Soraka Build Guide by AP WormMaW Mid
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+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
My main account profiles can be found here: EUNE, EUW
Even though I am mainly midlane, I still play a lot of support role when getting secondary position in game. I don't think, that this guide will teach you how to play support properly in general, because I might not even be that great support in general. But still, I feel like I have a lot of things to share in terms of itemization and playstyle in general, since I usually keep my support winrates quite high, a lot of times even higher than my midlane winrates.
+ Incredibly good sustain in lane
+ Ability to heal up poke damage
+ Global heal ultimate
+ Insant silence to deny certain champions
- Really squishy early
- No escape mechanisms
- Gets countered quite hard by healing reduction
|Summon Aery is my most prefered choice while playing Soraka. Main reason is, that it has possible usage as defensive or offensive ability. Basically whenever you deliver heal to your teammate, you as well shield him, which might sometimes be really important during any fights. Except for that you can use it as poke tool in lane, even though I usually tend to play Soraka defensively, which doesn't expose me in tricky position.|
If you like to harass a lot with Soraka, then Arcane Comet might be possible choice for you. Since your Starcall slows your opponent, it's pretty much impossible to outrun Arcane Comet, if you don't have any dash available.
I don't prefer this myself, because I like to play Soraka around her heals more than around her harass, because if you try to poke a lot in lane, you might find yourself in pretty bad spot, where you get caught by your lane opponents or ganked by jungler.
Kleptomancy might be somewhat considered as a way how to play Soraka, but I don't prefer this at all, since it doesn't give you any defensive/offensive strength, while you only receive ability to scale up faster.
Main problem with it is, that it forces you to play aggressive with your spells and autoattacks and we all know how squishy Soraka is. Usually if you get into autoattack range, you risk that you get caught, which is not what you want. Obviously this can be utilized in teamfights where you are allowed to autoattack quite a lot without beight caught, but I still find it rather awkward to get, compared to Sorcery tree.
|This is my favorite option, while playing Soraka, because if you try to sustain yourself using Starcall and at same time if you try to heal up your teammate, you find yourself at lower mana quite often, which is why this rune is really useful in most of scenarios.|
|Nimbus Cloak is really nice rune on the paper, it gives you extra movespeed after ulting, making this rune really nice option, if you would want to disengage from tricky situation. What makes it annoying though is, that you need to give up your Manaflow Band, without which you will be out of mana quite often.|
|This is interesting option, if you want to rush 40$ CDR as soon as possible. For me though, it doesn't exceed bonuses, that you get from Celerity and it's extra AP out of movespeed, since you can't really get more than 10% CDR over cap, which would happen just because of this rune anyways.|
|Celerity is currently my go-for rune, since it provides you really decent amount of AP out of extra movespeed, especially if you are running with your passive up or possibly after Q hit. It also increases your movespeed a bit, even though this value can be pretty much omitted after last change.|
|This is probably worst possible choice for Soraka. Reason for that is quite obvious - whenever you are healing your teammates, you are losing health. So for most of situations, you are below 70% health, unless you have your Warmog's Armor. But waiting for 30 minutes mark to be able to utilize a single rune is really bad choice.|
|Since Waterwalking is mostly for champions that are roaming and that are possibly playing around a river, it's not really too great for Soraka. Your job is usually to follow your team, while trying to keep them up. That doesn't mean that it's not happening in a river, but I feel like relying on that to make this rune work is pretty bad.|
|This is most likely the only possible choice for Soraka in this row. It provides you with nice AP scaling, especially if the game gets longer. But in general, extra ability power is always nice for you, because it gives you some extra healing potential and as you can see, her AP ratios on those heals are not bad at all.|
|Since Soraka loves to heal her teammates, in order to keep them alive and it's her main job in teamfights, this rune synergizes with her really well. This rune is pretty much the main reason, why you should consider taking Resolve as secondary tree.|
|Font of Life is probably the best choice to get for second rune in Resolve. Since you have slow on your Starcall and your Equinox is providing root effect, you can utilize this rune quite a lot in terms of extra healing. Another benefit is, that with this build that I am proposing, you are able to have quite large health pool, making healing from this rune quite strong.|
Typically, you want to start with Ancient Coin, since it provides you relatively safe way of collecting gold for quest, compared to Spellthief's Edge. Main reason, why I am running this is, that it's final upgrade offers you extra health regeneration, which is generally useful for Soraka.
