Sona Build Guide by Yasutsuna
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Green Sona (Heal)
+12 Attack Damage or +20 Ability Power, Adaptive
Threats to Sona with this build
|Janna||Easy match-up. Her poke is weaker compared to yours. Wither her down and try to all-in her.|
About Sona, Maven of the Strings; TL:DR
Sona Buvelle, Maven of the Strings
CDR Reduction > Mana Regeneration > AP
Sona is a AP Ranged Support who excels in having a lot of utility. She has poke, sustain, a speed boost, CC, a slow and a nuke. Basically, she is a jack-of-all-trades, allowing her to be very versatile. Her kit revolves around buffing her allies with her active and using her Crescendo to disrupt her enemies in teamfights. Since she is naturally squishy without much form of escape, she is best suited to stay behind and use her auras to aid her team. While Ability Power is important for her since she scales off raw AP, Cooldown Reduction is way more important because it allows her to continuously use her auras to aid her team, followed by mana regeneration so she can constantly keep up her auras. Ability Power comes after that.
DISCLAIMER: There are some low-brow dirty stuff in here. You have been warned.
If you find anything outdated, drop me a PM or comment and I'll fix it as soon as possible.
Mastery Comparison - Sorcery vs Inspiration
I chose Sorcery in this regard for Sona. In terms of Keystone, Sorcery have a more offensive approach when Inspiration have a more utility approach. The only time when I would choose Inspiration over Sorcery is for the Kleptomancy, when you really want to rush Ardent Censer. Other than that, the Sorcery's Keystone is still stronger.
Summon Aery vs Arcane Comet:
In this regard, Arcane Comet would have better damage. However, it has a travel time and can be dodged. Summon Aery have a manipulable cooldown where you can move closer to Aery to shorten the cooldown. Another benefit Aery does is it can shield an ally, giving an even better shield coupled with your Aria of Perseverance. A side note, the shield will proc on all of your basic abilities as they buff allies in one way or another. Overall, you're trading a shield for some damage so it's really up to you as they're both good.
Manaflow Band vs The Ultimate Hat
Manaflow Band improves Sona's later game as it keeps her top up with mana, so you won't need to pull back as often. Early game, it wouldn't matter much but once the mid game rolls around, it becomes really good. The mana regeneration will keep you running around longer instead of being forced to go back. The Ultimate Hat is still decent if your team has minimal amount of CC and needs yours. If that's the case, get The Ultimate Hat instead. With the nerf which increased her Hymn of Valor costs, you really need the additional mana from Manaflow Band.
Transcendence vs Absolute Focus
Transcendence is better most of the time as Sona really needs as much CDR as possible. While Absolute Focus does give some extra damage to help Sona's poke, it tends to fall off in usefulness as the game progresses. Getting 60% CDR with Transcendence can also yield you the same bonus of Absolute Focus since most support items have innate CDR anyway.
Scorch vs Gathering Storm
Same as above, Scorch for a game you want to end early, Gathering Storm for longer lasting games.
Domination Tree is used for more offensive capabilities:
Ingenious Hunter vs Relentless Hunter:
Depends on your enemies team, there are times when you'll have a lot of actives such as Redemption, Locket of the Iron Solari and Mikael's Crucible and you need them to save your team from a Katarina or Annie constantly. Ingenious Hunter would be better at this time as you can have up to a 40% less cooldown time. Otherwise, Relentless Hunter is good to combat Sona's poor movement speed and get around faster.
Resolve Tree is used when you plan to stack a lot of heal and shield power or need extra tankiness due to picking poorly into the enemy team.
Iron Skin + Mirror Shell vs Conditioning:
Conditioning is way better in any scenario. To begin with, you're not supposed to get it early game due to your squishy nature and the early bonus from Iron Skin and Mirror Shell is just wasted. Honestly, this tree isn't that good for Sona due to her not being innately tanky or even building tanky in general. Conditioning just turns out to be the one she can benefit among the first two rows of runes.
Side note: If your team plans to go sieging continuously, Demolish may be good since you can help chunk the turret along with Lich Bane. Most of the time, Conditioning is still much better (it's a bit like having the old runes on)
Similar to the old Windspeaker's Blessing , it improves your heals and shields. Sona really benefits of this as she has a team wide heal available every few seconds and tends to gear towards heals and shields bonus items anyway.
