Sona Build Guide by Kireihana
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+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
Threats & Synergies
I tend to ban this guy a lot. He's very popular from my experience. His main strength is in the laning, which is Sona's fatal weakness. Try not to trade with him. Max W and always hit him with power chord W. When he goes for you or your ADC.
If I'm not banning Draven, I'm banning her. Playing against Sona is heavenly for Vayne. You won't poke her out, and she will outscale you, even be able to out-trade in early 2v2s. ADCs with great scaling typically aren't an issue, but once she has BotRK and Rageblade damage is simply far too rapid for you to even act. If she finds you while your ult is down, you're dead. Simple as that.
Trading with her all-in is hard, but not impossible. I tend to always win if my ADC is on the same page as me and strictly focuses the enemy ADC when Leona engages on us. If there's any level of miscommunication, you should unfortunately expect to die.
You can play against him as if he's any other melee/hook support, just be cautious that he will take a lead and run with it harder than any of the other supports. One slip up can cause you serious problems.
If the Morgana is good, she will simply hold E over her ADC once you are level 6 (or about to get it), and you will not be able to land an ultimate. The fact that she can entirely mitigate your ability to grab a lead with your lvl 6 powerspike automatically makes the game a bit harder.
Definitely the hardest matchup I've personally experienced. One slip-up is all it takes to let the enemy snowball out of control. To avoid this, simply swallow your pride and have your ADC farm behind tower so you have a safe place to stand behind minions (standing behind minions in the middle of the lane is not safe enough). His hook is super long range and fast, rendering you unable to dodge it reliably. Play it safe and don't take any chances with the robot.
I've selected Darius as a generic toplaner. In truth, Sona loves to be on a team with any bruiser-like champion. Heal them and speed them up, and they'll kill for you.
While he's frustrating to play against, he'll be your best friend if he's on your team. You should beat almost all lanes with him by your side. Sona may not be the greatest laner, but Draven brings out every possible strength of hers in the laning, paving the way to an easy midgame, then an easy lategame (if the game hasn't already ended). This tends to work with almost all the ADCs with strong early presence.
I've selected Rengar as a generic assassin. Give your assassin more speed once they go for an engage, as they're about to engage, send them a fade-away W that will land on them shortly after they're already fighting. It's a pretty nutty synergy.
Champion Build Guide
Ignite and Flash are mostly irreplaceable. Ignite is heavily integrated into the meta of League and is expected by your ADC without question. (We're all heavily trained in using ignite, so we all play with it well). Flash allows you to survive and or finish kills in situations where you normally couldn't.
In rare situations, I will ask my ADC to take barrier so that I can take heal. My choice in doing this is never relevant to a 2v2 botlane matchup, but rather if I can tell by the enemy jungler and midlaner picks that my ADC and I will be getting dived relentlessly, ensuring our safety becomes my priority.
Q > W > E
This should be your max order for most of your games. The extra damage you recieve in the earlygame will make a big difference in 2v2s, 3v3s, and drake fights.
W > Q > E
While Q>W>E is the ideal max order, be open minded to maxing W>Q>E. Sometimes your allies have all the damage in the universe and they simply need to live long enough to dish it out.
E > W > Q
In fact, the max order that truly requires an open mind is E>W>Q. While this max order looks like complete nonsense, I almost always do it if I have a super fed bruiser on my team such as Darius. Darius doesn't care if he needs to tank a lot, he'll manage. Darius doesn't need your help dealing damage, he'll manage. What he really needs is the opportunity to stand on the enemy at all times. This is something that only the E max can offer. An important thing to remember is that you should never attempt this max order early on into the game. You should initially proceed with your Q or W max 100% of the time. Only start putting all your points into E then W once your top laner demonstrates to you that they are the absolute win-condition and their 1v5 is worthy of all your focus.
This rune page is quite static. I've (unfortunately) been D4 for two seasons with another runepage that is super similar to this one, but I find this version to be the most optimized for success. I'll explain what every single rune accomplishes for Sona.
This keystone is just powerful beyond belief. Sona uses this rune in an arguably unfair way, being able to proc it on her allies with any of her basic abilities in rapid succession (as fast as possible that the rune allows). Furthermore, it allows Sona to save allies in super clutch situations. For instance, let's say you're running to midlane to save your teammate. The most ideal situation is that you run all the way over to your team mate and stand on them to get the full effect of your W (the long range heal + the short range shield aura). While your W's heal range is decently long, the shield aura range is not. This could lead to your teammate dying due to you not being able to mitigate enough damage quickly enough. However, Aery can compensate for the lack of your shield Aura range by instantly providing a shield as your W heal arrives to your midlaner. In hindsight, this whole scenario presents a very simple concept, but it easily illustrates a clear advantage over alternative keystones such as Dark Harvest.
