These are my opinions from playing Sonya. I have played her quite a bit but still haven’t investigated everything as thoroughly as I would like to but have a pretty good grasp on her as a hero.
Q – Ancient Spear. I find this is overall a very solid ability and I really enjoy the functionality it brings to Sonya. My only complaint is the delay it seems to have. I am not sure whether it’s in the speed or activation time but it definitely causes me to miss some spears here and there.
W – Seismic Slam. The damage on this ability is on par with where it should be I feel. Overall it’s a strong fury dump. I have one issue with the ability and that’s when an enemy hero goes into grass and you’re halfway through a Seismic Slam, it will cancel it and you’ll be behind the person because you stopped moving.
E – Whirlwind. Unbuffed I find this ability is lacking use. It is easily outshined by Seismic Slam especially with the shattered ground talent. The only times I use Whirlwind is to catch up to people, stay on top of them while doing damage, or to try and quickly gain some health from minions. The 20 fury cost is too high, if it were 10 fury the damage would be acceptable. Whirlwind has had an issue since the last patch where when activating Whirlwind you no longer immediately move towards your intended target, there is a slight delay and you get caught on enemy heroes or minions.
Passive – Fury. I love not having mana on a barbarian. Not only does it make sense, it just feels right. The extra 10% movement speed is extremely nice for getting away and sometimes helps with staying on top of enemy heroes. The passive also allows for fury to be generated when receiving damage which again fits the barbarian concept and boosts Sonya’s effectiveness.
Block – Seems to me this is a standard tank talent which helps mitigate damage fairly well. I tend to not run a tankier Sonya but have picked it up a few times to test it out and see how I like it. I generally find other tier 1 talents better
Endless Fury – I played around with this talent two or three times. I never felt like it was useful. I rarely need the extra 150 fury and I rarely built up to the 150 fury cap.
Shot of Fury – I take this talent about 50% of the time. Some of it depends on which build I am running but I find this talent to be very useful. I can pop it as soon as the gates open to start at 25 fury, I can use it to get quick burst out if I am low on fury after dumping a bunch, or I can use it to escape by being able to add in an extra Whirlwind.
War Paint – This is the other talent I take often. Again it depends on the build I am running because sometimes I find myself not really using an auto attack. Early game I find this talent much more useful than later game, especially when you are trading blows with enemy heroes in the lanes instead of team fighting.
Tier 1 has a solid selection of talents from my perspective and offers some extra utility to players. I would suggest a change to Endless Fury, though I don’t know what change I would recommend.
Superiority – I have used this talent on several occasions when I have built a tankier Sonya, but again I don’t really go that route. I find it is useful especially throughout the whole game as minions will always be on the map and can allow you to push a fort or tower much easier.
Focused Attack – I have never taken this talent on Sonya. Her auto attacks are too slow to make it worth much use. It is an extremely weak talent for her and a lot of heroes, at least compared to the other options on the same tier. I would strongly recommend this be removed and/or replaced. It just doesn’t fit for Sonya.
Boon of the Ancients – Tier 2 is where the build choice starts to show. I like an ancient spear focused build as it provides a lot of utility to a group and to Sonya’s movement. There is a downside to this skill which I enjoy, if you miss your skill shot, you do not benefit whatsoever. It rewards good game play and is a sound talent choice. I feel since it does rely on landing the skill shot the cool down could be changed from 5 seconds to around 7 seconds to provide more reward.
Furious Blow – There are not many talents which increase their main damage source by 50%. This is a fantastic talent for the Seismic Slam build. Once you reach level 13, you generally don’t have fury issues anyway and this helps Sonya put a lot of pressure out on her enemies.
Tier 2 offers a lot of diversity to Sonya’s play style. I feel it actually makes you think about which talent you want and which build you are planning on going. (minus Focused Attack)
Poisoned Spear – The overall damage buff to Ancient Spear is nice. I tend to not use Ancient Spear for its damage but for the utility and stun. I have chosen this talent a few times when building an Ancient Spear build but it doesn’t really outshine the Seismic Slam talent. The bleed effect is not really noticed on enemy heroes and feels lackluster.
Shattered Ground – My go to ability for this tier. The sheer damage increase is amazing. You can nearly one shot creep waves and in a team fight there’s a good chance your Seismic Slam will hit at least one other target. I have had several games where teams have been decimated because of a Gazlowe grav bomb and a few Seismic Slams. Anytime there is a gauntlet or a narrowing with multiple people this talent is amazing. Another use for this is to use on heroes who are running away, get past their gate and are headed to their health well. I have killed quite a few people by attacking the tower and having the splash damage reach them at their healing well to land a killing blow. This talent is so well constructed. I love it.
