Leona Build Guide by ChefoSLR

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League of Legends Build Guide Author ChefoSLR

Leona - Light&Might (Updated)

ChefoSLR Last updated on July 28, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Greetings, fans of Leona!

In this guide I hope to shed a little light on the latest addition to the League of Legends.

A special thanks to Searz for the guide format and to Piksel4o , for showing it to me.

Before we move on, I promise thorough explanation of everything I do, but if something bothers you, leave a comment below!

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Leona serves a very specific role in any team. Although various builds are available, I think they shouldn't strain too much from her obvious design point. Leona is:

- A durable fighter, makes her a perfect hero for the role of a tank;
- A powerful combo- initiator. -> -> -> makes you look like a ninja- girl.
- With a CDR build, excellent disabler and gap - closer;
- An excellent solo - laner;
- A great Utility hero, her passive encourages players to build her as a viable team member, not just a 1v1 facestomper.
- Overall good farmer with two AoE spells;
- A viable champion in every stage of the game;
- Very strong chaser, her abilities chain together for a relentless pursuit;
- a perfect candidate for a Commando Skin, let's see what Riot thinks about it.

With all that said, here are some key points to remember. Leona is not:

- A potent damage dealer;
- Solo hero, depends strongly on her team;
- useful in any way if played wrong.

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Masteries: Why?

As a monk from the famous World of the Disk once said, "That's a tough one."
Why would you go Utility on a tank hero? First let's look at both trees.

.....Can't touch this!


+ Increased Armor and Magic Resistance;
+ Increased early game HP;
+ Minor damage reduction.


+ Reduced death timers;
+ Increased movement speed;
+ Increased experience gain;
+ Decreased cooldowns on abilities;
+ Major cooldown reduce on all summoner spells.

To summarize, the Defence Tree offers very little to support its role for tanks. Ardor is virtually useless for Leona, and Veteran Scars loses its effects very early on.
Meanwhile, Utility offers noticable stat increases, the most major of which is your ability to use way more often.
The only reason I would favor Defense is because Nimbleness has great synergy with my recommended Dodge Seals. Of course, you can always go 0/9/21, sacrificing some magic penetration and cooldown reduction for the extra dodge and movement speed, while still getting all the necessary masteries in Utility.
These Masteries give you solid 9% CDR to begin with. Add a Frozen Heart and you'll be near cap value.

Note: The change to Masteries is only noticable once you've played Leona 10 - 15 games. For people who are just now starting to learn her, I suggest playing the standard 9/21/0 or 0/21/9 build until you feel comfortable with the switch.

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Summoner Spells


Flash is the most versatile spell in the game currently. It will save you more times than you can think of and it gets you those final last hits you need on your target. A must for any initiator.


Exhaust is the signature Anti-carry skill. It reduces physical damage greatly, as well as slowing the target and reducing its resistances. I take Exhaust if no one else does.


A very potent spell for your combo burst. It has great synergy with Archaic Knowledge. Ignite is usually solid on Leona and can easily get you those much - needed early game kills.


A very potent utility spell. Never underestimate the power of Fortify as it can easily save a teammate from a towerdive, or hold a push on a lane.

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Runes: Shinedown on choices

Greater Mark of Warding

I've found these work best for me. The reason behind flat magic resistance is that most harassment is magical damage. The best sustain on a lane is your ability to resist harassment, thus Ward Marks are optimal imo.

Greater Seal of Evasion

Dodge is a very underestimated stat. It's especially viable on tanks, since late game you may find yourself unable to effectively tank that Ashe who crits for well over 1000. How about just dodge her attack? Dodge seals are expensive, though, so there are options.

Greater Glyph of Warding

Again, magic resistance to counter early game agression. You may go with magic resist per level, also viable. It really boils down to personal choice and the enemy's choice of AP carries.

Greater Quintessence of Fortitude

Early game survivability is vital and 78 HP is not to be taken lightly. This makes you more capable of defending your jungler, surviving the guy who just flashed and threw everything on you, etc. 78 HP can always save you from the last ticks of Ignite.

Optional Runes

Greater Mark of Desolation
Greater Mark of Desolation

Depends on your playstyle, really. Leona is not by any definition a heavy damage dealer, but if the opposint team is lacking that magic damage pressure, feel free to take them.

Greater Seal of Vitality
Greater Seal of Vitality

A very viable choice over dodge. Always take these against AP heavy teams or against carries that don't rely so much on auto attacks. Health also makes you look more formidable, which might just give you that mental edge over your opponent.

Greater Seal of Resilience

Early game armor is invaluable. Saves you from minion aggro and auto attack harassment. I sometimes favour this over dodge.

