Leona Build Guide by RiftborneOP
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.
Leona Jungle - The Tank
Final Item Choices
My preferred final build versus AD
My preferred final build versus AP
My preferred final build while behind
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.
My Main Woman, Leona - The Light that Carries Me
LEONA - THE RADIANT DAWN
SO why would ANYONE play that many games on a single champion?
Because she fits my style.
I have over 500 games on 4 different champions.
Akali, Quinn, Leona, and Thresh
But this one's about Leona! I'll probably write the other 3 guides sometime soon. This one is gonna take some time to complete. So... What's so great about Leona?
She's a CC machine that's nearly impossible to take down. She can bait and tank a team of 5 champions, pulling them into an ideal location as the team closes in, and when the time comes, she can lock them all up at once. All the while amplifying her team's damage and having the availability to get to any spot in the fight in the blink of an eye and lay down crowd control for days and days and days...
Leona governs the entire flow of every fight in the game. Leona decides when teamfights happen by disengaging the ones she doesn't want and engaging the ones she does want. Nobody is going to decide when fights happen other than Leona if Leona is in a game.
She's absolutely amazing at keeping control of a game and with the new season jungle changes, she can even do it from the jungle, effectively adding an additional tank, an additional means of engagement, and an additional Sightstone to your team.
She brings more to a game than nearly any other available champion, in my opinion.
Wave clear (more than most tanky supports, at least)
Anti-Duo ADC Comp
Viable Sightstone Jungler
Sunlight is Leona's passive. All of your abilities apply a glow to any target struck. If an ally strikes that target, the target is dealt additional magic damage.
Shield of Daybreak is Leona's Q-based skill. It is a low-cooldown stun which modifies and resets your next auto attack and applies Sunlight. A handy thing to remember is that any ward can be destroyed before it vanishes by auto attacking it, bashing it with your Shield of Daybreak, and auto attacking it again. Always remember that if you're in range for a Q, you're in range for an auto attack. Your AA -> Q -> AA combo is something you need to perfect as a Leona player, and is one of those things that separates a good Leona from a bad one.
Eclipse is Leona's W-based skill. It causes her to be enveloped in a glow which amplifies her damage mitigation. It then explodes, dealing magic damage and applying Sunlight in a large area. It then persists as a damage soak for a while longer. This is a skill that you should use defensively, not offensively. Yet another one of those things that separates a good Leona player from a bad one. You're much better off soaking damage and baiting towards your team than you are if you try and kill something by yourself. Once you find your team.... Turn and burn, baby.
Zenith Blade is Leona's E-based skill. It is a mid-ranged gap closer which applies Sunlight, moves Leona to the LAST CHAMPION HIT, roots the target, and deals magic damage. Did you know that this skill is a form of hard CC? Many players don't. It doesn't just move you to the enemy, it roots them for about a second. Sometimes that's exactly what one of your allies needs to get a kill, or exactly what your carry needs to narrowly escape. Remembering that this is a form of hard CC will help you become a better Leona player. Additionally, remembering that it moves you to the last champion struck is important. Just because you have a tank in your face doesn't mean you can't get to a carry.
Solar Flare is Leona's R-based skill and her ultimate ability, not available before level 6. Leona calls down a thick pillar of light which slams into the ground after a short delay, stunning any enemies caught in the center and drastically slowing others caught in an area of proximity. All enemies struck are afflicted with Sunlight. This is your ace in the hole. This is how you start a teamfight correctly. If your favorite champion didn't know how (they don't.), Leona would be happy to show them.
The best part about Solar Flare is one simple thing - Bullet Time. No other champion in the game offers the phenomenon of bullet time. Thresh just about pulls it off, but the problem is that the entire enemy team has to walk through his ultimate for it to work the same. Leona's comes out of nowhere.
When a champion locks up an entire team with a stun (such as Sejuani or Malphite), it robs you of watching them act. You can't really determine what they're planning to do in a teamfight because they aren't moving.
However, when the entire team is massively slowed, you can see which way everyone is headed. you can sort of see the formation they're trying to follow and determine an intention.
It gives your team time to position. It gives your team time to think about who they want to focus. It gives your team time to notice that they're in range of a threat and MOVE. It gives you time to find your way to a priority target and lock them down. It gives you time to get to your carry if they're in immediate danger. Your team stays the same speed, the enemy team is entirely dragged down in reaction time.
You can't possibly ask for a better engage except for maybe off of Malphite or Vi, but Malphite doesn't amplify his team's damage and Vi doesn't affect an entire team.
