Sona Build Guide by antipathy
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.
The Silent Support
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 art of choosing: the versatility of Sona
Welcome to my first ever guide, in which I would like to introduce you to Sona: Maven of the Strings.
Sona is a top tier, some would say god tier support, viable in casual, solo ranked, and five-man team play. She brings immense damage, sustain and utility to the Summoner's Rift. I am currently in plat 1 on the Oceanic server (my summoner name is 'sasroblivion') and I have mained Sona for a while now and hope I can get some other people playing sona too! :D I hope you like the guide.
The purpose of this guide is to try and help you make decisions with Sona: one of the champions most open to changes in runes, masteries, item builds and ability sequences.
I have done my absolute best to make this guide as comprehensive as possible so please offer any suggestions in the comments. As a result it is long: very long! If you just want to get into the game and try out Sona, or understand the roll of the support well and just want to get started with the specifics relevant to Sona, please select the 'Tl;dr get me into the game!' heading after looking at the cheat sheet.
Just to get you into Sona, here's a video of a strong support Sona pulling out a pentakill with a perfect crescendo:
Why should I choose Sona when there are so many supports?
Unfortunately, as do all champions, Sona has both strengths and weaknesses. However, if you are looking for a support to play extensively or just to try out, Sona is one of the strongest support picks in competitive play matched only by zyra and thresh. Most of all however she is just so much fun. I therefore implore you to give her a go!
- Great poking ability with and
- Strong nuking potential with few items
- A Crazy amount of cc with
- Even more cc with
- Strong sustain in lane with
- She is rarely banned in solo queue, despite her strength
- Nobody really hard counters Sona, wohoo! :D
A Couple of Cons
- Sona is very squishy (though thankfully not as squishy as before her minor rework)
- You require a decent adc (marksman) to do well
- You have no inbuilt escape mechanism (unless you count your ulti which you only get at level 6) so you are very vulnerable to ganks
Ability Sequence: What to max and why?
Sona is an endlessly versatile champion in lane. She brings impressive poke, decent burst and strong sustain to just about any adc (marksman) bot lane combination.
To best make use of Sona's kit, it is important to prioritize the spells that you think are most important to your situation.
There are three main variations in the Sona spell build, which you should take depends entirely on your lane.
1. The aggressive max Hymn of Valor build.
Hymn of Valor offers strong poke, nuke damage and a bonus of ap and damage to your adc (marksman) and or jungler if he comes to gank. Your only damage ability (other than your ultimate), it should always be maxed first or second. It should be maxed first in lanes where you have taken an advantage and want to be more aggressively trading or zoning. For example, Sona's q has amazing synergy with a champion like Corki.
Corki brings strong trading potential and poke to lane. His damaging abilities are also based off both ad and ap meaning he benefits from both of the buffs offered by Hymn of Valor. Maxing it is therefore almost always desired unless you become very behind in lane in which case Aria of Perseverance is preferred.
2. The defensive max Aria of Perseverance build
Aria of Perseverance is the most cost efficient heal in the game. It is insane for keeping yourself and your adc (marksman) in lane for the greatest amount of time possible. It also gives a scaling armor and magic resist bonus as well as an on use bonus to whomever you heal as well as yourself.
It should be maxed first if you find yourself behind in lane or feel that the lane should best be won passively. Meaning that you allow your adc (marksman) to focus on farming while you keep them healthy with your maxes Aria of Perseverance. For example if you have a Vayne in your lane.
Vayne is very strong in the late game but suffers a relatively weak laning phase with low range, meaning she is open to being poked. Often it is good to max Aria of Perseverance with Vayne in your lane in order to keep her healthy: mitigating poke damage and able to farm.
3. A balanced build that alternates the two main abilities depending on how the laning phase progresses.
Number 3 is the most valid of the builds in my view, following a build similar to the leveling order I showed above. It is entirely open to you to change the order as you see fit in order to better suit the lane. If you start to max q but quickly feel yourself falling behind, max w or vise versa. Another point to consider is where to take the one point inSong of Celerity. It offers some utility, in particular because it gives a slow when combined with Power chord and gives you another option to get to power chord. Level 8 is generally a good time I think but it can easily be delayed or even taken at level four if you think it is wise. (Sometimes in high elo games it is taken at level one for strong invade potential)
Summoner Spells- So many options!
