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Sona Build Guide by kyte
Support Sona, the proper way
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I play mostly Sona support, and I end up winning a lot! This is how you can do it too.
* Relatively easy to play, with only one skill shot, Crescendo, although just like any champion you still have to know the ranges of your abilities.
* She is also very good at providing allied movement buffs, and she’s very nimble herself.
* Excellent end-game teamfight support.
* Doesn’t need much gold to do her job.
* Tough to master, for example, sacrificing yourself to ulti to save your carry is good and all, but a truly good Sona player saves the carry and gets out too :)
* Things can be rather tough early on before getting your philosopher's stone, Boots, and Chalice of Harmony.
* Vulnerable until she has her ultimate.
* A bit slow, before getting boots and her Song of Celerity.
The two main ones to get:
Flash: **Must Have** Level 1-2 this is the best way to survive from overextending, and flashing over walls during chases is a sure way to turn the tide your way. Lastly, the Flash / Crescendo combo is pretty effective, if you need to quickly catch your enemies off guard.
Exhaust: Exhaust is effective not only because of the second slow of movement, but is exceptionally useful in trades, team fights and dives against high damage champions.
For certain situations
Clairvoyance: This is one of my favorites, however if the team has no exhaust I will always go with that instead. Clairvoyance is almost like a free ward every 1 minute, for checking faraway places and to help keep an eye on an enemy going through brush. At the very beginning, send a CV after a few seconds at the opposing corner. This should let your allies see what your opponents buy and build accordingly.
Heal: If your ADC asks you to go heal, go for it. It used to be in the meta before, and heal helps you keep your mana up, bait or win trades.
Clarity: This can be useful if you’re laning with an ADC heavily using their mana for harass, and I used it when I was a low summoner level (<15) when I had mana issues early on.
I wouldn't get too accustomed to using clarity because you should use masteries and runes and items that increase your mana regen, so you can use more effective summoner spells.
Ghost: Ghost is very good if you’re not high enough summoner level to flash... and that’s about it. The extra mobility is almost not needed with your Song of Celerity, Mobility Boots and an eventual Shurelya's Battlesong.
Cleanse: Although in theory this would be useful if you get a bit overextended and caught, but in my experiences, going with CV and checking the river without having to go up there yourself could have saved you from overextending in the first place.
Barrier: Shields too little, for too short of time. Hard to use right, and it’d probably be better to flash out to avoid damage altogether.
Ignite: Although the debuff to healing is useful, do not get ignite because it can steal kills from your team.
Teleport: The teleport gank of Sona, while adding to her mobility, isn’t as useful as other spells. You might be able to get a Crescendo and maybe a slowing power chord in, and that’s about it. There are other, better choices for your Summoner spell.
Smite: This spell is not for you. It is for junglers. Although I’ve heard of a pretty sweet Sona jungle build, this is a guide about support Sona, and support Sona’s shouldn’t even be thinking about killing creatures unless no ally is nearby.
Revive: This spell depends on you dying, which is not something you want to do. Don’t pick revive.
Passive: Power Chord
This passive is what makes Sona such an effective support + poking harass. With all 3 abilities, Sona can get into a rhythm easily of always proccing the proper power chord on cooldown.
Q: Hymn of Valor
Start level 1 with this ability, later to be maxed second to your W.
When you’re sitting in the fountain build up 3 stacks of the power chord.
Early on, try to be relatively aggressive in the lane, using the activation of your Q and your auto attack right afterward for the poke.
Another awesome thing about this ability is that if you go from your Q stance to W, the heal is increased by the extra AP! When you need that extra bigger heal, remember to start w/ the Q then W.
W:Aria of Perseverance
Provides a decent heal and increased protection to you and another ally.
A quicker CD than Soraka’s.
Once you have your Chalice of Harmony, cast this nearly every cooldown if anyone around me is not full health.
Early on, you must manage your mana, healing only when necessary.
This is also an amazing spell for end-game team fights.. while people are poking before they fully engage, a mix between W and E will keep everyone high hp and in safe position.
