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Syndra Build Guide by astrolia

AP Carry AP Carry Syndra

AP Carry AP Carry Syndra

Updated on December 8, 2012
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League of Legends Build Guide Author astrolia Build Guide By astrolia 179 25 639,953 Views 106 Comments
179 25 639,953 Views 106 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author astrolia Syndra Build Guide By astrolia Updated on December 8, 2012
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Season 3 Notice

This guide's contents have not been revised for season 3 yet.
Currently, Syndra does well with a Muramana because each
orb from Unleashed Power is empowered by Muramana's active.
If you have a question about season 3, leave a comment.

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The Guide

Syndra is an ability power champion, otherwise known as an AP carry. Because of her throwing mechanic with Force of Will, she is a fairly unique champion to play. Syndra's strengths are her single target burst with Unleashed Power and AoE utility with Force of Will and Scatter the Weak. Though she has no gap closer, which makes her susceptible to champions who can get in her face and blow her up. Her lack of gap closer also means she has no reliable way to unleash her burst damage on a backline target during team fights.

She has some mana issues early on during the lane phase due to her reliance on Dark Sphere and its interactions with her other skills. She's quite very powerful in lane, though, because she can clear waves quickly and her Unleashed Power makes her a strong 1v1 duelist. Additionally, she is allowed to move around during her casting animations, granting her some mobility.

{ Table of Contents }




Skill Priorities
How do spheres work?
What can I throw?
Enemy Laners
Team Fights

{ Summoners }

Flash works on Syndra as it does 90% of all other champions in the game. She has no gap closer and no mobility ability. Flash is also more versatile than Ghost since it allows you to hop over walls. For a second summoner, Ignite adds to your burst damage, but Cleanse is also an option versus crowd control threats like Veigar.

{ Runes }

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Seal of Vitality
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power are used for an early game AP boost. It gives Dark Sphere a damage boost for harassing and farming. Because of her lack of mobility, Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed are also pretty good. Greater Mark of Magic Penetration are for additional damage. With these plus Sorcerer's Shoes, you will eat away at a squishy champion's magic res and nearly be doing true damage. Greater Glyph of Magic Resist are for surviving the enemy mid laner's level 6 burst. I wouldn't recommend Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist though since they're inferior to Greater Glyph of Magic Resist at level 6 which is when you need them the most. Because I go for Chalice of Harmony as my first item, I prefer to use Greater Seal of Vitality for more health scaling or Greater Seal of Armor for more armor against bruiser mids/junglers instead of the usual mana runes.

{ Masteries }

These are standard AP caster 21/0/9 masteries with a focus on damage in Offense and mana/buff duration in Utility. The Utility masteries and tier 2 through tier 6 Offense masteries are set in stone, but the tier 1 Offense masteries can be whatever you'd like. The 3 AD from Brute Force allows you to autoattack harass and last hit better in lane, but it nor the Ignite bonus are particularly life threatening. If you're taking Cleanse as your other summoner spell, remember to take Mental Force or Butcher instead of Summoner's Wrath .

{ Early Items }

Always start with Boots and 3 Health Potions. The movement helps against ganks, and the potions allow you to sustain in lane. Your first purchase should be Chalice of Harmony. It's a passive farming item - more defense against spells, and tons of mana regen for spell usage, but no ability power. Turn it into an Athene's Unholy Grail eventually. It also helps to pick up a Doran's Ring for additional health/survivability and other stats.

{ Consumables }

sight ward

Health Potions help you sustain in lane. Remember to buy Sight Wards to help spot ganks and jungle invasions. Later, you can start purchasing Elixir of Brilliance and Elixir of Fortitude. These are good purchases to make yourself stronger when you can't afford a new item, but you know you're going for a team fight or an objective. With the removal of Deathfire Grasp's cooldown, Elixir of Brilliance will be needed for additional cooldown if you can't get Crest of the Ancient Golem .

{ Core }

Athene's Unholy Grail is the first item you should complete. It gives you lots of laning power to farm, harass, and soak up enemy magic damage. Your next core item is Sorcerer's Shoes to further negate enemy magic resistance. Squishy characters have 30 base magic resistance. With Sorcerer's Shoes and Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, you'll be piercing nearly all of their magic res. Rabadon's Deathcap gives you a ton of ability power and thus increases your burst damage with Unleashed Power. The percent increase means you'll continue to scale and gain more ability power as you build more items. The last core item is Void Staff. It's a great asset to take down tanks in team fights. Syndra struggles from having a single target burst spell but no reliable way to blink to a squishy champion. Instead, she needs to help chunk through the tankier front line before she can focus on a squishy.

{ Choices }

These items are all useful 5th/6th items. Zhonya's Hourglass adds a large amount of AP and a defensive active which prevents you from being focused. Deathfire Grasp makes a good late game item now because of the change to the AP scaling. The active effect helps you chunk through tanks or blow up squishies. The slow from Rylai's Crystal Scepter turns Dark Sphere into an AoE slow and makes it easier to land your other spells. Having a slow on Unleashed Power will also make it harder for a target to run away after being bursted down.

