) throws at you. Time it right, and you will be your teams MVP (if there was any).
War Treads is really handy as you chase or flee from battles that went great or went terribly wrong. Use it wisely, only when you are close to your teammates.

Atlas Pauldron is used for high attack speed heroes. It is not as great armor protection as Metal Jacket but it will help your team survive and slay the enemies.

Remember when I said about heroes who constantly popping your Scout Traps or heroes who goes *poof* gone? Contraption will save you the trouble of constanyly buying Scout Trap or Flares. But this is Situational and really for late game, where vision is badly needed by both sides.
Crystal Infusion is needed for a great support why? because it is a substitute for your lack of CP items and it also lets you spam your skills more. Weapon Infusion is a big NO for supports though. You won't be basic attacking that much anyway.

Situational 6TH Items
But wait, I already have the Crystal Infusion right? nope. Keep in mind it does not last permanently so better have another item on the slot.

MetalJacket is not much a great item for supports. Except for Phinn which adds more fortified health to his Polite Company. Buy this if you are struggling to survive teamfights.
Aegis is for a second reflex block and just like above, to survive crystal/skill based attacks.
Stormcrown if you are falling behind pushing turrets or getting objectives. This is great for pushing or for faster kraken captures. True damage in a DPS form will also makes you more of a visible threat in teamfights.
Clockwork is for the maximum fast cooldowns and almost unlimited energy. Get this if you are having trouble spamming abilities and together with Crystal Infusion, will boost your skill damage output.
Aftershock is also a good substitute for clockwork since it gives additional CP. Get this if you are faced with high health enemies or you need to be noticed more on teamfights and together with Crystal Infusion, will help you chop away HP of that tough enemy.
Nullwave Gauntlet is self-explanatory. Basically buy this if the enemy captain is as good (or even better) than you. Item silence can really stop those pesky enemy supports from healing and blocking crowd controls for their team. Time it well during a team fight, but don't use it too early or it will defeat its purpose.
Echo is for your backup plan. Very situational. If you are having trouble making your ult hit enemies or just wanna deal more damage like Ardan or Adagio or even Phinn

and that concludes the basic support items you need to be a successful and a great support.
note: The option to skip some team-wide items is applicable if your teammate decides to build it.
You also have an option to build a CP or WP item as your 5th or 6th item if you are teamed up with a newbie. Always watch the scoreboard for counter-building.

Synergy and Stuff Top

Ok, so now you know the job of the support and what is your purpose on battles.
Now it is time to know which works and not greatly works in a team composition.
Whatever happens on your matches win or lose is out of my control.

Disclaimer: Once again, I would not limit nor command you what heroes you should use on situations, this is just a guide.

I will only name the heroes originally labeled as support/captain!


Gameplay Top

Remember: Gold is everything on this game. If the enemy has gold advantage you will most likely lose no matter how good you are as a support.

As a support, you must always think about your teammates and what are they doing. Don't let them slack around e.g: Waiting with you on the bush for 2 freakin minutes. Ping them to start farming on the jungle.

Try to intimidate the enemy laner by popping up randomly or moving around in that area. It will keep the enemy laner from going too aggro and will remain cautious.

When you see your jungler struggling to farm early game e.g Taka, Glaive, Rona help him/her by tanking all the damage until he/she can handle the farming. This is viable specially early game where you just got out from the base.

When the jungle shop spawns, buy 2-3 mines immediately or when the lane pressure goes down.
Never leave the lane like you don't care about your laner. Remember, you are supposed to protect them from all sorts of dangers (you are basically a babysitter.)

When a teamfight starts, always watch for your team healthbars. If they are trying to burst down your ally (mostly the laner) try to minimize or redirect the damage as soon as you can, using your support hero skills such as healing and health fortifications. Use your Fountain of Renewal only when both of your allies already took alot of damage. Crucible is used when they are using Ult crowd control skills e.g Adagio's Agent of wrath, Catherine's Silence, Celeste's Shooting stars.

If done correctly and with a bit of luck, YOU CAN EARN THE ACE and all of you will get out alive.

Disclaimer: This is not applicable if your team is behind. Consider the status and builds of your allies first before charging in to a fight

Jungle & Lane Tactics Top

Here, I will explain the Do's and Dont's if whether you are on the lane and jungle.
Keep in mind that rotation is very important! Rotate to your jungle if necessary like being invaded by the enemies .

  • Tank for your teammate - Attack the jungle creep first, and your jungler will do the rest.
  • Let your jungler take the last hit NO MATTER WHAT. - Even if its the elder treant / treant / regular creeps.
  • Always have a Healing Flask ready early game - Just like what I have said above, insist on your jungler to take the last hit even if you are pretty much in low health. Use a Ironguard Contract instead.
  • Ironguard Contract - remember, free heals? yeah let your jungler take all the gold.
  • Check if the enemies left Scout Traps near your area.
  • Last hit the jungle creeps.
  • Get rooted by a treant even if you are tough. - You would be an easy target especially if the enemy heroes are near.
  • Waste your skills to last hit - once again, never ever. steal.
  • Invade the enemy jungle on your own.
  • Letting the enemy Scout Trap explode on you. - seriously, why?

