“Well, looks like we made it out of the jungle in one piece! Thank goodness that fantastic, sexy Ymir was there to freeze the whole enemy team and wall them off so we could escape!” At least, that’s what your team should be saying once you have mastered the art of support. Hello and welcome back to SMITE 101, this time featuring the workhorse of the team, those darn supports! They have their limitations, and though many people may yell at you for not simultaneously saving their butt in lane while also securing mid camps, they also have a great deal to give to the team. Some people play support as the classic tank, soak up all the damage you possibly can and keep your allies safe, some choose the healer’s life and some even support through dealing high amounts of damage. While there are opportunities for different styles of play, the basics of playing support remain the same. The support has the following primary duties: 1) Keep your allies safe. As a support, it is sad to say, your life is deemed less important than your allies’. They need to stay alive as much as possible to maximize the time they can farm and fight, and you will likely be at least a couple levels behind in a standard match, which gives you shorter respawn times. Keeping your teammates alive is not an easy task; you are not only required to watch the enemy but also keep an eye on what your allies are doing. The best ways of keeping people alive are to use your CC (Crowd Control, i.e. stuns, slows, throws, knock-ups etc.) abilities defensively and to bodyblock auto attacks and enemy gods. This means getting yourself in-between your team mate and your foe. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you if you have an element of tankiness, but you will have to be very precise in your movement to actually make bodyblocking work. You know you’ve made it as a support when you can blink and dash to save someone from a Neith ultimate. 2) Initiation. One of the hardest things to get right in SMITE is when and how to start a fight, especially when the stakes are high and your whole game is on the line; make one bad move in a 5v5 fight and it could be game over. Typically a support has a very potent CC ability which can be used to initiate a teamfight or harass during the laning phase. Geb, for example, can blink in and do maximum 35% damage to every opponent, a very strong ability indeed. This can also extend towards being able to play the decoy and/or peel enemies away from safety. A support like Athena specializes in taunting enemies into damaging attacks like her Shield Wall or just the ADC’s auto attacks. I will cover the list of things to look out for when initiating later on. 3) Warding and counter-warding. This can be a pain; most players are putting all their money towards getting damaging items and actives so you may be left alone buying wards. Fortunately, for only 100 gold you can cover enough of the map to protect your lane with strategic ward placement. A support typically will start by buying wards, and many place these down to avoid invasions before the game starts. The buying of Sentry wards is also important the higher into play you get. You’re not only gaining gold when you destroy the enemy’s wards, but also denying them vision. If warding will save your life, counter warding will deny that to the enemy.Throughout the game it is a good idea for you to be buying wards and placing them during your travels. The support can ward places more safely than the jungler or laners can due to their inherent tankiness. You should not be alone in buying wards though, if other players are not warding and/or are yelling at you,r then you should encourage them to also buy wards to help the team overall. While these form the basics behind what a support aims to achieve, getting there can be an arduous task. People in the lane know what they have to do, stay there and kill minions, occasionally rotate over to camps or other lanes. The jungler gets timers throughout the jungle and has vision of enemy gods through his allies, giving notice as when to approach a lane or when not to. The support has to make judgement decisions of where to go around the map and who to help, timekeeping and awareness are integral for support play. Generally the support spends very little amount of time by themselves, often moving towards their team. Sometimes a support player will be able to counter-jungle effectively, briefly leave to ward an objective or even defend another lane. When defending another lane look to see how far away your ally in the lane is., Iit can benefit you both holding the minions up from getting to the tower and giving your ally the gold when they get back. It is not always obvious what you should spend your time doing, and with four players taking the four sources of gold and experience (3 lanes and the jungle) the support is left to find their own way through the game. This leads us onto leeching: the practise of taking little bits of gold and experience from different sources around the map. While you and your ADC duo in lane can form an effective partnership, and with Watcher’s Gift it makes huge sense to stay in the lane, it is unfair to them to stay with them forever. They lose a lot of experience and sometimes it can be detrimental to your efforts if you do stay in lane. If the enemy ADC has a good enough clear that they can kill minions and get out safely while their support is elsewhere then their ADC will be getting more experience, and therefore getting stronger than yours. Some supports will stay in for a long time, some may leave very early, typically most try to leave to get to the first respawn of the mid camps. This happens at around the 3 minute mark in the game (currently, camp timers tend to change more often than other mechanics). Now for a bit of theory: For a support, gold is more important than experience, for everyone else experience tends to give a bigger advantage than gold. This is because levelling up damaging abilities gives greater rewards than buying single new items. While some items are core on some gods, such as Qin’s Sais on Kali, many gods will be buying items that make them stronger but little by little. The jump from a level 4 ability to a level 5 ability gives you more damage than any additional item would be able to give to you. However, this is the opposite for a support who is not aiming at doing damage. A support levels up their abilities in order to help the team, therefore often levelling up a CC ability first. Most support find that their CC abilities produce the same level of CC but only increase in damage, such as a Sobek pull being the same at level 1 as it is at level 5, only with more damage. Using Sobek as our example, you gain all CC and other effects by the time you reach level 5, only damage levels up from then on. When building protections however, you can get very large results from relatively little gold. Building Sovereignty gives you more relative protection than the enemy building Qin’s Sais for example. Due to this, being able to get sustained gold while not taking other gods’ experience is a much preferred tactic. This is why some gods who support through damage may fall off if they don’t get a good amount of farm themselves. So how does one actually support? While again, SMITE 101 is here to try and guide you in understanding concepts and getting mechanics figured out, there is nothing better than watching footage of people practising support. What’s more, if you use this guide and think about everything the player does during their game and how it helps the team, or what they could be doing better, you’ll find yourself trying to incorporate it all into your own play.