{ Defensive }

If you're getting wrecked by crowd control (again, think Veigar), Quicksilver Sash can be used to cleanse statuses. It's pretty cheap and can be picked up earlier in the game if needed. But in a very, very, very long game where it comes down to decisive team fights that your team has to live through, there's always Guardian Angel. The revive makes it strong against teams with a lot of initial burst/AoE damage.

{ Skills }

Syndra's passive is fairly self-explanatory. Once her basic spells are level 5, they gain extra power on top of the bonus each skill already gives. Because Dark Sphere is your primary damage source, you'll want to max it first to gain the 15% bonus damage to champions.

Dark Sphere is Syndra's bread and butter damage source. It has a very low cooldown, which makes it very spammable. Early game, you'll want to use it sparingly to conserve mana, but later it can be used very frequently. You can also cast Dark Sphere while moving, so remember this to help you chase enemies or dodge spells easier while casting. Dark Sphere is also used in conjunction with two of Syndra's other abilities, E and R.

Force of Will is a very unique ability to any champion in League of Legends. It allows Syndra to pick up specific creeps/minions which she can then hold and move around with. She can then throw the minion she picked up to deal damage and slow enemies. See the section "What can I throw?" to see what exactly Syndra can pick up with Force of Will. Remember though, as new champions and abilities are added, the list of possible objects to throw may change (e.g the new champion Elise's spiders).

Scatter the Weak is a cone-based knock back that deals damage and knocks back enemies within the cone. The interesting dynamic with Scatter the Weak is that it also knocks back any Dark Spheres that are laying on the ground. If an enemy is hit by a Dark Sphere that is knock backed with Scatter the Weak then they're stunned for 1.5 seconds. This means that theoretically you can Scatter the Weak on 7 Dark Spheres, which could act as a large AoE stun. However, in most cases, use Scatter the Weak on one or two Dark Spheres, or even separately for the simple knock back.

Unleashed Power is huge burst ult that fires all of Syndra's Dark Spheres at the targeted enemy. Syndra by default has 3 spheres floating around her, which are included as the "base" damage of Unleashed Power. The more Dark Spheres activated, the more damage Unleashed Power does. An ideal combo is to use Unleashed Power with 7 spheres activated (including the base 3), but in most situations, 5-6 spheres are adequate.

{ Skill Priorities }

1st Priority

2nd Priority
At level 1, take Dark Sphere, then take Scatter the Weak at level 2. This way, if a jungler ganks early and Exhausts or uses a gap closer to get to you, you can knock them away and possibly save your Flash. When leveling your skills, prioritize Unleashed Power for more base damage and the reduced cooldown, then Dark Sphere for minion farming and the 15% damage bonus to champions. Since you have an Athene's Unholy Grail and are focused on farming, max Scatter the Weak next. The AoE allows you to clear minion waves more easily. Max Force of Will last. It does have higher damage, but it costs more mana and the AoE is smaller making it not as ideal for farming.

3rd Priority

4th Priority

{ How do spheres work? }

There's a lot to note about Dark Sphere's interaction with Force of Will and Unleashed Power, so this gets its own section.
  • Unleashed Power does damage based on how many spheres Syndra has upto a maximum of 7. By default, she always has 3 floating around her, and Dark Sphere will create new spheres for you.
  • Dark Spheres sit around for 6 seconds max. If you toss one around with Force of Will, its 6 second timer will continue ticking once you set the sphere down.
  • Force of Will will allow you to hold enemy minions, buffs, or Dark Spheres for up to 5 seconds.
  • With max cooldown, Dark Sphere has a 2.4 second cooldown and Force of Will has a 4.8 second cooldown. The time frame where you can actually have 7 spheres is fairly narrow. You would need to create two Dark Spheres, then pick up the first with Force of Will, then create 2 more Dark Spheres, then drop the one you picked up for a total of 4.
  • Obviously it's ideal that you can have 7 sphere burst someone, but it's not imperative. Her damage is respectable even with only 5 spheres.

{ What can I throw? }

Not pictured: Elise's spiders.

{ Laning }

{Farming} All of Syndra's basic spells are AoE, so she can push the lane and farm minions very easily. But without Chalice of Harmony, it's very costly to constantly use skills. Play more conservatively and use autoattacks for last hits in the beginning. Saving mana and cooldowns will also allow you to use your skills when you get ganked. Once you get Chalice of Harmony, focus on pushing the wave to the enemy tower, then go into your jungle and farm your team's wraith camp.

{Harassing} Dark Sphere and Force of Will are pretty good for harassing in lane, though they're both skill shots. With the exception of her ult which has a short casting time, Syndra's spells don't lock you in animation, and you're able to move while casting which gives you an advantage over enemy laners. You can easily land a Dark Sphere while they're autoattacking a minion to last hit it, or stuck in a casting animation. If you can get your lane opponent to around 60% by the time you hit level 6, you'll have a lot of lane presence from the threat of being able to finish them off with your ult.

