I usually start with Relic Shield and a Ruby Crystal because most melee supports benefit benefit from health with their abilities, such as Braum’s Q, Maokai’s passive or Nunu’s Q. The items also make you very tanky early on, and give you the ability to heal your lane partner with the Relic proc.
Why don’t you start with Doran’s Shield ?
I don’t buy Doran’s Sheild because it gives you less health than Ruby + Relic, and it gives you less potions early on, furthermore it delays your Face of the Mountain. As a support you don’t have as much gold income to begin with so you need to spend it wisely.
Face of the Mountain: Always rush this item. It is extremely cost efficient and it is also your main source of income. The shield allows you to protect your allies and it has a very short cooldown.
Locket of the Iron Solari: I get this item second in roughly 70 % of my games because it negates a ton of magical damage, and because of the AoE shield. It is extremely important to get this item against teams that have a lot of magic damage.
Randuin’s Omen:I buy this item when I am either playing against a heavy physical damage team, or if the enemy physical damage dealer is fed.I always buy the Giant’s belt first when building this item because health benefits melee supports, as I explained earlier.
Mercury’s Treads: I buy this item roughly 90 % of the time because the current meta tend to go toward crowd control heavy teams.
Ninja Tabi: You get this Item when you are playing against a very heavy physical team or a team that relies on auto attacks to do damage.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity: I buy this item when I aim towards pushing my advantage in early game. The item itself is merely for early game as most support items tend to grant you tons of cooldown reduction already.
Hextech Sweeper: I only get this when I am playing against stealth champions, it counters them pretty hard and the 20% cooldown reduction is pretty good as well.
Banshee’s Veil: I get this around mid to late game if I am playing against heavy magic damage team and I feel like I need to be more tanky. Or if I am playing against a comp that rely on engaging with a single spell.
Zeke’s Herald: I get this item when I feel like I am already tanky and I have a teammate that can benefit from the aura a lot. I get it only if I have a teammate that relies on auto attacks a lot like Udyr, Jax, Xin or a ranged ADC.
Frozen Heart: I get this after Randuin’s Omen if I am playing against a ranged ADC or a heavy bruiser team. It will reduce their damage significantly.
Sunfire Cape: I only get this item when I am extremely ahead or I am playing against a team with very short range. I don’t like this item against ranged adcs though because you almost never get a good use of the aura.
This mastery page is the one I have had most success with. It’s basically a mix between tankiness and utility. You can afford to go 14 on Utility on 3v3 because in most cases you aren’t going to be focused.
Why do you take Tough Skin mastery that’s used for junglers instead of Enchanted Armor or Recovery?
Recovery gives you 2 health per 5 seconds while Tough skin blocks 2 damage per second almost when you are doing camps. Which means you will have more health after you finish a camp with tough skin than Recovery. You will be tanking a lot of camps early to mid game with your carry so that’s a lot of damage taken from the jungle.
Enchanted Armor is better late game for supports but if you failed early game you will have a really hard time late game. So it’s better to take tough skin to boost your early to mid game power.
The reason behind all the flat runes is that winning early game teamfights can really snowball you the game.
As you can probably notice I stopped taking Gold per 10 Quints and replaced them with flat armor quints just to get a better early game.