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Leona Build Guide by Raegicus

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Raegicus

Leona, Radiant Wall of Steel

Raegicus Last updated on June 14, 2012
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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.



Offense: 1


Defense: 29

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Intro, The first steps on the Radiant Path

Welcome to my Leona Tanking guide and thank you for checking it out. I go by Raegicus on LoL and am writing this guide to hopefully help some of you learn some tips for playing Leona and playing the tank role in general. I'll be covering all the standard things in this guide from masteries and runes to items and skills. I'll also be throwing in some tips on laning with Leona, either solo or duo, and how to manage team fights. So without further adieu i'll begin this guide.


I'd like to start of by saying thanks to JhoiJhoi for her amazing guide on how to make my own guide. Check it out here JhoiJhoi's guide.

I'd also like to add that by no means is this a 100% game winning guide. This guide is for classic game mode as I do not play much dominion at all. I do not play ranked matches. This guide is made to be a basis or starting point for your own playstyle and team makeup. I've played plenty of other Leona guides and from my experiences with them I've come up with this guide that suits my playstyle. My hope is that this guide will set you on the right path to finding your style and having great success in LoL!

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Masteries, Talents to bring the Dawn

I've taken almost every mastery to limit the amount of damage I take in lane. Early game your masteries and runes will be the difference in stats that give you and your' ally the edge to win the lane. In this section I'll only be explaining some of the not so obvious masteries I took to give you an understanding of my playstyle and how these will help.

The Specifics
This is invaluable early game to limit the damage you take from minions while harassing the enemy champions. Another early game helper, this greatly increases your sustain in lane by buffering your existing health regen. Minions will sometimes kill themsleves on you while you're keeping the enemy champions busy. As Leona is not the best champion to deal damage to a tower this mastery gives you some utility for you and your team early game to get a litle extra damage done when you push your lane. More gold means better items faster. Better items faster means more survivability. More survivability means you're more helpful to your team. One of Leona's biggest drawbacks is the longer cooldowns on her q,w and e abilties. This will help out early game by letting you use your abilities more often until you can get your cooldown reduction items. I take this to help out with Exhaust.

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Runes, Imbue your Steel with Magic

The Runes I've picked are solely defensive in nature with the exeption of my marks (which ultimately will lead to a good defence). I've found that Leona is a very good champion to stop opponents from laning successfully early game and as a result they fall behind in levels and gold.

The Runes
Leona's abilities have rather long cooldowns early game. I take these marks to help me be able to use them more often. While mot outright a defensive mark it does help you mitigate more damage by allowing you to use Shield of Daybreak more often. A stunned champion does a total of 0 damage while he's stunned after all. This gives armor, your role is tank, this was an obvious choice. Once again an obvious choice as a tank magic resist is important to have. A grand total of 78 hit points at level 1. Late game it doesn't seem like much at all but early game you'll be that much harder to kill. I opted for this instead of greater quintessence of endurance because by late game the 1.5% extra health translates to roughly 30 hit points per quint but early game it would be roughly a total of 18 hit points total bonus. If I were to stack more bonus hit point items on this build the greater quintessence of endurance could become a viable choice.

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Summoner Spells, Aid your Bright champion

I won't discredit any summoner spells as I feel each one has it's place and useful moments. Here I'll write the summoner spells I most commonly use with Leona and why.

Summoner Spells
It goes without saying how useful this is for your lane sustainability and general survivability. Coupled with the bonus from Summoner's Resolve it get's a decent boost. While most might think the amount this spell heals is too small when used by a tank even a small health boost can last a long time coupled with your armor and magic resist. I believe atleast one of your summoner spells should either make up for a weakness in your champion (like taking Ghost for Sejuani to give her movement speed since she's so slow) or bolster an existing strength of your champion. In this case I chose the latter with Exhaust. Leona has great crowd control in her skills and this is just another weapon for your arsenal. This will slow down an escaping champion or charging melee champion. It also decreases the damage dealt by an enemy champion further increasing your survivability.

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Skills, Armor yourself in the Light

Below will be a description of each of Leona's abilities and how to use them to their best effectiveness. I'll also explain the ability sequence and my reasoning behind it.

