Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Threats to Sona with this build
|Trundle||His abilities focus on stealing or lowering stats. Sona has not much health, not much defense or any attack damage early on to reduce, and he is generally really slo and close range.|
|Janna||She's squishy, and she can't do much other than throw whirlwinds at you which are easy to dodge. If she shields the ADC burst it down.|
|Nunu||He's a good jungler, if someone isn't playing him as that, destroy him bottom lane. Speed boost out of his ultimate and you should be fine.|
|Ekko||He is melee, hence heavily reliant on abilities. He's either going to stay back and waste mana, since everything is a skillshot, get poked down hard, or come forward and get destroyed since he is very squishy. As long as you can dodge and take advantage of the mistakes he makes in lane, you should win easily.|
Here are the changes made to this guide, dated and explained.
-May 20, 2014: Guide created with items listed.
-May 21, 2014: Guide half completed, added first half chapters.
-May 25, 2014: Guide completed.
-June 19, 2014: Guide updated with patch 4.10 and addition of Ardent Censer.
-July 3, 2014: Guide updated with patch 4.11 and addition of support item changes.
-July 15, 2014: Guide updated with patch 4.12 and addition of more support item changes.
-August 1, 2014: Guide updated with the Matchups section and the vs. Champions section.
-August 5, 2014: Guide updated with patch 4.13 and addition of more support item changes as well as Sona rework.
-August 9, 2014: Guide updated with edits and item additions.
-November 20, 2014: Guide updated with edits and general information with patch 4.20.
-November 21, 2014: New matchups added.
-March 15, 2015: New matchups added.
-May 26, 2015: Brand new guide created for Season 5.
-June 20, 2015: Video guide added.
-June 22, 2015: More matchups added.
-August 16, 2015: More matchups added.
-September 17, 2015: Iceborn Gauntlet implementation.
-March 26, 2016: Counters, masteries, items, and Season 6 update.
Upcoming: Sona match recordings to help you understand how this build is actually put to the test and how I play Sona.
Here is a video version of this entire written guide. This video includes information on playstyle, runes, masteries, ability explanations, matchups, counters, builds, and a general overview and analysis on playing Sona in bottom lane. I would still recommend reading over the written guide here as it is much more detailed, and would probably take less time than watching the video.
This video does not include the recent Iceborn Gauntlet implementation I have made for my guide.
Sona is a great support champion, and in my opinion she is probably among one of the best. I’ve played pretty much every support champion in the game, and I’ve learned that picking a support really depends on your team composition. While Sona, compared to other supports, can be a game changer especially when it comes to team fights, there are times when you should not be picking her. If you have an ADC that knows how to play their role very well, early game harassment can be a huge success too.
While this guide may seem very biased (or not, not sure), the pros and cons below are still very accurate if played correctly. I play a lot of my ranked games with Sona, and apart from playing with the occasional idiots, feeders, and toxic players in the community, I did very well with her in my qualifying matches to bring me to Gold V in Season 3, and Silver V in Season 4. While this may not be anything special or anything to be proud of, please take this guide into consideration, since I do tend to end games with 0-2 deaths, over 20, 30 assists and 3-5 kills.
Now before going further into the guide, I’d first like to make one thing clear about supports. You can build a support however you’d like. The point of a support is to help the ADC get fed and get CS while keeping the team safe for the most part. With this being said, you do not need to build tank for a support. I know a lot of people will disagree with this, but if you have someone like Vi, Warwick, or Trundle who are going to build a little tanky, then build AP support. I am not sure why many people have been hating on AP support, but with Sona, it just doesn’t make sense to me for her to not be built AP. Her abilities scale off of AP for a reason, and if you really want to build tank, then play someone like Leona, who doesn’t scale off of AP, and is designed to get right in the fight, stun, and take damage. Sona is not meant to do that type of thing.
So basically, what I am trying to say is, that this build will focus around AP heavily, and you should only be playing Sona for certain situations. These situations include, if you are really good with her and can carry your ADC without a problem, you have somewhat of a tank on your team, or your team is mostly AD. If you have a balance of AD and AP in your team with no tank, then go with a more tanky support.
Hope this guide helps, and if you have any suggestions or helpful comments and feedback please leave them in the comments below.
