Build Guide by DaleDrengus
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Looking around Mobafire, I've seen some pretty awesome AP builds:
Clean Up on Aisle Sion
AP Sion: Crush Your Enemies!
And there's a really good off-tank build:
Sion - The Crit Tank
But the Melee DPS builds I've seen haven't, I feel, been up to par. This puzzled me because Sion is a beastly champion that I think can achieve Gauntlet-Legends-Style destruction. Other builds seem to look at Sion from the viewpoint of any other Melee DPS'r like Mr. Yi or Tryndamere. But if you look at Sion's abilities you see that he can function somewhat differently than those goons, and it's crucial to take advantage of those differences.
So here's the basic logos behind this build:
Enrage gives you a fair AD boost, allowing you to focus on other aspects such as Attack Speed and Crit.
Enrage only costs health, so any amount of Lifesteal will make it free.
Cannibalism provides monster Lifesteal and Attack Speed, so we need to take advantage of that.
Also, as a disclaimer, I do not think that AD/AS/Crit Sion builds are in many regards as strong as AP ones. However, they are still effective and can be a fun change of pace if you feel like doing something different. Furthermore, I believe they're much more consistent 1v1 when dealing with high HP opponents, this build in particular among them.
Pros and Cons of this Build
I think all the negative aspects of this build can be summed up in the statement: lackluster early-game presence. You can't do all that much until later on in the game, so when entering the solo queue, keep that fact in mind. If you're queueing up with some buddies, then you shouldn't have any trouble. They should be able to keep it together until you grow up to be big and strong.
Of course, it's not too difficult to remedy this: just turtle and farm. Eventually they should get too aggressive, at which point your stun, Exhaust, and Ignite, should reprimand them for making such a bad mistake.
Unholy late-game presence. By the end of the game, you won't care how much HP somebody has, you'll just shred through it, and still be at a comfortable amount of health yourself.
Watch out for Ignite, though!
Runes and Masteries
My runes are pretty straightforward.
Make any adjustments you see fit (i.e. swapping out Quints of Malice for those of Fortitude or Desolation).
As for my masteries, they are somewhat non-standard for melee DPS, being as the secondary spec is aimed at mitigating Sion's egregious mana-deficiency. Furthermore, the added buff duration is invaluable as both Red and Blue Buffs go a long way for Sion.
This spell is mandatory for maintaining melee range on fleeing champs, as well as working down tanks early on in the game with Cripple.
This is a very good way to ameliorate some of the early-game weaknesses of this build. That little extra bit of DPS can go a long way. But feel free to replace this spell with any of the following if you know you can make use of them:
The best advice I can give you on how to use your abilities is to think of them not as an essential component of your DPS, but as tools that enable you to get kills.
**THIS IS NOT A DPS SPELL**
This is a beast of a stun. Use it early on to try and get First Blood, and then after that to tower-trap. Later on, this will be one of the most effective ganking tools your team has. If you do the pincer formation and come from behind as your team charges in, it's basically a guaranteed kill.
Using this in combat is very different than in an AP build. Use it to initiate, and then wait. Do not spam this ability--its mana cost is hefty, and it is not a potent source of damage in this build. Save it for when they try to run or try to cast. Be more cautious about using it to dampen their DPS, as it can burn away the mana you could've used for Death's Caress. Furthermore, if the fight goes badly, it's helpful to have this skill available so that you can stun and flee. Of course, this isn't a bad tool for last-hitting if they try to Ghost away or some similar flight tactic.
Also, just because you stun an enemy, this does not mean that your teammates necessarily know what you are doing or are coming to help. Be sure to ping your intended target and confirm that your peers are ready to engage before you initiate. If you don't take these precautions, you're just feeding.
**THIS IS NOT NECESSARILY A DPS SKILL**
Again, where in an AP build this is your most important damage-dealing ability, in this AS/AD build it serves more defensive purposes. Use it to absorb significant damage during team fights, or in 1v1 situations to absorb much of the opening volley of a spell rotation. However, in such 1v1 situations, it can take on a more offensive role if you know you need more DPS than Defense. This is also a great way to last hit if they manage to stay just out of melee range.
