Sion Build Guide

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AP/HP Sion Blastin and tanking

written by Synapsiz

Sion Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Notice: I haven't updated this guide for a while, and while it still is a very good guide for low, normal and mid-high elo I don't think it is viable for top elo anymore. So if you want to have a good time playing a very fun and versatile champion, this is a guide for you! But if you are aiming to reach the top and have your name engraved in the first page of the elo rankings I would encourage you to move to a different guide. Playing a versatile champion like sion and changing your build depending on the game is a great way to gain insights in how the game works though.
    So if you are still interested in reading my Sion guide then go ahead.

    Hello all and welcome to my guide to building an AP/HP sion.
    I noticed a lot of guides out there but all those cover or an all out caster sion or a full blown autoattacker. This guide will be aiming to build sion into a powerfull tank that doesn't waste his awesome early game potential. I wont claim that this is the best way to build him or that the other guides are useless. I just want to point out that this is a very viable way to build sion and I am making this guide because it has great differences compared to the other guides out there. Some choices I make may seem wierd, but everything will be brought together and explained in the playstyle section of the guide. It's a bit long guide so be prepared for a some reading.

  • Role in the Team

    Let's get this sorted out first.
    This guide will build a nice tank sion that can take a lot of punishment. But unlike other guides that tell you to buy tanking items right from the start, we will be getting some AP first.
    What? Why AP? We are building a tank, not a caster!
    The main reason why we are getting a good bit of AP first is that tanks need a reason to be targetted. It isn't good enough to just be a walking stack of HP that can't die. The enemy will just ignore you and take out the rest of your team first. Besides, AP also helps you tank, your shield scales 1:1 with AP so for every point you get the shield will save you from 1 damage more.
    Getting AP first will also allow you to play extremely aggressive in the early game. Getting fist blood easily, getting down the tower early and keeping your opponents from farming.

    So, your role in the team:
    Tank, Initiator and Disabler

    This build works best if your allies are aggressive as well. You will be playing close to their tower and when they come to gang your lane you have a problem. If the rest of the team also plays aggressive the enemies will have a much harder time getting away from their lanes without losing a tower.

  • Pros / Cons

    - Very strong early game
    - Good farming capabilities
    - Good tank mid/late game
    - Can keep enemy champions from farming.

    - Mana problems early game
    - Can not tank really well during early teamfights
    - In high-elo games the teamfights start early, leaving you racing to complete your first items

  • Masteries + Runes

    I use a lot of different champions so I don't have a special runepage for a single champion. Instead I use an AP page.

    For runes I use:
    red: 9*Greater Mark of Insight
    yellow: 9*Greater Seal of Force
    blue: 9*Greater Glyph of Force
    Quint: 3*Greater Quintessence of Potency

    This gives a total of
    8.5 magic penatration
    13.5 AP and another
    45 AP at level 18

    I used to put some mana regeneration runes in there sacrificing some AP for mana regen. But i removed them so I could also use my AP page for manaless characters (Kennen for example). Other runes would work as well and feel free to get some runes to improve your mana, hp, armor, magic resistance or mana regeneration.

    And with the Masteries I pick 9/0/21
    In offense i aim for archaic knowledge (15% magic pen.) and pick up archmage's savy and sorcery along the way. The important masteries in the utility tree are Perseverance/expanded mind/meditation/inteligence and presence of the master. I put the remaining points in quickness/awareness and 1 point in spatial accuracy and blink of an eye.

  • Summoner Abilities

    I play with Flash and Teleport, both very important to support the playstyle described in this guide. It might be possible to replace flash with Exhaust or Ghost if you dont like flash. But those 2 come with their own advantages and disadvantages and I think flash is the best suited for this AP/HP sion.

    Flash is great to quickly cover the distance to an enemy and get your stun in or blow that shield up in his face. also has a lot of defensive uses. Keep in mind that using flash destroys all projectiles that are comming your way. So it can also be used to destroy that primordial burst buble/stun flying towards you, thus preserving your shield and allow you to explode it and deal damage.

