A Basic Guide to Senna Part 1: Skill Leveling and Ability Order
Senna, League of Legends’s first support marksman, has quickly proven to be one of the strongest champions in her role.
With a global ultimate and long-range Q that attack and protect, Senna has become the brain of many a bottom lane duo who are used to a bit of safety behind their minion wave and under the watchful eye of their turret.
But while Senna is a force to be reckoned with in-game, many newer players may find it difficult to pick her up due to the unique nature in which her kit works with its soul passive and weird attack animations amongst other oddities.
In part one of our skill build and ability order guide, we’ll look at Senna, how to play her, what to build and how to maximize her great back-up carry potential.
All ability descriptions and scalings are courtesy of Moobeat and [email protected]
Senna Skill Build Guide and Ability Breakdown
Before we get into items and play patterns, let’s look at Senna’s abilities and how exactly they work.
First up, Senna’s passive, Absolution, has three separate components to it, and is one of the most complex passives in the game at over two paragraphs in length and reads as:
Senna can attack souls that spawn from dead enemies to absorb their mist. She can also siphon mist from enemy champions she hits twice, dealing [1-16%] of their current health as bonus physical damage (4-second cooldown per target)
Each stack of mist grants 1 Attack Damage. Every 20 stacks of mist grant 25 attack range and 15% Critical Strike Chance while 35% of excess Critical Strike Chance gets converted into Lifesteal. Relic Cannon: Senna’s attacks take extra time to fire, deal [20% AD] bonus physical damage on-hit, and briefly grant her [10-20%] of the target’s movement speed.
Senna gains Adaptive Force instead of Ability Power from Spell Thief’s Edge and the items it builds into.
Souls are less likely to spawn from enemies Senna kills, but will always spawn from champions and large minions and monsters. Senna does not gain Attack Damage on level up. Her critical strikes deal 35% less damage
Breaking it down, minions and monsters that die near Senna have the chance to drop a Mist Wraith for Senna to pick-up, much like how Thresh’s passive works with souls, with Epic monster, champions, and cannon minions guaranteed to drop a wraith upon death. Epic monsters drop two wraiths on death as opposed to the usual one. Hitting a wraith also grants 3 bonus gold for killing it, a little extra perk on top.
Senna can also gain wraiths from hitting a champion twice: Once to proc her passive and the second to grab the wraith. Either of which is done with basic attacks or abilities. It will deal an extra percentage of their current health (1-16% depending on level) as bonus damage, making her gun a real BFG.
While that bonus damage is nice, the real value comes from the attack damage, critical strike chance and attack range they give.
While attack range has no gold value due to lack of existence on items beyond a bonus effect, attack damage (AD) is valued at about 35 gold per single damage you get. Critical strike chance (crit) is valued at approximately 32 gold per percentage added.
It means that you’re getting 35 gold in free stats every time you grab a wraith and at 20, when you get the bonus crit, you’ll get 1,180 gold worth of free stats, plus the priceless bonus attack range.
It gets even better when you get over the crit cap of 100%, as any crit over that amount gives lifesteal equivalent to 35% of the crit over the limit.
So if you’re at the crit cap and gather 20 wraiths for an additional 15% crit, you’ll gain about 5.325% lifesteal, which is valued at 199.688 gold, meaning that after the crit cap every 20 wraiths is worth around 999.68 gold.
Given how easy it is to gather wraiths in-game (you should be able to grab about 80 – 100 in a 30-minute game easily), the gold value quickly becomes a whole item’s worth of gold (3,998.72 – 5,900 gold depending on how much crit you have with items and such).
To add even more insane state efficiency to the mix, her basic attacks also do an additional 20% of her AD to enemies and steals 10-20% of their movement speed for herself. Every shot can hit for two-to-three times what an average ADC can hit with the same stats, something you don’t expect from support not named Pyke.
This isn’t without downsides, though, as Senna has one of the LONGEST attack animations in the game. Until you get used to it, you’ll often find yourself accidentally canceling attacks while you’re trying to move between hits.
While you can attack fast with attack speed (AS), the animation never decreases, meaning AS isn’t an excellent stat for a Senna skill build, unless you’re trying to lower the Q cast time.
You also don’t gain attack damage per level, meaning you are at the mercy of getting stacks and buying items. Roaming too much can set you behind in the game, so only do so while your laner is backed, never while they’re in lane, and do so sparingly so as not to miss wraiths dropping.
Q: Piercing Darkness
Our first active ability, Senna’s Q is very similar to her husband Lucian’s in both operation and name, though with a twist: it heals! The ability reads as:
Ability Cooldown: 15 seconds
Mana Cost: 70/80/90/100/110
Senna shoots a bolt of piercing shadow through an ally or enemy. Enemies hit take 50/80/110/140/170 (+50% bAD) physical damage. Allied champions hit are healed for 40/60/80/100/120 (+25% AP)(+40% bAD) health.
Basic attacks reduce Piercing Darkness’s cooldown by 1 second—Piercing Darkness’s cast range matches Senna’s attack range and its cast time is improved with Attack Speed. It can target anything and applies on-hit effects to enemy champions.
