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Feb 1, 2014

Season 4 Support Starting Items: Doran Shield Meta


Playing support in Season 4 Preseason started off as a relic shield spam game, with both teams trying to push as hard as possible to maximize the insane sustain and pushing power it provided.

However, with the relic shield nerf, a few more possibilities have come into viability. Here are the ones I find the best suited to the current meta at the moment:
  1. Doran Shield + pots
  2. Ancient Coin + Ward + Pots
  3. Relic Shield + Ward + Pots
  4. Ruby Crystal
Some people also like to get Spellthief's Edge, but I highly recommend against it. Its gold compensation isn't enough to make up for its lack of early game trading ability coupled with the fact that you won't be able to purchase a Talisman of Ascension later on unless you sell it. The chilling effect does look pretty though.

Doran Shield + Pots

Doran's Shield

Stats: +100 health +10 health regen per 5 seconds
Unique: Blocks 8 damage from champion basic attacks.

This is the start that you'll want to use about 90% of the time. Although it relies on your AD carry to use their ward at the right time to avoid jungle ganks, the sustain and trading ability that it provides is insane.

If you have any thoughts about fighting in lane, then this is the item you'll want to pick up. Without it, you'll be sitting at a great disadvantage against supports who start with it, sitting at their mercy until you get a jungle gank.

When I first heard about it, I was definitely a little skeptical, since without wards it seemed like bot lane would be extremely vulnerable to jungler ganks. However, the added tankiness combined with trinket wards actually deters the majority of jungler attempts.

Even though Doran's Shield is due for some upcoming nerfs on the PBE, definitely milk this overpowered start as long as possible.

Ancient Coin + Ward + Pots

Ancient Coin

This start is *okay* if you happen to want to play passively, maybe for a support like Janna or Soraka. However, there's still a chance to be engaged on, in which case you'll wish you had a Doran Shield instead...

If you do happen to start with this and want to win against a Doran Shield lane, the best way is to let the enemy team push against you and then ask for a jungler gank. If you accidentally start pushing up against a lane like a Thresh or Leona with Doran Shield, you're just asking to die.

Relic Shield + Ward + Pots

Relic Shield

Stats: +50 health +6 health regeneration
UNIQUE - SPOILS OF WAR: Melee autoattacks execute minions below 200 health. Killing a minion by any means heals the nearest allied champion for 2% of your maximum health and grants them (kill + 5) gold. These effects require a nearby allied champion and consume a charge. Recharges every 60 seconds. Max 2 charges.

This start has fallen out of favor. Although it does give a decent amount of gold when you manage to utilize the gold passive to its fullest, you'll notice that the stats it provides is half that of Doran Shield, not even including the passive. However, it does provide a valuable ward to start, which is very useful if you're worried about jungle ganks.

Ruby Crystal

Ruby Crystal

This start is pretty interesting, although you almost never see it. It gives you +180 health, no health regeneration, no pots, and no wards. However, it allows you to rush your sightstone much faster providing you don't lose your lane before then. 

I recommend against going this start unless you're positive you outskill your opponents are confident in your ability to secure a kill within the first few levels.


Although in a competitive environment lacking vision is a strong deterrent towards purchasing a Doran Shield to start, in solo queue the trading ability that it provides far outweighs any chance that a coordinated jungler will have the ability to recognize the exact break between the support and the adc's trinket wards.

TLDR; Start with Doran Shield if you want to win in solo queue!

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  1. Cool stuff, never thought about Doran's Shield.

  2. I start Dorans Shield on my melee supports and Doran's Ring on AP supports.

  3. Rodrigo LivachofFebruary 20, 2014

    I think the best start is coin+pots+ward , because the gold it provides is neccesary to get a acceptable mid game. The doran shield doesn't provides gold; it means a lot of lost gold. Maybe you'll need the ward when you or your ADC spend the trinket on the lane bushes but river, or the enemy jungler destroyed your river ward. Sry for the bad english.

  4. So I've got a question. I use spellthief's edge when playing Sona because it works really well with her ability set. Is this a bad idea? Should I go with coin or doran's shield instead? Thanks.

  5. Sakura'sFallingMarch 26, 2014

    When you want to go offensive, knowing that you'll be able to poke a lot, spellthief's should be fine. The moment you know you have to play passively, don't even bother.

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