Sion Build Guide by NecroMage
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.
Are you sick of giving a damn about what the enemy team wants to do? Play Sion. Sion doesn't give a **** about anything. He is a ********ed freight train filled to the brim with pig iron, concrete and hate, and anything or anybody that he crashes into will get crushed, rolled over, thrown aside or set on fire in a horrifying inferno that makes the Hindenburg disaster look like an off-Broadway rendition of Backdraft.
Sion's Pros and Cons
+ IS ****ING MASSIVE
+ SERIOUSLY, HE'S HUGE
+ Incredibly difficult to kill
+ Excellent zoning capability
+ IS ENORMOUS
+ Excellent waveclear capability
+ Very powerful collection of AoE CC abilities
+ Surprising damage output with correctly implemented ability combos
+ Screams a lot
+ Is a significant threat to anyone in the immediate vicinity of his death, some friendly cc and his passive can do frightening amounts of damage or even net kills
+ HOLY **** IS HE BIG
- Lack of mobility limits his capacity to escape dangerous situations.
- Lack of mobility and ranged AoE abilities limits his ability to eliminate high priority targets in an enemy team's back line reliably
- Very ability reliant
- Lacks sustained damage in fights
- Has a doofy walk cycle
- Skills require some significant set up for optimal use, depending on either channeling, delayed activation, minion position or distance traveled
- Difficult to dodge skillshots due to hitbox being ****ING GIGANTIC, JESUS CHRIST
MARKS: Hybrid Penetration
I really see no alternative to these. They just seem like the best marks possible for Sion. His damage comes primarily from his W and E in lane, which deal magic damage, but his Q, Ultimate, autoattacks and passive bonus damage are all physical, and sunfire adds to his magical damage output. Going either magic or physical pen straight just seems inferior to hybrid, and attack damage, AP, Attack speed or any other offensive option does not come close to the offensive boost of hybrid pen marks.
SEALS: Scaling HP
Seals are much more a matter of preference and situation. I like scaling health because of the nature of Sion's shield. Similar to Nautilus' or Malphite's, the shield scales with max HP so health is useful as well as resistance stats in determining the total shield effective HP. Scaling Health gives Sion a lot of bulk very quickly, especially against lower damage top laners, and makes his shield harder to break, enabling him to deal damage with it more easily. I prefer the scaling seals to the flat ones because while leveling up, the extra health they grant per level acts as a bit of a mini catalyst, granting a surprising boost to sustain in lane, and the early levels don't really require the upfront advantage of flat seals. You might use Armor or even mana regen yellows, but scaling HP are the ones I've found worked best for me.
GLYPHS: Scaling Magic Resist
Again, this seems like the best choice. Sion's AP ratios aren't amazing and dealing damage isn't his primary function on a team. A lot of people enjoy CDR blues, but I find the bonus survivability stronger in most cases since CDR is easy enough to itemize for and not entirely critical for Sion since he needs to position himself for his abilities to have maximum effect, not just unload them whenever they're off cooldown.
QUINTS: Movement Speed
Sion lacks mobility, but wants to get close to his opponent and end their existence with his arsenal of close range abilities. these quints help with that, as well as getting into position for his E.
Masteries are pretty basic. You want to go down the defense tree to live as long as possible, both to launch as many cooldown cycles of your cc as possible and to live in passive form for longer. I prefer the utility tree to the offense tree since attack speed, AP or AD isn't really useful on Sion compared to mana regen, alchemist (Which makes your flask even more valuable in lane) and the CDR on summoner spells, meaning you can have Flash and Teleport up more often when you need them. The only stat in the early offense tree of use to Sion is the CDR, and that's not useful without mana to cast.
Teleport- You're in top lane, you want this. Sion can be an incredible presence to show up across the map in a teamfight, not having teleport will leave your team vulnerable to enemy teleports when contesting objectives on the rest of the map and teleport is also useful for sustaining yourself in lane in the early game.
Flash- Flash is too useful to ignore, especially with Sion's lack of built in mobility.
W, E, Q, then R>E>W>Q
Start with a point in Soul Furnace, both to get your last hits to start stacking your HP as soon as possible and because for having only one skill, it's a solid value. You can't reliably land a fully charged Decimating Smash without some additional form of CC to help, and Soul Furnace can not only deal comparable, typically more, damage at level 1 to Roar of the Slayer, but shield you for a similar amount as well.
Your second point goes into Roar of the Slayer, then take Decimating Smash so you have all of your abilities by level 3. Your jungler might be in the neighbourhood to gank, so you really don't want to put Q off any longer than you have to. They'll get salty.
After that, looking at how the damage scales on each of your abilities should make pumping E obvious. E costs less mana, is easier to land, is longer range and deals more damage than Q, in addition to making Q itself easier to land and hit harder. I level W second because if the shield pops, it deals no damage at all, so you want it to be able to take a hit or two before you activate it a second time to get the most value out of the skill. Also in top lane you typically deal more damage with W's percentage HP shred than you would with Q. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you need Q to be up more often, start leveling it earlier. I doubt you will.
When heading to lane, buy a crystalline flask, 1 health potion and 2 mana potions. This will give you incredible sustain in lane, and the combines very nicely with teleport. If you can afford it after your first recall, buying defensive boots with the distortion enchantment can help immensely in lane, allowing you to escape early jungle ganks more easily, dodge skillshots and AoEs, take less damage due to the defensive stat on the boots and the distortion enchantment reducing the cooldown of your teleport. Combining the CDR from masteries and distortion and the shorter cooldown for teleporting to your tower means you can go to lane, play safe, and by the time you need to recall after drinking 3 flask charges likely have teleport off of cooldown.