Flash in my view is pretty much a must have on Sona. It allows you to position to land Crescendo on important or multiple targets, escape ganks, flash to save a teammate with heal, get in range to exhaust and finish off fleeing opponents with Hymn of Valor and Power chord. It just does everything! I use it in every game.
Exhaust slows a large amount to prevent enemies escaping or pursuing you or your adc (marksman). More importantly it reduces damage dealt by 30% and attack speed by 50% effectively shutting an enemy adc (marksman) down for it's 2.5 second duration. I use it in most games.
Ignite is a strong summoner spell that gives you some much needed continuous damage to your kit in small skirmishes. It is also very good for finishing fleeing opponents. I recommend it for strong players who are very confident in their laning skills. I use it occasionally.
Heal after its changes is an interesting pick. On Sona, it is sometimes more useful than exhaust as if sona is in range for exhaust, it generally spells death unless you are kiting back with your adc (marksman). It is an aoe heal that keeps your team healthy or allows for immense survivability on your adc (marksman) if they also have barrier available. I use it occasionally.
Clairvoyance is a spell that seems to have fallen out of the metagame to be replaced with an immense amount of wards. I rarely run it as it severely weakens laning trading potential but it is definitely an option if you feel like trying it out.
Masteries are very much up to personal preference. The set I offer here is my favorite but more aggressive, defensive or utility options are all available, this one is simply well balanced and effective, giving Sona the much needed survivability that she craves while still branching heavily enough into the utility tree to keep her up in terms of mana regen and gold. Please note that Mastermind can be substituted for Scout and or Artificer
Here are some other options!
Sona is very squishy and to give her some survivability it is also sometimes useful to go 0/21/9 or 9/21/0 particularly if you are not yet comfortable with laning as Sona.
Maxing out utility: 9/0/21 or 0/9/21 is another very viable option. It is not my preference as the latter parts of utility I feel are not as useful as other options.
Runes and how to choose them?
The main rune set and my recommendation:
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Gold
There are countless options for runes on Sona but my preference is to prioritize survivability in lane with flat armor seals and flat magic resist glyphs, taking greater quintessences of gold to make buying wards and transitioning into late game easier and magic pen marks for greater burst and trading potential (as it affects both Power chord and Hymn of Valor).
Another example set:
Greater Quintessence of Health
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Really, rune choice is entirely dependent on what you feel comfortable with and what you have available from your other champion choices. Defense can be substituted for offensive capability, magic penetration can be swapped for dual pen or flat ad if you choose to poke aggressively with auto attacks as well as Power chord and there are a wide variaty of quintessences available such as cdr, flat hp, armor, magic resist, movement speed and ap that are equally viable to gold per 10s.
As with all supports, your main focus is warding, at all times. Your ability to get items therefore is hampered by the constant necessity of supplying your team with wards. That being a given, here are the main items that I would suggest are worth building towards if and only if you are able to build them WHILE WARDING!
Here is an arrangement of the importance of each items to your build:
My personal suggestions and what I think are the most important items:
Tier 1 items: Sight ward philosopher's stone
Strong substitute items:
Tier 2 items: kage's lucky pick Shurelya's reverie
Weaker substitute items but still options:
Tier 3 items: shard of true ice zeke's herald
The Sona Laning Phase
Sona's laning phase is based around supporting your carry, as is that of all supports. People thinks that makes you useless and bored. For Sona at least, this should never be true. While you leave all the cs for your adc (marksman), you gain the freedom in avoiding csing to poke and protect your carry as he farms. Supports are champions that don't need items to be useful.
In lane, is a long range auto-targeted ability that allows you to poke without having to land a skill shot or step into enemy attack range to take return fire. Often in order to poke, you will use one hymn of valor, one auto attack then back off before your opponent has a change to react and get into range to pursue you (this tactic is ineffective against some lanes such as Caitlyn Lulu as they have the range to return the poke instantly).
To complement hymn of valor , power chord offers you even greater poking potential. When you have two stacks of power chord, land an auto attack, use hymn of valor then another auto attack with the power chord stack for a large amount of damage. At level one it is often wise to prepare a power chord to poke down your opponents.
Aria of Perseverance in lane is the perfect tool for mitigating damage onto yourself or your adc (marksman) with the applied and passive armor and magic resist buffs. More importantly, it allows you to constantly heal both of you at once keeping you both healthy and stopping opponents from zoning you and denying you farm.
