Soraka Build Guide by Chromuro
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Runes: Usual setup
+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
Ability Order Normal sequence
Threats & Synergies
She can be a problem: healing, shields, movement speed buffs... she has everything. She could even poke you down... if she wasn't so mana hungry. Force her to heal his ADC by continously poking him and when your ADC feels ready, put your E under her and assault her. Easy prey.
Shields 'till you're not dead. the only thing you must be wary of is her tornado, it can setup for a Q+W+whatever her ADC has. Other than that, you must have an ADC that can eat through her shield quickly or it will be a boring lane.
Braum is a nice guy, I respect him. He has a good skill set to protect his ADC, but other than that he has nothing. His Q relies heavily on his ADC (keep the distance until the debuff runs out) and his R is the only thing you have to fear, but normally he should use it as an all-in engage.
Do you have a book with you to read when she roots you? Her Q duration is infinite, stay behind your minions as much as you can, if she can't hit it they can't engage. The black shield is infuriating since it denies the slow, the silence and the root. Play smartly around her cooldowns and make her waste mana and skills.
This is the opposite of morgana, stay tf away from your minions. His AA can hurt quite a lot after a number of chimes, but other than that once he wastes his Q is not a big threat. Don't follow him inside his magical journey, most of the times he will have his Q ready to trap you.
Karma is tricky thanks to her mantra, you can't understand when she will use it and for what. Her RQ does quite the damage early, so you wanto to avoid it at all times; her W with the rejuvenation buff can be avoided easily and her shield lasts for really little time.
Wo, that are too many CCs in only one champion, buuuuut they are all soft CCs, excluding the polymorph. When paired with an heavy AA-based champion can be deadly, but mikael should help you a lot. Try to not get in range of the skills and play safe, so she can't be as annoying.
Heal and poke in the same skill, seriously? She's a big problem, it's like morgana on steroids where she loses the ability to shield someone for a really powerful heal skill. Her ult can work both as an engage and as a disengage, she has everything to protect her carry and poke you. I should say "stay away from your ADC", but that's idiotic over every limit imaginable; but you should surely sidestep her Q, that's true.
Heavy poke champion with hard CCs and dot. You're gonna have a bad time with him in lane. Go ultrasafe, your positioning is the key to survive the matchup. Hope that your ADC isn't too stupid to get picked, you can't really sustain the damage he deal.
High range poke that can come from every angle. The damage can become quite unsustainable if the plants continue to lock onto you, but the skill you have to avoid at all costs is her E. If she catches you, you are pretty much dead. Stay safe and be always ready with your equinox, if you can interrupt her combo you can cut in half her damage.
Avoid her Q or suffer the wrath of a teenager. Before 6 can be an even matchup, but she can still do a lot of damage and poke you out of lane. After 6 it becomes really difficult to manage her. All her power resides in her Q.
Tank with hard CCs, possible initiation and possible disruption. Even if you play well, he can bounce you everywhere and his ADC can take advantage of this. Stay REAAAAALLY far away, you can't respond correctly to his combo, even equinox can't save you.
This is the easiest extreme matchup we have. His pull can be deadly, after 3 even more, after 6 consider yourself dead 100%. Buuuut his grab is on a high cooldown and 2/3 grabs depletes completely his mana pool. Play around his Q cd, switch between aggressive and passive gamestyle until you can poke him down enough to activate his passive. Once that's down, if he doesn't recall he's pretty much dead.
Tanky (tom)boi with pretty much only hard CCs. She has 3 stuns for goodness's sake. Her engage starts with E, avoid that and you're good. Maybe don't let her get close to you too. And preserve your flash after level 6 for her R. ...go mercury and mikael asap ffs
He's one of the most strong and safe supports existing. A reliable engage, a realible tool for his ADC to engage with and a lock with his ult. Stay behind your minions and don't do anything risky, it could be your last mistake.
Immobile ADC that is more about utility than damage. Don't let her slow you, avoid her stun arrow of the freljord and it will be an easy lane.
Immobile champion... normally. Her passive can lead to multiple casts of itself thank to the humongous buff it gives to jinx. She's still somewaht oriented to utility while doing a good amount of damage. When she switches to the rocket launcher, avoid minions like the plague. She can get OOM quite easily, if it happens you can start to poke her freely.
She's not as immobile as the others, but she can't say to be the best. She has quite the burst potential and she can setup herself to her own ult. You know what counters her? Silences.
