Sion Build Guide by Bifstrongley
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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.
I had an argument once in Que for a random match....
Jax- "Who's Gonna Mid?"
Me- "No worries, I've got it"
Brand- "What? Sion doesn't mid. Maybe against Yi, but Akali? Or ZIGGS? You'll get eaten alive."
Me- "How about this: The first time I die, I'll switch you lanes. OK?"
Brand- "Whatever dude. If you suck I WILL report you."
Me- "Haha ok."
20 minutes later they surrendered. It HAD been Ziggs mid, and He gave up first blood and 3 more kills before Olaf switched with him. He did better; I only killed him twice. None of them said a single word until their Nexus was exploding and Ziggs said:
"GG Dude. Sion mid is OP."
That's about what it comes down to. This is is my first guide on Mobafire, not because I haven't made my own builds, but because I haven't wanted to share them. Honestly, I'm wary of writing this one at all because if too many Sions do too well, Riot will nerf him in a heart beat. However, I have to say that I'm a more than a little proud of how this build has turned out, considering I was slightly drunk when I devised the concept, and initially tested it. In this guide, I plan on giving an in depth description of all the choices I've made thus far, and detailing some game play strategies to help new Sion players get that first of many solo-mid First Bloods, and 20 minute surrenders.
I want all of you to know that Sion does NOT work against all mids. He is a counter pick, not a first choice. I highly advise that you learn to play him as an AP Top laner before you try this because a good mid will eat you alive if you don't know what you are doing. In all honesty, he's a better solo top than mid any day, but in certain situations he can be used to such great effect that his viability is undeniable.
Edit 10/14/12: Started adding Code! Sorry it was so boring before,More to come in the future. Every single ounce of credit goes to Jhoijhoi, and her amazing guide on how to make guides. Here's a link to it....
Pros / Cons
Sion is a very unique character in a lot of ways, and he has several notable Pro's and Con's
1. Burst Machine: AP Sion utterly Destroys Squishies in a matter of seconds.
2. Great early game survivability: Regardless of who he lanes against, his shield makes him very hard to harass.
3. The Stun. We will get much more in depth on Cryptic Gaze later, but suffice to say that it is ridiculous for the Entire Game. Not just at 'early-to-mid' or 'late game destruction', no. It is outrageous for the entirety of the match.
4. Very tanky with only 2 items
5. Easy to use: No skill shots, uncomplicated abilities, cheap to buy, and Stupidly Powerful.
1. Seriously Mana Hungry early game. Poor African Children Starve less than AP Sion if you aren't careful.
2. Looooooooooooooong Cool downs. If you spam, they will catch you off guard and kill you.
3. Good positioning and smart play required. By level 6, everyone on the map will know to run when they see you coming with your shield on. You have to be a Tricksy Hobbit.
4. CC and kiting will shut you down. If you can't get within range for your stun, you do No damage. Plain and simple.
5. Can be zoned easily. He is a mid counter pick, not a first choice. Don't play him against Veigar, Cass, Malzahar, Lux etc. Anyone with a strong slow/stun.
6. No Built-in escape method. It almost means you Have to take flash or ghost.
You have options! 21/9/0,
Lets break it down....
The '21' is pretty straight forward, except for one thing: YOU DO NOT TAKE Havoc . DON'T TAKE HAVOC EVER, NOT ON ANY CHARACTER FOR ANY REASON. I can hear you now...'But Bif! Havoc is teh best evar!1! Percentage bonuses are ALWAYS bettar!!' No good summoner, they are not. It is terrible, and here is why....
1.5% of your damage is pitiful. For example, Cryptic Gaze at max level does 300(+90% AP). Lets say you have 200 AP, giving you a 480 damage stun. 1.5% of that is only 7.2 bonus damage. At level one, if you take Enrage, your AD is 82. 1.5% of that is 1.3 bonus damage. At 18, with max enrage and 6 maxed out The Bloodthirster, you AD is 777.895 (112.895 base + 600 for BT's + 65 for enrage). 1.5% of THAT is 10.85. So, for 3 mastery points and 18000 gold, you are getting JUST more than the bonus of a 415 gold Long Sword.
