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Syndra Build Guide by SgtInvincible
Syndra - Immense Power is Fun! An in depth guide.By SgtInvincible | Updated on January 11, 2013
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At time of writing Syndra is the newest champion of the league and is popularly considered to be somwhat underpowered. However, despite her low AP scaling, if played well she can still be an immensely powerful champion capable not only of beating almost anyone else in a 1v1 fight but also of dominating teamfights!
This is an in depth guide which I believe is essential for a champion like Syndra. It is not simply a case of knowing what her abilities do, knowing a build then diving straight in! Syndra takes a lot of practice, but it is really worth it once you know how to play her. In this guide I hope to show you as well as I can how to have success with the Dark Sovereign. Without further ado, on with the guide!
Happy Syndra free week everyone! This guide will help you rise above all of the noob Syndra's you will see!
Edit: Syndra has been buffed!
The Damage and AP scaling on her Dark Sphere has gone up whilst the Mana cost has been reduced!
Range of her Force of Will has been increased,
Usability and Speed of the sphere fired by Scatter the Weak improved,
And finaly the AP scaling on her ultimate Unleashed Power has been increased.
I never felt she needed these buffs, but I am not going to complain that my favourite champion has just been made stronger!
Standby whilst I edit this guide to incorporate these changes
Edit: Second highest rated guide for Syndra on Mobafire, woah! Keep the votes coming guys your feedback is amazing!
- Great Sustained damage
- High harass potential
- Ability to stun/cc an entire enemy team
- Strong ability to farm
- High burst potential with ultimate
- Immense power is fun!
- Dat Splash art!
- Somewhat squishy (then again which ap mids arent? That was a rhetorical question!!)
- Low burst potential without your ultimate Unleashed Power
- Takes practice to get used to abilities, requires A LOT of skill
- High mana costs
- AP ratio on Dark Sphere could be better! (Even after increase from (0.5-0.6)
- Justicar skin looks silly! (the light orbs don't work for me!)
Transcendent This is your passive. At max rank (rank five) of your NON ULTIMATE abilities this passive gives each ability a small bonus effect. This is is as well as the usual bonus of the abilty gaining a lower cooldown or doing more base damage. I will explain these bonuses within context below.
Dark SphereThis is your Q. After a brief delay Syndra conjures a Dark Sphere which damages all nearby enemies. Many Syndra players see this as their only damage source! It's damage is noticable but mediocre (its AP scaling is only 0.5). However it should be seen more like Karthus's Lay Waste in thats its a spammable consistent damage tool, rather than Ziggs' Bouncing Bomb which deals TONNES OF DAMAGE on its own. It is also essential for use with your other abilities, as I will go into below.
The sphere appears on a short delay so try to aim it dead on your opponents or wait until they are walled in by minions or just about to last hit before leading with it. If you don't chose to lead with it you can use Force of Will and Scatter the Weak (your other two abilities) to allow you to land it more easily (as indeed we shall explore below).
You can use this to farm minions but you will go out of mana fast if you spam it early on (without a chalice of harmony). Try to save it for harass or getting multiple last hits if you want to push the lane.
Despite its low AP scaling this ability is your most reliable source of damage and since higher ranks give it a lower cooldown maxing this by level 9 is essential.
Transcendent Bonus: At rank 5 the sphere does %15 bonus damage to enemy champions. Doesn't really change the way we use our sphere but bonus damage is always useful!
Also note that as a sphere is about to expire it will change to gain a teal ring before disappearing as shown below:
Force of Will Probably Syndra's most unique ability. She picks up target enemy or neutral minion or monster (yes you read that right) and then can throw it to a location damaging and slowing all enemies hit. You can in fact throw any neutral or enemy monster or minion except:
-Enemy turrets (that would be just too broken!)
The slow is fantastic as it makes it easier to land the rest of your combo, ie more Dark Spheres or perhaps a Scatter the Weak (we will come to this one in just a second!)
Finally note that if you throw the Blue golem at someone with this ability the ability loses a second from its cooldown and refunds 10 mana.
Throwing the red lizard will apply the Red lizards slow and burn debuff to the target.
The slow on this ability is great but the damage it does is good as well, as our next most reliable damage tool you will want to max this by level 9.
Transcendent bonus: At rank five the slows duration is increased from 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds, again not too much to worry about, just MOAR slow which can never be a bad thing!
Scatter the Weak
Syndra will fire out a short range cone infront of her knocking all enemy champions, minions and most importantly, Dark Spheres, any hit spheres will shoot back far stunning, knocking back and damaging any targets hit. This can be a great ability to lead with (in conjunction with a well placed sphere) as it allows for a stun leaving your opponents helpless against the rest of your combo!
