Sona Build Guide by Halloseve
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.
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.
This guide will introduce, explain, and analyze most aspects of Sona, the Maven of the Strings. One should expect detailed theorycrafting, useful tricks, opinionated playstyle, and helpful guidance.
Sona excels in the laning phase, harrassing against squishies, and even tanks, while still being able to take a beating, because of her ability to heal. Mid-game, her damage output really shines, where she can do as much damage as an AP-carry, while, like the laning phase, still being able to heal up the other team's poke-damage. As late-game rolls around, she becomes more of an aura-bot, but her ultimate really shines, as one good ult placement can win you the game.
How you play Sona really depends on your access to farm; if you are side-laning with a hard-carry, or another carry, you should not steal their farm. Rather, focus on disrupting the other carry's farm. However, if by some means you are given any of these opportunities:
- By some miracle, a solo lane;
- A soft carry, that gives you permission to farm some;
- A jungler and a roamer, thereby giving you three solo-lanes,
You should definitely try out my second build that snowballs quite hard, if you do get access to farm. I also sometimes use this build when I get fed in a duo-lane; I go into more detail about my first set-up here and my second set-up here.
Pros / Cons
- FUN laning phase; babysitting is bearable!
- Crazy damage early game through mid-game;
- Relatively low skill cap, and easy to learn;
- Team fight-changing ultimate.
- Quite squishy, countered by attentive care to positioning;
- Q and ultimate range is frustrating;
- No bursty (like Soraka or Nidalee) heals, all sustained.
Pure AP quints really give you that early game edge that Sona really relies on; they make your Q actually dent your enemies' HP and let you take more of a beating, because you can heal yourself for more.
I used to use HP quintessences to avoid the inability to harass at level 1 (because I only had 4 bars), but now I get a Doran's Ring to start out with. The GP10 quintessences could work, as well, but generally they do not make up for enough gold.
You really don't have much choice here; in most games, this will be your only source of MPen. These really help your damage, even if you think you're playing her as a support.
Wow. Without these MP5 Glyphs, you would be running so manaless by level 2 in lane. While you still may be running out of mana, these really help delay that inevitable outcome for quite some time. I feel that flat MP5 is a lot better than per level, because before long, you'll have your Philosopher's Stone's to help with the later mana issues that you may face.
This is where I'm having a little bit of a debate with myself; while flat or per level CDR glyphs may be a good choice, I feel that the extra AP later in the game can help on those games where you really haven't even started any offensive items, which really can happen quite a lot.
Clairvoyance This spell is really a must-have for any support. Please view my chapter specifically on Clairvoyance and it's usage in conjunction with what phase of the game it is here.
Flash Flash is just too good of a summoner spell not to have, especially as any squishy carry, support, or jungler. They say that the best counter to any enemy's Flash is your Flash, and vice versa. This is so true. Not having Flash can really leave you in a lot of sticky situations; you will always see the most of this summoner spell no matter if you're an "Elo hell" or playing in a tournament.
I've done some experimenting with other summoner spells, and ultimately, these just come out behind when one compares them to the necessity of Clairvoyance and the safety of Flash.
Ignite Ignite may net you a couple of kills early on that they may have just slipped away barely with a sliver of health, but unless if you're against some sort of Dr. Mundo/ Soraka team, the benefits of it late game seem to diminish as one's team's reliance on Clairvoyance is nonexistent. However, if you have a Blitzcrank or Alistar that is dead-set on having a Clairvoyance, this would probably be your next best summoner choice.
Ghost I have tried both Flash/Ghost and Ghost/Clairvoyance, and I still feel that it is just vastly inferior to a good Flash over the wall, or a Flash that nets you a kill that would have otherwise slipped away. If your personal preference is Ghost, I'd say that's your decision, but if you haven't tried out Flash yet, and you're just being stubborn about using Ghost... I'd really recommend giving Flash a try.
