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Sona Build Guide by muggy8
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What this guide is not:
- A perfect guide for sona
- To be followed precisely every game
- Will win you every game
- Easy to use (yes its true sona can be challenging to be good with)
- Short (you will be reading for a long time)
What this guide will do for you:
- Will give you a solid core build (constructive criticism is encouraged)
- Offer great suggestions on what to go for after your done the core
- Tips on how to play her
- What to do or not to do
- Tips and tricks that you can use
I know that there are much criticism about my builds being low on health or low on defense or other things however, dont go down voting until you have actually tried it out and found out its effectiveness.
Without further delay let us begin
March - 17rd - 2011: Initial publishing of the build to the public
March - 20th - 2011: Fixed alot (not all) of the spelling, syntax and wording errors in the build
March - 20th - 2011: Added a few paragraphs here and there that should have been in the original
March - 25th - 2011: Fixed change log and added another core build that accomplishes what the original does
March - 31st - 2011: Removed extra build, updated skill sequence, revised core build with tear
April - 2nd - 2011: Updated a the core build to include more explanation on their alternate builds and more clear expiation on why you need roughly 40% min 30% cdr
April - 3rd - 2011: Fixed some grammar issues and in correct numbers and word use
April - 13th - 2011: Added a screenshot, a new chapter, updated with new skill order, changed numbers around due to new patch and a new tip/trick
April - 18th - 2011: Added randuien's to the post core items and another image
May - 2nd - 2011: Added an explanation on my strange item order on my postgame screens
May - 12th - 2011: Added another experimental core build and tenacity item to list of post core items and updated the core build 2
May - 15th - 2011: Added a extremely important point in tips and tricks
May - 22nd - 2011: Survived dooms day :D to celebrate i added more of my match history and added a lore section at near the end.
July - 3rd - 2011: Format change + update regarding gold over time becoming unique and additional proofreading on grammatical errors and rewriting of the second core build and the removal of the experimental build since proper testing and updating has been done.
The runes in the list are very flexible. my standard build for runes are these runes
Q: Why do you have attack flat attack damage in it?
A: The reason is to farm better. as well its makes your atuo attacks hurt that much more so you can do more harassing. As soon as you reach lv 6 then you no longer need your auto attacks your ult pretty much makes you tower dive proof, and all you really need to do is just farm better.
Q: Why do you need to farm? isn't sona a support?
A: true to that. However until you get to high elo, it is unlikely that your lane partner will farm the lane like crazy. Lets face it a guide is useless to high elo players because they do well with everyone, it is better to make a guide suited for the average person in 1200 elo so thats why i have AD runes.
Q: Why do you take flat over per level? Dont they balance out at lv6?
A: True to that too however when farming better, flat and per level doesn't make too much of a difference as over kill is still a kill and just enough is also a kill. However it does make a difference when we're talking about a level 1 team fight. Which you might find your self in and those flat AD really helps in those fights.
Q: Why do you have the flat AD why not the carry?
A: Why would you have flat AD over per level as a carry? It is more beneficial on a carry and carry will try to scale into late game as much as possible therefore making per level AD a better choice over flat AD. Additionally armor penetration is much more powerful on a carry than flat or per level AD.
Q: Why AD over magic penetration? Cant you farm just as well with you Q as you can with your auto attack?
A: Simply because in a level 1 team fight, the AD will result in more damage, and the second is your Q costs mana and your auto attacks doesn't
Q: Sona is super squishy why do you not have HP quints?
A: Because they are overrated. Also because in a level 1 fight not many cahmps will open with a ground closer they would always attempt to open with some CC or a ranged harass meaning that if I can keep my distance I'm relatively safe in a lv1 fight. After level 2 I can self heal to brush off harasses therefore making HP less desirable than other quints.
Q: No AP?
A: Well with gigantic cool down on her ult and only 1 other skill that scales well with ap it seems pretty pointless to get ap.
Q: Gold per 10 runes?
A: Those are fine. However do know that the majority of the CDR in theis build comes from runes meaning that if you dont have the CDR on your runes you might need to get it in game some other way and worst case scenario you blow the gold from your gold/10 runes/mastery to buy just for the CDR
If your running into mana issues more often than not clarity is also a good choice but its pretty useless late game.
Ghost is for those who likes to kite alot and i would say kiting is a good thing but do be careful when doing it.
Teleport is another option if you would like more global presence during the laning phase and to counter those stupid ppl who are backdooring you all game.
