Sion Build Guide by FlyintToaster3
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Items to Consider
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Hi there everyone, this is a guide to AP Sion, generally played as a Mid AP Carry.
I chose Sion because he has become one of the fewest played champions as of the end of Season 3. Because of this, Sion's rarity can effectively be tooled to your advantage.
Sion is a great nuker, capable of dealing massive amounts of damage quickly to unsuspecting, or slow-footed enemies. His Cryptic Gaze and Death's Caress are one of the best two-punch combos in the game.
Below I will go over the key points to his play style and address the items I have found to be most useful.
Pros / Cons
+Durable AP Carry
+Permanent health boost with Enrage
+Strong lane bully in early game
+Excellent mid/late-game farmer
+Can easily survive early 2v1 ganks
|Let's face it, you're not going to have a problem with someone else selecting Sion. His lack of use will catch newer players off guard. He can dominate his lane and do significant damage to nearby opponents|
|-Limited Range and Melee Mage
-Can be mana-hungry if poorly handled
-Basically a Q & W only champion
-Shield does no dmg if reduced before igniting
-No crowd control
-No natural escape
|Practice makes perfect. Poor use of your Q & W will leave you open to ganks, or being bullied in return. Experienced players will counter you well if you become too predictable. Feeding the enemy AP Carry is a good way to sink your team|
How to Play as AP Sion
AP Sion relies primarily on this sequence: Activating your shield: Death's Caress, stunning with Cryptic Gaze, melee attack aided with Lich Bane, and igniting your shield as soon as possible.
Because Death's Caress does no damage if destroyed before igniting, you'll be losing nearly half of your damage output if it is knocked out.
The key with Death's Caress though is to time it so you can ignite it when you're within optimal range of your opponent. Obviously, if you pull it up while laning, your opponent is likely to back away. This can be good if you want to bully the lane, but remember, your opponent (and hiding gankers) will jump as soon as your shield goes away.
Unranked/Lower Level Play
In unranked 5v5 play, particularly with lower levels, opponents mistake Sion's shield as strictly a defensive ability. As Sion is rarely played, it's really not as uncommon as you would think. Use this to your advantage in going for early kills. I like to hold off on using Death's Caress and Cryptic Gaze completely until I believe I can secure First Blood. Used with Ignite or an early gank from your Jungler, you can easily snuff out a squishy laner.
Charging, Initiating, and Ganking
As discussed with Items, I stress the need to make Sion as quick and mobile as possible. With Boots of Mobility, sitting out of combat and rushing in to charge your opponent can catch them completely flat-footed. Time Death's Caress correctly by pulling up the shield at least 4 seconds before you reach your opponent. Stun them with Cryptic Gaze, melee & ignite the shield. In addition, Enchantment: Alacrity will aid in chasing down those that run. As long as you're able to keep in range to hit them with your stun again, you should be golden.
Similarly, with ganking or initiating, you must time your skills accordingly. Pulling up your shield before team fights or a gank will let you ignite it when in appropriate range. This can prove to be more difficult than it would seem, but you will get your timing down eventually. The key is to go for the stun first.
Whether in a 1v1 fight or gank, you can use Flash to surprise an unsuspecting enemy. Don't waste it if their flash is available, unless you're sure you can secure a kill. The movement speed bonuses through items should make this tactic not as useful and might remain more practical for escaping.
Fairly typical of mages, Doran's Ring and two Health Potions are solid beginning items. Make sure you last-hit minions to make full use of Doran's Ring in the early game.
As explained in Play Style, I find Sion excels at catching lane opponents off guard, whether by ganking, or just (seemingly) randomly charging your opponent. To accomplish this, getting Boots of Mobility is critical. As Mid, you're able to assist allied champions much more quickly if you've been able to establish lane dominance.
Next, I follow up with Sheen and Blasting Wand, building into Lich Bane. For Sheen, I recommend going with Sapphire Crystal if you do not have enough for the full item. The +200 Mana will prove more useful than the AP boost of Amplifying Tome.
Lich Bane (and Sheen to a lesser extent) combines perfectly with Sion's play style. Hitting an opponent with Cryptic Gaze will induce the Spellblade passive, dealing scaling damage to enemies with your basic melee attack. In effect, your opponent will be hit by your Q, W, and Spellblade within a second or two, wreaking havoc on squishy champions.
From here, I have a few recommended items, but feel at this point, the status of your particular game should dictate what you choose going forward.
Rabadon's Deathcap is always useful for enhancing your nuking capabilities, and essentially should be part of your core items. I almost always follow up the previous items with this.
As Sion is a melee champ, and his abilities have limited range, Abyssal Scepter will give you an AP boost while lowering enemy Magic Resist. Quite useful.
If the opposing team has a strong ADC, or several AD champs, go for Zhonya's Hourglass. While Enrage can ultimately help get you several hundred health points, you're going to rely on items to boost either your Magic Resist or Armor.
Stun and AP Damage Skill
Old faithful. Capable of stunning enemies and dealing substantial damage
Shield that can ignite for AP damage
Activates shield, can reactivate to blow up shield for high damage after 4 seconds
Increases Attack Damage, permanent health boost per kill
Can toggle on/off. Get at level 4 and leave on remainder of game. Increases attack damage and adds permanent health on kills
Increase Attack Speed, Lifesteal, and Heals allies
Generally useless to AP Sion. Do not take at typical Ult levels. Only take points at end
Nothing fancy here. Ignite is useful for finishing off opponents, and particularly helpful when out of the laning phase and you come across life steal or health regen opponents. Annoying Master Yi in your midst? Throw an ignite on him if he tries to Meditate.
Flash is very necessary to avoid ganks or other general mayhem.
Clarity can be of help if you're fond of spamming abilities more regularly; however, I find ignite much more useful. I have seen some advocate for Ghost and/or Exhaust, which can be fine; however, they might prove more useful in the AD builds. I would choose Exhaust over Ghost in order to give you more time for cooldowns in a potentially tight spot.
Fairly straightforward as well. A mostly typical AP Mage build. I prefer to take a few points in health regen to increase sustainability a bit in your early game.
Compared to slight out-of-combat movement speed boosts, a +4 health per 5 seconds seems more effective overall to me.
As an example, say you play in a 40 minute game. If for 30 of those minutes you're not at full health, you have the ability to regenerate an extra 1400 health in a game.
As a fan of trying to get the upper hand early, I prefer flat AP Rune builds. Obviously, there is a lot of leeway on how you want to mold your champion. Sion's Q/stun can easily drain your mana, but as I prefer to selectively use it in precise moments, I don't find myself too mana-hungry.
As a beginner to Sion, you might want to lean towards adding Mana Regen to your build; however, I've felt that Mana Regen or Mana count can always be addressed through your items if it becomes an issue.
A level 2/3 Sion can surprise an opponent by dropping them very quickly, so added AP can close the gap and secure a First Blood.
Death's Caress is one of the best farming abilities in the game. By the time you get Lich Bane, you're likely able to one-shot an entire wave of minions. Just position yourself in the middle of a wave and you're golden.
Be careful though, as enemies hiding in the jungle, or even lane opponents, will jump at you when your shield goes down if they think they have the upper hand.