Sona Build Guide by astrolia
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Champions who are capable of being useful to their teams with their skill set and items take up the role of the support. They lane with their marksman, allow them to take minions, protect their marksman in team fights from enemy threats, and also help provide vision around the map. In this guide, I will discuss one support - Sona.
In lane, Sona is valued for her ability to do a little bit of everything. She has low cooldown poke, a heal, and buffs. She can be played defensively, or she can man up and be offensive. In a team fight, her ultimate, Crescendo, is an AoE stun which can single-handedly turn games around. However, Sona's a very fragile support with weak defensive stats and very little mobility. To allow her to do her job, she's usually built with a mix of tanky and supportive items.
In the guide, we'll discuss your pre-game setup, what items you should look out for while shopping, what to do in lane, and what season 4 has changed for supports.
For defensive runes, I recommend running Greater Mark of Armor, Greater Seal of Armor, Greater Glyph of Magic Resist and Greater Quintessence of Health. Armor reduces damage from the enemy marksman, minions, jungler, etc. Magic resist might sound dumb for bottom lane when the enemy marksman does physical damage, but enemy supports and marksmen have skills that do magic damage. I recommend flat over scaling because flat will be stronger at levels 1-2 (when you first walk into lane) and level 6 (when enemies get their ults and will try to secure kills). Quints can really be whatever you want, but HP is a solid choice to make up for Sona's early game squishiness. Greater Quintessence of Gold work if you can't afford HP.
For offensive runes, I recommend Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration since you auto-attack to trigger Power Chord effects. You should also be auto-attacking to harass while your spells are on cooldown. If you can't afford hybrid, use Greater Mark of Magic Penetration or even Greater Mark of Attack Damage. Seals should still be armor, but glyphs don't have to stay magic resist. You can do a combo like Greater Glyph of Ability Power and Greater Quintessence of Ability Power for some early game oomph to your spells.
Flash works on Sona as it does 90% of all other champions in the game. It gives her a gap closer (she has none!) and a way to go over terrain. When used offensively, Sona can setup plays for her team with Flash and Crescendo.
For a second summoner, I recommend Ignite for two reasons. First, with season 4, a very common build for tanks is tons of HP + Spirit Visage + Perseverance + Second Wind . With Ignite, you'll be able to help your team reduce their healing power.
Second, you'll gain quite a bit of killing power in lane early game. Many marksmen take Barrier, but Ignite is a DoT that happens to last longer than Barrier and has the same cooldown time.
Exhaust is always an option to single out a target and it has both offensive/defensive uses. There's also Heal which is not really a bad spell but not incredibly amazing either. If you play draft mode, it could work versus a team of AoE damage or versus burst damage lanes.
From the defense tree, the damage reduction and flat HP from
help you trade damage with enemy laners early game.
is a filler mastery used to unlock tier 2. The other option is
which is a bit weak since it only scales off of your bonus defenses.
will give additional HP that will scale with HP items. 3% might not sound like much, but considering you spent 3 points in
to get 36 HP, it's good enough.
In the utility tree, Meditation helps with how much mana Sona can guzzle early game before you get other mana regen items. Summoner's Insight is always nice to have since Sona has no gap closer besides Flash, and it's good if you're an expert at Flash and Crescendo combos. Fleet of Foot, Phasewalker , Alchemist , and Culinary Master are all decent fillers. Greed , Scavenger , Wealth , and Bandit are all to help with gold generation. Intelligence not only gives CDR but also has the unique effect of reducing item cooldowns. And now that Boots of Mobility have been nerfed, Wanderer gives you more roaming mobility.
When you do an offensive Sona build, you're pretty much going for all or nothing. With 21/0/9 masteries, pick up various AP masteries like Arcane Mastery,
. You should also get the general damaging masteries like
is a fairly supportive offensive mastery to increase your carry and/or team's damage a bit, and
is just for your cooldowns. You don't quite build as much CDR when you go for items like Rabadon's Deathcap and Lich Bane, so having a little extra CDR helps.
For the other 9 points, your damage and utility is very spell based, so I do recommend the utility tree for that extra regen over the defensive tree. You gain some extra regen ( Meditation , Alchemist , Culinary Master ) and you can reduce your Flash cooldown with Summoner's Insight .
