Sona Build Guide by astrolia
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Not Updated For Current Season
Not Updated For Current Season
The Meta Game & You
If there are 2 solo lanes and a jungler, then the 2 people in the double lane must share the farm and EXP. The current meta game fixes this problem by having a jungler, a tanky or sustainable character top lane, an AP in mid lane, and an AD carry on bot lane who takes all the farm while being babysat by a support. We play the game like this because it has been proven effective and it fulfills the needs of the various characters.
What is a support?
Characters who are capable of being useful to their teams with their skill set and few items take up the role of the support. They let the carry get all the minions and offer their team vision by spending most of their gold on Sight Wards. They are usually a little under leveled since they leave lane to set Sight Wards while their carry farms. In team fights, they contribute with aura items like Aegis of the Legion and help protect their carry.
An Overview of Sona
In this guide, I will discuss one support: Sona. She's valued for her ability to do a little bit of everything. She can poke/harass, heal, buff, et cetera. She has an AoE stun ultimate which is quite powerful and very useful for AoE team comps. However, she's a very fragile support with low armor/health and little mobility. To allow her to do her job in lane, armor other and defensive stats help her immensely.
This guide is for people who are familiar with the current meta game and wish to play Sona as a bottom lane support.
This is a 6min long video that I made to accompany the text guide. It primarily shows off some laning with Sona but it also talks briefly about team comps, items, runes, and masteries. A lot of the things it talks about can also be generalized for all supports.
Flash is practically required on Sona because she has no innate escape or gap closer skills of her own aside from a little kiting capability with Song of Celerity. Flash allows Sona to position herself not only defensively but also offensively. In example, using Flash and then Crescendo to catch a high priority target off guard. Compared to Ghost, Flash does have a longer cooldown, but it allows you to jump over terrain which can be lifesaving. Ghost works better as an offensive summoner spell on bruisers or "sticky" characters so they can stick on enemy champions.
Exhaust is a very useful summoner spell to have all game because it reduces its targets power based on a percentage, meaning Exhaust will continue to be useful even as enemy champions become stronger.
Right now, hard engages are what win bottom lane, and Exhaust allows for hard engages. Namely, it helps lock someone down. During team fights, Sona can use it defensively by Exhausting the person who jumps on her carry. Of course, it's still possible to use it late game on an enemy carry, but Sona isn't exactly built to dive into the enemy team to do so. Some tanky junglers who have built-in gap closers like Shyvana and Lee Sin will often take Exhaust as their 2nd summoner spell instead of Flash. It will be their job to focus on Exhausting a priority enemy carry during later team fights.
Early game, Ignite's true damage helps secure kills. The damage component compliments burst damage from Sona and her AD carry. The reduced healing effect helps not only to reduce the effects of Heal, but also helps in damage trades and possible kills since many AD carries will have lifesteal from 1-2 Doran's Blades, a Vampiric Scepter, and the Vampirism mastery, and will rely on that lifesteal for sustain.
Overall, it's a great early game offensive summoner option, but by late game the massive debuff from Exhaust (especially after people build items) outshines Ignite's linear scaling true damage.
...of course, that doesn't matter if there is no late game.
Heal acts as a get out of jail free card and can also bait enemy champions into diving towers. Heal is more common on the AD carry since Heal's power is reduced by 50% on allies. They can pop Heal when they're being focused, and the AoE heal for nearby teammates is an added bonus. For supports, Exhaust is useful all game to single someone out and Ignite is better to cut sustain and deal true damage to accompany an AD carry's early burst damage from skills.
That said, Heal has use versus heavy AoE damage teams where you won't be able to Exhaust every AoE damage dealer simultaneously.
Clairvoyance allows Sona to grant vision to her team. It's an okay option right now for Sona since it allows her to help track the enemy jungler in lane early game. However, Exhaust is a very, very useful summoner spell to have for the aforementioned reasons, and taking Clairvoyance means giving up Exhaust. Additionally, by running 15 Defense masteries for some early game tankiness, Sona won't have the reduced cooldown on Clairvoyance. Finally, after [x] many games of League and by warding the map, you should be able to have a general idea of where the enemy team is. Overall, I cannot recommend Clairvoyance.
The suggested runes are dedicated to making Sona's early game. Every page has more armor to make up for her squishiness. Even for poking, Sona really needs yellow armor runes since her 550 autoattack range makes her vulnerable to enemy crowd control and pokes.
- Greater Seal of Gold: A more passive Sona might rather have both Greater Seal of Gold and Greater Quintessence of Gold.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana Regeneration: Flat versus scaling mana is a matter of preference. (I prefer to use flat since I don't always start Faerie Charm.)
- Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration: Also an aggressive option instead of mana regen.
- Greater Glyph of Armor: Additional armor instead of mana regen or magic res.
- Greater Glyph of Ability Power, Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: Sona's supportive power doesn't scale on AP until after her cooldown reduction is maxed. Her heal is only a 25% AP ratio. It's not a big ratio like Janna's 90% AP shield, she doesn't have a lower ratio shield and a bonus health spell like Lulu, and she doesn't have 2 heals that scale on AP like Soraka. (Read more: The Ability Power chapter.)
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Scaling is not recommended. Flat is stronger in lane since some bottom laners level their magic damage skills first and some supports have magic damage threat early game. If you don't need flat magic res for lane, there is always something you could put in this slot for better laning that would allow you to better harass ( Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration), sustain ( greater glyph of replenishment), or trade damage ( Greater Glyph of Armor).
Like with the runes, these mastery pages are to make Sona less squishy early game while providing her with additional mana and gold.
