Leona Build Guide by Lyvender
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
Greetings! This guide is currently in a constructive state; I'll be adding things fairly rapidly in the next day or so, now that the guide functionality has been added for Leona.
The thing that separates Leona from most other tanks in my mind is that her kit is extremely streamlined. Nothing goes to waste in these abilities at any time, and as such, she's very dangerous from the very moment she steps on the field. I will teach you how I am currently building her, as well as explain to you why I feel it's so important to do these things. This may be subject to change, depending on how popular she becomes and how that forces Riot to change her, so bear with me.
Pros / Cons
[*] One of very few characters with 3 cc's
[*] When built correctly, is capable of solo'ing any non-sustain (no lifesteal/heal) dps or burst champ
[*] Ability CD's decrease over levels, drastically increasing the frequency of immobilize/stun combos
[*] Eclipse makes insane mitigation possible and combines with nice, timed burst damage
[*] Her gap closer is skill-shot and drags her to the target, like Amumu. While this synergizes well with her other abilities, it also puts her in more danger (as opposed to Blitzcrank's grab)
[*] Especially with this build, she uses A LOT of mana. Her abilities are almost too good to NOT be using them at all times
A Note on Leona's Reputation and Capabilities
I've been hearing varying reports of how Leona's UP and how people are surprised when I've done well with her. I've even received a sort of enlightening comment from a friend recently about how this misconception might have come about.
He said that a lot of Leonas he's played with go extremely defensive, almost unsure of themselves, and end up getting starved out of the lane. This is a critical situation that I am trying to remedy with this guide.
There are two things that this guide recommends as such a remedy: ALWAYS cap CdR, and use your abilities to help you farm instead of simply saving them for initiation. The first will make it far easier to do the second, over time.
CdR is your single most threatening stat - not AP and not AD. What makes you dangerous is not necessarily the fact that all your abilities damage (though that is very nice), but the fact that three of your abilities cc/hinder. THIS IS YOUR NICHE! Your abilities already get a decent reduction in CD from leveling them, and you make them insane by building CdR. Now, I've seen people go full utility or partial offense to get some of this precious stat, but I'll tell you right now that it is a COMPLETE waste when you already have 3 core items with excellent stats that will put you at the 40% cap without any further thought to the matter.
That's also considering the fact that there is no waste when you use these three items, especially when you combine them with the health, regen, and mitigation that you get from going Def/Util. In this build (and, imo, as this character in general), you are a TANK...don't tank without Defensive spec. That's really simple stuff, but it makes a huge difference and I see people still ignoring it.
You still need to farm, however, and that's really hard to do as most tanks. Some people take Sunfire Cape to help with this, but if you've got your abilities down to a 3-6 second cd, as you will easily get at 30-35% CdR, then you should be using them as if you're a character like Yorick. This analogy holds particularly with the similarity between both characters' "Q" ability - both on-hit, and so easily chainable right aver a normal attack for last-hitting. This playstyle will hurt your mana, so try to get either Clarity or help snagging a blue buff. It makes all the difference when you're trying to starve the other team instead of getting starved, yourself.
Greater Mark of Health x9, Greater Seal of Evasion x9, Greater Glyph of Magic Resist x9, Greater Quintessence of Health x3
The extra health is essential for your early game, as you already get a very nice amount of armor and magic resist from Eclipse. The dodge synergizes well with your dodge talent and Ninja Tabi, which you will pick for boots most of the time. The MR works well to thwart early game burst from AP characters.
Your first two abilities will be Shield of Daybreak, then Zenith Blade. These will allow you to cc well enough to allow your dps partner to grab a kill in the first 2-3 levels. Eclipse comes in third, as your opponents get their kits together and start doing more damage. Solar Flare, of course, will come in at 6th level.
You will start Eclipse just before you initiate. By the time you actually land Zenith Blade, it will detonate, and then you stun with Shield of Daybreak. As that lands, you will place Solar Flare so that they are just inside its range. Typically, they will try to retreat after an almost 3-second string of cc, so put the center just behind them unless you've observed them to more likely stay in the fight. Time it so that they get maybe two steps before Solar Flare strikes. As there is a very small charge time, take that into account, as well.
