Champions who are capable of being useful to their teams with their skill set and items take up the role of the support. They lane with their marksman, allow them to take minions, protect their marksman in team fights from enemy threats, and also help provide vision around the map. In this guide, I will discuss one support - Sona.
In lane, Sona is valued for her ability to do a little bit of everything. She has low cooldown poke, a heal, and buffs. She can be played defensively, or she can man up and be offensive. In a team fight, her ultimate, Crescendo, is an AoE stun which can single-handedly turn games around. However, Sona's a very fragile support with weak defensive stats and very little mobility. To allow her to do her job, she's usually built with a mix of tanky and supportive items.
In the guide, we'll discuss your pre-game setup, what items you should look out for while shopping, what to do in lane, and what season 4 has changed for supports.
Runes tend to be based on however you play or who you lane against so there are many ways to setup your page. Here's some example rune pages to give you an idea of stats that benefit Sona.
|EXAMPLE: DEFENSIVE RUNES|
9 Armor Marks|
9 Health Seals
9 MRes Glyphs
1 Gold Quint
2 Armor Quints
|With these runes, Sona will have a ton of defensive stats for early game. HP to help with her low base HP, magic resist for enemy magic damage, and armor for enemy marksman and minion damage. A setup like this helps you versus more threatening or bursty enemy lanes. If you can't afford health seals, you could use scaling HP seals, or armor seals with health quints instead.|
|EXAMPLE: AP RUNES|
9 Hybrid Marks|
9 Health Seals
9 AP Glyphs
2 Armor Quints
1 AP Quint
This page is not necessarily for poking or being aggressive. With a bunch of flat AP, you'll have some extra offensive and defensive spell power early game and a little scaling on your passive damage. The trade off is that you have less defensive stats.
Hybrid pen is nice since you need to auto-attack anyway to trigger Power Chord, and you can get Spellthief's Edge procs with auto-attacks too. For seals, use HP since Sona is quite squishy. Again, they can be scaling HP or armor if you don't have flat HP. Lastly, 2 armor quints helps reduce damage from the enemy carry.
9 Hybrid Marks|
9 Health Seals
5 MRes Glyphs
4 MP5 Glyphs
2 Armor Quints
|These stats cover almost everything for Sona's early game: A little mana regen because she guzzles mana, hybrid pen for harassing, HP because she has low base HP, armor because she lanes versus an enemy marksman and takes some harass damage from minions, and magic resist because supports and some marksmen do a little magic damage. If you can't afford health seals, you could use scaling HP seals, or armor seals with health quints instead. If you don't care about enemy magic damage, you could also go full mana regen glyphs. The only thing missing is AP, but you still have some harassing power with hybrid marks.|
|NOTES AND OTHER RUNES|
1. 2 Armor Quints? Preference - 9 flat armor seals and 3 flat HP quints will give you 9 armor and 78 HP. 9 flat HP seals and 2 flat armor quints will give you 72 HP and 8.5 armor. Quite similar stats, but 1 less quint used.
2. Marks - Hybrid Pen vs Magic Pen vs AD Hybrid pen is preferred over plain magic penetration since you need to autoattack to proc Power Chord. Supports in general are encouraged to autoattack to harass to get Spellthief's Edge gold. But then if you don't build much AP, it's almost like you're wasting magic or hybrid pen marks. If you don't build AP at all but still want to have some harass damage, there's also the option of simple flat AD for harassing with autos.
3. Magic Pen vs AP Magic pen will only increase damage whereas AP will help your scaling with non-offensive AP ratios like Aria of Perseverance.
4. Lucky Crit Rune Some players like to add a single crit rune to their rune page, even on champions that don't build crit. Characters don't innately have any crit chance unless they use a rune or until they buy an item. It's literally 0%. Adding even a single crit chance glyph will change your 0% chance to not 0%.
5. Gold Generation I don't see the issue with using a single gold quint and 2 armor runes. It could just as well be a AP, HP, or a 3rd armor quint though. The example pages are just to give you ideas anyway.
|You should always take Flash on Sona. It works on her as it does on 99% of all other champions in the game. It gives her a gap closer (she has none!) and a way to go over terrain. When used offensively, Sona can setup plays for her team with Flash and Crescendo. When you become intuitive enough to know when to combo like that, you should also get Enchantment: Distortion for additional cooldown on Flash.|
|#2: EXHAUST (or something)|
For a second summoner, Exhaust is quite common. It's useful for singling out a target, or reducing incoming damage from an enemy assassin. However, in solo queue, you can get away with Ignite if you'd like for some kill potential.
