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When the Sona-Taric bot lane burst onto the competitive League of Legends circuit last split, most people wrote it off as a gimmick. Once teams learned to just kill them in lane or body them with traditional teamfight comps, they’d surely fall off.
But here we are months later and Sona-Taric are still around. In fact, they’re more than just around—they’re thriving. But it may be time to remove the “they” part of that sentence because it’s clear from the way pros are playing these champions that just one of them is driving the relationship. And that one is Sona.
In fact, Sona’s gotten so good that she doesn’t even require Taric at all. She can be played with all sorts of supports—Galio and Tahm Kench to name a few. Her consistent damage and crowd control makes her a beast no matter what duo she’s in.
So forget about Sona-Taric. What’s broken right now is just Sona.
Solo queue monsters
Back in April, we wrote that part of the rise of these two champions in particular were due to their individual strengths as solo queue picks. And of the two, Sona’s win rate was much higher, consistently between 53 and 54 percent, according to League stats site Champion.gg.
Back in April, we wrote that part of the rise of these two champions in particular was due to their individual strengths as solo queue picks. And of the two, Sona’s win rate was much higher, consistently between 53 and 54 percent, according to League stats site Champion.gg.
A couple months later, the story is the same for Sona. She’s extremely safe in solo queue, with a win rate that spikes in the 30 minute range that most games seem to last these days.
The same is not true of Taric. He’s lost some priority and is more of a 50/50 proposition for players that bring him on to the Rift. He’s pretty far down on the Mobalytics tier list for high elo supports.
The interesting thing about the newest evolution in this lane is that even high-level ADC players are opting into Sona. It’s not just a way to dodge the lane and play for mid game while another lane carries. In North America, all stars like Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi and Jesper “Zven Svenningsen are playing Sona. In Korea, all-world ADC Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu pulled her out and came back with a 3/1/13 KDA.
Sona is clearly busted, and it’a also clear that she doesn’t need Taric anymore.
No Taric required
It’s not that Taric is bad with her—in her last 10 major region games, Sona has been paired with Taric five times. He still offers her a lot, including sustain in lane, even more CC, and an ultimate that works really well with hers in teamfights.
But judging by his performances as a lone support, it’s clear that in the Sona-Taric relationship, it’s the Sona that’s carrying, not the other way around. Without the Sona buffing him up, Taric is just an ordinary engage support with less CC and more utility. In other words, he’s nothing special.
What Taric does provide is a way to get Sona through the lane, and he’s not alone. Popular supports the pros have paired Sona with include the likes of Galio and Tahm Kench.
The Kench is easy to explain—he can get anyone through lane phase. But he’s especially useful early on because he really hurts at early levels. In most cases, the Sona is taking Spellthief’s Edge as her first item and is unable to farm until she upgrades it into a Frostfang. In that context, having a support with a bit more bite who can take those early minions is helpful.
The Galio is especially interesting because he was thought of by some as a counter to Sona-Taric. His AOE taunt allows him to CC both champions, removing their ability to help each other. And he had enough damage that could help pop them while they were immobile.
But Galio can peel and keep people safe, too. He’s not as good as Tahm Kench at that role, but with Kench’s devour nerfs, it’s not that much of a difference. In Afreeca’s week one win over SK Telecom T1, their Sona-Galio bot lane built tanky enough to survive SKT’s super poke duo lane of Ezreal-Karma, giving up only two turret plates in the process.
Even more to come
What’s clear now is that, while Sona-Taric is a fun innovation, it doesn’t just stop there. Pros are continuing to iterate on the original formula, with new champions, new runes, and new items. Zven tried Ancient Coin in one recent matchup, and even though it didn’t quite work, it is reflective of the way teams are finding more and more ways to experiment.
Sona isn’t good right now because of some sort of cheese duo lane strat. She’s just good, full stop, because of her mix of burst, CC, and survivability. And in the current meta, where teams are increasingly emboldened to try champions in new roles, they’re finding more ways to make her work as well.
So don’t expect Sona to go away anytime soon. Even when Riot inevitability nerfs her to make room for other champions, the gauntlet has been thrown. It’s innovate or die in the world of professional League of Legends, and we’re likely to see more and more champions in previously unheard of roles as the meta continues to progress.
All images via Riot Games.