Please note that at time of writing this ability can be a bit erattic, if you throw back a sphere already on top of an enemy champion it somtimes won't hit them, to avoid this be sure to use a sphere just infront of your opponent. The closer the sphere is to you when you cast Scatter the Weak the further it will go.
More Useful for specific situations and a rather unreliable source of damage this ability should be maxed last.
Transcendent bonus: At max rank Scatter the Weak gives you a wider cone with which to knock things back, since I find myself only ever really aiming at a single target with this the passives bonus isn't huge, but in a few situations this wider cone may come in useful.
Note: You won't actually be level 9 when you get the larger cone, you will be level 18, the above Picture is just to show you what it looks like!
Unleashed Power is Syndra's ultimate, MUAHAHAHA it is time to turn your enemies into red smears on the floor (or probably bruised smears given all the stuff that will hit them).
This ability fires all of the Spheres you have out on the battlefield + another three (in case you were wondering what those spheres orbiting Syndra were for) to bombard and deal extreme single target damage to an unfortunate victim. The damage is increased for each additional sphere you fire. Realistically with this build you are likely to have n more than 2 Dark Spheres out at any given time, so you will fire five spheres in total which at rank one will deal somwhere in the region of 500-600 damage against a low magic resist target! Thats a lot and it only gets better since all the spheres you fire are left lying around the (now likely dead!) enemy allowing you to fire them all of with Scatter the Weak and cause Devastation!
This is an amazing abilty and gives you incredible potential, so as with all ultimates take a point at 6, 11 and 16
'The Aptly named Early Harass' combo
The best thing about this combo is it usable from level two, although without a chalice it will be difficult to keep using it. It is great throughout the game for wearing down a lane opponent.
To start pick up an enemy minion with Force of Will Then throw it onto your lane opponent when they likely won't be able to dodge it. Once they are slowed you are garunteed to be able to land a follow up Dark Sphere on them!
Later in the game this combo can be used on a minion wave for fast farm; pick up a melee minion and drop it on to the caster minions before landing the sphere and the gold will pour in!
'The Stun Surprise' combo
This combo is simple enough but requires a bit of aiming (and practice!). You create a Dark Sphere infront of yourself and then use Scatter the Weak to fire it towards an enemy champion. If time is not pressing you could even then create a second sphere before using Scatter the Weak to increase your chance of hitting. THe impact will knock back and stun anybody it hits. Now unless you are using this to escape then by itself this combo is not particularly useful. However this is one of the longest range stuns in the game and is perfect for initiating on your lane opponent before your jungler comes into gank or before using a combo of your own. Also this can be used when chasing an enemy since the stun will allow your whole team to catch up, also bear in mind the sphere can be fired through walls for an even greater surprise!
'The Sphereflinger' combo
This combo can be performed from level 4, although it is best to wait for a Chalice of Harmony or blue buff before performing this because it costs a lot of mana!
Start be creating a sphere infront of you, it doesn't even need to hit anything! Then, fire it into your unsuspecting foe with Scatter the Weak Once they are stunned you can then slam dunk the first sphere right onto their face with Force of Will before then adding another Dark Sphere on them. This is very high damage and will likely strip away a large part of the enemies health. At later ranks you can add Unleashed Power and Ignite onto the end of this if you want to pick up an easy kill!
Even late game this remains your best way of killing a single target.
'The Teamkiller' combo
This is the best combo at your disposal in team fights, start by casting a Dark Sphere into the enemy team wherever you feel it will do most damage (it really doesn't matter!) Follow up with Unleashed Power on a high priority squishy target such as the enemy carry, Ashe and friends beware! With Spheres now littering the field the follow up Scatter the Weak Will deal heavy damage and stun the whole enemy team. After this formidable combo you can drop further Dark Spheres and use Force of Will on the enemy team at your leisure!
'The Seven Sided Sphere' Combo
This it it, the wombo combo, the combo which casues absolutely mahussive damage and will leave you expecting the target of it to spin off screaming into the air before crashing against the front of the screen and sliding down it! Note that in order to even attempt this you will need a lot of setup time as well as AT LEAST 30% cooldown reduction, attainable in this guide through Athene's Unholy Grail Deathfire Grasp and Blue Buff. To start with cast Dark Sphere twice as fast as you can. Then use Force of Will on the first Sphere but DO NOT throw it anywhere. Then Cast Dark Sphere twice more. By this point the second sphere you cast will be just about to time out so use Unleashed Power to bombard a target with a total of seven spheres. At max rank of Unleashed Power this will deal 1260 + (1.4 x your ability power) you read that correctly, this combo will kill some squishy target from full health in a single use! However this combo requires a lot of concentration, time and your opponents standing within range at the end of it (if they realise what you are trying they will likely blow Flash to escape!) Consequentely this combo is more for fun than anything else, 'the sphereflinger' is much more reliable!
