Leona Build Guide by MeatFeast
[10.1] Leona Support Guide - They will be sunderedBy MeatFeast | Updated on January 20, 2020
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Runes: Default Rune Page
+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
Ability Order Default Leona Build
Threats & Synergies
A good Taric will wait for you to go in before using his E stun, if E also hits your ADC then you will lose the trade. Position yourself away from your ADC to avoid this where possible. His ultimate also negates most of your burst. Play around this and try and bait it out where possible.
Zyra is obnoxious in lane and can really pump out the damage. Pre-6 you will have a pretty miserable time and you have to ensure that you avoid her E or she will burn through your health. Keeping your E available means she has to respect you which should buy your ADC a bit of breathing space. Zyra's weakness is that she's one of the squishiest champs in the game. At 6 you will kill her in an Ult + ignite combo. Wait it out, try not to fall too far behind and at 6 you can kill her every time your ultimate comes up.
This is purely a skill match up in my opinion. In the current meta, I believe Leo has a slight edge, however a high skilled Ali will beat an average Leo every day of the week. Ali has enough damage to solo kill an ADC so try to peel for them whenever he makes a play. Q is your friend here as you can lock him down and stop his (E) trample stun from hitting your ADC. Alistar is the best champ at turning your own aggressive play against you. Be mindful of this and wait until his spells are on cool down before going in on the ADC.
Morgana is the biggest counter to Leona and I personally ban her every game. She's even more of a threat since her slight rework in 9.5. It's not that you can't beat her in lane, because you most definitely can, it's just that laning against her is a mostly miserable experience. If you E into her she will just black shield and cancel stun combo. This just leaves you dead in the water. You're out of position, likely taking a lot of damage and needing to burn your summoners to survive. Only engage when her shield isn't available and then do so wisely. A high end tactic to use against Morg is to fake an attack on the Support so she uses black shield and then to E onto the ADC. at the last second This secures a kill often and is surprisingly effective even in high ELO's. During late game team fighting Leona definitely has the edge if you can hit multiple people with your ult.
Another skill matchup, in this one I think Thresh has the edge early game, but Leona definitely wins as the game gets past 30 minutes. Your aim is to get out of lane in tact where Thresh is at his most dangerous. A good Thresh will flay you our of your E leaving you in serious trouble. Even with a good engage, he can save the ADC with his lantern which can be extremely frustrating. Thresh is surprisingly squish during the early phase so don't be scared to all in on him if he is below 50% health. With ignite it's fairly easy to secure the kill before turning on the ADC. Also remember Thresh is ranged so he can poke you if you have poor positioning. Finally if he moves towards starts to move towards Tri-brush, anticipate that he is going to lantern in his jungler. Try to position yourself in front of the ADC in this case so you can both escape safely.
Nami appears to be very tough but she is very easy to beat if you know how. Pre-6 you have to weather the storm and avoid taking poke. She is very good at turning good engages into losing ones with her W and E. Worse still if you get bubbled and ignited it can lead to a quick death. The easiest way to beat Nami is to bait her in and then flash Q on her. Her natural reaction will be to flash away and at this point you E to her and lock her down with Q and ignite. She's so squishy that you will kill her 9 times out of 10. This leaves your ult up to take down the ADC with your next combo. As soon as you get 6 Nami should lose every time.
For Soraka to be effective she has to play aggressively and poke with her Q & W. This puts her in your threat range which is extremely risky. If you get one lock down on her you either burn all her health which means she can't heal/renders her useless, or you secure the kill. Just bully Soraka and her ADC early game and you can snowball the game from there. She can be a threat late game so be sure to get your ADC to buy Mortal Reminder which reduces her healing effectiveness. I always take ignite in this lane.
You just have to know how to play around Blitz and it's an easy lane. Sadly part of it is reliant on your ADC also which is out of your hands. Use the minion wave to block his skill shot and keep the bushes warded so you can track him at all times and position effectively. If Blitz hooks you, just Q him and walk away. If Blitz hooks your ADC, instantly E >Q>W onto their ADC. Your damage is bigger than Blitz so you will win the trade and come off better most of the time. Always be wary of being hooked under tower, even when you've got the lead. Post level 6, your team fighting is infinitely better.
Brand is another obnoxious champion who can really put the hurt on you during the laning phase. His pillar of flame is a pain to avoid during the early levels and does a surprising amount of damage. Make sure to stand away from your ADC so he has to pick one target. The trick with Brand is to avoid getting hit by more than one spell, if you do so, you will be stunned and take massive burn damage. I rush mobility boots as a priority in this lane so it's easier to dodge his spells. Locket of the Iron Solari is also your friend here so complete that next. Brand can solo kill you so you have to respect his damage, especially when he has his ultimate. You have to just ride out levels 1 - 6 trying to stay in touching distance with the opposing lane. At 6, you can easily blow him up with your Ult combo and ignite . Brand is very squishy and likes to poke so use that to your advantage. Whilst not an easy lane a good Leona should win this most times.
