League of Legends: Sion Champion Spotlight Released

A couple days ago, Riot released an updated version of Sion in a new champion spotlight. It highlights a rework that has been in the pipeline for what seems like ages, and I have a few friends just waiting to get their hands on the new undead juggernaut. Riot is trying to reestablish Sion’s identity as a CC-heavy tank, as opposed to the… well, it’s hard to say what he was before.

Sion was a character that, due to his unique kit and notoriously-difficult-to-balance drain-tank niche, almost always seemed to be broken in some way. Not to mention how strange he was to itemize for.

Too often characters in League of Legends are pigeonholed into single build paths, so it is interesting when a character can take different routes. However, with Sion, these different paths actually negated entire aspects of his kit. It always seemed like you were playing with only half a character—a ridiculously strong one, but half nonetheless.

AP Sion abused the ridiculous ratios on his Q and W (a whopping 90% on both!), but essentially ignored the melee, attack speed, and attack damage aspects of his kit that were more in line with his character’s identity as a big, aggressive, tanky bruiser.  The 1.5 second stun on his Q would immediately lead into the shield-explosion nuke from his W, and if that didn’t kill you he could just hack away until gray screen inevitably appeared.

The other and perhaps more genuine Sion build focused on big AD, attack speed, and using his ultimate, “Cannibalism,” to get in the faces of the opposing carries and shrug off damage with scaling lifesteal (50 / 75 / 100%) that also kept your team topped off with a diminished AoE heal (25 / 32.5 / 75%). The lifesteal, combined with his passive and a well-farmed E, meant that he had CC, huge damage potential, and tanky stats to boot.

These, of course, are two examples of when Sion is fed. Perhaps more common was to see him underfarmed and underfed, entirely incapable of fulfilling a role as either a tank or a DPS character.

With the rework, Riot appears to be addressing much of the confusion about who Sion is as a character and also clarifying appropriate builds.

His old and, honestly, boring passive, which offered some inconsistent RNG tankiness, has been replaced with a more interesting and identity-driven “Glory in Death”. The new passive resurrects Sion upon death and allows him to stick on targets for a while longer as he claws at them with desperate undead lifesteal.

Sion’s Q, a low counterplay one-click stun, has also been replaced with a much larger, but much riskier channeled AoE stun. The new Q features a jagged, creeping outline that extends as he channels:

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W remains essentially the same, but E’s old enrage toggle has been entirely replaced with a skill-shot slow. Visually it seems a bit odd to be tossing minions around as long-range projectiles with a shout, but the new ability should make for some interesting chase scenarios and give Sion some stickiness.

Sion’s ultimate is really the gem of the rework. Though “Cannibalism” has been removed, essentially nullifying his status as a drain tank, his new R, “Unstoppable Onslaught” looks like a much more fun and interactive experience.

The new ultimate allows Sion to charge with dramatically increased speed at the opposing team ending in a huge AoE damage and CC collision. Outside of global ultimates it appears that “Unstoppable Force” may have the longest range in the game—the video shows him charging from just outside his base to the tier one turrets in bot lane:

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Riot constantly emphasizes play and counterplay, and “Unstoppable Force” looks like it will make for some interesting opportunities on both fronts. The long range of the ultimate is hindered by a global audio cue that will alert opposing players that Sion is on the move.

It is too early to see how all of this will play when the new Sion is eventually rolled out, but the rework looks fun and exciting. Perhaps this time when the undead juggernaut lumbers back to life on the LoL ladders, he’ll actually be in fighting shape. Check out the full video below:

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