Ancient Coin is the recommend gold gen item because it builds into the very useful Talisman of Ascension. Its passive also makes your behavior less predictable compared to Spellthief's Edge and Relic Shield which makes it more suitable in arranged team too.
Your marksman should also be buying a Warding Totem so you'll have two wards to use in bot lane. If you want another ward, replace Health Potions with a Stealth Ward.
Spellthief's Edge and Frostfang are awesome for laning, but Talisman of Ascension is much better than Frost Queen's Claim. You can only own one gold gen item, so even if you start Spellthief's Edge, you'll want to replace it with Ancient Coin eventually.
Another alternate start item is Doran's Shield. As I've said many times, Sona's HP sucks. Having the extra HP and damage reduction is great against top tier marksmen like Lucian.
Nomad's Medallion gives you some gold gen and double the Favor gold. Sightstone gives you some HP for survival and a ward generator. Remember to buy Boots of Speed whenever and Vision Wards for dragon and bush control.
If you started Spellthief's Edge, upgrade to Frostfang. It might sound like a waste of gold to build Frostfang if you're just going to sell it and build Talisman of Ascension later, but Frostfang pays for itself pretty quickly.
The support (and likely the jungler) often swap their Warding Totems for Sweeping Lens so they can clear out wards. You don't really "need" a Sweeping Lens until objective and vision
control become issues (though some psychic power is required to predict when this will occur since your trinket will go on cooldown after purchase).
These 3 items make up your core items. Talisman of Ascension's active is very useful to have on every team. It has both offensive and defensive uses. The passive stats are also amazing for supports as you get 20% CDR. Boots of Mobility allow you to roam, ward, and clear wards more quickly making them a common choice for ranged, low mobility supports.
Chalice of Harmony was already a pretty awesome item for Sona for mana regen. Now in season 4, it still builds into Mikael's Crucible which got way cheaper. The active is like having a portable Cleanse that you'll likely end up using this on your marksman. (Note that the 10% max HP is based on your target's max HP.)
Locket of the Iron Solari is a situational core item. If your jungler doesn't build one, then you should definitely build one. If your jungler did build one, then it's really up to you whether you want to build it or look into another item.
If you'd rather have CDR ASAP, then build Ionian Boots of Lucidity. They're a cheap source of 15% CDR. If a game goes on for a long time and you wind up going way over the CDR cap, then sell them for another pair of boots.
You should definitely upgrade to Oracle's Lens for the much lower cooldown. On the other hand, if the enemy isn't really warding much, there isn't much point to having Oracle's Lens. You could go for Greater Stealth Totem instead. The 3 ward limit has made Ruby Sightstone less important and it can be upgraded whenever.
You can get any enchant you want, but these are the two I recommend. Most of the time, players save their enchantment for when they need to suddenly get out of base ASAP, and they upgrade to Enchantment: Homeguard. For Sona though, Flash and Crescendo can be pretty game changing, so Enchantment: Distortion is pretty good too.
Read More: Why Talisman and not Frost Queen?
Assuming you're following the core items, then you'll have 1-2 additional item slots which can be used on whatever you'd like. This batch of items has a lot of utility and defense.
You don't benefit from Zeke's Herald's aura, but your marksman will and you'll get the HP and CDR for your trouble. It's nice when you have an AD mid too. If you want 40% CDR ASAP, then Talisman of Ascension and Zeke's Herald will do it with HP and useful team effects.
Randuin's Omen's active can be used for slowing down assassins who jump on your marksman. Frozen Heart's aura is not as good as Randuin's Omen's active. Typically the person you want to be affected by the aura is the enemy marksman and Sona won't always be in range. There's also Frozen Heart's little brother Iceborn Gauntlet which Sona can proc easily, but it risks putting her at autoattack range.
Banshee's Veil helps you not get caught out by statuses or other forms of initiation, though it's a "selfish" item that doesn't really offer your team much. (On the other hand, a living support is always better than a dead support.) Spirit Visage is similarly selfish. Sona gets decent usage out of the passive since Aria of Perseverance will always heal her too.
