Sona Build Guide by Brian Fong
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.
Man-Mode Sona (Dominion)
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.
I actually won 10 times in a row, most of the time I win 7 times out of 10 but I've NOTICED I attained a 10 out of 10 only once after playing for 3 years of LOL. It takes dedication to attain this with a PURE AD Sona.
This Sona is meant for very skilled players that like the thrill of being near life and death as this build is made to be COMPLETELY OFFENSIVE. In other words, you will be the Attack Damage CARRY. Not a support. It is meant to be very fun, very difficult, and very rewarding when you score that pentakill. And as a bonus, very humiliating if the other team is defeated by you and you get congratulated and have your whole team laughing at the situation of a support being a carry.
Most of the time I fail miserably because I'm underfed. This happens 30% of the time. Most of the time you are average with a pretty good kill/death/assist ratio. This happens 50% of the time. Sometimes I am fed and the other team surrenders because of how badly you are beating them, this happens 18%. For that remaining 2% when you get fed, you are going to be having the time of your life. I basically play for that chance to get the 2% game that has me feeling on top of the world with the complete build being done and me with over half of the team kills.
The feeling is like being zapped by lightning, getting disintegrated, having your dust form a tidal wave only to be reconstructed into a lump of burnt corpse. The heavens break in two to unveil the battle maiden Valkyrie. With lips sealed to yours, she infuses you with the breathe of creation. You come back to life on top of Mount Everest. But you weirdly now don't feel cold nor have a need to breath. You are now GOD.
Once you have experienced this feeling, you will be hooked, and you will be GOD/love playing as Sona AD carry.
For runes, they will all be attack speed. This effectively increases your damage output at the beginning of the game by 38% from the +38% attack speed. It helps you deal **** loads of damage with the harassment of melee heroes. You will be able to sometimes land 2 hits on ranged heroes while they only land 1 on you if they should run away.
These runes let you be really gay at the beginning and send them packing to base or force their jungler to come out and give you a good smack. However, unbeknownst to the jungler you have too much damage for your own good.
Another aspect of the runes is that it makes it easier for you to land the last hits on minions allowing you to get UBER AMOUNTS OF GOLD. Further helping you buy FEROCIOUS items early on in the game.
The attack speed runes allow you to lane a REALLY LONG TIME because you will Regenerate like mad from your Grez's Spectral Lantern as your first item. You seriously have 0.915 attacks per second and you do 50 Base + 3 Masteries + 8 Hymn of Valor = 61! DAMAGE. Pretty good for a support. Thats like 6.7 hp/second or 33.5 hp every 5 seconds. No stupid potions, just attack for your life as if your life depended on it. If in Classic Mode, take down that tower quickly for money and to free yourself from laning to help with the ganks.
Pretty typical mastery for any AD player. What is different is the movement to chase & run and the cooldown reduction to ult is crucial.
This explains the build order
Grez's Spectral Lantern
Sona has a lack of defense, offense, survivability/sustain, and creep killing ability. You are able to get a bit of offense from the attack speed from the runes and the first item fixes the other flaws. You start off with the Grez's Spectral Lantern to get that balance of offense from the +15 damage, defense from the +20 armor, survivability/sustain from the 12% life steal, and most importantly, creep killing ability. Lifesteal is key with Sona as her offensive power will now convert to health and keep her alive, which she seriously has problems with. I don't care much for health, armor, and magic resistance because allocating gold to those causes doesn't matter much in dominion and takes away from the exhilarating high of overpowering the enemy's heavy damage carries. In classic mode it would be a problem as you have to generally travel far to get to creeps and heroes and there are no speed boosts in the middle of the map.
Berserker's Greaves with Mark of the Furor
Then go with the Berserker's Greaves with Mark of the Furor to start chasing and harassing. The move speed is of utmost importance for if the enemy runs away and you build lots of attack speed, which we definitely will, it allows you to actually attack by running into range. And they will run after they realize the massive critting you are doing to them in the pants region.
Finish off your Grez's Spectral Lantern into a Lightbringer. The advantages from this SINGLE tier 1 starting item is significant. It provides a legendary item's damage (+25 damage), saves space (1 item slot), gives survivability (+25 armor +200 health, which Sona massively needs), and the best gold per lifesteal item in the game excluding the Vampiric Scepter (which Sona massively needs too for sustain). The 20% chance to inflict +100 magical damage to enemy heroes is not something to be looked over either. You will do an average of +20 magical damage per hit to an enemy, making this item add +25 physical damage and +20 magical damage per hit. This item has incredible value. Another reason it is great in dominion is because of its activated reveal and numerous amount of bushes on the map. It is especially important to see enemies since you are fragile, want to distance yourself, and avoid face-checking. Here are some typical locations where you should use the Lightbringer:
1. In the top capture point when enemies are hiding in the bushes near the health pack. Frequently you catch them by surprise to give you a quick kill advantage. I have often killed a stealthed Khazix when he though he was leaping to a bush's safety and a health pack.
