Syndra Build Guide by Zestifier
Not Updated For Current Season
Final Build (NORMAL/AHEAD)
ALTERNATIVE Final Build #1
ALTERNATIVE Final Build #2
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.
Well Hi there everyone. I am Zestifier! This is my first guide but on my most experienced champion! People are going to discount me because I am low ELO or they don't think I am experienced enough to write a nice character build/guide. But that's OK, because I have played Syndra roughly about 1/2 of my total games and have pretty much gotten everything down that you could do with her. I love my build, and so do many others I have recommended it to. This build is focused on heavy damage but early sustain and plentiful poking and farming.
This is an IN DEPTH, COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE to Syndra. This goes into very detailed explanations of her skills, TF capabilities, and combos. If you don't want to read, then don't, but you will be better off playing her if you DO read. If you want to learn her well, you have to put the time in.
I rarely do poor with Syndra, and I hope you don't either! So I wish the best of luck to perfecting this awesome champion and hopefully you find her as fun as I do!
*P.S.* Please comment and rate! A take criticism very well and try to accommodate for everyone's opinion in some way!
January 3rd, 2014 ... New formatting
January 4th, 2014 ... Slight change in Masteries, Updates in Formatting (MORE), Champion Description Added
January 5th, 2014 ... New Formatting in some sections
January 6th, 2014 ... New Formatting and a Revamp of Masteries may occur, Added BB Code for aesthetics and ease of reading.
January 9th, 2014 ... Adding Counter Section, editing some Formatting
January 16th, 2014 ... Finished DANGEROUS JUNGLERS in COUNTERS section. Will continue with TF DANGERS next.
THIS GUIDE IS BEING UPDATED (as of May 24, 2014)
Working on turning walls of text into more easy to read sections. However, some sections like Combos or a select few more, will probably NOT be changed due to the need of explicit detail.
Pros / Cons
Just as any build for Syndra:
One distinct issue does not stem from the character herself though... very few teammates at lower ELO's will know how she works or her stuns works (etc). Makes for difficult TF cooperation.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
So these are the basic runes I use for most APC's.
- Magic Pen just is a given.
- Armor is nice with most APC's because most are super squish (especially Syndra).
- AP Scaling Glyphs is optional over the straight AP Glyphs, either work, I just think that having that bit more AP late game helps with Syndra due to how she can somewhat be out scaled towards the end of games (More later...). Reason I DO NOT go into MR Glyphs is because if you build Chalice of Harmony nice and early LIKE YOU SHOULD, you will have plenty of MR to keep you safe.
- AP Quints are pretty straight forward, we want to give Syndra some heavy early damage, especially because in this build she will not have Doran's Ring.
So, as for masteries...
Most of those are there for basic AP boosts. However, the ones all the way to the left ( Expose Weakness and Spell Weaving ) are lately discounted for some champions. Syndra is NOT one of them. To do well with her, you need to perfectly land combos to grasp her full potential. So that extra 1% (max 3%) extra damage from a mixture of basic and spell attacks adds up if used right.
Syndra needs the speed boost from Fleet of Foot as without her stun and slow (if they are missed) she is pretty easy to catch and kill. With the mana regen from Meditation , Syndra is given slightly more mana use for poking/farming. She soaks mana up like nothing, thus the mana regen is always nice early game. Put one into Summoner's Insight . Then you grab one point in Alchemist , then one in the Culinary Master section. Done.
Always level Dark Sphere (Q) first. Then Force of Will (W). The third is optional. I usually go Q for the third point, but sometimes, if you can see they are trying to poke you but you think you can easily take them, grab the Scatter the Weak (E) for your third point. But, by level 4, you should have nothing other than:
After level 4, you really want to try and focus on Dark Sphere then Force of Will then Scatter the Weak. The reason Scatter the Weak is normally last is that, by building Scatter the Weak up, you are only increasing its damage, NOT its stun time. That is a common Syndra mistake. The only time you would probably level it up a bit more is if you have an opponent who runs, and you plan on sniping them w/ low health from a distance. Other than that, it should almost always be the lowest leveled skill.