Can snowball pretty hard if he get a pick while doing what draven does best: catching axes. If he's too aggressive, he goes OOM quickly, leaving him with the axes he has in that moment. Try to make him drop the axes with starcall or equinox, this should slow his gold income. And obviously stop him before he gets anything.
This is a particular champion. His playstyle can vary a lot between each game, but you always have to avoid is enhanced crit shot, it hurts like hell. Keep track of his grenade and decide if it's good or not to stay near the minion. If he has a support with some kind of engage, he can follow pretty easily. TL;DR adapt your playstyle with his.
She can be countered by simply positioning well in lane where her feathers can't root you if she recalls them. Her AA hurts a lot, but she loses any power she has over the others if she misses her E.
Free poke and klepto, worst thing ever. His Q is the one that you should avoid at all costs, more to avoid he gets more gold and/or something valuable from klepto. Unfortunately he can burst you with his W too and his E is perfect. Use you equinox sparingly, you'll need it when he teleports.
Ugh, stealth. You can't see where he positions himself, so you can't react correctly. After 6 if you are even a little bit overextended he will punish you hard. It's difficult, but still doable with some "external" help.
True damage on ADC was a mistake. She can dish out a lot of damage, but only if she can hit 3 consecutive AA. Never let this happen or you lose any healing potential you have. Avoid walls too if you don't want to get killed.
Free crits, have I to add something? She should be the one to have the biggest AA range between all ADC and both her W and E can setup TO EVEN MORE CRITS. Her ulti isn't an execute, but it feels like one. Avoid traps, being near to her, being near minions, being near the brink of death.
Too much burst and hard engage. For the first few levels she can be still manageble, but with every level the difficulty rises esponentially. If she can put a stack on you and you don't have that much health left, consider yourself dead. You need your ADC to not take too much damage, so you don't need to heal him too much.
Too much mobility out of his ultimate and can AA you a lot of times, this means you have to stay far away from him. It isn't even the skills it self, it's the passive the problem. Unfortunately I don't really know what to suggest you other than "play safe", my standard ban.
Immobile utility champions aren't what soraka looks for. She need someone that can protect her while she protects them and this class of ADC don't want someone like soraka too since they need someone that engage in a fight for them; this is a big no no Examples: Ashe, Sivir.
Burst ADC are pretty neutral for soraka, they can protect her by literally scaring the opponent with the damage. In return soraka can setup kill for them with her CC, but this only in a somewhat advaced state of the game. Examples: Miss Fortune, Draven
Poke ADC starts to get good for soraka. They can benefit from the heal they receive when they return for a trade and soraka can easily use her starcall to regenerate health and equinox to cut the way of the enemies. Still not perfect, so the research continues. Examples: Ezreal
High mobility ADC they can dish out damage quickly and position themselves quickly. They benefit a lot from soraka's CC and soraka can be protected during a trade since they can come swiftly to help you. The main problem is that you can't follow them everywhere, they are too quick... Examples: Lucian, Tristana
ADC that can follow you CC with their are the best match for soraka. To an action correspond a reaction and in few seconds you locked up your target in a serie of CC where your ADC can finish the work. For soraka there isn't a best ADC since she can defend herself with her personal CCs. Examples: Jhin, Jinx
Champion Build Guide
Wish of a shooting star [S9]By Chromuro
Space. A wonderful place full of stars, galaxies and obnoxious dragons. A place where quietness rules over everything. It's here that our story begins, with a creature born from the stars and guided by them, someone so pure that even when betrayed doesn't lose her smile. Today I'm here to tell you the story of Soraka,
+ Provides a lot of CCs +
+ Strong poke game +
+ Heals +
+ GLOBAL heal +
+ Strong independent support that doesn't need filthy ADCs to save her +
- Squishy -
- Can be punished easily when OOH/OOM/OOP -
- Average-to-high mana costs and cooldowns early -
- Not a good skill set to teamfight with -
- ...you know, maybe an ADC could be beneficial -
Soraka is you classical enchanter with heals and self-peel/peel for your ADC/other kinds of peel who can do great through all the game. She provides AoE slows (with Starcall) and AoE silences and roots (with Equinox), while healing teammates at impressionable rates. The downsides are that if you care too much for others you'll find yourself in risky (and often deadly) situations where a single AA can turn off your light and she has to stay in the backline at all moments to avoid any kind of "accidental death". I heard there is someone that likes to eat everything, maybe he will like stars too...
Soraka gains 70% bonus movement speed when moving towards allied champions below 40% of their maximum health.