Heal is another good choice as unlike or you cant insta heal for 500+ easily, having a backup heal is pretty nice to save some lives during team fights.
Each summoner spell has its own goods and bads however for simplicity's sake i will assume that you picked Clairvoyance and this guide will follow as if you did pick clairvoyance.
With this core build you will feel like having innervating locket ( ) all over again except it doesn't give cooldown reduction nor health regen. However this is essentially the same result locket would have given as far as mana is concerned and it is better to have this late game as you will end up with 2500+ mana. Additionally it provides a solid amount of magic resist to help you survive an encounter with the opposing team's ap carry. Although this is the core items of the build it doesn't mean you need to get everything listed in the core build every game in the order provided. Additionally feel free to sell your chalice after your have filled up your tear. To a point chalice is more for early game when you need more mana than you have. If you have you 2500+ mana already then chalice is going to do very little for you and so you are free to sell it at anytime after you have gotten 2000+ mana.
To me, the definition of a core build is a build that solves the core issue with any champ. As sona the core issue is mana. The second issue is cooldowns. The third issue is survivability. Survivability is third because as sona, just stand back and heal with the crazy range on your spells, since you dont really need to stick your nose into the team fights and even if you do, and or any other physical carry on your team will be alot higher on the kill priority list than you (normally the list goes like this: kills sequence = Carries -> supports -> tanks). Also make sure your close to a wall or can get to a wall easily so if you need you can flash across it. Flashing across the wall will usually save you. Even if your across the wall your heal will actually reach across the wall additionally, Clairvoyance is also another option to keep everyone in sight. Thats why you want to try to force all your team fights in the jungle.
An addition advantage to this core build is your free to transform it into an attack damage build later on. There is a really nice AD sona guide by another person and the guide seems to be fairly popular so i will not say that AD sona is a stupid idea. In fact I would have to say that AD sona is a good idea because even with 0 AP your base damage and heals will be enough to make a noticeable difference to the team until 40 - 50 min into the game. Personally my AD sona build follows up with these items after. The BF sword can turn into any of your favorite attack damage item. As always the boots are situational and as a result is not a part of the recommended build here:
The other thing is having huge mana regen early is useful so that you can be practically spam as a manaless champ and face no consequence of not having mana later on. The mana regen from your chalice pretty much means your free of mana burdens as soon as you hit 15% mana or less thus giving you roughly the same amount of mana regen the blue buff would give you. With just this core build and starting at full mana (tear is not farmed at this point) I have been able to hold mid, cover top then go gank mid followed by a team fight outside of dragon, get dragon and push mid tower all without going back. However, it is still possible to run mana dry. Because of the patch that normalized the mana cost for her spells to 65, running mana dry will require alot more needless use of spells than before.
One thing to note is that the difficulty of choosing a good item build for a support is second to none, not even the tank. This is true for almost all supports. this is because the core build can be and often will be interrupted at any point to add in an emergency item that would help you or the team at any time. these items may be something cheep such as a simple ward or something expensive like oracle or something even more expensive such as mejai's or even banshee. this meaning that you need to adapt the the situation and build accordingly. The difficulty in supports in general lies not how to play them and how to executing their moves in the right order but lies in the build. Each support will have their own core build which is relatively cheep such as + for or + for and after that they will start building items that the situation calls for assuming they are going the support rout.
Often, because you will be out of lane alot during the laning phase, you will end up lower levels than your team. However if your mana can be kept up you never have to return to base after the core build and as a result your free to farm after team fights so you can catch up in levels and minion kills or what not while your team ports back to base to heal up and get mana. Of course if your the only mana champ in your team then your entire team can feel free to not port back at all as your heal is very reliable after the main team fight is over.
Basic core build:
Advanced core build
Alternate advanced core build
This is an alternate way of obtaining infinite mana (to a point). However it doesn't allow for the free choice in boots nor does it allow much room for alternate builds. Additionally it's not perfect enough to completely free you of mana issues after finishing the basic core build where as the original build does. The positive side to this is your'er able to obtain a philo stone (Philosopher's Stone) for some time to help with generating more income and you are able to start with a double ward opening which is very powerful or even a triple ward oppening. If your team is highly coordinated, going for the early dragon (dragon at 4 - 5 min) and early tele-ward ganks in the jungle are all very possible tactics that are often only available to a triple ward opening. The lack in CDR from runes is replaced by the CDR boots ( ) and the tenacity that is commonly employed by the first build is replaced by Eleisa's Miracle ( )
The origin of this build is the experimental build that was up a while back which looked like this: ( + + + + ). The results where somewhat depressing as the amount of regen didn't increase to a satisfying level until you reach level 11. Additionally due to the nurf to philo stone, the original alternate core build was unable to meet the goal it had originally set out to do. Therefore a combination of the two builds was tested and it resulted in a somewhat successful build. Though this build is not as flexible as the original, it has a much stronger early game with much stronger map control and is highly desirable in arranged teams however due to the lack of coordination it is much less desirable in solo queue.
