Soraka Build Guide by DaBeejees
Not Updated For Current Season
Banana Carry [Solo Lane/APC] S
If the match somehow manages to go this long
Not Updated For Current Season
When it comes to being unorthodox, a support champion solo-laning is probably only behind a support champion trying to jungle or tank, respectively. However, even nerfed Soraka can accomplish this feat - in the right hands. As a Support/Mage champion, she is obviously quite squishy, but her offensive capabilities are surprisingly advanced. For example, Starcall is a minions' worst nightmare, and Infuse can temporarily prevent enemy champions from using abilities of their own. If you know what you are doing, you can cause some real havoc for the enemy team.
This build is solely focused on increasing your Ability Power as much as you possibly can. The higher your Ability Power, Starcall and Infuse do more damage (and the former lowers your enemies' magic resist more), and Astral Blessing and Wish restore more health. Although you'll be sacrificing defense, you'll still be a threat - a squishy, badass-magic-banana-wielder threat, but still a threat nonetheless.
I suggest you adapt your own Items, Masteries, etc. from this based on how you are doing in-game as well as your individual playstyle. Do not follow this to a 'T'; while this setup might work well for me, it might not be the same for you. Adapt and survive my friends. (>^,^)>
Note: my runes are a major work in progress, so be wary with my suggestions here.
The runes I have set here are an attempt to help the squishiness of our beloved banana wielder. I've decided to utilize the Glyphs for defensive purposes, filling each slot with a Glyph of Magic Resist in an attempt to cover that glaring weakness. You might want to add an additional Greater Seal of Armor or more if you feel like it, but you will get some armor from some of your items as well. You might also want to consider a Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed or two due to the lack of boots in this build (with the exception of the optional Ionian Boots of Lucidity or Ionian Boots of Distortion).
I'd also like to point out that I am rather unexperienced with which Runes to use at this point, so I will gladly take suggestions. Thanks in advance!
You can add your own potions/elixirs and such as you see fit, but I personally like to start off with just a free Warding Totem and Sapphire Crystal, and Recall once I get enough for a Tear of the Goddess. Doran's Ring would probably be a better choice than the Crystal, but I feel that being able to build into your other items is worth the investment, although you can certainly go with it anyway. Personally, I like to get the Tear as soon as I can afford it so I can start building up its Mana Charge (since that carries over once you upgrade it to Archangel's Staff), but you obviously don't want to abandon your turret. Recall once there's a solid gap in the action and Teleport back.
Seraph's Embrace and Rabadon's Deathcap are the bread and butter of this item set. Seraph's unique passive grants you Ability Power equal to 3% of your maximum Mana, which is huge considering how Soraka already has the 5th largest base Mana pool of all current champions (which is one of the reasons why I do not focus much - if at all - on Mana regeneration, because beyond the laning phase your Mana should not be an issue in the slightest), and the unique active is a lifesaver in a pinch as well. Rabadon's Deathcap is extremely helpful, because not only does it give you 120 Ability Power, but the fact that that it's unique passive increases your Ability Power by an ADDITIONAL 30% can cause your AP to increase dramatically as you add further items. You should also invest in Seeker's Armguard after getting Rabadon's to start working on its unique passive a bit. It isn't crucial in the least, but it's needed for Zhonya's Hourglass anyway, so you might as well get it - and that armor certainly wouldn't hurt.
An Alternate Route
Note: this is not advised, but it's a route you can take if you really feel like it. It's an option - which is why it's included - but your gold is definitely better invested elsewhere.
If things are going very well for you by this point, you might want to consider purchasing another Tear of the Goddess and start working that up. If you decide to go this route, I would suggest going for Muramana after you've maxed out this Tear's Mana Charge as opposed to another Seraph's Embrace simply because it's cheaper. All you'd get out of another Seraph's is 60 ability power, since the passive doesn't stack. While the difference might not seem like much, it's better to invest it in other items, since it's unlikely you'll get another Tear maxed anyway.
Late game, you want to continue maximizing your Ability Power as much as you can. Zhonya's Hourglass and Deathfire Grasp are the only other items (excluding Rabadon's) that increase your Ability Power by 120, which combined with Rabadon's unique passive is devastating. I'd advise going for Zhonya's first so you aren't AS MUCH of a glass cannon (not to mention the unique active could save your life, too). After this, you can add some other items if you'd like (such as Morellonomicon, Frozen Heart, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, or the mage's best friend Athene's Unholy Grail for example), but it's unlikely the match will last long enough for you to get there.
