Leona Build Guide by ValkyrieSlayer
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.
First back, mid game goals
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.
Hey guys, my name is ValkyrieSlayer, and this is my first MobaFire guide on AP Leona. Before you scroll down and downvote this guide for the obvious reason that Leona is an extremely unconventional AP Mid role, I want to say that Leona is actually a semi-viable mid, and brings extreme amounts of AOE damage, lockdown, and utility to her team. While her AP ratios aren't amazing, the fact that 3 of her 4 skills are AOE and CC based, she can completely decimate squishies, initiate fights with her amazing inherit tankiness and AOE damage, and save teammates with a well placed ult or q-e combo. Believe me, if you take the time to experiment with this build, you will find that AP Leona is an extremely viable pick in specific team comps that synergize with her.
*Added Early/Mid/Late Game guides
*Fixed issues with different runes showing up
*Removed DFG from item build (not viable)
*Added Spirit Visage
Pros / Cons
-Extremely tanky without stacking defensive stats
-Insane CC and utility
-Great sustained damage and AOE damage
-Ganking is amazing, with long range stun, gap close, and lockdown
-So fun to destroy people who underestimate Leona
-Relatively weak early levels (lvl 1-2 are very weak)
-Not great AP ratios, so not a high burst potential
-If you get behind early due to the enemy camping you, very hard to come back
-Passive is literally worthless in lane, only helpful in teamfights
-Teammates generally question or rage at AP Leona in pre-game lobby
-Stupid bug on her Q, needs to get fixed
I might get some flack for these masteries, but lets face it, the .3 AP ratio on Leona's Shield of Daybreak, and the .4 Ratio on Eclipse and Zenith Blade don't really warrant specking much into the offence tree. I have designed these masteries to help benefit her early weakness, that is, her melee auto attack range and her low base damage for last hitting minions. Rather than specking points in scaling AP, I've put those points into Deadliness in order to help her last hitting issues. In addition, by giving Leona that much more AD, the damage that you can pull off with the quick 3 auto attacks gained by the Shield of Daybreak auto attack reset will be far more helpful early than an extra 1 or 2 damage every time you use your entire combo. I've specked heavily in damage mitigation, both with resistances and turret damage reduction in to the 10% less damage from critical strikes with Reinforced Armor , to compliment your role as a close-range face-rolling initiator. Early game, you can dive in with your Eclipse on a low HP lane opponent and make it out without having to trade kills, and the extra 10% damage reduction from Safeguard could mean making it out without blowing Flash. Late game, taking less damage from crits and gaining slightly more Armor and Magic resist from Defender really helps, because you're going to be in the middle of their team. Overall, I'd say that Leona benefits far more from defensive masteries than offensive masteries, but you can experiment with slightly more damage when you're getting hammered by a Katarina or an Ahri if you'd like.
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Pretty standard, save the quints. I take hybrid penetration marks, flat armor seals, and scaling magic resist glyphs. The hybrid penetration is for extra early game damage, armor is for creep aggro damage mitigation, and the magic resist is for more tankiness mid-late game. I take flat AD quints in order to boost last hitting, especially at turret. It is so easy to push against a Leona early, and if you don't have enough damage to last hit a caster minion or a melee minion after 2 tower shots, you will lose out on a lot of cs.
As Leona, your 2 best scaling basic abilities are your W and your E, but Zenith Blade has a much farther range, and has slightly higher base damage than Eclipse. Zenith Blade is your only gap closer, and it puts you in prime position for your W and Q to hit to pull off your entire combo. That being said, you can chose to max W first, or alongside your E, if you are taking a lot of harass from your lane opponent, or if you need a little bit more damage to kill the ranged creeps up at your turret. Always spec your Ultimate, Solar Flare when you can, and leave your Q for last. Although your Q is amazing, as it is an Auto Attack refreshing ability, a stun, and an easy way to proc your Lich Bane, your W's insane defensive stats, and a lower cooldown on your gap closer make leveling your Q a lower priority. Also, the base damage from your Q is not as high as either of the other two abilities, nor is its scaling. In addition, there is currently a bug that will put Shield of Daybreak on cooldown without procking the stun, extra damage, or Lich Bane if the auto attack is canceled mid-animation through pathing or champions who become untargetable for a brief moment ( Master Yi, I'm looking at you....), so it is a far less reliable skill than your other basic abilities.
is extremely helpful, whether in running away from an early jungle gank, flashing into range of your E, or saving a teammate with your Flash + ult combo.
helps finish off low HP opponents early game, and can help reduce the healing of a pesky AD carry as they try to kite you while they're healing back up. Leona really needs ranged damage besides her ultimate early to pick off your lane opponent on low health when they hug their tower.
helps pin down enemy champions who are trying to run from you. Early on, this is a great tool to catch up and stun an enemy before your shield pops and you destroy them. Put together with damage reduction, exhaust is extremely effective early at reducing the enemy's damage and escape potential, maximizing your chance to net a kill without dying.
I almost always start off with Crystalline Flask, the amount of sustain it gives you helps get past Leona's relatively weak early levels, and her AP scaling isn't enough to warrant a Doran's Ring.
Towards mid-game, catalyst the protector is extremely helpful, the combination of catalyst and your early flask will allow you to completely out-sustain your opponent and heal up from ganks once the enemy jungler realizes that AP Leona is actually a threat. Sorcerer's Shoes are optimal, you really don't need Ionian Boots of Lucidity at all if you take blue buff, and you should never have mana issues with your catalyst + flask combo. Mercury's Treads are another option to help your survivability, tenacity is always a nice stat. Sheen is great with Leona's close-quarters kit, and should be prioritized over Rabadon's. Upgrade your Sheen into a Lich Bane, then round out your build with more damage with Rabadon's Deathcap.
