Leona Build Guide by Otzd
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
Added alternative build for more GP5/AP heavy enemy comp.
A New Champion Approaches: Leona, the Radiant Dawn.
On the upper slopes of Mount Targon, the warriors of Rakkor live and breathe only for war. However, Targon’s peak is reserved for a special group of Rakkor who answer to a “higher” calling. Members of this group, called the Solari, retire their mantles of war, choosing instead to devote their lives to reverence of the sun. According to legend, the Solari were formed by a warrior who could call the raw might of the sun down upon his enemies in combat. He claimed Mount Targon’s summit, the point on Valoran closest to the sun, for his solar devotion, a tradition which generations of Solari have preserved to this day. Though they maintain their reverence, no other warrior possessed the gifts of the founder – until Leona.
Leona’s parents were traditional Rakkor, both bred for the heat of battle. To them, Leona was a problem child. She was capable of fighting as fiercely as any other – including her childhood friend, Pantheon – but she did not share their zeal for killing. She believed that the true worth of a soldier lay in her ability to defend and protect. When it came time for her Rite of Kor, a ceremony in which two Rakkor teens battle to the death for the right to bear a relic-weapon, Leona refused to fight. For this, the Rakkor leaders ordered her execution, but when they tried to strike the fatal blow, sunlight burst forth, bathing Mount Targon in light. As it faded, Leona stood unharmed and her executioners lay unconscious around her. The Solari immediately claimed Leona, demanding that her sentence be repealed. She donned the golden armor of the Solari and they bestowed upon her the sword and shield passed down from the ancient sun-warrior of legend. The Solari helped Leona focus her abilities, and when she was ready she left to join the League of Legends.
“The sun’s rays reach all of Runeterra, so too must the image of its champion.”
Pros / Cons
Short CD, single target stun and snare great for peeling.
Long range, AoE Stun with an 80% slow component.
One of the most durable champions in the game during the first 15 minutes.
Can lock down and interrupt single targets for an extended period of time.
Paired with a strong DD can easily feed a bottom lane partner.
Stuns are a short duration, making it difficult to lock down a single opponent without blowing all of your CD's.
Has some of the lowest damage for a tank in the game.
Cannot farm well without Sunfire Cape.
Passive is somewhat lackluster.
Leona is the long awaited female tank that everyone has been waiting for. Riot has delivered a true tank, one that is excellent in her role as a pure damage soak and disruptive specialist. Leona has at her disposal three separate abilities with CC, all of which are on short cool downs, making it easy to control the fight.
Leona doesn't have the strongest initiation for a tank (consider, say, Amumu, who can bandage in and lock down the entire team). However, what she lacks in initiation she makes up for in pure disruptiveness. Thanks to her short CD's, Leona is the bane of any Champion who uses channels. Furthermore, she is an excellent chaser thanks to Zenith Blade and Solar Flare, and has amazing team fight coverage with the same skills, making her a very effective peeler. As such, I recommend that she be played in this manner, with less focus on attempting to lock down enemies (as she would have to blow all CC's just to lock down one person for a decent period of time) and more emphasis placed on protecting her allies from harm.
This is Leona's short CD melee range stun. With capped CDR, the cool down on this ability can reach roughly 5 seconds, making it a very active stun useful for peeling and interrupting channels or ability dumps.
Leona's defensive steroid, at first rank adding 30 Armor and Magic Resistance scaling to 70 at rank 5. The damage component on this ability isn't massive, but it spreads your passive around to numerous targets offering your team a damage boost, and it is also her most effective means of farming creep waves. Paired with Sunfire Cape, Leona can farm reasonably well with this ability. With max CDR, Leona can have Eclipse active roughly 60% of the time.
This is Leona's gap closer, most akin to Amumu's bandage toss. It has a shorter range, however it will pass through targets (damaging all along the way) and moves Leona to the last Champion struck (minions cannot block Zenith Blade in any form). It has a very short snare component to allow for the animation time, and can be combined with Shield of Daybreak for a good initiation on a single target.
Leona's ultimate is a long range AoE stun and slow. Enemies are stunned for 1.5 seconds if caught in the middle of the blast, while any other enemy is slowed by a massive 80%. This ability can be used fairly effectively as initiation, as well as a chasing ability due to its massive range and slow component. It also has a respectable AoE, spreading your passive to numerous enemies. With CDR, Solar Flare can reach very impressive cool down numbers in the 40-50 second range.
This is Leona's passive. Any target Leona hits with an ability is applied a debuff that, when activated by an allied Champions hit, deals additional magic damage. The mark is consumed after one use. This passive can add a respectable amount of team wide damage, but is by no means any sort of nuke. At the highest ranks, it will deal an additional 100 or so damage taking into account resistances.
For runes I use a pure tank spread, basically the same way I would build Shen.
I use 9x , 9x , 9x , and 3x .
