Syndra Build Guide by Tibzmonster
Not Updated For Current Season
Not Updated For Current Season
Hello, everyone. This is my first guide here on Mobafire, so don't expect some fantastic organization and writing here. All I know is that Syndra has been one of my favorite champions since her release and, for whatever reason, she is very underplayed! I don't see many other Syndra's out there, and the ones I do see are almost always in between bad and acceptable. It's a shame, because she has so much untapped power (lol), but people get frustrated with her difficulty and just never play her again.
The first thing I MUST point out is that Syndra is very, very hard to get the hang of. Think of her like a more difficult Ezreal. You need to both get a feel for her cooldowns and the flow of her abilities, but you also need to maximize the potential out of her skill shots. I am pointing out right now that you will not be perfect with Syndra just by reading this guide, going and playing your first game with her and then losing and raging and never playing her again. Your first few games will be rough, but you will end up having the advantage of mastering a VERY strong champion as well as mastering an underplayed champion that other people don't know how to counter. With that out of the way, enjoy the rest of the guide as you please!
P.S. - I will update this guide frequently and make sure it is up to date with all the changes to in game items and Syndra in general. For clarity, I will write in information from patches as if they already happened - even if they have not come into effect - for the sake of easier understanding in the future. Just note that just because something isn't in the game at the moment, yet is in the guide, it will probably come into effect in the near future.
Pros and Cons
Spammable, High damage, quick cast time spell in her Q
Three of her four spells can be cast while moving
Can stun multiple targets from a long range with her Scatter the Weak
VERY strong laning against skill shot champions, because you can move while casting your harass while they can not
Powerful burst upon reaching level 6
Hard to gank with a slow, knock back, and a stun.
Can even turn ganks around with her strong burst
100% entirely depending on landing a Scatter the Weak or Force of Will in order to follow up with more harass or go in for a kill
Has probably the hardest initiation skill shot in the game with Scatter the Weak
Easy to get flustered in team fights and lose track of your number of orbs on the field
Ignite is a strong addition to any AP mid because it reduces healing from either Spell Vamp or Health Potions, and it deals true damage that isn't easily calculated in an enemy's mind. In addition, all damage helps in the delicate back and forth of mid lane, so any leverage to help secure a lead is very welcome.
is Syndra's only genuine escape option. While her Scatter the Weak stun is very strong, and while her Force of Will slow is castable while moving, they won't stop you from being chain CC'd under a turret.
doesn't help Syndra anywhere near as much as Flash because her Force of Will already slows, so it shouldn't be a problem when Syndra wants to be faster than the opponent.
is a spell you should leave to your supports to taking. They have a summoner ability to spare, but this just won't help secure kills the way Ignite and Flash will.
This is tempting... But CC isn't a huge problem for Syndra unless it is a long range, unpredictable skill shot, such as an Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow. Even then, you could just Flash out of the way of said arrow.
Again, leave this to your support or AD carry to grab. A simple 90 heal won't save you in mid lane, mainly because the other AP mid is probably bringing Ignite. A level one Heal is completely negated by a level one Ignite due to the damage dealt and the healing reduction. Ignite will still deal 25 damage even if you use up Heal.
I have not tested this yet, but it could possible help against certain burst casters like LeBlanc.
I did try this one game as Syndra. The results were pretty inconclusive, because I didn't get much use out of it, just because I didn't see any opportunities that screamed "Teleport! Free Quadra kill!". In all seriousness, this ability is okay but more suited to someone with quicker, more secure burst.
Probably the Most Boring Passive in the Game - Transcendence
This is such a basic passive for such a complex champion, but whatever Riot says goes. I'll go over each ability's upgrade by ability, and then finally the effect they have on each other when maxed.
This spell deals 15% more damage to Champions.
This means that, when maxed, this spell will deal more damage to Champions than your W, Force of Will. This means that it should be spammed to death in team fights, and should be your main source of damage (other than Unleashed Power, obviously).
Force of Will
The duration of the slow of this spell is increased by 33%. This increases the slow from 1.5s to 2s
This... is okay. It is enough to suppress the effects of Tenacity, but nothing more than that. It is indeed a very meh upgrade, but appreciated in the end.