Cost of Build 1:
Cost of Build 2-1: (not including gold generated over time due to philo's effect)
Cost of Build 2-2: (not including gold generated over time due to philo's effect)
mana per 5 second at 100% mana at lv9
Core Build 1:
19.0 (including masteries)
at 25% mana that would be 40 + (40 x 0.75) = 40 + 30 = 70 = 14mana/sec
Core Build 2-1:
19.0 (including masteries)
at 25% mana that would be 58.5 + (58.5 x .75) = 58.5 + 43.9 = 102.4 = 20.5/sec
Core Build 2-2:
19.0 (including masteries)
at 25% mana that would be 53.5 + (53.5 x .75) = 58.5 + 40.1 = 93.6 = 18.7/sec
This will often result in you being extremely under leveled and under farmed because you left lane alot or maybe you left and never came back additionally because your support you dont want to be taking alot of the minion kills for yourself because almost always your lane partner will benefit more from the gold than you do unless they're and their just sitting in the brush all day long. Either way, you can sit in lane forever after team fights because you have infinite mana and you are the fountain in terms of heals at this point so the only reason to go back is because you need to buy.
Normally after I have obtained my core build, I go on what I call the endurance spree where until I get 2500-3500 gold I wont go back unless its extremely urgent that I go back to buy something important like or I get killed. The reason for this is with that amount of gold you can confidently buy almost any one of your post core build items and have extra for wards and other consumables as well as finishing off your tier 2 boots. Generally the time between team fights by mid game is 2-5 min because they want to let old wards expire and plant new ones so a new fight can start without it being one sided. As well to let everyone's ult go come back off cooldown. If your following the first core build then a you can get about 50% - 80% of your mana back in this time depending on how farmed your tear is and how much of your 2000+ mana you used up. with the second core build, you can expect to have all your mana back by the time another team fight rolls around.
To me the best use for E is to farm assists. Just by using it your almost guaranteed to get an assist for every kill anyone around you gets for the next 15 seconds. Talk about stacks farming this may actually be easier to do than sit at fountain and press R as (probably the only way easier is to sit at fountain and press R as . Here is my standard skill sequence however it can be bent to fit the needs of the team
-> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> ... Do as u see fit
Early Core Build Compleation:
-> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> ... Level as needed
-> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> ... What ever fits
This is for when your team is doing great and you can earn some easy AP with this.
I know we all hate , and so why not just shut them down?
If you have on your team then this is like a no brainer. Additionally you get 80 AP and 25% spell vamp its totally worth more than 2100g.
This items is if your getting pounded on all the time. Its more for getting out than it is for chasing. Additionally the 15% CDR will also help you get to your heals faster.
Yes it stacks twice. The only down side to this item is that you get nothing out of it. However if your team is highly focused on lifesteal survivability and the only person who has this item is then just get this to give your team 40% lifesteal on top of what they already have. Although you wont normally get this, it is still an aura item none the less and will remain on this list
If your losing this might just be enough to save a life
Opposing team full of tanks with 3K+ health each? no prob, we can melt all of them make sure your not the only one getting this and your carries are getting as well
If their yi is not stupid and comes to take you out first, then this will make sure he dies if he's going for you first.
Actually doesn't add to your survivability as directly as you may think. It is for when you go into a team fight, people are less inclined to attack you because they think you'll revive afterwards. Its more of a psychological thing than what it actually does for you. But none the less it not a bad idea to have around. (note: unless your the carry, if you have a GA, you fall drastically in the kill priority list)
this is for when you need the extra mana regen and helpful late game when you need to put out more hurt and more heals.
This is very much of a tank item however, if your tank doesn't have room to get this or cant get this for other reasons, then getting this is not a bad idea. Any item that shuts down an important team member on the other team is an effective item on a support. additionally it works really nicely with
Same idea as banshee but a slight bit harder to use.