Ninja Tabi and Mercury's Treads are more alternate boot options. Mercury's Treads excel vs teams with lots of mages and/or crowd control . Ninja Tabi's passive is great in lane phase to reduce damage from the enemy marksman, and the armor means less damage from AD casters/assassins later.
The ones I like the best are Zeke's Herald and Randuin's Omen. Iceborn Gauntlet and Frozen Heart would probably be more appealing to me if Randuin's Omen's active didn't encompass both of their special effects.
With the season 4 support changes, Sona's damage was reduced in return for AP scalings on her utility and passive, but it's not entirely rewarding or beneficial to build AP over building CDR and tanky stats. In example, would you rather be able to cast Crescendo 40 seconds faster, or have it do 60 more damage? As a support, being able to survive through burst damage, cast Crescendo and stun multiple people is way more important than how much damage it does.
Additionally, AP items are not something you can build late game as 5th/6th items and expect to have a significantly profound impact. When enemy tanks build Spirit Visage and other high HP items, your magic damage will dwindle as the game goes on. If you have 5 tanky support items then build Rabadon's Deathcap, you're still gonna be a peashooter.
If you would like to itemize for AP, try building items like Haunting Guise and Sorcerer's Shoes early game then transitioning into other support-ish items. Stacking magic pen early game works in bottom lane cause the enemy marksman won't exactly be rushing to buy Banshee's Veil as his first item. A full balls to the walls AP build with stuff like Rabadon's Deathcap and Lich Bane is not that effective unless your team is stomping.
Twin Shadows and Morellonomicon get special mentions for being a mix of AP and utility. Twin Shadows makes scouting un-warded areas easier which is great now that you can't set as many wards. The cooldown is kind of high though. Morellonomicon's passive should theoretically be useful now with all of the health regen floating around, but it won't ever matter if Dr. Mundo is never below 40% HP.
|Power Chord is Sona's passive. After casting 3 basic spells (QWE), her next autoattack will do additional magic damage based on her level and her AP. Her autoattack will also have an additional effect based on what her last used spell was. Once Power Chord is charged, Sona won't autoattack nearby minions or champions, so you can purposely save the Power Chord charge to use a specific effect.|
|Staccato's double damage is very good for harassing enemy laners since at lower levels, bottom lane AD carries and supports have 30-45 magic resistance and 500-600 health. The double damage effect also works on towers. The damage falls off late game as HP pools get higher and enemy champions start building magic resistance.|
|Good if Sona can autoattack someone who does damage. Early game and in lane phase, it's incredibly easy to use this on an enemy jungler or enemy carry. Late game and during team fights, Sona is more of a backliner and you'll probably end up using it on assassin-type characters who dive into your team.|
|The 40% slow effect is useful all game to slow enemy champions. Potentially, it can help setup kills. It's also her only crowd control pre-6. Don't use it when you're running from someone unless someone is on their way to help you. Turning around and attacking will slow you down.|
|Sona and Udyr both have an additional passive stance mechanic. In Sona's case, this affects her basic, non-ultimate skills. After using Hymn of Valor, Aria of Perseverance, or Song of Celerity, Sona sets off a 0.5 second global cooldown which prevents her from using her other two skills. Depending on what skill she used, Sona will emit an aura which buffs her and her nearby allies. The aura will last until one second after she uses a new skill. During that one second window, her previous aura and her new aura will stack,. The aura buff will take effect immediately after casting a spell, so, for example, Hymn of Valor will always take the AP from the aura into account.|
|Early game, this can be useful as both an aura to buff Sona's lane partner and as an attack to harass people with. Versus weaker laners, it's beneficial to max Hymn of Valor first, as it will help Sona and her carry harass better thanks to the damage and the aura buff. Hymn of Valor has 2 ranges. A "max range" of 700, and a "champion priority range" of 550. It will hit the closest thing within 700 range, but it will only prioritize enemy champions standing among minions if they're within 550 range. When you hover over the skill icon on the HUD, it will show you the 550 champion priority range. 550 range also happens to be Sona's autoattack range, so keep in mind that being in autoattack range also means that Hymn of Valor will target champions.|