Skill Descriptions
This is Leona's passive ability and while it doesn't help you at all it will greatly aid your team in eliminating enemy champions. After damaging an opponent with any of your abilities it will place the Sunlight debuff on your opponent and the next time one of your allies hits that target within 3.5 seconds it will eliminate the debuff but it will deal extra magic damage to them scaling with your level. This is most useful in a team fight after landing Solar Flare and then having your team hit them dealing extra magic on each.
The first ability I take at level one as it does decent damage but most importantly stuns your opponent for 1.25 seconds. this may not seem very long at first but it is infinitely handy, especially against champions with channeled abilities like Katarina's Death Lotus. I'll get into how to specifically use it in the Tips and Tricks chapter. the reason I don't put more points into it after the first is because it's damage does not scale very well eliminate champions in mid game.
I take this ability on either my second or third level depending on how well my lane is doing. Once you have one point in Shield of Daybreak, Zenith Blade and Eclipse I max this ability as fast as I can, stopping only to put points into Solar Flare at level 6 and 11. This ability is your' primary defensive and offensive ability for a great portion of the match. It greatly increases both your' armor and magic resist, at early game this ability can drop incoming damage from champions to almost nil. The other part to this ability however is it's AoE explosion after 3 seconds. This damage is exceptional throughout the game and scales well to growing enemy health pools. The last part to this ability is that if the explosion deals damage to and enemy, champion or otherwise, it doubles the shield duration for a total of 6 seconds of protection. Overall a great bargain of an ability for a surprisingly low and spammable mana cost.
This is the last ability that I level as the damage is causes with each rank is forgettable however it's utility even at rank 1 is undeniable. For chasing enemies it will drag you to the last champion hit in a line and immobilize that champion for 0.5 seconds. That once again doesn't seem like a lot of time but combined with [shield of daybreak] you'll be able to let your team catch the opponent quite easily.
Out of all the ultimate abilities in LoL I find Leona's is by far the most useful. It deals a generous amount of AoE damage to all within it's effect, slows those in the outer ring and stuns champions within it's center ring. Coupled with a short cooldown this ability will soon become your team's ace in the hole to victory. As with most of her abilities I'll go into further detail on how to use this to it's utmost effectiveness in the Tips and tricks chapter.

The sequence

There is only one variation I use with my skill sequence using Leona. I always start with Shield of Daybreak as it's level 1 impact on the game is quite significant. My variation comes at level 2 in a choice between Eclipse or Zenith Blade. If my lane is going well and I feel my partner and myself can get an early gank I'll take Zenith Blade to stop enemy champions from escaping. If however my lane is weaker or I'm soloing my lane I'll instead take Eclipse for the extra survivability and sustain. The AoE damage from Eclipse also helps to clear out minion waves. beyond this I always max out Eclipse as fast as possible, taking Solar Flare when available and next maxing Shield of Daybreak for extra damage. Zenith Blade will be ranked up last as it's usefulness is the same even at rank 1.

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Items, Weaponizing the Sun

Above I've noted the first few items I build and in which order. I take those items in every match however the order for Sunfire Cape and Force of Nature will sometimes reverse. Below I'll explain my item choices, the sequence in which I buy them and why I choose those items.

The Core Items
This is always my first purchase of the game. I believe health regen over potions pays off for itself in the long run, especially since we'll be turning this into a philosopher's stone later. I don't buy any potions at this time either as the 40 leftover gold will be my lead to the next purchase.
philosopher's stone
By the time you return to the shop you should atleast have enough to buy this item. If you had an early death or had to go back early for any reason pick up the Faerie Charm if you can atleast. philosopher's stone will follow you for a very long time throughout your match and I swear by it. Health regen, mana regen and bonus gold per 5 makes this a worthwhile investment. I always pick this up in every match and then follow up with my next item.
This item made from the bonus health item Ruby Crystal will help your survivability with a cool 250 health and a nice perk of even more gold per 5. This is always my second purchase of the match and coupled with philosopher's stone will be the basis for my gold income throughout a good portion of the match.
Finally we get to our boots. The movement bonus is a nice perk but what were really after here is our first cooldown reduction item. Your skills will noticeably recover faster with this and that means more stuns. More stuns means more better survivability for you and your team aswell as better ganking oppurtunities. This is always the third item I buy and that concludes our core set.

