Sona Build Guide by 1PuertoRican
Mastery Tree Is Outdated
WARNING: These masteries are still using the old tree and have not been updated to the new tree by the guide author. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
This guide is solely on Sona being a main support to her team. This guide will be focusing on cooldown reduction and aura items. Your goal is to rack up assists, not kills (this is for your carry in your team), and to keep your team alive. You do not need to exactly follow this guide, since no game is the same. You have to adjust your item builds/summoner skills/runes to fit your situations. Remember, the chances of you winning depends on your team. Sona can only enhance a good team into an amazing one and cannot carry a bad team composition from defeat.
What is a support?
Characters who are capable of being useful to their teams with fewer items take up the role of the support. They let the carry get all the minions, take Clairvoyance, and offer their team vision by spending most of their gold on Sight Wards. The top 5 seen in high level and tournament play are Taric, Janna, Alistar, Soraka and Sona. All of them give some type of sustain, harass or utility.
Many other champions are capable of going bottom, babysitting the carry, and not taking any farm, but in the words of Anon of the Wind Valley: "You can make anything work as a bottom lane support, but you also must consider that the game is longer than lane phase and measure how useful that support can be in mid and end game too which is going to separate the 'gimmick' supports from the genuinely good ones. And that's why at the end of the day, Janna, Taric, Soraka, Sona and Alistar are top of their class."
An Overview of Sona
In this guide, I will discuss 1 of those 5 top supports: Sona.
Sona contributes to team fights with her AoE stun ultimate, offensive and defensive buffs, and keeps her team mobile throughout the game with her speed buff. She can work with any team, but she fits in best with AoE teams or chain crowd control teams due to her ultimate. She also fits in well with high mobility teams due to her speed aura.
She's a versatile support. She has many buffs, but they lack in power compared to the single buffs of other supports. She's not as aggressive as Taric or Alistar, but not as passive as Janna or Soraka. As a result, her lane can be aggressive with her poking or her lane can be passive with her sustaining her carry.
Before I get into my runes, masteries and items, I will explain what stats I prioritize, what I'm trying to accomplish with my selections, and how they improve support Sona.
Cooldown Reduction & Mana Regen is Important
The current meta is that "supports are low farm because they can contribute and be useful without a bunch of items". Supports support with their skill sets and not items. In order to continuously use their skills, supports need low cooldowns and good mana regen. In Sona's case, she has low mana costs compared to other supports, but also low cooldowns.
Defensive Stats are Always Good
Or health, magic res and armor. As a support, you should chill in the back with your carry. However, survivability is still important so you aren't an easy target for dive-happy enemies. You will also at some point need to get an Oracle's Elixir and you won't want to die with that on.
Gold Generation = Wards
In a duo lane letting the other person get all the cs, you need some kind of income for wards.
Don't build AP items or use AP Runes
Sona's AP ratios are weak and her supportive power doesn't scale on AP. The feature of her supportive skills is their low cooldowns and mana costs which makes them spammable. Don't expect her heal to heal you to full instantly, expect mini heals which sustain you. If Sona's spells had both high AP ratios and low cooldowns, Sona would be really OP. Supports who do scale with AP would be Janna, who has a 90% AP ratio shield, and Soraka, who has two heals that scale on AP.
Greater Mark of Resilience - You don't do squat for damage, so no reason to buff it with magic pen marks. This will let you be more offensive in lane because you can take more hits from their carry.
Greater Glyph of Shielding -You will get a lot of CDR from your build, but not as much survivability. These runes make up for the lack of MR in the build so you don't get insta-killed by their ap carry. Get scaling because you will be bot lane and there's generally not much damage bot lane.
Greater Seal of Replenishment - These will help you stay in lane and keep up the harass. Sona is very mana hungry during / after teamfights.
Greater Quintessence of Avarice - Supports generally let their lane partner get last hits so their lane parter can get farmed, especially since supports aren't as item reliant. The avarice quints help you build up the few items you do need. Gold Generation = Wards In a duo lane letting the other person get all the creeps, Sona needs some kind of income. By using the Greed mastery and building items like the Philosopher's Stone, Sona receives some money.
Mana Manipulator - I start with this item 99% of the time since it builds into other core items later. This allows you stay in your lane longer and spam your heal more if you are getting harassed.
Philosopher's Stone and Heart of Gold build into two useful support items and give you good early game stats.
