Sion Build Guide by whightsnap
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Still a work in progress, build depends on playstyle. I prefer to go in without ulting, reserving Sion's ult as an escape mechanism.
In lane, focus on bullying with your E. If you use your shield, try to land that 10% max health damage. Reserve Q for finishing/ganks.
The build above has been modified for the new Sion, but the notes ARE NOT UPDATED.
This build is NOT aimed at pure damage output. To survive, Sion must rely on frequent use of abilities (shield, stun, ult), and movement speed+tenacity/slow reduction to close distances. Further defensive items may be necessary, depending on your opponents.
This is as much a strategy guide as a build guide. The build presented supplements the strategy very well, but feel free to try other builds with a similar strategy. If you like one or the other, upvote and comment!
I generally start top lane and function as a pusher/bruiser/closer, but I have successfully used this build in all 3 lanes as well as the jungle.
A better statistical summary is available at leaguecraft.com.
AD Sion is about his sustained damage output, lifesteal and (with this build) map mobility. He is susceptible to large burst and CC. Dashing champions are an annoyance.
Late game Cannibalism will grant you 130% lifesteal (and 50% AoE heal) for 20 seconds followed by item lifesteal for 34 seconds (assuming max cooldown, something easily achieved). Additionally, Cryptic Gaze will give a 1.5 second stun every 4.8 seconds.
I've tried to use examples from well-balanced games, so that they are representative of most gameplay as Sion. Here are some of my replays, and here is a summary from a representative game with me playing as Sion.
In high elo games, solo tops are usually very tanky, with defensive runes and masteries. It's a good idea, but feel free to play around and discover what works for you.
In draft mode, I may take 9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction instead of 9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist if I'm concerned about AP damage.
Despite the great feeling you get when you get massive crits, 9x Greater Mark of Critical Damage actually provide lower damage potential than armor penetration runes until late game. I used them for a while, but at least 2/3rds of my games are too short for them to be worth it. 9x Greater Mark of Attack Damage aren't as useful on Sion because we get free AD from our E.
Same as with Runes. Defensive masteries are best top, due to how frequently you will find yourself in 2v1 situations before you have finished your core build.
AD runes used to be more viable, but the Relentless and Tenacious masteries are very important for getting where you need to be through team fights or chases.
Feel free to adjust as the situation demands, or as your play style demands.
The build order is pretty straightforward, with 2 important things to note.
First, Crystalline Flask allows more frequent shields to shrug off early poke. If you aren't facing a champion with much poke, feel free to start with Boots of Speed and pots. If you are dealing with more poke, you can also consider going for a Doran's Ring.
Second, the order you get your last items should vary.
- If you need survivability, you probably need Spirit Visage then Zephyr.
- If your opponents aren't clustering, get The Black Cleaver instead of Ravenous Hydra.
- If you are doing lots of split pushing and harass, max your CDR. You'll be able to ult every push, which is completely worth it.
Trinity Force, The Black Cleaver, Youmuu's Ghostblade, Madred's Bloodrazor, Mercury's Treads, Banshee's Veil and Quicksilver Sash are of course all viable situational alternatives, but first familiarize yourself with the feel of the primary build.
Most burst is AP, so Spirit Visage will help with that. If you are taking a lot of both AD and AP damage, Warmog's Armor and Atma's Impaler will provide more effective health than Spirit Visage and Thornmail.
Unless invading, start with Death's Caress. This will allow you to shrug off early pokes and do some harass. Basically, you are playing AP at the start.
Now for more detail on each skill...
Feel No Pain effectively means one thing: you can more safely go behind enemy minions early game than with most other champions.
Cryptic Gaze is to be used as a closer; initiate with it, or slow someone's escape. It does deal damage - about as much as the shield, actually - but it's much less versatile. Cooldown reduces with level, so max it second.
Death's Caress gives damage soak + harass damage in one ability. Go to level 2 early, because at 150 HP it is enough to completely absorb most early game harass, thus allowing offensive use after a poke. It's also enough to take a full turret hit without breaking. Additionally, before you get lifesteal, your shield can be used to prevent you from losing health to Enrage.
Observe my death, which would not have happened had I taken my level 2 shield instead of my stun (I would have enough HP in the shield for offensive use, or I would have simply shrugged off the turret):
Mid to late game, use it when farming minions as shown below:
If you have Tiamat/Ravenous Hydra, farm as shown below:
In an engagement, you should be activating your shield as much as possible. 300 free health every 5 seconds is very nice. In the following video it helps me completely ignore Jarvan.
Do not hesitate to use it as an offensive weapon.
By level 3, Enrage gives you a free B. F. Sword. You also increase your max health with every kill. I frequently get 600 to 800 extra HP from my farm. Never turn it off. If you are worried about the health drain, activate Death's Caress beforehand.
Cannibalism. This is what makes AD Sion a beast. In a team fight, hit the squishiest available target. Staying together is a big plus - you can do a lot of healing. Early game it's not great for dueling, so don't hesitate to use it for lane sustain or pushing a tower.
The AoE heal area is quite small, so if someone is hanging around you for the healing effect, be considerate.
Take a look at the last section for specific examples of how to use your ult.