Normally, your marksman will take Heal. If they don't take Heal, then you can take Heal if you'd like.
IMPORTANT: The damage reduction and flat HP from
help you trade damage with enemy laners early game.
will give additional HP that will scale with HP items. 3% might not sound like much, but considering you spent 3 points in
to get 36 HP, it's good enough.
FILLER: Recovery is a filler mastery used to unlock tier 2. The other option is Enchanted Armor which is a bit weak since it only scales off of your bonus defenses. Until you build a defensive item, this means it'll only be scaling on your defense runes.
helps with how much mana Sona can guzzle early game before you get other mana regen items.
is always nice to have since Sona has no gap closer besides Flash, and it's good if you're an expert at Flash and Crescendo combos.
help with your early game lane regen.
Intelligence not only gives CDR but also has the unique effect of reducing item cooldowns. And now that Boots of Mobility have been nerfed, Wanderer gives you more roaming mobility. Greed , Scavenger , Wealth , and Bandit are all to help with gold generation.
FILLER: After factoring in the important masteries, you have 3 points leftover for filler and preference masteries.
The first filler point you need is to unlock the 2nd row of masteries after maxing Meditation . Fleet of Foot and Phasewalker make decent fillers. Scout is also an option. I personally don't find it as useful as the other two, but your mileage may very.
The second and third filler points is to unlock the 5th row of masteries after skilling Scavenger and Wealth . I would still recommend sticking to Fleet of Foot or Phasewalker (or Scout ) for your fillers here. Inspiration might seem useful but it's actually honestly not. If you're off warding by yourself, you're not in range of minions dying. The other masteries don't make much sense on Sona.
|OTHER MASTERY SETUPS|
|If you don't want to use 0/9/21, tailor a page to fit your needs. In example, 9/12/9 lets you get a little bit of everything, and 0/21/9 makes you very tanky while still getting Meditation .|
|Basic starting supplies for a bottom lane poke support. Spellthief's Edge helps you harass, push, and builds into a decent active item, Frost Queen's Claim. The Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation helps you sustain after trading damage with enemy laners. You and your marksman should both be starting with a Warding Totem so you have some ward coverage for the bottom bushes too.|
|Alternatively, you could start with Ancient Coin for the better regeneration. The item it builds into, Talisman of Ascension, is also pretty awesome, but Spellthief's Edge means stronger laning/poking.|
||Early game, you'll want to upgrade your edge to Frostfang for additional harass gold and damage. Sightstone makes you tankier and helps you ward. Since you can only put up 3 wards at a time, you can wait until much later in the game to upgrade to Ruby Sightstone. Vision Wards you can only place one of at a time. They're useful to place in bushes that get commonly warded or around objectives.|
|Alternatively, if you started Ancient Coin, you'll build Nomad's Medallion instead.|
|At some point, you'll need to sell your Warding Totem and switch it to Sweeping Lens so you can help clear wards. You can't rely on Vision Wards to do that since they can be destroyed and you can only set 1 at a time. Make the swap sometime early-mid game, but no later than purchasing your Sightstone.|
|In mid game, work on the supportive Mikael's Crucible. It's great versus crowd control and to help your marksman get out of sticky situations. It also has a useful mana passive to help with Sona's mana usage. Also, you should upgrade the Frostfang to Frost Queen's Claim for the active and additional stats.|
|Alternatively, if you started Ancient Coin, now you'd build Talisman of Ascension instead of Frost Queen's Claim.|
|Boots of Mobility are really solid boots for supports right now. They're a cheap upgrade and help you roam the map to ward. For enchants, Enchantment: Homeguard lets you zoom out of base faster and is useful when you need to be defensive and protect your base or area around your base. Enchantment: Distortion is for more advanced players who can make plays with Flash and Crescendo.|
Alternatively, there's Sorcerer's Shoes or Ionian Boots of Lucidity. Sorcerer's Shoes make good poking boots early game (especially if you have magic pen or hybrid pen runes) because an enemy marksman won't rush to buy magic resist.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity provides a spike/boost of cooldown reduction. Even though the example builds have 30-40% CDR on items alone, you don't start off a game with those items and supports don't usually get to buy many items. Getting a bunch of CDR on an item you already need anyway is a more efficient use of your item slots. If a game goes on longer, sell them.