Level this up at 2, then max this first.
E: Song of Celerity
In key team fights, quickly get into position for your Crescendo, in range to heal, move your allies quickly to avoid getting caught, and to catch up to someone running away.
Put 1 point at level 3 into your E for utility and movement speed to early ward the river safely.
Whenever you are running somewhere, swap to the E aura, and if you have the mana, cast E every cooldown for an extra burst of speed.
Max this last.
This ability can save your allies or yourself, or you can use it aggressively to stun 1 or more enemies.
It seems to stun just a tad bit further than the targeting cone shows.
Obviously, max this out when possible!
First three levels go with Q W E respectively.
Picking your Q up first will provide the harass and mind-games necessary for smooth sailing throughout the laning phase.
I max Q 2nd and W 1st because you still hurt with your Power Chord, and the more your Aria of Perseverance is leveled, the less mana you have to use to keep you and your carry alive and in the lane leveling.
This in turn leads to harass/trading where you easily heal up the damage after their pokes and prods.
1 point in E for utility at level 3 will help you get back in the lane after you get the money for your philosopher’s stone.
Utility: Gain mana, movement speed, improved recall, improved flash and CV, and extra gold.
Note the pickpocket, this one is perfect on Sona, because you should poke every 5 seconds or so at least early on. Might as well make some money off of it.
Defense: increase your health, armor and magic resist mainly for lower levels.
Other Options: I don't like Biscuiteer or the Explorer ward, simply because I needed the starting gold and gold/10, and the extra defense for early game is priceless. Also, the biscuit is really quite weak compared to real pots, and for being a one-time use it doesn't seem as valuable as permanent stat increases or increased gold income.
9 Greater Seals of Mana Regeneration
9 Greater Glyphs of Magic Resist
3 Greater Quintessences of Gold
More durability for early on to survive poking, and an increase in mana regen, and the quints of gold gives you a nicer starting income and stacks with your philosopher's stone and/or kage's lucky pick.
Other options are adding any number of armor seals to be a little bit tankier in lane vs harass, but at less mana regen.
Philosopher's stone---> : You can use Shurelya's Battlesong defensively or offensively to chase, and the Philosopher's stone is an excellent beginning item with income, mana and health regen.
---> : Your main job is warding, and getting a Ruby Sightstone keeps costs down. Get a Sightstone relatively early. After you’ve upgraded your income into other items, I can always use the extra free wards.
: While Sona might be “okay” with just boots, she really shines when you have Mobility Boots. Your main job is to ward ward and more ward, and ward everywhere and often. And that requires moving around, often not in combat.
Note: Sona can heal or speed up someone in combat without entering combat herself! Assist people while keeping your boots of mobility up so you can chase down the next guy too.
---> : The mana regen passive from the Chalice of Harmony is fantastic for a spamming mana-hungry champion like Sona. The extra magic resist plugs the hole from my runes/masteries. Add CDR, AP and a cool red paint job and you get the Athene's Unholy Grail for end-game. I prefer Athene's over Mikael's Blessing for the CDR (remember that I don't go CDR boots), and the AP to add a bit to Sona's damage and heals.
---> : Helping your entire team have even more protection is always a nice thing. I tend to get Aegis of the Legion later than most supports, since I personally value the mobility from the Shurelya's Battlesong.
If you're up against an AP heavy team, it is worth rushing for the Runic Bulwark, because it can protect your glassy ADC from being burst down in seconds.
: I’ve been known to buy up to 3-4 Vision Wards at all times. You might notice they’re no longer warding once they see you have multiple pinks in your inventory. Wards win games, and counter-warding makes ganks possible, and sets opponents on the defensive.
You already can probably guess what most of the end-game build looks like:
, + , , , ...
You have to decide what you want for the last slot of your build depending on what you need in a certain situation:
Do you need more armor? Consider Frozen Heart to really screw up attackers, or Locket of the Iron Solari for a good mix of stats, and the active can be useful in getting that carry out. Both are nice also to max out your CDR.
Do you need more magic resist? Consider grabbing a Banshee's Veil, or a Twin Shadows.
Does the enemy team keep focusing you? Get a Guardian Angel.
Does the enemy team seem to ignore you during team fights? Go with an AP/tanky final item (Such as Abyssal Mask or Zhonya's Hourglass) and start healing like a boss.
Don’t forget to drink Oracle's Elixir, or you could sell the Ruby Sightstone to hold a ton (>5) of Vision Wards.
Other Items I recommend for certain situations:
Kage's Lucky Pick: Shard of True Ice & Twin Shadows, from a Kage’s Lucky Pick are both pretty useful for supports, and which one is mainly a matter of personal preference.
Shard of True Ice is an effective mid-game item for cheap. Once you have plenty of money for the rest of your build, you should sell the Shard for something better, though.
Randuin's Omen: This one is a bit expensive, but the active is very useful in conjunction with activating Shurelya's Battlesong. Also, the slowing of attack speed is very useful when you're up against attack-speed dependent champions, such as Kayle, Jax, Teemo, any ADC, and many others.
Ohmwrecker: I’ve never tried this on my Sona, but the concept of helping someone dive a turret sounds useful. Just be sure to get out of range before it starts shooting again. And with the new changes, you can build this from a philosopher's stone for more income after getting Shurelya's Battlesong.
Other common “Sona” items I do not recommend:
Lich Bane: Lich Bane is not for supporting, but for bursting, and is only good if you’re stacking lots of AP elsewhere. Sona is far too squishy to be trying to proc your Lich Bane on cooldown in a team fight, and this build focuses more on CDR & mobility. Also, this item is way too expensive, you will be sacrificing something.
Tear of the Goddess: This was the first item I went for the longest time when I had clarity, and even then I found clarity wasn’t nearly enough mana regen to handle healing every 5 seconds and mixing in a Q or an E in there too.
Other Boots: With your primary job warding, the Mobility Boots are extremely helpful. Also, you can keep your increased mobility up in teamfights by not pressing Q, saving your R for needed situations, and for the most part focus on kiting the enemies. Remember, even if you heal someone in combat, you can keep your boots of mobility going.
While the CDR from Ionian Boots of Lucidity is certainly useful, its simply not nearly as effective on Sona as the speedy Mobility Boots. Plus, you can see my final item set would be over max CDR (40%) if I had those boots.
I could see at the highest level of play when everyone is taking good care of warding, there's less need for Boots of Mobility... in which case I'd recommend Mercury's Treads because stun-locking is basically the only thing that will catch a good Sona with Shurelya's Battlesong.
I go these particular items to be very effective at movement, warding, and to have a good mix of mana regen/ap/cdr, with a bit of survivability on top.
The order to the core build is tough to describe, but generally after philosopher's stone and Boots, I buy what I feel I need more at the time, such as tank or mana regen. Remember to save enough left over money to buy sight wards until you have a Sightstone.
Pink Ward vs Oracles: I recommend pinks over oracles until you have a full build, because you are too squishy to rely on your tankiness to survive team fights like most people who get oracles. Instead, grab a few pink wards every time you go home, so you always have 1 to throw out in the middle of a team fight, or while you pass obvious warding places.
I’ve tried nearly every build possible with Sona, and I’ve always had the best support stats using this build. I’m usually ending something like 0/1/27.
Stats don’t mean **** though unless you win, and this really will really help you win.
You will feel like you helped carry this entire team by saving people left and right. Late in the game, one bad team fight can decide the entire game.
I’ve saved the entire team by avoiding a bad engage many times, sometimes everyone getting out at about 10% health or less.
If your jungler is taking on your own blue or red, guard from an invasion by covering a path from the river, and remember that you have plenty of time to get down to your lane for XP if you leave around 1:25 game-time. Come from the lane, because they could be easily hiding in the river brush to blast the **** out of you.
