By Isaac Chandler
December 28, 2019
Welcome back to part two of our three-part guide on how to play League’s newest support marksman, Senna. In our previous guide, we covered Senna’s skill build and ability order.
Today, we’ll be looking at rune pages that work effectively on her, as well as item build paths that give her viability. There are a lot of viable paths for both categories. However, we’ll just cover the one or two top builds for both to maximize your chances on Summoner’s Rift.
So, without further ado, let’s dive on in.
Senna plays a lot differently than most traditional marksman. She has a unique rune page set-up that you’ll need to be aware of.
While you may be inclined to grab Press the Attack, Lethal Tempo or Fleet Footwork, Senna’s incredibly slow rate of fire, and the near impossibility to make it any faster due to the permanent speed of her animation wind-up, make those highly ineffective choices, save the latter which is unnecessary due to Senna’s Q healing her as well.
Instead, you’ll want to keystone into the Arcane tree for Senna to take advantage of her constant ability casting and to grab some extra benefit from said casts.
Phase Rush is not a great option really given Senna is more of a backline champion, so we can rule that one out, but both Arcane Comet and Summon Aery are highly versatile and impactful on her kit.
ARCANE: Arcane Comet > Manaflow Band > Transcendence > Scorch
PRECISION: Presence of Mind > Coupe de Grace
STATS: Adaptive > Adaptive > Armor
First up is a build revolving around Arcane Comet (Comet for short) as your keystone. This Senna build is mostly meant for lanes with a rather safe or sustain-filled lane partner, such as Ez, Vlad, or Cait (given she takes Fleet Footwork), or you’re looking just aggressively to harass the enemy team.
Comet has pretty good damage scaling over time and can allow you to get more harass out of basic attacks and Q shots you land.
Manaflow Band and Presence of Mind will help with the large mana consumption her abilities consume, while Transcendence will give you the extra cooldown you need to keep firing off shots at your enemies.
Scorch is to add a bit of extra oomph to your Q shots, while Coupe de Grace will allow you to cleanly execute low health targets, who think they’re safe out of range, with your ult.
ARCANE: Summon Aery > Manaflow Band >Transcendence > Scorch/Gathering Storm
PRECISION: Presence of Mind > Coupe de Grace
STATS: Adaptive > Adaptive > Armor
Almost the same as the Comet build, but with some slight tweaks to it, as you’ll use this Senna build in most matchups with traditional low mobility/survivability ADCs such as Ashe, Jinx, and Draven.
Summon Aery still allows you to add some extra damage to your shots on enemies, though not as much as Arcane Comet. Its big advantage comes from the shield it gives allies you hit, allowing you to turn what seems like losing trades when you Q your ADC.
The other change is for the last slot for Arcane, where you can take Gathering Storm if you’re playing a farm lane and/or playing for late game.
Senna already has infinite scaling with the souls she picks up, and Gathering Storm will only proceed to ramp that up even further. If you’re playing to win lane, however, stick with Scorch for the extra harass it provides you.
Now that we’ve covered rune builds for Senna, let’s look at the most versatile part of playing her: the item build paths!
Senna has a good variety of items that can prove effective on her, with a lot of situational pieces to pick up depending on the situation you’re in, from grabbing a Runnan’s Hurricane for comps against low-mobility melees, to Ardent Censor if you have carries needing that extra attack speed boost.
As a core Senna build, though, you’ll want to make sure to at least grab the following:
Spectral Sickle > Umbrail Glaive > Athene’s Holy Grail/Ardent Censor > Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Spectral Sickle is, of course, you’re starting support item, providing you with some attack damage and health to get you started. With the recent support item changes, you won’t even have to spend any money upgrading it, it does it all on its own as you play.
For why you’d pick that over the others, you’re a poke-heavy champion, and thus you’ll constantly be taking potshots at and harassing the enemy lane, not trying to last-hit wave minions. You also will be sitting on the backline most of the time, so you won’t have as much of a chance to last-hit minions for the healthier support items.
You could also take the AP variant, but you’ll end up with the same damage on your Q either way, so it’s best to take the AD variant so you can get a bit of extra damage on basic attacks. Outside of that, you’ll also want to, of course, grab two red pots and a yellow trinket for yourself at the start.
Once you’ve got that, it’s time to move onto the Umbrail Glaive as your first full item for the game, a new item this preseason that takes the old Duskblade of Draktharr’s passive that reveals invisible objects.