Soraka's passive transforms her into an ambulance: if one of your teammates in a radius of 2500 units (from inner to outer tower more or less) is below the threshold and you are moving towards him (this is important), you gain the speed boost. It's a pretty lackluster passive since it doesn't add anything particular to Soraka's gameplay, but it's usefull anyway to save some teammates in clutch situations.
Soraka calls down a star at the target area, landing after 0.25 − 1 (based on target range) seconds, dealing magic damage and slowing enemies hits by 30% for 2 seconds.
Hitting at least one enemy champion grants Soraka rejuvenation for 4 seconds, during which she can rejuvenate allies healed by Astral Infusion.
Rejuvenation heals every 0.5 seconds and grants 10% bonus movement speed when not moving towards enemy champions.
This will be your main poke and health regen tool thanks to his AoE damage and rejuvenation buff. The main gimmick of this skill is its cast time: since it varies with range, you can take advantage of this by positioning yourself always at different distances, so the enemy can't react correctly to Starcall. It's the easiest way to proc the tribute passive of Spellthief's Edge thanks to its low cooldown and not-too-high mana cost.
But you want to poke with this even when you don't have tribute stacks ready. Why? Because you want to activate the rejuvenation buff as much as you can. It heals you (great when you are using a lot Astral Infusion) and it gives movement speed when running away from enemies. This boosts your survivability in the lane and your ability to dodge skillshots, both things that Soraka needs when confronting enemies. It can be used as a way to kite your enemy, but instead of AAing you Starcall them.
W: Astral infusion
Soraka heals the target ally champion.
Astral Infusion cannot be self-cast, nor can it be cast if Soraka is below 5% maximum health.
It heals your ally. You can't use it on yourself. There are literally 6 words in this tooltip, it's the easiest ability you can read.
Buuuut since I like to make you lose time, I will add some other tips. This is explained in Starcall's tooltip, but since it interacts with Astral Infusion I preferred to put it here: when you get the rejuvenation buff, you can proc it on your ally too when you use Astral Infusion on them. They get the same benefits, so try to first Starcall an enemy and then Astral Infusion your ADC, they can benefit greatly from the movement speed, moreover when they are already pretty immobile (like Jinx, Varus...).
Another important thing is the cost: it takes away 10% of your max health, but the limit to which you can't heal anymore is set to 5%. If you try to heal someone when you are between 5% and 10% of your max health you'll be put at 1 hp; try to avoid this situation AT ALL COSTS! Always be careful with your health, you could die by excessive healing!
Soraka deals magic damage to all enemy champions in an area and creates a zone within that silences enemy champions standing on it.
After 1.5 seconds the zone detonates, dealing the same magic damage to all enemy champions within and briefly rooting them.
Wohooo AoE silences. This is the hardest to master thanks to its effectiveness, long cooldown and wait time for the root. Everyone that stands on it is silenced until they exit the circle or until it expires. When it expires, everyone that was still standing on it (it won't happen that often) will be rooted for a small amount of time. It does damage when it's cast and when it expires, but only to champions, so don't use it to farm please.
The real challenge of this skill is the timing and the positioning: where do I use it? When do I use it?
About positioning, it's an excellent tool to interrupt ganks by placing it in the path of the jungler or for simply proccing the tribute passive when you are at max stacks (it has a slightly bigger AoE than Starcall, but it's an instant cast. It's not really advised to use it like this since its long cd, but you can take the gamble); about timing it's perfect for silencing and blocking enemies OOP (maybe with a sprinkle of minion block on top of that) and to interrupt channeled abilities (first that comes to mind Miss Fortune's Bullet Time). You can use it preemptively under the enemy ADC/support when your ADC is in risky positions or when you smell an all-in incoming.
Soraka calls upon the stars, healing all allied champions, including
untargetable allies, and herself, which is increased by 50% on targets below 40% of their maximum health.
Oh, you were sure to get that kill? Too bad, now your laner is full health again. Istant cast global heal that targets e v e r y o n e, even when they are untargettable (like when you use Zhonya's Hourglass). At level one it isn't that strong as many people believe, but once you have lvl 2 on the skill and a pair of items, the heal will be absurd. Try always to maximize the efficiency of the skill: you have to take in account how many people are hurt in that exact moment and how much hp they have. For this reason is a great teamfight tool since often you'll find yourself healing the entire team when they have not that many hp, but it can be used when you are ganked and both you and your ADC are too low too. If you have to heal only one teammate, it's best to let him/her die since your ultimate can be usefull in other situations (or you can just use it if that teammate is carrying your iron ***, it's up to you to save him/her or not).
