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Sonya Talents

Last updated on Jul 11, 2016 at 21:10 by Oxygen 11 comments

Table of Contents

Sonya Image

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for playing Sonya in a competitive environment in Heroes of the Storm. For each talent, we explain what they do and why they should or should not be taken.

The other pages of our Sonya guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About the Author

Oxygen is a veteran of the MOBA genre, which he has been playing for nearly 15 years. He has coached some of Heroes of the Storm's most prominent North American players and teams alike, including Team Liquid. As a Rank 1 Flex player, he enjoys playing all Heroes and roles.

1. Talent Build

Level Choices
1 War Paint Block Shot of Fury
4 Focused Attack Shattered Ground Hurricane Mercenary Lord
7 Poisoned Spear Composite Spear ? Follow Through Ferocious Healing ?
10 Leap ? Wrath of the Berserker
13 Life Funnel Aftershock Mystical Spear Spell Shield ?
16 Furious Blow No Escape Imposing Presence ? Nerves of Steel
20 Arreat Crater Anger Management ? Nexus Blades Ignore Pain

2. Common Talent Paths

3. Level 1 Talents

War Paint Block Shot of Fury

3.1. Description

War Paint Icon War Paint causes your Basic Attacks to heal you for 30% of the damage they deal. Effects that increase your Basic Attack damage or the amount of damage taken by the target in turn increase War Paint's overall healing.

Block Icon Block causes you to generate 1 stack of Block every 5 seconds, up to a maximum of 2. Block stacks are consumed by individual enemy Hero Basic Attacks, reducing each of them by 75%.

Shot of Fury Icon Shot of Fury increases your maximum Fury to 150, up from 150, and can be activated to instantly generate 45 points of Fury. Shot of Fury has a 45-second cooldown; its default hotkey is the letter D, unlike many other talent-based abilities.

3.2. Recommended

War Paint Icon War Paint provides you with a significant amount of self-sustain. Although Sonya's Basic Attacks are not particularly strong by default, many of the talents we recommend focus on improving them, making War Paint a solid choice. In the early stages of the game, the talent allows you to remain at a comfortable Health level while laning and clearing Mercenary Camps; later on, it outright allows you to trade favourably with many if not all Heroes, and is an important factor in solo-claiming the boss Mercenary.

The instantaneous burst of Fury provided by Shot of Fury Icon Shot of Fury is rather useful against team compositions that are able to kite you, as your Fury generation may then suffer. It is also and in sudden team fighting situations where you may not have had the time to generate Fury beforehand. This talent should be picked over War Paint Icon War Paint against range-heavy compositions. The added maximum Fury can be useful if you manage to cap out your Fury before impending team fights — which you should try and do on Maps with timed Objectives.

3.3. Not Recommended

The mitigation provided by Block Icon Block is completely overshadowed by the amount of self-sustain provided by War Paint Icon War Paint. The latter choice is also much more versatile, in that it has PvE uses.

4. Level 4 Talents

Focused Attack Shattered Ground Hurricane Mercenary Lord

4.1. Description

Focused Attack Icon Focused Attack increases the damage of your next Basic Attack used against a Hero by 75%. This effect has a 10-second cooldown that is reduced by 1 second whenever you hit with a Basic Attack.

Shattered Ground Icon Shattered Ground causes Seismic Slam Icon Seismic Slam's secondary line damage effect to hit for 75% of the ability's primary hit damage, up from 25%.

Hurricane Icon Hurricane reduces the cooldown of Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind to 3 seconds, down from 4, and causes it to dispel movement speed reduction and rooting effects off of Sonya.

Mercenary Lord Icon Mercenary Lord passively reduces the damage taken from non-Heroic sources — Minions, Structures, Mercenaries, and certain Map Objectives — by 50%. It also causes claimed non-Boss Mercenaries near you to deal 50% more damage.

4.2. Recommended

Sonya has a respectable Basic Attack, upon which she is dependent, and multiple ways of improving this damage; Focused Attack Icon Focused Attack being one of them. Focused Attack's burst factor works particularly well when trying to pressure vulnerable opponents.

Although Sonya is already an excellent Hero for effectively clearing out Mercenary Camps, Mercenary Lord Icon Mercenary Lord allows Sonya to perform the feat of solo-claiming the Boss as early as Hero Level 10. The talent also generally allows her to come out of Camps with full Health, reducing downtime and improving general safety. The added Mercenary damage is an interesting bonus as well when pushing out with your own Mercenaries. While laning, Mercenary Lord allows Sonya to use Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind in a full Minion wave and come out with a positive Health gain, thanks to the Minion damage reduction clause of the talent. This is especially useful when trading.

4.3. Not Recommended

Shattered Ground Icon Shattered Ground is difficult to capitalise upon, because Seismic Slam Icon Seismic Slam's line damage is itself rather difficult to exploit due to its small size. The damage increase, while tangible, ends up being wasted most of the time for this reason.

