Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Sion, the Undead Juggernaut is the latest League of Legends champion to be reworked by Riot Games. Unfortunately, they inadvertently made him even worse than before. Considering Sion was already one of the weaker champions (which is why they were reworking him to begin with), the new changes now rank him among the worst champions to play in the game.
Sion’s new passive is called Glory in Death. Basically anytime Sion dies he will temporarily revive himself to keep attacking nearby opponents. Although you can move around and attack people, you can’t cast any spells so you are limited to just basic inflicting 10% of your opponents max health per hit. Sion does gain some attack speed and lifesteal but that doesn’t really matter because his health drains increasingly quickly the longer he stays alive and most times you’ll only end up getting a few extra seconds of life and maybe two or three attacks in.
On paper this passive sounds awesome but in practice not so much. It can be most directly compared to Kog’Maw’s on-death passive where he explodes and deals true damage to nearby enemies. Sion’s is worse though because unlike Kog, Sion can still be snared, slowed, stunned and even re-killed before he can deal much damage while Kog is untargetable and his area of effect true damage can often wind up getting kills on low health champs or assist in turning the tides of a team fight.
Sion’s original Feel no Pain passive was much better than Glory in Death because it made helped him before he died by making him a lot tankier.
Sion’s new Q ability is Decimating Smash. Casting Decimating Smash requires Sion to channel the ability which roots him in place and makes him incredibly vulnerable to enemy attacks and crowd controlling effects. If you manage to charge the spell for over one full second then enemies still within an area of effect cone directly in front of Sion will be knocked into the air for 1.25 seconds. If you can channel for over two seconds, you can knock them up for 2.25 seconds instead. Good luck with that, though. If you release the ability (by re-casting it) before one second of charging then you’ll merely slow enemies in the cone.
Fully charged, Decimating Smash does also deal a ton of physical damage but for the reasons mentioned above it’s a really unimpressive ability overall. The fact it needs to be charged for so long makes it very difficult to fully land. Riot seems to have ignored the fact Decimating Smash is not a ranged ability like Xerath’s Arcanopulse which can be safely charged from behind the front lines. Standing there charging Decimating Smash for even one second can be an eternity when an opponent is right up in your face hitting you with all he has. Casting Decimating Smash is pretty much like self-stunning yourself.
The only situation that Decimating Smash is really useful in is when you are ambushing someone from the bushes. If you’re waiting in a bush and an enemy champion is heading your way, you can start charging this ability beforehand and time it so that it will go off when they enter the bush with you. Preventing your target from reacting to an ambush for 2.25 seconds is like a free kill.
Even still, Sion’s old Q Cryptic Gaze was far better than this one and was easily the best spell in his old kit because it was a targeted at-will champion stun. The fact Riot got rid of Cryptic Gaze for this piece of trash hurts Sion players.
Reworked Sion’s W is still a shield but has been renamed to Soul Furnace and works slightly differently. The base shield strength is now much lower than before and it also scales with only 40% of Sion’s AP instead of 90% from before. To help offset this, it also scales with 10% of Sion’s max HP. This doesn’t really make up for the differential early game, though.
For example, if Sion has 1,000 hp, a level 1 Soul Furnace, and lets say 100 AP for simplicity’s sake, this would previously mean the shield could absorb 190 damage under the old formula (100 base + 90% of 100 AP = 190). The new formula would only have a strength of 170 (30 base + 40% of 100 AP + 10% of 1,000 HP = 170). So the shield looks like it will be slightly weaker early game but could conceivably get better late game if you stack health items.
The duration of the shield also got shortened from 10 seconds to just 6 seconds but you can also detonate it faster, after 2 seconds instead of after 4 seconds. The detonation damage itself works on the same formula as the shield strength so it will be a little weaker early game and probably stronger late game. Shield abilities are usually more useful in the early game, however, so the fact it gets stronger in late game actually doesn’t help Sion as much.
One addition to the new W is a passive boost that permanently gives Sion +2 HP per minion kill or +8 HP per champion kill/assist. At first glance, this might seem like a nice improvement but it is actually not because Sion’s base health has been drastically reduced from before. Old Sion started the game with 403 health and gained +104 per level. At level 18 this means that without any items, Sion would have 2,171 max health. New Sion starts with 420 health but only gains +70 per level. At level 18 the new Sion will only have 1,610 health – over 500 less than before! In other words farming over 200 minions and being involved in 13 champion kills is required to even get back to his old stats, let alone start receiving any true benefit from Soul Furnace’s passive.