Has your head exploded yet? Havoc is completely worthless and those 3 points are much better spent ANYWHERE, even in Good Hands . Take Alacrity instead. I could do the math and show you just how much more damage over time it would give you, but I am Le Tired.
If you go with 21/9/0, you will get:
36 HP at Lvl 1 (138 at 18)
Why this is good: Since mid is always an AP caster, magic resist is a necessity, especially when you're playing a melee character. You will take a lot of spell damage if you aren't careful, and this will keep you alive. The armor is for much the same reason, but it is far less important, at least during laning phase. HP is always nice. If I had room, I'd put some in the runes, but sadly I don't. What this page lacks, however, is mana regen. If you go with this, you have to either A) have more mana regen in your runes (which isn't terrible, but is weak late game. I reccommend the Glyphs) or B) build early mana regen items, which is a little out of the way. This set up is stronger late game, because 6 MR beats 3 MP5 all day every day, but it leaves you slightly limited at the start, particularly pre-6 before you make your first buy. Note: I usually don't go this way, but it's just a personal preference.
If you go 21/0/9, you will get:
1% move speed[/color]
4% reduced death timer OR improved teleport/flash
Why this is good: Maxed out, your shield costs 110 mana, and your stun costs 100. Early game, that combo is a huge chunk of your total, and you have to be conservative about it's use. But late game with some CDR, you'll spam them like there's no tomorrow. The damage output for this combo is shocking, and an extra use per team fight can make or break the game. The mana regen is essential to your early game because your shield is your main harass and farming tool, but I'll explain that in more detail later. The move speed is Almost as important as the MP5 for a few reasons:
B) you have no escape/initiate mechanism except raw movement.
C) you have no battlefield mobility (like akali or Diana or Rengar or Kha'zix) so you have to be fast.
This is tough. The main problem with runing AP Sion is the shear number of great options. MPen reds, MP5 blues, Scaling MR yellows, and AP quints isn't a half bad place to start. But what about HP quints and AP blues? Sure, why not. How about MR quints, CDR blues and yellows with AP reds? It works. You can run any combination of AP, MP5, MPen, MR, CDR and Health that you can think of. Want extra move speed to dodge skill shots and run down fleeing enemies? Use the move speed quints. Tired of having to build CDR because it's expensive and out of the way? You can easily run a full CDR page and be perfectly happy. I've been playing Sion for the better part of a year, probably 300 games worth, and I can say without a doubt that you could play him with NO runes and not feel underpowered. Honestly, it comes to personal preference. Here are a few set-ups and play styles they compliment....
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
This will give you some very serious pre-6 burst damage, and enough mana to be a constant presence, even before you buy a catalyst. They will take one stun/shield combo and be afraid from then on.
Greater Mark of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Seal of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist
MR overload? Let me teach you a life lesson: You can never have too much protection. I discovered this as an accident. I had been playing Olaf solo top in Normals while a friend of mine jungled. Of course, I was solo against two enemies 75% of the time in normals because no one jungles, so I made a full MR/Armor rune page and bought a Doran's Shield to start for the survivability. My next game, I went Sion mid but forgot to switch my runes to AP. I had 66 magic resist at level one. Ask me how many F***s I gave when Brand started to harass me? Zero. A little tweaking brought me to this set up, which I have come to love. It does leave you with a gaping mana hole, but one or two Dorans Rings and 21/0/9 masteries can fill it pretty well, and when combined with your shield, it makes you a Steel Plated Undead Freight Train. This much base magic resist also opens up your options for boots; since Merc Treads are no longer a complete necessity, boots of Mobility and Sorcerer's shoes become extremely viable. Maybe switch out the CDR for MPen or even Move speed if you're feeling particularly aggressive; whatever suits your play style.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist
This is my current set up. The magic resist gives you enough durability to ignore harassment, and the AP and Mpen make you a serious presence in lane. You have to be conservative with your spell usage, as you have no MP5 but it's only an issue for the first 10 minutes of the game, and then you're mana pool gets huge. If you want, you can easily switch the AP for MP5 but I find this fairly lack-luster, especially late game.
