Sion General Guide by lildrummerdrew
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.
The Cannibal Cannon
Before you dive in...
I'd like to first thank those who have commented on the previous draft, as it has helped develop the guide and myself as well.
Now, for starters, let's talk about what I'll be covering in this guide. Sion isn't too hard to play correctly, but this isn't about the perfect build. This is a developing guide on how to play Sion using this build.
Your core item is Ravenous Hydra. The stats on this item are phenomenal, the passives make your farm huge, allowing your mid game to snowball. It provides plenty of damage, *AoE damage, and lifesteal for all the damage it does, as well as some *HP *regen to boot. The active will be described in better detail later in this guide.
Your laning may be hard early game. Before you have Tiamat, lane is decided based on how well you can farm, poke, dodge, and who you're against. This will also be covered later in the guide, especially for those of you facing Jayce.
After you buy Ravenous Hydra, prepare for huge damage. You have just become a secret weapon, now is the time to get some farm in. If someone tries to stop you from farming, stun them and hit them a few times, they'll learn not to mess with you. If you're careful, you can even solo someone under turret with your Cannibalism and Cryptic Gaze.
Disclaimer: Strategy in fights is not currently covered! Should you need more information on what to buy from there, please consult the "Items" section, or, if you feel you're lost even after reading the guide, please leave me a note in the comment section!
TL;DR- Too Long, Didn't Read (Summary segment)
AoE- Area of Effect
MR- Magic Resist
HP- Health Points
Pen- Penetration (armor, typically)
Playstyle- The way you play champions
TL;DR: This guide is going to go over how to build Sion with Ravenous Hydra. After you buy it, you're going to dominate.
Pros / Cons
- Awesome mid-late game
- Doesn't require lots of skill
- Builds damage for a good time
- Plenty of survivability in fights
- Totally Annihilates in 1v2's, 2v3's, and sometimes 1v3's
- Ignores Damage as a passive
- Rough early game
- Takes some practice
- Short stun duration
- Hard to chase with
- Lame in-game appearance (to some)
TL;DR: He's a little hard early, but really easy late.
Here's a quick rundown on how your Runes should look. Remember to watch for the pro tips!
- First Choice: Attack Speed makes for GREAT utility, all the way through the game. It really works with his Enrage and Cannibalism.
- Second Choice: Damage. Damage is always good, whether it be scaling or not.
- First Choice: Flat Armor. Better late game.
- Second Choice: Mana Regen can help those who aren't the best with mana throughout the game, if need be. Although I wouldn't recommend it specifically, I must admit that Sion burns mana very quickly, whether it be early, mid, or late game.
- Third Choice: .5% Max HP stacks decently with his Enrage, and also gives you a reason to rush Atma's Impaler second. It's what I personally use, but the pros definitely don't recommend this. Trust me, I got yelled at for it, heh.
- First Choice: Flat Magic Resist. If you're against AP early game, this can help.
- Second Choice: Ability Power. Now, I said wtf at first too. But his Death's Caress, aka his shield, really scales well with AP. This can really help you early game, and while I wouldn't recommend it being your first choice, if it's what you have it's better than nothing, until you can save for MR runes. However, MR is definitely your best option.
- 1.5% HP is what I have/use. Again, the pros recommend better runes, but if you're stacking huge hp and building primarily tanky items after Ravenous Hydra, such as Frozen Mallet, Atma's Impaler, Spirit Visage, The Black Cleaver, or any mix of them, then sometimes hp% increases aren't so bad.
- Attack Speed Quints are a great option. Attack speed is great on Sion, and if you have it in your rune set, all the better.
- Armor Pen can really pay off, considering you're a top, and typically top has tanky champs. Whether your Marks have Armor Pen or not, your Quints can be Armor Pen too.
- Armor Can really help you protect that health.
- MR can be a good option for protecting that health as well.
- Movement Speed is nice, and especially good early game. If you use these and buy a Phantom Dancer, Statikk Shiv, or Zephyr, then you may not even need boots.
- Lifesteal is always a good option on Sion, if you're just looking for that "boost" in performance.