    Teleport has its main use early in the game and is an absolute must to support my extremely aggressive playstyle. It gives you the ability to shop and tp back in about 15 sec (8 recall 4 tp 3 shop) not counting the time you are recalling that makes you only lose 7 seconds of time you are missing xp. One of my favorite tactics with teleport is to activate my shield in base and then tp to a minion near the enemy champions. Not only does this give you a free cast, but also catches enemies off guard so you can explode your shield and stun for 1/2 hp of most heroes. Combined with a flash this is almost sure to give you a kill when tp'ing into another lane with 3/4 hp champions walking around (Works better against lower level players)

  • Abilities

    [spell=Feel No Pain]
    this gives you more survivability and helps you tank. you wont notice it too much but it does help.

    They improved it in the latest patch, doubling the chance for it to activate. It's main use is absorbing damage from creeps so your shield will survive to tank champion/tower hits.

    [spell=Cryptic Gaze]
    a targeted stun. early game you will use this to deal damage and stun your enemies so you can get in range to explode your shield. Later you will use it to save your allies and take enemies out of the battle for a short time or interupt channeling spells.

    The manacost has been decreased, helping a little with your manaproblems earlygame. It doesn't really effect your gameplay though.

    [spell=Death's Caress]
    Your shield. early game used as your main way to deal damage and to help you farm. Later this can wipe whole creepwaves and is used as your main tanking/pushing skill.

    Improves your damage while also let you stack hp for each (creep)kill you make. It is a pretty good skill but we'll save it for later. In early game we won't be comming in melee range with other champions, just close enough for them to feel the pain from your shield exploding.

    increases your attackspeed while gives you a lot of lifesteal. together with enrage it gives you just enough damage output to get noticed and it helps you take towers and big neutrals. Don't expect too much of it with this build though.

  • Skilling Order

    wich spell to pick when:

    and why:
    level 1 through 10 is fairly straightforward. Your shield and stun will give you a tremendous damage output early game. Dont even bother with your ultimate or enrage as you will need all the points in shield you can get and can't afford to mis out on a single opportunity to put a point in it. Your stun is half of the damage you do, so here as well, put all points in it you can.

    At level 1 I prefer to take shield over stun as it helps to survive gangs and to scout bushes. But feel free to take stun instead if you want to do a gang yourself.

    A lot of AP sion guides tell you to put a point in enrage early to help you with last hitting and give you more HP later. I choose not to do this because you will need all the damage you can get with your shield stun combo. I myself dont need the extra damage for last hitting (your ally needs money too) and shield gives you enough farming power to make up for that (max 100) hp you will not gain.
    Note: If you are completely outlaned and you can't do ****, it might be better to take some points in enrage after all, at the expense of cryptic gaze. And hope you can do something late game.

    on to level 11. I pick enrage over cannibalism here because at this point your damage wont be very noteworthy and you will need both enrage and cannibalism working together to boost it. I go for enrage first as it also gives you 1 hp/kill.

    level 12 and onwards. Spend these points to your preference. Cannibalism and enrage will both help you with taking down towers but cannibalism will also increase your ability to tank as it returns hp to you (and your allies). So I put points in cannibalism when I can and put the rest into enrage.

  • Items

    In this build you will be building up your AP untill the teamfights and then take the role of a tank. So it is vital to get some resistance before/during the first teamfights. From my own experience I've noticed that: The higher your elo, the faster the laning phase will end. And during my (short) time in the top 500 most of the time I couldn't even finish my Rod of Ages in time for the first fights. So I will offer 2 different builds depending on your elo.

    Note: If you don't know what build to follow just aim for the low-mid elo build and start getting armor when the teamfights start.

    Part 1, the early game

    For: low-Mid elo.

    1. Rod of Ages
    2. Mejai's Soulstealer
    3. Sorcerer's Shoes

    Start out with a Sapphire Crystal and 2 potions (1 health potion and a mana potion or 2 health potions, your preference). Then work towards a Catalyst the Protector and Boots of Speed. Get Mejai's Soulstealer next and finish your Sorcerer's Shoes before finally upgrading your catalyst into a Rod of Ages

    Note: try to use your teleport as soon as you can afford the Ruby Crystal and about 5 potions (2 hp, 3 mana) wich is 665 gold and make sure you used most of your mana by that point. spend any aditional gold on mana potions.