Two words about the two possible skill sequences:
You want to take Starcall at lvl 1 for the free starting poke and continuous health regeneration. You could take Astral Infusion first, but you don't have the tools to restore the health you lose by healing (and you could end up giving first blood by overhealing) and you can't proc really well the tribute passive of your Spellthief's Edge. Then take two points in Equinox for reducing its cooldown (at early levels it's very high, so having it up earlier let's you poke more freely with it or use it to silence the enemy more often) and finally end by maxing Q>W>E. This should be the usual skill order, you have damage and heals (for you and your carry) for years, it gives more poking power during the whole game and less healing for your teammates in the early game, so try to not waste your Astral Infusion to top your carry's health in possible dangerous situations.
The only difference here is that you max Astral Infusion first, then everything else; you have less poking power (even if you have anyway some points in Equinox, so you don't lose all the damage), but a stronger heal that comes of cooldown quickly. This should be your skill order when you have fewer possibilities to poke the enemies (since if you get near them they could kill you instantly) and when your ADC take too much damage for various reasons (the aforementioned "2poke4me", taking bad trades continuously, the enemy jungler loves too much your carry, your ADC is a monkey and he's trying to write some Shakespear's poem...)
☆ Flash ☆
This is THE summoner spell, the most versatile and powerful that exist. It serves for different purposes: it can get you away from an enemy that wants to kill you, you can dodge skillshot with it, you can get closer to a low health enemy to give the finishing blow or to get in range of an ally to cast Astral Infusion on them. Flash can be used in any way you could possibly think, that's why it a must on nearly every champion (with really few exceptions like Shaco). Take it always, 100% of the times, no excuses.
The second sumomner spell depends on what your ADC picks as his second SS, the possible choices are:
☆ Barrier ☆
Being a poor little defenceless creature like you are means that you can have serious problems remaining alive. You have to keep in count that you use health to cast Astral Infusion too, so your life is in constant danger. Barrier can help you mitigate this problem providing a shield for when you need it the most, protecting you from an incoming barrage of damage or for when an assassin has your fluffy behind as a target. This will be your second SS most of the times, keep it in mind.
☆ Exhaust ☆
Exhaust can be used offensively to give a clear target for your ADC and jungler (when it ganks) since it slows the enemy and it reduces its damage or defensively (mostly on the enemy ADC) when you lose heavily a trade with your laners, this way you can limit the total damage output (maybe saving your ADC in the process). You can use Exhaust when you feel a bit more confident and when you are sure 100% that you won't play grey screen simulator.
☆ Heal ☆
Heal is advised to be taken only when your ADC doesn't use it and instead s/he picks something else (like Barrier or Teleport for example). This way you won't run in any possible Ignite problem (even worse if the enemy botlane has double Ignite...). It can save your ADC in clutch situations where you don't have Astral Infusion, Wish or Redemption ready and it gives him a boost to his movement speed (maybe to flee from danger). You shouldn't use it only for yourself, try to always activate it when you have someone near that can benefit from it, but if you think that Heal can save you go for it, in the end it's your only source of self-healing.
☆ Summon Aery ☆This is the standard rune for support Soraka (no Dark Harvest shenanigans here, sorry), it does a little bit of additional damage when a skill hits an enemy or it shields an ally when you use Astral Infusion, Wish or Redemption. For the last two it shields the nearest teammate healed (if the guy was full health, it won't be shielded) so when you are far away it's a bit random who will get the additional protection.
Alternatives:The rune choices for Soraka are pretty limited unfortunately seen the nature of her kit. An argument here can be made for Arcane Comet: it provides additional damage and it can easily hit thanks to Starcall's slow and Equinox's root. Arcane Comet increases the poking power of Soraka and... nothing else. It doesn't add or doesn't improve anything to the enchanter kit that Soraka has, so that why Summon Aery is the best keyrune; if you want to use it, do it when you are in another lane. Phase Rush is even worse, it doesn't add anything, never use it.
☆ Manaflow Band ☆Thanks to the fact that the only two offensive skills are both AoE, Manaflow Band can be stacked quickly and you can get the passive mana regen early. Soraka needs a lot of mana, both for poking and for healing ( Astral Infusion costs more in mana than health in the early levels), so, even if the quantity of mana restored is pitiful, this is a must on her.
Alternatives:The other two runes... no, please. They are both good-ish ( Nullifying Orb can be good when it's a double ap enemy lane but you know, it pretty useless when the ADC+sup can burst you down; Nimbus Cloak lets you run after you cast Wish. Wasn't the passive enough for you?), but there isn't any reason to use them over Manaflow Band.