Levels 1-2, providing a good poke nearly every cooldown of the Q from the brushes on the squishier opponent if possible. This in conjunction with zoning your opponents later forces them to miss CS and experience, which eventually adds up to you winning the lane.
Levels 3-5, swap to a more passive play. If you face someone like Vayne + Soraka, and they’re countering your pokes by healing it all, swap to a more passive support even earlier, primarily protecting and healing your ADC, but poke to keep them honest if they get close.
If you’re having trouble because they killed you or you had to go back, stop poking at all and focus on surviving, near the creeps to level to 6. This is why I recommend getting one point in E at Level 3, no matter what.
Once you get over 600 gold, level 3+, and the ADC seems safe for a bit, go back and buy philosopher's stone and at least 1 sight ward.
Level 6+, Ahh, finally we can breathe, because you have your incredible ultimate. People fear your ultimate, they fear coming close to you when you have it out. However, if you missed them, they will pounce on you and murder you before you can do anything!
This is why you should feint the use of it, unless you actually need to save someone or yourself, or should use it because you can get multiple enemies and your allies are in position to jump on them.
Crescendo requires someone to deal damage to use it offensively. This is why I tend use it in a more reactive or defensive way. Don't forget about your Flash + Crescendo combo, it can catch enemies unaware, or let you get in position to cast without getting owned on the way.
Warding. Whenever possible ward from the river and possibly the lower tri-bush often. Consider pink wards early on if you see your opponents doing the same. Also, having 3 wards early means you can also ward a brush near the lane to help harass and gain control of the lane easily. Keep a ward up in the river for the entire laning phase.
Zoning. I recommend watching a great video explaining zoning:
...but if TL/DR, basically the idea is to run in front of the minions & your carry (stay in experience range yourself, if possible), and force enemy champions to hide under their turret, while there are minions dying behind you. This really negatively affects your opponent’s farm, since they’re missing both minion kills and experience.
Zoning has one negative though, you sometimes expose yourself and your ADC very far into the lane, but this is why you warded river, right? :) Keep an eye on the map and you’ll be fine.
Harass. Start with a charged up Power Chord, hit q right as your power connects to poke them twice.
If they don’t have any wards, use the brushes to your advantage to get the first poke in. If you find that they’re countering your harass well, and your adc is more focused on farming, I recommend playing more passively, focusing on your adc’s survivability.
Healing. Your job is really to let the carry farm all day until they have so much cash that they can instantly get an end-game item or 2. This means they should feel safe to farm, so keep them close to full health. By casting your W, you will also decrease incoming damage to both of you.
Assist for kills. Eventually, your poke will bring them down to very low health, and your carry will want to finish them off. Tank the turret for a shot or 2 (not at levels 1-3), get your slowing Song of Celerity + Power Chord, or help with damage by using your Hymn of Valor+ Power Chord. Just be careful you don’t steal kills, because your carry needs them much more than you.
Pushing. Generally, if you just forced both enemy champions to go back to base, push as much as you can. Not only will this cause some damage to their turret, but it will also mean that the turret finishes off those minions instead of enemy champions, again another way to deny experience and CS.
Pushing with Sona is difficult, without stealing minion kills. I recommend going into your Q aura, and auto attacking minions at nearly full hp. Stop (hit S) the moment that the minion gets less than half. This will let your ADC kill them easily and push your minions forward. Once they start moving, use E to make the minions move faster.
When the ADC is farming the bot lane, and you see people start to roam the map, go help a bit. ADCs are supposed to focus more on the farming, and could use the extra levels if you leave. Just V ping near them to tell them to be careful.
Never lead the game phase into the mid-game on your own, because you’re not there to carry, but to help your carry when they think they’re ready to roam or if they have to deal with multiple enemy champions.
This is when you try to get your team to group up, unless one person is split pushing.
Grouping up utilizes your abilities as Sona best. All your spells help everyone nearby, and you should have at least 2 AOE items to benefit the team as well ( Runic Bulwark & Shurelya's Battlesong).