Reworked Sion’s E is called Roar of the Slayer and is next to useless in my opinion. It’s a skillshot based directed attack which deals magic damage, slows, and reduces the armor of the first champion or minion it hits. The problem here is the range is very, very short. You almost have to be right up on the enemy for it to hit them. At that distance there is little point in calling this a ranged attack. The only real benefit here is the 20% armor reduction to your target. You can also aim it at a minion which, if you hit them, it will knock that minion back and impart the damage and slowing effect to enemies the knocked back minion slams into but this happens very rarely.
Compared to Sion’s old Enrage ability which added up to 65 bonus AD on all his basic attacks and replenished health per kill, the new E ability seems much less useful. Enrage at least enabled Sion to heal up by going nuts on a minion wave.
So let’s look at his new ultimate ability, Unstoppable Onslaught. When activated, Unstoppable Onslaught sends Sion charging forward for up to eight seconds at increasing speeds the longer it remains active. If Sion hits an enemy champion, hits a wall, reaches the full eight seconds of cast time, or casts the ability again he will stop and slam the ground, causing physical damage and briefly knocking up enemies around him. Another nice feature of his ult is that he ignores most crowd control effects while running so you can’t slow or snare him to avoid it. He also bowls straight through minions like a red shell through Koopas. Sion still can’t go through normally impassable terrain though so Azir’s Emperor's Divide is a real nice defense to this.
The problem with his new ult is that it is hard to steer him properly. The longer you let Sion sprint the harder and harder it becomes to steer because he sort of bounds from side to side. This means there’s a pretty good chance you could completely miss your target. This would obviously be a wasted ultimate and the fact that whether or not you actually hit your target can come down to luck, makes a wasted ult due to accidentally hitting a wall all the more frustrating.
Because everybody on the map hears an audio queue to signify Sion has ulted, it’s not going to surprise anybody. You won’t be able to use it from long distances because they’ll just avoid you. In the end Sion’s new ultimate really only becomes useful as a gank initiator when your target is relatively close the bushes you’re hiding in or as a way to turn tail and run away to avoid a death.
Compared to Sion’s old ultimate, Cannibalism, it seems worse overall. Cannibalism gave him huge life steal and attack speed boost which allowed him to stand toe to toe with even the strongest enemies and not be killed. Its impressive sustainability combined dealing oodles of damage your opponents was a good combo that made facing a Sion who had activated his ult pretty much a death sentence. The new ult just makes him out to be a stupid, lumbering hulk. Skilled players simply don’t want to play clumsy champions.
Sion used to have viable AP builds because his Q and W both scaled so nicely with ability power. That is no longer the case. The reworked Sion now has two abilities that scale with AP (W and E) and two abilities that scale with AD (Q and R). Because his E is so weak and his W now only scales with 40% AP, you’re better off building AD on him these days.
Ravenous Hydra is definitely one item that should be on your radar offensively. Sion’s spells don’t really do much damage so you’re going to have rely on him as a basic attack champion first and foremost. A Phantom Dancer with Infinity Edge (Lord Van Damm’s Pillager on Dominion/Twisted Treeline) can also help boost his overall damage output.
As mentioned in the abilities section, Soul Furnace’s shield now scales with his max health so you’ll want to have at least a few health items. Sunfire Cape, Spirit Visage, and Randuin’s Omen were all useful HP items for Sion before and have only gotten better now.
Sion does have one thing going for him: he has plenty of crowd control effects. He has two knock ups with Decimating Smash and Unstoppable Onslaught and a slow with Roar of the Slayer. The Champion Spotlight video says his combo is to first activate your shield, slow your enemy with E, and then charge up your Q. According the video, you should have enough time to get your Q mostly charged up before they get away so you can knock up your opponent. By now your shield will supposedly be ready to blow up. That’s your combo.
The problem with this hypothetical combo is that it assumes your opponent will attempt to flee after your first slow. This isn’t always the case – especially if you’re going to self-stun yourself by starting to charge up a Decimating Smash, they have more incentive to engage you instead of trying fruitlessly to escape.
Sion just doesn’t do enough damage. You’re going to constantly wish there was some spell that you could use to hurt your opponents that doesn’t require charging up but there simply isn’t one at your disposal. The new Sion just isn’t a very good champion. There’s not much room for actual game skill to make a difference and he’s not even fun to play. Despite the fact Sion only costs 1,350 IP or 585 RP to unlock, I would recommend passing on this failed rework. Pretty much all of his new abilities are worse than what he used to have.