Soraka Build Guide
Soratankawritten by Hezz
Table of Contents
|Pros / Cons||2|
|Masteries + Runes||4|
|Working in the team||8|
Soraka. She is very well known for being very squishy. She used to be an incredible healer, though several nerfs and the introduction of "Tanky DPS" metagame greatly reduced her usefulness. Still, she can be a powerful asset.
This build will focus on making Soraka much less squishy, while still remaining a capable healer. She'll have the added benefit of being able to spam that Starcall, a much underused and underestimated ability. Of course, you still have to be smart about it. The last thing you want to do is run into the enemy team while your team is falling back, killing yourself needlessly.
This guide is still a work in progress. I've only recently begun trying Soraka out in this way, so I've still got a few kinks to work out, and perhaps some modifications to make to optimise the build. Still, in every game I've tried, I've come out with a crapload of assists, a few kills, and very minimal deaths, so it works. It is, however, very team dependant. You need to get your Mejai's up, and to do that you need to assist your team in killing. If they fail to kill very much, well, it's probably gg already anyway, but it'll make your life even harder regardless.
Pros / Cons
+ An amazingly unsquishy Soraka
+ Still capable of healing for 600+ easily
+ Starcall becomes a viable spell in teamfights
+ Soraka killed the enemy carry 1v1? NO WAY! (dependant)
- Very team reliant, though Soraka always is
[spell=Consecration] Increases surrounding allies' magic resistance by 16
Not too shabby. Your mere presence helps your team a little. This also lets you focus a little less on MR. It won't make you invincible, but it makes a bit of a difference.
Starcall A shower of stars falls from the sky, striking all nearby enemies for magic damage and reducing their magic resistance temporarily.
Strikes nearby enemy units for 60-180 (+0.25 per ability power) magic damage and reduces their Magic Resistance by 8 for 8 seconds. This effect stacks up to 20 times.
This is what you'll be spamming in teamfights between heals. It's not a great spell, but it can help with farming a bit. Still, get one point early, max it later. Astral Blessing, Infuse and Wish take priority. Well, unless you're ally is self-suffecient, and you can afford to put a couple more points into Starcall for added firepower when you clash with the enemy, and leave your heal at a lower rank, but those situations are rare, and you're better off with Astral Blessing at a higher rank.
Astral Blessing Soraka blesses a friendly unit, restoring health and increasing armor for a short time.
Restores 60-300 (+0.9 per ability power) health and grants 20-80 bonus armor for 5 seconds.
A powerful heal. You'll primarily be a babysitter early game, so this will be a good spell to level up. The armour component is also very nice. Once again, it doesn't make the target invincible, but it adds a nice chunk of protection.
Infuse If cast on an allied champion, restores mana to the target and to Soraka. If cast on an enemy champion, silences them for a few seconds and deals damage.
On Ally Cast: Restores 25-125 mana to the target, and an equal amount to self. (Double gain on self cast.)
On Enemy Cast: Silences the target for 1-3 second(s) and deals 50-250 (+0.6 per ability power) magic damage.
An amazing spell, this has so much utility. Cast it on yourself for a large dose of mana. Cast it on your lane partner to split the mana boost between you and your ally. Cast it on the enemy for a moderately powerful harass with a silence component. Cast it on a minion for a last hit for the cash. You will use this a LOT. Max it early.
Wish Soraka fills her allies with hope, instantly restoring health to all friendly champions.
Instantly restores 200-440 (+1.3 per ability power) health to all allied champions.
This is how you will troll for assists in the early game. Yes, you can use it to save the lives of your allies or yourself, and if it comes to that, you should. But you can also cast it before your team kills someone, and hey presto, you have an assist. A little more gold, and a stack on your Mejai's. It also has an amazing AP ratio, so later on, it will be a massive heal to everyone on your team. Quite nice.
Masteries + Runes
This is what I've been using for masteries. It makes Soraka much sturdier, which is important given how you'll be targetted a lot if you do your job right.
This is assuming you've taken Ghost. If not, put that point into Good Hands. The regen bonus from Perserverence is just useless, so you might as well spend less time dead. Strength of Spirit, however, allows you to shrug off minor harass without worrying about healing yourself. Good for those times when your partner is more heavily focused and you need to get his health back up sooner. The point in Greed is optional, given how it really doesn't give too much gold, but it's about the best you can choose for that last point. There's nothing else in Defensive tree that's worth getting, Ardor is the best choice there and that mastery is just pretty bad. You won't need Mana Regen mastery, you won't be getting the Blue Buff very often, and you won't be taking Clarity. If you take Teleport, I suppose you could slap it into there, though.
A standard 9/0/21 build will work, too, however I find the 0/21/9 build helps me out all game long, whereas 9/0/21 will no longer help me once I've hit my CDR cap. Plus, the defense mastery will help you survive bad matchups in the early game.
