Leona Build Guide by nexttoradio
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Leona is one of those supports that can either do incredibly well or fall flat on her face. Her skill set has a good mixture of survivability, disables, and mobility. A well played Leona with a coordinated carry can easily dominate almost any standard enemy bottom lane composition. That being said, Leona is what I call an "all in" champion in that once she goes in she has very little in the terms of escaping. It is this weakness that can cause Leona to be a completely worthless support. If your carry does not follow you into battles you will find yourself with a one-way ticket back to the respawn fountain with nothing to show for it.
I will warn you that this guide is not an exhaustive guide for the player that is new to playing support. I do not explain topics such as warding, target prioritizing, or baron/dragon control, etc. This guide is focused on Leona, not how to be a support player.
Pros / Cons
+ good mobility
+ exciting to play
+ counters blitzcrank
- can fall flat on her face and be useless (figuratively)
-has little escape potential
Leona's skill sequence is really quite variable. All that is for certain is that in your first 4 levels Shield of Daybreak and Zenith Blade will both get 1 point and Eclipse will receive 2. The order changes based on the scenario. The thing to remember is that you want to get 1 point in every skill in order do your Zenith Blade + Shield of Daybreak combo without dying to the return fire.
If you are invaded, either Shield of Daybreak or Zenith Blade can be a useful decision. Normally Zenith Blade will be the best because you can apply your passive to a lot of enemies as well as cut of escape. Shield of Daybreak can disable someone long enough for them to be smacked down though. It is one of those things that you will learn with time.
If your team does the invading, either Shield of Daybreak or Eclipse can be a good decision. Shield of Daybreak will generally be the best option since you will want to disable any enemy you find, but if you are leading the charge and get jumped, the extra tankiness from Eclipse can be pivotal in the fight.
It happens occasionally that your team will not leash for your jungler. If that is the case your Zenith Blade is the only option for that.
If the enemy lane will be poking from a safe distance during early levels (ex. Ezreal + Sona) Eclipse will most likely be your best start. Just take into account that by doing this you are delaying your Zenith Blade- Shield of Daybreak combo by one level.
It is very important for you to understand Leona's base combos.
Standard Lane Initiate
This combo is your bread and butter during lane. You will land 3 spells on the enemy which will apply Sunlight 3 times. Hopefully you can time it all so that your carry procs every one.
If you can catch the enemy without using Zenith Blade you can save it in order to catch up to them if they retreat.
-> -> ->
This combo will allow you to initiate on an enemy team. If your Solar Flare misses it may be a good idea to back off as the enemy team will now have an advantage over you. Using Solar Flare first allows you to not be as committed to a fight as a combo stating with a Zenith Blade would.
As Leona, survivability is your primary goal early game. Your only strong combo will commonly leave you in the midst of 2 enemy champions with only your shield to keep you safe. Since most likely you will be taking physical damage, Greater Mark of Armor and Greater Seal of Armor will serve you well early game.
You take Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist over flat armor because Greater Glyph of Armor is pitifully bad and as the game goes on you will most likely be taking more mixed damage than you will in lane. It is also easier to build armor on Leona than MR.
Lastly, you are a support. It's your job to stay relevant with little to no CS, and while Leona makes for a great kill lane, you cannot always count on getting early kills to help your gp10's along. The extra income from Greater Quintessence of Gold will help you get those early gp10's as well as help fund your warding. I recommend these on every support except for rare cases.
The masteries reinforce our goal of early game survivability.
Hardiness - provides armor and also allows us to dig deeper into the mastery tree.
Resistance - MR is always nice, 1 point is in this to go into the tree, 1 point is in it because it was extra.
Durability - health scales very well with resistances and Leona brings plenty of that.
Veteran's Scars - see Durability .
Indomitable - can help you tank minion waves, survive early engagements, and overall will reduce the damage you take significantly.
Summoner's Insight - flash already has a long cooldown, reducing it is very useful.