Boots of Speed can be upgraded into whatever boots you'd like. The most common option is Ionian Boots of Lucidity because they're cheap, offer 15$ CDR, and also fulfill Sona's need for boots 2. Mercury's Treads are good versus double AP or crowd control. Ninja Tabi are very, very cheap. Boots of Mobility excel on supports who roam around and ward while clearing enemy wards.
Aegis of the Legion is definitely the best aura item on a support, because it gives your team survivability and almost double to amount to yourself boosting your survivability greatly. Sona's Aria of Perseverance used to be better than this item, but nowadays it's nice to combine this item to her aura when needed.
If the carry is AP, WotA is a good item on a support if it's not bought by your AP carry, since it gives an aura of 30 AP nd 15% spellvamp to your team. It's affordable and useful to your casters, but the spellvamp doesn't work as well with you as it does with others since you have only 2 damage skills and power chord for it to work with.
If the carry is AD, The zeke's herald works really well with your team having 2-3 AD characters (jungler, top lane and ad carry).
This is one of the most useful aura items giving 10% cdr and 12 mana regen to both you and to your team as well as it gives you 520 hp which is very much welcome on a squishy Sona.
This should be bought nearly every game if you can afford it. Late game the active skill shield given by this item could save your whole team when timed right and it has only 60 second cooldown, which allows you to use it every battle.
If the enemy is AP, Abyssal Scepter is always a valid option to take instead of Banshee's Veil when in need of magic resist, but only if nobody else in your team buys this item.
If the enemy is AD, Frozen Heart is a nice item on Sona since it gives her both mana and 20% cooldown reduction, but also gives her armor to help her stay alive better when the opposite team has multiple AD characters. I had hard time deciding whether this item belongs in the defense or in the aura section, since this item also provides a debuff aura reducing the attack speed of nearby enemies by 20% which is extremely helpful when playing against characters like Nocturne and Vayne.
Buy one of these when you recall back to base every time.
+This is enerally my preferred choice but there are many other viable summoner spells out there.
Clairvoyance Map awareness is very important in LoL. This allows your team to push towers or initiate fight safely. Don't forget to scout junglers for potential ganking.
Flash I have to say this is required for Sona. Its her only escape ability. This + Song of Celerity should allow you to escape most ganks/deaths.
Exhaust Second best choice to replace Clairvoyance. Shut down any melee carry and with Crescendo, this allows you to CC the carry long enough for you to escape and for your team to kill.
Ghost This is also a viable choice but Flash should be your #1 choice for an escape summoner spell. This is also a great choice with Flash if you really want to escape and have no need for Clairvoyance.
Teleport is good but not essential for Sona due to Song of Celerity. But this allows you to immediately support a lane that is in dire need of help.
Clarity Not really needed for this guide as we will focusing on high mp5 to keep up the trio aura spam.
Ignite Great for anti healing and early-mid kills. Make sure to let your carry get the kill, as they need the gold more.
Heal This is an okay spell. Great for early-mid game but it gets outclassed by Ignite.
Smite Required for jungling (she can jungle). Not recommended since she is best for babysitting a champion.
I start with Sight Ward , Faerie Charm and a Health Potion so I can have a Philosopher's Stone ingredient and plenty of Sight Ward. If you're laning against a more aggressive laner like Taric or Blitzcrank, it's important to ward the bushes. You also need to ward to look out for the enemy jungler. As of the recent Fizz patch, jungling times are much quicker. Some junglers even finish full runs before their mobs respawn and they'll be looking to gank more often.
Start by putting a point in Hymn of Valor and charging up your Power Chord before you leave the fountain then head to lane. This can be used for any level 1 fight, early game harass, or to give your jungler some mad deeps.
Since Clairvoyance has a longer cooldown time, refrain from using it on the enemy base at start. Instead, use it to try to find the enemy jungler/team before minions spawn. Where to use it is entirely a case-by-case / common sense issue. If they have a strong level 1, chances are they'll try to invade. If your level 1 is scarier, chances are they'll just stick to their own jungle.
Jungler Tracking Ward
Before you go to lane, try to ward the ramp near the enemy wraith camp. Try means don't like give first blood or walk in blind. This ward will let you possibly know where the enemy jungler is and if they're using the ramp to gank mid early on. It will also show you that they're on their way to do their red, and if your mid is out for blood, they could wander down there and kill them.
When you've reached lane, let your carry farm up minions, taking creep kills only when you're confident they'll miss the creep. When you can, harass the enemy laners with your Power Chord and Hymn of Valor. Level up your Hymn of Valor first to give your carry a damage buff and to do more harass damage.
