Soraka Build Guide by Utavon
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
Just making a quick note that as of 6/7/2012, this guide is going to get some work done on it. I played a lot more, tried some different things, and I'm going to end up redoing the entire items section because I made some mistakes (like not putting Aegis as a viable item, derp). I'll also be making a few other editations, all of which I will note in the chamgelog when I publish them.
Hello, and welcome to my first ever guide on Mobafire. I decided to do my first guide on Soraka because she is by far the easiest champion to support with. And yet, I still see people messing it up. I see people in solo queue maxing Starcall first in order to push the lane. My goal is to start small in the immense world of supporting and help people to become experts at a relatively simple support champion. Here we go...
This guide is strictly looking at Soraka as a support champion. She CAN be played as an AP Mid. She also can be played as an AD Carry. Don't believe me? A buddy and I were duo queuing and our clients screwed up when we tried to trade. So we had a support Graves and an AD Soraka. We got Soraka fed and my buddy carried the game. Crit bananas FTW. Is that the best role for her? Nope. Neither is AP Mid in my opinion.
A few assumptions are going to be made in this guide, and they are:
- Soraka is playing bottom lane with an AD Carry such as Graves, Ashe, Miss Fortune
- Soraka is playing the support role as per the 0 cs meta.
- Soraka will NOT be going for kills.
- We're playing on Summoner's Rift.
If your expectations for Soraka differ, you'll want to look somewhere else.
Pros / Cons
- Very easy to learn / master
- Most sustain of any champion currently in game
- Allows your AD Carry to get farmed (due to aforementioned sustain)
- Doesn't fall off late game if you can get some AP items
- Easily countered in lane ( Miss Fortune with Impure Shots, Tristana with Explosive Shot, Varus with Hail of Arrows)
- Cannot cast Infuse on yourself anymore (not a huge problem with this build)
- Lacking in offensive capabilities
I have a fair number of rune pages for my Support champions, but I never seem to stray from this one when I use Soraka, and I'll explain why.
9 x Greater Mark of Armor - Secondary runes for flat armor. I don't take the seals for armor because there are no marks for mana regeneration, and mana regeneration is important for Soraka to allow her to maximize her lane sustain. These marks are still very strong, giving you 8.2 more armor than you would normally start with. That extra armor is very helpful when laning with the enemy AD Carry.
9 x Greater Seal of Replenishment - Flat mana regen seals. I take flat instead of scaling because of the early game boost it gives ( Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration surpasses Greater Seal of Replenishment at level 7). But by the time you've reached Level 7, you've already picked up your Philosopher's Stone and won't be having any mana issues for the rest of the game. However, you can run into mana problems early game, and these combined with Expanded Mind , Meditation , and your Faerie Charm will allow you to spam your heal on cooldown to keep your AD Carry healthy. Speaking of cooldowns...
9 x Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - Flat cooldown reduction glyphs. Again, I take flat instead of scaling because of the early game boost it gives ( Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction surpasses Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction at level 13). Early game is important for any Support because you want to get your AD Carry fed as soon as possible and allow for safe laning. Levels are also hard to come by as a Support since you will be constantly leaving lane to ward and clear enemy wards. I generally am about level 14 or 15 when the game ends, making Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction the way to go.
3 x Greater Quintessence of Gold - Strong on any support. Since you will not be collecting gold from creeps, having a stronger passive income is key to success.
Here's a detailed walk-through of my 8/0/22 masteries setup, starting with the Utility Tree and going from top to bottom and left to right.
- Gives us improved Clairvoyance and improved Flash, the two summoner spells we will most commonly take with Soraka.
- Increases your mana pool per level. Put all 3 points into this not so much for its benefits, but for the mastery it unlocks, Meditation
- Can't tell you how many times this has saved me. There's really no better place to put this mastery point since your other options are Swiftness , Good Hands , and Scout . Swiftness and Good Hands are weak with just one point, and I'll explain at the end of this chapter why you shouldn't touch Scout .
- Improves your lane sustain. When combined with your 9 x Greater Seal of Replenishment and your Faerie Charm, you can spam that heal pretty much on cooldown in the laning phase with no worries of going oom.
- Increases your passive Gold generation. Great for any support champion. Also unlocks Wealth .