This is your most important damage ability. Once you pick up your first skill point in this at either level 1 or 2, activate it and leave it on. Your lifesteal makes it free, so there's really never any reason to turn it off.
During any combat where it looks as though you have a lot of potential to get a kill, activate this ability. It's good for you and it's good for your team. With Death's Caress blocking incoming damage, and this ability healing you back to full health, it's really almost unfair. You can also use this to effectively push down towers.
At all times pay attention to your mana, avoid spamming whenever possible. And if you do start spamming, I'd say limit the spam to just Death's Caress.
At Level One
The question is: Cryptic Gaze or Enrage? I recommend waiting until you see who your lane partner is before deciding. If your partner has a stun, or even a snare, themselves, it may be better to get the boosted DPS of Enrage (although, the double-stun is priceless). If not, Cryptic gaze is vital for getting early kills. Of course, there's also the question of your playstyle: aggressive or passive? Aggressive players should get Cryptic Gaze and march to the bushes. Passive players should pick up Enrage and get a head-start on farming HP and gold. Either way, these two skills should be your choices at levels 1 and 2.
Playing Sion as a Physical Carry is simple, so I will provide simple explanation of how each item fills each niche of the champ in that role.
As a starting item, this is always debatable. Doran's Ring and Doran's Shield are also very wise choices and make a difference in your ability to get First Blood. However, I like picking up the Vampiric Scepter at the outset because it makes Enrage immediately free, and it is really only early on that this ability's cost has any noticeable effect. Offensive Mastery also makes your Lifesteal go farther early on in the game. Additionally it allows you to build Stark's Fervor much faster (which you need to do). If you see that the other team is all composed of physical carries and tanks, you may want to grab a Cloth Armor which will allow you to easily rush Madred's.
I'm surprised I don't see this item floating around Sion builds very often. It's almost tailored to fit Enrage like a glove. The random extra minion damage makes it infinitely easier to last hit and stack up your HP. Furthermore, it makes jungling a breeze, which is important in a build that is aggravatingly expensive. Plus, it allows you the option of going offensive or defensive, because in some cases it may be better to build Wriggle's Lantern out of it.*
This is just an all-around good item. The aura is awesome for your team and also provides a much-needed counter to enemy tanks. At this stage of the game (probably the late laning phase), AS and Lifesteal is everything you need.
As far as I know, there's no Lifesteal cap, so when you're at level 16 and have Cannibalism on, you'll be healing for 120% of the damage dealt.
While I have this item come up as your second complete item, if there isn't a lot of HP going up yet, hold off on it. I'd still say a Recurve Bow might be in order, but it wouldn't be such a bad idea just to grab a B. F. Sword and make everyone regret that they hadn't started stacking HP yet. But I digress. This item is awesome on Sion, and yet I don't ever see it in any builds. With your ultimate boosting your AS up 50%, that On-hit Percentage-Health damage wears away opponents fast.
These simply take advantage of your monster attack speed, allowing you to crit quite often. These also help you out in the AD department, and the movement speed bonus is invaluable.
Ideally, you won't need to buy this or any other defensive item (like Guardian Angel). But how often do you get to play such an ideal game (that also lasts until the 6th item)? If you are fortunate enough to avoid purchasing a defensive item, I'd say pick up something that gives you more crit:
*Building Wriggle's Lantern may change your build somewhat as it already provides Lifesteal, potentially making Stark's Fervor redundant. I'd say, swap Stark's out for Sword of the Divine if you pick up the Lantern.
For the sake of brevity, I'll divide my gameplay guide into two sections.
My best advice is to take it easy and be satisfied with assists. You have chump change for mana and are about as dependent on items as a newborn is on his mother. Save your stun for when you and your lanemate can really make it count, and reserve your shield for times of peril or creep waves that have become too large.