Hybrid Masteries versus 21+ Point Masteries
Defense/utility masteries are incredibly strong. By investing 11 points in Defense and 12 in Utility, Sona can get all the necessary low-mid tier masteries from both trees. The low and mid tier defense tree masteries help Sona trade damage with the enemy laners and lessen how squishy she is early game. These defense masteries also help versus kill lanes. The low and mid tier utility tree masteries give Sona increased the gold generation she needs to buy items and wards, additional mana, and more mana regen. But because she cherry picked the useful masteries from the two trees, Sona is unable to skill the upper tier utility masteries like Intelligence and Mastermind . With bottom lane being heavily focused on engages, I think this is a worthwhile trade off.
Power Chord is Sona's passive. After casting 3 basic spells (QWE), her next autoattack will do additional magic damage. Unlike Diana's Moonsilver Blade which also scales based on her AP, Sona's Power Chord's magic damage scales linearly based on Sona's level. Having levels and magic penetration is the only way to increase Power Chord's damage. Sona's 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 she can purposely save the Power Chord charge to use a specific effect.
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 stance 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, temporarily providing double aura buffs. 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. Sona can leave it at level 1, only casting it to proc the Power Chord double damage effect. Additionally, by leaving it at level 1, Sona will do less damage to minions with Hymn of Valor's base damage and won't push the lane while harassing.
Though 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. When laning versus Janna, in example, maxing Hymn of Valor first means Sona can break her Eye Of The Storm shield quicker. Destroying the shield will also cause the shielded target to lose the AD buff.
A minor heal which heals both Sona and her 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 Sona would want to use a heal after someone gets hit, rather than before they get hit. Since Aria of Perseverance always heals both her and her nearest ally, Sona would be wasting mana if she uses it to heal herself when her carry is full HP. If Sona opts for Vigor from the Defense mastery tree and invests in some Health Potions, she'll have additional natural health regen for laning and will be able to save Aria of Perseverance's cooldown and mana to heal her carry instead of just herself.
It's not the best heal or defensive buff, but it's a powerful skill to have maxed during lane phase, especially versus more aggressive laners. The downside to maxing Aria of Perseverance first instead of Hymn of Valor 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. But Aria of Perseverance starts at 60 mana, whereas Hymn of Valor starts at 45 mana.
Useful buff for running back to lane, chasing, escaping, kiting, and just giving more mobility to your team. There's a reason why Janna's passive is called OP, and why some consider Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed to be the strongest quints: Because movespeed is incredibly useful. 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. (Keep in mind that supports will be under leveled, and won't always be level 18 when the game ends.) Combine with Shurelya's Reverie for even more speed. At max level, Song of Celerity effectively upgrades Sona's team from movespeed 2 to movespeed 3, but it's more of a max 2nd or 3rd skill. Due to the auras and other effects of Hymn of Valor and Aria of Perseverance, it's likely that Sona will use them more than Song of Celerity during team fights.
(Note: The range of Song of Celerity is much bigger than what's shown when you hover over the skill button on the bottom HUD.)
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.
- Max Hymn of Valor or Aria of Perseverance first for laning.
- Hymn of Valor will give a better AD/AP buff, and allow Sona to poke better in lane. Maxing this first usually indicates that Sona's lane is winning, or that the enemy laners are fairly passive and easily poked down.
- Aria of Perseverance will heal more and give a better armor/mres buff. Maxing this first usually indicates that Sona's lane is losing, or that it's futile to poke the enemy laners.
- Recommendation: Take level 2 of Hymn of Valor for the effectiveness if Sona is maxing Aria of Perseverance first. The damage increase from level 1 to 2 is 100% (50 -> 100), as is the AD/AP aura (4 -> 8). Similarly, Song of Celerity's movespeed buff also gets a 100% increase at level 2 (4 -> 8).
- Max the other one ( Hymn of Valor or Aria of Perseverance) second or third.
- Max Song of Celerity second or third depending on what the team is doing. Movespeed is a very all-purpose stat for running around, warding, and clearing up wards with an Oracle's Elixir. But during team fights, Sona is more likely to use Hymn of Valor and Aria of Perseverance a lot more than Song of Celerity due to their auras.
- Max Crescendo when it's available. The important part about leveling it is that the cooldown gets reduced.
The most common starting items for supports in general is sight wardsight wardsight wardsight ward. For harassing, Sona can opt to have one less sight ward and two more Health Potions, giving her more sustain for trading. She'll also have as many potions as a carry who starts .
Listing every starting item combination that you can make with 515 gold would get long and silly. Instead, be adaptable. Does the enemy team has jungle Shaco or Evelynn? Then why not start with a Vision Ward? Does the enemy team have a support Blitzcrank? Boots of Speed can help Sona dodge his Rocket Grab. Or is the enemy jungler ganktastic? Is Sona on purple team and the enemy blue team has a jungle Lee Sin, Shyvana, or Dr. Mundo? Those junglers typically start red and level 2 gank bottom. Boots of Speed and a Sight Ward would help Sona both spot and escape their early ganks. Need Mana Potions before making the Philosopher's Stone? Then buy some. There's also the option of starting with only Sight Wards, Vision Wards, and Health Potions.
