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Sona Build Guide by Viola Orpheus
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I highly recommend that you read the entire guide instead of simply reading the cheat sheet. Simply looking at this doesn't tell you how to play Sona effectively, even with all of the misconceptions that she is an easy/faceroll support. Once you finish reading the guide, you should have a good grasp on how she works at the very least. Don't follow my guide to heart, since you can get better by your own terms afterwards. This is simply to help you start out with her.
So first off... Why would you choose Sona? Especially over the more common supports such as Janna or Taric? For me, she is stronger than most of the other supports simply because her kit is very versatile. In the early game, you can burst, sustain and poke well when compared to the other supports who only excel at one or two of these.
Now, my build mainly relies on giving as many aura buffs to your teammates as you can and giving out one or two aura/active debuffs to your opponents through your items. The main reason being is that unlike most supports, she has a terrible AP ratio on her heal (Which is only 25% of your AP as opposed to Nidalee's 70% and Soraka's 45%/70%). Another reason being, is to complement the auras that come with her skills. And finally, as a support, you will transition weakly into the late game with AP items in comparison to the other supports who do well with them.
All kinds of feedback are welcome and greatly appreciated.
+ Easy to learn.
+ Very versatile.
+ Low cooldown on her skills.
+ Good CC.
+ Game-changing ultimate.
+ Assists rack up really quickly.
+ The LoL theme plays during her Q aura.
- Very squishy early on.
- Gets low on mana often.
- Terrible AP ratio on her heal.
- CC shuts her down hard.
- No escape mechanism.
- Skills are relatively easy to dodge.
- Will be focused often because of her aura buffs and debuffs.
This has a healthy balance of being somewhat more tanky in the lane and still having the benefits of the utility tree. With this setup, you can opt to be somewhat aggressive and still have a good amount of gold income as you naturally would with the 0/9/21 setup. Pickpocket pretty much means that you'll be harassing your opponents with AAs, so having the tankiness down helps.
One of her more tanky setups. Block and Unyielding allows you to trade more with the enemy laners and survive fights early. You can still play passive with this setup, but it would be better if you used the 0/13/17 setup since that offers more for passive players.
- Greater Quintessence of Gold: Since you're the support, you'd need to make up for not having any creeps to kill. And these Quints greatly help with your gold income.
- Greater Mark of Armor: This gives her the needed armor in the early game in addition to her Aria of Perseverance, which allows you to trade with the enemy laners.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Mostly for the same reasoning as above, but for magic resist. Always grab this if you're against kill or poke lanes such as Leona support or Lulu support. It allows you to trade more with them and survive engagements with them. However, Sona is still squishy, so always play safe.
- Greater Seal of Armor: Same reasoning as its Marks counterpart.
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - Take this if want to win the lane early by putting the pressure as early as levels 1-3. Sona has the power to win trades with certain match-ups this early, and having MPen marks allows her to do this more easily. Keep in mind though, that you're trading armor for a little more damage early on, which makes it a little easier for you to be killed.
- Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration - If you feel that you don't regen mana quickly enough in the early game even with a Philosopher's Stone, then grabbing these won't be a bad idea. However, this can be easily mitigated by learning how to manage your mana properly. That and you'll be much more squishier than with the flat armor seals, so don't get too aggressive either way.
- Greater Seal of Gold - If you prefer to be passive and not really trade much with the enemy laners early on, then these can work. In some cases, you can mix this in by replacing a few of your armor seals for this. But always keep in mind that you're trading armor for a little more gold income.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - Having flat MR glyphs gives you the ability to survive early engagements. Grabbing scaling MR glyphs means that you either plan on playing very passive or you're against a sustain lane such as Soraka support.
- Greater Quintessence of Health - This is a good alternative if you'd prefer the health over the gold gen runes. Against certain match-ups however, I would personally take these over the gold gen runes since I would rather be able to survive an early engagement rather than have the extra gold income.
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - Allows you to delay your boots for your second gp10 item if you put a point in Song of Celerity early.
- Greater Quintessence of Armor - Allows you to trade more with the enemy laners.
