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As the title says, fear the heals. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/9/21/ as that comic shows, the healer should be killed first, because while they dont have the gun pointed at you, they keep the guy pointing that gun at you longer then you can point yours at him. That being said your goal in this build is to be that healer. This is not the only way to play Soraka, but this is the way I play her and it is godly. You cant carry the team, but you can carry your teammates, by keeping them healed long before they should have died. Of the dozens of times Ive played Soraka I can count the number of loses on one hand (this is an estimate as I dont remember them all specifically but loses have been few and far between). If any of you have played WoW, then how you play is like a bg healer, if you havent played WoW hopefully the rest of the guide will help. If you are someone who enjoys the healer role this is the champion and build for you. If you like getting kills and doing damage, this is not the build for you, most games with her I have few kills, few deaths, and sometimes even few assists.
Starcall: does aoe damage very nice, but ignored for this build
Astral blessing: your main heal, also adds armor buff use this to keep your teammates alive, and has a 1 to 1 AP scaling.
Infuse: restores mana to friendlies, damages and silences foes, costs no mana spam when ever off, use on self if you need mana your lane mate if he does, or harass the enemy, careful it will damage/restore mana to creeps, Ive miss clicked with this a lot.
Wish: global heal, heals a good amount check to see if other lanes need a heal once you get it, it can allow you to save lives when you arent even there, and has a 2 to 1 AP scaling.
I level them in this order: I start with infuse and max that first for the mana regain, then blessing for the heals and grab wish whenever I can, starcall is left for last, and rarely used, mostly creeping near towers late game.
Summoner spells: Heal-another heal to make you even more annoying to kill, and can be used as an aoe heal in team fights if your other heals are down.
Cleanse- even after the nerf its still really good for getting you out of CC and running away and popping more heals.
Get all the CD masteries the 6% in the utility tree, and the 3% in the offense tree, fill in whatever else you want (though note you wont be dead much if played right)
Get 6% CD with runes, this makes your total before items 15%, other runes, right now I have health for yellow, AP for red, and filled my remaining blue after CD with mp5, I use one quint for CD the other two for AP, but this is just my general caster rune page. The CDs is the important part.
Items: Boots of mobility-get to your teammates and run away faster (you generally stay in the back so they can be active if a fight does go sour)
Nashors tooth-Gives +55 AP and the much needed 25% CD reduction, this combined with runes and masteries gets you at the 40% cap, allowing you to spam more heals more
If you are not high enough to get the mastery/rune CD of 15% add in another CD item to get you caped
Few matches last past these two items, and are all you really need to be the BA healer that you can be, but if it does, I usual just make something up, either defense, for survivability or AP for bigger heals either is good.
Start with the ability tome (+20 AP) and head to a lane with someone. You work good with tanks, carriers or pushers, but another support class isnt the best, but doesnt really matter. Alistar can be fun to lane with though his heals and your mana and heals make him pretty close to invincible. Infuse is an annoying harass and because you cant put out a lot of sustained damage you can get the opponent pretty low hp just by using that and auto attacks. Dont forget to keep you and your lane mates mana up and health up. Watch out because of your persistency ganks will often happen here at late early game. When you hit 6 look to see if anyone needs heals, in the other lanes and pop it if they do, can help turn their fights.
Ganks are more frequent on both sides, team fights start breaking out, stay with people, if you do die, pick up boots first then work on tooth, if you dont head back if there is a break in the action at a little over 3K g to pick up boots and tooth in one go, then get back out with your teammates. Now that you have all the necessary items just stick with your teammates and keep them alive and in mana, remember though your mana is important to keep healing, check before and after using Wish as its 200 mana, before to see if you have enough and after to see if you are low. Stay behind your teammates let them take the damage, harass with infuse or basic attacks if there is opportunity but remember main focus is keeping your teammates alive.
Either your team has dominated from your awesome heals, or your team is pretty bad, either by players or team work and are now loosing, the former has been more common for me, stay with the group and keep them healed and their mana up. With decent to good teams you will be doing ridiculously pushes. With a poor team, starcall can be used to stop the creep waves and you might want to buy additional items, usually defense items is what I get or try for a rod of ages.
Disadvantages/Things to watch out for
You make very little money, this is made up by the fact that you have a small item build and can stay laning for a very long time. Watch out for executioners calling and pirates grog socked blade as they cut your healing drastically. I really havent worked a counter for that, but if the person has the two swords and heart above their head and arent under immediate attack wait till it goes away to heal them.
This is my first guide any comments are welcome, either on build or the guide itself. Also I have only ever done pugs, on occasion run with a real life friend or random people who friend me for my awesome heals.