- This is huge, people. HUGE. +40 gold at the start of the game doesn't sound like a lot, but it allows you to start with 4 x Sight Ward at the beginning of the game, along with a Faerie Charm and Health Potion. See the items chapter for more details.
- Increases experience gained. Helpful, since you will be leaving lane fairly often to drop wards. I could see only putting 3 points in Awareness and putting the fourth into Sage , but I don't like to be reliant on getting assists. Especially on a passive Support like Soraka.
- +6% cooldown reduction. Combined with Sorcery in the Offense Tree and your 9 x Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction, you start the game with 15.89% cooldown reduction. That's 3.178 seconds off of Astral Blessing, 1.589 seconds off of Infuse, and a whopping 19.068 seconds off of your Ultimate, Wish, at level 1, with NO ITEMS. Your other option is to get Strength of Spirit as one of the best healers in the game. Need I say more?
- Doesn't seem like much, but it puts Clairvoyance on a 60 second cooldown, Exhaust on a 179 second cooldown, and Flash on a 213 second cooldown. Pretty cool if you ask me. Take it.
- Get it for the improved Exhaust. You might not always take Exhaust, so if you want to make 2 mastery pages, you can. Personally, the only place I'd be putting that point in otherwise is Mental Force for ONE more AP point. Not worth it to me, I'd rather not have to remember to switch pages when I change summoners just for one freaking point of AP on a Support champion. The extra debuff, however, is very useful for grabbing kills for your AD Carry or harassing in the laning phase.
- It's the best place to put the points so that you can get at Sorcery . Put 3 points here.
- The whole reason we came to the Offensive Tree in the first place. See my notes on Intelligence above for more info.
FAQ about Masteries:
Q: Why not go 0/8/22 for some more beefiness?
A: A lot of people do, and it isn't a bad way to build Soraka. I just prioritize the cooldown reduction early since Soraka is a passive support. If you're getting hit by the enemy fairly often, you should reconsider your positioning. You can use Astral Blessing and Infuse on your AD Carry from a safe distance, and you can even use Wish on them from the freaking fountain!!! You don't need to be in the thick of things unless you want to silence someone, and even then you've just used your one quality offensive spell. GTFO.
Q: Why not use Scout ?
A: Sounds like a good mastery, right? And for one point, why not? Because it is next to useless. 5% more range is equal to 55 extra range added to the sight ward's current 1100 range. You know how much extra vision that is? Seeing as the slowest champion without boots will have a movement speed of 300 (units per second), you will see this champion a full .18 of a second sooner than you would without the mastery. Since your reaction time is the same with or without the mastery, you will only react to the gank .18 of a second sooner than normal. Oh, and I just used the best case scenario. Imagine if their jungler is Rammus with 3 x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed, points in Swiftness and Initiator , and he's using Powerball. Pretty useless? Yep. Get Improved Recall , which will get you back to the fountain and away from danger a full second sooner.
Most Viable Picks
- Take Clairvoyance whenever you feel that your team will be able to get the most use out of it. There have been many guides written about Clairvoyance, so I'll let them tell you about how to use it properly.
- The alternate to Clairvoyance, Exhaust is an effective tool throughout the game to secure kills and harass an enemy champion. With a point, in Summoner's Wrath , this skill becomes more than worthy of a slot in your inventory when Clairvoyance isn't going to be as effective. Also feel free to take Exhaust whenever you feel that your team needs a little more cc. It really just comes down to personal preference when I take Clairvoyance over Exhaust, they're both very effective spells on Soraka.
- Under certain conditions, you're suicidal if you don't take Flash. Nuff said.
Less Viable Picks
- I can see this working under certain circumstances in place of Flash. Doesn't mean I'm ever going to use Ghost on Soraka, but I'm also not going to call you a noob for doing it.
- Three heals? Ok. I've seen it done, and I feel like it's a waste of a summoner spell. But Heal has it's uses. I just feel that if you need three heals, you're doing something you really shouldn't have been doing in the first place.
- Not with this build, you won't! Total waste of a spell if you're using it with this build. If you're building some other way, maybe. But then again, you're probably going AP Soraka if you're taking Clarity. And then that would also mean you're not getting Crest of the Ancient Golem ... Pretty useless, but in some niche circumstances outside the scope of this build...