It's really easy to get caught up in the immediate: "I have an expensive build and I need kills," but don't. The more you farm now, the more success you'll have later on the game (that HP goes a long way). I have no doubt that if your partner is even halfway decent, the two of you should pick up enough kills to get your Stark's Fervor fairly fast, without going all balls to the wall.
During this time you can use your shield to harass, but try to position yourself so that you damage as many targets as possible. But remember, you don't have enough mana do this very often.
Try to stay in your lane until you have 1350-1700ish gold. And then recall--you'll probably need a mana refill anyway. You'll have enough money for Madred's Razors and Boots of Speed and hopefully Targon's Brace. At this point you become more of a threat and take control of the lane. **The sooner you get Madred's the more easily you can farm**
Above all, make this your priority: DON'T FEED. Fed opponents make short games, which you cannot abide by. If you come away from the early game with few or no deaths, you done good kid. It won't be long before you're chopping them down like, "Yazzup!"
You must remember at all times that although you have a fair amount of HP and a nice Shield, YOU ARE NOT A TANK. You can withstand a lot of punishment, and heal back from a lot of punishment, but you probably cannot withstand the full force of the other team's opening volley. Let your tank initiate, and then hopefully your Off-tank will move in. That's when you're free to get into the mess. Charge straight for your team's focus-target, throw up your shield and your ultimate, and stun them. Hack through that chump, and then move to the next scariest opponent. Work systematically, and spread your stun around. Using it twice on the same target can be beneficial, but rotating your stun ruins the other teams coordination which should be all you need to get the upper hand.
Furthermore, your first stun might be best used not on the focus-target but on the opponent with a big, scary ultimate that you can interrupt (i.e. Nunu & Willump or Miss Fortune). Interrupting such an ultimate can oftentimes be the difference between winning and losing.
Put up your shield as often as possible, because this is what will keep you alive through the various AoE spells that will cycle through. However, pay attention to your HP bar, and pull out when you're getting low--you don't have the Magic Resist or the Armor to try and outlast someone while at low health. If you haven't taken too much damage and the fight is wrapping up, blow up your shield before they all run away. This could very well allow you or your teammates to last hit several of your opponents.
As I alluded to earlier in this guide, Jungling is an essential element of this build both in that it is a much needed source of income, but also in that Lizard Buff provides a slow that's extremely useful for nabbing kills and Golem Buff provides a mana font that enables free use of Sion's abilities.
So, if you see during champion select that somebody picked up Smite, you may want to think twice about playing this build as your teammate will monopolize the jungle.
One last consideration before the game starts is to pick the lane closest to the Golem Buff. This is recommended because I feel it is a good idea to hit the jungle immediately after picking up your Zeke's Harbinger (unless your lanemate is a **** and can't handle the solo lane for a bit). Take down the Blue Golem, then hit the Wolves and Wraiths before nabbing the Red Lizard. Finish out with the mini-golems and then pop out into the new lane for a quick gank. Push that lane, recall to base, or return to your original lane, perhaps stopping to gank mid if possible.
Basically loop from one lane to the other and back every time the buffs respawn.
If the lane phase is over before you get your Stark's, that's a real bummer. Make up for it by jungling at every moment of calm for the rest of the game.
Hit Dragon early on and often. You want your team to be the only one getting the 190g. As the game progresses, you'll be more and more capable of doing this solo, but look at your items and your level and use your best judgement.
But for the LOVE OF GOD remember that your turrets are infinitely more important than your buffs, so stop whatever you're doing and go help defend when your team is in trouble. You can always go back and get the buff when the storm has passed.
Patience is the most important aspect of this build. Take it easy, and play the game your way--don't get goaded into being overly aggressive (don't chase too far, don't wander into conspicuous bushes). They might scoff at you early on, but don't worry, at the end you'll be vindicated like, "Whatchu know 'bout me?"
Remember, Sion wields an axe that burns with the fires of hell, and he wouldn't have come back from the dead if he wasn't pissed about something, so bide your time until you can hack and slash through all five of the opposing champs, and then remind them: