[Guide]Sion - The Three-way Hybrid
Introduction - a three-way you can let your kids read about
People like to play Sion different ways, and most people who play him semi-regularly have built him around Attack Damage or around AP. Different builds, with different strengths and weaknesses. AP Sion has a tremendous early/mid game, but a weaker late game. AD sion is absolutely scary late game, but the problem is he takes forever to get that way, and in solo-q you can’t always count on your team to get you to late game. If your team has ever surrendered at 25 mins, you would’ve been playing 4.5 vs 5 the entire time. (Possible exaggeration, but you get the idea).
The goal of this build is to target the strength of both builds, while compensating against the weaknesses to develop a stronger Sion. The risk with any hybrid build is that you aren’t great at any one thing, and thus may get stomped by other champs. Read the build, try it (in normal to start with of course), and see which of the two this accomplishes.
Skills – with brief comments
Passive - Feel No Pain
Sion has a 40% chance to ignore up to 30/40/50 damage each time he is attacked. The damage reduction is calculated before armor benefits are taken into account.
This is a great passive, and helps complement Sion’s toughness. Because it’s a flat amount, it’s effectiveness wanes late game, but even then it’s still solid. Another way to think of this passive is that Sion ignores 12/16/20 damage every time he’s attacked.
Q - Cryptic Gaze
Blasts a single enemy, dealing 70 / 125 / 180 / 240 / 300 (+100% of ability power) magic damage and stunning for 2 seconds.
Cooldown 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 8 seconds | Cost 100 mana | Range 550
Another great skill. Semi-spamable stun that lasts 2 seconds at level 1. We’re not focusing on CDR in this build, but with 40%, you’d be stunning for 2 seconds every 4.8 seconds. Add to that its 1-to-1 ability power ratio, meaning you get another point of damage for every AP you buy.
W - Death's Caress
Sion surrounds himself with a shield which absorbs 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 / 320 (+100% of ability power) damage. If the shield is not destroyed in 10 seconds, it will explode, dealing 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 / 320 (+100% of ability power) magic damage to surrounding enemies.
Cast again after 4 seconds to manually detonate.
Cooldown 4 seconds | Cost 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 mana | Range 1
You guessed it – another great skill. An AP Sion’s best friend (and his biggest hindrance). With a 1-to-1 AP ratio, this thing can do massive AOE damage all game. The problem is, it gets harder and harder to actually do ANY damage with it in a team fight as the game progresses. For this build, it’s how we are going to dominate the laning phase and farm. AD Sions waste this skill.
E - Enrage
Toggle: Increase Sion's damage by 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65, and he gains 1 / 1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3 maximum health per kill.
Cost 6 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 health | Range 1
I’m not going to say it, but you know I’m thinking it. A free, warmog’s-style passive with no cap? A free BF sword? Even Twist would be satisfied (Oliver, not Fate – read a book). This, in combination with his ult, is what we will dominate with late game. Just to be clear, Enrage will increase your life regardless of how you kill the minions. We will abuse this with shield. Once you get enrage, always keep it on.
R - Cannibalism
Grants Sion 50 / 75 / 100% lifesteal and 50% attack speed for 20 seconds, additionally Sion's attacks heal surrounding allies for 25 / 37.5 / 50% of damage dealt.
Cooldown 90 seconds | Cost 100 mana | Range 1
AP Sions completely waste this skill’s potential, which is sad since it’s his ultimate – and it’s powerful. Riot already handed you a free BF sword, and now they hand you a free 50% attack speed to swing it with, and 100% lifesteal on top, and don’t forget 50% for your friends. As fun as AP is, you don’t even put a point into this thing until you have to with that build.
If you read through the skill descriptions, I hope you’re getting an idea of the wasted potential that a pure AD or AP build suffers from. Sion’s skills are simply strong enough that he can excel at a hybrid approach. What we are going to do is focus on farming with shield early game, and then transition into a turret/champ destroyer late game. This also makes sure you contribute the entire game, instead of for half of it.
Reds – armor pen or magic pen. I currently go with magic pen. The reason being I focus a little more on the early game. Why? Because there isn’t always a late game.
Yellows – Dodge. Compliments Sion’s passive and a slight mitigation to madred’s bloodrazers.
Blues – Mp/5. Sion is mana hungry. In team fights, your stun and shield should be on CD all the time. During the laning phase, you want to shield every wave.
Quints – Flat HP. Everyone is doing it, why not us? Well, movespeed runes are definitely an option here. Again, this would be planning for late game, and I’d stick with HP.
Teleport and Ghost
Teleport - This build is a crazy pusher. Beaten by Sivir, but maybe only her. Teleport compliments this, along with strong early game benefits.
Ghost - My general rule is to take flash on squishy champs and take ghost on the tougher. You’re going to be the later.
Offense – First row is up to you (crit vs ap), but then take cooldown reduction and 15% magic pen.
Utility – Improve teleport and ghost with two into regen. Take increased experience, mana regen, movespeed, and cooldowns for skills and summoner spells.
With glyphs (blue runes) and these masteries, it will help us with our first item choice.