If you want to be creative in your League of Legends experience and you were wondering about viability, the answer is yes. Leona can jungle.
She's not on any Tier Lists that I know of at the moment because she's really not considered a jungler, but if I had to place her in a Tier, I'd place her in Tier 1. She's certainly not God Tier, but she's super viable.
Leona is a Utility Tank Jungler. She falls in league with champions like Maokai and Nunu. She buys a Sightstone and provides direct support in fights rather than ambushing and killing oblivious stragglers. Since there's not much potential for true hard ganks, she makes up for this by bringing additional vision to the map to avoid the enemy jungler gaining overwhelming pressure or snowballing lanes.
basically, follow the mentality of "If I'm not ganking, neither are you."
If the enemy jungler does manage to find their way to a lane, peel them off of your laner rather than trying for a kill. Deny the gank. Try to do so before the enemy beats a flash out of your laner.
If an enemy lane is playing hyper aggressive, lock them up for your laners to secure the kill.
Just remember that you should never be entering a lane with the intention of ambushing and 100-to-zeroing the enemy by yourself. It just isn't ever going to happen.
However, I believe this is one of the BEST aspects of Leona jungle. Most popular junglers out there right now, in the hands of newer players, visit each lane and rack up a ton of kills they could have handed off to the lane. The jungler gets fed and tries to carry, but he can't because the rest of his team was starved of kills. Rather than snowball your team, you snowball yourself. Generally ONE snowball isn't enough to close out a game.
This is why I believe I have such a high success rate with Leona jungle. I get my lanes fed, rather than myself. I provide heaps of vision, which prevents the enemy jungler from snowballing their lanes as hard as I'm able to snowball my own. Later on in fights, my focus switches to reaping the fruits of my labor and keeping my snowballed carries alive longer than what would seem natural.
The carry potential of late-game Leona jungle is massive - and all you have to do is engage and peel.
Stages of the game
You mostly want to be farming. Try to keep even in levels with the average of your team - You aren't really expected to do many early ganks, so don't feel too terrible getting some serious farm under your belt. You can't really gank at all until level 4 at the earliest. (If you take your entire kit at levels 1, 2, and 3 - you're going to have a hard time clearing. Do not take Zenith Blade until level 4.)
Ideally, you want to start on your duo lane's side at gromp. However, starting with gromp is way more important than starting on your duo side, so if gromp is on your solo side, do it anyway and just make sure you ward the river for a potential invade.
You want to go Gromp-> Blue-> Red-> Golems-> Back. Smite the ones in green. Smite immediately to acquire the bonus as early as possible.
Keep in mind that each camp does something different when the largest of the monsters in the camp is struck with smite.
Gromp - Damages monsters which attack you
Wolves - Reveals enemies in the wolf side of your jungle
Raptors - Reveals and allows you to destroy ONE enemy ward
Blue - Restores a large portion of mana
Red - Restores a large portion of health
Golems - Gives you an on-hit stun which procs periodically
After recalling and purchasing Ranger's Trailblazer, you'll want to go:
Wolves-> Gromp-> Raptors-> Scuttle-> Scuttle-> Wolves-> Raptors-> Golems
Scuttles are worth a lot of gold and experience and provide an excellent free source of vision that doesn't use up any of your ward cap (3 wards). Additionally, any time you smite the wolf camp, you gain vision in that area of the jungle for a period of time. Smiting the enemy's wolf camp is an excellent practice to get into.
Smiting the enemy's raptor camp will allow you to clear (and replace) any wards they have in that quadrant of the jungle.
In my opinion, once you get some items together, the very best camps to smite are the wolf and raptor camps for the sake of vision control.
To me, the mid game starts as soon as somebody on the map hits level 11. As soon as a team has a level 2 ultimate to work with, they should be looking for a fight as soon as possible. Generally this is when people start crossing over into other lanes.
You should have your Sightstone and your Greater Vision Totem by this time. Vision becomes critically important. It is best if you worry about one half of the map and your support worries about the other. Being clear in your communication of this to your support is paramount.
You should pack up with your team as soon as you accomplish some vision control and help them look for engagements. Be sure to keep eyes on dragon AT ALL TIMES. Even if the pit is down, if the enemy goes to check it you'll know where they are and can rotate accordingly. Vision at dragon pit at any period in time around when it would spawn is never ever wasted.
Pay extra close attention to your carries and the type of trouble they're getting themselves into. If you need to get to them, can you do it in time?
If the answer is yes, make sure that you're also still being productive and not just following a carry around aimlessly.
If the answer is no, make sure that what you're doing is worth being away from them.