This rune is probably the least necessary of all the rune choices here. In fact, I encourage you to run Nullifying Orb in situations where you have to deal with enemy turret divers such as Elise or Katarina (as long as they deal magic damage). With that being said, it's still a very effective rune. You should proc it several times before your first back. Once you do this, something very special happens: You can now budget your mana as a resource for health simply by spamming W if you or your ADC really needs it. You can think of it as providing yoursself with a Nullifying Orb for all damage types (in the form of a few extra Ws). Beyond the early-mid utility, this rune isn't felt very much. This is because Archangel's will supply you with all the mana necessary to win the game. In all, keep an open mind toward Nullifying Orb.
For the longest time I either ran Transcendance or Absolute Focus and completely overlooked this priceless gem of a rune. Unfortunately, many ranged champions are relegated to 325 base MS. Celerity in combination with your E (and sufficient CDR) will allow you to maintain a movespeed drastically faster than all other champions permenantly (so long as you have mana to E). Even when you haven't reached level 6 and or 35% CDR, the infinitesimal quantity of MS provided by this rune can save your life where the other two rune options certainly won't. Furthermore, you'll move so quickly that you can achieve a state of semi-invulnerability: Moving so quickly that the enemies attempts to attack your are completely futile, but you can still come in and out of a fight effortlessly. Even though assassins such as Rengar can mitigate your semi-invulnerability by sniffing you out and clicking on you, there are still methods of preserving this state, such as buying hourglass and banshee's veil, and maintaining a secure ward structure around areas that you need to walk.
This is one of the greatest equalizing forces in the game. It's to the point where no matter how much damage you deal with scorch, it can't hold a candle to gathering storm. I would only prescribe scorch to players that play Sona in an extremely early oriented fashion (going precision secondary for the Cut Down rune, never leaving Q on cooldown, and auto attacking as often as possible). In my opinion, this playstyle is imperative for a higher level of play, but in my experience, it's possible to get by without that rune-setup. You can win games more easily by reaping the benefits of the extra AP provided to you at 20 and 30 minutes. This means more damage, more healing/shielding, and more speed, ultimately rending scorch useless in comparison (at least by the 20 and 30 minute marks).
Even after the nerf which maade the boots accessible 2 minutes later, this rune is still super useful. The most beautiful feature of this rune is not needing to buy tier 2 boots. Your E, Celerity, and the 10 extra MS provided by the Slightly Magical Boots provide more than enough MS for you to do anything you would have to do in any game. Of course, don't shy away from completing the tier 2 boots anyways. Ninja Tabi and Mercury's Treads can offer unmatched defensive value. Just know that unlike 99% of champions in the game, you can be more creative with how you spend 600-800 of your gold due to not needing to finish T2 boots.
Sona is simply one of those champions that have insane CDR synergy. At level 16 with 45% CDR you're a fountain of infinite life that can move your entire team at a speed that no other champion can accomplish, and can even dish out highly respectable DPS for a support (and it turns more-so into burst-over-time the more offensively you build). Don't feel the need to have your 45% CDR as early as possible, as you won't feel it until level 16. Even at level 11, you will barely be able to feel the difference between 35% and 45%. Rest assured, you will always have 35% CDR by level 11, as your Archangel's should be built, as well as another CDR component such as Sheen or Fiendish Codex.
I strongly recommend going adaptive force and double defense.
I find the attack speed and CDR options to be underwhelming in comparison to 9 AP upfront.
As for the choice to run double defense, you should tailor it towards your lane so that the laning phase runs as smoothly as possible. Sona is no shrimp in the laning phase, however she is definitely her weakest during laning. It's important to mitigate this weakness as much as possible by allowing yourself to prevent any possible death.
Archangel's staff provides you with unmatched utility by every metric. The raw AP given by the item is about average for what you pay for with regard to similar items of the same price. Once it's fully stacked, you receive an incredible amount of AP, second to only Deathcap in total AP. If that were the only perk of this item, I wouldn't reccomend it. It's the 20% CDR in combination with all of this AP that makes this item so powerful. That's not even taking into consideration its other 2 perks: A giant self-shield, and not needing to worry about mana for the rest of the game (as long as you're not too reckless with how you spam your abilities).
As for the rest of the items, I have them ordered by how frequently I buy them (Items toward the left I buy the most frequently).
A Note on Ardent Censer
A note about Ardent Censer: Whether you share my faith in the great Crab Claw or not is fine, just know that rushing Ardent Censer is a total noob trap. I would only ever do this in the rare situation that I have something like a Kog'Maw that benefits way too much from extra attack speed to the point where an early ardent is worth it. The effect of ardent scales with the level of the buff receiver. This means that you're not getting close to the full value of the item when you purchase it early, unlike potent early alternatives such as Athene's. Furthermore, it simply isn't a worthy purchase if only your ADC can use the item to its greatest effect. Thus, even if you have something like a Kog'Maw, you probably still shouldn't buy this item if the rest of your team does not utilize repeated auto attacks. Riot nerfed this item down from being good in every situation to being relegated to excel only at its specific purpose, so you should respect the item for what it is.
As this guide is a work-in-progress, I'm making it for fun. I like sharing my play with others, and I like thinking through my opinions to evaluate my play more thoroughly. I also like to have constructive arguments about the game to test my understanding of the game. If you want to discuss League concepts, I'm all ears.