Champion Sneak Peek: Sona, the Maven of the Strings
By ByronicHero 
If you happen to be one of those people who is a sucker for musical types, you'll be pleased to find out that we've got a musician waiting in the wings. Whether you're longing for a melodious ballad or headed off to a headbanger's ball, it's likely that your heart will flutter as soon as you lay eyes on this little lady. Meet Sona, the Maven of the Strings. She'll definitely tug at the old heart strings.
With three big visual updates now tinkering, poisoning, and death-defying their way through the Rift, it's time to take a look at the next of our coming gameplay-oriented updates! We’re talking about Sona, a champion whose kit made her one of the most passive champs on the Rift... outside of her game-changing ultimate. We'll fully get into the why of the update later, but first here's a rundown of her new abilities and intended play patterns to give you a feeling of how we're updating her.
- Power Chord
After casting three basic abilities, Sona's next basic attack deals extra magic damage and applies an effect based on the song she last played.
- Hymn of Valor
Sona plays a melody that deals magic damage to the nearest two enemies. Additionally, Sona briefly creates an aura around herself that empowers her and her allies, charging their next basic attack with extra magic damage. Tagging an ally with the aura briefly increases its duration.
- Power Chord – Hymn of Valor's Power Chord deals even more magic damage.
- Aria of Perseverance
Sona performs a tune that heals both her and the most wounded nearby allied champion. Additionally, Sona creates an aura around herself that briefly shields her and her allies. Tagging an ally with the aura briefly increases its duration.
- Power Chord – Aria of Perseverance's Power Chord briefly reduces the target's damage output.
- Song of Celerity
Sona plays a song that accelerates her movement speed. Additionally, Sona creates an aura around herself that briefly speeds up all allied units. Tagging an ally with the aura briefly increases her movement speed boost along with the aura's duration.
- Passive: Crescendo passively empowers each of Sona's auras, giving Hymn of Valor increased damage, Aria of Perseverance an increased shield, and Song of Celerity increased movement speed.
- Active: Sona fires out an irresistible chord in a broad straight-line skillshot. Enemies caught by the chord take damage and are briefly forced to dance.
From the start of the game, Sona works best operating close to her allies. Here her auras help them trade effectively, with Hymn of Valor boosting her marksman's attacks while empowering her own poke. Aria of Perseverance heals more on low health friends, so while topping off an ally's health is relatively inefficient (particularly with its high mana cost and low base values) saving her heal for later in fights grants markedly more health and makes baiting all the more effective. Power Chord offers some tactical options, too: Aria of Perseverance's Power Chord effectively reduces the enemy marksman's attacks when timed correctly, while Sona can chase down fleeing enemies or escape from ganking junglers with the slow from Song of Celerity's Power Chord.
In teamfights, the smaller auras encourage Sona to stay mobile enough to heal, shield, and empower her allies as needed. Song of Celerity gives her plenty of movement speed, and tagging allies with the edge of her aura gives them the same buff while extending the duration of her own. And while she previously relied on to position for her ult, her new E's sudden surge of mobility is significant enough to get Sona into position to use Crescendo, which is just as potent and game-changing as before. Once it's been cast, Sona works best healing and shielding her squishier allies with Aria of Perseverance while using Hymn of Valor to amp up her allies' damage.
- Champion Insights
- Sona, designed by Fearless
So, let's get to the why part!
Essentially, we took Sona to the update board because we saw a unique opportunity to make her more rewarding and more fun. She wasn't terribly strong or weak, but her kit clearly lacked high moments and overall satisfaction. We wanted to keep her theme as it was and retain her awesome Crescendo while giving her basic abilities a more visible and tangible impact. Oh, and if we could sneak in some fancy texture updates in the process (and we could!) then all the better.
So what's changed? Well, Sona's gameplay now revolves more around moments of power. Instead of hanging back and winning a war of attrition during laning, Sona's now got the kit to power up her allies and save their lives when a fight turns against them. Auras are smaller and more visible now, so getting the most of them requires great positional awareness for Sona and coordination with her allies. This allows us to reward great play with much more impact for each of her songs. You'll be able to make plays as Sona, earn your team kills and save lives with clutch ability casts and smart positioning. At the same time, the enemy team has larger windows to fight back in thanks to her longer cooldowns, adding in clarity and counterplay to Sona's kit. We can't wait to see what players can do with her update.
That's about it for this update! Give the new Sona a spin and let us know your thoughts below! We'll be back with more news from the champion update team soon. It'll be bananas.