Not Updated For Current Season
I used to play AD Sona, and had a great time with a build based on critical chance and armor penetration. The problem with that style of play is that it really left out the reason Sona should even be chosen. She's support. With a full AD build, my healing rarely ever passed 200, and my Hymn of Valor really never did much other than to produce disgusting damage with Power Chords. With Sona's great reach and high mobility, I often felt quite invincible. Until the team-fights started to happen.
That's when AD Sona falls apart. And that's where she's supposed to shine.
Everything about Sona is focused on team-fights. The way targets are selected for Aria of Perseverance, for example, is a perfect example of this. Sona doesn't target anyone at all. The skill automatically performs a triage of every friendly champion within range, and delivers healing to the one who needs it most. Similarly, with Song of Celerity, the entire team (and all nearby friendly minions as well) are ushered along on Sona's caravan of win. This makes pushing deep turrets faster, sometimes completely negating the opponents chance to react.
And so, I cleared my critical/arPen rune page, and started anew.
This, my friends, is what I have come up with based on trial, error, research and experience.
Enjoy the guide, leave a comment if you've tried it, and please try it before you rate it.
Thanks for reading.
Pros / Cons
- People will constantly tell you how they admire your bust.
- Great mobility
- Amazing healing
- Very easy champion to learn
- People will request to add you to their friends list all the time
- You'll have the unique ability to turn bad players into great ones
- You'll be able to sustain long offensive pushes deep into enemy territory
- You'll be Sona. What's not great about that?
- Smart teams will tear you apart
- It is disappointing to have a great K/D/A record while your team loses.
- Players sometimes berate you if you are unable to keep them alive.
- Not very offensively oriented
- Getting kills requires patience, determination and awareness
- Difficult champion to truly master
There isn't much to say about Sona's runes. It's a fairly standard caster setup. I choose flat AP quints to help with damage and healing in Sona's early game, and AP/LVL glyphs to round out the end-game, where heals matter the most.
Since her skills are very spammable, I take MP5/LVL seals to keep a decent mana pool available, and to augment, I also take a few regeneration items.
[Version 1.2: Due to a comment below, I feel I should explain why I choose MP5/LVL (Clarity) seals rather than Flat MP5 (Replenishment) seals. This build focuses on CDR and as abilities become faster and faster to use, so must Sona's mana keep up with this intensity. Clarity seals outshine Replenishment seals at level 7. Right around that same time is when Sona gets her first major CDR item in this build. That's exactly when she needs those MP5/LVL seals to start shining.]
MPen marks really only help with early game last hitting and lane harass, since late game, most of my time is spent healing and sprinting. That said, these runes also provide a little gusto to Crescendo as well.
I could take MP5/LVL marks, but I wouldn't be getting my IP worth for this stat in offensive runes. If I'm really having trouble with mana, then swap I out the MPen with MP5/LVL marks. Generally, however, conservative management and careful attention should win the day, and the MP5/LVL marks are usually unnecessary.
Again, there really isn't much to say here.
I use a fairly standard caster 9/0/21 mastery build. I skip Improved Ghost opting for Improved Clarity and Improved Flash instead. Greed helps with building necessary items faster, such as the AA or Shurelya's.
I start the game with a Doran's Ring and almost always move to the top lane. If my team has a jungler, it means I get to last hit to my heart's content as I hug the turret for dear life. I very rarely mid. In pre-made teams, someone is usually ready, willing and able to take mid. In solo queues, if I do, its because the rest of my team is either incompetant or unwilling. That said, however, I don't think solo-mid is necessarily a bad idea for Sona. I just believe she is far more useful in a lane with a partner.
On my first trip back, I'll pick up Boots of Speed, a Philosopher's Stone, and a handful of Sight wards (if playing against Eve, Shaco, or Twitch, I get Vision Wards instead) and return to lane as fast as possible.
[Version 1.2: I feel I need to explain the need for Philosopher's Stone here, due to a comment made below. The Philosopher's Stone upgrades into the Shurelya's Reverie. Also, the early health and mana regen help staying in lane tremendously, thus removing any reliance on potions. Finally, the extra gold income helps to get the Shurelya's faster.]
I used to grab Ionian Boots of Lucidty or Boots of Swiftness (changed as of version 1.2) depending on what type of boots the enemy team was using, but a thoughtful commenter below pointed out that the total accumulated CDR after masteries and items was exceeding the hard cap by a distance. When I made this build, I hadn't taken into consideration the CDR effect given by masteries. So, I now only take Boots of Swiftness, no matter what the enemy team has taken. Sona's mobility is increased and CDR is only exceeded by 4% (Thanks to Halipupu for pointing this out).
After grabbing the boots I also take a Tear of the Goddess and return to lane to either defend or continue pushing.
At some point before the mid game starts and the early game is ending, I'll finish the Shurelya's Reverie.
[Version 1.2: Now, again due to a comment made below, I feel I must explain. Sona is very, very squishy. And despite all efforts to be as mobile as possible, there are still situations where Sona might find herself in a sticky situation. Shurelya's Reverie helps in those times in three ways.
1) During the fight: Shurelya's gives Sona a great amount of health and mana. The extra damage she's able to take increases her survivability 100-fold. The mana helps Sona to not run OOM in those desperate times.
2) Escaping: The active from Shurelya's is yet another escape mechanism built into a champion that is a high priority target and very vulnerable to focus fire. In combination with the Boots of Swiftness, Song of Celerity, Shurelya's Reverie should enable Sona to escape even the hairiest of battles.
