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Sona Build Guide by Gnug315

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Gnug315

DJ Sona - The Perfect Playlist (6.21)

Gnug315 Last updated on November 8, 2016
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

1
3
7
12
13
Ability Key Q
2
4
8
9
10
Ability Key W
5
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R

Masteries

Fury
 
 
Sorcery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vampirism
 
 
Natural Talent
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Battering Blows
 
 
Piercing Thoughts
 
 
 
 

Offense: 0

Wanderer
 
 
Savagery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Merciless
 
 
Meditation
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Precision
 
 
Intelligence
 
 
 
 

Defense: 0

Recovery
 
 
Unyielding
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Runic Armor
 
 
Veteran's Scars
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Swiftness
 
 
Legendary Guardian
 
 
 
 

Utility: 0



Threats to Sona with this build

Threat
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Threat Champion Notes
1
Annie Annie is a nuker who stuns you for damage + ADC finishes. Your Q slightly outranges her, so you can get free pokes. This is not mana efficient when hitting only 1 enemy, but you should be able to get her low enough to force her back. Level 6 you must care her ult stun combo of doom a lot, so make sure you take advantage of her squishyness until then.
1
Vayne During laning, Vayne is in for a World of Hurt vs. Sona, who can poke and zone Vayne easy peasy. Fun Fact: Literally all Vaynes will try to roll out of your Q & Powerchords - they can't! Vayne's only hope is to be supported by a hard counter to Sona. Do respect her late game carry, tho.
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Intro

Post-season thoughts:

I ended Season 6 Diamond IV 98LP (#111 Sona, Ladder Rank 12,369 (0.388% of top). I feel like I am continuously improving, slowly but steadily. Part of it is about optimizing item builds, but mostly it's experience. Mostly, it's about solid average play and avoiding blunders. Blunders are sooooo costly. Also, baiting is a huge part of playing a squishy support, and this comes only with experience.

6.22 is gonna be a big change and it will take me some time to figure out a new build. Will update when ready.

Curious fact: I didn't win a single game with a Vayne ADC in S6.


Hi!

I have 1-trick ponied Sona since I started playing LoL in fall of 2014.

Sona is a squishy, spammy AP Caster Support with equally balanced poke, sustain andutility whose job is to help win botlane via her superior early game perseverance. After that, her mobility, sustain and poke helps her entire team pressure objectives across the entire map, finally culminating in some very sustainable sieges. Despite being squishy, she is relatively easy and comfortable to play.

I have done extensive testing and found that Sona performs best with an AP build with maxed CDR instead of traditional support items such as Mikael's Crucible. CDR directly corrolates with Sona's influence (try playing vs Sona in URF!), and AP improves everything: damage, healing, barriers and all Power Chord effects. Finally, solid mana regen keeps her relevant without backing to shop and affords her some inefficient heals out of combat (where the barriers are wasted). This build rushes the best Core Items for the job, and tweaks masteries to fit.

Sona is very strong in the current meta, and rarely banned. Enjoy!

- Gnug315



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Pros / Cons

Pros Cons
+ Easy to play, mechanically - Squishy
+ Huge poke during laning - Low sustained damage
+ Great healing & team-wide barriers - Non-existant waveclear
+ Great roaming for support & warding - Sucks at dueling
+ Best Skin Ever :) - Cannot carry a bad team



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The Core Philosophy of Sona

The general theory behind the Support role is to feed your lane partner (ADC) so much that he/she becomes too deadly to handle - as opposed to splitting the gold between you and ending up with two champions of average strength.

A Support champion must therefore do well underfed, and this is why Utility-based support champions are generally the most succesful. "Utility" are things other than raw stats - think positioning plays like Blitzcrank' & Thresh's hooks, Morgana's Dark Binding and Leona's Zenith Blade.

Alternatively, the support champion simply supports the ADC so well that the ADC has an easy time dominating. This is where Sona comes in with her heals & barriers, poke pressure and occasional Ult stun.

