Leona Build Guide by digiwombat
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.
Hello and welcome.
The aim of this guide is to try to spread the Leona love just a little bit and talk a bit about how I have played her with great success when played in concert with a competent and aggressive bot lane partner. It also cuts out a lot of things I consider unnecessary in other Leona builds.
That said, this guide is not for the feint of heart. It revolves heavily around the core idea that you will be playing an extremely aggressive game bot lane and the build, runes, and masteries reflect that.
I recommend playing this sort of Leona with a laning partner you can trust to play aggressively. If you're queued up with someone who is going to play passive, this guide won't work all that well for you and you will likely find a pretty big number in the death column.
This will be an in-depth guide so I can give you as much information about each stage of the game as I can. I'll try to explain most things as I go along, but I will reserve game-time specific information for those sections as much as possible.
Videos will be added later to give a better idea of how a game might go.
I wanted to put this in as I have seen about a million Leona's do the spell order wrong.
And I understand why. They're dipping their toes and they don't understand the power of our beautiful, tanky goddess.
Many people pop W before they lead in. I consider this folly. If you are building Leona right, you WILL be fine without W on the trip through the air to meet your new friend from the other team. If you miss your E, you just spent mana and cooldown on a dead dream and you have to amble out of the bushes like an idiot, hoping they stand still for your Q.
AND! If your ult is up:
The reason for this is simple. Leona is a godlike tank. You can take the few hits you will take before W is up. Ignoring that, when you pop W before you lead in, you are wasting precious seconds with that extra armor where you're not being hit. It's inefficient. And you won't take that many hits before your W comes on anyway. Job one is immobilizing the enemy for your damage dealers. Have faith in Leona and she will treat you right.
I know what you're thinking... and you're wrong.
But Wombat, I hear you cry, shouldn't I be going 0/21/9?
No. No, you shouldn't.
The reason why: Your job as a tank is to NOT DIE IN A FIGHT. Full stop. Leona's amazing CC kit and her ability to position on enemy to hold them in place and/or delay them as much as possible is amazing as is. You want as much beef as you can muster, and you cannot afford to give nine points to yourself when you could give them to your laning partner.
You DO NOT need move speed. (Boots of Swiftness will be more than enough, trust me. A bit more explanation in Runes section)
You DO NOT need mana regen. (How could you possibly need mana regen?)
You DO need reduced AOE damage. (Kennen, Nunu, Galio, Fiddle, GP, etc.)
You DO need all the damage reduction you can take.
You DO need to take a mastery that helps your team take towers.
If you ABSOLUTELY MUST, you can skip Siege Commander take 0/29/1 to get improved flash. But that's per your taste.
As an aside about the AOE damage reduction, I know it seems insignificant, but even 3% can start to matter in the super late game where AOE spells can be doing extremely large damage per tick (Fiddle comes to mind.)
Some quick math, if Fiddle is packing 450AP in the super late game and he ults, you are taking 505 damage, give or take. That knocks 10 (or 15, if you put all three in AOE reduction) damage off the damage that's being done PER TICK. Again, it might not sound like much, but it matters. It can keep you alive longer, and that is the single minded goal of this guide. You are a tank. Act like it.
These runes should be self-explanatory.
They keep you alive by way of damage reduction.
I will add this one note, you can opt for pure Armor or pure Magic Resist quints if you want.
I like the split, erring toward AD, personally since your early game will most always be AD heavy. But we can't ignore the possibility of Cait/Sona which adds AP to the mix, or AP ganks from jungle or midlane.
Again, no move speed here because Boots of Swiftness will get you where you need to go. If you're too far out for your E to land, you're going to be too far to engage intelligently or long enough for your damage dealers to catch up.
Heal. It's amazing. It will keep your AD alive. It keep you alive. It will give you a bit of lane sustain... just a bit. Not much.
