Leona Build Guide by Renarion Arenimon
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
to what I intended to make the ultimate guide for Leona, the Radiant Dawn. A long time ago when I saw her Sneak Peak I was intrigued. When I watched her Champion Spotlight I was impressed. I immediately thought: "Finally, I have found my main tank." And I was right. Match after match, win or loss, she has failed to dissapoint me. Ever since those early days, I have been proud to call Leona one of my main League of Legends champions.
I've read all the top rated Leona guides. I've seen many Leona builds in action. And I've put together my own which has served me flawlessly. Whatever may be said about my guide, one thing stands a fact. This guide is simple, straightforward, and thorough. It will show you all you need to know without excess deliberation. I won't plunge into over-complicated paralel build explanations. Leona is a true tank, and she is at her best when played like one.
With that said, let's get to it.
Following are Leona's ups and downs, both in general and as made by this guide.
- true tank with extreme survivability
- versatile enough to hold her own on any lane
- able to initiate from distance
- heavy crowd control and a counter-DPS
- naturally works great with teammates
- capable of relentless pursuits
- relatively low damage until late game
- teammate dependant
- difficult early game farming (fixable with Fortify)
- relatively slow movement speed early game (fixable with Ghost and Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed)
All in all, Leona's advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. She is an extremely well equipped tank with abilities that provide great maneuvering and crowd control, and she is the only tank who can actually initiate from distance with her ultimate, Solar Flare. Her relatively low damage output doesn't really matter that much since a tank's role is primarily to protect the team, and if needed die for the team, and so rack up alot of asists - although rest assured you'll be seeing some nice kills with this build too. It all depends on how well you play Leona, because she requires skill (few champions don't) and decisiveness. And finally, her last two disadvantages can be helped by using the apropriate Summoner Spells and runes. All in all Leona makes for one hell of a tank champion.
It's difficult to narrow down your Summoner Spells to just 2, because it's true that any champion can benefit from half a dozen different ones. Following are a select few that directly augment Leona.
Flash is practically a requirement. It has many great uses. It will allow you to escape when things go amiss, give you advanced maneuverability in team fights, enable you to flank your enemies more effectively, and ultimately help you chase down runners. I don't leave home without this life saver/taker.
Exhaust significantly adds to your crowd control capabilities, allowing you to render enemy DPS champions useless for parts of or sometimes even whole teamfights. It's also a great way to save an ally or yourself when pursued. In big teamfights you'll find it extremely useful to disable more enemy champions than you could with just your Shield of Daybreak. Use this spell often, but if your team already has enough Exhausts it is probably wiser to pick something else.
Fortify is any tank's friend. This spell has 2 primary uses. Defensively, it's great to counter backdooring or simply help holding a lane. Aggressively, you can use it to surprise and kill an enemy champion who tower dives in hopes of killing you. Early game most enemies, even if they do manage to kill you, probably won't live to brag about it. And with 9 bonus damage while ready to cast, this spell also works great to improve your farming capability. This is my alternative when not using Exhaust.
Ghost will allow you to more efficiently chase down champions that make a run for it, allowing you to get close enough for a stun. Either that or it will help when pulling out of a sticky situation. Leona starts off with relatively slow movement speed, and while that's ok for a tank, at times it just might mean the difference between life or death.
Teleport adds to your overall maneuverability, allowing you to appear in the right place at the right time. This spell can help quickly return to your lane if you had to leave it for some reason, or it might help save another lane from being pushed by the enemy. It also serves as a great way to quickly join a teamfight.
You can use other Summoner Spells, but the above are the recommended ones. I seriously advise sticking to these, otherwise you're missing out on stuff that really benefits your role as the team's tank.
Following are runes that directly benefit Leona and also complement your Masteries.
Greater Mark of Desolation
Of course, there are more runes you can use with Leona. The above mentioned are my personal choice and recommendation, but feel free to try out the following secondary choices. Just note that the first runeset is designed to complement the Masteries, so when changing runes make sure to check if the Masteries can be improved as well.
Greater Quintessence of Health. Keep in mind that your offensive stats will be reduced, making Trinity Force somewhat less effective. If you go with these runes you may want to replace Trinity Force with something like Guardian Angel.
Ninja Tabi + 2% from Evasion ). Personally I would rather have the flat armor Seals. If you decided to buy some other boots, but still want the benefits of dodge, then I suppose you could take these runes.
Randuin's Omen + 20% from Frozen Heart).
Alright, let's discuss your item build in detail. First of all, note the following:
A good build is always adjusted to the real-time combat situation.
This means that, while you should definitely follow this build as it is, you should also study your opponents and make smart decisions about what to buy and when. Don't hold onto this item build order blindly. For example, this build focuses on magic resist items at mid game, but if you find yourself having trouble against enemy casters then go ahead and buy some magic resist earlier on. Now let's study the build we have.
1) Your first buy should definitely be the Regrowth Pendant. This, combined with your runes, will provide you with all the survivability you need early game. Just stand back for a while and watch your health renegerate. This item also goes directly into your further build. Perfect. Grab 1 Health potion for the remaining gold, in case you need fast healing.
2) If you have to, make two trips back to base, first buying the first two items, and second time the second two items. It is very likely however, as is usually the case when I play, that you will be able to successfully remain on lane until you have more than 1800 gold. Once you achieve this amount you should really go back because it won't be long before your current items can't keep up with the opposition. With +1800 gold you will be able to instantly buy Eleisa's Miracle and Ninja Tabi.
Eleisa's Miracle will provide you with heavy life and mana regeneration, as well as with 35 Tenacity. This is great because now you don't need Mercury's Treads for Tenacity and you can take Ninja Tabi instead which provides a decent dodge chance (regardless of whether you have dodge runes or not).
