This is not the first time I am writing a post like that, but I am desperate okay.
(warning: long post)
Disclaimer: Before you get into comments and call me a "Sona abuser" or whatever, I KNOW SONA IS OKAY STAT-WISE. And I know she uses MoonStaff well, but that still doesn't change the fact that me and many other Sona mains are dissatisfied with her current state, and in this post, I will explain why that is. And I will make a suggestion on how Sona can be fixed, because as I view it, Sona's current kit is just flawed design, and bound to be hard to balance. Not Akali levels of balancing nightmare, but still. I will also get into why Sona's kit is flawed later.
Chapter 1: Sona Taric, Sona Toplane, Sona Lux, and how the nerfs for these strats and preseason item rework have impacted Sona
Let's talk about the nerfs Sona has received in recent seasons first. First patch I am going to mention here is 9.13 - The patch where Sona got nerfed for tearing up proplay together with Taric - her E ratio got halfed (!!), and her Q aura got nerfed. Which made Sona disappear for the rest of the season, basically. In 10.2 she received buffs, which were (admittedly, it was deserved) partially reverted the patch after. Think most of you here will remember the 10.3 support toplane "meta" - with Sona (and Soraka) casually sitting at 55%+ winrate toplane. In 10.4, a mechanic that basically every Sona main in existence hates got added - Mana refund. (the same patch, Sona got f*cking murdered in a hotfix, but they fully reverted that one at least) The patch after sololane STE got fixed (and thus killing Sona top off for good), but mana refund stayed - forcing Sona to tagging her allies with her auras to not run oom instantly. You could now think, it did nothing more than pissing all 5 Sona midlane players in existence off, but it actually impacted Sona support as well, nerfing non-Tear based builds. Then the most recent nerf Sona received, was for Sona Lux in 10.17, where all of her base abilities got nerfed. Even after all of that, Sona was sorta fine. Sorta because she used to be so much better, but anyways.
The thing that really pissed people off was the recent item rework. Before I talk about that, let's take a look at Sona's builds in s10. You had the standard Archangels rush, which was the basic bitch build with good scaling and the option to go for both utility items (Athenes/Ardent) and carry items (Lich/Mejais/Deathcap). You had the aggressive Dark Harvest build with straight Lich Bane rush (and you could still go Athenes/Ardent after Lich Bane for utility). And at last, you had the Athenes rush build which was the most early game focused build (and here again, you had the choice between other utility items, or aggressive itemization with Lich).
So what did preseason do to these builds, and how are we coping with the new items?
Arch rush is DEAD. I don't even need to explain that one lmao
Lich Bane rush is... very sub-par. Sorta playable, but not good at all. It was good the first one or two patches of preseason, when Lich Bane and Night Harvester were overtuned as hell, but now that they're down to a balanced level, it feels pretty mediocre. The fact that PoM got nerfed didn't help that build either.
Athenes rush...well we got Moonstone Renewer instead now. Which is, what most people probably know already, what Sona is building at the moment about 95% of the time. You follow up with Staff (or Ardent if your team is AD heavy), and after the game is over most of the time anyways. The build is pretty okay, but...
Chapter 2: Why Sona players are a bit pissed off at Riot
First of all, YES. SONA IS FINE STAT-WISE. I GET IT. Sona is technically doing ok, with a ~51% wr at a ~2% pr. Which is normal-ish for Sona, as she has been mostly an onetrick/main champion anyways.
So, you may ask, why are Sona mains dissatisfied?
