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Soraka Build Guide by Summoner
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What you should learn in this guide will help towards you understanding the game better from the supportive role of the game while giving you a huge insight into the plays and reasoning behind decisions in high level competitive play. The information here can help you in all types of games, however depending on the type, it may be more difficult to put these practices into use.
I have disabled Comment to Vote in this guide as I feel that if someone dislikes the guide or likes the guide, they can express it if they want. If this guide helps just one person to become a better support player and improve their understanding of the game, I do not really care if the score reaches 10% or 100%. The whole point of the guide is just to help you, the reader.
My old guide also had information I only added to really stop complaints from certain users, but I realized I'm not going to make my guide worse just to improve my score.
Anyway, onto the guide!
The strongest lane match-ups competitively that include Soraka would be (in no particular order):
These champions are strong with Soraka because the majority of their harass and their ability to maximize farm comes from abilities (excluding Tristana, who can farm perfectly well without abilities). With Soraka, these champions can endlessly throw out the hurt on your opponents, forcing them to either get denied from being so low and not wanting to go out into the lane or to force them against the turret where it's very difficult for them to consistently last hit.
If the enemy team has very strong CC champions like Amumu and Alistar, you would be better picking Janna - someone who can push them out and stop their CC destroying your team. If they have strong, durable melee champions like Irelia, or very strong DPS champions like Vayne, you would be better picking Taric - as he gives an Armor buff to his team and has strong heals as well.
In games where you don't have a jungler, you should still try to lane with some AD champion who will benefit from your sustain the most. Laning with a melee champion like Renekton will not be a strong as a lane as laning as someone like Xin Zhao.
A longer list of strong match ups with Soraka can be found in the next chapter.
I will not mention AP champions because although any AP champion is good with Soraka there's no reason to put AP champions in a duo lane.
- Soraka & Miss Fortune
- Soraka & Vayne
- Soraka & Kog'Maw (Helps him get through his weak early levels.)
- Soraka & Caitlyn ( Yordle Snap Trap + Soraka = full lane control.)
- Soraka & Tristana (Allows Tristana to dominate a duo lane with free farm.)
- Soraka & Ezreal
- Soraka & Ashe
- Soraka & Pantheon (Unlimited Spear Shot harass.)
- Soraka & Xin Zhao (Allows him to spam his combo as harass.)
- Soraka & Jax
- Soraka & Maokai ( Sapling Toss mass farm and harass/deny.)
- Soraka & Nasus (For the sole reason of allowing him to constantly keep mana up for mass Siphoning Strike farm, nothing else.)
Even though I've listed all these, I still feel that Soraka is best in a duo lane with a ranged carry, however if you do need to duo lane with an AD melee champion or someone else, those are strong laners with Soraka.
I didn't mention champions with good self sustain like Gangplank and Irelia or champions with good lane mobility like Corki and Renekton because they would be good with any support, but they are better solo laning because of those features they have. Additionally, a lot of the champions above would be strong with other supports like Taric and Janna however these champions benefit a lot from Infuse and Astral Blessing's armor buff while they harass.
Note: I have not included kills in this as it's completely situation as to if it is first blood, killing someone on a streak, if they have a buff, if they have baron, if they are doing baron or dragon, etc.
Additional: This section is based off The Rain Man's blog post on SoloMid, however I felt that it basically explained what I'd write here so I adjusted it slightly to suit my personal opinion.
The most rewarding objectives are the Inhibitors. If you destroy an inhibitor, this pushes a lane constantly with super minions. While this is happening, your team must secure all the lower objectives, otherwise you have given a lane free gold farming without any risk. However, it makes it extremely easier to do it, and puts more pressure on the enemy trying to stop you as minions will damage nexus turrets if they leave, and kill minion waves causing other lanes to push naturally.
The next important objective is Baron. Killing Baron gives your entire team 300 gold each and gives the entire team a buff that will give you an edge over the enemy team. If you are over-farmed, this buff can mean an easy team-fight. If you're under-farmed and losing the game, this can lead to you making a comeback in the game.
Towers are our next important objective. Although there are higher objectives, these will be your main objective as these are what lead to the other objectives being able to be completed by lowering the risk involved. Taking a tower gives you global gold and more map control. The less vision their team has, and the more vision you have, the easier it becomes to take the above objectives. Pushing towers also mean that it becomes easier to push other lanes as more pressure is applied onto those lanes.
