Leona Build Guide by Tharran
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.
Leona is generally considered a tank/support champ and rightly so, she is amazing in these roles. However, it might surprise you to know that she can in fact be an amazing off tank AD champ. While it is true that all of her abilities are AP based, they are negligible on damage, even when heavily beefed up, so choosing her in an AP role would be a waste, considering there are other, far better AP champions out there. That being said, consider this: her Q move, which is pretty spammable, stuns her target for a good amount of time, her W gives flat armor and magic resist for about 6 secs, 70 armor and magic resist when maxed out, and her E roots a target and allows you to pull yourself towards them. As if that wasn't enough, her ult, which also has a low cool down, does decent damage and stuns / majorly slows targets.
So what does this all mean? It means you have a champ with 2 stuns, flat resistance buffs, and a root/slow/chase move. Imagine all that behind 320 ad, almost 4k health, and beefed up resistances. What you end up with is a champion with superb ganks, good surviveability, and a terror to almost any other player as her timed stuns will allow you to kill almost anyone in a 1v1 before they can react. Not only that, but in team fights you can easily destroy the ADC as your E will pull you to the last target hit (ADC usually hides in the back). In addition, while the build I provided is a good general build, Leona can in fact tweak this build in order to counter heavy AP teams, fed carries, or just about any other situation. The only thing she can't really do is jungle. Also, feel free to play around with the runes, however, I would leave everything else as is if you are going to try this build out.
As for how to play her out, stick with harassing the other player by activating your Q and W and then using E to pull yourself towards them, you will hit them with a good burst and stun, allowing you to walk away before they can hit you back. Repeat this action until they cower under their tower. Keep chipping away at them until you are ready to dive for the kill. I wouldn't tower dive unless you have all your abilities ready and the target is sufficiently close to death. Once you have your ult up and can stun them from a distance, fling yourself towards them with Q and W already activated, stun them again, and finish with a burst. I recommend the 2 GP 5 items first, in order to make bundles of gold and give you more sustainability. While laning early on, Leona can burn through a lot of mana, so having an extra cushion helps a lot (this is where philosophers stone comes in). In addition, your beefed up health and W will make you very hard to kill (heart of gold will give you good added health). By the time you have Sheen, you will really start to see some good early damage, until then it's tank and spank. Getting Zeal after Sheen will bump your damage and give you better movement speed, allowing you to flee from your harassment all the faster.
After the lane phase is over, feel free to wander about pulling nasty ganks and assisting your team mates. Remember that while you are a bit tanky, you are not as tanky as you will be late game, so don't get too reckless. In late game team fights, once you have Randuins and preferably Warmogs as well, Leona can initiate with her ult and follow up on the soft targets, however, you should be careful not to over extend. You will be targeted and you aren't invincible. Hopefully you will have a dedicated tank on your team that can initiate for you and you can have some more maneuverability. I only mention late game initiations if you are the tankiest on your team and no one else can properly initiate. This build, however, is not meant to be for tanking though, so keep that in mind.
It is possible, depending on team composition, that you entirely might not need your Randuins or Warmogs. If this is the case, feel free to replace with a Youmuus, Nashors, PD, or another BT, whichever you are feeling. While Nashor's won't help your AD, it will give you extra attack speed for quicker damage and will also lower your CD's for stun spam. The ability power will also bump up your ability damage a bit, though obviously not a whole lot. Youmuu's might pair well with Nashor's for a full 40% CD reduction, depending on whether or not you have CD runes, and will add attack speed, AD, movement speed, and armor pen. Boot wise, you can totally pick Ninja Tabs or Merc Treds, however, I wouldn't recommend it early game. You will need some form of early damage compensation before you get Sheen and Zerkers are an economical way of doing this. Obviously you could still buy the Dagger and save it for Zeal, but getting faster movement speed early will really help your harass capability. Anyway, feel free to experiment based on the circumstances.
This is my first build guide so I hope there isn't anything I missed that I should have included. I do appreciate the views and look forward to hearing any feedback! Hope you all enjoy AD Leona!