Sion Build Guide by totalimmortal
Recommended Runes + Notes
Ability Sequence + Notes
Masteries + Notes
Hi, I'm Totalimmortal and this is my AP Sion guide. After much experimentation and reconsideration, I believe this is the best way to build Sion, even over AD builds. If you play AP Sion correctly (and with a bit of common sense), you will overcome almost any enemy.
Below is my take on Sion, one of my favorite champions in the League. Any suggestions, constructive criticism, questions, or ideas are very welcome, just leave a comment.
Pros and Cons
+ High AP ratios on Q and W
+ Counters virtually all harass with Death's Caress
+ Has total lane control early game
+ Becomes pretty tanky thanks to Enrage
+ Easy farming once some AP is built
+ Is forgiving of minor mistakes
- Runs out of mana in a flash early on
- Extremely item dependent
- Enrage and Cannibalism don't do much for an AP build
- Really repetitive play style that gets pretty boring after a while
- Banshee's Veil makes me cry.
- Has what must be the worst model in the game.
Why AP Sion?
While I understand the appeal of AD Sion, I've always felt that AP Sion is more viable in nearly all situations. Here's why:
- Huge burst damage, Q and W have 0.9 AP ratios, meaning 90% of Sion's AP is added as damage to the ability.
- Ignite and Exhaust don't foil his plot to rule the world.
- Doesn't rely on his ultimate to stay alive in a team fight.
- His shield actually does something rather than breaking in half a second.
- Won't die if kited.
Now I'm not saying AD Sion is BAD, AP Sion is just better.
To me, masteries are all about personal preference. Whether you want more damage or more armor/MR/health is up to you. What I have in this guide is what I usually use when I play AP Sion, so obviously I'd recommend it.
In this tree you pick pretty much everything that makes you do more magic damage.
Tier 1 - 1 in Summoner's Wrath is good as long as you take Ignite. If not, hang on to that point. 4 in Sorcery makes shield and stun more available and is really the only viable choice for an AP champion, so go with that.
Tier 2 - Blast is the best pick, max it for an extra 18 AP that you'll appreciate late game.
Tier 3 - Arcane Knowledge gives you some magic penetration that you'll definitely be glad you have mid-late game. Depending on whether you put a point in Summoner's Wrath, put 2 or 3 points in Havoc . While Havoc doesn't seem like a good use of points at first glance, consider how much damage adds up from that extra 1.33%/2%. If you neglect that damage, you might as well pick 9/12/9, 0/21/9, or 0/9/21 masteries, since Executioner "only" gives 5% bonus damage.
Tier 4 - 3 points in Mental Force gives you a bit more AP. Spellsword makes you less useless in between casting, and lets you last hit a little bit easier when you're trying to save your shield.
Tier 5 - 4 points in Archmage . This is where I feel like going deep into the Offense Tree becomes worth it. 5% bonus AP is amazing throughout the game, especially with the Deathcap nerf.
Tier 6 - Finish off the tree by placing your 21st point in Executioner . That 5% more damage can secure kills that might've frustratingly escaped.
Tier 1 - With Flash earning itself a longer cooldown this season, a point in Summoner's Insight is a must. 3 points in Wanderer make Sion faster, which is good for obvious reasons. Improved Recall is very useful for time-sensitive situations like a minion push onto your nexus. One point in [[
Tier 2 - 3 points in Mastermind to increase the availability of Flash and Ignite.
As with masteries, runes are mostly about preference. The rune page below is what I've had the most success with, but you might prefer more magic penetration or AP.
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: More movement speed is great for AP Sion because of his short range. It's a lot harder to avoid a Q+W combo when Sion comes running out of the jungle with ~450 movement speed (assuming you have Boots of Mobility)
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: Pretty standard for any AP build. Magic penetration means more of your magic damage is getting through their magic resist, which is good no matter how you look at it.