This is precisely the opposite for her Force of Will though. As you level it, the slow % increases. So, there is more than just damage gain.
Dark Sphere, is generally the one you want highest because it is spam-able and does enormous amounts of burst damage.
Later I will get into the mechanics of combos and explain more of why leveling up certain skills before others is better in-game wise.
Here is the big controversial part. Some people argue to ALWAYS start Doran's Ring and Boots of Speed, or whatever else. And for a while, I did this, until I got annoyed with the lack of mana and the constant outplays. You could argue that the time that was just the lack of skill, but on any note, I still find that even as I now don't over extend or blow through spells, Starting two Faerie Charm's is PERFECT for poking/get away needs early game. Gives long sustain AND stop from wasting money on Doran's Ring that could be used to build (Basically, the Faerie Charm builds into Athene's Unholy Grail, which is a MUST HAVE).
SOOOOOO ... here is the breakdown, from early to end game (which is mostly in the notes of the items, but here for those who don't read those) ...
Grab the Faerie Charm's, fill up on Health Potion's, and grab your Warding Totem. Warding is ESSENTIAL for Syndra because, if you do well enough, you WILL be focused early by the jungler. The other team will probably know how strong she is mid game if fed early. This leaves you first with this build:
The two Faerie Charm's will increase poking potential AND farming. Syndra is a great wave clearer AFTER early game. So before that, you need to farm as much as possible. If your opponent is being super offensive, and you are not and are pushed back, then use your Dark Sphere 's here and there to grab 1 or 2 extra CS. In the mean time you should also be trying to last hit. The Faerie Charm's allow for extensive early farming or poking in these cases! If you are able to push them or hold them mid with ease, just try to mainly autoattack CS and poke the HELL OUT OF THEM with Dark Sphere. Whilst also trying to hit them and a minion at the same time (little CS w/ poke is always nice). Drink up the Health Potion's wisely during this process. Use Barrier early if need be, BUT IF YOU DO, you most likely should back soon after, as that shows you are being out pushed and you need your Chalice of Harmony!
Now, if you are still laning well with your Faerie Charm's, then don't stop until either you have enough for Chalice of Harmony AND Fiendish Codex, or even Athene's Unholy Grail(rarely occurs, haha). At that point, its good to back because if you have gotten a kill or they based, they have probably picked up a solid item or two, and you might want to do the same unless your jungler can grab you a Blue Buff for a bit or something. Should leave with something close to this:
If you are being outplayed, just relax. Go buy Chalice of Harmony when you can, then sit by turret for a while until you can CS a bit, and wait for your jungler to [hopefully] come help or until you can catch them in an unwanted situation. BUT, YOU ALWAYS WANT TO RUSH Athene's Unholy Grail, NO MATTER WHAT. The ONLY exception to this is maybe grabbing boots in the middle of building Athene's Unholy Grail for some extra get away, but this won't be a problem if youPLAY SMART.
Once you have Athene's Unholy Grail, go boots next:
||Magic Penetration - What you should get NORMALLY
Pure Speed - If being chased/caught a lot OR you are chasing a lot (also good for roaming!)
CD Reduction - If behind on build or behind on CDR generally
Choose your enchantment (either Alacrity or Homeguard) based on whether you are in the field or being pushed into base early/more than wanted. You can buy then whenever you feel necessary. So now your inventory should look something like:
Here is the next big controversy...
I go right to Rabadon's Deathcap. It is a solid pick if you can get it early enough as it will easily overpower any enemy you isn't up to your level yet. However, it is viable to go Deathfire Grasp first (as some do) because it gives the AP with some CDR (which is nice with Syndra 's kit) and the active can also bring any enemy with 100% to 0% when used properly with her combos. That is my issue though... can bring ONE enemy from 100% to 0%. I would rather use combos to bring one down in 5 seconds and still grab off another kill right after than do it in 3 seconds and not after. NEVER focus on one person unless you are 1v1. Which you shouldn't be (very often at least). You are looking at whole team perspective as Syndra, not just one. ANYWAY!...