Clairvoyance: Your go-to Summoner Spell as a support. This lets you know where their missing-in-action champion is and isn't every 70 seconds.
Exhaust: Very helpful during a team fight or a gank if you exhaust their carry either to reduce their damage or to prevent/make an escape.
Flash: Its versatility allows you to use it offensively since it can put you in a great position for your ultimate, or defensively to escape from a gank or move to a better position to save your teammates.
Heal: Its recent buffs pretty much made it a support Summoner Spell. It now heals all of your teammates for the same amount instead of half of it. This now allows you to bait your opponents more safely into diving you and your carry, only for you to save both of you with it.
One thing to note on all of Sona's abilities -barring her ultimate- is that they have longer ranges than what the indicators show. Such as her Aria of Perseverance being able to heal an ally even though he/she is not in the indicated range. This is slightly difficult to explain in words, but you'll notice it once you start playing her for a few games.
Power Chord (Passive): Never underestimate the power of her passive. This is both a game changer and a game winner. Depending on which aura you last played, the effect of your Power Chord will change, plus additional magic damage depending on your level. As Sona, knowing when and which of these effects to use is very vital.
Her recent rework greatly reduced the amount of time when you can shoot another one of these. As an example during a team fight, after hitting their carry with her Power Chord, you can quickly dish out another Power Chord on their other damage dealer which would now greatly reduce their overall damage output.
Power Chord: Doubles your Power Chord damage. You'll be dealing a great deal of damage early on if you decide to level her Q first and combo it with this. Once you hit level 6 or 7, this is gonna hurt so bad that people will regret not recalling when they already have mid-low health in the lane, since you'll be bursting really hard with a Hymn of Valor ->
Power Chord -> Crescendo combo (If you're lucky, you might have even killed them).
Power Chord: Drops the damage dealt by the enemy you hit by 20%. This is great during ganks when you hit their damage dealer with this, because it gives your carry a better chance of running/retaliating.
- Power Chord: Slows down the opponent that you hit by 40%. This is great for not only escapes, but also for chases and ganks. If the enemy Sona activates her E, and then hits you with this, she's pretty much just secured a kill for her team/saved her carry whom you were chasing down. Combo'ing this with her E and Shurelya's Reverie, makes it really difficult to escape from/chase her team.
- Power Chord: Doubles your Power Chord damage. You'll be dealing a great deal of damage early on if you decide to level her Q first and combo it with this. Once you hit level 6 or 7, this is gonna hurt so bad that people will regret not recalling when they already have mid-low health in the lane, since you'll be bursting really hard with a Hymn of Valor -> Power Chord -> Crescendo combo (If you're lucky, you might have even killed them).
Hymn of Valor (Q): This is her primary harassing/poking tool. The skill has good range, and can deal a surprising amount of damage when leveled up first. Although it automatically prioritizes champions over minions, the way it chooses which opponent to target can get pretty wonky at times. So proper placement and timing play a big role on which opponent the skill decides to target.
The aura gives nearby champions a boost in their attack and ability power depending on its level. Keep this activated when you're in lane and aren't being poked/harassed often which will help your carry last hit much more easily.
Aria of Perseverance (W): As the support, this is the skill that you should prioritize when you level up. The skill will automatically heal you and the closest allied champion with the lowest health when activated.
The aura gives armor and magic resist to all nearby allies, which increases as the skill is leveled up. Sona and the champion healed, will have the effect doubled for them for a few seconds. During the laning phase, if your carry is being poked often, have this aura activated to reduce the damage he/she is taking.
Song of Celerity (E): Much like with her passive, never underestimate this ability. Even that small speed boost can help run away or rush to that one tower after a team fight. The skill has good range, and will automatically give a speed boost to all nearby allied champions as opposed to one or two only.
When activated, the aura gives allied champions a small increase in movement speed depending on its level. Very rarely should you activate this aura in the lane or during a team fight, unless you're using this to charge up a Power Chord or simply giving your team that small mobility boost to run or go somewhere. Usually after recalling, use her Q / W skill and then activate this, which not only lessens the time to get back to the lane, but also gives you two charges set for your Power Chord (Three if you have one charged already).