||Most supports don't usually get a full inventory's worth of items. Upgrading to Oracle's Lens is important, and sometimes you'll need to sacrifice getting a 6th item to free up a slot for Vision Wards. Ruby Sightstone is optional though as it really only increases your HP. You can upgrade it after you have 6 items. Some supports will also sell Frostfang to buy Talisman of Ascension instead because the active is more versatile compared to Frost Queen's Claim.|
|LATE GAME OPTIONS|
|With Frost Queen's Claim or Talisman of Ascension, upgraded boots, Mikael's Crucible and Sightstone, you'll have 1 or 2 empty slots depending on if you want to always carry Vision Wards or not.|
Ardent Censer is a good way to buff your marksman. Plus it gives ASPD which can be valuable late game since there's no ASPD elixir anymore. Zeke's Herald is great for a heavy AD team (in example: a team with Yasuo mid and Irelia top has very little AP damage). Twin Shadows is a fun support item that helps you scout areas and gives you a fair bit of AP.
Since all 3 give CDR, you don't need to fixate on certain CDR items.
Let's get tanky||
Locket of the Iron Solari gives you some defensive stats, but junglers usually buy it. You can still buy it, but you shouldn't rush to buy it if your jungler already has it. If you need to be tankier or help peel enemies off your marksman, Randuin's Omen is a solid choice for the active. If you're being taken out in team fights or getting caught out by crowd control, Banshee's Veil is another tankier option.
Of these 3, only the Locket will give you CDR, but the effects on Randuin's and Banshee's make them worthwhile despite their lack of CDR.
|These are some other items. While they can be just as good as the other recommended late game items, various factors have made them less appealing.|
Let's build AP||
For AP, Athene's Unholy Grail is an AP alternative to Mikael's Crucible. You'll restore mana quickly with the passive since Sona gets assists easily with her skills, but it doesn't have the same supportive effect as Mikael's Crucible. Morellonomicon has a passive to counter healers or self-healers, but it's not a high synergy passive on Sona since you can't fully control who gets hit by Hymn of Valor.
Rabadon's Deathcap gives a ton of AP, but supports don't always have 1600 gold for a Needlessly Large Rod which makes it a difficult item for them to build unless their team is incredibly far ahead. There are many other AP items like Lich Bane, Zhonya's Hourglass, Void Staff and Liandry's Torment which could just as well be built as AP items too.
Let's get blue||Glacial Shroud builds into two potential items. Frozen Heart gives a lot of armor and has an offensive aura, but it's generally better on tanks who are constantly going to be in range of an enemy marksman to debuff their ASPD with the aura. Iceborn Gauntlet is a somewhat sensible choice for Sona. While it gives less armor, she can easily proc the active effect with her songs.|
|PASSIVE: POWER CHORD|
|Power Chord is Sona's passive. After casting 3 basic spells (QWE), her next autoattack will do additional magic damage based on her level and her AP. Her autoattack will also have an additional effect based on what her last used spell was. Once Power Chord is charged, Sona won't autoattack nearby minions or champions, so you can purposely save the Power Chord charge to use a specific effect.|
|Sona's Q/W/E skills have a persistent activation effect. After using Q W or E, Sona sets off a 0.5 second global cooldown which prevents her from using her other two skills. Also, Sona gains an aura in a 350 radius around her that lasts for 3 seconds. For each ally the aura touches, the aura persists for another +.5 seconds (so if you hit all 4 people on your team, you get +2 seconds for a total of 5 seconds). Sona's allies will also gain a special effect when they're in the aura.|
|Q: HYMN OF VALOR|
In lane, this is your poking skill (or your kill stealing skill). The aura will also help your marksman trade damage with enemy laners. It's important to know that Hymn of Valor has 2 ranges. A "max range" of 650, and a "champion priority range" of 550. It will hit the closest thing within 650 range, but it will only prioritize enemy champions standing among minions if they're within 550 range. When you hover over the skill icon on the HUD, it will show you the 550 champion priority range. 550 range also happens to be Sona's autoattack range, so keep in mind that being in autoattack range also means that Hymn of Valor will target champions.