When in doubt, pick this. It's always decent.
It gives you free boots. Not only that, it gives you an extra +10 movement speed which is decent to boost up Sona. The 50 gold discount is a fair benefit but isn't that big of a deal.
CDR is important for Sona. Getting this gives you an additional 5% CDR. Good for spamming your abilities later into the game.
|The most preferred spell for Sona who lacks a reliable escape mechanism as it can be used to jump past walls. Also, Flash allows her to do the Flash- Crescendo combo. Finally, can be used to dodge skill-shots that will otherwise kill you (use it sparingly as it has a whooping 210 cooldown).|
|This might be better for Sona, especially if you lane is kill-orientated. Her early game damage coupled with Ignite can easily kill the enemy AD Carry or Support (if he/she is a squishy mage type). Also good to stop ******** healing and lifesteal.|
|A standard support spell. It is useful regardless of the phase of the game especially if the enemy team has a champion who can dish out a lot of damage in a short time. Also very helpful to win skirmishes. Always get this if your enemy have a snowbally champions, since Ignite will be useless against them when they dive on your carry.|
||Hymn of Valor||
Your bread-and-butter skill for damage and poking. It deals amazing damage against your enemies during laning phase, especially when combined with your Power Chord. This skill is a non-targeted skill which will target the enemies closest to you, or champions if there are any present in the 850 range. During laning phase, remember to land an auto-attack with the aura buff to dish out more damage. Also, the aura could help you win early skirmishes when you buff your allies.
Combines with the Power Chord the damage can be used to shatter Morgana's Black Shield. However, the on-hit damage provided by the aura will not trigger on structures. Combined with Lich Bane, you can deal massive damage to a single target.
||Aria of Perseverance||
The sustain skill of Sona. Similar to Taric's Imbue, it allows Sona to heal her and the most injured ally witihin 1000 range. A very good skill to negate poke in the laning phase. However, the major drawback is it takes a lot of mana and shouldn't be used carelessly. Also, try not to use it when near a stealthed champion unless your other partner is more injured as the bolt will fly towards champions under stealth, giving away their position. Try to spread the aura to as many people as possible during teamfights to minimize damage taken, especially by AoE. With the reduced cooldown by her Crescendo and the increased heal by Redemption, her heal actually became a lot stronger, especially when you cap her CDR and get some mana regeneration.
The Green Power Chord reduces damage done by the affected enemy. This is good especially against assassins who can dive your backlines as it reduces their damage output by 25%. Using this is normally better against burst assassin or mages as they normally want to get their combo out as fast as possible. If you can't get to them, getting this on ADCs is also good as they're normally the damage once the assassin done their job.
||Aria of Perseverance||
Boosts the movement speed (MS) of Sona and her allies. A good spell for engaging or retreating. This skill is maxed last due to it being having the least impact in a fight. However, a level is taken at Level 3 or Level 4 as the boost can potentially secure a kill, whether by Power Chord or by boosting your allies' speed.
This ability is the least impactful in teamfights and your Power Chord should never have this unless you're using it to catch someone out or chase someone down. Generally, your blue and green Power Chord is just better but this does have it's niche uses. It's good against enemies who are weak against kited ( Nasus, Darius).
||Aria of Perseverance||
Sona's ultimate. It is a really strong skill that stuns people within its range. Depending on when it is used, it can potentially break a team-fight or skirmish into your favor. Note that it does have a travel time and can be blocked by Yasuo's Wind Wall or Braum's Unbreakable, so cast it before they get to use those abilities or after they used it, but never when they are using it.
Also, try not to miss this skill.
Items - Green Sona
As opposed to the Blue Sona, this build revolves around your heal and shields. This is especially good if the enemy have a lot of sustained damage. All the items will mostly contribute shields and health or buff them. Early game, you'll be more passive due to the lack of damage pickup, but still poke if you can. Middle game, you should be able to win most skirmishes due to your heal. Late game, you're basically a heal bot with a hard CC and some poke.
Eye of Frost - Finish the quest as fast as you can to make sure you can ward up.