2. In the bot lane with those 2 bushes next to each other. I have often killed a Singe or Heimerdinger at the bot when they thought to take refuge in those bushes. I attack like crazy to get a huge creep wave (No conservative Last Hitting) and huge money to capture the bot, by revealing the enemy hero after a cleared have, all you creeps will attack them. Advantage through numbers.
3. EVERY health pack NEAR a capture point. Since you are range, seeing them from a distance and attacking them is much aided by revealing them near the bushes. Often times you will need to chase them down after harassing the enemy near or under their capture point. They will attempt to bait you under their tower, but you move speed and your revealing Lightbringer will allow you to kill them before they reach the health pack or while they think they are safe in the bush.
4. The most obvious point is every unrevealed area in the middle of the map you are chasing an enemy hero through. They can't deak you out by going into a bush and running out of it in an unpredictable direction. You just have to attack move without a care in the world; right-click on the enemy hero and speed up with your aura to catch them, the Mark of the Furor enchantment definitely helps.
Phantom Dancer (First Blade-set)
The extra +50 physical and +20 magical damage from the Lightbringer will allow you to balance Sona's offensive heavy-handed hits with additional attack speed. Balance is important.
The Phantom Dancer effectively helps you create the "Square" analogy above to maximize your damage output via attack speed. Another reason you want attack speed is so you can auto attack creeps with a high probability of getting the last hit for gold. Also it also gets rid of that tedious work of timing your attacks on a creep so you are freed to look at the mini-map and be more map aware while making sure you get last hits effortlessly. Gold is so important with Sona since you have to work really hard to give her items to give her that extra damage advantage since she has inferior AD carry stats. Finally the last reason you want attack speed is to increase the opportunities to crit; it is like winning the lottery. Every time you attack you get a chance to crit AND score +100 magical damage from the Lightbringer, thus you should increase you attack speed for that chance you "win" at outputting damage.
The move speed will also help you harass, chase heroes down to their doom, help you run away like hell, and when all goes well, let you sprint in with you ult. This phantom dancer is the 1st item allowing you to unlock the massive damage of critting people in the pants. The 2nd item will be the Infinity Edge and the 3rd last item is another Phantom Dancer. The unique ignore unit collision is also helpful for the chase, or escape, in massive creep zones.
Again with the "Square", you now need to increase your damage. This item further grows your deadliness with amazing critical hits (250% infinity edge + 5% Masteries) and amazing critical percentages (25% Infinity Edge + 30% Phantom Dancer) 55%. This is a major boost to damage and will allow you to 1v1 opponents. Since you only crit 55% of the time, the damage you do to an opponent (if you don't crit) will entice them to 1v1 you. If they stay, and don't burst you with damage, you will have the upper hand when you land a couple of crits. They start running, you chase with your move speed items (Berserker Greaves + Mark of the Furor + Phantom Dancer) and they die. Basically, getting the infinity will give you the element of surprise when you 1v1 someone and destroy them with the lucky crits being scored by your fast attack speed.
Phantom Dancer (Second Blade-set)
When you get the 2 Phantom Dancers and 1 Infinity Edge, you will have an 85% crit rate (25% Infinity Edge + 30% Phantom Dancer + 30% Phantom Dancer) at 255% of your normal attack damage (250% infinity edge + 5% Masteries). Phantom Dancers are basically +80% damage multipliers (+50% damage from attack speed AND +30% damage from crit) with 10% move speed (5% Phantom Dancer + 5% Phantom Dancer).
[Good Balance of offense and defense]
Again the "Square", great for maxing out the damage and the move speed is the greatest asset you will find. Offensively, The 10% cool down reduction helps you shoot out more blue Laser Hymns of Valor and gain more speed boosts from Song of Celerity. Most importantly it allows you to ult more frequently with Crescendo. The defensive aspects are cool down reduction allow you to heal more often and gain more speed boosts to escape. Lastly the +35% tenacity is a great defensive feature as crowd control is the number one killer of AD Sona since she has next to no defenses or health.
[More offense, provides some defense]
In order to survive you need to attack. Sometimes there are not enough creeps after a long battle. This item solves it. It also let's you 1v1 better by giving you better sustain by stealing the life away.
[More offense, provides some defense]
This just kills people so bad. That extra +55 damage and armor penetration make quick work of any enemy hero. Defensively the 10% cool down reduction provides all the benefits that the Zephyr did. Plus the +200 health adds more to your survivability.
