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Leona Build Guide by degini

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League of Legends Build Guide Author degini

CDR Leona - Do you want to tank or not?

degini Last updated on July 26, 2011
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Writer's Note

I am publishing this guide before it is fully fleshed out, just to get it out into the world. I will make it pretty as fast as I can, but in the meantime, enjoy the build at the top and the meat of the guide which is the item discussion.

The build in the top summary is the full, 1h game, build. See the Items section for the more realistic core build.

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So Leona is finally here and yes, she is not the perfect OP tank everyone wanted her to be. But she is still very viable, provided you build her correctly. In order to do that, you must couple her best ability, Eclipse (W skill), with CDR.


Because at 40% CDR, Eclipse grants 70 armor/MR for 6 seconds, on an 8.5s cooldown. That is nearly permanently on. How is this awesome? Because of this huge boost in defense, you can afford to spend more of your gold on health items while still maintaining the proper defensive ratios for good effective health.

Jump to the item discussion to find out how great this is.

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Change log

July 17 2011: Added second build illustrating R > W > Q = E build order. Added section for links to comment thread discussions.

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Mark of Magic Penetration
Not much worthwhile here and the spell pen will assist in making you a threat and prevent being ignored.

Seal of Armor
Typical tank seals. Go dodge if you want.

Glyph of Magic Resist
By taking CDR in our masteries, coupled with item selection, we can hit max CDR without wasting glyphs, thus affording us the opportunity to beef up our early game with some much needed MR. As a tank you will be buying resists, so there is no need for scaling resist runes.

If you are going to go deeper into the defensive tree, get CDR runes here as you won't be able to pick up the 6% from utility mastery and you do not want to spend more gold on CDR than you need to.

Quintessence of Health or Quintessence of Movement Speed
Viewers choice for quints.

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I choose 9/0/21, putting excess points into summoner spells for maximum utility at the champion select screen. You never know when you might have to take CV or exhaust, and 1 point into critical strike or heaven forbid, Perseverance, won't be missed.

Why 9/0/21
- the CDR is needed
- utility masteries are fantastic
- the summoner spells we will use are in this tree

Alternatively, you could go deeper into the defensive tree but this will prevent you from hitting max CDR at an affordable rate. If you are going to do this, get CDR glyphs to compensate.

I would not recommend going 0/9/21. 6 armor and 6 MR is meaningless to a tank, even in early game, Strength of Spirit is not worthwhile on Leona, and we are choosing armor over Dodge (if you went with dodge seals, a case could be made for 0/9/21, but only if you got dodge seals).

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Skill Sequence

First build:

QWWEWR then R > W > E > Q

Q first for lvl 1 team fights. While E will stun as well, it may put you in the middle of their entire team which won't end well for you. Better to stun someone on the outskirts and not have to worry about a skillshot.

W maxed first. Her main tanking skill. Anyone that tells you different is just plain wrong.

E > Q Why? I'm glad you asked. First, higher levels of Q provide no extra stun duration. Second, Q does significantly less damage than E at all levels. Third, both skills take you into or require melee range, so you can use your Q stun right after E anyway.

Taken together, there is simply no reason to max Q first, or even second.

Second build:

R > W > Q = E

The reasoning behind Q and E together is to reduce the cooldown on Q thus providing more stuns. The utility this provides is not enough to warrant it being maxed second, but it does warrant it being leveled up alongside E. W is still maxed first because more stuns are meaningless if you are dead before the CD is up. Credit goes to Ssyrak for this on the utility of Q when leveled in this way.

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Summoner Spells

Flash Flash always. No matter what. Period.

Choices for second spell:
Ghost More utility
Clairvoyance if your support is a moron and didn't take it. Make sure there is always 1 on the team. Better you than a carry
Exhaust Same reason. Nobody took one and now you have to.
Teleport Helps if you are soloing top. General utility. Not ideal though as a tower pushing carry should have the teleport.

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Okay, so due to the nature of Leona's W skill Eclipse, we are relieve from needing to drop gold on resistance items, and we can spend much more of our gold on health. This vastly increases her effective health, and provides a unique opportunity to pick up an item that normally doesn't work on tanks..