Bad Picks That You Should Never Touch As Soraka EVER!!!
Skills and Skill Sequence
Consecration Your passive. In the current meta, there isn't much use for it until teamfights. And even then, the magic resist bonus will more than likely be penetrated by their AP Carry, so this passive isn't very useful. However, if your AD Carry is doing exceptionally well in lane, it is viable to move Soraka up to mid lane with the AP Carry since Consecration and Infuse will help them immensely in lane. Don't do this on a whim though. Talk with your team. Your main priority is still your AD Carry.
Your Q ability. Again, kind of useless in the current meta. If you get it during the laning phase, you are going to be pushing the lane a lot, which isn't generally helpful. Save this for when you have no other options. Late game, this ability is useful in team fights (mainly for the debuff) and in pushing creeps from your buildings. Get points in this ability only when you have no other options.
Your W ability. Ridiculously great. If your AD Carry is under 75% health, use it on them. It also gives them an armor buff for 5 seconds, making it very useful in team fights to save a dying teammate from the enemy AD Carry. Get this ability first (unless invading, then you could possibly get Infuse first), and max it first at level 9.
Your E ability. Grants mana to an ally or silences and damages an enemy. Also your only form of CC. Use it on the enemy AP Carry at the start of a team fight, and spam it on your allies whenever they don't have a full mana bar since it doesn't cost mana to use. Get this ability by level 2 and max it second.
Your R ability. Heals everyone on your team regardless of status or position. This ability is useful all the time. Laning phase? Heal a struggling ally in top lane to help fend off a gank or secure a kill. Team fights? You don't even have to target anyone, just hit R randomly in the middle of the team fight when your allies need some extra health. Having trouble with Baron Nashor ? Hit R. It's pretty much the answer to all of life's numerous problems. Get levels in this ability at levels 6, 11, and 16.
FAQ about Skills and Skill Sequence
Q: Why do you hold off on taking a point in Starcall until you literally can't take a point anywhere else?
A: Like I said, Starcall has limited uses. If I decide to put even one point into this ability early on, that is a point that I can't put into Astral Blessing or Infuse. That's healing that I'm not giving, mana I'm not giving, and extra armor that I'm not giving. I don't think that Starcall has anything to offer me that is better than what Astral Blessing and Infuse give me per level. I can see possibly putting your next point in Starcall as soon as team fights break out then leaving it at level 1, but until then, you're better off staying away from it in my opinion.
Your starting items will ALWAYS be Faerie Charm + 4 x Sight Ward + Health Potion. I say always because there's really no better option. Let me know if you think there's a better starting setup in the comments below.
This is your core item build that you will shoot for every game. Build the Philosopher's Stone out of your Faerie Charm and buy 5 wards and an Oracle's Elixir or Boots of Speed if you can afford it (it's situational what you get, but definitely get the Philosopher's Stone on your first trip back to start up the passive gold ASAP). With your increased passive gold, you should be able to afford Ionian Boots of Lucidity and more wards or that Oracle's Elixir on your second trip back. From there, continue to prioritize leaving your fountain with wards. When you have the extra gold, buy your Kage's Lucky Pick to give your spells a little more spice and increase your passive gold. Complete your core build with the Fiendish Codex while continuing to buy wards.
"...buy 5 wards..."
"...you should be able to afford Ionian Boots of Lucidity and more wards..."
"...continue to prioritize leaving your fountain with wards."
"...while continuing to buy wards."
I can't stress this enough. YOU ARE THE SUPPORT!!! Your core build comes secondary to having vision of the map. Leave the fountain with at least 3 wards every time. Your teammates should be helping you with warding, but it is your job to buy the majority of wards. Generally, I'll get done with this core build at around 25-30 minutes into the game. Any earlier, and you probably aren't buying enough wards. If you can afford it, and no one else on your team is better suited, maintain an Oracle's Elixir.
This is an example of a very viable end-game build for Soraka based on the core build I just outlined. You'll notice it has 5 items. BUY SOME MORE FREAKING WARDS!!! I'm serious. You never get a 6th item as Support. Ever. Keep buying wards.
