With Sonya being available for the free hero rotation, I wanted to give a quick rundown on optimal builds. My only credentials are that I am a Diablo fanboy, and I play a lot of Sonya. The two rules for an efficient Sonya build are: always “farm” fury, and always use Hammer of the Ancients.
The first rule is important because unlike other heroes who use mana, Sonya needs fury to use her abilities(excluding her Ancient Spear, Leap/WotB, and active talents). She gains fury by attacking and taking damage. Also, successfully landing an Ancient Spear will grant you 20 fury. This rule is important because you don’t want to go into a team battle or even a duel with little to no fury. If you miss an Ancient Spear, then GG. Contrary to her Warrior status, Sonya does not have the tankiness that your other Warrior’s have and will not survive long enough to build a respectable amount of fury. Farming fury means using minions and mercs as avenues to generate fury between enemy engagements. The best way is to stand behind your own minions and get off auto attacks/spears without taking damage. Now, Sonya does have decent heath regen with the build I suggest below, but you have to use fury to get that regen, so it’s best to gain fury while taking as little damage as possible.
The second rule is to always use your Hammer of the Ancients spell. I think it is the second hardest hitting ability in the game, and it only has a one second cooldown. Whirlwind is tempting, but it doesn’t do enough damage, cost too much fury, and the return health is negligible in almost all situations.
Your general strategy will be to be an assassin towards high priority targets such as damage dealers and support. You can either jump in using leap, charge in on a mount, or pull yourself in using spear. Once you are in, you hammer and auto attack a target until dead….not difficult at all! The way you engage will be determined by each situation and your positioning, also how comfortable you feel using you skill shot. Using spear first gives the advantage of having it on cooldown sooner, and thus being up earlier for any chasing or stunning you need to do. Leaping in first gets you a nice stun -> one or two hammer hits -> a easy to hit spear (it stuns for like a .5 of a second) -> hammer till dead.
- Path of the Warrior: If you have a healer or support you can trust/in a 5 man premade
- Shot of Fury: If you are having trouble farming fury/find yourself dry on fury before you can kill your target/a map like Dragonshire that have a tendancy to go late game(It is very difficult to farm fury late game)
- Strength from Earth: I would recommend this for any solo queuing or general lax games. It gives you sustain to be out in lanes longer, and lets you solo merc camps with full health.
- Furious Blow: Pretty much always want this. More damage = Good. No Escape is enticing, but it just won’t make a big of a difference especially in team fights.
- Shattered Ground: Absolutely required for team fights and its synergy with Strength from Earth.
- Ferocious Healing: A little redundant if you get Strength from Earth, but can be used on certain maps where you can’t lane un-harassed(haunted mines). Fun fact: With this talent, you can solo the golem in Blackheart’s Bay.
- Leap: Get this.
- WotB: Just a bad heroic ability, IMO. The fury bleed is way too unforgiving and coupled with the fury costs of your spells, you will run out of resource before doing much. Even if you spear in and then activate, the delay from the animation will give anyone you are attacking a chance to move away from you. Then you play a nice game of chase, one you will most likely lose, especially when most of your targets are ranged or supports. Fun fact: You use to be able to activate the ability, get 25 fury, then cancel the ability to gain a net of around 10 fury. That coupled with its 20 second cooldown and Shot of Fury, you could get good chunk of fury every time you went back to base for a heal. It was changed in this patch to be non-cancelable, so you can’t even use that little trick to make it semi viable.
- Composite Spear: You want this most of the time, unless you feel like your team has enough CC and snares that you aren’t craving the extra mobility. If you don’t get this I would recommend Spell Shield just for a little extra survivability.
- Mystical Spear: Can be used if you feel like it is too hard for you to get to your target. However, with having Leap 99% of the time, you can always close the gap with a leap opener. You will find you won’t have the time or life to pull yourself around the battle. Can also be used as a disengage.
- Stoneskin: I prefer this in almost all cases. The extra health gives you a chance to get that extra hammer you need for the kill.
- Resurgence of the Storm: Pretty much all the time. It’s pretty OP.
- Arreat crater: It locks you in as well. In any circumstance where you can afford to be locked in with your victim and not fear dying, a normal, non upgraded leap would probably do the trick.
-Whirlwind can be used to move through battles and body blocks uninterrupted. This, and using it to activate your combat trait(usually to retreat), are the only reasons to use this spell.
-If you pick Shot of Fury, activate it as soon as the gates open. By the time the minions arrive in lane, you can activate it again. Add in a spear to a minion, and you are already 75+ fury with full health. Nice to have for early ganks in 5 man premade.
-If you are in lane 2v1, or vs. ranged…I would recommend using spear and auto attacks on minions to farm fury and maintain full health. Wait till lvl 4 and your extra hammer damage, then jump them with full health and a surprising amount of damage. If you have an ally who can get one CC off, then you will most likely kill, if not, you will probably do enough damage to have them retreat and use a well.
-Ancient Spear hits “high”, meaning that it seems connection is made above the arrowhead of the skill shot. It also comes from an angle, almost from her shoulder. So, if they are close and the skillshot arrow looks like it will hit them, it can often times not. I haven’t played Stitches much, so I don’t know if this is a general hit box issue or unique to this spell. Example (credit for source goes to Vandalier on B.Net forums)
-You can solo knight camps pretty effectively at lvl 4 with the extra damage on hammer. At level, 7 w/Shattered Ground, you can usually end with full health and a lot of Fury.
Conclusion: Sonya is a fun class with lots of damage potential. Like other Melee DPS, positioning and timing is key. You have to know when to go in and when to hold back. She has her fair share of weaknesses. Some, like the general uselessness of WW, have already been mentioned. Others, include her problems generating fury late game, squishiness, and the lackluster movement speed from her combat trait. Anyways, I hope this little(longer than expected) guide can help you enjoy Sonya during her free week.
Feel free to ask any questions!