We would like to conclude our support meta discussion with a quick recap of what changed in the general support playstyle on the new map. A lot of players are finding it hard to adjust, so here are some quick tips for the new patch to get you started.
Wisdom Runes are the most important objective
It is not a hyperbole. Wisdom runes are by far the most important objective at the 7, 14 and 21 minute marks. Probably for a lot longer than that, but the impact is most pronounced when you get to be level six earlier or when you get to pick your level ten talents before the enemy for a small potential power spike.
Be mindful of them, prioritize them over kills and there is even an argument to be made about sacrificing yourself for Wisdom Runes. At the 14 minute mark it gives 1120 XP to the team that picks it, an equivalent of a level ~11 hero dying. If you are below that level on a support, which is very likely, trying for the enemy Wisdom rune is generally worth it, even if the chance of dying is high.
Buy More consumables
There is a reason there is a limit on consumables right now: they are extremely effective at keeping heroes on the map and active. With the introduction of Twin Gates, the area of influence on supports essentially doubled for the early game.
It means that if you want to maximize your effectiveness, you have to make some rotations. You can no longer be content with just equalizing your lane and that means you need to have at least some resources available at all points in the game.
Make sure that your lane partner is aware of you leaving the lane, make sure that the sidelane you are teleporting to has the Roshan/Twin Gate Watcher on your side or disabled and be prepared for multiple rounds of spellcasting. In many pub games it is actually worth it to ward the Twin Gate area at around the four-five minute mark, because most successful rotations come during the nighttime and being aware of them can give you an advantage.
This is a 7.33c-specific addition, but stacking feels very good right now, because it now gives XP bounty on top of extra gold. The Twin Gate ward we just mentioned? It also covers the area with two camps for both Dire and Radiant. The area is significantly more convenient on Radiant, but even as Dire you can pull off the double stack behind your safelane Tier One.
Get a 3x going in both and suddenly you can get a massive influx of XP once someone comes to clear them. It should only take you out of the lane for ten or so seconds, if you are being efficient. Do make your lane partner aware of your movements in and out of lane, even if it is for a very short period of time.
Clearing these stacks at the seven minute mark is possible on a lot of meta carries and it is a very good way to get your neutral items faster than the enemy. Having +4 to all stats or some extra MS and Mana can make a massive difference pre-minute ten: it is more or less a whole extra level worth of attributes in most cases.
Offense is the best scouting
This isn’t necessarily support specific, but it is a very important concept nonetheless. The map is way too big to aimlessly look for kills around it. Playing for objectives is a better play nine times out of ten. If you are stronger — let the enemy come to you when you are knocking on their door. If you are weaker, however, split up and farm, with supports pushing out the dangerous lanes from a safe distance.
Buy and have smokes, don’t try to force them
Unless you are playing Immortal+ pubs, smoking up and going for a gank is going to take a LOT of time. One of your cores will suddenly want to finish off the neutral camp. Another will ask for an extra minute to get their next item. It will all waste time, so instead of having an exercise in frustration, trying to gather your team, just play the efficiency game yourself, standing behind your cores to save them when necessary, stacking along the way and pushing out the dangerous lanes.
Usually the best way to smoke up in pubs is after one of your cores makes a call about it. It can be a level or item timing for them, but your team as a whole needs to have a clear objective in mind. Smoke up for the enemy Tormentor? Good smoke. Smoke up for Roshan? Excellent. Smoke up for Wisdom Rune? Makes sense.
Don’t smoke and wander around the enemy jungle. Unless you are lucky, the enemy has read your smoke ten seconds ago and is now farming the very opposite side of the map.
The only effective “wandering smoke” is the one after you have taken a good fight around the enemy tower, took the tower while the enemy was respawning and then immediately smoked up to run across the map towards the enemy tower on the other side of the map, where the enemy core is most likely farming now. This is why at least one smoke should be in your inventory at all times.
The general sentiment at the start of 7.33 was that supports have it rough and while it was true in the initial patch and in the 7.33b version, we feel like 7.33c is more of a “feast or famine” for support players. Which is good for better supports.
By rotating to gank early, being efficient across the map with stacks and controlling Wisdom runes, you can not only accelerate your own support progression, but also completely shut down the enemy supports. The level four at minute ten support myth is true, but you don’t have to be them.
You can be a level seven at minute ten support, with multiple assists and kills, balling out of control with a super early Pavise, which is still probably the most cost efficient support item in the game right now.