Out of all the roles to take advantage of the R5 counterpick, support is rarely given the opportunity to pick a Champion that counters the enemy team. In Game 3 of Gen.G’s set against DWG KIA, Gen.G did just that and gave Son “Lehends” Si-woo that coveted 5th pick spot so that he could pick… Singed support? It was one of the most surprising off-meta picks in recent memory, yet, with some added context, Lehends’ bold support choice makes a lot of sense.
Bringing solo queue to pro play
Lehends plays more than just support. In an interview with Ashley Kang from KORIZON Esports, Lehends told the tale of the time he grinded to rank 1 on the Korean servers by playing almost solely Singed and Shen in top lane. According to Lehends, “Various top tier top laners at that time, like Nuguri, tried to make top Singed work [after seeing me play]. But they gave up. That shows how specific Singed is, in League of Legends.”
Lehends also claimed that he had thousands of games played on Singed in top lane over the years, giving Lehends a level of experience on the Champion most players would never have. Considering how unorthodox Singed’s playstyle is, it makes sense that other players would struggle to pick up the Champion without the wealth of experience playing in a way only Singed can. All that said, what makes Singed a viable support Champion?
Bringing solo queue to pro play
To most players, Singed is known for his (Q) Poison Trail. In the top lane, that’s pretty accurate. Normally, Singed would try to get through the lane phase by proxying (going behind tower and taking waves) and being a general annoyance. Picking up something like Rylai’s to make his poison slow only makes things worse for the enemy team, and it makes Singed a Champ that can scale into the late game in his own unique way.
In support, Poison Trail is the least important ability in his kit. If Singed support is worth drafting, it’s because of his (W) Mega Adhesive and his (E) Fling.
Lehends chose to max (E) first, followed by putting points into his (Q). While Singed’s (W) is important, putting points into it only gives you a small amount of cooldown reduction on the ability. It’s just as effective at rank one as it is maxed out. Additionally, maxing Singed’s (E) is what gives an increased root duration if Singed can manage to flip an enemy into his (W), making his (E) an ability that augments both abilities when points get invested into it.
Rather than keeping his identity as someone that shouldn’t be chased, Singed support takes on a new role as someone you should be actively running away from. Considering that his (W) prevents any sort of mobility from being used (Flash, Dashes, Leaps, etc.), Singed can lock people down from a distance. This lockdown even works against Yuumi, preventing her from getting out of one Champion and into another. Whether Lehends intended it or not, Singed support is, on paper, one of Yuumi’s biggest counters.
An accidental discovery
When asked about whether or not he thought Singed support was a good Yuumi counter in his interview with Ashley Kang, Lehends replied that he wasn’t sure going into the game. It’s sort of an anticlimactic answer, but one that doesn’t change how strong Singed is into Yuumi. Lehends may have accidentally stumbled upon a direct counter to one of the strongest support Champions in the current meta, and that counter just so happens to be a Champion he has a wealth of experience with.
If the champion Yuumi is attached to is out of position, she’s going down with the ship. This makes displacement a strong counter to any lane with a Yuumi. She can’t keep her ADC sustained and use her strong poke if her host gets tossed into a fight, making Champs like Blitzcrank and Nautilus strong into Yuumi. In theory. In practice, landing a skillshot on a Champ with Yuumi’s movespeed buff is no small feat, especially in pro play.
Singed doesn’t have that problem. Even into Ezreal/Yuumi, a lane combo that is extremely safe, Singed had enough crowd control to keep the duo down and put an end to their shenanigans without needing to land a single skillshot.
Singed landing his (W) on someone immediately hard CC’s anyone in the circle. If Yuumi sets foot in the goop at any point, her ability to attach to a Champion immediately gets taken away for a few seconds. If the Champion she’s attached to dies, she can’t do anything. If she tries to attach to a different Champion, she’ll get grounded and die. Stack that with the 40% healing reduction Singed’s (R) gives his poison trail, and it feels like Singed’s kit was almost made to counter Yuumi.
Countering Yuumi isn’t the only thing Singed support is good for, either.
Despite not having the best debut performance on Singed support, Lehends managed to flank Damwon and patiently wait for the opportunity to lock down Heo “ShowMaker” Su. His ability to take away ShowMaker’s ability to fight combined with Han “Peanut” Wang-ho’s excellent usage of Poppy’s ultimate on Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu made this final teamfight a clean sweep for Gen.G.
Something worth chasing
South Korea has birthed many of League of Legends’ strangest and most powerful off-meta strategies. Lehends is the kind of player who isn’t afraid to try something new, and he has a very strong Gen.G roster to back him up.
It’s hard to say whether or not Lehends will try Singed support again, or if he’ll try to bring other innovative support picks into pro play. It certainly wouldn’t be a first for the LCK. Regardless of what the meta brings for such an innovative region, Lehends will likely be the only player picking Singed. And I really hope we get to see him try this niche support pick again.
All images by: Riot Games
Carver is an esports journalist and analyst who specializes in Eastern League of Legends.