Soraka Build Guide by RogemZ
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.
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.
First of all, do not down-vote the moment you read this introduction or take a look at the items, masteries and runes. Seriously. Read it through, or at least read the reasons for why I picked what.
Now then - welcome to my guide on Soraka. This is my first guide, so please ask, criticize and thank as much as you want. You should know that I really do not care about what you think of this guide, this is here only because I feel like there are people who could benefit from this way to play Soraka.
So, what do we know about Soraka? Obviously, she's blue, she has blue skin, sparkly golden horn and nice front bumper. Also, she has the best healing capacities in the game and can supply herself and team mates with infinite mana. She provides team with Magic Resistance bonus and reduces that of the enemy. She makes excellent babysitter for tanky champions that require lots of creep farm. Examples of these guys are Jarvan IV and Irelia.
Whenever I play Soraka, I focus a lot on increasing the amount of heal I can do. End game, I usually heal for 600~800 with Astral Blessing and 800~1100 with Wish - this practically doubles the damage output of the rest of the team. I do not really think about survivability, since if my team can't hold the focus away from me, there is likely little to no chance of surviving even with full tank build. If you can't take 0/10/10 stats, go read someone else's build or rather another guide for whole different champion. Also, I will not tell how, where and why to ward. Go read jungler guide for the information.
I'll use AB to refer to Astral Blessing in this guide.
By rating/commenting this guide, You accept that You have read and understood everything in it, that only You are to be held responsible in the case that you can't handle playing with the advice given in this guide and that You have actually used the contents of this guide in a game, not ignoring a single word I've written and remembering that my recommendations will lead to the best extent of this guide.
If you're Russian who can't speak English, go to ****. I've lost too many games because of you guys.
Pros / Cons
Gives mana, armor buff and health.
Neat passive for early game.
Can reduce enemy MR a little.
Doubles the team effectiveness.
Gives partner infinite amount of time on the lane.
Extremely Squishy. Masteries and buff will help this a little.
Can't hold a lane versus champions.
Is very vulnerable to creeps, too.
Makes all team fights 4v5.
Focused almost every time, unless the enemy team thinks that (Insert champion here) is of higher priority.
Q Skill - Starcall
Some people would argue that you should skill this at level 3, 5 or 7. I say that you shouldn't. You don't need the creep farm those carries need early game. Since the skill only provides -8 Magic Resist to nearby enemies per stack, you will not need it early or mid game. It will be more beneficial in the end, since the enemy then has increased MR's. Think about it this way - doesn't that AP carry build MrP Runes and boots? Yes. So he'll get about -30 or -40 MR to the enemy by himself. Also, you'll be laning a lot with AD carries/Off-Tanks/Semi-Tanks/DPS Tanks - they do not need the MR reductions.
W Skill - Astral Blessing
This is what I prefer as the first skill, since the enemy is highly likely to harass both you and your lane partner early, in an attempt to get first blood. However, do not trust the skill too much, and make clear to your lane partner that you can't heal him for more than 60~75 hp every 10 seconds. Furthermore, if he gets ignite on himself, he's as good as screwed before you get level 3 AB.
This skill is also one of the three reasons you want to play Soraka - it gives the healed ally an armor buff (20/35/50/65/80) in addition to the 300+AP*0.9 heal. One point of armor means that to kill the guy the enemy has to do 1% more damage to him. Thus, 80 armor means that they'll have to do 80% more damage to a champion with 0 natural armor. Because all champions have natural armor, that is at least 20, they will have two times more effective HP versus physical damage. Sweet, isn't it?
E Skill - Infuse
This skill is what will piss off your enemies and make your allies to love you during laning phase when compared to other healers. You can give upto 125 mana to yourself and the target ally, or silence an enemy for 3 seconds. Do not cast this skill on yourself, unless extremely necessary, for example you have 10 mana left and your carry is getting focused (This wont happen if you get the runes, masteries and spells I told you to get). Infuse can also be used to effectively kill Tryndamere, I'll explain how in a later chapter.
R Skill - Wish
Your ultimate. It is the arguably the most reliable counter versus Karthus' Requiem. It heals all your allied champions, wherever on the map they may be. This skill can also be used to get global assists. End game, this will be the skill that heals your team to full health from 40~50%. It will also save your and your allies' skin many times, when getting chased. Unfortunately, this sweet skill has a small cast time, that causes you to stop for a marginal time - enough for that Udyr to stun you or Blitzcrank to grab/punch you. Good thing is, they'll never be able to prevent you from healing with this skill (except silence before-hand).
Heal - Works like surprise buttsechs. The enemy thinks that since you are silenced and that carry next to you has only 300 hp, they can kill him easily - WRONG! You hit this and Blam! the carry now has twice the HP, and you can heal him instantly when your silence fades. Also works well when you get stunned/knocked up with low hp. A real lifesaver. Swap not advisable.
Fortify - So few people actually take this. It's extremely useful, since you can save people from turret divers, kill low hp carries trying to push and in addition you can get some time for your team to get there to save the turret. Upgrade heavily recommended, sacrifice Heal for this.
Clairvoyance - Only supports should take this. I never actually use this, since wards do the same thing for longer periods and using this would sacrifice a more useful spell.
Do not take:
Ghost - Same as above, add in the fact that once they see you hit ghost, you get instantly slowed and/or stunned, then killed. Team is the thing that keeps you both alive and away.
Cleanse - Does what? Purges one set of disables. Tell you what, you'll DIE after 1.5 seconds of disable that either slows you or prevents your movement&casts, if you're focused. If you're not focused, you're in no hurry to get out of the disable. If ally is about to die, hit Heal, then AB and Wish, if necessary.
Changed accordingly to advice given by muggy8.
Pointing out changes one might want to consider:
Mender's Faith for Blink of an Eye / Mystical Vision
Good Hands for Spatial Accuracy / Haste (if you don't follow my advice...)
Insight for Mystical Vision / Blink of an Eye
If you read the previous chapter, you know which ones to take.
If you move Good Hands' point elsewhere, you probably have not taken either Heal and Clarity as spells, so you might want to move them.
Greater Mark of Replenishment - I picked this for the mana regeneration. It is also relatively cheap IP-wise. You might want to consider Greater Mark of Ability Power, Greater Mark of Scaling Ability Power and Greater Mark of Cooldown Reduction, but I find mana regeneration the most important thing for Soraka's runes.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration - I strongly advice not to get anything else, since these are cheaper and better than the flat ones. After level 8 you'll get more mana regeneration from these, also 9 of these means about 10 mana/5 sec regeneration at level 18.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana Regeneration - Same as above, but these outrank the flat ones after level 6.
Greater Quintessence of Gold - 3 G/10 secs. Add in Kage's Lucky Pick and/or Philosopher's Stone. This will get you really close to double amount of gold generation compared to others, since normal gold gain is 14 G/10 secs. Now you'll have 17+5(+5) G/10 secs. Makes it a ton easier to get Rabadon's Deathcap with little to no creep farm.
So, I'll explain why I take each of the items.
Kage's Lucky Pick - AP and 5 G/10 secs. Think if you need the +25 AP before or after the health and mana regeneration from Philosopher's Stone.
Philosopher's Stone - More gold generation and less self-casts, thanks to regeneration.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity - Because they're Ionian like Soraka. Just kidding. You want to heal more often before you start focusing on the AP increase.
Rabadon's Deathcap - Perfect for all AP users in the game. I believe no one will object.
Morello's Evil Tome - More AP and CDR. With this you'll have 35% CDR.
Needlessly Large Rod - Sell either Kage's Lucky Pick or Doran's Ring and buy this, if you get the farm. Do not upgrade. I recommend selling Doran's Ring first, because it has no GPS and has less AP - that little HP wont do much at this point anyway. If you get the money, sell the other of the two and buy another.