Greater Glyph of Focus

Cooldown Reduction is vital on Leona. If you feel you can handle the enemy's casters, these runes serve as a fine replacement to your Ward Glyphs.

Greater Quintessence of Swiftness

These have great synergy with Quickness. Mixed together they give a hefty 19 movement speed increase, raising your early level mobility to assassin levels. Take these only once you're experienced enough with Leona.

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Skill Sequence

> > >

Your priority is maxing out your stun first . This will increase your overall team presence, give you a nice last - hitting tool and reduce the cooldown of this ability. Note that the stun duration does NOT change.

Your shield is necessary for effectively taking damage for your team. It's also a great farming tool.

Obviously, take your ultimate whenever available.

Your dash serves more of a utility purpose. Its cooldown and damage are not worth investing points into. Also, it is NOT certain damage, as is a line skillshot. One point at level 4 works lovely.

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Tanking is a tricky art. Always choose your gear to best counter the enemy. The build I've described works best against a balanced team.

Starting items:

My usual choice for early game. It gives you everything you need to dominate your lane- flat health for your tanking needs, health regeneration to sustain harassment and armor, which helps vs both creep aggro and enemy physical damage dealers.

This item is cheaper and allows you to quickly rush either Warmog's Armor or Force of Nature. If you're having troubles on the lane, it can be built into a fast Philosopher's stone.

Take this only if you have full confidence in your lanemate. The extra mobility early game allows for easier harassment, chasing and escaping, but your regeneration is limited to 3 health potions. A premade lane favours this item.

Core items:

The ultimate anti - CC item. Since Leona is naturally tanky, enemies will favour stunning or slowing you instead of focusing you. Mercury's Treads work wonders against teams that are balanced around defending their fragile carries.

A dominant tank item. Solid HP and Magic Resistance boost, as well as a Spell shield every 45 seconds. The way you approach this item depends on your game so far. If you're having difficulty holding your lane, consider rushing the Catalyst Catalyst the Protector. Otherwise, grab first.

One of the most cost effective tank items in the game. The team aura is a near necessity. Because of how stacking armor and magic resistance works, most squishies benefit greatly from the small resistance boost from this item, making your team presence even more important.

The HP, Cooldown reduction and Armor boost make this a solid item choice on their own. But the true icing is the active. Always use it when initiating, it gives your team precious seconds to position without a lot of enemy retaliation. Remember to get the Heart of Gold first, as the gold per 10 quickly starts to add up.
Note: If you're like me, you often forget the active of items. The way I found works best for me is I place Randuin's in the first item slot and change the Hotkey to 'D'. Change your Summoner Spell hotkey to whatever you find suitable, but now you can easily remember to activate your active item.

A brilliant counter to every attack speed carry ( comes to mind ). The massive cooldown reduction and 99 armor fit Leona's role perfectly. Never underestimate the bonus mana, tanks suffer from a low mana pool and Frozen Heart changes that very effectively. Remember to pick up first if you're not rushing this item.

Optional Items

This is a very solid item for Leona. Typically you want to get this as fast as you can, so start with a and rush this even before your t2 boots. Note that the benefits of this item shine much later in the game, so play a little more cautiously early on.

This works to some extent. The slow is a great asset to your kit, and the extra bit of damage is helpful. Never rush this as it will diminish your tanking capabilities early on.

One of my favourite anti- caster items. It's cheap, reliable and gives you a nice Movement speed boost. Again, start with a and focus on getting this fast if facing AP - heavy teams.

Even after the nerf, this is still a solid item choice. Not just because Leona looks awesome with it, but because Sunfire provides a stable amount of HP and Armor. The AoE damage makes you a bigger threat and eases your farming.

A very underestimated item. Actually, these are the next best thing to Mercury's Treads. If you feel the enemy team is lacking CC, grab these. The extra movement speed is often better than any amount of hit points or resistances, simply because it allows you to evade a lot of damage easily. Rush these for an early game dominance.

Solid choice as well. Your standard build reaches 34% Cooldown Reduction. If you feel you need to cap it, these boots are a perfect opportunity to do so. Note that CDR caps at 40%, so you may want to change your runes to maximize the effect of this item.

Your saving grace. It really boils down to if you're being focused. I love this item not just because of the revive, but also because it increases both armor and magic resistance. A solid, well-rounded item choice. Always remember the Weakened Soul debuff. Lasts 5 minutes.

A very solid choice for two reasons. First, it gives you a decent amount of magic resistance and even though Leona has pretty bad scalings, all of her abilities scale with AP, making this stat not feel wasted. Second and more important, Leona's playstyle demands her being in the middle of the fray, making the unique debuff aura very powerful on her.

These are my favourite item choices for Leona. Generally, you should stay away from any AP items, as Leona's scalings are very poor. I know for a fact that more damage-oriented items work nicely on her, although I don't think that's her role. If you find another item path that suits you better, please share it in the comments!

