Champ of the Week: Soraka Wrapup


The forums provided a serendipitous thread necro for me to wrap up the Soraka Champ of the Week series. In the thread linked here, Xypherous lays out some of the design problems around heals, which I think is a decent place to kick off the Soraka discussion. Soraka is strong as most every other healer is strong – they all remove attrition from a game.

Healing is a really tough mechanic to balance for a game like League of Legends. In order for the healer to have any fun whatsoever, the heal needs to do something during the laning phase, which usually means giving it a somewhat short cooldown. Later in the game it needs to scale in some way to be remotely useful, which means AP builds can be both viable and infuriating. In short, heals don’t really work. Even if a heal could truly provide a judgement call for a player, heals just happen too often to really be balanced.

That’s essentially what I saw with Soraka. If my team was willing to sit back, not rush fights if the enemy ignites were up, or start a poking war, we won. We won easily, too. Even in games where I’ve built a Deathfire or a Guinsoo with Soraka, the wins have been decisive. There’s not much more to say about her.

If I could change one thing about Soraka, it would be Starfall. Though the spell is occasionally lulzy and provides a decent debuff, it doesn’t have a practical range for teamfighting. It’s decent for farming, but again, it suffers from a short range. I’d love to see Soraka get something like Lux’s Lucent Singularity, a skill that could slow in an area on the ground. She would probably need a slight heal tweak due to the increased lane power, but I think she would be more fun.

That does it for Soraka week. Check back tomorrow for next week’s Champ of the Week. It’s back to someone I’m not particularly good with. What can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment.


Champ of the Week: No Surprises Yet

It should come as no surprise that supports are strong in League of Legends. They’ve made appearances in some shape or form in every major competitive event, often as the cornerstone of a team. My experience with Soraka so far has been, well, that she’s strong. She’s pretty amazing at keeping a team healthy, helping them push, silencing the AP carries, even soaking a little damage. There’s really not much to say beyond that without breaking into a discussion of healing and its place in the game and why it’s so strong/such a design problem. I don’t want to do that yet. That’s going to be the end-of-week wrapup.

For now, I’ll say that Soraka is kinda fun to play in a solo lane. I recently played in a five-man premade consisting of Soraka, Nocturne, Malzahar, Leona, and Tristana. I took solo top against Mordekaiser so that Leona could bring her amazing CC to support Tristana. It went surprisingly well, though I did die to a tower dive from Vayne and Mordekaiser – pretty tough to stop that one. By going top, I also got to have a little more fun with the farm, which was really nice. Most of my reluctance toward playing Soraka (or any support) is the passive gameplay. It just isn’t fun. I much prefer to see my character grow in strength over the course of the game – it’s what drew me to the MOBA genre.

For the rest of the week I’ll be testing some strange builds and rune setups to see where I might sneak a little more fun out of the character. Check back this weekend for more focused thoughts on healing as a whole.


Champ of the Week: Soraka


I’ve never been much of a support player. It just doesn’t appeal to me. I like to farm. I like to take buffs. I like to gank. I like to set up champion kills. I don’t like to stand in lane watching my Clairvoyance cooldown tick away. But there’s no way to deny that support can make or break a game, and playing against a good support can be extremely frustrating. Lucky for anyone matched against me this week, I’m not a good support. I bring you this week’s Champ of the Week: Soraka.

Soraka is probably the most straightforward support champion in the game. She doesn’t have any crazy AoE disables, any shields, any CC other than her silence. She just heals, and heals for quite a bit. I have two problems when playing Soraka that I’m hoping to remedy this week. First, I put too much faith in her early healing. That cooldown is long and without any AP the heal is fairly weak at lower levels. As mentioned above, I really like action, so standing in lane and waiting for my carry to get farmed gets really boring. That’s when I tend to overextend or try to harass too much and get my ass killed.

I also need to work on her build. I know a lot of players like to get an Aegis, but I often feel like it comes too late in the game to be truly useful. It’s a good item, I just hate looking at my spells 25 minutes into the game and seeing the base heal amount on all of them. That said, an AP rush usually isn’t in Soraka’s (or her team’s) best interest. I’m going to focus on playing builds that maximize my team efficiency and maybe one or two that can add a little flavor to her playstyle. I see a Deathfire in my future.

Check back later this week for more reports on how I fail as a support. If you have any suggestions, drop them in the comments. I will need them.


Patch Day 8/24: Urgot is here


Though today is just barely slower than yesterday in terms of work and moving responsibilities, I can’t hold back on my patch impressions any longer. Yesterday’s patch had some sweeping impact on the state of the game. Urgot brings another new skill type to the game with his swap, but maybe more importantly, both Heimerdinger and Shaco caught significant nerfs – nerfs that could drop them off most players’ ban lists.

I’ll put together a complete Urgot review a bit later today, but for now I’ll say that he seems to have been designed as an Ezreal counter. The stun/swap combo means Arcane Shift only takes Ezreal back to the front of the battle, instead of outside harm’s way. He’s also extremely mana efficient as he harasses, so it’s easy to see him taking mid against a lot of the squishier carries.

The Heimerdinger and Shaco nerfs will be getting a dedicated post as well because they are so big. Riot has always said that it would trickle nerf, but in my mind they should have considered both toons for significant remake if they were planning to nerf this hard.

On to the less significant changes. Kog’Maw caught a rework to his Caustic Spittle, which now provides passive attack speed bonus in addition to the armor penetration active. Kennen also got most of the proposed changes. He now gains armor and magic resistance while in Lightning Rush, Maelstrom can hit more people, and Surge got an AP buff. In my mind it makes him highly desirable. Vladimir was only half nerfed – his Transfusion has a slightly smaller range but his Tides of Blood is larger.

Malphite also got some nice changes. He should be more mana efficient, and his Brutal Strikes now also grants bonus armor, synergizing with Ground Slam and providing some nice staying power, especially in the jungle. Lastly, Soraka got a small tweak in that her Infuse provides half mana to the target and half to her (Soraka gets the full amount on self-casts). Mana cost on her heal has also been marginally increased.

The last change that is actually very cool is that elixirs can be purchased when you have six full slots and will auto-activate. No more selling and repurchasing items.

That’s about it for the patch. The other posts I mentioned here will be up in short order (especially now that the servers are set to ‘busy’).


Related Posts