If you’re playing support, you’re already taking flash. Barring a few rare circumstances where top-laners will take teleport/ignite or where Shaco will take Smite/Ignite, you’re going to need to take flash if you’re going to play League of Legends. I don’t make the rules – it’s just too good of a summoner spell to pass up. So, how do we decide what to take as the second option? Let’s break it down.
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There are ten summoner spells you can use on Summoner’s Rift and you have two slots so you need to be smart in your decision-making when you’re locking in for a game. Flash is a given, but which of the other nine do you want? It’s easier to decide than it sounds – ghost, clarity, teleport, smite, barrier, and cleanse are off the table.
Your goal as a support is to enable your adc and these are just suboptimal, if not outright trolling, to achieve that goal. That leaves us picking between Heal, Exhaust, and Ignite.
Heal is good in every lane, it’s an all-rounder spell that allows you to save yourself or your adc in crucial moments and it grants a boost of movement speed that can occasionally be used as an unexpected gap-closer in fights or to barely escape with your life as well.
In most games, your adc is going to take heal though, and the summoner has reduced effect if a champion was recently affected by the summoner spell Heal previously, so there is no need to bring it twice. If, for some reason, your adc doesn’t take heal (like in lanes where Cleanse is needed) you can opt into taking heal instead of them if you value the healing and movement speed over Exhaust, the other best defensive option in lanes where you’re just trying to survive and scale.
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Exhaust is a great option in lanes that have a single damage threat – like if you’re against an engage support who can lock your adc down and an adc like Draven who can easily kill you or your duo lane partner.
The ability to reduce the damage dealt by a powerful carry can turn fights where you’re able to out-damage them within that window and turn fights that you would otherwise lose. Often, having Heal in situations like this will just slightly delay your inevitable death while Exhaust can entirely prevent it instead.
It’s worth keeping in mind in lanes where both enemies can do substantial damage that Exhausting the enemy adc isn’t going to stop their Brand support from killing you instead. If you don’t think Exhaust will be able to turn fights or give you an edge you’re better off taking a different summoner and then adapting your play-style instead, whether that means playing further back or adapting how you try to manipulate the waves alongside your adc to reduce your risks of being all-in’d.
Deciding to take Exhaust might be a situation you make thinking to the future after the lane phase as well. If you’re against enemy carries that have an easy time getting onto your backline in fights (like playing a composition that doesn’t have a lot of peel vs Irelia) you might opt to take this summoner just to neutralize her after she dives onto your carries.
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Ignite is the de-facto kill lane summoner spell. If you think you have a chance to win lane, Ignite will help you increase those odds. It’s often picked by supports because ADCs would rather take Heal themselves, but if your ADC takes Ignite you can take Heal yourself instead.
Against champions like Sona and Soraka, Ignite can be the deciding factor during a fight – either they heal through so much of your damage that you can’t kill them or you inflict 60% grievous wounds on them and true damage them. It’s great to take if the enemy 2v2 is sustain heavy or if the enemy composition is sustain heavy. You might not be thinking about it at the start of the game, but Ignite against a Dr. Mundo top will become a blessing for you later in the game.
If you have a favorable matchup it’s always a great summoner to take – it scales incredibly well into late-game and the application of grievous wounds can turn fights (especially if your teammates keep buying damage items and refuse to buy grievous wounds items themselves)