Ferocious Healing – I find this talent goes well with Shot of Fury to help you in a pinch moment where you need a heal. I have used it a few times and find it doesn’t really help you out much. In a team fight I’d rather pound out a Seismic Slam than heal for such little health. The talent feels too clunky to use and doesn’t really prolong her life much.
Tier 3 once again gives you good options depending but ultimately 9/10 times I choose shattered ground. I find this tier is lacking a strong talent option for whirlwind, it would definitely have to be a strong whirlwind talent to be chosen over shattered ground. My first thought was to move Dust Devils from tier 5 here but I feel even that talent wouldn’t be outshined by shattered ground, maybe if the tornados did 50% damage it would be useful.
Tier 4 Ultimate Abilities
Leap – I have used leap a lot. I like the skill especially for team fights, especially for getting on a Nova or Hammer who is staying in the back. It’s fantastic for popping as people are trying to flee or just giving your team a needed 1.5 second break in a team fight. I find it has many uses and is an effective ultimate.
Wrath of the Berserker – Currently this is my go to ultimate 30% bonus damage is incredible especially in a seismic slam build. I would probably take this ultimate just for that but it comes with the added perks of reducing disables by 50% and the ability to extend it by gaining 1 fury every 4 seconds. I took this skill in the previous incarnation and I must say the changes made to it make it a lot more fun. It doesn’t drain your fury allowing you to be more than an auto attack machine. Excellent changes to it.
Tier 4 presents a hard choice for me. I love bringing another stun to devastate a team and catch up to the ranged heroes, but missing out on 30% damage is tough. I regularly switch back and forth between these talents. I find the ultimate’s to be tuned properly.
Spell Shield – Admittedly I have not used this talent at all. I can see how it is useful for a tankier Sonya but I have never really felt like I need it. I should try building her more tank oriented to provide better feedback on it but I just feel she’s meant to be more of an assassin warrior hybrid than follow the norms of melee meat shield/bruiser or w/e people call them.
Composite Spear – The extra range on ancient spear is excellent at starting a fight, as long as you can land it. I find after a fight is initiated this talent is no longer useful as everything will be close range for you.
Aftershock – Probably the second best talent for Sonya. The sheer damage output increase is amazing. I feel like I say this overall for Sonya’s Seismic Slam talents but it’s true they are all well designed and produce a beast of a warrior.
Wind Shear – Gaining 5% extra healing on Whirlwind still doesn’t mean much, even at late game where the damage is better. The only saving grace of this is that it removes slows which helps against a Tychus or the few other heroes which have them. I have played around with Wind Shear several times and find it to be on the weak side of talents. Again, it’s a good escape mechanism but doesn’t provide much else.
Dust Devils – I did not know, until I took this talent, that multiple Dust Devils drop. I actually like this talent quite a bit. I use Whirlwind as an escape mechanism and keeping people behind me from mounting up to chase me is awesome. I find this talent is much more effective at healing than Wind Shear as the tornadoes also heal me for their damage dealt. I still think for this talent to be viable the damage of the tornadoes would have to be increased, whirlwind needs a decreased fury cost, or both.
Tier 5 feels like it has good talent options but in reality is limited to 2 those being Dust Devils and Aftershock. I haven’t really seen a Sonya take spell shield but again I can see its use.
Imposing Presence – I used to take this talent without thinking because the damage mitigation is awesome. I find it has a useful place and adds a good talent choice to the tier.
Mystical Spear – On several occasions I have used this talent and as an escape mechanism it is lacking. Yes it gets you out of combat but the delay in casting and traveling is too much for it to be very effective. Paired with composite spear, I can see how it would be much better but I tend to never take this talent. If Ancient Spear gets a speed increase I would revisit this talent option.
Enduring Whirlwind – I don’t use Whirlwind for damage very often and when I do use it, I use it to proc to 10% movement speed bonus on her combat trait. I see no need for Whirlwind to be doubled. The times I have taken it, I’ve been caught hitting it then being stuck Whirlwinding while the enemy team is laughing. I would like to see the talent redesigned and moved as tier 6 tends to be about survival and escapability/mobility. I find if enduring Whirlwind were switched with Wind Shear it would make much more sense for this tier. Also, instead of doubling Whirlwind’s duration, what about halving it? Halving the duration while maintaining the overall damage would seem more effective as far as the healing component is but again would have to be tested.