Cryptic Gaze -
Aside from being a fantastic ability, it is one half of your bread and butter combo and one of the main reasons why people play Sion to begin with. It is aTargeted high damage nuke/stun. The only other champ with an ability similar to this is Taric, and his has variable damage based on distance and it only gets .4 OR .8 of his AP based on that distance..... Its a headache of an equation. The point is, Taric's Dazzle is close but no cigar. This ability is good for everything: chasing, escaping, damage, utility, you name it. It can make a 5v5 into a 4v5 in the blink of an eye. So Master Yi has built 3 Blood Thirsters, 3 Phantom Dancers and he triggers highlander? Doesn't matter, he's stunned for 1.5 seconds. Katarina has Shunpo'ed right behind you and triggers her ult? Nope, she's stunned and probably in range of your tower or allies. Egads! Is that Udyr charging from the jungle for a level 4 gank? AHH! He has both red and blue buff!?! No, wait, gank fail. You stun him and run off to safety. Remember when we talked about CDR? Maxing it at 40% makes the cool down 4.6 seconds. In a team fight during late game, 1.5 seconds is enough time to melt any character with less than 2500 hp before they can react. By the time the tank can get to you, it's already cooled down, and ready for use again. This, combined with his ult and shield is what makes Sion arguably the most Potent 1v1 champ in the game. Learn this Phrase: "Come at me Bro, I dare you."
Death's Caress -
Now, this is a Sion Original; no other character does anything like this. He gains a shield that not only absorbs a shload of damage, but can be popped to deal that same amount of damage to a surprisingly large radius of enemies REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH OF IT IS LEFT. Deaths Caress is the one reason why Sion is ever played AP at all, and it's what makes him a viable mid. It allows you to farm through their harass without taking too much damage, and provides a huge amount of burst early game. This may appear to be a defensive tool, but it's really a deadly weapon in disguise. When you cast it, it has a 4 second timer before you can recast it to cause the damage.
There is an issue that we have to talk about: It does not list or show the exact range affected by the burst of the shield anywhere. This is something that you HAVE to practice to get down, because it is of dire importance to know when you can and cannot hurt them. It's hard to explain without a video, and I must confess: I'm fairly computer illiterate when it comes to that kind of thing, so you will have to test it yourself. It's not a terribly large area, so be careful not to waste it.
*Here's how to make it work*
When you hit level three, you buy your stun. Stand behind your creep wave and activate your shield, Wait 3 seconds and move up to last hit a creep or two. The enemy champ will attempt to hit you with a skill shot or AOE of some sort, and this is where you pounce. The moment they move forward, you have to target them with your stun, and lock them into place for 1.5 seconds. Now, run up to them and start to auto attack; you will get one, maybe 2 basic attacks before they start to run away, but with enrage, your AD is near 90 at this point so they hurt a lot. As they turn, pop your shield and run back to your creeps. You have just brought them to half health in a matter of seconds and you have taken little to no damage in return. In a later chapter I will break down the numbers, but rest assured, every solo-mid champ in the game will be brought near to, or below half health with this combo. You will have to experiment a little bit to know the exact range of the AOE, but once you have the hang of it, this becomes an Extremely Deadly combination against both champions and creep waves. After their first experience with this, the mid will run away every single time they see your shield activate, which leaves you free and clear to farm all day. After you get a catalyst, you can use it for almost every creep wave without running out of mana. Late game, This is the most effective farming tool in existence: just auto-attack every creep in the wave once or twice and pop it to kill all of them at once; it stops a tower push dead every time.
You are given bonus AD and a snowballing permanent HP gain every time you kill anything, But you lose 6/8/10/12/14 every auto attack. The HP bonus used to only trigger on a kill with a basic attack, but a recent patch switched it to all kills all the time, much to the joy of AP Sion players everywhere. The AD bonus for this is insane; If taken at level one, it gives you the highest AD possible for any champ at game start unless they have a full AD page AND they buy a longsword/dorans. Even without a single AD item, you hit like a jack-hammer all game long, and the HP drain is marginal at best, and it's only even Kind of an issue early game. Any amount of lifesteal (not that you should take any) negates it entirely and besides, you shouldn't be auto-attacking THAT much early game anyway.