Janna's kit is the complete counter to Leona's. Whilst you are the master of engagement, she excels at disengaging. You have to play intelligently around Janna and wait for the right opportunity to engage. If you E her, she will just Q you out of it and you are now out of position and in trouble. Either wait till her Q is on cooldown or do a bait and switch where you walk towards Janna like you're about to engage on her and then switch to the ADC at the last second. Her Ult is also a disengage tool so she can turn a losing fight. The best time to fight is when you know she has recently used it. Sadly Janna has a lot of poke with her W and is hard to catch as she's one of the quickest champs in the game. Effective counters to this are just throwing your ult out first and clipping her, or using your flash Q combo. If you lock her down she's a gonner.
This lane being the clash of the mega tanks is something of an even match up. Avoid taking Q hits as this is what the opposing lane use to make an engage. At three stacks you get a heavy stun and a chunk of damage which can lead into more CC. If I see my ADC is in trouble I oftentimes intercept Braum's Q as I'm much more likely to survive an all in. If Braum makes a play a usually make a counter play on their ADC. That forces him to come and help which frees up my own ADC to start pumping out the damage. He's very, very tanky so avoid focusing Braum, also don't stack with your ADC post 6 as his ult is monstrous if it hits multiple people
Welcome to the league! Draven and Leona's kit synergises ridiculously well. With the combination of Draven's damage and Leona's stuns the game can easily be snowballed and won. Try to let Draven get the kills so he gets the extra gold from his passive. Very few lanes can handle this sort of pressure and damge.
A good Caitlyn will stick a trap under any opponent you stun, this allows her to do her e into q combo. She's a lane bully in the biggest sense of the word and has the range to follow up when you go in.
The ultimate CC train, the combination of Ashe's and Leona's ults is a potent combo and can completely catch people of guard. There are very few counter plays to this comp as you have a good balance of poke and all in potential. Ashe doesn't have the highest damage output but with here slow and your CC, it's quite easy to snowball the game and win it early.
Ezreal's kit isn't ideally suited for duoing with Leona. Whilst not terrible, Leona is all about explosive damage and Ezreal lacks this in lane. Where Ezreal excels is poking the enemy until they are low enough to make a good engage. Play around Ezreal's stengths by zoning for him and waiting for an opportunity to hit a low health opponent. Ez can then easily follow up easily with his E and/or ult.
Not bad, but not particularly great either. Jhin has good damage output so he can hurt your opponents when you do land CC, this however, is restricted by his reload mechanic. The key is to play around his W: E+Q your opponent and Jhin should W to get a huge CC chain, with any luck your opponent will flash and you can clip them with your ult. By this point your Q should be up again which should all but secure the kill.
Jinx and Leona are extremely potent in lane together. Leona's E+Q combo means that Jinx can position her chompers to block the opponent's escape. Chances are they will die from this or at the very least blow flash to get out. Jinx has massive kill potential due to her passive so just try to secure one kill and she just goes insane. The biggest weakness of Jinx is her immobility so playing defensive is just as important as offence in this match up. Get ready to flash or E + Q into any opponent trying to get on her. If you can peel for Jinx and keep her up, chances are she can win you the game.
The new kid on the block. She was a monster initially but has been hit by nerfs in recent months. She's a late game beast who can use her ult to follow up on any CC you land. In lane you want to try and clear the minion wave before going all in. This means that the whole of her Q will hit the opponents dealing devastating damage. Her limited auto attack range makes things difficult so in this matchup you are very susceptible to poke. Try to get out of lane in tact as Kai-Sa becomes a beast after around the 30 minute mark.
Another CC wombo combo. Xayah's damage is heavily stacked though her hitting opponents with her E. If she manages to hit opponents with five feathers she deals massive damage and stuns them. Naturally Leona's CC helps her achieve this. Xayah is currently very weak in the early stages of the game so avoid making exchanges during the first couple of levels. Xayah is also quite sufficient at protecting herself in team fights with her ult. Use this to your advantage and play aggressive late game. If you ult a number of people and she clips them all with the feathers of her E it can be game changing.
Lucian is very strong currently and is a lane bully of the highest order. His mobility means he can follow up any trades you make and his damage is surprisingly spiky. Try to snowball the lane using this advantage as he becomes less effective in the late game. A fed Lucian can easily carry a game pre-30 minutes. Due to his mobility, it's recommended to play aggressively in this combo.
Twitch is a champ that relies on power spikes. The first is when he hits 6 and then the second when he gets three items. Your job is to rush him to these milestones. Avoid extended trades early with Twitch. Ideally you want to engage. Let him get max poison stacks and use his execute, then reset until they are available again. Using this tactic can force your opponent out of lane. At 6 try to bait your opponents flash out using your E+Q combo. Without a flash, your Ult followed up by Twitch's will kill almost any opponent.
Kog'Maw is probably the strongest ADC if you can get him to full build, unfortunately that's a difficult task and Leona's kit does nothing to aid this. You can't all in as Kog's damage is pitifully low early game and you will lose all trades. You also don't offer anything in the form of sustain so it's just a combo that doesn't work well. If you do get paired up, just play reactively and try to peel for him whenever the enemy engages. Only play aggressively when your jungler comes to help
Kalista is a hyper mobile champion who can deal insane amounts of damage using her rend stacks. Your job is to lock enemies down long enough so that she can fill them with auto-attacks and then rend them. Playing this lane is a balance between offence and defence. If Kalista gets locked down she dies very easily, her mobility is everything. Consider this when playing against opponents with CC or hooks and try to peel as much as possible. Her ultimate is a great engage and escape tool. She can ult you into enemies and you can follow up with your Q or Ult leading to a massive CC chain. Alternatively, if Kalista gets collapsed on, do your best to peel for her, even if it looks like you might die. By allowing Kalista to get to safety, she can then ult you away to safety and you will have both survived. The final caveat regarding Kalista is this - If you are looking to duo with a friend and are looking to pick a good bot combination, I would avoid Kalista at all costs. There are other champions who are much easier to play who will give you better results.
