Leona is a strong Champion, but she still has her weaknesses. This section will focus her strenghs and shortcomings.
•2 stuns (one of them AoE) and a short root, all on (quite) low cooldowns
•with her shield on, nothing but heavy focusing can harm her (I love enemies focusing me)
•great harass in lane phase with QWE-combo
•ok initiator with Solar Flare or Zenith Blade
Cons: •to be effective you have to hit that Zenith Blade ("Skill comes with practice")
•quite weak early midgame if your Eclipse is on cooldown
•you have to have a good game overview (positioning, minimap, warding, enemy items/feed and ability cooldowns) to be an effective stunning threat (again, the practice)
• Sunlight deals 1 (in words: one) less damage to champion skins wearing sunglasses (e.g., Vayne, Surfer Singed and the Commando skins
•The 2 points from Indomitable can go to Evasion if playing against a heavy AoE team.
•Whatever you do, try to keep Veteran's Scars mastery, it's important in early game.
•I take Summoner's Insight (for flash CDR) and Improved Recall. One of them could go into Greed, but I find the utility of both spells outweights a gold bonus of about 120 (40 minute game).
• Runic Affinity is not needed bacuase you will not get a buff in 90% of all games.
Since some days I run a different mastery page which is imho even more beneficial for support/tank Leona, It's a 0/16/14 page:
Why did I change my Mastery page? Well, to be honest the last 2 rows in the Defense Tree are really not very efficient on a non-taunting tank like Leona. This is because you won't get focused often (if the enemy does focus you, the game is as good as won anyway). So instead of those 2 rows I take 4 points in Greed (480g in a 40-minute-game) and one in Sage, which allows me to catch up levels faster once I enter more teamfights. I've tried this setup for some games now and it seems to work out well. If you feel you are taking too much damage, you may take the standard tank masteries, of course.
As I will outline in the section "Team Work" your role as Leona is tanking damage, disabling your foes and protecting the rest of your team. The most effective way do do this, especially in team fights, is by purchasing aura items. But we'll get to this... let's start at the beginning.
Faerie Charm, 2 Sight Wards and 4 Health Potions
Frankly, you don't need the mana from Faerie Charm in most cases, but it's cheap so I go with it. If playing against Twitch or even Evelynn (jungle or lane) swap at least one Sight Ward for a Vision Ward. One could buy Regrowth Pendant instead of Faerie Charm but I would never recommend that due to the fact that early ganks will decide how the game works out for you and having the vision to counter a gank is worth far more than the lifereg from Regrowth Pendant.
Philosopher's Stone; Sight Wards, Vision Wards and Health Potions as needed
Philo-Stone is your first "real" item and since it's Gold per 5 you should get it asap (620 gold needed if you bought Faerie Charm before). Of course don't leave your carry in a bad situation (or throw away ganking opportunities) just to buy it but always try to get it early. Wards are very important, if you can afford one Vision Ward you can work out a nice vision and numbers advantage at dragon with your jungler and mid. Health Potions are still important because you will now take quite a lot of damage if you get hit with Eclipse on cooldown.
From now on, backs can be very situational. Arrange them with your carry. Your next goals should be to get Boots of Speed and a Heart of Gold.
Boots of Speed, Ruby Crystal (for Heart of Gold), Sight Wards and Vision Wards as needed
Heart of Gold, Ruby Crystal (for Aegis of the Legion), Wards
Once you have completed your Heart of Gold you are tanky enough to think about tower dives. If you can afford an extra Ruby Crystal that's even better. If you can't afford it at this time, don't buy it though. Save the money and get Ionian Boots of Lucidity instead during the next bluepill and the Ruby Crystal after that.
4th and additional backs:
Your goal is now to finish Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Aegis of the Legion. Which one I prioritize depends on the game. If I'm having problems in my lane I normally prefer to finish Aegis of the Legion first, else I prefer Ionian Boots of Lucidity to be able to better initiate and avoid being ganked. But it all depends on when I'm able to bluepill. There is no need to rush any item now (we won't get another gold per 5 item) so I communicate with the carry about backs and try to stay in lane a bit to soak up some xp (I will be around 1-1.5 levels behind my carry now and I'll try to close the gap if possible).
The next item depends on how the game works out. If my carry is fed I take Zeke's Herald, if the team is having problems or the carry is just a jerk I get Locket of the Iron Solari or Shurelya's Reverie. Note that backing for Kindlegem (in case you get Shurelya's Reverie or Zeke's Herald) isn't the worst idea once you can afford it. The CDR is worth a lot!