  • Freeze the lane for your laner.
  • Use your support skills for your laner whenever they are in trouble - like heals, buffs, barriers etc.
  • Hide on the bushes as long as you can - move around the top most bush and mustache bush once the enemy minions are gone or far enough.
  • Body block if possible - Most lane heroes have skill-shot skills like Skaarf or Kestrel, therefore try standing in front of your laner if possible or the situation allows it. Don't take unnecessary damage though
  • Let the laner take all the last hits.
  • Provide vision - place Scout Traps on your side of bushes.
  • Take all the last hits - When will you ever learn?
  • Kill all the minions to push even if your laner is weak early game.
  • Use your skills untimely - Don't waste it, good enemies know when your laner is in dangerous position.
  • Leave your laner when all the enemies are on the lane
  • Chase dying enemies behind their turret - No. Just. no. even if you are tough.
  • Body blocking unblockable skills - don't even try. you're just letting them poke you e.g: Suppressing Fire & Big Red Button

Freezing the lane Top

As a captain, remember you have a massive impact on how well you can deny the enemy laner from getting fed,that is called Lane freezing. The idea is making the enemy minions stockpile near your turret just enough not to make your turret attack them. From there, your laner gets all the lasts hits thus outfarming the enemy laner (yay!)

But what if the complete opposite happens? What if the enemy freezes the lane instead of you?
Don't panic! All you have to do is unfreeze it. How you ask? Just attack the enemy hero and the minions will chase you back closer to your side of the map just be careful not to get killed in the process. Better yet, ping your laner to hit the enemy.
Here's a more detailed explanation by GankStars Academy

The Game Changers Top

Whenever the game does not go in your team's favor, there are some miracles that could happen when you happen to execute it correctly.

Who said captains can't make miracles? Successful steals requires really good timing and focus.
But this earns you a positive reputation from your teammates and frustration from your enemies.
So how do you do it? Here are some tips and tricks
  • Have some Flares - This is a way to check when to execute the steal. Downside? you will be certainly seen and get targeted.
  • Timing - Using different heroes with different skill sets is tricky, but the only thing matters is this. By knowing how much damage can you inflict with your skill it would be easier to use it when the Kraken is about to be captured.
  • Crowd control/Distraction - You can only do this if one or two of your teammate already respawned. But the idea is you stun or disrupt the enemy as your hard hitting pals capture.
Most effective captains for steals? Ardan, Grace, Lance or Fortress. But other heroes works well too as long you know the timing.

Well it is almost the same as Kraken steals but it requires faster reflex and observation, since it has lower HP and smaller, some angles blocks its HP bar.
Don't try to steal it when the gold is not 3/4 or full though, thats a waste of effort and you're basically giving them free kills if you fail.

Ever since it has been updated as a hardhitting jungle defender, It is not worth killing it when your team is not ahead.
Never slay it on your own or when your team plans to release the kraken after.
Why not? As you push to their base their miner gradually respawns then assists on hitting hard on your team. We wouldn't want that, do you?
But if your team will stay on the enemy jungle, has gold advantage or going to stay for longer periods of time, it is better to slay it.

5v5 First hand Top

Okay, so you now know the basics for this role right? Well sad to say you have to forget the HALF of it, why? Because the meta drastically changes on Sovereigns Rise.

As I play continuously as a support role, there are things that really differentiate it how we play a 3v3.
These are:
[*] Gold trickle is really way slow for supports.
[*] You can actually farm and slay minions for income.
[*] Building full utility item is pretty much impossible due to the fact gold is really hard to obtain without killing creeps/minions.
[*] Boots are way more important now during early game phase.
[*] Storm crown has more impact now for objectives.
[*] Your conventional support build would not be as effective for 5 enemies.
[*] Turrets are way tougher. You will need a Stormcrown if you really want to push as a captain.
[*] Blackclaw, although brings mediocre damage early game will really make your team panic.
[*] Vision game is really way more important now to prevent ganks.
[*] Travelling between lanes is more of a task now. But once you get the hang of it, it will be a breeze. Alternatively, get boots ASAP.

Do's and Don'ts (5v5 Edition) Top

In this part, I would teach you the basics as of patch 2.12, keep in mind things might get buffed or nerfed in the official 3.0 and later release of updates.

  • Place wards(Scout Cams) on not so obvious brush - Some people do tend to place the wards in the obvious places enemies will also place theirs. This wastes your effort and the cam.
  • Assist your teammates in lane pushing and farming - Don't worry about taking a minion or two because it will benefit you in the long run
  • Upgrade your Scout cam to tier-2 as soon as possible - Vision control is really important here.
  • Place you Scout cams in the back of jungle spawns - Why? So you can help your team get the most out of it.
  • Wait for your team before attempting to steal the dragons.

  • Buy Ironguard Contract - Although it is useful, you can substitute it with Sprint Boots to assist your lanes
  • Build full support items - Contradicting? yes. But our generic 6 item slot utility won't work here bro. You will need damage output to help deal damage.
  • Walk alone - Enemies are everywhere and they are like thugs who will rekt you hard once they spot you.
  • Let your teammate hog all the gold - try to get a little bit for yourself. Life is pretty harsh in 5v5 you know

The END. Top

I hope you guys learned a thing or two from this guide! If something is unclear or is missing I will try to improve it. Just notify me thank you!

P.S: 5v5 guide is still under construction! I will need more insights and experience to improve this guide, so please bear with me.

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