Power Chord Effect: Staccato
Staccato's +50% damage is very good for harassing enemy laners. The double damage effect also works on towers. The damage falls off late game as HP pools get higher and enemy champions start building magic resist.
|W: ARIA OF PERSE-WHATEVER|
A minor heal which heals both you and your nearest most wounded ally and also giving a shield to allies in the aura. It's nice to have versus aggressive laners. The downside to maxing Aria of Perseverance first is the higher mana cost - it's preferred that Sona use Aria of Perseverance twice to stack Power Chord, then use Hymn of Valor and autoattack for the Power Chord +50% damage effect.
Power Chord Effect: Diminuendo
Good if Sona can autoattack someone who does damage. Early game and in lane phase, it's incredibly easy to use this on an enemy jungler or enemy carry. Late game and during team fights, Sona is more of a backliner and you'll probably end up using it on assassin-type characters who dive into your team.
|E: SONG OF CELERITY|
Movespeed is incredibly useful for running back to lane, chasing, escaping, kiting, and just giving more mobility to your team. This skill synergizes with champions who have strong initiation and champions with gap closers or chasing ability making it a powerful skill to have during team fights. Combine with Talisman of Ascension for even more speed.
Power Chord Effect: Tempo
The 40% slow effect is useful all game to slow enemy champions. Potentially, it can help setup kills. It's also her only crowd control pre-6. Don't use it when you're running from someone unless someone is on their way to help you. Turning around and attacking will slow you down.
Take Hymn of Valor at level 1 for the burst damage. It's useful for level 1 fights and harassing right when you get into lane. You can force people to chug potions before they hit level 2. Alternatively, you can take Aria of Perseverance first. If my marksman is Vayne and we're versus Lucian and Karma, Vayne is going to get trashed by their level 1 damage. Aria of Perseverance's heal and shield would be useful there.
Your first skill priority is to level Crescendo when you can for the reduced cooldown. Your second priority is to max Hymn of Valor for harassing in lane. If you are getting owned or heavily harassed, you can max Aria of Perseverance instead. Even if you max Aria of Perseverance first, I recommend getting Hymn of Valor to level 2 early on because getting it to level 2 will double the base damage.
After, max the skill you didn't max first. A single point of Song of Celerity is good enough for the Power Chord effect at level 4. You can also hold off getting any points in Song of Celerity until level 8 or 13 if you don't need the Power Chord effect.
|As Sona, you'll be responsible for marksman's livelihood. Let your marksman kill minions while you harass enemy laners and ward around bottom lane. In bottom lane, Sona has a strong level 1. Start by leveling Hymn of Valor and casting it 2-3 times on the fountain for quick mana regen. Do this to charge Power Chord and you'll have the double damage effect when you go into lane. If you need to pull for your jungler, only cast it twice so you don't waste Power Chord on a jungle monster.|
|Sona's early burst of damage makes her a good support to pair with a marksman who has some early damage. In example, Ashe's level 1 Focus crit and Volley or Lucian's Piercing Light and Lightslinger double autoattack combined with Power Chord can really chunk someone's health. This can force an enemy laner to chug a Health Potion early and give you a slight advantage in lane. By poking, harassing, and damaging enemy laners, you're looking to create a safe zone for your carry to farm.|
A typical harass combo will be something like:
1. Build 2 stacks of Power Chord.
2. Autoattack an enemy champion.
3. Use Hymn of Valor to fully charge Power Chord and damage the champion.
4. Your autoattack animation timer will reset when Power Chord is fully charged so you can autoattack the enemy champion again to trigger Power Chord's double damage effect.
If you're using Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration or Greater Mark of Magic Penetration and enemies aren't using Greater Glyph of Magic Resist, they'll have a decent chunk of health taken off.
|Be smart though - you can't just get in people's faces all the time. Your highest damage is Hymn of Valor and Power Chord, both of which have cooldowns. Simple autoattacks make excellent filler in-between cooldowns. But cooldowns aren't your only restriction. Sona's low health and defenses make her very vulnerable. If you're in a position where you can't harass much, remember to use Aria of Perseverance to help your marksman sustain while they farm.|
|Some enemy laners will be particularly threatening to you. A Lucian and Thresh lane has high kill potential due to Thresh's stun and Lucian's damage output. Sona can easily be dropped or taken very low during the duration of Dazzle. This is where you'll realize that starting with Health Potions, Alchemist and Culinary Master all help in lane. You can't just sit there and cast Aria of Perseverance the whole time when it has a mana cost.|
It helps to be very aware when playing bottom lane. Not just map awareness, but also being able to predict things. If Lulu is behind you in levels and her marksman has less minions but she suddenly walks up to you, casts Whimsy and goes all aggressive when she's been passive the whole time, you're probably about to get ganked.