Of course don't forget to buy wards all the time, vision is the key to map control and map control is the key to victory. You can ask the other players to buy wards, too if you don't have enough money (lack of assists).
Alternative starting builds:
You can start with Boots of Speed, a Sight Ward and a Health Potion. This will give you more initiation power but you will have to go back earlier for wards and it delays your first gold item by a good amount. Of yourse, your first gold item then should be Heart of Gold.
You can start without Faerie Charm and save the money for a Heart of Gold as your first gold item. This gives you much durability but you need to hit most of your Zenith Blades because else you'll get mana problems very soon. But if you can hit, this will be the better build for you.
Other items that work on Leona but don't offer as much utility as the previously mentioned.
Keep in mind that CDR is capped at 40%, everythig above is wasted. Consider buying a different item if you would get over that limit.
Force of Nature
- If the enemy team has much more AP damage than AD (meaning you probably worked great in bot lane and other lanes didn't) then this item is great since it gives tons of MR and a movementspeed buff
Randuin's Omen and Frozen Heart
- Very good items if the enemys AD bursts down your team too quickly, still they are quite expensive so I just grab them when I really need to.
Boots of Swiftness
- If you plan to get Shurelya's Reverie and Zeke's Herald early you may opt for these boots. They offer great chasing and initiation utility.
Frozen Mallet and Rylai's Crystal Scepter
- Your top lane and/or jungle should build one of those, AP ratios on Leona are too low to make Rylai's worth the expenses
- If the enemy AD carry is really fed and harasses your lane without the danger of getting killed (for example if he got like 5 kills in first 10 minutes), you may consider to buy these.
- The enemy team is pure AD damage? let them kill themselves while the additional armor keeps you comfy (remember: damage returned is calculated before the damage reduction you get from armor but reflected damage is magic damage so any enemy MR lowers it). If the enemy focus is good though (means they don't focus you) Randuin's Omen and Frozen Heart will be better for your team.
- Not really bad but you normally won't need that huge amount of HP and it's really costly, also it takes up space without offering team utility
- Your AP and AD carries should get that if they are focused too much, since you initiate the passive is just a waste and it's not a cheap item.
- Not an item I would use, as a tank you are supposed to sacrifice yourself from time to time -> fear of loosing stacks is bad
- The aura is quite meh and you don't need the mana regen
- In my opinion this item is not worth the money (on support Leona at least), 35 dps is nothing in lategame
Flash and Exhaust is the way to go.
Ghost and Exhaust is just as viable. The choice here is a matter of taste/playstyle and wether you have another good initiator on the team or not. I like the unpredictability of Flash, but I can see the benefits of Ghost for initiation and chasing down enemies (don't overdo this when you have no vision!).
Flash and Clairvoyance works but if the enemy carry is fed and you don't have Exhaust you may loose an otherwise winnable game quickly. In 5v5 premade games this is still a valuable spell and you may go for it (still at least 1 Exhaust should be on your team).
Heal and Exhaust / Ignite and Exhaust work, too but I'm not a fan. For one, I need Flash to initiate fights or - being infight - to stay longer. Because when you initiate and your team joins, odds are that if you drop below 50% the enemy will not stop focusing you (remember, that's good!) and you can just bait them and Flash away at the last moment (and pray they didn't use Ignite just a microsecond before). On the other hand, your AD carry should have Heal to be able to do some 1v1 baiting when you are walking around the map, placing wards. And Ignite on tank... meh. You don't want to killsteal, remember?
The other summoner spells are just not viable for support/tank Leona
Favourite Lane Partners
Leona can basically work with every champion that deals a significant amount of damage, however an AD carry is the best choice, of course. Some really shine with her, some are just mediocre. Here's my favourite lane partner list:
• Vayne, the Hyper-Carry. Get her an advantage early and she'll carry any team. Great additional stun if positioned correctly. #1 combo.
• Ashe, the Stunnig Initiator. Start ripping enemies apart at level 6. Unless the enemy bot lane has Janna as a support they are most likly easy prey.
• Talon, the Assassin. Though he's not ranged (except his Rake) a well-played Talon / Leona combination can decide the game as early as at the 10 minute mark.
• Graves, the One-Shot-Wonder. His amazing burst damage plus the slow from Smokescreen work very well against most lanes, Soraka and Janna are kind of a counter though.
• Tristana, the Gunner. Great range in lategame and her jump can secure kills or get her away while you distract the enemy. Also, nice burst early on.