Exhaust The reasoning behind picking up Exhaust would be similar to that of picking up Ignite; however, it would be because the other team picked the almighty all-in- Tryndamere. Again, Clairvoyance will still put your team ahead, but if someone else has it, and you're going up against some Master Yi/Tryndamere composition, I'd say go for it. It will prove worth it.
I feel the specific need for delegating a whole section to Clairvoyance is completely necessary, as I have seen way too many support players simple using Clairvoyance as a Summoner, only because other supports do... not necessarily because it is the most helpful Summoner to have as a team.
I had a huge learning curve with Clairvoyance, as I had never jungled before... I hope this section will really help those who struggle with using it effectively.
Clairvoyance is a wonderful summoner. Learn to love it if you have any interest in playing Sona.
Early Game (1-9)
You should almost always be using Clairvoyance as a GPS to spot the jungler. At around 0:07-0:10, use it on the other team's Summoner Platform, especially if they have an Evelynn, Twitch, or Nunu... or ANYONE with Teleport. Notice if any of them have any wards; if they do, call it out to your team, especially your jungler. From here, guard both of the blue and red buffs, if they did have wards... if a ward is dropped, and you are unable to destroy it, call out to your jungler where the ward is and when it will expire (3 minutes + current time). Your jungler will find this information invaluable; for example, if you have a non-blue dependent jungler (Lee Sin, Shen, Shaco), and they ward blue... they can just wait until it expires, or until you have spotted the other jungler very far away from the ward (more later). Inform your jungler if any teammates go suspiciously MIA after he engages in blue/red buff. It's usually a good rule of thumb to Clairvoyance the opposing team's blue buff, as soon as it's back off cooldown
While laning, you should constantly be Clairvoyance'ing their jungle to find out where he is, what he is doing, and what he has/hasn't done yet. Ultimately, get to know the different jungle routes. By finding out where they start from the initial round of Clairvoyances, you learn so much about their ganking plans, as well as future jungle paths. One big warning is with Shaco; if you see him starting at Red, tell your team to be weary at level 1, as he is usually going with the infamous level 1 Shaco gank. If you see that both your jungler and their jungler are doing about the same jungling path, Clairvoyance'ing where your jungler is in their jungle can be a helpful tool. Also use Clairvoyance to scout for overextended team members, as well as possible early dragons (before you can ward it). However, PLEASE do not use Clairvoyance as a *ward*; I see way too much supports constantly Clairvoyance'ing their river brush to ensure they aren't getting ganked. Not only does this mean they do not have it warded, but it means that their jungler is not there (obviously, because they do not have vision of it), ensuring your safety, as well.
Mid/Late Game (10+)
After the laning phase, Clairvoyance's use really simplifies. As you are generally responsible for warding, use it if you aren't sure if an area is safe. Never face check. You are far too valuable to your team, and it could actually give them an easy objective -- for example, if you face check while you're trying to ward Baron... and get killed, you just gave them and free Baron, and possibly lost yourself the game.
You should also use this when team fights are initiating; discovering the other team's positioning really thwarts their ability to preform in a team fight. Finding that pesky Xin Zhao waiting to man-handle your carry in the brush not only can win you team fights, but games.
This is also an amazing tool for sight dominance; as both teams eventually get Oracles and start clearing out Baron wards, you will easily be able to differ from a Baron bait and an actualy Baron attempt.
Skill Summary and Sequence
Every 3 auras Sona casts, depending on which aura it is, it has an extra effect. You can always change which effect you want the attack to have, when you have Power Chord: Ready. Mastering this is essential to becoming a good Sona player. In addition, each of her aura's passives will last for 3 seconds after she casts a new one. At max CDR, it is possible to juggle all 3 auras at the same time. Unfortunately, Power Chord does not have an AP ratio attached with it, like Orianna's passive... however, it does scale with level. The formula for the damage is 14 + (9*level).
Each of her auras has a passive and active effect. All of her auras have 7 second cooldowns, and a 2 second "global" cooldown (except her ultimate).
