Support is, at times, an underappreciated role. The support is the player who has to do the hard work in the shadows so that their AD Carry and the rest of the team can shine. However, supports now put a bigger focus on playmaking, following in the footsteps of legendary players such as Hong "MadLife" Min-gi who changed the way the role is played.
Europe has produced many accomplished supports in the past like Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim and Alfonso "Mithy" Aguirre Rodríguez and this LEC season was no different, with many teams flexing their support muscles. Of all the league’s talented supports though, it was these four who made the biggest impact.
Mikyx – G2 Esports
Starting off with the obvious choice, G2’s Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle had the best year of his career so far. The Slovenian won both LEC Splits, the Mid-Season Invitational, was awarded LEC All-Pro support award twice and reached the Worlds final. And he did all of that despite suffering from a serious wrist injury halfway through the year which stopped him from playing for a while.
Mikyx is one of the most aggressive supports in Europe and it’s easy to see why he won all five of his Rakan games at Worlds and won another three of his four games on the champion in the Summer Split. Yet, his most talked about champion is definitely Pyke, as he impressively managed to stand out on the champion despite the fact all of his teammates were also keen to play the support/assassin on-stage.
However, Mikyx also reminded everyone how deep his champ pool runs at Rift Rivals, as he put in sensational performances on his signature champions Bard and Gragas. His game on the latter likely still gives Cloud9 nightmares.
Vander – Rogue
Next up we have a more experienced player in Oskar "Vander" Bogdan, who didn’t take to the LEC stage until the Summer Split, but once he did, he made his chance count. So much so in fact that Rogue has rewarded him with a new contract to ensure he stays with them for next season.
The Polish support proved to be a pivotal member of the team as he was eventually the only senior head on the team, leading Rogue’s promising rookies into a fantastic Playoffs run which included a one-sided 3-0 stomp over eventual Worlds quarter-finalists Splyce.
The veteran lead by example as no support played more champions than himself in the Summer Split (10) and showed extraordinary game knowledge with perhaps the most memorable play of the season. It looked as if his toplaner Kim "Profit" Jun-hyung was doomed as he was the victim of a four-man dive, but Vander expertly timed his Taric ultimate with the exact moment his ally Paweł "Woolite" Pruski completed his teleport to provide both of them with a few seconds of invulnerability.
Not only did this save his toplaner’s life, but also earned his teammate a double kill in a 4v2. A later Mic Check revealed that after the play, Vander couldn’t help but scream “how good am I?!” to his teammates. It turns out, he’s still one of the best supports in Europe.
Hylissang – Fnatic
Anybody who says supports can’t carry a game has clearly never seen Zdravets "Hylissang" Galabov in action. Specifically, they can’t have seen his impeccable performance against G2 in Week 9 of the Spring Split as he near-singlehandedly earned Fnatic an enormous win.
Hylissang was already having a fantastic game, but it was his brave and unorthodox decision to backdoor one of G2’s inhibitors on his own that changed the result of the game. A few minutes after taking the inhibitor down, he and Martin “Rekkles” Larsson rushed from the Baron pit into the enemy base.
G2 accepted the base race challenge but Fnatic were able to take down the Nexus first and did so just four seconds before the inhibitor, which Hylissang had taken down moments earlier, respawned. The Bulgarian is perhaps the most important member of Fnatic’s star-studded roster; when he’s at his best, there seemingly isn’t any team that can stop him.
Hylissang’s unrelenting aggression spurs Fnatic forward while denying his opponents any time to breathe. No support in the LEC Summer Split had more kills than the Fnatic star (26) but only one support had more deaths than him too (63). Hylissang is undoubtedly a glass cannon but sometimes a support needs to die for the better of the team, and he has no problem in doing that.
The Bulgarian’s engages and potency when roaming with his jungler makes him a key member of Fnatic and he will want to work on his synergy with new signing Oskar "Selfmade" Boderek right away.
Norskeren – Splyce
Finally, we have Tore "Norskeren" Hoel Eilertsen who from next season onwards will go by his first-name in game. This was only the second season of Tore’s career and he made a major impact after signing for Splyce.
The Norwegian is well known for his mechanical prowess and excellent engages as he showed in Week 8 of the Summer Split, as he nailed a five-man Rakan ultimate to win Splyce the game against SK Gaming and keep themselves tied with Fnatic in second place going into the final week.
After a hard-fought journey through Playoffs and the Regional Gauntlet, Tore got his first opportunity to step onto the Worlds stage and he took advantage with a stunning display against SK Telecom T1 in the quarterfinals.
In the one game of the series that Splyce won, Tore was a constant threat on Nautilus and proved to be difficult to handle even for such an experienced side as the LCK champions. He showed phenomenal awareness as he hooked Park "Teddy" Jin-seong out of taking Thresh’s lantern before then finding a pick on none other than Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok just moments later.
A lot is talked about Tore as a mechanical player, and it shows with the highest gold difference at 15 minutes (284) and third-highest KDA (3.2) of all supports in the Summer Split. However, his macro side isn’t weak either as no player in LEC had a higher average vision score per minute than the Splyce support during Summer. Tore is only 19-years-old and still has a lot to learn, but he will surely be a staple in the LEC for years to come.