Varus shines when he's chipping away at his opponent with his E and Q after loading them up with blight stacks. This doesn't really gel well with Leona's kit as early game he's has low all in potential. Things improve vastly at 6 as his ult can lead to a strong CC chain. Try to get opponents to half health before engaging during the laning phase. Varus can snipe opponents who are low with his Q. Varus becomes an autoattacking monster late game so try to peel for him so he can get the job done. Varus is highly immobile so you need to pre-empt people diving him, otherwise he is easily deleted.
Miss Fortune is highly oppressive in lane. Just peel for her and let her chip away at enemies using her ricochet which deals absurd damage. Her E slow can make landing your CC much easier leading to good kill potential. At 6 your ults combine very well and can delete a whole team if they are stacked up. Play around this and try to hit enemies who you know don't have flash available.
Vayne is a late game monster who can solo carry her team to victory after 30 minutes. She has a very short autoattack range which makes her susceptible to poke during the laning phase so can have a rough time. Leona doesn't do much to help this so you just have to try and get out of lane in tact. If you are even on CS when the laning phase is over, consider that a victory. Anything better is a bonus. Your real kill potential in lane is if you can CC an opponent and then Vayne follows it up with her condemn into a wall. Avoid extended trades to begin with and just E+Q an opponent so Vayne can get her silver bullets proc, then walk off and repeat when your spells are available again. At 6 your kill potential increases with your ult. Once Vayne completes her third item, she becomes Godly. If you're ahead, try to make engages so she can follow up and secure the kills. If you're playing from behind, play reactively and punish your enemies mistakes. Your main task is to ensure that Vayne survives so she can pump out the maximum amount of damage possible. Consider sacrificing yourself to save her in team fights as she can easily win you the game on her own.
Champion Build Guide
some information about the author and my league journey
Hi guys, I'm MeatFeast and I'm a Support Main on EUW, I joined league during Season 4 and was instantly hooked by the game's intricacies and depth. I've recently hit Diamond 4 and continue to refine my game so I can continue climbing.
I stream the support role regularly on Twitch so come check me out - https://twitch.tv/supermeatfeast
I've also started making Youtube videos and guides which you can check out here - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfWPyE7GaxotzJr2CY_Ubaw
So here's why I decided to write a guide -
League can be a punishing game at times and there are two key factors in improving and getting better. The first being practice and the second being study and analysis.
Naturally, being mechanically skilled is a big part of the game but it's not the be all and end all. League is a game that rewards players who can make the right calls at the right time. Part of this comes with practice but part of it comes from researching and reading about the game. If you know your opposing champion's limits and weaknesses, you can expose that and take advantage of it. On the surface League a is a game of 5 versus 5 where your objective is to kill the inhibitor, but there is so much more hiding under the surface ready to be discovered. That's what I love most about this game. Even after four years I'm still learning and evolving how I play. A big part of that is reading guides so I figured I would write my own with a view to helping others and detail what I've learned thus far...
Latest Patch Notes
Leona's current viability in the league
With the recent buffs to Leona's Q, she's now back to being a top tier support. Leona seems to be in a good place at the start of season 10 and towards the end of season 9. She still has some strong counters (ban Morgana) but there are always ways to play around every champ. Leona's kit in particular seems to be the perfect counter to Yuumi so it's time to abuse the solo bot lane. Unimpeded Leona has enough CC to completely dominate lane and I can see her win rate going through the roof. Captialise on this whilst you can. S+ tier support.
Guidance for new players
**Skip over this if you're a veteran of the game**
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to new players in League is to find a champ that you enjoy and use them to learn the basics of the game. There are now over one hundred champs in League and some of them you'll no doubt hate and some of them you'll love. As you get better at the game these may change and you'll end up loving ones you previously disliked and vice versa. The key is to pick one that you enjoy and commit to it.
League can be an overwhelming game for new players so sticking to one champion eliminates part of the challenge. This is the easiest way to climb during the early stages of your League career. Get good with one champ, learn the flow and mechanics of the game and get better with time. Personally I'd avoid champs that are heavily skill shot reliant as these add an extra element of difficulty to contend with.
You can feasibly climb to gold with only a pool of two champs that you are good at. Again, avoid champs that are hugely popular or that are ban heavy. Yasuo's ban rate has been well over 50% for months now so your chances of playing him each game are slim.
Supporting is also a great way to learn the game. You're pretty much guaranteed the role as it's the least popular and it takes away some of the early challenges that players face when getting into the game like last hitting minions.
This thought process is what brought me to Leona, she's still my favourite champion in League and she's viable at all levels if you know her qualities and her limitations, she's also very easy to pick up but takes skill to master meaning she still feels satisfying to play after 4 seasons...