I recommend using Heal primarily to keep your AD alive. If your little buddy gets caught out by a jungle gank while you're pursuing some hot, bot lane booty, get over to there and make him/her glow green with the love of healing sexiness. Then slowly walk back to tower without dying because you're Leona.
Flash? Well, that's for positioning. Remember. This is an aggressive build. The focus here is on play-making, not nap time and support flashing. This is to keep you next to your prey or to get you out of town in a dire situation.
One of the most important uses of Flash when playing Leona is to get you close ANY straggling teammates if they are under fire. You can run interference, you can stun, you can give yourself up instead of a more important teammate. These are also things you should do. ESPECIALLY DURING THE LANING PHASE! Flash to your teammate to save him with heal and run interference. DO IT!
This one mostly echo's every other skill order so there's not that much there.
You want Q, W, E for levels 1, 2, and 3.
Basically, you want to max W first and then Q and E in alternating fashion, taking R when it's available.
W is your core spell here. It gives you great armor, and as long as you keep yourself near the fight, does nice AOE damage early game that can help secure kills or just add damage on to help your AD through the fight.
Alright! Most of the build is pretty obvious for a tank. I'll start at the beginning and work my way around.
Start with Regrowth Pendant. With this, a little time spent in the bush will get you back near full health. Small shots won't bother you as you'll be back in shape quickfast with this combined with the masteries. You don't need a potion. It's a waste of money you'll need later.
You want to get Philo Stone ahead of boots. It gives you a bit of extra gold income, which you will need because YOU WILL NOT TOUCH THE MINIONS WHILE YOUR AD IS ON LANE!
YOU DO NOT NEED HEART OF GOLD! The idea here is to play aggressive and get into your tank items as fast as possible without wasting inventory space on a GP/5.
Next is Boots 1. EZPZ second item.
After boots, it depends on what you're dealing with on lane. If you're taking lots of damage off AD champs, pick up Chain Vest. If the AP kids are causing you tons of hurt, you'll want to move into Negatron Cloak before the armor.
Depending on how much money you have, as you should be nearing the end of laning or have done a few team fights, you should pick up Giant's Belt and the opposite of whatever you picked up first. So if you picked up armor first, get your magic resist.
Likewise, you're going to want to move on to your boots. In this case, you'll be taking Boots of Swiftness. This makes sure no one ever gets away from you. And that's important. It will make your teammates more confident knowing the tank is leading the charge and gives you great chase-down against some of the more annoying champions.
From here, you just move towards your final build as needed. Play it smart and pay attention to enemy team comp and when you die/during team fights, pay attention to what is doing the most damage, try to compensate for it as soon as you can.
Pay attention to team comp, as well. If they have lots of AP or AD, build accordingly.
Early Game (Bushes of Death)
This is where this Leona guide begins and ends for the most part.
The way this setup works, you will not die. You can play like Leona is going supernova and there's just about nothing bot lane can do to stop you on their own. Be a bit wary of Taric (not too wary), but borderline insane aggression is how you want it to go. You can pretty much ignore (or attack) any support.
Let's start from the get. Assuming your AD comes to lane with you early, head for the enemy bush. Then stand in it like it belongs to you. You want to know why? The bushes belong to you. When you hit the enemy bush with your AD in tow, if you come across any enemies, hit the priority target in the face and have your AD go for the kill. If no one is in the bush, you and your AD should wait there. Someone will come visit. HIT THEM IN THE FACE with Q.
If you guard tri-bush while the AD goes to guard blue, head to bush after your AD starts down. Since your AD is far out, you might want to stop at the bot bush. That'll be a temporary situation. When your AD arrives on lane, you go to top bush and plant your flag. You want to know why? Say it with me: The bushes belong to you.
Here's why, your AD is going to play wherever he or she wants. If they come in your bushes, you stun them and your AD moseys over and punishes.
And let's keep something straight. You don't just own the bushes, you own everything in walking distance of the bushes. They come even close? You pop Q and smack them in the face. Your AD should get a few shots off in their general direction.
