Leona Build Guide by coopermidnight
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.
Hi all! This is the first guide of mine for LoL. It's the one subject I feel I have any authority on: Leona.
Motivation: After struggling with all sorts of carries and having Kayle beaten by the Nerf Squad, I decided to take the reins of a pretty unpopular role in solo queue, that of the tank. Leona's preview looked fun, and she reminded me of a beloved character from another game, so I insta-bought her and never turned back.
Notes: This is a guide for tanking with Leona. Leona is a tank and should be treated as such unless you're getting fed to hell and back. AP is barely noticeable due to Leona's low ratios. I don't recommend any AD unless the game is decisively in your favor; the gold can be spent on better things.
This section comes before the others because it's particularly important for Leona, and you should understand it when picking her. Leona is very team-dependent. Sunlight illustrates this point very well; it doesn't benefit her at all when she's alone. Leona's a bit of a risky pick if you're playing with strangers, but the payoff of cooperation is so Raven.
Leona's fantastic for starting and stopping fights. Hitting the right people with any of your three show-stoppers is crucial; you may have to dance around the enemy team, stunning different people, due to constantly changing threat conditions. Remember: Your goals are, usually in this order, to 1) have your team behind you, 2) irritate the enemies so much that they get tunnel vision and try to kill you.
Skill details + sequence
Leona's passive is a potent killing machine, but only 4 people on your team can take advantage of it! You want to tag as many targets as possible with Eclipse, so get used to being in the middle of the action.
Shield of Daybreak
This often comes after Zenith Blade in a combo, but it's also good on its own for stopping incoming killers such as the enemy jungler. This skill's extremely good at extinguishing an unwanted team fight initiation from the other side.
At rank 5, Eclipse gives you a whopping 70 extra armor/MR for quite a while, provided you hit something with the explosion. To put that into perspective, if you have a measly 40 resist and a rank 5 Eclipse, you go from 28.5% resistance to 52.3%! The defense bonus means less and less as your resistances get higher, but it's still one more thing to give out Sunlight tags with! Try to hit as many player targets as possible with Eclipse's explosion; that way, everyone is in danger! It's worth noting that you can have the bonus very often when at max CDR, provided you hit at least a minion with the explosion. You can't get 100% uptime, but you'll be comfortably close.
Ah, the Amumu skill. It's got less range for added utility. It goes through minions, which is great, and it also goes through champions until hitting a final one, which is sometimes great. This skill alone typically alerts the victim that he or she is going to die soon. Never forget to be creative, though! This skill's also an escape tool.
Is someone running away? BOOM! Is your carry about to get ********ed? BOOM! Is someone foolishly sitting at his tower with low health? BOOM! Is someone minding his own business as you lurk in the bush with your buddy? BOOM! This becomes a once per minute skill eventually, so learn to use it a lot! Seriously, don't hesitate to do it if you think it'll help even a little bit!
The way I've played Leona, almost since the day I got her, requires immediate maxing of Eclipse. Its armor/MR buff is most useful early-mid game, but the explosion always provides a Sunlight for someone on your team to pop.
Zenith Blade and Shield of Daybreak can be leveled at pretty much whatever pace you want; the order I chose keeps the cooldowns fairly close to each other by level 10 or so. Your lane opponent(s) can influence the choices at levels 2 and 3. If there's someone really aggressive scaring you or your lane partner, you definitely want Shield of Daybreak at 2. Once you hit 3, you either level up Eclipse again or get the move you haven't gotten yet; this again depends on how your lane is going at that point. If your carry is like a ***** in heat and wants to go in for the kill RIGHT NOW, you should by all means get your full combo ready for a first blood.
After a lot of thought, I finally settled on some runes for Leona that I like! Runes are subject to your liking, of course, but I find this combination pretty effective.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
4.5% extra move speed? Yes, please! It sounds tiny at first, but it's a pretty significant number when you consider that her move speed starts at 310. Plus it gets better later!
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Finding marks for Leona was a pain, but that much magic penetration gives Leona a nice boost in damage output, and it allows her to clear a minion wave with Eclipse and Zenith Blade much more easily later on in the game.
Greater Seal of Armor
Moar tankiness! That's 12.69 extra armor which is a decent stat boost at early levels.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction
These and the new defense tree make it easier for Leona to reach high CDR with few items, and that's a good thing! These glyphs give you 8.1% CDR at level 18, and, if you go with similar masteries, that number will be doubled. Woohoo!