    When you have these 3 items your magic damage will be high enough to last you the game. And it will be time to get some dedicated tanking gear. The laning phase will be almost over by now and you need to be prepared for team battles. But when The laning phase keeps going on you could also get a second Rod of Ages before moving on to the second part of the build.

    For: High elo.

    1. Rod of Ages
    2. Boots of Speed

    The biggest problem with this build in high elo is that the laning phase will end quickly and you won't have the time to pick up all the items you would like before you need to take your role as tank. And most of the time the first teambattles are already starting before I get my Rod of Ages. Another effect of this is that you won't have as much time to get some stacks on your soulstealer. (As a tank you should be prepared to die to save your carries, a lot of stacks on your soulstealer won't make that an easy call for you)

    When you have your Rod of Ages and basic boots its time to upgrade them. Instead of the offensive Sorcerer's Shoes we will take either Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads depending on the damage type your opponents mainly dish out.

    If you still have some time before the teamfights will break out you could try to quickly finish the soulstealer, but another good option is the Blasting Wand. It is cheaper and gives as much AP as a soulstealer with 2,5 stacks. Besides that, you can later upgrade it to an Abyssal Scepter.

    Note: It is better to get the Blasting Wand before you upgrade your boots. But this requires you to guess if you still have enough time left before you will have to move on to the second part of the build. So I would suggest you don't do this untill you have some experience with this build.

    Part 2, mid-late game/teambattles

    This part is the same for both elo's. The only difference is in how soon this phase starts.

    At this point in the game the laning phase is at an end. your team will need a tank now so it's time to get some dedicated tanking gear and be prepared for team battles.

    As you already have some hp from your Rod of Ages it is now time to focus on resistances.

    Pick 1 or 2 of these to counter what kind of damage the enemies mainly deal to you:
    - Banshee's Veil [One of the best items against casters, also helps to keep your shield up when initiating. The mana is also great for you]
    - Guardian Angel [Great versus a lot of physical damage, can even bring you back to blast again]
    - Frozen Heart [when your enemies rely on attackspeed, also great to help reduce the cooldown of your stun. And the mana is very usefull]
    - Thornmail [Very nice to have when the enemy is hacking away at you with physical dps. While they may not feel the damage return deal much damage, it surely takes away a lot of their lifesteal making this a great item to have]
    - Sunfire Cape [Some HP/ some armor and more magical damage. Not my first choice but can be great if the enemy is lacking in magic resistance]
    - Abyssal Scepter [Get this as a solid second item (after frozen heart or banshees veil) if you need more magic resist and you have multiple casters on the team]
    - Randuin's Omen [A good item to have versus multiple physical dpsers. But keep in mind that you also pay for the 5gold/10sec part from [item=Heart of Gold]. So try to get heart first but before finishing randuin's pick another item from the list to build.]

    (try to pick up either Banshee's or heart first as you will need the mana)
    (if you are farming extremely well it could also be possible to pick up a second Rod of Ages, to boost your AP some more, Though it's probably better to move on to boosting the resistances)

    The last item: By now your HP should be rising to high levels. Time to make use of this!
    to finish this build I propose 1 of the 2 folowing items:
    - Atma's Impaler [Gives you more armor and also bonus damage based on your max hp. Great if you need more physical damage on your team and helps to get those towers down fast]
    - [item=Force of Nature] [ A lot of magic resist. Increases your hp regen based on your max hp enabling you to stay in the battle longer. Also gives you a neat movementspeed bonus helping you to catch up and throw a stun at fleeing enemies]

    And of course: POTIONS!!!
    - Mana Potion [these are as important as your other items!]
    you will have mana problems during the early stages of the game untill you get your second catalyst (for Banshee's) or your frozen heart. so keep stocking up on mana potions to keep your shield up. the gold you spend on a mana potions will be more then returned by a good blast from your shield.
    (Math: 40 gold for 100 mana -> costs 50/65/80/95/110 mana to cast. if you can get 4 creeps or more per wave with this. At least 3 ranged, 1 melee giving you more then double the gold you paid back)

    As you can farm pretty well with your shield and are pretty hard to take down you are the one to buy [item_text=Oracle's Elixir]s against invisible annoyances. Try to focus getting your mejai's and rod of ages completed first though as they will become less effective the later you complete them. Before that try to avoid big teamfights and use a Vision Ward or 2 to shield your lane.

