Soraka Build Guide by HeadinPants
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Not Updated For Current Season
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All Victories Possible
Important Early Items
Boots and Enchantments
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.
Please Read Me
If you aren't going to read this entire guide, please don't bother to vote or comment- I prefer to receive REAL feedback.
Real feedback consists of three parts:
- Things I should change
- The reason(s) why
- Good manners
Without the reasons, you aren't really giving feedback. You're just telling me what to do, which does not help me learn what I need to.
There are parts of this guide that I suggest you DON'T read, which I will state at the beginning of each and in the table of contents- for these chapters, I recommend referring to them when you are in a tough spot and need advice. Thank you, and by all means, read on!
Hello to all of my fellow MOBAFire friends and all that. This is the second draft of this guide. The first one was downvoted by many people who did not read it, which did not help much at all. As I said in the previous chapter, I want good feeback to help me help the new and otherwise Soraka players.
I'm going to talk about me for a moment- if you don't care (you probably don't), please skip to the next chapter by clicking here.
I am mostly a casual player. I have played a few ranked games, but I avoid it because I don't trust my internet to not cr@p out on me. I have played Soraka since I was a level 3, and I practically main support at the moment because it is an underpicked role that needs to be filled and not enough people know how to play it. I prefer Soraka over most supports, and I know her well. Now that you know who's talking to you through this guide, please learn to play Soraka to the best of your ability.
All About Soraka
+ Immense amounts of healing from each spell
+ Can still support when out of mana
+ Can serve as an off-tank during late game
+ Can get assists without engaging
+ Global healing spell
+ Combination of AOE and healing often turn the tide of team fights
+ High cooldown reduction
+ Carries the team via support
+ Multiple sources of healing
+ Is a unicorn
- Slow cash income during early game
- Only one disable, which doesn't help secure kills because it's a silence
- Horribly high cooldowns on her healing spells
- Terrible mana curve
- Only 4 skins including classic (only really a con to people who care...)
Beyond the Pros and Cons: Why to Play Support
- With experience, every team you join will have reason to appreciate you
- Support is an underpicked position, which means you assist in making a better team composition
- Even without attacking or casting spells, your presence greatly affects the outcome of fights
- You aren't focused as much as the ADC
- Your assistance can be minor, but still add up. Because of this, it's not noticed as much, so enemies won't rage at you as much
- WARDS, enough said
Even Further Beyond the Pros and Cons: Why to Play Tanky
- Soraka, as a support, will often be focused. This won't happen as much to her as to the ADC, but it is still a common danger
- Soraka needs to last the team fight to get the most damage in from Starcall and keep as many people alive as possible
Soraka's goal with masteries to to increase her gold income and provide her with better use of her spells for her team in the form of mana and cooldown reduction. Here are some masteries that are worth taking.
Sorcery - Soraka Greatly benefits from cooldown reduction, as the cooldown of Astral Blessing has been nerfed to sh*t.
Blast - Increases the scaling of all of your spells (including your amount of healing output!) without having to increase your already horribly high mana costs.
Arcane Knowledge - Not very good early game, as it increases your chance of taking kills, but amazing later in team fights when combined with Starcall stacks.
Perseverance - Great lane sustain. Also lessens your need for Health Potions. If you get this mastery, I recommend swapping one of the Health Potions for a Mana Potion.
Durability - Improves your health scaling, and supplies access to Veteran's Scars .
Tough Skin - When harassing your enemy laners with basic attacks (see Pickpocket ), you will be drawing minion aggression. This mastery will greatly increase by how much you win the trades.
Hardiness - Provides armor for early game.
Resistance - Provides magic resist for early game, but is less effective due to Soraka's passive, consecration.
Relentless - Good for keeping up with the team.
Veteran's Scars - Provides early game health. This mastery is almost mandatory- Soraka's health is terrible during early game. If you prefer other masteries, a good solution would be to take health seals (but I don't personally recommend quintessences, because you need that gold).
Meditation - Soraka's mana curve is totally sh*tastic. This mastery will help you handle early laning.
Expanded Mind - As stated above, Soraka's mana curve is horrid.
Artificer - Many good support items have an active ability (which is sometimes what makes it a support item). Reducing these cooldowns helps ensure that you can assist your team.
Mastermind - Reduces cooldowns of ALL summoner spells (note that Clairvoyance already has a really low cooldown, so this mastery isn't as effective when you take Clairvoyance).
Greed - Passive gold income is a necessity for supports.
Biscuiteer - Basically provides half of a Health Potion and half of a Mana Potion in a single, free starting item.
Explorer - Decent for sustaining a lane early on without having to buy more wards.
Wealth - Free cash anyone?
Awareness - Increases your income of experience to help compensate for lack of farm and times you allow your ADC to free farm.
Pickpocket - Any non-farming source of gold is amazing on a support. It also provides extra incentive to harass your enemy laners with basic attacks. However, it does have a 5 second cooldown (which is displayed among the buffs and debuffs above your ability bar).
Intelligence - As stated above, Soraka greatly benefits from cooldown reduction.
Nimble - Movement speed is amazingly useful on any champion.
