Soraka Build Guide by SoRockaMyWorld
Mastery Tree Is Outdated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.
Introduction: REVISED v. 3.0
Ok, time tested here, this is a very DEFENSIVE build, despite strong AP. Infuse is an excellent ability to start the game with to help intimidate opponents from challenging early on. It costs no mana to cast, and for all your options, as a support character that feels best to me. Also helps ensure that your ally plays smart not expecting you to heal his dumbass for charging the turret at level 1.
Those unused to Soraka tend to overlook that Infuse doubles as a magic damage spell against enemies as well as putting Silence on them for 1 second. This is far more effective than Starcall in early game. Mainly because Infuse gets 60% AP and Starcall only gets 25%, and early game, you HAVE NO AP ANYWAY. The boots to start help keep you light on your feet to dodge ranged characters' attacks, but also darting in to cast silence and do some damage and retreat back fast. This build is very nice for baiting and harassing.
Pros / Cons
Infuse silence/magic damage (now grants assists when cast on allies)
Astral Calling grants armor boost
Starcall has stacking MagRes Reduction
good for baiting and kiting
triple heals, incl global heal that provides assists
good survivability [triple heal, speed, natural MR] - if you feed, maybe support isn't your thing
squishy in early game
enemy target throughout game
****py cooldown times
Typically reliant on well-performing team; if they do bad, so will you.
WHAT MAKES THIS BUILD DIFFERENT?
--->Play Style: Overly buddy system oriented. Very difficult to push this build solo, especially since her cooldown times are a nightmare. Use your spells to keep enemies off your buddy, keep him/her healed up and pop a Clarity now and again, they really appreciate it. Otherwise, hug that turret and try to bait the enemy into attacking you by casting Infuse on them as they stand on the border of the turret's range.
Not only is this bad if you have a rage quit, your team tells you that ONLY YOU should take middle because you are the ONLY ranged character, worse even is when you get a player who does not know what they are doing, wind up getting you both killed. Play smart, don't attack enemies under turrets. Careful during pushes so you don't get ganked from behind. Allies who don't check bushes, remind them. Better if they do it. You have a bullseye on you, and the enemy is going to seek to take out you in endgame at full force.
If you are looking for a build that can solo, or push mid, THIS IS NOT IT. However, if you do use it that way and have an epic success, I'd love to hear about it! Haha. Maybe I just suck.
--->Runes: I put an emphasis on power over time. Most builds do medium bonus now and throughout. Mine are start tiny and end big. Rather than, say a .51 ability power from beginning to end (totaling 5.31 with 9), I use .1 runes (.9 with all) in early game, ending with 1.8 (16.2 with all) in endgame.
A true hazard to power over time however is that if you have a bad early game, you are going to be rather useless for most of the game. You will be under-leveled and lacking in gold.
I have revised my runes, sacrificing about 10 ability power for additional cooldown time. In compensation however, my revised items include stronger AP items to compensate this loss.
--->Masteries: a difference of 2 points from most builds. Greed first, I like some extra gold, again, because let's face it, how irritating is it to lane with Ryze, Yi, Sivir, basically anyone though, who keeps kill-stealing your creeps? You're too weak to jungle, d'uh. So you need that income supplement. And it's nice. The second point is put into Good Hands, because let's face it. If you play like a pro, they gonna gank you for the pro that you are, and a healer down is no one's friend. Less time dead increases your effectiveness of getting back into the fray!
I have revised the Masteries to put points in Awareness instead of expanded mind. This is for two reasons - 1) Mainly because I have removed Archangel's Staff from my build, so I am less reliant on upping my Mana; 2) because it is more evident now that a quick leveling support is by far more useful than one with a sliver more mana. Being able to scale levels faster when you have level scaling runes just seems... logical.
--->Spells: I've debated with some Soraka users who skip the shoes for another AP item and go for Teleport instead. A difference in taste I think. Play style maybe. I personally use the heal instead, because in early game, again, that cooldown time is a b****. Heal spells keep allies in good hands. It can be a game saver just like Wish in the final push if your other spells are on cooldown, and that is just where you are going to make it count! Teleport will only be good if you died, and let's face it, if you did, you probably need more work on your Soraka because the game will essentially be over, or your allies will be retreating by the time you resurrect. My point is, I feel the Heal spell serves good purpose in early and endgame, whereas, in my humble opinion, Teleport more so for early and mid-game (for healers).
