Sona Build Guide by Confehdehrehtheh
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.
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.
11/22/2011: New Masteries are up. Still experimenting with setups because I haven't played much league as of late. Minecraft and Skyrim have my attention currently. I'll be sure to come back and update this when I get a chance to play some more Sona.
- Aria of Perseverance
- Base heal adjusted to 40/60/80/100/120
- Aria of Perseverance
- Base heal reduced to 25/50/75/100/125 from 35/70/105/140/175
- Ability power ratio reduced to .25 from .35
- Now grants double her passive aura bonus to her heal target and herself for 3 seconds
- Reduced the lockout time while casting Sona's songs to make them more responsive
- Fixed a bug where Hymn of Valor and Aria of Perseverance caused her to deal 20% reduced damage
8/25/2011 - Full guide and build revamp due to support changes.
8/29/2011 - Remade the Team Comp section with more additions and better clarity(I hope).
9/15/2011 - Patch notes and new games added.
11/4/2011 - Added ranked log.
Sona is by far my favorite support champion to play. She does a good amount of damage early game, has a fun and rewarding playstyle if you have good situational awareness, and has pretty colored auras that add ambiance to the Fields of Justice. She is pretty newbie friendly and has a huge impact on the team she's a part of. I highly recommend her if you're just starting out on the support role.
This guide focuses purely on support and not damage or even off dps like some other guides. Sona's spells scale from between bad( Aria of Perseverance) to decent( Crescendo). I feel that with cooldown reduction and item auras Sona is much more effective as her heal is on a much shorter cooldown and she can have everyone constantly zipping around the map.
Hymn of Valor: Sona's offensive aura and main damage spell.
Active: Releases two beams of energy that hit the nearest targets for flat magic damage.
Passive: Increases nearby allies' ability power and attack damage.
It's a great harassing tool, especially when combined with her Power Chord. Don't forget that the passive adds quite a bit of AP and that extra boost can help give you a bit more healing as opposed to waiting for your heal to come off cool down and cast again. Basically make sure you're playing beautiful blue music before you heal every time. The little parts add up quickly.
Aria of Perseverance: Sona's defensive aura and heal.
Active: Heals the nearest ally that is hurt the most(by percentage) and Sona for a flat amount. Places a buff for double the passive aura on herself and the heal target for 3 seconds.
Passive: Increases nearby allies' armor and magic resist.
Lemme grind something into your head here. Double the passive aura. Double the passive aura. Double the passive aura. Got that? That is a lot of extra durability on yourself and an ally. ESPECIALLY with 40% CDR which this build will easily achieve(mulitple times even if needed). 71% uptime on a 40AR/MR buff late game will leave you and one lucky teammate very durable and very happy. At level 18 with Aegis of the Legion alone, no runes/masteries/other items, Aria of Perseverance will put you at 140 armor and 109 magic resistance. THIS IS NOT ACCOUNTING OTHER ITEMS. Sona's early game got hit hard with the healing nerf, but this change gave her an insane amount portable durability mid-late game. The Power Chord bonus is still a little bit underwhelming in comparison to her other two auras considering it didn't get changed at all.
Song of Celerity: Sona's chasing and escaping aura.
Active: Increases all nearby allies' speed by a percentage for a short time.
Passive: Increases all nearby allies' speed by a flat amount.
This is probably one of my favorite things about Sona, and what gives her the most utility in my opinion. It allows her to assist in a chase or assist in getting the hell out of wherever bad things are happening. Proper use of it's Power Chord bonus can be the difference between dying/getting the team a kill.
Crescendo: Sona's ultimate; a line AoE stun that does damage over the duration
Active: Stuns everything in a line by forcing them to dance(which should be enough to make you want to play Sona on its own), and doing a small amount of damage over the duration of the stun.
Just another piece to the already awesome skill-set. This can be what causes a team fight to entirely flip in favor of your team. This can be what allows you to escape a normally fatal gank. This can be what gets gank after gank as you make your team haul *** as you make the enemy dance for you. Proper timing is rewarded with wins.