As for Runes...
Greater Mark of Insight x9 OR Greater Mark of Shielding OR [rune=Greater Mark of Potency
[rune=Greater Seal of Clarity] x9
Greater Glyph of Focus x9
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude x3
Mark of Insight is obvious. More spell pen = more damage. However, you could replace those runes for more defensive runes if you wish. Soraka certainly isn't the damage powerhouse. Insight marks simply help you harass heavier early game. Seals of Clarity is all you will need for mana regen. Between Infuse and these Seals, you'll be able to lane forever. You can switch these out for more defensive seals if you wish, they just help you keep up your heals and maybe starfall harass while using Infuse to harass the enemy. Glyphs of Focus gives you the early game CDR boost you need. If you opted for 0/21/9, you won't be getting CDR from masteries, so flat CDR glyphs mean a lot. Quintessence of Fortitude is obvious, too. If I had a penny for every time I managed to get that last heal that I needed to survive off when I was below 100 hp, I'd have enough for Astronaut Teemo skin.
UPDATE: Marks are Soraka's weakest runes by far. You could use pretty much any mark and it won't affect much. However, I've added a couple of extra suggestions (thanks to g0t3n and Ferios). Insight is more offensive, harder hitting harass. Shielding is more defensive (warding for early game, shielding for late game). Potency is more balanced, helping both heals and harass.
There are only two items that are core, and one which is a luxury that I like to take early on regardless.
Health Potion x1
Grab your Tome and go babysit someone in one of the lanes. Ask them what they want you to take for your first skill, Heal or Harass, I usually leave it up to them to decide. Try to last hit minions if you can. If your lanemate is someone who heavily depends on farm, like Trynd or GP, it's fair enough to let them get more of the minion kills, just so long as you don't starve yourself. You can take a solo lane if you have to. I prefer to babysit, but I've had great success in 1v1 laning. On a side note, Soraka actually works out as a pretty good counter for Vlad, if you play her right.
First Trip Back
Mejai's Soulstealer OPTIONAL
Boots of Speed
Upgrade your Mejai's if you wish and get some boots. If you have enough gold, go ahead and upgrade those boots to Ionian Boots of Lucidity, they are by far the best choice for Soraka. If you opt to take Mejai's, remember how assists work. As long as you heal a target involved in the kill, you will get an Assist. This means that if you are in the bottom lane, and you notice top lane is in a fight and are about to get a couple of kills, hit Wish. You'll heal them, and as long as they get the kills within about 10 seconds, you'll get gold, experience, and Mejai's stacks for those assists. The more often this happens, the faster you'll snowball. This is why Soraka is reliant on her team.
However, if it doesn't happen very often, worry not. Soraka doesn't really rely on AP to do her job. It helps, a LOT, but Soraka benefits more from Cooldown Reduction than she does from AP. Mejai's stacks just helps your team maintain its snowballing state when you start winning teamfights.
The two core items
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Boots of Lucidity should be priority over Spirit Visage, but both are great. A total of 25% CDR between the two items, some extra MR, and boosts your heals on yourself, a very nifty bonus for when you get focused. For Spirit Visage, go for the Kindlegem first for the HP and CDR.
What you buy now will depend entirely on what you are up against. If you're against more AD enemies, go for armour. If you're against more AP enemies, go for magic resist. Suggestions are below:
Aegis of the Legion
Very underestimated item. It helps you, it helps your team, it's somewhat cheap. Very useful to have. This is often my 4th item, after Mejai's, Ionian and Spirit Visage, best used against teams that have a balance between AD and AP. It also synergises with Soraka's passive. Just being near your team means they will get a total of +12 Armour and +31 Magic Resist. Healing them will give them up to +80 armour, as well. You can make the squishiest target a fair bit tankier.
My item of choice against predominantly AD teams. This will max out your CDR and give a chunk of defense. Better yet, it can be upgraded later to Frozen Heart. I rarely get to do that, but it's a nice option.
A good chunk of armour, some regen, and you'll slow down the AD champions trying to kill you. A good combo.
[item=Heart of Gold]
A good early game item, nice and cheap, good stats, and the longer you hold on to it, the more valueable it is.
Typically best used when there's an enemy Tryndamere or Yi, or some other melee DPS. Not so effective against ranged DPS, but the armour bonus does help.
A very nice choice. Lots of armour, some cooldown reduction, and you slow the attack speed of every enemy near you. Good to have.
You can upgrade your Heart of Gold to this later on in the game. Very nice stats on it, the best armour item in the game, and also very handy for keeping enemies close to your team with it's active.
Your typical go-to MR item. Dependable, and sometimes a real life saver.
