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Soraka - A top lane dominator?
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Hello and welcome to an interesting guide on an unorthodox champion/lane combo that works: Soraka at top lane.
Yes you've heard right. If that isn't strange enough, we'll be building Soraka as a tanky AP caster of all things. I'd like to point out that while it is uncommon to see champions take roles and lanes they weren't designed for, it is how other champions obtained their unusual roles as well. (Support Annie for example) I strongly suggest that you at least try this guide out before you judge this and see for yourself that sometimes the strange comes out on top.
I take magic pen. marks to deal more damage combined with the already great MR shred that Starcall provides. This will allow more damage to be dealt using Infuse
Armor Seals are an absolute NECESSITY due to Soraka's natural lack of armor. We take these to not only reduce physical damage early, but to increase armor over all throughout the game.
Ability power Glyphs are overall a great choice for almost any AP caster. On Soraka, it increases the amount of damage she deals with her abilities as well as provides extra sustain through Astral Blessing and Wish
Taking ability power Quints for the same reasons you take AP Glyphs will be a great asset to not only you, but to your team.
You could switch out the AP Quints for Armor ones instead for that extra durability, but it all comes down to preference.
Offense - 9
The 8% in magic pen. does wonders, especially due to the fact that most top laners go for armor rather then magic resist. Even if they do build magic resist, these 9 points in offense, your magic pen. marks, and Starcall MR shred will reduce the enemies MR by a huge amount.
Defense - 21
This is where we get a bit tanky. Even with the armor seals, Soraka will still be able to take damage much too easily. These masteries in defense help to fix that and are the key to how your build will work. Additionally, they synergize well with the exta armor you temporalily gain with Astral Blessing.
Utility - 0
There's not much here to use that outshines the attributes you aquire with the other skill trees, so we leave utility out completely.
|Teleport since our objective is to deny the enemy farm and punish them when they go to farm. In order to do this, Teleport will help us stay in lane constantly and allows easy recovery if caught in a bind.||Flash should be taken on almost every champion, with a few exceptions to that rule. Soraka is no different, as she has no natural escape or gap closer. She almost relies on it in a pinch and gets caught easily without it.|
Other summoner spells that can work.
Ignite: This can work for Soraka, but it's not so much about securing a kill/dealing damage to the enemy but rather keeping him away from farm. Ignite isn't going to help much in that case.
Ghost: Ghost can work as a substitute to Flash and provides extra speed for a chase as well as an escape, but the amount of plays that can be made via Flash outweigh the ones from Ghost.
Heal: The extra bit of sustain can be nice, but it shouldn't be taken for the same reason we shouldn't take ignite.
All other summoner spells should be disregarded as the rest don't match up to the ones mentioned above.
(Q) Starcall: Soraka summons a shower of stars to fall from the sky, striking all nearby enemy units within 530 range for magic damage and reducing their magic resistance for 5 seconds. This effect stacks up to 10 times. MAGIC DAMAGE: 60 / 85 / 110 / 135 / 160 (+ 40% AP)
MAGIC RESIST REDUCTION: 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 per stack
MAXIMUM MAGIC RESIST REDUCTION: 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 The zoning you can achieve with this ability is amazing, not to mention the MR shred is very nice.
(W) Astral Blessing: Soraka blesses a friendly unit, restoring health and granting them bonus armor for 3 seconds. HEAL: 70 / 140 / 210 / 280 / 350 (+ 45% AP)
BONUS ARMOR: 25 / 45 / 65 / 85 / 105 The heal and extra temporary armor do wonders sustain wise.
(E) Infuse: ACTIVE – ON ALLY CAST: Restores mana to the targeted champion. Soraka cannot use Infuse on herself.
MANA RESTORED: 40 / 80 / 120 / 160 / 200
ACTIVE – ON ENEMY CAST: Silences the target and deals magic damage to them.
MAGIC DAMAGE: 50 / 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 (+ 60% AP)
SILENCE DURATION: 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 / 2.25 / 2.5 The silence duration is just incredible if you ask me. The damage and mana restored to allies is none too shabby as well.
(R) Wish: ACTIVE: Soraka fills her allies with hope, restoring health to herself and all friendly champions.
HEAL: 200 / 320 / 440 (+ 70% AP) This can be a game changing save for both you and your allies. Use it well.
consecration, Soraka's passive, gives a nice boost to your total MR and will be advantageous in the long run during team fights. It's certainly an undervalued yet powerful passive.
Your Infuse is going to be the first ability you want to max out. Not only is it a silence that damages and interrupts combos, it also costs no mana what so ever. This means we have near infinite poking ability provided that the cooldown is not too long, hence the reason we max it out, not to mention the damage and silence duration increase with rank. You can always give your jungler extra mana with this if he comes in to gank too.
Astral Blessing is your second spell to upgrade because of the increased amount of sustain you gain per rank and the increased armor you temporarily gain from it. The reason we don't max this first is because we need some form of damage ( Infuse) and the item path we take fixes our defense problem, which will be discussed later.
Starcall is our main waveclear tool and is the reason why Soraka has so much zoning potential. If the enemy gets too close, you can always use it to start shreding the opponents MR. Once they begin to flee, a simple enhanced Infuse will show them not to mess with you again. We dont level this until later since we want to keep it at a level where we can spam it like crazy.
Soraka's ultimate, Wish, is upgraded at the usual level 6, 11, and 16. It adds a bit more sustain to not only you, but your entire team, making it easy to save someone from across the map if needed or to simply help you survive an incoming gank.