Why play Leona
Her strengths and weaknesses
If you want to be the front line, making the plays, locking down those enemies stupid enough to make a bee line for your ADC then this is the girl for you. Leona likes to be in the thick of the battle acting as the shield between your team and theirs. You are the first and last line of defense.
In my opinion, Leona is a great champ to pick up and learn at any stage of your Lol progression. She's inherently tanky so you don't get punished for making a misplay and she can get out of most situations with her Q stun and flash away. She's the perfect champ to climb with as your chain CC is extremely effective at lower ELO's. Best of all she's not reliant on a single spell so if you miss your E, you still have your Ult or Q to get the enemy locked down to secure a kill. She's a nicely rounded champ that works within most metas.
The definitive way to level up
Always start Q first, whilst E may seem tempting to beginners, the stun is so small that using it just puts you out of position and gives the enemy an unnecessary advantage. When trying to secure a level one kill during an invade, for example, flash Q + ignite is much more effective.
Max W due to the scaling on your shield, every level increases Magic Resist, Armour and Magic Damage. This is what makes you extremely hard to kill and allows you to all in during the early stages of the game.
Max E second, as every level reduces the spell's cooldown and magic damage.
Finally max Q last - Q has the lowest scaling damage percentages and goes up in mana every level. The stun always remains at 1 second so for this reason we max it last.
Your last resort
Leona's Skills (The Basics)
Getting to grips with her kit
Leona's is the definitive all or nothing champ. With her spells available she is one of the biggest threats in the game. When she doesn't have them available she is completely useless. Part of the skill in mastering Leona is knowing when to use your spells or when to keep them available so you can play mind games with your opponent to keep them at a safe, respectable distance.
Passive - Sunlight
Leona's abilities mark enemies hit with Sunlight for 1.5 seconds. Any damage dealt by allies (other than herself) consumes Sunlight, dealing Ability power 25 − 144 (based on level) bonus magic damage.
Sunlight is Leona's innate ability which deals bonus damage whenever someone attacks an enemy you have used an ability on. There isn't really much to say about this other than it's some nice extra damage when you go in and compliments Aftershock really well.
Q - Shield of Daybreak
Leona's next basic attack gains 50 bonus range, deals bonus magic damage and stuns her target for 1 second.
Leona's Q is what makes her so potent as the crowd control queen. The cool down is relatively short meaning you can use this multiple times in a fight and the stun is sufficient enough to have a real impact on whoever it hits.
W - Eclipse
ACTIVE: Leona raises her shield, gaining Armor and bonus Magic resistance for 3 seconds. She then deals magic damage to all nearby enemies and retains Eclipse's bonus resistances for an additional 3 seconds if she damages an enemy.
Another one of Leona's iconic spells, this spell works in two ways, on the initial W press, Leona gains a shield which absorbs large amounts of damage. After three seconds, the shield explodes in a radius around the champion dealing bonus damage. This spell is what allows Leona to all in her enemies and to walk away relatively unscathed. The shield pop does a surprising amount of damage when it goes off during the laning phase. You can use the spell pre-emptively when you're engaging on an enemy, or reactively if you are getting attacked by a champion or tower. Avoid trades when your W is not available unless you are confident you can secure a kill.
E - Zenith Blade
ACTIVE: Leona projects a solar image of her sword, dealing magic damage to all enemies struck. If she damages an enemy champion, she will Dash dash to the last one struck and Root icon root them for 0.5 seconds
This is Leona's all in skill and is what separates the good Leona's from the great Leona's. This spell is a pure skill shot which requires some mastery to become proficient with. My biggest recommendation in getting good with this spell is just practice, practice, practice. Eventually you will get the muscle memory in place where you know the exact range and missile speed of the skill. Once you do it's extremely easy to lock down your opponents at max range and secure the kill. Remember - Your E is arguably stronger when you haven't used it. Your opponent has to respect that it's available and play accordingly so. Once the spell is on cool down, your opponent has a solid window of when they can farm or poke you.
R - Solar Flare
ACTIVE: Leona calls down a beam of solar energy to the target location after a 0.625 second delay, dealing magic damage to all enemies it hits and slowing them by 80% for 1.5 seconds. Enemies hit by the flare's center are instead stunned for the same duration. Casting Solar Flare empowers Leona's next basic attacks with Incandescence, gaining 100 bonus range and dealing bonus magic damage.
This spell is what makes Leona a team fighting Goddess. Her ultimate is a potentially game changing skill which can stun/CC the whole enemy team if used correctly. Unfortunately it's not the easiest skill to use because of the initial delay after pressing the cast button - something you must to factor in. Always pre-empt where the enemy is going to move to and cast the ultimate slightly in front of them. If you land a direct hit the enemy will be stunned and those who are clipped will be heavily slowed meaning you can then lock them down with your other spells.
We will discuss Leona's spells further in the combos section.
Leona's combos (Advanced tactics)
Mastering Leona's kit
There are numerous ways you can weave Leona's spells together and in order to become a good player, you have to know when to use the right combo. In a perfect world, you always want to start your CC chain off with your Q, the reason being is that you're not initially displaced and you then have your E to react to what the enemy does. Shortly thereafter your Q should be available again to continue the stun chain. Of course this isn't going to be possible a lot of the time as it means your enemy will be out of position but wherever the opportunity arises, start the encounter with this spell.
