Leona General Guide by PartTimeSamurai
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Jungle Leona was pretty viable back in Season 3 and Season 4 but due to the changes in the jungle last season it was pretty hard to do so -- until now. Bami's Cinder makes Leona playable in the jungle albeit a bit slow compared to other utility junglers such as Sejuani and Maokai for instance.
Before Bami's Cinder the jungle clear times for Leona was long and arduous and you had to rely on multiple Health Potion and a Ranger's Trailblazer for sustain. By the time I was able to gank for my team, the enemy jungler had a gank or two under their belt. With the addition of Bami's Cinder, you can keep up with the current jungler picks and be a force to be reckon with.
Uhhh...You're supporting, right?
Jungle Leona has arguably one of the best ganks pre level 6 and especially post level 6 in the game. It is almost a guaranteed kill or Flash if you land your e+q combo. Even more so if your lane mate has a hard crowd control ability to initiate or follow up on.
Leona, however is not meant for every team composition. It's important to note that champions that have a high burst rate and/or have hard crowd control abilities will synergize well with Leona. Champions such as Riven, Jax, Lux, Ahri, and Jinx come to mind.
Champions that have DOT effects, no form of burst or have limited crowd control abilities will make it hard to secure a kill.
It is also worthy to mention that by playing Leona, you will lose a lot of team fight damage potential as your primary role is to soak up damage and keep the enemy carries stunned as long as possible. It is recommended to play jungle Leona if your bottom lane has a support with damage potential, preferably Annie, Morgana, or of the like.
Here's a quick rundown on the pros and cons of Jungle Leona.
- Ganks are remarkable.
- Can chain stun enemy champions.
- Has the potential to either peel or initiate.
- Eclipse gives you natural defensive stats without the need to purchase a lot of defense oriented items.
- Dueling potential is nonexistent.
- Relies heavily on teammates for damage.
- Clear times are relatively slow.
- You can be bursted down easily in your own jungle early on.
Now if you're familiar with playing Leona as a support champion, you know that she can become pretty tanky without the need of too many defensive items. With the extra gold from jungle creeps and kills/assists, you will find that she will be even hardier that support Leona; thus you rise to more risky plays you otherwise won't do as support.
Runes & Masteries
The rune choices are pretty self-explanatory. You're going to be a tanky/utility jungler so the stats to armor and move speed are a given.
I prefer to stack armor glyphs, seals and marks since it will help mitigate damage from jungle camps. However, if you prefer a wholesome and balanced defensive stats, I would switch out my armor glyphs to magic resist glyps. Depending on preference you could use flat or scaling glyps.
The quints for move speed is self-explanatory as this will help you gank and your jungle clear speeds.
I like to run 9/21/0 as my masteries.
For Offense, I run Sorcery for the cool down and Brute Force and Martial Mastery for the added damage to help clear speeds along.
For Defense, I prefer to run 21. These masteries give a nice mix of damage and crowd control reduction which scales exceptionally well into late game play.
Jungle Route and Ganking
Now to the bread and butter.
It's important that you start with the side where your ADC and Support are. If you're on Red Team, you will be starting at Gromp. If you're on the Blue Team, you will be starting at Ancient Krug. It is far more important that you take as little damage as you can when starting with you first jungle camp since you will need all the health you have to do a level 3 gank. This would mean you will have to ask the support to tank a few hits (This works especially well if the support runs Relic Shield as they could heal back from it's passive). You could either Smite immediately (if you're tanking damage), or after if the support decides to tank the camp.
After the first camp you will either go to the Blue Sentinel (if you started Gromp ) or Red Brambleback (if you started Ancient Krug ). Make sure you start using your potions as soon as you can when you're engaging your respective buffs. After the first buff, go to the second respective buff. It is important that you place a ward nearby just in case the enemy jungler decides to pay you a visit. Once your ward is placed, engage the second buff and wait out until you could "last hit" Smite. At the end of the first clear you should have about 1/2 to 2/3 health remaining. Depending on the situation of your lanes you could either take Zenith Blade and gank or take another point in Eclipse and go to the Rift Scuttler and continue farming. I would like to mention that there is a certain timing that you need to master when using your abilities on the jungle camps which I will elaborate on below.