Sona doesn't have to build both of these. Philosopher's Stone is great for regen in lane and later turns into a Shurelya's Reverie, but sometimes the jungler will build their own Shurelya's Reverie so they can use it to initiate without relying on the support. Heart of Gold is great as a filler for more health early game. Versus a kill lane, she benefits more from having the Heart of Gold to survive their burst and crowd control better. Philosopher's Stone always has a useful upgrade path for supports, but the upgrade options for Heart of Gold are not so great on supports. Randuin's Omen is pretty expensive and you'd have to justify it buying it over other more supportive items. Locket of the Iron Solari is definitely nice versus Karthus, but it has some issues. (See: Other Items.)
Boots of Speed
Boots of Speed can be upgraded into whatever boots you'd like. If Sona plans on being aggressive early game or is laning versus a skill shot champion, it's useful to have these ASAP. Otherwise, since Sona doesn't roam or run around much early game, so she can put off getting these until after she builds her Philosopher's Stone or Heart of Gold. She can also put off upgrading them until after building 1-2 aura items. Which boots she upgrades to are pretty situational.
Supports actually have 5 item slots because the 6th one is always for Sight Wards. They're needed all game to provide vision. Vision Wards are also useful to clear enemy wards before the support get afford an Oracle's Elixir.
Oracle's Elixir is needed to find enemy wards and kill them. It's also useful versus teams with stealth characters. Sometimes your jungler will buy an early Oracle's Elixir to clear wards while they roam the map. This doesn't exempt Sona from having to buy one eventually.
Mercury's Treads are very practical on Sona (and many characters). The magic resistance is beneficial since Sona doesn't get magic res per level. The tenacity is great versus forms of crowd control. They decrease the effectiveness of teams with strong AP characters and teams with tons of crowd control.
With Ninja Tabi, Sona will take less physical and autoattack damage. And with an 850 gold price tag (500 to upgrade from basic boots), they're very cheap and well within a support's budget. If Sona is heavily harassing early game, they're a great pair of boots to buy early because they'll improve her ability to trade damage with the enemy AD carry.
An offensive version of Ninja Tabi intended to harass better instead of trade damage better would be Sorcerer's Shoes. The idea might sound odd for a support, but they're quite viable for increased harassing in lane and team fights. They paint the picture of Sona completely dominating her lane. They can be sold if the game drags on.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
By getting Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Sona will be less tanky but have more utility from the cooldown. I only build these when my team is absolutely dominating and me having less survivability isn't an issue. If the game goes on long enough and I manage to finish items with cooldown, then I sell them for a tankier pair of boots.
Boots of Mobility
|Boots of Mobility allow Sona to roam the map quickly to ward and clear wards. I build these when vision and warding is so incredibly important that I don't plan on building a bigger item anytime soon. Like above, I sell them if the game drags on.|
After making Philosopher's Stone or Heart of Gold and buying Boots of Speed, Sona should begin building one of these aura item to help her team. These aren't the only aura items, but they're the most supportive aura items. In an average length game where both teams are fairly matched, Sona will only be able to build 1-2 aura items, so remember to make each purchase count!
Aegis of the Legion
Aegis of the Legion is a cost effective item which gives Sona's whole team tanky stats. The base stats alone give Sona 1367.4 gold in stats. Each aura is 731 gold per each person it affects. Teams full of squishy or tanky characters alike benefit from it. The cost effectiveness of the item/aura, the fact that everyone on a team benefits from armor/mres, and the sub-2000 gold price tag have made it a common early item on some junglers since they won't always be rolling in cash but still need to contribute to the team somehow. Sometimes tanky top lane champions build it too.
Zeke's Herald helps autoattackers on Sona's team and gives Sona health plus cooldown reduction. The aura itself is worth 984 gold per person it affects, granting attack speed equal to that of a Zeal and lifesteal slightly better than a Vampiric Scepter. When building Zeke's Herald, buy the Kindlegem first, then upgrade from that. Zeke's Herald is notably "special" for supports. Some top laners or junglers will build Aegis of the Legion or Shurelya's Reverie, but very few will be seen building a Zeke's Herald.
When Sona is paired with an AD carry who doesn't build a The Bloodthirster early on, she should consider buying it as her first big item. Having it will also help Wriggle's Lantern junglers kill neutral monsters like Dragon and Baron more quickly. As seen in the M5 versus SK EU regional finals, Oracle's Elixir, Wriggle's Lantern, and Zeke's Herald = 2 man free uncontested baron.
Shurelya's Reverie gives Sona all of the stats a support needs: HP, CDR, and mana regen. The active is great for team fighting, chasing, and escaping. With only a minute long cooldown, it should be up for every important team fight late game. This used to be a must-have build-first item for supports. Due to the emergence of support junglers building it themselves and using the active to initiate when they need to, that died down a bit. Of course, the passive stats are still excellent for supports and it's not a bad thing for a team to have double Shurelya's Reveries. Having two is quite fitting high mobility teams ( Jayce's Acceleration Gate, Orianna's Command: Dissonance). Like the other items, it's cost effective. The health, mana regen and health regen are worth 2607 gold. The item cost is 2200 gold, so the 15% cooldown reduction and the movespeed active are essentially free of charge.
Locket of the Iron Solari
Locket of the Iron Solari is not an item that supports will scramble to purchase. It has a fairly niche use for poke/push teams, and also against poke teams and to some extent AoE teams. It has a shield active, but it scales with levels, and supports are often under leveled since they wander out of lane to ward. It's not as strong as the other aura items and isn't as cost efficient as them either. Many support items have a "free" aura. With Locket of the Iron Solari, the aura and active cost around 500 gold.
