Fully understanding Support Meta and the article covering that topic could easily span hundreds of pages on the nature of resource management and map design for Summoner’s Rift as well as for The Twisted Treeline.
However, few people would truly be interested in reading that textbook. Most of the audience I expect for this article are interested in either accurately playing a Support comp or countering those who do. Forgive me, dear reader, if I touch briefly on those topics mentioned above, as I believe they hold insight into performing (and countering) Support Meta.
First, this technique is most certainly used on Summoner’s Rift at a high level, if perhaps not as directly as via a Chinese Boosting strategy. At its heart, Support Meta is actually a misnomer for what should be called Hyper Meta. It is the art of funneling gold and experience onto one carry at a rate that breaks a power curve for that champion. The support is simply there to serve as a catalyst for the pacman-esque consumption of minions, monsters, and champions for the hyper by assisting in holding the wave in lane, clearing jungle camps, and initiating teamfights.
In Summoner’s Rift, teams distribute these duties throughout the entire team. On the Treeline, fewer champions per team causes these duties to be somewhat compacted into one jungle/support champion. But unlike on the Rift, where resources are spread out great distances from each other with purposefully awkward jungle access, the Treeline is a much smaller and more resource condensed map. A hyper and their support are able to shove lanes and either clear their own jungle or invade their enemies’ at a much faster pace.
By quickly clearing their own camps and lane wave, a hyper easily can exceed 12 or 13 farm per minute, quickly catapulting them into items and levels at times never dreamed of on Summoner’s Rift. All the while their support maintains an acceptable income with Targon’s Brace and the Future’s Market rune. And while the support will be handicapped by income and level, capitalizing on this handicap as the enemy team can be very difficult when considering they move nearly constantly with a steroided killing machine of a champion in their hyper carry.
Specific details on the proper execution of Support Meta are largely meta dependent, and this article is meant only as an introduction to and summary of the technique itself. However, the most important concepts for the hyper duo to master are lane/camp farming, fighting/flight decisions, objective prioritization, and build accuracy. These concepts are so important that I will cover each of them before moving on to countering the hyper farm technique.
The default “safe” style of Support Meta that 99% of teams should be using would, if played perfectly, have each jungle camp cleared as it is spawning and each wave caught before it gets to the top lane turret. In fact, this is why top is the duo lane rather than bot lane. The jungle entrances are much more accessibly early game than bot lane, allowing the duo to easily travel back and forth between their jungle camps and the front of their turret. If forced to choose, jungle camps are somewhat more important than lane farm, since they can be stolen and are very gold/exp efficient for the time you spend clearing them. However, the enemy top/duo lane will be trying to gain a gold and experience lead by shoving in top lane, so make sure to respond accordingly. When it comes to backing on items versus continuing to farm, there is no golden rule of when to recall. Although completing a jungle item / first major item is a good start for a first back. If there is risk of a jungle invade, losing too much lane farm, or losing a turret in the top lane, then recalls can also be delayed as reason would dictate. Some techniques to alleviate this pressure are to send the support to top lane to cover the experience/gold being lost to the turret or to have the hyper do a “short” or “fast” back by walking from golems to the inhibitor to buy items at max shop range before returning to lane.
The ultimate goal of this powerfarming strategy is to reach an item threshold where the duo is no longer able to lose fights with proper play. Against jungle meta, this will vary from hyper to hyper but will usually be around their first major item. In a Support Meta mirror, understanding the duo matchup and how each hyper interacts with each other is very important in making the decision of when to fight.
Another factor in determining early fight potential is the starting build for the hyper. Starting builds can be divided into Fight and Farm. Fight builds are usually one Doran’s item and one jungle item. Farming builds are usually either two jungle items for a ranged champion or a relic shield and a jungle item for a melee champion. Once a hyper has reached a threshold where they are comfortable with fighting, the best way to leverage this advantage is to invade the enemy jungle to deny their altar and jungle camps while also threatening to gank bot lane for a kill or the turret.
This section is fairly general for Twisted Treeline, but certain aspects are specific to Support Meta. When gaining some advantage from a fight, the immediate decision as to what objective should be taken should be made based on how much time is available and how much resistance the enemy team can manage. Assuming you have just enough time for each of these objectives, here is the rough order of priority for objectives from least to greatest importance:
Lane Farm < Altars < Outer Turrets < Jungle Camps < Vile’Maw < Inhibitor Turret < Inhibitor < Nexus Turret < Nexus
If your opponents can muster little or no resistance and the game is early, the hyper should grab jungle camps, the support should take the altar, and the mage should pressure a lane.