Once you hit three, you'll have E and then it's time to occasionally leave the bushes. That is to say, if the timing is right, your AD is informed of what's happening, and the enemy is in good position, hit your target with E and pay them a little visit. When you hit, Q to the face and get your W going.
These don't NEED to be kills. Especially if you're on a lane against a Soraka. A lot of times they won't be. But they will be significantly damaged. If they run, follow as far as you like. Try not to take more than one or two tower shots early on, since it makes stuff a bit rough and you don't want to leave the lane unless you're buying stuff or you have to full on escape a push.
That said, when your AD is off lane, feel free to take the CS and let the lane push towards tower. This lets you get a bit of extra gold and puts the enemy in good position for jungle ganks and strong aggression when your AD returns to lane.
Again, this aggression needs to go down AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE! You are made entirely of beef, use it to make bot lane sandwiches of death. Don't be stupid, rest in your bushes when you need to heal up.
Once you hit level six, you get R which means more opportunities to murder someone. Keep your AD informed of when it's up and use it as often as you can during the laning phase to set up kills. Obviously try to hit the stun.
When I play, we tend to keep the lane pushed a little farther forward than center typical. I made a note of it in the graphic about laning positions:
That should give you an idea of how fights will go where if everything goes right, depending on heals and so on.
Mid Game/Team Fights
The mid game becomes a crucial time for Leona for a number of reasons. The main being that you need to keep your build moving along and Leona has a **** lane. Team fights become an important way to keep the money flowing, that and sliding into the jungle to grab some wraiths or wolves.
You should be able to initialize some nice fights on the other lanes and you'll still be good through most of the mid game for team fights. You should stick in the general area of at least one other champ like any good support would do, but this is more so you can leech XP off their farm. REMEMBER! No stealing.
In full blown team fights, you'll generally want to initiate with R if the enemy team is clumped at all. Otherwise initiate with E and roll through like normal, using R when it will have the most effect.
If you find a straggler, or sneak up on one, with a damage dealer nearby, make sure they know what you're after then initiate with R so you can buy yourself time to get in range for a E. If your damage dealer is close enough in, R should allow them to start up before you get there.
Again, you really do thrive as Leona off of gold from assists team fights. You don't need to live through them entirely, but you do need the team to win or at least do alright so you end up with some gold. This makes proper initializations and having your team ready and willing to engage a must. You can easily ruin team fights for the other team, but you're just as crucial to your own team's success, so be smart out there.
I tend to finish my armor items first and sit on two Negatron Cloaks through the mid and early late game.
Late game, you should be mostly done with your build.
Same rules as mid game apply. Stick with your team and be very wary of what sort of damage you are taking when you die. Adjust your items and build accordingly.
The build outlined above should cover most late game final builds from the opposing team. It's a utility build and getting it the way it is should keep you safe against a fairly even AP/AD split. It'll keep you tanky as hell, but remember, you have to play against what they're building.
Keep in mind that this way of playing Leona isn't for everyone, but if you play as outlined you should have a decent amount of success. This is the style I am comfortable with. You will be able to walk away from most lane battles with health left, you will be able to keep your AD alive while playing aggressive and you'll be able to do the same for others as the game wears on.
Leona is a pure tank and she soaks up damage like a sponge. Play her like she's made of steel and she'll reward you for it.
Again, this requires your lane partner to be in sync with you. You'll find out very quickly that any disparity in what you're doing and what they're doing will lead to a lot of you heading back to base to heal up. The same goes for team fights in the later game. If you initiate and your team isn't on the same page, you'll be dead and your team will be pissed.
Aggression is 100% the name of the game at all points of the game with Leona. Hard initiations late game are normal and beautiful, obscene aggression early game is necessary and should make your AD extremely happy.
Ah well! Hopefully I haven't repeated myself too much and hopefully all of this makes sense. Thanks for giving it a read. Like I said a few times, this is how I play Leona, has been and will be. It might not be for you, but hopefully it shows you some insight into some ways to put the hurt on your enemies.