Mid game items

For this section the items we buy can be moved around based on the needs of the game. I'll explain how this will work in each items description and it's up to you to decide which items you need at which time. I'll be putting them however in the general order in which I buy them in an average match.

If you're looking for magic resistance this item is one of my favorites. It grants a great chunk of resistance with the added benefits of massive health regen (40 per 5 seconds) and 0.35% of your max health regenerating every second on top of that. With the added bonus of movement speed this item is well worth it's high gold cost! When purchasing this item I always buy the Negatron Cloak (if I can't buy the armor outright) first as it gives you some extra magic resist. In every match I build this item either 4th or 5th depending on if I'm taking more physical or magic damage. If you find your taking more physical damage then Sunfire Cape should be built first.

Armor, health and an aura of searing heat surrounding you to melt your opponents. What's not to love? At 45 armor this item doesnt give as much protection as some other items such as Frozen Heart but it makes up for it with the nice extra 450 health. Add to this an aura that does 35 magic damage a second to nearby enemies, you've got quite a useful cape. The bonus damage goes a long way to helping in team fights and or getting that last bit of damage on an escaping enemy. If the match I'm in is dishing out a lot of physical damage I'll purchase this first instead of Force of Nature. I'll usually buy Chain Vest as the first build item to help diminish some incoming physical damage first. On a side note this item goes a long way to helping you farm minions in mid to late game for some extra gold.

Late game Items

For late game we will be focusing on tailoring our items for the specific needs of the match. At this point you'll have one open spot left for an item and you'll be upgrading your Heart of Gold and philosopher's stone. At this point I'll usually be filling the 6th item slot. I do this to so that I can milk a few extra gold coins from our two gold per 5 items to help with the cost.

This is the 6th item I buy almost every time. It grants a fair amount of magic resist, a generous amount of ability power and it has an aura that decreases enemy magic resistance by 20. This will help you pack a bigger punch in fights against other champions aswell as giving you some extra magic resist to keep yourself alive. Coupled with Sunlight the magic resist debuff aura will help your team dish out some damage.

Lastly we will finally upgrade our philosopher's stone and Heart of Gold. The two items I turn these into are listed below. Which order you build them in is up to you, shurelya's reverie grants more sustain for a decent gold cost and Randuin's Omen will give you more armor and health to help your survivability in a fight.
shurelya's reverie

More health per 5, increased mana per 5, cooldown reduction and an extra 330 health will increases your tanking abilities all around. The health/mana per 5 grants sustainability so you won't have to go back to base to recharge, the cooldown reduction lets you use your abilities more often which means more stuns and better control of your enemies. It's active ability to grant an extra 40% movement speed to allied champions is an added benefit. This will help in both chasing and running away from enemies. This item is built up from your philosopher's stone and only costs around 1400 gold.

More health, more health regen and a small amount of cooldown reduction. An effect that slows enemies when they hit you and an active ability that slows champions around you also come in handy. This will complement your tanking abilities quite well making you much harder to kill.

Alternate Items
  • Spirit Visage: An inexpensive item that grants health, magic resist and a nice passive that will increase your health regen by 15%. This will greatly help your sustain and keep you out in the field longer.
  • Warmog's Armor: With the single highest bonus hit points on any item this will be invaluable. It grants a good chunk of bonus health regen aswell. It's stacking power of even more health and regen as you farm or get kills and assists will make sure you have one of the largest health pools available.
  • Aegis of the Legion: While not a massive game-changer, it's realtively low gold cost and the helpful buff aura it gives your teammates in both defensive and offensive abilities is quite useful.
  • Thornmail: Granting 100 armor this item will ensure you're well protected. It's strength however comes in it's almost offensive nature. As a tank you'll be getting hit lots and because of your armor you'll survive these hits. A bonus is that the 30% damage that returns to your opponent is from his full hit not the lessened amount you received from your armour. Ultimately this will help you indirectly cause more damage than your opponents will excpect coming.
  • Frozen Heart: A good amount of armour, 500 extra mana you'll probably never need and a very nice aura that will definitely cramp the style of almost any attack damage champion you meet. I like to take this item when I know there is a deadly Tryndamere, Ashe, Caitlyn, Vayne or similar champion on the field.

