Sona Build Guide by Lyraphix
Support Sona: Win Lane, Win Game （Updated for Season 8)By Lyraphix | Updated on September 20, 2018
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Threats & Synergies
Blitzcrank is Sona's second hardest counter. Playing against him requires very quick reaction times and good positioning. Stay within your minion wave whenever you know his pull is off CD. If he pulls you into a poor situation, you may be required to flash immediately. Try to play passively in this lane and consider maxing your heal so that your adc can trade without you being put in danger.
Brand's very high base damage and quite easy to hit AoE skillshot takes advantage of all of Sona's weaknesses effectively and efficiently. You must always dodge his stun or you will be in big trouble. Post-6, he may even be able to solo kill you if you are below 75% HP. Always back off if he marks you with his passive. Brand is also extremely squishy however, and if you trade with him well (take advantage of the fact that he can miss his poke and you can't) he can't heal it back, whereas you can. Encourage your adc to go onto Brand whenever he extends, and you should be fine.
Nautilus' hook is fairly easy to dodge, and his CC chain isn't as scary as some other supports, but if it hits be prepared to lose a decent amount of health when the enemy adc follows up. When laning against Nautilus, you almost never want to use your abilities aggressively on him, instead, try to go for his adc. Nautilus doesn't deal enough damage to be threatening on his own, so coordinate with your adc to make sure that whenever Nautilus engages, you're using your full offensive potential on the enemy adc. You will always out-damage in a 2v2, as long as you and your adc are both focusing the enemy adc.
The worst matchup for any Sona, Leona is able to lock you down for almost 4 seconds, far more than enough for her adc to delete your squishy healthbar. Play extremely passively, and try to avoid using your abilities on her, instead focus on the enemy adc. Once she hits 6 she can all-in you easily, so watch out. Auto attack harass for gold but keep an eye on her Daybreak Shield, this is an indicator she's looking to go in. Overall Leona is a difficult matchup and will manage to out-trade and out-utility you at every step of the game.
Shaco isn't a support, but his presence can be very bad for Sona, as he deals high damage and it can be hard for Sona to peel him, especially with her low base HP. Try to convince your adc to also buy a pink, and make sure you have one set up at all times in river and tribush.
Early ganks from Evelynn can easily net a kill for the enemy team from Sona, play carefully and notice if the enemy bot lane is suddenly playing much more aggressively or passively, these are signs Eve may be near and you may be being baited.
Caitlyn is very hard to trade against due to her long range. Trying to harass as Sona requires very precise positioning, and often leaves you vulnerable to jungle ganks or the enemy support due to the saf distance from which Caitlyn farms. I recommend only trading when your adc is willing to do so as well, and to approach this lane with varying degrees of caution depending on who the enemy support is. One plus side is that many enemy Caitlyns forgo using MR glyphs because they feel safer due to their range. If this is the case your trades will improve greatly
Alistar is annoying to lane against, but provides mainly peel for his adc, which with your decently ranged harrass, you can be quite proficient at ignoring. His cc is relatively shortlived and his main threat is if he manages to headbutt you away from your adc. As with many tanky supports, I recommend you position yourself to poke the enemy adc and mostly ignore Alistar. You will always out-damage in a 2v2 if you focus the enemy adc, and Alistar's heals are rather insignificant.
Nami is in many ways a better version of you. However, her power lies not in positioning and poke but in a skillshot which is fairly easy to dodge. Because of this I recommend you play passively until level 6, and use your ult to try to win a fight. Only poke with your adc's assistance, because Nami will out-trade you in a 1v1, even without landing her bubble. When you can harass with the assurance of taking no damage back, do so. But her slow and stun are very adept at punishing you if you go for a trade in a bad position. Always keep your river warded as Nami can set up some very strong ganks.
Trade as much as you can with Annie before level 6. She will generally be reluctant to use her stun on you instead of the adc if your positioning is good. Because of this and because of your heal, by level 6 you will both have very low HP, but you will be able to heal it back up. People who play Annie also typically don't bring MR, so your trades will be impactful. At level 6, you can often solo kill her with a flash ult and net bot lane its first kill. Just be wary late-mid game, as she can and will be less reserved about stunning you, and if you're below 75% health, she can kill you.