The lower objectives are Dragon and Monster Buffs. Dragon provides more global gold than a tower, however doing dragon does not give you an advantage in map control. It is also risky to do it depending on if the enemy has it warded, how pushed bottom and middle lane are and how far into the game it is. The earlier you do dragon, the riskier it is. You should not fight over dragon under any circumstance - if you have a risk of getting ganked or if you see people leave lanes, leave dragon immediately. Only do it when you're 100% sure you won't lose a turret and you have no risk of dying during it.
Monster Buffs can mean the difference between losing and winning a lane or team-fight. However, there is not much risk involved in taking them early on. As the game goes on, buffs become more important, especially if you hold map control and can take the enemies buffs from them. The more buffs your team has, especially your carries, the more advantage you have in a team-fight. Because the risk of fighting over them is low, they are a lower priority objective as you can ecure them as long as you have map control.
Knowing the important of these objectives helps you prioritize your warding and helps increase your general understanding of the game.
In this example, it is following a standard team composition of 1 AP Carry, 1 AD Ranged, 1 Tanking champion, 1 Jungler and 1 Support.
Note: I say damage potential just because for the sake of argument, they only get the one damage item to avoid confusion.
The problem rises because one of these champions will have to share a lane with Support - a champion who isn't heavily item reliant and can do a lot for their team with their skills alone. If this champion starts taking gold from their lane partner, you're delaying the items this champion needs in order to be effective. If you take 1000 golds worth of minions during the first 15 minutes, that means you've delayed your lane partner 1000 golds worth of items - potentially 1000 gold that could have put your AP Carry their Rabadon's Deathcap, or put your AD carry their Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge - delaying them down from reaching their high damage potential. What will you do with that 1000 gold? Probably put it towards wards or a GP/5 item, however you could have gotten them without effecting your teams farm because they are fairly cheap items.
Now let's say the enemy team has a carbon copy team composition, however their support does not take their lane partners farm, and their partner has 1000 gold more than your partner. This 1000 advantage puts them at having Rabadon's Deathcap or Infinity Edge/ Bloodthirster while your partner is still at Needlessly Large Rod/ B.F. Sword. Their damage potential is reached, and they have a massive advantage in lane, and completely out damage you and as a result push you back while they continue to farm. Your lane is now getting under-farmed because they got an earlier advantage.
Basically, supports are there in the lane to help their carries get through this early stage and maximize their farm without the risk of being in middle lane - solo top lane, where their early game squishiness puts a lot of pressure on themselves and as they are alone, makes it easier for their jungler to put even more pressure on them, making them become under-farmed as a result.
If you have a high cost item build, you'll end up fighting over your partner for farm, and in the end you both will screw up your builds and farm rate because you're both trying to get as much gold from lane phase.
So know your role, and don't take farm from someone who absolutely needs it!
My justification for taking dodge masteries over Strength of Spirit is simple - Minion Aggro and auto attacks in lane phase, and in lane game too. If you get a dodge activation, you have extra movement speed to help you get out of range faster. With Strength of Spirit, the Regen doesn't mean much as you can heal if needed and the Regen won't save you if you're getting hit for huge amounts late-game by their AD champions. Any chance you have at survival in the late game, take it.
Additionally, the regeneration from Strength of Spirit is weaker (with this build) than Regrowth Pendant at level 18 - if you desperately want the health Regen before you pick up Philosopher's Stone, then get Regrowth Pendant first.
I prefer to go for defensive style runes, however I run Magic Penetration marks purely for allowing me to deal more damage with Infuse early on - especially considering since that I don't lane with AP champions at all, I never level Starcall until teamfights roll around.
This rune page allows me to start with an extra 87HP right as the game starts - and it continuously goes up as the game progresses, allowing me to not appear as squishy! Additionally, the glyphs give me strong enough Mana Regen until I get higher levels of Infuse which will allow me to keep my lane partner's and my own Mana Bar close to full without any problems.
For when I feel like causing some annoyance with Infuse, the Magic Penetration marks allow me to do more damage. Although it's not much, every bit counts, and the stronger your harass is with your E early on the easier it becomes to zone them, or make them have a risk of trying to farm creeps.
If I start with Doran's Ring with this rune and mastery setup, I start the game with 613 HP with 15 AP and 9 Magic Penetration. I become difficult to kill as I start in lane and I throw out decent damage harass with Infuse as I start the game. High level 1 defensive stats allow you to become dominant instantly.
