Sona Build Guide by CrysJaL
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Sona's surprising support
Sixth item and a replacement for Frost Queen's
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.
The Pros and Cons of Sona
Massive ally damage boosting potential
Decent heal and shield
Area of Effect Stun
Squishy most of the game
Little to no escape potential early game
Lacks alot of CC before level 6
Your abilities force you and your allies to group together for maximum effectiveness
So you picked a support huh?
The support role is one that people fail to acknowledge a lot. They don't like playing it or they don't consider it important enough to stray away from tanking hits, or dealing as much damage as possible. Those people are wrong. Support is very important, more so than you'd think.
Don't let that paragraph fool you though. The Support isn't always the biggest player in the game and a bad ADC or tank can often do more damage to your team than a bad Support. However, while you won't expect to carry, you have an even bigger job to do. You need to actually make the carry, get your ADC in such a good spot that he wins the game for you. Failing that you heal the hell out of your team and help everyone get away when the hits the fan.
Coming up is a breakdown of how to play Sona along with in depth tricks I've learnt and tips to help you throughout the game.
This set is designed to do decent damage so a lot of Ability power is needed and some Magic penetration is wanted for early and late game, hence the Scaling Glyphs and the Marks. The Seals are to give you a bit of Armour for the inevitable counter pokes by the ADC when you get too close. Quints should be adjusted to your own play style, you may decide you need more Magic Resistance or Armour or Ap depending on the situation. I consider scaling Ap quints not effective enough to warrant the early game decrease in Ap (only a 2 extra increase is Ap at lvl 18), so I mostly take the regular Ap Quints but I will substitute as necessary.
below is the set I currently play when using Sona, though if necessary I may switch to a set with Magic Resistance Glyphs:
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power
So you want to play Sona?
Playing Sona is fairly easy if you get into the rhythm of it (bad joke is bad). The trick is to know when to use your abilities to maximum effect. You need to use them properly and at the right time or you won't get anywhere fast.
Sona has Power Chord as her passive ability that makes your next autoattack deal significantly extra damage in the form of Magic Damage after three basic ability casts, there is no time limit on this count so you can stack them early before a fight starts. Also, based on her last cast ability (either , or ) you'll get an added effect on the autoattack which is very useful and grants alot of versatility to Sona.
Sona's basic abilities all have an aoe effect on her surrounding allies, gifting them with added damage, a shield or speed. These effects last a short while but can significantly help your allies. Often these bonuses seem negligible at early game but every little helps and you could buff your entire team if you position properly. Choose which one of these is active at any time wisely, your team doesn't need a shield while chasing but a bit of extra damage or speed would certainly help.
In terms of Summoner Spells your first pick is Flash due to it's many uses in both escaping and attacking, if you aren't using this spell at higher levels then you're probably having a hard time. With Sona like with other support champions such as Morgana the "Flash Ulti" combo is pretty awesome and a common tactic. With the second spell it's the same choice as with most Supports, either Exhaust or Ignite. This choice is based off of your own personal preference and the champions on the enemy team. I think that the other spells while helpful on other champions aren't useful enough to warrant switching out for.
Pick Ignite when the enemy team has alot of tankiness or the enemy ADC and supports have alot of escapes such as Ezreal's Arcane Shift. Exhaust won't often be very useful against those teams but a bit more damage will hopefully get your team the kill.
Pick Exhaust when the enemy ADC and Support has less escape potential aside from running away and the exhaust will probably get your ADC the kill. This spell is also good for reducing damage of an enemy champion, reducing their attack speed and damage at the same time. very good for fighting against autoattack reliant champions like Tristana and Caitlyn. generally Exhaust is your go to second pick as it can completely nullify an enemy ADC's damage and help secure a kill even if they do have an escape.
Another possible choice in spell is Heal. With the recent boosts to Heal's power this is a good choice on all players. Bear in mind that a second cast of Heal will only heal half as much on your teammate or yourself so choose wisely when to cast this spell. Remember, it's better to have it on cooldown and save your ADC than not use it and your ADC dying. at higher levels of play when your ADC takes cleanse to counter a hard cc champion such as Leona you may want heal instead of the other spells to help your champion out more.
Picking abilities with Sona can be very situational and your picks will be characterised by three questions.