***Disclaimer*** Sgt.Invinicble is not responsible to any harm you may come to, or any psycological harm received from the enemy team cursing you. Perform these devastating moves at your own risk. In reference to the last combo I have never even heard of the monk class in Diablo III so am therefore not liable to be sued for plagarism.
The Slippery Sovereign
- Remember that none of Syndra's abilities cause her to stop while casting them, this means that while being chased you can use Scatter the Weak and Force of Will on spheres or minions to slow your chaser without even having to stop!
Sight ward Warding for fun! (and profit) Sight ward
- Although not mentioned in the item build, as with any Midlaning champion, it is critical that on Syndra you buy a sight ward or two on each trip back to your base. Placing sight wards in the brush either side of your lane gives you advance notice of the enemy Jungler, or indeed of anyone else trying to surprise you and gank you. Having wards down allows you to be more aggressive, push your opponent out of lane and push the lane to increase your own minion farm without worrying about any nasty surprises.
Mana and you: How to stay useful not helpless
- Although the Chalice of Harmony you will get early on goes a way to helping you solve any mana issues you may have, it is no blue buff! (Although the Athene's Unholy Grail you may get later on is!) This means you must be careful with your mana, using your abilities to pick up minion farm which you would be able to get with your auto-attack is a waste! Once out of mana you have only your precious Flash as an escape mechanism. Where possible asking your jungler for blue buff is another great way around this problem, although play carefully while you have this buff because giving it to your opponent through dying is never a good idea!
The Farming Terror
- Although early game as Syndra your priority should be to farm minions (you typically want at least 100cs by the 15 minute mark) Keep an eye open for opportunities to gank other lanes. With the crowd control and damage allowed by your abilities (particularly 'the Sphereflinger' combo) you have great potential to gank other lanes. Later on with your allies coordination it is possible even to rapidly kill an opponent on their own tower! One final note here is to try and push your lane back to the enemy tower before ganking. You feel very dumb if you come back from a successful gank only to find that you have lost your own tower while away!
SgtInvincible's effective Invincibility
- Late game as Syndra you must play it safe. Like most other AP carries you are not only a high priority target, but also very squishy. Beyond the 30 minute mark you check brushes by walking into them at your own peril! Once your team groups up you should always stay at the back using your superior range to attack in teamfights, only when moping up kills or performing the Scatter the Weak part of 'The Teamkiller' combo should you be anywhere near the fight!
The Dark Mortar
- Similarly when in lane you want to use your superior range to Harass your lane opponent, with a few exceptions (such as Ziggs and Xerath) your long range harass will be much better than your enemy's.
As with many other Ap carries (you may be noticing a common theme here) I like to start with
This I find to be the strongest start on Syndra
Against an easier lane opponent or one in which ability to dodge skill shots is not so important, against say Annie You could try one of the starts below, not to say the boots would be a waste against a short range champion, just that they are not COMPLETELY essential!
Both the boots and the pendant build into your early core items making them strong starts. Whereas the ring will make you the most potent by itself (although it tails off into mid game more).
Chalice of Harmony Regardless of your start you want to buy this item on your first trip back to the fountain, it goes a great way to solving your early mana problems. The mana cost on Dark Sphere has been reduced, so now with the chalice you can perform even more combos before running out of mana!
Sorcerer's Shoes I experimented with taking Ionian Boots of Lucidity instead, but overall these complement your build much better giving you essential magic pen.
Haunting Guise I grab this before the obligatory Rabadon's Deathcap because I find that it is much more cost effective on Syndra. As well as making you more resilient it gives you magic pen, a very valuable stat on Syndra with this, the Sorcerer's Shoes and the 9 Greater Mark of Magic Penetration you will find yourself with nearly 50 magic pen, until late game this will mean that your abilities basically deal true damage to champions who aren't stacking magic resist.