We do not recommend Hurricane Icon Hurricane because one other recommended talent, Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker, already reduces the duration of inbound crowd control by a large amount. Hurricane is therefore redundant, and generally unwieldy to use in practice as it is tied to Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind, a situational ability. The cooldown reduction is an interesting aspect of the talent but ultimately has a limited impact on Sonya's effectiveness.

5. Level 7 Talents

Poisoned Spear Composite Spear ? Follow Through Ferocious Healing ?

5.1. Description

Poisoned Spear Icon Poisoned Spear causes Ancient Spear Icon Ancient Spear to deal 100% more damage over 4 seconds.

Composite Spear Icon Composite Spear increases the range of Ancient Spear Icon Ancient Spear by 30%, and causes it to generate 60 Fury, up from 40.

Follow Through Icon Follow Through increases the damage of your next Basic Attack by 40% whenever you use a Basic or Heroic Ability. This effect does not stack, and expires after 4 seconds if it is not consumed.

Ferocious Healing Icon Ferocious Healing is an activatable talent that instantly heals Sonya for 10% of her maximum Health. Ferocious Healing consumes 20 Fury.

5.2. Recommended

Poisoned Spear Icon Poisoned Spear is a large damage multiplier for an ability that deals a respectable amount of base damage, and that ends up further increased while Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker is active. Outside of her Ancient Spear Icon Ancient Spear + Seismic Slam Icon Seismic Slam combo, Sonya does not typically have much uptime against nimble Heroes; Poisoned Spear helps her maximise her burst. A notable side-effect of the ability is that the damage-over-time prevents cloaking. Poisoned Spear is generally picked against team compositions that only feature one tank.

Whereas Poisoned Spear Icon Poisoned Spear is for burst damage, Follow Through Icon Follow Through should be used for sustained damage. With enough uptime, Follow Through surpasses Poisoned Spear's damage output, making it a strong choice against two or more tanks, and against all Mercenary Camps. It should be noted that Follow Through improves the healing provided by War Paint Icon War Paint as well.

5.3. Situational

The range increase provided by Composite Spear Icon Composite Spear can be useful against range-heavy team compositions that tend to kite you to death before you can deal any significant damage. The additional Fury generation also has nice PvE applications, especially when coupled with the cooldown reduction provided by Mystical Spear Icon Mystical Spear.

If you find yourself in the unfavourable situation where you are the sole frontline Hero for your team, you may wish to invest into more defensive talents; Ferocious Healing Icon Ferocious Healing is one such talent. Although the amount of healing it provides is only passable, it is enough to generally reduce the number of times you need to go back to your Altar to heal up, and adds up nicely over longer battles. It is also useful against poke compositions.

6. Level 10 Talents

Leap ? Wrath of the Berserker

6.1. Description

At this level, Heroic abilities become available. Both Heroic abilities have already been described in the abilities section.

6.2. Recommended

Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker is a core ability for Sonya, allowing her to temporarily blur the line between tank and assassin (essentially making her a bruiser). The extreme, raw damage increase provided by Wrath of the Berserker lets Sonya players threaten any Hero, though it is particularly devastating against isolated Assassins and Supports. The ability also makes Sonya an outstanding Mercenary Camp killer and sieger, and is ultimately very versatile.

6.3. Situational

Depending on your team composition, you may wish to pick up Leap Icon Leap as an additional initiation tool, or as part of a combo piece. The ability does come, however, at the steep price of having to give Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker up. Leap could also be strongly considered when your team composition features four other damage dealers, though Sonya should then have been questioned as an appropriate Hero pick.

7. Level 13 Talents

Life Funnel Aftershock Mystical Spear Spell Shield ?

7.1. Description

Life Funnel Icon Life Funnel increases the healing provided by Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind to 30%, up from 20%. This amount is still tripled against Heroes, to 90%, up from 60%.

Aftershock Icon Aftershock reduces the Fury cost of Seismic Slam Icon Seismic Slam to 13, down from 25, if it is used within 1.5 seconds of having used Seismic Slam already. The effect does not stack, but Seismic Slam's Fury cost will remain 13 for as long as you chain casts of it. Aftershock also works with the Furious Blow Icon Furious Blow talent to reduce the cost of Seismic Slam to 17.

Mystical Spear Icon Mystical Spear reduces the cooldown of Ancient Spear Icon Ancient Spear to 10 seconds, down from 13, and causes the displacement effect to always function, even if an enemy is not hit by the ability.

Spell Shield Icon Spell Shield causes you to take 50% less damage from Abilities for 2 seconds whenever you are damaged by an Ability. This effect has a 30-second cooldown.

7.2. Recommended

Mystical Spear Icon Mystical Spear provides Sonya with an essential element that is missing from her ability kit: that of unconditional mobility. Mystical Spear makes disengaging possible, and engaging much easier. This is on top of improving your overall Fury generation and damage potential. The talent is notoriously strong when combined with Poisoned Spear Icon Poisoned Spear.

