Soraka Build Guide
Soraka, The Arcane Dryadwritten by RaviThorphyr
Table of Contents
|Masteries + Runes||4|
|The Phases and You||7|
|Pros and Cons||8|
This will be my first champ guide for League of Legends, I've been playing a handful of characters pretty much constantly (the first of them being Soraka) since I started and plan to write a guide for most of those. I chose Soraka as my first guide due to the unique nature of the champion, and because her Dryad skin was the first skin I picked up.
Throughout the league there are very few champions who have the capability to lane indefinitely(Vlad, Trynd, Taric all are good examples), while Soraka by no means has the great ability to gank while laning her sustainability and mana free harassing place her in unique realm amongst this class.
While being a powerful support and strong early game harass/zoner Soraka is, quite shockingly, extremely squishy. Unlike more robust support characters such as Kayle and Taric, Soraka is much less apt to absorb raw damage, this however is supplemented by her immense ability to support over time.
Though I don't claim to be an expert on the character I have played a large number of games as Soraka and enjoy the unique build and aggressive style that I've developed over the months.
Guide updated as of 11 August, 2011
[spell=Consecration] A frequently unnoticed flat MR aura. While being less impressive than other passives, this allots an extra bit of survivability to you and your lane-mate. Starcall Your small, unlimited target, AoE spell. With a low base damage and less than impressive .25 ap scaling you may be asking why this spell matters, the answer quite simply falls on its stacking MR reduction. In a short skirmish you may see 4 or 5 casts of this, in a long drawn team fight I've stacked up to 15 easily.
This coupled with your passive ability (and potentially items) offers a marked advantage to magic damage team fights.The obscenely low mana cost on this spell also makes it perfect to use as a last hit mechanism with your banana throws in the early laning phase.
Cooldown with max CDR: 2.8 seconds
Astral Blessing When Consecration doesn't mitigate enough lane damage there's always your brilliant heal/armor buff. Use it to top off teammates efficiently or as an anticipatory buffer to physical damage coming at a teammate.
Cooldown with max CDR: 6 seconds
Infuse Possibly the most overlooked spell in game, Infuse is a brilliant dual use skill. When used for recovering mana it grants mana to yourself regardless of who is Infused, while granting equal mana to the target. At rank 5 that's 250 mana for you or 125 for you and a friend.
Where this skill is often overlooked is in its silence. With a relatively short CD this spell is golden for interrupting your favorite enemy Champion spells such as Nunu's Ult, Fiddle's drain, Shen's Ult (the teleport part), Kat's Ult, and even the summoner Teleport spell!
Cooldown with max CDR: 10.5 seconds
Wish In short order this becomes every Sorakas' favorite skill despite remaining extremely well balanced. Wish grants a large heal instantly to all living teamates with an incredible 1.3 ap scaling. How is a global, 1k+ heal balanced you ask? At rank 3 the mana cost can become problematic (who wants to waste Infuse CD's on yourself when your teammates need mana to faceroll?).
Cooldown with max CDR: 60 seconds
Summoner spells for Soraka are a luxury, not a single spell available is necessary for her to excel in a game. Since we've got to choose two of them though my most common choice is Ghost with Clarity. I cannot stress enough how much you should play with your Summoner spells, everyone has a play style uniquely suited to certain spells!
I know, I know, "Soraka doesn't need the mana recovery from Clarity!" while this sentiment is absolutely correct I find Clarity to be an indispensable luxury against 300-600 win teams. As I will discuss in more detail later, the combination of Clarity, Wish, Infuse, and Astral Blessing gives Soraka the ability to keep a team topped off while in dancing harass skirmishes between major team fights.
Ghost I choose due to Sorakas lack of an escape mechanism, combined with our item build Ghost and Astral Blessing allow us a measure of safety against ganks.
Exhaust: Finding a lot of problems with physical champs? Toss an Exhaust/Astral Blessing and watch their dps shrivel. With the (relatively) recent change to Exhaust this spell is now useful against enemy casters as well! Though the damage reduction isn't quite as noticeable as compared to any AD carry.