Having vision of the map is also crucial to success, and that responsibility falls naturally to the champion who doesn't need to stay in lane cs'ing. Extra mobility helps a ton here, and Sona's Song of Celerity and possibly Boots of Mobility are great for that.


Supporting Sona's Core

As a ranged Damage/Healer type, Sona likes to stay at her max range spamming her spells during teamfights, tagging teammates with her auras. Maxing AP & CDR is thus the most important thing for a midgame+ Sona, along with the mana regen to support it. Good AP lifts her prowess out of the mediocre range into something truly meaningful, despite a relatively low AP-ratio.

This is why I have arrived at this build that supplies Sona's main wants in a fast and effective manner: 40% CDR (from items), strong mana regen plus high AP stats that count towards higher damage, bigger heals AND better barriers.

Critics will claim my Sona lacks "supportive" items. They are correct in that observation, but imho Sona has enough built-in support as it is, and benefits a lot more from added raw numbers throughout the entire game than the occasional clutch-save from Mikael's Crucible.



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Summoner Spells

There are no alternatives to these two:


Flash - Needed for escape and occasional plays.


Exhaust - Perfect defense and scales well throughout the game.



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Abilities

Passive: On-Hit Bonus Damage and Effect. A major part of Sona's kit, primarily used with Hymn of Valor for extra damage. Pay attention to your stacks at all times. Tip: Use Song of Celerity in teamfights to build new stacks right after a Power Chord.


Easy poking damage. Use with Sona's 3-hit Staple Combo described below. Try to hit two targets while starved for mana during early laning phase. It's actually a skillshot because you want to use it at maximum range ;)

Duo-Heal w/ Barriers. One of the most important parts of mastering Sona is efficient use of the barrier part of this spell. When allies are missing health and about to take more damage, use this within the aura radius to both heal and shield vs. incoming damage. Tagging your entire team with this in teamfights is huge. The Power Chord can be used defensively.

Movement Speed. Mainly used while close to maximum mana to get somewhere faster, and to build Power Chord stacks. Also used for chasing and escaping, but is very mana-expensive, so try to use sparingly. The Power Chord is used to help your teammates catch enemies trying to escape, or to peel for your carries.

Solid AoE stun. Sona must often choose between initiating with this by hitting as many enemies as possible, or saving it to protect her squishy carries. Can be comboed with flash for some shocking plays. Difficult but very important to master!



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Items

This entire Playlist is centered around the philosophy of Sona and what Core Items are best for her. Being an AP-based damage & healer support, she wants as much AP, mana regen and CDR possible (40%).

Before we find our perfect Core items, let's take a look at the available traditional support items. None of them seem a perfect fit for Sona:

  • Frost Queen's Claim - Better than ever, but I still prefer the health & wards from Eye of the Watchers
  • Mikael's Crucible - A great support item and perfect for Thresh who both needs mana regen and also lacks a heal to complement his othwerwise awesome kit. For Sona, otoh, it adds almost no versatility and simply feels misplaced on a support already healing with barriers. Also no AP here, and literally everything she does grows with more AP! By foregoing MC you're basically trading a very occasional clutch-save item for significantly more overall sustain and damage. I strongly believe that it's worth it, and my personal results reflect this.
  • Frozen Heart - Lategame armor doesn't apply it's effect much on a low health-pool champion. Armor is made for tanks, where its effect is very noticable during the long time it takes to kill them, not for squishies who merely take 0.2 seconds longer to blow up when focused. Besides, while enemies will definately want to catch Sona, she has the range, mobility and abilities to make it difficult for them. When they're not hitting her - which is most of the time - an armor item is doing nothing for your team. If you want survivability, look to health items with AP such as Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Liandry's Torment.