Much like Lucian, Senna can shoot her Q through whatever she hits to hit the target behind her, though unlike Lucian she can target more than just champions, monsters, and minions.
Senna can also use both team and enemy wards as targets for her Q. In addition to objectives like turrets and wraiths. It gives her much more versatility in what she can use to hit opponents and making hiding behind turrets a much less effective strategy.
The Q also heals both Senna and any allies it hits, meaning you can both save your ADC when they get dived on and provide some damage to help them finish off their attacker(s).
It can also collect wraiths when fired, both those on the ground and those from hitting enemy champions a second time, much like Thresh’s lantern collects souls, and has an AP ratio attached to the heal, meaning picking up an Athenes or Ardent can make your heals godly (personal preference on Athenes for bonus healing from it’s passive).
Some like to reduce the cast time by directing their Senna skill build towards attack speed, but it’s not incredibly long as is, so it’s not a necessity unless you’re playing as an ADC where you need to be a rapid-fire caster.
W: Last Embrace
Senna’s only piece of crowd control (CC), Last Embrace works like a delayed AoE Morganna Q. The ability reads as:
Mana Cost: 50/55/60/65/70
Ability Cooldown: 11 Seconds
Senna sends forth the black mist, dealing 70/115/160/205/250 (+70% bAD) physical damage to the first enemy hit. After a 1 second delay the target and other nearby enemies are rooted for 1.45/1.65/1.85/2.05/2.25 seconds.
This is your only real tool for locking down targets, rooting them and anyone nearby for a short time.
While the root time and damage do seem pretty high at first glance, the slow pace and wide hitbox of the ability can often make it difficult to land. The delay before activating can often mean targets get either out of range for a heavy engage or can chase you down and finish you off if you get dove.
I find it’s useful as a follow-up tool for adding on to engages from your top or jungler, as well as a little extra for helping peel for your ADC or other teammates who are getting focused by melees.
Could situationlly be a one-point wonder depending on whether your team has any other hard CC on it or not, but don’t rely on it too heavily.
E: Curse of the Black Mist
Senna’s “escape” tool, Curse of the Black Mist is one of the unique speed boost abilities in the game, allowing Senna to save her teammates from targeted abilities and cause confusion among the enemy ranks. The ability reads as:
Mana Cost: 70
Ability Cooldown: 26/24.5/23/21.5/20 seconds
Senna dissolves into a cloud of mist for 6/6.5/7/7.5/8 seconds, becoming a wraith. Allied champions who enter the mist are Camouflaged and become wraiths when they leave. Wraiths gain 20% movement speed. They are unselectable and hide their identities as long as no enemy champions are nearby.
While not hard CC like her W, Curse of the Black Mist is a much more effective tool for helping peel for your carries and setting up engages onto the enemy team.
The ability to make your teammates untargetable for enemies beyond a very short distance means you can protect them from point-and-click assassins like Talon or Zed, who rely on those abilities to get in on the back-line, while hiding their identities means your opponents won’t know whose exactly where and who they just hit with CC.
I’ve had quite a few games at this point where the enemy hits a wraith with CC, thinks it’s the ADC or myself, then dives on only to find it’s a Darius or a Sejuani they’ve engaged on, wasting all of their damage output and allowing my team to establish a strong front line for us to fight from behind. Just be careful about when you and your teammates attack, as the effect drops off the moment you do so.
R: Dawning Shadow
Senna’s ultimate ability, Dawning Shadow is a highly impactful ability that can reach anywhere on the map and turn the tides of a losing fight. The ability reads as:
Mana Cost: 100
Senna fires a blast of light with global range. Enemy champions hit take 250/375/500 (+ 40% AP)(+100% bAD) physical damage. Allied champions hit in a wider area receive a shield for 3 seconds that absorbs 120/160/200 (+40% AP)(+ 1.5 per mist) damage. The shields power scales with the amount of mist Senna has collected.
Dawning Shadow is a monster of an ability, something of a cross between a Lux and Shen ultimate.
The ability takes a moment to fire but is hitscan, so opponents must dodge the central beam that does damage immediately upon seeing the indicator or else taking the hit.
It’s an excellent tool for finishing off targets and turning fights in top and mid from bottom lane, though it is something that should be used from the back line of a fight to prevent you from being caught out.
It’s also great for splitting up the enemy line as foes try to dodge out of the blast zone left and right, allowing your team to isolate targets and quickly finish them off.
Ability Leveling Order | Senna Skill Build Guide
You’re Q is your bread and butter ability in and should always be maxed first in any Senna skill build.
Afterward, the second ability to max as part of your Senna skill build depends on the needs of your team.
Do they need more CC to lock down opponents in fights? Max W
Need more mobility to engage or prep some sneaky plays? Go with E
Senna’s W and E are highly flexible in terms of what they can provide, so feel free to adjust on the fly based on your team’s needs.
As always, make sure you level your ult whenever you can, and you should be all good to go in any game.
Thanks for reading. We’ll be back with part 2 where we cover item builds and knowing when to and not to pick Senna for your team.