This is her main source of damage. The range on this spell may look to be very big at first, but the range is very deceptive, as it does not always prefer champions over minions, if there are some minions that are closer. I almost always use this spell by popping in and out of the brush, hitting my enemy with a Q and Power Chord. A Hymn of Valor Power Chord does double damage. Hymn of Valor's passive increases her and allies' AD and AP by 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20. You CAN steal Dragon/Baron from behind the trees, if one has vision of it with this skill. Try it sometime, there's nothing more satisfying than stealing an enemy's hard-earned work.
Her main healing ability does relatively low burst healing, but it heals consecutively and is spammable. This ability always heals you, but it heals the lowest percentage champion in your range, as well; this is why getting constantly split-harassed in lane is a lot better than one person getting very low. The Power Chord effect puts a debuff on the target that makes them deal 20% less damage... target carries with this in team fights. Also, Baron Nashor and the dragon can be debuffed with this, too! The passive aura is a mini-Aegis of the Legion, as it grants her and allies 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20 Armor and MR.
The movement-speed aura can be very game-changing as well. The active allows her and her allies to get out of sticky situations as fast as possible, while the passive gives you a nice, welcomed boost in movement speed. This aura's Power Chord effect slows the target by 40% for 2 seconds; WOW. Ever since they buffed this, this slow is game-changing in ganks, and definitely could mean the difference between a kill and a miss.
Her ultimate is amazing. This is what makes Sona... well, Sona. Like her Q range, the range can sometimes be deceptive, especially since it has a slight travel time of .2 seconds. Don't gut yourself if you miss an ult while laning, it happens to the best of us. Just don't waste it in team fights. The damage done is split up over the 1.5 seconds, so.. let's say it does 150 damage total, it will do 50 damage every .5 seconds. You can't use the ultimate to initiate a fight, usually, as the stun does not last enough, and you are too squishy of a target. Sometimes using it right off the bat can be a good idea, but not always the most opportune. Try to target everyone that you can with it, but if you need to stun that pesky Master Yi that's sticking to you, feel free to. It's better to have used it and died than to not use it at all.
While some say that the Caitlyn/Sona meta is strong, you really seem to rely on either of them hitting an unexpected trap to land a kill. Granted, your poke-potential is extremely strong; your enemies quickly realize this and play cautiously.
Wow. As soon as you see a Poppy/Sona lane on the other team, you should be very scared. Your Poppy will absolutely love Clairvoyance, as it lines up easy Heroic Charge's for unsuspecting enemies hidden in the brush. The stun on Heroic Charge, plus both Poppy's and Sona's amazing early burst HURTS.
Sion? Yup, you bet. Sion's Cryptic Gaze and Death's Caress is just what the doctor ordered. Even with some of the most cautious of enemies, you can clean up with some easy kills with both of your amazing burst, and Sion's godlike CC-spam.
The ranged poke on a Galio/Sona is rough to deal with without any type of heal; you'll be at your tower recalling if you can't dodge a Galio's harass, or if you eat too many of Sona's Q and Power Chord combos.
At first glance, this looks like a somewhat double support lane. Not really, if your Lux is playing as an AP carry (which, granted, she should be), then you can dish out quite a bit of damage, and a good Finales Funkeln can mop you up so nice kills in the end.
Similar to a Poppy lane, your Vayne will LOVE Clairyvoyance, not only because she can Condemn them into the wall when they stay in the brush, but because it will also activate her passive. While a Soraka/Vayne lane will guarantee free farm for the laning phase, a Sona/Vayne lane will add to that free farm by netting a couple of easy kills.
From what I've heard, this lane is extremely bursty, and it makes sense. In the Season 1 League finals, one team even banned Sona, just so that the bottom lane would not be Sona/Tristana. Yah, it's that good. I haven't gotten a chance to try this, though, although it would make sense as a lane composition. Tristana's healing reduction would be a nuisance to a Soraka/whoever she's babysitting, so it makes perfect sense in that respect, as well.
To Do List
- Refine awful Power Chord pictures
- Discuss items
- Introduce and differ between different builds
- Add section on Ranked, Clairvoyance, Warding, as well as general Support zeitgeist.
- Add more to Laning Compositions