Crescendo (R): Sona's game changing ultimate, and IMO the best ultimate on all of the supports (On par, if not better than Intervention). It is an AOE stun that damages your opponents while making them dance their hearts out. This is a great life saver and a good chasing/escaping tool. Although it has good range, it is a pretty slow projectile. And as such, it is relatively easy to dodge. Much like before, proper placement and timing are essential to make the most of her ult.
This has great synergy with other AOE ultimates such as Kennen's Slicing Maelstrom and Orianna's Command: Shockwave, since her ultimate combos with or sets theirs up perfectly. Also, keep in mind that Crescendo can also interrupt channeling ultimates such as Karthus' Requiem and Miss Fortune's Bullet Time.
Sona's Hymn of Valor and Aria of Perseverance are both very powerful skills in their own ways. Knowing when to prioritize one or the other will help even the odds or secure a win. Simply put, if you find yourself or your carry being harassed or pushed back often in the lane, level up her W first. If the enemies are playing more defensive, then level her Q first and poke them when you can so your carry can farm without the fear of being poked back.
Much like during the laning phase, evaluate whether your team is dishing out more damage than receiving during team fights. Knowing when to keep Hymn of Valor's aura or Aria of Perseverance's aura active is extremely vital. Keep her Q activated if you're stomping the other team, and her W for vice versa or when the fight is leaning between your favor and their's.
Rarely do I grab a sixth item for Sona, since I leave that slot open for wards. Wards are very essential to victory since they tell whether your enemies are at baron, or are sitting inside a brush waiting for one of your teammates to walk by. The only times when you'd grab a sixth item are, when your jungler is the one warding the map often, or when the enemies are just plain dumb. If you do plan to grab a sixth item however, evaluate the current flow of the game and then choose one of the situational items below.
Always keep in mind that most of these items can also be taken by your tank/jungler (Such as Aegis of the Legion). Coordinate with them and tell them which items you plan to get so you won't waste auras and gold. As an example, if they tell you that they plan to grab Shurelya's Reverie later on, then simply build your Kindlegem into a Locket of the Iron Solari (Which is also cost effective for you).
|philosopher's stone||As much as possible, grab this after your Sightstone if you feel safe and probably won't be trading too much with the enemy laners. Keeps you sustained in lane as long as you do not spam your spells like there's no tomorrow.||philosopher's stone|
|kage's lucky pick||Currently a core item since it gives you more damage in lane, and gives you your much needed GP10.||kage's lucky pick|
|Self-explanatory. Though they're not as good as in Season 2 because everybody got buffs in their base movement speeds, this'll help in mobility early on.|
|Makes you somewhat more beefy in lane, and gives you four free wards everytime you recall (Although only two can be active at the same time). This -and its upgrade- is the item that really made supports richer than they were in Season 2.|
|Makes you even more beefier and is the Heart of Gold equivalent for Season 3. If you don't plan on power warding, then this should be more than enough to cover common gank points and objectives.|
|sight ward||Whenever you recall, always try to grab at least one of these if you don't have one in your inventory. Simply because knowing whether there is an enemy in the brush or not is always helpful. Wards give you map awareness, and with map awareness comes less successful ganks and knowing if the enemy team is doing baron or not.||sight ward|
|A Sight Ward on steroids basically. It notifies you if there is an enemy ward in its vicinity, and reveals stealth units like Rengar, Akali and Evelynn. By the late game phase, these should be the wards in your inventory since by dropping one, you can tell if the enemy has the area warded or not.|
|Grabbing these will allow you to deny the enemy vision of you and your team. Taking this is a high-risk, high-reward gamble. Since that glowing pink eye pretty much makes you a walking bullseye. If you're dying often however but you still want to deny the enemies vision, then simply grab two or three Vision Wards and place them in high traffic areas or common gank spots so that their Evelynn cannot take your team by surprise. Season 3 gave this a time limit, so usually only activate/grab this when you're going to push or go for baron/dragon.|
|A must have if your opponents have tons of CC, or if they always focus you down during a team fight. The magic resist is also helpful to deal against AP teams.|
|If you find yourself rarely being hit by CC and/or focused down, then these boots are great to have for the CDR since you can heal your team much more often.|