Sona's Favorite Gear

As a Sona main, I have experimented tons with basically all available options. IMHO, nothing comes close to equipping Sona as well as the following build. Sona wants the maximum AP, Mana Regen, CDR and Mobility to get to where she is needed, including warding.
  • Spellthief's Edge - Perfect fit, as Sona will trigger this more than anyone.
  • Sightstone - A support's job is to provide vision. A must have. Early health definately helps too. Please ward a ton!
  • Eye of the Watchers - No-brainer upgrade after the two above items.
  • Lich Bane - Fantastic for a ranged caster who is triggering abilities often. Some people even try to go Sheen first in lane. You will poke harder for a couple minutes but then run out of mana, so it's no good.
  • Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Your main survivability option. Helps escapes and chases both. Also synergizes with the next two items:
  • Liandry's Torment - Provides a good chunk of survivability, some magic penetration and improves pokes vs. healthy enemies.
  • Luden's Echo - Rarely bought by me but perfectly viable. Probably best used in poke comps.
  • Rabadon's Deathcap - If you are VERY well protected by your comp, this item will supersize your influence.


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Sona's 3-hit Combo

When Sona's Power Chord becomes ready, her auto-attack is refreshed. This enables her staple 3-hit combo:

AA - Hymn of Valor - AA-with- Power Chord (as fast as you can)

Use and abuse this combo all game long, especially during laning when trading isn't so dangerous yet.



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Warding

Imagine a game where your side has no Fog of War - you can see the entire map at all times. Such a game would be very easy to win!

Therefore, the better ward coverage you have, the more you win games. It really is that simple. A support champion doesn't need to spend time last-hitting, waveclearing, jungling or trying to pick off enemies alone, so you have time to run around warding for your team.

Make it a high priority to provide your team with excellent vision by placing many wards thruout the game - where and when is an artform, but there are a number of key spots depending on the game state (a quick google will provide better advice on this than I can).

During laning phase, you want to ward so that ganks cannot catch you by surprise. You also want to keep the dragon warded, so generally you try to keep that and the bottom tribush warded. Your botlane wards also provide your team information on where the enemy jungler isn't, which is quite significant.

Ideally, you never die in lane by accident - either it's a conscious sacrifice, or your wards gave you ample time to escape an incoming gank. If after any death you could rewind the time a little and be able to avoid it, you have made a mistake! Fortunately, learning from your mistakes is maybe the easiest way to improve :)

At Diamond and above, any avoidable death is a blunder, and will literally cost you entire games as the enemies grow solid enough to capitalize fully off it.



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Dragon Pit

Killing the Dragon for the first time yields 6% bonus AD & AP. The difference between which team gets the first dragon is twice that, so the game's first dragon is the most pivotal.

As soon as enemies are strong enough to take the first dragon, it must be kept warded, or you risk falling severely behind. Some junglers like Nunu can solo it early! Ideally, you know whether your jungler plans to kill the scuttle crab early to provide dragon vision, so you don't waste time and wards when not needed. In Solo Queue, assume she won't and ward the drag yourself.

During the game, you generally want to keep it warded whenever it is up or close to spawning. Check the timers. Support players not having to cs should generally be able to maintain more map awareness than allies busy laning versus enemies, so take it upon yourself to always warn your team of likely enemy dragon snipers (where are they? did they move towards drag and are missing in lane? they might be doing drag!) or imminent spawns, as well as (of course) ganks on other lanes.



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On Taking Kills

As noted above, the Support champion's job is to feed her carries - typically her ADC. Any kill you steal from them is therefore generally suboptimal for your team.

It is customary for supports to, whenever possible, give the kill to anyone else* - but never at the cost of anyone dying! During fights, it's sometimes a fine line to tread between giving the kill to your ADC or others and losing the fight.

* unless it's a super sucky player who won't use the kill as well as you would.

I would recommend erring on the side of caution, and aiming to kill enemies in any close fight. On the positive side regarding "kill-stealing", Sona can still really use the kills herself too, as she is not a Utility-based support and benefits hugely from being fed.



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Laning

The most important part of laning is out-earning your enemies, and this is best accomplished via perfect CS and strong farm-deny. Your 0/0/0 Graves with 175 cs is just as strong as their 5/0/0 Akali with 100 cs!

