At the beginning of Season 10, League of Legends' support champion, Sona, was notorious for being played in top lane. Several professional players such as 100 Thieves’ Chan-Ho “Ssumday” Kim and G2 Esports’ Martin “Wunder” Hansen chose to top lane with AP Sona. She had a higher win rate than Soraka, which was 56.63% at the time, and could dish out damage, heal herself and run away back to lane.
Sona was becoming too powerful as a champion and in need of a nerf. However, Riot Games has unsuccessfully reworked Sona, causing her to fall behind in the game.
Sona, Maven of the Strings, was first brought into the game on Sept. 20, 2010. As one of the easiest support champions to play in League of Legends, she's an interesting champion as she pilots herself. Her Q, W, and E abilities allow her to buff any teammates in range while also dealing damage, healing ally champions, and speeding them up. With the correct item build, Sona can become an unforgiving champion on the rift.
The support has received a few buffs and nerfs in the past two years which has ultimately caused her to become an unplayable champion. Riot has tried to balance her by lowering or raising ability stats along with changing her mechanics, but Sona continues to suffer in-game. The real problem is that Sona's champion design was never quite ready to be played with.
Why Sona Has Become Unplayable in League of Legends
Sona players have expressed on Reddit that she has been a flawed champion since the beginning. u/chipndip1 posted an analysis on Sona and writes, "Sona has suffered HEAVILY since I've joined in season 5 by Riot's unwillingness to commit to fixing her core design issues, and her player base's unwillingness to let go of her more problematic kit elements so Riot could feel comfortable in fixing those issues."
Sona's issue lies on her auto attacks and passive. Her passive, Power Chord, grants her an empowered auto attack after using three of her abilities. Along with her passive, Sona is one of the few champions who is able to use an ability and immediately auto attack, causing her to become a bust damage mage. In Season 10, AP top lane Sona became so strong that she could one-shot an enemy champion using Q and her empowered auto attack.
Another problem in Sona's kit is Accelerando. Sona gains non-Ultimate ability haste, up to a cap, permanently for her basic abilities. Beyond that cap, further successful uses reduce her ultimate's remaining cooldown instead. Sona with ability haste items has the potential to spam her abilities, making her too strong as a top laner as well.
Building AP Sona in top lane is not an easy task, taking a lot of skill and practice to fully build. For players who are able to build AP Sona, she becomes too strong and has no counters. Although this is great for the team, it's not enjoyable for other players and can easily become toxic.
On the other hand, Sona as a support is unrewarding now. A full support build does decent healing and shielding for her teammates but leaves Sona as the squishiest champion on the team, unable to deal any damage. Winning a game of Summoner's Rift as Sona has become unfulfilling for those who build her full support - gettting CC'ed in a team fight as Sona means certain death.
In order for Riot to make Sona an enjoyable champion again, they must rework her kit elements and character design. It's understandable why this change has yet to, and may never, happen. Sona has been in the game for almost 12 years and changing her character now could anger many players. However, League of Legends won't be coming to an end any time soon. Unless changes to her passive and overall design are made, Sona will not be able to keep up with League of Legends in the future.