Leona Build Guide by NejinOniwa
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.
Once upon a time, there was a man who played nothing but mages all the time. And when he finally got fed up with that, he was in a bad position - he was playing a tank champion, but didn't have the slightest idea of how to do it, or any runes to use.
A few reads on Mobafire, some practice and some cashing in runes later, we are here with this guide. The fact that I am confident enough in it to post it even before I've completed all the runes and stuff says a bit about how much I love it, and how well it works.
In summary, the basics of this build is such - buy gold per 10 items, boots and a Warmog's. It sounds stupid, but the good thing about ALL those gold per 10 items (kage's too, even though i don't use that) is that what they build into are items with spammable active skills. Watch and delight in the enemy team's rage after you for the Nth time get your team away with those aoe speed boosts and slows out of nowhere - it feelsgoodman.
Runes are pretty simple here, but if you like other ways to go about it then feel free. I've mostly taken other builds' runes and added up some things I felt fitted in well with the item build and such. EDIT: I have now tried it out with the Gold/10 quints as well, and it really synergizes well with the build - feel free to use them.
But basically, the dodge and MR runes are most important; for Marks I actually still use my MP runes since I haven't gotten around to buying crit runes yet.
I usually go quite simply here - Fortify and Flash.
Ghost might be a viable option too since it has the mastery slot available, and if you feel like it you could replace Fortify with something else, like Ignite or Cleanse or something - but you'll be wanting things to enhance your tankability and CC powers, since that's what Leona is for.
For masteries, I think the build outlined is what to go for. If you want summoner spells like ghost or cleanse, feel free to swap them out; otherwise, dodge, Greed and all that schwag is what you want to grab. Simple stuff.
A note - this is what I usually go for, since I usually lane. If you solo, that's another thing - but since I very seldom solo, I won't vouch for how well this build works for that. Solo players generally start with Eclipse - here, we want to go for FB, so we take Shield of Daybreak and its stun first. After this we want to wait until level 3 to grab Eclipse and go for Zenith Blade on level 2, so we can do some early harassing. You won't be maxing anything as quick as possible, rather going for a balanced skillset so you can keep your cooldowns on all of them as low as possible. You want enemies to fear your Jump-Stun-Bang combo like nothing else, and if you balance your cooldowns you can be sure to have it available to punish whenever someone gets caught out of place; also, having lower cd on Zenith Blade is crucial when chasing down enemies, since you usually initiate with it and thus need that cd to be low when people start running away.
After you grab rank 2 in Zenith Blade you can leave that alone for a while and focus on the rest, but don't leave it hanging without putting a single point in it for too long - balance is the key to making this build work.
Team Setup and Laning Partners
Let me get this straight for you all - in my experience, Leona has a man she is Best Lane Friends Forever with. Xin Zhao is his name, and I have raped and ravaged so many people with him by my side (especially in early game) that it's not even funny. So if you play Leona, no matter what build but especially with this one, try to have someone play Xin Zhao as well.
Moreover, Leona synergizes amazingly with just about anything that has a good stun or other disable. Ashe, Jarvan, Sona, Brand, Annie, Lux (of special mention due to her similar passive) and not to mention her kinsman Pantheon - all of them are excellent combinations with her. When building a team around Leona, try to get as many stuns and disables around the team. It makes for winnage in large amounts.
Items, Combat and Tactics
Here comes the magic of this build.
EARLY GAME PHASE
You'll want to start off buying a Regrowth Pendant and a Health Potion. This'll give you good sustainability in early laning phase. Once you have about 1500 gold or so, you will have enough to complete the first phase of your build - a Philosopher's Stone, a Heart of Gold, and a pair of boots. Usually I finish the boots to Mercury's Treads straight after, too. Once your treads are finished, complete your golddigger build with an Avarice Blade.
Let me start by stating this - Leona LOVES the brush. The lane brush, the mid brush, the jungle brush - anywhere she can stand and wait for anything to pass by so she can jump it with Zenith Blade is awesome sauce for our shiny little tank. When I lane, I quite frankly very often hang out in the brush until well long after my laning partner has gone out to farm - it's always annoying for the other team when they kinda know the enemy is there but can't see them, and if they for a second forgets themselves, you will be able to capitalize on that with great success.