The masteries are pretty self-explanatory. The new defense tree got a very manly squeal from me when I saw it because I knew my fair lady Leona would have even more fun with it. 21 are in the defense tree to help Leona do her job, and 9 are in utility to make her job a little more enjoyable.
Some highlights of this mastery setup are:
a) Constant 2% extra move speed
b) 3% extra move speed when above 70% health
c) 8.1% CDR at level 18
d) Tower armor reduced by 10 - although 10 is a small number, the math behind resistances can justify this mastery unless you're hitting the tower with sticks and rocks.
This will either save your carry (and/or you) or grant your carry the extra couple seconds necessary to net a kill. This spell stays useful all game! It's good for Leona because, while she can stun lots of people lots of times, she can't stun everyone all the time. Exhaust, in a team fight, means one less person for you to stun for a few seconds.
If you have a dedicated support on your team already, you probably won't need this. Otherwise it's a nice pick. Leona is very good at stopping enemy junglers who come into her lane, but she's not good at stopping them from 1-2 lanes over.
Other viable choices:
If you must. It's good in a pinch, but the cooldown is very high. Only take it if you're feeling super duper supporty.
Warping across the map within a few seconds is always nice to do! Could be a cool choice under the right circumstances.
Flash is good on every champion! It definitely has its uses when securing a kill. Flash->Q or even Flash->E allows you to subject your opponent to the torture that is being chased by Leona.
Leona needs two things: resistance and CDR!
Philosopher's Stone, Heart of Gold, and Mercury's Treads are standard for tanking. If the other team has no crowd control to worry about, you could possibly replace the boots with Sorcerer's Shoes for even more magic penetration, Boots of Swiftness to add to your already ridiculous speed, or even Ionian Boots of Lucidity to expedite the CDR process.
Frozen Heart gives you 20% CDR and 99 armor. Tears of joy! This combined with the above runes + masteries will give you almost 40% CDR at level 18.
Force of Nature is just a good item for MR overall. It doesn't offer anything great for Leona, but it does fill the MR role very nicely.
You want to grab the above two items in the order you need them. Although getting high CDR is important on Leona, you're worthless if you can't tank. Don't just rush Frozen Heart if there are immediate AP threats! If the game calls for it, get at least a Negatron Cloak to start your FoN; it's a good bit of resist alone. Otherwise, you can guiltlessly start building your Frozen Heart.
Warmog's Armor is only for when you have nothing left to build and you just want that extra bit of tankiness. You can already take quite a beating with the combined resistances of Frozen Heart and Force of Nature, but adding this third piece will let you take a grand, close-up tour of each and every enemy tower.
Abyssal Scepter: Decent choice! AP isn't great on Leona, but it never hurts. AP and MR is good on Leona. AP and MR and an aura that helps your team do even more damage in team fights? Damn! I wouldn't feel too bad about getting this item.
Aegis of the Legion: The base resists plus the aura bonuses on just yourself, combined with the health tacked on, provide a nice all-around defense item. It also benefits your team! It's a nice, cheap item to get. If your team's chock full of CC already, it may be worth sacrificing some CDR to get this.
Eleisa's Miracle: If you've got gold to throw around and there's CC to watch out for, you can turn Philosopher's Stone into this and get boots that aren't Merc Treads. No tenacity lost, and there's some nice regen.
Randuin's Omen: This one's a staple for tanky DPS characters, but I wouldn't say it's essential for Leona. If you're not concerned with CDR, then its appeal improves.
Shurelya's Reverie: 15% CDR, nice regen, and a decent active. It certainly has its uses on Leona although my build doesn't call for it. If you don't need the GP10 at some point in the game, turning Philosopher's Stone into this could be useful.
Trinity Force: Is it a nice item for Leona? Sure! Is it something you should rush? NO! If you want to look like a free week Leona, go ahead and go for this first. Otherwise, save it for much later.
Banshee's Veil: This is a perfectly acceptable replacement for Force of Nature. While it doesn't have quite as much MR, it gives you a nice chunk of health and a great, annoying bubble.
What lane does Leona belong in?
Leona goes where she pleases.
* She can solo top, but she's far from the ideal choice. You'll probably be near your turret pretty often, especially 1v2, but you'll manage easily enough.