Redemption - Never get this as your first major item since it scales with level. It's good as the second major item, after Athene's Unholy Grail but not as impactful as a first. Remember you can still use this when you're dead and it scales off the increase in health and shield line. Try not to use this for the damage as it gets very sub par in later levels. During teamfights, try to use this where it will hit most of your allies.
Ardent Censer - It's still decent. How early you'll build this will heavily depend on how reliant your ADC is on attack speed, followed by your team. If your ADC is say Vayne, who relies on attack speed a lot and you have a Master Yi jungle, it's a good idea to get it as soon as you can. If only one person can make benefit of it, it's alright to delay it to your third item. However, you'll eventually want to get it for your ADC.
Locket of the Iron Solari - Good against enemies with AoE magic damage like Annie and Katarina. Using this item at a critical moment can migate a lot damage off initiations or protect your ADC.
Gargoyle Stoneplate - Decent item which offers both armor and magic resist. You're likely to be closer to the frontlins anyway to buff your allies so the passive is quite easy to proc during teamfights. Since your damage is quite non-existent with this build, there won't be any drawback for using the active. Could be used when you start getting dived on. However, the odds of you getting this over other utility-defensive items is low unless you're getting dove on too much. It's sort of a I got nothing to buy, might as well get it to be tankier sort of item.
Lich Bane - Mentioned below.
Mikael's Crucible - A really niche item for me. The active is still good, especially against roaming champions like Twisted Fate or champions like long duration soft CC Morgana. The problem is it offers nothing apart from cleanse, which relies a lot on your timing and regeneration don't stack with Athene's Unholy Grail. You can replace Lich Bane with this item if you really require it.
Items - Blue Sona
As the name implies, this build revolves more around poking and zoning the enemy champions. To maximize this build, you need to be more aggressive. In the early game, you focus on poking the enemy, only going for guranteed kills. In the middle game, you can roam a bit if needed when your ADC backs since you have some damage. In the late game, stick with the team and just deal damage and heal when needed. Stack up your Athene's Unholy Grail.
Credit to Gumae
Eye of Frost - Because spoilers are good, aren't they? How aggressive their jungler is and what support you're facing will dictate when you'll buy this. Get this as your first back if the jungler is roaming around often to watch out for ganks or to ward bushes if you're facing Blitzcrank or Thresh. No matter what, this will be your second item, latest.
Lich Bane - A more offensive pickup. The AP boosts your heals and shields when giving you a very strong poke even with no other major AP items. It also caps your CDR with the 10% it gives and allows you to charge Athene's Unholy Grail more effectively.
Void Staff - Why? Since Sona's AP scaling on her Hymn of Valor isn't the best, penetration will always be the best option for her. Since tanks and everybody have innate magic resistance anyway, there won't be a point when it's useless.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Good 4th item if you're getting burst down too quickly. It provides some additional health and AP. Get this if your enemies rely a lot on movement speed Warwick or if they are weak to kiting so your ADC will have an easier time.
Luden's Echo - It gives some AP and extra poke for your Athene's Unholy Grail's Blood Charge, along with some movement speed, allowing you to reposition better. Since Sona is generally quite spammy, you can easily charge this up. Get this if you don't need Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Athene's Unholy Grail - The heal is really good. No matter how you look at it. In teamfights, you need to constantly poke enemies to get the Blood Charge to heal your allies. It gives you everything you need, but most importantly, it boosts your heal by a massive amount.
Stopwatch - Only needed if the assassin is constantly targeting you. (I see you, Zed). This shouldn't be the case, however, since the midlaner and ADC would have a higher priority compared to you. Later on, it can be sold or just upgraded into Zhonya's Hourglass or Guardian Angel or Gargoyle Stoneplate as needed.
Banshee's Veil - Similar to Stopwatch, get this if the enemy team that have a AoE stun that can royally screw you over. (Think Annie's Summon: Tibbers). Build this depending on how important it is, but only after Eye of Frost as vision is more important.
Items - Boots
A lot of champions are AA-reliant to the point 2 or 3 quick auto-attacks can completely remove you from the fight. Getting Ninja Tabi, early or otherwise can give you a slight immunity against these AA-attacks.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Another good option compared to Mercury's Treads. Pick this up if your enemies are not CC-heavy. Alternatively, if your enemy assassin is getting fed and roam around for kills, getting this is also a good option as your Exhaust will be on a shorter cooldown.