If there's no action going on, keep updating your wards and farming whenever you have downtime. If you see a tower getting pushed by minions, go clear it.
Keep the topside scuttle dead or keep a ward on baron at all times. Try to move all of your wards into aggressive territory and move your team off of your side of the map. You want to live in the enemy jungle for the end game if you're ahead or even if you're tied. With 2 sightstones on your team, there isn't much reason not to.
Keep your lanes pushed out and keep your team on the high ground.
If you're behind, you need to focus on escorting your carries around while they farm and securing objectives. You become a babysitter until your carries can catch up. Your job is to prevent ambushes, break sieges, and catch everyone up. Applying Sunlight to minion waves causes faster wave clear (and therefore more gold) in the late game, so sunlight the piss out of everything until your carries get fat.
Zone enemy carries out of engages. looks like they're preparing to dive or go all-in, even if you can't stop it you can at least keep the enemy carries from getting the ground they're looking to stand on. This could potentially keep YOUR carries alive or even flip the fight.
If you need to steal a buff at any point in time, activate Eclipse, use Zenith Blade to get over the wall if you can land it on a champion, use Solar Flare to stop the majority of the enemy team from collapsing on you. Wait for the buff to get ALMOST low enough to smite, and use Shield of Daybreak on the enemy jungler, and then smite the buff. This cancels any chance of a smite fight. Flash back out of the pit and run for the hills. Write Riot games about how everyone should have a Thresh lantern.
If that entire process takes any longer than 3 seconds, you're taking too long to do it and you should have waited longer to enter the pit.
Stages of the game
Your job is to zone the enemy off of the farm completely. If you can't do it, you're not being ballsy enough. If you're ever going to be successful with Leona as a support, you need to unzip, pull it out, and just slap that bad boy right up onto the table for all to see. Just *whomp* there it is, right there on the table for ya.
Leona is NOT a passive support. She is NOT a "passively protect the carry" support. She is a "Get in there and wreak havoc and apply sunlight to ALL the things" support. She's all about getting in, blowing her entire load, tanking until the allied ADC is done blowing their load, and walking out like you just got a porn star to beg you for the D.
Leona is about making the enemy team know that if they get into range, they aren't going to get poked. They're going to eat EVERYTHING and they're going to LIKE IT. And we're not going to call.
Now... Occasionally the enemy team is going to have a player that's wise to Leona's shenanigans and kite the hell out of you and poke you down so you can't be an in-your-face 24/7 threat. This is what is known as "Someone who has played Leona before". It makes the lane a little more difficult.
In this scenario, the answer is very very simple.
Still do absolutely EVERYTHING mentioned above... Just wait until after level 6 and a few items to do it. Until then, apply sunlight to everything and hit 6 as quick as possible. Get all your relic charges. Try and keep the enemy off of your carry and try to cause them to be unable to find a place to "settle".
Leona is great at that - Do you have any idea how much harder it is to farm when you have to reposition constantly? It becomes kind of a dance. Just look at your minions, see which one is about to die, and pretty much stand on it. Don't stand on it until it is about to die. You basically want to pretend you're last-hitting minions with your feet.
The enemy has a choice to make - Stop for just a moment to kill the minion and probably catch a zenith blade to the face while your auto attack resets
Or poke Leona and miss the minion.
Keep wards on any path that the jungler could potentially ambush you from. If the jungler has a gapclose or a good block like Pantheon, this occasionally includes the bush on the wrong side of your outer turret, as well as bottom tri-bush.
I've always believed that the midgame, as mentioned in the jungle guide, starts as soon as somebody hits level 11.
Basically keep an eye on dragon at all times, try and ward the enemy's red or blue bushes, depending on which side of the map your team is active on, as these bushes reveal 5 paths at once. When in doubt, ward the entrances/exits to the enemy jungle and just outside dragon or baron pit. Keep your carry safe. Ping anything you see on the minimap that you think somebody might want to know.
Just about identical to what your late game would be as a jungler (described above)
Let me know if you guys think I should copy/paste it again down here or just continue to refer people to the other section, yeah?
Matchups in Lane (opponents)
5 is the hardest to play against, 1 is basically food.
5 Alistar - By far the hardest matchup. He cancels everything you can do. There's not a damned thing you can do about it. He's tankier than you, he can kick you off of his carry, he out-damages you, he out-sustains you, and he can put you wherever he wants you. If Alistar is already showing on the champ select screen, just forget playing Leona altogether. The only way you're going to beat him is if you have Kalista's passive to help you take him down. Even then, it's a hell of a long shot.