Will of the Ancients
Will of the Ancients is a good aura item to help AP characters and AD casters who use skills to do AD damage. But by late game, many AD casters turn more tanky/disruptive or become plain autoattackers because of poor AD caster itemization. Like with Aegis of the Legion, the aura will stack twice for two people who have it thus giving birth to the "Double WotA" strategy. If Sona's team is running double WotA, there's no need for her to buy it because there will be two champs assigned to buy it already. In other scenarios, its usefulness is based on the team's needs. The AP boost works better on supports who scale well with ability power, but it's certainly an option.
Soul Shroud is an item of debate. To some extent, it's like giving your whole team a mini-blue buff. But the aura will be unreliable: It doesn't affect skills that are already on cooldown, and people usually move around team fights and will end up out of range. Part of what makes Soul Shroud unattractive as an item is the existence of Shurelya's Reverie. It gives less HP, but more mana regen, more cooldown, builds out of Philosopher's Stone, and has the initiation active which better fits making plays and making engages.
The combination of mana and cooldown make it a strong aura item in poke or push teams. By providing her team with those stats, Sona can help sustain the pushing or poking. It's debatable whether Sona is the most appropriate support for those types of teams though. Nunu is often seen as a good support in those comps because of Consume and Blood Boil. Dignitas also made a showing with a disengage-based poke comp using Janna as their support. With the removal of Deathfire Grasp's cooldown, it can also be seen as a way of providing mana-less characters with cooldown.
(In a non-poke/push comp, I would say it's best fitted on a tank support or a mana-based support jungler. The value is in the combination of cooldown and health since Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Zeke's Herald seem less effective on them. In this situation, the aura would be like an "added bonus".)
Chalice of Harmony
Chalice of Harmony has always been a nice sub-900 gold item for support Sona because it has 3 functions: Additional base mana regen, a unique passive that increases her mana regen when her mana gets low, and it acts as a source of magic resistance aside from Aegis of the Legion and Mercury's Treads. Because of the low price tag and magic resistance, it can be built when laning against magic damage champions like Leona or Zilean. It can be sold off later to free up space, or it can be upgraded into Athene's Unholy Grail.
(Some think that Philosopher's Stone and Meditation give plenty of mana regen. There's not a particular buying strategy - you either want it enough to shell out the cash for it, or you don't.)
Kindlegem builds into two possible aura items ( Shurelya's Reverie and Zeke's Herald), and gives both cooldown and health. Since the cooldown is a "unique passive", Sona can't stack 2 of them for 20% cooldown.
Null-Magic Mantle makes up for Sona's lack of magic res per level (especially if you use mana regen glyphs instead of magic res) and builds into 3 potential items - Aegis of the Legion, Mercury's Treads, and Chalice of Harmony.
These items, while not necessarily bad, are more questionable on supports.
Athene's Unholy Grail
Athene's Unholy Grail upgrades from Chalice of Harmony. The passive is very nice for supports, but the item itself doesn't offer a team support effect like the other items, and it costs 2000 gold to upgrade. It's a luxury item for a pampered Sona.
Just because you have a Heart of Gold doesn't mean you have to upgrade it. Randuin's Omen is a much, much more expensive alternate upgrade option to Locket of the Iron Solari. The on-hit debuff passive makes it better suited on tanks/initiators who will actually be getting hit. The 500 range on the active also leans it more toward being a tank item. On a support, the debuff passive is a waste as a support wouldn't be a primary focus in a team fight unless said support purposely walks into the action. (If the support is caught out alone and killed, then that's the support getting caught, not the support being focused in a fight.) The active effect has some use on supports since they can use it to counter people who jump on their carry, but it's more effective on a support tank like Leona who can help initiate.
These are basically items to think about if games start dragging on for a long time. Guardian Angel and Banshee's Veil have 2.5k+ price tags which makes them impractical to buy normally on supports. Guardian Angel implies that the game has come down to decisive, late game team fights. It's also a "counter" to teams that focus on front-loaded burst damage.
The spell shield of Banshee's Veil is anti-poke and anti-initiation. Quicksilver Sash is more affordable for supports, but also more situational. It's primarily bought to counter suppression like that of Skarner. Early on, it's arguably bad for a support to buy one because it's better for team fights if the enemy team wastes suppression on the support instead of a carry. If a game drags on, a support's survivability in team fights becomes more important.
Archangel's Staff, Lich Bane, Rabadon's Deathcap, Mejai's Soulstealer, etc are all AP items that don't support Sona's team. (Read more: The Ability Power chapter.)
The high mana pool of Tear of the Goddess and Archangel's Staff is for champions who scale with mana, or have large mana costs, or have mana upkeeps. Sona has low mana costs compared to other supports, an average sized mana pool, no toggles like Ravenous Flock or Glacial Storm, and doesn't have skills that scale with mana such as Overload. Lich Bane is only good on AP Sona since the damage is based off of the champion's AP, and support Sona doesn't even build AP. It's also very expensive for a support.
Building a 3600 gold AP item like Rabadon's Deathcap to empower Sona's 25% AP ratio Aria of Perseverance is not the same as building a 2200 gold aura item like Zeke's Herald which gives Sona's whole team attack speed and lifesteal. And while it is incredibly easy to get assists on Sona, Mejai's Soulstealer is foolish on a support character who will be lower leveled and have less items than the rest of the team, especially a squishy one who has no built-in escapes.
Sona's supportive power doesn't scale on AP. The feature of her supportive skills is how spammable they are. Don't expect Sona's heal to heal massive amounts. Instead, expect mini heals which provide some sustain. Supports who do scale with AP would be Janna, who has a .9 AP ratio on Eye Of The Storm, Lulu, who can give someone a combined 1.1 AP ratio bonus health and shield with Wild Growth and Help, Pix!, and of course Soraka, who has two heals that scale on AP.
