Posted by: innerfire | January 6, 2012

Why Everyone Should Be Good at Support

Support teaches you more than just map awareness and aggression. Most folks don’t realize how much I’m actually doing, and I frankly hate this idea that support are the least vital in a game – everyone is vital, and anyone can lose the game for the whole team. A bad support can lose you the game harder than other positions, because you lack proper/any wards, lack judgement calls, lack awareness, lack AD farm, etc.

Cooperation. You need to be sure when you’re going to get a kill, when to exchange, and work with your AD so they know as well. Make sure they know when you’re harassing, when it’s time to go in, etc.

Map Awareness. Jungle teaches map awareness, but part of my job as support is to also watch other lanes and let them know about incoming ganks. Everyone, no matter who, gets “in the zone” and doesn’t notice that Ahri hiding in their bushes – I have the time to check other lanes, so I do. Also, proper warding.

(EVERYONE SHOULD FCKING BUY A WARD, not just the support. Top needs it for river/tribrush to avoid ganks. Mid needs it either on river or near wraiths to avoid ganks. Junglers can add a ward above river while mid has a ward below to provide complete jungle exit coverage. When you go back, buy one ward. Easy.)

Harass/Zoning – Being aware, not only of your own zones, but how they overlap with teammates, is key to harassing safely and zoning people from XP, even with a Soraka. You need to know when it’s safe to harass, who will win the exchange (based on damage), and make sure you’re the one winning.

Making Calls – Often the support is the one making calls for when to do dragon, when it is safe to baron, where people are or where they were last scene, thanks to our ward coverage, map awareness, and CV. You need to be confident and in control, and if your team is being stupid and not taking free dragons, make them.

Reading Players – This is part of harass and part map awareness, but after a while sitting watching an AD carry and support, you learn people’s tells very quickly. Sudden aggression/moving past the point of safety? Their jungle is near. Sudden movement in one direction? Cait or Graves are going to Q. Count Cait’s shots until headshot, and taking the shot for your AD.

Posted by: innerfire | October 11, 2011

Little-known Tips for Experienced Players

Once again, I’ll be providing a summary of some information found elsewhere. If you’re interested, the original post is here.

  • First, the obvious – shift+key is to auto-cast where your cursor is (great for unloading all at once), alt+key is self-cast. But you can also use ctrl to control self-made minions, like Annie’s bear.
  • Holding ~ (tilde) will cause you to only be able to target minions. ~ + key = no more targeting minions with a spell. You can also use it to move onto a square a minion is on. Doesn’t work with smart cast.
  • Enemy creeps will only target and attack you if you’re dealing physical damage to enemy champions. On-hit effects will aggro.
  • An enemy champion who is currently targetting you gets a small yellow border around their character, which is a great way to detect an incoming gank. Only right clicking shows it.
  • When attacking a tower, you’ll add either 40% of your AP or your bonus attack damage, whichever is higher.
  • Your party members will get a green dot next to the summoner icon when their ultimate is ready.
  • Baron – Move when there’s green bubbles under you and you won’t be hit. He targets whoever is closest.
  • 10-20 creeps (CS) = 1 champion. It’s awesome to go after a champ, but you can waste valuable time getting last hits. That said, the other team knows the importance of creep score, so use that as an opportunity to use skill shots – they either avoid the shot or lose the last hit.
  • Related note – sometimes pushing a lane is more important than last-hits. Without pressure on the lane, enemy champions have zone control. Just clearing out a wave quickly so your minions can move forward can be greatly beneficial. Be careful, because this is dependent on the enemy team composition – a champion who’s just there to help clear a wave or a jungler who would be better elsewhere are now forced to deal with you.
  • Different ELOs require different tactics and mindsets. Every level has different strategies, combos, banned champions, etc.
  • If you’re practicing jungling, go start a custom game. You don’t get any penalty for leaving it, and can reset it as often as you need. It may warn you about the leaver penalty, but that’s just hard-coded.
  • Spacebar will work like Y, sticking to your character, while held. Alternatively, you can keybind your /taunt or /laugh to the spacebar to anger enemies. Angry players = bad players.
  • You can use items by pressing 1-6, based on the position of the item. Press 2 to activate item #2
  • Window Technique – If a champion is hiding behind a minion to avoid your skill shot (Ezreal, Morgana, Blitzcrank, etc) auto-attack the minion and use your skill shot at the same time. If timed right, you’ll kill the minion and the skill shot will hit the champion immediately.

Some more specific strategies –

  • Annie – If she has flash, the moment she hits level 6, she’s going to flash-stun-kill you – have your own flash ready to get away. In a 1v1 situation, many Annies will lead with Q so they don’t miss a Tibbers opportunity. If you’re against her with Vlad, his pool will NOT void the stun – you’ll avoid the damage, but she’ll still have her stun available.
  • Taric stuns. A lot. That’s what they do. Don’t overextend, because he’ll be in the bushes waiting to stun your ass.

Smart Casting 201:

Smart casting is incredibly helpful, to the point it’s worth re-binding your keys to do shift+qwer on just regular QWER.


If, on your first trip back to buy, you don’t buy a ward, you’re doing it wrong. 1000% of the time. If you’re solo top, you should ward the river bush at least, or if you’re purple team, ward near the exit of blue for more advance warning. If you’re solo mid, ward the crossroad area near the enemy wraith/Red buff camp. To protect your mid, you should be warding near dragon/Purple’s blue if you’re bottom, and if you’re purple team, then ward the tri-bushes in the enemy jungle. Warding is what separates OK players from good players. Warding saves lives, provides cheap protection and easy ganks. Hey, that Gangplank is going off alone to push bottom – MURDER HIM. See how easy that is? EVERYONE on the team should be buying 1-2 wards each trip back, not just the support. Every watch pro matches? Look at that gorgeous ward coverage. And EVERYONE buys a ward.

Posted by: innerfire | September 27, 2011

Thoughts on Dominion

So, Dominion is now in public beta, periodically available for public consumption, or always available if you’re one of the pros who’re practicing it constantly. For the unitiated, it’s a 5v5 Capture-and-Defend-Points map with a heavy emphasis on speed (through field buffs) that currently caters best to tanky DPS (doesn’t everything these days?) with high mobility. The fun part is that champions who don’t normally do well can excel here – Evelynn and Twitch are favorites for stealth capping points.

I’m currently level 29, and still preparing constantly for Ranked play. Which means a lot of games, saving up for prized champions (current ones on the list are Kennen and Cassiopeia to round out my AP Carries) and a lot of Dominion, since the 15-20 minutes for 50-70IP is an excellent trade.

The thing with Dominion, and any analysis on it, is you have to take into account not only how the game is currently played while people adjust to the new setting and idea, but how it will evolve as the metagame changes. Currently, champions with high movespeed are preferred, especially tanky DPS, as they can rush to where an enemy isn’t defending and take a point before defense arrives. Master Yi, Rammus, and Nocturne are all highly favored choices (especially Rammus right now, as he’s free.) After that, good defenders (Heimer, Alistar, Janna, Lux, Ezreal, Karthus – anyone with AOE or heavy CC that can interrupt/delay capture alone) or global ultimates (Twisted Fate, Pantheon, Nocturne) and solid attack power for taking out defenders (Sion, Mundo, Morgana, Annie, Ezreal) round out the team.

Read More…

Posted by: innerfire | August 8, 2011

Preparing for Season 2

So, Season One will be ending at the end of August, and prizes will be awarded to the best players in each set of rankings.

That particular post by Caddy is about moving up the ELO rankings nearly from scratch, with a lot of good information.

You have to understand that every game you cannot pick a carry. Every game you cannot be the team leader, every game you cannot be the guy that talks to much. Every game you cannot be the guy who tells everybody to buy wards. If you talk to people in Ranked ELO – you have to understand everybodys mind set. They are in the same ELO as you – so they are on the same level, why should they listen to you? When they are in the same place as you!

Some really good stuff that frankly goes true for Normal and AI games. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dealt with assholes who don’t understand what a support is.

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