- Mana Regen and HP Regen are possible Quints that I would NOT recommend (EVER), but are still possible, especially if it's all you have. I would, again, not ever specifically recommend these.
This is up to you, and these are all the Quintessences I see as viable options on AD Sion. Remember, Runes are your utility, and can be used for either making you do tons of damage, or better balancing your build. I prefer the balancing options, but if you decide to rush huge damage early on, that's your playstyle, and I can't say it's not good if you can get it to work. However I still emphasize that the viability of this guide is playstyle dependent and therefore requires some general understanding of Sion to work. Practice makes perfect.
TL;DR: Attack Speed Marks, Armor Seals, AD-based Quints, and Glyphs will most likely be MR.
All masteries are subject to alteration according to personal preference.
If you don't agree with the Mastery up top, here are some possible alternatives:
I use 15,15,0 for my pages for a good balance of Damage and Defense, as seen below.
This is a "decent" tree for a good balance of offense and defense. I use this one, but I'm not completely educated on the best masteries, so below are some better recommendations from the pros:
For an offensive approach, you could use this 21/9/0 tree:=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=
Here's an alternate 21/9/0 tree:=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=
As for a defensive approach, this 9/21/0 tree works for a good balance of defensive stats:Remember, you can adjust it as you need!
If this section is not in-depth enough, please mention that in the comments section, as I did not spend very long on this. Thank you!
TL;DR: Just read the mastery chart and copy it as you see fit.
The typical spells Flash and Ignite work on Sion just fine, with the mention that cleanse/ghost/teleport replace flash quite well. However, here's a little more of an in-depth explanation of what spells do/don't work on Sion.
Sion, as previously stated, has one escape from one champion. A single target stun ( Cryptic Gaze) isn't a very good escape, leaving you less of a "fight or flight" champion than most. This is where Flash, Ghost, and possibly Exhaust** come in handy.
My playstyle for Sion, as you may have noticed, is unlike most. However, I remind you that if you don't take ghost, you'll need some form of gap closer, or cc remover. I pick Exhaust over Ghost. In early game initiates, which sometimes happen, it's easier to get their health lower by slowing them down instead of speeding you up, thus granting you more time to exchange before their turret, as well as reducing their damage output, and making them easier to kill if you change your masteries slightly. I'm not saying Flash or Ghost are worse, however. Using them as an escape is fine, it's simply my personal preference to pick someone off in a teamfight using Exhaust, as well as escape if you Exhaust the right champ. It takes some learning, but I still use Exhaust. Either way you look at it though, you definitely need some form of escape.
=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_=_= Teleport or Ignite work well, depending on your playstyle, or even Barrier/ Cleanse, by personal preference. Sion doesn't have many escapes, so you'll most likely want to start playing him with flash or ghost.
TL;DR: Exhaust can substitute ghost and flash if you know how, and ignite, teleport, and barrier are all good options for a secondary.
Skill Sequence for 1v1 Top
It's to be noted that you should not select a skill to level up, no matter who you're against, until you're sure what you will need, absolutely sure, or else you can get behind on your farming to Ravenous Hydra, making laning take a little longer, thus giving them more opportunities to poke you/kill you/gank you.
The point of Sion's Enrage is to get huge HP early. Also, on a sidenote, the reason AP Sion works is because his Enrage only has to be active at the time of a kill for him to gain HP. It could be a kill made by his shield blowing up, just as long as his Enrage is toggled on, he'll receive HP. This is fantastic for farmers, especially AD farmers who benefit from the excess damage. Therefore, I always get my Enrage first. However, it's notable that, if in lane, you're against a champ with a lot of poke at level 1, such as Jayce, I recommend you get your Cryptic Gaze first to play it safe.
His Death's Caress has a little more priority than his Cryptic Gaze, in my opinion, if not slightly more. Farming also has a great impact on which skill you're getting, but again, his Enrage is always a great rush. Now, as for his Death's Caress, this ability is a shield, and it can damage nearby enemies if deployed correctly. What more could you want?