Greater Mark of Armor
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Quintessence of Gold
My runes are very typical support runes. I buildGreater Marks of armor to provide physical durability. For my seals I build Greater Seals of Armor. Mostly the point of these 2 rune sets is to provide durability before building whatever armor I end up using. Then for glyphs I build Greater Glyphs of Cooldown Reduction to help deal with my terrible early game cooldowns. Finally, I increase my ability to cope without kills by using Greater Quintessences of Gold.
TL/DR: Gold, Defensive, and Cooldowns
Mark options: Magic Penetration.
Seal options: Mana Regeneration/Level, Mana Regeneration, Health.
Glyph options: Cooldown Reduction/Level, Ability Power/Level.
Quintessence options: Ability Power, Experience, Cooldown Reduction, Mana Regeneration/Level, Mana Regeneration, Health.
To decide on Summoner spells, one must ask the question, "What bases do I have covered between the natural abilities of my champion, runes, and masteries?" Let's take a look.
So far we have:
- Passive Gold
- Sustain shooting out of our @$$
So what are we missing?
- An Escape
- Hard CC
To cover these weak spots, a good Soraka takes Exhaust and Flash.
What MUST a support have in terms of items?
They need actives, they need passives, and they need some ability power.
So. What do we buy?
Starting Load 1
This starting load is meant to keep you in lane for a good 10 minutes or so. It provides you with the appropriate sustain through potions and mana regen, as well as providing the staple- wards.
Starting Load 2
The goal of this start is to rely solely on mana regen and Astral Blessing to keep your lane running. The warding capability with this start is very strong though, because you can counter-ward and destroy the enemy sight wards, making your jungler's ganks much easier.
Your goals in early laning are to maintain your warding, gather gold/10 items, start to make your boots and durability, and keep your ADC alive. To this end, the following items are great at this point in the game.
philosopher's stone, kage's lucky pick, Boots of Speed, Chalice of Harmony, Sightstone, and Kindlegem.
Now that you have reached later in the game, you need to start being very picky about warding. You also need to be more durable in order to survive team fights. Ruby Sightstone.
You also need to have enough mana to keep your team alive. Are you running out of mana uber fast? Athene's Unholy Grail. Is your ADC being CCed to death? Mikael's Crucible.
Choosing Boots and Enchantments
Mercury's Treads: For large amounts of CC.
Ninja Tabi: For overwhelming physical damage.
Boots of Mobility: For when you aren't getting hurt at all.
Enchantment: Alacrity: An all-around doable pick.
Enchantment: Captain: A pick centered on serving your teams needs by closing the distance between you and them faster.
Enchantment: Homeguard: A pick for fun or when on the defensive.
About your Items... Tips for Picking the Right Item
Soraka is a champion who revels in a long fight. She needs to have high CDR, good durability, and some ability power. If you still are having mana problems once you have your staples, take note of that as well. If you can, make all of your items contribute to one or a few of these areas to help provide you with everything you need to be a star Soraka.
This is a list of all the items with actives that I consider to be worth using on a support. For each one I present its uses. Buy them to help handle the situations for which they are meant.
Deathfire Grasp: For dealing with teams stacking MR when your team is magic damage heavy. As a very unlikely pick, this item is not in the coded build.
Locket of the Iron Solari: Absorbing large bursts of incoming AOE damage, countering Karthus EVEN FURTHER.
Mikael's Crucible: Protecting an ADC being focused by CC.
Randuin's Omen: Countering enemies that rely on attack speed ( Xin Zhao, Vayne, etc...), handling large amounts of physical damage.
shard of true ice: Chasing down enemies, avoiding you or an ally being chased down by enemies.
shurelya's reverie: Chasing down enemies, avoiding you or an ally being chased down by enemies, initiating team fights.
Twin Shadows: Chasing down enemies, avoiding you or an ally being chased down by enemies.
This is a list of all the items with passives that I consider to be worth using on a support. For each one I present its uses. Buy them to help handle the situations for which they are meant.
Abyssal Scepter: Assists the damage output of all magic damage sources on your team.
Frozen Heart: Countering enemies that rely on attack speed ( Xin Zhao, Vayne, etc...), handling large amounts of physical damage.
Morellonomicon: Countering enemies with large amounts of healing (especially enemy Sorakas).
Runic Bulwark: General team durability.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Providing CC.
shard of true ice: Helping your team with mana issues.
Will of the Ancients: Helping your APCs survive fights.
zeke's herald: Helping your ADCs and fighters survived fights.
Items: Personal Use
Every now and then, you will find that it doesn't matter what your team is doing- you get killed. You die a horrid, gruesome death and never get to do anything to help your team. Ouch. It happens. For this reason, sometimes you need to ask yourself how you in particular are doing. If your team is doing fantastic, then you might consider building some ability power to make yourself nastier in fights. If you are getting focused, then you need durability. Here are some items that are specifically for your use as a support trying to get by.
Archangel's Staff: With Starcall, you can get max stacks on this once team fights start happening a lot. At that point you have a shield at your disposal to discourage people focusing you. Until then, it still gives you some extra mana and ability power.
Guardian Angel: You know you're just going to die and there isn't a thing to do about it.
