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Sona Build Guide by This Corner of the Earth

Middle Sona in the Mid Lane, burst damage and sustaining heals

By This Corner of the Earth | Updated on October 7, 2017

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Spells:

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

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Support Role
Ranked #1 in
Support Role
Win 53%
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Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
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None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Introduction - Why this pick?

Hello everyone, my name is AP Sona Mid and I am a Sona Mid main currently placed in Gold 5. I only recently started playing her consistently, so I only have about 113 games with her this season. However, after those games I have maintained about a 70% winrate. Originally, I only played her as a panic pick. But, I did pretty decently that game and wasn't sure what to think. I had always known that Sona was a decently strong champion, but I wanted to know why I did so well with her mid lane. So, I went ahead and did some number crunching and figured why she could be so good mid. In this guide, I plan to explain how you should play this champion mid lane. She is an easy champion, and typically a safe pick. However, there are some match-ups in which she cannot do too well. However, you can still pick her and I will explain how you deal with these not so favorable match-ups.

Disclaimer: Look, I understand that I am just in Gold. The highest I have ever climbed while playing this pick is Gold 3. While there is slim chance that this build will work in slightly higher elo games, this guide is solely based on my own experience and should be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, there is better champions to play mid. Yes, this pick probably isn't the most viable. But this is just a guide for how I play my champion, no need to freak out about how it "doesn't work in diamond" or how Sona is better as a support. If you wanna play Sona as a mid laner and have fun, click this guide and look into it. If you don't, just move on.
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Explanation of Her Damage

Basically, when I started playing Sona, I was a support main. Normally, I would build my typical healing support items and such. But, late game I would usually buy a lich bane as well. With just support items, I would actually do a large amount of damage with my Q + auto combos. So, after a couple of games with her, I went and checked her scalings and did some basic calculation.

Sona's Q - Hymn of Valor

Firstly, I saw that her actual damaging spell had a 50% scaling on the actual projectile the spell created, on top on the 20% enhancement it gave her auto attacks. This meant that her Q had a theoretical scaling on 70%, if you were to include the next auto attack as hitting said champion.

Sonar's R - Crescendo

This spell is mostly used for the CC lock it provides, but it does add another 50% to the potential grand total for damage.

Sona's Passive - Power Chord

Next, I noticed that her passive had decent inherent scaling as well. It's base damage was 20%, although it could do 28% if he was buffed by her Q's use. Of course, this was only every 3rd basic spell, but we will do calculations for a couple of different situations.

Masteries - Thunderlord's Decree

As we all know, Thunderlord's Decree has been the cause for many burst champions to become what they always wanted to be: a 3 spell tactical nuke. An additional 10% scaling.

Items - Lich Bane

The auto attacking mage's dream! This item adds yet another 50% scaling to the grand total.

Items - Luden's Echo

While this item is kind of an inconsistent damage, you will be moving a lot late game. This will add an additional 10% to one of the calculated totals.

So, now on to the actual calculated totals. I will start with the most basic totals and get on to the calculations that require more specific circumstance.

For the normal amount, this includes just the Q's damages and Lich bane.
Q (50% and 20% on auto) Lich Bane (50%) adds up to 120% scaling on her Q - Auto combo.

If we include her ultimate as well, this total increases by an additional 50% and Thunderlord's is activated.
Q (50% and 20% on auto), Lich Bane (50%), R (50%), and Thunderlord's (10%) adds up to a total of 180% of her total AP.

This next amount is her Q - Auto damage without her ultimate, but with her Passive. (We will assume that the Passive is using the boosted damage.)
Q (50% and 20% on auto), Lich Bane (50%), and her Passive (28%) add up to a total of 148% of her ability power.

Now, let's see her Q - Auto damage without her ultimate, but with her Passive and Luden's Echo. (We will assume that the Passive is using the boosted damage.)
Q (50% and 20% on auto), Lich Bane (50%), her Passive (28%), and Luden's Echo (10%) add up to a total of 158% of her ability power.

This next calculation is the highest damage output she can achieve with a single combo. If her passive is active, her Luden's Echo is up, and she uses R, Q, and Auto in that order, this is her damage:
R (50%), Q (50% and 20% on auto), Lich Bane (50%), her Passive (28%), Luden's Echo (10%), and Thunderlord's Decree (10%) adds up to an absolute maximum of 218% of her ability power.

