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Sona Build Guide by BenTover

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author BenTover

Sona - dem tits protect your carry.

BenTover Last updated on October 25, 2011
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Ability Sequence

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





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
Sorcery
Alacrity
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brute Force
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lethality
Improved Rally
 
 
 
 
 
 
Havoc
 
 

Offense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
3/
Strength of Spirit
Evasion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Veteran's Scars
Willpower
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ardor
Reinforce
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tenacity
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
Awareness
4/
Expanded Mind
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Presence of the Master
 
 

Utility: 21


Guide Top

Introduction

Welcome to my Sona guide! I'll admit, this is my first guide on MOBAFIRE, so forgive formatting mistakes and whatnot. The first and foremost thing to remember about guides found anywhere is that they are just that - guides; and not concrete rules that you absolutely must follow in order to succeed. As such, I won't spend a ton of time talking about the specific Runes/Masteries/Items I chose for this build (though they will certainly be addressed), and will spend more time discussing strategy.

This guide is honestly geared towards babysitting a carry in bot lane (generally AD, and preferably ranged), and as such, it will often make the assumption that this is what you are doing. It can work in other situations (for instance, in super-low ELO matches where you're duo top with no jungler, or duo bot with something other than an AD carry).

Here are a few acronyms and/or shortenings I use throughout this guide:
Q = Hymn of Valor
W = Aria of Perseverance
E = Song of Celerity
R = Crescendo
your passive = Power Chord
ult = Crescendo
HP = Health
MP = Mana (I'm pretty sure I don't use this one, but if I do, I'm sorry - too much time playing MMORPGs).
AP = Ability Power
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
MR = Magic Resistance
MPen = Magic Penetration
K/D or KDR = kill/death ratio
top = Top Lane
mid = Middle Lane
bot = Bottom Lane
Baron = Baron Nashor (yes, some people don't make this connection)
Red or Lizard = the Lizard Camp that grants the Red Buff
Blue or Golem = the Golem Camp that grants the Blue Buff


Guide Top

Version History

10/19/11 - Ver 1.0
+ Guide created. Still working on formatting and such. Completed through Runes, started Items, completed Early Game Health/Mana Balance.
10/19/11 - Ver 2.0
+ Guide expanded. Added Pros/Cons section, added acronyms to Intro, expanded Masteries section, finished Items section and added alternative situational builds.
10/20/11 - Ver 3.0
+ Guide "finished". Added "Do's and Don't's" section and "Final Words" section.

10/21/11 - Ver 3.1
+ Updated boots choice with accordance to some great advice from Wayne3100. I did not notice that the choice of build I made between Runes, Masteries and Items did not actually even get near the CDR cap, and so I've included a good bit on ways to alleviate this gap. Also included some content updates in the Items section and in the Masteries section.
10/23/11 - Ver 3.2
+ Updated Items section slightly, made cosmetic improvements to Early Game Health/Mana Balance section, fixed a few typos.


Guide Top

Pros / Cons

Pros:

+ Virtually guarantees a fed carry (or at least a farmed one).
+ Requires no last-hitting ability to play well.
+ Easy pokes - Hymn of Valor targets enemy champions over minions now, and Sona's passive, Power Chord, is an awesome poke as well.
+ Sona is an escape artist - you shouldn't be dying unless the enemy chooses to focus you, in which case you've performed admirably and your carries are getting free reign to decimate the enemy while you get eaten.
+ Good at promoting fast games.
+ AoE Stun ultimate! No, it's not as ridiculous as Amumu's, but it can and should still grant you and your carries a free two seconds or so of damage output and/or escape.

Cons:

+ Can be squishy early/mid game.
+ Some people think support champs trail off in long games; Sona is harder to use correctly in late game, as you can be melted extremely fast if you're not careful.


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Masteries

As you can see, I've gone 0/9/21 in the Mastery Trees. Sona honestly does not gain a lot from the Offensive Tree, and so there is little to no reason to put anything in said tree. I can see that some may argue that Exhaust might help guarantee an escape or that Archmage's Savvy might fill Sona out more in the endgame, but neither of these benefits are really worth the points you could otherwise be using to help you survive and support, which are Sona's main roles.