- Greater Seal of Ability Power: Flat AP to help you out at level 1-4. You can replace with scaling AP seals if you want, I prefer the early damage.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power: After level 7 these are worth more than flat AP glyphs. At level 18, you're gaining about 27 AP from these runes alone. Definitely worth the wait.
Flash is a must. Great for escaping, ganking, and gap closing. Watch your enemies' reactions when you appear from the other side of a wall, stun them, and blow up your shield in their face.
Ignite can secure a kill, especially when you're going for first blood. Reducing healing effects is a nice bonus too, as well as the extra AD and AP while it's on cooldown.
Teleport Lets you get around the map pretty quick, and maximizes your farming time. Generally less useful than Ignite, since Boots of Mobility with the Avarice enchantment make you fast enough for most situations. If you do take this spell, make sure your teammates set wards so you can gank easily when needed.
Exhaust is a good summoner spell, reducing the target's movement speed, damage, and armor/magic resist since you have Summoner's Wrath . It also makes ganking a bit easier, since you can stun then exhaust if needed. Still, I feel that Ignite is a better choice overall.
Ghost makes sense if you don't want to buy Boots of Mobility, but I'd rather have Ignite or Teleport.
- Feel No Pain: People tend to overlook this passive. It has a chance to reduce damage taken, and is definitely more useful early game than late game.
- Cryptic Gaze (Q): This is one of AP Sion's two main abilities. It both nukes and stuns, with a 0.9 AP ratio! Avoid using it too much early game, as it takes more mana than Death's Caress up until rank 4. Mid-late game you can use it to initiate if your positioning is right and then use it again to finish them off.
- Death's Caress (W): This is AP Sion's most important ability. It does as much damage as the stun, with the same AP ratio, but also absorbs that much damage until it detonates. Early game it is best used when you're about to be harassed, so you can take the hit then blow up in your enemy's face. Mid game you can use it for easy farming, since you'll be able to take out entire waves of minions in one blow. Mid-late game you'll have the mana pool to raise your shield, then stun, pop shield, and repeat 3 or 4 times.
Something to keep in mind is that you need to STAY BACK until you're ready to detonate. Honestly, if you're just rushing in and giving your enemy 4 seconds to break the shield, you need to rethink how you're playing this game. To clarify: Press W -> Wait 2-4 seconds -> engage. Its that simple.
- Enrage (E): The attack damage bonus is mostly wasted on AP Sion, but the health gained over time adds up nicely. I take it at level 4, then leave it on the rest of the game.
- Cannibalism (R): This doesn't do much for you before you get Lich Bane (the passive works extremely well with 50/75/100% lifesteal). You can use it to get blue buff easier, to push, and to do at least a bit more damage in fights while Q and W are on cooldown.
AP Sion's priority is Death's Caress, followed by Cryptic Gaze, since they are the abilities that utilize ability power. Starting with Death's Caress gives you super anti-harass powers, and a fair amount of damage as well. It is the obvious choice to max first, as it allows you to stay in lane longer, without the need to recall for health. Cryptic Gaze comes next, providing yet another nuke as well as a stun. I take Enrage at level 4, but don't touch it again until level 13 because it is far less useful than Sion's other abilities. I don't bother with Cannibalism until level 12. The extra points in Cryptic Gaze at level 6 and 11 can be the difference between a kill and a death.
This is the simplest explanation I've seen for AP Sion's abilities:
(flowchart taken from this thread)
Doran's Ring is the best way to start with AP Sion, but a Sapphire Crystal and some pots work out just as well. I rarely start with Boots of Speed anymore because Sion needs something to help with his minuscule mana pool more than he needs early mobility.
- - Sion is at his best when he can appear out of nowhere and nuke. These boots do a great job at this.
- - I build these when I'm up against a lane with a lot of CC and/or burst, like Veigar.
- - Magic penetration is never a bad thing, especially if your lane opponent is building MR against you. These boots are a cheap source of Magic pen. that won't take up another item slot.