Scatter the Weak
Cone width increased by 50%
Because you max this spell last, you will rarely get the effects of this passive. Even when you do, you should be good enough with your orbs to hit them without the increased width. All this does is allow you to possibly hit someone with random orbs by accident, and push back more than a single champion. These situations are rare, and this is indeed the worst of the upgrades.
Range increased by 75
You can not imagine what this does for Syndra late game. Now, of course, 75 range isn't ground breaking, but it does a lot for her when against carries like Kog'Maw or Caitlyn with super long ranges. Even then, being able to keep your distance in any team fight is always a plus, so being able to pump out your damage from a safer distance is very welcome indeed.
Force of Will - The Boring Spell
This spell is very, very easy to use, but it's also very rewarding.
When available, you should always throw an orb with this spell, because it allows for an easy follow up Scatter the Weak afterwards. Only throw a minion when you have no Dark Spheres on the playing field, and you either:
A. Can place an orb properly for a solid stun with Scatter the Weak
B. Don't have your Scatter the Weak off cooldown and won't until you can use your Force of Will again.
This spell will do more damage to minions when maxed, due to a slightly higher ability power ratio (.6 on Dark Sphere compared to .7 on Force of Will).
However, on Champions, due to your passive, Dark Sphere will have a .69 (giggity) ratio as well as a higher base damage, so that should always be kept in the back of your mind.
In laning, however, this spell does some amazing zoning. Just farm along, start whistling, spamming your joke, whatever it is you do. Then, grab a minion. This will immediately scare your opponent into thinking you're going to throw it, and they will back off and try to juke. I use this tactic whenever my allied cannon minion gets low, because if they go for 40g, I get a free slow and damage, which allows quite a bit of follow up.
Scatter the Weak - The weirdest spell ever
This ability... Is an oddball. It doesn't synchronize very well with Syndra's other spells due to it's range, but there are ways around it. This spell will make or break your ability to play Syndra, so you NEED to learn how the skill shot works from long range.
75% of the time, using this spell will be immediately after a Dark Sphere or a Force of Will where an orb is directly on top of an enemy and it will be a guaranteed hit. The other 25%, you have to hit a skill shot, with a skill shot, to form another skill shot. Basically three times the skill of a normal skill shot! Now, in the situation of landing a stun on an enemy escaping, you will want to place your orb with Force of Will, because it has a further range than Dark Sphere and you can therefore knock it away further and place it more precisely for Scatter the Weak.
Never, never, NEVER use this spell for damage. It is 100% not a damaging spell. You may use it while farming neutral minions after a team fight, but when farming enemy minions, taking Baron/Dragon, etc. you should NEVER use this spell. This spell is a stun and a knock back, just imagine that this spell, unless it will secure you a 5% enemy, doesn't deal damage.
Also, this should be a single target spell. While you can set up some amazing team-wide stuns if you have multiple orbs, that requires an insane amount of focus and precision. That takes your focus and you can easily become flustered. In team fights, aim this spell at a single person. If you can hit multiple people and still hit that person, then great. But focus one person, and you will be much more successful with this spell.
Additionally, late game, this spell should almost always be used for a stun. Because your Dark Sphere is on a 2.4 second cooldown late game, you should always be able to place one on top of an attacker and then E them away for both a knock back and a stun.
Unleashed Power and Dark Sphere - Common Misconceptions
Out of all the things I have heard about Syndra, I have heard the biggest misconceptions about these two abilities and how they synchronize. This may seem obvious while written, but it is a surprising concept for most people who want to play Syndra.
You will almost always cast your ultimate with only two Dark Sphere's on the field.
Yes, shocking I know. You may be asking "Tibz, why wouldn't you max cooldown reduction and get seven spheres out for even MORE damage?". Well, young grasshopper, you can if you have the time to do so. Examples of this would be before team fights or when waiting for your prey to enter a brush. However, in lane, you simply don't have the time to do so.
First of all, spamming your orbs on minions will both push your lane and secondly it will tip off to the enemy that you're setting up for your ultimate. Not to mention if you don't get your combo off quickly you will drain your mana. Whenever you go in for a kill in lane, you will set it up with your Force of Will --> Scatter the Weak combo and then follow up with your burst combo.