This is for mid game where you need more global presence but you didn't take teleport
If your whole team is somehow faster than you (all have dash spells) then this will help you keep up
If the other team is composed primarily of auto attack champs then this is the way to go. in fact If the opposing team has alot of champs that scale off AD and doesn't have much in terms of stuns/slows/snares then get this to help you survive.
This is the one of the tenacity item. It gives you great amounts of mana regen at a rather cheep cost and giving you a solid counter to CC heavy teams.
Aura item for if your team is caster heavy or if the opposing team is hurting too much with their caster(s) and if your getting it as a defensive thing then make sure you got banshee and quicksilver sash before this
If your being focused to the point where you cant even flash, then this is the item to get
You can now survive longer but this item is more for your team than it is for you. Very much like starks should be avoided if possiable.
This is for those games that are tight and you know that you'll need the extra HP later. It is hard to predict that you'll need this item later but if your able to predict it, this is definitely a better investment than
If you need the MR this will give you alot of it. The move speed is also a nice bones. The health regen is laughable as sona's natrual health regen is 180ish per 5sec ( )
Offers an understandable amount of hp as well as good armor and an active that stacks with frozen heart to instantly screw over your opponent's carries. (50% attack speed reduction)
This is the best way to reach 200AP (roughly) in a single item, nuff said.
If you are someone who likes activated items and need some survivability then this is the way to go.
Counter building is very important. I've had games where I was able to perfectly counter the other team with items I built and people were QQing about sona being OP and I've had other games where I totally failed in building the appropriate items and people are QQing about a noob feeder. This is why it is extremely important to build for the situation if your playing sona or any other supports for that matter. Some are easier to build for than others. For sona, items are key. Mess it up and you lose, do it right and you win.
As pointed out by a comment, the lack of late game items is noticeable and some items do feel very tanky. However all of these items are very situational so there is no particular reason not to include all the items that may offer some sort of assistance and countering the other team. As for the lack of late game items, the game will likely end before you reach late game or end soon after late game is reached. Additionally after late game is reached, sona's effectiveness drastically drops and as a result building for late game is building to lose in a sense.
So when are you useful? Your most useful outside of battle as said at the top. This is before battles when you scout and place wards at key locations to give your team the edge in team fights (make sure you try to force the team fights into the jungle all the time) and countering ganks and more importantly stealing dragon or baron when needed. Another thing is after the initial battle has gone bye, you can help your team retreat faster and easier with heals and other buffs buffs and same is true if your chasing. Additionally if your team just aced them then your very important in healing up your team to prepair your team for the second team fight after the other team respawn if there's enough people left to push a tower or two. Or keep your teammates alive durring a tower dive attempts.
I've seen too many supports try to do a whole bunch of things durring a teamfight (which is not bad) and i've also seen supports not buying counter items/wards all game (which is bad) or build strait up AP to do giant damage/heals (which is also bad). This is really bad as those aren't the most important things a support needs to do and if you feel at that you need 1000 AP asap then go play or as they will benefit alot more form 1000 AP than a support will
Another rule of thumb is common gank paths to take need to be warded. This means the river at Baron/Dragon or the bush on both sides of mid. What i call the jungler's gank bush is the first place i ward. I call it the jungler's gank bush because that's the bush that junglers gank from if they're ganking top or bot. This rule of thumb is true throughout the game however as the game changes from mid to late, the gank routs will significant differ because towers get pushed and red/blue gets tanked and wards get set up.
Late game there are a few other places to ward for example the small path to blue outside of your summoner base is a good place to ward. Baron is a good place to ward if it hasn't been warded already. Even if its taken then ward it as it is a common place for team fights go occur later on. The bushes near and around mid lane are all good places to ward and which ones depends on if your defending or pushing. Blue/Red is important and ward even if it's already taken as people do pass by it on their ways to ganks or if they're retreating it will also pass by those places often
There are many other places to ward however, you should generally aim to place wards inside bushes as they are much more effective than if placed outside of them.
However this is true only 99% of the time. On that extra 1% of the time where your team is good enough to ward for themselves then you buying giant amounts of wards is totally inappropriate. As a result if it is the extra 1% of the time or if your premade with friends who all know how to play and will buy wards then I recommend you to not spend 400g every time you go back for wards.
Try to start a team fight at level 1. The reason is beacuse as the game goes on, the less hurtful you'll seem. so having a team fight at level 1 is normally the best place for you to shine. All the mosre so if you team is filled with early game/mid game champs.