Dodge his Q, poke his adc, win the lane. It's a simple matchup, but can still be very difficult depending on which adc you have and which adc he has. Always bcak off if you have 2 or more stacks of concussive blows on you, this is the biggest threat to your winning this lane.
Gragas' ganks will often result in at least a death bot lane if he catches you off guard or over extended, but if you keep the river warded he is typically only a threat to you post laning phase.
Grave's high burst makes it hard for Sona to win trades against, especially with his true grit stacked up. Try to trade with him when the minions meet in the middle of the lane so you can return to bush cover for safety AND so that he doesn't have any passive stacks. Getting cc'd by the enemy support against Graves is almost always a death, so remember to play extra passive if you aren't adept at dodging cc.
Her shield and q will manage to out-trade you in most 1v1's, but her lack of utility and somewhat high cooldowns mean that you and your adc will almost always win a full on 2v2.
Lulu can only shield one target, you can shield both. Lulu can only heal one target, and that's with her ult. You can heal both you and your adc, and much more frequently. Lulu has a slow, you have a slow. Most Lulu's can only hit one target with their harass, you can hit both. You are generally a better version of Lulu, but cannot 1v1 her. You depend on 2v2's to be better than her, because all of your skills affect more than one person. Coordinate with your adc to all-in at level 6 after poking down the enemy adc. You'll likely be very low from the return poke you'll take from doing this, but because of your heal your adc will still be relatively healthy. Because of this, at level 6 you can kill the enemy adc and there won''t be much Lulu can do about it.
Lucian is a very generic adc, the matchup is almost entirely decided for you by his support.
Quinn has high single target burst, never engage her while you're marked, and use your W powerchord on her instead of your Q. This is one adc where in limited trades you may not outdamage in a 2v2. Sustain your adc with heals and ensure protection from the enemy support. Her mid and late game isn't amazing so even if you don't win lane or lose it, you should win game with your (hopefully) more FOTM adc.
Zyra can be quite a threat even when she misses her plants, and when she hits, you can be in trouble. She's like a poor mans Brand in many aspects, and she's also harder to use. For these reasons, you can generally E to get close and harass while simultaneously dodging her harass. She can't do much if you aren't lined up near her plants and her ult is pretty bad compared to yours. She should net you and your adc a kill by the end of laning phase.
Kill Soraka and you win lane. Seriously that's your entire obective when laning against Soraka because any poke you land against the enemy adc will just be healed right back up. Soraka is squishy and relies on landing her Q's to heal back up, so if you can dodge a telegraphed Q and harass Soraka, you have a 2v1 on your hands. However this isn't as easy as it sounds so she's a bit higher on this list. Worst comes to worst the lane will become a practical 1v1 between the adcs as the supports dish out heal and poke.
If he misses his stun he's done. He synergizes poorly with most adcs and no one knows how to play him beneath diamond. Kill his adc and then kill him, just don't chase him into his goddamn tunnels.
His nerfs hit him hard. Dodge his time bomb and enjoy the 2v1.
Dodge her Q and kill her adc, Sona wins no matter what.
Dodge her Q and kill her adc, Sona wins no matter what.
He's actually somewhat difficult for Sona to lane against, but his teamfight presence is so ridiculously bad compared to yours that you just have to play passive and you'll win.
Thresh... Many people complain that he is one of Sona's greatest counters. These people see a hook and say gg. Here is why Sona counters Thresh and not the other way around. A: His hook is ridiculously telegraphed, and pulls you only a very short distance. B: He is very squishy, not as much as Sona of course, but enough so that you can safely harass him easily and effectively. C: Most Thresh players are not good. These players bought Thresh either they think he is the best support, needed a support so they could play all 5 roles, or saw Madlife or someone land a fancy hook. Many Thresh players are 5th or 4th pick and didn't even want to support. D: If Thresh uses his abilities to cc you or your adc, you and your adc can go ham on the other adc and win a 2v2. Thresh's strongest counter to Sona is when a gank is coming to either side. Either he can lantern a jungler into or out of the lane, and either flay an enemy into or out of a zone. He is best in 2v3's or 3v2's, and because of his utility late game, is generally regarded as a very balanced support. However, any Sona with decent reflexes can easily dodge his primary cc, and retaliate with her adc.
Abuse her short range and poke the living hell out of her early, she's squishy and lacks significant damage so you can take advantage of this every time you get a point in Q.
Against tanky supports she generally wants to get as much poke down on the enemy adc, while dodging the enemy supports poke. She will generally go even in trades with the enemy adc, which is great! Because Sona will have far more sustain than the enemy adc, every trade where you go even is a success. The primary goal here is to force the enemy tanky support (who generally lack poke) to try to engage on your adc to even out the health bars. When this happens, one of two results will occur. Either A: The enemy adc cannot assist the support in engaging because of the aforementioned poke, leaving her adc to take decent damage from a 2v1, or B: The enemy adc tries regardless to assist the support, and in doing so, allows you and your adc to focus and kill them.
Against sustain supports like Soraka, and to a lesser degree Nami or Janna, Sona's laning phase needs to be focused on getting the other support out of the picture, so that her adc can deal damage without it being healed/shielded away. In these scenarios, it is best to communicate with your adc in champ select to make sure you two are on the same page on who to focus. You preferably want to set up kills bot lane, (vastly aided by a Flash+Q=+Power Chord+Ignite for a finish on enemies =/<200 HP), but you can also settle to cripple the enemy support by lowering their HP to a point where they cannot safely assist their adc, but they are still draining experience.
Mage supports who deal only cc and damage such as Annie, Brand, or Zyra are easier for Sona to play against than tanks, but harder than playing against sustain supports. These champions generally require Sona to have very good positioning. Sona will typically deal close to the same amount of damage as these supports, but lacks readily available hard cc. You must make up for this by pressuring and zoning the enemy adc when your adc is cc'd. For instance, say you have a Graves as your adc who has been stunned by an enemy Annie, and now the enemy Vayne is charging at him. Your first reaction cannot be to run away from Vayne and Annie. You must immediately make an impact by using the appropriate power chord, healing back Graves, and hitting them with your Q damage, to make sure they must either turn on you or back off. This becomes easier as the lane progresses, as health bards gradually drop and abilities are more impactful,losing 150 HP starts to matter more and more. You will always have your heal for this trading damage, but bear in mind it is fairly weak, and most effectively used as a shield in 2v2s.
10/10, complements Sona perfectly in every way.
10/10, you must always purchase a Sightstone, vision is absolutely essential.
9/10, gives Sona everything she wants other than Sheen in one item.
8/10, massive power spike for your adc, and is essential if the enemy support has one to, especially late game.
8/10, makes Sona hit harder, heal for more, and run faster, very good on all AP champs atm. Only purchase when ahead.
8/10, necessary as AP Sona. However, you frequently don't get to purchase this item, as AP Sona's other items are already quite expensive and if you're that ahead, the game is probably already over.
8/10, very strong item to use for a more defensive Sona build.
8/10, VERY good on a utility based Sona who needs to be able to tank and peel a little bit better. This and your E powerchord makes it very easy to chase down enemies when ahead, and is a great item for utility Sona.
8/10, an essential item for support Sona, great for saving carrys.
7/10, decent on Sona for any build, but doesn't complement her playstyle of give her options if she's in a bad spot.
7/10, good when you're ahead as AP Sona. I buy Sorc Shoes frequently to win lane and snowball the adc, but if you get behind it can be a waste of gold and scale poorly into late game.
Talisman of Ascension 6/10, Good for escapes, but Sona misses out on a lot by purchasing this item, and it's offensive capabilities are most often waste on Sona, who prefers to be near the back in teamfights.
6/10, useful if you hit late game as AP Sona and they've stacked MR, but you should be focusing the squishies, %MPen shouldn't generally be necessary unless you're fighting tanks/bruisers, and in that case, you shouldn't be building AP.
6/10, good item if you hit very late game as AP Sona and are ready to sell your Sightstone, but you will almost never reach this point and it isn't worth it at any other point in the game.