Teleport: A brilliant movement skill for supporting different locations quickly, an absolutely viable replacement for Ghost
Flash: While not a great skill this can help you escape ganks and hedge jump to assist teammates.
Clairvoyance:Every team should have at least one Clairvoyance, it's not specifically your job but talented CV is a viable skill for scouting and gank prevention.
Masteries + Runes
Ideally Soraka uses a typical caster build of 9/0/21.
My personal Soraka build consists of http://leaguecraft.com/masteries/1003400100000000000000000000003104032130301
The points applied to Ghost and Clarity are floater points, they should be added to what ever summoner spells fit you best.
Runes are more up to interpretation...
Greater Mark of Insightx9 - This gives 8.55 magic pen, its not a lot but will help to boost Starcall and Infuse's damage a bit.
Greater Seal of Wardingx9 - 6.66 MR even more shielding against nuke-y AP enemies.
Greater Seal of Resiliencex9 - 12.69 Armor ditto above but with a greater reduction to physical
Greater Seal of Fortitudex9 - With Health quints no longer granting close to 100 bonus health the 48.15 hp from these have become viable seals to make up the difference.
Greater Seal of Clarityx9 - Grants 10.53 mp5 at lv 18, since the nerfs to mana regen these have lost a bit of favor.
Greater Glyph of Focusx9 - These are the only Glyphs you should use on Soraka, the 5.85% CDR + 9% CDR from Masteries sets us at a base of 14.85% CDR! A single CDR item mid game, or a sustained enemy blue buff sets us a pointless .15% CDR from the cap.
Greater Quintessence of Fortitudex3 - 73 flat hp, despite being nerfed these quints are by far the best choice based on Sorakas' squishy nature. Matched with flat health seals you start off with 547 hp, a far cry from the piddly 426 native hp on our favorite space unicorn.
Greater Quintessence of Insightx3 - 5.67 MR pen. neither optimal, nor terribly good, these push you up to a flat 14.22 MRP.
Greater Quintessence of Potencyx3 - 14.85 flat ap, while not a bad choice they are far from ideal, Soraka builds plenty of AP with her items and stacked Majais.
Skilling order for Soraka is highly dependent upon your lane-mate and enemy comp, some combination's may find Starcall a more advantageous skill to level than infuse or heal, others may necessitate heal. Regardless of who you fight Soraka is a champion that either flows with change or is crushed.
Every match should start, however, with Heal. Your ability to recover health is the only thing that will save you early on. After heal I generally prioritize Wish > Infuse > Astral Blessing > Starcall. If the lane allows however I will pick up rank 1 Starcall at level 3 or 4 to counter-push lanes and last hit farm.
My first item with Soraka is, and always will be, Amplifying Tome. This item boosts your heal output by 25% and leads directly into our second item, [item=Kage's Lucky Pick]. As a support this allows you to last hit less often, feeding gold to your carry or tank lane-mate.
Your First Return: Ideally you should wait for 1155 gold before heading back your first time. It's not uncommon for a support to be harassed back earlier than this. What to collect on this shopping spree you ask?
Firstly upgrade that Amplifying Tome to a [item=Kage's Lucky Pick].
Second grab your set of Boots of Speed and a Ruby Crystal and head back to the lane. If at all possible you can wait for an extra 330 gold to upgrade that Ruby Crystal directly in to a [item=Heart of Gold]. Picking these up by the 10 minute mark is an absolute must, without sufficient time for these items to pay off they become pointless.
The next item I always take is Mejai's Soulstealer. Why Mejai's when you're not a ganking champion you ask? The answer is quite simply Assists. That's right, you're going to stack on assists (and maybe a killing blow or two).
As you lane your lane-mate should be getting most of the last hits, its a good thing for them to get farmed early so dont worry too much about being low on money early game. Once you have 1235 gold recall to base and buy your Mejai's Soulstealer and rush back to your partner. Our next milestone comes at 650 gold to upgrade our Boots of Speed in to Boots of Swiftness.