Can be replaced with , however, I prefer Armor as I do not like to rely on RNG for my mitigation. Dodge Chance can potentially give you more effective health, especially against a team heavy in auto attackers.
This set combined with results in roughly 730 health and 50 Armor and Magic resistance at level 1, making you very durable in the early stages of the game.
For masteries I run a 0-21-9 pure tank spread, making sure to take 1 point in Ghost and 1 point in Greed. Greed is chosen because Leona has fairly poor farming and should not be focusing on last hitting during the laning phase since she will be paired with an AP or AD carry, who needs the farm much more than Leona. Furthermore, CDR in masteries is not necessary because depending on build circumstances, at the very worst my build will be netting 35% CDR in items in the event of an AP heavy opposing team (and 40% with a standard build).
I recommend starting with and leveling it as fast as possible, taking one point in and 1 point in on the off levels to give you a full set of abilities for combat in the laning phase. The reason I choose to level first is because you ideally want to cool down on this ability to be as low as possible as fast as possible to give you the most flexibility in group confrontations. It is the most useful skill she has for peeling and for interrupting. Obviously, level up whenever possible, and once is maxed level up to give you more durability in team fights.
Alternatively, I would also recommend starting with in the event that you don't find yourself with a strong DD as your partner, or are getting harassed fairly heavily and your lane is being pushed. The skill offers effective mitigation and it allows you to more easily hold off minion waves from your turret in the event that you are forced to play defensively during the laning phase.
I choose because it is the most effective summoner spell for your roll, and is the most versatile in said roll. can be used to:
Disable a physical DD, ranged or melee.
Reduce the impact of a heavy AP ability like Kat's ult, or Annie's burst if you are unable to interrupt.
Offers an effective chasing method via slow.
Can be used as an additional semi-effective form of peeling via slow.
I choose because of Leona's innate lack of movement speed. Furthermore, in the event that you are in a pinch it is the most effective escape method for Leona as it will cover the most ground. could offer a potential replacement, however it will only out-shine if you are able to wall hop. Leona is a tank, pure and simple. Additional movement speed is all you should need to escape a bad situation due to her large amount of CC. Furthermore, it is not absolutely imperative that Leona avoid as much damage as possible, so you should be pretty good with taking a few hits will fleeing. Furthermore, it is much easier to chase with .
can be substituted for if your team is already carrying two Exhausts or more. This will offer you additional mobility and allow you to be more present across the entire battlefield.
can be used, however as stated above I find it inferior to as an escape/chase mechanic.
can be used to replace in the event that your team already does not have one, but someone is already carrying .
Depending on team comp, you might consider any of these boots. Most commonly I will use simply because the CDR is so crucial for Leona and resistances can be made up through other items. However, if there is a lot or magic and CC, or it there is a lot of physical damage and auto attackers, you might consider one of the other options.
I consider this to be the most important early item for Leona. It offers an effective passive that allows her to farm reasonably well, as well as offering much desired health early game to allow her the most survivability possible during those early moments. At the very least, after your Gold per 5 item is built, I recommend at least buying from this item, as you will eventually be building it and the health bonus it offers is exceptional.
If you need some early magic resistance, your best bet is . It offers a useful passive, a modest HP gain, and a modest MR gain. You will see the most benefit out of this item early on, so it is important to get it out fairly quickly. If you are not being destroyed by magic, then it is probably best to build some health and later to work off of that health pool. It offers more magic resistance, a lot of regeneration, and movement speed which Leona so desperately needs.
Lastly, is an excellent item for Leona. It offers massive armor, additional mana, and 20% CDR, which is a very important stat for Leona. It is generally best to build this after a health item to allow the resistances to work more effectively. Furthermore, you might consider simply building and sitting on it for most of the game for the mana and CDR if Armor isn't extremely necessary. You will also be able to cap CDR with this item in combination with and .
In most cases I will start off Leona with a . This item offers you the most important early game defensive stat (Health), as well as a slight armor increase and HP per 5 to mitigate some of the harass that you are likely to take. In the event of a heavy AP lane composition and opposing team, I might instead opt to take to offer additional survivability versus magic damage which I will later turn into .
Next, I will either build if there is more AD damage on the opposing team or Philosopher's Stone if there is more magic damage. will later be turned into for the armor and active movement and attack speed slow, while Philosopher's Stone will later be turned into Surelya's Reverie which will offer a useful movement speed active as well as more effective mitigation for burst AP via larger health gains. In both cases, these items also offer CDR and their prerequisite items offer you Gold per 5, which is vital to Leona as she will not be making money from creep kills. Generally speaking, I will sit on the Gold per 5 items for a large portion of the game, only turning them into their final items when I have 2 or 3 of my core items already built. I will typically buy after my Gold per 5 item, and turn them into either or after I finish my first item.
After this, your build will vary depending on comp, but early items include and as they offer both health and resistance, and in the early stages you will gain the most effective health from an item high in HP as opposed to an item high in resistance stats.