There are many more useful items for Leona so feel free to experiment. I may add more to this list as time provides.

The Basics

The biggest thing to take from this section is the types of stats you'll be wanting to stack.
  • Health: As a tank you need to be able to absorb damage. A good health pool will let you take lots of damage without dying too quickly.
  • Armor and Magic Resist: To survive as a tank you need to limit the damage you take. Armor will decrease the physical damage you take and Magic Resist will limit the spell damage you take.
  • Health/Mana Regen: Both of these will help you stay in lane without having to go back to base to heal or regenerate your mana.
  • Cooldown Reduction: Your goal as a tank is to help your team survive and limit the damage they take. Cooldown reduction will let you use your abilities more often which means more crowd control and that translates to the better survival of you and your team. This stat is one of the most important for Leona to have.
  • Ability Power: Lastly we use this stat to increase the damage we do. Leona's primary role is not to deal damage but once you can take the damage it doesn't hurt to be able to dish a bit of it out too. This is the last stat I look into stacking as it doesn't help my survivability as much as any of the other stats.

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Laning, Your Brilliant Crusade

Most of this section is general laning tips with a few notes specifically geared towards Leona's abilities. Laning is an art form just like jungling and will be infinitely useful to your team if done right. This section will hopefully teach you how to maximize your effectiveness in lane and increase pressure on your opponents.

Laning successfully as Leona

The most important thing I can say about laning is your sustain. You need to be able to stay in laning to farm, exp, gold and keep your opponent away from your tower. To do thi you need to stay alive. The most common mistake people make in lane is to be over-aggressive and to over-extend themselves. If you die you've given the opponent gold, exp and the upper hand to push your lane and destroy your tower giving their whole team extra gold.

The keys to survival are to stay back if you're low on health and wait for it to regen or go back to base to heal. Don't over-extend yourself either, never stay 3/4 of the way to the enemy tower without making sure you have enough health or a good means of escape to get away if they attempt to gank you.

Leona has some very handy abilites to help yourself and your partner in lane, most notably her stuns such as Shield of Daybreak and Zenith Blade. If your partner is low on health and the enemy is coming in for a kill you can quickly use Zenith Blade to snap yourself to the enemy forcing them to stop dead in their tracks. For a larger gap between your opponent and your partner you can use Shield of Daybreak to stun them even longer and save your ally.

Early game I like to play a primary defensive role to make sure my laning partner doesn't get ganked and to ensure the opponent won't get first blood. If the enemy over-extends however feel free to use your stuns offensively to allow your partner to dish out damage and hopefully snag first blood. When in doubt however I prefer to err on the side of caution and not give the opponent a ganking opputunity.

As a general rule whenever I go in at an opponent I always pop Eclipse for the protection it offers, any damage you can mitigate will help in the long run.

Lastly when laning with a partner I try to allow them whenever possible to get the last hits on minnions and to get the champion kills. I use philosopher's stone and Heart of Gold as my main source of income so I really don't need the last hits and champion kills. Aim for a high assist count will show off your skills better as a tank than constatly stealing kills from your allies.

Laning Solo

It's much more important for you to stay alive and play defensively when playing solo. Fighting 2 vs. 1 puts you at a disadvantage and so your goal here is simply to defend your tower, don't get over-zealous and go for champion kills.

Eclipse will be your best friend here as it gives you better survivability.

Stay by your tower whenever possible as long as your in range to get experience. If an enemy does attempt a tower dive on you make sure to use Shield of Daybreak to stun them under the tower and let the tower do all the damage for you. If they attempt to run away use Zenith Blade to stop them again and allow your tower extra hits. I've received countless champion kills in this way as far too many people get greedy for the kills.