3) One of the cornerstones of this build. Randiun's Omen is the perfect item for Leona, and an absolute necessity. Alot of armor, health, health regen, cooldown reduction, chance to slow attacker's attack and movement speed, and an additional active use that slows attack and movement speeds of all nearby enemy champions - this is how team fights are won.
You will definitely want to start this item off with a Heart of Gold grabbing it soon after the first 2 steps of this build. This will increase your gold income by 5 per 10s, and every little bit helps. Once you have that, your next shop should be either Warden's Mail, which holds some properties of the completed item, or Randiun's Omen altogether.
4) These two items are each a preparation of the majority of the rest of your tanking potential. First buy the Negatron Cloak, since it's high time you started working on your magic resist. Immediately afterwards, or if you have enough gold then simultaneously, buy the Glacial Shroud for armor, mana and reduced cooldowns.
5) The evolution of the two items from step 4. You will probably have to make two trips to add these to your build. I usually buy Force of Nature first and some time later the Frozen Heart, but you should adjust the order to the situation. After this, you will have all the armor and magic resistance you will ever need, which will tremendously augment the duration of the active use of Randiun's Omen. You'll also have all the mana you need, greatly reduced cooldowns and a significant boost to your movement speed.
4) It's time to wrap things up. The way I play, I am already a threat on the battlefield and usually get a decent amount of kills as well as tons of assists with just a few deaths. Trinity Force will improve Leona's offensive capability (damage, attack speed, critical chance), as it goes nicely with her Shield of Daybreak. It also gives you more health and mana as well as adding 12% to your movement speed. Build this item from Sheen.
I must note that, should you choose to focus even more on tanking and less on offense, you can replace Trinity Force with other items, depending on what is needed:
Warmog's Armor - With alot of resistances, this crazy amount of health will provide more survivability if the enemy is stacking armor or magic penetration.
Guardian Angel - With this, after causing chaos and mayhem in a team fight, you will rise as the dust settles to finish off lucky survivors.
Thornmail - The ultimate counter-DPS solution. This will seriously punish enemy AD champions.
Leona has a great set of abilities that augment her survivability, usefulness in team fights, and allow her to perform relentless pursuits. Let's take an overall look at each.
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 additional magic damage.
- This is one of the reasons why Leona is so teamwork dependent. Painting targets with Sunlight can significantly help against enemy champions, but since Leona is unable to trigger the mark herself, she needs an ally at her side. Continuously hitting enemies that are already being focused by your teammates can make a big difference in the outcome, especially late game when the bonus damage climbs all the way to 140.
Shield of Daybreak
Leona uses her shield to perform her next autoattack, dealing bonus magic damage and stunning the target.
- This is your main stun tool, and as such is better off leveled up fast. The stun duration may be a constant 1.25 seconds, but the cooldown is reduced with each rank so you will be able to stun more often. This is both a great way to save allies as well as seal the fate of enemies.
Leona raises her shield to gain Armor and Magic Resistance. When the duration first ends, if there are nearby enemies she will deal magic damage to them and prolong the duration of the effect.
- Active use of this shield heavily increases your survivability. It also packs quite a kick against champions with low magic resistance, and has gotten me quite a few kills throughout whole matches. As you level this up, whether you are solo lane or with an ally, it will make it hard for enemy champions to push.
Leona projects a solar image of her sword, dealing magic damage to all enemies in a line. When the image fades, the last enemy champion struck will be briefly immobilized and Leona will dash to them.
- This ability is a great maneuvering tool, allowing to close the distance between you and enemy champions. It's also in fact part of your stun arsenal, even though it's just a brief half a second stun. Keep in mind it does interrupt enemy casting and channeling.
Leona calls down a beam of solar energy, dealing damage to enemies in an area. Enemies in the center of the area are stunned, while enemies on the outside are slowed.
- Leona's ultimate is what makes her unique in comparison to all the other tanks - the ability to initiate a teamfight from distance. It's got quite a fair range, and also serves as a foolproof way to stop runners or save allies. Even if you miss the stun area, the outer part of the circle provides an 80% slow that is not to be underestimated.
As shown at the top of the page. For the first three levels, choose Eclipse, then Shield of Daybreak and finally Zenith Blade. This will ensure you have all the maneuverability and survivability as early on as possible. As you gain further levels, assign points according to following priority:
Shield of Daybreak
(it goes without saying that you should level up your ultimate whenever possible)
Basically, you should level up Eclipse whenever you can. When you can't, level up Shield of Daybreak. Once Eclipse is maximized, focus on maximizing Shield of Daybreak. Zenith Blade should be maxed last since you only need it as a maneuvering tool.
The following Masteries will complement your build and runes. You might want to adjust the Masteries if you are making changes either of those. By default, your Masteries should be as displayed on top of the page.
As you can see, the Defense tree will increase your armor, magic resistance, health and health regeneration, reduce incoming damage, and provide you with a small dodge chance that will go well with your Ninja Tabi. This is basically all that a true tank needs.
From the Utility tree, you will have further increased health and mana regeneration, bonus experience, a little less time spent dead, and you will receive 1 additional gold per 10 seconds. I guess if you don't want the gold you can put that point from Greed to Good Hands .
Note that even the best guide must be adjusted to the real combat situation. This mostly refers to the item build, but if you think you can further improve this guide, feel free to comment below. I've played countless matches with Leona, not just with this build, and I've come to believe that this is the best there is - at least until some aspects of the game are significantly changed by some future patch. I've kept this fairly simple, however mentioning possible adjustments where I saw the need.
Thanks for reading and rating my guide, and may luck be with you on the Fields of Justice.