Champion Pros & Cons and Do's & Dont's
-Amazing poke ability (her Q).
-High damage early and mid-game.
-Very effective heal early and mid-game (her W).
-Double speed boost if buying the Talisman of Ascension (her E).
-Perfect crowd control stun ultimate to annihilate an entire team (if used properly) (her R).
-All abilities support the entire team.
-Very squishy (easy to be killed).
-AP scaling isn't that great (but still decent).
-Heavily relies on getting assists to earn gold.
-Mana can decrease very quickly early game and mid-game.
-Relies heavily on mana and mana regen.
-Requires some skill with making the right decisions when to stun, when to poke, etc.
Do pick Sona when…
-Your team has someone who is going to be building a bit tanky.
-Your team is mostly AD.
-You can easily carry your ADC without a problem and have mastered this champion.
-You’re going up against a poke lane (such as Annie support).
Don’t pick Sona when…
-Your team has no tank.
-You’re going up against a tankier and sustain lane (such as Leona support).
-Your team is mostly AP.
Now before everyone starts bashing me because I don't have Ignite, let me explain the advantages of some of these spells that are available, and why I've chosen Flash and Exhaust.
The only good summoner spells for Sona specifically are the ones you see above.
Now the reason why I don't pick Ignite is because it is usually used as a finisher move, but remember, Sona is supposed to give her carry the kill, and get assists only. If your carry isn't too good then go ahead and get it, but in most cases, it isn't worth getting because there are other great spells that help support Sona and her team. On the contrary, Ignite can be used to initiate a fight, lower health regen, and give that true damage early on in the fight to provide kill pressure. If you do however use this spell, use it early in the fight and initiation.
For Flash, it's a great escape spell, as everyone knows. It's especially good if you're in a team fight with Sona, you can flash out of the fight and use your abilities from afar. In the early game it's also useful when poking and perhaps getting caught up in a fight. Hence, this is why I pick this spell.
For Heal, it's just another great group heal. Whether it's in an emergency or just to secure and sustain your lane, it's another heal for you and your carry. However, remember it’s important to be careful when using this spell since the spell heals 50% less if the target being healed was healed within the last 30 seconds. If timed correctly with Sona's healing ability (her W), then it's a pretty good heal combo. It honestly comes down to preference and communication with your ADC whether you want to pick this spell or not.
Now if you like to get to lanes quickly to support and help your team, Teleport is good, but with Sona's speed boost ability (her E), it really isn't necessary. Exhaust is good for chasing enemies, as well as securing kills and lowering the damage output of the enemy team. This is a great spell for Sona, since she is very squishy, and keep her and her carry safe. This is why I pick this spell when I play her along with Flash.
Clarity, while a good early game spell, pretty much becomes useless late due the fact that this build has enough mana and mana regeneration to take care of mana late game, so if you're having trouble early game, get this spell. Lastly, Barrier is a good spell to have if you're having trouble staying far away and hitting from afar. As you'll see later on in this guide, staying far away and hitting and using your abilities from afar even in team fights is crucial.
Based off of this, select the spells you want, but I recommend Exhaust and Flash.
With the new season 6 mastery system, we can setup some pretty interesting synergies. Before, there was no point in investing any points in cooldown reduction, since we pretty much already reached the max. However, we can now increase this by 5%, and spam our abilities even more. Along with this change, we also now can be more supportive for our team, with better shields and heals, granting armor and magic resistance. as well as providing some self-defense as well.
Five Key Mastery Focuses
-More gold earnings
-More mana regeneration
-More team support
-More cooldown reduction
For the Cunning tree, Wanderer and Secret Stash are the only logical selection, as we need mana regeneration, and movement speed is always essential when playing a squishy champion to avoid damage. Then Meditation and Bandit help with more mana regen early on, and gold earnings, since we won't be earning much anyway.
With the change of how Intelligence works, I think it can be beneficial to gain even more CDR to allow us to spam abilities, so I've decided to go with that. Lastly, while many seem to like another option, and rightfully so as other supports don't grant shields or heals; Sona benefits from Windspeaker's Blessing . The fact that we can spam, have enough mana to do so, and can shield and heal, giving our teammates armor and magic resistance helps a lot with team support.
