Leona Build Guide by kelvinds43x
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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.
Leona is a high CC tank that mostly utilizes her abilities to deal damage and help her team secure kills. Leona is mostly played as a bot lane support who takes on the role of tank during the late game. In this guide I will explain how to build her into a top lane menace. It doesn't sound like it is good or viable, but trust me it works out incredibly well.
As a HUGE NOTE, I'd like to say that this isn't a serious build. This is just a build I came up with because I was tired of the meta. I loved Leona and I didn't want to go bot support/tank with her anymore. I wanted to do my own thing and thats when I decided to go solo top as Leona. After a few failed attempts I finally settled upon this build, which has so far proven very successful for me.
On a further note, I have never used this in ranked and do not intend to. This guide is for Leona players who are simply bored with the bot/support meta and I do not recommend playing this in ranked.
The first thing that is necessary is a good rune page setup. Leona is 'meant' to be played as a tank, so she has some shortfalls that need to be dealt with.
Starting with the marks, you will need 9 Armor penetration marks.
Since you will be in the top lane likely against another AD champion, it is best to bring 9 Flat armor seals with you.
Glyphs are most efficient at boosting your magic resist. Bring 9 Scaling magic resist glyphs with you.
For your Quintessences you can pick either 3 Armor penetration Quints or 3 Attack speed Quints. This is to your preference, but by running both sets in different games neither seems to be any better than the other. The attack speed really helps with Leona's minuscule attack speed, and the armor penetration make you very threatening even at level 1.
The mastery list I have presented aims for a more tanky Leona rather than going for straight damage through the offense tree. Leona is listed as a tank, and is therefore naturally tanky immediately after entering the game. The masteries will increase your lane sustain and keep in lane longer than using the offense tree so you can farm.
The defenses given by the mastery tree will keep you healthy if your enemy tries to harass you, which they will most likely try to do since they 'think' Leona cannot retaliate effectively.
For a wrap up statement, a good defense is a great offense.
Your skill sequence is incredibly important and should be followed strictly. There really isn't any reason to stray away from the skill sequence given, but I will explain anyway.
Your W skill is your most powerful ability in the early game and provides you with a ton of armor and magic resistance along with a huge burst of damage. You should max it out first for lots of unexpected damage, since most enemies think you are a tank and do no damage, it will be easy to hit them with it for the most part.
The second skill you should max is your Q. Not only does it serve as your stun, it will be your major damage tool during the late game as it applies on hit affects such as trinity force. It will also be used more often than your E which is an engage tool, or can be used for farming from a distance if no enemy champions are in the way.
The Summoner spells I use when I top lane are Flash and Teleport. Flash is self explanatory and teleport is a useful tool to get back to your lane faster or during the late game, defend a turret. Of course there are other awesome uses to teleport such as backdooring and tele-ganking, I mostly use it to return to lane faster and have my turret up longer so I can farm as much as possible.
Bringing Ignite can work as well if you feel you can kill your enemy.
Pros / Cons and Counters
Why should I do this? Can't I just use Irelia or another top champion and do even better?
Well here are the pros and cons to this build.
-You're a high CC tanky AD fighter. That's mostly unheard of in the league.
-Even if you fail to do good in lane. Your CC will help your team greatly in team fights.
-No one is going to focus you.
-People will underestimate your damage output, sometimes fatally.
-Lots of burst damage.
-Your E is a great engage tool and getting kited isn't an issue if its not on cooldown.
-Your great damage can instantly burst down squishy characters like the enemy AP/AD Carry.
-Not many champions will dare dive you alone.
-Somewhat Farm dependent.
-No sustained early game damage
I have not found many in particular but after a few more games with AD Leona I find the biggest counters to be champions with good sustainability, such as:
Those are just a few examples and that is no means the end of the list. High sustain characters are the biggest counter to Leona because of her shortfall of no sustained damage during her early game. Harassing a Nasus isn't very easy when his passive lifesteal restores him back up to full health, etc.
This build I find to be very strong and has so far worked against every enemy I've fought against. The only time I ever lose is because I make a mistake, such as not warding or missing a skillshot or something like that. Please comment, if you find and other Cons with this build as I simply do not know of any.