    Other items worth mentioning, but not woth getting:

    - Lich Bane [A great item if you want to build a full AP sion. you can take it after the first 3 items if you want to go full caster. But keep in mind that it drasticly decreases your tanking power by taking away an inventory slot you need for your armor.]

    - Sheen -> Trinity Force [I didnt like this item in this build before it's nerf. And now I like it even less. It only deals 80% of your base damage, but more importantly it requires you to go into melee range to be effective. With this build I try not to come closer than needed to explode my shield (after you exploded your shield there is nothing to stop them from turning and attacking you, Staying at max range will greatly help to keep your hp up]

    - [item=Rylai's Scepter] [The other AP/HP item and seems to fit in this build. But don't be fooled! The 500 hp and 80 AP may seem nice but the Rod of Ages gives the same amount of AP, more HP and A LOT more mana (wich you desperately need) And for 100 gold less. OK, the rod has to be fully charged for you to receive the full bonus, wich takes 15 minutes. But if you can't get it filled you shouldn't be buying Rod or Scepter in the first place, but focus on your resistances! The slow on spells is also wasted on you as you only have 2 spells. 1 is your stun, and the enemy will be stunned during the slow, so the slow will be wasted. The other is when your shield explodes. Here it could be usefull, but this has a 12 sec cd (4 to charge the shield, 8 after it explodes) and later in teambattles you wont get to explode your shield that often anymore. You have your stun and your teammates should be the ones slowing, not you.]

  • Playstyle

    Finaly, the most important part of the guide, here everything comes together!

    Note: this part of the guide is written using the mid-low elo build. But it is also apliable to the high elo build.

    The early stages of the game

    You shouldn't take a solo lane with this build, but try to team up with a parner who can support your overly aggressive playstyle. Perfect would be a champion like annie, who can also be very aggressive early game or ashe who can shoot at towers while you clear the creeps and keep the enemies away.

    Buy a Sapphire Crystal and a Health Potion and a Mana Potion. This should last you long enough to farm up the Ruby Crystal and some more potions before your next visit to the shop. Try to get a spot in the bushes as they will be your friend during the early stages of the game.
    The basic idea is to start charging your shield in the bushes, when almost done come out and move towards the enemy champions as if to assault them. If they run away change your target to the creeps and get in a few last hits before retreating again to the bushes. If they don't run and try to take your shield down either activate it before they succeed or wait for level 2 where you get your stun. In that case come out and first throw your stun to the one that can damage your shield the most. then explode it in his face. By level 3 your shield should be able to withstand quite the damage already and it should be almost imposible for your oponents to take it down before you can explode it (unless you are facing a very tough lane against kassadin, fiddle or cho'gath).
    So use your shield to keep them away from the creeps while you can last hit without worying about damage. Try to keep their hp low by running at them from the bushes throwing a stun and exploding your shield before they can react. In this stage of the game your mana is a real problem.
    Always keep enough mana to activate your shield. It will save your life countless times. They may even underestimate you and try move in for a kill. With your shield suddenly popping up and a stun if you have the mana they could find that they are actually the ones dying.

    if you get about 650 gold it is time to shop and replenish your mana. Get your Ruby Crystal 1 or 2 Health Potions and as many Mana Potions as you can afford! As axplained in the item section the mana potions pay for themselves and really increase the time you can spend in lane farming and nuking at the same time. Dont try to finish the Catalyst the Protector in one go! Instead try to get your mana empty and reach ~550 gold at the same time and use teleport to quickly jump back to the lane and resume your continual shield attacks.

    Your shield should start to decimate ranged creeps now and severely damage the melee ones. And the fight should move up to the oponents tower now. Unless they have champions like Rammus or alistar don't be afraid of the tower but get shield up and attack that damned thing! If the enemy attacks you you wont feel a thing because of the shield, retreat when the shield or your creeps runs out and gulp down a mana potion to get ready for the next wave. If they dont come at you keep just keep attacking the tower and run into their next wave of creeps to explode your shield before going back.
    If an enemy is low hp you should have no problem killing them even right next to their tower. just get your shield up and stun them when ready to explode. on lvl 3 shield you should be able to take 2 hits from the tower without it exploding, so using your stun from max range shouldn't be a problem. make sure you have some hp to get away from the tower (or flash ready).
    By keeping this up you can keep them from getting their last hits while getting their tower down pretty quickly. But be carefull not to become overconfident and let your team report misses and pay attention to their reports. While fighting near their towers you are always vulnerable to gangs.