* She can mid! Strangers may think you're trolling, but she wouldn't be the first successful melee in mid. She's naturally tanky and can do a surprising amount of punishing with her skills. This is, again, not ideal, but it can certainly work!
* She can jungle. She's slow, relative to the top junglers, but she can do it. Leona ganks are nasty, so it's something to think about!
* Leona shines (APPLAUSE) in bot lane with someone capable of doing good damage. If you can time 3-4 different applications of her passive in one try, your carry will be eating good tonight.
How to play
Grab a Regrowth Pendant and health potion and get on down to bot lane! Your objective is one of two things: a) intimidate your lane opponents, allowing your carry to get last hits; b) intimidate your lane opponents by killing them.
For the first few levels, Leona can do some nice burst damage. Combine that with stuns, Sunlight, and your partner's damage output! More often than not, your combo will be: turn on Eclipse, go fishing with Zenith Blade, stun with Shield of Daybreak, and explode. Using your skills often will deplete your Mana easily, so try to be a little conservative until you either have Faerie Charm or the completed Philosopher's Stone.
If you're not starving for gold, feel free to drop 75G on a ward. If you're bot, which you should be, a good spot is at dragon/river bush or one of the bottom two bushes depending on which seems like a bigger threat. Having one in a bottom bush is great for when your own jungler pays you a visit; he or she will show appreciation by making the enemy die.
Solar Flare, even at rank 1 with not much CDR, still has a pretty forgiving cooldown. Don't ever be afraid to use it to secure an escaping enemy or to save your butt. The casting range and AOE are both fantastic, so you can also use it in sneaky ways. Getting a feel for the delay is the difference between stunning and slowing with this skill; never fire it directly at a champion's location unless you're absolutely sure it'll hit the mark after the delay. Also don't feel too bad if you totally whiff it once.
Once you have a few ranks in Eclipse, and definitely when you have Solar Flare, tower diving can be a fun new hobby! Make sure your partner knows what's up, and then drop in with your usual combo. Take as many tower shots as you can, preferably without dying, while maintaining the stuns so that your partner can get the kill easily.
By this point, you should (at least) have your Philosopher's Stone, Mercury's Treads, and Heart of Gold. If not, uh-oh!
If there are no disasters happening, grab your favorite damage dealer and start some! Between skirmishes, you should be scouting the map for tasty opponents and pushed lanes. Either of the two is a fine excuse to take said damage dealer out to a gold buffet.
By this point, you should be at or close to 40% CDR and ridiculously tanky, possibly with a flavor item. Your job is the same as it has been: stun everything with red health bars!
Be prepared to save your team mates. With all of Leona's skills and Exhaust at your disposal, it's simple to get 1-5 people to stop chasing a squishy of yours. Getting their attention off of you afterward, on the other hand, is going to be much harder. Unless your tankiness has reached Singed levels, you'll probably die for the cause. Saving your team mate is usually worth it, especially if he has a bounty on his head.
Have good threat assessment for your stuns. Typically you go for AD/AP carries, but occasionally the beefier characters are higher priority. It's all very situational and varies in each individual game; my best advice is to be aware of both the scoreboard and the skillsets of all enemy champions present. For example: Singed and Alistar are not good focus targets, but they can send one of your own into a pit of death if left unchecked.
Be aware of how many team mates are present and how many are ready to go. You are supposed to be the one to lead the charge, but don't leap in if it's not a good time! However, feel free to do this on purpose if you're on a decoy mission. Groups of enemies love to go on the hunt for lone characters, even tanks. If you can successfully distract the majority of the opponents while your team pushes another lane or gets a map objective, then it's all gravy.
If you can help it, always be the one to take the tower hits during fights of any size near enemy towers. Eclipse helps a lot to cut down the damage intake, and at end game you can barely feel the hits. Tanking the tower and enemies really does a number on your health, but you'll probably be too enticing for them to ignore which is good! Do mind your HP, though, and try to get out without going grey.
That's about it! Although I'm a big fan of my own runes/masteries/items/skilling order, the main purpose of this guide is to teach one how to play Leona; all of the mentioned things play accessory positions. However, I'm still open to comments about the build, as well as anything else! I think it's fairly readable, but if you have formatting gripes you can feel free to comment about those, too.