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Skill ***esment

Leona's damaging spells affect the target with Sunlight for 3.5 seconds. When allied champions deal damage to those targets they consume the Sunlight debuff to deal 20 / 35 / 50 / 65 / 80 / 95 / 110 / 125 / 140 additional magic damage. Leona is unable to activate the additional damage herself.
A very solid passive. The damage increases with leveling, up to a solid 140 damage. Note that each ally does this damage depending on their own magic penetration, not yours. You cannot activate your passive, so always have a teammate around to maximize your damage output.

Leona's next basic attack will deal additional magic damage and stun the target for 1.25 seconds.
This is your bread-and-butter skill. It resets your auto attack timer and has a nice stun built to it. It has a low mana cost, making it a viable last-hitting tool. The stun is extremely powerful early on but does not scale with leveling.

Leona raises her shield to gain bonus Armor and Magic Resistance for 3 seconds. When the effect ends she deals magic damage to nearby enemies and prolongs the effect for a bonus 3 seconds if any enemies are struck.
Your signature tank skill. This skill has a nice twist as it does decent damage after 3 seconds. Your combo should always be timed so Eclipse explodes when you dash to an enemy. This gives your foe less time to react with an escape ability. The bonus to resistances is extended only if you manage to hit an enemy with the explosion, so keep that in mind.

Leona projects a solar image of her sword, which deals magic damage to all enemies in a line. When the image fades, the last enemy champion struck will be immobilized for .5 seconds and Leona will dash to them.
A powerful dash. As mentioned earlier, you should take only one point it. Zenith Blade is a difficult skillshot, as the hitbox is really small. There are a couple of important things to note.
1) Zenith Blade warps you to the last enemy hit. The damage is largely ignorable, so always aim for the target you want to catch in your combo.
2) After warping, Zenith Blade immobilizes the target for a brief moment. This is a snare, not a stun, so abilities such as and will not be interrupted. It works on the same principle as Lux's snare . For maximum effect, activate your shield after you've dashed to your target. That extra half a second might just be what you needed to take your enemy down.

After a brief delay, Leona calls down a beam of solar energy dealing damage and slowing enemies by 80% for 1.5 seconds. Enemies in the center of the beam are stunned instead of slowed.
A very powerful ultimate. Some of it subtle uses are assisting ganks early on or as a last resort to escaping, but it truly shines in a team clash. Resist your temptation to cast it on a single enemy in a teamfight, unless you absolutely need to. Even if you don't stun, severely slowing 2- 3 enemies is often prefferable to CC-ing just one target. I strongly recommend you smart-cast this ability, as it makes the stun way easier to land. The stun zone will always be around your cursor.

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Summary: Early Game

Start off with a . It's the dominant early- game tank item. Some people prefer Philosopher's Stone, but honestly, if you can control your mana, it's just wasted money. Regeneration does not help your tanking role.
Leona is a great duo-laner. Here are some excellent lane-mates who can fully utilize your crowd-control abilities.

A great partner. Lux can easily follow your stun with and any combination of her ultimate and E. The thing that makes Lux great for you is she can activate both yours and her passive in one hit. Overall, Lux + Leona leads to a great early game.

Katarina's signature skill, , requires good positioning, which is hard to achieve. Lucky for you, you have a nice set of disables, so do your job and let that girl spin to win!

Speaking of spin to win moves, Garen's signature Judgment has great synergy with Leona's stun. Exploit the early game advantage of this combo to its fullest.

Generally, any skillshot heroes or heroes who need to get close to do their damage are perfect lanemates for Leona.
Early on, your passive is not so noticable. However, the base damage on your abilities is really powerful. A standard strategy is charge your shield for a second in the bush, then dash in and stun with your shield . Zenith Blade has a very fast travelling particle, making it difficult to avoid if cast from a brush. If you don't overcommit in your attempts at harassment you should be able to establish lane control. Note that Leona is best suited for the bottom lane. She is not a good solo laner and due to her lack of ranged harassment she may be denied experience and gold.
If all goes well, you should recall when you have the money for basic boots and a Heart of Gold . Early game agression is important on Leona and your lane mate should be aware of it. Your > > combo is both extremely powerful and relatively safe, due to Eclipse's resistance boost.

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Sidenote: Countering mid

In this chapter I wanted to talk a little more in-depth about the beauty of your tank going mid.
The typical Europe pattern involves your carry being babysat on bot, the AP carry happily farming mid, while your tank is either solo lane or jungling. This looks perfect and generally works well. However, there are a few heroes designed to hard counter this particular setup.