Another popular spell for Soraka is Fortify. With this build, you are fully capable of playing defense to a lane, just put a point in Starcall after you have some Mana Regen going for you. Again, this is if you solo a lane! If you wind up the one laning with a jungler for instance. Your Astral Calling will be enough to take care of yourself, but it can be easy for you to get overwhelmed at the turret. Something to discuss with your team in the champion select queue, or make your best guess if exchanging the third heal is worth it.
The Heal spell also teaches new players who have better options to take those better options. I'm looking at you Yi who takes Heal instead of Exhaust, Ghost, Ignite, Rally, etc. Don't get me wrong, of course, team heals are awesome! Ok, it used to be that Heal spells did not stack, but I believe they do now. Ultimately however, this spell is more of an early game life insurance, and if the entire team is taking heals, it doesn't provide a viable variance/balance. Skeptics will also criticize the redundancy of a heal spell on a healer, but I say it augments that which she already does well.
Clarity is just a given. Most cases, you want to be sure you lane with someone who also uses mana to increase its effectiveness. Once again though, a popular critique is that Soraka is already a human battery for mana, with Infuse, but the issue is that ability's cooldown, and it's medial effect early game and late game. It is great in mid-game, but also when you're doubling it for the offensive silence, you can't fully rely on Infuse to be as ready as a good Clarity spell, especially when as support, you get your whole team around you and pop the spell, all rejuvenated at once, save time and clicking haha.
Although I still favor Heal & Clarity, my options are now very pendant on who my team is selecting and the spells they take. I will frequently take Heal and an optional spell among the listed above. Fortify for solo laning, Clairvoyance if the team is heavy on heals and clarity, Teleport if you have a team of squishies and may have to go back to base frequently. Be sure to adjust your Mastery point accordingly for the appropriate spell, save Fortify, in that case, I would recommend applying the extra point in Good Hands.
--->Abilities: The emphasis to save Starcall for endgame for starts. That is when it will actually start being effective because you have all the needed AP built up AND the mana to spam it like a pro.
I might suggest waiting to select your first ability to see if your lane partner is mana-reliant. If not, then I would suggest inverting the the sequence of Infuse and Astral Calling. This is especially true with the recent patches regarding Raka. Her Infuse, when used to replenish ally mana for casts that grant kills now gives Soraka assists. Way to rack up some gold and experience so that you can be a pseudo-carry [very tongue in cheek, come on, you're support].
---> Items: Many builds I've seen try to compensate on Soraka's deficits. This build exploits her strengths. Soraka is Support. Do not worry about buffing her defense or adding attack speed/lifesteal. You're wasting money on resources that will leave her mediocre in her primary function AT BEST! Rod of Ages is the glue to this build to boon health and AP. You should have enough heal spells to not worry about lifesteal, and your damage is too dismal to worry about trying to amp it. Stick to what she's good at, and you'll find the path to victory.
One of the biggest complaints about Soraka as support is her cooldown (cdr) time. You will have people telling you to play her as mage [Janna] or tank [Taric] instead. My build, modified as it is now sees to a maximum cdr by midgame. I have seen to this deficit with runes and masteries [Offense: Sorcery; Utility: Intelligence] to assist cooldown. That is a 20% cdr total out of a possible 40%. By building the Fiendish Codex early, you get an additional 10%, and completing the Morellos Evil Tome grants a full 40% cdr
--->Item Sequence Build: Boots are a godsend for Soraka. Gets her out of a pinch. Especially when you cast Infuse on a retreat, prevents the enemy from casting stuns or spells to slow you or hurt you. Build your Boots of Mobility first to help you catch up to your teammate if you are forced to retreat. As a healer keeping your distance in the background, you'll find it rather easy to keep your mobility up to 5 typically.