To win the farming war, it is crucial that you master the trading stance:

- When an enemy gets ready to last-hit a minion, stand next to it and hit him back (with your 3-hit combo, if possible). He can't attack both the minion and you, and will have to choose between earning gold and dealing damage.

With a flat AP build, Sona is a regular powerhouse out of the gate. Thanks to her solid trading stance and sustain she can gain the upper hand in botlane against basically any enemy composition early on, including her hard counters (before they shop).

Sona's Role during laning

Your job as Sona is to adopt the trading stance any time your Hymn of Valor is off cooldown and make life difficult for the enemy ADC. Ideally (critically, actually) your ADC will help you with this, hitting them back if they try to win the trade via burst damage.

Also focus on optimizing the barrier part of Aria of Perseverance for both you and your ADC - often you will delay a needed heal a second or two in order to do just so.

Just like all other laners, you want to hit free AAs whenever possible. Some enemies are easier to do this against than others. Last but not least use your Sightstone to place wards at dragon and the bottom tribush, and your Sweeping Lens to remove enemy wards whenever possible.

Things get a little tricky when you're facing an enemy composition where you want to hide behind minions vs. their support ( Blitzcrank, Morgana and others) but avoid doing so vs. their ADC with area damage ( Graves, Corki, Caitlyn etc.). This is when you realize Hymn of Valor is totally a skill-shot, as you are trying to hit both enemy champions at maximum range without getting hit back.

Pay attention to whether your ADC is pushing or freezing the lane, and do the same. Trim the fat off the high health minions when pushing. If your ADC doesn't understand he needs to push back so you don't lose minions to tower, do it yourself best you can and ask him in chat to help push (not all ADCs understand basic laning stuff).

Beware Vs. Hard Counters

Against supports with CC, solid enemy botlanes will be able to 100-0 you once they get some gear. Against your biggest counters, both you and your ADC simply must avoid getting hit by those things! Use minions, trade when you can, work with your jungler and all the usual - but make absolutely sure you are never caught and killed from 100% health. This becomes both you and your ADC's priority after your hard counter lanes have shopped.

If a hard counter lane is pushing your tower hard and costing you cs, the correct response is to gank them, not try to face off against a powerspiking Graves backed by a solid Thresh hooker.

Naturally, there is still room to outplay your counters with a sufficiently large skill gap :)



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Mid-game

When enemy botlane tower has fallen, you are already in mid-game.

Your ADC still needs to farm botlane, but pushing against the big shielded 2nd tower does nothing but invite effective ganks from the entire enemy team.

Prioritize Boots of Mobility over the Fiendish Codex component. Ward enemy jungle and dragon to protect your farming ADC while roaming to help the midlaner. Toplane is generally too far off to help much currently, unless you're winning quite big.

Remember, winning the game is done by ticking off objectives one at a time. Don't encourage your teammates to roam the enemy jungle in search of pick-offs unless your side is snowballing nicely. Focus on Towers, Dragon, warding and supporting teammates in scrimmages.



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Late game

When most of the 1st & 2nd towers have fallen, you're in late game. You should have your large Core Build by now. If the game is tough, you will usually want to prioritize survivability before pure damage via a Liandry's Torment or Rylai's Crystal Scepter as your first post-core item.

Sona's sustained sieges are the strongest in the game. Her heals & barriers alone do most of it; her damage and Ult stun is just gravy on the top. With her Core Build she is able to spam very effectively. Frankly, once you win a single big teamfight in lategame, her sustain will often carry your team thru enough objectives to effectively secure a win.

Look for opportunities to do a Baron trap: after winning a fight and probably taking an inhib, run your team towards baron. Pick a bush and deward it, and wait for them to face check it. Of course, a totally free Baron should usally always be taken instead of waiting to spring a trap.