    After you get catalyst try to get Boots of Speed - Mejai's Soulstealer - Blasting Wand - Rod of Ages in this order. After that upgrade your boots. If you have a hard time getting these items or if you are the only tank, it might be best to increase your survivability by buying Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads. If the game alows it go for Sorcerer's Shoes though. The trick here is to know when to switch your focus from AP items to tanking items.

    The later stages of the game.

    If you had succes in the early stages of the game you and your partner should have farmed up quite a bit while the enemies in your lane had a severe disadvatage. You should at least have your 3 core items and maybe some stacks on your mejai's already. Your shield (just as your stun by the way) scale 1:1 with AP. So you should be able to absorb a lot of damage already. But dont get to confident about your tanking yet, your resistances are still low and you are more effective by using hit and run tactics then actual full time tanking.

    Your role will now shift from an aggressive damagecaster/pusher early game to a tank/initiator/pusher lategame. your shield should be able to clear creepwaves pretty quickly throughout the game and can also be used to initiate large teamfights or small encounters.

    Unless you have an even better initiator (like amumu) battles should start with you getting shield up and
    running in, your team following closely behind you. When you come at the enemies with your shield ready to
    blow they have 3 choices:

    1. Target you and try to 'kill' the shield before it explodes [Now you are tanking! you got them to taget you
    leaving your teammates free to deal damage while you take the beating (with all the AP you got early game it should take a while to get your shield down, even harder if you got banshee's)]

    2. Ignore you and go for your teammates [Not good, for them! you can let the shield explode and stun their
    main damage dealer, this will deal a lot of damage to all of them]

    3. Run away [Chase them with flash, stun and explode, your team should be able to catch up while the target
    is stunned. But be carefull of other enemies nearby, they can lie in an ambush waiting for you]

    When pushing towers wait for the creeps, you can't tank a tower and the combined force of 5 enemies (yet). let the creeps do that, then run in with shield and attack the tower (activate cannibalism if you have it).
    When the tower is unguarded and you have a damage dealer with you, you can just activate shield and tank the tower, you should be able to get it down before it deals too much damage to you.

    If you can't push because the enemies are stronger something went wrong in the early stages of the game, or you were outplayed in teambattles, in that case buy sight wards and plant them in places they are likely to go and launch suprise attacks on them, pushing quickly when 2 or 3 of them are dead.
    You could also try to push multiple lanes at the same time, as you are a very effective pusher and towerkiller later in the game you can keep pressure in one lane while the other 4 push another. If they leave you alone or with a single defender you should be able to break through their defenses and get in at least a few hits at the tower everytime you can get your shield up. And slowly crawl your way to victory.

  • Other Champions

    Here i will mention a few other champions you don't want to see against you and some that are helpfull to have next to you.

    Good allies:

    Aggressive casters - Think Annie or Ryze they can increase the pressure you put on the enemies in your lane even further leading to some easy kills early game (annie sion can blast a lot of champions from full to 0 hp in one burst of their spells from level 4 onwards)

    Ranged DPS - Most notable here are Twitch, Ashe and Tristana. While you can decimate creepwaves they can easily get some shots in at the tower, letting you push even harder. They can also dominate the lane while you hide in the bushes readying you shield. Tristana also is a very strong caster early game.

    Other disablers - like taric/singed/blitz/etc

    Basicly almost every champion that can play aggressive early game is a good ally for sion.

    Bad enemies:

    Silencers - They can prevent you from exploding your shield buying enough time to get it destroyed by normal attacks, try to avoid laning against them if you can avoid it. Soraka deserves to be mentioned as an extreme nuisance as she can keep her ally full hp and thus keep him farming. Also be weary of fiddlesticks, especially when he is in the jungle. Try to pick up a sight ward early so you can see him coming.