Laning Conclusion

Remember the core of laning is to destroy the enemy team's tower while protecting yours. Dont focus on kills so much as there will be plenty of time for that mid and late game during the team fights.

Every tower you destroy is worth 150 gold per teammate. That's a total of a 750 gold lead for your team or reversed if you lose the lane. If all three of your lanes do well and destroy their tower it'll be 450 gold for you and a total of a 2250 gold lead for your team, that's quite a significant lead to ensure your team is better equipped for the late game.

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Team fights, Shining Light of Protection

Here I'll explain your role in a teamfight and how to most effectively fit that role. As the tank it's your goal to ensure that your damage-dealers (be they magic casters or melee swordsmen) stay alive and in the fight.

Team Fighting

When I play as Leona I rarely focus on one target. My goal is always to limit the movement and activities of as many enemy champions as possible. To do this I'll be spamming my abilities as much as possible on key targets in the fight. The order in which you stun your opponents will greatly affect the outcome of the battle. Here's a list of importance for locking down your opponents.
  • The highest damaging person on the enemy team. You cant win a team fight if this person kills all your teammates before they can do anything so this person has to go first. Usually this person will have been fed during the match too making them more powerful and even more important to knock them down a peg via a few quick deaths.
  • An effective enemy support. These characters can be a real thorn in your team's side if left unchecked.
  • The other damaging units on the enemy team. Lock down the rest of their offense as much as possible to give your team the upper hand.
  • The enemy tank. Tanks as a rule do the least damage and so this champion will get locked out last. Without the rest of his team to deal the damage he shouldn't be much of a threat. Note that if the enemy tank is proving too annoying to ignore and he is locking down your best damage dealers it may become nescessary to stun him from time to time to allow your team free movement.

The list is more of a guide than a set of hard rules. It's important to know which enemy is the biggest threat to your team and make sure they prove ineffective in a fight.

It's perfectly acceptable to open up a team fight with Solar Flare as this will give your team a nice early advantage over the enemy team and that lead might be enough to scare them into running away rater than fighting. Once they run use Zenith Blade and Shield of Daybreak to stun them and let your team kill them one at a time.

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Tips and Tricks, Seeing clearly in Daylight

Here will be a brief rundown on some of the useful things you can do as Leona to help you play just a litle bit better.

The extra Edge
  • You can use Zenith Blade while point blank with an opponent to immobilize him while you wait for the cooldown on Shield of Daybreak if he runs slightly faster than you. It's easier to hit up close than further out.
  • Use Zenith Blade to pass through impassable terrain such as groups of trees or the walls in the river. Very few enemies excpect this and will be caught off guard. It's also a nice trick for catching escaping enemies. You can also use it to pass through minion waves when chasing an enemy through them.
  • When your being chased, if you're quick enough, you can use Shield of Daybreak to stun your pursuer and give you a lead to get away.
  • Use Eclipse prior to charging into battle so you have protection as you enter. It's terrible to move into a fight and get stunned or silenced before you activate it and be without your shield or it's damaging AoE.
  • Start a fight with Solar Flare. It has a good range on it and sets you up to hit with Shield of Daybreak. By this point your opponent will be scared and running and you can use Zenith Blade to stop them from running briefly.
  • Remember when an enemy is running you need to properly lead your target with Solar Flare and Zenith Blade to hit. Don't target where they are, target where they will be. This takes practice.

I hope these tips help you to be the best Leona player you can be.

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Conclusion, The Dawn Comes

I hope this guide has helped you to gain a grasp of how I play Leona and maybe it'll give you the start you need to find your own playstyle and build that works for you.

Any feedback is much apreciated.

Version History

1.3.0 Added Frozen Heart to alternate items list. Traded Mental Force for Mercenary and Summoner's Wrath under masteries. Corrected a grammattical error.
1.2.1 Corrected spelling mistakes.
1.2.0 Changed the masteries to trade Sorcery for Enlightenment
1.1.0 Expanded the item build order on cheat sheet, reworked runes to be more tanky and added a more clearly defined alternate items section.
1.0.0 I made this guide.