Focus on pushing. Pushing into their base and getting an inhibitor turret and inhibitor down is more valuable to the win than getting baron. An inhibitor down forces the enemies to turtle for a while, leaving at least one champion at home to defend against the super minions.
You have to stick close to your teammates whenever possible here in the end-game, for many more reasons. You’re way too low DPS to kill someone on your own. You also are probably a bit lower level than the rest of the team, so leech off their experience. Most likely, they’re already 18 anyway so it doesn’t hurt them to have a Sona providing some healing/extra dps.
Save your team with Shurelya’s if things go bad, and focus on keeping everyone near-max HP. With your Runic Bulwark, CDR and a bit of AP, any harass or multiple-engagement fight should always be effectively leaning towards your team. And don’t forget to use Crescendo whenever you can get many enemy champions, safely.
So, how do you properly ward, you might ask. Here’s a map of excellent warding locations: (Credit Kinesis)
Early on, (level 2 at most!) I highly recommend setting up a ward up near dragon, close to the path up to purple team’s Blue buff. This will give you ample time when someone comes down the river to bail. If you are pushed near the blue team's turret, ward the tribush above it.
If you're not pinned in, keep a ward up in the river, refreshing them every 3 minutes as needed.
These are the obvious gank paths a jungler will want to take, and the meta is now leaning towards aggression early on by the jungler. Don’t “Save the Ward”, Use em! They’re only 75g, and you should start with at least 2!
Later in the game (around the 2nd time you come back because of mana or needing more wards) you should pick up a pink ( Vision Ward) for dragon, if you haven’t already. (Some people start with a pink, which certainly is useful at higher levels of play).
By the time you get a lot of people level 8 or so, and you notice no warding near dragon from the other side, and just pushed bot lane past the river, try to ping dragon to get some help from the ADC and mid or jungler. Remember to heal the person tanking, and trade off tanking damage since you self-heal every W too.
Mid to end-game, you need to decide which objectives you’re going to ward. Try to ask more people to buy them if no one is helping you. With a Ruby Sightstone, remember only the last 3 wards placed will be visible. Thus its still good when you buy some pinks or regular wards as well.
Great, you bought your pink ward, and are ready to use it on top of where you saw the enemy place a ward near dragon. First, think about how you’re going to get there and get out without risking yourself too much.
Remember, it takes 3 hits no matter what damage you deal to kill a ward, and going to kill a ward obviously exposes your location briefly.
Use your E to move quickly into position, sometimes for example, coming all the way around your tri-brush to ward dragon. Attack their ward and quickly hurry back the way you came, unless the lane is pushed up enough while you were away.
With pinks, remember that your enemies may have seen this map too, so you can surmise where wards commonly are. In team fights, drop them in brushes, or right wherever you stand if they have stealthy characters. I’ve made so many Wukong’s, Akali’s, and Shaco’s et. al. cry, it’s pretty funny.
Buying enough pinks, often, will ease your job as support. You can ward constantly, anywhere you pass. As the game progresses you will slowly eat up a lot of their money/vision, granting wins! (Well its not that simple, but its close!)
One of the better combos with Sona, your ulti's stack very nicely for long stun-locking, and she can harass at the same time as you with Volley and Frost Shot. Lastly, your e can provide her a much needed escape maneuver.
Be careful of her harass and her Frost Shot, since she can screw you up quick early on.
Equally effective of a combo as Ashe, Caitlyn can harass easily while last-hitting minions with Piltover Peacemaker. Warding often helps Caitlyn snipe with her Ace in the Hole.
She can be nasty, placing traps in the brush effectively slowing harass down if you avoid them, or getting you immobilized if you run over them. Whenever she and her support are too far to do anything about the trap, clear them out as soon as possible by triggering them.
Remember, trap damage doesn't stack in duration, so clear a few quickly to lessen the damage. Also, remember its a lot better that you clear the traps than the AD since you self-heal when you heal them.
Decent laning partner, your Song of Celerity helps him get off his Gatling Gun safer, and your Power Chord will really hurt if you hit a target within his gatling gun.