    Stunners - Same story, only they also take away your freedom of movement, but on the bright side you have a stun as well, try to get it in before they can stun you and you can guarantee a shield explosion. The stun takes a while to get tp the target so it can happen you both get stunned, but dont worry, your shield should be strong enough to take the stun and a few hits so you can explode it after the stun most of the time. If played well you should be able to use the bushes to your advantage and win most of these lineups.

    Damage spammers - Champions with a cheap damage spell on a short cooldown, while 1 of these wont be a problem most of the time 2 of them in a lane can prevent you from ever getting your shield exploding. Most notably would be mundo and his cleaver, beware he doesn't keep you away from the creeps!

    Rammus/Shen - they can totaly stop you from pushing. Definitly try to swap lanes if you encounter them when going for this build. You can't attack towers when one of them is standing next to it.

    Twisted Fate - After his remake he is still as dangerous as ever. Be carefull for gangs at all times when he is in game. This means you cant stay in tower range as much as you would like to. So pay attention to when his ultimate is on cd and try to lane against him if he doesn't take mid. (If you lane against him he won't be much of a problem as he is much more visible and can't make it a 3v2)

  • Tips and Tricks

    Let me share some usefull things i picked up while playing this build and laning with a friend using this build.

    - No matter how much I like this build, it isn't always the best build to use. Try to look at what your team needs most before deciding on what build you go. Sion can become a great caster/tank or damage dealer and is a very flexible champion, so make use of that! Also if the enemy is playing very defensively and you can't get through, you might want to take a somewhat more defensive aproach (put a point in enrage and focus on last hitting).

    - Always get your shield ready to explode BEFORE moving in, it sucks to have to wait 4 seconds before you can explode it. it gives the enemies time to disable the shield or get away while it isn't ready yet.

    - Towerdiving is pretty easy with sion, stun the target, take 1/2 hits from the tower to get in range, explode
    your shield, and run away. Don't try this when there are people missing from their lanes though as i died often because i ran into an unexpected gang trying to get away.

    - Use Flash to get in range of the enemy then follow up with a stun and shield explosion to catch enemies trying to stay outside of your range.

    - Don't get overconfident, you are a real killer early game but as a result you can give away a huge streak
    bonus when you get killed. I saw games turned around by getting killed by twitch (+1000gold for twitch is the
    last thing you want to see)

    - Split the kills you get in lane, don't try to hog all the kills or give all the kills away. Try to time the
    detonation of your shield to give the kill to the one who needs it most. (most of the time the carry in your lane needs it more than you do, you can easily farm from the creeps)

    - When Teleporting into a lane get shield up first, it wont cost you any mana if you cast it in base and it can be used to execute a suprise attack and get an easy kill. If they are out of range you can use Flash to change that.

    - Try to keep an eye open for opportunities where you can use the technique described in the previous point.
    If enemies are chasing allies past your creeps, try Teleporting to those creeps with shield on, cutting off the enemies escape route, netting you a kill or two.

    - Know who to stun (and when). Don't use it as a simple nuke in team battles but try to take out their carry or to stop channeling spells.

    - Use Mana Potions a lot, they pay for themselves if you can kill 2 or more creeps because of it.

    - Don't be in a hurry to upgrade your Catalyst the Protectors, the extra regeneration is always nice. Especially at lower levels when you level up more often.

    - Try to keep at least 1 inventory slot open for as long as possible. This is so that you can buy [item_text=Oracle's Elixir]s and wards (both Sight Wards and Vision Wards).

    - Before recalling, ALWAYS try to activate shield if possible. The recalling will only stop from damage you actually take, that means they have to break through your shield first to stop your recall. This gives you 1 or 2 seconds more to get back to safety! [tested and confirmed]

    - When upgrading enrage the bonus damage will not be updated untill you de-activate the skill and re-activate it again.

  • Conclusion

    It turned out to be a quite lengthy guide. So i thank you for reading and keeping up with it this far. If you follow this guide you will be a championkilling beast early game and a quite effective tank later without losing much of your spellpower. The main point of this guide is that you can play super aggressive keeping enemies away from creeps or else they will be easy targets for you to kill. I had lots of succes in games with this strategy both in low-mid and high elo.

    I will try to keep this guide up to date and any comments are welcome, just try to be polite and use proper arguments if you (dis)agree with some parts of the guide.


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