|A minor heal which heals both you and your nearest most wounded ally while providing a short defensive buff that's twice the strength of Aria of Perseverance's passive aura. The double resistances is a bit counter intuitive since you would want to use a heal after someone gets hit rather than before they get hit. Since Aria of Perseverance heals both you and your nearest ally, you would be wasting mana if you use it to heal only yourself. Health Potions or Crystalline Flask help you conserve mana. It's nice to have versus aggressive laners. The downside to maxing Aria of Perseverance first is the higher mana cost - it's preferred that Sona use Aria of Perseverance twice to stack Power Chord, then use Hymn of Valor and autoattack for the Power Chord double damage effect.|
|Movespeed is incredibly useful for running back to lane, chasing, escaping, kiting, and just giving more mobility to your team. This skill synergizes with champions that have strong initiation and champions with gap closers or chasing ability making it a powerful skill to have during team fights. Combine with Talisman of Ascension for even more speed. At max level, Song of Celerity effectively upgrades Sona's team from movespeed 2 to movespeed 3, but it's a skill you'll max last. Due to the auras and other effects of Hymn of Valor and Aria of Perseverance, you'll use them more than Song of Celerity during team fights.|
|Nice ult for team fights. It synergizes well with other AoE ultimates. Since Sona isn't the tankiest person in the world, it's best utilized as a secondary initiation after the main initiator does their thing. Early and mid game, Sona can afford to casually use this on one guy (like when your jungler comes to gank bot lane), but late game Sona should really save it for team fights, or use it for tactical retreats when her team doesn't want to be pursued.|
Take Hymn of Valor at level 1 for the burst damage. It's useful for level 1 fights and harassing right when you get into lane. You can force people to chug potions before they hit level 2.
Your first skill priority is to level Crescendo at 6/11/16 for the reduced cooldown. Your second priority is to max Hymn of Valor for harassing in lane.
If you are getting owned or heavily harassed (or your AD carry sucks), you can max Aria of Perseverance instead. Even if you max Aria of Perseverance first, I recommend getting Hymn of Valor to level 2 early on because getting it to level 2 will double the damage.
After, max the skill you didn't max first. A single point of Song of Celerity is good enough for the Power Chord effect. You can also hold off getting any points in Song of Celerity until level 8 or 13 if you don't need the Power Chord effect.
As Sona, you'll be responsible for marksman's livelihood. Let your marksman kill minions while you harass enemy laners and ward around bottom lane. In bottom lane, Sona has a strong level 1. Start by leveling Hymn of Valor and casting it 2-3 times on the fountain for quick mana regen. Do this to charge Power Chord and you'll have the double damage effect when you go into lane. If you need to pull for your jungler, only cast it twice so you don't waste Power Chord on a jungle monster.
This early burst of damage makes Sona a good support to pair with a marksman who has some early damage. In example, Ashe's level 1 Focus crit and Volley or Lucian's Piercing Light and Lightslinger double autoattack combined with Power Chord can really chunk someone's health. This can force an enemy laner to chug a Health Potion early and give you a slight advantage in lane. By poking, harassing, and damaging enemy laners, you're looking to create a safe zone for your carry to farm.
A typical harass combo will be something like:
1. Build 2 stacks of Power Chord.
2. Autoattack an enemy champion.
3. Use Hymn of Valor to fully charge Power Chord and damage the champion.
4. Your autoattack animation timer will reset when Power Chord is fully charged so you can autoattack the enemy champion again to trigger Power Chord's double damage effect.
If you're using Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration or Greater Mark of Magic Penetration and enemies aren't using Greater Glyph of Magic Resist, they'll have a decent chunk of health taken off.
Be smart though - you can't just get in people's faces all the time. Your highest damage is Hymn of Valor and Power Chord, both of which have cooldowns. Simple autoattacks make excellent filler in-between cooldowns. But cooldowns aren't your only restriction. Sona's low health and defenses make her very vulnerable. If you're in a position where you can't harass much, remember to use Aria of Perseverance to help your marksman sustain while they farm.
Some enemy laners will be particularly threatening to you. A Lucian and Taric lane has high kill potential due to Taric's stun and Lucian's damage output. Sona can easily be dropped or taken very low during the duration of Dazzle. This is where you'll realize that starting with Health Potions, Alchemist and Culinary Master all help in lane. You can't just sit there and cast Aria of Perseverance the whole time when it has a mana cost.