For a normal build with Rabadon's Deathcap, Void Staff, Lich Bane, Luden's Echo, Morellonomicon, and Sorcerer's Shoes, a player should have at least 648 AP late game. (This is discluding any bonuses from runes, masteries, infernal drakes, etc. This means that her full potential damage late game is going to be 1412 damage on top of the base damages and disregarding bonuses from runes and masteries. (Such as an additional 9% on top of that from the Bounty Hunter, Assassin, and Sorcery masteries, which would bring the total to about 1500.) Now, if we consider her lowest possibly damage output as being 120%, then she would do at least 700 damage with a Q-Auto combo. While it isn't as extravagant as a number as 1400, if we consider that she can do this damage every 2.5s late game, then it's quite a big deal!
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Some Utility Notes

Building Sona with a heavy emphasis on ability power does actually have many different benefits. Firstly, let's look at her other forms on her Power Chord.

Power Chord (Hymn of Perserverance)

Still has the inherent damage scaling of 20% of her ability power, but it also allows her to reduce that targets damage output (disregarding true damage). It has a base reduction of 25%; however, it scales with an additional 4% per 100 AP. At only 300 total AP, the reduction is only 3% less than exhaust. At 500 total AP, the reduction is actually 5% greater than exhaust. This works really well against champs like Akali, Katarina, and Zed. Being able to effectively exhaust them without the summoner spell is amazingly useful.

Power Chord (Hymn of Celerity)

Once again, we still have the 20% damage ratio. However, if we auto someone they are additionally slowed. The base slow is a big larger, with a 40% slow. The scaling is the same as the previous Power Chord scaling, with a 4% additional scaling per 100 AP. In the late game, with 500 AP, your empowered auto will add a 60% slow that lasts for 2 seconds. This is good for additional lockdown and securing kills against faster champions.

Hymn of Perseverance

You will give 25% AP heals to yourself and the lowest allied champion within range of your ability. Beyond that, you will shield all nearby allied champions within your range for 30% of your total AP. The nicest part about this ability is that having 2 or more auto attack based carries and building Ardent Censor allows you to give the speed buff and on-hit damages to multiple champions that can make use of it. (It still works well with only 1 auto attacking champion, because you also have increased healing and shields. This actually means that your ratios for heals and shields 27.5% and 33%.
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Summoner Spells

Flash is the probably one of the most versatile spells in the game. Incredible for engaging, disengaging, dodging, etc. Highly recommend that you take this build, especially when you consider how squishy this champion is.

Ignite is the most offensive spell in the game, in my opinion. It's very good for early game duels as well as limiting healing on certain champions. There are only a few situations in which I recommend taking other spells.

Barrier is a decent spell, but it's got limited capability. Without the presence of blinks, dashes, and the likes in Sona's kit, your barrier will likely not help much. It's usefulness does not scale into the late game very well.

Exhaust is a good spell, especially against certain burst champions. (Zed, Orianna, Annie: I'm looking at all of you.) However, it can be difficult to effectively use it against champions that are infamous for flash-ultimates. And remember that it only lasts 2.5s, so it can be difficult to use against champions that have delayed damage (Zed).
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Masteries

As stated above, while the masteries I have provided are not absolutely necessary, it is recommended to keep certain parts unchanged for various reasons. I will explain which one's to keep and why.

Cunning Tree - Highest to Lowest
Thunderlord's Decree - Always the best option. In regards to your full damage potential, this adds an additional 10% of your ability power to the total. However, in the case of a match-up you know you cannot win... you can always take windspeaker's blessing. Be wary of doing this. If there is no one in your game that can carry the team, it's a little hard to play with the "protect the carry" mindset.

Intelligence - Having a total CDR cap of 45% is unbeatable, as your damage is solely based on your Crescendo and your Hymn of Valor. The more CDR you have the more damage you can do. Not only this, but you can heal more as well as constantly speed up allies and yourself. Precision, on the other hand, is only half useful. Late game, the 6 lethality will only help your minimal damage on your auto attacks. And the magic penetration you receive does not outweigh the overall damage you gain from the CDR.

Merciless/Meditation - This is entirely up to the player. Do you want more damage or do you want more sustained mana? The choice is yours. (Overall, though, Merciless vs easy match-ups and Meditaiton vs hard match-ups.