Let's set up an example. Let's say that you have two Doran's Rings, Sorcerer's Shoes, and then an Athene's Unholy Grail. That is 110 ability power plus runes and masteries, and then you have 28 magic penetration against someone with, say, 45 magic resistance, base + runes. Therefore, our combo will be:
304 damage per Dark Sphere, 211 from Force of Will, 101 from Scatter the Weak, another 304 from Dark Sphere, then 700 damage from her ultimate.
This is a 1620 damage combo, not including any previous harassment or Ignite. You don't have much room to cast other spells in the short duration of the CC you have, and if you did it isn't entirely necessary. 1620 damage is a whole lot at that level, and you can even finish off with another Dark Sphere while chasing in order to finish for 1924 damage in one short burst combo.
Now, some people may say that you should wait until you fire off the chasing Dark Sphere to use your ultimate, but that isn't a good idea. While waiting for the cooldown on Dark Sphere, the enemy could
A. Kick your *** with some counter burst while you have no cooldowns
B. Blink/Run away
Because your stun only lasts 1.5 seconds, you need to capitalize on it as much as possible. This means firing your orbs while your target is definitely in range and will definitely get hit by it. Unless you know their escapes are on cooldown or you can continue chasing without risk of counter attack from enemies, then fire your ultimate during the stun with five orbs up.
This is a topic I feel most people don't understand on Syndra. Most people I've discussed it with assume that you 100% need maxed cooldown reduction in order to get 7 orbs out for your ultimate, and in order to maximize the damage out of it. You do not need to specifically strive for cooldown reduction as Syndra . Just getting an Athene's Unholy Grail and sustaining blue buff is good for cooldown reduction, and even without maximum cooldown reduction, your combo will seldom suffer from it, as explained in the previous section.
Additionally, she has very strong base damage on her spells in the mid game. She does not require much ability power at all in order to burst a squishy. This, of course, should come into your itemization. If you really want to press a lead against an enemy champion, you need to be able to quickly clear waves and then roam. As Syndra, you are at your best when you are making your presence known to everyone. Mid game is where Syndra shines, because she has her passive activated on her maxed Q, and she should have enough ability power to burst all but the tankiest of the enemy team.
Ability power is a late game stat for Syndra. Your main priorities should always be enough mana regeneration to sustain your rampage, and enough ability power to burst their Ranged AD Carry or their AP Carry. Generally, from my experience, having a Rabadon's Deathcap, an Athene's Unholy Grail, and a Void Staff is enough damage to burst any carry, which is always a win for your team.
This will probably be the longest and most in depth of my sections, because it is the most flexible and the part of Syndra that will require the most practice.
In almost every situation ever, I start with boots, three pots and immediately get two Doran's Ring's and some wards and maybe some more pots if I feel I'll need to counter some harass.
Syndra is a burst caster, but she isn't a typical burst caster who finishes champions with a swift blast of every one of their spells. She relies entirely on landing a skill shot to engage, be it her Force of Will or her Scatter the Weak, and doesn't have an instant blink or targeted CC to help her combo, like Ahri or LeBlanc. She is very similar to Cassiopeia, in the sense that she relies on hitting her Dark Sphere's ( Noxious Blast's) for harass and then going in for a kill with a combo.
So logically, she'll need some ability power. If you're doing well, feel free to go all out and kick some enemy mid champion's butt with a swift Rabadon's Deathcap rush. This isn't as powerful as it is on other champions like Annie, but it is still something that you should do if the situation presents itself.
In addition to being bursty and harassy at the same time, she is spammy. Very very spammy. In a typical kill combo, she will cast Dark Sphere --> Force of Will --> Scatter the Weak --> Dark Sphere --> Unleashed Power --> Dark Sphere. That is six casts, all with high-ish mana costs, in addition to farming.
Therefore, in 99% of games with Syndra you will need a mana engine by the end of the laning phase. Generally, two Doran's Ring's will be enough to sustain you for a very long time when coupled with the blue you get from your jungler as well as the blues you steal from killing the other mid lane. On Syndra, I tend to favor mana regen items like Athene's Unholy Grail over bulk mana items like Rod of Ages. This is because Syndra will do a lot of harass, and a lot of farming.
However, this is in a good game. If you aren't doing so hot, then you should go and grab a Kage's Lucky Pick and then get magic resistance. Lots and lots of MR, all day everyday. Typically, Mercury's Treads, Athene's Unholy Grail, and Abyssal Scepter are all staples of items I aim for while losing my lane. When you can, get the magic resistance components when you go back over the ability power components.