The way you attack jungle camps as well as when you use your abilities is crucial. For instance, it is important that as soon as you auto-attack, you use Shield of Daybreak immediately followed with another auto-attack. Doing so will reset your auto-attack animation resulting in a "faster" attack speed. Support Leonas would know this technique to clear recently placed enemy wards.
Knowing when to use Shield of Daybreak after your initial "chunking" is also important. It is recommended that you use Shield of Daybreak right before the larger neutral monster hits you as this will stun and reset their auto-attack animation. This will help mitigate the damage done to you.
Another way to mitigate damage is to use Eclipse right before you get hit by the neutral monster. Doing so will prolong the usefulness of Eclipse. If you end up stunning the monster with Eclipse, you will waste valuable time and defensive stats of your passive.
As for Zenith Blade, it is not advised to waste mana using this ability on neutral monsters. It has little to offer in the jungle other than using it as a means to gank lanes.
After the initial jungle clear, you will have more freedom with the jungle routes since you will have enough for Ranger's Trailblazer. The stun and added sustain will help immensely with your jungle clear times and survivability.
I prefer to run Ranger's Trailblazer - Cinderhulk as this will help you with mitigate the damage taken from neutral monsters, give you 15% Health and Mana back as well as clear your jungle camps faster. Getting anything other than Ranger's Trailblazer - Cinderhulk wouldn't be as effective in my opinion.
Buying Sheen towards mid game will give you the damage you so desperately need. This will help clear jungles a bit faster and give you some damage potential against enemy champions. I would advise to get Sheen if you're well ahead of the curve otherwise I would just build Giant's Belt or Glacial Shroud.
If you're still ahead, I would advise to get Trinity Force. This gives a nice well rounded stat boost for Leona and the passive will hurt enemy champions and neutral monsters quite a bit. If you need more sticking power, I would suggest to build an Iceborn Gauntlet. The CDR and Armor is nice and the AOE slow will make things annoying for the enemy team.
After you get Trinity Force or Iceborn Gauntlet I would suggest building Randuin's Omen and then either Spirit Visage or Warmog's Armor.
As for Sightstone, I would recommend it if any only if your support doesn't know how to ward properly or if the enemy jungler has a tendency to go gank happy. This will save you a lot of headaches and will give you a good idea where the enemy jungler is. This will be beneficial if you want to set-up counter jungle ganks with your lane mates. Also, who doesn't like extra vision?!
Tips and Tricks
Here are a few things you should know about Leona.
Her passive Sunlight procs whenever her ability hit's an opponent. You should be able to time your Shield of Daybreak, Eclipse and Zenith Blade to proc all three times to maximize your ally's damage output.
Some combos to keep in mind:
Close range initiation combo would be AA > Q > AA > W > E > R
Mid ranged initiation combo would be E > W > AA > Q > AA > R
Long ranged initiation combo would be R > E > W > AA > Q > AA
It's important that you space out the times you use your abilities, that way you don't blow all your stuns all at once.
Some Leona players prefer to use Eclipse first before initiating so by the time they root or stun with Zenith Blade or Shield of Daybreak, Eclipse would pop and do some damage. However, I prefer to use Eclipse after I root or stun since your bonus defensive stats will be invaluable during team fights. Those extra 3 seconds of tankiness may save you more than you think!
Remember that your Zenith Blade can go through minion waves and enemy champions rooting you to the last champion it hits! This is what makes Leona pretty powerful as she doesn't need to re-position around creep waves. All you have to do is run in, initiate your combo and hope to god your lane partner is there to follow up.
When you Smite Ancient Krug you will get gift of Heavy Hands. This buff allows you to stun minions and monsters ever 6th basic attack. This is immensely useful for Leona because this could further mitigate damage done by jungle camps. Remember that Shield of Daybreak counts as a basic attack and you could reset the auto attack animation! If the combo (aa > q > aa) is done correctly, you could squeeze in 3 basic attacks and a stun in between within a second which will help you proc Gift of Heavy Hands faster. Just don't waste your stun on an already stunned monster! It's important that you spread out your stuns that way you don't automatically reset the stun timer immediately.
I've had varying degrees of success playing Jungle Leona in normals and team builder and have even played a couple of ranked matches, albeit to much skepticism and opposition which took a lot of persuasion.
If you want to try some other unorthodox champions to jungle or if you really love Leona, as I do, then seeing her in a different light (no pun intended) in the jungle will be refreshing. Just don't expect her to do a ton of damage since that's not her primary role!