Expanded Mind - during early levels mana is very useful to allow you to use your skills more often.
Improved Recall - the extra second you save can (and will) save your life. It also looks hella cool to have 9 or so rings around you instead of 3.
Swiftness - increased movement speed on top of your boots means you will be able to get to safety faster after your combo.
Meditation - the increased mana regen is useful to keep your mana pool up and your harass going. This is exceptionally useful since Leona picks up a later philosopher's stone than most other supports.
Greed - an important support mastery that helps get your items and wards quicker.
Wealth - 1 point in wealth allows us another Health Potion at the start, and 150 extra health combined with Eclipse really counts during laning phase.
Summoner's Wrath = reducing the armor and MR of your exhaust target is just too good to pass up.
This combination should look familiar to everybody. It gives a good combination of mobility and disable and should be the pick for 90% of supports. Explaining it farther is probably a waste of both my and your time so lets move on to the other possible spells.
Clairvoyance is a strong summoner spell regardless of what people say. It can be very effective on more passive supports like Janna and Nunu but on Leona you want the extra mobility and damage reductions to survive those fights.
Heal is another decent pick on Leona but I have issue with bringing this on the support because normally the enemy carry will have ignite which can make this spell virtually useless. If your carry wants it that's great, but Exhaust gives more bang during important fights. Conclusion: Heal is viable, but it's a style choice, and I do not recommend it.
Any other summoner spells are either not viable on Leona or are for very specialized team plans ( Promote or Revive) and are not the focus of this guide.
As with any support your early goal is to obtain gold income from Heart of Gold and philosopher's stone. Unlike most supports though, Leona should start with Boots of Speed meaning that her gp10 items will be a little latter than most other supports. Also fairly unique to Leona is the fact that she benefits more from Heart of Gold than from philosopher's stone, meaning that Heart of Gold will be your first item after your starting items.
That being said, remember that wards are of utmost importance. If you want to know why wards are important this is the wrong guide. I am taking for granted that you have at least some rudimentary knowledge of how and why to use wards. I will say that you should
These items allow you to ward once while giving you some good mobility for avoiding harass and pressuring the enemy. The health potions will allow you to heal up the damage you will take from your level 3+ harassing. You can get away with 1 ward because you will most likely not be pushing the lane toward the enemy turret early. Later when you have more dominance that ward will be important because it will have to last you until you head back.
These three items will form the core of your build. They give you everything you need as a tanky support.
The philosopher's stone will build into shurelia's reverie which is a must have item for all teams.
Heart of Gold will build into Randuin's Omen or Locket of the Iron Solari both of which are useful. I find Randuin's Omen is better to have as a general rule because the extra armor and, more importantly, aoe attack speed debuff are incredibly potent in team fights, but if someone on your team builds Randuin's Omen then I tend to grab the Locket of the Iron Solari since simultaneous casts of Randuin's Omen do not stack.
The choice of boots is one that must be made every game based on how the game is going. If the enemy is doing lots of magic damage or has lots of cc that is keeping you from being effective, Mercury's Treads is your pick. If the enemy is dealing lots of physical damage Ninja Tabi is your item. And if you just can't seem to get to places fast enough and/or the enemy team is doing even ammounts of each type of damage, Boots of Mobility can help you get to the right place at the right time.
These are the only 3 aura items that I would recommend on Leona, and they all fill a certain purpose. It will be up to you to decide if you should pick up one of these during the game or forego the aura for the tank items listed later.
zeke's herald - is useful when your team has a lot of champions that will benefit from attack speed and life steal like Vayne or Olaf. Just note that taking this item will keep your late-game health significantly lower than building a more selfish tank item.
Frozen Heart - this item builds fairly well on Leona since it makes her tanky, hurts the enemy team, and gives her some cdr which allows her to use her ult more often. This is another niche item that is best taken when the enemy ADC has gotten out of control and your Randuin's Omen just won't do.
Abyssal Scepter - if your ap caster is powerful, or your team runs a lot of magic damge, this item's aura can help increase your team's damage output. Additionally, if the enemy team is dealing a lot of magic damage this item's MR can really help your survivability.
Will of the Ancients - I don't mention this item at all above because I consider it to be very weak on Leona. Leona's goal is to disable the enemy and take hits, not deal more damage.
Warmog's Armor - This is a solid item on Leona because it combines very well with her Eclipse to make her neigh unkillable. This is a good item if the enemy team is focusing you and deals roughly even amounts of physical and magical damage, or if they have lots of true damage.
Sunfire Cape - This item is a decent pick when the enemy is dealing lots of physical damage and your team already has a Frozen Heart. It has the additional benefit of dealing some extra damage during teamfights, though damage is not the reason you should buy this item.
Frozen Mallet - This item is a bit weird but can be useful and fun. You pick this up as a Warmog's Armor substitute if you want to be able to keep enemies slowed for your team to stay on them. This is useful against a team with lots of speed and when your own team is lacking in chain cc.
sight ward sight ward sight ward sight ward sight ward
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of warding.
Pregame (level 1-2)
At this point you are your weakest. Your best bet is to try to control your bush and wait to level up. If things get dicey stick with your adc, you don't want to get caught out.
Early Game (level 3 -> dragon contesting)
Once you hit level 3 you will most likely be able to start harassing the enemy yourself using your combo. This is when Leona starts to become dangerous. If your carry has been harassing them you can easily secure a kill with your combo. Keep the wards up and build up your gp10, aegis, and tanky items.
Midgame (when dragon is starting to be contested -> end of laning)
During the midgame you will lane much like you did during the early game, but you will want to be pushing out. Fortunately Leona tends to naturally do that around this time so no sweat. Just make sure to keep your wards up and assist anybody you can in the jungle/river. Also remember that if you pick up a solid kill taking turrets/dragons should be your primary objective.
Late Game (end of laning -> nexus explodes)
At this point you should be grouping with some or all of your team and working on objectives, pushing, and whatever else your strategy dictates. During teamfights you can play 1 of 2 roles depending on the circumstances and your team comp. You can either be the initiator or the peeler. I find that Leona excels at initiating because oh her mass CC and inherent tankiness, and I would encourage you to aim to do just that. But if your team gets caught out or you are already initiated ( Shyvana tends to initiate nicely), placing Solar Flare on the enemies going for your adc followed by your combo can lock them down long enough for the adc to finish them off of escape.
Just generally try to get into the middle of fights, pop your items, land your spells, and draw as much fire as you can. I have a motto as Leona: "If I'm the first dead in a team fight they wasted too much effort over me." It's very true, assuming that you were in good health and you were not diving all alone. If you die early in a team fight they have expended so much to kill you that it will most likely leave them vulnerable to the rest of your team, assuming your team prioritized better.
Basic Lane Matchups
Good Lane Partners
Generally you want a high-mobility high-busrt lane partner in order to capitalize on your ability to initiate and disengage.
Corki - Corki can Valkyrie in to keep up with Leona initiations, and his Gatling Gun can pop every Sunlight you place. He can do all of this from a reasonable enough distance to allow him to escape if things get bad.
Graves - Graves can Quickdraw to keep up with your initiation. Additionally he has very strong burst damage early on with fairly short cooldowns allowing you to initiate on the enemy, back off, and come back when all of your spells are up again. This kind of harass can force low sustain bottoms or carries that bring Doran's Blade out of lane.
Tristana - Tristana LIVES to jump on people. She is very similar to Graves in that she has a good damaging burst with built in mobility thanks to Rocket Jump and Explosive Shot. Unlike Graves, you will want to wait for just the perfect moment to strike with Tristana. Rocket Jump requires Tristana to get really close to the enemy champions and if she does not pick up a kill to refresh it, she can be left in a bad spot with no escape.
Weak Lane Partners
Carries that want to play passively and farm or cannot contribute to lane fights very well do not allow Leona to be used to her fullest potential. It is best to avoid these combinations, though they can still work if done properly.
Caitlyn - Caitlyn prefers to harass from a distance rather than get into a small skirmish. She does not benefit much from you jumping into the enemy except that you mae Piltover Peacemaker easier to hit. She otherwise brings no burst damage. While the lane CAN work, the 2 styles clash and make for an awkward lane.
Ashe - Much like Caitlyn, Ashe likes to harass more than brawl. Ashe's Volley does not stack at close range like Graves' Buckshot and she does not have any mobility to allow her to quickly engage and disengage as you do. While the basic laning is awkward and non-symbiotic, Enchanted Crystal Arrow can set up for almost guaranteed kills when combined with Shield of Daybreak and Solar Flare.
Urgot - While Urgot has fallen out of favor, it is worthwhile to mention that Leona and Urgot do not compliment one another. Like Caitlyn, there is little that Urgot can do when you jump onto the enemy that he would not be able to do normally at a range.
Blitzcrank - Leona effectively shuts down blitzcrank because if Blitzcrank lands a pull on her it's just a free initiate for her. The really nice thing about Leona is that if Blitzcrank lands a grab on her carry, she can Zenith Blade in and protect the carry. While it's still best to not get pulled at all Leona can turn the pulls around like nobody else. TIP: If a Blitzcrank pulls you, your adc has a gap closer, and the enemy adc is not near Blitzcrank, Zenith Blade onto the enemy carry. Blitzcrank will be out of position and have his cc on cooldown while you and your own carry get to manhandle the enemy carry.
Sona - The fact that Sona will want to harass with her Hymn of Valor and Power Chord will bring her into your clutches time and time again. While this harass hurts early, one you hit level 3 your combo should be enough to being punishing her. Eventually she will learn that she cannot harass well against a Leona and you will be able to pick when the fights happen and punish Sona if she ever tries harassing again. A word of caution, Sona's ultimate can be devastating. Be careful how you engage once she is level 6 or you could find yourselves stuck under a turret with an enemy Lee Sin coming out of river. Otherwise this lane should not be much of a problem.
Soraka - A good Soraka will ruin your day and then some. Her Astral Blessing grants a large amount of armor to the target which will make your trades either focus on killing her, or do much less damage than it should. On top of that she can heal her carry and Infuse him allowing for incredible sustained harass.
Caitlyn - Caitlyn can harass you at almost all times with few consequences. While your [eclipse], [health potion], and masteries help, they can only do so much. A strong Caitlyn will deny you the bushes with Yordle Snap Traps and poke you whenever you come close. If you do get an initiation on her though, she is really easy to take down, though 90 Caliber Net still affords her a way to escape.
Ezreal - Ezreal is a more mobile, but less harassy version of Caitlyn. His Mystic Shot can be a real pain if you allow him to land it, and his Essence Flux can help him dodge your Zenith Blade or get away from your engagement. He is a little easier to deal with than Caitlyn but a little more evasive.
Leona is a very influential champion that can cause mayhem and destroy the enemy team. She requires a lot of cooperation though and as a result is a difficult champion to bring to solo queue. I suggest asking your carry if he is comfortable with a Leona before you select her or you can be in for a bumpy ride.
Mandatory Honorable Mention
Leona Jarvan IV bottom lane has so much cc that you can deny the enemy adc farming and land some awesome kills early allowing you to snowball. I personally don't like it but I have seen many people playing it, so I have included this for sake of compleation.
And I have heard rumblings of Leona Taric too...
This is my very first guide put out. I chose Leona because I find her to be one of the more interestingly built supports. I would like to keep this guide updated and will be paying attention to the comments for constructive criticism, questions, and things I may have accidentally excluded. Look for me to make more guides of my favorite supports and other champions as well.
Changed Masteries around a bit -Customtm
Rewrote some basic lane matchups to be more specific
Warmog's Armor removed from purchasing order for clarity purposes