|One of my personal favorite items, and a must have for all supports. Not only is the active is great to catch up on teammates or for initiating a fight, it is also great for roaming the map while warding objectives.|
|A new support item that keeps the GP10 passive? Yes please. Gives her that much needed peeling power in addition to her Crescendo and Power Chord slow.|
|Another one of my personal favorites. It is relatively cheap, and for the stats that it provide, it's really worth the gold.|
|The item used to facecheck brushes and scout out areas, and also to lock down a priority target in addition to her ultimate.|
|The only reason to grab this is if you have Heal. And you should also grab this as early as you can to make use of its passive.|
|Aegis upgrades into this, and the only real reason to do so is to give your teammates magic resist in exchange for the physical damage that Aegis of the Legion gives. Generally speaking, if their AP carry is feeding/not doing damage, then there's no need to upgrade Aegis.|
|You can sometimes sneak this item in your build if you find yourself running low on mana often. It now can be built into Mikael's Crucible, so rushing this item early on can also prove to be strong if you're ahead.|
|Heal and Cleanse wrapped up in one item? Yes please. Allows Sona to peel more for her carry since she doesn't have that much peeling power over other supports such as Janna and Alistar.|
|This item shuts down DPS champions hard. Activating this in-tandem with Shard of True Ice or Mikael's Crucible gives Sona more peeling power than what she normally would have.|
|zeke's herald||It's nerfs coming into Season 3 has hurt it a little bit. As it is no longer as good as it was with the AS aura. However, it still is valuable on a physical damage oriented team and for pushing lanes.||zeke's herald|
|The active can save lives and will be up often because of its short cooldown. However, supports are generally underleveled, so its shield still won't be shielding that much damage.|
|This item is great against a DPS/AD team since the armor you get and the aura debuff the enemy receive increases the amount of time they need to take you and your team down. However, do not combo this with Randuin's Omen on yourself or on any of your teammates, as this would make that item much less effective.|
|As a fifth or sixth item, this isn't that bad if you're looking for an item for survivability. The health, mana and magic resist you get from this item is appreciated. But the passive is what makes this item great. Imagine the enemy Ashe decides to initiate by firing her ultimate which unfortunately (Or fortunately) hits you and slows your teammates, however the stun on you is negated, and as such you can quickly counter with your own ultimate to give your team time to recover and run or retaliate.|
|For the price, it's a good alternative to Banshee's Veil if you get hit with CC often, or if the enemy Warwick decides to always use his ultimate on you. If you have lag issues or a bad reaction time in general, then grab a Banshee's Veil instead since it automatically cancels a spell as opposed to having to activate it.|
|Only grab this if your AP carry is doing all the work and does not grab this item for whatever reason. And also evaluate whether your AP carry would benefit from the spell vamp that it provides, such as Akali, Mordekaiser and Katarina. If they wouldn't, then maybe grab something else.|
|Much like with WotA, only grab this if your AP carry is doing all the damage and doesn't grab this item. However, the Late-August 2012 patch greatly reduced the range of this item, thus reducing its viability for Sona. The only times that this item becomes viable are during those cases where the enemy's AP champions are melee/need to get close to do damage (i.e. Diana, Amumu), are doing more damage than their AD carries, and are stacking magic resist. If all three aren't satisfied, then grab a different item instead.|
|As the sixth item, this isn't a bad item either. This basically lets you spam your skills to your hearts content since you'll be regenerating mana like crazy in the late game. Don't worry much about going over the CDR cap, since the massive mana regen makes up for it. However, since the introduction of Mikael's Crucible, I'd take that item over this anyday unless we have a huge advantage over the enemies.|
On another note, I personally feel that Sona should work with all of the current meta ranged AD carries up to a certain extent. Mostly because she can always bring something to the table and provide what that carry needs. Sure some might work better with them than her, but picking Sona generally opens up most if not all the AD carries. So because of this, I won't be listing whether she works with a specific carry or not, since she'll work with this specific carry if you give them what they need.
Note: I will be adding more AD carries in this chapter as I get more experience when laning with them. And even other potential partners that you might end up laning with. Some help with this chapter would be appreciated, as I don't always get the chance to play with some other AD carries as Sona (Such as Miss Fortune and Urgot).
She can be both passive and aggressive in the early game, as she primarily needs to focus on farming while poking back every now and then with her Volley so she can quickly build her Infinity Edge. She is fairly squishy and lacks an escape skill, so she can be easily shut down if not taken good care of. However, her Enchanted Crystal Arrow is a great initiator and when followed up with Crescendo will usually lead to a kill if they dare stay in your lane with relatively low health.
He has currently become my favorite AD carry to lane with. To note in particular, her Crescendo and E Power Chord sets up his combo to be easily unleashed on the enemy champs, since they'll be stuck dancing/crawling in front of you. He also has a built-in escape with Valkyrie, so you generally won't need to be as protective of him as you would with someone like Ashe.
The man of facial hairs in the League is interesting in that he controls very different than most other carries because of his Spinning Axes. However, he and Sona have pretty good synergy together in that a Hymn of Valor + Power Chord + Spinning Axe combo will do crazy damage early on. Add in Crescendo and Whirling Death later, and they become a dangerous couple in the right hands. Always keep in mind of Draven's Spinning Axes, for he will lead them backwards if he's only poking/harassing and not going all in. Like with all carries, if he commits to a fight, always be there to help.
Him and Sona are currently the king and queen of poke lanes. He can poke well with Mystic Shot and Essence Flux, and adding in Sona's Hymn of Valor and Power Chord can make it difficult for the enemy team to keep their health up unless they have Soraka. She can also make the enemies take a full damage Trueshot Barrage to the face by setting it up with her Crescendo. In some cases, they become a kill lane against squishy lanes.
Sona will generally have to prioritize her Hymn of Valor unless you both fall behind, since he is fairly tanky himself, and becomes even more so because of his passive. He can poke well and can do some immense damage early on. Sona's Song of Celerity helps his kiting ability a lot because of his short range, and Crescendo sets up a really deadly combo with his Buckshot and Collateral Damage after a Quickdraw.
She is relatively weak early game and is very mana hungry if she's using her Boomerang Blade to harass your enemies, but a good Sivir player uses her Spell Shield to stay sustained. She can however, do immense damage with her Boomerang Blade if she manages to grab a couple of Doran's Blades or a B. F. Sword early on via getting fed early on.
This little rat is really squishy, so he needs to be taken care of more than most of the other carries. If laning with him, you're basically forcing them to grab Vision Wards to keep track of where he is. However, at the same time you're also being forced to grab these to counter theirs so Twitch can roam around with no problem. Her Crescendo has great synergy with Twitch's Spray and Pray when the enemies are lined up, as it allows the ultimate to mow down their health.
He can do a good amount of damage early on with his Piercing Arrow, but he lacks a gap closer and an escape ability. He does however, have a strong initiator with his Chain of Corruption, and when followed up with Sona's Crescendo after its snare ends can make it really difficult for the enemies to fight back/escape. However, both his Blighted Quiver and Chain of Corruption scale on AP, so he'll be losing damage as the game goes longer.
She is one of the weaker early game AD carries, but she makes up for it by having one of the best late game potential among them if fed/farmed well. Sona's Crescendo is great to setup Vayne's Condemn to push a high priority target into a wall or back into your team after a Tumble/ Flash and can also give her a free Silver Bolts proc to deal massive damage.
Note: I will be adding more supports in this chapter in the future as I get more experience laning against them. Some help with this would also be very appreciated, as I still have yet to go up against other supports such as Lulu and Nautilus.
Legends for Match-Ups:
EASY - She and her carry should win this lane even without ganks if done properly. Can still lose given the right situation.
SKILL BASED - She and her carry might win the lane with/without ganks, but whoever makes the first mistake will generally lose the lane unless they get help.
HARD - She and her carry would probably lose this most of the time. A big advantage must be taken by her and her carry and/or ganks are going to be needed to win the lane.