I used to hate this ability. For AD sion, it's the tits in every single way, but for the longest time, I thought it was a poor fit for an AP sion build and I rarely used it. Thankfully, I learned the error of my ways. Cannibalism is incredible in every way, regardless of your build or team composition. If they manage to catch you with a burst combo and you didn't take teleport, just run into the jungle, hit your shield, trigger Cannibalism and take the wraiths: instant full hp. If you manage to push their tower and no enemies are in sight, just trigger this for the speed bonus and hack away. It lasts for 20 solid seconds, making it (I'm fairly certain) the longest lasting ability in LoL, and if you have any CDR, it's almost always available when you need it. Since you're playing AP Sion, it's far less effective in team fights than it would be if you were AD, but it's still worthwhile, and can be a full game-changer if you use it correctly. I've recently started taking teleport in almost every game because it makes tower pushing/killing an absolute breeze.
Now, my sequence requires some serious explanation. No, you don't take the stun at level one because you don't need it. If you lane, take the stun and bush dive, and you'll probably get first blood, but this guide is for Solo Mid Sion, and you don't need it at level one, you need enrage. Here's why:
Enrage works like this: It gives you a bonus 25 AD, but every time you hit something you lose 6hp. 99% of the time, you are going to be solo-mid against a ranged champ. Now class, what do we do as a melee fighter against a ranged harasser at level one? We last hit like a boss. Every time you kill a creep while Enrage is active, you get +1 hp permanently. I know what you're thinking, it's not that much, and I agree with you. BUT you are going to last hit weather you have Enrage or not so it's just an added bonus (which snowballs if you're smart, I promise). Plus, it makes your AD at level 1 84. Do you know who else gets 84 AD at level one? Nobody, Not even close. Yi gets 62, Riven and Tryndamere have 67, Ashe gets 53.... and you have 84. It's like having a free pickaxe at the start of the game. Besides, your stun has too short of a range and too high of a cost to to spam anyway. Turn Enrage on as you leave the base and don't turn it off again for any reason.
Get your shield at 2 so you can last hit and not pay for it, and get your stun at 3 so you can deliver your lethal burst combo. After this, max out your shield not your stun. It's a better bet because, not only is it more bang for your buck (It costs less mana than the stun until rank 4, and at that point it pops for 250 (+.9 AP) damage), it also allows you to last hit with no risk at all. Plus, after you land your burst combo once, they will move away from you every time you turn it on unless they are a complete idiot, and in that case, just kill them for it. After maxing the shield at 9, I like to get a second point of Enrage before I finish my stun because your shield kills whole creep waves at a time at this point in the game and the bonus HP is so nice. Finish the stun by 15, and leave enrage until the end. Take Cannibalism whenever you can (duh).
This is kind of tricky. I've tried plenty of different combinations, and what it comes down to is this: you need Flash or Ghost. No matter what you take for your second ability, either flash or ghost is a necessity. Sion has no natural escape method an his nuke combo has a very short range so battlefield Mobility and proper positioning are your two keys to playing Sion well. Flash allows you to escape in a hurry, or pop out behind the enemies just as the fight begins to stun and kill the squishy carry.
Sion Pro Tip
After flash, there are several VIABLE options, which are (In no particular order):
: Call me a noob, I don't care. Sometimes you need 2 extra seconds to land one final stun.
: Since you will be mid, you may have to leave lane and get back in a hurry. Mid-late game, you will have to be all over the map to protect towers and coordinate team fights. Teleport allows you to do all of these things. As I've said, this is also amazing for tower pushing with your ult.
: Probably my personal favorite. Keep them from running (towards or away from you), shut down their damage (Master Yi always wants to 1v1 at level 8 or so...teach him a lesson), save an ally who's being chased....the list goes on.
: If you don't get boots of Mobility (which you usually shouldn't), this is a great choice. It's utterly maddening the amount of times an enemy has been RIGHT ON THE EDGE of stun range and has gotten away because I just couldn't catch them. Great utility and a decent cool down.