Start harassing as early as possible. With the stun on Shield of Daybreak and Zenith Blade, you can do this amazingly well as early as level 2 - the shield on level 3 only brings it up a notch, and if you have a good laning partner with a similar initiate/stun combo (like Xin!) you might very well be able to grab a pair of kills very early on. I've been up to like, 5 lane kills total before I even reached level 6, so that speaks for itself.
Once you get your ulti Solar Flare, you have a second initiation ability. Solar Flare is an amazing skill when used properly - it can save teammates running from certain death, turn the tables of a teamfight, and most importantly with this build, snipe and stun from a very long range so you can get in to initiate and chain stuns with SoDb and ZB. Early on, doing this in unison with your lane partner is almost certain to net you a kill. Sneak up, pop ult, run or flash up (if there's a wall in the way or so), use W+Q+E combo and kill the **** out of your foes. Also mind if you have Fortify, that it's a VERY useful tool for early frags - and with your ult and q, you can easily keep foes in range of the tower long enough for them to take a hideous amount of damage or die.
Be careful not to overpush, however - while tempting, this won't let you net as many kills as you can otherwise, unless you can actually bring the tower down early. However, give or take a few successful ganks or lane fights you will be able to do this soon enough anyway, so my advice is to let the other team push a bit and focus on kills rather than towers.
MID GAME PHASE
Once I've finished my gold items, I usually go for Warmog's Armor first; after this I go for Force of Nature. Sometimes I take FoN first, if I need the magic resist or the enemy team is too weak to threaten my HP too badly - your call.
Once you have FoN you will have a lot of mobility on the map - this only increases once you complete your build with active speedboosts and whatnot, but we'll get to that. This gives you the ability to move around and look for ganks around your carries and mages; anything that has good burst damage can usually mow down most targets with Leona's help, and with all the CC you're carrying around there are very few who will actually take the stand and help their teammate if caught off guard in a 2v2 or 3v2 gank. You may also take the opportunity to jungle a bit, since with your crit from Avarice Blade you can solo for buffs and gold quite easily.
For combat you should be following roughly the same pattern as early game, except that you can actually tank properly and soak damage as **** once you have Warmog's, even more so with FoN. If you're feeling ballsy, tank towers for your team carries - they'll usually go down pretty fast, and with your shield you'll be able to shrug most of the damage off pretty easily.
LATE GAME PHASE
This part of the game is where you really shine (ha, Leona, shine, get it? Ha, ha.). Once you have the gold, start building your golddigger items to their final forms; I normally go Youmu's Ghostblade first and then Randuin's Omen, taking Shurelia's Reverie last. If you feel you don't need the extra speed boost or so, you can swap it out for something else - but since it is an AOE speed boost and a good CDR, I find it very useful.
When your build is finished, your combo should be like this:
Activate Eclipse and Shield of Daybreak before initiating with Zenith Blade. Once in combat activate Randuin's; if your team is winning, use Youmu's as well so you can chase down enemies better. If enemies are getting away, use Solar Flare on them to slow/stun them so your carries can take them down. If things are screwing up, get to your team and use Shurelia's for a quick getaway and pop your ulti if needed. With 3 extra speed control skills aside from your normal excellent CC powers, you will actually be able to function as a kind of support for your team - and if you have a tanky partner Xin who also has one or two of these items, you will be practically unstoppable.
Late game strategy is the usual shred of defending towers, attacking towers, tanking towers for your carries, winning teamfights, getting baron, et cetera. Late game you are the tank true and blue, and you stay in the middle of your team or at the front of it. You use your support item skills to the benefit of your team, and you help your carries get the most out of their damage output - while making sure enemy carries can't get anything in the air worth **** with all your cc.
Take a few trusty friends, grab a bunch of STUNNING champions, and blow across the field of justice at the speed of light. Success is of course never guaranteed, but with this guide you can at least blame the crazy viking who made it when you lose. Or, if luck and skill is with you - party hard and say a prayer to the ol' Allfather for your victory.