5/10, no reason to purchase on Sona over any other item.
5/10, no reason to purchase on Sona over any other item.
4/10 Sona doesn't benefit greatly from cooldown reduction as a traditional support or as an ap support, and as a utility based offtank, she has enough cooldown reduction as it is.
4/10, no reason to get this item on Sona over any other.
3/10, upgrading Spellthief's is a waste on nearly every support, and Sona is no exception
First and second backs
Depending on how much gold you have when you back, you'll want to purchase different items for your first and second backs. 30 gold is the maximum amount of gold you should wait for to buy an item. Ideally you will time your backs so that you are never waiting, but sometimes it may happen.
0-600 Gold: Vision ward, Stealth Ward, Sweeper Trinket, refill to 2 of each pot.
600-1000: Amp Tome, Vision Ward, Stealth ward, Sweeper Trinket, refill to 2 of each pot
1000-1300: Amp Tome, Mana Crystal, Vision Ward, refill to 2 of each pot.
1300-1600: Sheen, Vision Ward, refill to 2 of each pot.
1600+: Sheen, Health Crystal, Vision Ward, refill to 2 of each pot
0-800 Gold: Don't back, you need money for sightstone.
800-1300: Sightstone, Sweeper Trinket, Vision Ward, refill to 1 of each pot
1300-1600: Sightstone, Boots of Swiftness, Vision Ward, Sweeper Trinket, refill to 1 of each pot.
You might be wondering why I get sightstone on second back as Sona. Well, you and your adc can keep the river warding just with trinkets and a pink ward after first back, and your jungler can get scuttler crab if there is a threat of a Nunu or Udyr early dragon. Sheen or any of its components is a massive power spike on first back for Sona, no matter which final build path you're gearing towards, and plays a big contribution to make up for your lack of cc by outdamaging with your adc in 2v2 fights. Sona with Sheen has enough damage to hold off the enemy adc and protect your own, whereas Sightstone's value comes generally after the 15 minute mark, where jungle information and roams/dragons become crucial as you transition into mid game.
Itemization against specific comps
Sona is a reactive support for the most part, aside from some teamfight winning flash ults, and therefore her build needs to be too. Against tanky teams Sona should not be building huge amounts of AP, and against split push compositions, Locket of the Iron Solari becomes remarkably less useful.
Items Against Tanks:
Iceborn provides great peel and utility with Sona's kit, as well as synergizing very well with her passive and giving her additional armor and cooldown reduction, all perfect for comabting tanks.
Locket of the Iron Solari is very good for full 5 on 5 teamfights, especially against tanks, who generally have low base damages to begin with.
Mikael's Crucible is a great item for rescuing an adc who's been cc'd by anything, arguably the most importanat member of your team in today's meta.
Items Against Poke Compositions:
Morellonomicon gives CDR and AP, which helps greatly to heal back up any damage taken from these poke teams.
Talisman of Ascension allows Sona to provide her whole team with a double speed boost alongside her e, and completely overrun many teams who would rather stand back and poke from a distance.
Most AP items grant Sona bigger heals and stronger damage against these poke teams, which tend to consist of squishier champions, so they're even better.
Items Against Assassin Compositions:
Locket of the Iron Solari again allows you to give everyone a shield without even having to know who the Assassin is targeting.
Mikael's Crucible obviously protects the endangered ally by providing them with health and a mini cleanse.
A mix of AP and tankyish items such as Abyssal Scepter, Zhonya's, and Rylai's can allow you to survive assassins if they attack you, or use your W powerchord to greatly reduce their damage to one your allies.
Against split-push compositions, you should generally build according the the rest of the team and try to see what your allies need. If they're getting bursted down, try getting a few tankier items and a locket. If they're struggling to win teamfights because high-priority targets are getting away, invest in cooldown reduction and a Iceborn Gauntlet so you can keep your team mobile and the enemy's slow. Remember: your build needs to be fluid, and adapt with your team's needs.
And obviously, if you notice 80%+ of their damage is either physical or magical, always remind your team to invest heavily in the corresponding stat of armor or MR, as the value of these purchases will rise significantly if they are effective against more damage.