Song of Celerity's principle use in lane is to gain the slowing effect of power chord strengthening jungle ganks or allowing your adc (marksman) to pursue or flee opponents.
Warding opportunities: a rough guide
The more you play support, the more you come to get a feel for when and where you should be warding but here is a rough idea to get you started.
In bot lane
As a general rule, it is important to ward both dragon and tribush in the early game. As this is the objective of both teams in order to gain map control, it is useful to pink ward both of these areas where gold permits (or get an early oracles) as they are the most commonly warded by opponents. Warding in your opponents lane bush or in your own is also sometimes useful: in theirs if they have an aggressive support whom you wish to keep sight of such as or in yours if your opponent is pushing against you.
On the Blue side if you take tower early, or secure a kill and your team looks to take a dragon, a ward at the enemy blue is often appropriate as is a ward in the brush below mid lane (if your mid lane has failed to ward it already). Alternatively if your position is weak, it might be necessary to ward your own red.
On the Purple side the opposite is true but warding their red should be done with utmost care regardless of how strong your position is: it is very easy to be ganked as you do it. On the other hand, defensively warding blue is often appropriate even if you are even with your opponents.
Here are the warding locations shown visually.
In Top Lane
As the Purple team: If a lane swap occurs and you end up in the top lane, a ward at baron and in enemy lane bush are often enough to reveal any ganks. To be extra super safe you can ward the tribush but it is very rarely necessary.
As the Blue team on the other hand it is a lot more important to ward the tribush as the jungler can come from red or golems to kill you whereas on the purple side he would have had to invade to do so.
Team fighting with the god of versatility
Sona is one of the strongest team fight supports in the game. She has decent nuke damage with her hymn of valor power chord combo, strong sustain and damage mitigation with aria of perseverance , some ok utility with song of celerity but most of all some incredible cc potential with crescendo .
Really, your role is to do pretty much everything in team fights, that is the joy of Sona!
In all fights your job is to frequently use hymn of valor, aria of perseverance and song of celerity in order to stack their buffs onto your teammates (you are able to stack two at a time for a reasonable period). Frequent use also allows you to charge and keep using power chord. It is not advised to just spam though! It is always important to pick which powerchord you think is most useful.
hymn of valor powerchord combo for more damage
aria of perseverance power chord combo to reduce a high damage target's ability to damage your teammates.
song of celerity powerchord combo to cc an opponent and allow your team to pursue or to create distance between your team and an enemy.
Making this decision is crucial in every fight while you constantly use your abilities to buff your teammates and weaken your opponents.
The specifics on different team fight strategy is offered below.
What I call Open Fights are those that occur with no terrain impairing the movement of individuals. In Open Fights, the role of sona is to land a crescendo on a single important target as it is often very difficult to hit several when their is little impairing their movement before your initiation. Your role is to put down the first spell of the team fight and lock down an important enemy such as the adc (marksman) so that your team can follow up. To achieve this, often flash is used to land crescendo more easily by increasing it's range. In the clip below we see the pro player Chauster land one crescendo on a significant target and another on multiple targets in Open Fights. Both are technically very good but his team is unable to follow up on the first.
Closed fights are those that occur in the jungle, near baron or somewhere in which terrain impairs the movement of players. Closed fights are where Sona shines. You are often able to even avoid flashing while hitting multiple targets with Crescendo.
Crescendo is a useful tool for picking off opponents who are out of position. A flash Crescendo can easily catch people off guard before they have time to burn flash or an escape ability.
Sona is also very useful in sieges. Your target here is to keep your team healthy with aria of perseverance, poke with hymn of valor and catch opponents off guard with flash crescendo.
Tl;dr get me into the game!
- Apply the runes shown on the cheat sheet or the closest available substitutes that you own.
- Create a mastery page for Sona following the list in the cheat sheet.
- Take flash and exhaust as your summoner spells.
Follow the standard item build as shown but be sure to always buy wards: keep 2 sight wards and a pink on you every time you back if you can afford it.
Basically follow the skill sequence however:
If you are winning lane, take extra points in your q.
If you are behind, take extra points in your w.
In team fights, if your ultimate is up, your team will expect you to initiate: to be the first to apply your cc and damage to the enemy. If you can land an ultimate on a high priority target or multiple targets, do it without flash but if you need flash to re-position or pick off and opponent, Never Hold Back!