Then for Resolve, it's difficult to choose, between health regen and defense. Since our heals are going to be more effective anyway, I believe Unyielding can benefit us a lot more, especially mid to late game when we have defense to get that 5% from. Explorer and Insight are also pretty logical, and help us gain more speed, and lets us use Summoner spells more often.
Lastly, Runic Armor versus Veteran Scars can sort of be up to you. If you want more health for security early game, go ahead and take it, but I like the fact that we can boost our shields and healing, so Runic Armor is great too!
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
For runes we want to focus on ability power and defense. For defense get magic resist and armor. Since seals have higher armor than glyphs, and glyphs have higher magic resist than seals, keep this in mind and take advantage of it.
Once again, many people will suggest Greater Quintessence of Health for Sona, however, since we're going to be doing a lot of poking, healing and speed boosting, all of these are affected by ability power, so it's best to max our abilities as much as possible since they are crucial for supporting the entire team with buffs, especially in team fights.
With this being said, get three Greater Quintessence of Ability Power runes, and for marks get nine Greater Mark of Magic Penetration runes. Why magic penetration? At this point we have a lot of ability power built up, the enemy may be getting some magic resist, so to help us out magic penetration will not only help late game, but also early game making our pokes much more lethal. Not to mention, our build has no magic penetration, so runes can make up for that.
It may seem like getting more ability power for seals and glyphs would be pretty epic, but the amount for the price isn't really worth it. To keep our defense up, get nine Greater Seal of Armor runes, and nine Greater Glyph of Magic Resist runes.
Abilities & Leveling Sequence
Sona's abilities are called auras, hence they not only affect you, but also everyone around you. This is what makes Sona such a great support because every ability affects the entire team if in range.
Now even though Sona is a support, her heal (W) is very effective until about level 7-9 at its lowest rank. Hence, this gives us plenty of time to max out our poking ability (Q) which will do massive damage. But before we get to the abilities, let's discuss Sona's passive.
This is Sona's passive ability. It basically is affected by her auras that you cast, specifically the one you've casted last. After 3 ability casts, Sona's next basic attack will deal damage, with an additional effect depending on the last basic ability cast. These basic abilities are her Q, W, and E. These bonus affects will be associated with each of her basic abilities. Therefore, if he last ability you casted increases damage, expect the bonus effect for your next attack to do more damage (which is what it does). The bonus effects will be explained under each separate ability, just be sure that you know when Power Chord is ready to be used so you can attack and make a wise decision rather than waste it on a minion. Remember, the bonus affect is not granted every attack, nor after every spell cast, it is granted after every third spell cast.
Here, Sona has only cast 2 abilities, hence the bonus affect on her next attack will not be granted, until she casts another ability to make it 3 spell casts.
Tip: If Power Chord is active, whatever aura color you see around your character will determine what bonus affect your next attack will have.
Hymn of Valor
This is your poking ability, her Q. This ability deals magic damage to the two nearest enemy units within range, prioritizing champions. You'll want to use this as much as possible in the early game, and during fights with your ADC or with the team to boost damage, because that's what it does. Whenever you have the aura active, all team members gain bonus magic damage.
If this is the last spell you casted before using Power Chord, then your next basic attack will deal double damage.
Tip: Be aware that this ability can cause some kill steal, so be careful when using it.
Aria of Perseverance
Sona's heal, her W, is extremely effective early game and mid-game, but still very good near the end too when maxed. However, it's not just a heal for a team member, the ability heals herself and a nearby allied champion with the lowest health percentage, granting everyone around her a shield as well for a short amount of time.
If this is the last spell you casted before using Power Chord, then your next basic attack will reduce the enemy's damage output.
Tip: This ability can be spammed, if you have enough cooldown reduction, hence if someone is low on health, don't run away, keep healing, this heal has great potential.
Song of Celerity
Sona's W, while it may seem like a pretty useless ability in the early game, it kind of is, but isn't at the same time. In all honesty, I rarely use this ability in the early game, more in the mid and late game. When casted, allies are granted increased movement speed.