Her heal is her most supportive spell that scales on AP, and it has a very weak 25% AP ratio. Her spells are valuable for their low cooldowns and consistent mana costs which allows them to be used repeatedly during fights. They're meant to be small contributions over time instead of being a big burst of damage or a big spike heal. Additionally, AP items don't really "support" your team, and they cost a ton of gold. They don't have many survivability stats that make you less squishy either. All in all, they are actually somewhat inefficient compared to vanilla support items.
Let's say for example that I have a budget of 4000ish gold...
By opting to buy a Rabadon's Deathcap, I don't have boots 2 or any GP10, my ult is on a 1.6min long cooldown, I have no additional utility for my team, I'm squishier, and despite having AP, I heal slightly less than if I built Shurelya's Reverie or Zeke's Herald.
By opting to buy the cheaper Archangel's Staff, I am able to afford upgraded boots. The extra cooldown from Ionian Boots of Lucidity makes me have better damage and healing compared to building Shurelya's Reverie, Zeke's Herald, or Rabadon's Deathcap, but I am squishier and don't have the supportive effects of Zeke's Herald or Shurelya's Reverie, and I also have no GP10 items. You would see the same type of pattern with other AP items, since building AP after you've gotten lots of cooldown will improve your spell damage and healing simply because you'll be unable to build more cooldown.
Aside from their effectiveness being questionable, you also have to ask yourself: Does spending 3600 gold on Rabadon's Deathcap to get +46 healing with Aria of Perseverance really make Rabadon's Deathcap a better purchase than the 2145 gold Zeke's Herald? I don't find that justified at all.
For general warding tips, check out the warding section.
Junglers have 2 primary paths: Wolves then blue, or wraiths then red. To check for invasions, your team should quickly run down mid lane. In less organized play, invaders typically go in from the side bushes on the left/right of mid lane. So, being smack in mid lane allows your team to easily spot an invasion.
Ones that start blue buff are reliant on the mana regen. Examples of these junglers are Maokai and Amumu. Some get their ganking skill at level 2 and go in for an early gank after taking blue buff, or they'll focus on clearing their jungle faster and try to get a gank in at level 4 instead. Ones that go wraiths then red will typically try to level 2 gank. When you're on purple team, bottom lane is close to the blue team red buff, so you'll needs to be cautious of level 2 ganks from certain junglers. Examples of these junglers are Dr. Mundo and Shyvana.
If you're unaware of where the jungler started, you can usually guess by making intelligent deductions based on where the enemy laners come into lane from. In example, if you're on blue team, your jungler is Shyvana (who starts red), and you see the enemy mid and top laners come to lane from the direction of your blue buff, then the enemy team more than likely stole your blue buff.
Lane Aggression and Engaging
Against a passive lane, Sona is decent at harassing the enemy laners with Hymn of Valor and Power Chord. As explained in the skills chapter, Hymn of Valor will seek out enemy champions when they're standing around minions up to 550 range, which is Sona's autoattack range.
A typical harass skill combo is:
- Have 2 stacks of Power Chord ready
- Autoattack an enemy champion
- Use Hymn of Valor to fully charge Power Chord and damage the champion
- Your autoattack timer will reset when Power Chord is fully charged
- Autoattack the champion again to trigger Power Chord's double damage effect
But many lane combinations can be more aggressive than Sona. Alistar, Leona, Blitzcrank and Taric are all popular bottom lane babysitters because all of them have crowd control. Then there are carries like Graves and Corki who can do a lot of damage early game with their skills which have longer range than Sona's autoattack. It helps to build Heart of Gold before Philosopher's Stone against more threatening laners for the added survivability.
When your carry is being hit and starts to run away, there is no reason for you to just run away with your carry while they take free harass from the enemy laners and jungler. Use your spells. Use the damage reduction Power Chord from Aria of Perseverance. Exhaust the enemy carry or enemy jungler. Use autoattacks, especially if there are minions around that are hitting the enemy carry already.
For more about enemy laners, check out the "Early Game: Enemy Laners" section.
For more about laning, check out my video guide.
Sona should work on getting Boots of Speed and Philosopher's Stone or Heart of Gold as her core items. After, she should start working on an aura item. If she isn't sure what to buy yet, Sona can purchase a Ruby Crystal since it's an ingredient for all 3 major support aura items. On each town trip, Sona should invest in 2-3 wards for vision around dragon and bottom lane. Vision Wards also help clear out enemy wards.
Early Game: Ranged ADs
AD carries are known for having long autoattack range, but less base stats to make up for the range difference. Because of this, they scale well on items. Many have some form of utility or steroid (a buff or a modifier) that can make them go GODMODE when they have enough items. Early game, they will rely on their skills for trading damage with enemy champions, farming, and fast wave clearing. But after they gain items, their skills turn into utility tools which assist their strong autoattacks.
There are 12 primary ranged AD carries. This briefly goes over what they can do and what makes them particularly threatening once farmed. Certain skills allow for certain support synergies, but a lot of it can be chalked up to "poke"/"kill"/"farm". In lane, Sona will be able to provide her carry some sustain with Aria of Perseverance, an AD buff with Hymn of Valor, occasionally be able to poke the enemies, and use her stun or slow when she needs to. Certain synergies between Sona and certain carries will be noted where appropriate.