Zhonya's Hourglass - Buy if you get heavily focused and you have the spare Needlessly Large Rod.
Mejai's Soulstealer - Buy if your team is clearly dominating the game. This item with 15+ stacks will result in either enemy surrender or extreme annoyance for them. Very risky, will increase the focus on you. DO NOT buy after 20 minutes have passed. If you buy this, get it before Rabadon's Deathcap.
Know that same build might or might not work in every single game, and because of that you should use your brain.
So, now that you know what to take, when to take it and why to do so, I'll explain how you should use your skills.
During early game, aka laning phase, you want to go on the same lane with a beefy DPS, that requires a lot of farm. Since you should do well enough with 0 Creep Kills, the DPS will be very grateful for the infinite potions, the armor buff and gold farm. Keep giving him mana, or if he's not mana user, harass the enemy champs with silences. Heal your partner when he's lost a bit over the heal amount of your AB. Explain to the partner that he should play defensively and stick to the turret before creeps come, because your heal is so pitiful.
When team fights start to occur, you need to prioritize your team mates. Highest priority is on you. If you get focused, instantly heal yourself with AB, then Wish, then Heal. If the enemy team focused you the whole time, your team got some free time with their carries, meaning that while you are at 60% HP, their carries are around 30% HP. If you die, the team fight is lost.
Second highest priority is on your squishy carries - they get focused almost always before you. When this happens, you want to heal the one with least HP left. If your AB isn't enough, you use first Wish and then Heal, if your AB hasn't come out of cooldown yet.
At last, comes tanks. They are prepared to take focus and heavy damage, so you don't need to heal them instantly when they get some harass. Also, if there is a tank with 40% HP left and carry with 50% HP left, heal the carry, because the tank is still likely to have the carry's max HP left, not to mention the Armor and MR that are over three times bigger than the carry's.
Same goes for other team mates - Jax with 40% HP needs the heal less than Twisted Fate with 50% HP. You will also face situations where multiple guys are dying - heal the one that can disable or even kill the chasers. Do not heal the one that will obviously be caught up and killed. Do not heal the guys with ways to get away easily, like Shaco or Kassadin, unless they seem like they could get away, but can't take a single hit.
Also, during team fights, do not stand in the middle of your team, because the nasty AoE skills are highly likely to hit you too, and then force you to self-cast all the time. Hold onto the walls, and make sure there is a quick way for you to get out of the sight.
Remember, that when you sit in brush, you can freely use AB and Infuse without revealing yourself. The enemy knows you're there, but they can't properly aim at you. Even skillshots are hard to land on you if you are sitting in an unexpected part of the brush.
Do not. Period.
Maybe later in the game, if you happen to get the time (not likely to happen).
I promised to tell you how it would work. So, here it is. (This doesn't work on too fed/good trynda)
First, he needs to turret-dive after you. Dodge his spin, if he comes in with one, heal yourself. Hope that the turret is focusing him. Run around the turret, keep healing yourself as needed, do not fear to use Wish and Heal. Once he triggers his Undying Rage, start counting seconds. Once you've counted three (or four if you count fast) and then Infuse him. He will then have exactly 1 hp, cannot do his spinnaz for 3 seconds and cannot heal either - he has 2 seconds of Undying Rage left. Keep running around, heal yourself. Once he's down to 1~0.5 seconds, he'll realize what is happening and tries to run (no spinnaz/heal). When he runs, try throwing auto-attack after him, to ensure the kill.
This is extremely risky, hard and inadvisable. Do not attempt unless necessary. This might or might not work against other champions.
This guide will get you somewhere. Hope you will enjoy your wins. Avoid unskilled Russians.
Thanks to DuffTime for introducing me to the infinite beauty of GPS items, and to daeboe for creating his Soraka Guide, which I used as a base of mine. Also, thanks to Khronosh and muggy8 for their advice.
3rd of July, 2011 (GMT) - Initial release
4th of July, 2011 (GMT) - Updated masteries and items