Getting good with Leona is all about pre-loading your spells, this concept is based around your E skill. Basically there is a window of opportunity to cast spells during the cast animation of your E. For maximum damage I cast my W during the flight of E so that I am initially tanky when I arrive on top of the enemy champ. I can normally squeeze in an auto attack before hitting them with my Q to lock them down again. In this couple of seconds Leona's W shield will pop dealing massive damage. Throw your ignite on the enemy at this point and with a couple of Autos from your ADC, you've likely killed the enemy without even using your ult.
You can also pre-load your Q in the same manner as above, this reduces your damage output slightly but locks the enemy down for longer. I normally pre-load both W and Q if I'm engaging someone who I know has flash up. This delays the time before they can escape which is sometimes enough to kill them. If enemies get below 40% health be sure to always load them up with ignite as it more often than not kills your opponent or severely cripples them.
(AA = Auto attack)
+ into (AA) into into either or
Key press - (Q)+(W) into (AA) into (E) into either (R) or (Q)
This is your preferred combo if you can get it off. After the inital stun you have your E and Ult available to react to what the enemy does. That means even if they have flash you can still lock them down for the kill and use up their summoner in a single move
+ + into (AA) into into into into (AA)...
Key press - (E)&(W)&(Q) into (AA) into ignite into (R) into (Q) into (AA)… and so on
If you're engaging at range and you know the enemy has flash or a form of escape like a Vayne tumble or Lucian dash for example, use this combo. Your Q will go off straight after your E connects meaning they can't react. Once they do, you have your ult ready to land straight on top of them for a further stun. Your Q is normally back available at this point and your enemy is usually dead.
into into (AA) into into (AA) into into (AA) into into into (AA)...
Key press - (R) into (W) into (AA) into (Q) into (AA) into (E) into (AA) into (Q)… and so on
The ideal usage for this combo is when you come across enemies that are stacked up and you can hit more than one with your ult. Avoid using this combo against single enemies with a dash as good players will just move out of the way wasting your ult. Always aim to hit them with the center of your R as this will stun them allowing you more time to CC them further.
If you know your opponents have flash up or a dash then you can carry out one of these flash combos. The same concept applies as per above where it's better to open up with Q.
+ + into into into ...
Key press - (Flash)+(Q)+(W) into (AA) into (E) into either Ult (R) or (Q)… and so on
This is your safe flash option. Opponents rarely expect this as most Leona's open up with their E which gives the opponent an opportunity to dodge the skill shot. Due to the fact that flash Q is almost instantaneous it catches many people of guard. Try to cast Q and W at the same time as flash so that the stun hits them right away. Use your E and Ult to follow up their reaction and you will secure kills more often than not. Please bear in mind that this is a risky combo. Summoner spells like flash are very important in League and you don't want to waste them. I only use flash combos when I know that we will achieve a kill 9/10 times. Examples of this include when your jungler is ready to follow up or when the opponent is so low on health that we will definitely finish them off. Occasionally I will take a gamble on a flash play if I'm with a Draven who can cash out his passive if we secure the kill. With Draven's damage and ignite it's normally enough to get the kill and can snowball the lane so in that respect it is worthwhile.
into + + into (AA) into into ...
Key press - (Flash) into (E)+(W)+(Q) into (AA) into Ult(R) into ignite and so on
This is your LCS style play where your team mates all type in chat how impressive it was. It's a high risk, high reward strategy where you can close down enemies at max range. The main time I use this combo is when an enemy is either out of position and isn't expecting me to close in, or, when an enemy is escaping from a team fight. With the new bounty system it's definitely worth burning flash to secure a kill on the an enemy ADC who has just barely managed to survive a fight. There's a caveat to using this combo - 1). You will inevitably fail it at some point and you will get flamed and called stupid by your team mates ((Welcome to League xD) 2). If you fail this it usually puts you out of position and at risk of being killed by your opponents.
Auto Attack cancelling
(AA) into into (AA)
This one is a biggie on Leona and despite initially seeming complicated, it's actually really easy but can increase your damage output and also help you clearing wards. The concept is that you can interrupt an autoattack midway through its animation using your Q. The auto attack still connects but your Q happens immediately which feeds into another auto.
The best place to try this out is in the practice tool, place a ward down, walk up to it, do an AA, cancel it with your Q, then AA again. Using this method you can clear wards quicker than most other supports. It's that quick you can actually clear a ward before it goes invisible after the enemy places it. Once you have this down you will use it naturally but it's a very important part of the game.
Knowledge is Power
Warding is a critical part of being a good support. I'm happy to expand on this further if people request it but there are numerous good video guides on Youtube which offer tips on where to ward.
On a basic level, in the early game you want to try to ward so that you have advanced warning of when the enemy jungler is coming, and you also want sufficient vision to track where the ADC and Support are. Ward placing is completely dynamic and you should move your wards according to how the game is panning out.
During the mid to late game you should ward according to how the game is playing out. If you are on the defensive and getting pushed into base, your own jungle should be warded. Vice versa if you are offensively pushing onto their towers try to get vision in their jungle.
