Leona Build Guide by Jovy
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The Dawn has Arrived
Threats to Leona with this build
|Soraka||Soraka is an easy match-up for you because she doesn't have any hard CC and her disengage, thus, is almost non-existant. Her heals are very powerful but she can't heal herself as efficiently, so just focus on her rather than her ADC.|
|Bard||Bard has some nice poke if he can hit his Q and is allowed to AA you, but overall his poke isn't amazing and he's extremely squishy. Pre-6 he doesn't have reliable disengage.|
Hey all, I am Jovy and this is my Preaseason 8 guide to Leona. Been playing since Preseason 2 with no breaks and I still actively play on my EUW account, N7 Legion. My peak in ranked was Diamond 3 in season 5 and I achieved Diamond in this season as well playing nearly only support. I picked up Leona in season 2 and she remains to this day one of my favourites.|
Onto Leona herself - although not the most popular support champion at the moment, I believe Leona to be a very strong pick to this day, and especially after patch 7.13. She possesses a huge amount of crowd control, which she utilises in protecting her allies and helping them secure kills. She's also incredibly tanky both due to both her high base defensive stats and her W ability, Eclipse, which gives her bonus armour and magic resistance. Due to this, Leona is tanky even without buying (m)any defensive items.
|Leona is a very tanky champion as she has both really good base tank stats (health, MR, armour) and she has an ability (Eclipse) which increases her armour and magic resistance for a period of time. This along with the items, runes and masteries I recommend make Leona an exceptional tank and a good addition to any team needing one!||One of her biggest weaknesses is her lack of mobility. She does have a gap closer, and it's good when engaging fights, but as a form of escape it's very unrelaibe. Her movement speed is very low and sometimes you can't afford to prioritise boots, so often you'll find yourself being much slower than your enemies.
Lots of CC
Vulnerable to Poke
|Nearly all of Leona's ability have some form of crown control. Her Q is a stun, her E is a short duration root and her ultimate is an long ranged AoE stun and slow. Her CC is invaluable, it both protects her allies, by providing peel or by disengaging, and secures them kills.
|Melee champions are always prone to being poked down, and Leona is, sadly, no exception. Although you are tanky and although your W can decrease the amount of damage you take from poke, you still need to be extremely cautious in lane so as not to drop too low on HP. If you're below half HP, it's extremely risky to engage fights.|
No Lane Sustain
|As mentioned her CC gives her the ability to disengage from fights and it also allows for powerful engagements. You have a number of ways to make something happen, and usually the most reliable way is to simply ult someone - promting your team to go in.
|Many supports have some form of sustain - some type of heal - but you are not one of these. This only makes avoiding getting poked more important, because if you allow yourself to drop low on HP, you'll simply have to recall in most cases, as you have nothing but Health Potions and Relic Shield to heal yourself up.|
|Unless you're extremely behind, your very presence is very influential during lane phase, because your enemies know just as well as you do that if they get within Zenith Blade or Solar Flare's range they'll probably die or have to waste spells. You'll easily be able to zone your opponents out of farm range or kill them if they don't respect your zone.
|Leona's play-style is very risky because you always have to dive deep into the enemy team during fights. Your Zenith Blade is a great gap-closer when you want to get up and personal with your enemy, but once you're there, you have no way to getting out without Flashing. If your all-in fails, your chances of getting out alive are significantly lower than with most other champions.|
|This rune will help you repel poke in laning phase, since everytime you take damage, you'll heal some of it away over the next few seconds.|
|Because you buy a lot of armour/MR and your W scales off the two stats, Conditioning might be a better choice than Second Wind. But it's down to personal preference.|
|Gain tenacity and slow resistance when casting a summoner spell. You often cast spells when you're escaping or chasing and this rune helps you repel their attempts of catching you or getting away from you after you use a spell.|
|CDR is always nice and this rune will give you CDR in every category; spells, abiliries, item actives etc.|
|An alternative for Stopwatch, Biscuits are delivered to your inventory 4 times throughout the first 12 minutes. These just give you some extra sustain which can be useful in negating poke during laning phase.|
|Leona's next basic attack will have 50 bonus range, deal 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 (+30% of ability power) additional magic damage, and stun the target for 1 second.|
|Your strongest ability, which when activated stuns the next target you auto-attack. This includes not only enemy champions, but also neutral monsters, enemy towers, minions and wards. The fact that you can use your Q on wards, especially, is something to note. You see, using your Q will reset your auto-attack, and, if you react quickly enough, you can instantly remove a ward that has been placed with a combo - AA (auto-attack) > Q > AA.