It helps to be very aware when playing bottom lane. Not just map awareness, but also being able to predict things. If Lulu is behind you in levels and her marksman has less minions but she suddenly walks up to you, casts Whimsy and goes all aggressive when she's been passive the whole time, you're probably about to get ganked.
On the flip side, say you Crescendo and Lulu blows her Flash to dodge it. You didn't get the kill, but Flash has a much longer cooldown than Crescendo. You know that you can Crescendo her again later and her Flash won't be up yet. You could even invite your jungler to gank and you can try to focus on Lulu knowing her Flash is down.
Sometimes you'll be able to catch an enemy off guard and eliminate him/her before a real fight begins effectively making it 4v5 in your favor. Otherwise, full 5v5 team fights break out when someone (anyone) initiates. During a team fight, try to stick to your carry and help him or her live through the fight. Your marksman will try to get the big tanky guys off of them first before trying to clean up. They can't very well expect to be effective when Shyvana is on them with a Randuin's Omen.
You can use Crescendo multiple ways in a team fight. If Renekton jumps on your marksman, don't be afraid to defensively stun him. On the other hand, if you're sieging the enemy base, the next wave of your minions has arrived to soak some turret damage, and the enemy team is all conveniently lined up for a 4-5 person Crescendo, get on that.
Because of her low cooldown spells and various active support items, Sona doesn't just ult then become useless. All of your spells have auras that will grant your team more stats. As far as items go, Talisman of Ascension is a great item for using at the start of a team fight (or you can pick your battles and use it to run away from one) and it has a fairly short cooldown.
Then there's Mikael's Crucible which has a much higher cooldown. You can't just casually use it to heal someone. Save it to use for a situation where your marksman is stunned or feared and they need to run. If you opted for it, Locket of the Iron Solari will also help your team soak damage, or Randuin's Omen can be used when enemies are on your carry and you need to use the active to help peel.
Since marksmen have ranged attacks and aren't constantly taking damage at close range, they build offensive items like Infinity Edge and Last Whisper and turn into glass cannons later. However, they need a lot gold to buy those items, and that all starts by farming minions in bottom lane. But a marksman can't just walk into lane and kill minions like it's no ones business. There'll be an enemy marksman and an enemy support there too. And that's pretty much where you come in.
In terms of map awareness, the changes to vision has made map incredibly dark now compared to season 3. You and your marksman both should've bought Warding Totems at the start of the game. I recommend using your Warding Totem to spot jungler ganks rather than ward in the bottom lane bushes. No one knows where the hell the jungler is these days and ideally you'll want to control the bottom lane bushes by standing in one to gain vision.
Mid game isn't defined by a time or anything. It's marked by objective control (towers, dragons, buffs) and some roaming. As a support, you won't be much of a big roamer as you'll still be surgically attached to your marksman's hip. However you will play a part in objective control. Dragon is usually the first "big" objective. You'll want a Sightstone and Vision Wards to help scout out enemies approaching dragon and clear their wards. After you've built Sightstone you can also look into replacing your Warding Totem with a Sweeping Lens. Other high priority spots to ward are gank paths, such as the bush behind the blue team's red buff.
It's also important to learn about lane control. When your marksman is killing minions instead of just last hitting them, he is aggressively pushing the lane toward the enemy turret. If your marksman isn't pushing as hard, then he's trying to "freeze" the minion wave to passively farm. If you lose an outside turret, it's dangerous to be far out in lane especially with the map being darker, so marksmen will freeze a wave of minions near their inside turret. Whether you're being passive or aggressive, you'll need some kind of ward coverage to spot incoming ganks.
By late game, there's less roaming and more grouping. Both teams have farmed up a storm and are ready to take each other on 5v5. With your limited wards, where you place wards is going to be dependent on how well your team is doing. If you can barely leave your base, then try to use your wards to scout the enemy team in your jungle area. Baron becomes a high priority area as well. By now you should also have Oracle's Lens which you can use to sweep enemy wards. It's hard to coordinate this in solo queue though. Remember that charging Power Chord will reset your autoattack animation in case you need to autoattack a ward quickly to kill it.