You could want a stun. Death's Caress is a good second level-up for if you're not having too much trouble at level 1, if you got your Enrage first. However, if you know they're poking really hard, chasing a lot, or if they just plain have the upper hand at level 2, you might want to level your Cryptic Gaze second. "Why would I need a stun at level 2?" Escapes. We all know Master Yi enjoys his Alpha Strike. We all know that there's going to be a Singed with Exhaust and Ghost, who gets his Mega Adhesive at level 2, therefore you have a stun to escape with should you need it. Now, as for level 3, If you're not having too much trouble still, I recommend getting a point in your Enrage again.
"Wait, isn't Cryptic Gaze/ Death's Caress more useful?" Early game? Sure. But here's the thing about Sion. You're not going to dominate your opponents at level 3. I don't care if you've perfectly last hit every minion and gotten first blood. Unless you have Ravenous Hydra, Cannibalism, or at least Tiamat, DO NOT ENGAGE. Your Enrage is for farming, and what do you want to do early? Farm. Poking isn't needed. Pushing is fine if you're prepared for a face full of jungler, and for those who level their Cryptic Gaze early and get Ghost. But for the purpose of this guide, I'm going to advise against initiating at level 3. I'd say, sure, get all your 3 abilities at level 3, but I personally wouldn't. They're really not useful enough for an AD champ at that level in the game. (Maybe that's just me, but take whatever you want out of this guide.) At level 4, I have 2 on Enrage, and 1 Cryptic Gaze and 1 Death's Caress. This seems to work quite well, and is almost always a 100% must, whether you leveled your Enrage or not as your third level. Overall, remember to prioritize Enrage, then Death's Caress, then Cryptic Gaze.
TL;DR: E->W->E->Q works well if you're not having laning issues, otherwise, Q->W->E for very pokey champs, Q->E->W->E for mildly pokey champs, E->Q->W->E if you're having an OK laning phase.
Skill Sequence for 2v1 Top
Yes, we've all seen it. There's always a time when you're stuck 2v1 at top because the enemy team decided not to have a jungler. The good thing is, their late game is gonna suck. The bad thing? Your early game already sucks, and now you're 2v1 of all things. In this situation, I wouldn't even consider getting my Enrage first, as you have to exercise much more caution when farming. This is when I'd recommend getting a health regen. emphasized starter kit, and teleport can also be useful in situations like these for getting back to lane on time to keep the enemy at bay. Cryptic Gaze is OK, but honestly, you may even try starting with your [[Death's Caress].
Death's Caress has a higher priority than Cryptic Gaze. I realize that in my previous chapter, 1v1 Top, I said Cryptic Gaze is good for escapes. However, unless it's only one following you, you have to remember that you can't stun 2 champs at once. Also, you may have already leveled your Cryptic Gaze first. This is also the occasion that I'd level Death's Caress third if taken at level 1, or Enrage if not, and Enrage/ Death's Caress fourth, respectively to what's available. Otherwise, always, always, always prioritize Enrage, then Death's Caress, then Cryptic Gaze.
TL;DR: Dang it I'm 2v1 top, time to go W->Q->W->E or somethin'.
Sion is a secret weapon. Treat him as such. His Cannibalism can also heal nearby allies as long as you're fighting. This can be pretty useful, especially on teams with multiple melee champs. In teamfights, only initiate if your stun and ultimate are up, also, preferably your shield as well. If you're second in a fight, pick off a big damage dealer with your stun, then focus on anyone that's squishy, whether it be the champ you stunned or not. Also, sometimes it's a good idea to focus tanks. Why? Because as long as their team is grouped, you'll still get plenty of hp, especially from the tank, and the enemy team will try to focus you, failing as long as you've used your ult and have enough attack speed/damage to sustain yourself.
TL;DR: His ult can heal close and you've got tons of damage. Just run in and stun whoever you well please if you're too lazy to read that.^
In-Depth Item Explanation
This is going to be long, as many items work on Sion. I have mentioned some that are not the best, but in certain situations are godlike. Should you feel these items are sub-par or not viable, or that I am missing any, please feel free to mention so, explaining why, in the comments section.
