You know this moment, the champion selection screen. Some people rush to take their favourite characters before others do it, especially if it belongs to the week's selection. Garen, Fiddlesticks, among others, are favourite, and quickly taken. After a few seconds, one gets a general feeling of what the team will look like.
I may be wrong, but I believe that a team should have some ranged, some melee, a tank, and a support. Supports are not very popular choices, so hopefully someone will then pick a tank (sometimes with resent), and I can freely pick my favourite character. If not, I pick a tank, like Alistar.

Often, very quickly, a message pops in the chat like "Not Soraka pls", or "OMG not this noob char", and so on. If it's only one player, I try to explain that I love this character, that I try to play her well, and usually, he calms down. If more partners are opposed, well, I give up and select Sona. But more often than not, I can play Soraka.

I imagine that people that despise her have their reasons. Maybe they played aside Soraka before, and lost. Maybe they even tried to play her themselves and get ganked too often. Maybe they are allergic to unicorn hair. But usually the resent is along the "weak character" line.

The fact is that Soraka is squishy. You can't expose her and live to tell it. You have to play her cautiously, if you don't want to feed. You will have to stay far from ennemy champions, and not too close to your laning partner especially if he is melee. But if you are too far, you risk getting less experience, you don't support your partner effectively with your aura(s) and you leave him alone to face the focus of the enemies.

On the other hand, Soraka has got outstanding helping capabilities. She is a more than capable healer on her line. She is the only one champion that have a global team heal. She is the only one champion that can give mana back to another. Her multi-purpose mana spell does decent amount of damage, and silences. She even has a AOE damaging spell that let her farm minions or neutral creeps.

Overall, if you manage to stay alive, you are a real asset to your team. This is precisely why I love this champion. It's really challenging to play her, but very pleasing to tread successfully this thin line between too close and too far. If you want to give her a try, I would like to give you a few advices :

1) Play defensively early game. Be ready to retreat under your tower, watch out for ennemies entering grass. You can't afford to let your escape route being cut. At start, your healing capacities are thin, and you're on a 10s cooldown. Don't let your partner get too bold. Stay at range of your minions so they can retaliate if an ennemy focuses you. If the ennemy characters on your lane press heavily on you, it's OK to retreat with your partner and defend your tower. There you can let them lay a siege. Heal yourself and your partner, regenerate mana. You can endure this a long time. If they have no healing capability (and this is often the case) they will see their life bar diminish, and yours stay level. At this point, clever ennemy players retreat, rinse and repeat. Other players, well... They tend to do some uncautious things, especially the more immature ones, that are anxious to score a kill - this syndrom of intolerance to frustration is well-documented. Spank them, naughty little boys.

2) Your have a partner, you should never be solo on a lane. He is your life insurance. Watch his back. As long as he is there to retaliate, the ennemy will hesitate to get grips at you, as it means getting past him. If you are pushing and your partner dies, you're usually cold meat. Even badly damaged ennemies can pummel you down. Don't get overly confident when you are giving chase ; more often than not, this is a trap.

3) Sometimes you are going to die. This is inavoidable. Sooner or later, the ennemy players will understand that you are annoying and take steps to get rid of you. In short terms, you are going to be ganked. Make sure they are going to be punished for this. It's OK to die, if you do not die alone - count on your teammates to even the odds. Don't die too often, tough. You should have very few kills yourself, but you will get a lot of assists. Ultimately, this is not a game of kills : the team that wins is the one who bring down the ennemy nexus.

4) Mid and later game, join the fray (but remember : you are not a melee).

5) Use a cooldown reduction build, with a lot of aura items. My favourite are Shurelya's Reverie (CR + life + speed boost to escape from gank attempts with your partners), Soul Shroud, Aegis of the Legion. Boots are mandatory, then upgrade to Mercury Treads, Ninja Tabi or Boots of Swiftness, the choice is up to you, it depends on the ennemy team.

6) Have fun.

TTrolljaeger 16:26, November 10, 2010 (UTC)