After about 10 minutes you want to start trying to get vision on the near edge of the dragon pit. Consider purchasing a Control Ward and place it on the edge of the drake pit. That way, you know if the enemy jungler is coming to attack you, or if they are going for the dragon. Same applies to Baron during the later stages of the game. Place a control ward in the Baron pit, this time at the back just over the wall. When the enemy goes to ward, your control ward will block the vision of theirs and they will be forced to go clear it. This gives your team ample opportunity to get a pick.
You should consider buying a Control Ward on virtually every back. They are only 75 gold and can be game changing.
As I've climbed through the ranks the thing that I've noticed most is that at higher ELO's people ward much more effectively. knowledge is power and use this to your advantage. In Silver you might see players purchase 1 or 2 control wards in a game. Platinum players can buy 8 or more and there's a reason for this. It's not easy to get the mechanics of a platinum player overnight but warding takes no mechanical skill. It's something that can be learned so there's no reason why a bronze player can't compete at warding with some of the best players.
Controlling the flow of the game
Fact - Minions do more damage than enemy champions in the early game. You can easily lose lane from taking too much minion aggro, even your initial trade with the enemy appeared to be successful.
On a very basic level you want to avoid make engages if the enemy's minion wave is much bigger than yours. Fighting in this scenario as Leona will almost certainly cause you to come off worse. Try to thin out the enemy wave and then make a play. That way you have your own burst damage along with the damage of your own minion wave. Up to level 6 it makes a huge difference to fights.
If you do get minion aggro after a skirmish, try to walk behind your own minion wave into a bush. They will drop aggro and resume hitting your own minion wave.
Targon's Brace/Relic Shield/Remnant of the Aspects
The most infuriating item in League of Legends
Targon's Brace Targon's Brace is your go to support item as Leona and my God it's a pain in the arse!
In order to proc relic shield you have to hit a minion when you have a blue orb and doing so will execute it, give you gold and also give you and your ADC buddy some health.
Riot have designed the item in such a way that it forces melee champs to take risks in order to obtain gold - which is fine - but the item is just so bloody unreliable. Sometimes creeps will explode with 60% health, sometimes they won't explode until they are at 25% health. There is no rhyme or reason to the item and it's really infuriating when you expect to get the proc only for it to fail. Getting poked in the face for no reason is just not fun and can render you completely useless - I really hope Riot fix this soon as it's one of the most annoying things about playing a melee support.
The melee procs do get more reliable once you upgrade the item to Remnant of the Aspect so this is why it's the first item we buy apart from possibly boots depending on who you are facing.
In order to capitalise on gold income, you want to do as follows -
1st wave - Use your procs on two melee minions (they give more gold)
2nd wave - Use one proc on a melee minion and save one for the next wave
3nd wave - Use your saved proc on the cannon minion.
Rinse and repeat...
If you kill two melee minions on the first wave, you will get your stacks back up midway through the 2nd wave. Kill one melee minon and save a proc for the second wave. This means you can get the first Cannon minion and therefore maximise your gold income which gets you wards quicker. If you are desperately in need of a health top up then you can use these procs at other times but it is sub-optimal and you don't actually get that much health so bear this in mind.
Early Gaming (Laning Phase)
Setting yourself up to win
Leona is undoubtedly strong in the laning phase but she has clear limitations. Knowing these is knowing how to play her effectively. Here we'll break down how the laning phase will play out.
Level 1 - If your jungler is starting blue be nice and give them a hand. Tank the first two hits from the monster using your AA/Q/AA combo. Be mindful of invades, if this does happen don't be afraid to save your team mates with your Q before flashing away.
On the flip side, Leona is also good at invading. If you do decide to do this, prime your Q before exiting the bush as it increases your melee range. If the person you CC is sleeping (which happens alot even at high ranks!) stick ignite on them and get ready for your team's first blood. I oftentimes flash Q, ignite to secure a kill and stop an enemy getting away as it does lots of damage at level 1.
When walking to lane be mindful of where the opposing botlane is going to be. It is very helpful to learn which junglers start red and which start blue. If you are facing one that starts red, or are against a jungler that doesn't need a leash ( Shaco, Kayn etc.) then the enemy bot lane might be waiting to death bush you. You can counter this by either walking up and warding your nearest bush from their jungle path right at the start of the game, or, by taking the safe but longer route to lane which avoids the bushes altogether. Getting death bushed can lose you lane from the off so it's really worth bearing this in mind.
After leashing, you should arrive to lane just in time to use your Targon's Brace procs on two melee minions. Try not to take too much poke damage at this stage. From this point on it's a race to level 2. Leona has one of the strongest level 2 all ins in the game so if you get there ahead of the enemy it's highly advisable to make a play. You should only really do this if the minion wave is small or, your minion wave is much larger than theirs. Remember, minions do more damage than champs at this stage in the game. If they get level 2 first, back off, let them push the wave towards the safety of your turret and wait till you have level parity.
**Early level advantage makes a huge difference in damage so always bear this in mind when you are making decisions**
Pre-6 you're looking to do these things.