- - With movement speed, mana, a fair amount of ability power, and an extra nuke from the passive, this item makes Sion even scarier. As of a couple patches ago, it deals 75% of total AP as MAGIC damage instead of the former 100% total AP as physical damage. This means it no longer synergizes with Cannibalism, which makes me sad. However, the damage benefits from magic penetration and spell vamp now, and Thornmail won't make you regret attacking. So at least there's that.
- - It's just pure AP that makes your other items worth more AP. You hit so much harder WITH this item than WITHOUT it.
- - It has 120 AP and 15% CDR, and an active ability that helps out a lot whether you're fighting tanks or looking to wipe a squishy off the face of the rift. The active now works very well with Lich Bane's passive
- - Even MORE AP as well as magic penetration, which means more of the damage you're doing will get through to the target. Usually I'll either pick up this or Abyssal Scepter.
- - If the enemy team isn't building a lot of magic resist or has a lot of AP (or both), this item is very efficient. Usually I'll either pick this up or Void Staff.
- - The active isn't as useful on Sion as it is on other champions (like Karthus), but the armor and 120 AP are great. Tip: if you need a couple seconds for your shield to come off of cooldown, this will save you.
- - If your team has enough magic damage to make this viable, it's a decent item to pick up. With the change to Lich Bane's passive, you can get back a good deal of health from a single combo.
- - I was very much opposed to this item for a while, as I'm somewhat of an AP purist with Sion. However, due to the amount of AD gained from Enrage, this item makes it much easier to push towers with an AP build. It also benefits Cannibalism. If your team has a lot of AD already I wouldn't buy this item, but if your team is having trouble with turrets I'd consider picking it up.
- - Sometimes you need an extra edge to take down an enemy. Especially a fast enemy like Evelynn. This item is cheap and gets the job done. Not to mention it builds out of Kage's Lucky Pick, which can ease the pain on ruined early game.
- - It's an OP item that really isn't a necessity, but allows you to make game-changing ballsy plays if you know what you're doing.
This section is ridiculously and unrelentingly redundant, but it could be useful for newer players. I've decided not to include Flash in any of these, since it is used mostly for positioning.
(raise shield) -> -> (detonate)
This is Sion's base combo, as it is the only one he can perform without items or summoner spells. The rest of his combos work around this one.
(raise shield) -> -> (detonate) ->
Most of your early-mid game kills come from this. Really, you should just keep in mind that you can end any combo with Ignite.
(raise shield) -> -> -> (detonate)
If you take Teleport, this is a great combo. [Death's Caress size=40] cooks during the Teleport cast! Make sure your team sets wards for convenient ganks.
(raise shield) -> -> (detonate) ->
Following up the detonation with Lich Bane's active adds a third nuke to the combo. You'll destroy squishies like Ashe in two seconds flat.
(raise shield) -> -> -> (detonate)
Opening with Deathfire Grasp's active ability knocks out around 35-45% of your target's health. Unless your prey is tanky, Sion's infamous nukes will secure the kill. If not, [Ignite].
This combo is your best friend when taking out AD carries in team fights.
Obviously you can combine pretty much all of these combos... For example:
(raise shield) -> -> -> (detonate) ->
(raise shield) -> -> -> -> (detonate)
You should get the idea by now.
The Laning Phase
With AP Sion you can go top or mid. Lately I've favored mid as it provides more gank opportunities. In an ideal lane you should be up against a champion that cannot easily use hard CC to stop you from using Death's Caress. Ryze is an example of this kind of champion.
Early game you'll want to refrain from pushing, which can be tricky if you use Death's Caress a lot. My advice is to use Death's Caress more as a shield than a nuke, detonating away from most enemy minions. Killing a few with the burst isn't a bad thing, you still need farm after all. Keep up this no-pushing tactic until you've gotten enough farm for some AP and Boots of Mobility.