Even though many people would go for Spellthief's Edge path in order to have more AP and to be able to poke, but generally from my experience people tend to get caught too much, because they are simply overextending.
|These boots are prefered pretty much against any AD-based composition, especially when you are facing a lot of autoattackers.|
|These boots are prefered generally in most of situations, since it provides you with decent amount of MR, but more importantly, it provides you tenacity, decreasing duration of crowd control on you, which usually proves to be really useful.|
This is the first item, that you should rush. It offers you another health regeneration and AoE heal, that is pretty useful especially in teamfights. You can as well use it, when you are running out of health during siege and you just need to fill up your team's health.
It as well increases your healing/shield power, which is generally very useful for Soraka as well. You might as well think, that you should get Ardent Censer instead, because it gives you AP, movespeed and so on, but from my experience the AoE heal, which you can use for self-healing purpose as well is just way better.
|Athene's Unholy Grail is another great item, that you should usually run straight away after Redemption. It has two great tools - ability to convert your mana regeneration to ability power, which increases your healing power, but more importantly, whenever you are dealing damage, you are getting stacks that will heal your ally for additional hp. This item will increase your healing potential really a lot if you learn how to utilize it in teamfights, where you should be spamming your Starcall on your opponents, while constantly healing your allies.|
Zhonya's Hourglass is really great item on Soraka, especially during mid/late game, where you are getting focused and you can get killed quite easily. A bit of downside of this item (and what you have to keep in mind) is, that if you use Redemption and then stasis effect of Zhonya's Hourglass, then you will not receive heal, which might be sometimes quite tricky.
Generally speaking though, it's pretty much mandatory to have this item, if you want to survive teamfights against things like Camille, Zed, Fizz and so on.
|My favorite red hat, that always saves the day! Just kidding... this is ideal last item to amplify your powers to maximum, increasing your AP from other items and Gathering Storm. Main reason, why you should aim for this item is, that you have really decent AP ratios on your abilities, which will generally increase your ability to keep your teammates (and yourself) alive in teamfights.|
|Pretty good situational item, when you feel like you need more defensive stats and tools to keep your teammates alive in teamfights. This item can be really worthy against things like Karthus, since it can pretty much negate his entire ultimate. Except for that, I generally prefer Rabadon's Deathcap, so choose this only if you have really good reasons for it.|
Even though I wasn't originally planning to put this item here, I will just do some commentary on it. Yes, on paper it looks like really solid item, that you can use in order to heal more and buff your teammates with attack speed + on-hit effect. What makes it awkward to pick up though is, that you pretty much have to give up Redemption, that is just way too valuable for you, because it provides AoE heal, that you can primarily use as self-sustain. Basically whenever you get low as Soraka and it would be too risky to go for Starcall, you just drop down Redemption and heal yourself + your teammates. This ability proved to be way too valuable to be replaced by Ardent Censer.
So, in case that you still decide to go for Ardent Censer instead, then you can. We all have our own playstyle and preference, but I can clearly say, that I never pick up this item and if I feel like I want to buff my team with Ardent Censer, because my composition is good for it, I wouldn't play Soraka, but I would pick up Sona instead, since she is way better for this item (she has self heal, AoE buffing which increases efficiency of this item and so on).
This is another item, that looks like a good idea and compared to the example above, it might be good in very rare situations. The only real benefit, that you have out of this item is, that you can remove CC from your teammates, so if you are facing some CC-heavy team composition and you want to protect your carries a bit better, you can pick it up just for this purpose.
Now to the problem with this item, thing is that (even though it's not stated in tooltip here, but in game it's there) it's being disabled by Athene's Unholy Grail passive. And by disabled I mean the health regeneration passive, which would be really good on Soraka otherwise. I remember when Athene's Unholy Grail had same passive and it was really great, but generally items had more passive mana regeneration and so on, but let's leave that for now.
Let's talk why I don't want to drop Athene's Unholy Grail, if it's such a problem then? Thing is, that especially after it got recently buffed, it provides really good extra healing. In teamfights you are spamming your Q, E and sometimes autoattacks, which will build up it's passive really fast and after that, your heals are incredibly empowered. Mainly for that brute strength, i simply prefer Athene's Unholy Grail over Mikael's Crucible, but after all you can do whatever you prefer.
For obvious reasons, you should ALWAYS max this ability first. Sometimes I have seen some people, that were maxing other abilities instead, but this is basically the reason, why you are even playing Soraka. You are HEALER, not a poke champion, not a tank... you... are... healer.