• Miss Fortune, the Bounty Hunter. She deals a lot of damage and has a slow. A good combo, though rarely seen.
• Kog'Maw, the Professional Puker. Nice damage mid- and endgame (esp. vs. AD bruisers), a slow and the most annoying range you'll ever see.
• Corki, the Aviator. You both have a great gap-closer and he deals Tons of Damage™ throughout the game. A deadly combo.
• Caitlyn, the Trapper. Good trap placement and her passive can work fine. Still more a mediocre kind of lane with Leona.
• Kennen, the Ultimate Stun Combo. AP Kennen is much more viable in my opinion, though this combo works quite well.
• Ezreal, the Jumper. I don't like him, maybe because only few people can play him well. He has high damage output and a gap closer though... so this could work.
• Sivir, the Boomerang. She deals a lot of damage and has her shield. If you're not ready to push from minute one this will get boring.
• Twitch - the Sneaky Rat. Go jungle - and visit bot lane if you are in need of assists
• Urgot, the Tanky Abomination. Maybe I've not seen too many skilled Urgots but each time I fight one with Leona + one of my lane partner favs we won... normally this should be a really deadly lane - have to try this with a friend soon.
A good Janna is a fine counter to Leona. With her Howling Gale she can interrupt Zenith Blade while you are in transit. She shields and grants the enemy carry bonus attack damage. And if everything else fails she uses Monsoon to blow you away - or into the tower if you aren't careful enough. She herself is quite weak though, if your carry has sufficient durability to survive getting hit by the enemy carry, it is not a bad idea to focus her instead. Otherwise wait for your jungler to help out and try to harass/zone them as usual. If you can bait some Howling Gales out by hiding in the bushes, do that.
She's not so stong anymore (since the aura nerf) but beware of the Power Chord early on. She can heal herself and the carry with Aria of Perseverance, so you must be even more agressive if that is possible. From level 6 on you should care that not both you and your carry can be affected by the cone of Crescendo.
Her Infuse is annoying when used on mana-hungry champs like Ashe that then can spam expensive abilities like Volley. The heal from Astral Blessing and Wish is great and can easily bait you. Other than that, she poses no real danger. Just like for Janna lane carefully (your AD should concentrate on last-hitting), wait for your jungler and maybe focus her instead of the carry. In ranked, I would not pick Leona if the enemy team has Soraka.
This is very dependant on how well he plays and how well the game is going for your lane. The attack and movement speed buff from Blood Boil is dangerous for your carry early on but can be ignored later if the game goes well. Careful about Absolute Zero when Nunu is hiding in a bush. You can avoid it if you step away as soon as you get the "Slowed" floating combat text (you will not see the circle if you are not inside the bush!). Ice Blast may slow your carry so it is not easy to killstreak against a lane with Nunu in it.
A strong (healing) support and tank once he has his ultimate. If you can get him before, you can gain an advantage. But there's no cure for his Headbutt. Jungle- Alistar is way more dangerous though.
A strong support with much damage in early game. Don't underestimate her. Since the slow from Glitterlance is a skill shot you can avoid or even bait it (it costs quite a lot of mana). Try to bait Help, Pix!, too. It's expensive and doesn't do much damage to you. Whimsy is a great tool if she uses it right but in a 2v2 it seldomly can turn fights around. However, in team fights it is a deadly spell as well as Wild Growth. It can be rewarding to focus her in teamfights first since she is squishy and has so much disrupting power.
He's a real babysitter. You can play agressive but beware of Dazzle. Don't try to focus him after he reaches level 5 because the passive aura and the passive from Shatter minimizes the damage your (AD) carry can deal.
I hate mirror matches. But thanks to this guide, you should know how to counter her ;)
Laning against a good Sivir can be annoying. She will not use her Spell Shield unless you zap yourself towards her with Zenith Blade because she knows she can't avoid the zap. Instead she will use it exactly when you try to place your Shield of Daybreak and the only thing that happens is that she gains mana and you get hurt. Playing like that can get refill her mana faster than Sorakas Infuse. Instead try to force her Spell Shield by zapping towards her and not activating Shield of Daybreak instantly. Wait for the shield to come up and back up or follow her until it wears off and stun her then. Do that a couple of times and she'll likely not activate Spell Shield when you zap at her - now you can instantly stun her for an easy kill.
Unless he has blown Valkyrie just moments ago better go for the support if you engage. He'll probably get away anyway. Also, beware of his strong damage and range.
Try to bait her Rocket Jump as often as you can. And don't get kicked into a tower by Buster Shot.