Don't go all-in on a Corki until after he uses Valkyrie, or if he's just that much out of position. He's pretty glassy, and has to get up close to gatling gun, so he is vulnerable to your pokes until he gets level 6.
Draven does a lot of damage, and has a decent harass. His Stand Aside followed soon after with your slowing power chord will leave most enemies toast between you and Draven's damage output.
Poke him hard, since he has no escape, and you can poke in and get out to hit him where his Spinning Axe is landing. Be wary of Draven's high burst especially when he starts critting often.
I love laning with an Ezreal, mainly because he can stay back and farm, while able to teleport in with his Arcane Shift to help in the harass quickly and take the enemy by surprise, often killing one or both of them.
Be wary of the turn-around of Ezreal. When he turns on you after harass using his Arcane Shift he can melt you in seconds. But, he's very glassy so do as much harass as you can safely, just be aware of his teleporting range, especially if he has flash too. Keep minions between you and him to avoid Mystic Shot harass.
Graves can dash forward with his Quickdraw skill, and then unload his Buckshot and just massacre the enemies, so try to set up good targets to burn down with your poke. His range is shorter than most ADs, so it certainly helps him to have Sona around to speed him up.
Be wary of his high burst damage, as it can instantly melt you if you get in range. Abuse the fact that he has short range to get in some harass. Also, don't let him Buckshot many champions at once by spreading out.
Most Kog'Maws that I've played with prefer to play more passive, focusing on last hits before 6, and then they'll go more aggressive once they have their Living Artillery. Realize this when you're harassing, since the Kog'Maw may not be in the right position to help you until 6.
His slow ( Void Ooze), especially at higher levels will really screw you up as Sona. His Bio-Arcane Barrage and Living Artillery make him a bit of a challenge to go up against, since he can easily out-range you. I recommend a more passive play unless Kog'Maw over-extends, since he has no escape. Don't forget his Icathian Surprise!
With Miss Fortune
Her high basic damage, and mobility with Strut combined with Sona's auras makes this a deadly combo. Also, if possible let her know beforehand that you're about to Crescendo enemies, so she knows to use her Bullet Time at the same time. It's a beautiful thing when those two ultimates stack.
Against Miss Fortune
She can be a bit of a challenge to harass because of her Strut, but know that if you get any attack off, she'll be slowed down for a bit. Use your Song of Celerity to escape any of her AoE spells ( Make it Rain and Bullet Time).
I have yet to lane with a Quinn as Sona, but I imagine just like any AD carry benefits from Sona, so should Quinn. She has a relatively short range, so your Song of Celerity should help her land her abilities. Her slow from Vault is probably going to combo well with your slowing power chord.
I have laned vs Quinn, but I wasn't playing Sona at the time. Be wary of her Heightened Senses because it will reveal you while you're in the brush. Also, if you're marked by her Harrier, pull back so you don't take extra damage.
Sivir is a good champion to lane with, because you provide extra damage, movement speed, and defense, all of which she can definitely use to survive and get kills. Her auto-attack is relatively short range, but with your Song of Celerity she can get in and get out safer than normal. When Sivir is chasing an enemy champion, she will run very fast in conjunction with your movement speed buffs. Also, the two of you should push towers really fast with her On The Hunt. (Use Hymn of Valor and Power Chord)
Be wary of her Spell Shield because your Hymn of Valor will just feed her free mana, which in turn leads to many a painful Boomerang Blades to the face, and free farming with Ricochet. Bait out her spell shield by pretending to do your normal harass, wait for it to go off, then actually hit her with your Q+power chord.
I've probably laned the least with Tristana out of the rest of these (except for Quinn), but in all cases, the movement speed, defense/healing, higher damage is always useful. Trist can really screw up the opposing support if they're heal-based ( Soraka, Nami, Taric, and of course Sona). Use this to your advantage to poke someone when she uses her Explosive Shot, forcing a weaker heal, basically wasting their mana and cooldown, and possibly getting a kill.