{Ganks} If the enemy jungler ganks, put down a quick Dark Sphere and push it into the jungler with Force of Will to stun them. If your team mate ganks for you, try to slow with Force of Will first. The slow will help you land your stun. But be careful when using Scatter the Weak, as you might accidentally knock your enemy back into the safety of their tower.

{Roaming} Even though Syndra can gib someone with Unleashed Power, her roaming is not as strong as say LeBlanc since she has no mobility skill. If you're laning against someone who has high mobility, you might not be able to accomplish much if you follow them to a lane when they roam. In some cases, it might be better to just push their tower or steal the enemy wraith camp.

{Buff Control} Syndra is fairly blue buff reliant, especially now that cooldown has been removed from Deathfire Grasp. If your jungler starts blue, try to get blue buff starting at the second blue that spawns. Enemy teams might try to steal your blue buff - you can sometimes tell based on how your enemy lane opponent leaves lane. If you have vision on the buff, you can still use Force of Will to pull it away from invaders. No one can use Smite on it when you're holding it. Alternatively, you could use Force of Will to take the enemy blue buff. In the event you help your team at red buff, remember that you can throw red buff onto enemies to apply the debuff.

{Warding} Put the wards down based on which side you're playing on. A good spot to ward is the wraiths area. This will allow you to see if a jungler is sneaking up behind you, or if they're stealing your team's wraiths, or if they're trying to go to another lane. The river ward allows you to spot junglers and possible attempts to steal blue buff. The side ward also allows you to see junglers, especially if they're just camping you. You don't have to ward both side bushes. You can typically ward one side then stay close to that side.

{ Enemy Laners }

There are, in general, champions you can "do well" against and "do poorly" against. But honestly, match ups are very skill and environment based. Jungler ganks can make you beat a lane you should be losing, or lose a lane you should be winning. Additionally, there are times where you might have an amazing lane phase, but lose the game anyway because you're less useful in team fights than the enemy laner. I think a strong example of this is Karthus. You can harass him in lane, walk forward to dodge Wall of Pain and Scatter the Weak to push him away when he turns on Defile, but he has more presence globally and in team fights compared to Syndra, so it's hard to say that she "counters" him.

{Advantages} Syndra's range gives her an advantage over shorter range mids like Ryze or Twisted Fate. Annie is also shorter range and Syndra can throw her Tibbers aside. Heimerdinger is a very underplayed and niche choice, but she does well against him because she can throw his turrets. Because of her autoattack and spell range, you will be able to harass melee-ranged last hitters Kassadin, but he gets a blink once he hits 6 that can really turn things around.

{Annoyances} Mages with longer range like Zyra or Cassiopeia are annoying to lane against - Zyra has a snare and outranges all of Syndra's spells, and Cassiopeia is incredibly spammy. A couple of Gragas's spells also have longer range than Syndra's, but he also has melee-range autoattacks, so you can still harass him. Other mages who rush Athene's Unholy Grail (popular examples right now are Orianna and Anivia) are also annoying. They can push back, and the added magic res they get from going Chalice of Harmony first reduces your level 6 burst. Then there's Morgana who can push back incredibly well even without Athene's Unholy Grail.

{Disadvantages} Syndra is at a disadvantage versus champions who can dash to her. These champions include Akali, Katarina and Diana. She has peel with Scatter the Weak, but it has a very long cooldown. The most annoying champion to lane against is probably Fizz. And like other mages, Syndra is weak versus melee mid champions such as Talon and Pantheon. They can jump on mages and blow them up fairly quickly. Armor runes or just picking up some kind of armor item helps versus them.

{ Team Fights }

Syndra is just "okay" for team fighting and late game in general. She isn't godly, but she isn't completely useless.

{Issues} In a team fight, you ideally want to use Unleashed Power on a high priority target like a fellow AP carry or a ranged AD carry during team fights to take them out of the fight. But Syndra has no reliable way to nuke a carry with her ult. A smart carry will be behind their tank line, and Syndra has no way to blink past the tanks, get in, do her damage, then get out. And since some of her ult damage comes from having Dark Spheres out, doing a sacrificial Flash + Unleashed Power isn't guaranteed to kill a carry. This really hurts her effectiveness during team fights.

{Fighting} One of the key rules for squishy characters like Syndra is to hit whatever you can during team fights. Help chunk the tankier enemy front line by spamming Dark Sphere with a Void Staff equipped. If you have lots of Dark Spheres out from chunking away at tanks, you'll be able to easily get a 6-7 sphere Unleashed Power on whoever you can target. If there's an incredibly fed bruiser who is doing work on your team, use Unleashed Power to help take them out of the fight quicker.

{ Check out my other guides }
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