The item also provides you with 50 Attack Damage, 10% Cooldown Reduction, and 13-21 Armor Penetration (depending on your level), in addition to the invisible item reveal passive, giving you a plethora of fantastic stats to get Senna going in the lane. The passive will also help you keep the lane better cleared of vision, allowing you to keep your enemies always on edge and worrying about ganks.
Your next item, if you haven’t gotten it yet, should be your Ionian Boots of Lucidity, an item that provides much-needed CDR for your abilities and summoner spells. You’ll need these to help you keep your Q up more often, but also so that you’ll have your Flash up more, leaving you an escape for heavy dives more often (as you don’t have any dash or escape ability beyond your E, which only gives you an MS buff).
Lastly, for your core items, you’ll want to grab either Athene’s Holy Grail or Ardent Censor, AP items that amplify your healing.
Athene’s provides 30 AP, 10% CDR, 30 MR, and 100% Mana regen, along with two unique passives that read:
UNIQUE: Gain 35% of the pre-mitigation damage dealt to champions as Blood Charges, up to 100 − 250 (based on level). Healing or shielding another ally consumes charges equal to 100% of the heal or shield, to heal them, up to the original effect amount.
UNIQUE – DISSONANCE: Gain +5 ability power for every additional 25% base mana regeneration. Disables HARMONY on your other items.
You’ll want to take Athene’s n most matchups given it provides additional healing after you shoot someone (which, given you’re Q, you’ll be doing a lot), and provides extra mana regeneration to keep you firing all-game. It also has the bonus of giving you ability power for every 25% base mana regen you get, meaning this item is deceptively stronger for stats than you may realize.
Ardent Censor, meanwhile, provides you with 60 AP, 10% CDR, 10% bonus to heal and shield power, 50% base mana regen, and has its own two passives that read:
UNIQUE: +8% movement speed
UNIQUE: Heals and shields on allied champions enhance you and them with FRENZY for 6 seconds.
FRENZY: Grants 10% − 30% (based on target’s level) bonus attack speed and 5 − 20 (based on target’s level) bonus magic damage on-hit.
Ardent is best taken when you have an ADC that has a high attack speed to benefit from it’s passive, though it can also be effective on ADC’s that have a stat that scales with it as well (aka, Jhin). It’s also good in games where you might not be able to poke safely very often (the enemy team has heavy engage like Ashe, Leona, or Alistar who can CC you through the minion wave for example), allowing you to still get stronger heals off without worrying about getting caught out.
No matter which one you pick, though, it’s always a good idea to run the other as the next item in your Senna build if there aren’t pressing items to buy, such as a Mikael’s Crucible if the enemy has hard CC.
Your last item is your most situational in terms of choice, and depends really on how the game is going, especially as it’ll come much later in the match.
Are you getting caught by enemy point-and-click CC despite your best positioning? Grab an Edge of Night for the Spell Shield passive on it, as well as the bonus health and AD to help you survive.
Find you’re getting burst too quickly? Grab a Death’s Dance to reduce the immediate damage so you can get a moment to heal.
Trying to amplify you’re already blooming attack range? Grab Rapid Firecannon to give yourself that sweet 35% range boost and become a real sniper.
Stormrazor and Iceborn Gauntlet can also be effective options if you’re looking to help your ADC kite a diving enemy, providing a slow to slow down their pursuit, while an early Manamune scaling into a late Muramana can make your Q and ult all the deadlier and turn you into an extra carry for your team (note: if you’re going to grab that, grab the tear as soon as possible to get it stacking, it can take a bit).
While there are undoubtedly other items you could pick-up, these are the most effective on Senna, though I’m sure we’ll find crazy, yet effective, builds in the coming months no one suspects that can work.
At the end of the day, beyond the core items, your Senna build should reflect the reality of the in-game situation, and your best judgment is the only way to determine what’s good in your scenario.
Thanks again for reading the second part of our “How to Play Senna” guide. With Aphelios about to drop into the game, expect a much higher number of Senna’s making it through the pick-and-ban phase for you to play as and against in the coming days.
If you still need help with playing Senna, you’re in luck, as we’ll be releasing a third and final part soon that details how to play her in the lane, in team fights, and in common matchups you’ll see after choosing her, as well as a look at when to and not to pick her.
Until then, stay tuned.