Now that you're fast, you can begin ganking with force. There are two ways that you can make yourself available for ganking.
Preferred method: Start nuking your enemy until they either return to base or die. Obviously you want a kill but don't over-extend yourself, you're trying to prepare for a gank. If this isn't working out, move on to the next method.
Alternative method: Start pushing your lane almost all the way to the tower. When a ganking opportunity presents itself (if you're top, you're pretty much stuck with ganking mid), give your lane that final push to the enemy turret, then go for the gank right away. This is most effective when you know your lane opponent hasn't been warding, since you can get closer to the lane you're ganking before he realizes you're gone.
Of course, if you have Teleport you don't have to use either of those methods, just teleport to an allied ward in a bush and come out with guns blazing.
In a team fight, Sion has a few roles that are pretty basic. Take out the AD carry as fast as possible, then prioritize based on what's going on in the fight. If someone is messing with your ADC, nuke him. Secure kills if needed, just exercise some healthy common sense.
Don't think that playing AP Sion excuses you from auto-attacking. You (eventually) have Lich Bane, and you should activate Cannibalism so that you're doing as much damage as possible while your abilities are on cooldown.
Tips for Low Level or New Summoners
Before you have access to runes (well, runes that MATTER), full mastery pages, and Flash, playing AP Sion can be annoying. Here's a section dedicated to the new guys.
First off, prioritize the Utility Tree over the Offense Tree. What is the point of having lower cooldowns if you don't have the mana to back them up?
Up until you get Flash (level 12) you should take Clarity and Teleport. Most new players tend to spam abilities too much, which is bad for Sion. These two spells accommodate for that by providing quick mana (Clarity by being Clarity and Teleport by making a quick trip back to fountain more of an option).
Stacking more than 2 Doran's Rings is ok at low levels, but never get more than 4.
Play passively until you have around 70 cs. This way you can't put yourself in a risky position before having a manly shield to protect you.
Credits to jhoijhoi for the template (even though I've obviously deviated from it), which you can find here.
Thanks to Totallynotn00b for pointing out serious errors in the build that I would have continually overlooked if not for him.
4/23/13 - Minor changes, added some items to the items list.
4/2/13 - Did some aesthetic stuff that I'd been meaning to get around to. Changed the items section to appear more adaptable than it was before, but it's really exactly the same in practice.
3/19/13 - Changes where needed.
2/07/13 - Minor changes, added some pics to the Success! section.
11/30/12 - 1/29/13 - Rewrote parts of the guide as needed for Preseason 3.
11/30/12 - Added a section about Season 3 Changes.
9/16/12 - 11/8/12 - Misc. edits, typos mostly. Moved the changelog to the bottom since it's pretty big.
9/16/12 - Removed ranked play section and made the rest of the guide ranked friendly instead. Added some info on ganking and ganking paths.
8/25/12 - 9/15/12 - Various edits, removed champion match-ups section.
8/24/12 - Minor edits. Added more about summoner spells. Renamed the guide to be more to-the-point.
8/18/12 - Changed glyphs, expanded a bit on rune choices.
8/12/12 - Broke up a text wall.
8/12/12 - Minor edits.
8/03/12 - Fixed a couple typos and broken image.
7/19/12 - Explained item choices, reconsidered runes, modified purchase order slightly, changed parts in the Team Fights section, wrote about consumables in Items section
7/18/12 - Finally explained mastery choices, added some more to Champion Match-Ups.
7/17/12 - Added to the Champion Match-Ups section, expanded on ability use.
7/17/12 - Added Items to Avoid and Champion Match-Ups sections, re-worded certain sentences, added alternative items, made things clearer in the Laning and Farming section.
7/16/12 - Spell check, new introduction.
7/11/12 - Re-prioritized rune and item choices, added more item alternatives, revamped noobish explanations and added Sion flowchart.
7/7/12 - Guide created.
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