Leona Build Guide by SolarSupport
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++8 ability haste
Threats & Synergies
Tristana has an extremely powerful all in and can simply do more damage to you than your adc is doing to her
A powerful anti-dive support, Alistar will either headbutt you back where you came from or under his tower
Aphelios has a pretty good all in and does more damage to close targets
Her slow can be obnoxious, but she has no other way of escaping you and her multi-hit Q does baby damage to your W
Not very dangerous to you, but if he grabs your ADC it is very difficult to save them
Leona isn't easy to counter with poking, but Brand's poking is on another level compared to the likes of Karma and Yuumi
A bit of a high risk/high reward matchup, Caitlyn is excellent at poking but not good at close range all-ins
Not good enough at poking to pose much of a threat, and often builds Iceborn Gauntlet. However, he can fairly easily dodge your E with his. Picking Ezreal into Leona really slows down the lane
Her Q does a pretty decent amount of damage, but without her ultimate she's dead meat if you jump on her
If you can engage on Jhin when he has his 4 ready, he'll do a quick burst of damage and be out of commission for a little while. If you can't manage to control the lane in this way, his poke can be very potent
After you engage on Jinx she'll throw her flame chompers to prevent your ADC from following you. It isn't hard to avoid dying against Jinx, but very hard to get anything done
Kai'Sa's all in is pretty good, but she's bad at poking or farming at range, which makes her easy pickings when you're ahead
Kalista's disengage is mediocre, but if you stay in her E range after your Eclipse wears off it can be instant death
Karma has good burst tanking and poke, but her all in damage is pretty awful. If you can manage to get through her utility, she can't win in a straight up fight
Lucian can be very hard to lock down but his typical build along with his rapid fire ultimate means he won't be doing much damage to you
Lux's poke isn't as powerful as Brand's, but it's still very formidable. Her range also makes her almost impossible to engage on, meaning you have to attack her ADC
Miss Fortune can be a major threat late game, but in the laning phase she won't be able to do much damage to you at all
Morgana's poke is very low damage, but her spellshield and ability to cast Q at point blank range for an easy escape makes it difficult to engage on her or her ADC. As a positive, she does pretty low damage at all points in the game
Pantheon will often block your ADC's attacks with his E even while you're behind him ccing him. He's also one of the few supports that can successfully tower dive Leona.
Lethality? Pshaw! Pyke hook? You mean free Zenith Blade? This is the absolute worst champion against Leona and the only way he can hurt you is with his ultimate
Rakan is pretty great at protecting his ADC, though he's unlikely to actually kill you
Samira is currently extremely overpowered, but being able to stop her ultimate with your Q actually makes her less threatening than some other champions
Senna has good disengage and poke, but once you both get your first items she hits like a puppy
Sett does a lot of damage and his W makes him a very poor choice to engage on, but he has no real way of keeping you from murdering his ADC
Shen's blocking makes him excellent at anti-dive, though you can count on your level 6 being much better than his
Sona's poke leaves a lot to be desired and while she's decent at disengaging her terrible damage output virtually guarantees you'll win an all in
Soraka stays away from the front of the lane for the most part and has good disengage with her silence/root. Engaging on her ADC is folly because of her incredible single target healing, so you either have to get fancy with flashes or slow the lane down
While generally good at all ins, Swain doesn't do enough damage to threaten Leona and is very bad at protecting his ADC
Excellent at disengaging but not able to do much to you. Slows the lane down to a crawl.
Extremely powerful anti-dive support, has powerful burst cc and his ultimate just wins fights.
Deals decent damage and can make it hard for you and your ADC to move around, but has mediocre disengage and is bad in extended fights.
Varus has very powerful poke at long range, making it very hard to get to him. If he builds lethality he's gonna hit like a puppy
The most threatening ADC. Vayne is a poor early game champion but she rips through your armor and will almost always win an engage
Her feathers make her a powerful anti-dive ADC, but she has poor disengage
With poor cc and damage, she can do very little to keep you from murdering her ADC followed by herself
Has a great all in but it's often difficult for him to catch up with you.
Ashe is slow with a mediocre all in but is powerful early game
While her all in is poor, she can easily layer on damage from afar while you soak up damage for her. As an added bonus, she can lay traps at enemies' feet while you have them stunlocked.