The AA > Q > AA combo is good for other things as well. Taking down turrets, for example. The auto-attack reset makes it much faster, but do remember that this only works on turrets, and not on inhibitors. Additionally this combo is very effective to poke with during the first few levels. Although it might seem like a surprise to you, AA > Q > AA will actually chunk most supports.
|Eclipse is a shield that grants you bonus resistances for 3 seconds before it pops and deals magic damage to any enemies in the area. If it does indeed do damage to any enemies once it pops, the bonus armour and MR remain for an additional 3 seconds. This shield makes you extremely tanky, even at lower levels, and enables you to make risky plays even when behind or low on HP.
When to use it? Naturally, whenever you're fighting. Whenever you are taking damage. Whenever you engage. Eclipse has an extremely low mana cost, just 60 mana at all ranks, and thus you can afford to use it all the time.
How to use it? When you're trying to avoid taking a lot of damage, press the W button. But when you're engaging, you have to remember to use it either when they don't see you or while you're using your E. If you activate it and then try to engage, it looks too obvious and the enemy will back away or be able to dodge your Zenith Blade/ Solar Flare. A lot of people make the mistake of using it too early and potentially lose kill(s) because of it.
|As Leona is a scary melee support, rarely will someone walk up into your auto-attack range and give you a chance to stun them with your Q. Luckily for you, Zenith Blade will close the gap between you and said someone and you'll be able to stun him whether he wants you to or not. In short, E is used to get up close and personal with your target, so that you're able to stun and kill them.
As mentioned, Zenith Blade doesn't just hit one unit, but instead it hits everything in its way, damaging and applying sunlight to all of the units (minions for example) but only triggering the gapcloser when it hits a champion. If it hits more than one champion, Leona will dash to the champion who's the furthest away. The enemy champion hit will be rooted for 0.5 seconds, giving you enough time to stun them.
There are a couple of other things to note:
|Leona's ultimate ability, a long ranged AoE slow and stun. With a low cooldown. An absolutely amazing ultimate, that can save teammates, kill enemies and win teamfights.
This ultimate is incredibly long ranged, and you can thus, unexpectedly, engage from far away. This can come in handy when you're getting a gank or when you yourself gank another lane.
When you are ganking other lanes, ulting them from far away while being undetected will easily net a kill or at least blow a summoner spell or two. When you are recieving a gank, ulting from far away or from brush may come as a surprise to the enemy, and they'll in turn not react to it well. The stun will give you time to E Q them and it'll give your jungler time to catch up.
||||||Depending on which AD you have (for example you'd have to wait longer with Vayne or any other ADC that is weak in lane phase) you want to start engaging right at level 2. That's why you get Zenith Blade at level 2 - so you can close the gap between you and the enemy AD (or support - especially if they are squishier than the AD ( Zyra) or out of position) and stun them. After you get your first point in Eclipse engaging will be less of a gamble and you can pretty much start diving after a few ranks in it.|
|Relic Shield is the obvious starter item for melee supports. Relic and its upgrades give you health, a very valuable stat for tanks, and you get passive gold generation.|
|Health potions are necessary because as a melee support, you'll be in danger of getting poked down. If you're too low on health to engage, then you are basically useless.|
|Celestial Eye is your source of wards and you'll automatically get this item once you've earned 500 gold from Targon's Brace (note: not from Relic Shield).|
|Best option in my opinion. Boots of mobility grant a load of out of combat movement speed which makes roaming, warding and engaging a lot easier for you.|
|After you hit level 9, you'll have access to Sweeping Lens' free upgrade. Instead of sweeping a selected area, you'll detect all wards that are around you and be able to clear them as long as the Lens last (which is 6 seconds!).|
What's next? Let us first take a look at what stats benefit Leona the most.