The last subject a duo should be focusing on mastering is their item/rune/skill build orders. The importance of this topic almost goes without saying, and most questions posed to me and other 3v3 players in game and on reddit are usually about builds. However, there are some major inaccuracies in the builds of even Challenger Support Meta players, and so I believe this section can serve as the basis for informing player’s decision making in and out of game as far as builds are concerned (and this topic is a pet peeve of mine, so it is therapeutic for me to discuss it here).
To start, your items, runes, and skill level ups should reflect your goal in game as it is reflected in your role. Supports should build to assist their hypers in farming and in performing in teamfights. Hypers should build to improve their farming and their teamfighting. So for example, a hyper who starts with relic shield should almost never upgrade it all the way to Face of the Mountain. To do so would be to focus on efficiency in farming over the ability to fight effectively as compared to other item options. Likewise, a support building Ninja Tabis rather than Ionian Boots of Lucidity is prioritizing their own safety rather than supporting their hyper. It is difficult to imagine a situation where receiving less auto-attack damage from an enemy hyper is more beneficial to your hyper than CDR on abilities and summoner spells. If you are being focused in teamfights that means your hyper is not being focused, which is enough of a benefit so as to not warrant the safety from Tabis. The same logic can apply to Mercury Treads, with the caveat that sometimes reducing your time in Crowd Control will allow you to more effectively support your hyper (I.E., versus a Veigar). Note that this also applies to items like Randuin’s Omen or Sunfire Cape, rather than building Frozen Heart, Knight’s Vow, Righteous Glory, or other items that help you to support your hyper. Checking what high elo 3v3 players are building is a good place to start, but keep the above advice in mind when doing
THE MAGE LANE:
The main purpose of a mage bot lane in Support Meta is to apply an alternate set of rules for the enemy team to deal with and an alternate win condition for your team. This role easily deserves its own article, and I will not be attempting to summarize everything about the AP Bot here. The requirements for a good AP Bot are to (1) safely shove a lane, (2) have strong roaming potential, (3) be able to pressure their lane opponent safely, and (4) to have a strong teamfight presence later in the game. The best Mages will do all of these effectively. Important things to remember as an AP player are that the health relic spawns at 2:30 and every 90 seconds after being taken. Indicating when a health relic has been captured in chat is a smart way of tracking the timer, and watching the map for the enemy team taking the relic is almost as good as a ward. When playing against Jungle Meta, safety is the number one priority for you. Losing lane is one of the only ways that the Jungle Meta team can win the game since you give up a lot of priority over roaming / presence early on. While bot lane does not specifically require a mage, it is very supportive of a control mage playstyle, who are very powerful on this map. The distance between outer turrets is very small, so farming by constantly shoving the lane is very safe. Particularly in Support Meta mirrors, the first mage to shove in their opponent and roam up for relic and the enemy altar at 2:30 has a massive advantage. The lane is also much more isolated in Support Meta games, since supports do not typically roam very early on in the game. The situations where another type of champion might be preferred in bot lane are largely dependent on what hyper duo is being played. For example, a Mordekaiser/Braum duo might benefit greatly from having a Lucian bot lane rather than a control mage. The bot lane does not restrict towards a mage in any way, but rather offers excellent opportunities for mages to safely scale. Specific comp synergies for picking a bot laner are honestly not even focused on in NA Challenger elo 3v3. As long as the mage is a fairly strong pick in the meta, no one currently cares too much about what mage is picked with any given hyper duo. However, synergistic picks are more important in a competitive team environment such as a tournament or an end of season Challenger push.
COUNTERING SUPPORT META:
Shutting down the Hyperfarm strategy is actually pretty straight forward conceptually as a Jungle Meta team. The difficulty is definitely in the execution, since all members of the Jungle Meta team need to be on the same page to be successful. The main themes worth discussing here are the Champion Select, the Early Game Plan of each team member, and Capitalizing on Advantages. Before I go into these ideas, I should preface this section with the admission that you are not favored against Support Meta. Funneling gold and experience onto one champion is very powerful, and The Twisted Treeline is very conducive to this strategy and likely will be for the foreseeable future. By playing a jungler, you are effectively choosing to play a support champion that takes all of the jungle camps from your carry top lane, and this initial burst of power from 3 champions isn’t enough to offset the scaling horror of a strong Hypercarry.
Champion Select is a highly underrated part of each Twisted Treeline match. Particularly for the Jungle meta team, denying strong early duos for the Hyper team while establishing a synergistic team of your own is extremely important. Some hyper duos are incredibly powerful early (current examples might be Renekton/Leona or Lucian/Braum), and should probably be banned out in order to force a support comp into slower, greedier team comps. As far as your own champion choices, do not stack carries! I cannot stress this enough! Seeing terribly built team comps from a Jungle team complaining about Support Meta is one of my biggest pet peeves. If you stack 3x carry champions on a team, not all 3 of them will be able to sustain the kind of income needed to snowball the game. And carry champions by nature are balanced around gold and experience scaling up their damage, at the cost of little or no utility. Even if your collective income is double that of a Support Meta team, their income is dispersed by the nature of their comp to fit well on their hyper and mage, with the support not needing much income at all. For example, if your team comp is Yasuo, Master Yi, and Syndra, you are going to struggle to maintain a resource advantage against an efficient Support Meta team. Also keep in mind that your jungler will naturally have lower resources because jungle farm is not equivalent over time to lane farm. Therefore, your best team comp structure against Support Meta is going to be a carry top, a utility tank/support jungler with a strong early game, and any meta TT mage as your bot laner.
Next, the early game plan of the Jungle Meta team is absolutely crucial in winning against Support Meta. The most important role, if perhaps the most boring, is the top laner. Top needs to shove the lane as hard as they can while also avoiding any 1v2 fighting with the hyper duo. By shoving the lane, the top laner forces the hyper duo top lane, effectively creating space for his jungle to invade the enemy jungle and gank bot lane. The most successful top laners are mobile and have abilities that shove the lane quickly or use Tiamat well. Examples of champions recently used top lane successfully against Support Meta in NA Challenger are Fiora, Illaoi, Graves, Caitlyn, and Trundle.
The jungler, the next most important role, is tasked with denying resources from the hyper duo and creating advantages for his team across the map. He has 3 main ways of doing this: pressuring top lane with 2v2 skirmishes, invading the enemy jungle, and ganking bot lane.
When considering whether to gank top lane, the actual 2v2 matchup of champions is extremely important. There is a huge difference between ganking an early game hyper like a Renekton and a scaling one like a Kayle. Also consider that the support has two combat summoner spells while you and your top laner collectively only have one. To maximize success, try to clear all 3 of your camps before coming top, since that will likely have you and the enemy hyper level 3, your top laner level 2, and the support not quite level 2. This experience discrepancy is very important since the early level advantage goes a long way towards winning that skirmish.
Invading the enemy jungle is a risky but necessary step in shutting down the enemy hyper. To insure success, only invade following a successful gank bot or skirmish top, or while your top laner is forcing the hyper duo to clear the top lane wave. The coordination of securing the health relic at 2:30 (and every 90 seconds thereafter) is crucial for your bot laner winning their lane, and invading as a 3 man at their 2:30 altar unlock is also a great way to put early pressure on their jungle. You should make a point to invade the jungle as soon as you hit level 6, since both your lanes will likely be 6 as well. However, the enemy team will likely have a hypercarry at around level 7, a mage at level 6, and a support at level 5. Winning this fight while the enemy support does not have his ultimate is one of your best opportunities to take early control over the game.
The last game impact for the Jungler ties in closely with the last role on the jungle meta team; the AP Mage Bot. Winning this lane is very crucial to the Jungle meta team. However, the enemy Mage on the support meta team needs only to play safely in lane. The Jungler and AP need to work together to pressure the enemy AP out of lane or to kill them. Doing so creates a lot of space for your AP to roam up into the enemy jungle or to gank top lane. Specific mages to play in Jungle Meta vary wildly with Riot balances from patch to patch, but Anivia, Veigar, Vel’koz, and Brand have all been very solid choices for many years. Specific Junglers that excel at impacting the game as mentioned above tend to be tanky, have a lot of base damage and crowd control, and clear camps quickly. I would suggest Tahm Kench, Sejuani, Maokai, and even Ivern as options for Junglers against Support Meta right now.
Guide written by Auve (firstname.lastname@example.org)