Soraka Build Guide by MTaur
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Mastery Tree Is Outdated
WARNING: These masteries are still using the old tree and have not been updated to the new tree by the guide author. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Forget the broken heals, Soraka 2.0 spams Rylai's like no one's business
Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a Soraka item. Get it, and Skarner will be jealous of you.
Basically, Riot decided that you should be building Soraka the way that I've been building her. Slow and silence someone once every 6 seconds late-game and spam Starcall, and don't cry about the heals. It'll be Good times.
You should Infuse for silence BEFORE popping Exhaust on them, in many cases. Most characters can dash, slow, stun, speed up, or some combination of these if they can use their skills. It's not worth blowing a summoner spell just to have them Shunpo out before you can even silence them.
Ok, what's with the title?
I don't know. I'm not even that into sideboob. But with Riot's obvious obsession with cleavage, it was somewhat commendable of them to show the sideboob a little bit of love by creating Soraka. I'm sure there's someone out there who appreciates it deeply.
Oh, you mean what is a side-initiator?
In an ideal world, your tank initiates. But sometimes the enemy's all like, "GTFO, Alistar, Imma run from you now. You're the tank. I read a guide, and you don't focus the tank."
That's a problem.
But they never ignore the healer. Really, you can initiate just by not being under your turret and ulting once in a while. Just bait them a little maybe, or otherwise wait for them to commit. Infuse when they're over-committed, or when they don't quite pull off a gank on you, but oh look, here comes your carry. Or you can Infuse right when that stun someone put on them is about to wear off and they only have 1/4 of a lifebar. Or you can Infuse someone because they're Ryze and they need silencing period. It's ok to Infuse a little more precariously than usual because you're relatively sturdy for a Soraka, and you can Flash out as needed.
You have Exhaust to tide you over until you get Rylai's. Weaker players might not be expecting you to Flash in, Exhaust, and silence like one bad side-initiator, but you can do this in special circumstances to secure a kill.
You can Exhaust that jerk who tried to gank you, Flash away, get chased some more by that other jerk who's trying to gank you... and then Infuse and watch them get counter-ganked when help shows up.
If the enemy knows where you are, then the party will start one way or the other. It's guaranteed. It's gotta be the sparkles.
Or maybe it's the sideboob. We'll never know.
To actually answer the question...
Ok, so you DON'T want to initiate a 5v5. You're not that tanky.
But you CAN initiate, say, a 3v3 by silencing a dangerous target.
Or if everything's already gone crazy and several viable targets are around, you can silence a juicy target to "side-initiate" on them, hopefully encouraging your team to pile on. Someone dangerous like Tryndamere or Katarina who murder like crazy, but depend on skills to disengage.
With Rylai's Crystal Scepter and some survival items, you have the ability to step in and CC one key target.
You don't do much damage, but you initiate a little on the side. And you shred MR all day, and maybe you heal and boost armor if you're feeling generous.
Exhaust does not suck on Soraka
Exhaust does not suck on Soraka. It absolutely does not. It's actually a damn good support skill, and Soraka is a support character. Just try it in a 2v2 lane sometime, see how much more likely your partner is to finish them off before they slink under their turret if you Exhaust them at the right moment. No, you're not a killing machine, but you'll be hanging out with someone who is.
Even split between Infuse and Astral Blessing because you're a support. One level of Starcall is good for MRes reduction and a little farming, but additional levels only increase damage, not MRes reduction - and in a way that's only good enough for farming, so just learn to accept being underfed and level your support skills like a good support would.
Your ultimate rocks, so level that up. Use it when it's urgent. Don't spam it, but sometimes you can waste it by not using it, too, so don't be *too* afraid to use it in those good-but-not-great moments, just to stoke the fire a little bit when folks might otherwise disengage. Or if you don't think you can properly target Astral Blessing in time, then either jab R or just slam the left side of the keyboard with the palm of your hand and you'll probably pop R. Shrieking like you just saw a scorpion for the first time is acceptable if no one's there to see you do it.
Flash saves your life
Exhaust should be used in conjunction with Infuse whenever you want your team to murder someone.
...ok, Promote is fun and especially devastating if they're asleep at the switch. Decent diversion if no one else takes it, but not essential.
Clairvoyance can be pretty handy, and they might expect it of you. What can you do?
Heal isn't bad... maybe they're crazy and need a third one. Could make a big difference.
But I loves me my Flash + Exhaust. Your call, those others are handy, and Exhaust + Infuse is deadly, I say. DEADLY.
Items and substitutions
I take this instead of Philosopher's Stone. Why? Because you ARE the Philosopher's Stone. Overlevel your W and E and you'll breathe life and mana. However, your base health isn't great, so you don't want to get two-shotted for your whole life bar. Hence health, from Heart of Gold.
This is essential. About as much MP5 as you need, and more importantly, you get CDR. The CDR can be used to self-infuse to get even more mana. Both your regeneration and your support utility are burstier with CDR, which is great. Morello's Evil Tome is the natural choice, but see later for an alternative setup.
Tough call on when to upgrade and to what. Situational, I guess. Boots of Mobility for roaming, the others for physical or magic damage mitigation. Boots of Swiftness is maybe better for taking risks if the CC isn't too heavy on you. Ionian Boots of Lucidity is an option if you want to rush CDR; just tweak things a bit and choose which CDR item you want for the other remaining 15% or so.
Sort of discussed already. Great item for an aggressive Soraka - survival for one. Also slow, especially on Infuse, but also AoE spammable on Starcall. AP for the heals sweetens the deal, too.
