Sona Build Guide by WolfeOrome
Masteries + Notes
Music Theory 101: An Introduction
VIDEO GUIDE IS UP!!!
Check out the video below to see how I play Sona with a full commentary explaining why I do the things I do, and hit the "like" button if you love it!
This guide has been viewed over 100,000 times and is currently ranked as the #3 Sona Guide and the #8 new champion guide overall on MOBAfire!!! Thank you so much for your support. I couldn't have done this without such great input from the community. You guys are awesome!!! Here's a great picture of Sona from ippus on DeviantART to commemorate this milestone. Enjoy!
Welcome to my Sona guide!
In this guide, you'll find my personal suggestions on how to be a great support player with Sona! If you like this guide, please give it an upvote and tell your friends!
A little about me:
My username is WolfeOrome. I've been playing League of Legends since right before the end of season 2. I'm pretty new to ranked, but I finished Season 3 in Silver III, and I played either Jungle or Support pretty much the whole time. I'm not claiming to be an incredible player, or to know everything there is to know about being a support. However, this is a build that has worked well for me, and hopefully will for you too.
That said, I'll try to keep this short, sweet and to the point. So without further ado, here's the guide!
About this Guide:
This guide is an update from my season 3 Sona guide called "Sonic III - Support Sona Guide (season 3)." A lot of things have changed with the new pre-season update, so this guide is sort of a work in progress as I figure out better ways to utilize the new tools Riot has given us. The guide is mostly complete, but I am always open to constructive criticism and suggestions, so please leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you if you upvoted, and I'd appreciate knowing your reasons if you downvote. This guide has been influenced a lot by readers' critiques, so let me know what you think! Also, I'm planning to add a section concerning champions that Sona counters or that counter her. Please let me know if there's anything you think I should add to this guide.
A Song of War: Video Guide
After seeing some really awesome videos on other guides, I decided to make one of my own. This guide is a playthrough in PvP of how I play Sona. Unfortunately, my recording messed up at the end so the video stops before seeing the nexus destroyed, but it still contains all the main information about how to play support Sona. There are a few times where I messed up, but nobody's perfect. Hope you enjoy!
Maven of the Strings: Pros and Cons
Sona is a versatile and powerful support. She has a nice kit, works well with basically any ADC, and of course she's gorgeous ;) If you're new to support, I highly recommend Sona, since her ultimate is her only skill shot and she's very easy to pick up and learn quickly. However, every champion has their pros and cons:
Choosing Your Song: Abilities
|Hymn of Valor: Sona's only offensive spell besides her ultimate. Sona excels as a high-poke support, so max this first. Your job is to harass the enemy as much as possible with this spell. With practice, you will learn to combo this with Power Chord for a strong, fast poke.|
|Song of Celerity: This spell is important to have one point in early on, so you can use it with Power Chord to slow enemies, but max it out last. The movement speed bonus is hardly anything, and those points can be better spend leveling up your heal or damage.|
|Crescendo: Sona's ultimate ability which damages and stuns all opponents in its path. Crescendo is a very powerful spell, and can easily turn the tide in a team fight. Make sure to level this up at levels 6, 11 and 16.|
An In-Depth Look at Sona's Abilities:
Hymn of Valor is the first spell you should level up. It has good poking potential, and can help you harass your enemies. Use this ability to zone out your enemies by combining it with Power Chord for a quick one-two punch that can really hurt a squishy ADC.
Crescendo deals 100 more magic damage every level (150/250/350), and it also does 80% AP as magic damage, all while stunning the enemies for 1.5 seconds. In the middle of a teamfight, this can be game changing. Make sure to level this up at levels 6, 11, and 16 to get as much out of it as possible. This can be used to instigate a fight when your team comes across a group of enemy players, or later in a fight to keep champions from running away. You can also use it as an escape if necessary by stunning anyone chasing you.
Aria of Perseverance is an extremely important spell on any Support Sona. As a support, your job is to keep your ADC alive. This includes zoning opponents out in lanes, warding to prevent ganks, and of course healing the carry when (s)he needs it. The heal only gains 20 points per level, however, so it's batter to max Hymn of Valor sooner and try to keep enemies away. Aria of Perseverance scales with AP, so it will get stronger as the game progresses.
