Hero Analysis: Sonya
Welcome to this week’s hero analysis – a weekly article where every single aspect of a hero’s abilities to give more insight to each hero’s capabilities. Another thing to note is Blizzard’s design that goes into each hero, there are some very clear design decision at play with everything Blizzard chooses to do. Remember, much of this information is from observations and the current technical alpha – anything can change at any time, especially due to the current alpha status.
This week, we look at the Sonya – a warrior from the Diablo franchise. This powerful front-liner mixes together auto-attacks and abilities to deal heavy amounts of damage while staying alive through her impressive offensive capabilities. Using the special casting resource Fury, instead of mana, she can continue fighting for extended periods of time. Her overall design is focused on her being a powerhouse in damage – her survivability comes from that prowess in damage.
All of the Sonya’s abilities use fury instead of mana – this gives her a unique play style centered on continually fighting. Not only that, her movement capability and moderate crowd-control abilities give her a huge advantage against enemies that are not prepared to deal with her immense amount of damage.
Instead of mana, Sonya uses Fury for her casting resource. With usually lower cooldowns on her abilities – fury, if used correctly, can allow her to cast her abilities very quickly to devastating effect. The primary method to gaining fury is with auto-attacks. Some of her other abilities can gain the Sonya fury but most abilities will spend fury. It is extremely important to manage fury – casting spells continually can be extremely ineffective as fury will run out very quickly without auto-attacks in between each ability. Players need to slot attacks between each ability to keep a good continual supply of fury. Timing extra fury building abilities can ensure that the Sonya can continually casting for even prolonged fights. The last portion of this ability is also very important to this hero’s playstyle in general. The 15% lifesteal for all damage output is absolutely central to the tankiness of the Sonya. So long as she can continually deal a good amount of damage – her survivability is immense. Her damage output is good enough that this lifesteal can prolong her life in the midst of battle for a while and make her absolutely formidable against poking damage. Enemies must focus disables and heavy burst damage on her in order to kill her – fury and the health gain is simply too much to ignore in prolonged fights.
Ancient Spear is her only fury building ability – granting a decent amount of fury on hit, this medium ranged skillshot gap closer can be very powerful in the right hands. As per usual, Blizzard has given almost every hero some sort of movement ability – the Sonya gets a purely aggressive one. Though the range is not the longest, the fury gain and the short stunning portion of this ability can be immensely helpful in singling out a target enemy hero. Players can very effectively follow up a hit of Ancient Spear with the Sonya’s other powerful fury spending abilities and with additional auto-attacks, she can very quickly focus down a single target if she is not hit with crowd control. Players should note, however, that this ability does not always have to be used strictly as a gap-closer. Using it point-blank can be very much a valid move for two purposes – the stunning portion and the fury gain. Both of these factors can be extremely helpful in fights. But players should caution using this without it being a gap-closer, if enemies still have movement abilities – without this ability can essentially negate all of the Sonya’s potential damage. This ability is a great addition to the Sonya’s ability-set, it’s a good mixture of movement, crowd control, and damage potential.
Hammer of the Ancients
This is an incredibly simple ability – a melee damage ability. What makes this ability an interesting addition to this hero is the constant spending of fury for more damage. The short cooldown (1 second) essentially allows the Sonya to spend all of her fury for more damage. But players should look for more of a sustainable fury usage, especially due to the longer fights in Heroes of the Storm. Alternating between a couple of auto-attacks and this ability can ensure a good amount of damage in the long run. Another interesting aspect of this ability is the fact that it is essentially an extra attack that deals bonus damage. Players can do a good amount of burst damage by doing one auto-attacking, hammer, and then one more auto-attack. This essentially allows three attacks in the time frame of 2 – giving an incredible amount of damage. Lastly, this ability uses the Sonya’s attack damage for scaling – this means that any type of damage bonus – either from talents or allies, are doubly effective. Not only to increase her damage potential with attacks but with ability as well. This ability is incredibly strong though quite simple in its effect.