A snowball item and no defensive boots on an already squishy caster, you guessed right, I'm off my rocker. Hear me out though, Soraka was never meant for front line combat, she has lackluster abilities to kill creeps, and a non-damaging ult. While our runes helped with the hp problem slightly you've still got to play to the characters strengths and game mechanics if you want to excel. Boots give us the mobility we need to keep up with our teammates as they push into fights, they allow us to move into range to throw a harassing Infuse, or even silence that Nunu's lv 3 Ult so your teammates only take a few hundred damage.
(Note: In games with heavy enemy CC I would definitely take Mercury's Treads over Swiftness, when you're not facing an absurd number of stuns however Boots of Swiftness make you an extremely mobile support.)
The one thing to keep in mind for Soraka is that you gain assists for both heals and Infuse. If you're stationed at bottom lane and top is about to double kill, throw your ult for 2 free Mejai's stacks. Keeping teammates healed and topped off on mana while staying back and reaping the benefits of their labor is how Soraka becomes a monster. Though not as rewarding gold-wise, assists allow support heroes to amass in unbelievable amount of gold without becoming overly threatening on an enemy radar.
Item 5 you should buy as you're able, Rylai's Crystal Scepter! Here you are thinking the madness had ended, alas no my friends, it only grows deeper. Rylai's is a fantastic AP carry item due to its slow, ap, and survivability. Similarly it is brilliant for Soraka, bonus health, a slow on your infinite target aoe, and even bigger heals makes this a core item.
(Note: When buying Rylai's choose which order you acquire the pieces in carefully! Often I will forgo the Amplifying Tome and Blasting Wand for the flat heath on Giant's Belt.)
There we have it, your 'core' item build for a powerful support Soraka (This is the core due to most games ending around the time your Mejai's is stacked to 12-18 and you have a Rylai's). Lets check out the cost...
Mejai's Soulstealer: 1235 gold
Boots of Swiftness: 1000 gold
[item=Heart of Gold]: 825 gold
[item=Kage's Lucky Pick]: 765 gold
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: 3105 gold
Grand Total: 6930 Gold
(Yet another Note: Don't neglect wards! 75g for 3 minutes of map awareness is an incredible advantage. Convince a tank or ranged carry to grab an Oracle's Elixer once in a while and flourish in the map control.)
When the infrequent game does drag on past the 30-35 minute mark we should thinking about how were going to not only defend ourselves against increasingly powerful enemies, but our teammates as well.
Rabadon's Deathcap: A truly remarkable item, the flat AP alone lends itself well to our heals, the scaling AP% with our approximately 355 AP from the cap and core sets us to 461 ap. If you need bigger heals, harder hitting Starcall's and Infuse, this should always be an option.
Deathfire Grasp: Not a great item for Soraka, in my opinion. Mana regen is rather pointless, you miss your CDR mark by 10%, and the AP is less than stellar. It's viable when facing heavy tank teams, but more often than not you're better off selling the Kage's for something else.
Randuin's Omen:A fair upgrade choice for the Heart of Gold in our core. Bonus Armor, a passive slow, an active slow, more health, and even some hp/5. For physical or auto-attack heavy teams this is a fantastic item.
Lich Bane: Solid AP, moderate mana, magic resist, and move speed. What isn't to love about the Lich bane? No one expects the hyperbananas.
Banshee's Veil: One of the single greatest defensive items for Soraka, great bonus health, mp and MR aside, the shield lets us soak up a stun or slow that would otherwise spell certain death for our squishy space unicorn.
Aegis of the Legion: Much like Clairvoyance this should be a part of EVERY team. The only you should take this however, is when your tanks choose to fill slots with other items. With your passive this gives you a +12 armor, +31 MR aura with an extra 18 armor and 24 mr for you. Between auras and the shield itself your defenses should be near 100 base, making you a less than appealing target when juicy no-defense AP champs hug the front lines.
Guardian Angel: When this item is useful its usually too late for you to escape anyway, while it does help protect those tasty Mejai's stacks you're more likely to be a distraction to let teammates run than you are to escape yourself.
