Every two weeks, Riot Games adds a new champion to League of Legends roster. The first few days of a champion's release are a crazy, wonderful time of mayhem and mass-deaths. We make sure you have the advantage with our launch guides, tested on the field of battle, that break down strengths and weaknesses and give you our veteran tips for the new champ.
Syndra the Dark Sovereign, releasing this week, is kind of crazy. According to her official lore, she's a magical prodigy that craves power and will do anything to get it. She also murdered her loving mentor who was an old monk, which is pretty messed up. That's only the beginning of her madness.
With the obligatory lore mentiong out of the way, are you ready to get into the real meat? Syndra is a ranged AP mage champion with a lot of damage spells, location manipulation for non-champions, and a hefty utility belt stuffed with four AoE CCs: a slow, knock back, knock up, and stun.
Syndra's clearly got a lot going on, so let's take it piece by piece and see how you can get the most out of her tricks.
(Passive) Transcendent: Boosts her three core abilities (Q,W,E) when they hit max rank.
Syndra is a strong AP mid, although the AP ratio problems I mentioned above slightly limit her carrying potential. She's capable of working her dark mojo in any lane, but there's not much hope of jungling with her. I personally prefer playing her in mid lane, as her long-range harass and location control allowed me to force rival players to move where I wanted them to, much like Lux. Her ability to control the flow of the lane by picking up and moving minions is also incredibly useful and fun.
I've seen some theorycrafting about playing her as a support on bottom lane, focused on grabbing minions to set up last-hits for your partner and throwing out stuns like they're month-old tuna salad. It's a tempting idea, but I've yet to see it executed well and you'd lose so much damage potential by letting sideline like that. Syndra is definitely a headline kinda gal, and she'll pick you up and toss you off a cliff if you say otherwise.
That said, I would love to see someone with incredible micro skills and awareness focus on constantly making those odd-angling stun shots to keep an enemy shut down from range.
Next page: Build advice, combos for every situation, counters to watch out for, a secret perk, and our screw-with-the-other-team achievement list
Pretty standard AP build here. A lot of the specific items you buy will depend on the lineup you're facing and who your teammates are, but the general idea is this: get a mana regen item like Chalice of Harmony early, grab some boots, and stack AP like a crazy person.
The short cooldown on your Q is great, but it costs enough mana that you'll quickly deplete your blue line if you don't bolster it with at least one item. When in doubt about AP items, go with Rabadon's Deathcap—it's a whole heap o' hurt.
A few of my favorite combos:
Q > W > W > E > Q
The classic chasing combo. Summon an orb on top of enemy, grab it and hurl it back at him to slow him down, then (since they're running away from you) ping it with E to send it forward, stunning him. Unleash hell as you close in.
Q > Q > E
On the flip side, this is for when you're the one being chased. You can toss down Q behind you all day long without slowing your escape. You can toss in a double W to slow the chaser if there's something in front of you to grab—don't stop to grab the orbs you're dropping behind you. Save your E as long as you can—a few exploding orbs to the face will deter most chasers, but you may need if they have a leap or teleport.
Q > E > W > W > Q
When you're tired of running from the enemy, here's how to deal with an over-zealous aggressor. Toss down an orb before the knockback to make sure you proc the stun with E and then bash the jerk good while they can't move.
Q > Q > Ult > Q > E
This is how you enter teamfights. Use the first two orb drops to deal damage on the DPS target as both teams are poking each other before committing. Then use your ult to toss five orbs in their face. The reason I save the sixth orb for after the Ult is so I can place it exactly where I want it before kicking off the huge AoE stun with E.
W > W > E
Just like the wrestling organization with the same initials, I hope you never use this combo. However, if you mess up and place your orb in the wrong position for a stun, you can always use W to relocate it and line up the perfect shot.
I didn't feel too overwhelmed in any of my games, but there was a Talon who gave me a lot of trouble. His combination of teleporting on top of me and dropping into stealth made it really tough for me to land my delayed-explosion orbs or minion throws on him.
Many jungle creeps died to bring you this information. Throwing the jungle creeps that give buffs cause some bonus effects to proc. When Syndra tosses the blue buff golem, she regens 10 mana and the cooldown on W will refresh one second faster. Chucking the red buff lizard will light everyone it hits on fire for a brief period, just like its buff does.
When the enemy jungler is trying to kill the blue buff Golem NPC, use a ward to grab it from across the wall. Kill it if you can or just toss it far away so that it heals itself as it leashes back to spawn.
I hope this hands-on report helps you succeed with Syndra when she hits live servers this week. If you decide to pick her up, be sure to let everyone know in the comments what other strategies and tips you found worked well. It's alright—we're all on the same side here.
Josh Augustine spends more time playing MMOs and MOBAs than most people spend sleeping. He's written about them for PC Gamer as an intern, editor, and freelancer. He's currently a game designer at Sony Online Entertainment and would love to talk with you on Twitter .