Hail to the Kings
They're seen as "safe" picks because they can be dominant all game long, and potentially snowball during early game. All 3 have gap closers, all 3 have respectable skill damage early game with their Qs, 2 of them can build Trinity Force and demolish mid game, and 2 of them have free stats.
|Good burst and poke damage with his Phosphorus Bomb. Usually he maxes Phosphorus Bomb or Gatling Gun first. He has a very long range escape skill with Valkyrie, and his autoattacks technically scale with themselves due to his Hextech Shrapnel Shells passive. With Sona's Crescendo, Corki gets perfect setup for his 3 AoE damage skills - Phosphorus Bomb, Gatling Gun, and Missile Barrage.|
|Even after the nerf to Essence Flux, Ezreal is still quite powerful early game due to his strong poke with Mystic Shot and high mobility with Arcane Shift. He gets free stats with his Rising Spell Force passive, granting him free ASPD when he lands a skill. This is easy for him to do since Essence Flux passes through minions to hit champions. With Sona's Crescendo, Ezreal can make enemies eat a full damage Trueshot Barrage, and the two of them can poke well with their Qs.|
|Graves has lower attack range, but he gets free stats with True Grit which allows him to trade well early game with enemy laners. He usually maxes Buckshot first, allowing him to do considerable damage to enemy laners and clear waves of minions very quickly. He scales well into mid/late game because of his free defensive stats and his Quickdraw (an ASPD steroid that's also a gap closer). With Sona in lane, Graves gets even more passive magic res and armor from Aria of Perseverance, and setup for his AoE skills with Crescendo's stun.|
Scalin' on Steroids
These three don't have a strong early game like the above three, but they have all have a certain skill that turns them into a complete monster if they're allowed to farm up and the game is allowed to go on that long.
|Kog is a little baby. He's very reliant on his team to take care of him. His early game is pretty weak - only 500 autoattack range, no blink, and no way to easily clear waves. He needs lots of farm and a wall of tanks to protect him while he fires away with Bio-Arcane Barrage (but this isn't going to work well if this team is weak). Sona's kit provides him with multiple tools for laning and fighting.|
|Tristana is considered a "U-Bend" carry who can do decent early game magic burst damage before she curves off during mid game. She can't safely farm or freeze a lane before her tower because of Explosive Shot. She makes a comeback late game after she gets a few items and becomes nearly untouchable from Draw a Bead's 703 attack range.|
|Vayne is weak early game. She doesn't have a big damage ability like Corki or Ezreal, she has no wave clearing abilities that allow her to farm easily, and she lacks the items for Tumble or Silver Bolts to be threatening. Her early damage comes from finding an opening to Condemn and pumping out some autoattacks. If she can farm, she turns into a monster late game due to Tumble's huge 50% AD modifier.|
The Other Guys
The carries on this list don't quite fall into either of the other lists. Of this list, the ones who see the most play are Ashe (for her strong utility), Caitlyn (for her poking), and Sivir (for her pushing and spell shield).
|Ashe is all about utility. She's a passive early game carry and will primarily be concerned with farming to get her Infinity Edge so she can start doing damage. She doesn't quite have "bursty" skills, though she'll level Volley first. Her strength lies in her Enchanted Crystal Arrow initiation. She lacks a gap closer, but is able to kite thanks to Frost Shot. With Sona's Song of Celerity, she has more kiting ability, and once they both hit 6, they'll also have 2 stun ultimates.|
|Caitlyn is all about safety. She has 650 range, a gap closer, can clear waves + push towers quickly, and she can scout with her traps. She's considered strong early game because of her range, but also considered weak because she doesn't scale like the other ranged ADs do. Specifically, she has no steroid. Her range isn't that special either, as both Kog'Maw and Tristana will eventually outrange her.|
|Draven doesn't get out much - lady summoners don't dig the facial hair. He's basically damage damage damage. He doesn't quite have the utility that other carries do, the bonus damage component of Spinning Axe doesn't even crit, and he lacks a gap closer. Together, Draven and Sona can pump out poke damage with their passives and Qs.|
|Miss Fortune can do some nasty damage early on with Double Up. Her unique feature is her Strut passive. She can farm a lane quickly with Bullet Time then Strut back to rejoin her team for a team fight while the enemy team sends a person to defend the lane she just pushed. Unfortunately, the rest of her abilities are not-so-unique, and other carries outclass her. Not having a gap closer really hurts her too.|
|Sivir has shorter range like Graves, but lacks his free defenses and his gap closer. Instead, she gets Spell Shield which makes her an effective laner and carry against heavy crowd control and kill lane supports. Aside from her Spell Shield, her other feature is the massive buff she gives her team with On The Hunt.|
|Varus has some decent early game damage. He can poke with Piercing Arrow or do some burst by setting off Blighted Quiver, and he can initiate or chain crowd control with Chain of Corruption. But his Blighted Quiver damage is based on his AP (which an AD carry wouldn't itemize for). And surprise surprise, he also lacks a gap closer.|
Early Game: Enemy Laners
Some look at supports as a matter of rock-paper-scissors.
- Kill beats sustain because their whole gimmick is catching one person and killing them. This is achieved either through damage or multiple forms of crowd control.
- Poke beats kill because the champions who do enough burst early game to kill someone are often without any form of sustain themselves, making them susceptible to long range pokes over time.
- Sustain beats poke because they can heal away the poke damage.