The Defensive Tree has many tempting options for Sona, but the 9 points I've chosen have given me the most success to date. Take 3 points each in Resistance and Hardiness , as they both are useful early game in helping Sona babysit her carry in bottom lane. Strength of Spirit is rather nice for the extra Health Regeneration, but since you're not stacking Mana, it's nothing overly helpful, and thus taking three in Evasion isn't a terrible idea, either. If you find yourself in want of Experience, you may remove two points from Hardiness and move them to Awareness for a paltry 2.5% Experience gain. This is viable, especially if you know your opponents in bot will not be a serious AD threat early game, and even more especially because you can tack on some Armor later to make up for it with items like Randuin's Omen or Glacial Shroud or even Zhonya's Hourglass, if you're feeling cocky.

The Utility Tree is honestly where Sona becomes Sona. There is no reason to not take 21 in Utility. Take three in Good Hands and one in Perseverance*, because you probably won't be using Teleport or Ghost (though those can be viable - if you choose to use those, replace the corresponding point in the Summoner Skill you choose). Expanded Mind is very useful on Sona - I advise it heavily for extra staying power in lane. You can choose to take points in Awareness instead, but I find that you're more useful being able to use Aria of Perseverance or the like once or twice more instead of having the fewer uses being one level more beefy. Greed and Meditation are wonderful Masteries to take on Sona - passive gold gain is a must to stay relevant in late game, and Mana Regen is even more important, as you are literally walking gold if you're out of Mana. Utility Mastery is pointless, as you really shouldn't be taking your jungler's or mage's Golem buff - leave that for those who have more use for it. Quickness is a nice bonus to Sona, as it allows her to participate in more teamfights, and I take Flash and Clairvoyance, so Blink of an Eye is a given. Intelligence is awesome, as it helps you crank out all four of your Skills more often, which just makes you that much better at sustaining your team. Mystical Vision tacks four more seconds onto the duration of your Clairvoyance, which can frustrate enemies hiding just out of range or help you monitor a vital map point for a few more crucial seconds. Finally, finish out the Utility tree with Presence of the Master , which will let you spam Clairvoyance just that much MORE often.

Taking 0/21/9 might be viable - I haven't tried it myself. Making Sona slightly more tanky might give you that edge in teamfights, but the reduction in utility that you miss from not taking the majority of the Utility tree hurts a lot. Items are better suited for adding bulk to Sona - not Masteries.
I have also had it suggested to me to take 9/0/21. Doing this is mainly beneficial for the extra 3% CDR you gain from Sorcery , which allows you to move your Quintessences to something more helpful. The bit of extra AP from Archmage's Savvy doesn't hurt, either. I prefer the early game defensive boosts from my choice of Masteries, but you may make your own choice.


* Yes, I realize Garen's passive is not a Mastery, but they share the same name, so I don't know how to get it to show the correct tooltip.


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Summoner Spells


I strongly advise these. As a support, it's your job to carry Clairvoyance, and to use it frequently (see the Masteries for decreased cooldown). Flash helps you in many ways. You can Flash into a teamfight that the enemy thinks you're not present for and throw a Crescendo over the majority of their team, or use Flash in any of the more conventional, escape-oriented ways.

Alternatives include Ghost, Teleport, Exhaust, and Clarity

Ghost is a bit pointless when you already have a movement buff, but it can help in tight situations.
Teleport can get you to a teamfight more quickly than your E can, but you should be predictive in where they might happen, so you should really already be present in most cases.
Exhaust can help keep yourself or a teammate alive, or slow down a target for your carry, but you really shouldn't be expected to do THAT much for your team.
Clarity is less helpful in higher ELO games, but can help keep you in lane forever if you take it.


Guide Top

Runes

Runes on Sona can vary widely. Honestly, any combination of Mana, Health, regen of either of those, Armor, Magic Resistance, Cooldown reduction, or Ability Power will work. If you find yourself consistently slightly behind where you'd like to be, taking Experience per time or Gold per time Runes might be viable, but that's generally not worth it.