For Level 1 Teamfighting you will need to take Infuse no matter what. Defensively, this allows you to stop the enemy initiator using their summoners to get your team killed (for example, Alistar initiating a level 1 fight with Flash and Pulverize). Offensively, this allows you to silence someone and then lets your initiator catch that player as they cannot use their summoners or skills to escape (i.e stopping Tristana using Rocket Jump to escape). A successful Infuse will either save a teammates life or net you first blood, depending on the situation.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of level 1 fighting, it's when you initiate a teamfight in the jungle in an attempt to protect your buffs, setup for stealing their buffs or to net your team an early first blood advantage. Getting first blood before minion wave comes allows someone to come with Boots of Speed to lane or helps your jungler get even closer to Madred's Razors or their first item. However, if you attempt to do these type of fights, you need to completely assess the enemy team composition, their summoners and their position on the map, which is what we use Clairvoyance for early on in the game.
I don't usually level Starcall at all until the later levels, however if you feel you need to deal a lot extra harass to the enemy or if you magically are laning with an AP user, feel free to invest a point in Starcall early. Early Starcall also allows you to see if any wards are present in brush or around dragon without needing to oracles / vision ward.
Soraka has no escape mechanism in her character, so as a result you must take flash on her. Flash means she can escape from team-fights, from ganks in lane and can use flash to save her team mates as well, for example, getting in range to use Astral Blessing.
As Soraka is a support champion, we take Clairvoyance so we can have vision of a specific part of the map early on in the game every 42.5 seconds. This spell is used to control objectives outside of wards, keeping vision on their jungler/buffs and for lane control/safety.
I choose Flash and Clairvoyance because they are both must have summoner spells on Soraka. Not only are these summoners must haves but the other summoner spells just have no synergy with Soraka well, let alone majority of supports.
I would not recommend taking Ghost as a replacement for Flash as you need that instant blink in the majority of situations for escaping. Ghost can be good if you're running through lane to escape, but Flash is stronger for blinking over walls, causing them to use their jump/blink skills to get to you or them using their summoners.
Note: In normal games, it's perfectly fine to just start off with a Doran's Ring.
In competitive play, you want to take the early Faerie Charm with Sight Ward's so that you have wards as you start the game, allowing you to ward where appropriate for a level 1 team-fight or laying down a ward in your river brush to make sure the enemy jungler will not try to invade yours, while giving your jungler sight to make sure if he is going to be invading, he is safe to do so.
As you leave base with 75 gold, that puts you 75 gold closer towards your Philosopher's Stone, meaning you can get it as quick as possible while gaining lane control / safety while also starting your map control as the game begins.
The two gold generation items, Philosopher's Stone and Heart of Gold, are important to get as Soraka as you should not be farming minions. With those two items, your gold income is dramatically faster, gaining an extra 1 gold per second. This helps you get the rest of your items and helps pay for the wards and oracles you will be buying for your team.
Note: You want to finish these two items before you progress with the build. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't buy wards until you finish these items.
Standard boots for Soraka. These boots give her a lot of early CDR and will let you hit 21% CDR from the 700 gold upgrade. These are the only boots that add stats other than move speed that I would buy. The only other stated boots I would consider would be Ninja Tabi but that is only if they have 3+ Auto Attackers on their team.
Only take these if you need to dodge a lot of skill-shots that they throw pre-fight and if you are going to need to be running around the map (Split push / Push heavy team). I wouldn't recommend these but they have their uses. Taking these boots means you need to build Morello's Evil Tome as your 4th - 5th item to hit the CDR Cap.
After you upgrade your boots, you are going to want to buy your Kindlegem. This gives you additional health while giving you even more CDR - putting you even closer to your cap. Your items should be this before you continue with any part of the build, however, if you need some resistances before you get Kindlegem, buy Cloth Armor and Null Magic Mantle as these turn into your Aegis of the Legion anyway.
Note: My games usually end after I finish these items.
You will want to start buying your Aegis of the Legion after you buy your Kindlegem. Prioritizing Aegis of the Legion over Shurelya's Reverie allows you to keep the Philosopher's Stone for a longer period of time, generating more gold. Once you get Aegis of the Legion complete, you're going to be doing a lot for your team. Outside of your healing, Magic Resistance debuff and Silence / Mana replenishment, you will provide resistances to your entire team, as well as a small damage boost. This means you're able to do something for your team when your skills are on cooldown, making you an even stronger asset to your team which helps make up for having one less damage dealer on the team.
When you finish Shurelya's Reverie, you are able to give your team extreme mobility without any issues. As a result of this, it becomes easier to defend objectives or to get into position for objectives.