A lane with Janna will likely be passive. She lacks a heal, so Sona can whittle her down with Hymn of Valor and Power Chord pokes. And since one of Sona's features in her poking, she will spend her mana on her shield skill to soak up harass damage from Sona or Sona's carry. Once she hits 6, she has good peeling abilities making it harder to focus a target. Janna herself is not that tanky, but she has crowd control skills that gives her AD carry windows of opportunity to get kills with. Assuming she levels up her shields first (and the majority do) and use some defensive runes to take care of their squishiness, she won't be able to do a ton of damage in lane phase. Her autoattack range is only 475, so if she goes into to harass with autos, it's easy to hit her back. Consequently, she likely won't try to setup any kills unless Sona or her carry are incredibly low, or their jungler is ganking.
Soraka can make any lane annoying. Her Consecration reduces the damage from Sona's spells, her Astral Blessing allows her to heal whoever Sona has been harassing, her Infuse can silence Sona out of being able to proc Power Chord, and Wish heals both her and her carry (and her whole team). Versus Soraka, Sona can try to keep her Astral Blessing on cooldown by constantly harassing so that Soraka feels she needs to heal. Ward up and play it safe.
Lulu has very long ranged poke with Glitterlance which she can also use to control bushes. The sound effect will tell her if she hit anything or not. Lulu will max either Glitterlance or Help, Pix! first. Ones who max Help, Pix! first are easier to lane against. The shield can be worn down with Power Chord, and it has a longer cooldown than Sona's spells. Ones who max Glitterlance first are more annoying to lane against. While Glitterlance's targeting is two incredibly thin lines, Lulu can land it easily by first sticking Help, Pix! on a target, then using Glitterlance in whatever direction the target is running. There's a very small window to dodge it. The additional slow duration and damage gained from leveling Glitterlance gives her a decent opportunity to setup kills in combo with Wild Growth's slow/knock up and Whimsy.
Taric is a very all-around support. He has buffs, a targeted stun, and a heal. He can be a very aggressive support because of his stun and burst damage combo - Dazzle into Radiance into Shatter. The Shatter armor debuff and the additional stats from Radiance will make it very easy for his AD carry to kill someone. Sona can definitely poke him in lane, but by going into 550 range to poke, she's wide open for his Dazzle. With carries who can follow up Dazzle with some kind of movement ability to get in range and harass, this is fairly dangerous. Sona can try to bait Dazzle to initiate fights when her jungler is around so that Taric's stun is down and can't be used on the jungler or her carry.
Nunu can Blood Boil his carry, make it hard for Sona's carry to trade back with Ice Blast, and sustain himself well with Consume. His lane being aggressive or passive really depends on his carry. Nunu's Blood Boil on certain carries can be deadly, but others it's not that threatening. Nunu himself has low burst (unless he's running AP runes/masteries) and only single target crowd control until 6. The only thing in Sona's kit that can stop his ult is her Crescendo, but that might not always be the best use for Crescendo. Like with Taric, by autoattacking to set off Power Chord, Sona puts herself in range of Nunu's Ice Blast. Certain carries will be able to follow up on that and get in a lot of harass damage with Blood Boil on them. Sona can try to use this to her advantage and bait Nunu into using Ice Blast on her when her jungler is there to gank. By using those cooldowns on Sona, he won't be able to slow her carry or her jungler.
| Nautilus and Alistar are also pretty common junglers, but sometimes they find their way bottom. Anyway, this is pretty self-explanatory. All four of these supports have a minimum of 2 crowd control skills before level 6, and their job is to kill Sona and her carry over and over. They're often paired with another character who can do decent damage early game. Sometimes this other character will also have crowd control. (Yes, "character", as in, not specifically a ranged AD.)
These supports turn lanes into kill lanes. In order to poke them down, Sona has to go within autoattack range. But by doing so, she'll again be in range of their crowd control skills. Versus kill lanes, Sona needs to play very safely. These supports will often try to control the bottom bushes, and use them to their advantage. To ensure this, they'll buy Vision Wards or even an early Oracle's Elixir. Clear their wards and try not to get caught by crowd control. Early jungler ganks which give Sona and her carry a level advantage also help a ton.
Annoying Lane Combos
|Soraka + anything can be a very annoying lane for the same reasons why Soraka is annoying to Sona. Soraka + Graves though is the ultimate annoying Soraka combo lane for everyone. Graves is tanky and Soraka makes him more tanky. Sona can't harass him very well due to the double magic res passives from his passive and Soraka's.|
|Leona + Jarvan IV became a popular lane duo after it was played by Team Goose. Since then, other bruiser combos popped up like Leona + Pantheon, Leona + Fiora, Xin Zhao + Jarvan IV, Jarvan IV + Darius, et cetera. These lanes are also kill lanes, so the same rules apply.|
|This is an example of a lane that can be especially dangerous for Sona because she lacks any kind of escape ability, and highlights the usefulness of taking Flash. Taric's Dazzle or Alistar's Pulverize followed by Tristana's Rocket Jump usually results in a dead Sona. This combo can also start as early as level 1.|
Mid game is hard to define, but it's typically about buff control, dragon control, and pushing towers. Teams want to pursue these objectives, and also be able to contest them if the enemy team shows up.
Sona should continue babysitting her carry even after your tower or the enemy tower in bot lane is down. By staying with them, she'll get some experience and (hopefully) be able to help them should someone try to gank them. But Sona should ward the forest and river so she can scout for people coming and know when to back off.
Mid Game Warding
All of the same early game wards are still good wards, but when you begin pushing further into the enemy lane, you'll want wards at more locations for safety.
- Enemy jungle & river: When you take the first tower and start pushing into the second one, you'll want to ward the entrances to the enemy jungle and the river so you can see people coming to gank you. The reverse holds true if they're pushing into your next tower.