Starter Kit A: For those who really need to lane for the longest time possible, with high sustainability but less utility early game besides a longer lane phase. Has it's pros and cons.
Starter Kit B: Boots of Speed with 4 potions. Mix and match potions as if you're a witch, between Health Potions and Mana Potions. Typically, you'll need more Health Potions to stay in lane longer, and more Mana Potions if you use mana quick, as Sion sometimes does. a 3:1 Ratio is how I tend to go, with 3 Mana Potions and 1 Health Potion.
Starter kit C: A risky option, not recommended by pros, for those who are somewhat confident in their abilities and need to get that health back from having your Enrage on.
Starter Kit D: For really defensive Sions who prioritize their health, as Sion has very little sustain.
Alternate Starter Kit D: This is a fine option for if you're comfortable using Sion. It's not mentioned in the cheatsheet so newer Sion users don't try this right off the bat.
Sion needs a good farm, as well as a decent sustain, and a high damage output.
Build Order: Tiamat is prioritized over Vampiric Scepter when building your Ravenous Hydra, the most important item you can build. Go for building the Pickaxe over the Long Sword, over the Rejuvenation Beads.
Sion will have trouble chasing foes, this is a given. He will also need damage and lifesteal.
Blade of the Ruined King has not yet been tested, but has good stats when you're against a big tank.
The Bloodthirster is a good second or fourth item: it offers lots of AD and plenty of lifesteal. This plays well with a Spirit Visage.
Last Whisper is a good fourth of fifth item. It offers good armor penetration, and decent damage.
The Black Cleaver has some health, some damage, some cooldown reduction, some armor penetration, and some armor reduction on hit. It can be useful for knocking down the enemy's armor quickly, with some damage/hp/cdr.
Phantom Dancer is a good third item: it has high attack speed, high critical strike chance, and good mobility. This is especially good if you're often finding yourself Kited without being able to land a stun.
Statikk Shiv is a questionable alternative or additive to Phantom Dancer and should be bought when you're maxing attack speed or critical strike. It's a risky/questionable item, but still has plenty of potential, even though I don't advise prioritizing it.
Atma's Impaler stacks with your Enrage's passive very well. Late game, you'll have around 4000 hp with such an easy farm, giving you ~60 AD. You also get a good deal of Armor, and some Critical Strike chance to boot. a Well rounded item, especially vs a mainly AD team, or when you want to build super-tank. Technically allows for infinite damage with your Enrage, if you've farmed a couple thousand minion waves, as your Enrage can give you endless health. If you need a boost late game, buy this.
Enchantment: Furor is great on your boots for when you're chasing the baddies, as long as you can land a single hit on them, which your stun should allow. Remember, catch them out, not vice versa.
Sion is, again, a low-escape champion. If you're going to go without flash or ghost, you're going to want one of these.
Maw of Malmortius is a great item for when you almost have the edge, and when there's multiple AP champs on the enemy team. This item will provide you magic resist, flat damage, and damage for how much health you're missing, as well as a nifty shield that procs at 30% hp. Damage that increases as your hp decreases is amazing with lifesteal, and should be stacked as such.
Mercurial Scimitar is a great item for when you're getting cc'd hard, as Sion usually does, especially if you're getting hit hard by AP and just want more damage.
Guardian Angel, although not providing any offensive stats, will give you good MR and Armor at a decent cost, along with a revive. It can be well worth it, especially if you're being focused hard in teamfights and need a way to gain the upper hand. It's your bug repellent for all the pests swarming the fields of justice in groups of 5. This CAN provide you a reason to initiate IF your team is SURE to follow.
Spirit Visage increases lifesteal effects by 20%, along with that hp regen you get from Ravenous Hydra. If you don't think this is overpowered, I don't know what is.
Warmog's Armor is pretty self explanatory. If you want to be a huge tank, especially if you have %hp increase runes, you can get this. I recommend also getting spirit visage and atma's impaler, in no particular order.