Note: As I need the last item slot for wards, I use the remaining 2 items to buff my defenses if the game lasts this long. However, if you do NOT need the defensive items as much because they never really hurt you or pick you off, feel free to consider AP choices. I like AP defensive items.
Randuin's Omen is THE perfect item if a game is dragging on and if they have a strong melee champion who can zone you from the fight. Having Randuin's means that if they focus attacking you they will lower their DPS eventually, and with the Randuin's slow and Shurelya's Reverie's active, you can EASILY position yourself out of the persons way if needed. Randuin's Omen also allows Soraka to be in the team-fight to use Starcall if needed. Randuin's also let's you hit the 40% CDR cap.
Taking Banshee's Veil is to buff your Magic Resistance while giving you a spell shield so that if your team gets initiated on by a champion like Alistar or Amumu, you have a chance to stop that spell and keeps you CC free for the beginning of the team-fight.
As the game goes on, you've already paid off the gold debt from buying the GP/10 items in the first place. At this stage in the game, you want to upgrade your items so you can play a bigger role in securing objectives. You will be using all objective money for wards at this stage, so you won't be needing the GP/10.
Note: Replace Banshee's Veil with one of these items. If you buy one early early in the game, just make sure you do not buy Banshee's.
Quicksilver Sash is an item purely for stopping you getting suppressed and shut down for an entire team-fight. Take this item if they have Warwick completely focusing you with his ultimate or Malzahar able to grab you with his Nether Grasp.
Moonflair Spellblade is an item if you need tenacity and you want an item that scales well into late-game. Your Regen is fine with Shurelya's Reverie late-game, so you won't really need Eleisa's Miracle.
Zhonya's Hourglass is a great alternative to Randuin's Omen and amazing WITH it for the massive armor, however you're probably only going to want one as they conflict with each other. Zhonya's Active basically means you avoid damage and you want to use it while on cooldown, Randuin's Omen wants you to be attacked and have someone to use it on to make full use of the item. If you want Zhonya's, replace Randuin's with it.
Sight Ward is used to control the map, and protect your lane during lane phase. As a support, you should be buying these as it's part of your job to control the map and buy the wards so your team's carries are saving their gold for their items so they can carry the game.
Vision Ward is the same principle as Sight Ward, however it's focused around controlling objectives such as Dragon and Baron Nashor, allowing you to see wards in an area around that zone. Very good if you're not wanting to invest in Oracle's Elixir at that point in the game, and very good for seeing if they lay any wards at the objective without you being there, allowing you to take them out when you get there.
Oracle's Elixir is good so that you can destroy wards and other hidden objects. Each ward gives 25g when it is killed, meaning that if you kill 16 wards you have paid off your Oracle's from wards alone. Oracle's strengthens your map control by removing the enemies wards. You gain more vision on the map while they lose their vision. This is a key item to securing map control, and if you get it soon you can really throw off the enemies game, allowing you to take early Dragons without competition, and allows you to be able to put significant pressure on your lane.
Notice how all of these items at end game provide health, resistances and buffs in some form. These help you keep yourself alive while you devote your attention to your team mates. You are not squishy so late game enemies cannot just pick you off easily, and you provide a lot of support for your team so even while your abilities are on cooldown you are still a massive asset to the teamfight.
With your starting ward, laying a defensive ward outside the route that leads inside the starting camp of your jungler or outside one of your buff spawns allows you to prevent invasions and counter jungling.
This image shows the best, non-situational (i.e no lane brush wards) positions to place wards, assuming you are winning as the purple side. Mirror the positions if you are on the blue team or need defensive wards for purple.
Note: Don't try to cover all these spots at once - it's a waste of money. Just ward the most important areas depending on how the game is going.
Laying a ward ON baron when possible means that they cannot do baron. It is very difficult to kill that ward and if the enemy uses skills to take it out you can capitalise on that. Additionally, to hit the ward, they will need to hit Baron, making them take damage.
Laying wards in his "chamber" means they spend more time taking out the ward and it makes it completely obvious what position they are in.
Same reasoning as above, laying a ward in the "chamber" basically means they have to go inside to destroy it, making you more aware of their position. Early game, you can capitalize on this by catching their support trying to leave dragon and make them waste their escape spell.
Note: mid-late game, make sure you Clairvoyance objectives before you go to lay wards at them. If you get caught, you can cost your team the game or an important objective and set your team back!!
Additional: Click here for more graphical examples of ward placement.
Note: This paragraph assumes a level 1 teamfight has a chance of occuring.