Your first item other than boots should be Randuin's Omen in most cases. It gives Sion a lot of HP to survive burst damage and the cold steel passive makes beating him to death an even slower affair than it normally is. Most importantly, the active is incredibly useful in a lot of situations, helping in teamfights, making it easier to escape enemy ganks, even helping to catch fleeing enemies in a pinch.
Most of the time Sunfire cape is a good second item. Sion usually doesn't care about magic damage due to his high health pool, especially since most top laners and junglers don't deal significant magic damage in the first place. If the enemy mid is roaming top a lot, or fed, or both, or someone on the enemy team has a magical source of %HP damage grabbing a negatron cloak, spectre's cowl or even entire spirit visage may be in order, but most times you just want sunfire to be more of the stuff Sion wants and some additional waveclear/AoE damage in teamfights. If the enemy team has no magic damage at all, skip the spirit visage altogether.
If you find yourself getting ganked a lot, or the enemy is harassing your jungler, or the enemy mid is beginning to roam around and snowball an early investment in a Sightstone can quickly pay off. You should be buying wards anyway, so if you find you aren't having major problems in your lane matchup you can help your team by warding more heavily than most top laners typically will and carrying a sweeper for your opponent's trinket. Sion's free HP from W makes this investment less painful than it is on most.
A late game Atma's Impaler can give Sion a lot of value for money in terms of raw AD. This is mostly useful for tearing towers down more quickly, but also adds significant damage to his Q and ultimate if they're charged up sufficiently, and makes your wet noodle punches slightly less laughable on squishy targets.
Warmog's is useful if you are generally being allowed to split push and need to sustain yourself when you draw attention from other lanes without recalling. I very rarely buy it, and typically only after an Atma's pick up to further reinforce split pushing capability, but if the situation arises it's useful. Definitely a niche pick.
Banshee's veil should only be picked up if something has gone horribly wrong and you are receiving an ungodly amount of magic damage compared to physical damage. Either the enemy team has drafted an AP heavy comp or the enemy AP carry has gotten fed and has a %HP draining spell, or the entire enemy team picked up sunfire capes or liandry's torments. Either way, you need more MR than you usually do, and this is the best item for it.
A word on BotRK
Don't buy it.
Seriously. Sion has no use for this item. He has no gap closer, attack speed steroid, or reason to auto attack anybody other than having nothing better to do. Sion post-rework has even less reason to itemize as a melee dps than Sion pre-rework, and doing it pre-rework was considered trolling.
The only time blade of the ruined king is beneficial is after you die, when you enter your passive frenzy, and that's only if you manage to stick on someone squishy enough to provide you with decent lifesteal sufficient enough to let you live through an extra attack compared to what you would have if you'd spent that gold on a health item.
The %HP damage of the BotRK is nice for hurting tanky people, sure, but your passive's %HP damage is higher. You would be better served in your passive state with a last whisper or black cleaver to bypass the target's armor, and better served still by not pretending your job is to punch people to death. Be a ******* tank, use your crowd control abilities to hold people still and burst them down, and buy a sunfire cape instead. It will help you kill people you manage to stick on top of and beat to death, but will also be useful when the opponent does have half a brain.
Tips and Tricks
- Remember to use crystalline flask stacks up at the start of teamfights! The amount of healing it provides over time is not insignificant, and very helpful unless you get burst down immediately. Which you shouldn't.
- Teleport to towers! When using teleport to return to lane or defend against pushes in other lanes, teleporting to the tower will shorten the cooldown compared to teleporting to wards orminions.
- Use your ultimate to run away from ganks! There is no shame in this, and it can prove quite effective and hilarious.
- Don't hit enemies while running away with your ultimate! This is less effective, although still sometimes hilarious.
- Combo your abilities! The armor shred on your E lets your Q hit much harder, and lets you charge it for longer without missing entirely as well as hit for more damage because of the armor shred.
- Don't buy Blade of the Ruined King! It doesn't serve your purposes, and I made an entire section on why.
- Drop your Q early! Some damage is better than no damage, and a slow is better than nothing. If your opponent is going to walk out of your axe before it flashes red, hit them for what its worth.
- Don't drop your Q early! Sometimes Q is more useful to force champions to back away than as a damage tool, especially in teamfights. Standing next to your carry and painting the axe zone overtop of them forces anyone who wants to dive them to either wait until you stop or get punished by the knockup. This is also useful for blocking off narrow pathways in the jungle.
- Pop your W! Ideally you want to use W to take some damage and then pop to deal damage. Sometimes, especially early in lane, you value to damage more than the shield in a trade. In these cases waiting until you see an opponent burn a cooldown, even an auto attack animation, and pushing W to go in for a trade can be the difference between getting the sweet 10% HP burst damage off and wasting a bunch of mana to do nothing.
- Or Don't! If you're running away, tanking a turret or taking focus in teamfights, sometimes its better to just let the shield eat its full worth of damage even if you could pop it early.
- Yell a lot! This is cathartic, and helps you get into character.
- Try to die somewhere useful! You want to come back up in your passive zombie form somewhere disruptive to the enemy team, hopefully next to a squishy target but definitely next to someone you can pound on for as long as possible. You are a significant threat thanks to the bonus stats you receive, try to use them to finish off anyone near your corpse.
- You can use items while dead! In passive form items like Randuin's Omen are usuable. I suspect this is why so many people waste money on BotRK.
- You can stop running! When using your ultimate to engage on a teamfight, if you miss you can press R again to end the charge early, letting you turn around and still lock enemies down with your other CC.
- Come in with a bang! If you see a teamfight start and decide to teleport into it, if the ward/minion you're teleporting to is near the enemy team you can push W right before you teleport and detonate it as soon as you arrive. This can be an unexpected and unpleasant burst of damage for the enemy team.
In closing, thanks for reading my guide on how to be war. May it help you become the best Sion you can be!