Taking a Cloth Armor will also open up the availability of purchasing a sight ward, which is a very good thing. The ward will go far in the long run. If you bought a ward already or simply don't have enough to purchase one, use what gold you have left to buy a Health Potion or two.
Now let's take a look at the main build path for your items.
Frozen Heart: This item is built first if the enemy is AD reliant or is focused around basic attacks. By rushing this on Soraka vs. AD, you'll become extremely durable in the laning phase as well as in team fights. The armor from the Frozen Heart works well with the armor gained for a short time from Astral Blessing too and the extra mana/CDR is great too, not to mention the unique passive's nice.
Spirit Visage: Get this first instead of a [frozen heart]] if you're laning against an AP focused champion. The extra magic resist is very nice combined with consecration and the addition of the health regen is great. The thing to take into account with a Spirit Visage though is the passive 20% increase in self healing. Your two healing spells ( Astral Blessing/ Wish) will be amplified on yourself with this in your inventory.
After acquiring one of the items mentioned above, get the other one you didn't purchase before. (If you bought a Frozen Heart, get a Spirit Visage next, and vise versa)
Boots: Tier 1 boots should be purchased sometime while building your first item. Tier 2 boots should be finished before purchasing your second item. Additionally, tier two boots should be a choice between Ninja Tabi (Vs. AD) and Mercury's Treads (Vs. AP), as these boots will add to your overall defense. Sorcerer's Shoes can be taken in the event that you have two or more tanks on your team not including you.
Liandry's Torment: This should be built as your fourth item if you need to bring more damage to the table. The low cooldown on Starcall makes the passive on Liandry's Anguish proc every time on all enemies damaged by it as well as Infuse. Tanks won't be an issue with this in your inventory and the extra health is very nice as well.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Rylai's Crystal Scepter is to be built instead of Liandry's Anguish in case you need more utility then damage. With Starcall so spamable, the passive on Rylai's Crystal Scepter will keep a persistent slow on the hit opponents. The slow will also apply if you use Infuse on an enemy too. Again, the additional health gained through this item does wonders.
As with the first two items, get the other item you didn't acquire before once again. (If you bought Liandry's Anguish first, buy a Rylai's Crystal Scepter next and vise versa) Both of these item's passives work well together too.
Iceborn Gauntlet: This will be your last item. The extra armor, mana, and cooldown reduction are just too good to pass up. The passive on Iceborn Gauntlet procs with each use of Starcall and allows no escape from any enemy thanks to the additional slow from Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Farming does get difficult with Soraka however. She can wave clear easily, but her last hits take a while to learn. (The missile speed on her AA is very slow.) Once mastered though, it becomes almost second nature.
Remember to purchase wards as well. Soraka is going to be a major target for not only your laner, but also the enemy jungler, both of them hoping you'll be squishy and an easy kill. Prove them wrong by using your wards and sustain to your advantage.
The above bush is your primary ward location. This river bush should be warded the majority of the laning phase. The tribush next to it can also be warded for extra security as shown below.
Once you have access to your ult, take periodic looks to see if you can save an ally with it. It takes practice, but with skill, you can be a lifesaver and a game changer in any fight.
ONLY take the enemy tower if you know where the enemies are on the map currently and you have the area around you warded. It's MUCH too dangerous to attempt to do so without these provisions first.
Once you have obtained your full build, your combo becomes similar to this: E > AA > Q > AA > Q > AA and so on with periodic uses of Infuse when it's off cooldown. The amount of CC + DoT you'll have at this point is just too much for anyone to handle.
Zed: Soraka is a natural anti-assassin, making Zed's attacks relatively useless, especially so if the Zed has bad aim. Your Ult counters his and the armor you build completely shuts him down. Additionally, you can stop him from using his full combo through the silence from Infuse.
Riven: She desperately needs to pull of her full combo in order to be successful in lane, which is why so many champions that counter Riven have a silence to prevent this. Soraka has one as well, making her a natural counter to Riven as well as being able to sustain herself should Riven be able to pull her combo off.
Garen: He's in a similar situation as Riven, where the silence just keeps him from coming at you. The main issue here, however, is the fact that his health/regen and his damage is so great. By constantly harassing him though, you can keeps his health and passive down. As for his damage output, simply beware of his Decisive Strike and silence him when he attempts to do so.
The following list of champs are a few to beware.
Renekton: The fact that he has a bunch of sustain, no mana costs, and has a gap closing/stun combo makes him a worthy adversary. I advise against playing too aggressive against Renekton, but still harass when you can.
Jax: Similar to renekton, only with a higher damage output on his gap closing combo, mana costs, and an AoE stun. Generally, Jax is able to get more damage off of you then Renekton, making him more of a threat. Play safe, but still harass and try to zone him.
Teemo: This little guy's trouble. He has better harass, equal farm potential, and can zone you just as easily as you can him with the only difference is him having DoT. Play very safe against a Teemo and try to farm as much as you can. Don't worry about zoning as much in this case.
Darius: This is a bit tricky. You both are at a standstill. Neither of you can get too close to each other without taking some damage in return. Keep him at bay while farming as much as possible. Under any circumstances should Darius decide to roam, DO NOT LET HIM. He will wreck other lanes if he can't wreck yours.
I'd like to thank everyone that helped me test this guide out as well as those who try this guide for themselves. Thanks again and good luck too you all.