If the match somehow manages to go this long
If you manage to get to this point you should pick items based on their Passives/Actives as opposed to Ability Power, since all of the other items give more or less the same amount of AP. What item you go for here is all a matter of personal preference. It certainly would be beneficial to invest in an item with a Passive for cooldown reduction (such as Morellonomicon), since cooldown reduction is something we've more-or-less ignored here (which isn't too much of a good thing, I admit). I've also included Ionian Boots of Lucidity over Sorcerer's Shoes as an option primarily for additional CDR. I used to frequently get them myself, but I've personally decided that putting my gold elsewhere worked out better for me, which is why I started utilizing Teleport. Due to Soraka's low movement speed, however, the boots made the guide. Additionally, I have Will of the Ancients and Hextech Gunblade for the Spell Vamp if you want to go that route as well.
Note: if you are matched up against a Veigar, it would be extremely wise to invest in increasing your Magic Resist early because of his ultimate, Primordial Burst.
First thing's first: whenever you have the opportunity to put a point in Wish, DO IT! Wish is a team heal that can also get you assists, but at the very least some thank yous from your team (unless your teammates suck).
That aside, you should first invest in Starcall. This very well may be the only Soraka build on this site that has you going Starcall first, but there's a reason for it. First, Starcall is incredibly spammable, which certainly doesn't hurt at lower level Mana-wise. Second, Starcall can easily wipe out units of minions quickly to start pushing your opponent back towards his/her turret. Lastly, it reduces your enemy's Magic Resistance as well as the cooldown for Astral Blessing if it hits an enemy champion. All in all, let's just say there's a good reason it's damage got nerfed in this past update (4.8).
What you invest in next fully depends on how well you are doing. If your opponent is damaging you a bit more than you'd like, then go for Astral Blessing instead of Infuse because you can't go wrong with getting your heals. If you're getting the better of him/her, put a point in Infuse and poke them with it to silence them while you massacre their minions with Starcall.
Note: whenever you are at a point where you feel like you should upgrade Astral Blessing, do it. As mentioned above, you can never go wrong with healing, especially in a Glass Cannon build like this.
For the most part, you'll be wanting to keep your Q, W, and A around even, with the priority of Starcall -> Infuse -> Astral Blessing, unless you are having health issues, in which case switch the latter two. And again, upgrade Wish whenever you can. It is Godsent. Trust me.
How Your Ability Power Affects Your Skills
You know how the entire point of this build is maximizing your Ability Power, right? Well, here is a run-over of pretty much the biggest reason why:
~Increases damage (40/65/90/115/140 +40% of your Ability Power)
~Increases Magic Resistance Reduced (6 +1% of your Ability Power)
~Increases amount of health restored (70/120/170/220/270 +35% of your Ability Power)
~Increases bonus armor granted for two seconds (50/65/80/95/110 +15% of Ability Power)
~Increases damage done when used on an enemy (40/70/100/130/160 +5% of Max Mana and +40% of Ability Power)
~Increases amount of health restored (150/250/350 +55% of Ability Power)
See why I'm so big on it now? Totally worth it, even if only for the 55% added to Wish! A definite game changer if timed correctly.
Not surprising route for a Glass Cannon. You shouldn't need to invest in Meditation due to the sheer size of your Mana Pool, so Spell Weaving and Blade Weaving may make for a better option for the damage increase (unless you want to have Strength of Spirit ), though it'd probably be wiser to put it into defense. Or, if you'd prefer, you can go the Culinary Master route. You will want Arcane Blade , in my opinion, since that bumps up the power of your bananas, and that certainly couldn't hurt.
Pros / Cons
Thanks to Starcall, you'll be able to take out your opponent's minions and push them back to their turret, even if the opposing team duos top lane. Many top lane champions are close range melee attackers (such as Garen), so being able to attack them from a distance is an advantage already.
You can stay in your lane for extended periods of time
Thanks to Starcall being spammable and being capable of healing yourself with Astral Blessing, you can stick to your lane for an impressively long time before having to Recall ...almost too long. In fact, perhaps the only thing that can really force you to leave is Mana issues, which is usually only a problem early in the match.
Late game, you will be a force to be reckoned with
As you build up your Ability Power, Starcall will be able to rack up the damage (thanks to lowering Magic Resist as well as being spammable) and Infuse will be deal a ton of damage while silencing your opponent to boot. Also, you will still be able to heal yourself and teammates thanks Astral Blessing and Wish, and Infuse can restore some of your teammate's Mana as well. By keeping yourself and your teammates happy and healthy, you can make your opponents anything but that.