A powerful early game champion that will greatly appreciate all the kills you give him. Draven loves lockdown supports that let him move around the battlefield freely to collect his spinning axes
Poor all in, all poke, bad synergy conceptually. He is able to catch up with you swiftly and your ultimates combo quite nicely, which mitigates some of the disynergy
His range allows him to damage enemies while you soak up damage, and a full clip lasts about as long as you need it to
Jinx is slow, but her all in is pretty decent. Late game she'll appreciate you grouping all the enemies together
Kai'Sa is fast, has a good all in, and is in general a very aggressive champion. As far as playstyle goes, it's hard to find a better synergy. Definitely build Zeke's and Knight's Vow for a Kai'Sa
Kalista is mobile enough to keep up with you and her E makes her all in rather powerful. Her ultimate is amazing when used with any hard engage tank support, and Leona is no exception. Definitely build Zeke's and Knight's Vow for Kalista, you're going to be with her a lot
Lucian is very fast and takes full advantage of all the space you give him on the battlefield
Leona gives ample immobilize effects for Samira's passive, Samira can easily catch up to Leona with her dash, and the time that Leona's stuns buy can easily allow Samira to charge up her ultimate
Samira is good for helping you survive poke, but she's slow and has a very poor all in
Sivir is slow and has an okay all in. She's very poke oriented in the early game, which Leona can't support
Miss Fortune is strong early game and is relatively fast, but her all in is underwhelming. Your ultimates combo beautifully
Incredibly good early game all in, can immediately react to your engage with a rocket jump. A very underrated combo, but one that will not likely extend into the lategame
Vayne is not powerful enough early game to make use of Leona's set ups, but late game she'll appreciate what peel you can offer her
Good all in and good early game power, but her feathers make her more of a defensive ADC
Champion Build Guide
Leona is a hard engage tank support. What this means is that she is good at closing distance and layering heavy amounts of cc on a priority target while soaking up damage. Other popular champions similar to Leona are Thresh and Nautilus.
Positives of hard engage tank supports
-Good for cc locking enemies long enough to burst them down
-Forces engagements to go on longer, which may be better for your team
-Can tank non piercing skill shots like Lucian's The Culling
Negatives of hard engage tank supports
-Most abilities are short range, so they are vulnerable to poke if they cannot
force an all in
-Abysmal in 1v1 situations due to lack of damage output
Leona's positives versus other hard engage tank supports
-Passively increases the damage of allies by a flat amount, which is better
when paired with low damage allies
-Her engage tool Zenith Blade passes through minion waves, leading to a
surprisingly different playstyle
- Eclipse has premitigation damage reduction, making Leona fantastic
against certain abilities such as Ashe's Ranger's Focus and
Lucian's The Culling.
- Eclipse scales with armor and MR, and so does Aftershock. This means
that armor and MR are significantly more gold efficient for her than champions
without a similarly scaling ability
-It is fairly easy to keep Leona's tanking ability ( Eclipse) active
permanently in combat
Leona's negatives versus other hard engage tank supports
-Her ultimate is a targeted AOE with a 0.625 second cast time
-Her solo damage output is particularly terrible
-Her full combo has less raw cc than most similar supports
Your secondary summoner spell should generally be Ignite. Apart from the damage that Ignite does, it also inflicts Grievous Wounds, which is an early game counter to Heal and a late game counter to champion specific heals such as lifesteal or Astral Infusion.
Another decent option is Exhaust. Taking Exhaust instead of Ignite will virtually guarantee that you win all-ins at levels 3-5, and can be useful against powerful all-in champions such as Tristana.
Primary Tree - Resolve
Because Leona builds plenty of armor and can very easily trigger Aftershock, which has 80% armor and MR scaling, Aftershock is basically required on Leona.
Because Leona cannot generate a shield, the first slot is a toss up between Demolish and Font of Life. There is no obvious pick here, but Demolish is better for building an early game advantage while Font of Life is good for team fights. Because it's much more important for Leona to perform reliably in team fights than to damage objectives, I recommend Font of Life.
All three runes in the secondary slot are good on Leona. Bone Plating is good for early all ins, Conditioning is good for mid to late game tankiness, and Second Wind is good against poke. Generally, if the enemy bot lane has pretty much any poke at all, such as a ranged support or even just a melee support and a Caitlyn, Second Wind can be a very noticeable and influential rune to take. If the enemy botlane doesn't have any sort of poke, it's generally more important to take control of the lane with Bone Plating than increase your stats later with Conditioning.
Because Leona isn't likely to send or receive any powerful heals, the third slot is a toss up between Unflinching and Overgrowth. What this really comes down to is enemy team comp. Does the enemy have powerful peel that can keep you from doing your job? For example, the enemy team might have a Morgana that can root you at point blank range before running away. If this is the case, it would be wise to take Unflinching.
Secondary Tree - Inspiration
The only tree with any terribly relevant runes is Inspiration, and there are several runes that can be effective on Leona.
Hextech Flashtraption is your default second pick. The power of sitting in a bush and flashing into your enemies' face is difficult to argue against. The only reason you wouldn't take this rune is if you have a very weak early game ADC such as Vayne or the enemy botlane is likely to farm comfortably close to their tower, far out of your range.