Leviathan: If you're feeling in a gambling mood going double snowball can be cripplingly powerful or comically squishy. This is more of a gimmick but I have run double snowball and it has worked several times.
Rod of Ages: If you're not liking the enemy set up early game you can supplement the Mejai's/BoS with the Rod to help keep you from popping too easily.
Items to Avoid:
Soraka is an infinite mana champ, as such you should NEVER get a mana recovery item for the sole purpose of its mana regen. Examples of these include [item=Meki Pendant], Tear of the Goddess, Chalice of Harmony, and Mana Manipulator
The Phases and You
As a primarily support champion Soraka has a handful of well defined roles in each of the unique phases of a game.
The Laning Phase:
This is the beginning of the game (for those unfamiliar with the terminology) where you and a partner take a lane of creeps. It is never recomended to place Soraka 1v2 or mid, a single slow or stun will ruin you without backup. As such you should stick with a side lane and a partner if at all possible, while harassing mana users are ideal, energy champions such as Akali make exceptional lane-mates due to not having to Infuse them (which means more mana for you, which in turn means more Infuse cd's to throw at enemies).
Support champions on average are highly specialized and take time to become accustomed to, with time you'll pick up when to Infuse which enemies, who to avoid and the intricacies of your silence.
Some points to remember:
*Infuse has no cost: use it to last hit or harass if you or your teammate don't need it!
*Efficiency is golden: try not to over-heal if you can avoid it, same goes for infuse.
*Tanks: NPC tanks spawn every few waves, they're your cue to push, if you get on a tower with the tank absorbing hits, throw it a heal to keep on the turret as long as possible. Some people heckle the practice of healing minions, while I agree that for normal support healers it is a mistake, Sorakas infinite mana allows the practice.
*Ganks: Pay attention to missing enemies, you need to be constantly aware of your map for your Wish as it is, keep tabs on champions so you're not on the receiving end of a river gank.
*Wards: Dont question it, just buy them.
The Ganking/Roaming Phase:
Though games sometimes skip this phase I will still address it. This phase refers to roaming either as an entire team, or as a party with 2-3 players ganking and grabbing enemy buffs. If you chose Teleport this phase becomes trivial. The major limitation of the Roaming Phase is lanes, a team generally doesn't allow its outer turrets to be destroyed during Roaming, Soraka helps here as a healer and mana battery as well as a creep counter with her Starcall.
The Team Phase:
This is when you truly matter, when teams are amassed and pushing a single lane together, usually against the enemy team defenders. When teams begin to harass each other at a battle line there are two limitations that precipitate a confrontation, the first being Health and second being Mana. When a team runs sufficiently low on either commodity their enemies will initiate. While that holds true for most fights, enemies such as Blitzcrank can initiate a teamfight with a grab-gank.
Wish is potentially the single most morale destroying spell in game, when your teams' back has been broken and enemies are pressing mid a single Wish can send your team from half health to full. Sorakas ability to bring the half health assault to a full health push is devastating alone, when matched against ults such as Karthus and Nunu (large range, nuke, high cd ults) the affects of wish negating said ult are soul-rending(Counter a Karth ult with an immediate Wish a few times in team fights and bathe in their despair).
Pros and Cons
Here we have the TL;DR of what Soraka is really about...
*Extraordinary ability to sustain self and team
*Boosts caster dps with stacked Starcall
*Silence allows for team-saving ult breaks
*Natural defensive aura bearer
*Easily stack Mejai's charges with Wish across the map
*Relatively low dps
*No true escape mechanisms
*No real disable
All in all Soraka is a powerful and versatile support champion. The ability to silence, apply a stacking MR debuff,and heal makes Soraka an unexpected hit-and-run champion while retaining the sustained support role. Is she for everyone? Absolutely not. In a team that understands your play style and hero limitations Soraka transcends to a capability unmatched by any other support champ.
As with all champions Soraka takes practice, hopefully this guide has helped you get an initial feel for the character. The true strength of Soraka is her variability from one build to another, its for this reason that I'll repeat a previous sentiment: Experiment with the character! Just about every build can work with this hero so see what fits you best.
Submitted by RaviThorphyr
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