Spirit Visage: A bit more healing would keep you alive.
Zhonya's Hourglass: STOP FOCUSING ME JERKS!!!!!
Early Game Strategies
Subchapter 1: Harassing
Common misconception: "A Soraka lane is a passive lane." That is the result of what is called playing the "babysitter" support. I don't suggest doing that- It's dull and boring as hell. Playing Soraka aggressively in lane is very rewarding, but only when done correctly. If done badly, it will ruin your day.
To initiate your harassment, watch the health bars of your team's minions. When the enemy ADC walks in for a last hit is the ideal time to harass, as you can get most of the damage in for free. Another way to do this is to do it from brush, so that they do not have time to respond. Simply hit them with a banana. Soraka's autoattack damage is pretty good, and it also provides gold if you take Pickpocket in the utility tree.
Subchapter 2: Assists
Since Soraka's only disable is the silence from Infuse, drop it on your target shortly after engaging and spam it once they start running (If they have a partner with them, target the partner with Infuse instead to prevent intervention). Since it doesn't do anything about movement, your partner will need to initiate and surprise them in order to get the kill. Once the fight has been initiated, focus the target with basic attacks and Starcalls. Make sure you move between attacks and casts so you can stay in range. If your partner has to dive under the turret, make sure you heal them with Astral Blessing as soon as they are not at full health. This will allow them to take advantage of the heal and the bonus armor.
I know this video isn't from early game, but it's the best I could manage.
Subchapter 3: Wish Spotting
If an ally ping targets an enemy, disengage and focus your screen on the target so that you can time your Wish properly (You should also signal for your lane partner to fall back so they don't dive while you are unavailable to heal them). If they don't need it, return to assisting your partner. Otherwise, wait until your allies attacking the target get low on health and cast Wish (ping-target the enemy attacking the ally beforehand if you think your allies can take them out). This method will usually secure a free assist for you and a kill for your team. Massive numbers of assists will slowly make up for your lost income from lack of creep kills and champion kills.
Subchapter 4: Warding
Team Fights: Handle Your Spells Carefully
Dude. It's a passive. It needs no handling...
Throughout team fights this spell should be spammed. This will do great damage and assist all of the magic damage that your team throws out, thanks to the magic resist reducing stacks.
Use this spell on you allies when they get very low on health. You should try to save this spell to save your ADC if you can, but if you have to, use this spell on any squishy, low health ally being focused.
In between team fights, use this spell to restore your allies' health to prepare for the next one.
Try to save this spell for a moment when an enemy channels a dangerous spell.
After these spells have been wasted, focus you silences on targets with the biggest team fight presence through spells. Most often, this will be the Casters who have large amounts of AOE damage.
In between team fights, use this spell to restore your allies' mana to prepare for the next one.
Save this spell for when your whole team can benefit from its healing. If you can also use it to keep an ally alive at the same time, it's good to do so.
Hall of Fame
Many players (myself included) don't want to have to test a build to know it works, so this chapter is my evidence. Most of them use more or less the coded build, but that's just because of personal preference. Anyway, if you have a good game with a build based on this guide, feel free to link it to me via private message and I'll add you in. Note: Feel proud regardless of your deaths as long as you get more assists. Kills are unimportant as a support.
Well. That took awhile. Anyway, I hope this guide has taught you something. I hope you all learn to use what you learned from this guide, apply it to your own Soraka gameplay and learn to adapt it to your playstyle.
I also hope that I have inspired more people to play support. It's hard to get all the bases covered these days (I can't go top or jungle no matter how much I practice). Please leave me feedback, and I hope that I have not misinformed anybody.
Thank you, and have a good day!
-All my friends who help review and give me advice on this guide.
-"busubusu" on Deviantart, for letting me use his "Babysitting Every Day" artwork in the early game-harassing section.
-"Rippchen3" on YouTube for allowing me to use his "Lucky Karthus Ulti Survive" in the "Wish Spotting" portion of the Early Game chapter.
-jhoijhoi for her amazing Making a Guide guide.
-"Shiroze" on Deviantart, for letting me use her "How I See Soraka" artwork in the early game-assists section.
-"MeteorShower2" on Deviantart, for letting me use his "Soraka Summoner" artwork in the introduction.
-"Cacti" on Deviantart/"GeneralCacti" on Youtube, for letting me use his "Urf and Turf" and "Urf and Turf 2: Revenge" in the lore section.
-To every League player who happens to appear in my videos- I didn't take the time to go through and look at all the names because I'm too busy to do so.
-To the people who gave constructive feedback on the original guide without just downvoting out of disgust.
Note: The dates are presented in US format (mm/dd/yyyy)
01/29/2013 : Original Guide Published
05/25/2013 : Revised Version Published (Coming Soon: Table of Contents and GoTos)
05/26/2013 : Deathfire Grasp and Banner of Command removed from the coded build. Masteries adjusted slightly. Some pictures from my chapter on laning strategies were removed. Banner of Command removed from active item chapter and DFG labeled as very unlikely item. Thornmail and Ohmwrecker removed from guide completely. End-Game build tweaked slightly. Starting Items adjusted.