☆ Transcendence ☆Now that you have mana you need the skills to consume it. Soraka benefits a lot from CDR, so that's why you build this many items with this stat. The fact that it converts the excessive CDR into AP is even better, you'll find yourself with at least 30+ bonus AP with the second/third item. Pair it with the additional CDR from the rune stat and you get 20 more AP. Nice.
Alternatives:About the other two runes, Celerity is pure garbage, having a small boost to your passive is useless (from 70% you get to 75%, wow impressive) and if you are considering running Absolute Focus you are thinking about the wrong champion and you should close the guide now.
☆ Scorch ☆A bit more damage to your poke isn't a bad idea, moreover when 3 Starcalls can take away half of your enemy's health at level 1.
Yes, this is the description of the rune. You can't explain a lot when the description is "lol you set your enemy on fire, now run away from Caitlyn before she arrests you for being a crazy pyromaniac".
But you know, thinking about that, stars are massive balls of fire and you are a star child, so setting everything on fire is the next logical step to become a real star.
Alternatives:Anyway, I'm digressing too much. This time the other two runes are actually good and beneficial: Waterwalking can help you roam to mid or... top if you want to go for a walk and to ward more quickly while Gathering Storm helps you to scale better to late game. It's up to you to choose the one that fits better your playstyle, personally I think Scorch> Waterwalking> Gathering Storm.
☆ Font of Life ☆Now we space into the resolve tree, where the first rune we pick is Font of Life. This rune was clearly created with supports in mind and Soraka can make full use of this rune thanks to Starcall. The healing... isn't that crazy, it's based on your max health (and unfortunately we will build more hp regen than flat hp items, the only way to increase hp is by levelling up), so your ADC (most of the times he will be the one to benefit from the rune) won't regenerate too many hp, but it is still something.
Alternatives:Aaaaaand we're back with the bad runes: you aren't a tank or you won't build so many hp, so Demolish is out of question, while Shield Bash works only on self-casted shields, thing that you can't do.
☆ Revitalize ☆You are a healer, you want to output the most amount of healing possible, pretty easy. The good thing about this rune is that it improves the rejuvenation buff from Starcall (since it's counted as heal, not augmented hp regen like Garen's Perseverance), Astral Infusion, Wish, the heal from Redemption and Font of Life. As you can see, you have a lot of tools that benefit from this rune, so it's a pretty straightforward choice.
Alternatives:Overgrowth is meeeeeeeh, it bases only on your ADC farm, so it's a conflip-py rune to have. Sure, you could have more health to heal with Astral Infusion and Font of Life could heal a bit more, but it's a 50/50 chance that it could be good or really bad (notice the difference with only "good" and "really bad"). Unflinching again is a meeeeeeeeh rune, having more tenacity could be good for getting out of CCs earlier, but this means you don't have both summoner spells so you are dead anyway most of the times.
Other possible subtrees
☆ Ghost Poro ☆Thanks to some recent changes, now the domination tree is a good option for when you want to be a bit more evil ad you want some of that delicious additional AP. The concept of Ghost Poro is pretty simple: you ward (with a Warding Totem, a Control Ward or a ward created from Remnant of the Watchers/ Remnant of the Ascended) and, when the ward expires, it leaves a little friend that helps you pinging you when someone is near. Other than giving a little helping buddy, it gives a bit of AP every time it spawns and when the rune is fully stacked it gives 10 additional AP. This rune literally rewards you for doing your job as a support, so this is a good choice for when you want some more raw stats.
Alternatives:Here you can choose whatever you want, really. Zombie Ward is always vision-related, you gain a stack and you spawn a zombie ward whenever you destroy an enemy ward (a zombie ward is pretty much a Farsight Alteration ward, but cooler), while Eyeball Collection gives a stack when you score a takedown (a kill or assist) on someone; they give all the same amount of AP, so it's really a personal choice. For Soraka I think that Ghost Poro> Zombie Ward> Eyeball Collection.
☆ Ultimate Hunter ☆Wish is a really powerful teamfighting tool, so having it off cd most times possible is nearly mandatory. With Transcendence and all the CDR items in the build you can shave off a lot of seconds (64/58/52), but Ultimate Hunter pushes even more the CDR "boundary" for your ultimate by removing an additional 20% (when fully stacked) from the ult CD. This rune is kinda easy to stack too thanks to Wish too since it's global and it could get assist easily. Pretty much the more you use Wish, the easier will be to use it again in the future.