After the laning phase has ended, and you have level two boots and then two big items. After this, notice the state of the game. This is where things get very tricky. Is their Vladimir top raping face? Then you'll need some magic resist. Is their Sivir one shotting your Vayne? Get a Zonya's Hourglass. Are both Vladimir and Sivir destroying? Get health, like Rylai's Crystal Scepter, and then mixed defenses in a Guardian Angel.
Say you have a Fiora top on the enemy team that is fed, and he is building EXTREMELY glass cannon. In this situation, because you have CC and he does not, then you can go ahead and build more ability power in order to burst her down immediately when you see her. This is more efficient because you have the CC to lock her up and win trades and burst her before she can even land some auto attacks. If their Ashe is very fed, then a similar concept applies. Because you can burst her down, then you don't NEED to build tanky, because you can focus her and give your team the breathing room they need to win the 5v4 team fight.
Adapting to a situation in your build is the best skill any league player can ever have. It is the hardest skill to master, but if you focus on mastering this skill above learning how to land your skill shots, then you will be golden. Again, item builds are -never- set in stone, so you must always be flexible and really look at the situation.
Tear of the Goddess + Archangel's Staff and my Opinions
I have been personally requested to make a section on these particular items and why I am against them. My answer is simple - Syndra needs early game mana regeneration, and Tear of the Goddess is late game bulk mana and ability power. While it's true that Syndra can build stacks very quickly , that doesn't mean she should.
Another reason I don't like these items is that the Tear of the Goddess and Archangel's Staff only provide glass cannon stats. Syndra doesn't need the bulk at all, but when Athene's Unholy Grail is cheaper, provides magic resist, more long-term and early game mana and ability power, you can't really pass it up for Archangel's Staff and Tear of the Goddess.
On Syndra, farming is very easy due to her Dark Sphere and Force of Will spells. Never, EVER use your Scatter the Weak to farm. It has a very long cooldown, and won't do much damage since it is maxed last. Syndra will be easily out-traded with your Scatter the Weak on cooldown, because landing that stun means less damage taken and another Dark Sphere landed, so don't ever use it for farming. Once you get the blue buff, generally 7 or 9 minutes in depending on the jungler, you will be able to kill the back waves with your Dark Sphere --> Force of Will combo. Your Dark Sphere will not one shot the caster minions at max rank without some hefty ability power, so generally you'll want to either throw a minion first and then land a Dark Sphere. Make sure to throw a front minion into the mix (or a cannon minion, if there is one) because the two spells' damages will be enough to secure either a front minion by itself or a cannon minion with another Dark Sphere. Generally in mid game, farming minions is something like:
Force of Will a front/cannon minion to the back wave, then adding a Dark Sphere, securing the rest with auto attacks or Dark Sphere's if you have mana to spare.
Farming late game is a little different, with the combo being:
Force of Will a melee minion into the other melee minions, then adding a Dark Sphere, then finishing the back wave with a single Dark Sphere.
Farming on Syndra is very flow based but you will get the hang of it very quickly. She's similar to Galio in the sense that she needs both spells to farm but she clears entire waves almost instantly, especially late game.
This is the section in which I would need an entirely separate guide for, but of course with me being as lazy as I am, you'll get this short and sweet lesson.
Teamwork wins games. Not champion picks, not individual scores, not how badly you outplay someone, but teamwork. Teamwork is what allows people to get over awful early game and laning phases just to turn it around and have amazing team fights late game and secure another victory, especially in solo-queue. The main point I always want to get across to teammates is that a game is never over, people make mistakes and if you keep your focus high, then you'll be able to overcome your rocky early game to secure another win in your match history. Games are never over until a nexus is downed, so a game is never lost.
I could rant about this for a novel, but I think this should suffice in getting my point across.
Laning - The general stuffs
Syndra's laning is probably some of the strongest... But only after she has all three of her abilities. Before hand, you will need to keep your distance, and last hit with auto attacks. Harass with Dark Sphere when given the opportunity, but make sure to always avoid harass. Being Syndra, you don't have much presence the first few levels, so you can not let the enemy press on their obvious advantage and zone you from experience and gold.