If she stuns you with Condemn you did something wrong. Positioning is key to fighting her. Always be aware of the fact that she is much faster than you when she moves into your direction. Her ultimate Final Hour and a quick Tumble make her invisible for a short time... but you know where she will be going when she's dedicated to kill (your carry). You can land Zenith Blade on her if you estimate the position correctly and directly put a nice Shield of Daybreak in her face as soon as she reappears.
Not much finesse with this cahmpion, just pure damage. A good Graves will dodge at least some of your Zenith Blades with Quickdraw. He's also suprisingly sturdy thanks to True Grit. Protect your carry well and try to harass a bit. In ranked, I would rather try to pick Janna, Lulu or Soraka if the enemy team has Graves.
Team Work (Laning Phase
Here comes the tricky part, team play with Leona is not really easy - especially you need to have a good overview of the game. This means you need to keep an eye on many things, most important probably that is which targets you need to disable.
The first 15 minutes you will probably work with your lane partner most of the time though. Your goal as Leona is to protect your carry from harm (your eye is on the minimap very often) and get him fed on creeps and kills while outranging/harassing the enemy bot lane.
In contrast to other supports that just sit in the bush and heal up their partner ( Sona, Soraka) or give a shield ( Janna) or buff ( Nunu), Leona needs to take a more active role - and this makes supporting with her much more interesting & fun than it is with many other champs. Because you cannot heal your partner, you must hurt the enemy instead.
Whenever you have your Eclipse, Zenith Blade and Shield of Daybreak ready (and the enemy is not fed into oblivion or under their tower) you can and should go forward and harass your enemy, even if your AD just keeps farming because he doesn't want to loose the cs. Even if you take slightly more damage than you deal the enemy carry looses cs and you deal a bit of damage which a non-sustain lane (one without a healer) cannot get back as quickly as you can with Philosopher's Stone and Health Potions. Ideally, of course, your AD carry uses the stun to get out one or two autohits. You can time your attacks so that he doesn't loose any creeps.
Use the bushes to your advantage. Outzone the enemy if you can, let them loose cs and even xp if possible. But you must also care that you are not too far from your carry, else the enemy might decide to turn on you (he will probably have boots and be faster than you) and do heavy damage.
With very few exceptions you should not go forward if you failed to hit your Zenith Blade. You are too slow and ranged ADs will hurt you while they just run backwards. Because Zenith Blade is a skillshot and not so easy to hit I never activate any of the other skills until I am in transit towards the enemy. That would be wasting mana in my opinion. Some guides recommend activating Eclipse before to deal more damage, but the better way is to activate it in transit and just follow the enemy until it explodes and then retreat. It will deal damage and be up for another 3 seconds to protect your retreat.
In this phase, warding is key to success even more than in late game. If the enemy jungler is likely to start at the Ancient Golem (and you are blue team), drop an early ward below the ramp into the river such that you can see him coming. If you are purple team you can set it on the edge between tribush and the river. See a warding guide for more tips on this issue.
As soon as you hit level 6 you can almost guarantee a kill even without help of the jungler. Go for it if you see a chance but make sure your lane partner is also on board. Use your Exhaust wisely, sometimes it's better to settle for a support kill than forcing it on the carry and dying in the process. Also be careful about tower diving for now, you'll need the Heart of Gold to take more than a few hits. Don't get Heal-baited
When you come into midgame you will encounter more teamfights. To be prepared, drop wards at important spots (I will not go ahead and tell what's been told a million times, just read a guide on warding if you're a new player) whenever you have the money to buy them and the time to wander off. Midlane always appreciates additional wards and a warded enemy blue buff can turn games around. Don't leave your carry alone for a long time though, he'll have to play very careful (he probably still can't 1v2 by now) and loose cs. Also he's in danger of being ganked much more.
Keep in mind that you don't deal much damage, so never enter fights when the team is too far away. For the same reason you need to protect your carries, because when they are dead you are as well in 90% of the cases.
In bigger team fights (first ones are probably around drake or the outer mid turret), you need to itentify the biggest threats to your team. Those will most likly be the carries (AD and AP) but which one is more fed? Which one has his/her ultimate ability ready and whose ulti can do the most damage to your team (damage here also means destruct/disable your team, not only flat dmg/dps)? You need to tell your team (or ping) which target you aim to disable before you start a fight. This might not work out if the target is too much behind, then the team must react on what you do (this means you should'nt do bullsh*t in laning phase because if you do, the team will not follow you later).
Positioning is also an important part of the game. If you have a Galio in the enemy team you won't like to fight in crammed places (oh my god how often teams don't get that xD), again warding helps you and your team to get to the battle grounds of your choice. Also, try to avaoid fighting in the jungle if you are up against champs that can surpass walls easily ( Kassadin, Shaco, Shen, Gragas etc.). As Leona you'd need to hit the enemy champion with your Zenith Blade to surpass the wall which is much more difficult.
Stay in fights as long as you can, even sacrifice yourself when you see your team can get 2 enemies for your death if you stun one instead of running away. For your aura items to work you must be in the middle of fights - get involved. Especially when you have Zeke's Herald and Aegis of the Legion you need to fight as long as you can, giving your AD carry a chance to get off as many autohits as possible.
Leona is an ok initiator, but there are way better ones (especially if you'd have to initiate with Solar Flare). If you have Ashe, Swain, Blitzcrank, Amumu or Malphite (possibly there are more, these are just taken as an example) on your team let them do it. Either their initiates are not skillshot-based or they have a higher range, lower cooldown or just break up enemy teams instead of just stunning a few foes. Of course, this is very situational again. So it will need practice.
When you get CDR your stun will become available more often. If a specific enemy is dealing most of the damage (let's say a Malzahar or Katarina with their ultimates) you might still want to keep your stun for them or at least be ready to drop a large Solar Flare onto their heads. If you used your stun and ultimate already you still have Exhaust. Don't forget about it!
Handling Leona's skills isn't easy and you probably need some time to practice. How good you use her abilities will result in how good you are with Leona. So I want to share some thoughts about that with you.
• Sunlight: Actually her passive reminds me of Lux. Not very much you need to think about in here. This ability will boost the damage of you team mates. So just make sure - when possible - to focus the enemies your team is attacking.
• Shield of Daybreak: This is an amazing stun combined with a good amount of damage. Anyway this skill requires melee range. But who cares? Leona got a jump skill to solve that problem. But this also means: If you don't hit with your jump-in your stun becomes pretty useless as long you are not IN the fight.
Try to stun the most dangerous enemy. This could be Nunu or Malzahar casting their ult, the enemy carry or even the enemy support (Soraka, Sona,...) to prevent them supporting their team.
Notice that you can use this skill to destroy towers even faster!
• Eclipse: This shield really reminds me of Sion. The only difference is that this is not a real shield but buffing your resistance. This shield actually is the reason why I don't stuck that much armor and magic resistance and prefer to go for Warmog's. I will tell you later how to use this in a right way.
• Zenith Blade: This skill actually is pretty similar to Jarvan's jump. Anyway, this skill is more harder to handle. You have to HIT the enemy you want to get to. This means you need to predict what he is doing. Also you should never forget about the fact you will jump to an enemy champion of you hit one. This sounds pretty stupid but I just saw some Leona players who use that spell to last hit creeps that are not in melee range. They hit an enemy champion by mistake and jump into tower range or into the whole enemy team what while cause a pretty useless death. You CAN last hit creeps with that if you feel like it would be to dangerous to attack them. But always look for the enemy champions.
• Solar Flare: This skill is pretty similar to Amumu's ult, isn't it? In my opinion it's just harder to place right. The stun range is smaller and the effect is delayed. So again you need to predict what your enemies are doing. Don't waste it for killing single enemies as long as you are sure it will be back soon enough. This ult can turn a team fight into victory or help to escape from a gank. Always try to get as many enemies as possible with that.
Always remember that playing Leona is not about dealing an amazing amount of damage to get Pentakills the whole day through. Playing Leona is about annoying the enemy as much as possible. So there are actually three different skilling orders that I seem to be viable on her. Each skilling order begins with Q - E - W so you don't have to decide before the match what skilling order you want to choose. I think this order of spending my first three skill points let me play pretty save by having an early stun and giving me the opportunity to harass early on with my E + Q.
You CAN level E before Q as it can provide even more early harass. Anyway, I think going for Q first is more saver as it also can help an ally before he gets killed. This is totally up to you.
This skilling order is based on maximazing your W first. This will give you a better farming ability, more resistance and more spike damage. As your Q will be maximized last this will occure you can't use your stun that often as with the other skilling orders.
This skilling order is based on maximazing your Q first. This will reduce your stun cooldown pretty early. Anyway your farming ability is not that decend as the first path.
This is a combination of both paths. You are still maximazing your W first but with maximzing Q and E together after that you will not lack anything.