Alternatives:We have 3 other runes to look into, but I can already say that Ravenous Hunter isn't suited for Soraka: ok, you gain some of your health back, usefull when you are Astral Infusioning a lot, but I think the other two are a bit better; Ingenious Hunter is the second best rune for Soraka since, being a support, you'll find yourself naturally with a lot of active items ( Redemption, Mikael's Crucible...) and having them off cd more often can be a good idea. Again, Wish helps you stacking this rune, so you don't have to worry about running everywhere to stack it. Relentless Hunter works pretty much as cloud drake , the obvious Waterwalking synergy is obvious and moving around the map more quickly can help you get to objectives, teammates, whatever you want faster, just remember that this MS boost is only when out of combat; imagine having this, quadruple cloud drake , Boots of Mobility, Waterwalking and other MS boost items, "The Fast" who?
||+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)||Soraka needs desperately the CDR, this helps her a little bit during the early game. Later it will give more AP than the +10 it gives here thanks to Transcendence, improving the total damage and healing output.|
||+5 Armor||This rune is here because you need some kind of improved survivability: the ADC can do a lot of damage and if you lose too much health, you won't be able to cast your Astral Infusion (or it will be more risky to use it). This mitigates the problem a little bit. It's even better if both the enemy laners are AD ( Caitlyn+ Pyke maybe). Change it to MR if the ADC is mainly AP (for example Kog'Maw).|
||+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)||I chose this rune stat for three reasons: one, it gives you more health, nothing wrong with it, a little bump to your survivability in lane; two, a little bigger pool for Astral Infusion, every health drop matters; three (that is directly linked to the first point), your Font of Life will heal just a bit more, every health drop matters even for your ADC. Change it to A/MR if you want full defense cover for both enemy ADC and support.|
This is your usual start. It gives mana and CDR (when it becomes Frostfang) and the tribute passive can be easily procced by Starcall, Equinox or by a simple AA. If you continuously poke your enemies, you'll find yourself with the passive fully stacked before the ten minutes mark (but remember to upgrade it in the shop or you won't have any wards). After being fully stacked, you can start farming the minions if no one is near (don't steal minions!!) without worrying about the slow charge penalty. Try to finish this item's tree asap.
☆ Ancient Coin ☆
This should be your starting item only in emergency cases, mainly when on the other side there is a heavy poking lane. Ancient Coin is the easiest one to fully stack since it doesn't have any kind of timer and you don't have to risk your life to stack the passive most of the times. It covers a little bit the mana problems that soraka has, but it doesn't have optimal stats (for example it lacks the AP that Spellthief's Edge has); if you buy this item you already know you will play passively for a big chunk of the game. Again, remember to finish this item asap for the better stats and more wards.
Now that's something I like! Now to the real business: Redemption isn't a great item to build directly after your support item since it doesn't give the useful passives that the Holy Trinity™ gives (harmony and dissonance), but nonetheless the active is pretty important: having a second Wish between your items can change the outcome of an entire fight. The heal by itself isn't crazy, it's determined by the target level (not yours) and it has an important delay (2.5 seconds is a lot) so there will be more times that it will be wasted than the ones that can actually help.
As you can see in the cheatsheet, I buy it in the Tris/Asclepius build, but not in the Phoenix one, do you wonder why? Redemption amplifies every healing effect by 3x times, this means that it works wonders with the tris build (thanks to the 8+15 improved healing/shielding) and in the Asclepius build it can distribute more easily your Athene's Unholy Grail healing. I don't take it in the Phoenix build because you are closer to the frontline (so you are already near the target you'll mostly heal) and it doesn't really max on the healing power (yes, I know that healing power from the crucible is bigger than the one on the censer, it's a paradox, don't bother me with your right numbers, it's good like this).
You should always have some kind of protection since you use your own health as a resource. When the enemy team has a lot of AD champs or burst champs (any number of them), your go-to solution should be Zhonya's Hourglass. You can make use of all the stats (AP, CDR and obviously armor), but the most important part is the stasis active. This is the thing that will help you survive in dangerous situations (like when you are OOP) or survives spells like Ignite or Death Mark.
☆ Banshee's Veil ☆
You should always have some kind of protection since you use your own health as a resource. When the enemy has a lot of AP champs or a lot of single target initiation skills, your go-to solution should be Banshee's Veil. You can make use of all the stats (AP, CDR and obviously magic resist), but the most important part is the shield passive. To avoid any kind of "accidental pick", this passive helps you by dispelling the first ability that comes in contact with you, blocking all the incoming damage. Try not to waste it and if it happens, wait until it comes up again
And no, I didn't copypasted the two columns, I wrote the second one too. Then the fact that is similar to the first one is only a coincidence! :D
You won't find yourself getting the last item of the build that often, the games now are too short to get to full build. In the case of 40+ minutes games, I suggest you to complete the Holy Trinity™, get Redemption in case you didn't build it or get one of these items.