Originally, I had a section here about Kage's Lucky Pick and Mejai's Soulstealer. I'd typically sell Kage's late game, but have only recently realized the compensatory amount is not worth the initial cost of the item. Also, when using Mejai's, despite my former warning about playing with an unfamiliar team, another hazard to it is when you get late game stacks and become a target. My build does not focus escapes like Tenacity, Flash, or Cleanse. And instead relies on good juking and team support/protection. The item remains a gamble, and ultimately I think it fits mages better than support, so I am leaving it as a suggested conditional item, but not part of the core build.
Next, go for Philosopher's Stone at this point to keep your Health and Mana regen up, plus the extra 5gold/10seconds is a great boon on support. Eventually this item will be sold regardless to make room for the proper build item, this is completely optional, albeit recommended. If you do not need the gold and figure to use some Tenacity, Eleisa's Miracle can help, but again, not part of the core build and eventually to be sold. Still, early game tenacity can be a great boon to survival.
After securing which 2nd item works best for the game, begin building your Fiendish Codex to boon mana regen, and providing a little more cdr. This will greatly increase your ability to support right in early game. This will be built into Morello's Evil Tome to provide all of Soraka's base needs as soon as possible - mana regen, cdr, and AP.
Next, you are safe to begin building the Rod of the Ages. Pending how the game is going, you can decide if you need health or AP more as to which item you start the build with, but the power over time comes into play here so hopefully you are still in mid-game by the time you land this item. I have debated using Rylai's for the Slow on Cast, but find it to be less effective on Raka, who needs survivability, Rod of Ages provides more health, equal AP, plus Mana, and is cheaper. Save Rylai's for an actual mage I think.
Your fifth item is going to be either Zhonya's Hourglass or Abyssal Scepter, pending whether armor or magic resistance is needed more given the opposing team.
Pending the circumstances of the opposing team and how your build is so far - if the enemy team is all AP and you only needed the Abyssal Scepter, go ahead for Rabadon's. Same is true if team is all AD and you only needed Zhonya's. If it is a balanced team, you will have both, and perhaps get Rabadon's. I will usually sell my Mejai's if I know the AP count will be stronger with Rabadon's, but I'm sure you will manage what feels best for you.
HOW TO PLAY:
Early Game: Hugger - hug a turret, hug an ally, hug something and commit, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SOLO. You do that, you die. Enough said. If the ally falls, retreat to the turret as mentioned earlier and attempt baiting with Infuse. Otherwise, kill mins and earn some gold. You can attempt the boundary of the turret since you're ranged, but you're damage is so pitiful, and odds are you are becoming an irritation to the enemy, so it's like playing with fire. Seriously.
Mid-Game: By now, you have a few items which definitely increase your potency. Keeping enemies Silenced for an allied chance to strike is a coordinated masterpiece. Keeping ally healed as Silence wears off insures a kill or a retreat. At this point, the enemy will definitely start to take notice. This is the first part of chaos, but expect them to start sending extra enemies your way for a gank. Stay defensive, pop a couple heals, throw a Silence and RUN! Your turtle play will irritate lesser players to rage-quitting or attacking recklessly. Keep your cool, and keep your ally buffed, you're nearing the end one way or another.
End Game: Push with the group! Encourage soloists to join your pushes, A) so they don't feed and B) because the group is more worthy than the individual. What I'm saying is, don't risk your neck for someone who isn't a team player. Stay alive and do your job. Your Infuse spell by this time is doing well over 300 magic damage, you can spam your Starcall to clear out the minions, and pop heal spells on the lowest health or most effective people. Judgment call there, haha. Stay on the edge and ping enemies who target you, this will alert the team to assist you. Best case scenario, you have been an awesome Soraka and your team WANTS you alive. Good feeling to be wanted right? Whether you are losing or winning, hold your ground at the Nexus in the final moments to spam Starcall and pop heal spells. No d'uh, right? Congrats then, thanks for reading, let me know what you think!
P.S. - please offer votes or feedback if you may, thanks!
~Phalanxdef's Lizard Elder Support Soraka S3~ May 2013 P1 Gu
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