General priorities: Max your shield. It gives you harassment mitigation and the farming potential you want. Grab 1 rank in your stun. Further points into the stun are OK in a few levels, but you get the full stun at level 1. In the meantime, alternate between enrage (E) and your shield. We are still going to forgo our ult at level 6. A sample build would look like this (but realize that other than the first 4 levels, you may want to vary depending on the game).
9. W (maxed)
By 11, you’ve still got your ultimate, but you’ve maximized your farming potential early game. Stun (Q) is taken first for early lane duels.
As a partial response to feedback on build cost, I'm including a disclaimer that what I offer below are choices, not requirements. Pick and choose from the categories depending on what enemy team you are facing. A full response to cost concerns is below this section.
Sapphire Crystal + 2 HP Pots
You’re going to be rushing a catalyst and then Rod of Ages, and this is how you don’t fail at it. Conserve stuns, but other than that you’re fine on mana.
First Trip Back
You’ve got teleport, and we’re going to abuse it to get your catalyst as soon as you can afford it. Now you can be more liberal with your stun and shield application.
First Complete Item
Rod of Ages
This is the only AP item we’re getting, might well get the most efficient one we can, and the HP and MP is great. Now you’re officially a farming machine. Realize that minions gain strength every three minutes, which means, depending on how quickly you get your Rod, your farming pattern needs to change. Generally, take a swing at each minion and then detonate shield. Of course, don’t swing at the minions already taking damage from yours. Congrats, you just got all the minions. Trust me it’s satisfying – especially when you get to watch your max health going up as well.
The Rod also scales with time, so after you’ve played a few games to get the hang of the build, start trying to monitor your farming pattern as well.
Grab boots 1 after your Rod whenever you find yourself back at base. Your final boot choice depends on the other team and your play style, so you may need to delay the upgrade. (Is character X going AP or AD?). In general, you’re looking at three boots: mercury treads, swiftness, and sorc shoes. Merc treads is a given against heavy CC teams. Swiftness vs sorc is another early vs late game choice that I’m going to leave to you. I’m currently going sorc shoes. There are other ways to stick with your enemies late game, and sorc shoes makes a difference early.
Depends on the enemy team (of course), but Banshee’s Veil is a great choice for most games. More HP, MR to mitigate bloodrazer, obliterates any mana problems you may have thought you had, and don’t forget the shield.
Randuin’s Omen is also a great choice (starting with the heart of gold). HP, Armor, AOE CC, and CDR – what’s not to like?. The AOE CC deserves special mention. Even with stuns, AD Sion has trouble sticking to his target without a mallet. A Sion with stun+Randuins does not, and it wins team fights. Also makes the swiftness boots less of a requirement.
Depending on your role in the team and the enemy team, you may want to take both items. The good news is, we focused farming and pushing, and you can afford it while it makes a difference.
NOTE: The game may end here, or sometime during the survivability phase of this build! If so, you were basically a tanky caster who dominated the CS and provided CC and the occasional AOE explosion for your team. Congrats, you contributed. The AD Sion on the other team did not (and may even be in the jungle or a lane by himself when the game ends if he’s terrible). If the game continues, it’s now time to for the final item choices.
First DPS Item
You’ve got some options here, just like with your survivability items. Just remember you already have a free BF sword, +50% attack speed, and 100% life steal. Now look at the other team and choose accordingly.
Zeal into Phantom Dancer
The perfect item if the team is full of right-click squishies (Yi, Ashe, Trist, etc). The attack speed and crit chance benefits that free BF sword of yours nicely, and the movement speed is icing on the cake. Sadly, it doesn't provide dodge anymore, but In general, this is the item you want to get.
I'm leaving this item here since it was in the original guide. Now that it no longer provides attack speed, don't get it. It used to be a great item for this build, but not so much now.
This now is basically the only other choice to Phantom Dancer. The cooldown reduction from this and Randuin’s plus your masteries just about caps you out. Your ult is now on ~55 second cooldown and lasts for 20 seconds. Your stun is up every 5 seconds and stuns for 2. You get the full 8 seconds of the active plus all the other benefits it gives you. A very solid choice.
Possible Alternative DPS Item
This depends entirely on the game, but there are situations where this can be picked up. 4,000 HP is entirely possible (even probable) with this build, which translates into 80 more damage plus the crit chance and extra armor from the item. Just remember that with ~200 more gold you could get the Ghostblade. My rule of thumb would be to only get it if you need the armor.
Overall, this is an expensive build, but comes together in useful pieces, and you can farm well enough to expect to get quite a few of them. I do hope you feel obligated to vary this build depending on the other team, of course.
Added benefit of this item build
Confusion. Better players check your items (as I’m telling you to do to them). If they see ROA and sorc shoes – you’re an AP Sion, and they will counter that. After seeing a tank item or two with some serious health stacking, they may try to get a bloodrazer thrown in the mix somewhere to counter the tank they now see. Finally, you become a DPS machine with lots of CC, AOE damage/heal, and little fear. What do they do now?