Warmogs. But I'll get to that later.

Now, reasonably speaking, a tank is rarely going to break 9000g in a game. So let's make that our goal. (the summary at the top is the full, 1h game max build, not the core. Keep that in mind)

Early game:
Standard starting items. We will be pushing for two early GP5 items to allow our carries to take CS.

Early/mid game items (4760g):

Philosopher's Stone

We have our GP5 up and are starting to build some CDR. Our W skill will provide us with enough MR that we can start with a giant's belt over a negatron cloak. Glacial will provide any armor we need at this stage, plus the mana to allow us to spam Eclipse. We also have starting items which will allow us to branch into multiple defensive pathways.

Full core item set - balanced enemy damage (8800g):

Shurelya's ReverieMercury Treads

We now have 40% CDR, 3400 health, 170+ armor/MR

Alternate full core set for balanced enemy damage: sunfire instead of warmogs. Do this if your team doesn't have the dps it needs to win the fight and you need to boost your own. If you do this, be aware you will have over 200 armor, and should be diving towers like crazy to make it worth it.

Final build: complete your Frozen Heart and your FoN. Crazy expensive and unnecessary. Will only happen in drawn out games.

Alternate pathways:

- Added July 17: if you want an item slow, complete Randuin's Omen and leave glacial shroud as it is (see build 2)
- if they are mostly AD, complete your frozen heart before warmogs
- if they are mostly AP, complete FoN before warmogs
- if they have a fed AP but no real AP otherwise, build a neg cloak and CONTINUE AS PLANNED. Your health regen+cloak+Eclipse will mitigate that AP's damage.
- if they have a fed AD fairly early but the rest is average damage, consider a thornmail before warmogs and leave glacial shroud as it is until late game

Never build Banshees Veil. As a tank, that shield will get popped first and fast. Don't bother with it.

As a final item, do whatever. At this point it's up to your dps. Tri pot and oracles and ward the hell out of the map.

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Core Items explanation

Yes, Warmog's. Now let me explain.

All tanks know they need a combination of armor/MR/health to produce a sizeable "effective health". However, because most do not have a skill that grants them these stats, they must spend their already sparse gold on MR/armor. The result is a tank with 150 armor/MR, but only 2k health, providing roughly 6000 effective health.

What if you could get 3400 health (7500 effective health) with MORE armor/MR, for LESS gold? Leona's Eclipse skill lets us do that.

Core stats (with Eclipse on, which it almost always will be)
- 3400 health
- 122/192 armor (with W on)
- 116/186 MR (with W on)
This is ~7500 effective health without Eclipse on, so even higher with it on.

And this doesn't even take into account Warmog's stacking passive. I know, ridiculous right?

Now, lets compare to a typical tank build of roughly the same cost.
(merc treads, sunfire cape, force of nature, aegis, philo stone - cost 9145g)
- 2455 health
- 150/220 armor (with W on)
- 180/250 MR (with W on)
This is ~6500 effective health without Eclipse on, so a similar amount of EH more with it on, but less then in the Warmog's case due to higher diminishing returns in this example.

As you can see, typical tank builds cost more and provide less effective health. This is because Leona's Eclipse skill takes you deep into diminishing returns with armor/MR, essentially making those stats and that gold wasted. It is much more efficient to boost your effective health by buying health items, and the most cost effective one is Warmogs. Sunfire is another choice, but it is only 400g less and the extra armor isn't needed. We are trying to reduce armor/MR through items, not increase it more. If we weren't getting glacial shroud I would say sure, get Sunfire if you want, but we ARE getting that armor from glacial so we don't need it from another source. If we want more armor, we just complete Frozen Heart. We don't build a whole new item.

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There you have it. Leona is a tank like no other, and will require looking at tank builds in a new way in order to be successful. Here is a way to build Leona that makes her viable, and should hopefully stop the QQ, as she really is a great tank.

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Comment Section Links to build discussion

Useful comments/discussions in the comment section will be linked here so you don't have to sift through it all.

On the usefulness of Frozen Mallet