The Forgotten Champions - Sion
Thu 21st Feb 2013 - 11:15am
Sion is currently sitting at a 1% popularity rate on Lolking, with majority of players only ever seeing the Undead Champion in ARAMs. But what is the reason for this? Is it because he has a weak kit, doesn't hit the meta, or is he a hidden power that no one's picked up yet?
The general consensus is that Sion fits into 3 roles: AP mid, AD bruiser top and jungler. I’ll be taking a look at how he performs in these 3 roles individually, before drawing a conclusion from the findings.
Passive - Feel No Pain
Sion has a 40% chance to ignore up to 30 / 40 / 50 damage each time he is hit by an autoattack. The damage reduction is calculated before armor and percentage damage reduction benefits are taken into account.
Q - Cryptic Gaze
ACTIVE: Sion's gaze terrifies a single enemy, dealing magic damage and stunning it for 1.5 seconds.
MAGIC DAMAGE: 70 / 125 / 180 / 240 / 300 (+ 90% AP)
W - Death's Caress
ACTIVE: Sion surrounds himself with a shield which absorbs damage for up to 10 seconds. After 4 seconds, if the shield has not been destroyed, the ability can be cast again to explode and deal magic damage to surrounding enemies. It will explode automatically after the 10 seconds have passed.
SHIELD STRENGTH/MAGIC DAMAGE: 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 / 300 (+ 90% AP)
E - Enrage
TOGGLE: Each of Sion's autoattacks will deal extra physical damage at the cost of some health. While Enrage is active, Sion permanently increases his maximum health whenever he kills a unit with either his attacks or abilities. This effect is doubled against champions and large units.
EXTRA PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65
HEALTH GAINED PER KILL: 1 / 1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3
COST: 6 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 14 health per attack EXTRA PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65
R - Cannibalism
ACTIVE: For 20 seconds, Sion gains bonus lifesteal and 50% attack speed. Additionally, Sion's autoattacks will heal surrounding allies for a percentage of the damage dealt.
BONUS LIFE STEAL: 50% / 75% / 100%
HEAL TO NEARBY ALLIES: 25% / 37.5% / 50%
AOE HEAL RADIUS: 200
When played mid and AP, Sion's damage comes from his Q and his W. Both of these have high base damage, coupled with the 0.9AP scaling makes his Q good harass for level 1 laning. However his "combo" is usually to activate your shield, wait the 4 seconds so you can explode it, stun your laner and blow up the shield. This is not too difficult to accomplish, since both his Q and W have the same range (550), meaning he won't have to waste time getting closer after using his stun.
This puts him in the burst AP catagory, especially if you couple these abilities with a Deathfire Grasp he has a huge single target nuke coupled with a smaller AOE one from his shield.
Unfortunately it is easy to tell when he is going to use his combo, since there's a 4 second window of the shield being activated before it can be blown. However, a Sion player may choose to start up his shield and instantly stun you for 1.5 seconds. That time can then be used for him to get into melee range and run with you until he can explode his shield. Although any CC from yourself such as an Ahri charm or a Twisted Fate gold card should be able to counter that back quite easily.
A main issue with AP Sion is the range on his abilities. Comparing him with say Akali, who has to CS mainly with her Q which is considered quite short range, still sits at 600. Then you through in Kayle with 650 on her Q, Ahri with 880 on hers. It becomes quite easy to bully him around whilst trying to farm.
Finally, his W hasn't been given the same Quality of Life change that Lux's E has. His shield is a flat 8 second CD, regardless of level, from when it explodes. Meaning if you can kite him well you'll be extending the time he can come back at you even more.
Pros - Good burst with defensive shield. Great pusher, great roamer.
Cons - Can be kited, easy to tell when going offensive
Sion's kit seems to fit best when he's played as a top lane bruiser, with his passive, E and R shining the most. The damage negation from his passive will help a lot in early trades if the RNG goes your way, especially if you're against a ranged champion such as Jayce as this will reduce his bullying. If you're able to last hit well (which you should be!) the health gain from his E helps him to fit into the current health stacking meta, plus it gives him a lot of power early as it gives 25 bonus AD at the cost of 6 HP at level 1. Finally his ult gives him a massive AS and life steal boost, which can amount to a fairly easy kill if you've got a phage by level 6 and keep getting slow procs after your stun.