Response to Feedback about Build Cost
No, building all these items is not realistic in your average game, but you only need half of it to be effective. You could end up with the Rod, Randuin’s, and Zeal, and you’ve still got great synergy between all your skills:
Q – Rod (with some synergy from the CDR in Randuin’s)
W – Rod (with some synergy from the tank/CDR aspects of Randuin’s)
E – Synergy from Randuin’s and PD (minor from Rod – health stacking)
R – Same as E
Further, the components of these parts are very helpful. In the above scenario, I would think it perfectly legit to have a heart of gold, warden's mail, and a Zeal before finishing Randuin's. If you are living through most or all of the teamfights, there is no need to finish Randuin's before picking up the AS/Crit. Through your ult, the Zeal adds to your survivability while increasing your dps. Farming these items and your Rod/boots is a laughable task for Sion. The final beauty of this build is it's adaptability. After Rod, boots, and a tank item, you are free to morph into whatever your team needs, and you get to make this choice late in the game.
Hopefully, I've made the case that you don't need to farm 15.7k every game to be good with this setup.
How to Play
Consider the laning phase already covered and straight forward. You farm your gold and your passive.
In the loading screen, or during champ select in draft mode, look for channel ultimates (nunu, mal, kat, etc). If present, DO NOT use your stun on anyone, no matter what, until they ult. The exception of course is if you know for some reason it’s on cooldown. Other champs like twitch deserve the same treatment. Wait for him to pop and shut him down. If these guys aren’t present, shut down whoever has the most DPS.
In general, your shield will be enough of a threat to draw attention mid game. It makes sense to pop it before it pops them. Late game, you’ll be drawing agro for many other reasons, and you’ll be prepared for it. Save your ult until the enemy team is committed. The nice thing is that it’s not flashy, and it lasts for 20 seconds. You’ll be healing and hurting until you die or win the fight without scaring anyone off from the carnage. As with any lifesteal champ, once you’re committed, don’t run. Without any damage items, a level 18 Sion has something like 175 damage, and you’ll be seeing green “175”s popping up with every swing.
If you’ve got Randuin’s or other actives, remember to use them. It’s a shorter cool down than you think so don’t worry about saving it. Drag them to the third or fourth item slots for quick reach with the index finger. With Randuins plus your ult’s attack speed, it will feel like matrix mode. Toss in a Ghostblade and you really will know Kung Fu.
As previously stated, this build pushes lanes, which is nice seeing as how pushing wins games. Depending on the ELO of your team, you’ll be more or less able to leave them in a stale mate to go push a lane. They just need to realize that their job is to distract while you push a lane down.
When you’re in a lane to push, forget your farming pattern. Blow your shield asap to get it back on cooldown, finish the mage creeps, and then finish the melee. Rush to next minion wave and repeat. When you get to the tower blow your ult and down it. While taking it, use your shield to damage the next enemy creeps that come down the lane. Now you’ve got their attention, so watch the map to see how many are missing. (If they are missing they are headed your way). One champ? Take another creep wave and then fall back. With your stun and shield you can run from just about anyone. If more than one champ is en route, swallow the blue pill and get out. Now its 4-vs-less-than-4 in the mid, which may turn out well for the good guys. Regardless, the time spent traipsing through the woods was lost time for whoever came to stop you. You’re halfway back to mid already.
The Bad – you won’t tank as well as Rammus, burst as well as Veigar, or DPS like Trynd or Yi.
The Good – You will be a force to be reckoned with all game (unlike Veigar or Trynd), and late game you will punish the LoL community with impunity.
Reserved for update log:
Response to build cost concerns (namely explaining that items after Rod were choice subsets.)
Now discourage Last Whisper since it doesn't give attack speed.
Phantom Dancer no longer gives dodge.
Changed skill order to Q first for the early 2v1 or 1v1.
Updated the Quick Reference section to reflect these changes.
Very interesting. I'll need to try it out later. I find it refreshing how you split the build into segments like this, focusing on different abilities in different game phases.
I really don't understand why people say AP Sion is junk late game. 1000 damage aoe shield plus a 1000 damage stun on short CDs isn't bad late game.
ap sion isnt junk late game, and ad sion isnt junk early game. people just dont understand sion. sion is one of those champions that encourages you to build him a variety of different ways, and this gives you a lot of options to make him strong in every situation. sion is my favorite champion, and the one i play best. it makes me cringe when people who dont understand how to play him make stupid generalizations.
btw: just so you know, death's caress got a tweak a patch or two ago. the ap ratio is now .9.
read it on the lol forums. The game client rounds up. The actual ratio doesn't.
Unless you mean that they game client rounds up all ability ratios? That would make everything above 0.5 = 1.0 ability ratio, which also doesn't make any sense. Please link your source. I think you guys got trolled.
Looks good on paper, but you're build is really, really expensive. By the time you finish AOE it's probably around midgame if you're doing standard. Of course if you're fed, you're fed.
I even remember testing my sion build after patch 104 to make sure I didn't lose a lot of damage, and saw that it was stating death's caress was doing 1:1 damage even though the actual skill wasn't. then when 105 came out it said "Fixed a bug with Death's Caress where the detonate tooltip was showing incorrect damage values" and I assumed that meant it was going to start stating the .9 ratio values. Now the tooltip is still stating 1:1 and the skill is doing 1:1 damage.
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