3) Regeneration: After escaping, Shurelya's Reverie gives Sona some of the best possible health and mana regeneration available. This makes heals all the more efficient simply by virtue of requiring fewer of them to return to good health. Even in a case where no fight has occured, and Sona only takes incidental damage from enemy champions (for example, one of Nidalee's stray spears), Shurelya's Reverie enables Sona to stay in lane and make that final push to the enemy turret.
My point is this: a good Sona is very difficult to kill; whereas, a Sona with Shurelya's Reverie is practically immortal.]
As the game progresses, I usually concentrate on upgrading my Tear into an Archangel's Staff. I do this for two reasons: 1) The AP bonus from the AA (over the Tear) is preferable over just a Tear, 2) Sona's spells are generally cheap; and so, the larger her manapool, the smaller dent they make as she runs around the map spamming Celerity, Perseverance, and Valor constantly. There is, however, one special circumstance where I will forgo completing my AA and get a Zhonya's Hourglass first. And that is:
Yes. Karthus. Particularly good Karthus players can achieve a high enough AP to strip off 60% (or more) of Sona's HP with Requiem. If he follows up with a Lay Waste, Sona is only a whiff-of-Renekton's-breath away from certain demise. This never bodes well for the team, especially in gritty team fights. But, since this build really has little or no magical defense (until later), having an Hourglass is an absolute MUST-HAVE LIFE-SAVING item when playing against Karthus. When I see that red swirl of death hovering over my head, I pop my Hourglass and laugh. I have just nullified the most overpowered, broken ultimate in the game.
Anyway, on with the build.
As soon as the AA is done, I'll make all effort to get my Evil Tome built. If I happen to return to the store with only enough to grab half of the components for the tome, I almost always elect for the Fiendish Codex. The AP, regen, and CDR on the Codex make it superior in every way compared to the Blasting Wand.
At this point, the core build is complete. I've capped out my CDR and have a decent amount of MP5, HP5, AP as well. With the huge mana pool from the AA (and bonus AP to boot) Sona is free to twist aura's like Chubby Checker. You should be crushing the enemy by now (if you haven't already forced a surrender) and are ready to enter that stage of the game so very few matches ever really get to. The bitter, blood soaked final battles for the Nexus.
By now, I've sold my Doran's Ring and am ready to make room for conditional items.
At the end of the game, the final items depend entirely on the enemy team's makeup. If they're melee heavy, I'll finish off with a Randuil's Omen and a Guardian Angel. If they're magic heavy, I'll grab a Banshee's Veil and an Abyssal Scepter. If the enemy team is chock-full of hard CC, stuns, snares, and disables, I'll buy a Banshee's Veil and a Quicksilver Sash.
Really, only experience and observation can teach a player how, when, and what to get in special situations. I believe these items suggestions are ideal, but there are always other options and I recommend using what you feel is best in whatever situation you might find yourself in.
I almost always take Clarity and Flash. This item/mastery/rune build usually serves me well as far as mana regen is concerned, which begs the question: Why take Clarity?
The answer is simple. There are two reasons why I take Clarity over other more popular spells like Ghost or Ignite.
1) Early game, in a tough lane, with a particularly fragile carry (or unskilled player who likes to take Kat's bouncing blade to the face constantly), mana potions and item regeneration often isn't enough. I've found that Clarity can come in very handy in those situations to keep both myself and my lane-mate alive and kicking.
2) Late game, in a long stand-off push or defense (usually in the middle lane) my own mana regeneration will be fine. Sona has amazing natural regeneration and can spam heals until cows fly. However, certain mana-starved carries and assassins are a little more worse for wear in those situations. That's when Improved Clarity is at it's best. There are very few things worse than calling off a long hard push to the inner mid turret because Brand or Kassadin have gone OOM. Hit Clarity and the push continues.
The other spell I often take is Flash. There are tons and tons of disables in this game. Getting caught out of position or over-extended is a death sentence for Sona. Any smart team will make mince meat out of her in no time flat. But Flash can prevent this. As soon as Eve's stun wears off (or Renekton's, or Sion's, or Taric's, etc., etc., etc.) hit Flash and get the **** out of dodge. Follow up with Song of Celerity and a heal or two, and I'm usually home free.
Flash can also be used offensively to catch runners when followed up with a Power Chord: Tempo. If I need to juke out of a jungle chase, I Flash over that wall and run like Mom is cooking lasagna tonight.
Flash is simply too good to NOT take.
As soon as the game starts, I charge up 2 stacks of Power Chord: Staccato and head off to the top lane. I only grab a single rank of Song of Celerity at level 5, and ignore it until Hymn of Valor and Aria of Perseverance are maxed (respectively). Obviously, I take ranks in Crescendo whenever possible.
Letter-wise, my standard skill progression is:
I only vary from that order when I'm in a solo lane, either mid or top. In that case, I level Aria first, followed by Hymn, and finally Song.
When solo, I usually progress my skills as:
If you decide to try out my build and you happen to enjoy it, please leave a comment below and tell me so! If you build Sona in a similar fashion, and have some suggestions you believe might work better, let me know! If you hated the build and think it's trash, I want to know!
But please be sure to try the build before you downrank me. Thanks!
Here are a collection of screenshots showing the match record and build.
Thanks again for reading, and enjoy!
1.2 - Updated several sections and chapters after some particularly thoughtful comments by Halipupu
1.1 - Updated item purchase order: Start with Doran's Ring, Shurelya's first, followed by AA and Evil Tome. Updated Items chapter accordingly.
1.0 - Published guide.