Our complete Sonya guide has everything you need to know about playing this Hero, with the latest builds, tips, map advice and counters.
One of the things we really like about Sonya is that a newcomer can play her reasonably well right from the very start, but there's a fairly high skill ceiling to reach for those who want to really commit to her and and master the character. Playing Sonya to a high level of competence can be an extremely satisfying affair, and is a solid choice for picking a main in this category.
Thanks to her Whirlwind ability, Sonya's just as much at home clearing out lanes with exceptional speed as she is putting the fear of God into the enemy team during brawls. This flexibility comes at a skill cost, however, and you'll need to get pretty good at weaving your Abilities together if you want to keep her alive on the battlefield.
In today's guide, we'll explain everything you need to know about playing Sonya at every stage of a match, choosing the right talents for a solid base build, and pushing her Abilities to the limit with some tried and tested gameplay tips.
Editor's note - March update: We've made just a gentle tweak or two to our preferred talent build this month, but it's otherwise business as usual for Sonya in March. Take a look further down the page for some new map-specific tips for this Hero too. More of these will be added in the near future.
Sonya strategy and overview - March 2016
Sonya is one of the best solo laners in the game, and so you should spend the early part of a match doing exactly that. Not only does she have superb area-of-effect damage output at low levels, she's got great self-sustain throughout the game. Once you've finished clearing out a lane, make sure you're rotating to help out elsewhere, and stay mobile so you can assist team members who are struggling with their own patch of turf.
When you reach the mid-game, you should keep in mind that Sonya is excellent at clearing out Mercenary Camps, and for much the same reasons we've laid out above. Once you've unlocked Wrath of the Berserker, you can maintain the effect through your slam skill, your Basic Attacks and your Ancient Spear - just keep an eye out to make sure you don't get ambushed while pushing objectives alone.
The sustained use of Wrath of the Berserker forms the bulk of your strategy in team fights too, although you should wait for the enemy's crowd-control effects to be burned through before engaging Whirlwind. It's in these stand-offs where your mastery of Sonya will really shine through - being able to engage the enemy, sustain your health, and withdraw your own terms will allow you to pile incredible pressure on your opponents.
The best Sonya talent build - March 2016
With the usual caveat that you should always adapt your talent choices to match your current opponents, this build should give you a very solid grounding for the character
Sonya Whirlwind build
Level 1 - War Paint - Basic Attacks heal you for 30% of the damage dealt.
Level 4 - Focused Attack - Every 10 seconds, your next Basic Attack deals 60% additional damage. Basic Attacks reduce this cooldown by 1 second.
Level 7 - Ferocious Healing - Consume 20 Fury to heal 10.15% of your maximum Health.Usable while Whirlwinding. Cooldown: 10 seconds
Level 10 - Wrath of the Berserker - Increase damage dealt by 40%. Reduce the duration of silences, stuns, slows, roots, and polymorphs against you by 50%. Lasts 15 seconds, and extends by 1 second for every 10 Fury gained. Cooldown: 45 seconds
Level 13 - Mystical Spear - Reduces the cooldown of Ancient Spear by 4 seconds. You are pulled to the target location even if you don't hit an enemy.
Level 16 - Nerves of Steel - Activate to gain 30% of your maximum Health as a Shield for 5 seconds. Usable while Whirlwinding. Cooldown: 60 seconds
Level 20 - Ignore Pain - Activate to reduce damage taken by 75% for 4 seconds. Usable while Whirlwinding. Cooldown: 60 seconds
Sonya Abilities, Heroic Abilities and Traits - March 2016
You're going to need a solid understanding of Sonya's Abilities to get the most out of her. When these skills are chained together correctly, you can play her as a near-unstoppable destructive force of nature - one that the enemy will often go well out of their way to avoid. Here's the lowdown on each one:
Ancient Spear (Q)- Throw out a spear that pulls you to the first enemy hit, dealing 380 (180 + 4% per level) damage and briefly stunning them. If this hits an enemy, generate 40 Fury. Cooldown: 13 seconds
Seismic Slam (W)- Deals 386 (184 + 4% per level) damage to the target enemy, and 97 (46 + 4% per level) to enemies behind the target. Fury: 25, Cooldown: 1 second.
Whirlwind (E)- Deals 875 (415 + 4% per level) damage to nearby enemies over 3 seconds, and heals for 20% of damage dealt. Healing tripled versus Heroes. Fury: 40, Cooldown: 4 seconds.
Leap (R)- Leap into the air, dealing 270 (128 + 4% per level) damage to nearby enemies, and stunning them for 1.5 seconds. Cooldown: 70 seconds.
Wrath of the Berserker (R)- Increase damage dealt by 40%. Reduce the duration of silences, stuns, slows, roots, and polymorphs against you by 50%. Lasts 15 seconds, and extends by 1 second for every 10 Fury gained. Cooldown: 45 seconds
Fury- Use Fury instead of Mana, which is gained by taking or dealing damage. Using a Basic or Heroic Ability grants 10% Movement Speed for 4 seconds.
Sonya counters and match-ups - March 2016
There are plenty of opinions out there on how Sonya fairs against other Heroes in the game. We often reference sites like HeroesCounters to get a picture of how things stand at any given time. Take a look at the summarised list of counter categories below if you want to get a quick snapshot of how things stack up in the current metagame.
- Strong against- Nazeebo, Illidan, Zeratul, Azmodan, Kael'thas
- Weak against- Uther, Brightwing, Muradin, Raynor, ETC
- Teams well with- Lt. Morales, Abathur, Tassadar, Rehgar, Uther
Sonya tips and battleground guides - March 2016
Sonya's Fury system sets her apart from the rest of the pack in Heroes of the Storm, so here are a few tips to help you get a headstart when playing this brutal Warrior.
- Skilled use of Fury-generating Abilities like Ancient Spear, combined with your general damage output, should allow you to maintain Wrath of the Berserker indefinitely. It'll take you a bit of practice before you can land that skillshot every time though, so don't be put off if it takes you a little while to perfect this process.
- Try to tag as many minions or enemy Heroes as you can with Whirlwind, as the extra healing is vital when it comes to sustaining Sonya on the battlefield. Miss out on this extra health and you'll find yourself hitting Hearthstone much more than you'd like.
- It's tempting to pop your shield for general sustainability, but try to hold onto the cooldown for when you're really being focused. You have no hard escape abilities when playing this Hero, but between your Trait's movement boost, your Whirlwind healing ability, and your protective shield you should have a good shot at survival.
- Despite her status as a Warrior, Sonya does not make for a good tank candidate at all. If you choose to go down a different path from our preferred talent build this month, make sure you play to her strengths as a melee brawler.
- If you need some emergency healing and don't want to have to hit up a fountain or use your Hearthstone, head to a lane and whistle through some minions with Whirlwind. Always keep moving and looking for your next victims, and you'll be able to stay up and in the fight for so much longer.
- Unless you are deliberately sacrificing yourself for the greater good of the team, avoid using your spear to start a fight - you will very likely get obliterated fast by the enemy team.
- Whirlwind is incredibly powerful in team fights but susceptible to crowd-control, so try to bait it out of the enemy team before committing to your devastating area-of-effect attack.
Battlefield of Eternity
No-one wants to get too close to Sonya, and that makes her amazingly effective at defending the Immortal. If she's in this role, it's very hard to attack without biting off more than you can chew. Apart from this, use Sonya to clear out Mercenary Camps whenever the opportunity presents itself, and doing so suits the overall flow of battle.
Given Sonya's great survivability, she's the perfect choice for tackling the lowest lane and picking up bonus coins and camps when she's all out of minions to slash to pieces. You should also head straight to the main lower chest when it spawns, as Sonya can rattle those coins out of the box faster than you can blink.
Fightin' Cowboy's videos helped us out a huge amount while we were learning the game. The builds have changed with balance patches and shifting metagames, but the broad principles remain the same.
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