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League of Legends launch guide: Syndra the Dark Sovereign

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How do I build her?

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.

How do I play her?

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.

Any particularly champion counters to watch out for?

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.

Any top secret information?

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.

PC Gamer's official screw-with-the-other-team Syndra achievements:

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.

Grab Annie's bear Tibbers and hold it in statis. Watch the little girl cry. Don't feel bad, she's a pyromaniac.

Run straight into Heimerdinger's turret gauntlet, grab the furthest one, hurl it as far as you can, and escape alive. For bonus points, /dance before running away.

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 .