Assassin/Runic Affinity - If you think it will be a game that you become a heal bot, take runic affinity. Having a longer lasting blue buff will be beneficial. If you know that you will carry, then you can take assassin. Just remember, if you can't solo kill people then you will have wasted a mastery point.

Wanderer - Savagery only helps early game with CS. Late game, wanderer is extremely good.(Don't forget! You have a movespeed buff that scales at 6% movement speed per 100 AP!)

Freocity Tree - Highest to Lowest
Bounty Hunter/Battle Trance - Bounty hunter is extremely good after you actually kill each enemy champion once. However, battle trance is a guaranteed 3% increase during team-fights. So, basically, it is better to pick bounty hunter unless you know for a fact that they have champions you know you cannot kill.

Natural Talent - 15 AP late game with Rabadon's Deathcap is increased to a total of 20.25. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but if you consider that you will most likely have scaling AP and flat AP runes then it adds up. (For example, with Natural talent and my runes I have a grand total of 41.2 AP which is then boosted to 55.62.) Beyond the benefits of having extra AP (and AD), you will not really benefit from the 2% healing on damage. You can literally heal yourself for 25% of your ability power every 6 seconds, late game. (This ignores the fact that with your ultimate's passive and CDR it's more like a 3.5s cooldown.)

Expose Weakness - Likely the best option for Sona in general. Fresh Blood doesn't scale well into late game, and Feast is only good for sustain early. Plus, at rank 1 her heal gives 10 more health at a 20 seconds shorter cooldown. It's best just to guarantee your team kills upon hitting multiple people with an ultimate.

Scorcery - 2% spell damage vs 4% attack speed, on an ability power champion. It's kind of like a bringing knife to a gun fight situation.
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Pros / Cons

This is a very short and easy section.

Pros - High single target damage, sustained healing late game, and team-fight potential with her ultimate. Not only this, but she is always relevant, even if she isn't carrying, because she can simply act as a second support that protects the carry.

Cons - Little to no wave clear, damage is high but not constant, and she is very squishy. Plus, while she can be useful as a healer, if there isn't anyone that can step up to the plate and carry, she becomes a little lackluster. (You can take an ADC to bot lane, but you can't force them to stop getting caught out.)

All in all, she can be a risky pick but if you can play her correctly then she will pay off in the end.
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Playstyle

Farming with Sona is... well, it's not fun. It kinda sucks. She has very little early game damage from her auto's, and using her Q to farm leads to a lack of mana. Now, if you never have to heal yourself, laning phase should be easy. Just Q to farm minions, and keep in mind that your Q will always send out two projectiles. The order of targeting goes 1)The nearest two enemy champions, 2)The nearest enemy champion, then the nearest enemy minion, and 3) the nearest 2 enemy minions. Keeping this order in mind, you can balance harass and farming. Every time your Power Chord is active, try to get a Q-Auto combo off on the enemy laner, early game it will do a lot of damage and if you activate thunderlord's you can actually half-health most mid laners.

During laning phase, you will not have a large amount of pressure you can output. This means that most mid laners with a slight amount of AOE will push you in. Be wary of where your enemy laner is and try to keep on top of your pings. You won't always be able to follow, but you can always make sure they know someone is coming.

In teamfights, it is best for you to stand back. Keep using your heals as you see allies losing health, but watch your mana. It's usually during these times that you will be running out of it. Watch for divers, if they hop on you or your carry, be ready to drop your ultimate.
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Summary

All in all, as a mid lane Sona, you will be providing a couple of functions.

1) Single Target Damage and Burst
2) Sustained Damage to Frontliners during Teamfights
3) Sustained Healing for your allies
4) Explicit protection for your squishy carries (any adcs, carry junglers, etc.)

These are your weaknesses

1) A lack of AOE damage for the late game.
2) Lack of wave clear/lane pressure
3) Certain match-ups almost always rely on other teammates to actually carry.
4) Simplistic mechanics make it so that you are very telegraphed and predictable. (In fact, the only reason this build works at all is because people don't expect Sona to output a Q that does close to 1000 damage combined with the Lich Bane spellblade effect.)
League of Legends Build Guide Author This Corner of the Earth
This Corner of the Earth Sona Guide

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Sona in the Mid Lane, burst damage and sustaining heals
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