[item=Force of Nature]
A little bit overkill, and not as useful on Soraka as on others, but still a nice chunk of MR, health regen, and movement speed to boot.
A free Cleanse on a boosted Negatron Cloak. What's not to like? Also, remember, unlike the Summoner Spell Cleanse, this Cleanse works on EVERYTHING. This includes Exhaust, Ignite, Mordekaiser's ultimate, and even Warwick and Malzahar's ultimates. If your enemy has Ignite and likes to focus you, I'd consider this a very good item. It'll remove Ignite, which means you can continue to heal yourself for a considerably large amount without worry.
A little armour, a little MR, and it can bring you back to life when you die, preserving your Mejai's stacks. Very useful.
Now we're talking. The perfect balance between offense and defense. Some AP, some MR, and you lower your enemy's MR. Great synergy with your Starcall.
The ying to Abyssal Scepter's yang. This gives a large chunk of AP, and some extra armour, and a very nice active, to boot.
This is very adaptable. For the first level, ask your lane partner if you want to heal or to harass at level 1. Most people tell me to harass, so Infuse is usually first. However, if they ask for heal, take that instead. That said, never take a skill until you see who you're laning against. If you're against a good harasser like Zilean, Heal at level 1 will negate his harass. It shouldn't matter too much since you'll get to level 2 so fast that you and your lane partner should stay safe long enough to level up, but it pays to be prepared for your enemy nonetheless.
Afterwards, the build is really up to you. I tend to prioritise Infuse first, with Heal second, but if your enemy is hitting heavy and often, you should prioritise Heal first. Infuse can be used offensively while you have mana to spare, then used to restore your mana, or your partner's mana, when required. I like to take Starcall early, too, but only one level of it. It makes last hitting minions a little easier, it makes a great addition to your harass, and it'll clear out large groups of minions or jungle creeps quickly, helping your farm later on. Once again, however, it's entirely based on situation. If you're being hit hard, skip Starcall for heal. Staying in your lane longer is more important than a little harass or minion clearing.
Soraka can use a variety of summoner spells. She could take things like Ignite or Exhaust to add some extra offensive power, helping her lane partner make the kill, but there are really only 4 summoner spells I find worthwhile on her.
Ghost Excellent for escaping. Between your rock solid tankiness and your self healing, this will let you escape all but the biggest of fights focusing on you.
Flash Exactly the same reasoning as Ghost. It's a great escape tool. Combined with Ghost, you should be nigh unkillable.
Cleanse Excellent for those times when the enemy is trying to stunlock you. If you pair this off with Quicksilver Sash, you have two Cleanses!
Clairvoyance An amazing spell. This spell can save your life, or your ally's lives, from enemy ganks. It can also help you gank by seeing where the enemy jungler is. If used right, Clairvoyance can help eliminate the chances of being ambushed by the enemy team.
You can take any combo of these summoner spells. Soraka isn't dependant on any of them. However, I would suggest taking either Flash or Ghost, possibly even both. You may be tanky, but that doesn't mean you don't want any escape tools for when the crap hits the fan. Especially since you want to preserve your Mejai's stacks. Personaly, I like to use both Ghost and Flash, but Cleanse is very helpful, and Clairvoyance is amazing when used properly. It's your choice.
Working in the team
You are a healer. That is your primary task. Keep your team healthy and alive, and keep them in a state where they can keep pushing. You have 3 tools to achieve this. Astral Blessing, Infuse and Wish. Keep their health up, keep their mana up.
In the laning phase, you should try to support your partner as much as you can. This could mean either keep him alive, or help him harass / kill the enemy. It's up to you to decide what the situation calls for. Don't hog all the minions (not that you'll be able to), but remember to last hit with auto-attack, Infuse, or Starcall as possible. I suggest not pushing too hard, though. Keep the minions near your tower. This can be difficult though since your partner will likely want to smash the minions as hard as possible. Ask him not to. He might still do it but... doesn't hurt to ask.
Keeping minions near your tower is helpful for 4 things:
1. Guarenteed experience. Enemies cant deny you, and they cant harass you as easily. It can also be easy to last hit a minion being shot at by the tower, too.
2. Harder to be ganked. If you're up near their tower, and an enemy Warwick or Xin Zhao bursts out of the bushes behind you, you're toast. No chance. If you're near your tower, you've got a nice place to run and hide in, much harder to gank you. They could tower dive you, still, but it's much riskier, and many times they won't try, or it'll end in disaster for them. Good for you.
3. Easier to gank them. Not just from your jungler bursting out of the bush behind them. If you have an opportunity to kill them, they will have a LONG way to run till they reach safety. Plenty of time for you and your partner to kill them.