This, like most top lane champions, is the most important part of the game. How well you do in the first 15-20 minutes of the game will determine how you do for the rest.
For the laning phase, you MUST farm as much as possible. This is somewhat the easy part, especially if the enemy is thinking the same thing. Both of you may be completely passive and not harm each other in favor of farming. If this is the case, then you should have an easy time as long as you ward.
If they are aggressive, that's a different story. For the most part activating W, auto attacking once, followed by a Q, will lock up your enemy long enough for your shield to burst, if they try to get away from the explosion simply use your E on them to keep them in range. This should be simple as most Top laners are melee. Immediately after your full combo is done, unless you have your trinity force, you should retreat. Most of your early game damage comes from your abilites not your auto attacks. Yet.
This method of counter harass can also be used to harass, simply a change of the combo order. Activate your W and then E into the enemy champion, again auto attack once before using your Q to maximize your damage output. After your shield blows, walk away.
If the enemy top laner proves aggressive and want to retaliate the harassment, don't be afraid to fight back with your auto attacks, but be careful of the fight as well. After level 6, don't be afraid to use your ultimate to escape a situation you don't like. At the same time, remember that your ultimate deals a good amount of damage and you shouldn't underestimate its effectiveness. If you stay and fight and time your ultimate right, your Q, E and W will come off cooldown soon after, providing even more damage that the enemy will run from, or fall to.
As an added note, most top laner after around level 6 can only handle about 2 or 3 rounds of Leona's harass before becoming vulnerable to death, unless they have been using a lot of potions.
Just remember, don't be afraid to trade damage with the enemy. Showing fear is how the enemy can then zone you out of farming. But by showing no fear, you can zone your enemy and remain a threat in their eyes.
Landing your ultimate can sometimes be tricky, just remember a few things.
-Your ultimate has a slight delay, around a half second.
-For your ultimate to stun, the enemy must be in the direct center.
-Don't ult where they are already standing unless you know they won't move
An example of this is during a channeled ability, such as Katarina's Death Lotus or Karthus' Requiem. During team fights this could be critical in minimizing the damage from the enemy team. Of course you won't be laning against these champions most likely.
Another example is during an auto attack animation, when they won't be able to move out of the way in time, or simply when you are in a 1v1 against an enemy melee champion.
-If the enemy is running, lead your target and fire where you think they will be when it lands.
-Don't use it on an enemy with a blink, unless you know they can't.
In some cases, the best time to use your ult is when they are already stunned by your Q. Characters like Wu-kong, Shaco, Katarina and Tristana have jumps or blinks to get them out of danger.
-If you want to make sure the ult hits, stun them first.
If you know you're just bad at leading your ult and have to for sure land it, ult them while they are already stunned from your Q. It does sound like a slight waster since you will be crossing stun times, but if you fire it about a half second after your Q it should land as your Q stun fades or is about to.
It is very important to practice this skill, a missed ult is a wasted ult.
Late game / Team fights
As the game winds down near the end, there are a few things you should know to do as AD tank Leona. As with any character, stick to your team and protect your carry as best you can. If someone else is already guarding your Carries, such as support or jungler then you must take on a different role during team fights.
As in all team fights, the enemy carries must be killed first. Being Leona you have a great kit to get you close to the enemy carry to kill them. You also have enough damage to take them out successfully. Use your E to get in close and combo the carry down as fast as you can, auto attack to finish the job if you have to. Burn your flash if you must. After, focus down any other carries or finish off the tanks. Make your escape if you must.
Always remember, even with this damage build, you are still tanky enough to engage a teamfight. Your W provides you with enough resistances to pick a fight if you have to or want to. Don't be afraid to start a fight or get into one, you may not know how strong and tanky you really are.
That is how I play AD Leona and I hope this guide has showed you as well. This is my first guide, so comments would be appreciated on how I did and how I can improve on this. I will be hopefully continue to update this guide regularly with new information as time goes by.
EDIT 11/11/12: Added a few counters and extended the Introduction. Thornmail has been replaced by Randuins Omen.