Magical Footwear is a common pick on supports because of the free gold, but Leona generally benefits far more from other inspiration runes.
Perfect Timing is a very tempting pick if you intend on building Gargoyle Stoneplate, but it only contributes 250 gold to the final item and takes up a slot of your inventory until you buy the item. If you have in your inventory common early game support items- Support item, boots, refillable potion, control ward; taking Perfect Timing only gives you one inventory slot to buy actual stats in. Still, if you can deny a kill with the stopwatch, it's 550 extra gold difference in favor of your team, making this item a close second to Hextech Flashtraption.
Cosmic Insight is rarely useful on Leona, as she benefits a lot less from CDR than many supports and doesn't build active items very often.
Because of Eclipse and Aftershock, Leona will benefit much more from armor and MR than HP. As for which is better, double armor tends to work best, as sort of a discount Ninja Tabi. Because you're in longer engagements, you're likely to take more physical damage than magic. Something to keep in mind, however, is that armor scales up much faster from level ups than MR, so 16 bonus MR will certainly scale better into the late game.
The difference in which support item to take is a small one, but will influence every single one of your games.
Gargoyle or Zeke's+Knight's Vow?
The difference between pure tank and support items largely comes down to personal preference.
It's generally a bad idea to take Knight's Vow before Zeke's Convergence because of Leona's armor and MR scaling. For a similar price, Zeke's offers 30 more resistances than Knight's Vow. Not only that, but because Leona builds so little hp, if you have to engage on a magic damage dealer with no MR whatsoever, you will die very quickly.
These support items can be valuable when disrupting the enemy team is more important than soaking damage. but are primarily reserved for supporting a very fed ADC.
On a side note, because Knight's Vow damages you, it deactivates Mobility Boots. Don't take both items at the same time.
Later Game and Situational Picks
Most games will end before you have need of these extra items, but it's good to be prepared.
Frozen Heart gives a whopping 110 armor and 20% CDR, the highest values for those stats in the game. Its passive is very short range and usually only useful against high attack speed melee champions such as Master Yi. You can generally take Frozen heart as a very gold efficient option against an AD heavy team.
Randuin's Omen is a fantastic late game item against crit spamming champions, and is a must have against any team with a conventional ADC in addition to a Yasuo or Yone.
Thornmail gives a great deal of armor, but a large portion of its gold goes into its 3 passives. The damage inflicted by the thorns will rarely be relevant, but the attack speed debuff it offers has no maximum range and is thus very effective against ADCs. More importantly, Thornmail is one of only 3 items in the game to provide Grevious Wounds. If there's any champion on the enemy team that's gaining too much hp from lifesteal. Thornmail can be a game winning pick.
Locket of the Iron Solari is honestly not a very good item. Its gold efficiency is bad and so is its scaling. Fortunately, Leona can make good use of the resistances offered by this item, making it an effective niche pick. This item is good when you need more MR and your team has a lot of diving champions to make good use of the active.
Spirit Visage is the most reliable way to build MR. Even without a good source of healing, Spirit Visage usually outperforms Adaptive Helm and Abyssal Mask and is a more gold efficient alternative to Locket of the Iron Solari. It can also be a good pick when you have not built any hp yet.
Abyssal Mask is a nice stat boost, though it is a little pricey. The only reason to take this item over Spirit Visage is for the passive. Abyssal Mask can be a good pick if you have a magic heavy team or a late game ap carry like Kayle.
Ninja Tabi and Mercury's Treads actually have pretty bad gold efficiency and are generally only considered for their passives. Ninja Tabi can be a good idea against AA spamming teams, while Mercury's Treads are a very niche pick against super cc heavy teams. These picks are rarely worth it, but can be good at countering horribly unbalanced team comps.
Enemies hit by Leona's abilities take an extra burst of magic damage when hit by a damaging attack or ability from an ally. This passive makes up a decent chunk of Leona's level 3 damage and only increases as she builds tank. Because she can inflict this debuff once per ability, for optimal damage Leona and and ally would alternate attacks. While in practice this is nearly impossible to play around, it does mean that Sunlight becomes more effective the more allies and enemies are around Leona.
With a 5 second cooldown at all levels and universally terrible damage, this should be your last ability to max. Shield of Daybreak is Leona's only non-ultimate stun . However, the short cooldown means that Shield of Daybreak can keep a single target stunned 20%-35% of the time depending on cooldown reduction. Possible to cancel but guaranteed to hit, this short range stun is very reliable and highly disruptive.
Leona's tanking ability is a very powerful armor and MR steroid with premitigation damage reduction on top of it. Combined with Aftershock, a rank 5 Eclipse provides 75+100% bonus resists armor and MR in short bursts. While armor and MR work equally well against all damage types, the premitigation damage reduction works particularly well against multihit attacks such as from Renekton, Ashe or Lucian, or from damage over time effects. While the cooldown reduction from levelling Leona's E is valuable, the defensive stats you get from levelling Eclipse first make it the obvious choice.
