The problems with Syndra
After playing Syndra a fair bit (not in Ranked because of the problems I'm about to describe), I've come up with a list of issues she has that prevent her from being good. By good, I don't mean strong. I mean that playing her feels rewarding and entertaining.
Syndra's mana costs don't work with her playstyle
Syndra's gimmick/primary mechanic is her Dark Spheres. The amount of damage she can put out with her ultimate is affected by the spheres, her crowd control is determined by her spheres, and the summoning of spheres (her Q skill) is her primary source of damage. Unfortunately, the spheres, while cheap early on, go up in mana cost by a lot (10 per rank). Normally this would mean that there is a tradeoff between the utility of having more spheres and the damage of expensive but powerful spheres, but Syndra's W also goes up in mana cost with rank and is on a very long cooldown and her E is on a huge cooldown.
Syndra is way too predictable for an opponent
Unlike Zyra whose seeds work on an ammo system and can be placed instantaneously and last a long time once placed, Syndra's spheres have a fairly long cooldown (4s before CDR) and last only 6 seconds after cast. Combined with the high mana cost, as soon as you see Syndra start to accumulate spheres, you know she will try to cast her ultimate. Because of the slow ramp up time, it means you have a good 8 seconds or more to decide how you will react to the impending ultimate. Additionally, Syndra's W skill has to first pick up a target, meaning that instead of seeing her spell animation and reacting, you see her wind up to cast a spell, and then throw a projectile. Again, way too predictable.
No clear itemization path for damage vs utility
Syndra has high mana costs. She also needs good CDR to throw out more spheres. As a result, her damage itemization path is a CDR path. Trying to focus on damage via Rabadon's or RoA or Rylai's early on is actually a damage drop compared to CDR items because she has fewer orbs available for her ultimate.
It takes too long to summon an orb
Because Syndra's E and W skills require orbs for their utility, Syndra needs to always have orbs available. Unfortunately, she has to summon an orb first using her Q, and then use her E/W skills. By this time, the opponent has probably moved into a much less favorable position.
At first I really liked Syndra because I liked the orb mechanic and the utility she draws from the orbs. After having played her, it feels like the orbs are limiting, rather than contributing to Syndra's power. I feel that she was balanced around a situation where the three orbs spinning around her are always available for E/W combos, whereas in reality, she is lucky to have more than one orb available in any engagement.
Anyone who has tried to roam for a gank on a lane or had an unexpected engagement in the jungle can attest to how powerless Syndra is without orbs available.
A suggestion for a fix? There are many possible solutions. One would be to make Q ammo based and have no mana cost. One would be to make Q like Zyra's seeds - no cast time spawn delay, but this removes any counterplay (sort of how it does for Zyra too). Ultimately, fixing these issues is necessary to make Syndra more playable.
Though all of this really does suck, syndra has 1 thing that helps counter all of these problems...
She can cast while moving.
Even though her skills take a great deal of "thought time" to combo, the actual in game time might as well be an animation time, considering how quickly her spells "cast".
it's just the missile speed and spawn speed that's too damned slow IMO
I agree with what the poster above me said.
Also, here are my two ideas for small changes that I think would make her ultimately viable.
- Reduce Dark Sphere spawn/cast time by a fraction. Let's say it's .25 seconds (I have no idea of the real value) Well then maybe reduce it to .20 seconds.
- If I recall correctly, Scatter the Weak's CD reduces by 1 second every level, being 12 seconds at level 5. I think that a 1.5 second decrease per level would put her in a more favorable position to be more useful late game. (10 second cooldown at level 5)
This is coming from a person who LOVES playing Syndra. I really do. I absolutely adore her and believe she is among one of the highest skill floor champions, along with Orianna. (My most played champion of all time, and best pick)
As for itemization, I always try to get Kage's lucky pick early, along with sorc boots and doran's ring/chalice (depends on the enemy team) to build into a deathfire that I get after my rabadon's and before rylais/athenes.
Been playing syndra a lot since the release and since the buff shes pretty good.
I win about the 60%+ on matches and from time to time I carry hard.
My biggest complain is that you CANT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES stun when close. (EDIT: you can; but its somewhat inconsistent around the edges)
AS your sphere starts moving AFTER you already hit your opponent, so no stun ever comes out.
I bought Syndra recently and loved her.
I agree that her spheres take too long to appear. I missed stun so many times because of that :c
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