This is the last option of boots that you should choose. The only time when you pick this up is when the enemy has little to no CC, thus nullifying the need of Mercury's Treads and when you capped your CDR and their assassin is behind, nullifying the need of Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
Somewhat Small Tips
Poking: Sona's Speciality
You have 2 ways of combo.
1. Hymn of Valor -> Auto-Attack
2. (2 Stacks of Power Chord) Auto-Attack -> Hymn of Valor -> Power Chord Auto-Attack
The reason for the AA beforehand is because using a 3 stack Power Chord will reset your auto-attack timer, allowing you to chain 2 attacks one after another. Try to use the bush to your advantage. Only pop out the bush to poke then quickly return to prevent them from poking you back. Don't hang around the bush when it is warded as it severely limits your option from running away. You normally out-trade most poke supports since most are reliant on their CC so as long as you don't get CC-ed, you can easily win the trades. Don't try to get greedy, you don't always need to hit 2 if you're still learning. Prioritize the ADC so you can deny their farm.
Overextending: The Bane of Sona
Sona has two glaring weakness, her obscenely slow movement speed, as well as how squishy she is. This is especially true during the laning phase before she get any items. Never underestimate the amount of damage 2 champions can deal against you. Never linger away from your minions as they can sort of help you if your enemies attack you. If you were to overextended and get caught out, it's best just to burn Flash and/or Exhaust to get away. It's normally not worth it to get killed just to poke with Power Chord.
Crescendo: Sona's Only Hard CC
As the title implied, you only have one hard CC, which has a bloody long cooldown time, therefore, you must be sure to hit the damned thing. What most beginner Sona aren't use to is there is a travel time for Crescendo. Back when I just started playing her, I always thought it was instant, causing me to miss this often. Another thing to note is that there is a travel time for Crescendo, so you're unlikely to hit your targets at maximum range if they're running from you. Practice can easily rectify this.
Sona: How E-Cups (maybe) can be a problem
One of the things that you may need to learn early is how to deal with the grabby champions. Primarily, Blitzcrank, Thresh and Nautilus. As told by above, they can easily move you out of position, especially so if they have follow up. While you'll start noticing their tell signs, Blitzcrank stopping for 0.25 seconds to fire his Rocket Grab and Thresh's wind-up for Death Sentence. The beauty about this matchup is you can force it into your favor by poking them so they can't afford to pull you. However, if you're not confident and you got counter-picked, you can pick up the Ancient Coin instead to play more passively.
Teamfight: Sona's Shine Days
Your teammate looks like a tank, feels like a tank, has items like a tank, and even smells like a tank. Let him tank. Depending on how you build Sona, your role varies.
Blue Sona - Poke
Try to wither them down by poking them before teamfights, just don't get caught out. Once the teamfight starts, just focus on poking and healing. Due to you building damage, you're generally still squishy so you should just hide around the back and do what you need.
Green Sona - Heal
With this build, you're slightly more tankier, which means you can take slightly more punishment. With your heals and shield, you can easily survive even if you get pulled too far from your team. With this build, you should stay closer to the initiators so you can keep healing and shielding them as needed. Just don't neglect your ADC, especially if your enemy has an assassin.
Just remember, in both builds, you have Athene's Unholy Grail, so you need to poke every so often so you can get the most of it.
Conclusion + Thought about Patches + To-Do List
And with this, I'll end my Sona guide, I would appreciate it a lot if you leave a vote and a comment on what could be better or how the guide was in overall or if I missed out on anything.
LilyPichu - TL;DR Sona Video
jhoijhoi - Formatting Guide
Latest Legend - For Proofreading this guide.
Nubtrain (from another website) - Tips on guide writing
Dr. D (from another website) - Formatting Guide
Corsair - For the punchlines.
ScrapComputer - Sona Tips
Owner of the Pictures - For the Pictures
You - For taking your time to read this guide
17.06.2018 - Patch 8.12
01.06.2018 - Patch 8.11
04.05.2018 - Patch 8.9
08.04.2018 - Patch 8.7
17.02.2018 - Updated and removed from reference to old items.
14.11.2017 - Changed The Ultimate Hat for Manaflow Band.
11.11.2017 - Updated for Preseason 8.
- Edit the Small Things section for clarity.