If this is the last spell you casted before using Power Chord, then your next basic attack will slow the enemy by 40%. This is a great way to secure kills, and offers Sona another minor crowd control utility, besides her ultimate stun.
Tip: The speed boost applies for minions as well, so you can push a lane really well when needed and ensure that minions can quickly help take down a tower.
This is Sona's ultimate stun, her R. It's amazing for team fights, but also very good for early to mid-game fights as well. This is a crowd control kill securing ability and can be a game changer in any match. If aimed and timed correctly, this ability has the potential to stun the entire team, allowing your team to kill everyone. Not only that, but the ability does minor magic damage too. While it does have a rather long cooldown, our cooldown reduction should help a bit. Be aware that this ability does not affect Sona's passive.
Tip: This ability can be used to interrupt some champion's ultimate abilities, so be sure to look out for those and seize the opportunity to save your team.
For ability level sequencing, we always want to max Hymn of Valor first since it's a great damage dealer for the early game which can help push a lane and get your ADC some kills, and get you some assists. Since Aria of Perseverance is pretty effect until about about level 7-8, you can max it second, and start adding more points to it at level 8. Song of Celerity we'll max last since it’s much more useful in the mid to late game, and doesn't need to be upgraded that much to get the effect you when you are going to use it. And Crescendo should obviously be maxed whenever possible since magic damage increases.
Tip: All of these abilities do scale from ability power, so take advantage of that.
Why No Armor and Magic Resist?
So before we actually get into the build let me explain why this build does not focus that much on armor and magic resist as many other traditional support builds do. I know a lot of people are going to say AP sucks on Sona because her scalings aren't that great. But if you think about it, what is Sona good for? Her pokes, that scale off of AP, her heals that scale off of AP, and her speed that scale off of AP.
The argument is, if you go all AP, you'll be focused and destroyed. True, but if you are a good support, and you use abilities correctly, you will snowball enough with your ADC to not even need the defense because of the high mobility. The speed boost on Sona is insane, I've escaped countless times with my ADC because of it. And even if it isn't enough you still have the active of Talisman of Ascension and Frost Queen's Claim to escape. You have to play Sona from a distance, that's why she has a poke, why her heals have a pretty decent range, and her speed has a pretty decent range too. If you can play Sona with enough range to stay safe, you don't need to worry about defense that much.
But what about ganks? You have a stun, use it. In a 3v2, use the stun, that's why it's there. Use it to escape or to get a kill or two. I will admit, Sona can be a boring support, if you like to get in the enemy's face, like with Leona, but that's because for that champion she needs to get in their face, with Sona you don't have too.
In teamfights, you are mobile enough to escape, and you should still be keeping your distance, I've gone games with 0-2 deaths where I've had over 30 assists because I've gotten so good at this champion. All of Sona's abilities scale off of AP, and they are all really good abilities. Only because the scalings aren't that amazing, they aren't amazingly terrible that you won't benefit from AP. You will benefit from it, and you will be healing for more, damaging for more, and speeding up for more.
If at any point you see yourself having trouble with one of the harder match ups, you can always begin to build Zhonya's Hourglass second, or build Seeker's Armguard early on. Defense and health items are meant for tanks, the people that go in to take all the damage, because their abilities are close range. Sona isn't a tank, her abilities aren't close range, and she is mobile enough and even giving other teammates enough mobility to escape difficult situations.
Make smart decisions, play from a distance, watch your enemies and their abilities, and protect your ADC. Sometimes you will have to die for your ADC, which is fine, but just play it smart.
Tip: Sona is a champion that requires you to pay attention. If you can do that, you will do amazing. While she may be a good starting Support if you're new, she is even more amazing if you can master her.
Sona's build is pretty supportive and ability power orientated, which is probably what's best for her in my opinion. Below you'll see the items you'll want to get and some explanations. There are others ways to build Sona, but I'll explain why I didn't decide to build her in a different way.
Start with Spellthief's Edge if you’re going against an easy lane, or if you’re going to be playing rather aggressively while still staying safe. Otherwise, you can start with a more passive approach and start with Ancient Coin. Both of these items generate a good amount of gold, one however rewards you for poking and playing aggressively, and the other rewards you for allowing your ADC to get the CS and allowing you to play defensively if you choose.
