That’s Why We Don’t Do That: Support Star Heimerdinger Brendan Harvey November 29, 2012 League of Legends, Video Games Hello again, darlings. This week I’m taking a queue from everyone’s favorite anti-meta celebrity, Siv HD and I’ll be trying out Support Star Heimerdinger. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. HD’s vision of Heimerdinger being a grade-A support, please view the following video at your leisure. He makes a compelling argument, does he not? But how much of this argument is fancy tunes and memorable quotes? Is support start Heimerdinger something that can actually be used coherently in-game? Let’s find out! I’m going to skip the stat comparison this week because, quite frankly, Heimer fits right in with his supportive peers. His base health, armor, mana pool and range all rest comfortably in the same range as my top three support characters: Taric, Sona and Soraka. Now what I am going to take a few moments to focus on are the similarities of each character’s abilities. The top three supports all have a somewhat similar skill set. Each character has a burst heal, one or (or multiple) stat buffs, and at least one form of CC. Heimer has almost none of those things. Two of his four abilities are damage-only. His third has a chance of blinding/stunning an enemy champion but the chances of it actually hitting are disproportionately pathetic. His one saving grace, as Mr. HD has pointed out, is that his passive grants additional health regen for nearby allies. While it isn’t overwhelming, you can help your AD sustain by simply staying nearby, and it is at no cost to you. So overall, Heimer’s base stats show he can exist in the support role, but his kit isn’t really quite as promising. Knowing what we know, let’s dive into some games and see how it works in practice! Game One: I’ll be heading bot lane with my good friend Draven. We’ll be going up against a Corki and a Sona. One thing that I notice right of the bat is that although Heimer does get “free wards” via his turret ability, said turrets have a much shorter vision range. In fact, the turrets can only see a radius of 625 while a normal vision ward displays a range of 1100. That extra 475 is nothing to scoff at. Another thing to consider is that one of the great things about vision wards is that they stealth after a second or so. Heimer’s turrets do not boast that luxury, leaving you incredibly susceptible to quickly losing vision in certain areas, especially in bot lane where the ADC will normally have a longer attack range and can clear the poor little machines with ease. Back to the game — we didn’t do terribly. Luckily for me our Draven was skilled enough to supply enough constant burst damage that it didn’t really matter that I didn’t do much. Normally when I’m all up in mid lane as Heim I try to max his rocket first, with turrets coming in second. However, in order to maximize my “Free ward” potential I max the turrets instead. This, coupled with the fact that I am on a diet of GP10 items, means that my rocket burst is not incredibly devastating. At some point I gain a bit of the Teemo effect where my presence isn’t problematic for the enemies, but they do love to kill me. This gives good ol’ Drave the opportunity to cut down his foes while they foolishly focus their attention on lil’ old me. Teamfights go well. Again, I am not so much an encumbering force as much as I’m simply just there, but I’d like to think that I helped from time to time. Once I obtained my full GP build and started working towards a Rylai’s I could at least exist around the big boys. We end up getting the other team to surrender around the 30 minute mark as we began pushing in the inhibitor turrets. Two items that I feel need to be addressed at this point; one of them is a positive and one is a negative. As any Heimer knows, one of the great things about this little champ is his ability to assist in the melting of Dragon/Baron without full team assistance. My ADC and I were able to pick up dragon by ourselves once we knew we wouldn’t be uninterrupted. Also, when a fight broke out while we were mid-Baron, we were able to leave the pit and fully confront the enemy team while my turrets continued to pour on damage to Nashor, preventing him from resetting. It was a handy feature that I felt was worth noting. The negative item would be that Heimer’s E is absolutely useless. One could argue that it simply takes a very advanced skill level to be able to land the stun consistently but I feel like I would have to rebut that. I think out of my entire first game I was able to land a total of three decent stuns, and at least two of which were when the enemy was all up in my business and the explosion becomes almost instant. Hopefully this ability is going to get a major overhaul for Heimer’s rework because currently I hardly think it’s even worth the skill point. Game Two: This time I’ll be going bottom with Sivir and we’ll be facing off the classic duo of Ez and Taric. For the most part, they dominate us in lane. The combination of Taric stun allowing Ez to pop from anywhere in lane to directly next to us is far too much for little Heim and his pal Siv. Neither of us had an escape (Sivir had her one “get out of jail” flash and I have been running surge/exhaust because that’s what Mr. HD told me to do) and we really started feeling it after a while. I also made some major rookie mistakes, including trying to ward with a turret only to realize I’m in truth face-checking a bush. Said bush happened to have both Taric and Ez waiting patiently for my arrival. We did manage to come together as a team during late game, and while my presence wasn’t necessarily necessarily, I think I complimented my teammates well enough. My problem with Heimerdinger as a Mid champion is that during late game he has no focus. You can’t say “I’m going to burst down that one person”, he doesn’t work like that. This is why Heimer as a support actually makes a bit of sense. Surge and Overdrive activated, you are not only slowing one or two members of the enemy team, but your speedy grenade might just even stun somebody! It works well because as a support, your role is not to hunt someone down for murder, you’re just really there to generally muck up the enemy team’s time. What Heimer lacks in ally assistance her makes up for in enemy disruption. We eventually pull out a win, thanks solely to my grand teammates who did not cause a huff despite me pulling in somewhere around 3/11/9. There was no pointing fingers or rage-spamming the chat. They simply focused on what needed to get done, and they carried me to victory. Thanks guys. Game Three: Game three starts with my Ashe typing something along the lines of “support Heim we lose GG.” With two wins under my belt I decided to simply stay quiet and roll with it. We were going up against a Draven/Taric combo that was sure to destroy us. The thing is, though, they didn’t. I don’t know if they were having communication problems or if the presence of Heimerdinger simply confused them, but they were playing super-passive. Ashe was able to maintain a better cs rate and I was able to harass without much backlash. By this point I had completely given up on the “turrets as wards” system and I was on a warding rampage. This kept their gank potential quite low and we were able to escape any unpleasantries four out of five times. At this point in the night I was also quite aware of my “turret vs dragon” advantage and I made a point of taking out drag whenever an opportunity presented itself. As teamfights rolled around, my Ashe typed into chat “I’d like to formally apologize, you’re the best support I’ve had all day” and god damn me if my heart didn’t swell. It seemed, for the most part, that Support Heimer was working. Our teamfights went well, mostly because the other team didn’t have very good map awareness and we were able to pick of one or two of them at a time with our quality coordination. We went on to pull in my third victory in a row, which is where I decided to call it quits. Conclusion: Support Star Heimerdinger works. He may not be the optimum choice, but as long as you know your role he can be quite helpful. By “know your role” I mean: buy wards, don’t steal cs with your turrets, and find a build that works on gp10 items. I found that after building my gp10s (in various order, depending if I needed offense or defense) I could pick up a giants belt and be fairly content with life. I had in mind that I would eventually build a Rylai’s out of the belt, but I normally used my cash to either improve my gp’s or go on ward shopping sprees. When playing Support Star Heimerdinger, I found it was best to play him like a passive Soraka during lane, keeping in mind that you only have one or two tricks before you are rendered near-useless. In teamfights, especially after purchasing a giant’s belt, I suggest switching over to more of a Blitzcrank playstyle. You are there to be an annoyance, and while you can’t necessarily take anyone out, any time they are focusing their aggro on you is a time where they are not focusing on your teammates. I say go give Heimer a try in the bottom lane. He is a fun, fresh take on the support role. Just be sure to explain your strengths and weaknesses to your lane-mate and BUY LOTS OF WARDS.