Leona Build Guide by TerryJ
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.
Introduction, and Background
"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 Rakkoran 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 Rakkorans, 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 Rakkoran teens battle to the death for the right to bear a relic-weapon, Leona refused to fight. For this, the Rakkoran 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 The Solari immediately claimed Leona, demanding that her sentence be repealed.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.''
-Leona" - League of Legends Background Story
In short, Leona, who is a friend of Pantheon, who is also a part of the same tribe as him. The Rakkor. There is a small religious sect which took interest in her after she refused to kill as part of a ritual. They worship the sun, and use its abilities to mainly protect others, instead of focusing on killing others. You might notice quite a few similarities between the two characters: Both carry a shield, both have stuns which drag them to an opponent. Both work amazingly well together in battle (which is fitting).
Version 1.0 -
Created Leona guide. This guide will be updated consistently, based on: Peoples opinions, spelling/grammar corrections, patch updates, and every solar eclipse.
Leona is an incredibly team centric character. She rather have the bottom lane, but can do alright top lane. She never wants to take mid, but can also thrive there, due to her multiple stuns, beefy resistances, alright pushing power (when her W hits level 3ish), and great ultimate.
Leona benefits most from the duo lane, with a partner that has a stun, and high damage output. She does not like most supports, other than Taric, and Alistar. Taric is an incredible partner for Leona, as they can stun one person for a long time, debuff their armor, and constantly proc Leona's passive on not only enemies, but on the entire minion wave at once. Alistar for the same reason.
Leona loves characters that can stun. Most fittingly, she's incredible when paired with a Pantheon. With both stuns combined, Heartseeker can hit for its full duration. Heartseeker procs Leona's passive, as does Spear shot. They can clear entire waves of minions together, and first blood is highly likely! I applaud riot, as this makes a lot of sense that they would work together so well, given their storyline.
Leona should always be the one to initiate. Crowd control is not as good against her as it is against say, an Ashe. Because she uses her abilities so fast, by the time they CC her, she'd have everything on cooldown anyway. By the time it ends, her abilities will be off of cooldown. Even if they're not, they're burning a lot of CC on the tank, which is VERY good. And if they DO NOT burn CC on Leona, she'll thank them by constantly stunning their carries, while debuffing them! Incredible!
Leona works well with AOE teams because AOE effects proc her passive, and all but one of her abilities spreads her passive to multiple targets.
Choice of Runes
Rune choice is incredibly important to Leona, because it dictates what starting items you can build in the early game. While some characters can get away with pretty much any sort of runes they want, Leona's are much more limited.
Leona has bad starting armor and magic resist, because the developers took into account. Thus, we get the following runes for the following reasons.
Greater Mark of Magic Resist x9
Greater Seal of Evasion x9
Greater Seal of Armor x9
Reasoning: This is quite easy to understand. Leona needs extra defensive stats at the start to migate harassing. There's four types of harassment.
There are autoattacks, which scale off of armor penetration, and attack damage, but are affected by dodge and armor. This kind of harassment is going to come from most typical AD carries, like Vayne.
There are abilites which scale off of AP and magic penetration, but are affected by magic resistance.
There are abilities which scale off of AD, and armor penetration, are effected by armor, but are NOT (for the most part) affected by dodge. A good number of these abilities do not critically hit under normal circumstances, or proc on hit effects. A good example would be Pantheons spear shot. Some do however, like Gangplanks Parrley. Learn the difference when you harass characters like these!
There are abilities which are typically known as crowd control. Yordle Snap Trap, Taunt, Solar Flare. The list goes on. They usually scale off of AP, and Tenacity takes a good chunck off the time you're affected by them. Some however, like Malzahars ultimate, are not affected by Tenacity, and can only be broken (with no outside influences) by using a [Quick Silver Sash].
Find your playstyle. Don't like autoattacks? Go with the Evasion seals. Hate AD 'casters'? Go with the armor seals. Armor seals are great because they affect auto attacks AND abilities which scale off of AD. However, armor seals are easy to itemize against (armor penetration reduces armor), whereas dodge is not. Dodge also has nimbleness, which is an incredible passive for Leona.
You MUST however have the magic resist runes. She takes too much damage early game without them!
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction x9
INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT! The only other Glyphs I would even think about taking is Greater Gylph of Resilience or Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. With Glyph of Focus, you're able to read 40% CDR with only two items!