For this guide, I've listed the following Runes:

- 9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for beefing up your early game harass and general damage output (though that's admittedly not Sona's best quality).
- 9x Greater Seal of Replenishment for passive Mana Regen, which Sona desperately needs from one source or another.
- 9x Greater Glyph of Mana for some early game Mana, which you'll still somewhat feel even in late game. The extra 100 or so Mana really helps Sona sit in lane for as long as possible without having to return to base for Mana.
- 1x Greater Quintessence of Knowledge for late-game Mana. The extra 75 Mana at level 18 is honestly not game-changing, but you reach the 40% CDR cap with just two Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction, so there's no point adding a third of that.
- 2x Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction for that extra nudge toward the 40% Cooldown Reduction cap. You'll have 6% from Masteries, 30% from items, and these two give you the last 4%. If you don't mind having only 36% CDR, then feel free to substitute these two for something else.

Again, the specific Runes you choose isn't the most important thing in this guide or in your performance as Sona. This is certainly not the only configuration that can work, and might not even be the best for your playstyle. Keep this in mind.

Thanks again to Wayne3100 for the tip on CDR.


Guide Top

Early Game Health/Mana Balance

The key to early game Health/Mana balance is to use the appropriate remedy for the appropriate situation. Here are a few guidelines of different cases:

- If you and your carry are relatively full on Health, and if you have a decent amount of Mana, then feel free to harass a bit with your Q and Power Chord (your passive).
- If you and your carry are relatively full on Health, and if you're low on Mana, consider popping your Mana Potion and continuing to harass, but harass either less or with just auto attacks.
- If you and/or your carry are missing more than 150ish health (remember, this is early game), and if you have any respectable amount of Mana left, use your W to heal your carry. If the enemy continues to push onto your carry and if you have your passive up, use Power Chord on the enemy carry to reduce their damage output and help guarantee your carry's survival.
- If you are low on Health and also low on Mana, consider popping a Health Potion instead of using the Mana to use your W.

Above all, make sure your carry lives and has enough Health to comfortably farm.


Guide Top

Items

Items on Sona are honestly quite fun. You get to use items that you usually wouldn't end up buying except on champions who play similar roles, like Janna, or to a lesser extent, Soraka.

Strongly Advised:


Sight Ward Sight Ward

I generally start with these, as this combination allows for the most staying power over any other assortment of items. See the next section for guidelines on when to use your Potions and when to substitute them for your W, or vice versa.

Also Viable:


Sight Ward Sight Ward

This allows you to spam your W much more often, with the tradeoff that you won't have the guaranteed healing ability of the Health Potions as often. Obviously, there is some interchange, as the extra Mana will allow you to use your W more often to alleviate the lack of Health Potions. Either option works - it really comes down to how much harassment you can expect on yourself and how much you can expect on your carry. I've found that opponents like to harass Sona more than my carry, as they expect me to be able to do less damage to them in return.

Ward Usage:



As soon as you get to your lane, whether you helped protect your jungler's starting point or not, consider plopping a ward in the bush in the river. You have two of these for a reason. Especially consider this option if your opponent's jungler is capable of a level 2 gank, like Xin Zhao or Wukong or the like.
Remember that it is YOUR JOB to ward the majority of the map for the majority of the game. Yes, it seems unfair because you generate the least gold of your team. Get over it - your carries and tanks need their items much more than you need yours.

How your items affect your gameplay:



Try to stay in lane all the way until level 6, then steal a kill for (NOT FROM) your jungler or your carry with your ult. Whether or not you're successful, return to base whenever it's convenient and buy Boots of Speed and Philosopher's Stone. If you have to return early for whatever reason, prioritize one over the other situationally. For example, if the enemy has heavy harass, consider the Philosopher's Stone for regen.

Continuing into the mid game, finish out your Ionian Boots of Lucidity and be sure that your Philosopher's Stone is finished. I generally like to then buy the Heart of Gold next, as it helps you finish Shurelya's Reverie faster. There is also a nice interchange between Heart of Gold and Shurelya's Reverie in that Kindlegem and Heart of Gold both build from Ruby Crystal, so you can choose which to build based on the context of the game if you can only afford the Ruby Crystal during one of your trips back to base.
Keep in mind that it is your job to be buying Sight Wards - despite that you don't get a ton of farm, you should be the one to take the gold loss, not your carry. A successful Sona keeps her carry alive, and that means preventing ganks, too - not just enduring them.