Syndra's biggest strength in laning is her ability to move while casting. This is such a strong trait, imagine Orianna, but without the wasted time auto attacking. It is such a strong part of laning to have, and it's something everyone should take advantage of while playing her. Just keep patrolling, moving constantly in the lane. This will make casting a surprise for your enemy, and you can catch them off guard while they auto attack or cast for a last hit. If against a melee, this is the greatest zone ever. If against a ranged, you have to play a bit more aggressively positioning wise, but it's still a safe way to harass and zone.
Now, if they really get over confident, then this is when you have to hit them with a combo for harass. This is generally:
Force of Will --> Dark Sphere --> Scatter the Weak --> Auto attacks --> Dark Sphere
When against someone like Diana, a burst assassin with two gap closers, remember to always save your Scatter the Weak for when she engages on you. It will allow you to create some distance, as well as hit some Dark Sphere's or a Force of Will on the retreat.
Save Scatter the Weak unless you go in for a stun. This is a very important part of playing Syndra, because of how important the CC is to her playstyle. Being able to land her skill shots safely is 60% of her damage. In laning, you should almost always position your Scatter the Weak's targetted Dark Sphere with a Force of Will. This is because if you throw the orb on top of an enemy, they are slowed, and you get an almost guaranteed stun from your E.
Laning - Tanky enemies
Tanky enemies are the bane of every burst caster. Thankfully, Syndra is not like other burst casters. In fact, she thrives on sustained combat, because of how spammable her orb is.
If they have a very tanky carry, say Sivir (damn Spell Shield) or Diana, you will need to play by harassing or picking off when low. For example - When playing against Diana, always hit her with a Force of Will with a minion --> Dark Sphere combo. This will slowly whittle her down until you have enough damage to burst her down. For someone like Sivir, you have to make sure she does not spell shield your CC (either Force of Will OR Scatter the Weak, as these both set up your combo). Spell Shields aren't too damaging to Syndra's overall damage, but if you don't land that stun or slow, then that's a kill slipped between your fingers. Try and bait it out with your ultimate. Remember, a spell shield will only block one orb of your ultimate. Because of the lower damage of each separate ultimate orb compared to her other abilities, and the amount of orbs fired, you will always want an enemy to spell shield your ultimate.
Laning - Bursty enemies
These champions are much, much harder for Syndra. The problem is that she is a burst caster, but her burst is very slow comparatively to other champions. She will have more damage than, say, an LeBlanc, but LeBlanc's burst is in three spells that occur at almost the same points, the entire time you're silenced and can't counter. This causes a lot of problems for Syndra, because your only option is to buy a lot of magic resist. Even if you dominate your lane, you need to build lots of magic resist.
In situations like this, you rely a lot on early game for dominance. If you manage to get your ult ahead of the enemy, you're golden. But you need to capitalize on every single thing you can. Do they use one of their abilities to help last hit? Pressure them while it's on cooldown. Do they stand still so that they can auto attack a minion? Throw a Dark Sphere at them, and then back off immediately. You need to poke and zone burst casters.
Ping help from your jungler if you haven't been able to pressure them properly. It's necessary you get help from your ally if you don't solidify a stronger early game over your opponent.
I will be honest. I am very bad at roaming. Lol.But I try, and I make my presence known elsewhere when I can. I know the concept of roaming, I know when I should or should not roam, and I can see situations in which roaming would be a good idea, but I am so awful at executing those situations properly.
Generally, you will only want to roam as Syndra when you are winning your lane. This is because you can easily push your lane without fear, and you don't need to pressure the enemy mid champion because you are already ahead. However, if you are against Diana (I know I am using her more than I should, but I just hate her so much) and you can not win in a 1v1 engagement, you should roam when you can to get kills on champions you can burst.
Initiating a gank is very difficult as Syndra. As a general rule of thumb, not just for Syndra, always assume that wherever you're ganking from is warded. This is useful for both Syndra and every other roamer in the game. I see so many junglers and assassins waiting in brushes while they watch the low health enemies back off.
You will rarely get a chance to land your E due to the awkward positioning caused by ganking a lane. Therefore, you will rely on your ability to cast while moving. This means you should either pre-cast a Dark Sphere to grab and land an initial slow, or you should grab a minion if possible. Then, after that, continue chasing with a Dark Sphere or two and hit them with your ultimate when you feel it is a secure kill.