5 Sona - Sustain sucks to deal with when you aren't really bringing any. Your best bet is to delete Sona a few times early, considering she's got the lowest base health value in the entire game. Zoning her isn't going to be super effective because she doesn't have to be very close to her carry to heal them and it's not on a very high cooldown. Sona is just a beast in general. There's a reason she's always at the top of the tier lists. Also, once you lock up an entire team in the late game, she can just turn around and do the same back to you.
5 Nami - Sustain sucks to deal with to begin with. Now it's mixed with heavy poke and hard CC. Additionally, she can stop your combo with a well-timed bubble. Later on in the game, she's pretty much the only support in the game that's got more peel ability than you do. As with most healers, try and zone her out or kill her so that her carry goes down easier. Her ultimate makes it VERY hard for you to get to where you need to go in order to peel for your team. Nami is a pain in the neck.
4 Soraka - Leona hates healers in general. Soraka is a bit easier to manage though because you make one of her spells (her E, the silence pool) completely useless. A good Soraka is gonna try and put it under you the moment you engage, because that's what Soraka does. The issue with that is that by the time she casts it, everything you need to do has already been done. Your shield is ticking and ready to pop, the carry is stunned and marked with Sunlight, and you just need to wait out the root and walk away. The only thing you need to remember is not to engage while you're low, because it might take a moment to get back out of that engage if she roots you and you might eat some good damage. She's also plenty squishy.
4 Taric - Your engages won't be worth as much since Taric grants passive armor and can heal... so its going to take more work to accomplish the same results. More annoying than anything else, really. He's not a huge problem, but you definitely need to respect what he brings to the lane or you're going to regret it. If you go 100% hard 100% of the lane phase against a Taric, the Taric and his Carry will probably come out on top. You need to be strategic and think about your plays. Try and engage when you know Taric's stun is going to come from max range and deal minimal damage - And you'll be able to walk away before getting shattered. The closer Taric is to where your engage is going to land, the more dangerous the engage is. A good Taric versus a Leona will basically ride on his carry's head (follow nearly on top of the ADC's sprite)
4 Braum - Braum is ridiculously hard to get past. That's kind of his thing. Leona, by nature, needs to get past him to be effective. Additionally, you're probably going to eat a ton of damage every time you engage. Not to mention that he can heavily boost the mitigation of his carry to win a trade. The reason Braum is a 4 rather than a 5 is that a lot of people will blow their abilities for absolutely no reason if you can fake them out hard enough, and that Braum's shield won't ever stop you from gapclosing. If you can get him to burn his defensive skills before dropping your ultimate, you can get past the mustache. Trust me.
3 ] Leona - Yes. The mirror match. It does happen in Teambuilder and in Blind, so I don't see a reason not to list it here. Believe it or not, Leona doesn't have a super hard time against herself. You want to basically stand on your carry's head and ride around, but hang slightly behind them. When you see Leona throw a zenith blade, start stepping backwards. This should pull Leona past your carry (zenith gapcloses to the last champion hit. You ideally want that to be you.) and out of range of hitting your carry with Shield of Daybreak, which you can then answer with your own. This also places Leona between you and your carry, and your carry between Leona and her escape route, which is a hell of a bad place to be.
3 Thresh - Thresh is another one that's a huge pain in the rump. But the good part is that he's not that hard to beat because his kit makes him inherently predictable. Tell your carry to stay completely buried in minions to minimize hooks. You should do the same. Don't engage on anything until thresh does, because thresh excels in turning enemy engages into his own favor. That's basically what he's built to do. So let him do all the engaging if possible. Once thresh lands a hook, you want to wait for him to gapclose to it and then basically zenith blade your own carry. If you time it right, thresh won't get flay OR the box off before your carry can escape. Now... You're probably going to get flayed and boxed. The good news is that if you just stay put and thresh doesn't quite flay you correctly (pretty common for thresh to slightly miss that flay, actually), you shouldn't hit any of the walls. From here in your new house made out of thresh box, you can still ult the enemy's ADC to your heart's content, walk over, and introduce your shield of daybreak to their facial region. That, my friends, is a freed up ADC and a counter-engage... which is how you beat thresh. Make him burn everything on YOU and then win the essentially 2v1 re-engage.
2 Blitzcrank - See: Thresh. The only difference is that your carry is going to the enemy team, the enemy isn't coming to you. So try to keep yourself in range to zenith onto blitz and prevent that knockup/ult combo. I recommend activating shield of daybreak and eclipse before you gapclose so he can't silence it out.
Matchups in Lane (Allies)
Leona prefers to be by the side of a carry that has a way to capitalize on an engage and unload damage and then escape once her crowd control wears off. She also does well with champions that synergyze with her passive.
The best ADCs to play with Leona would be champions like Graves, Sivir, and Kalista
The worst ADCs to play with Leona would be Ezreal, Kog'Maw, and Caitlyn
Rated in difficulty from 1 to 5, 5 being the hardest to support.
5 Urgot - It's Urgot. What the hell did you expect? Play him top lane like normal people do.
5 Caitlyn - She's too safe to play well with an aggressive support. She doesn't really have the hard all-in potential that Leona relies on.
5 Tristana - She relies on damage over time and somewhat slow to begin with auto attacks. Tristana's early game is weak, which doesn't bode well for early engages.
5 Ezreal - Ezreal is a bit of a passive farmer. He doesn't have a super strong early game, which makes early engages difficult.
5 Kog'Maw - Koggles is a pain in the *** to support for, I don't care who you're playing. He's mana hungry, he's squishy as all getout, and people are always tempted to just die to try and score a kill with his passive. As a support main, I motion to completely remove Kog'Maw from the game. I'm not above dodging a game if Kog'Maw is my ADC... I just hate it that much. Once he's level 6, his damage outranges everything you can do, so he tends to scare people off before you can even engage unless you burn your ultimate.
4 Miss Fortune - If Miss Fortune gets hit during an engage, she loses her movement speed passive. She's really squishy, so this usually means death, or at least a lot of free famage.
4 Vayne - Vayne is great with Leona because Leona opens the enemy up pretty wide for Vayne to get all 3 auto attacks off for silver bolts. However, Vayne somewhat relies on free farming through the early game. Her kill potential comes later. This doesn't work well when Leona's main source of income is assists. (Go for them Silversun Pickups)
3 Varus - Varus and Leona is a classic lane known as "Sunblight". Blight and Sunlight stack amazingly together. This should make for some pretty easy early kills, which is great for Leona. The only problem is that until level 6, Varus is astoundingly easy to gank.
3 Ashe - Ashe has a somewhat weak early game, but the moment Leona and Ashe hit level 6, you immediately have 2 hard engages in one lane, which is insanely powerful and threatening.
3 Twitch - (Sun Poisoning) - Twitch already does amazing damage due to his poison/stack-based kit, and Leona just exascerbates it. The problem is that if Twitch gets engaged on and he has no mana, he's probably going to die.
2 Lucian - Lucian used to be one of the absolute best lane partners for Leona, but he's been nerfed to hell within recent memory. He's a 2 because he's just not that great of an ADC at the moment. Other than that, he does everything Leona needs an ADC to do. A good Leona/Lucian (Black Hole Sun) is a devastating lane.
2 Jinx - Jinx would be a better match for Leona if she had more burst available. Other than that, she's got everything it takes to get fat at the Leona Café
2 Draven - (Leoooooona) Draven would be a 1 except for the fact that he has to catch his stupid axes. This puts people out of position once they start paying too much attention to catching their axes and an early dead draven is a draven who probably isn't going to come back. But if he's successful, he functions at the same level as all the other 1's
1 Quinn - Quinn's passive works incredibly well with Leona's passive. Additionally, once Quinn hits level 6 you've got one of the most dangerous engage combinations in the entire game (bottom lane wise). It's almost an absolutely guaranteed kill. Quinn has the ability to disengage just about anything with her E and this makes Leona very happy. Quinn's blind makes Leona's engages a lot less risky.
1 Sivir - Sivir is basically Leona's sidekick. This shows even moreso in the late game. When you engage a team fight, she gets the team on top of it. When you engage a trade in lane, she can burst out with her Q and even land some, if not all, of the attacks from her W. If she gets jumped on, she can spellshield. Her kit compliments yours so amazingly that I'd venture to say that Sivir/Leona is an automatically won lane. The problem (Why I don't rank her the same as Graves) is that in the late game, Graves can dish out FAR more damage than Sivir can, and Graves tends to survive better in lane due to his passive.
1 Graves - Graves is Leona's best friend in the world. He's tanky enough to be right in the face of the enemy with you, he's got great burst to capitalize on an engage, and he's got a gapclose to get into range. Leona/Graves, in my opinion, is possibly the best bottom lane combination in the entire game.
1 Kalista - Kalista is just like graves. Tons of burst, tons of potential to capitalize on engages, tons of mobility, and on top of all that - She can throw you into position to engage or pull you out of a sticky situation. She also causes you to deal extra damage with Shield of Daybreak with her passive, which makes engages go just that much better. The only downside is that she's fabulously squishtacular.