Leona Build Guide by Leaguecitizen
Leona High-Level Guide - Includes Video ExamplesBy Leaguecitizen | Updated on December 23, 2019
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Runes: Very good rune setup to climb
+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+8 Magic Resist
Ability Order Order of Abilities to Effectively Climb
Threats & Synergies
Not banning Morgana when playing Leona is criminal. Her E can completely negate your engages. Another consideration is that you'll always have to play around her E, which means you need to completely change your playstyle to make anything work. Ban this champion every game, without exception.
Lux is a big problem for Leona. The reason is simple: she has ranged CC as well as high damage output. One bind is all it takes to get all your summoners or potentially kill you. This is a lane where you need to play defensively, and look for the right opportunity to go in. Luckily, unlike Morgana, she has no spellshield or escape mechanism. If you manage to get on her, she's likely dead. Exploit her low mobility by either engaging in lane with your ult, or roaming.
A good Thresh is definitely a problem, but I seldom see good Threshs at any ELO to be honest. He can flay you out of your E, but it requires very good timing on his part. With the threat of your ult, you're the one who dictates the pace of this lane.
Braum is a problem due to his passive. This is why you need to pick your engages carefully in this lane. Still, he has no way of getting to you unless you go in, which makes this a relatively safe matchup.
In theory, Leona has very strong synergy with Draven. In solo queue, it's not that simple though. Differences in playstyles can easily make a won matchup unwinnable. If you're not on the same page, things won't turn out well. For this reason, I actually recommend playing defensively with any Draven unless he earns your trust through measured aggression.
Because of Lucian's E, as well as the range of your R (and low CD), this is an ideal pairing in the botlane. Similarly to Draven, things can go very wrong in this lane if you're not on the same page. An otherwise easy matchup can easily become a nightmare if you give up a kill or two.
You have very good synergy with Jhin because of his W and your R and E. If you're able to hit your E at any point in the lane, Jhin can safely and effectively follow up with his W for more CC. When you combine this with your Q and eventually your R, as well as Jhin's ultimate, it makes for a scary combination.
In lane, Leona and Caitlyn don't have the best synergy. Her lack of damage output and ability to follow up on your engages are the main culprits. In spite of this, there's an unexpected upside with this pairing: because Caitlyn is so safe, you can take more liberties when it comes to roaming. Even if you roam a lot, Caitlyn will be able to survive most situations if she plays patiently and uses her range.
Champion Build Guide
Throughout my journey, I've learned what builds and runes work best, and how to effectively carry games playing a tank support with virtually no damage.
My YouTube channel actually has several video series that feature my climb from Bronze to Diamond, in entertaining, informative 3-minute videos you might want to check out :)
In each video, I break down specific things you can do and improve upon to elevate your own gameplay, which I in part will go through in this guide.
If you want to master , I strongly recommend you check them out.
Here's a video in which I apply many of the principles featured in this guide:
Another focus I have, is to explain why you should do certain things.
Understanding the reasoning will give you deeper insight into what it means to play League at a high level.
Unfortunately, her lack of tankiness, in addition to an increasing number of mobile champions to League, are two of the main reasons it's hard to make her work.
However, because she's so rarely played, she can be an effective pick by that merit alone.
If a champion isn't played, people won't know how to correctly react when faced with a kit they're unfamiliar with or not used to.
In many ways, in the current meta, this is Leona's greatest strength.
As a champion, she exceeds at pressuring opponents with the threat of her and , and chain CC follow up with .
If you manage to land any of these abilities, you can lock down a target for several seconds consecutively, or alternatively, CC different champions in a longer sequence.
Her biggest weakness, is her skillshot-based kit, making it hard to stick to your opponents if you don't hit your abilities.
It's easy to miss and without other threats in your team.
When you have pressure, it becomes easier to land skillshots because the enemies' movement is restricted. Regardless, you never want to be reliant on your team to carry a given game, nor do you want to pick champions that facilitate that type of playstyle.
Getting also takes time, and basing a champion on an item entirely, is not an effective way to approach any game.
If you can't consistently make plays, you can't carry
For this reason, I recommend Leona as a "global counterpick", only selected against an enemy team with low mobility.
This will naturally make it easier to land your abilities, making your impact more significant.
That's not to say she can't work against mobile team compositions, but it's definitely harder.
The more mobility the enemy team has, the harder it is to make work.
To reiterate: because Leona is played so rarely, most players will be unsure of how to correctly react and play around your cooldowns. In many ways, this is Leona's biggest strength in the current meta. Also, if you manage to land just one ability, be it your to punish bad positioning, or even a simple > , you can single-handedly turn a game around.
So which is better, and how do you know which to max first?
As we can see, E max is riskier, but potentially more rewarding because of its lowered CD when maxed, making it easier to punish bad positioning and reposition yourself in extended teamfights.
While W gives more tankiness when maxed first, which also makes it a very viable choice.
In the end, the decision between or max relies on your own confidence and ability with , as well as the extensiveness of your game knowledge.
The only way to know what works and doesn't, is to try things out :)
Before the laning phase
The reason is simple: is contingent on consistently auto-attacking to make it worthwhile.
As , our main focus is to make use of our crowd-control (cc), not auto-attacking.
Defending against invades
After getting , and , move to defend against potential invades.
It's always important to defend against invades, every game.
How do you defend effectively?
On Red Side, stand in front of the entrance to your Blue, but not too far into the river.
Use your to ward river at 1:25 when on Red Side, unless one of your teammates does it.
Sometimes, they'll ward the river Pixel Brush, however this is done erratically, so don't count on it most games.