At this point, you can chose from the remaining items to flesh out your build. Pick up Zhonya's Hourglass if they're completely focusing you and you need those extra couple of seconds for your W to come back. Void Staff is excellent if they're stacking MR, or if you really want to do some massive AOE damage. Deathfire Grasp really isn't that good after the S3 nerf, but if their AD/AP carries are extremely fed, the extra 20% damage buff along with the 15% max hp burst damage helps take them out quickly. Abyssal Scepter and Sunfire Cape are for more tanky builds, and focus on sustained damage up close and personal.
Early Game (Laning Phase)
Although Leona's first couple levels aren't very strong in mid due to her being melee range and not having much mobility, her power starts to spike around level 4 and 5. Because of this, I start off with crystalline flask, an hp pot, and a ward to keep myself healthy until I know I can start winning trades. Leona's early wave clear is horrendous, it pretty much comes down to last hitting with auto attacks and then retreating behind your minions before you take much harass. At level 3, you want to start looking for trades, first activating your Eclipse and then going in with Zenith Blade, snaring your target as you do so. You then auto attack once, use your Shield of Daybreak for the auto attack reset, and auto once more as your Eclipse pops. At level 3, this means a base damage of 160 with just your abilities, and an extra 218 physical damage from your 3 auto attacks. That totals 378 damage with your level 3 combo, after which you gain a slight bonus armor and magic resist buff that helps you walk away without taking too much creep damage or harass. Repeat this one-two more times, and your lane opponent will be low enough for a kill by level 5 or so. If they go back, push out the wave with your Eclipse and Zenith Blade, then run back to your turret and start picking up the components to your catalyst the protector. If not, try to hit 6 before them by pushing (they should be more wary of you now, and you will be able to zone them), and once you get your ult, use it on them immediately, followed up by your root and stun. The 3 seconds that you will have to kill them will be more than enough, especially with Ignite.
Mid game is where AP Leona really shines. Since your base damage on all your abilities is so high, rushing a ROA won't hurt your damage output as much as a champion such as Annie, who would do far more damage had she rushed, say, a DFG, and it will complement your role as a high damage initiator in teamfights around objectives like dragon. In teamfights, if your team has an initiator such as Jarvan IV or Sejuani, wait for them to initiate before you drop your Solar Flare and Zenith Blade in. If you do this properly, you will hit around 2-3 people with your ult, and be able to follow it up with both your Zenith Blade and Eclipse on all of them. This damage alone is enough to chunk even the tanks on the enemy team, and if you caught the enemy carries in this damage, it won't take much to finish them off with a Shield of Daybreak and ignite. You have to make sure to wait before you use your Solar Flare until the enemy is grouped up, else you will miss out on the majority of your damage output. This being said, you can use your ultimate to save teammates who are fleeing after a bad engagement (usually because they engaged without you), so don't hesitate to do so. The enemy will be so focused on killing the low health target that they will ignore the Leona on them, because they don't expect the damage coming out from AP Leona. Remember, Mid game, especially right after you've completed your Lich Bane is when Leona is at her strongest, so capitalize on the high base damage of her skills to make up for the mediocre scaling.
Late game, Leona starts to fall off compared to other AP mids. By this point in time, hopefully you have already shut out the enemy AP carry so that they cannot outscale you late, but if not, you will struggle to do as much damage in teamfights. That being said, you still have an extreme amount of utility with your kit, and hopefully the enemy will be extremely scared of you by this time, so they will focus their energy on you as opposed to your AD carry. Countless games I have arrived at the late game, and as soon as I went into a fight, the entire enemy team immediately collapsed on me, trying to finish me off before I could inflict massive damage. There are 2 great things to this mindset: 1st of all, they are wasting abilities and ultimates on you that could be better spent on your ADC, especially since you have the extra resistances from your W and Zhonya's, and 2nd of all, when they collapse on you, your entire combo will catch the entirety of their team, especially the melee opponents. Even though you will most likely die in the encounter, you will at least severely cripple the enemy team, and will probably be able to take out their carries. Leona's strength at this phase switches from burst damage to sustained damage and utility, so make sure that you rush into the frontlines and take the aggro off of your team while still doing hefty AOE damage.
Overall, AP Leona is an extremely high-skillcap champion who relies on her Zenith Blade and Solar Flare abilities to lock down a group of enemies, dash to them, and then lock down key targets with her Shield of Daybreak, all the while dealing massive AOE damage to the entire enemy team. There are some issues with Leona right now, mainly the bug on her q and the fact that she can't proc her passive, that are holding her back from competitive play. While I understand that her passive will probably never be changed, I am hoping for a bug fix on her Q to make her more consistent, and therefore more viable both as a support and as a mid laner. AP Leona excels against assassins and high-burst champions who cannot whittle away at Leona due to her high inherent defensive stats, but she falls off when it comes to hard pushers such as Heimerdinger, or sustained AP mids like Morgana. Many people underestimate the damage that Leona can dish out, which allows you to capitalize on their overaggressive or completely passive playstyles. Once you have an early lead, capitalize on it by roaming to bot lane and scoring easy kills for yourself and your teammates. Late game, Leona is a high damage tank who can disrupt, zone, and completely dominate entire teams. I will continue updating this guide to higher aesthetic standards, as well as updates on nerfs/buffs of Leona in the future. Thank you for reading my guide on AP Leona, and may you too have luck with this beast of an AP Mid.
*Coming in the next update: When TO and NOT TO play Leona (Matchups and Team Compositions)