You are pretty immobile without your passive and you should fix that. Shurelya's Reverie active lets you move better in the map and inside a teamfight while being a good way to initiate a fight (even if you shouldn't be the initiator...). The additional mana regen is a blessing thanks to the three item cores and their passives. This item is never wasted on this build.
More AP? More AP. With just this item, you have 160 more AP, this means a lot more damage and a lot more healing from Astral Infusion and Wish. The gold cost is pretty high, that's why is listed as one of the last items that you should get. It's better taken when you run the Asclepius or phoenix core thanks to Athene's Unholy Grail's dissonance passive (it because rabadon amplified that AP source too).
You have hooves, you can't put on shoes. But you can buy them, go figure.
☆ Mercury's Treads ☆
If you think the enemy team has too many CCs, then maybe buying Mercury's Treads isn't a bad idea. You need the tenacity to have at least a sliver of chance to survive anything incoming and the MR counters nicely the AP damage that probably the same enemy champion is going to torture you with.
To proc the rejuvenation buff on your ally. You should look to do this every time you have to heal someone, so the total heal output is bigger. Works even better when you buy Athene's Unholy Grail since it will give more healing based on your Starcall damage.
This is your best combo to setup your Equinox root. Pretty easy, you Starcall your enemy and take advantage of the slow to put your Equinox in the general direction they are going. This WON'T ensure the root, but you have more chances to land it.
It has to be used only when Equinox roots someone. The general idea of this combo is to proc quickly all the Spellthief's Edge tribute stacks, so you should check how many of them do you have in that exact moment. You could cancel the animation of the first AA with Starcall, but it's not advised: sure, this way you can do more damage (and I suggest you to do so if you don't have the max amount of stacks), but between a proc and the other of tribute there is a little timer where it is on cooldown (~1.25 seconds). If you are too quick, you'll end up with only one or two procs of the passive. Always take advantage of your AA travel time!
The general rule of thumb is "if there is a brush, it will surely be a good spot for a normal ward". Obviously, you should put them with a grain of salt and you should always cover the general area where your team is standing in that exact moment. Don't go ward an area far away just because it's highlighted on the map. This, however, doesn't apply for objectives, where you should always have a normal ward or a Control Ward to illuminate the area (just be careful when you are in enemy territory).
There are few points where you can put a ward not in a brush and those are the wards near the jungle entrances for the blue buff and in the crossroad near the blue buff. These two points need their ward out of brush since there aren't any near them (in the first case) or they cover a bigger area than in the brush (in the second case). These are two special cases, always try to ward inside a brush to see inside it too.
Another point could be made for the normal wards inside and outside the dragon and baron pit. I've put the ones inside directly in front of the objective, but you really put them everywhere inside the pit; the advantage of putting the ward there is that if the scuttle crab has been taken already from the enemy team, at least you have some kind of vision of that area. The ones that are outside, however, are good only when starting dragon/baron since you can see if the enemy has any intention to steal it or not.
Now, about Control Wards there are obviously fewer places that are good to be placed since they won't enter in a stealth state when used. The best places are the dragon and baron pit (for continuous vision around them, try to hide them so the enemy don't spot it immediately), inside the red buff side tribrushes (they cover a big area and they can stop possible long routings from the jungler), inside the brush near the inner turret (it covers a wide area and in two other brushes, while giving you information about the position of enemies near the two jungle entrances) and in the brush near mid lane (it helps your midlaner with incoming ganks and it provides vision between the two entrances of the two halves of the jungle). Try to have a couple of Control Wards in your inventory at all times, so when one is destroyed (remember, you can keep only one Control Ward active) you can replace it immediately.
Remember: no minion steal.
Your early game depends on the matchup and consequently on the starting item you buy. If you buy Spellthief's Edge, your early game will be characterized by a continuous poke of the enemy ADC and support. You want to stack your support item as fast as you can, so you can ward better and have more wards to your disposal. Use Starcall when the enemy ADC tries to farm and scare him away; be wary of a possible support counterattack, choose the best points to use your skills. If the enemy has some kind of movement skill (like Lucian's Relentless Pursuit), use instead Equinox, this way your ADC can hit a few AA before he escapes. If your ADC takes some damage, then Starcall the enemy and heal him. This should go on until you obtain Eye of Frost/ Eye of the Watchers; at this point switch your trinket to the Oracle Lens and start warding heavily in the points showed before.