Following this, continue to build any of the core items mentioned that are not already built, in order depending on team comp ( if heavy on AD and especially auto attackers, or if there is more AP damage going around).
Your last 2 item slots are totally situational depending on team composition, however useful items include.
Grants CDR, regen, health, and a useful movement speed active.
Grants all around resistances and a useful aura especially if there is lots of AD on your team.
All around resistances and a revive if you for whatever reason are getting focused hard (which is a good thing anyways).
Useful aura for your team if AP heavy, grants decent magic resistance and gives you a slight damage increase.
Grants a lot of health, and a lot of regen. Works wonders against teams with a lot of burst AP but minimal sustained damage.
Grants a lot of health, and offers you an additional form of CC in a sustained slow which will also proc off of . This is another item useful for combating burst damage.
This is a luxury item in the event that you are absolutely dominating the game and find yourself with a lot of money all of a sudden. I do not recommend this item in 95% of the game situations you will find yourself in, however on the off chance that you are in such a place that buying this wont destroy your survivability, you can get this to give yourself a noticeable single target damage increase. It also offers other useful stats such as health and movement speed.
In the case of an AD opposing team composition, you will see 40% CDR decrease with 3000~ health and upwards of 200~ resistances, while in the case of a magic opposing comp you will see 35% CDR decrease with a similar health pool and resistances.
Laning and Lane Composition
Leona is in an awkward place when it comes to early game. She is not strong in the lane, and she cannot jungle. This makes her somewhat unviable for competitive play, however she can still do ok for herself and her team.
What Leona likes:
Physical AD carries like Ashe, Caitlyn, or even strong bruisers like Xin Zhao.
Assassins with consistent damage, like Vayne.
Strong AP carries or anti-carries like Akali, Poppy, Brand, or Annie.
Champions with strong CC of their own and respectable damage levels, like Sion.
What Leona does not like:
Heavy pushers with low damage outputs like Mordekaiser or Heimerdinger.
Support champions like Sona, Soraka, or Karma.
Soft AP casters who cannot carry effectively like Orianna or Lux.
Basically, you cannot solo lane as Leona. You cannot jungle, either, so that leaves you with what? You are going to bottom lane with a partner. Here, you have only one goal; feed your partner. Ideally, you would like to be paired with a capable carry such as Ashe or Caitlyn, since their damage outputs will work well with your strong CC (and maybe even CC of their own). You want to try to control the brush for your carry, so that they cannot be jumped on. Additionally, you should be trying to let them get as much last hits as possible, while taking as much of the harass as possible. Around level 3, you will be in a good position to start attempting some take downs. Your combo of , , and offer you decent burst damage, but more importantly almost 2 seconds of lock down for your carry to hit away at. When you get your ult, it becomes pretty easy to start landing some take downs and dominate your lane, turning your partner into an overpowered DD capable of carrying the game for you if supported.
Leona has excellent ganking abilities, and while this will not be your primary roll it is important to keep in mind that she excels in this area thanks to her massive amount of CC. In the event that you dominate your lane (which is quite likely) you will be free to roam and assist in other lanes, and few champions have the tools to escape you and your teammate in the lane if they overextend, even with things like and .
Playing With Your Team
Your roll as Leona will be the tank, and this is obvious. The most effective way I've found playing Leona is as I said in the introduction to act as a peeler. Everything in her kit is designed to make you very effective in this style of tanking. As opposed to Amumu who jumps in, CC's the team, and then just runs around doing damage over time until everyone is dead, Leona best operates by initiating a team fight (hopefully by catching someone out of position), and then protecting her DD's so that they can do their work. The reason for why I advocate this style of play is twofold.
1) Leona has no damage. You will not get anything done by yourself. This means that chasing down a low HP target, or attempting to go in and lock down one target to burst them down leaves your team extremely vulnerable, and you do not have the additional damage to make this an easy task. Especially in the case of chasing a retreating enemy, it is almost always a better idea for you to stick with the rest of your team and keep them safe. If you are off chasing one of them, you leave your team open to the rest of their DD's and they might not have the tools to keep those DD's off of them.
Consider as an example Master Yi, who will typically engage a fight slightly later then it starts in hopes of sweeping your team while avoiding most of the initial damage and CC. If you were to run off chasing a low HP target hoping for the kill, Master Yi will swoop in and wipe your team while you do so.
Leona says it her self, she will protect, and protect is your best option when playing Leona as a pure tank.
That just about concludes my take on the new tank Leona. Following this method I have only lost one game with Leona so far, and you are welcome to track my progress via the PvP.net client. I will update the guide as I see fit if I feel like some of my item choices are less than optimal, as well as attempt to keep up to date with the newest patches.
Thanks for reading, hopefully this will help you get a better understanding of the champion, and best of luck on the field.
Leave comments below and I will try to respond. I will also update the guide with any additional useful information.