|Eye of Aspect will just give you some extra health and another ward slot.|
|An item which is kind of similar to Talisman of Ascension, as both items have a similar active. In terms of stats, it compliments Leona greatly, as it gives you a bucket of health and hpregen and armour. Great item since patch 7.12 and removes the need to ever build Ancient Coin|
|Abyssal is another great MR item, especially if you have more than one AP champion on your team, like a Vladimir toplane or Elise jungle. It gives a lot of mana/mana sustain which isn't really useful for Leona but it's still an okay item.|
|Seems good as well for MR, and it gives you CDR as well. Passive works best against stuff with DoT spells (any bleeding or burning effects, or poison) but the stats themselves justify the buy probably.|
Leona is a champion who greatly benefits for having a level advantage over her opponent. At level 2, the advantage can be the difference between getting a kill and, well, not getting a kill. Once you have Zenith Blade and Shield of Daybreak, you can immediately engage a fight. If you're laning with a bursty ADC, you may score a kill or you may blow a flash/heal/exh from the enemy. Having Ignite ups your chances of getting a kill here. If you're level 6 before your enemy laners, that's a very big advantage as well, as you'll be able to stun lock them for a long time and potentially gain a kill.
In order to ensure you get level 2 first you need to assist your ADC with the first wave. If you don't help him out, he'll kill the minions slower than with your help. You should auto-attack minions a little bit in the first wave. If you overdo it, your ADC might miss a last hit and lose out on gold. Don't try to push the wave, either, because then you'll be in a less favourable position for when you engage.
Since you're a melee support, you're at risk of being poked down by the enemy support (if they have ranged auto-attacks or abilities). If the enemy support is melee, you still have their ADC to look out for. This means you'll stay at range, or hide around in brush to avoid being wittled down to low HP, thus rendered useless.
If you are fast enough, you can quickly remove a placed ward with the combo auto-attack > Q > auto-attack. Q resets your auto-attack and then you can immediately attack the ward once again. This is also a useful combo during fights and when you're taking down objectives, such as towers.
When you buy sweeper remember to frequently remove wards from the bush you are sitting in, so that the enemy cannot poke you and so that they can't see you coming if you decide to engage on them.
While on the topic of being poked down, let's talk about... being poked down. It's not good. Don't let it happen. A lot of people tend to become useless as Leona (at least in the first few levels) because they drop to too low health to be able to engage, as a result of high harassment.
So aside from hiding in brush, a few things to do in order to deal with poke are:
2) Health pots. Always make sure to have at least a couple when you go into lane, more if you're against a high poke bot lane like Caitlyn and Sona.
3) Eclipse. Use your W if there's a high damage dealing ability going your way, like Glitterlance, Dark Binding or Piercing Light.
After finishing a combo or attempting an engage, retreat to the brush so as to not get poked down on your way "out".
Roaming is great and Leona is an extremely potent roamer. All her CC helps tons and usually you can land your teammate a kill if you gank their lane.
There's good times and bad times to roam. Good times are the following:
2) You've just recalled. Before heading bottom lane you have a chance to gank mid or top. They won't see it coming and so long as your ADC doesn't die, it's a swell idea.
As for the bad:
2) Your ADC has just arrived to lane after having recalled. This means he's lost out on some gold and XP and needs you to babysit him so he doesn't get zoned and lose out on more.
Warding is a very complicated aspect of playing support that would be really hard to explain in a few sentences. There are some general things I can relay here that might help you become better at vision control, and I'll try to do that, but I can't tell you exactly where to put what ward and when, since that'll depend on a million different in-game factors.
Wards grant vision and vision grants your team different advantages. Wards can help your team by telling them where a particular enemy is - OR where they are not. Both are equally useful. If you are bot lane and a ward spots the enemy jungler in their jungle top lane, you'll know it is safe to engage, for example. If you have a ward top side but you do not see Lee Sin anywhere on the map, you should play cautiously as it might mean that he is bot side instead.
||This is where people often make mistakes. Wards last 3 minutes, but that doesn't mean that a particular ward needs to stay where it is for 3 minutes or up until an enemy kills it. You might have wards bot lane, sitting there and still alive, with 1 and a half minute until they expire. But that doesn't mean they should stay there. When you only have 3 wards at your disposal, you'll need to make decisions as to whether or not you need wards there or whether them sitting there for another minute will be a waste. This is especially important when it comes to Control Wards, which can last an infinite amount of time, but will be useless sitting in bot lane tri-brush the whole game.|
Sometimes wards SHOULD stay in a particular location until they expire. These are usually wards that are covering the River, Dragon, Baron etc. These wards are always useful because they will alert you if an enemy is moving through the River (AKA attempting to gank) or if the enemy team wants to do an objective. I'm gonna call these wards "general wards".
