Ask a Syndra Main - Overlord Forte - Completed!
We’re happy to host expert Syndra player Overlord Forte on “Ask a Champion Main,” Forte’s been playing League since its launch and has over 2,000 games on the Dark Sovereign, including a Master-tier rank for the last two seasons.
We dug into his name’s origin, how to delete targets without getting caught, and some sweet tricks to smash laning and teamfights.
UPDATE - This AMA is officially closed but Overlord Forte will be checking in periodically tonight and tomorrow to answer a couple more of your questions.
Thanks for all of the great questions and a big thank you to Overlord Forte for hanging out!
How did you get into League of Legends?
Way back in the day, I played a lot of Warcraft 3 ‘DotA’ map types. I never liked the original DotA’s heroes or design, but I liked other maps in that genre. I found League of Legends shortly after it launched and I’ve played ever since because it hit the right notes I looked for in MOBAs.
Where do your Summoner names come from?
The name ‘Forte’ itself comes from the Rockman (AKA Megaman) franchise. Forte would become one of the iconic rivals to Rockman. I really liked his character design and connected with the rowdy, ‘take on the world’ brashness he has, so the name stuck.
‘Lord’ came from a personal philosophy of carrying the regality and responsibilities of a Lord. The goal is a bit lofty, but it’s shaped a lot of my views on interacting with the world.
When I started League, I found ‘Lord Forte’ taken, so I switched to ‘Overlord Forte’, which was the closest I could get at the time.
What got you hooked on playing Syndra?
I liked her design, backstory, and abilities when she came out and wanted to try her, but found playing her to be quite frustrating. At first I thought her design was bad, but when I re-watched the developer video about her, I realized something. If the developers say she has almost no skill ceiling, then I’m the problem. I doubled down on practice because she was a champion I really wanted to learn.
I figured out her mechanics and also dug into her story and personality. I’ve come to love her as a character and find the story she presents one of the most intriguing ones to explore. I’ve seen a lot of people write her off as a ‘power crazy’ ‘insane girl child’ and other less savory things, but when you realize how much social commentary and personal struggle is wrapped up in her, it’s not that simple.
Who is your go-to champion if Syndra gets banned?
Lissandra has firmly settled in as my backup, since I love her mechanics as well as her character’s story. If both get banned, I tend to go into the rest of the non-mobile mages, like Viktor/Anivia/Xerath/Karthus/Orianna.
If you could describe Syndra's playstyle in a sentence, what would it be?
Ranged, kiting battle mage with a high powered, tempo-based Burst ultimate
What runes and masteries do you run on her?
I tend to split my runes into two families: Damage and Anti-AD.
- Damage: 9x magic pen Reds, 9x AP per level Yellows, 6x CDR per level Blues, 3x AP per level Blues, 3x Flat AP Purples. I run these to overwhelm enemies I’m fairly certain I can eat alive in laning phase, like LeBlanc or Ahri.
- Anti-AD: 9x magic pen Reds, 9x Armor per level Yellows, 9x CDR per level Blues, 3x Flat AP Purples. Anti-AD is specifically for problem assassins like Zed or Talon (or even heavy AD enemy teams), where you will need some durability to deal with them later in the game.
For masteries, I typically look between 12/18/0 and 18/12/0, depending on the enemy team composition:
- 18/12/0 uses [Ferocity: Sorcery, Feast, Vampirism, Oppressor, Piercing Thoughts, and Deathfire Touch // Cunning: Savagery, Assassin, Meditation, Dangerous Game.]. The primary purpose of this mastery setup is for more power against durable teams, as Piercing Thoughts and Deathfire Touch contribute the most to ‘sustained DPS’, which is the most effective answer against Tanks and other high-health targets.
- 12/18/0 uses [Ferocity: Sorcery, Feast, Vampirism, Bounty Hunter // Cunning: Savagery, Assassin, Meditation, Dangerous Game, Precision, Thunderlord’s Decree or Stormraider’s Surge]. This mastery setup is more concerned with obliterating squishy targets, and depending on your choice of keystone, can give more burst damage or some very powerful kiting.
Knowing what you’re against will greatly affect your rune/mastery choices, but Syndra has somewhat unique versatility in what she can do. She can switch between being DPS or Burst centric, and even take on a fire support role with her stun combo, where as some of her contemporaries (e.g, LeBlanc) are stuck in only one thing they can do.
What is Syndra's core item build?
This was shaken up a lot in the Mid-Year Mage Update, so ‘core build’ is kind of in the air.
Your standard go-to damage build can look like this:
- Sorcerer’s Shoes
- Void Staff
- Rabadon’s Deathcap
- Luden’s Echo
- Zhonya’s Hourglass
Other builds are cropping up these days, such as ones running Archangel’s Staff or Liandry’s Torment, but it’s still pretty early to say how effective they are for her. They’re workable, I’m not certain if they’re her new core yet or not, though. Morello’s+Archangel’s lets you run nearly infinite mana and sphere combos, for instance, but its power curve is very weird.
What are Syndra’s easiest matchups? What are her toughest?
This is a tricky question because it really comes down to the players involved as much as the champions. Annie, for instance, is someone Syndra can easily wallop in laning phase, but Annie’s burst and extremely fast combo is still threatening enough that Syndra has to be constantly mindful of it.
If you respect her burst, you’ll firmly control the Annie throughout the game. If you mess up a couple times, you’ll find life very rough all of a sudden.
Syndra does quite well against champions who can’t answer her long-range damage or have to deliberately walk into her spheres in order to fight her. (E.g, Orianna, Zyra, Annie, Cassiopeia, and the assassins below, but they’re tricky.)
Of all the usual mid lane match-ups,watch out for Yasuo, Zed, LeBlanc, Talon, and Fizz. These five are difficult to manage throughout the game due to how they work. You’ll end up spending a lot of attention keeping them under control.
Always keep track of champs who have abilities that can neutralize her ultimate (e.g, Zhonya’s, Vlad pool, Fizz pole jump, etc.) as you need to play around them to use it safely.
What is Syndra's main job in laning phase? What about Teamfights?
Lane Syndra is always keeping an eye towards killing her lane opponent and establishing dominance by forcing stuns/high sphere ultimate combos. She’s brutal at punishing enemy mistakes, especially those who wander into her spheres lying around.
This is doubly helpful for junglers, who can easily capitalize on her stun engages/follow ups for almost guaranteed kills. Just remember to keep back if you miss her stun, because when her E is on cooldown, she is at her most vulnerable.
Teamfight Syndra is looking for three things:
- Throwing down her ranged damage (Qs and Ws)?
- Setting up her stun windows with E
- Taking out a valuable target with her ultimate
While this is happening, keep track of her spheres for her ultimate, looking for that right window to grab a carry or other valuable target to delete them.
If someone is playing Syndra for the first time, what is the most important thing to bear in mind?
Positioning is everything.
Syndra is among the most fragile champions in the game, only having a (long cooldown) knockback/stun and a slow for her personal defense. She can usually save herself only once with her stun, and that one stun will be important to make sure you live for the next one.
If an enemy gets around her stun (as can easily be done with Flash or something like Olaf’s ultimate), she can be picked off easily. However, she still has to be close enough to do damage and stun the enemy (and their team) to do her job as an AP carry.
Your mastery of maneuvering in this danger zone is what will make or break her effectiveness as a champion.
What’s the fastest way to burst someone down as Syndra?
Stack one or two extra spheres on the ground, stun the enemy with E, then drop a Q directly on the enemy. The end result is Q, E, and a 6 sphere ultimate damage. You’ll need W to refresh her first sphere’s life timer, so the combo looks like this: [Q1 -> Q2 -> W+Q1->W -> Q3+E -> R, 6 sphere ultimate].
This burst combo will kill most anything, whereas the 5 sphere ultimate can sometimes miss ‘squishy’ targets. If you can land Q1, Q2, and W, everything except the hardiest of tanks should die.
Any tips for landing her stun?
Draw an imaginary line between Syndra, a sphere, and your target. If the enemy is in this line, she can stun them. All spheres are launched on this imaginary line, so there’s no tricky physics to them – it’s sort of a trip wire, if you will.
For targets at long range, try to imagine the enemy tripping the line about a second in advance, which is how long her stun takes to get to its maximum range. If you time the prediction correctly, you can snipe enemies from very long distances.
What are some neat tricks that players may not know about her abilities?
- Objects thrown by Syndra’s W reveals Fog of War on impact, so it’s good for scouting.
- Her ultimate will utilize any Dark Spheres she’s created across the map. Don’t worry about being near them unless you use Teleport.
- The ultimate’s damage is calculated per sphere, which means she can bypass Spell Shields (Sivir, Nocturne, Banshee’s Veil) with it, only losing 1-2 sphere’s worth of damage in the process.
- Q’s Spheres can spawn inside terrain, but W cannot throw them there. You can hide spheres inside the map’s Fog of War to disguise your sphere count doing this. This is also how you launch her stuns through most terrain on the map.
- While doing straight shot Q+E stun combos is usually enough, Syndra’s E can launch on different vectors in one blast. You can put two Q’s apart, E in the middle, and then send them out in a V shape, for instance. Useful for ‘wide area’ stuns, especially in team fights.
What about managing Syndra’s ultimate (spheres, timers)?
Keeping mental track of Syndra’s sphere timers is probably her second most important skill after positioning. Each sphere has 6-8 seconds on its life timer the instant it appears, and it will decay to death unless you use Force of Will on it. Grabbing a sphere refreshes its life timer instantly and this is how you stack for ‘higher’ sphere counts. Keep in mind holding the sphere with W does not freeze it’s life timer – its timer is simply refreshed, and it CAN die while you’re holding it.
A good rule of thumb is for every 2 spheres you create, the 3rd one will require the 1st being refreshed. So, you would have [Q1->Q2, W+Q1 (refresh), Q3] for a 6 sphere ultimate.
Watch Syndra’s cooldowns on her abilities, because this can help keep time – if her Q takes 4 seconds, then 4 seconds has passed since the last sphere was made. You’ll ride her cooldowns hard enough this can be a fairly reliable way of timing everything. 8 seconds on W to come up? Any sphere made in that time period will be dead or near death, so you have to wait until 4 seconds before W comes up if you intend to refresh spheres.
Have you played Syndra in other roles outside of Mid? How did that go?
I actually run her in Top lane on occasion, where she can work quite strongly. Most top laners can itemize to survive her (since they’re usually fighters or tanks), but they can’t really take her out of the lane. If she gets ahead, she can effectively kick them out of their own lane. You always have to be careful about jungler ganks, though, as Top leaves her more exposed than Mid does.
Otherwise, I think she excels in the mid lane role.
What’s your favorite Syndra skin?
Despite its flaws, her Classic appearance still rates as the best to me.
What’s the best Syndra play you’ve ever pulled off?
Here’s one that shows why you never disrespect Syndra’s stun, or any spheres she has laying on the ground.
Sweet sweet penta stuns can make Syndra go from losing to winning in a single spell.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! If readers want to reach out, where can they find you?
Thank you for having me! Everyone can find me on the links below:
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