- Front of dragon: Using a pink here let's you see if the enemy has put a ward on top/inside of the dragon pit. Important if you're on purple team because blue team can drop a ward in the back without crossing the river.
- Buffs: When you start pushing into inner turrets, it's important to ward the buff spots and areas near them so you can spot enemies coming to cut you off.
- Ramps & Choke Points: With towers gone, you won't have as reliable vision on the enemy team. Having high traffic areas warded will give you a picture of where people are headed.
Aim for boots 2, more wards, and start building an aura item of choice. As discussed in the item section, Shurelya's Reverie, Aegis of the Legion and Zeke's Herald all make a good first aura item purchase. After building 1-2 aura items, work on getting boots 2 - Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi. If Sona's team doesn't have one yet, she should get an Oracle's Elixir.
If Sona happens to be ahead of the enemy support and wants to further snowball her cash inflow over theirs, she could try investing in a Kage's Lucky Pick for more ambient gold generation. Alternatively, Chalice of Harmony is a great mana regen and magic res item.
Late game is about the Buddy System, baron control, and catching someone out of position to get a team fight advantage.
The Buddy System
When I say buddy system, I mean general "strength in numbers" - Getting caught alone is bad for your team. Even if you're only worth 15g, your team is missing your ult if you die before a possible team fight. If you go to ward an area, or go to clear an area, others need to come with you or you need to be using Clairvoyance to scout the area for you. And at this stage, warding is very important: With towers down, you'll lack vision. It's very typical late game to ward up, catch someone out of position, kill them, then go push a tower or get baron because the other team is now down a member.
Late Game Warding
- Same spots from early and mid game that can provide vision.
- If your base is being pushed, you need to ward up the forest so you can see the enemy team coming to siege you. In example, your buff areas, and general entrances to your jungle.
- Ward near and around the baron pit so you don't walk in blind to an unexpected team fight.
Poking + Siegeing
Because of the range on Hymn of Valor, Sona is pretty good at poking people who are turtling under their tower. If your team decides to just dive it, Sona should wait for primary initiation before she uses her ultimate. If Sona's team is pushing into a base, she can toss wards over the walls into the enemy base to gain vision inside and poke or ult over the wall, and also help team mates with skill shots. In the reverse situation, Sona would want to ward over the walls of your base to avoid skill shots and such.
After boots 2 and 1-2 aura items, Sona should work on the other aura items. If Sona's team doesn't have one yet, she should get an Oracle's Elixir. If Sona is very rich, Elixir of Brilliance and Elixir of Fortitude improve her stats for team fights.
Sona can be vital in team fights because of her ult. She can be a play maker, initiating a fight with her Crescendo, or taking care of secondary initiation after something like Malphite's Unstoppable Force. After, she should position herself near her carry, and continue to support her team with basic spells and auras. When possible, Sona should use Aria of Perseverance + Power Chord to debuff a high damage dealer.
Sona can initiate team fights with a perfect Flash and Crescendo onto a high priority target. But this is only effective and only going to work if her team is prepared to react quickly and take out said target. A common problem of Sona's is that they will Crescendo but their team isn't capable of reacting in time to actually do something with the ult.
Because of Sona's squishiness, Crescendo more than often gets used as a form of secondary initiation. Using her ult as secondary initiation is especially important when trying to chain crowd control effects. In example, if her team has Galio, it would be redundant for both her and Galio to ult the enemy team at the same time. Same with other AoE ultimates like Amumu and Malphite.
Another use of her ult is simply to protect your carry when someone from the enemy team gets on them. Another situation where it could be used "defensively" is if her team gets initiated on. Then she can counter-initiate with it.
Due to her auras and low cooldowns, Sona doesn't just use her ult then become completely useless. She can help do a little damage with your Hymn of Valor and provide the aura for her team. She can use Aria of Perseverance to help sustain and for the defensive aura. After the main bulk of the action, she can help her team chase with Song of Celerity, the Power Chord slow effect, and shurelya's reverie.
When you play support, note what time dragon and baron die so that you know when they'll be respawning. There are various programs you can use for timing - Overlays, computer apps, even smart phone apps. This will allow you to set up for dragon/baron beforehand. Instead of, "Oh hey, dragon is up, let's go kill it", it's "Oh hey, dragon will be up in a couple of minutes, we should start heading down there". This way you can be there right when it spawns and if the enemy team is out of position then they can't possibly contest.
- Learn to set wards in ways that maximize the amount of vision your team gets.
- When you lose a tower, ward near your dead tower to make up for the vision you just lost.
- When you push further down a lane, ward the nearby jungle to keep yourself safe.
- When you and your team are wandering around the enemy jungle, ward nearby choke points / bushes incase enemies enter them while they're talking a stroll around their own jungle. This can give you a gank or save you.
- Targeting a ward will give you a white health bar which represents how much longer a ward will stay up.
- Try to ward in an not-so-obvious manner so the enemy doesn't have a clue about you warding. This is important when you're babysitting on bot lane. I always make it a point to check enemy items when they come back and see if they have wards. If those wards magically disappear after they go out to the river, you should let your jungler know.
For more about early game warding and an example of how to use the enemy wraith camp ward, check out the early game section.
- Screenshot guide by AwwGasm - This guide shows you how much vision you gain through certain ward placements.
- Visual guide for placement by weenerlikewoah - This guide gives some good general placement advice, but some stuff I disagree with. In example, there's nothing wrong with warding inside dragon or baron.
Ward Placement Videos
In closing, QWE faceroll, stay fabulous, and be there for your carry because they're too busy looking at creep health to notice that jungler with double buffs charging at them.