- Basically the worst thing you can face on level 6. Her burst is exactly why you should never send an AP carry vs her. It doesn't even come down to lane control or skillful play. The fact is, Annie is designed to destroy squishy targets with around 30 MR with ease. Most Annies play very passively until level 6, because they understand the basic math behind the burst mage. With magic penetration marks, she will do almost true damage to anything that isn't a tank.

- Again a burst-type hero. Veigar is more focused on destroying AP targets, but that only comes into factor mid and late game. Early on, he is deadly to any squishy target. The perfect counter is once again a tank to zone him out, denying him last hits with .

- More of a DoT mage than a burst assassin, Malzahar can still dish out tons of damage on level 6. Although a tank would most likely not be able to deny an experienced Malzahar played any farm, his durability alone is enough to sustain the lane.

Following the general pattern of a passive play, followed by an agressive level 6 move are also Akali , LeBlanc , and others.

These are some of the examples of the typical mids. Because your playstyle has changed and your AP carry is no longer in position to farm mid, it's your job to make the most out of your better farm. Generally I rush Aegis of the Legion if I'm on mid as it gives my team an early advantage.
Again, tanks are the greatest counter to the typical level 6 burst on mid. My default runepage gives 52 Magic Resistance on level 1, further improved by Eclipse . Most tanks have either some skill that helps them soak a lot of damage, such as Galio - or Malphite - , or a way of quickly regenerating health, such as ChoGath's or Garen's , meaning they'll either tank the enemy's burst with little damage taken or will quickly regenerate it, making the role of the enemy nuker obsolete. Remember, assassins are generally extremely reliant on those early- game kills. If denied, they quickly lose their bursting potential.
As Leona on mid, you want to prioritize your shield over your stun , again taking one point in Zenith Blade at level 4. Remember to always activate Eclipse when you feel agressive play, it will significantly reduce damage taken and punish the enemy with proper counter- play. You should always factor the enemy's cooldowns - if a caster wastes a spell to last hit, this is your chance to act.

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Summary: Mid Game and the beauty of Sheen

By now you should have reasonable resistances. More importantly, you should have your Sheen.

- This item takes time and effort to master its potential. What Sheen allows you to do is boost your next basic attack greatly every 2 seconds by activating a skill. This item requires fluidity in your playstyle. Always think about maximizing the damage output by spacing out your abilities. If you know your target won't get away, time your skills so they're about 2- 3 seconds apart. is a great way to initiate your combo as it has a Sheen-friendly 3 second timer.

Your job at this stage of the game is being where your team needs you- securing dragon, assisting a gank, helping an escape, etc. Leona has awesome utility and your teammates will often depend on it. You probably won't have enough of both resistances, so focus on stacking one first, taking note at both the enemy's farm as well as any potentially fed carry and react accordingly.

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Summary: Late Game

By now you should have most of your tank gear ready. This means you're not a desirable target, giving you plenty of opportunity to do your thing.
Rush first, tag as many people as you can with Eclipse's explosion for . Generally, you always want to be in the enemy's face, softening and disabling enemies for your allies.
-> -> -> -> are some of Leona's optimal combos. The dash gets you in range for the active slow of Randuin's and Exhaust makes it easier to land Solar Flare (but save it if your CC is enough already to take the target down). Soak as much damage as possible for your teammates, and make kills easier for them. Leona is one of the best tanks in the game, because with the proper team she can easily assure the enemy carry's death.
In the case the enemy's engaging, you want to play more defensively. Stick to your squishier allies, CC-ing any assassins that get too close, while keeping the enemy's carry at bay with Solar Flare .
Always remember to spread your damaging abilities, so your allies can take full advantage of Sunlight.

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Closing Words: Legendary?

Thank you for reading my guide!
I hope it was as exciting and informative as you have hoped. If it wasn't, leave a comment below and let me know! I accept constructive criticizm. I apologuise for any possible grammar mistakes.
Leona is a very unique tank champion that demands a different approach to be maximally effective. She is a welcome addition to any premade team that understands her role.
So, put on your Sunfire cape, get out there and break their lines!

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26.07 - Guide posted
27.07 - Made some tweaks to the mastery page.
28.07 - A minor change to a core item, now grants assists if the slow has helped net a kill. This makes your initiation role profitable for you, not just your team.
29.07 - Crossed "require comment to vote" option again. Turns out it was a terrible idea to remove it as my guide lost 20% of its rating in one night.

Also added more information to the Side note: Countering Mid and Masteries: Why? sections of the guide. Added Starting items to the Items section.

I plan on adding a custom-made picture for my guide. I currently have no access to Photoshop so I'll have to do it after a week or so.
I decided not to put a Wall of Fame for me. I think it goes without saying I've had very good games with her, but I want to see you succeeding with my guide, so share photos if you have any and I'll post them in a Hall of Fame section!