As this hero’s only AoE ability, Whirlwind can allow incredible amounts of pressure against enemies around her. Although the damage is not quite as high as using Hammer of the Ancients – the AoE component can force many enemies to change their positioning in attempts to avoid as much of the damage as possible. This ability compliments very well with the Sonya’s gap-closing ability. The small stun portion can ensure at the very least a decent amount of this ability. Even better, this ability’s AoE portion is probably most notable in the pressure it puts on enemy positioning – if enemies are caught in wide AoE disables or bunched up too heavily, whirlwind can be extremely powerful in terms of damage against multiple foes. As with Hammer of the Ancient – this ability scales with auto-attack damage, similar potency from damage bonus is seen in this ability. Overall, this ability may seem a bit out of place for a hero that is focused primarily on single-target damage dealer – the addition of some AoE ability makes the Sonya a more well-rounded hero.
The Sonya’s heroic ability choices are interesting in terms of suggesting different playstyle. Sonya players can either focus more on her teamfighting ability with more movement and initiating power or a more of a juggernaut style, boosting her damage and survivability.
As the most underwhelming name for an ability, Leap is the more teamfight oriented choice of heroic ability between the two possible choices. As a long range initiation ability – the stun portion is the most important part of this ability. Jumping in the centre of the enemy team and hitting multiple enemies can be an explosive start to a teamfight in the favor of theSonya’s team. There’s good combo potential with her other abilities – using this to begin a fight, following up with some auto-attacks and an Ancient Spear for quick Fury gain to push out a heavy amount of damage on either a single target or multiple enemies. There is a huge amount of follow-up potential by the Sonya’s team, if enemies can be held near the player for long enough time by allies after this ability – Whirlwind and other abilities can handily decimate the enemy team unfortunately caught in the combo. This ability also provides good chasing capability – if this ability isn’t used to initiate a fight, perhaps Ancient Spear was used instead. While chasing, this ability’s long range and snare component can almost ensure a kill if ever used unless the enemy team has good defense prepared against the Sonya. This ability is a powerful addition to a teamfight focused team.
Wrath of the Berserker
Attack speed, movement speed, lifesteal, and unstoppable – what more can a selfish Sonya need? This ability is more for Sonya choosing to go with more damage potential from herself – while staying in the centre of the fights with very little worry of being disabled or even killed. The Sonya can just get into the thick of battle dealing heavy damage with her increased attack speed and the subsequent increased fury gain. Her survivability also goes through the roof simple for the damage output and the increased lifesteal. One of the biggest worry for the Sonya are disables coming in from the enemy team – by not being able attack, she is very vulnerable to damage as she cannot continue to steal life from enemies. The unstoppable component of this ability is very powerful in negating that weakness from the Sonya. In the midst of teamfights, this ability allows her to be a juggernaut at the centre of the fight – dealing heavy damage while being literally unstoppable.
The Sonya is a formidable hero – her damage potential is by far the highest of any warrior. She trades away the normal defensive abilities of the usual warriors, instead her offence is her greatest defence. Her incredibly amount of damage potential will allow her lifesteal to sustain her through the longer fights and keep her fighting for a longer period of time. In longer team fights, using Fury, she has unparalleled flexibility in spending her resource and maintaining a high gain of fury through constant auto-attacks. Her explosive damage capability is quite impressive, using a combination of attacks and abilities – she can ensure that her damage potential against a single target to immense lengths. But in longer fights, focused on attrition and sustainability – the Sonya can hold her own if the player can correctly manage consistent damage, resource gain, and lifesteal. A skilled player with Sonya can be absolutely menacing, excelling in many aspects of the game – sustainability, burst damage, and crowd control.
That’s it for this week’s hero analysis, join us next week for another in-depth analysis at another hero – be sure to leave us a comment, we appreciate it greatly!