Again, she can really screw up your healing with her Explosive Shot, and her damage is pretty high if you let her attack you. Try to use your Aria of Perseverance after the debuff to healing wears off. Still, heal if you must, because even a half of a heal could save someone from death.
Twitch can be very effective with Sona, but, be careful not to give away his position when he's invisible to the enemy! Your Aria of Perseverance and Song of Celerity both draw an obvious buff drawing a line straight to your nearby allies.
Vision Wards are pro vs. a Twitch. Starting with a pink ward isn't a bad idea, and getting more every time you go home will ensure you have enough to set them up wherever the fight ends up. Also consider grabbing Randuin's Omen or Frozen Heart earlier if you're really having trouble to slow his attack speed.
Remember that he generally opens up after using his Ambush, so in that case you would want to preemptively place a pink ward near where you are staying.
Against these two, staying in the back with Mobility Boots forces them to overextend to catch you, or you go on healing the heck out of your ADC. However, they certainly will give you the most trouble.
Alistar can be a real pain in the rear, so try to keep up the harass to force him to back off. His heal isn't quite as strong as yours, although if he's around dying minions he can do it very often. Triumphant Roar does heal minions though, so he can really push if you let him.
Blitzcrank is very annoying, making anyone out of position with his infamous Rocket Grab. Use wards to keep him from setting up perfect ganks in the brushes, and focus on being aggressive to keep him at bay.
Know that Galio will be quite tanky to your Hymn of Valor and Power Chord, so it’s better to harass the adc, unless you can’t reach, hitting your poke on Galio is still effective. Don’t attack a target he has Bulwark casted upon.
In my opinion, prevention of dying by healing to max health is better than shielding temporarily, since healing can work to save someone, and to erase a poke. Obviously, try to avoid Janna's Howling Gale, and know that your Song of Celerity will make a quicker boost to speed than her Tailwind, and you yourself with boots of mobility will be faster than her with Zephyr.
I rarely ever see Karma, and if I do it is usually mid. She can be a little annoying with her heal from the Heavenly Wave with Mantra, combined with good use of her Soul Shield. Don’t try to dive against a low health Karma with her cooldowns up, her Inner Flame really makes her surprisingly strong.
Kayle is uncommonly seen as a support champ, but when she does, know that Intervention will not stop you from slowing or stunning the target, it just negates the damage. Also, know that she is vulnerable right after using it. Also, pay attention to her build to see what she is going.
Leona's tankiness and high amounts of CC make her a fantastic counter to Sona, since she depends on kiting and always moving. But, she cannot babysit the ADC, so use this to your advantage and poke them instead.
Lulu is a pretty effective support, but again I find that healing is more efficient way of a babysit than shielding, and you poke harder and quicker than her. Confuse her by poking randomly at her and randomly at the ADC, so she doesn’t know who to shield.
Lux is all about skill shots, so focus on warding and knowing where she is at all times so you can dodge easily. Stay out of combat to help with dodging using the boots of mobility. Also, remember that her Light Binding only binds the first two targets, so hide behind minions.
Usually seen in mid, Morgana is just like Lux... focus on dodging that Dark Binding, and use minions to block the shot. Also, its always a good idea to bait out her Black Shield before you actually poke. Swap between targets to really make it hard on her to shield.
Try to bait out Nami's Aqua Prison and try to dodge it to greatly reduce her harass. With her long cooldowns, pounce on her when she misses her Aqua Prison. Also, abuse the fact that if you’re the only one on your team near Nami’s Ebb and Flow, it will only heal one person or hit you, not two targets.
Dodge spears, and ward to cover all blind spots (river brush, tribush), be careful of her high damage and mobility at 6, and recognize that Nidalee is pretty fragile. Her heal is not anywhere close to the amount of sustain you can provide with good mana regen. Remember to stay behind minions when possible to prevent spears to the face.
Nunu & Willump is really pretty easy to manage with Sona- He has no babysitting of the ADC, so always prioritize your harass on the ADC instead of Nunu. Use wards to avoid getting hit by Ice Blast. If he is about to land a perfect Absolute Zero, catching most of you off-guard and can't get away before he explodes a big hit, try to immediately land your Crescendo on him to reduce the damage he deals.