Now the piece--DE--resistance. Getting this Zephyr almost never happens as you would have already won the game by now. You will need to earn enough money, sell your Berserker Greaves, and get this bad boy. It won't replace ALL the move speed from your Berserker Greaves, but your 2 Phantom Dancers more than compensates. If you bought a Zephyr as your conditional item your move speed is ridiculous. However with these 2 Zephyrs you will be maxing out your attack speed and cause diminishing returns, but who cares because all the gold can't be spent on anything else anyways.
Total Damage Output
You roughly do about 650 damage per hit 85% of the time and you will hit about 2.0 times per second.
These calculation assumes you are at lvl 18 with the 5 core build items PLUS the Black Cleaver. It assumes the enemy has 0 armor and 0 magic resistance. It also does NOT include the 6% armor penetration or the 6% magic penetration from the "Devastating Strikes" Mastery. Neither does it include the +10 armor penetration and 25% armor penetration from the Black Cleaver.
You will do:
101 (base) +20 (Hymn of Valor Aura) +25 (Lightbringer) +70 (Infinity Edge) +55 (Black Cleaver)
+10 (Brute Force Mastery) +4 (Martial Mastery) +8.5 (Warlord Mastery)
+1.5% (Double edged Sword Mastery) +3% (Havoc Mastery)
= 306.7 damage per hit!
I excluded Executioner (+5%) and Blade Weaving Masteries (+3%) which would make it 331.24 damage per hit!
You will critically hit to do:
= 306.7 damage x 2.50 (Infinity Edge Damage) x 0.85 (Infinity edge and phantom Dancer crit rate = 0.25 + 0.30 + 0.30)
= 651.74 damage per crit! +20 Magic Damage (Lightbringer)
= 97.76 hp healed per hit (15% lifesteal from Lightbringer)
You will perform:
= 0.644 (base attack) @ a base 100% speed
+41.4% (natural attack speed growth per level @ level 18 with a 2.3% growth per level)
+20% (Berserker Greaves)
+100% (two phantom dancers at 50% each)
+15% (Frenzy Mastery @ 3 stacks with 5% each)
+38% (Runes all with attack speed buffs)
= 2.03 attacks per second
Meaning you will do:
= 651.74 dmg x 2.03 attacks per second
= 20 magic dmg (Lightbringer) x 2.03 attacks per second
= 1323 physical damage per second!
= 40.6 magic damage per second!
Putting this in perspective, most champions have 2000 to 4000 hp with an average of 2500 hp. Meaning you will melt their pants.
= 1323 x 15% life steal (Light bringer)
= 198.5 Hp per second!
Get Hymn of Valor upgraded 2 times to zap the enemy heroes with magic damage and upgrade Song of Celerity once to provide the initial speed boost in dominion and to actively slow the enemy with a slowing Power Chord. Focus on maxing out Hymn of Valor first and then Aria of Perseverance. Get your ultimate Crescendo as soon as you can and max it out at every opportunity. Lastly you should finish your Song of Celerity last as the passive move speed aura is pretty low and you probably have 2 Phantom Dancers giving you 10% move speed at this time.
Ways to attack enemies
When confronting a champion, meaning you are all in and will risk your life in order to get a kill and the enemy champion wants to do the same, you need to first attack him/her with a
When harassing and poking an champion that is stationary. By Stationary I mean they are attacking creeps or guarding a Tower. Switch to Song of Celerity when you are just out of range and closing in for a single auto-attack, then blast a Hymn of Valor. As soon as you land 1 physical attack and Hymn of valor, get the hell out. Note that Hymn of Valor has longer range than your ranged attack.
When running away. Switch to Song of Celerity if they have more move speed and concentrate on charging your Power Chord until you are able to shoot with a slowing Song of Celerity. If you know that you are going to die, where you run is important. If there are no allies that you can reach in time, then run towards their capture points so they will take longer to reach your capture points. Effectively you bought some time for your team in Dominion. DO NOT run towards your capture points, you are basically letting them kill you and bring them to a capture point at the same time. When you know a team member is nearby that can help, obviously you run towards your teammate. If you know you will die before reaching your NEARBY teammate, then CONFRONT the enemy and dish out as much physical damage and damage from champion spells, as possible so your teammate can come in and clean up an enemy champion that used all their spell on you.
When chasing an enemy. Switch to Song of Celerity if they have more move speed. If they do not, then alternate between Song of Celerity and Hymn of Valor in order to max out on closing the distance and damaging them. Don't forget to use Grez's Spectral Lantern or your Lightbringer to reveal their location and hit them with a Hymn of Valor should they try to hide in a bush that is actually closer towards you. Often times I'll chase north, but the enemy champion wants to do a U-turn by running north, veering to the east/west into a bush, and then heading south. While they are veering east/west into the safe haven of a bush, it is a perfect opportunity for you to use Grez's Spectral Lantern or your Lightbringer to reveal them and
blast them with a Hymn of Valor.