Note that everything bought after the Fiendish Codex (except for wards) is a situational purchase. I'll outline some viable picks for Soraka and when they should be purchased. Keep in mind that it would behoove you to keep either your Philisopher's Stone or your Kage's Lucky Pick instead of upgrading both to maintain the passive gold.
Shurelya's Reverie This builds off of your Philosopher's Stone, so it might surprise you when I say that it isn't that great on Soraka. Reason for this is the extra cooldown reduction puts us way over the cap of 40% if we still get the Fiendish Codex. Soraka would rather have the Fiendish Codex, but if you're in need of a Shurelya's Reverie, get a Kindlegem after Kage's Lucky Pick and skip the Fiendish Codex.
The other upgrade option for Philosopher's Stone. Only reason you would get this is to increase your Tenacity, which is useful against a team with a lot of cc. It also adds to the regeneration effects already found on Philosopher's Stone, but at the cost of the passive gold.
The one and only upgrade you should be getting for your Kage's Lucky Pick, and even then, you should only get it if you can use the active healing reduction to counter someone like Dr. Mundo or Swain. The extra cooldown reduction is useless (over 40% cap), but the +20 AP, +5 mana regen, and the added item slot upon upgrade make it worth the lost passive gold and upgrade cost as long as you can use the active.
This is a viable upgrade for your Fiendish Codex. If you REALLY like to spam your stuff, Athene's Unholy Grail will let you. It will also give you Ability Power and Magic Resist, both of which are desired stats as Soraka. The extra cooldown reduction is of no use to us since we are at the cap, but it's only an extra 5%. So if you can make good use of the massive mana regen, this is your item.
A great item to get as your 5th if their AD Carry got really fed and is ripping you and your team apart. A Chain Vest also has a lot of upgrade options, such as Guardian Angel, Thornmail, and Zhonya's Hourglass, all of which can be effective on Soraka.
Enemy AP Carry hurts? Grab this. He hurts less now. Still need more Magic Resist? Build it into Abyssal Scepter, Banshee's Veil, or Quicksilver Sash.
Fill out your 5th item slot with a Needlessly Large Rod if there's nothing on the enemy team that you need to counter. Build it into a Rabadon's Deathcap if the game lasts that long. The reason that Rabadon's Deathcap works so well on Soraka is because Astral Blessing and Wish have great AP ratios for their healing components. Kind of ironic: Rabadon's Deathcap makes you heal more.
Keep in mind that you are the support, and the odds of you actually getting to these late game items is actually kind of slim. For example, one game I played ended like this:
I didn't even finish the core build. However, we won, and I went 0/1/12. How is this possible? Support champions don't rely on items to be effective. So, understand that all of that stuff about late game items I was talking about just now is going to be useless to you in game about 50% of the time. And even if you do use it, you'll probably only ever get to buy one or two of those items. My personal favorite is to get Rabadon's Deathcap, upgrade to the Morello's Evil Tome, and get an Abyssal Scepter, leaving one slot open for wards. But I think I've only ever got to actually build that a couple of times. Too much gold, too little time.
Honestly, there aren't that many bad match-ups for Soraka. However, there are a few that seem to really shine, such as:
Ezreal can do a lot of damage in a very short amount of time, but he burns a lot of mana if he just keeps spamming his abilities. Who better to lane with then a mana-bearing unicorn?
Pretty much the same deal here. In fact...
You can match Soraka up with any champion inhibited by mana and get positive results. This works, because a lot of champions need both health and mana in order to function, and Soraka provides both of those in near infinite quantities.
Enemy Lane Match-Ups
ANY lane that has one of those three champions is going to be a problem for you. Why? Well, let's play some Tri-Bond. What do these three champions have in common?
HINT: Impure Shots, Explosive Shot, and Hail of Arrows
Yep, they all reduce the target's healing by 50% (but only when activated). That means your healing is going to do next to nothing when you try to save your buddy. Try to use Astral Blessing and Wish either before or after the effect is in place. But if they are going to die before the effect wears off, by all means, fire everything.