No Escape – I used to think this talent was useless and terrible until I saw another Sonya use it, then I realized why it is good. Now I almost always take it without thought. As the talent name suggests, there really is No Escape from you. This is where I find Whirlwind has its uses and why I say it’s good for staying on top of heroes. You gain the movement speed after Whirlwinding and can catch up to heroes, stay on top of them, damage them, and wait for Ancient Spear to come off cool down then pop it and get in one or two Seismic Slams, repeat the process until they are dead or have retreated far enough. It also works the other direction if you got yourself into a bad spot, start Whirlwinding your way out of it for the extra movement speed and you’ll be home free shortly.
Stoneskin – Another great tank Sonya talent, it’s saved me on several occasions.
Tier 6 I find only has one valid option and that is No Escape but I know I used to use Imposing Presence. I have seen other Sonya’s use Mystical Spear. I can see it does offer options based on individual preference and play style.
Resurgence of the Storm – Once I tried this talent, I really started to enjoy it. Late game death timers are long and the ability to cut it down from 60 seconds to 5 seconds is amazing. If I take Wrath of the Berserker, I will take Resurgence of the Storm. This talent is a very good choice especially late game when the other melee warriors have a fairly large health advantage on Sonya.
Fury of the Storm – Fairly useless option for Sonya late game. I have found no use for it whatsoever. Her auto attacks are slow, you really shouldn’t need to be auto attacking anyway, merc camps are easily cleared with other abilities, and creep waves are taken down nearly instantly. I know other tanks get the teleport, not saying it would be better but worth being able to test out.
Arreat Crater – I love the impassable crater. You can trap someone in there and do work. My favorite person to trap is Zeratul but the key is waiting until he has used his Blink. Over the course of many games I find this talent is strong against some teams and very weak against others, it must be chosen wisely. I made the terrible mistake of choosing this talent when the enemy team had a Tassadar. Needless to say it did NOT end well hahaha. I think adding in an option to cancel the crater would be welcomed. There are a few good ultimate chain combos involving this one but some of them are tougher to pull off.
Anger Management – Now that Wrath of the Berserker has been changed and no longer drains fury, I find the upgraded ultimate to be ineffective. Disable reduction from 50% to 75% is good and all but that’s really all the upgrade has to offer. I have no issue sustaining Wrath of the Berserker via 1 second per 4 fury gained, I don’t see why I would want to waste a talent on it. Anger Management needs more tuning to increase something else for Sonya. It could be: movement speed, gain 20-30 fury when using Wrath of the Berserker, reduce cool downs while active, increases damage of friendly heroes around you by 5-10%, or something else. It just needs something to be considered.
Tier 7 has 1.5 good talent choices. Resurgence of the Storm being the good talent choice and Arreat Crater being the .5. Arreat Crater is too dependent on enemy team composition to always be effective.
Talent choices overall have some good options and the Seismic Slam talents are done very well, it allows you to set up a strong damage oriented build. I hope other talents will be buffed and changed in order to create more choices instead of Seismic Slam being nerfed. I have found since the last change to Sonya’s talents she is a good team member to have. I love playing her and my teammates love watching me wreck some faces with her.
These are my choices for two different builds I run. The reasoning for my skill choices can be found above.
1. Shot of Fury (most of the time) or War Paint
2. Furious Blow
3. Shattered Ground
4. Wrath of the Berserker (most of the time)
6. No Escape
7. Resurgence of the Storm
1. War Paint
2. Boon of the Ancients
3. Poisoned Spear
5. Dust Devils
6. No Escape
7. Arreat Crater or Resurgence of the Storm
Both of these builds are ones I have used and I find to be effective. The Seismic Slam build is more valuable in team fights where they are grouped up just because of the splash damage pressure from Shattered Ground. I find myself going Ancient Spear build when the team has heroes which can run away easily, it keeps them in combat and Sonya on top of her prey.
Sonya has some room for growth, especially in the Whirlwind department but overall I feel she’s in a very solid place. She has her own niche in the melee warrior aspect because she provides so much damage to make up for the lower health pool.
Feel free to leave comments and feedback on my views or Sonya in general. I enjoy seeing other players perspectives and trying different things.