Leona Build Guide by Archlord Mythos
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Not Updated For Current Season
Update: The spells and masteries for this build have changed!
Leona, Leona... Probably the best pure tank in the game. She has decently long stuns on both her Q and R, a great gap-closer with E, and an INSANE boost to durability and damage potential with W. Her AP ratios are only okay, but she has all she'll ever need from her stats: the ability to tank like no other (except perhaps a very good Singed)
This build maximizes Leona's late-game tanking power. If you can make it through the awkward starting phase without feeding, you should be able to make it to late game, where you actually don't die unless their whole team focuses you - and if they DO focus you then they're not killing your damage dealers.
Essentially, Leona is a martyr-type character. She takes all the hits so the rest of your team can live, kill and win the game.
Note: The rest of this guide is pretty much all text. It might not be pretty, but it should explain some of my choices in more depth.
Pros / Cons
-Very high HP, Armor and Magic Resist late-game
-High HP regen means you can stay out for long periods of time, only going back for mana
-Philo Stone and Heart of Gold make up for Leona's lack of good farming ability, esp. early game
-Able to tank entire teams, as well as make great cross-map escapes
-Can be quite vulnerable early-game
-Low damage potential (pure tank build)
-When caught out of position it can be hard to get back to your team
I'm not sure what the best runes are, so I use my fairly generic rune set.
Magic penetration marks help you deal a bit more dmg with your abilities and help in getting early-game kills.
Health per level seals provide a boost of over 150+ health late game, further bolstering Leona's late-game prowess.
Cooldown glyphs provide you with a bit more much-needed spamming of your abilities, when it is literally fractions of a second that decide whether you get off that last stun or not.
Flat health quintessences are simply the best on most anyone, because they give you enough durability both early on and throughout the game to provide enough of a difference between barely surviving and getting killed off.
I go for a 0-21-9 build, making sure to take Veteran Scars, physical damage reduction, Improved Dodge, Higher defense/magic resist, Higher regen, more exp and Greed.
These masteries will help with your durability, regeneration, leveling speed and gold income, supplementing and complementing this build's natural strengths and weaknesses!
I start with a Regrowth Pendant and Health Potion in order to stay in lane for as long as possible. You shouldn't go back very often, as Leona takes awhile to get to where she's needed, and you need as much gold and exp from laning as possible.
As soon as you go back, finish Philosopher's Stone and grab Heart of Gold if you can. These two items boost your gold income to amazing levels, so much so that you can (and probably should) wait for up to 100 gold at a time for an item before going out - better than going out for just a minute before running right back to base to buy a necessary item!
Mercury Treads are simply the best boots: Better tenacity than any other item, and other boots don't really give anything that you will need as Leona.
First big item you buy is Warmog's Armor, because you simply NEED the extra HP just to survive! You'll still be squishy until you get some armor and magic resist, so Guardian Angel is a must-buy after that.
From there, depending on opposing team composition, you can reorder the following items, however you should get them all eventually.
- Force of Nature provides you with maximum HP regen and magic resist, plus gives you some much-needed move speed.
- Sunfire Cape caps off your HP stat to the most you're ever going to need, and provides a decent boost to AoE DPS.
- Thornmail gives amazing armor, and can actually cause opposing DPS players to kill themselves faster than you can kill them.
Keep your Philosopher's Stone and Heart of Gold until you max out on item space, and then sell them at the last minute before buying the next item on the list. This helps you maximize gold income to reduce (but not remove) the need for farming.
Last but not least, Elixirs are all you'll ever need to buy once all your armor is finished. Prioritize Elixirs of Fortitude and Brilliance, but don't be afraid to pop an elixir of agility if you have the money. Also, if any of your opponents are using stealth, Leona is a good candidate for Oracle's, simply because she has a hard time actually dying.
Adjusting the Item Order:
If you are getting torn apart by enemy mages, but physical champs aren't as big of a deal, get Force of Nature before Guardian Gngel.
If you are getting pwned by physical DPS (esp. ranged carries), grab your Thornmail before Guardian Angel.
Maxing Shield of Daybreak first is important, more for the cooldown than anything else. You will want to stun prime targets (fleeing enemies, enemy DPS or support) as much as possible. Getting a point in Eclipse at level 2 allows you to really help your survivability and damage, and Zenith Blade at level 4 is essential in closing with retreating enemies.
From there, maxing Eclipse to give you maximum survivability and damage output is a must. Zenith blade is hard to hit with and doesn't improve to the same level as other abilities, so you max it last, using it more as a closing ability than anything else.
Solar Flare, your ultimate, is useful in several ways. First of all, you can use it to snipe retreating enemies, either killing them or allowing you to close in on them and finish the job. Next, you can use it to stun marauding groups of enemy champions trying to gank you or a nearby ally. It can also be used as a good initiation ability if you can't get close enough to hit with E. Lastly, it can just as an extra stun to be used mid-battle.
Maximizing potential: Skill combos!
Leona has little damage output, so don't waste what you have! A huge problem you have is when you just can't seem to hit with Eclipse, because the timing gets off. Step by step, here's what I usually do to ensure maximum damage.
1. Activate Eclipse before you get in range to use Zenith Blade. If this causes your opponents to flee sooner, then you can possibly wait a bit longer, but if you want to land Eclipse it is imperative that you activate it before the fighting actually begins.
2. Aim PERFECTLY with Zenith Blade. It is probably one of the thinnest projectiles I know of in the game, and has a very short range. If you are off at all, or just outside maximum range, you will NOT hit, and landing a pinch Zenith Blade can be the difference of a successful gank and an enemy that's barely alive.
3. Activate Q AFTER you hook a Zenith Blade. This allows you to get in a basic attack first, since Q refreshes your attack cooldown. Useful for dealing the bonus damage on someone like a Pantheon with their shield up, or any enemy with a support shield on them.
4. Know when NOT to ult. Solar Flare is your most useful tool, but its ~70 second cooldown can be a real problem in the immediate post-gank situation. Basically, only use it to engage when you KNOW you will get the necessary damage done, and when you absolutely cannot get in range for a Zenith Blade otherwise. If you can get in range without your ultimate, save it for later during the battle, to either stop their escape, stun a high-damage carry, or prevent reinforcements from ruining your day.
Remember, also, that Solar Flare has a slight casting/hitting delay, so use that to lead enemies into getting the full stun.
Currently I am using a Heal/ Flash summoner spell combo, but that is currently under development.
Heal is fantastic for helping allies get that last vital hit in, and is also great when you're getting tower dived. Just be aware of its cooldown, and also that it still doesn't mean you'll always live through an attack, just delay your demise.
Flash is... well, you probably know all it can do. Closing into an enemy, getting a quick escape, hopping through a frustrating wall, etc. Just be aware that it's cooldown is much longer than your ult, so try to use your ultimate before you flash in, unless there just isn't another way.
While this build doesn't have too much damage, skilled use of your abilities can dish out enough to make Leona viable in team fights. Her pure tanking power, especially late game, is necessary in almost any situation.
If you want a build where you can turn into a late-game tanking machine where you can survive almost no matter what, then this build is definitely for you. If not, stick to your squishy DPS carries.