As the game starts, you are going to want to use Clairvoyance on their fountain. What this does is if you open the scoreboard, you can see what items they are buying, and if they leave fountain while you have vision, you can estimate where they are going to be heading. If they delay their item buying because of clairvoyance, this gives your team more time to get into position - you cover more distance before they even leave their base, allowing you to have a strategic advantage early on.
If your jungler is starting at Golem, put a ward in the brush nearest to Baron or Dragon in the river (depending on what side you're on) which will give you vision of anyone trying to invade and gives you vision partially into their jungle. If he's starting anywhere else, you may still want to lay a ward in those brush but you may want to save your ward for a more aggressive or lane defensive ward, such as warding their lizard or their jungler's entrances to your lane.
If a level 1 teamfight occurs, you're going to want to infuse any champion that can use CC on your team or any champion who you're planning to kill so they can't escape.
When you get to lane, you're going to want to keep CV on places where their jungler could be - watching their camps and buffs. Depending on the jungler, even if you never see him with CV, you can tell what level he is and what he plans to do if you see the camps killed or buffs gone.
In lane, you want to sit in the brush auto attacking the enemy champions while keeping your lane partner supported. If your partner is full health / not out of mana, feel free to throw off some offensive infuses - this could potentially make them miss CS or make them push back a little bit. Showing your dominance in lane allows your lane partner to capitalize on their defensive play - by gaining farm advantage and landing off free harass.
The ward you have left over, you're going to want to place it in the river at 3:50 or any time after. This is to make sure their jungler will not be able to gank you, as at that time he will probably have finished his route or be ready to gank.
This image shows zone control, something you need to know in order to become dominant in lane. In this example, I am laning with Caitlyn vs Ashe and Janna.
The blue line shows your security ward. Because of the sight ward, all entrances to your lane are visible. The only way their jungler would be able to get to your lane is by going through your jungle, which is too risky to attempt. This allows you to be aggressive as you will know if anyone is coming. A ward at dragon also gives you more time to react to their jungler coming down.
The yellow line shows the point where the enemy have to be in order to be safe. This area is out of minion range and makes it very difficult for their carry to farm without being punished. If they go over this line, they are in range of Caitlyn's zone of control and your zone of control.
The white line shows your retreating route. If they CV brush or ward brush, you will move back into your brush in order to be completely safe, however you can still be aggressive. The white line is also where you'd go if Janna were to use Howling Gale on the brush to get you out of there. The more you force CV to be used on your lane, the more pressure your jungler will be able to apply across the map.
The orange circle is Caitlyn's zone of control and the green circle is Soraka's zone of control. This zone means if the enemy are in this area, they are at danger of being harassed. Because you secure lane dominance early, they have to stay back behind the yellow line otherwise they can be harassed out of lane. However, if they stay out of your zone for too long they will deny themselves of minion waves. This is a win win situation for you as i they try to farm, you will punish them. If they do not farm, they will punish themselves.
Following this image, as long as you keep control of your lane and keep vision on the river, you can be aggressive with minimal risk, allowing you to easily win your lane.
Note: Pushing your minions to their turret means you have a strategic advantage for taking dragon, while making it harder for the enemy to last hit. Do this when needed to maximize your lane control and make it even harder for them to do anything in your lane!
If they start laying wards around objectives, get your team to go there with you so you can take them out ASAP. Make sure you have oracles at this point of the game up 100% of the time.
In team-fights, prioritize your healing in this format:
You need to keep your carries alive so you can win team-fights. Healing them when they are taking damage also gives them a massive armor boost to reduce their AD damage. You should never really be in a position that you can be burst down by their team. Make sure you have flash up for important team-fights as if you get focused down your team is at a massive disadvantage while you have lost your Oracle's Elixir.
You will want to save Wish in team-fights until after their AP carry has used their AoE spells, however you will need to use it if you have someone close to dying and your team is damaged too. Infuse at this stage of the game should mainly be used offensively for the massive silence. If you can silence their AP carry, that's a lot of damage negated for a few seconds.
Additionally, if you can silence someone out of position, it makes it impossible for them to escape (depending on the champion). As a result, you can force a teamfight to start or they will have to sacrifice one player, which will make your teamfight much easier.
If you have any questions about the content, feel free to leave a comment and I'll try answer it to the best of my ability.
Hopefully, you now understand the benefits of Soraka on a team, the massive effect she has in team-fights and how well she can dominate the early stages of the game. I also hope that you understand what is expected at high level play, and now understand ways you can improve if you ever want to achieve that level of play.