[E] Zenith Blade
This is Leona's primary engage tool and is tied with her W for dealing the most damage. It's important to remember that Zenith Blade dashes you behind the last champion hit. This can put you under tower or allow your opponent open access to your backline, but it also means that a fleeing enemy has to walk around/past you to escape. While Eclipse is better to level first, the CDR and damage from levelling Zenith Blade make it clearly superior to Shield of Daybreak. On a side note, using Zenith Blade at point blank range can be a good way to prevent movement abilities with its root.
[R] Solar Flare
Leona's ultimate is a powerful, if somewhat difficult to use long range AOE stun . It does significantly more damage than any other part of her kit, particularly when scaling off of AP. While stunning enemies with the center blast is ideal, the 80% slow on the outer edge is still incredibly crippling for many champions. Don't be afraid to start an engagement with Solar Flare. It has far more range than Zenith Blade and can freeze champions in place when they overextend. An unfortunate downside of Solar Flare's range is that while Leona can easily follow up by casting Zenith Blade on a stationary target, melee champions and slower ADCs such as Jinx may not get to the fight until you've already full comboed. If you can easily engage with Zenith Blade, it may be preferable to cast Solar Flare while an enemy champion is stunned by Shield of Daybreak, as the 0.625 second cast time of Solar Flare makes it relatively easy to dodge with Flash and other movement abilities.
Leona's most fundamental combo is E+Q+W which provides a 0.5 second root, a 1 second stun, and a 6 second timer in which Leona takes greatly reduced damage.
If you're engaging into an enemy that can easily stun you, it's vital that you use Eclipse before you engage. You can cast Zenith Blade to fish for an engage, then after observing that it connects but before your dash ends, you can cast Eclipse. The combo then becomes E+W+AA+Q+AA. The downside of this combo is that you will have 1-2 seconds less active time on your W.
When engaging using your ultimate, simply cast Zenith Blade on a stationary (or nearly stationary) target. The combo then would be R+E+AA+Q+AA+W or R+E+W+AA+Q+AA. It's worth noting that if you cast Zenith Blade quickly enough, your target will not be able to move or act during your "free" auto attack due to the stun from your ultimate. Alternatively, if your purposely wait until near the end of the stun from Solar Flare, you can immediately root them for an extra 0.5 seconds of cc.
Finally, the ultimate high damage, extended cc duration combo to kill a high priority target is E+Q+R+AA+W. This provides a 0.5 second root followed by an uninterrupted 2 second stun .
With or without Hextech Flashtraption, Flash Combos are important on Leona.
The much more common use of Flash is Flash+Q. Sometimes the period from when you cast Zenith Blade to when you finally land your stun with Shield of Daybreak is too long to be useful. This is generally when you're trying to save a teammate from imminent death, but it can also be when you're trying to stop a channeled ability. Compared to an engage with Zenith Blade, Flash+Q is much faster, easier to aim, and less predictable. Channeled abilities that can be interrupted by Flash+Q include Requiem, Inferno Trigger, Death Lotus and Grand Starfall, all of which can spell doom for your team
Level 1 Jungle Teamfights
At level 2, you generally take Zenith Blade to allow you to engage properly, whether voluntarily or not. If you have a strong level 2 ADC and/or the enemy support has weak damage and cc at level 2, it's not out of the question to engage at level 2. Without Eclipse, you really can't run away from a level 2 engagement, so you have to win handily enough that your opponents are the ones scurrying back under turret. It's difficult to get a kill at level 2 as without Eclipse Leona can't take longer engagements, but a successful early trade is still possible. It probably goes without saying that you should basically always engage when you beat the enemy lane to level 2.
At levels 4 and 5, Leona begins falling off as the ratio of AD to HP on both sides of the lane decreases and higher level abilities begin to punch through her Eclipse. At no point in the game is Leona a weak champion, but she will likely perform a little worse than Nautilus or Thresh at level 5
Level 6 onward
As the laning phase ends, you should be spending your time warding and initiating team fights, unless there is another champion with a better means to do so, such as Ornn's Call of the Forge God. If you feel confident that your team will back you up and win the team fight, don't be afraid to throw your life away for the good of the team. Leona's place, particularly if she builds Gargoyle Stoneplate, is in the middle of the enemy team, stunning backliners and challenging frontliners to peel her off. If you're surviving team fights easily, consider adding some CDR to your build. If you're dying easily, build against a specific threat on the enemy team and engage on a separate threat that your build is poor against. Your build will absorb the damage from one threat while your stuns mitigate the damage of the other.