The Vision Ward will allow you to ward the tribush in your lane, which is always very helpful to be aware of when the jungler is coming. If you’re lucky, some people may not even clear your pink ward, because it does take some time to clear. Along with your pink ward, also pick up a Health Potion which will actually be a biscuit to help you regain mana and health, and your Warding Totem to ward the river bush whenever needed.
The first item you want to start building towards is either the Talisman of Ascension or the Frost Queen's Claim whichever you’re upgrading from. After this, you’ll want to get your mobility up, not only for you but also for your ADC, since Sona relies heavily on good mobility. Buy the Boots of Mobility with the Captain's enchantment so both you and your carry get the speed boost, which is amazing on top of your E. With this built, you can now avoid ganks easier, secure kills easier, and poke easier while still being able to back off quick enough.
With green wards no longer in the game, it can be encouraged to buy a Sightstone if necessary, or ask your ADC to buy a Vision Ward along with you, otherwise stay on top of warding with your Warding Totem.
After you’ve got the mobility aspect of the build down, we need to start building some mana so we can spam our abilities more often. Archangel's Staff is great for this, since it gives tons of mana, and it will also eventually upgrade to Seraph's Embrace which will give you a shield. Depending on who’s doing more damage to you, pick and choose which you need more, the Chalice of Harmony or Seeker's Armguard. Eventually you’ll want both though, as they both will be used to give you more armor and magic resist.
If you’re not going to build a Sightstone, make sure to also upgrade your trinket to the Greater Stealth Totem so you can ward more often.
Recently, I've also tried building Iceborn Gauntlet over Archangel's Staff. While it doesn't give us 1,000 mana when, it does give us 500, which is double what the staff gives us to start with (it still gives us AP as well). We're still able to spam efficiently with this, and top of that we can bring even more utility to the team and defense, since the armor, and the potential permaslow that can be achieved. We also get max 40% CDR from this too, and the item is cheaper as well.
Late game you’ll want to build Athene's Unholy Grail for magic resist and Zhonya's Hourglass for armor. Both of these items give you ability power to help boost your spells, and your cooldown reduction will also be benefited from this too. Another great thing about the hourglass is that you can use the active if you ever are getting focused for some reason, hence, you could build this earlier if you’re getting focused.
The last item you’ll want to buy, is Lich Bane, if you get to a point in the game where you have that much money that is. This will give your Q a massive damage boost, and you’ll be wrecking people with your damage as it gives you a great passive and a good amount of ability power.
If your game also goes on long enough, you may want to get a bit more tanky, as everyone's going to be doing more damage. Replacing Frost Queen's Claim with Locket of the Iron Solari or Randuin's Omen is a good idea depending on whether you need more armor or magic resist.
Now this is a very good option for all supports, including Sona. In my build here, I don't built this because I am very good at managing my wards, and usually our bottom lane wins early on and ends the game rather quickly. If you are doing terrible, are getting ganked a lot, or just see a need for more wards, I highly recommend you buy this.
Very good item for heavy CC champions on the enemy team. This is a great item when laning against a Lux or a Morgana. However, if you and your ADC are dodging very well, you probably won't need to invest in this item.
If the enemy team is heavy ability power based, this is a good buy as it not only gives you magic resist but also lowers enemy's magic resist and gives you more ability power. You may also want to consider a Locket of the Iron Solari though in this case, if you're tank isn't going to buy one.
A very underrated item, but can be very useful and helpful when your team has heavy attack speed based champions such as Kalista, Master Yi, or any ADC in general. Since all your abilities are auras, all your abilities will proc the attack speed bonus on this item.
If you happen to be facing a heavy attack damage based team, this is a great item as it will basically reflect some of the damage, and give you tons of armor.
In case you need more CC, or if you need to be a bit more tanky, this item will work just fine.
If you did buy a Sightstone or a Ruby Sightstone, instead of upgrading your Warding Totem, get this, as you'll have plenty of wards already, and will be able to clear wards with this.
Many of these optional items can replace either your hourglass or holy grail depending on whether you're facing a heavy AP or heavy AD team.
Tip: Mikael's Crucible does take some time to master when using the active ability. I suggest learning and practicing how to use the item first before officially incorporating it into your build.