Are you and your ADC pushing alot and you want to deal that bit more damage when you poke?
Is your ADC positioning badly, making silly msitakes and you find you need to protect him/her more frequently?
Are you too slow to escape ganks or catch the enemy?
Early game you want to level your Hymn of Valor the most to deal more damage with every poke and grant your ADC more damage when the blue aura is up. However, if the ADC or you are taking more damage than you can heal reasonably well then you want to level Aria of Perseverance to balance things out. Generally I tend to get level 3 on Hymn of Valor before I need to rank up the heal to level 2 to balance against the gradually rising Hp of your teammate. In a bad game where the enemy is pushing and poking too well for you to handle then the extra rank in Aria of Perseverance might be necessary until your Jungler gets there to sort things out. I avoid levelling Song of Celerity early because it has very little use, particularly due to the long cooldowns Sona has after the recent update but also due it it's very short range, if your ADC is going to die your icon=song of celerity will most likely not save them.
During mid game you should have your Hymn of Valor ranked up to level 5 by now or have it at level 4 at least. After you get that level 5 sorted you will want to focus on either your Aria of Perseverance or maybe Song of Celerity depending on the situation. Healing and shielding your allies isn't necessary if you find teamfights easily won but a greater speed boost would help in chasing the enemy and keeping your advantage. Likewise you may need to protect your allies more often and so you rank up the Heal. I generally tend to focus on Aria of Perseverance until I get level 3 before I will give the speed boost any consideration.
During all of this it should go without question that you should be ranking up Crescendo at every opportunity. It is your teamfight bread and butter which has a multitude of uses in both escaping and engaging. Not only that but ranking it up boosts all three of your other abilities as if you had levelled them. There is literally no reason to level another skill over Crescendo
I believe the keystone of Sona is her Q the Hymn of Valor. It does surprisingly high damage even after the changes from the update it deals similar damage overall but it is more spread out over the levels. prioritizes champions when in the 500 unit range and hits two opponents at the same time which is particularly good for teamfights (granting you an overall total of 400 damage at rank 5 without Ap) and even cleaning up minions. it needs no aiming either which makes it a good kiting attack as you don't even need to slow down to use it.
When the passive is playing (blue aura) your allies will recieve a damage boost to their next attack (ability cast or autoattack) When they stay in the aura while it is up they will continuously receive this boost allowing for champions who cast alot of abilities or have higher attack speed to do ea significant amounts of damage fast.
In addition to it's main effects an autoattack with Power Chord active with the as the last cast ability deals double damage which is pretty awesome and great for burst damage. Try hitting the Q and follow up with the autoattack and you'll do a lot of damage fast. I've almost KOed a Jinx from full Hp using this combo last game and killed a few damage carries who thought they could take me 1v1 after a teamfight. It's very satisfying killing their damage carry when they thought they were safe at half hp against little old Sona.
Hymn of Valor is good for poking too. It prioritizes champions within its 650 range so being near minions won't make you miss the shot unless they get out of range. It hits two champions aswell so you can get two hits off for Spellthief's Edge etc if you time it right and a third charge can be used up with an autoattack. Farming with Sona and Spellthief's Edge is pretty effective if you do it right.
If you autoattack an enemy before using your icon=hymn of valor then your Q will prioritize them when you use it. this allows you to focus a champion a little better when they are bunched together.
Using your from the bush is a good tactic but conversely it won't work on enemies you can't see ( this doesn't make sense as Sona uses sound to fight and vision shouldn't effect that but whatever Riot) so make sure to ward, you can get two free hits in early when the enemy support tries to put their ward up in your brush if you're waiting for them. Be careful of the stuns or grabs as a counter though, you're squishy and this can cause you more damage than good (literally) if you get caught unawares.
When your gets to high rank you'll probably rack up a few kills rather an assists, this sometimes happens during the laning stage too. People will scream and shout about kill-stealing Supports which is incredibly narrow minded of them. Remind them a kill is still a kill for your team and everyone needs gold as badly as the next guy, is it better to get the kill for yourself or risk something happening and not getting a kill for anyone? If you don't use your Q at all then you're handicapping yourself, don't let someone bully you into holding it back. In addition getting fed yourself still helps your team as your Hymn of Valor will increase their damage!