If you buy Ancient Coin you'll have to play more passively. Your main focus will be on Astral Infusion and Equinox: you have to deny as much damage you can by silencing the enemies and healing back your ADC. Take few risks (less Starcalls for example, use it only when you are 100% sure you won't be poked back) and stay back. The wards in the brushes near the jungle will be vital to avoid any more stomping by the enemy jungler. Luckily this support item is the easiest one to stack up, so you shouldn't have any problems; switch again to the Oracle Lens when you have Nomad's Eye/ Eye of Ascension.
A little tip I can give you is that if you trust enough your ADC you can Starcall one or two times the caster minions to push the wave quickly. At level one the skill doesn't do too much damage, so I wouldn't suggest you to waste mana like this. Early-to-mid game you'll need two Starcalls to let your ADC kill the casters in only one AA while during the mid-to-late game only one is required.
If your ADC is backing (and you have completely stacked Spellthief's Edge passive in case you have this starting item), you can create a slow push towards the enemy tower thanks to this and your ally won't lose too many minions under your tower.
Your mid game starts after acquiring Eye of the Watchers/ Eye of Ascension. You should be still together with your ADC, try to push the wave and start to dent the turret armor to acquire more gold. You need to start warding more in the outer part of the lane, between bot and mid lane, this way your jungler and mid laner will have an easier time with the enemy jungler; you should start to buy Control Wards too seen their importance in the game. The objectives should be a priority too, having vision over the dragon (moreover when it's a good one) could lead to more firepower for your team. You can look to roam towards the mid lane, but it's not suggested since you don't have the right tools to set up ganks or things like that (you have only soft CCs, the only hard one you have is difficult to pull off).
If you and your ADC are behind, stick to him and protect him, but be wary that you could be camped multiple times, leading to an even bigger downfall.
Other than that, be a support.
Ok, now the situation is getting messy. You can recognize the late game phase when teamfights start to break out everywhere. Based on your item core you have different positions and duties:
- Trismegistos: you have to stay mainly in the backline, a little bit towards the frontline. "Heal and protect" is your mantra, try to keep your carries alive and buffed with everything. Less Starcall, keep Equinoxing everyone and Astral Infusion 'till you're dead (don't do it seriously, keep some health in case they break inside your formation)
- Asclepius: the best position is the midline, between back and frontline. "Damage and heal" should be the only thing in your head; Starcall everything in sight and try to balance the frontliner healing with your carries healing. Equinox is still important, but you should save it only for particular occasions like channeled ultimates or initiation skills.
- Phoneix: you need to stay near the frontline, but not enough to see the face of the enemy tank. "I WANT BLOOD, GIVE ME MORE BLOOD, I'M NOT SATISFIED YET. I'LL KILL MY OWN TEAMMATES IF THAT MEANS THAT I CAN GET B L O O D" shouldn't be your thought; that's creepy wtf, you are a healer, not fcking Zed. Buuuut more or less it's right, you focus more on damage, healing and cleansing your frontline so they can continue to engage towards the enemy team. Starcall will be your main tool to fight and Equinox is excellent to keep in place the enemy. Astral Infusion only when your frontline really needs it.
Remember to still ward around the map, keep vision around baron nashor and the various drakes and clean the enemy wards with the Oracle Lens.
But for now, I'll see you in the rift!
- rip I forgot to save the source for the stars in the intro chapter, should be a frame of this, not sure about it, I found it in google image. Don't try to reverse search it, I slightly modified it for good presentation inside the chapter so I don't think it will give you any meaningful result.
- link of the wings and halo :D
11/12/18: woohoo new guide finished and published! ...But I'll check later if there are mistakes or what, rn I'm too tired
16/01/19: after some feedback (and after some testing), I changed the skill order to what is now. Changed the final part of the skill description so it matches the cheatsheet and added the W max order both in the cheat sheet and in the description (before it was only mentioned, so it wasn't that much clear that I actually use it in certain situations)
01/02/19: quickly correcting various grammar mistakes
09/04/19: fugg I'm really lazy. This time I only swapped barrier for ignite, but I have to do other things and I'm lazyyyyy
11/07/19: finally I'm not lazy anymore (lol jk, still lazy, but I was just thinking about how to do it) so I added the domination subtree inside cheatsheet and guide, horay. Apparently I put the wrong stat shards too in the cheatsheet, now it has been corrected