Adapting in League: Ignite or Exhaust in Supports
BY IAm Freight - April 15, 2016

Hello, fellow Summoners! Looking for tips you can get for future ranked matches? If you are a support main (or at least, force to be one), this guide might help you climb the ranked ladder and understand the game much better.

As you can see, many players view the role of the support as the hardest, arguably next to jungle, role to adapt with. You must be flexible enough to adapt to the needs of your carry, your team and the game. A good support can adapt or change his playstyle, item builds, and the ones we will be touching upon today – summoner spells.

If you are a follower of the League of Legends(LoL) professional scene, whether here in the Philippines or abroad, you always notice two sets of summoner spellsbeing brought into the Summoner’s Rift – flash/ignite and flash/exhaust. It is part of their strategy and game adaptability, for you guysto fully understand which is which and when is the right time a spell set can be effective, here are the four questions you need to consider:

Does bot lane need to snowball in early game?

YES: Take ignite. In order to have an early game advantage in lane that will snowball the game, you need to apply kill pressure – and ignite is the best summoner spell definition of kill pressure. If used effectively, it will allow your lane to dictate the tempo of the game. Just make sure that you team will play around your ADC or else your early lane pressure will be useless in the latter part of the game.

NO: Take exhaust. If the only job of your lane is to play safe and farm well throughout the laning phase and be useful and teamfights, as a support taking exhaust is the best for you. Exhaust is also the best spell to lock down priority targets in clashes.

Does your support champion have a lot of crowd control/gap closing abilities in his or her kit?

YES: Take ignite. With that king of kit (i.e. Nautilus, Leona, Trundle), exhaust is just pretty useless. Exhaust slows down a target, which is already given in their CC and gap closing skills. They are usually the ones being feared in lane due to their strong initiation and target lockdown, which is a nightmare for any mispositioning ADCs. Want to make their nightmares in lane worse? Ignite will be the best tool.

NO: Then you can exhaust. Remember, exhaust slows enemies down making the gap closer if you are trying to chase a low health enemy, or the gap wider when it is the other way around. Champions like Sona, Karma and Janna can be useful they have exhaust in their spell set because it can be a compensation in their kit lacking gap closing and escape skills.

Are you against a well-sustained lane?

YES: Take ignite. A well sustaining lane is a lane that is full of heals, and using exhaust against them cannot take that away. Your goal in this lane, if you wanted to be aggressive (just as needed against these types of lane), is to eliminate or ignore the healing in the enemy carry as much as possible. Even though grievious wounds had been nerfed in the preseason, making the passive only apply on self-heals (for example, if you are being ignited and Soraka healed you 100HP, you’ll received full 100HP instead of only 50), the ticking damage of ignite is enough to take away the heals that will try to save the enemy ADC. It is the best counter for healers because it will make the enemy support’s kit useless during your all-in engages.

NO: Take exhaust. Even though you had ignite as your best companion in all-ins and hard initiations, exhaust is always and have been a safe pick. One thing to consider is that exhaust can be useful at any point in the game, as a matter of fact, the later the game is the more significant exhaust is. While ignite is a strong spell early game, the value of it falls down very hard in late game.

Do you have an enemy assassin?

YES: Take exhaust. Assassins are the ones that can penetrate your frontline and one-shot your ADC, no matter how fed he was, and be able to escape to safety given that their kit is a kill-and-not-be-killed one. This is where exhaust will be important. Aside from slowing the target, exhaust also reduces the damage of the targeted enemy by 30%, enough to keep your ADC alive and fight back (in most of the cases). It will also be useful because the slow will negate their annoying kit, allowing them to be more vulnerable than ever for a few seconds. It is best to drop exhaust when the assassin tries to dive into your team.

NO: You can choose from the two. You can still use exhaust as a compensation for your immobile kit or use ignite if you want to be aggressive in game. Both summoner spells are deadly to the control and utility mages and tanks if used right. The best thing is that you acknowledge a situation and can take take advantage of it.

In conclusion I hope you have realized that being a support is about adapting on what your team needs and what the pick and ban phase turned out to be, and adjusting to that. Summoner spells is one of the complex things you’ll need to consider being a support. The questions above are just guidelines, you can still use your preferred spells, but I am afraid it might not be as effective in the game. Remember, adaptability and adjustment is the key to winning games. See you on the Rift!