Healing it like a pro
Nothing much to Aria of Perseverance, it has a good range and works on yourself and an ally at the same time. It is very mana intensive early game so use it wisely and ideally when it is going to have the greatest effect, for example to avoid damage from pokes or when you will receive the most health restored when it is activated. Late game when you have the Unholy Grail you can just spam it whenever an injured teammate is near.
The heal is pretty standard but now increases in it's effectiveness the lower your ally's Hp. The spell focuses on the ally in range with the lowest Hp so this new addition to Sona is very handy.
The has an effect aside from the heal that gives your nearby allies a significant shield aswell as the heal. Grouping with your team you can provide a shield of over 500 hitpoints easily which is very useful.
The Power Chord combo autoattack is very situational. it effectively mimics Exhaust's damage reduction albeit on a smaller scale. I tend not to use this as I consider the extra damage from the icon=hymn of valor Power Chord to be more valuable. However, if you feel threatened enough by the enemy team then feel free to use it. mathematically it is probably more valuable in a teamfight.
Speeding it up
The Song of Celerity ability grants you and all nearby allied champions with increased movement speed for a short time. This is a % increase that is significantly greater for yourself than your allies. Remember to slow down when using it incase you run ahead of your team and they lose the buff.
Song of Celerity is not particularly effective till late game teamfights so I do not recommend levelling it up early. One level in it is sufficient for the majority of early/mid game. The area of effect of the spell is every small and you need to be almost on top of your teammates to effect them. You could risk your own death aswell as theirs by trying to help them escape.
The Power Chord autoattack slows down the enemy so is useful for chasing down stragglers but you don't need higher ranks to get this effect and ranking up Song of Celerity doesn't improve the slow, your own Ap stat will increase the slow by 4% per 100 Ap though.
This spell used to be very useful with Sona but now it feels to me like it's been nerfed too hard. I would recommend an increase in it's range if anything else, until then it is very situational and lacking in usefulness. however, i can understand Riot's intention with this change.
Sona's coup de grace Ultimate is Crescendo, which stuns enemies inside a given area (making them dance for 1.5 seconds) and deals decent damage. It's good in teamfights and may sometimes be needed to encourage teammates to engage or even help in escapes. The cooldown is annoyingly big early on but after you get your item cooldowns and level 2 on it you should be set for whenever you need it.
Try waiting for the enemy to bunch together and then fire for maximum effect, then let your team engage and mop them up nicely. Maybe even get a double kill with that sneaky Hymn of Valor.
You may find that this spell is needed for a multitude of reasons some of which may seem unnecessary. I saved a teammate with it from a Rammus who would surely have caught him without the 1.5 second stun. This may have seemed like a wasted ult but I saved my teammate and denied the enemy kill gold in exchange for a 60 second cooldown.
Early Game Items
So alot of people say things like "the support shouldn't build AP, go tanky" and other meaningless drivel. That may work on champions like Blitzcrank or Thresh but Sona is an entirely different story. Her abilities all work very well off of Ap and a powerful Hymn of Valor and Aria of Perseverance are very important to assisting your allies effectively. Healing an ally and shielding him for over 200 hp every 5/6 seconds is pretty good, even for the tank. Buying Thornmail isn't going to improve your tank's Armour at all so what's the point? (Mini rant over, thanks for reading). Regardless I agree that Armour is important but I would not choose to get it at the expense of your abilities unless the situation calls for the item in question, such as Locket of the Iron Solari to counter a powerful Ap enemy or Frozen Heart] to counter autoattacking enemies.
During your first back always aim to get get your Sightstone for vision and then Frostfang asap, guaranteeing an extra 5 gold per poke when it has charges. Remember your gold income early game is going to come from this and any assists so getting it early is important in keeping up with your teammates and the enemy. Following that the Chalice of Harmony will fix mana issues with its passive (you'll notice the expenditure from healing your ADC is pretty horrible early game) and let you spam abilities that little bit more, the Magic Resist isn't always that bad either if your enemy has alot of magic damage such as Morgana and Nami or even Tristana.
Your final item at this stage will be the Athene's Unholy Grail which will almost completely cure any mana issues and give a decent bit of Ap and much wanted cooldowns.