1. First and foremost you are looking to use your wards to protect you from the enemy, particularly their jungler.
2. You should be constantly reviewing the map and pinging your team mates when you spot the location of the enemy jungler. They might not notice whilst they are last hitting so you could be saving their lives through this advanced warning. To Ping hold Alt and either click on the enemy you want to ping or hold alt and move your mouse up on the location you want to warn about.
3. You are looking to protect your ADC - You can take a lot more damage than your ADC, you also have extra Health Potions for sustain. If the enemy collapse on your ADC, prioritise a Q stun on their biggest threat, factors your should consider are: is their jungler fed, do they have a jungler with lots of CC, is the ADC fed, is the ADC mobile, consider these points and use your Q on the enemy that is most likely to kill the ADC. If get the stun off rour ADC will likely escape and you are tanky enough to take the ensuing beating. If their jungler ganks from behind you because you are pushed up, simply E + Q into them and it should allow your ADC to escape relatively unscathed.
4. You are looking to maximise your gold profit from Face of the Mountain procs as per the Relic shield section of this guide.
5. You are looking to zone your enemy whilst not taking poke damage. That means keeping your E available as this is your only threat that keeps the enemy at a safe distance. A Leona without her skills available is useless, try not to waste your E where possible. By zoning your enemy you force them to miss farm and overtime this should become a considerable level and gold advantage.
6. You are looking to position yourself close enough to the minion wave that you are getting Overgrowth stacks when they die. Try to stand behind your own minion wave but in front or at least adjacent to your ADC. Avoid stacking with them as this gives the enemy a single target to abuse. Against some comps like a Brand or Caitlyn lane you will inevitably get poked to death. In this instance farm from under tower and attempt to stay within touching distance in farm. If your jungler is good they will come and assist you. If not just ride out the onslaught and wait till you are 6. At this point you can easily all in a squish with your ult.
7. Lastly, you are looking to get kills. The reason this is the final thing you are meant to do is that if you do the other things correctly and your ADC is adequate, you will win the lane without having to get kills. Creep farming is a much more efficient way earn gold than making risky plays for kills. That might not sound much fun but watch any high end game and you will realise just how important farming creeps is. You play a big factor in this carrying out the aforementioned points. Head on to the next section to learn about securing kills with Leona.
Early Gaming (Engagement)
Leona is one of the best engagers in the game. Once she's on an enemy, it's very hard for them to escape without wasting a summoner's spell like Flash. There are however, good times and bad times to engage.
Here are the things you are looking to achieve through your engages in priority order:
- Kill one or both opponents
- Burn summoner spells
- Do greater damage to the enemy than they do in return
- Force your ADC to consume their potions so they have to back before you
Naturally the enemy is looking for the same outcomes so we now look at the optimal way to identify when the best time to engage with Leona is:-
1. Always factor the size of your opponents minion wave before you make an engagement. If their minion wave is a lot bigger than yours, you will likely lose a trade. During the latter stages of the game this becomes less of a worry but certainly pre-6 it can affect whether you win or lose a fight.
2. Next your should consider your level against your opponents. If you have a level advantage then you are in a power position and should consider engaging...
3. But first you must consider your opponent's creep farm and items. If they have a B. F. Sword and your ADC only has a Pickaxe that gives them the advantage.
4. Next consider where the junglers are on the map. Where was the last place you saw the enemy jungler. Do you have good protective vision in case he is in the vicinity. Is your own jungler nearby in case you need assistance. Which leads nicely on to the next point...
5. Enemy behaviour - Chances are if the enemy team start behaving strangely you are about to get ganked. The most obvious tells are if they become very aggressive when they have been playing a completely passive game. Or if all of a sudden they start to run towards you even though they have been camped under tower for the last five minutes. Identifying changes in your opponents behaviour can be the difference between life and death. This becomes easier with experience but, if you feel like you're about to get ganked, don't be afraid to retreat to a position of safety. Chances are it could be happening.
6. Next it's about spells, spells, spells. What do they have available, what do you have available. How many escapes do they have? This is a bit of a transient point because even if you don't manage to secure a kill, it's still a successful engage if you survive and have forced them to use their Flash and Heal. When the enemies have no summoners it increases your kill potential exponentially and forces them to miss creeps through respect from Leona's E.
7. Next is the enemies position which you and your ADC can play a factor in. Your engage success potential increases the closer you are to your tower. This is because over a certain distance your spells will reset so you get a second bite at the cherry. This is tied to directly to minion wave management but put simply. If your ADC last hits and lets the wave push to your tower, you have a much greater degree of success with an all in.
8. Lastly and probably the most important/easiest factor to consider is the state of the enemies' health bars. If the enemy is below 25% health and is greedily farming away within range of your E, you can disregard most of the information stated previously and go all in. With Leona's initial burst damage you will be able to kill them with an ignite combo without them even being able to retaliate. The more health they have, the more you have to consider the previous points as there is an inherent risk to engaging.
As a caveat you also need to know the limts of your opposing player's support when making engages. Details of which can be found at the beginning of this guide. Even whilst ahead, you can easily lose a trade against a Taric or Lulu due to the power of their kits.
Mid Game (Post 6)
Making the Plays
As you hit level 6 the game really opens up to Leona and you can start to assert your dominance on the map. Around this time, you should have finished your support item and should be in possession of a shiny pair of mobility boots. If you've played everything right, you should also be in a position where you can force the enemy out of lane through a single engage.