Sona protects the ADC, and as protecting the ADC you should also be helping getting him/her the kills. As stated earlier already Hymn of Valor is a great poking ability, and that's what you're going to be doing for most of he laning phase. Try to understand the range of her Q ability so that you can stay as far away as possible and still be able to poke the without taking any damage. One technique to use is as shown in the screenshot below, to go on the outside of the minions to get a good shot and then back off again.
Another strategy is to use the bushes to come out and poke and then run back behind your ADC. It's important to note though that if bushes are warded, you will most likely have a hard time with this strategy since the enemy will anticipate your attack. When you poke it's important to make sure that you know when Power Chord is ready to be used. There will be instances when you will miss and accidentally hit a minion, even with your basic attacks. If this happens, your Power Chord goes to waste, make sure that if you have Power Chord ready to basic attack after using your Q, to ensure that you hit the enemy champion for the bonus damage, which is why Sona is also great at poking. It is suggested to take auto-attacking off in this case.
During the laning phase you will also want to ward, but this is discussed in a separate section of the guide.
This is pretty much it for the laning phase, other than poking with Hymn of Valor, make sure you use Flash in emergencies, and make sure to use Aria of Perseverance and Song of Celerity as supportive escape abilities and sustain. Use Exhaust whenever the enemy is overextended and whenever you can secure a kill.
Tip: Because of Sona having such long range, don't be afraid to secure a kill if your ADC can't reach the enemy and the enemy is running away. It's best if you secure the kill rather than let it get away because you’re afraid to steal a kill. Flash only if you are securing a kill without your ADC there, or as a way to escape tight situations, for example getting pulled by Thresh.
When and if you need to ward, with either the Sightstone, Warding Totem, or the Vision Ward, these are some of the most important places to ward.
Warding in the areas around your lane, especially around the river is crucial to survival and to avoid getting ganked without preparation. Some other great warding spots are near the dragon and near Baron. Besides that, you'll want to ward near the bushes on the outside of the lane where most people hide early game, and where Sona does some of her poking. I usually use my Vision Ward in the tribush of my lane every game, because most of the time it stays up for at least half of the game.
During late game an even mid-game still, you'll want to ward mid lane a bit too, especially during team fights. This will help a lot because many people will try to gank from there during team fights. Depending on if you're winning or losing, you'll want to ward jungles, on either side of the map, since it will give some vision especially in games where the enemy is using the jungle a lot, and lots of ganks occur.
Warding can be easy if you know where to place them, and they can even save lives, so learn when to place them and where to place them.
Tip: The difference between the wards from the Sightstone and the Vision Ward is that, if the Vision Ward does not get destroyed, it will stay active for the whole time, while the wards in the Sightstone have a time limit. Place a pink ward in a couple locations and if you notice them stay up for a good 7-10 minutes, then they are worth the buy, if not, then stick with the ordinary wards.
Sona can be a crucial game changer in team fights if used correctly to her max potential. However, there are several different ways to play her depending on the situation that you are in with your team. We are going to categorize team fights into 3 categories.
Having the upper hand
If your team is going strong and has an advantage over the other team, then you can play Sona a bit more offensively. You'll want to always use Song of Celerity to help your team keep up with the opposing team, and to avoid the enemy team from escaping. As your team engages have Hymn of Valor up and ready to increase damage boosts and to deal some damage as well. If you see a teammate get low on health, spam Aria of Perseverance as often as possible while in between cooldowns continuing to use Hymn of Valor. One thing to keep in mind however, is that Sona can be very squishy, so ensure that you're staying behind your team to avoid the damage. If an enemy comes after you, use Song of Celerity to escape behind a team member, or if several of them are coming after you, use Crescendo to stun them and help your team pick up the kills. If the enemy is running away, keep in mind that you do have the speed boost from Talisman of Ascension or the slow from Frost Queen’s Claim as an active ability and Song of Celerity to catch up and secure the kill.