The reason I don't level up Song of Celerity sooner is that it just isn't worth it. When combined with Power Chord, your next attack will slow an enemy by 40%. This is the same no matter what level Song of Celerity is, so the only real benefit of leveling it up is the movement speed bonus. It gives a tiny bit extra movement speed, but it's hardly noticeable, and the heal and poke are much more important at early levels of the game.
Virtuoso: Taking a Look at Masteries
The new pre-season update has brought a lot of changes to the mastery tree. This is a standard 0-9-21 Support mastery tree, but since that has changed, here's a brief explanation of what that means in pre-season 4:
|runic shield||Defensive Tree: For defense, the main difference is that you can no longer get flat armor and MR with only 9 points. Now, what you get is reduced damage from champions, 5% extra Armor and MR, and a bit of extra health. However, this change will not make much of an impact on gameplay.|
|Utility Tree: This is where the major changes have happened in pre-season 4. By taking 21 points in Utility, you are able to take full advantage of the best support-oriented masteries. Culinary Master turns every health potion you buy into a biscuit that also restores mana. Scavenger , Bandit , Wealth and Greed all give you extra gold in some way, helping you build more items, and of course there are still masteries for mana regen and CDR ( Meditation and Intelligence .|
If you prefer defense over utility, you can try a 0-15-15 mastery tree to include the Armor and MR bonuses from Hardiness and Resistance . To do this, take points out of Bandit , Intelligence , and Inspiration . The finished mastery tree would look like this:
Here are pictures of the completed trees for both options:
Learning to Read Sheet Music: Runes
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Health
- Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration is a very helpful rune for Sona since she is a high-aggression poke-style support. The armor and magic penetration will help you harass more effectively at every level of the game.
- Greater Seal of Armor is extremely effective for anyone in the bottom lane, since you'll be against an ADC who deals mostly physical damage. These are a must-have, so get 9 of them.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist is also a must-have. Most teams have some mixture of physical damage and magic damage, so you want to be ready for both. The extra magic resist from these runes will save your life many times.
- Greater Quintessence of Health is a great choice for Sona. She has incredibly low base health (one of the lowest in the game, in fact) so she needs every bit of health she can get. Greater Quintessence of Gold is tempting since Supports have less income than other positions, but the health will be worth it in the long run. Staying alive longer = more objectives and assists = more gold. Alternately, you could get Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. With the new update, Sona is much more AP-reliant than before, so AP runes would give you a little more poke and heal at early levels.
Instruments for the Orchestra: Items
Greater Vision Totem
Talisman of Ascension
Aegis of the Legion
Boots of Mobility
(I call these "The Golden Core" because all except for Sightstone are gold, and it makes them sound really epic)
The purchase order for items is very important. Get Nomad's Medallion right after Sightstone to start getting more gold quickly. Then buy Doran's Shield if you need more sustain. If you're going to get Archangel's Staff, buy Tear of the Goddess next to help with your mana problems, or go straight into Boots of Speed and Ruby Crystal for mobility and sustain.