Getting boots isn't massively important early but can help depending on your situation. You want boots ideally before the roaming stage so you can get around faster. Stick with the basic boots before the midgame unless you're swimming in gold. i recommend either Sorcerer's Shoes orif necessary, a defensive choice such as Mercury's Treads.
Mid and Late Game Items
Once you have your starting items now it's time to build that tasty Ap.
Your next buy is one of two items. The first and my personal favourite first buy is the Ardent Censer which grants your allies increased attack speed when they are shielded, this makes for a great combo when you use your Aria of Perseverance for the shields (procking your items passive) followed by the Hymn of Valor for the extra magic damage. The second item I like is Rabadon's Deathcap, why? 120 Ap along with the 30% increase from the passive can fit you with Ap rivalling your APC mid champion! (Generally somewhere over 300 Ap at this stage) The damage boost from your isn't anything to laugh at here and neither is the heal and speed boost from your and respectively. Following that it is advisable to replace your Frostfang with Talisman of ***ension. The active on this item is very very useful along with the cooldown and regenerations provided you will have alot of survivability as long as you play safe. talisman has a larger range than Song of Celerity and will grant a bigger speed boost with less risk. the extra cooldowns will give you the maximum 40% but you may get than anyway through other items.
Your final builds should be buying the Captain or homeguard enchantment for your boots followed by upgrading your Sightstone to the Ruby Sightstone version last. After that you're set for a good while and the game will probably be over already, but if you're having a little trouble securing the win there's one more thing you can do.
The 5th and Sixth items: A breakdown
These items are all situational and according to your own preferences. The following will give you the rundown of each item and help you pick what's best during the game.
This item is perhaps the most obvious Ap carry choice. it's good as a tankbuster and gives decent Ap for your abilities. The 10% cooldown will bring you up to the 40% limit but it will probably be wasted effects. It's pretty handy but not always the best choice due to it's limited uses. I do not recommend it.
This item is always good on an Ap champion. It grants you good amounts of ability power aswell as armour and the active as you should probably already know is very useful in a tight spot. Buy it if the enemy ADC or AD assassin is particularly tough or the enemy team is very AD heavy, that 50 Armour will come in handy. I highly recommend this item and often build it in place of the rabbadon's deathcap.
I haven't actually needed to use this item yet but I leave it there for obvious reasons. Sometimes you are a surprisingly high damage dealer on your team (maybe the only Ap champion) and it may become necessary to counter the enemy Magic Resist with this item. Stick it in your item set just so that it's there, it may come in handy one day. I do not know how the damage from the Hymn of Valor works yet. I assume that magic penetration works based on your allies and not yourself.
The Abyssal Scepter is a pretty good item for mages,especially mid laners and it's pretty useful on Sona. It provides Magic Resist which may be needed when fighting a heavy Ap enemy team or the passive will help your APC deal a bit more damage, including yourself. This passive is aoe so it will help your teammates when boosted by the [[hymn of valor].
Twin Shadows has been updated recently and no longer grants Magic Resist. However, the active ability is still pretty fun for chasing or escaping and now it grants decent Ap aswell as cooldowns giving it similar stats as the Deathfire grasp. this item is useful for the slows it's active provides, for example when when the enemy tends to escape or winds up chasing your teammates frequently and they need more help escaping. You can also use this abilitiy to scout the enemy as the ghosts will move towards eh nearest enemy champions. It's saved me from a few traps and it will save you too.
This item is commonly seen on Ap champions like Fizz for it's burst potential and it has the same uses here. Sona's burst becomes pretty epic with Lich Bane and when using your ability sequences in a fight can lead to you dealing alot of damage fast. This may sacarifice a bit of Ap for your W and E though so if you are taking more of a healer role on the team then this probably isn't the item for you.
Locket of the Iron Solari
This is a great support item that grants you and your allies +20 magic resist along with 10 health regen per 5 seconds. In addition it will grant you 400 hp and a further 20 magic resist. The active on the locket isn't massively great. Shielding a maximum of 230 hp on cast on al lnearby allies something your aria of perseverance does better. this is still useful though and this item is great when you're fighting enemy teams with alot of Ap damage such as a Nidalee.