Use of the passive:
Early game to late mid game - stick primarily to landing your passive that has been enhanced by
Late-Mid game to late game - land your passive that has been boosted by and make sure you land it on their carry
Only land the passive enhanced by when chasing.
Sona's ultimate is actually a "dance" rather than a "stun" or any other form of CC as a result it is unaffected by Tenacity much like knock-up.
Banshee's get annoying later on thats why you need to clean them off for your carries so they can land their 500 damage spells instead of your 300 damage spells.
All of your spells can go through walls. That means if you flash across a wall to stay alive then you can keep helping your team by casting spells from across the wall.
Activating your heal or speeding up someone who assisted in killing someone will give you an assist as well. Easy way to get stacks on snowball items. Thats why if you know a team fights about to start first thing is to pop your as it affect everyone around you and follow with heals and harasses and what not after to get easy assists. Even if you dont have a snowball item, getting assists is great, not only do they look good in the post game, they also give you anywhere from 45g to 200g depending on who got killed (normally: 87g - 200G).
Sona's ult can be used to initiate however its not the best initiating skill in the game so unless your the only one on your team with something that can initiate then save it for later. The best time to use Sona's ult is actually right after someone initiated or half way through a team fight and everyone is at half health. Another good time is if someone is trying to run away then you ult to get a sure kill, as well after the team fight and your retreating thats also a good time to ult. however do not ult after your team has won and your chasing. Wait for the second team fight during the inhibitor push to ult instead
At about 8-11 seconds into the game you can clairvoyance the enemy base to see what starting items they got, who's going into which lane and place your team to the appropriate lanes. However if the other team has a team comp that can only work in one particular laning pastern (eg, jungle , , , , because ashe is without doubt mid and anivia has enough staying power to solo top and taric + alistar is too good of a combo to pass up in the laning pahse) then doing this will only tell you what starting items they got and possibly tell you if their teemo is going AD or AP. Additionally it can help alot in lv1 team fights and as seeing where they are to prevent jukes is very important. For the rest of the game if they have a jungler try to find them and if they dont, save it for when someone goes MIA
Sona's passive now affects buildings so as stupid as it looks, feel free to go QWEQWEQWEQWEQWE when hitting a tower after you have completed your core build additionally your Q gives bones attack damage and AP to surrounding allies and your W gives bones armor and MR so why wouldn't you just press them for fun?
Clairvoyance is especially great for team fights in the jungle. Because you can easily view a large space you can light up an area after the fight has initiated and prevent juking and all the other annoying things. As well if , , is on your team, you can clairvoyance a fleeing foe and allow for sniping or in the case of nocturn, the blue shell effect. This wont give you an assist (unless they're close to you and you buffed/healed them) but the feeling of a kill is good even if its not yours.
When in a team fight, after the tank has initiated your actually ok to sit in the middle of the fight. If they decide to focus you for easy kill flash and ult backwards if not then keep the ult for saving your team or use it for clean up (clean up does not mean chase its the split second opportunity before they start retreating). As well, because your in the middle of the fight, you can easily interrupt interpretable skills. But make suer flash is up when you do this. Additionally by sitting in the middle of the fight it makes your aura items that much more effective
Full sized image: http://i56.tinypic.com/nlskg3.jpg
To show off tanky support sona. The vision wards are specifically to counter akali as when she smoke bombs you can follow up with a ward making her completely useless as most akali do tend to build glass cannon. This game I forced her to build defensive items making her alot less deadly later on and greatly crippling her score. However I have failed to buy thornmail as olaf was killing me at the end alot faster than hoped. I specifically chose wards because oracle would draw too much focus and if I'm buying wards already why not just pay the extra bit and get easy kills too?
Full size here: http://i54.tinypic.com/29gllpj.jpg
To show off my other core build.
Full sized here: http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board/attachment.php?attachmentid=178282&d=1306055664
Full size here: http://i51.tinypic.com/1zsy7r.jpg
Ta Da. I'm really bad with kat so dont mind that lol
Full sized here: http://i54.tinypic.com/24x4c2w.jpg
Tup yup after dooms day celebration screen shot ^_^
note: I like to move my items around alot so the items I have are never in the order that I bought them in. I like to have my activated items on slot 3 and 6 because of my custom keyboard setup. That's why wards and/or Quicksilver Sash are always the 3rd or 6th item.