In the "Almost right way (3v1, but no CC)" example in that section, note that I do not switch from Skarner to Soraka, despite what I said about hitting the squishiest target. Had I felt concerned I might die (or a teammate might die), I would have switched targets.
Late game (with max CDR, you will have Cryptic Gaze and Death's Caress every 4.8 seconds. In a desperate fight with a melee champion, you will be using them every chance you get. In a drawn out fight vs. a skill champion, do your best to time the stun to lengthen the effective cooldowns of the opposing champion (or save a friendly's behind).
Summoner Spells are very personal choices, reflecting individual gameplay styles. Do not be afraid to change these, but you should be familiar with their use.
Ghost improves your engage/chase and escape. This is more important in S3, as movement speed items are weaker than the others; it also synergises well with Enchantment: Distortion.
Cleanse allows Sion remove important debuffs - in an escape, slows. In a fight, ignite and exhaust - because you /will/ be exhausted and ignited.
Observe the recklessly timed cleanse at the end of this clip, removing both exhaust and ignite.
Teleport More than anything else, Teleport allows a good farm. Early game you can maintain near 100% lane presence, while mid-late game it allows for great pushing (either porting in to an ideal lane, or reserving it to port to a team fight).
Here's a port from a farm, in case you are completely lost.
Activate your shield 3-6 seconds before the Golem appears (between 1:48-51). Pop the shield after taking 2 hits. Take a 3rd hit, hit back, and then leave.
Play early game (up to level 5 or so) as you might AP Sion. Think harass, particularly using your shield.
Learn how to bait them in and stun them under the turret. Cleanse to remove a resulting ignite.
When in combat, ult and hit stuff. Seriously. If you aren't hitting something, you are dying. Sometimes the screen gets too busy to effectively choose a target. Press A and click the ground (or Shift-click) to attack towards a location. Keep doing it to make sure you don't try to follow a champion that starts to run when you are taking heavy damage.
In the middle of that, use your shield as much as possible. Tenaciously cling to life. Stun the biggest damage dealer (or a squishy near you).
You can't do anything globally. I use space a lot to center the screen (sometimes holding it down). You can lock the camera to Sion, but it can make tracking targets to stun or autoattack more difficult.
Avoiding minion vision:
Avoid being spotted when crossing lanes by estimating where the opposing minions are based on where your minions are.
Pay attention. Use your shield to drive off competition, and get a group of last hits. How much damage do you deal? 2 turret hits against a melee minion, then hit it. 1 turret hit against a caster minion, then hit it.
Addendum for Teammates and Opponents (All About Cannibalism)
AD Sion is all about his ult. Look for the floating skulls.
If you are on Sion's team, do your best to be within healing range when Cannibalism is active.
In a pitched battle, do not physically move a champion away from Sion; he needs to feed. Do not kill nearby minions without good cause. They have lower armor than champions, and thus can provide an excellent source of health in an emergency.
If the opposing team scatters (like suggested below), strongly consider following Sion should he give chase. Ping for help if you are under attack. Sion's 1.5 second stun plus his 50% heal will be enough to keep you alive under most circumstances. Stay within range of Sion's heal! If the attacker is melee, you can use those 1.5 seconds to get behind Sion. If the attacker is ranged, you probably can't escape in 1.5 seconds and Sion's heal is likely your best chance.
After a battle, use Sion's ult to heal. Stand close while he hits his target. If your entire team's HP is really low, only Sion should attack the food! (press S to stop) Healing 4 champions at 50% and himself at 120%, as a team you will receive 320% of his damage dealt as HP.
Here is a prime example of where the team should cluster around Sion (see the in-video notes).
30 minutes in, Sion will be able to take Blue buff in ~5 seconds, healing all surrounding friendly units for 2000 HP.
Baron has enough armor and deals enough damage that the team will be healed relatively slowly, but everyone should come out with full health.
First off, you can't stop Sion from farming. You may stop him in the lane phase, but a good AD Sion never stops farming. Over time, Sion will always be a threat.
There are two ways to consistently beat Sion:
- Become OP first (going 5/0 is a good start) and win early.
- Let Sion become OP, but starve everyone else.
In order to kill Sion late game, you must deal more than twice the damage he deals. To be safe, do not engage when Sion can ult unless you have a 3 to 1 advantage. Standard disables ( Ignite, Exhaust, Executioner's Calling, etc.) can be used, but are only marginally effective. DO NOT 1v1 Sion unless his ult is definitely on cooldown or he has no mana. I have literally killed Tryndamere 1v1 while DC with autoattacks due to high movement speed and lifesteal.
Wrong way (1v1):
Almost right way (3v1, but no CC):
Right way (3v1, good CC and kiting):
In a team fight, do your best to CC Sion. If that isn't an option, counter Sion by scattering in multiple directions (i.e. run away). If you are lucky, Sion will chase one or two targets, leaving his team in the dust. Those not being chased should immediately turn around and focus on the squishies that have been deprived of Sion's ult. Kill Sion last.
If you focus Sion first, you will lose the fight unless his teammates are starved. 3 or 4 for 1 exchanges are common.
Divide and Conquer.