Because we have exactly one viable buildpath now, and that is the LS special MoonStaff. This build is quite antifun for the Sona player (unless you enjoy pressing WEWEWEWEWE and sometimes R) and probably for the enemy as well if Moonstone just heals like 1000+ hp per fights out of nowhere. The majority of Sona mains though (by no means all of them, there are of course those Sona player who enjoy healing and shielding, although I personally don't understand that.) much prefered the Arch variant (or the Lich variant), bringing some hardcarry potential while providing utility. Which is Sona's niche (or at least should be), being an utility hypercarry, able to use both support items and mage items. But as of now...scratch AP items, MoonStaff or you're literally trolling yourself and your team. Most Sona mains just don't enjoy her in her current state, but at the same time there is no reason for Riot to buff Sona, since her stats look just fine.
build variety btw, gj riot lmfao
Chapter 3: Why Sona is hard to balance as a hypercarry, and why her kit is flawed
Obviously, the easiest way to fix Sona from Riot's POV is leaving Sona in the hole she sits in right now, and keep her as yet another standard enchanter. We have seen what Sona is able to do when more resources than usual are funneled into her, see Sona Taric. It might seem that the idea of having an utility/damage-hybrid lategame monster is just hard to balance (Senna is basically the AD equivalent to Sona when it comes to that), but the more I think about it, the more I feel like it's less of a problem with that niche in general, but rather with her kit. And more specifically, with her ult passive.
For those of you who don't know, Sona gains 10/25/40% CDR (didn't get changed with CDR rework) for her base abilities, stacking multiplicatively with CDR/AH from items (for example, level 16 Sona with 45% CDR would sit at 67% effective CDR for her base abilities - that's not that much lower than URF, let that sink in.). It's the reason why Sona was (and still is if she somehow gets there) absolutely disgusting lategame. She can spam her abilities (which is especially toxic with her W, providing AoE shields) over and over, which makes her extremely hard to deal with lategame. If she gets levels and items faster than expected, she becomes broken. (she is balanced around being able to do that from support role, although she doesnt really hit her 16 spike nowadays, not even her 11 spike in really short games). Which brings us to:
Chapter 4: How I would rework Sona!
NOT TALKING ABOUT AN VGU IF IT ISNT OBVIOUS ALREADY. I am talking about a Diana or Pantheon (recent one, not the VGU) level of rework. Anyways, if you couldn't tell already, I think Sona's ult passive NEEDS TO GO. It is what is making her so toxic lategame, and restraining her from being not awful earlygame, and having good ratios. After I would apply cooldowns scaling with ability rank to her base abilities (her cooldowns dont scale down as of now, due to ult passive), and adding higher ratios and maybe slightly higher base values. Having high ratios would keep Sona's identity as a lategame monster, while making her enchanter variant less bullsh*t to play against lategame (no more AoE shields at 4s cooldown) and justifying aggressive builds again (I think her enchanter variant would stay alive as well, so no one could complain).
Oh I would also get rid of mana refund, f*ck that crap lmao
Chapter 5: Personal feelings about the way Riot treats Sona (feat. basically every unpopular champion in the game) (not particularly relevant to the post itself, feel free to skip that part)
Honestly, it makes me kinda sad how Riot seems to mistreat Sona, just because she isn't particularly popular - I think it's obvious that Riot has their clear favorites which are always popular (and most of them are also quite meta except like Ahri I guess. Poor Ahri mains), and the other champions just kinda exist - and their mains pray they dont become op or popular in proplay all of a sudden like Sona did, because once you get nerfed, it might take a while until you might receive some love. Sona is by far not the only victim of this, there are like dozens of main communities who know that exact feeling. I also know that Sona is by far not the only champion being sad after item rework - and she's only unfun to play, other champs are actually garbage now thanks to item rework. Back to Sona, especially the recent release of a certain pink-haired champ pissed many Sona mains off. I am really not the guy for this "Seraphine is Sona 2" circlejerk, but it really feels like Riot intentionally stepped on our toes, even though that kinda makes no sense because Riot did show that they can show some love to Sona last year, with a decent VO, a decent color story, and a god-tier legendary skin. I am optimistic that Riot shows Sona and other unpopular champions some love eventually. Stay strong, ASol, Singed, Yorick, etc. mains.
season 11 was a mistake tbh
TL;DR: Sona healslut now. Most Sona mains sad. Remove ult passive and mana refund. Add actually good ratios. Make Sona fun again. kthxbye
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