Greater Quintessence of Health x3
More of a personal choice. You can go with Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist, Greater Quintessence of Armor as well. I however, like the fact that extra health works against all types of damage. I believe that that Quint Forts allow you to go a non-doran starting item with safety. She also has rather good regen at the start, due to philo, and her innately high HP5.
Masteries is a solid 0/21/9.
There's two choices here. One where you use Seal of Evasion with Nimbleness, and one without. We get resistance and hardiness to shore up her unusually weak starting armor and magic resistance. We get Strength of Spirit along with Perseverence (in the utility tree) to increase her already good HP5. Along with your philo, you're going to be pretty set in lane.
Nimbleness is a core talent if you have the Evasion seals. Without nimbleness, Evasion seals are inferior in every way to armor seals.
Veterans Scars for that boosted HP. Along with your fort quints, you have no fear in going a non-doran start.
Ardor is mostly useful for giving you a slight attack speed boost. It makes last hitting a little bit easier, and makes your abilities hit a little bit harder. Nothing special. You can instead put the points into Harden Skin, if you're into that kind of thing.
Tenacity is the ultimate talent in the defense tree, and you'd be crazy to not take it if you're already at 20 points!
Spatial Accuracy or Ghost, or even both. It depends if you want Teleport + Flash, Ghost + Flash, or Teleport + Ghost. Up to preference.
Awareness is good, because she has an incredibly good ultimate at level 6. Expanded mind is good, because it makes Strength of Spirit better, which again, makes her regen even better. Expanded Mind is still useful at level 18. Awareness is not. It depends on personal choice, really.
Greed. A lot of people hate greed. A lot of people love greed. I'm in the latter. Greed should read "give you three free wards", because that's what it basically is. Since we get two gold per 10 items, another gold per ten passive is just peachy. Meditation is a good choice. Clarity if a good choice if you're going clarity. Utility Master is TERRIBLE for Leona. Never get utility master. You're going to have 40% CDR, so you don't need blue buff. You regen MP well, due to philo stone. And redbuff should be left for you carries.
I have some people ask me, "Why max W over Q? In the spotlight, he maxed Q first!" And then I shake my head.
Shield of Daybreak is a good skill. However, at mid game, you should have 20% CDR (glyph + lucidity), giving it a decent cooldown. Increasing its rank is usually more for the lower cooldown and higher damage. Which we don't need right now, because we have CDR.
Zenith Blade should be maxed last. Its main use is to initiate, which it does just fine with only one rank.
Solar Flare should be taken at every opportunity.
Eclipse should be maxed first. W solvers her early magic and armor resistance problems. W at level 3 solves her bad farming problems (she can two shot waves with two w's). W is what's going to keep you alive in team fights. Always take W, unless R is available. Easy.
Why these items?
Philospher's Stone and Heart of Gold
These two items are important to Leona, because they shore up her weak early game farming, until her Eclipse is properly leveled. Philospher stone adds onto Leona's already impressive health regeneration, while giving her enough mana regen to harass with. Heart of Gold helps with this builds lack of HP by quite a bit. Both of these items will be built into other items later on in the game.
Go back to get your Philospher stone as soon as possible, and if you have the money for it, your first tier of boots. Then go back again to buy your Heart of Gold, and if you have the money for it, your Boots of Lucidity.
Mercury's Treads vs Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Here's where I think I'll be leaving many people scratching their head. "Boots of Lucidity? No merc treads?" Yes. Every time I see a Leona get merc treads, I cry. Every time I see a Leona NOT get any CDR, I also cry. With Boots of Lucidity, Frozen Heart, and Focus Glyphs, we get 40% CDR from only having two, relatively cheap items.
Leona is a Support Tank. She has an incredibly good kit, which involves multiple stuns, and a armor/magic resist steroid, that also debuffs opponents with an effect which causes damage if they're hit by an ally.
40% CDR does the following:
Q: It puts your 1.25 second stun to around 5 second cooldown. That only leaves 4ish seconds where your opponent isn't stunned. Only 1ish if you use your ultimate after the stun. In that 1 second time frame, you can use Zenith to immbolize him for that 1 second, and stun him again! This is incredible against a carry with little in escape abilities, like Kog, or Vayne. Did I mention you also debuff your opponent with this little guy in addition to the stun?
E: It puts your Zenith Blade, which is a skillshot blink/immbolize to a 5ish second cooldown. Deals damage. Debuffs all opponents in a line. Incredibly good initiation ability.
R: 75 seconds (up for every team fight, maybe) becomes 45 seconds (up for every team fight assuredly, and might be usable twice in the same team fight). Really good.