If you are losing and underpowered, your team needs to avoid dying more and concentrate on farm, while the enemies needs to push their advantage. This is the ideal time to land a brillant Flash- Crescendo to turn things around, so now is a good time to look to make a game-changing play for your team.

Good luck!



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TL;DR

The General Idea:


* During laning, stand behind minions and punish enemies for cs'ing with your 3-hit Combo or Hymn of Valor plus boosted AA (important!). Get no closer than you need to. Often you can poke for free (the whole idea of the Trading Stance).
* Duo-heal and provide team-wide barriers during teamfights with your Aria of Perseverance aura
* Stay slightly safe during skirmishes, but not as far back as Soraka. You want to both poke and hit your Crescendo in a sweet spot.

Sona's weakness is lack of utility. Utility is things that alter the situation, not so much raw numbers (damage). Think positioning plays like Blitzcrank' & Thresh's hooks, stuns like Morgana's Dark Binding and Leona's Zenith Blade, or raw utility like Tahm Kench's Devour.

This is the reason we go for raw numbers on Sona. While squishy, she simply doesn't bring enough utility to the table to use a defensive build effectively. She cannot secure kills or peel well enough. Also literally EVERYTHING she does scales with raw AP: damage, healing, all Power Chord effects and all three auras. Think of Sona as a cross between Soraka the Healer and a pokey mage trying to deal some damage.



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Tips & Trix

  • At game start, Q thrice and use the Power Chord + new Q (plus aura!) at jungler leash. Total AAs on jungle camp: 4
  • In case you missed it above, use and abuse Sona's 3-hit Combo
  • Use Song of Celerity during teamfights to build new stacks right after a Power Chord.
  • During dragon fights, help tank the Dragon if you come with high health, since your W will be healing yourself anyway.
  • Don't hesitate to Flash- Crescendo to secure kills! It's incredibly hard to play around >:)
  • Tank the first hit on the jungler's opening jungle camp, Recovery will mitigate most if not all of it
  • Try to only heal in lane when the barrier(s) will be used.
  • Level W quickly if your matchup is tough - Sona can heal well enough to play very defensively in lane. Nothing wrong with safe farm sometimes.
  • Rarely heal with lvl 1 Aria of Perseverance, it gives so little health
  • Try to hit 2 champs with your Q every time
  • Tag your ADC with your Q aura
  • If hitting only 1 champ with your Q, decide if it's worth your mana. Hint: Probably not a tanky support (smart tanky support players will literally try to bait your Q)
  • Combo at 0/1 stacks: Q-AA (the AA is boosted for 3 seconds and deals signifiantly more damage)
  • Combo at 2 stacks: AA-Q-AA (AA is reset on 3rd stack making this combo very fast)
  • Keep your Spellthief's Edge off 3 stacks to avoid losing out on gold income generated by your Spellthief's Edge recharging
  • Help trim the fat off the wave if you see your ADC pushing (AA the high health minions)
  • If possible, try not to mess up your ADCs cs with your Q timing - but usually poking with a combo is worth it regardless
  • If you are pretty sure your ADC isn't going to lasthit a minion, go ahead and get it (usually because he mistimed his previous AA)
  • Fake-ward by walking to river- or tribush whenever you can do so for free (usually when your Q is on CD and your ADC is facing passive enemies). Enemies will have a hard time knowing when you actually warded the bush, making it harder for them to know when to gank.
  • Keep an eye on both ADC's gear in order to judge relative strength - who should look to trade and all-in, and who shouldn't.
  • Sona can't push lanes well at all, but she can actually last-hit quite well, once you understand how. Practice makes perfect :)



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Outtro

With this build you should be able provide plenty of damage, healing and warding - and, shockingly, even while starved for gold and XP!

Check out Lecture 11 - Solo Queue Leaguecraft 101 for en excellent episode of a solid series on LoL.

I've been an avid gamer since early childhood, and a professional gam(bl)er since 2000. A ten-year old interview with me can be found here.

I hope you found the build useful! :)

- Gnug315



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Patch Changes

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Version History

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