Tactics and Tips: Early game
Don't forget when the game starts to use your Hymn of Valor a few times to get Power Chord ready so you can start with alot of damage in your first poke. The enemy will panic seeing the support with so much damage, scare tactics are fun! If you are helping your Jungler with a Buff at the start of the game then use your autoattack and then your [ion=hymn of valor] so you get another point immediately towards your next Power chord and another big poke.
Try to poke alot with Spellthief's Edge and it's equivalents and make sure you hit with the Power Chord combo in pokes for maximum damage, you can use up the gold charges on your item pretty quickly but don't let that stop you from constantly poking, It's your job to annoy the enemy team by healing your ADC and poking theirs, get started early and you'll rack up the damage nicely. There's nothing better than watching a Tanky support's Hp drop to below 75% after a Power Chord combo, all that Armour and no Magic Resist makes Sona a happy mute musically magical person...
Expect ganks if you're pushing alot, you probably won't be able to escape most times so be careful and use wards to maximum effect, be ready to run at a moments notice and don't take stupid risks.
Try avoiding killing minions when you're still farming gold with Spellthief's Edge or Frostfang as you get a 30 second cooldown before you can use up charges again. Your Hymn of Valor isn't your friend here as it hits two enemies when used and you can make mistakes and kill minions instead of hitting the enemy champion. This cooldown issue doesn't happen with Frost Queen's Claim so go wild and don't worry about minion kills after that. Pushing the lane is probably more important than farming by the time you get it but don't start stealing farm unnecessarily your ADC probably won't appreciate it.
you get the gold from your Support item when hitting turrets and the extra damage from a Power Chord is also dealt to the turret. You can deal alot of damage to the enemy turret using this trick whilst also earning gold from your item if the enemy is hiding behind their turret.
Always remember that you are fragile. You probably won't survive a 1v1 with the enemy ADC until late game along with use of Crescendo, let your team take most of the damage for you and heal them right back up afterwards.
Tactics and Tips: Mid and Late Game
In a teamfight spam your basic abilities to get as many Power Chords out as possible. Try to end a sequence of 3 abilities on a Q so you always get that tasty double damage. With the Athene's Unholy Grail you can spam your abilities as fast as possible and it will take at least 40 seconds before you run out of mana which will replenish quickly so don't be stingy. don't bother using Song of Celerity as when it is activated it will remove the buffs of the other abilities.
Late game try not to engage solo unless you know you'll get the kill, you can't heal people if you're dead. Your teammates will often take the punishment for you, letting you heal them and spam s aplenty.
Often you'll find the enemy team has some Uber attack like Katarina's ultimate. Save your Crescendo and use it on them to interrupt, trust me it's a life saver, don't trust your teammates to use their own stuns and interrupts to do this because that's when you die (this happens alot, never rely on your teammate unless you're in a ranked team with them and know they can be relied on to do stuff like this). Often these champions are squishy and a Power Chord combo following the Ultimate will send them running or maybe even get a kill if you have enough Ap.
When running away after a teamfight, try to use your W then the E so you use the movement bonus for maximum time whilst still healing an ally. It's just more effective that way. You can also use your Power Chord to slow down one or two enemy champions if you can safely risk slowing down to autoattack.
With your upgraded Boots along with the Captain boost aswell as your Song of Celerity your team can outrun pretty much everything but the fastest Teemo, don't lead a charge when near the enemy because you're squishy, but when escaping or just helping your allies get somewhere fast, you're the go to guy.
Remember your positioning when in a teamfight, don't get too close. Your W has a 1000 range which is more than enough to keep you safe and still helping out. Generally stick to the range of your average ADC, this is about right to ensure you can use your Hymn of Valor and still stay out of harm's way. Keep moving to stop the enemy targetting you as easily, you don't need to stand still except to use an autoattack which should ideally be a Power Chord.
So Sona with Ap can be pretty strong. If you play her right Sona doesn't have to be relegated to a pure supporting role in mid and late game like other supports and your overall team damage is going to be greater. Remember, not everybody's set will work as well for you as it does for them so don't be afraid to change a few things here and there, that's why I left some items as a choice.
If you have tried this type of Sona please leave a rating and a review in the discussions, all questions and feedback are wanted. Good luck supporting your team and have fun on the Fields of Justice!