This is an example of a kill lane. Kill lanes are created with the purpose of trapping a champion out of position and dropping their health bar from 100% to 0% in a matter of seconds. This directly counters you since you can't do much other than silence one enemy when they jump on your AD Carry. And what are you going to do when Leona uses her Zenith Blade to close the gap, stuns you first with Shield of Daybreak and stuns you again with Solar Flare while Graves closes the gap with Quickdraw, bursts you with Buckshot, then auto-attacks you until one final Collateral Damage finishes you off? Be especially wary of enemy lanes such as this one.
This is an example of a poke lane. Poke lanes are created with the purpose of "poking" an enemy champion until one swift combo will kill them. They excel at keeping their distance from the enemy and "kiting" them. While this strategy works really well on kill lanes since the kill lane won't be able to get close enough to catch them out of position, Soraka performs fairly well against poke lanes. Reason for this is Astral Blessing. They can't actually poke you down to the point where they can kill you because you just keep spamming this whenever you're a little under full. That combined with the armor buff, and you can farm all day with little fear.
Early Game: Laning
Early on, your job is to create a safe environment for your AD Carry to farm up in. With Soraka, your role is much more passive than other Supports such as Blitzcrank or Alistar. Since you lack any form of hard cc, your job is to let your AD Carry do the dirty work. Use Astral Blessing and Infuse to heal your AD Carry back up and give them mana so they can spam their harassing skills.
Early Game: Warding
There are two locations you need to keep warded during the laning phase. The first two images outline those critical locations. The next two are optional but become critical at different stages of the laning phase.
Bot Tribush. Useful when you're on either team to spot ganks coming, as this is the most popular location for the enemy jungler to come from if you are purple. Blue team's jungler can also come around behind dragon and gank through this bush, so you'll be doing your lane a favor by keeping this bush warded at all times.
Notice how the ward not only provides line of sight on Dragon , but it also gives line of sight over both of the purple-side jungle entrances. This helps both your lane and mid lane avoid ganks while protecting Dragon in case the enemy team attempts a kill.
If you are the purple team and have lost your tower, or if you are blue team and you've destroyed their tower, warding this will help to keep you safe from enemy ganks. This ward is also great for offensive or defensive buff control.
Same thing, but in reverse.
Mid-Late Game: Team-Fights
Your role doesn't change all that much from laning phase. In a team-fight, assuming you don't have any actives on your items, your job is to heal those who are dying, replenish mana to those who need it, silence the AP Carry when you can, and use R kind of like a "Oh ****, you're all about to die!!!" button.
Pro Tip: See those Champion icons on the left-hand side of your screen? If you hit W, and then click on a champion icon, Soraka will heal that champion!!! That works with any friendly-target spell, and it helps immensely when the team-fights get intense.
If you do have actives, use them!! If you have a Morello's Evil Tome, use it on someone. Preferably the enemy carry or a health-regenerating tank like Dr. Mundo.
Mid-Late Game: Warding
Take all of the early game wards I showed you, add in their mirror images on the other side of the map, and add in these two locations and their mirror images, and that gives you a decent idea of where you should be warding throughout the game. These next two locations are all about spotting enemies moving around the map by having vision of the most traveled locations on Summoner's Rift.
Note the location on the edge of the brush while still in the brush. That gives extra vision along that left side path while still providing vision along the path leading to the Crest of the Ancient Golem buff.
This ward gives a little less vision than we could get, but we give that up for more security. Most people (at least under 1200) assume that if you warded this crossroads, you did it in the middle of the crossroads. They don't think to check that brush, and this ward still serves the purpose of covering that crossroads.
Thanks for taking the time to read my detailed guide on Soraka: The Sustain Support. If you have any comments or concerns about this guide and Soraka as played as a Support champion, feel free to voice those comments and concerns in the discussion below. I will get around to reading them all even if I don't respond to them all.
I view this guide as a learning opportunity for all of us. So, if you think something works better and you can tell me how and why, let me know! You can only benefit everyone here by doing so.
5/16/2012 - Published
5/16/2012 - Added a FAQ to "Skills and Skill Sequence" to address concerns brought up in the discussion by MissMaw; condensed "Summoner Spells"; expanded on "Enemy Lane Match-Ups"
5/17/2012 - Cleaned up some grammatical errors
5/23/2012 - Darius Patch - Added Athene's Unholy Grail to items section