If not ahead, or you are behind a bit or a lot, I DO NOT suggest Rabadon's Deathcap. Pick either Deathfire Grasp or Zhonya's Hourglass based on the following:
||For Heavy Tanks coming into your lane or a team fight often
For Heavy AD Team or Fed ADC/AD Champ
The Deathfire Grasp will provide plenty of extra damage to help you and your team easily take down a tank.
And Zhonya's Hourglass gives you some much needed armor against AD and its active which is nice for a team fight where you may be focused, giving your team a distraction and time to push back (and hopefully save you).
At this point, if you have Zhonya's Hourglass or Deathfire Grasp, you really should try for Rabadon's Deathcap. If you are THAT far behind (Case 2), then instead go for a tankier AP item, such as Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Rod of Ages (even though it has some unwanted mana). But at some point you should try for Rabadon's Deathcap. Giving you either:
IF YOU ARE DOING SWELL THOUGH, then continue after Rabadon's Deathcap to get either Deathfire Grasp or Zhonya's Hourglass ( Deathfire Grasp = Tank, Zhonya's Hourglass = AD). If you are still way ahead, feel free to build the one you didn't pick OR go a more tanky item ( Rylai's Crystal Scepter/ Rod of Ages) or even something with some AP and some extra Utility ( Void Staff, Abyssal Scepter, or Lich Bane). Then, if you haven't won already, build the Deathfire Grasp or Zhonya's Hourglass not gotten earlier. Giving you the final build of:
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
The core build I have up is what should be focused. She is a champion to stay in back and do ton's of damage. So tanky isn't normally what I build unless I am behind or just have ton's of money and nothing to buy (although I love the Rylai's Crystal Scepter passive...). I will continue on with game play later that includes these items!
Q - Dark Sphere
This is Syndra's most powerful, non-ultimate spell. You WILL spam this, constantly dealing huge amounts of burst damage (arguably some of the most early and continuous burst in the game). This is what scares your opponent. Watching the orb just sit there for a few seconds after you landed it is almost as scary as an Orianna Sphere hovering next to you (well, not quite). You will use this 95% of the time, and you will win 100% of the time if used well.
W - Force of Will
As Syndra's Dark Sphere, this has large amounts of burst damage with an added slow % effect. This costs more mana however, thus why it isn't built first or spammed spell. When leveled up, the slow % increases but the duration does not. Also, by picking up a neutral buff monster (Lizard or Golem) and hitting someone with it, the opponent is effected by the buff. (Lizard Burns, etc). The toss location of the neutral monster/minion allows for vision before it lands. Using this in succession with Dark Sphere and Scatter the Weak is vital to easily bursting and killing any opponent.
E - Scatter the Weak
Syndra's most often complained about skill is her Scatter the Weak. This stun which does decent damage with fantastic range is exceptionally dangerous to any enemy. This stun is usually led in a lane fight and followed by Dark Sphere then Force of Will. But we will get into more of that later. It is perfect for CC in TF's, 1v#'s and so on. My personal favorite though... is when an enemy gets away with barely any health and you blast a Dark Sphere down and snipe them with the Scatter the Weak in their direction. It is always nice to hear the "OP MAN" or "NERF THAT SH**".
R - Unleashed Power
This is probably one of the (if not the most) powerful ultimates damage-wise in the game. With high base damage and not being a skill shot spell, it makes Syndra exceptionally more dangerous in a fight, especially when she is placing balls everywhere. When used in succession with her Scatter the Weak, this is a scary spell to be attacked by. It is often used in one of her 100% to 0% combos.
Passive - Transcendent
This passive is gives Syndra's skills a bonus ability/buff when the skills are maxed. The buffs are as follows:
Q - Dark Sphere: 15% Bonus Damage Against Champions
W - Force of Will: Increases Slow Duration to 2 Seconds
E - Scatter the Weak: Increases Spell Width by 50%
R - Unleashed Power: Increases Cast Range by 75
The Dark Sphere bonus is just straight up damage, which makes her burst more powerful than it already was against champions.
