Fasting Senna took the League of Legends scene by storm in 2020, popping up in both competitive and solo queue play across every major region. Functionally different than any other champion build in the game, it caught fire and grew in popularity at an astounding rate— and then suddenly, just as quickly as it came, it was snuffed. Gone in the same fashion all flavor-of-the-month champions go: death by patch notes.
Nerfs significantly chipped at the effectiveness of the build, and it wasn’t until a year later in 2021 that it made its resurgence. Fasting has maintained popularity throughout the Split and into Playoffs, but how does it work? And is it any better than traditional farming ADCs?
What is Fasting Senna?
First, a catch-up for those who aren’t familiar with the build beyond its name. A key component of Senna’s kit is her Mist Wraiths, commonly referred to as “souls,” which spawn from enemy champions, neutral monsters, and minions that die near her. She collects them with basic attacks or abilities, gaining AD, bonus range, and critical strike chance for every twenty stacks.
On release, melee and caster minions that Senna didn’t kill had a 20% chance of spawning souls, while those she did had a 5.5% chance. Cannon minions always spawned souls regardless of who killed them. The idea was for her to be viable as either support or ADC, the former getting less gold income but more souls while the latter received the reverse. Fasting Senna is the answer to a question that emerged as soon as the champion was revealed: which is better? The fasting build was a clever way of answering “why not both?”
It originated in February of 2020, patch 10.3. The changes increased the soul spawn rate on minions Senna didn’t kill while reducing the spawn rate on cannon minion kills from 100% to 1.67%. This was intended to shift power from her ADC build towards her support build but had the unintended consequence of generating a strategy never before seen in League.
Fasting Senna fills the role of ADC but takes the Spectral Sickle support item while her “support” takes a regular starting item such as Doran’s Shield. She plays the lane like any support Senna would, but builds like a traditional ADC and starts farming like one once the Sickle is fully upgraded.
Meanwhile, her support does all the farming in her stead. The pick is typically paired with Tahm Kench, but teams have gotten creative with it— 100 Thieves with Sett and Rogue with the Cho’Gath against Mad Lions are just a few examples. The reduced gold income for Senna is offset by the exponentially larger amount of souls, making up for fewer items with increased range and crit chance.
A handful of changes and nerfs shelved the build for a year, but patch 11.2 breathed new life into it approaching the 2021 season. General buffs to Senna combined with another increase on soul spawn rate for minions she doesn’t kill re-ignited the fire, bringing the champion build back into the spotlight across all regions.
The LCS Lock In gave a preview of fasting Senna’s potential in the capable hands of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen.
This teamfight perfectly encapsulates Senna’s strengths. At over 100 stacks, Zven is more or less untouchable. He’s able to freely hit 100 Thieves’ frontline with ridiculously high range while simultaneously healing and shielding his own, making for an easy front-to-back teamfight win.
Zven isn’t the only one playing fasting Senna, but he certainly makes it look the prettiest. Unfortunately for 100 Thieves, their Midseason Showdown playoff set against C9 went even worse than the first one.
While the turning point of this teamfight was Perkz’s ult, it still illustrates other strengths of fasting Senna in extended fights. Objective dances are often drawn out, minutes going by before the actual front-to-back fighting occurs, which is often over in less than ten seconds. A champion that can both sustain her team while poking out the other is a critical asset in those situations.
Fasting vs. Farming
Fasting Senna is a nightmare for analysts. She skews farming stats for the ADCs
who use the build, making it impossible to compare laning numbers at the end of a season where some players simply aren’t csing for the first twenty minutes of a game. Victor “FBI” Huang’s chart-topping laning stats are particularly impressive for a player whose second highest played champion is fasting Senna.
Across all regions in 2021, fasting Senna’s average damage to champions per game is 18,983. The ADCs with higher pick rates than her (Kai’sa, Jhin, Aphelios) average around 15,000, about the same as traditional farming Senna. Fasting Senna’s competitive win rate hovers around 59%, while regular ADC Senna sits at 57.6%. Taken at face value there seems to be a simple conclusion to draw from the comparison, but unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as that.
Since she isn’t farming in lane, fasting Senna can focus purely on poking out her opponent. Fasting Senna also has fewer total games played compared to the traditional build and other ADCs, meaning a few standout performances from Zven (47k damage) Deft, and Ghost weigh more heavily on her average damage.
The nature of the build also requires a lot of practice for the duo playing it, meaning those who do bring it out on stage are (hopefully) more experienced with the pick and know how to build around her. It relies equally on Senna’s lane partner, too, who must also learn an entirely new playstyle. The support has a much higher gold income early, meaning they can opt for a more expensive mythic item than the budget one-size-fits-all Locket of the Iron Solari.
She doesn’t play like any other ADC and isn’t as flexible as the more popular picks, putting fasting Senna in a niche all her own— but for those who know how to properly utilize it, she is an incredibly powerful tool that will no doubt continue to be utilized until the patch notes turn their gaze on her once more.