Sona's passive, Power Chord gets it's own section. It has so many mechanics behind it that it deserves one. First off, after three spell casts Sona's next basic attack will do extra magic damage. Based off of what aura is currently active, Power Chord will have one of three affects.
+ Power Chord's bonus damage is doubled.
This one is pretty straight forward. Use this for that extra bit of damage to help in an early first blood, take down towers faster, last hit creeps, bring down Baron/Dragon faster, and basically help kill things that need killing. Generally best used on champions when you know you don't need to worry about them escaping.
+ Enemy damage output is lowered by 20% for three seconds.
This is my least favorite of the three bonuses, but it does have its uses. Lowered damage from an incoming nuke can help tremendously early game. Other times such as if Nunu is channeling Absolute Zero and can't be escaped, a quick autoattack can help mitigate some of the damage you'd receive otherwise.
+ Slows the target by 40%.
By far my favorite bonus. Helps allies get away when being chased, helps chase down enemies that decide you aren't fun to be around, and helps your team love you more in general. (Let's just hope Riot doesn't revert the buff they gave it :D)
Main Spell Choice
Flash: Flash Flash Flash Flash Flash. That's the name of the game right now and it honestly couldn't be much better on Sona. You are incredibly squishy before your items get built up, even with Aria of Perseverance's on-cast effect. Flash will help you escape from ganks early game, and help keep you in the correct position late game.
Clairvoyance: Free sight every 30 seconds or so. So useful in so many ways I can't even begin to count. The biggest one, obviously, is map control. This will save you and your laning partner from ganks early on and will help keep track of the enemies through out the game allowing you to fight on your terms and not worry about their whereabouts.
Other Good Choices
Ghost: Overall great utility in Ghost. Allows for those times when that enemy is just barely out of range and the speed boost from Song of Celerity won't cut it alone. This also provides a great escape mechanism to run away with if things get too dicey.
Clarity: Now, I used to run Clarity/Clairvoyance before and hoped to God that my speed buff was enough to keep me alive, but I found that having that survivability increased my performance a lot. This is still a perfectly viable choice instead of Clairvoyance though if someone else takes it instead of you. Sona eats up mana all game long and Clarity will make your laning partner happy as well.
Fortiy: Perfectly viable if no one has it and you feel like it's needed. I generally don't use it, but Fortify has provided some clutch game saves before so I wouldn't burn you at the stake if I saw you using it.
Teleport: I don't find it to be necessary or particularly useful on Sona. She moves fast enough with her Song of Celerity that getting back into a lane isn't a problem, and she can't easily defend a tower by teleporting to it.
Revive: You shouldn't be dying to begin with, but even if you do Revive isn't gonna help much. You can't defend entirely by yourself and you'd just end up feeding another kill if the enemy was far enough in your base that you'd be able to get to them. The only way I could see the being useful is for the speed buff to help get back to an ally that was being chased after you died.
Rally: The AD bonus doesn't help you much at all, and Clarity/Clairvoyance are much better utility spells throughout the game.
Cleanse: Shouldn't be needed. Your job is to stay in the back of fights and not be the target CC while keeping everyone alive and buffed.
Ignite: Sure it can pick up a kill or two, but you aren't the one that needs those kills. Your carry does. You'll be feeding off of assists the whole game with maybe an accidental kill or two.
Exhaust: While it could be helpful, you already have both a slow and damage mitigation ability. Ghost or Flash would both be better choices for escape mechanisms.
Heal: I actually forgot about this spell while I was writing this and didn't notice until I was proof reading. Sona does not need heal in my opinion. Her built in heal is on an extremely short cooldown, costs only 65 mana, and provides a damage resistance buff. You don't need this crutch.
Smite: Looks like I missed this in the first draft too. Shows just how much I use it with Sona. Unless you plan on jungling(which you shouldn't), don't get it.
Greater Mark of Insight
Greater Seal of Clarity
Greater Glyph of Warding
Greater Quintessence of Potency OR Greater Quintessence of Avarice OR
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
Runes are largely personal preference. Swiftness will help you steer clear of harmful skill shots and kite more easily, Gold quints make the gold strain from lacking CS lighter, and Flat AP will give a small but nice boost to your healing and early game harass.
The support rework changed a Sona's early game a lot. She no longer has her crazy sustain that she used to, and now has a pretty inefficient heal in terms of health restored. It gives more effective health in terms of resistances, but to make up for the lack of actual healing we need more early game mana regen.
Support gets revamped, Sona gets a new core set. Tear of the Goddess is **** for her now. It was only any good before because her heal was actually fairly efficient and she could build up the mana bonus fast. Now that her base AND ratio are low, it just doesn't give enough mana regen fast enough in order to be of any use. Eleisa's Miracle however gives an amazing amount of regen for a really low price, plus some tenacity to boot. Top it off with the regen from Shurelya's Reverie and the durability of Aegis of the Legion you have a well rounded, tough, and spell-spamming music maker. Banshee's Veil is really a no brainer if the game goes on long enough. The shield saves lives and wins games. Core for sure.
This item is bought purely for the active, the AP is just a bonus. You work best when you're not dead and Zhonya's can make you be "not dead" with the touch of a button. Plus your auras persist through the effect so you're still helping your team even though you can't actively do anything.
I know I said this isn't an AP nuke everything guide(and that still holds true), but I've seen this used a couple times now mixed in with my build and I gotta say it's damn effective. It takes care of some survivability problems, gives some mana for spammin', and gives some more AP. It's likely the most self-centered item on the list but your team will definitely thank you if you're not dead so I'd say it would be a tossup between this and Zhonya's in terms of which you get. Rod is cheaper, and gives more stats than Zhonya's, but the Hourglass has the awesome active and some armor. Take a pick.
If the other team is largely physical, and no one on your team buys this, this is an excellent item to grab. Frozen Heart has great synergy with your now sky-high mana regen, and the CDR will allow you to replace your boots with something else like Sorcerer's Shoes or Boots of Swiftness.
Good magic resist for teams that are obliterating you even through Banshee's Veil. The additional AP will also help a small bit with your healing, though the MR reduction Aura is much more appealing in terms of the usefulness of the item.
If your team largely uses abilities as a main damage source such as Urgot, Evelynn, or Kassadin grabbing this will give you a small bit of AP, but will much more importantly give some spell vamp to everyone. This'll also let you save mana for speed buffs and keep you from needing to heal so often.
Yes Zeke's Harbinger. You're near everyone anyway, if it's the only thing left might as well pick one up. It helps everyone regardless of what they use for damage, because EVERYONE USES AUTO ATTACKS. It might not mean as much to some champions as others, but it will make a difference.
First off before anything, charge your passive while in the spawning pool. If you're quick about everything you'll be able to pick your Hymn of Valor, cast it, buy your items, cast it again, AND Clairvoyance the enemy spawn in order to see their lanes. Takes a little bit of practice to get the timing perfect but you should be able to in a couple games if you can't already.
Sona can be played extremely aggressive in the lane. Take over the brush, hide in wait while your friendly neighborhood carry racks up minion kills, and pop out on occasion for a Hymn of Valor + Power Chord burst to let the enemy know who's in control. This will cause them to play more cautiously, or get a little overzealous about what they're doing and make a mistake by coming for you. With some extra durability from Aria of Perseverance you can safely duck in and out harassing the hell out of them and still make money while doing so. Don't play stupid though. Make sure you always know what's going on in your lane's river-brush whether it's through Sight Wards or Clairvoyance. Your job is to make everyone's life on your team a little easier, and the enemy team's life living hell. Track the enemy jungler, harass your lane, ward up the map for your team. You are a floating aura-bot with a radar every 40 seconds or so. USE IT.
Generally I managed to fund myself entirely on assists. While last hitting is obviously something that everyone needs to know how to do, it seems that Sona has a much easier time since an assist simply means she stands nearby. All of her auras have pretty long active ranges so she can press a button and get some money if a kill goes down. This gives you a lot of leeway with allowing your carry to get more farm.
Focus on staying alive and harassing as much as you can. Sona's pretty difficult to take down if you're keeping aware of your surroundings and have a competent laning partner that can keep enemies of your tail. Something nice about Sona is that her skilling order early on is flexible.
Crushing the lane
This will let you maximize early game damage and chasing ability while not neglecting Sona's healing capabilities. Use Power Chord bonus from Hymn of Valor to whittle champions down and then the bonus from Song of Celerity to slow down enemies for your team mate to annihilate.
Having a hard time
If you're having a difficult time early on, rank up Aria of Perseverance at level three instead of Hymn of Valor. Those two levels can mean a world of difference if you're getting pounded enough to need the extra healing.
On your first trip back to the pool you should be able to buy both your Philosopher's Stone and Boots of Speed. Just an assist or two should be sufficient for these early on. Always remember to buy at least one Sight Ward every trip back. Information can change the game and wards provide information. Eleisa's Miracle, Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and Philosopher's Stone will likely be the main three items you have in the early game. Once mid game comes around is when you'll pick up Aegis of the Legion and Shurelya's Reverie. Always try to keep a Philosopher's Stone on you until you complete the main portion of your core. They pay for themselves quickly and you actually do end up upgrading into other items so keep em around for a while.
Now come the team fights. Making money is a breeze now since Sona easily can assist in a gank or is an awesome backbone in a fight. Don't doubt the bonuses that passively come from her auras. 20 extra AD or AP is a great help. When a large fight breaks out I generally try to follow this checklist.
- Try to land Aria of Perseverance on the initiator before the fight starts. It's a lot of extra defense to start a fight with.
- Nuke nearest squishy.
- Always make sure to heal when it's off cooldown.
- Crescendo when enemies are a) grouped up or b) channeling something devastating such as Absolute Zero or Death Lotus.
- Slow down the runners. That 40% slow is huge when four people are chasing you.
- Watch your positioning. Yes, Hymn of Valor requires that you be closest to the target that you want to hit, but don't be stupid about it. You're better off alive and hitting minions with it so the passive stays up than dead because you needed to go around and ended up getting pulled into a turret by Rocket Grab or the like.
- Keep the carry healthy. This comes with 3 and 6. Always make sure you're healing, but try to make sure you'll be healing the carry more often if you can. Of course if someone is dying they need to be saved and Sona will take care of that. However just because someone gets a heal doesn't mean they needed it more. Aria of Perseverance is a weird heal in that it heals the most damaged champion by percentage. One reason this can be a bad thing is your tank could be next to you with 1.5k health but technically be at 50% while the carry is standing with 900 health and is at 51%. The heal would prefer the tank even though he has plenty of health to stay going. This may be an extreme example but I hope it explains what I was trying to say.
When you're pushing down towers try to land Power Chord with Hymn of Valor active. The bonus damage is great for tearing up buildings.
At this game you're a walking heal bus with a never ending stream of buffs. You'll have high mana regen, and maxed CDR, so there really is no reason that you should have less than two buffs going at a time unless you are completely alone and just trying to get somewhere with Song of Celerity. 40% CDR allows you to actually have all three auras active for short bursts, though most of the time you'll just have two. These will likely be Song of Celerity and Hymn of Valor if on the offensive, or Song of Celerity and Aria of Perseverance if you need to run or defend.
Stick to the same rules for team fights late game. It should be a lot easier since you'll have much more meat behind you and will be able to heal, stun, and run if things screw up. Try to save someone that can kill things if you can but don't get yourself killed in the process. That's a bit anti-productive. If all goes well your team should roll into the enemy base and you'll end up with a nice double-digit assist score.
As I play I'll list some good laning match-ups and teammates that I've found through experience.
Any ranged carry
This includes the following
Ashe - God tier chain stun with Enchanted Crystal Arrow and Crescendo
Caitlyn - Laning phase was just won with Caitlyn's stupid autoattack range and Hymn of Valor AD boost.
Corki - Excellent survivability and not as easy to kill as other ranged carries with still doing great damage. Corki is more likely to survive early game ganks than other carries with Valkyrie paired with Song of Celerity.
Ezreal - Lots and lots of damage and escape at the expense of survivability.
Kog'Maw - Ridiculous range even early on so he can abuse Hymn of Valor. No innate method of escape though so caution is advised early on. He'll shred everything you stun late game though.
Miss Fortune - Bullet Time + Crescendo = GG
Tristana - Tristana is one of those late game time bombs. Early on she isn't spectacular, but her late game damage is unmatched. Rapid Fire will give her ample fire power to take full advantage of Crescendo.
Urgot (damage build) - Normally he'll have a solo lane, but a duo-lane Urgot and Sona is still a scary sight. Acid Hunter allows him to rip apart people safely from a distance while Zaun-Touched Bolt Augmenter keeps you fairly safe from early game damage which is largely auto-attacks. A good Urgot will also be able to kite like a boss using Terror Capacitor's slowing effect.
Vayne - Vayne is already scary fast because of Night Hunter and Final Hour. Now imagine that same Vayne with Song of Celerity boosts. No one will ever escape, even with Flash.
Out of these I personally prefer to have Caitlyn or Kog'Maw with me. Both have ridiculous range for lane dominance, which Sona excels at, and can safely take advantage of the extra AD from Hymn of Valor early game.
Tanky DPS / Offtanks
Most of the time you'll see them taking solo top or in the jungle, but Tanky DPS make up a solid early game with Sona and can help soak some punishment late game. Ideally you want someone that can peel offenders off of you during the laning phase and when your tank is preoccupied in teamfights, or someone that has particularly good synergy with your slow/stun. Many of these same champions can also initiate a fight allowing you to follow up with a mass Crescendo. This list includes;
Irelia - Equilibrium Strike is an amazing peal and Irelia becomes extremely tanky late game.
Nunu - Usually in the jungle, but Song of Celerity + Blood Boil and Ice Blast make for scary ganks.
Skarner - Excellent AoE slow and single target lockdown regardless of what people say.
Trundle - Agony and Pillar of Filth allow him to soak up damage in a fight and keep people off of his squishy support friend.
Urgot(off-tank build) - Another fat target with lots of defense from Frozen Heart and Banshee's Veil. Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverse allows for crazy initiations when combined with Crescendo.
Warwick - Hit him with Aria of Perseverance before he uses Infinite Duress and watch him start a fight and never take damage.
Wukong - While he can't peal particularly well, he can be built to fit the sponge role perfectly, and provides lots of team-wide CC with Cyclone while still dishing out a large amount of damage.
My favorites here are Irelia and Warwick with Trundle coming up just behind them. I love these three just because of the damage they can retain while still having great innate sustain and survivability. They're solid offtanks that you won't need to work nearly as hard to keep alive as some of the others, and are often in the solo lane or jungle freeing up a lane space for a squishier champion that you can babysit.
AoE explosions are a brilliant complement to Crescendo. AP Carries that can take full use of a grouped up enemy team are amazing on Sona's team.
Anivia - Glacial Storm will eat enemy teams alive after you've made them all start dancing.
Annie - Pyromania for chain stuns with Crescendo and massive burst once everyone is stunned.
Brand - Pyroclasm requires targets to be grouped up and preferably stationary so the bounces won't fizzle. That's what Sona's ultimate does!
Fiddlesticks - Crowstorm is a nasty spell in it's own right, but when the victims are helplessly stuck dancing in the birds it's just downright sickening.
Orianna - Sometimes Crescendo just isn't enough to lock down the whole team. Sometimes you need them all on the exact same spot. That's where Command: Shockwave comes in. Not only does Orianna have the ability to lock entire teams in place with Sona, she's also doing huge amounts of AoE and burst while bringing extra utility to the table.
Rumble - The Equalizer and Flamespitter are two of the most terrifying AoE abilities in my opinion just because of the size of each. Rumble can easily capitalize on Crescendo and has some meat on his bones to keep him alive too.
Swain - Ravenous Flock needs as many nearby enemy champions as possible to maximize it's efficiency. If people are running around in team fights, ravens might not hit the most targets possible. That's where Sona comes into play! Keep your birdy alive by keeping the enemy still.
Fiddlesticks is definitely my favorite here. Crowstorm is just far too much fun and so satisfying when you see it and Crescendo.
Tanks are great to have around regardless of who you're playing, but because most of them have great initiation you don't have to put yourself in harm's way to start a fight nor do you need to wait for the enemy team to make a mistake.
Alistar - Alistar can pick on just about anyone that he wants to with a Pulverize Headbutt combo which helps setup Crescendo. Alistar is a much more supportive tank though, so having him in a game with Sona isn't all that likely.
Amumu - Will often be in the jungle, but team fight initiation and control is great. Try to time your Crescendo so that you get the largest lockdown time after Curse of the Sad Mummy
Galio - Idol of Durand and Crescendo makes for some of the best full-team lockdown in the game.
Leona - If your carries happen to be elsewhere, a Leona + Sona lane is pretty funny. You have complete control over most enemy lanes. Leona is naturally very resilient and because of Sunlight your burst with a Hymn of Valor Power Chord is really high. Once team fights come around you'll have a large amount of control in the fight with Solar Flare and Crescendo as well as Song of Celerity slows and ministuns that Leona throws out.
Malphite - Malphite has naturally high armor and won't be easily taken down regardless, but with Aria of Perseverance not only do you make him harder to kil but increase his inital burst from Ground Slam after an Unstoppable Force initiation. Of course a follow-up Crescendo will keep up with the AoE lock-down theme.
Maokai - Probably one of the strongest peals in the game. Arcane Smash will be able to keep enemies from obliterating you and the other squishies while Twisted Advance will start any fight on your terms.
If you're laning with a tank, Leona is by far my favorite. If your tank is in the jungle Amumu would be the best pick. All of the above are great compliments to Sona though so whatever suits your team should be the choice.
AP vs Cooldown/support
I've had a few people ask why I don't get more AP such as with a Mejai's or Rabadon's. The reason is, I feel that utility from cooldown reduction is much more effective on Sona. The scaling for Aria of Perseverance is pathetic for stacking AP, and stacking CDR will allow more heals in a shorter time, as well as providing a mass stun from Crescendo.
CDR will also let you switch to your proper aura faster. This can be clutch for times when you're being chased, spamming away at Song of Celerity and Aria of Perseverance. Not only are you limited by the global cooldown, but the individual cooldown as well. With CDR you'll build up your passive faster in order to hit the threat with a Song of Celerity boosted Power Chord. This build will get you to about a 3.7 second individual cooldown, and the global cooldown is roughly .6-.7 seconds. That's a 40% slow every 3.7 seconds with a heal immediately after ever speed boost you cast.
If you combine this with the crazy mana regen, solid survivability, and modest amount of AP from runes, masteries, and Archangel's Staff, you should be able to survive and keep your team alive through just about every encounter.
Sona's still an all-star. I was involved in 85.7% of the kills that took place on our team. Now THAT is how you play support. Get super farmed off assists and dominate your lane early game. This particular game I was laning with Tristana top expecting to shut down Mordekaiser while she farmed up in lane. Jarvan IV ended up coming top to start too so it wasn't the domination we had hoped for, but as you can see it was pretty much a roflstomp the whole game.
I've decided to start keeping track of my ranked games with Sona here. I'm keeping this separate from the game score section just because most of my games are normal. I think this should be a good way to show how effective our girl Sona still is.
Score as of 11/4/2011: Current ELO - 1408
All in all Sona is an amazingly fun and addictive champion to play that actually does require some forethought and planning as opposed to the "Mash keys to win" mentality that some people think she has. Now get out there and go play some music.