As you can see in tooltip, by maxing this, you will receive really nice boost on healing and you will reduce cooldown of ability from 8 seconds to 2 seconds, which is quite huge in terms of healing, that you can pull off later on in teamfights.
Starcall is the ability, that I usually max as second. Reason for that is, that I like the extra sustain, that it provides and how it keeps me alive during laning phase/teamfights. What is probably good to mention though is, that by maxing this ability, you just get another damage and self-healing, which you can turn into extra healing on your teammates, if you use Astral Infusion on them, but except for that, you don't lower the cooldown or you don't increase the slow efficiency.
For that reason, if you feel like you want to have extra CC, you might as well decide to go for Equinox as third, because by maxing it, you reduce it's cooldown and you increase root duration on it, which might be sometimes quite useful. For that reason - you should choose yourself, what you prefer more. I am playing Soraka as a pure healer, which is why I prefer this.
Generally really nice ability, that can deny various champions like Katarina, Malzahar or whoever else, who likes to channel things. If you land it properly, you can even silence/root someone for quite a long time, especially if you chain it with some other crowd control (some root or stun), which will make it guaranteed hit.
In terms of maxing, I would like to point out to things, that I wrote in Starcall section, that this ability might be worthy to max as second, even though I don't prefer it myself.
Purely insane ability, when used correctly. This can really save the day multiple times during every single game. Thing is, that you should always try to use it wisely and think about the reason, why you want to use it. For example, it might not be worth to use it, to save someone on the other side of the map, who will not achieve anything with it - he is simply dead no matter what you do.
Another thing - it might not be always good to use as first ability in teamfight, unless it's really needed. Usually how I play around it is, that I am trying to heal my teammates just by using Astral Infusion and when I feel like I can't keep my important teammates up, I use it, otherwise I pretty much wait until I am under critical treshold (40% of health) and then use it as self-healing tool, so I have enough health to keep healing my teammates. If you do it like that and if enemy team allows you to do it like that, you can pretty much single-handely carry teamfights.
During this phase, you mainly want to survive the lane. You might ask your jungler to help you, but remember, that you are Soraka, you generally don't have any hard-CC to set up any kind of situation for a gank. For that reason it might be sometimes valuable to play passively and farm.
What is important in terms of positioning here is that the more you are trying to poke your opponents, the higher is the risk, that you will get caught by enemy jungler or possibly support, if he has such tool. For that reason, I am mainly playing really passively, just healing my ADC and using Starcall only, when one of my opponents are approaching me - in that case I just use Q and run away. You might argue, that your ADC will get bullied that way, but mostly your opponents don't really care.
Except for that, here is why I am running Ancient Coin over Spellthief's Edge, because in order to finnish up quest, I don't really have to take any major risk, while picking up coins, compared to risk when you have to constantly hit skillshots/attacks. You also have a bit better mana sustain in lane, when you reach low mana, due to mana replenish, that coins offer.
After you hit level 6, you can look over map if someone doesn't need your Wish and if case that they do, use it wisely. Don't try to randomly pop it in case that you know, that you will not save your teammate for sure. Another important note is, that after you use it, make sure that your ADC understands the fact, that you don't have your ultimate and that it's not really wise to look for a fight. This in general might become double edged sword, where you just end up losing your lane to save some other.
During this game phase it becomes quite tricky, because you can expect, that your opponents will try to focus you down. Make sure that you keep your bodyguard nearby, especially when you want to go ward somewhere in a river or possibly take control over baron pit and so on.
In teamfights you should always position yourself behind your team, repositioning depending on situation - if you feel confident enough, you can get closer to your frontline and heal them up, then back off. You always need to be aware what champions are you facing and what things can they do to you. If you are up against thing like Malphite, then you surely don't want to go closer than you need, unless he uses his ultimate on someone else.
Even though I already said it, I will point it out here again. You generally don't want to use Wish just for one player and sometimes it might be just better to let him die, if he gets caught. What you want to do (if you can) is that you basically try to spam your Astral Infusion, until you get below 40% health, then wait for your teammates to get lower as well and pop it, in order to get maximum possible efficiency. As we all know - life is not ideal and these situations won't happen too often, but you still need to be aware of these facts and try to reach the best possible efficiency.
Right now I feel like she is in decent spot for quite a long time and I believe, that if you decide to pick her up right now, you won't be really disappointed, since she can do well in most matchups, it's just about your ability as a player, what can you achieve and so on, even though there are obviously some matchups that you don't want to play.
So good luck, have fun and (hopefully) climb some elo, but most importantly...