Hoo boy. Look at that CC. Might not be as much as someone like Janna's kit, but be very afraid of these. One hit of his Pulverize + Headbutt combo can often lead to a kill either if his carry/jungler is following up on it, and this can even happen as early as level 2-3. He is a beast at towerdiving, and his heal is often up because it's cooldown is reduced every time one of your friendly units die (i.e. Ally minions and champions).
His partners tend to have early game power and can easily follow up on his Pulverize + Headbutt combo ( Graves and Tristana), but he also works well with those who can zone his opponents out ( Kog'Maw and Caitlyn). There is really no way to counter him, since anytime you get close to poke/harass, you'll be in range for his combo. Play safe, ward the lane brushes and ask for ganks.
The only reason why this can become a nightmare is if you get grabbed. And that shouldn't be a problem if you're not dumb. Always keep the lane brushes warded, and always avoid his Rocket Grab. Stay behind your minions, and always take note of where he is. If you get grabbed, it will often lead you to either die, or use up one, if not both of your summoner spells to try and run. Once he gets Static Field, this alone'll always guarantee that you WILL die if you get grabbed since these hurt like hell, unless they're really behind for whatever reason.
Much like with Alistar, his usual partners will be those with early game power and those who can make the most out of his Rocket Grab + Power Fist + Static Field combo ( Miss Fortune and Ezreal). Despite his ability to secure wins and keep your team in the dust, it is easy to exploit his weaknesses and bad Blitzcrank players alone can destroy a game for their team. Whenever he misses his Rocket Grab, then this is your chance to harass them, since he doesn't offer any sustain for himself or his carry unlike Taric or Alistar.
DIFFICULTY: EASY - SKILL BASED
CC, CC, and more CC. She can be played aggressive and is dangerous in the right hands since her kit can setup kills really easily. Most Janna players will be leveling up their shield first, which basically gives their carry a free B. F. Sword at max level every time she shields them. Since they'll be leveling her shield first (Most of the time), she herself is not going to be doing much damage while in the lane, but her carry will.
Her usual partners will probably be those who can take advantage of the utility Janna provides ( Kog'Maw and Ashe). Since all of her skills have somewhat long CDs, Sona and her carry can take advantage of this by harassing them whenever her shield is on cooldown since she has no natural sustain ability pre-level 6.
She is probably the hardest counter for Sona, only post-level 3 though. She is fairly tanky herself, and she deals a ton of damage early on. Her passive ensures that her carry will at least do a minimum of extra 20 magic damage to you/your carry whenever they jump on you. At level 3, her full combo can almost always guarantee a First Blood if she manages to land it and her carry follows through with a couple of auto-attacks and/or skills.
Like with Taric and Blitzcrank, her partner will be someone who can do good damage early on and follow up with their own combo after her's ( Ezreal and Corki). It's pretty hard to really fight/counter her as Sona. If at all possible, play someone else like Janna, since her CC fares better against Leona. But if not, then continue reading. Harass as much as you can pre-level 3. She is very vulnerable at this point, and you can win the lane if you manage to do well. Post-3 though, much like with Blitzcrank, keep the brushes warded and simply play safe. Sure she's coming at you with Zenith Blade instead of you coming to her (ala Rocket Grab), but if she's coordinating with her carry/jungler, then this'll almost always lead to a kill or you blowing a summoner spell to get away. Since she'll generally be in a kill lane, you and your carry can go with a poke strategy since she doesn't have any form of natural sustain for herself or her carry.
Good lord, this woman is annoying. She can heal her carry with Astral Blessing which also grants them bonus armor for a few seconds, her passive reduces Sona's harass damage, and her Infuse lets her carry harass you all day or silence you to remove your ability to dish out Crescendo or a Power Chord. Her ultimate, Wish, also heals EVERYONE on her team where ever they may be on the map. This can not only deny you kills, but can also allow them to tower dive you.