Unlike the Chalice of Harmony the Haunting Guise is not an essential item, if you wish to play a stronger late game then skipping this item and going for a Needlessly Large Rod can work strongly as well. I would advise this if you find yourself in a passive lane where you have little risk of dying, against a champion such as Morganna or if your team seems naturally geared towards a longer game. With the slightly incrased AP scaling which SYndra has been given in the late September patch this Item is now non essential since an earlier Rabbadon's deathcap is now viable
Mid- Late game build
Rabadon's Deathcap: Although as said above Syndra does not synergise as well with ability power as other AP mids, the Deathcap still gives a great boost to your damage, for this reason you will want one as soon as you have finished your core build.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Another good idea, however this is the first item in your build which is really interchangeable, if you find your team is already doing great amounts of cc to the enemy team and you find yourself in little risk of dying then there are better items. However in many cases the increase in toughness this gives you (especialy if you take the Giant's Belt first, combined with the CC afforded to you by the slow makes this a great item.
Athene's Unholy Grail: By the time mid game turns into late game you will find a valuable item slot being taken up in your inventory by the trusty Chalice of Harmony you purchased earlier. Since even in late game you are reliant on mana regen you might as well upgrade it into somthing better. The Grail is a great item giving you even more mana regen than the chalice as well as giving you some all important cooldown reduction. If you wish to grab this item earlier in your build, ie before the Rylai's Crystal Scepter then go ahead, but this item is another almost essential thing to pick up.
Once you Reach the Late game (once you more or less have the Items above) you can consider adding these items to your build. Saying a tearful farewell to your faithful haunted guise you can pick up any two of the following five items.
Deathfire Grasp This item will allow you to perform a more formidable burst combo. The active ability could be added onto the end of a 'sphereflinger' or 'teamkiller' combo. It is advisable to take this item if your burst just isn't quite enough to take down the enemy squishies from full hp. The increased cooldown reduction means that you can try having up to three dark spheres out at once allowing for your ultimate to be more powerful as well.
Zhonya's Hourglass A fantastic and good all round item. As well as giving all of your spells a bit more punch it also allows you invulnerability, great to use between excecuting combos or if you find yourself in danger and teammates are nearby. Against a team with strong AD carries or in a team where you find yourself often initiated on in a teamfight (which you should try to avoid!) the hourglass is your friend.
Void Staff In many ways an upgraded version of Haunting Guise, if the enemy team finaly wise up to how awesome this guide has made you they will likely start stacking magic resist in a futile attempt to save themselves! If this happens it is time to dust off the Void Staff as against a team high in MR it gives you a great damage boost.
Guardian Angel A somwhat expensive but good all round defensive option. I would not advise taking both this and banshees veil at once, but instead to top off an offensive build and give you a great amount of survivability. The Resurection is nice as well, functioning somewhat like the hourglass (just less controllable!)!
Banshee's Veil Your other defensive choice, you mainly want to consider this against a high AP enemy team or if you find that the AP carry is repeatedly killing you late game. This item can completely disrupt the spell combos of champions like Brand, Veigar and LeBlanc. As said above I highly recommend not taking this as well as Guardian Angel as one tends to be enough and you will compromise your damage too much by taking both!
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration I find to be the strongest choice for almost any AP based champion. Why you may ask? Well of all marks availible to you these toys are going to allow you to deal the most damage late game. Taking ability power instead just will not scale as well. This has an even greater synergy on Syndra since the ap ratio on her Dark Sphere is so low you will get a greater damage increase by taking magic pen, since only half of the AP you build is going to help you anyway!
Greater Seal of Replenishment As You may have astutely noticed in the pros and cons section above Syndra struggles somwhat in the mana department. Even at high ranks her Dark Sphere doesn't do that much damage, particularly when compared with many of the other AP mids you may be facing. Thus getting as much mana regen as you can on Syndra early game without compromising her damage output is vital. Also as an aside all other yellows are terrible, so these are default anyway!
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist These are your primary source of defence early game, since (aside from Talon) you won't be encountering much physical damage in mid lane (unless your lane opponent would prefer autoattacking you to last hitting) magic defence is all you will need, these work wonderfully on any mid charachter and on Syndra they will help you win early trades and perhaps even serve to counteract any Great Mark of Insight your opponent may have (I swear all runes do is cancel each other out!).
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power Again standard fare on any caster build (are you noticing a trend here!) These give you a nice boost to your ability power which despite you lackluster ratios is still a good thing. If you spam your abilities onto your opponents face enough it will all add up.
Besides if you don't take these and your opponent escapes on less than 20 hp after eating your full spell combo would you be able to live with yourself?
Also as a note you can quite obviously buy the tier one and two versions of these if you aren't quite level 20 yet! Also I prefer flat as opposed to per level since being strong early game allows you to snowball more and be better late game as well!