Boots: I recommend Berserker's Greaves for more attack speed, as well as rushing Enchantment: Furor on them early. However, if you're getting cc'd hard and don't want to waste any extra money on other items, Boots of Swiftness provide fantastic mobility. For defensive boots, try Ninja Tabi for AD heavy teams, or Mercury's Treads for MR and amazing Tenacity, great for cc heavy/AP based teams!
Other Useful Items
Ah, the part I long dreaded. Time to explain the partial validity of certain items.
Iceborn Gauntlet will provide you with high armor, a fair amount of mana, and a little ability power to boot. Also, after you use an ability, the next basic attack dishes out 125% of your max AD and creates a slow field around the target that slows all enemies by 30%, with a 2 second cooldown. The catch? It's expensive, and hard to fit well into your build, providing no flat damage, but a chase tactic and a defensive bonus. I don't consider it fully worth your gold, but it's definitely a possibility for certain situations.
Frozen Mallet has a fantastic slow, slowing enemies on hit, as well as granting 700 HP and 30 AD. The catch? Only 30 AD, and pretty expensive as well. It's a nice slow, but Enchantment: Furor is a lot cheaper and can work better. It's a possibility, but maybe not the best item.
Youmuu's Ghostblade is a great escape tool, or chasing tool, respectively. It grants 30 damage, which is nice, but sub-par at best. The 10% CDR is somewhat appreciated, the 15% critical strike chance is definitely a plus, and the active is good as well. 20 Armor pen is awesome, especially with crits, cdr, and an active like that. However, it's not going to work all the time. Why? It just doesn't provide enough damage for my taste. However, it's totally possible, and if you make good use out of it, all the power to you.
Zephyr, ah Zephyr. This sounds like a great item when you're building Sion. Huge attack speed, a little AD, some cdr, and awesome movement speed. So why not buy it? Phantom Dancer has that covered. At around the same cost, you get no damage, 30% critical strike, less movement speed, no cdr, and still good attack speed, along with being able to move through units. 30% critical strike really has me on the side of Phantom Dancer, but if you're looking for an alternative, here it is. I warn you though, the 30% critical strike chance will be missed.
Eleisa's Miracle isn't recommended by the pros. That being said, there is some potential for it with the huge farm you'll be getting. If you have the gold for it, I recommend you get it, only if you're planning on getting a Spirit Visage. The utility of it, especially sitting in the "7th item slot", is very useful mid-late game, and perhaps is better when bought then, as long as it's bought before level 15, or else it will not be consumed.
Useful Consumables: These are all pretty self explanatory. Buy them as you need them. I prefer Vision Wards over Sight Wards, but that's a personal preference. Oracle's Elixir... Noxious Trap... And Elixir of Fortitude provides you with HP and Damage in the "7th slot", great for late OR early game use, especially in addition with Atma's Impaler. NOTE: Elixir of Fortitude IS a possible starter to boost your early game!
Example Build is merely to provide you with an idea of what you can do with your build.
By requestLogarithm recommends that you build 5 of The Bloodthirster. This build is untested (for obvious reasons) and should be taken at reader discretion. This build will be tested soon so the viability of it can be tested. I would not specifically recommend this build for anyone ever at any time, but again, the user Logarithm has recommended it, and I will not criticize the viability until it is tested. As a 6th item, I would recommend getting some much needed movement speed, and maybe attack speed, or any mix of the two.
EDIT: Augment: Death and Bonetooth Necklace. It has been verified that these cannot be built. However, it is feedback, and should you wish to try it, be my guest, (even though you can't build these items, or 7 items in general, or be "Bronze 11"). The source is here.
TL;DR: Get some attack speed, damage, and crits/lifesteal/armor pen as you see fit, along with whatever survivability you choose.
I have not tested this guide in Ranked play yet. As such, I do not recommend doing such, I advise caution, and I would appreciate if someone did test it. Thank you.
Build damage and some lifesteal. As long as you've got Ravenous Hydra, the rest of your build is situational, making him really fun to play around with. Enjoy my Sion guide, and please feel free to leave feedback. I'd love to improve my guide in any and all ways possible, but I ask that you please do some testing first. Thank you!~<3