Her usual partners would be someone who can harass you all day while still being somewhat tanky or have an escape mechanism ( Graves and Ezreal), or be passive ( Vayne and Ashe). The only real way to counter her is to constantly harass them to make Soraka spam her Astral Blessing and Infuse every time it's off cooldown, which leaves them wide open. At the same time however, keep in mind that she has a global heal every two minutes more or less. They can bait you out into diving/attacking their carry, where she can easily mitigate the damage you did. But at the same time, you can also bait it out by making her think she needs to heal immediately to save someone.
DIFFICULTY: SKILL BASED
This guy is outrageously scary. Always keep the lane brushes warded and always keep in mind that whenever you're going up to harass them with Hymn of Valor or Power Chord, you're also getting in range for his Dazzle. Since you're relatively squishy even with the 0/21/9 masteries setup, you WILL die if you're not careful. And Shatter will almost always guarantee that you/your carry will always lose the trade if you're relatively even in terms of levels and items. Him and his carry will generally jump on you/your carry early and will almost always ensure a First Blood if you're not prepared for it.
Taric's partners will generally be those powerful in the early game ( Tristana and Graves), or those who can really make the most out of his Shatter + Dazzle combo ( Draven and Caitlyn). Although he is a very powerful support, it is also easy to exploit his weaknesses. Stay at range and avoid his Dazzle, avoid trading with them if he uses Shatter, and try to either keep harassing only one of them to make him use his heal often, or try to spread your damage around so he'll have to make a choice of healing himself or his carry (Which will lead to one of them dropping low eventually if kept unchecked).
However there will be cases where say, during a team fight and the enemy champions choose to focus you down instead of your carry. In most cases, this is fine since you're taking the damage that your carry isn't taking. However, this is the role of the tank, and as such you should also try to keep yourself alive while still prioritizing theirs. Simply because once you die, your teammates lose the aura buffs that you were providing.
The cases in which you will need to sacrifice yourself are those cases such as, you see the Caitlyn ultimate locked onto your low health Vayne. If it means her survival, then Flash into the line of fire and take the hit. Sure you might have died, but this means that your Vayne will be able to quickly heal up and protect that bot tower from the Caitlyn instead of you, since you will be pushed back and/or killed easily.
At the same time, it is also your job to peel for your carries. Keep them off your carries so that they can reign hell on their health bars. Keep in mind though that you're still squishy, even with full items (Beefy is the term I guess, for you have a lot of health but lack armor or magic resist to back it up).
As soon as the game starts, if you grabbed Clairvoyance, wait for the 10 second mark and drop a CV slightly in front of the enemy fountain. This not only tells where the enemies are headed (In Ranked or Draft, this should be obvious but they might opt to pull a fast one sometimes), but also the items that they're starting out with since this will give your other lanes a slight advantage. Grab your items and then activate Hymn of Valor twice before you leave the spawning pool so that you would have two charges set for your Power Chord, which will help at the lane or during an invade.
Afterwards, follow your jungler to where he/she needs to start and help him/her out by acting as a leash. If you grabbed Clairvoyance, then just before the minions spawn, your CV should already be up and ready. With that, CV the area where you think their jungler would start (Red buff/Blue buff/Wraiths/Wolves). If they're there, then you're safe. But if they're not, then exercise caution as they might be planning to invade your jungle (Or are simply starting somewhere else). If the enemy team does not have a jungler, then drop a CV onto one of the lanes to know who'll be laning where.
Should your team plan to invade, then follow them and be on high alert at all times. Since neither team has vision, you never know when you run into the brush and find an enemy standing there. Stay either at the back or close to your carries. As you cruise through the enemy jungle, drop a ward at their buffs or in common gank spots to give your team some vision in their jungle. If you manage to catch somebody, always keep in mind that their teammates might be around to save him/her or clean up afterwards. If a team fight breaks out, then simply stick with your carry and keep using whichever skill you took whenever it's off cooldown, to either heal your wounded ally (i.e. Aria of Perseverance), or to damage two enemy champs (i.e. Hymn of Valor).
Afterwards, head to your respective lane (If you do not have a jungler or didn't invade, then simply do this). As the support, focus on letting your carry net all of the creep score and keeping him/her in top form with your heals and safe by warding the dragon area or the tri-brush. Depending on the situation, also keep the lane brushes warded to see if the enemy jungler/support is in there waiting for the opportunity to strike. Like I mentioned earlier in the guide, evaluate if your enemies are poking you often or are playing defensive. This way, you would know which of her spells to max out first. If you're unsure of which spell to max out first, then simply level them both simultaneously.
