Leona Build Guide by ANOMNOM
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What the hell is Leona even good for?
Okay, I must have a thing for chicks in armor, because I thought Leona was the bee's knees when she released. I was also barely level 20, and still thought that testing new characters in bot games was a good indicator of how good a champion is. Ah, we were so young then.
So I play her in a few PVP's and realize "well this isn't going so great..." and from then on I only revisited her when playing bot games with my newbie friends. It was a shame to be so limited, because she's SO DAMNED FUN TO PLAY. It kept weighing on my mind, because I wanted so badly for her to be an asset in PVP.
My problem was that she does NO DAMAGE. Don't believe me? Ask the dishes! She's an AP champion with the most pitiful AP ratios I've ever seen. Don't even bother building AP; it's a sad, sad return on investment. Buying AP for Leona is like buying three dimes for a dollar. It's a shame. She makes a tenacious tank, but by late game you just end up getting ignored.
In a recent patch, Riot lowered Leona's cool-downs and mana costs a little further, hoping to nudge us in the right direction. They claimed that she pretty much had stuns on demand, all the time. But even when maxed, her Q stun took 7 seconds (okay, not bad) and her ulti stun was out at 60 seconds. Yeah right, Riot.
But then I thought about it, and what role Leona was supposed to play. I was quite used to playing Amumu, who not only played his role as a tank marvelously, but he's FEROCIOUS in 5's with the right build. I had this expectation to be the same kind of threat, and it just wasn't happening. But then it clicked. Leona's real purpose: to be a PAIN IN THE ***, one enemy champ at a time. When you build and PLAY her right, once she latches onto a victim, there will be NO ESCAPE until one of you is DEAD.
When to choose her
I had been building her just like any other tank, with tank runes and tank masteries, and some tank/AP items. I was going about it all wrong. Leona is one of the most tenacious, most "sticky" characters in the game when it comes to single targets.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'll pick Amumu over Leona any day of the week. But how often is Amumu NOT BANNED in ranked games? Never, that's how often.
Also, let me be straight up with you; I've seen more success with Leona in 3's over 5's, where you often end up with one really dangerous character per team, while everyone else is just a contributor. You become their living nightmare. In 5's she can be a feasible choice, but I'd lean more towards characters with a lot more team support/synergy.
Pick Leona when your team NEEDS some bulk and already HAS some great DPS. Your entire purpose is to soak damage and keep the enemy around long enough for your teammates to do their job. This is actually fairly easy to do. Dont expect many kills, but if you do it right you'll be the assist KING... or queen, as it were.
I won't crimp your style on the marks, seals, and quints. You do what you want. I chose magic pen marks purely because you will be hitting your abilities so often that it made sense to give them some extra oomph. Armor seals because they are what I have that make any sort of sense on a tank. HP quints because, hey, it's health.
But for this particular build, you must have CDR glyphs! I chose flat because your CD is much longer at the beginning than at the end. It does kind of force your hand into taking CDR in offensive masteries, but when has extra magic pen ever hurt, either? If you choose to take CDR per level, you can shift your 9 in offense masteries over to defense, if you so desire.
Nope, no defense masteries on this tank. Yes, I agree that particular tree helps you survive quite a bit. But whats the point in surviving if you do no good in the first place? Believe me when I tell you, YOU DON'T DO ENOUGH DAMAGE to be worth keeping around if you're not fulfilling your role as a CC MONSTER first and foremost.
You're the soak, so less down-time on deaths is perfect. Your DPS should be farming/killing, so extra experience is important. She's slow, so the speed utility compliments. The extra gold isnt much, but like hell you're taking clarity or mana regen haha. Monster buff duration is a no-brainer. 6% CDR? Hell yes, I'll take that. Why no point in teleport? You might consider it in 5's, but if you take tele in 3's you're ******ed.
You don't REALLY have much escape, despite what all of your stuns might say. Take FLASH. Always.
I like ignite next, but I wouldn't knock you if you took exhaust. Just make sure you have flash and I won't mock you.
Items / Build Order
Here's my recommended build. Not in any particular order, mind you. I won't baby step you through different scenarios, it's up to you to decide which direction to build first. But I will say that my end result hardly varies from match to match, since your job never changes as Leona. You only have the one role to fill, and I've found this to be the best build for it no matter who I'm facing, but...
ONE POSSIBLE BUILD EXCEPTION: SHURELYA'S. I usually end up with Shurelya's because I can buy Philosopher's and Kindlegem quite early, and put them together much later. In combination with early CDR boots, Kindle will nearly max out your CDR in no time flat and give you HP, while Phil Stone will give you mining and regen. I tend to put this together into Shurelya's almost last, after getting my money's worth out of PS. The catch is that not everyone is effective at using Shurelya's when the time comes. So other possible CDR replacements include:
Soul Shroud: Team CDR is nice, with more HP granted
Spirit Visage: When facing teams with more AP damage, this compliments your MR. Cheap, too.