Standing on Equal Ground
When both teams are pretty equal, Sona and her ultimate come into play here very well. A good timed Crescendo can make the difference between a win and a loss in a team fight. As soon as you enter the team fight you'll want to use Hymn of Valor to increase damage output and once most of the enemy team is in a still position, position yourself in a way that you'll be able to stun if not all then most of the enemy team with Crescendo. You'll want to use this ability early in a team fight to avoid team members from dying. After the stun, you'll want to heal up your allies if needed and use Song of Celerity and Power Chord to sow movement speed of selected enemies and to secure kills. As stated in the above, use your speed boosts when necessary to secure kills, and continue to stay behind your team to avoid damage.
Tip:Remember to use your active abilities on Zhonya's Hourglass to avoid taking damage when you are low on health, and Seraph's Embrace to shield yourself and reduce damage taken. These are great peeling techniques for your team.
Having the lower hand
When the opposing team has the upper hand and you're behind, they'll most likely engage and use their ultimates to pick up quick kills. This is why you'll want to be a lot more defensive, and use Crescendo early on in the fight to stop damage and to stop certain ultimates. This will allow your team to deal as much damage as possible with Hymn of Valor and hopefully bring the enemy team low enough to make it a fair and even fight. You'll still want to spam your heals as much as possible to keep your team alive and use the speed boosts when necessary. It's important to know when it's a good time to use speed boosts. If you use it too early and end up loosing the fight, you have no secure escape. If you are loosing the fight and you see your team backing off, use your speed boosts to help your team regroup and try again.
Tip: Crescendo is an ultimate that can interrupt many other ultimate abilities, such as ones from Katarina, Nunu, Miss Fortune and several others. Hence, it's important to look out for those champions that deal massive damage to your team with their ultimate in order to crowd control them with your stun and save your team from dying.
Ranked vs. Normal vs. Co-Op
One thing you'll see in these three different types of game modes is the need for warding, and caution. Depending on who you're playing with and who you're playing against will depend on what type of items you'll need to buy and invest gold in. While it may not be wise to assume, and while some people may not find it ideal to do so, I think it's always good to prepare yourself for what you're going up against. Hence, using the sites LoLKing and/or LoLNexus to see who you'll be facing is a great tool.
From my experiences, here's what I've mostly seen during each game mode of play.
In Ranked, you will most likely not snowball, hence Rabadon's Deathcap is out of the question. You will also a need far more wards, so a Sightstone will most likely be mandatory rather than optional. Near late game you can replace it for the Zhonya's Hourglass if necessary.
In Normal, depending on who you're playing with and against, you may not need any wards, and you can play a bit more aggressive. If matching against lower levels, they will most likely not understand the value of wards very well, hence the Sightstone and the Sweeping Lens become optional. However, you don't need to assume here, as you can simply tell if the enemy team is placing wards or not, or if their jungler is ganking or if they even have one.
In Co-Op you really won't need any of the optional items, and you probably are able to snowball. However, this doesn't mean that it's impossible to snowball in the other game modes, if you're able to do really well and are able to get tons of gold, go for the full AP build, but I've found it to be pretty rare in ranked games to build anything higher than the example build that you see above.
Please see the section at the top of the page below the masteries and skill sequence charts to see who Sona is strong against, weak against, and how to counter each of them effectively.
Make sure to hover your mouse over the champion's picture to see the note that explains the countering details. Please also note that these matchups do not determine the outcome of a lane losing or winning. A good player can win any lane, this is simply a guide to help you and give you tips on how to play against a certain champion. If you can't achieve some of the tactics that are given as tips, it doesn't mean that the champion overpowers you, or that Sona isn't a good champion, you just need more practice.
Here is a general list of champions that Sona is generally weak and strong against. As stated before, scroll to the top of the page above the written guide to see details and tips by hovering your mouse over the champion icon.
Thank you for reading my guide on how to build Sona. As stated in the title, this is a beginner's guide, so if this guide doesn't give you all the tips and tricks that you were hoping for, I hope it did give you a good scope into what type of champion Sona is and what her potential is.
I do main the support role, and am very good at it. I tend to play other supports such as Leona, Janna and Blitzcrank too. If you'd like to add me in-game feel free to do so, and if you have any questions feel free to ask in-game or leave them in the comments below.
Thank you, and good luck!
And remember this is your jam when you're playing bot lane support with Sona.