Even though his Q and W won't get any scaling from being top lane, a shield and 1.5 second stun is still nothing to be ignored up there. Especially since top lane can snowball hard, your stun on an early gank can help get your jungler in position quickly to grab an early kill.
This can be achieved quite easily as Sion's base stats are fairly high, with 55 AD and 17 armour. Although he only has 403 HP so 9/21 masteries would be a must in the top lane, but that's no different than any other top laner in the current meta.
A drawback of top lane Sion is that he has no gap closers like most popular top laners have in todays game, such as J4, Xin Zhao, Irelia etc. Although in my opinion a Frozen Mallet is a pretty core item on AD Sion, as it allows him to stick to his target fairly easily, when combined with his stun and ult AS buff for more procs. This coupled with the standard Warmogs, Randuins, Black Cleaver that 3 out of 5 people on the team will have you should be a threat to deal with and still take a few hits.
Pros - Built in health, big steroids to AD, AS and life steal, shield and stun. Basically everything.
Cons - No gap closer, can get kited in team fights quite easily since stun is short range.
When played in the jungle, the build and pros of being the top lane are pretty much mirrored.
His E may hold him back, as you'll be constantly attacking the jungle creeps instead of just last hittings so the health costs will add up. But if it's good enough for Mundo it's good enough for Sion right?
For the early levels it would be advised to only turn it on for the last hit of the creep if you feel your health wearing a bit thin. Although the bonus AD is the reason you're taking it also. I'd suggest using a reverse of a system I use for jungle Mundo. When taking say wraiths as Mundo, I'll leave my W on until the smaller ones are dead, then turn it off and kill the big one normally, since the cost of the AOE is only being used on 1 creep. The opposite of this would be to leave your E on whilst taking the bigger creep of the camp, and only toggle it on for the last hit of the smaller ones, since you lack AOE outside of your shield.
On the point of Sion's shield, this ability helps a lot in the jungle as long as you keep track of when it is about to be destroyed by the creeps in the early levels in order to deal AOE damage.
When it comes to ganks, Sion brings a decent mix of CC and damage to the table. Although mid lane is fairly difficult for him to get kills in since is stun is quite short range, the positioning of the enemy will have to be in the right spot. His ultimate and shield are great for tower dives also, as long as he can stay in contact witht he enemy to keep his healing up for him and his team.
Pros - Nice mix of CC and damage, especially when combined with the same such as Taric, Twisted Fate, Renekton. Easier to stack up health from his E, although not as much creep score available.
Nice mix of AOE from shield and single target for clear times. Great at lane ganks with a 1.5 second targeted stun
Cons - Lack of gap closer again, any deep wards and your threat level si virtually zero. Even with shallow wards, the stun is such a short range you can get kited.
Mid Lane - Sion has a nice burst with a fairly easy to pull off combo. The problem is it's such a short range and someone like Le Blanc can do the same but better. This is the main reason he fell out of favour in the first place. Yes he has his good points, but all those good points someone else does better in most scenarios.
Top Lane - Sion fills the bruiser role very well, with 3 of his abilities (if you count shield) giving him steroids to his offensive and defensive stats. This will allow him to build majority defensive items and still put out the damage, which is what all the cool kids are doing these days.
Jungle - This is basically top lane, with less creeps, and you have to gank. Sion needs the creeps for his E, and he's not the best ganker when built AD. Although it's still viable and might work in some teams with CC in every lane, he's much more suited for the top lane.
In my humble opinion, Sion is best suited for the top lane currently. He lacks the burst to be a contender in the middle, and lacks the gank power that current junglers have.
A snowballing Sion in the top lane can be hard to deal with, especially when you have the advantage of people not playing him much. Majority of players won't be expecting the damage that you'll put out early, and maybe won't even know what some of your skills do! His level 1 AD is very high, around the 100 mark with normal runes/masteries when taking E first and those first few levels can be cruicial for him.
So now we know where he's best suited, but does that mean he should be played more? In my opinion, no.
He has some great steroids, but not the steroids that everyone else has, and there's a reason why they're played. In a game where gap closers, movement speed boosts, all whilst being a brick wall of defense reign supreme, it's hard for someone like Sion to fit in. He can be used as a niche pick that people won't be expecting, or to throw into blind pick and see what you get matched with, but to take to ranked or something similar? I wouldn't advise it.
I hope you enjoyed my first article for Team Dignitas. I plan to explore all of the less popular champions in future articles. If there is any champion you'd like to see me do in particular next, leave a comment or message me!
Any criticism is welcome.