7.3. Situational

Spell Shield Icon Spell Shield is a talent that is specifically designed to deal with ability-based burst damage. We typically recommend it against compositions that include a mix of Falstad, Jaina, Kael'thas, or Nova. You simply need to make sure that Spell Shield's effect is not wasted by incidental area of effect damage by avoiding poke damage and abstain from fighting unless you can fully commit.

7.4. Not Recommended

Life Funnel Icon Life Funnel is not a bad talent by any means, however, it stands vastly overshadowed by Mystical Spear Icon Mystical Spear, and by Spell Shield Icon Spell Shield to a lesser extent. Still, it could be considered against compositions that lack reliable means of interrupting Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind.

Aftershock Icon Aftershock is a winmore talent that requires perfect uptime on specific targets to properly exploit. In the hectic reality of most team fights, this is seldom possible.

8. Level 16 Talents

Furious Blow No Escape Imposing Presence ? Nerves of Steel

8.1. Description

Furious Blow Icon Furious Blow increases the damage of Seismic Slam Icon Seismic Slam by 50%, but also increases its cost to 40 Fury, up from 25.

No Escape Icon No Escape increases the movement speed bonus provided by Fury Icon Fury to 25%, up from 10%.

Imposing Presence Icon Imposing Presence passively reduces the attack speed of Heroes and Summons who use Basic Attacks against you by 40% for 2 seconds. This effect wears off from affected enemies that attack a target that does not have Imposing Presence.

Nerves of Steel Icon Nerves of Steel is an activatable talent on a 70-second cooldown that grants you a shield worth 30% of your maximum Health. The shield expires after 5 seconds.

8.2. Recommended

Nerves of Steel Icon Nerves of Steel provides Sonya with the survivability that she desperately needs to be able to withstand some of the heavy area of effect damage that regularly defines late-game team fights.

8.3. Situational

Imposing Presence Icon Imposing Presence offers an unparalleled amount of survivability against Basic Attacks. It is, however, of limited use against team compositions that rely on ability-based damage. As such, it should be chosen only against teams that feature at least two non-caster Assassins.

8.4. Not Recommended

Furious Blow Icon Furious Blow is a trap talent. While the damage increase may be appealing from a burst standpoint, you are also paying 40% more Fury for a near-equivalent damage increase. The talent is not really worth it, especially when there are excellent alternatives available.

No Escape Icon No Escape is not a bad talent by any means; the increased mobility is significant both offensively and defensively speaking. However, as seen above, this talent tier is particularly crowded with choices that offer much-needed raw survivability. No Escape remains a solid choice in games where you are ahead in terms of Hero Levels and are able to capitalise on the movement speed to decimate backline Heroes.

9. Level 20 Talents

Arreat Crater Anger Management ? Nexus Blades Ignore Pain

9.1. Description

Arreat Crater Icon Arreat Crater reduces the cooldown of Leap Icon Leap to 50 seconds, down from 70, and causes it to create an unpathable wall around the edges of its area of effect for 5 seconds. Yourself, allies, and enemies alike may not walk through the wall. Leap can be reactivated to destroy the wall before it naturally expires, as to allow passage.

Anger Management Icon Anger Management causes you to generate 100% more Fury while Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker is active.

Nexus Blades Icon Nexus Blades increases the damage of your Basic Attacks by 20%, and causes them to reduce the movement speed of your target by 20% for 1 second.

Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain is an activatable talent that causes you to take 75% less damage from all sources for 4 seconds. Ignore Pain has a 60-second cooldown.

9.2. Recommended

Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain is the pinnacle of defensive talents. Since Sonya relies on being in melee range to deal her damage, she often becomes a priority target. Ignore Pain allows you to severely punish this behaviour while being able to deliver your damage nearly unimpended for as long as it is active.

9.3. Situational

If you feel that your survivability has not been compromised in any significant way during a given match, Anger Management Icon Anger Management provides you with a humongous increase to your damage output by allowing you to cast Seismic Slam Icon Seismic Slam after every third Basic Attack, as opposed to after every fifth. As an added bonus, it also indirectly increases the duration of Wrath of the Berserker Icon Wrath of the Berserker as a result of the increased Fury generation clause. You may actually even find it difficult to spend all of your Fury.

9.4. Not Recommended

Arreat Crater Icon Arreat Crater is interesting on paper, and yet falls into the winmore category of talents. Arreat Crater's effectiveness is directly proportional to how many players it manages to isolate in a perfect position for your teammates to capitalise upon.

Nexus Blades Icon Nexus Blades suffers from issues that are similar to Anger Management Icon Anger Management, in that it requires you to have solid Basic Attack uptime in order to truly shine. This is seldom possible in the very late game.

10. ChangeLog

  • 11 Jul. 2016: Updated talents descriptions and recommendations to account for Gul'dan's patch changes.
  • 21 Sep. 2015: Changed talent recommendation for Shot of Fury.
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