4. Possible to deny them. If you last hit only, and keep minions near your tower, you and your partner can range out a little, and force the enemy to stay back away from you... and from the minions. If they can't get close to the minions, they get no gold and no experience. You'll outlevel them and outgear them. GREAT for you, and the rest of your team.
Once you get your Mejai's and Wish, you'll now have to keep tabs all over the map. Keep a watchful eye on the minimap. If it looks like someone is getting into a fight, check on them. If it looks like they're going to get a kill (or the enemy is going to kill them), use Wish. If they get the kill within 10 seconds, you get an assist. That's more gold, and one stack for your Mejai's. You might also prevent the enemy from getting a kill this way. Either way, it's a win. This is how you'll be getting your Mejai's stacks up. You'll be trolling for assists, using Wish whenever a kill is about to be made. It'll be easier once team fights start (provided your team is good enough to get some kills in the team fights, or even win them...), but until then, troll away!
In team fights, you have two playstyles. First, stay back, nice and far, throw out your heal on whoever needs it most. Use Wish if the damage is being spread out (most likely will), or someone really badly needs a double-heal. Infuse an enemy to silence them, very nice for stopping Tryndamere from spinning away, or Amumu to prevent his ultimate. If you see Shen, Fiddles, Miss Fortune, Malzahar, or any other champion with a channeled ultimate using it, hit them with Infuse to stop them. Remember this when you're trying to gank an enemy Shen and they decide to use their ultimate to escape. Infuse will stop them.
Once you've gotten yourself tanky enough that you can take a few hits, you can start playing more aggressively. Remember to keep throwing out heals and silences, but now you can also close in to spam Starcall. It'll deal some fairly consistent damage, always a good thing, and reduce the enemy's MR, which will help your AP DPS out, as well as your own Starcall spam. If the enemy decides to focus on you... Great! If you built yourself right, you should be able to last a good long time between all of the self healing and tanky stats. AD champions especially have trouble killing you given the fact that Soraka has a high base Armour stat (about 70 at level 18) and boosts her own armour by 80 when you heal yourself.
Here's a story: One time, I was with a couple of my teammates in the bushes in mid, with the rest of the team not far away. Suddenly, the whole enemy team started coming after us. We ran around the cliffside to our tower, where the rest of our team was waiting for us, but Poppy caught up with me. Suddenly I was pushed into the enemy team, Singed threw me further back, Ashe hit me with her Ult, Poppy used her ult on me, and all 5 of the enemy team focused me. I lasted through the stun and quickly double healed myself with Wish and Astral Blessing, Flashed back into my team, and supported my team as they quickly mopped up the enemy team, who had blown all of their ults on me.
Here's another story: Our team was losing hard, we'd lost all side and mid towers up to the inhibitor towers. Then we had a proper teamfight, aced their team, and I started to snowball. A couple of teamfights later, I was the main focus of the enemy Shen, very well fed Eve, Xin and Malzahar. I endured Malz's ult and Eve's stun, even an ignite, popped heals on myself, and literally crawled through my team, spamming heals on me, as Eve, Xin and Shen were on my ass trying to kill me. It was a simple matter for my team to kill them during that time. We went on to win that game, and my team and the enemy Maokai all agreed it was because I carried them through it.
Soraka helps the team regardless of who the enemy focuses. If they focus one of your allies, you keep them healthy and boost their defensive stats. If they focus on you, they find you aren't nearly as squishy as they expected you to be. Generally, they'd have better luck trying to kill your Rammus or Malphite. Maybe not quite Tank Mundo material, but getting close to there. The only time Soraka is effectively countered, I've found, is when the enemy has a very well fed Gangplank, who will prevent you from healing yourself, or if they time their Ignites perfectly that you can't Very annoying.
Once you've gotten yourself geared up, you'll even be a force to be reckoned with in 1v1 combat. The first game I tried this out on, I was attacking an enemy tower by myself when the enemy Nidalee came out in cougar form. I simply spammed my Starcall and Infuse on her, healed myself as necessary, and killed her while remaining at full health. The enemy Sivir came out next, and died the same, even with her Warmogs and Starks. The enemy Corki then came out (seriously stop coming out one at a time), he hurt me for a LOT more with his armour shredding, and he had a Banshee's Veil to help protect himself, so this was a much closer fight, but I still killed him 1v1 just the same. Another game, Tryndamere would try to gank me. I'd heal up till he enraged, then I'd hit Zhonya's, then he'd run with low health, and me still at full. So Soraka can become a deadly force, not to be trifled with. This doesn't mean that you should go out picking fights, though. You never know if that enemy gunning for you has backup coming, or if he himself is still too much for you to handle. You're still primarily a support class, and you should act like it. It's just good to know that if you have to fight someone, you can, and have a good chance at winning.
Submitted by Hezz
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