On the flip side, say you Crescendo and Lulu blows her Flash to dodge it. You didn't get the kill, but Flash has a much longer cooldown than Crescendo. You know that you can Crescendo her again later and her Flash won't be up yet. You could even invite your jungler to gank and you can try to focus on Lulu knowing her Flash is down.
Sometimes you'll be able to catch an enemy off guard and eliminate him/her before a real fight begins effectively making it 4v5 in your favor. Otherwise, full 5v5 team fights break out when someone (anyone) initiates. During a team fight, try to stick to your carry and help him or her live through the fight. Your marksman will try to get the big tanky guys off of them first before trying to clean up. They can't very well expect to be effective when Shyvana is on them with a Randuin's Omen.
You can use Crescendo multiple ways in a team fight. If Renekton jumps on your marksman, don't be afraid to defensively stun him. On the other hand, if you're sieging the enemy base, the next wave of your minions has arrived to soak some turret damage, and the enemy team is all conveniently lined up for a 4-5 person Crescendo, get on that.
Because of her low cooldown spells and various active support items, Sona doesn't just ult then become useless. All of your spells have auras that will grant your team more stats. As far as items go, Talisman of Ascension is a great item for using at the start of a team fight (or you can pick your battles and use it to run away from one) and it has a fairly short cooldown. Frost Queen's Claim is a powerful initiation item due to the 80% slow.
Then there's Mikael's Crucible which has a much higher cooldown. You can't just casually use it to heal someone. Save it to use for a situation where your marksman is stunned or feared and they need to run. If you opted for it, Locket of the Iron Solari will also help your team soak damage, or Randuin's Omen can be used when enemies are on your carry and you need to use the active to help peel.
Since marksmen have ranged attacks and aren't constantly taking damage at close range, they build offensive items like Infinity Edge and Last Whisper and turn into glass cannons later. However, they need a lot gold to buy those items, and that all starts by farming minions in bottom lane. But a marksman can't just walk into lane and kill minions like it's no ones business. There'll be an enemy marksman and an enemy support there too. And that's pretty much where you come in.
In terms of map awareness, the changes to vision has made map incredibly dark now compared to season 3. You and your marksman both should've bought Warding Totems at the start of the game. I recommend using your Warding Totem to spot jungler ganks rather than ward in the bottom lane bushes. No one knows where the hell the jungler is these days and ideally you'll want to control the bottom lane bushes by standing in one to gain vision.
Mid game isn't defined by a time or anything. It's marked by objective control (towers, dragons, buffs) and some roaming. As a support, you won't be much of a big roamer as you'll still be surgically attached to your marksman's hip. However you will play a part in objective control.
is usually the first "big" objective. You'll want a Sightstone and Vision Wards to help scout out enemies approaching dragon and clear their wards. After you've built Sightstone you can also look into replacing your Warding Totem with a Sweeping Lens. Other high priority spots to ward are gank paths, such as the bush behind the blue team's red buff.
It's also important to learn about lane control. When your marksman is killing minions instead of just last hitting them, he is aggressively pushing the lane toward the enemy turret. If your marksman isn't pushing as hard, then he's trying to "freeze" the minion wave to passively farm. If you lose an outside turret, it's dangerous to be far out in lane especially with the map being darker, so marksmen will freeze a wave of minions near their inside turret. Whether you're being passive or aggressive, you'll need some kind of ward coverage to spot incoming ganks.
|By late game, there's less roaming and more grouping. Both teams have farmed up a storm and are ready to take each other on 5v5. With your limited wards, where you place wards is going to be dependent on how well your team is doing. If you can barely leave your base, then try to use your wards to scout the enemy team in your jungle area. Baron becomes a high priority area as well. By now you should also have Oracle's Lens which you can use to sweep enemy wards. It's hard to coordinate this in solo queue though. Remember that charging Power Chord will reset your autoattack animation in case you need to autoattack a ward quickly to kill it.|