BUILDS:



, Shurelya's Reverie, and
In any case, these should be your starting items. From here, you have many choices to finish your build. I strongly advise Aegis of the Legion, and as such, I've included it in most of the cases below. The aura and defenses are honestly hard to justify not taking, as it's your job to keep your team alive. If you can accomplish this by items as well as Skills, then by all means, you should. The general direction of what you want is to make sure you stay alive in the increasingly large and frequent teamfights, but if you're winning most of them, you can decide to be cocky and tack on some AP to make your Q, passive and ult hurt a bit more, and to make your W heal a tad bit more.
Yet another role you fill after you buy Shurelya's Reverie is that you must remember to use your items' Active bonuses. This is even more important if you buy Randuin's Omen. Keep in mind that your teamfight utility is not limited to Q, W, E and R, unlike most champions.
One final note: whenever it feels right, especially if you're playing in higher ELO matches, it is your job to buy Oracle's Elixir and clear out enemy wards. Since it is also fairly easy for you to stay alive (you have three escape spells if you take Flash, for Christ's sake), you'll likely get a lot of use out of it.

I generally take one of two paths:

Average Case:



These give you a nice balance of defenses, and grant you that tempting Ability Power. You'll be beefy enough to not be immediately melted if you get targeted, and have enough AP to keep your skills and passive relevant in terms of damage. The auras from three of your items - Shurelya's Reverie, Aegis of the Legion, and Abyssal Scepter now make you a walking uber buff to your team, especially on top of whichever aura you have going.

Against Heavy AD:



These make you a veritable physical tank. Heart of Gold builds into Randuin's Omen, which helps alleviate some of it's otherwise ridiculous cost for a champ who gets as little farm as Sona. Aegis of the Legion's aura is a very useful benefit to your allies, as it stacks nicely on top of your W's aura. Remember to use Randuin's Omen's Active in teamfights.

Against Heavy AP:


or
These will help you stay alive against teams with a lot of AP. Quicksilver Sash is much cheaper and thusly a lot more appealing to Sona, but if you can scrounge the Gold for it, Banshee's Veil will certainly help you more.

If you're facerolling the enemy:



This is certainly a novelty, and if you're facerolling your enemy hard enough to warrant buying these, you probably won't gain the gold necessary to finish them anyway. However, if you desire, these help you the most. Lich Bane makes your passive make your autoattacks hilariously painful, and Archangel's Staff makes you be able to spam your skills forever.

Other Choices:



Sona's unique role in team compositions results in that many items are viable on her. Each of these listed, however, failed to make the cut because of very specific weaknesses.
+ Soul Shroud gets redundant whilst stacked with other Health-adding items like Shurelya's Reverie and Randuin's Omen.
+ Mercury's Treads is tempting, as you would think it would help you stay alive with its Tenacity boost. However, if you're going to be focused in a teamfight, odds are that you won't live anyway, regardless of if you get un-stunned a bit faster. Wayne3100 gave me this tidbit, as I initially pushed Mercury's Treads over Ionian Boots of Lucidity, but I've now tested and approved of his suggestion.
+ Force of Nature looks tempting, but Sona doesn't need the movespeed or the health regen that much. She can take care of those things herself, so really all she gains is the Magic Resistance, which is better gotten from items like Quicksilver Sash or other cheap options.
+ Frozen Heart also looks tempting, but it's extremely expensive and also suffers from overlapping with other items in the stats it grants. The armor is nice, but Randuin's Omen is really a better option.
+ Guardian Angel would seem like almost a given on Sona, because it lets her revive and continue to project her auras. This is not quite as nice as it seems, though. Her Auras stop projecting when she's in the "dead" state, and the loss of the defensive aura of Aegis of the Legion (which Guardian Angel would inherently replace) hurts.

Why so few items?


You may have noticed that most of these builds only have 4 or 5 fully-built items in them. The main reason for this is that you will really only get through this many items in the vast majority of your games. Sona is not a gold farmer by any means. Your main source of Gold generation is passive Gold gain, team objectives, and your Items/Masteries/Runes. By the end of most games, you may not even have 4 items built, much less 5 or 6. If you do, I trust you can all assess the situation and buy something suitable for the enemy team... probably something from the Alternative Choices section at the end.
Another thing you should definitely consider buying is an Oracle's Elixir. Clearing out enemy wards is also a role that falls to you for two reasons: you can most afford the loss of Gold, and you are likely to stay alive longest. This purchase is almost a given if your enemies include a Stealthing champion like Evelynn, Shaco, Teemo, or Twitch. I don't actually know if Oracle's Elixir lets you see Akali during her Twilight Shroud or Talon during his Shadow Assault, but if it does, even more reason to buy it if they are amongst your enemy.


Guide Top

Do's and Don't's of Sona

Until this guide is expanded further, I'll leave a handful of tips and tidbits on how to play Sona effectively.

DO:


+ harass the enemies' carry early game with Q and Power Chord to the best of your ability. If you can harass the enemy carry down to 1/2 health or so, your jungler and/or carry can probably finish the job.
+ keep your team healthy. There is little to no excuse for not healing a teammate as you pass them. If you have mana, they'd better have health. There are only a few exceptions (teamfights, they're returning to base immediately, etc.) to this rule.
+ use your E frequently to help you and your teammates get from place to place. Despite that I advise against taking Teleport on Sona, there is still very little reason for you to not be present in teamfights. I come out of most games with at least 2/3 as many assists as my entire team has kills... Soraka of course does this easily, but Sona requires physical presence to be able to do this. This is where Song of Celerity comes in.
+ LEARN Power Chord's DETAILS. Notice that there is an added effect with each of your three auras. The best Sona players know not to only use whichever they happen to have up and not to only to use the extra damage with Q. If you're being chased, slow their ***es down with Power Chord while E is up. If the enemy Kog'Maw is melting your carries, cut his damage with Power Chord and your W.

DON'T:


+ steal last hits from your carry. If your carry or even your jungler can't take the last hit, THEN you can take it.
+ ignore the passive gold gain from Philosopher's Stone and Heart of Gold. If you fail to keep your item build going, then you fail to stay relevant, and your teammates will feel your support less and less.
+ run away from teamfights. Yes, it's your role to stay alive. However, if it's between you and any other member of your team, you'd better be the one to die.
+ miss Crescendo. It's a rather large AoE, and if you miss it, you've no one to blame but yourself. Feel free to abuse Flash + Crescendo - just be sure your team will follow you, otherwise you've wasted it.
+ try to solo lane with this build. Sona solo lanes have to build considerably differently, and even if they do, they're only questionably viable. If you're looking to melt enemies and rack up ridiculous KDR's, then Sona is likely not the champ for you.
+ die. Once you're dead, your auras are gone, too. This weakens your entire team not only in that it's now one more member in their favor, but they're now relatively weaker than they were when you were alive, as well.


Guide Top

Final Words

One thing that I don't think I've mentioned in this guide is that Sona is not meant to singlehandedly carry your team to victory. A good Sona can only make decent players better. You can't farm for them, you can't initiate every teamfight (thought you can try with Crescendo), you can't push towers (alone), and you certainly can't play their champ for them. That being said, you can more than definitely break your team. If you're not doing your job, then the game falls into the 4v5 dogma, like when you have a feeder.
You won't be getting 15 kills a match, and you won't always be going entire matches without dying (unless the opposition is hilariously bad). Teams will often focus you because they're tired of seeing you escape alive, and they think you're the source of all damage. If you die but your team wins the fight, then congratulations - you've mastered the essence of a support champ. If you live but your team loses the fight, then you've likely done something or many things wrong. Your job is to make sure the teamfight is won, which can be frustrating, as no teamfight can be won by a single player.
A GOOD Sona game often results in an even-to-slightly-negative K/D, and a crazy number of assists. As I mentioned earlier in my guide, in most of my matches as Sona, I come out of the game with an at least two assists for every three kills my team has. Yes, you might pick up the odd kill, but don't expect to be rivaling your carries unless you're stealing kills (hint: don't do that).

I hope that this guide helps anyone out there who wants to try Sona out as the role that she excels in (support). I might come back later and add novelty AP or AD builds (both of which I've tried, to varying degrees of success).