In case you get pushed back and are forced to recall, always grab a Sightstone first before anything else plus a Sight Ward or a few Health Potions if you have enough. Should your carry be forced to recall or chooses to help out mid/top, then you're free to kill the minions as you please. But always watch over your teammates since you never know when they'll need your help.
During the laning phase, always keep in mind the enemy jungler (If they even have one). Knowing where they are, and when they'll gank is vital. If the enemy has a jungler like Pantheon or Riven -who are powerful level 2-3 gankers- then avoid engaging with the enemy bot laners this early on if you feel that they're close by, unless you're absolutely sure you can kill them quickly with help from your jungler. These junglers will make short work of you and your carry if they manage to get a good gank on you where your jungler is nowhere close by. However, if they have a jungler like Warwick or Hecarim -whose ganks become better after they hit level 6- then you're in a better situation, but never rule out the possibility that they still can gank you pre-level 6.
Once you hit level 6, then this is the time where you can get a kill for your carry since her Hymn of Valor -> Power Chord -> Crescendo combo does a great deal of burst against squishy champions. However if you simply feel that you cannot kill the enemy champions even with your ultimate, then save it for later and continue to harass with her Hymn of Valor and Power Chords until you're sure that you and your carry can kill them.
At this time, ganks and team fights are going to be more frequent, so always try to be there if you can since you're going to be the one helping them get back in the fight and/or making sure they survive. By survive I mean, healing them and them escaping with their lives whether you win or lose the team fight. At the same time however, if your teammate is sure to die from a gank and you cannot save them in any humanly possible solution, then do not run in to help since you're sure to die as well because of your squishy-ness.
During team fights, always prioritize on healing up your teammates unless they're super fed and you're curb-stomping the other team with no problem. Keep using her Aria of Perseverance when it's off its cooldown, and worry about dealing damage later. If you happen to run out of mana, then simply wait and keep using your heal when you regenerate enough mana. At the same time, keep your Crescendo intact until you get the chance to hit at least 3 of the enemy team (While prioritizing on hitting their damage dealers and those with a lot of CC), since this'll give your teammates time to setup their own ultimate, burst down a high value target or simply run.
During those down times, focus on warding your jungle, the rivers, and map objectives while dropping your Clairvoyance in the areas where you think the enemies might be at (Dragon/Baron/Buffs) to give your team an advantage on ganks and team fights. If you think that a team fight might erupt soon, then quickly recall or get close to your carry so that once the team fight occurs, you'll be present to help them to victory.
At this point, you should always stay close to your team. If you die from a gank without them nearby, then there's a high chance of your team losing the game unless they make a really great play. Much like during the early and mid game phases, keep map objectives and high traffic areas warded to give your team an advantage.
- PsiGuard - Feedback on the item build prior to the guide being written.
- Jpikachu1999 - Feedback on the item build prior to the guide being started.
- Moonedge - Feedback on the item build prior to the guide being made.
- A Chubby Baby - Feedback on the item build prior to the guide being written.
- jhoijhoi - For the templates, the line dividers, her epic guide for making a guide, and for her review of the guide with tons of suggestions.
- braveheart14 - For the moral support when I felt down while writing this guide.
- Xenotechie - For the review, suggestions and reminding me of a lot of stuff I forgot.
- IceCreamy - For the review and suggestions.
- Roronoa EvrIs - For the feedback and suggesting the 9/0/21 masteries setup for Sona.
- MysticalZelda - For the review and helping me with prettying up the guide (Which I'm still working on).
- tehAsian - For that extensive review, a ton of suggestions, and some insight with the Janna match-up.
- OTGBionicArm - For his review, suggesting the 1/15/14 masteries setup, and helping me with the 'Laning Partners' chapter by providing insight on laning with Graves and Draven.
- throatslasher - For some suggestions and insight on Sivir.
- Everyone who gave feedback on the guide!