You can try to mitigate lane harass you or your carry takes by watching carefully and pre casting Aria of Perseverance before they're hit to activate the temporary double armor/magic res buff.
Another thing you can do is help watch other lanes in case the mid/top don't see a gank incoming even though they've warded. Or like when your jungler goes to gank top, you can help him out by using Clairvoyance on the bushes so they have vision on the enemy laner.
Dealing with Stealthers
You can buy an early Vision Ward to plant in a bush or in the middle of lane. Typically though, you can "detect" a stealther is there because the enemy laners are suddenly committing to fight you. When the enemy team has a Shaco, watch for the red smoke.
Shopping & Warding
On your first trip back to town, try to buy your Philosopher's Stone. You should also buy a Vision Ward for dragon. Vision Ward is specifically so you can see if the enemies have planted a ward there. If you can afford some Sight Ward, buy a few for other ramps and bushes.
The furthest most bush from you on bottom (basically, the bush on the enemy's side) is also a good place to ward since it's not uncommon to find a MIA enemy or a jungler waiting for you to push the lane. Another good spot is just the lower river area near bot lane to the right of the dragon pit. This gives you 3 key vision spots: People coming from the blue team tribush, people coming from the purple team blue buff, and people coming from mid/dragon area.
When you can, try to put down wards in an unobvious manner. In example, if you go back to town, come back, they see you with a ward, then you mysteriously run off to the river and come back without a ward, they're going to tell their jungler that the river is warded. Instead, you could try warding before you return to lane, or ward when the enemy laners have recalled.
And this applies to you too: When you notice an enemy ward, you should definitely tell your jungler so they know to use a different path to avoid being seen. If you see the enemy support put a ward in a bush, tell your jungler that so they don't try to sneak in the bush to gank.
Buff Control & Warding
Another hotspot for wards is buffs - your buffs or the enemy buffs. Placing at your buffs is a defensive ward - you don't want your buffs to get stolen. Placing at enemy buffs is an offensive ward for counter jungling and ganking.
Leaving Bot Lane
Sona isn't much of a "roaming" support. Taric, Blitzcrank or Alistar could easily leave bot lane and go mid to help gank due to their constant crowd control which Sona lacks. Also, there's a 90% chance that your carry will die if you ever leave bot lane. Like the enemy will Clairvoyance, see you're not there, and the carry will like sit in the middle of the lane farming instead of being careful and realizing the enemy knows you're not there.
Mid game is hard to define, but it's typically about buff control, dragon control, and pushing. And usually, 3-5 man pushes/dives will start happening on bottom since wiping the other guys mean you get a free un-contested dragon. You'll want to buy an Oracle's Elixir to start checking for enemy wards.
Forever A Babysitter
Hopefully you've gone back to town and shopped. Continue babysitting your carry on bottom. When the jungler comes to gank, you can help damage and debuff with the Power Chord slow. Use your ult (and flash if you need to) to initiate for your jungler and carry. The enemy jungler will likely stop by bottom too. Check out the Getting to Know the Enemy Jungler chapter.
You should continue babysitting your carry even after your tower or the enemy tower in bot lane is down. By staying with them, you get some experience and you'll (hopefully) be able to help them should someone try to gank them. But you should ward the forest and river so you can scout for people coming after you and you'll know when to back off.
Normally you don't autoattack when Power Chord is charged, but you do on towers. Additionally, Sona's Power Chord damage works on towers. In order to maximize your damage on towers, you'd want to use the Hymn of Valor effect. You can achieve this by cycling through all 3 spells. Use Aria of Perseverance and Song of Celerity for the first 2 charges. Then when you use Hymn of Valor, Power Chord is charged and your next autoattack will have the double damage effect.
Warding & Dragon
Since you're on bottom, one of your duties is helping with dragon control. It's common to place a Vision Ward near dragon pit.
The bush to the left of the dragon pit is a good vision spot because it gives you vision on both the blue and purple ramps to alert mid, and also gives you vision of the entrance of the dragon pit. Additionally, if your ward is hidden in the bush, enemies won't see it even if they put down their own pink ward. On the downside, the bush ward doesn't catch enemy wards that were placed inside the dragon pit.
The river to the right of dragon is also a good vision spot because it shows you people who walk out from the blue team's tribush, or the purple team's blue buff. I prefer to ward the left and right spots around dragon since it gives my team much more river vision than just warding in front of dragon.