|Sightstone: free wards. The item's ward placement cap has been removed, but players can now only place 3 Stealth Wards at a time, so this gives you all you’ll need after the first few levels. The upgrade to Ruby Sightstone is basically just health and one extra charge, so it's often better to save your money by investing in other more cost efficient health items and return to base when you need more wards.|
|Greater Vision Totem: gives you a free vision ward every couple of minutes. Since players can now only place one Vision Ward at a time, this is all you’ll ever need after level 9 and it’s only 475 gold.|
|Talisman of Ascension: replaces Shurelya’s Reverie. This item gives you a lot of health and mana regen, as well as cooldown reduction and gp10. It also has an active effect which is basically a short Ghost for you and nearby allies and can be used every 60 seconds.|
|Boots of Mobility: these are great for Sona, since she has a low base movement speed. The boost when out of combat helps with warding so you can quickly leave your lane, place the ward(s) you need, and get back to the action. You could get Boots of Swiftness instead if you’re in combat more often than not.|
|Enchantment: Distortion: Also known as "Boots of I-can-flash-a-lot." The Distortion bonus helps negate that awful nerf Riot put on Flash with the insanely long cooldown timer. Alternately, you can get the Enchantment: Homeguard bonus if you need to defend your base.|
|Aegis of the Legion: this needs to be on someone on your team, preferably either the jungler or the support. The aura can really help your ADC and prevent ganks, and is also extremely potent during teamfights. Stay near the action, give your allies the armor and MR buff, and don’t forget about the active shield once you upgrade it to Locket of the Iron Solari. However, if the jungler gets Locket, you can start building AP items like Zhonya's Hourglass instead.|
|Ruby Sightstone: A little more health plus one more ward. It's not cost efficient for its health aspect, but it can help if you find yourself running out of wards and not recalling very often. That one extra ward can be a big help, especially if the enemy team is doing a good job of destroying your wards.|
|Oracle's Lens: Reveals and disables nearby traps and wards, as well as revealing nearby stealth enemies for a short amount of time. Normally, I recommend Greater Vision Totem since the free Vision Ward can be placed to reveal traps and wards. However, Oracle's Lens can be a good item to get instead of Greater Vision Totem if the enemy team is stealth-heavy (with champions like Teemo, Evelynn, Wukong and Kha'Zix) or if they are laying a lot of traps (such as Teemo, Caitlyn, Nidalee, Heimerdinger, etc). Keep in mind that it has a 3-minute cooldown, so be careful not to waste it on disabling unimportant wards or traps. If you're playing against a Heimerdinger, make sure to have this up before charging into a team fight since it will greatly help in dealing with his turrets.|
|Archangel's Staff: lots of AP, with a passive that grants extra AP based upon your max mana, and another passive that grants extra mana when you use abilities. At full stacks, this item gives you 90 AP, not including extra AP based on the mana you already have. Combined with the mana regen, this item is great for Sona. If you are going to build Archangel's Staff, try to get it before Aegis of the Legion, since it takes a while to get max stacks with it. Then make sure to spam those abilities! The extra mana helps a lot, and when you reach max stacks it transforms into Seraph's Embrace which gives you a nice shield active.|
|Athene's Unholy Grail: 60 AP, TONS of mana regen, and some CDR, all wrapped up in a nice package with 40 MR as the bow on top. This is a great item if you need more survivability against casters. Athene's Unholy Grail is pretty much unlimited mana (thanks to massive mana regen from its passive) and some CDR so you can play your songs more often without fear of running out of mana. You should choose between this and Archangel's Staff, depending on if you need the extra MR. Chalice of Harmony is a good early-game item to solve your mana problems while giving extra magic resist, and Fiendish Codex gives you a little extra AP and CDR early game. However, keep in mind that you won't have the mana shield from Seraph's Embrace so you'll need to play smart.|
|Zhonya's Hourglass: lots of AP and armor, plus a great active that makes you untargetable for 2.5 seconds. This item is very popular among professional players because it can be helpful during teamfights and dives. However, it's very expensive and more of a late-game pick than a core item.|
|Twin Shadows: AP, MR, movement speed, and of course the "search and slow" active make this item a good pick in situations where the enemy team has a lot of stealth champions or if you need to slow them down. The slow can be used in team fights to help keep enemies from escaping as well.|
|Will of the Ancients: 50 AP, 10 CDR and 10 mana regen, plus 20% spell vamp. Since they removed the AP boost aura this item has lost a lot of its use, but it can still be worth it if you need the CDR and spell vamp at a relatively low cost compared to other AP items.|
|Lich Bane: lots of AP and mana, plus a little bit of movement speed. Sona’s play style lends itself to spamming abilities, so CDR and mana are important. The passive deals magic damage after using an ability, which also works well with Sona’s spammy play style.|
|Deathfire Grasp: lots of AP and magic penetration. This is a very expensive item, but great if you just gotta have a ton of AP. Also has a powerful offensive active ability.|
The Symphony of Justice: Strategy
If you've made it this far, you should already know the mechanics behind the build and why I chose the items, masteries and runes that I did. The strategy is the hardest part of playing support, even though it's deceptively simple. Basically, support boils down to this: keep your ADC alive at ANY cost.