W: Most importantly, it puts your shield to 8.4 seconds, and the shield lasts 6 seconds if you hit someone... This means you're only going to have a 2 second time frame where your shield ISN'T up in combat. She gets a +70 Armor and Magic resistance bonus for the majority of the battle, WHILE debuffing her opponents and dealing damage! Max CDR increases her survivability by a great deal! This is the main reason you don't get mercurary treads over boots of lucidity.
Aegis of the Leigon
You can skip this if another team mate is building it. Aegis of the Leigon is incredibly good, but it has to be built early on to be effective. A late game Aegis did nobody any good. Aegis is the type of item where you can really build its seperate items if you're forced back early. Get the health first. Then build either the armor or magic resistance portion, based on the enemy team. Complete it as fast as possible.
Glacial Shroud and Negatron Cloak
You'll be getting both, however if you can, get the Glacial Shroud first. If you're dying too much against magic damage, get the Negatron cloak first. If you can't afford the full glacial shroud when you need to go back, get the negatron cloak first. Then build the shrouds components. Shroud is important, because it gets you to 35% CDR.
Frozen Heart or Banshee's Veil or Quicksilver Sash
It's late mid, or early late game. Physical damage ripping your team apart? Get a Frozen Heart. It gets you to 40% CDR (increasing your survivability by use of your W), increases armor by a lot, and reduces attack speed of nerby opponents.
Magic damage ripping you apart? Minor CC? Get Banshee's Veil. It will take the bite off of any caster, and make their life a living hell when you're right in their face. They'll have to burn more than one CC effect on you.
Getting constantly crowd controlled? Don't have enough money for the Banshee Veil and the Frozen Heart? Get a Quick Silver Sash. Reduces incoming magic damage. Is extremely cheap, and has a powerful effect that whipes away: Exhaust, Ignite, Supression, Blind... Incredibly good, and underrated. Even for a tank!
Randuin's Omen and Eleisa's Miracle
Build these at any time you wish. Miracle is good during early late game, where the gold per 10 passive is no longer needed. People will want to crowd control you, because you're stunning their carries. You don't have mercurary treads. Miracle will give you tenacity, while still giving you a really good effect. And it's cheap! Perfect.
Randuin's Omen is great for that lash push. More health. More armor. Health Regen. Its Unique passive and slow do stack with Frozen Heart I believe, making a living hell for anyone that relies on auto attacks. Not only will their ranged AD be constantly stunned, but even when they get to deal some damage, it will be a pale shadow of what they usually could do.
The game is usually over before you can build Omen. Omen will be the straw that breaks their back, however.
Elixir of Fortitude
This build is slightly skimpy on the HP, because Leona's resistances can get to very high levels. Buy this elixer when you hit 18, and it will migate it somewhat. If you really need more HP, get an early giants belt before your Frozen Heart/Banshee Veil. You may even want to get a Frozen Mallet instead of an Omen, depending on your style.
Ghost, Teleport , Flash.
These are the three main summoner spells you should use on Leona.
Exhaust is alright, but with Teleport she can stay with the team, cover a tower, and shore up her early game weak farming.
Ghost is pretty good to chase down other players, and get her E off.
Flash is a game changer. Flash allows you to blink -> E for an initiation. It allows you to blink away right before you die, in the middle of a team fight, so you can come around and W -E - Q - R again when you come back to help your carry sweep. Flash allows you to go over walls to avoid ganks. Flash... Is incredibly good. But, you probably already knew that.
Leona is an incredible character. She (along with Alistar) are one of the few tanks which don't need damage to be effective. For example, Rammus has a lot of reflective damage to go along with his powerful taunt. Leona doesn't need this, because she's a support tank. She doesn't need high damage, because she buffs her teams damage by a large amount, while crowd controlling the most damaging character on the other team.
If she gets on an Ashe, there's little the Ashe can do about it, except for flash away. If she flashes away, Leona successful took Ashe out of the team fight. Now she can go for their other carries, or protect her own. If Ashe doesn't flash away, well... She'll probably be focused down. If they focus on Leona to protect Ashe? Even better. She can take damage much better than most tanks in the game, because she at end game, gets massive resistances due to Eclipse.
Playing her does take some skill. A Leona player must mark her targets wisely. Must initiate properly, and must know when to focus her CC on their carries, and when to focus her CC to protect her own carries.
She's highly rewarding, and a blast to play. I can only hope this guide helps other Leona players.