The bushes/ramps around dragon also help so you can spot enemies gathering for it. Another thing to note is that some junglers can solo dragon - namely Fiddlesticks and Shaco. Those 2 will try to pull dragon in the cave to avoid being seen.
Warding & Pushing
When you and your carry start pushing into the inner turrets, ward the enemy jungle. E.g.: If you're on purple team, and you're pushing into the enemy's inner bottom turret, you should ward the enemy red buff and nearby areas to see when people come through the jungle to cut you off.
Late game is about the Buddy System, baron control, and catching someone out of position and raping them. If you haven't bought one already, you'll want to buy an Oracle's Elixir to start checking for enemy wards.
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.
Catching That Guy Who's Out of Position
If you and another team-mate who is capable of doing damage happen upon a member of the enemy team who is out of position and are confident no other enemies are nearby, feel free to Flash & Crescendo. These things usually happen when you've warded somewhere and the enemy is completely ignorant of the ward. Catching people out of position like that usually leads to strong pushes or free barons.
Poking & Sieging
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, wait for primary initiation before you use your ultimate. (Sure you have some HP items, but that doesn't mean you can potentially tank 5 enemies + a turret.) If you're pushing into a base, you 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, you would want to ward over the walls of your base to avoid skill shots and such.
As a support, you contribute to baron control through wards. Use your Oracle's Elixir to clear the wards out, or ward baron with a Vision Ward to check for enemy wards. You should also ward the various path ways so you can see enemies coming/going around the baron area. Like with dragon, you can ward the bush to the left of the baron pit with a pink ward to try to catch enemy wards placed in front of baron.
My Carry Can't Possibly Be This ******ed
Carries are not exactly the brightest of people. They think that because the support is there helping them, they are invincible. They don't know when to back off and they're desperate for early kills. Even when you ward, they're so busy farming they don't notice the double buffed enemy jungler sitting in the bush next to them. They continue staying in lane when they have no HP. They're autoattacking creeps and pushing the lane. They took Ghost and Flash and they're complaining about the enemy having Exhaust.
There are two ways of dealing with this:
1) Be vocal. Tell your carry to go back to town. Tell them to b. Ping the enemy jungler on the map. You're the babysitter. Even if you're playing with complete strangers, you shouldn't be afraid of being vocal.
2) Screw this guy. Last hit his minions after he autoattacks them and become AP carry Sona.
Sona can be vital in team fights because of her ult. Your positioning in team fights should be hovering around the back and staying near your carry, trying to find a good opportunity to get off your ult, and continuing to support your team with your basic spells and auras. When you can (do not dive into the middle of the enemy team just to debuff someone), use Aria of Perseverance + Power Chord to debuff a high damage dealer.
Using Dat Ult
Sona's ult is best used as secondary initiation because she's squishy and has no gap closer other than Flash. Using your ult as secondary initiation is especially important when you're trying to chain crowd control effects - If your team has Galio, it would be redundant for both of you to ult the enemy team at the same time.
Another use of her ult is simply to protect your carry when someone from the enemy team gets on them. (In all honesty, if the enemy team has a bunch of assassins who get at your carry, you really should've played Janna.) Another situation where it could be used "defensively" is if your team gets initiated on. Then you can counter-initiate with it.
A common problem of Sona's is that they will Crescendo and their team isn't capable of reacting in time to actually do something with the ult. It's unfortunate, but don't be discouraged.
During team fights, your position should be near your carry, but enemy assassins love squishies and you might wind up high on their hit list. Talon, in example, can blink to you, silence you, burst you with his skills, then stealth away. When someone jumps on you, try to punish them for that by repositioning yourself so that the rest of your team can hit this guy. Or you could stun them with your ult allowing your team to get at them. (And you'll die sometimes, but hey it happens.)
What do I do after I ult?
Due to her auras and low cooldowns, Sona doesn't just use her ult then become completely useless. You can help do a little damage with your Hymn of Valor and provide the aura for your team. You can use Aria of Perseverance to help sustain and for the defensive aura.
After the main action, you can help chase with a Song of Celerity + Power Chord and Shurelya's Reverie. If you're chasing through a forest, remember to use Clairvoyance so you can see where they're going and it'll help allies with leap skills so they can catch the guy.
Support Sona TL;DR
Sona Build, to own like Miku Hatsune!
Soundwaves - Diamond Sona Guide by Encross
Sona man mode