One thing doesn't change between all 3 choices: Kindlegem. Buy it early, always. Builds later into 3 different choices depending on the situation.
I'm usually pretty consistent about starting with Phil Stone, Kindlegem, and CDR boots. It just makes sense with this build.
CDR Boots- Essential to this build
Shurelya's- Maxes my CDR, gives HP, and provides a free "Ghost", if you will.
Aegis- Well, its awesome, obviously. HP, team resistances, team damage. You can't go wrong.
Sunfire Cape- Armor, HP, and great for farming. Also, if you're going to be sticky, you might as well be on fire.
Frozen Mallet- You're AP silly, why FM? We'll get there. But buy this mid game or later, once you're sure you can tank a team encounter.
Banshee's Veil- Compliments your HP/Mana/MR nicely. I try not to get Guardian's Angel much, since this encourages the enemy to ignore you. It might fit once in a while though. Either way I choose, it tends to be later game.
Passive- Is awesome. Your abilities tag your enemies with 'Sunlight', and your friendlies can pop it for ever-increasing damage. With max CDR, that's a lot of Sunlight going on.
I max Eclipse first; it will make you more resilient early game when you need it most, and will benefit the most from early CDR stats. Also helps quite a bit with farming/pushing, although it will never be able to wipe a creep in one shot. Your Sunlight proc will allow your teammate to rape the creep.
I max Daybreak stun next. Every point into it reduces it's CD, and once you're at 40% CDR you'll be stunning people every 4 seconds. Wicked.
Last, I max Zenith. Until late game when you're tanking with Frozen Mallet, Zenith will be used less frequently than the other skills. Don't be afraid to compliment your Eclipse farming with Zenith, they are fairly low-cost abilities with (hopefully by now) low CDR. If you run out of mana, then port back. In 3's your travel time is usually nil.
Ultimate: Solar Flare- Incredible team-fight engager. Long range area stun/slow. Great for catching escapees, too. CD with max CDR is 35 seconds.
Method to my Madness
Leona is a beast early game, no better way to describe it. Prime your W, lunge in with E. If your teammate is coordinated with you, he'll proc your E's Sunlight, then proc your W's Sunlight again once that bursts. At this point, hit your stun for ANOTHER easy Sunlight proc. If you're level 6 and didn't engage with R, now's a good time. If you've been picking Eclipse, you've been waltzing around with +50 AR/MR for most of this. Epic.
Play it safe, as your effectiveness trails off for a little bit. Your ability damage, although annoying, isn't scaling as fast as your enemies are leveling, and you're not tanky/sticky enough yet. Never hang your teammates out to dry though please.
If you haven't been completely shut down by late game, you should be far into your build. Once you have FM and Sunfire Cape, you become the PITA that you were meant to be. If they won't come close enough for E, don't be afraid to engage with R. Pop your shield and latch onto that DPS carry with your E and NEVER LET GO, DAMMIT! Spam those abilities, son!
By this point, you've got +70 AR/MR with W for 6 out of every 8 seconds, you're stunning your target with Q for 1.25 out of every 4 seconds, you're latching back onto them with E every 5 seconds, with your Sunlight passive racking up the damage after each and every one. And all the while your Frozen Mallet + Sunfire Cape is like the Icy-Hot Patch from hell, freezing them and burning them at the same time. Escape is NOT AN OPTION.
If things go south and your team needs to bail, pop Shurelya's and zoom outta there. You can use your Ulti at this point too, if it's up.
If things are going well, you'll be stunning/slowing/burning/immobilizing/tanking the **** out of their team.
Pros / Cons
- Once built, you'll be walking around with +4000hp and over 150 AR/MR before your +70 shield. While this is a lot, it's not insurmountable... which is perfect. You WANT them trying to kill you, not ignoring you because you're impossible to kill.
- Supreme stickiness. Infuriating CC: Q stun, E immobilize, R stun/slow, Frozen Mallet
- Relatively inexpensive build.
- Excellent contribution in team fights, even if it's not you dealing the damage.
- Endlessly spammable abilities, great for champ harrassment as well as creep farming.
- Effectively shuts down a carry.
- Pitiful damage output after early game
- Limited mana pool, especially annoying in the larger Summoner's Rift
- Can only shut down one at a time, while Amumu poops all over large groups.
- If you let your teammates die, you will slowly run away until they finally kill you.
- Dependent on gear to be effective late game. Hard to get wins playing catch-up.
This is my first LoL guide, so go easy on me. I don't often get to play Leona anymore, as I'm usually playing 5's or I'll have a different role to fill. But she's so much fun to play I thought I'd share my opinion on her most effective build.
Leona's taken a lot of hate, but I really think there is a place for her in PVP, especially 3's. Don't take my word for it though, give it a try.
Thanks and Peace out, *****es!