**Disclaimer** Other Runes are availible
Again I have gone for a pretty standard caster setup for Syndra Points of note here are I have built full offense on the Offense Tree (surprise surprise) taking almost every damage increase possible. The one main offensive ability I did not max was Havoc the reason being that each individual point will usualy grant you just a single extra point of damage, if even that, even with three points in the skill you will be raising 200 damage from one of your abilities to 203, thats right you get a single point of damage for each mastery point spent!
In the Utility tree I would regard all mana related masteries as essentials (in order to fix your somwhat faulty mana base early game). Also grabbing the increased buff duration is a must because if your jungler is audacious enough to offer you blue buff you will want it for as long as possible!
Whether you dump a single extra point in Improved Recall or Swiftness is entirely up to you. You could want to look at that awesome recall animation for longer, in which case Swiftness is for you, alternatly you could enjoy watching Syndra float across the screen in a somwhat arbitrary display of power in which case take Improved Recall rather than increased movement speed to allow you to watch her for longer!
Other such Phenomena (a.k.a Summoner spells)
Flash With no escape mechanics as such Flash is going to save you on many occasions where other spells simply will not, also it has fantastic aggressive uses allowing you to surprise a low hp opponent or catch up with one of the enemy team whom (assuming you follow this guide to the letter) will likely be running from you. A quick note of usage is where possible try to use it to flash over walls or other such obstacles where possible, you feel an idiot when you flash away only for Nautilus to go trolll lol lol and Dredge Line you back in!
Ignite A must have if you want your lane opponent to take a one way train back to the summoner platform (that is 'die' for the uninitiated). Adding this to the end of a spell combo makes it just that much more potent and may allow you to secure some lovely kills. Also good against champions such as Swain, Volibear and Dr. Mundo later in the game if you want to stop their bonkers health regen.
Also worth considering
Clarity You have mana problems, clarity helps you get mana, nuff said (although I think it better to play more conservatively with your mana and take the two above)
Heal No one likes dying, Heal doesn't either, making this summoner spell your friend. However in most cases simply flashing away will prove more effective.
Ghost is like Flash (which is good) only worse (which is bad)
Exhaust I see this summoner spell as an alternative to Ignite in that it helps you secure kills. Use this at thestart of a combo if you miss with Force of Will or if you crowd control is on cooldown and you want to keep a target around to finish them off with a Dark Sphere. However I think that Ignite is a more assured and easier way to secure kills, so I take it over this spell.
Bad/Troll summoner spells
Smite Being sure of one more cs every 90 seconds is a powerful thing!
Revive and Surge Don't like the look of your team in champion select? Want somone else to leave so you can start a new game without a 5 minute leaver penalty? Well then load these two up on Syndra and watch as someone on your team leaves saving you time and effort!
Teleport Find the twenty second float back to mid lane harrowing? Want to use a 5 minte cooldown spell to get somwhere on the map which you could get to really fast because your in mid lane anyway? Well then teleport is for you.
Clairvoyance All those sight wards weighing you down as you try to hover imperiously around the battlefield? Well then why have vision over an area for three minutes when you can have it for 4 seconds! The enemy won't suspect a thing.
Promote Want to roam and gank other lanes? Find that you have too little mana to push the enemy minion wave back? Then promote a minion and let him do the work for you! Auto-attack ganks op!
- Syndra is possibly the worst performing champion in the game right now, by quite a margin, however do not let this put you off. In the hands of somone who knows what they are doing (ie someone who has read my guide!!) she is very powerful and whereas by themselves her burst, sustained damage and crowd control may not match up to other AP carries, her whole kit if used well can trump all of them.
- Practice Practice Practice! Syndra is not an easy champion to play and should not be the first AP mid you play, strating off with an easier to play champion such as Veigar or Viktor then seeing learning Syndra as your ultimate goal is the way to go!
-To start with play a few games against bots or custom games with friends to get used to the combos I have described, they certainly aren't the only viable combos out there but they are a good set to have at your disposal, during these games try to learn how all of her abilities work and get used to aiming them, Scatter the Weak can be particularly tricky to aim!
I thank you for reading your way through this guide, again I must state this is the first guide I (the esteemed Sgt.Invincible) have made for Mobafire and any feedback is fantastic, especially the positive kind!!!
If you are interested in playing with /chatting to me about anything lol then just look for SgtInvincible on the EU West server.
Until then farewell!
Below are some victories achieved using this build:
I would like to Thank:
Rfent for his checking of my guide and feedback before I published it
B3ATON4 for his use in game and reflections on my build
JhoiJhoi for her excellent guide which allowed me (who is normally computer illiterate!) to produce this guide.
Bittersweet for reminding me that I had forgotten to add Exhaust to the summoner spell section!
All contributors and voters for your excellent feedback which is allowing me to improve this guide further