In the farming stage, you should stick to your carry like glue. There is no reason you should not be beside your ADC unless you die. Your job during laning is to keep your carry alive by healing and warding, and harass the enemy when possible. DO NOT KILL MINIONS!!! Minions are there for the carry, and they are NOT for you! If your carry goes in to attack the enemy, you stick right with him and help. Harass the enemy champions any chance you get, and try to stand near enough to the creep waves to get the experience. You don't need the gold from CS, because you'll get gold from assists and global objectives like towers and dragons. Also, thanks to Talisman of Ascension you get gold for every minion your ADC kills!
Warding is one of the most important aspects of your job as support. In the current meta, League of Legends is a game where vision is king. If you're on the blue side, pop a ward into the tri-bush after a couple minutes to watch for ganks. Put a ward in the little river bush as soon as you get in the lane. Use wards instead of face-checking the brush in the lane. Later in the game, put a pink ward at Baron and take out any wards the enemy might have there. The great thing about the new update is that you get wards for free with Trinkets. With my Sona build, Sightstone gives you all the green wards you could ever need, and the Greater Vision Totem gives you a free pink! However, warding is not the sole duty of supports. For a winning team, everyone should ward sometimes. It's impossible for one person (the support) to cover the entire map, so top might have to ward his own brush from time to time. Here's a map showing common ward positions from season 3:
In the mid-late game, after laning phase has died out, your job is to stay with the team and support as much as possible. Your main duty is your ADC, but if another team member needs help, don't hesitate to run to their aid. Try to stay a little ways away from the team fights, and spam your Q and W as much as possible. If you have your team with you and you see several enemies standing near each other, throw Crescendo out and stun them to initiate. Or use Crescendo to stop people from escaping. The main thing is communication: make sure your team knows what's going on, and work with them.
Sona is an incredible support champion if played well. The main things to remember are this:
- You are a mother hen. Your ADC is the baby chick. Protect your ADC at all costs like a mother protects her child. Die for your ADC if need be. However, this also means be a good parent and tell your ADC when he is being stupid and should get out. Sometimes carries push too far. Be a good mother and kindly tell him to turn back before he gets himself killed.
- Vision is king. To quote Hamlet, "wards, wards, wards!" Seriously, vision is everything in this game. One ward could be the difference between a gank and a counter-gank. Be smart, don't just put a ward every three inches, but make sure you know where the other team's champions are. It can be extremely helpful to check out warding maps or watch professional players to see when and where they ward.
- Be selfless. A support's job is to help their team as much as possible. This means ou need to stay near the action when possible. Push when they push, retreat when they do, and FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T TAKE THE ADC's FARM!!!
If you enjoyed this guide, please let me know. If you think it sucks and I need to fix it, please let me know! I'm always open to criticism and suggestions, and I'll try to update this guide as often as needed.
Thanks for reading!
Encore: Thank Yous
A very special thank you to:
Jhoijhoi's Guide for helping me figure out coding and how to build a good guide.
Vynertje for reviewing this guide and helping me find ways to improve. You're an awesome person!
MissMaw for giving some excellent advice and helping me make the most of my runes and items.
DKitten for help with some mastery and item tweaking.
9ball for help deciding which gp10 to build.
Out of Pancakes for helping me avoid trolls ;)
Dylan and Zach, the guys who first showed me League of Legends and showed me how to be a better player. Thanks for putting up with all my questions and stupidity!
And anyone else who has ever played League with me, given me tips, written guides, or helped me out in any way.
And finally, I want to thank everyone reading this guide. At last count, this guide has gotten over 80,000 views, is the #3 Sona guide on MOBAfire, and is the #8 highest rated new guide overall!!! That is so huge, especially since this is pretty much my first guide (noob-mumu doesn't count, I had no idea what I was doing). Thank you so much for making this guide popular, and thanks for the upvotes!
People say the League of Legends community sucks. I say they're just looking in the wrong places. You guys are awesome!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you get Archangel's Staff instead of Athene's Unholy Grail?
Why not upgrade Sightstone?
This guide has become far more popular than I had ever hoped, all thanks to you summoners! Thank you for all the upvotes and feedback. I'm not kidding when I say that I couldn't have done it without you. Here's some fun banners to commemorate the milestones I've reached so far!