The Force of Will bonus just is downright dreadful for the opponent in TF's (which at 18, should be the majority of fights).
The Scatter the Weak bonus at this point is buffed for AFTER the ultimate, scattering the orbs in a larger radius, including ones individually dropped after.
The Unleashed Power bonus is just increases Syndra's scary range more than it already is.
This is a huge part to laning with Syndra. When in lane, farming is essential. Her build (whether mine or anyone else's) requires large amounts of gold for every item. To get sufficiently ahead, a skilled Syndra player (or any for that matter) will go for BOTH simultaneously. This requires great precision and timing with her Dark Sphere 's and Force of Will 's. So usually, you should land Dark Sphere's for CS but also try to make sure it'll hit the opposing champion as well, and if not that, at least hit multiple minions. Remember to try and spam Dark Sphere more than use Force of Will, due to the higher mana cost for Force of Will early game (pre- Athene's Unholy Grail).
If your jungler is doing well, try to ask him/her for a Blue Buff rather than a gank. As a gank would be nice, a Blue Buff will keep you in lane for a VERY long time. The CDR and Mana Regen is perfect for Syndra's Dark Sphere, Force of Will, and Scatter the Weak combos. This will help with putting you ahead of your opponent in CS and thus gold for items. The Blue Buff will also make killing an opponent MUCH easier seeings how her mana hungry abilities cause constant issues with finishing off an opponent pre- Athene's Unholy Grail.
Ultimately, here are the things that will keep you in lane the longest:
||The mana regen from Athene's Unholy Grail keep Syndra poking/farming FOREVER, and the CDR is always a plus
The mana regen and CDR from a Blue Buff with or without Athene's Unholy Grail is always nice. With Athene's Unholy Grail, it just gives you added CDR and basically infinite mana. Without, well, basically the lesser equivalent.
Again ... Wards are OP. They will save your life, get you a kill, or win a team fight over and over again. They essentially win games more than a fed Kassidin would (well, lets not get too crazy ...).
THE MOST IMPORTANT SECTION FOR ANY SYNDRA USER
This has been what I have been DYING to get to this entire time. I have to hold back so much when talking in earlier sections because I don't want to spoil Syndra 's most important section. There is so much to say here... I should stopping fluffing up the intro! Here we go!
[** NOTE ** Always try to land a Dark Sphere on the opponent before any of these combos for added damage and stun/slow capability]
Slow and Smash:
This is a perfect base combo throughout the entire game, early to late. Grab a minion or pre-made sphere with your W, then slam the enemy with it. Follow up with a Q right on them while they are slowed as it is nearly impossible not to hit them after the W hit. For nice added damage, hit them with a Q, then grab it with a W, then hit them with the W, then Q again. Bam. Done. The basic death combo of Syndra, which is a foundation for all the others.
Stun and Smash:
This is a nice way to make your opposite laner base nice and early if you can land it right. But there are a few different variations of this....here we go:
DON'T FORGET THE **NOTE**
Q them, then W, (auto), then Q, then E, then Q them again.
> > > >
Q them, then E, (auto), then Q, then W, (auto) then Q them again.
> > > >
You want to try and SLIGHTLY separate the W's and E's because you want the stun to wear off JUST AS you slow them so the slow duration is not wasted during the stun.
Those are your Generic Combos, which there are some other small ones in between but those are self explanatory and sorta "inside" the other basic combos.
The largest difference between Basic and Intermediate/Difficult is the timing, precision, teamwork, and situational intuition needed to successfully not die and pull off 1 or 2 kills at the same time. These are primarily Mid/Late Game Combo's and written for TF situations.
Here we go:
When in a 2v# situations (or even 1v#) Land a Q, then W, then Q, Then Ult R the lowest/focused one. Followed up with an E of the orb pile in the general direction of the other(s) to stun. You can W afterward or continue with the basic combos above to finish any one off. These are most viable when you are NOT alone, therefore hopefully you are not taking all the damage/focus. Restraining from using E before the R is a difficult task as it is a powerful tool, but is even more powerful utility-wise after the R when there is more than one opponent in range.
> > > >
When being chased. Try to lure someone toward a buffed monster in the jungle. Then, W the Buff, hit them with the W, Q them, Stun, (R if it is up, probably not though), then W. At this point, they are either dead or very low. Depending on your condition, you can decide whether it is viable to continue with the combo with Q's and such to try and kill, or to leave. You can always just stun them, keep moving, then if they are close again, land a Q IN FRONT OF YOU, and W it on them WHILE MOVING to slow them, and increase the gap.
Perfected Syndra Combos:
These Following two combos are very difficult to time and perfect. You need at least 35%-40% CDR to ease the timing. Lets go...
The Final Debut:
Should be used in a TF or in a safe 1v1 or 1v2 situation.
Q,Q, W (ON THE FIRST PLACED ORB), Q, Q, W the held orb, then IMMEDIATELY drop your R. The ultimate alone will have a base damage at max spell level and all seven spheres of 1260 Magic damage. This does NOT include the 140% of AP power that is gained by having all 7 orbs, or the damage you inflicted by landing your Q's or W. This is to pretty much be used on a tank/fighter in a TF situation or situation stated before. In a TF situation, because once the R is used ALL the orbs stay active for 6 seconds, you can safely use your E to continue to win a TF if the orbs are in range. Then burst the stunned enemies with Q's and a W here or there to easily pull off a Double (or more) kill. This is probably the hardest and most precise combo to pull of with Syndra, but the most deadly by far.
> > > > > > >
The safer version of the above
To Q, E, W, Q, R. You have less orbs and thus not the maximum damage but it is less time precision but still tons of damage and CC in a TF or any other situation.
> > > > >
Using ANY of these in combination with Deathfire Grasp is a set way to get a solid 2 kills or secure a winning TF in your favor. Zhonya's Hourglass is good if you are low and being focused, use this to your advantage and use the active making you an invulnerable distraction while your team capitalizes on this.
I will continue to add more combos now and then to amp this up, but I just found this list of others here.
I will start by saying that, if/when you become very well versed with Syndra, there really are no counters. I mean, you can argue that for most characters, but its a definite for her. What I will do is just make a list of:
Mid laners Syndra has an issue with
Junglers who are especially dangerous for Syndra
and Champs to watch out for in TF's and conflicts
|| Veigar isn't too hard early, but after that, his Ult will be a deadly blow to Syndra because it deals extra damage equal to a % of Syndra's AP. His stun also allows for easy jungle ganks. Be VERY careful.
Ziggs just has a longer range with his Q than Syndra, while doing tons a damage. He also has strong CC and his Ult (and his Q allow for long distance snipe kills.
LeBlanc isn't too difficult unless the person knows what they are doing, which usually, if someone is using LB, they know her general way to play. Watch for her insta-kill combos and just try to block her CS and poke ALWAYS.
Viktor is and iffy pick. He is tough to play against, but isn't too much of a threat as long as you keep up in CS or don't die. The issue arises if he get the first kill off you (or a respective team mate) then he begins to become exceptionally more powerful and dangerous against you. So just play it safe and watch out for ganks, as they will try to feed him.
Hecarim has that all well known deadly speed. So, because Syndra is so squishy throughout the game, Hecarim is a super dangerous ganker when she has CD on her stun.
Jarvan IV is mostly dangerous because of his pull and this ult. If Syndra is caught in the ult, she is almost definitely done for. And early game, his pull is something to watch for. Don't over extend and WARD.
Evelynn, Wukong, and Shaco are mostly just dangerous because of their invisibility. Just grab a vision ward early on and you should be plenty fine.
Most of these I have chosen because you are squishy and these champions can close gaps almost instantly. Lets go:
Akali and Vi both have the ability to hit you from relatively far distances and do large chunks of damage. Syndra is the APC, so as usual, should stay in back and CC and burst as much as possible. They will be very happy to dive the team to kill you and thus take out a large portion of your teams damage. (a Zhonya's Hourglass will work lovely with this).
Talon is an APC counter, fairly easy in lane because you have much longer range. In team fights, he will most likely target you first, as that is he specialty. He can teleport behind you so be careful.
Both Rengar and Kha'Zix have a jump that can (in combo) bring you from 100% to 0% VERY fast. Just keep out of focus and try to CC them for the team. Otherwise, its Zhonya's Hourglass then death, or just death (haha).
The Obvious Ones:
Then... there is the selection of champions, that causes problems for just about everyone...
Kassadin. Kassadin. Yeah, shut him down early, keep him dead, and no matter what- NO MATTER WHAT- do NOT let him get kills. He basically instantly snowballs. I don't care if you give it to the ADC instead, just NOT HIM. This all applies to Fizz as well. And Teemo... and Master Yi... This is the ranting/troll section clearly. But seriously, Fizz and Kassadin are easy in lane post 6. Teemo is a joke in lane for you. And the Jinx is just general ADC. Just focus hard in TF's and CC all day long.
General Teamwork Points for Syndra
Syndra is best kept in the back for a majority of the TF as she has fantastic Map Control (yes, not meaning CC). With a mixture of map awareness and her CC, she can save the team from gankers from the jungle in a TF. Her slow and stun gives YOU the power to sit in back, and throw a Force of Will at someone to slow them, and stun a enemy who is about to severely alter a TF (such as a Fiddlesticks Ult (you CAN cancel it)).
If you are ahead, roaming is always a good way to assure your teams other lanes will be secure. When roaming to any lane, it is always good to ping and then START with your Scatter the Weak. Then follow with a Dark Sphere then Force of Will then Dark Sphere again. You are trying to give them a kill rather than give yourself one.
In a TF, try to use your slow before your stun. This way, you can roll off an Scatter the Weak after you throw a few Dark Sphere's and your Unleashed Power in the fight. This way you can stun the whole team EASILY rather than trying to line them all up for one or two spheres.
In a situation where you have a DC or AFK, if you are winning lane, try to roam and touch up lanes more than usual. Instead of maybe 10% roaming, you want to try to be 30%-40% out-of-lane. This is tough because you want to keep up your CS simultaneously. However, if you die early, or are losing lane, just focus on NOT FEEDING. Syndra is easy to catch up with IF YOU DONT DIE from her squishiness. Let the lanes defend as much as possible until you have items to which you can be more offensive with.
All of this relies on your team knowing how Syndra works. Try to vocalize this during the match so when it comes to crucial moments, they know how to work with your abilities.
AND NEVER BE TOXIC!
Basically... Focus on the above Syndra Team Work section.
However, she is also VERY easily countered. If a team knows how strong she is, they can build a nice mid and jung combination to easily shut her down early, making Syndra close to useless, or more of an OP support with stuns and slows. Try to get her if you are 4th or Last Pick, this way its easier to shut down teams.
Syndra, with her balls of fury, can dominate and carry any team against any opponent if used wisely and also modestly (that is, not taking all the kills, and giving some where needed). She becomes a very powerful support like, AP burst caster late game and can be used to swing TF's and thus games in your teams favor. The biggest thing I would say to watch for is... DO NOT GET COCKY. You CAN NOT 1v5 (all the time at least) at 100%. DO NOT CHASE UNLESS YOU KNOW IT IS 100% SAFE. USE YOUR ACTIVES. And finally.... the most important thing to do when using Syndra to allow perfect, smooth combo and spell transitions... use... Smart Cast. S M A R T C A S T. USE IT. LEARN IT IN BOT GAMES. LOVE IT EVEN IF YOU HATE IT. YOU NEED IT.
And have fun. She is an exceptional champion and at the very top of my list.
Thanks to jhoijhoi's "MAKING A GUIDE" Guide, I was able to figure out BB Coding and how to make guides pleasing to the reader. (IN WHICH I AM STILL EDITING, I WISH I SAW HIS GUIDE FIRST).