: It grants an attack speed and AP bonus. At level 6, if you kill the enemy in lane or force them to go back, push their tower, pop Cannibalism AND surge and make them pay for it very dearly. If they don't have teleport and no one comes to stop you, their tower is gone in a matter of seconds. Popping both at once gets your attack speed up to something like 1.5 at level 6 for 12 solid seconds. I hardly ever take this anymore, but it works with a very aggressive play style.
WHY I DON'T RECOMMEND
You should not take ignite as solo mid Sion. Honestly, you shouldn't take ignite as Sion ever because Ignite is for a carry, and you AREN'T a carry, you are an offtank/bruiser. You need to take support oriented summoner spells because it is your job to disable the enemy while your carries destroy them.
Your second choice should reflect the way you play. If you are more defensive/support geared, take exhaust or heal. If you want to push towers harder, get surge. If you are playing PUGs and are worried about your team losing too many towers, take Teleport. You absolutely must have flash or ghost , but other than that try anything you want.
No matter what anyone tells you, no matter what character you play, no matter what opponent you go against, if you aren't jungling, you should start with boots and 3 health pots. Maybe if you're solo top against 2 in a stupid random game you could start with a Doran's Shield, but 99% of the time you should start boots/3 pots, no exceptions.
With mid Sion, there are ABSOLUTELY no exceptions; you're a big, slow, melee fighter with short range abilities, no escape mechanism, and a low base move speed. Boots have to be your first buy. If you get an early kill, go back and get a Ring if you want, but you can't get one first.
I usually don't leave lane until I can get the catalyst in one shot (1325 gp), but just in case they make you, or you find the time to, buy the components in this order: If they have a lot of good harass and you have a hard time dodging it, buy the red crystal first to boost that HP and keep you alive. If they're letting you harass them without too much repercussion, take the blue one and spam away.
You don't need level 2 boots until after the 15 minute mark because you shouldn't be leaving lane and you're never too far from your turret to beat a gank, so finish your ROA before you decide which boots you want. I almost always go with Merc Treads, but if they have a bunch of AD get Ninja Tabi, and if you are dominating the mid (which has been known to happen) get Sorc shoes and tear them all to pieces. Every so often, maybe once every 25 games or so, I'll buy boots of mobility. If my enemy mid is a weak player but top and bot need some help, BOM let you hustle from lane to lane, dishing out massive damage and stuns from the jungle.
Now you buy your beloved Tooth. Some people say that this is a Hybrid Only item, but I most sincerely disagree. You get monstrous AD from Enrage and your Ult is based on your attack speed, so this iem fits perfectly with your build. The first time you trigger Cannibalism after you buy this, the speed will astound you. The CDR is the best in game, you get 10 MP5 and a good chunk of AP to boot. Sion is fairly weak (relatively speaking) early to mid game, but once you get this far in the build, the fun really starts. You now have enough HP to initiate, enough AP to cause some serious damage, and enough survivability between your ult and your regen that you should only HAVE to go back when you want to buy.
Now, there are options...
If you feel that your team isn't tanky enough, now is the time to buy a Rylais and beef up your health even more. The slow makes team fights much more manageable, and you get a great amount of AP. If you get both this and ROA, it's quite possible to get your HP above 4k with your enrage bonus.
If your team has a real tank with plenty of CC and a solo-top with an off-tank build (like they should), you can go straight for the deathcap. As soon as you get this, your AP increases drastically. Like, more than doubles. It turns you into a walking nuclear bomb. If you can't win the game with these items, you or your team are doing something very wrong.
After you get both a Dethcap and a Rylai's, the sky is the limit. I say a void staff because it gives you the most damage that anything else can, but your sixth item can be anything that you need it to be. Need more defense? Get a banshee's veil or a guardian angel. If you need to stack more MR, a Force of Nature or an Abyssal Scepter would excellent in every way. If you want to be a total damage condom, get a Warmogs or a Frozen Heart. You can even consider a Phantom Dancer if you really want to start dominating, but I don't recommend it. Your sixth item should almost always be a utility/defensive item of some sort. I know I say this quite a bit, but it really is about personal preference, and the course of the game. You have to be reactionary with your purchases based on how your team is performing and how good the enemy really is. Here's a list....
GOOD CHOICES IN ANY SITUATION
IF YOU'RE DOMINATING
A second Death Cap (182 more AP? Why not)
Deathfire Grasp (I took it out of my normal build because it leaves you semi-defenseless, but it's really quite good. I'll detail below why I no longer use it.)
Phantom Dancer (Ohh the Crit goodness)
Blood Thirster (Life steal Troll)
Frozen Heart: At this point, you have 29% CDR and the cap is 40, so it's easy to dismiss this item. BUT, it gives you 99 armor, 500 mana and an Amazing passive. This is for games when you see any of their AD champs really start to pull away. Whenever I'm against Tristiana, Xin Zhao (jungle or lane), Olaf, A good Ashe, or Fiora, I usually end up adding a Frozen Heart, sometimes earlier than Deathcap if they're stomping us.
Wit's End: I know what you're thinking, that I already preached against boosting the attack speed anymore than you already have, but you get this for the Magic Resist. If they are AP heavy and you need some more damage output (like if your carry is slacking or you have a slow jungler) a Wit's end is a great item to add. DO NOT GET THIS LATE GAME, THERE ARE BETTER OPTIONS. This is a early to mid buy, as it quickly loses effectiveness as the game progresses. I rarely get it, but it works well
Hex Drinker/Maw: This is an overlooked item that shines really well in a set up like this. If they are better at landing skillshots than you are at dodging them, you may want to consider this. It's not perfect for you, and I wouldn't blame you if you got just the HD and never upgraded it to a Maw, but either way it certainly helps when you need it.
Warmogs: There is a good chance that they will be focusing you almost immediately in team fights. The beauty of Sion is that if you don't pay attention to him, you don't really realize how much damage he does to your team until it's too late (I'll break it down later just how much that is), but a smart team will catch on and attempt to neutralize you. What better way to stop them by adding 1270 more health to your pool! This puts you close to 5k before your enrage bonus, which makes it a very attainable mark. Congratulations, you are now terrifying.
I could probably extend this list to include half of the items in the game, but for everyone's sake, I will not. If you have any requests or ideas, I would be happy to consider them and perhaps add them here.
Why you MUST rush Rod of Ages
Lets talk about Rod of Ages for a second: It's one of my absolute favorite items of all time. It can turn a flimsy AP caster into a tanky burst machine for the low low price of about 3k. On some AP champs it's completely unnecessary (like Ziggs or Brand) but for counter mids like Fizz, and Teemo, it's Solid Gold, and for Sion, it's almost platinum. Catalyst alone solves all of your mana pool problems, and you can have it before 10 minutes if you play well. The HP makes you even more of a lane bully than you already were, and the AP puts an additional 88 damage in your combo right when you buy it, then gets stronger over time. I can hear you arguing with me right now... 'But Bif, Sheen gives you some mana AND adds SO much damage to your Combo!' 'Why not rush Nashor's Tooth? It gives you AP, MP5, and Attack Speed, EVERYTHING YOU NEED!' Et cetera ad infinitum. The thing is, you're right: Sheen is a great first buy for many reason, and a Tooth is fantastic on Sion, and quite affordable... BUT after extensive play-testing, ROA has proven to be an indispensable first buy, and here's why:
Sion has several detrimental flaws early game that you have to solve to play mid effectively: 1) Very low base mana but very high cost abilities. 2) Pitiful range and move speed, making him very susceptible to a lot of harassment. 3(and you may laugh at this, but it's true) Playing him makes you feel like a bad ***, which leads to making poor choices. You have to remember that your shield IS poppable, and your stun has a very long cool down at rank one or you'll charge into (un)death more than once.
But how do we overcome these obstacles? Well, Sheen helps (but does not solve) problem one, and actually bolsters problem 3 (I DO SO MUCH DAMAGE! I AM INVINCIBLE!!) Nashor's tooth is a problem of an item because it's so good for you end game but so bad for you at the start. Yes, it increases you attack speed, gives you decent AP, a great amount of MP5, and has the most CDR in the game, but you CANNOT rush it no matter how attractive it is because while it does help you a lot, it does not solve the problems you have. MP5 helps with your mana issue, but the main problem is that your pool is too small to spam your amazing spells and no amount of MP5 can solve that. Having extra attack speed early game is worthless because you SHOULD NOT BE ATTACKING, EXCEPT TO LAST-HIT. Plus, when you have all that extra attack speed, you want to use it (see problem 3), which puts you in range of their harass and without a Catalyst, your health is really low with no hope of regen without going back. But if you rush a Catalyst, and turn it into a ROA, you not only solve both problems 1 and 2, but you pack enough of a punch, and have enough survivability to deal with problem 3 (because nothing will really ever solve this one). Maybe if you become the best Sion counter mid ever recorded, or your enemy is just so terri-bad that you can free farm, you can rush something else, but this guide is based on actual competitive play, not PUBstomping.
Why you don't take Deathfire Grasp (Sion's role in the team)
This chapter could also be called 'Why Sion is not a Glass Cannon', because he is most emphatically not and you should never play him as one. If you build him straight AP, no defense, all destruction, all the time, you will do piles of damage, kill dozens of opponents, win very few games and fit almost no team compositions. It's a very attractive choice, trust me I know, but in real competitive play it never works, and here is why:
A good team composition will have so much CC that you will get one, maybe two stun/shield combos off per team fight, and then die horribly because you have to be right next to them to do it and you will be so squishy that they will eat your face. I'm going to say this again for effect: SION IS A COUNTER PICK MID, NOT A TRADITIONAL AP CASTER. HE CANNOT FILL THE ROLE OF A CARRY BECAUSE HE ISN'T ONE. You have to sacrifice some of your damage potential for some survivability because you have no way to get away from combat once you are in it. When you charge in, it's either kill them, drive them off, or die in the process. You fill the role of an AP bruiser, like Rumble, not a burst harasser like Brand. You are an off-tank with great utility and burst potential. You will be able to initiate team fights, protect your carries, and drive off or kill multiple enemies because your kit is built for it. You need kills much less than most champs, so feed your team whenever you can.
Everything I have just said may lead you to think that playing Sion mid is a bad choice, but I promise it isn't. You do have to have a very specific team comp to make it work, but it's not hard to do and the results are astonishing. Here are some great benefits:
1. Since no one ever plays Sion mid, it throws off the enemy from the loading screen forward. They won't expect to see you behind that first wave of creeps, and a confused enemy is my favorite kind.
2. It makes your team much more tanky, and provides a hard stun for team fights, which can be invaluable. With so many supports and tanks getting insta-banned, more and more CC has to be worked into the team and when the mid has one of the best available, it allows for a larger pool of champs to choose from for the other lanes.
HERE'S THE RUB
If mid is a melee bruiser, the jungle and top lane have to have some ranged harass, some good burst, and some serious battlefield mobility. For example, Nasus would be a poor choice for a top champ if Sion is mid because he's slow and has no poke. Jax or Akali however, would be excellent choices because they can get right to the enemy and disable/kill them. For the jungle, Lets talk about Diana. She is an AMAZING teammate for Sion mid because she does everything that he needs her to, and is tanky while she does it.
**An important note here though is that Top MUST be an AD based champ if the jungler is an AP champ or they can shut down most of your damage with some Magic Resist.**
Other good junglers include Xin Zhao, Olaf (Dat Axe!), or of course Lee Sin. The point I'm trying to make here is the need for a balanced team. If you mid as Sion, your team has to cooperate with that choice or you will lose miserably. That alone makes practicing this build and play style exceptionally hard because it's so difficult to make a team of randoms listen to you, and nearly impossible to make a draft team take you seriously. Perseverance Triumphs good summoners, of that I'm sure.
Well, that's about all I've got, and it only took me a few weeks to get it all down. I encourage all of you to try this out, even if you don't really believe in it, because it's stupidly effective when done correctly. Votes and comments are appreciated, as I'm always looking for feed back about how to improve my play, and this guide. I'm not sure if I'll ever write another, but I'll keep this one updated as often as I can.
Side note: My current goal is to see someone playing this build and have them beat me. It would be fantastic.