But these wards are TOO general. There are many paths an enemy can take to get to their destination. So when you are bot lane, you don't only ward River and hope they pass there. You ward their tri-brush, your tri-brush, their blue/red buff, the river bush... etc. When you are laning bot lane this isn't too hard since you are only expected to control this portion of the map. But after laning phase it can get very tricky because you will need more wards than you can carry. Where you should place wards will depend on many different factors, and I'll call these wards "situational wards". When the particular situation arises - you are about to fight or try to take an objective or turret; get rid of general wards. It's more important to have vision in the moment than to have some wards covering objectives and stuff.
Situational Wards - When doing Baron
When you are doing Baron you want to have wards that will give away the enemy team if they try to come near Baron. As a member of blue team, the enemy will usually come from behind the Baron pit since that's where their base is. I've placed 6 wards on this map, which obviously you can't, but hopefully someone on your team will help you out or ultimately they won't be necessary. These wards are effective as there is no direction from which the enemy can come near Baron without alerting you.
As red team it's a little harder to ward or do Baron safely because it is sort of facing the enemy team's base. But on the plus side you can easily ward over-the-wall behind Baron to make sure they aren't doing it. This ward spot is also useful when your team is behind and you can't safely ward on the outside of the pit. When doing it, you want to ward out their entire top side jungle, on their Blue buff and the brush near the entrance to the river especially.
Situational Wards - When doing Dragon
As blue team you will have the option of over-the-wall warding Dragon, like how red can do so with Baron. Helpful for the same reasons as above; makes it easier to keep it safely warded without having to go into the river. When doing Dragon, you want a lot of deep wards into the bot side jungle as that's usually where they'll be coming from. Also be sure to ward over the wall near the enemy tri-brush, as there will be a blast plant there which they can abuse. If you placing a control ward, it's better to place it a bit further from the pit so that it can catch more wards, as they will rarely go far into the pit to ward it (since it's safer not to).
On red team you will be facing the Dragon pit which makes it safer for you to ward it. When doing it, place wards directly behind the pit as there is a blast plant there with which they could jump into the pit. If you use a control ward, put it closer to the pit to make sure you can clear or disable wards that are inside; ones they might have placed over the wall. If their bot lane tower is still there, it's necessary to ward the tri brush as well.
Situational Wards - Sieging
Sieging AKA going after turrets. When you and your team try to take turrets, you will need to expect resistance. Sometimes you'll just siege under the turret against a couple enemies who are next to said turret. But usually they will attempt to flank you from the sides and try to kill you for your attempt. These wards will prevent that.
Above map shows warding spots when you are attempting to get red team's inner turrets. The light blue dots are wards to place when you are sieging the inner mid turret, and the dark blue spots are for the respective side lanes.
Mid lane, the most important locations will be the side lane bushes. This will prevent their top/bot lanes from coming mid, as well as of course the jungler who can come from anywhere. Wards around jungle entrances to mid lane are also important since the jungler could appear from there too.
When sieging top lane there are only three entrances from which the enemy could appear. The tri brush, Krugs bush and River.
In bot lane you will want to ward the enemy blue buff to prevent the jungler from surprising you, and river for the mid laner. The mid laner could come from your tri-brush as well. You will want to ward the enemy tri-brush as well, because it's possible for them to attempt to blast-plant over the wall and flank you from behind.
When sieging the second turret the enemy is almost certainly in their base, so you shouldn't usually expect flanking unless it's from the side.
No explanation really necessary because it is the same situation but with the map flipped. The only different is that usually you will have more people bot lane than top lane, so deeper wards bot lane are good when sieging the first/second turret, though as blue side sieging top lane they might not be.