Syndra is a mixed bag for team fights. On one hand, you can easily burst down any squishy as well as kite and whittle tanks as you please. On the other hand, your range is not the best, and getting to their little Miss Fortune is no easy task when there is a Jarvan IV, an Alistar, and a Nautilus in your way.
You will learn a whole lot about clever positioning from playing Syndra. If you play champions like Fiddlesticks or Annie and know a lot about positioning and how to deal with poor range, then you will perform so well with Syndra. Analyzing the situation and knowing the limits of your character are learned with time, but you'll have the enemies QQing all the way back to their summoner's platform once you get it down! :)
When poking as Syndra, you will want to barely inch into range and then throw down a Dark Sphere or a Force of Will onto an enemy champion. Remember, Syndra's main selling point is that her two main damage spells, Dark Sphere and Force of Will can be cast entirely while moving, so don't stop moving for a second and risk being caught and engaged upon.
Your Scatter the Weak should be on a low enough cooldown that you should be able to use it for long range stuns that your enemy won't see coming. You will rarely initiate a team fight like this, but you will allow for follow up harass from your Ezreal or your Vladimir. The main goal of spamming your E for a stun in this stage is to allow for follow up from teammates. The launch range of the ball is very long, so long range in fact that high damage poke champions like Ezreal, Sivir and champions with a displacer like Blitzcrank synergize very well with Syndra.
When you see both teams getting restless, and you know that a team fight is about to ensue, spam your Dark Sphere on cooldown. Having the maximum amount of spheres on the field for your ultimate will be very useful. It doesn't even have to hit anyone, just make sure that your Dark Sphere is always on cooldown. Remember you can pick up a sphere that's about to despawn with Force of Will to reset it. If you're lucky, you can land an ultimate with 7 spheres on the table. Just to prove how much damage that is, at level 16 with 400 ability power, just using your ultimate, and with max magic penetration, will deal around 1820 damage. One spell dealing 1820 damage - that's insane.
Generally, in team fights your job is to poke the squishiest target you can get at. You will never want to stun a tank, because you need to save it for a squishy to set up your burst combo. If you can't reach a squishy, skirt around on the sides of a fight, spamming your Dark Sphere and Force of Will until you see an opening for a squishy. If you plan on flashing in for the squishy, make sure you pre-grab an orb with your Force of Will in order to ensure a perfect stun. From spamming orbs all fight, you should get a LOT of damage out of her ultimate, which is very good.
Syndra thrives on fights in lanes and around Baron, because it allows for proper set up shots with her orbs and it allows for a lot of free room to move and avoid skill shots from other champions. It also provides room to sneak around and snag that pesky AD carry with some burst and then flashing away from counter attack.
Syndra is, without a doubt, one of the hardest champions I've ever played, while consistently being the most satisfying. I absolutely love landing perfect combos and long range E's on enemies, it is simply wonderful what plays you can pull off with this girl.
Now, I don't fully understand why she is underplayed, but for whatever reason, it's a bad idea. She is simply one of the strongest champions out there and counters a lot of super common skill shot champs like Lux, Ahri, Orianna and the like. Her ability to move while casting her Dark Sphere and Force of Will is such a strong asset in lane, and these abilities have such high base damages that you are free to build much of anything while still maintaining early-mid game dominance.
Now, just to really drive this home, you will NOT consistently do well with Syndra for a long while. Don't just glance down at this guide after picking Syndra up for the first time, lose, and then downvote. You need to practice with her, and you need to master the flow at which her abilities cast and how their cooldowns synchronize with each other.
Syndra has so many strengths that common picks lack and are countered by. Syndra is a solid choice, is never banned, and can wreak havoc against enemies that underestimate her.
If you are looking for a challenge, try her out. She is a very difficult champion, but very rewarding. If you are bored of the same ol' same ol' with your Orianna, Katarina and Morgana, I recommend picking her up. She is a refreshing change of pace and you should definitely try her out if you play AP mid.
I am recently making it a habit to save all of my good games, I promise I'll share whichever Syndra games I feel are goodies! I'll be sure to include who I was playing against to show off how well she can counter other popular mid champions.
Syndra vs. Ahri
Syndra vs. Elise
Syndra vs. Karthus
Syndra vs. Morgana
Syndra vs. Lux