I choose exhaust to enable early game kills coupled with flash to chase. This combo is great for escaping enemies as well. An offensive and defensive combo.
The exhaust is especially useful against melee ad dps heroes like Master Yi because it will reduce their attacks by 70% while you just shoot them to death. They think they can kill you even with exhaust because they see you only as a support, but then you lifesteal the **** out of them and you attack as fast as a bat outta hell. It will be too late for them, they notice and run, you flash toward their escape or even use Song of Celerity, shoot the Hymn of Valor and insta-dead.
Exhaust is also funny when you get tanks and chasers, with half health, underneath your tower. There is a high probability that you are running to your tower with low health and heroes like Rammus roll towards you or Jarvan just wants to ult you. You unleash the exhaust, some regular attacks, a Hymn of Valor, and you got yourself a tower kill. This is especially funny when a Jax jumps you. If you time it right, just flash while toward our tower while Jax is in mid air, exhaust him and attack with a full volley. Instantly dead Jax. Of course you have to be close to your tower somewhat.
The flash is mostly used for ganks for the sole purpose of crashing the gank party with your ult. You basically gave them blue balls if you have another tank with a mass crowd control effect. The best is when Galio mass taunts or Amumu group stuns. Of course Fiddle's ult does the dirty D's.
Go Top or Go Bot
Start off in the bot lane in Dominion if you can under the condition that it isn't Xin Yao, Jax, LeBlanc (if she knows how to burst), or Elise (if she is good at harassing); they are next to impossible to beat since they rush up and stun you, burst you down, and have effective ranged harass abilities. Other opponents you can get into a lot of trouble with, especially if they are skilled, is Swain, Miss Fortune (if she knows how to harass with "Ricochet"), Teemo (if he is AD and know how to effectively use his speed to harass and blind you), and Yorick. Even better is a Khazix and Akali since they cannot hide. The best people to fight against are Singe and Heimerdinger.
Basically you are looking for a champion that is melee, bad at attacking creeps, have no AOE, and have little to no crowd control, does not buy thornmail, does not buy armor, has low HP, does not have high burst damage, and cannot do consistently high damage auto attacks. Those traits are ideal. Some champions possess more of those than others.
You can fight ranged carries, tanks, and support in the bot lane easily. It is the melee carries that you have to watch out for since riot decided to give almost all of them some type of crowd control and a "no-skill just click on the person" rush attack, like Xin and Jax. Once you have an idea of who is going to be your opponent, make a choice to go bot or top.
Laning in the bot
The objective is to keep attacking creeps with your fast auto attack and procing the 200 bonus magic damage on creeps. This will help you recover your life, amass more friendly creeps than enemy creeps, and help cap the enemy tower.
The best opponents to fight are those that try to last hit the creeps, bad at pushing, do not auto-attack the creeps, or are melee (without a rush attack) and your range scares them off. Unknown to many Dominion players is that if you are in a crowd of many friendly creeps, they are very powerful. If an enemy tries to rush attack or exchange damage with you, your creeps will attack the enemy hero and do a LOT of damage, whereas the 3 enemy creeps are attacking you, you have 7-9 attacking the enemy hero.
Creeps only attack if an enemy hero is in range, so staying in the swarm of friendly creeps is a good way to ensure they help you attack the opponent. However if the opponent has a ranged AOE ability, they can hurt all your creeps and you at the same time. This severely cripples your pushing ability and lets the enemy farm lots of gold. Other opponents know that the creeps will attack so they rely on bursting you down a getting the hell out before your friendly creeps can do too much damage, LeBlanc is a big culprit since she ranged. She bursts you from afar and is out of range for almost all your creeps. Jax can stun all your creeps after leaping on you and has high damage to kill you quickly. Xin Yao is similar with higher in damage, but can't stun your friendly creeps. They will wreck you and don't care about your swarm of creeps. Heroes that can rush up to you and do high damage are really dangerous.
Other times you will attack the enemy MELEE hero and start exchanging blows. While that is happening, your creeps and their creeps will join in. Sona doesn't have that much health so you have to stop the enemy creeps from attacking you. The technique to use here is very tricksy. What you do is you let the enemy MELEE champion rush up to you, like Master Yi with his Alpha Strike. You run away so he ends up appearing before you. Then you will be out of range of the enemy creeps. The situation unfolds with you and your friendly creeps attacking Master Yi, while only Yi is attacking alone. You will take some damage from Yi only, but your creeps damage more than makes up for a kill.