Bot Lane Wards
General tips/tricks/info on warding
- Buy a lot of Control Wards. Usually less experienced supports will only have 1-2 per game because they will place 1 and leave it there all game. Always buy 1 or 2 control wards per recall if you can afford it, they're always useful. Even if they get removed as soon as you've placed them, they've fulfilled their purpose of revealing an enemy. Use them almost interchangeably with Sightstone wards. Think of it like this: If you could prevent a gank for 75 gold, would you?
- Control Wards disable other wards. If you are doing Dragon/Baron or sitting in a bush with a control ward there, you don't need to clear any wards that might be in the same location since they will be disabled - the enemy cannot see you. If you do try to attack the ward that is there, they will briefly get vision of you which defeats the purpose of a control ward.
- Utilize Scryer's Bloom when warding the river. Pop it so it goes over the area you want to ward to make sure there are no enemies around that will kill you if you try to ward. It's also useful as a ward-sweeping tool.
- When using Oracle Alteration or any other ward-removing device, think about where you would have warded were you in the enemy team's situation. This way you will be able to find a lot of wards, provided the enemy support knows what they are doing anyway.
- As blue team, always have a control ward in tri-brush during laning phase since it's very hard for the red team bot lane to remove it unless they are ahead of have their jungler/mid laner with them.
- As red team, have the little bush near the lane control warded as it's harder blue team to clear it unless the minions are pushed to your tower. This makes it easy for your jungler to gank via blast plant.
|Outside of bot lane, champions who work well with Leona are, once again, the ones with some sort of follow up ability, or gap closer and some sort of hard CC. Jarvan IV, Amumu and Orianna are some examples of champions that synergise well with Leona.|
|Bot lane champions who can undo Leona's initiations and poke well give her a hard time. Janna, Alistar and Lulu are extremely annoying when playing Leona and are considered to be her biggest counters.|
This section specifically deals with certain hard-counters Leona may face. A more general and less detailed match-up section, with all the other supports, is in the cheat sheet!
tl;dr avoid her poke and try to kill her early; after a few levels/items it will be very difficult.
||||||Janna's got a lot of ways to deny your engage. She can stop Zenith Blade with Howling gale, she has a lot of movement speed and gives a percentege to nearby allies and her ultimate Monsoon will completely undo your engage and misposition you because of the knockback. Her shield will also deny some of your burst damage.
What you have to do is bait her Howling Gale so she can't use it to stop your Zenith Blade. One, relatively popular, way of doing this is by activating your Q and just walking towards her, dodging the gale, and engage when it's off. Another thing you can do is wait for the shield to be on CD before going in. Janna, like Lulu, is squishy and if given the chance you can completely destroy her with your burst.
tl;dr avoid her Q and try to kill her early, focus whoever isn't shielded.
||||||Alistar's similar to you in a lot of ways. He's tanky, melee and has CC. His ultimate gives him damage reduction and allows him to break free from any CC. This is obviously a problem for you as it'll negate burst damage and you won't be able to lock him down - as if the fact that he's tanky wasn't enough to put you off from engaging. Additionally whenever you do try to engage he can just Headbutt you away. Speaking of which, he has this thing where he knocks you up then Headbutts you into his tower. It's not very pleasant.
So due to the above you are not to engage on him or focus him in fights unless you must. Avoid using your ult on him if he's level 6 and if possible try to keep him low. Just like you; he can't engage if he's too low to fight. You obviously don't have a reliable way to do this; which is why laning against him is such a pain. Ask for ganks and instruct your AD to poke him, and you should be fine.
tl;dr avoid engaging on him, especially after 6, ask jungler for help; avoid getting headbutted into the tower, if possible.
||||||You could call Thresh a bit of a mix between Alistar and Lulu. He's ranged and has high poke, both with auto and some of his abilities, he gets pretty tanky after a while and he's got great engage, counter-engage and disengage. It's not hard to see why he can counter you in lane.
