Sonya Guide

At this very moment, I’m waiting for the game I just quit to end, so I can start a new one with teammates who don’t give up after six and a half minutes.  If you don’t think you can win down two levels and zero towers, why even play?

Also, I realized that posts get later and later each week, and now here we are on Saturday of a postless week.  So instead of writing about loser teammates again, it’s a guide for someone who I always hated but now like a little bit: Sonya.

Sonya’s career is a microcosm of Murky’s past few weeks: she was crap, then great, then crap again, and now is making a comeback.  Well, almost: Murky isn’t in the comeback stage yet.

Anyway, onto the talents, and then the general outline of how to play her.

Level 1: Block (20.1% of Master/Diamond players)

This tier might contain the most difficult choice for Sonya players, but it shouldn’t be in my opinion.  I’m going to go against the 67.3% of master/diamond players who choose war paint for several reasons.

For this blog, I do the hard work of crunching the numbers.  Specifically, I took Sonya to try mode to find out the DPS of her basic attacks at level 20: 242.  Granted, I was using a build that didn’t include focused attack or follow through, but judging by the hotslogs numbers, you will only use one of those at most, probably focused attack  (49.8%).

For comparison, Tychus does over 700 DPS with basic attacks, even without minigun.  To simplify things, your choice is basically between healing 30% of 242 DPS (war paint) or blocking 30% of some auto attacker’s DPS.  So I think if the other team has even one auto-attacker*, block is the obvious choice.

We haven’t even gotten to the fact that war paint can’t help you if you’re running or using whirlwind.  So healing 73 health/second is your absolute best case scenario, if you’re playing to maximize your war paint.  Which you would only do if you’re an idiot who never uses whirlwind.

*: Yes, I know Tychus is a bad example for this because he’ll attack roughly 22 times every 5 seconds, of which you can block only two.  However, let’s say he does 700 DPS (which I think is a bit low).  Those two attacks will hit you for about 64 damage.  Block two of them, and that’s reduced to 16, so you prevented 48 damage.  Even if you landed basic attacks continuously on someone who wasn’t running and never used whirlwind, you’d only heal, as I said, 73.  So I still like block here.

Level 4: Focused Attack (49.8%)

I’m a bit torn on this one.  With so many roots and stuns out there right now, you should probably go for hurricane if they have someone like a Malfurion.  And Sonya’s just not at her best when attacking a single target: the more people she’s hitting with whirlwind, the better she is.  So I’d go with focused attack, BUT there will be many times you’d take hurricane instead.

Level 7: Ferocious Healing (42.8%)

Sonya’s at her best when hitting lots of heroes with whirlwind, and since you’re a bruiser rather than a real tank, you’re probably going to need more healing.  You can do this every ten seconds.  I’d use it every chance I got.

Level 10: Wrath of the Berserker (68.4%)

The problem with Leap is that they can run away.  Well, one of the problems.  So let’s say you get to level 20 and get Arreat Crater and now they can’t run away.  You’ve probably targeted the key to the enemy’s team, such as a Hammer or Morales.  That means, even in a pug, their teammates are probably going to swarm you.  And as a bruiser rather than a true tank, that’s not a good position to be in.

With wrath of the berserker, spear, whirlwind, and various shields, you can greatly disrupt their team instead, and better yet, you probably won’t die.

Level 13: Life Funnel (65.5%)

Mystical spear is a distant second at 25%, but I admit I’m intrigued.  It might do well against a team featuring a key target or two.  For example, you spear hammer, she knocks you back, but with mystical spear you can go at her again faster, and no matter how far away she runs.  You know what I think I’m going to try that next time I’m up against Hammer as Sonya, because screw Hammer.

When Hammer’s good it’s like when the left-wing lock was popular in ice-hockey, or ultra-defensive styles reign in soccer.  Sure it might work, but even your own fans hate watching you.

Level 16: Nerves of Steel (77.9%)

Just more effective than imposing presence, and also works against mages.

Level 20: Ignore Pain (79.4%)

I’m a little surprised that nexus blades edges out arreat crater for first loser on this tier.  Even among leap fans, arreat crater was only chosen 13.3% of the time.  That’s just how good ignore pain’s “massive armor” is.

And now for the Sonya general section.  The most important thing is to hit with spear.  If you don’t, it will be 13 seconds until you can try again, and you’ll have to rely entirely on basic attacks to generate fury.  And as we saw in the level 1 talent section, your basic attacks are not your forte.

The best way to ensure you hit with spear is to use it on:

  • Immobilized players
  • Distracted players
  • Fleeing players

This doesn’t include people dancing around though.  Let someone else engage those guys.

An alternative is to play against Samuro.  Then, you can hardly miss!

Yet another option is to build up fury before a fight, because spear hits on minions/mercs still generate fury, and fury lasts until used.  Just make sure you do it before you have to mount up.

With Sonya it’s especially important not to take fights when you’re outnumbered.  If you’ve got your whole team with you, you’re set, but be very wary about chasing anyone.

As for what abilities to use, against heroes, I’d use whirlwind at absolutely every opportunity, unless you’re utterly desperate for fury to use ferocious healing.  Whirlwind is just superior in almost every way.  It does a lot more damage per fury (~11 to ~7) than seismic slam, even against a single hero, and it heals you for 75% of the damage dealt if you’re fighting heroes.  Add 100% to these benefits for each enemy hero hit.

The only reason I could think of to use slam is fighting something you know won’t hit you back, and won’t run.  So in other words, bosses, mercs, or minions that are being tanked by someone else.  Which are probably the only things that will stay in range anyway.

Even against an enemy hero determined to fight to the death, whirlwind’s healing makes it a net winner over slam.

That’s it for this guide then.  I just tried block against a team with Sonya/Samuro/Zul’jin/Murky/Azmodan on it and got MVP, so I’m happy with it (obviously, one game proves everything 😉  I’ll take my 7/4/79k stats against their Sonya’s 5/13/69k any day.  And the teams were basically identical; swap Samuro and Zul’jin for Thrall/Jaina and you get my team.

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