The reason you want to ward at 1:25 is threefold:
1. Warding at 1:25, still leaves you time to help your jungler leash.
2. If the enemy late invades, you'll catch them on the map.
3. Warding as late as possible will catch their jungler's rotation if he either tries to steal your Blue level 1, or goes his Red, then River for a surprise early gank, which is pretty typical pathing early game. If he doesn't invade to get your Blue or try to pull off an early gank, that still gives valuable information about his pathing.
As you can see, the importance of the Pixel Brush/River ward is extremely important.
What about Blue side?
Same principle, but this time you want to stand in the brush closest to your tower bot side (Blue side tribush).
Start walking towards river at 1:11 and ward in the middle of the river at 1:15, before returning to either leash for your jungler, or simply going to lane to wait for your wave to spawn.
I recommend staying in tribush after warding at 1:15 if you're not leashing, and only walk out of tribush when your wave is close to your turret.
Be careful about lazy pathing when your wave spawns - this applies to both Red and Blue side.
When on Red side, I recommend pathing through the tribush and not going into River.
When on Blue side, I recommend pathing from tribush downwards to your lane safely - not walking into River.
Lazy pathing can give the opposing team an easy First Blood, or both you and your ADC's flash; don't let this happen.
Here's a video series showing my climb out of Silver, while applying these principles:
Unlike (with his ) or (with his ), you're not as tanky with your .
You also have no way of escaping except Flash, which is a summoner you don't want to waste unnecessarily.
You mainly want to use offensively to maximize your ability to carry.
Leona doesn't really have the luxury of using Flash defensively.
If you get caught out, you should still , but the idea is to never end up in those situations in the first place.
Understanding safe and effective positioning is therefore very important as , possibly more so than any support, even .
What is safe and effective positioning?
Simply, it's knowing the range and cooldowns of your opponents' abilities, and staying out of range or dodging their abilities, to make a counter-engange.
The easiest way to make Leona work, but in many ways also the hardest, is to counter-engage when the enemy overextends.
This is only made possible by mastering two main skills:
1. Being able to chain your own abilities creatively, with and without
2. Understanding the individual strengths and weaknesses of individual champions, and capitalizing without hesitation when you see an opportunity
There are 2 points of interest to gain this type of knowledge:
1. Use sites like https://www.mobafire.com or https://leagueoflegends.fandom.com to look at exact cooldowns of abilities as well as extended ability explanations
2. Play the champions yourself
By doing both, you will be able to better understand how your own playstyle and the champion you're playing fits in within any given teamcomp, as well as figuring out what approach works best on a case-by-case basis.
Playing the early game as Leona, is reliant on combining these skills.
Simply: the early game is about playing based on the matchup, which is typically defensive. As Leona, the most effective way to make a play work, is by punishing your opponent whenever they overextend. Try to put this principle into practise by being aware of your enemies' patterns in terms of playstyle.
If that Soraka is carelessly walking up to Q you, it's an opportune time to >
Here's an example of how I'll play the laning phase:
Apply constant pressure by roaming to every lane.
Throwing out your is a good idea, even if it might not land, in case it does.
This because of the ability's naturally low CD (90>75>60 seconds).
Throwing out your even when the likelihood of hitting it isn't great, is also a good idea because it has a psychological effect on your enemies.
If they know you're not afraid to use your ultimate to catch someone out, they'll become more hesitant to engage and rotate whenever you're present.
Use this psychological loophole to control the pace of the game.
Always look for opportunities, constantly.
Never let up your pressure.
Though Leona's scaling isn't great, and she's considered an early-mid game champion, she's arguably better lategame.
There's one simple reason for this: your catch potential with .
Late game, when teams are finishing 3 or more items, and everyone's on edge, as Leona, you have the ability to start a fight with 100 % safety.
This safety is invaluable, especially coupled with a low CD after leveling it up, as well as itemizing correctly.
Don't be afraid of throwing out R after R late game - the type of pressure you can put out with absolute safety is amazing, and will net you many wins :)
Here's an example of how to play the entirety of the Early Game, all the way to Late Game:
Try to secure hits on melee minions and cannons whenever possible to maximize the effectiveness of this item, as well as proccing its active as early as possible.
Two Health Pots help with survivability, and is very good to ward river early, as well as securing deep vision in their jungle when roaming.
Always go , every game, regardless of team composition.
is both a defensive and an aggressive item.
In lane, it allows you to make plays because of your increased movement speed, and it also allows you to roam quickly and unexpectedly.
Whenever you find yourself in a bad situation, the increased movement speed is often a lifesaver.
Never go anything else besides > > > , early-mid game.
This combination is insanely good to carry and consistently make plays, with or without .
As Leona, is particularly amazing. Even if you don't get to use the second active of Righteous when walking up to an enemy (the slow), it makes it easier to set up your by getting in range.
This is a very important point to keep in mind to carry and capitalize fully on your itemization.
After , it's a decision between , and .
Let's keep things simple:
when the opponent has immobile to semi-mobile champs that want to get to your backline and wreak havoc (think , or ). If you manage to catch someone out with your , this item will make it easier to stick to them as well.
when either or both sides have team compositions that lead to frequent teamfights. Also good to buy when the opposing team has a lot of mobility or gap closers, that make much less effective.
upgraded to if the enemy team has heavy AOE magic damage (think or ).
There's not one specific way to play League, both from a total perspective, as well as an individual perspective based on a respective champion.
You can play completely differently than me, and focus much more on lane domination than roaming, if you can make it work.
There's also nothing wrong with opting for instead of , if that's what you prefer.
Figure out which way you like to play, and play to that playstyle's strengths.
To figure out what your playstyle is, try things out; make mistakes and learn from them :)
To learn how to combine all the principles you've read about in action, I recommend checking out the video below, where I break down my decision-making throughout a full game in Diamond:
If you liked this guide, consider following me on either YouTube or Twitter :)
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