Several seasons ago, Soraka was a viable top lane pick. Those days are gone, except that they are actually back. Martin “Wunder” Hansen’s out-of-the-box pick in Week 2 of the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) became a massive success for his team. This sensation reminded other professional players that support champs Sona and Soraka are incidentally strong right now. Soraka, in the top lane has a 56.63% win rate.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Soraka is an instant win in a matchup. Like when CLG Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min played Soraka against Evil Genius, he found out what happens if Soraka is played into a team that out plays her. Soraka basically makes the game a 4v5 in terms of damage dealers, so instead she needs to run Athene’s Grail, into the appropriate boots item. Then Redemption for the healing capability followed by Ardent Censer for the mid game healing and shield boost for team battles. The good example of this is G2 Wunder when he faced off against Rogue Gaming.
Riot Games has noticed this play style because of professional players and the abnormally high win rate for a champion who is supposed to be support. Commonly, Riot tries to avoid changes to the game that can lead to consistent victories due to a certain play styles. But, someone will eventually find a loop hole and exploit it.
The easy answer is to provide the team with immense healing during battles and for the double ranged healing provided from Soraka’s Wish (R) and Redemption.
The better answer is that Soraka is not a weak champion actually. She can hold her own in the top lane against most top lane champions. If she takes damage, she has Starcall (Q) to quickly heal what she lost. And her Equinox (E) will disable and root if she is being ganked upon. If her jungle player is helping out, then with her healing and with her Salvation passive she can maintain healing for her jungler and herself. All of this applies to any lane by the way, making Soraka very viable.
Her obvious weakness is the player. Missing abilities or being impatient puts Soraka at risk of being ganked or solo killed. Top lane works the best for Soraka because of how lonely it is up there. Most of the time a good ward will provide the player vision so they can back off when the enemy jungler is coming. Staying safe and gaining creep score (CS) is easy when there’s only one other person in the lane to worry about as compared to playing support.
Patch 10.4 for Soraka
This makes her less viable to go against a champion by herself since she cannot regain as much health from attacks. And she can’t repeatedly cast the Starcall to heal due to increased Mana cost and less base Mana.
She can heal her teammates more HP, but she loses more HP too. Forcing her to use Starcall more often. To help, Astral Infusion costs less HP if she’s being rejuvenated. These changes forfeit her capability to solo lane. She can’t heal quickly and has to spend more Mana in the early game to maintain pressure. She’s weak until she buys Warmog’s Armor or a Spirit Visage, which is usually the fifth item. Making support her only viable position.
Double Support Strategy
Having two supports allows the ADC and the Mid laner to focus on providing damage to the opponents. The support player will have to pick a tank champion or a champion with a hook ability in order to start up fights and the jungle player will have to choose someone with high damage or additional Crowd Control (CC).
By doing this, the team loses the usual extra damage they would get from having a top laner, but they would gain stamina in the battle. They can continuously chase their opponents and attack without having to consider their health. In addition, they can make plays where the damage dealers would normally die.
No longer, once the patch goes live on February 20th Soraka will not be a viable top lane pick.
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