I'm currently running Flash/ Clarity. Flash is really nice early game to help you get more Shield of Daybreak off when your Zenith Blade is on cooldown and they're trying to get away. Later on, it comes in handy to escape the fray when you're getting low.
I play a lot of characters who benefit from CdR, which means I use a lot of mana. Thus, I really enjoy running with Clarity. Beyond that, it gives you extra utility for your team; my lane partner and I have been low mana so many times just to grab a kill because of a quick mana-juke with Clarity.
You can grab other spells, such as Ghost or Teleport, to help with mobility. You can also increase your team's chance of early kills with Ignite or Exhaust. If you do either of the three of these that have first-tier talents, you might want to move a point into that talent from one of your utility points. I see all of these options as substandard, but everyone has a different playstyle.
I'm running 0/24/6 avoiding Ardor and picking up as much damage mitigation as possible. Why is that? Your early game shines when minions are doing as little damage to you as possible because YOU are tanking right from the start.
You will initiate and stun, and their minions will hate you for it, but you will be taking vastly reduced damage and your partner will be taking none. Ardor would increase your AP, if your coefficients weren't so ****py that they inhibit the proper effect of any significant AP stack. Even stacking Rod of Ages and Rylai's Crystal Scepter will only net you 7.2 AP from this talent, and most of your magical damage (which would slow from Rylai's) already has a comparable or better cc attached to it, further reducing the effectiveness of such a build.
We will focus on three things chiefly: Armor, Magic Resist, and CdR. Beyond that, we will worry about health regen and HP. Leona's Eclipse lends well to Armor/MR stacking up to a certain point (through the laning phase is a safe bet, for now, until I can give you more specifics).
Beginning and Core
Start with Doran's Shield for an all-around boost in your survivability. Play smart and throw those stuns and immobilizes when your partner is relatively near you, and you'll easily force them to b if they have flash or their lane comp has an early cc. You'll kill them otherwise, most of the time. Progress to Glacial Shroud if you're not having trouble with them getting away (if your partner has enough early burst). Otherwise, go ahead and build Ninja Tabi. Once you've gotten those two items, build Kindlegem and assess the situation.
Are they AP heavy or is their AP carry doing well? Then work on Force of Nature. If not, it might behoove you to finish out your Frozen Heart and Shurelya's Reverie (which gives you a nice active to help with landing your Shield of Daybreak) and then re-assess. You'll probably end up getting it at some point, either way.
Your end-game goals are Randuin's Omen and Warmog's Armor. This will finish out your CdR, provide you another nice active, maximize your hp regen synergy, and make you beefy as hell. From here on out, it is pure profit. It's been mentioned that some don't like the thought of Warmog's in the last spot, or want to continue building mitigation. In that case, Banshee's Veil or Guardian Angel are both very good choices, not in small part due to their passives. Banshee's will block that cc that keeps you from chaining yours, and GA will allow you to tank just a little longer or possibly escape.
I cannot stress this enough: spam the hell out of those abilities...they are worth EVERY point of mana. You will get your Eclipse down to 100% uptime with this build, your Solar Flare will be up every ~40 seconds, and your gap close->immobilize->stun combo will happen a matter of every 3-4 seconds.
That is the definition of ridiculous, my friends. Your party will have no choice but to love you for all that impenetrable cc goodness, and your damage will not be negligible, either. I would place Leona's damage near the top of the tanks, if not the best. So enjoy, and please rate/comment when you get the chance!
As an addendum, I don't mind downvotes, but please don't downvote ANY guide because you would change 1 spell or a couple items; it's hasty and unnecessary. Mention what you would change and we, the writers, will respond and fix it if we feel it's necessary. Thanks for your time!
The first wave of changes and comments are sweeping in, but I'm done for now. I'm going to get some sleep, and I'll check back in the morning. Thanks for all your feedback! : 7/16
Build is live! : 7/15