Don't even try to tell yourself otherwise. With Soraka a primary support champion, you are already squishy, and focusing all-out on your Ability Power doesn't help improve that. You need to be careful not to over extend yourself, especially without help from your teammates.
Watch out for Ganks
If you get ganked, you are screwed, plain and simple. Ghost or Flash can help a bit, but if you overextend yourself too much, you'll be lucky if you survive, even if you manage to get back to your turret - especially if you get stunned. Keep an eye on your map and make sure you have an idea where your opponents are at all times. I would suggest you only attempt to heal yourself if you're on the verge of death, because just that quick delay can give the enemy a chance to catch up and lay another - likely fatal - hit on you. If this continues to be an issue for you, you might want to invest in some Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
You will die.
That is a guarantee - and I'm not a betting man either. Obviously, you are going to die either way - even if you are downright dominant at this game - so it's more than just that. Look at the title of this guide. I don't want you to feel like your main objective is trying not to die, but I'm being completely honest (maybe too much so). You are, after all, a squishy Glass Cannon, so you can bet that glass will shatter every now and again. This is why items like Mejai's Soulstealer aren't too great of investments. You need to focus on being more conservative than not - such as by poking with Infuse to keep them at bay - because the last thing you want to do is feed your opponent. If you're having trouble, ask for help or even swap lanes if you need to. You aren't helping your team if you're dead, and there isn't a feeling much worse than your team in desperate need of a Wish when you aren't alive to give them it. Remember that Soraka is a Support first, Mage second, and your priorities should reflect that.
Don't expect to get too many kills.
Using Soraka, this shouldn't be too much of a surprise, even with an offensively-aggressive build such as this. On average, you will likely get more deaths than kills, but your assists should be high. Personally, as long as I get more assists than deaths I'm happy, with kills simply being a fortunate byproduct (I have low standards, I know). However, most of your kills will come during the later part of the game when your Ability Power is higher, and those kills will likely save the lives of your teammates in the process - and possibly even your chances of winning. During the lane phase you should be pushing your opponent back and slaughtering minions, not overly trying to get kills. You do not want to get too aggressive and set yourself up for a gank, and I don't need to go over the reason why again.
Use Teleport to get back into your lane, and Ghost/ Flash to escape it
Early in the game you will come across some Mana problems, but you should be able to force your opponent to Recall without too much difficulty before recalling yourself. Make good use of your Teleport to get back to your lane since you won't have any boots to increase your movement speed (unless you decide to get Ionian Boots of Lucidity, as mentioned several times previously). You do not want to use Ghost to get back to your lane even if Teleport is on cooldown. Ghost (or Flash if you prefer) is your safety net in a way, and you should use it to get away from your enemy if they are starting to get the better of you. It's a good idea to max out Summoner's Insight to make sure you have Teleport and Ghost/Flash ready when you need them.
This should be common sense regardless of your champion or build, but I feel like it wouldn't hurt to include it anyway. Communicating with your team is vital, especially when it comes to not getting yourself ganked. If you don't know where a certain enemy is and you can't find them on your map, either ping or simply ask your teammates! Just don't let the enemy catch you typing, because then you'll just look like an idiot (trust me, it's happened to me more than I'd like). The reverse is true as well. If another enemy champion joins your lane, inform your teammates so that they know where he/she is.
Furthermore, you'll likely be laning solo during the namesake phase (unless you are APC, obviously), but once you start reaching the time to push towards your enemy's Nexus you'll want to act a bit more Support-ish. Top off your teammates' health and mana with Astral Blessing and Infuse, respectfully, but don't overdo it - keep your cooldowns in mind.
When all is said and done, you should be poking enemy champions with Infuse while spamming minions with Starcall during the laning phase, and assisting your teammates as much as possible afterwards. Glass Cannon or not, Soraka is an extraordinarily good (and unorthodox) solo laner; she can hold her own - and then some - during the laning phase, but she'll need help afterwards, as will your teammates. Stick with either your teammates or a turret and don't get too hasty, as it'll take longer for you to respawn than it will for you to wait for your teammates to get to you (and you'll only be making your job harder in the process). You might end up switching to more of a support after the lane phase, but as long as you win, who cares, right? As long as you keep an eye on your surroundings and cover your ***, you'll kick some ***! GLHF, y'all!
I am more than open to constructive criticism, so leave a comment! Thanks for reading!