If you happen to be in a normal game and face a mirror match Sona v. Sona bot, know that most Sonas don’t go with Mobility Boots, nor carry so many Vision Wards around. Also, going passive with your stronger heals at level 4 and 5 will let you outlast her. Eventually, she will either give up on poking or run out of mana, keeping up with your healing.
These are some of the greatest support duels in the game. Generally, both end up going passive, but having the ability to turn up the damage for a gank or increasing speed to avoid them breaks the heal-spam farm fest in your favor. Just don’t get overhit by Soraka's Starcall!
Like Soraka, the support duels between Sona & Taric can really lead to a whole lot of nothing exciting, creep farm fests. Which is fine, since your ADC needs the CS farm. Try to stay just out of his Dazzle range and poke from afar to make him use his mana to heal. Also, know that he tends to be very tanky to physical damage, and his Imbue always heals him a lot, so try to poke the ADC instead of him, although poking Taric is relatively easy since his engage range is very short.
Use wards in the brushes to avoid getting grabbed by Thresh's Death Sentence. Also know that his first attack will hurt a lot after he has learned Death Sentence. He is a tanky support, but he has only a long cooldown shield with his Dark Passage. Therefore, just like Nunu, focus on the ADC as long as you can do so without giving free hits on you. Also, try to deny souls, by pushing him back with zoning. He may have to waste mana on his lantern to pick them up.
Zilean's babysitting is mediocre until 6 when he gets his Chronoshift, but his harass early on is very effective with the Time Bomb x2 due to Rewind. Focus on not letting bombs hit both you and the ADC, and use them to your advantage to deny minion kills to the AD. It can also be useful to force them to push minions too much, giving plenty of room for ganks from the jungler.
Zyra is a mean support, because she has very long engage range, her plants from Rampant Growth can really hurt, and Grasping Roots is a great root and slow from seeds. Step on her seeds to clear them when revealing yourself won't hurt, so she can't combo with them later into plants.
Against atypical Supports:
I've seen my fair matches of either people unaware of the meta of "support champ with the adc bot", or intentionally breaking the meta to produce a "kill lane", when they don't like the matchup so they end up throwing a bruiser bottom to force some kills and hopefully kill the turret quickly. This has the advantage of surprise, but it tends to taper off end game, as the need for a properly fed ADC with a good support will win team-fights.
In all cases, ward often, early, and more often. Keep everything in view, using Vision Wards if you run into invisible champions like Akali, Wukong, Shaco, and a few others. Also, this will help you really overpower their warding if they're not going a typical support, because they will probably be money hungry for their basic neccesary items.
Play it safe against bruisers and assassins, because they will be much more effective at trading blows. Just poke from afar when you know you're safe.
Play it aggressive against glassy AP "supports", since they're very cooldown-based. ADC + Sona harass will tend to win most trades over time.
Against tanky champions, obviously choose to harass the ADC:
If they're really going balls to the walls kill lane and try throwing two tanks at you, play it very very safe early, because they will have the CC to mess you up before you can do anything. Eventually, your ADC will farm up and devastate them because of their lack of DPS.
And a final note, know that you can play perfect support and your teammates can still do horribly enough so you still lose. The ranking system is designed to have us lose about half of the time. So suck it up, play another game and flip the coin for better allies next time.
Also, if my guide is TL/DR, here’s the quick summary. Focus on mobility, mana regen, and survivability while providing constant healing, DPS and movement speed buffs. Ulti every once in awhile. Ward often, win games. Understood? Good.
3/07: lots of colors added, less walls of text.
3/08: slight edit to appearance and a few clarifications. Adding notes section.
3/08.2: grammar edits.
3/09: minor formatting edits.
3/09.2: Added Zyra to support match-ups
3/10: Minor formatting, and added "other options" to the masteries section.
3/14: fixing typo, formatting