At this stage you're looking to try and achieve the following things:
1. Kill the opponents Bot Lane Tower.
2. Secure Dragons and the Rift Herald.
3. Force your opponents out of lane through kills or damage pressure.
4. Roam and kill other lanes
By using your threat range to your advantage, you can zone the enemy ADC and stop them farming. This will mean that your lane naturally pushes to their tower which creates a number of key benefits:
The first is that it's likely that the enemy ADC will lose gold by failing to last hit every minion. You are essentially making them compete with their own tower for minion gold which adds pressure to their game causing errors. As the game goes on these errors add up which should provide you with a natural level and gold advantage to abuse over time.
The second is that you will naturally be damaging the enemy tower as the minion wave pushes onto them. This is essential because as of season 9 there is a pool of bonus gold available if you can take turret plating down before the 14:00 minute mark.
Leona has a huge advantage in taking down turret plating through the Demolish keystone of the resolve rune tree. This requires you to hit the turret over a period of three seconds during which time stacks build up on the tower. Once the stacks have built up to 6, there is an explosive chunk of damage which guarantees the removal of one set of turret plating. Wherever possible you want to take advantage of this key stone as you can essentially chunk the towers every 45 seconds once the rune becomes available again. Through management of this you can easily burst your opponents tower down getting first tower along with all the bonus gold from the turret plating.
If you are successful in securing first tower, it's always advantageous to swap lanes with the top laner so you can use your Demolish rune to secure an early 2nd tower. This puts you in a position where you can either kill the Rift Herald or move onto the midlane to further snowball the game. This is an example of how you can use Leona's bullying prowess to end the game before the 30 minute mark.
Capitalising on the element of suprise
Leona is one of the best roamers in the game, fact. She has all the tools needed to carry out surprise engages on the enemy so you want to use this to your advantage.
The problem is, roaming is one of the hardest parts of the game to get right.
Roam at the wrong time and you leave your ADC vulnerable whilst you miss out on xp. This can leave you under geared making future engages very risky.
Get a roam right, however, and you can snowball another team mate, pushing you and your team further into the lead. The further you get ahead, the more engages you can make as you can soak up so much more damage and the game snowballs in your favour...
So when is the right time to roam?
Roaming is all about utilising the element of surprise to your advantage. At low ELO's this isn't a problem but at Gold and above, as soon as you start deviating from a normal playstyle, the enemy will likely be pinging each other to warn of your impending arrival. That means they can re-position to a place of safety and you've just wasted a lot of time and xp.
The ideal time to gank is when you have either forced the enemy out of lane, or, just after you have backed to make shop purchases. The former is definitely optimal for xp gains as your ADC is safe, however, it's harder to pull off as a good opponent knows this is when a roam is most likely to happen.
Ganking just after you have backed is more effective in a sense that the enemy rarely expect you to do it, but the downside is that you leave your ADC in a vulnerable 2 vs 1 situation.
Reading the ebb and flow of the game is the key to knowing when to roam. This will come with experience but it is definitely one of Leona's skills that a good player should take advantage of.
When you do gank, use your Sweeping Lens to shut down any wards and try to approach the enemy from from their riverside. This forces them to escape along the river giving you and your team mate ample time to catch them. Remember always try to engage with Shield of Daybreak first, then Zenith Blade, then Solar Flare in that priority order. Doing so keeps your options open should the opponent choose to Flash.
Boots of Mobility give you a huge advantage for ganking and should be a priority purchase. This is what allows you to get in range of your opponent to get your Shield of Daybreak off.
Here's an example ganking route when playing from the blue side of the map:
Pushing you to victory
There are three different categories of 'objectives' in League of Legends these are:
Of the Dragons there are 5 different varieties listed in the following order of strength and kill priority
Dragons offer a permanent buff which aid you in winning the game. As a bot laner, this is the key objective you can easily secure through lane dominance. Put simply, you are looking to utilise the points we have already discussed to force the enemy bot lane to go back to base, this then frees you up to kill the drake. Early on you may need the assistance of your jungler to kill the dragon but as the game continues you can easily solo them if you are fed.
Things to bear in mind:
1. Don't start the dragon without first considering the position of the enemy jungler. There's nothing worse than getting the dragon low only for the enemy jungler to appear out of nowhere only to steal it with smite before killing you.
2. Don't disregard the power of even the weakest drakes. The buffs are multiplicative so every little adds up.
3. Just because it's a cloud drake doesn't mean you should ignore it. Remember the next drake could be an inferno drake so clearing the cloud drake brings the more powerful one to the table sooner.
4. Sometime staying in lane whilst your jungler is soloing the dragon is the right play. By heading to dragon pit, you're setting alarm bells ringing about what your team is going to do. A stealth dragon kill is often secured by playing passive in lane and keeping the opposing lane in a position where you can block them going to the drake pit.
5. After my first back I nearly always purchase a Control Ward and put it at the entrance of dragon pit. This gives me vision of not only the drake but also of the enemy jungler if they are coming via the river. That advanced warning gives you extra time to get in a safe position and nine times of out of ten (especially in lower ELO's), the jungler will clear the ward giving you an additional window to get out of dodge.