Upgrade this according to taste. Spirit Visage is cheap and great for staying alive, if you want to bait them a lot. Soul Shroud is extra supporty, if you want to hang back more. Shurelya's Reverie has more CDR than we need with masteries, but see later on.
Naturally works with Consecration to bolster resists so much that it makes up for having less AP, but they have to stay within aura range. Also keeps you alive. Sort of optional, but I prefer to get it.
Extra survival. More starcall stacks. More silences. Quicksilver Sash is possibly an option too, but the base health from Banshee's Veil is still kind of needed, since Soraka has pitiful base health.
Deathcap? We don't need no stinking Deathcap!
+ = + + +
What I mean by that is if you can build 4 or 5 stacks of Starcall, then everyone else on your team has Rabadon's Deathcap, essentially. 40% CDR (with runes/masteries) makes this a not-too-remote possibility. If you stay in aura range of your allies, then that should make up for lost AP on your part, and healing 66% more often can often be better than having 300 or so more AP anyway. I suppose if you're not in aura range, then your heals won't be good enough for hardcore anti-focusing, but overall having that many more heals is better than 300 AP. Just don't get out of aura range unnecessarily.
The deathcap is our precious! We must has it!!!
Ok, it's a nice item. I've thought about it some more. Here are two (final) builds, the second letting you take your precious Rabadon's Deathcap:
Option 2: Nasty Soraka with the mini-nuke and strong heals
That's one example. You can take the Veil instead of the Aegis, if you want, in scenario 2. Explanation: If you're going to stack some AP, have fun with it with Deathfire Grasp. You can also take Move3 or Move5 boots in this case for running away faster, or running in faster, and Flashing in or out as needed. Shurelya's Reverie picks up the extra CDR lost from giving up Morello's Evil Tome.
If you want a little bit of nuke in your game, option 2 might work better, especially if you're talented at avoiding damage and/or are in a premade. If you hate dying and need a little help staying alive or you just want to bait them, take option 1. Also, option 1 is better for long fights and building more Starcall stacks, but a good Deathfire Grasp activation and a stronger Wish might just make the fight go in your favor too quickly for all that anyway.
More GP10 option
If you want to ward a lot, then maybe try this as an early partial build:
If you're warding a lot, then it could be a while before you get Rylai's Crystal Scepter, so you can get something more affordable like Kindlegem while you're warding a lot early. Maybe when you've saved enough for Rylai's, you can sell Heart of Gold so you still have space for wards. Alternately, you can complete Deathfire Grasp to combine items for more space, but not too soon; wait until you're ready for a Giant's Belt or Blasting Wand on top of that, for example, or even the whole Rylai's.
Pros / Cons
* Lives long enough to actually silence foes
* Lives long enough to build Starcall stacks
* Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Exhaust let you initiate kills in small skirmishes and on overextended foes
* AOE slow on Starcall... which you can actually live long enough to cast a lot.
* Potentially good for premades
* Auras reduce demand for healing, compensating for middling AP somewhat
* Max CDR lets you heal often
* Take advantage of the top-secret buffs no one talks about
* Not a "zomg 2000hp healz" build (this was sort of broken lol troll and I'm glad it's gone anyway)
* Get two bad allies and you're screwed (no DPS)
Old intro (unnecessary)
I'm going to keep this here even though I don't really need it. It used to be my introduction. I might work it back into the main guide again sometime. I don't know.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter makes Infuse into a deadly gank set-up. You can even lead with Starcall if you need to pop Banshee's Veil first. Mercury's Treads is a nice call. Rabadon's Deathcap for massive heals, or you can take Banshee's Veil/ Quicksilver Sash if you'd like more survival.
Going somewhat heavy on survival is great because the silence effect and the MRes reduction on Starcall do *not* scale with AP, but you have to be close enough to do these in the first place. Want to build a few Starcall stacks? Then get Aegis of the Legion and Banshee's Veil so you can live long enough to heal yourself after taking a hit. As a bonus, Starcall is a massive AOE 15% slow thanks to Rylai's Crystal Scepter (note: moar health!!!), and your allies are protected by Aegis of the Legion (you have to be close enough for them to get Consecration anyway...).
Boots taken relatively late because your lane mate should have your back and you took a health item early. Soraka has pitiful base health, so I felt this was a sound choice. If you want mana, get CDR and Infuse yourself when it's safe; I skip Philosopher's Stone because you ARE the philosopher's stone. Want more mp5 and hp5? Then rush freaking Morello's Evil Tome and Infuse/ Astral Blessing that much more often. Just don't throw your mouse across the room because you got one-shotted at full health because you started with Philosopher's Stone.
You can end with Randuin's Omen if you'd like, but Banshee's Veil might work better more often. I guess it's situational. I doubt you'll be getting to your 6th item that often anyway. Almost certainly not if you need to do wards/oracle's on the side; Heart of Gold, Fiendish Codex, and Rylai's Crystal Scepter are absolutely core items, and Aegis of the Legion is strongly encouraged, along with the cheap upgrade to Morello's Evil Tome. Boots might also be essential, idk.
I'm not totally set on the item order, but the Heart of Gold and then the Fiendish Codex should come first, and the Rabadon's Deathcap should come sometime after Rylai's Crystal Scepter. The Aegis and the Veil are a bit flexible, but at least one of the two should occur sometime in between, I think. I personally prefer the order given, but ymmv. If everyone is whining that "ur healz are ****, noob", postpone the veil and take deathcap earlier, but your Starcall and Infuse are much more usable if you take Banshee's Veil earlier.
~Phalanxdef's Lizard Elder Support Soraka S3~ May 2013 P1 Gu
Soraka, A Comprehensive Resource
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Support
AP Soraka: No, my horn doesn't poke through my Deathcap