What should you look out for? Virtually everything. This lane could go either way but the favor generally sways into his direction. Avoid getting poked by him, harass him early with AA>Q>AA and instruct your AD to do the same. If he's too low, like Leona, he can't engage - and in early levels he's got the same goal as you do, get level 2 and go in, but he's squishier and arguably his skilshot, Death Sentence, isn't as easy to hit as Zenith Blade. Like Janna, if timed well, he can use his Flay to stop your Zenith blade; which is another thing to look out for. Wait until he's used it before engaging; only engage when it's a sure kill and unless they're low or you're very ahead don't attempt to engage without your jungler - because Thresh has one of the best counter-engages in the game.
tl;dr don't mess with thresh, avoid poke and careful with his sick counter-engage.
||||||Morg provides a lot of CC, a lot of peel and a lot of damage. Although she's relatively squishy, being an AP support, she's difficult to get to and even more difficult to lock down. Her spell shield nullifies your pathetic attempts at engaging and her Q stops you in your tracks. Her ult provides huge peel and is a high damage source.
So, what do? Well one thing you have to look out for her is her positioning. Her Q doesn't go through units like your Zenith blade so her attempts at engaging or poking are pretty obvious. If she's hanging around in the brush be sure to ward it so you can see which direction she's aiming her Q in, if she's hanging about the minion wave she's looking for a good angle to Q you. Her Q, with some ranks, does a lot of damage and coupled with a couple of autos and her W can chunk both you and your AD. Unless you want to get poked down learn to dodge her Q, and use your W after or before getting hit by it to negate some of the damage. Unless her shield is down engaging is virtually useless. Only trick is to bait her shield out and then engage on the person she didn't shield; be it her or her AD. Then all you have to do is not get hit by Q and not get exhausted. Easy.
tl;dr avoid Q, bait out E then engage on the person who doesn't have it, ask for help from jungler.
||||||Karma's got a lot of poke and a lot of damage. Her speed up and snare will undo your engage and to top it all off her ult will make everything she does even more difficult to deal with. If her poke isn't enough you'll be happy to learn that her mana tank is virtually never empty. Her Q which does a thousand damage has a very low mana cost, low CD and when empowered by her ult it does two thousand damage. So basically Karma is a high poke support with 0 mana issues and a good disengage.
Unfortunately there's not a lot you can do against her, no secret strat. Avoid her Q as often as you can; its hitbox is very precise and it'll miss if the it's aimed a pixel too left or too right. You can see the mantra'd Q coming from a mile away as she likes to glow when she ults and she likes to say some words that make no sense when activating it. Dodge that Q no mater what. Locking her down will be near impossible. Even if you land the E or hit the Q or ult her speed up will take her over to safety. Luckily she can't kill you either, after a while; if you play safe. Bait out her E before engaging if it's possible. Also luckily she's pretty squishy without her shield, so you can pop her in early levels if you can get to her.
||||||Braum is a high tier support capable of providing his ADC unbeatable peel and protection. His entire kit is made for peeling and protection, in fact. His Q is a slow, his W an armour and MR buff, his E blocks abilities and nullifies damage and his ult is a long range knock-up. As if that wasn't bad enough, his passive applies stuns. Basically, he's your worst nightmare, but melee.
What must you look out for most? His E. His E will block the first skillshot that hits him, and if you're aiming to use Zenith Blade on his ADC he may just bounce to him with his W and block Zenith Blade with his E. Hey, that's not so bad - at least he'll get chunked for it. Nope, E will nullify all your AD's attempts to deal damage, he will get out of there basically scot-free. If you choose to ult him instead, he can still block all incoming damage from your AD from both himself and his AD. Lucky for you that he's ranged, he can't poke you. His Q doesn't do a lot of damage unless he gets too ahead, but either way he's easy to dodge. His engages are fairly predictable, with the exception of him bouncing to a friendly minion to get in range of your AD.
tl;dr you'll have to pick him and his ad off early, otherwise they'll be virtually unkillable, ask for ganks if they overextend.
And that concludes my guide. I hope you found it helpful, thanks for reading and good luck on the Rift! Special thanks to my friend Gangplank 1 for helping me take the screenshots and continuously helping me update not only this guide but all my other ones as well! Check out his Gangplank guide if you're interested in testing out GP mid! And another thank you to my other friend PsiGuard for helping me out with the build and proof-reading my guide from time to time and making me fix horrendously outdated info. :) ♥
If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, please feel free to post in the comments or send me a private message. I will read everything and reply to all questions and criticism.
If you'd like to learn more about bot lane/supporting, here are some good reads: