Leona Build Guide by MTaur
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
This build is somewhat conventional
I figured out a pretty stable Leona build a little before they released spectator mode. Since then, I've seen that Philo + HoG + Ionians + Kindlegem + wards is pretty conventional, with Mercury's Treads being a common substitute as well. Ranked games can be kind of short and not that kill-heavy, so my later item choices might differ from what a pro might do.
If you learn how to play duo bot low-cs Leona, you should find that it's a pretty good build for tryhard mode. Jungle is more fun maybe, but I'm still skeptical and don't have it worked out as much yet.
UPDATE - 3/13/12 - More practice, some nice replays
Alright. I've been pretty much maining Leona lately. Usually I do solo queue, but the second of these is a trio queue. Both games had relatively high level of play on both teams, as far as normals go. This is a better sample of how to play than the other videos farther down... I've gotten better since then.
For one thing, I'm a compulsive warder lately. You know that you're playing fairly well and have good allies when you start getting addicted to wards. When no one has your back and no one roams, it's hard to care when you just want to finish your build, but blowing 400 gold on wards is a pleasure when it means your team is going to triple-gank because of one of them.
Bot with GP
Bot with Ezreal
UPDATE - 3/29/12 - Solo top
They made me solo top. Leona gets a little lonely up there watching the Sunlight fade away again and again, but it was ok. We lost a bunch of turrets this game, but then we started winning teamfights and it was ok.
EDIT: Locket of the Iron Solari
Ok, so the new item builds from Heart of Gold, which I previously listed as never upgraded. It's a nice item. I like to get it after Sunfire Cape, since by then you can make a good amount of gold by cleaning up minion build-up and maybe parts of the jungle, so GP10 is less of a necessity. You could arguably get Locket of the Iron Solari sooner than that, but I really don't like upgrading GP10 too early. The new Emblem of Valor can be taken, say, after Kindlegem and still leave room for wards. But then you have to decide how to make room for your next item, if you want to keep warding. Saving up a lot to get Sunfire Cape at the same time as you Locket of the Iron Solari at the same time leaves you with a ward slot still open, while the aura lets you make up for lost GP10. This is by far my favorite option if minions tend to pile up that game.
Leona is pretty good
Ok, so let's just start with pros and cons. Everyone seems to know what the cons are, and Leona gets accused of being UP all the time.
Pros / Cons
I'll start with the cons. On the one hand, they're all valid concerns, but on the other hand, they're largely mitigated by playing her properly.
CONS:* Low damage output (especially when played poorly)
* AP scalings are terrible (Not really; just kind of so-so. It's the cooldowns that keep you from out-DPSing the enemy. WEQR + 4 sunlight marks + a little AP is a *nice* chunk of health. You just can't win 1v1 at full health with it that often.)
* No long-ranged harass skills (but your lane mate should have this covered, or it's a bad match-up anyway)
* One of the weaker 1v1 champions (LoL is not a 1v1 game)
* Long cooldowns (The more I play, the less informed I find this complaint. It's true that she doesn't have a Sheen spam skill, but she *does* have the most hard CC on the shortest cooldowns in the entire game. Who has a stun on a 5 or 6 second cooldown? No one. Get your 40% CDR and you'll always be doing something useful.)
* She can't jungle or solo, and the carry + support bottom lane meta hates Leona! (Sort of true enough. Sorry. I'm told Leona can jungle, but I don't like it that much. Still, consider a jungle detour if your lane is too pushed and your lane mate can hold out ok for a bit alone. As far as a solo lane goes, it's a waste of exp and gold, and it's not really safe to solo against someone with good DPS. Leona can last hit with a normal auto-attack followed by Shield of Daybreak, but I get duo lane whenever possible.)
* Skillshot-dependent ( Zenith Blade is a bit tricky, and Solar Flare has a short channel. Practice! Both are better when used precisely, though sometimes a sloppy misfire into a crowd is lucky enough to get the job done.)
In my mind, this is Leona's definitive skill. Leona gets lots of free armor and MR through proper use of Eclipse, allowing her to stack health early on. It serves other important functions, such as decent AoE burst damage and zoning out enemies. I always level this every chance I get.
* Lots of free armor and MR.
* Having thousands of free gold worth of free resistances lets you stack health early
* Decent burst initiation
* Nice zoning
* Much less downtime than other tanks (By comparison, Alistar has a shining moment of obscene CC and then is low on useful things to do for a while. The first three seconds of Eclipse allow her to be useful just by walking around, and by the time her defenses are low again, she should have another stun ready... and by the time she's landed another stun, another Eclipse is about ready.)
It's enough to turn Leona's "lousy" damage output into something rather decent, but your lanemate has to be cleaning up the marks every time. Just make sure you don't commit to anything that's not safe for them to follow up on, and you will be contributing enough damage. If you and your allies are working together, then you can essentially go ahead and add Sunlight's numbers to the base damage of all of her skills. Not quite so horrible now, is it?
* Deceptively good burst damage with proper coordination. (But be careful NOT to lane with a low-DPS ally! A ranged AD carry would be great.)
These can be chained in that order, and an ally who's used to playing with Leona can consume Sunlight marks in between the snare-jump and the stun. You might want to wait on Shield of Daybreak in some cases, but with good allies, the spacing is already enough so that it works out to uninterrupted crowd control and two Sunlight procs. A third from Eclipse on the same target is actually quite doable a lot of the time.
* Gap closer -> stun combo; works great with Eclipse.
* On-hit stun that isn't a skill shot; in other words, reliable, semi-spammable CC all game long. (This is no excuse for letting Zenith Blade miss more often than not! Practice! And learn to accept what shots you can and can't pull off - wishful thinking won't make it shoot faster or farther.)
(* Your CC dominance gets just plain ridiculous if you add on Exhaust and either Randuin's Omen or Frozen Mallet like I suggest)
Because of the delay, this one takes some practice. It has a lot of uses, though - it's got a large range and a moderately large AoE.
* You and a DPS or nuker ally can shred pretty hard if you WEQR them (the W should burst partway through the combo) and all four marks get cleaned up. This is better for ganks or the laning phase, but can be useful at any time in the game if a target is important enough. They might have just enough time to flash out after your stun during the channel, though.
* It can be a great initiation move, if you catch their whole team flat-footed. Great if they're overcommitted or you sneak up on them, and it gives you a chance to follow up with WEQ. If you stun more than one target and then jump in with your team behind you, you've probably won a teamfight. (They won't let that happen if they're any good, but be ready to go for it if they hand it to you)
* It can turn the tables a bit if you use it right as they start focusing someone on your team.
* Basically, it's really great almost any time that you're sure you can land it and you have one or two allies to follow up on it.
* You can also stop someone from running away if you aim it sufficiently ahead of them, provided they don't Flash out of it and they don't have other ways to run. Only do this when it's the only option available.
* Really nice, versatile ult. (But when in doubt, don't waste it. A new Leona might be constantly itching for a good chance to use it and end up jumping the gun, whiffing more often than not. With practice, you won't go looking for chances to use it so much as you'll see the golden opportunities as they come.)
SummaryThe numbers could possibly be buffed a little and I wouldn't complain, but if she is UP, I don't really notice it in practice. It's possible that at high levels of play, she just doesn't hold up quite well enough, but I wouldn't know. In any case, if you 1v1 an enemy at full health, then you deserve to feed, but don't blame it on the champ.
1/28/1 for spell boosts, and because the new defense tree is great.
Flash I usually use to disengage after dumping my combo in a dangerous situation (like at low health). Also, Flash -> Shield of Daybreak can work for priority targets sometimes when you aren't confident Zenith Blade will be easy to hit with.
Exhaust just puts your CC power totally over the top; I prefer to Exhaust just as all my other CC wears off for maximum CC pwnage.
I pretty much never take anything else. Arguments can be made for some others, so be my guest, but if you take Ignite, your team should probably shoot you.
Don't double up on crowd control
Just don't double up on CC. That is, wait for your last stun to fade before using Exhaust, if it's necessary. If they're Exhausted and snared/stunned at the same time, then there's no point.
This item is no good on Leona. Leona has only one single-target spell, and it stuns for most of the duration of the slow. If you want a single-target slow, Frozen Mallet is much better. If you want a multi-target slow to go with Eclipse, the active on Randuin's Omen is much better; the 15% AoE slows are far from spammable with Leona's cooldowns. Whenever someone puts Rylai's on Leona, I think to myself, "yo dawg, I heard you liked CC, so I put a Rylai's on your Leona so you can slow them while you stun them".
You should have an aggressive lane mate with good damage output. Ranged is probably better than melee, but it might depend on the enemy.
The most important thing is to never let Eclipse totally miss, if you can help it. You should always hit at least a minion, or else you'll be vulnerable, possibly needing to waste a Flash or, worse, dying. If there are no minions around, try to be sure that either you'll hit, or that you'll get away if you miss. With Vayne, for example, this is pretty far from a sure thing, usually, so you'll usually want minions around.
You can use Eclipse to last-hit minions, to help your ally last-hit minions (they'll be weak and sunlit), or a combination. Zenith Blade does less damage and applies Sunlight, but you absolutely don't want any chance to hit a champ on accident. With Eclipse, you and your ally have cover fire to go after minions, and you're ready to engage if the enemies go after you. Often you'll want to be just barely close enough to harm's way so that you can hit several minions and run away after a couple last hits before your shield wears off.
If you're worried about getting ganked, though, you might want to avoid overusing Eclipse to farm. It really depends on map awareness, enemy skill, MIAs, junglers, and whether you're warding or not.
Just try not to feed. If your enemies have got you outmatched, just turret hug and snag a few gold here and there with Eclipse. They should be wary of your snare+stun if they think about diving you, but if you feed them too much, they might get away with it.
If you want to gank a lane, you're excellent at it if they're far from their turret. Flash first instead of Zenith Blade if you're worried about missing the skill shot, and stun them, followed by your Zenith Blade afterward for the snare. Around this time, your Eclipse should detonate.
You should try to farm this:
Strong contenders for your boots are Mercury's Treads and Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
Double-attack FTW in lane
To maximize damage, it's better to use a regular auto-attack followed quickly by Shield of Daybreak. This can usually be done right after Zenith Blade, but if there's a silence or stun threat, you don't want to risk spacing it out for one auto-attack, generally. Also, you won't be able to combo while chasing, as you'll be lucky to outrun them and get just one attack in. The other pro to spacing it out is that your ally has slightly more time to consume the Sunlight mark both times, possibly all three if your Eclipse detonates in between or afterward.
In lane in particular, this extra auto-attack can count for a lot, both because of the early squishiness and because of the small number of combatants.
The difference can be life or death in one or both directions, so get to it.
Pushing and farming
There's a little repetition here from before, but bear with me.
You can pick up incidental gold by cleaning up minion buildup near your turret, or by pushing when it is adequately safe to do so. With just a little bit of itemization, mana isn't much of an issue usually, but you don't want to be completely without skills if there's a decent chance the enemy will jump you.
Assuming that these issues are resolved, Leona can push reasonably well. Eclipse does more than half a minion's max health at 5 with some AP. Sunfire Cape erodes them a good bit more, if you have it, often giving you a trickle of minions ready for a last-hit. Zenith Blade doesn't do a lot, but doesn't hurt, and it can occasionally double-last-hit. Finally, Leona has a classic double-attack: that is, a basic attack followed by Shield of Daybreak. This is only to be used as a last-hitting tool; either last hit two minions back-to-back, or combo a single minion if you know the damage works out right. Or you can auto-attack however many times before doing the combo for the last hit.
These are pretty standard. GP10 so you can be less greedy and maybe even ward. Philosopher's Stone is plenty of mana and decent HP5 to sustain with.
CDR talk:Kindlegem is taken here for health + CDR early on. Ionian Boots of Lucidity are a strong choice, letting you reach 30% quickly, landing lots of stuns while having your Eclipse up almost every time you really need it, but Glacial Shroud is an option if you prefer Mercury's Treads. However, I think you're better off rushing CDR with Ionian Boots of Lucidity and saving armor for later. If you absolutely love Frozen Heart, then you will have to rune heavily for CDR to close the gap between 25% (heart) + 8.1% (masteries) and the 40% cap, as Randuin's Omen would probably be armor overkill and any other item would be wasteful.
Leona has always wanted one of these. Start with Giant's Belt, using Eclipse for armor/MR. This makes pushing with Eclipse and Zenith Blade a lot faster, since by then Eclipse will be maxed and take out more than half a minion.
The only real way to increase Sunlight damage, and it synergizes with Sunfire Cape. AP is helpful, too. If your team is AD-heavy, though, you should try a totally different build; an Aegis of the Legion, for example, would be fine.
Doesn't really need to be taken early because you already have a lot of CC. But in extended, large-scale fights, this gives you useful things to do between cooldowns.
This is nice as soon as you don't really need the GP10 anymore, or if you need to make inventory space by combining the components. The active is, of course, appreciated.
Best CDR option if you skip Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
Another CDR option, this would probably work better as an early upgrade for Kindlegem if you want to hold on to your Philosopher's Stone for a while longer.
If you want to go crazy with MR shredding. Sort of fun, maybe not the strongest choice, too squishy.
If you just can't stay alive. Might be overkill for most games, though.
Sort of ok. Can be taken instead of Abyssal Scepter, possibly.
Sort of redundant with Frozen Mallet, but the active is bound to prove helpful right after Zenith Blade in a team fight. Swap out Frozen Mallet for Guardian Angel, possibly, to get even more duration on the slow. Note that the active should always be used during the resistance bonus from Eclipse.
> >= >
Eclipse is your survival and your damage output. For the laning phase, you want to hit your skills and your stun, and then you want to disengage. The raw farm power of level-5 Eclipse helps your lane earn gold, and keeps foes off your turret. That big explosion should be discouraging them a great deal.
Shield of Daybreak is a tempting option to level first, just for the cooldown. This is actually a negotiable choice, really. If the enemy is really aggressive and you find yourself needing more stuns, go ahead. If it's a bit touch-and-go, then stun-and-run makes more sense.
Zenith Blade is nice to level up, but you probably would rather have a stun ready multiple times in a fight than your gap closer. Flash is available if you absolutely can't wait for another Zenith Blade; on the other hand, there is no summoner spell that stuns for you.
3 flat CDR glyphs to round out the missing 1.9% from defense mastery bonus; 2 per level glyphs isn't quite enough at 18, and flat ones help you dominate more early. The other 6 are MR/level, pretty typical given that armor/level bases stats are much better than base MR for almost all champs. 6 flat AP glyphs would be ok, I suppose, but not necessarily worth it.
HP5 per level seals for late-game sustain. If you have a support of if you just want to hard tank a little better, then the new %health seals are a strong choice. GP10 seals are a strong choice if you want to skip one of the two GP10 items, or if you're just that ward-happy.
Marks are magic penetration, though this is a debatable choice taken mainly because of the lack of strong alternatives.
Move quints are pretty vital for landing Shield of Daybreak often.
Build 2 - Alternate 5v5 classic setup
Ok, it's not an Abyssal Malletfire build, technically, it's... Abyssal Omenfire, or... something. And a bunch of support-tank stuff.
With this build, an attractive item, Soul Shroud, is built. However, some deviations from conventional Leona building had to be made.
Philosopher's Stone is just excessive in the MP5 department with Soul Shroud, so it's skipped here, and we take 9 GP10 seals to compensate for it a little. Instead, the opening is Rejuvenation Bead + Faerie Charm + Health Potion, which is nice for your first outing in lane, but leads to less GP10 and more dependence on Health Potions in the laning phase (because HP5 isn't that great until you get a chance to upgrade to Warden's Mail). The payoff is Soul Shroud early on and easier completion of Randuin's Omen if you want it. You might not want to use this build if you plan on warding heavily, as you only build Heart of Gold for GP10 and don't spend your initial gold toward it.
It is rather natural to go ahead and take Aegis of the Legion, since auras are more fun when there are more than one.
Often at low levels of play, you can kind of tell where everyone is and it doesn't feel like wards matter that much. However, you can still ward with this build, but it may slow you down a bit more than it would with Build 1.
Build 3 - Rod of Atma's setup (Dominion)
Rod of Atma's? Rod of the Impaler? Rodma's? Atmage's Impalerod?On Team 2, I put a Leona build appropriate for Dominion play. It is a variation on the Rod of Atma's theme, a somewhat interesting tanky hybrid approach that looks a bit experimental at the moment, but I found that it works fairly well on Leona in Dominion.
EDIT: Lately, I like to take Trinity Force before Atma's Impaler; the game is often too short to get both, and that's ok. Atma's Impaler is sort of ok, but Trinity Force has more overall utility. The playstyle is somewhat similar either way, though.
About Trinity Force - Zeal for move speed and Sheen for damage are the biggest draws. I start with one of those two, depending on what I think is needed. If I'm about to head off to defend solo, I'll take Sheen over Zeal, for example.
(Item order has been edited after further testing; Atma's Impaler seems to not help enough to be taken earlier than it is here. It is somewhat non-essential, but it's useful enough after Trinity, with the MS and AS to back it up a bit better.)
I almost never make much more gold beyond Atma's Impaler. You should build something out of Negatron Cloak if so, and you might want to take the cloak earlier on in any case as needed.
Also, Kindlegem can be upgraded to Hextech Sweeper if needed. If you're facing stealth, then you really should do this, probably before you even finish Rod of Ages. In fact, it can sometimes be more important than Catalyst the Protector, so you could start with .
So why Atmage's Leona for Dominion?1. Dominion tends to be split up into quick skirmishes not larger than 3v3, where tanky DPS is better and pure tanks leave a bit lacking. Hence hybrid tanky DPS from the "Rod of Atma's" rather than anything you'd use in Classic 5v5.
2. GP10 is completely worthless in Dominion, considering how much gold one gets passively there.
3. Catalyst is an awesome starting item, filling your health continuously all game long. The only drawback being that you'll show up to the first fight a few seconds late. However, Kindlegem and Boots of Speed is a great start without this drawback, giving you a lot of CDR if you get Ionian Boots of Lucidity on your first recall.
4. It just kind of works.
How she plays in Dominion (may apply about equally well to any other tanky DPS Leona build in Dominion)Atmage's Hybrid DPS Leona works great in 2v2 or larger (CC, supplemental burst damage, incidental crit damage, Sunlight procs)
Atmage's Hybrid DPS Leona works fairly well defending 1v1 (especially if you can bait into a stunlock under the turret; if not, you can still discourage captures fairly well with your kit. However, too much time spent doing this is sub-optimal use of Leona's kit, so try to switch around and get into 2v2 or greater more often)
Atmage's Hybrid DPS Leona works ok in a pinch defending 1v2 (like the above, but sometimes too much is too much)
Atmage's Hybrid DPS Leona should avoid 1v1 conflicts with healthy opponents in the neutral areas when possible (but your burst can sometimes finish off champs who might not realize the damage output of a DPS Leona)
Atmage's Hybrid DPS Leona should almost never attack a capture point 1v1 (if you're *totally sure* you can finish off a weakened defender, go ahead)
Runes/masteriesSome more CDR and AD is in order, so 9/21/0 will do. Gold is easier to come by, so no Mercenary . More CDR from runes, too, since we'll only get 15% from items, most likely; Kindlegem is a reasonable detour, but working on Triforce may be better. Magic pen runes seem better, since the Atma's damage isn't so great; landing your skills with some AP and allies following up will do most of the work, and Sheen seems to count for more than a chunk of AD/crit.
Ok, that's about it. Go look for whomever needs immediate help, and you can definitely pull your weight.
Removed for being too old. I'm probably better than I was then by now, so I don't want ancient gameplay samples up. Might add newer ones sometimes.
Ok, I'm confident enough about this build that I am enabling voting without comments now. I'd rather have comments to work with than not, but at the moment I feel like I have a good feel for how to build and play this champion, so I'd rather just make it easier to vote.