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Struggling with Leona

Creator: Valkoun August 4, 2011 11:26am
Valkoun
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I am a relative beginner to this game compared to the vast majority of these forums and I'm looking for a bit of help with one thing in particular... how to play Leona in the early-mid game. I tend to play aggresively (part of the problem?) and I do fairly well with Garen. I might be trying to play her too much like I play Garen but I find myself dieing ALOT in the laneing phase. I can keep her up if I hover back and soak minion xp but I'm not contributing anything other than not feeding the enemy.

I see my purpose in early game as this:
Team up with a DPS and let them do their thing. If they get engaged I step in and stun or hassle the aggressor trying to keep my partner alive. Noble right? Sounds good, but as soon as I try I get KO'd quickly. Here is what I do for example: Hang back maybe swipe at a minion or two use W preemptively and wade in toward my target hoping to get the AoE damage and extend the armor/MR buff. Hit them with Q for the stun and retreat if my partner has gotten clear or we have the advantage.

Sound theory right? But what ends up happening often is this: I wade in with W active get stunned first or slowed and then focused. I'm LUCKY if I leave alive. Is this just her life at the moment or do I have the wrong idea how to use her int he early-mid game? Late game she's a hell of alot of fun and VERY useful but I typically lag 3-5 levels behind everyone and I hope it's something I can correct.

Thanks for your input!
UltimateHavok
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I played Leona a bit when she was free last week and I loved her. I played her quite aggressively and had success with her. My playstyle would depend a bit on who I was laning with and against, but the skil combo I used and is very strong early game seems to be W->E->Q->. I would try to start it in bushes to give a bit of surprise. Pop shield, E out to them (which I believe has a short stun itself for the last one you hit?) and then Q for longer stun and then if you're teammate is there go for the kill/firstblood or if teammate is not paying attention or just not around I'd probably run back, last-hit some more minions or play defensively until skills are off CD and unless your target did something to heal themself another full combo from you should be enough to kill almost any champ early game. Remember your E can hit multiple targets but it will pull you to the last one you hit. Pop shield before initiating for the defense plus it take 3 seconds to detonate and if you E in then Q for stun then it will detonate. Sometimes I pop shield then wait a second to make all my skills go off about the same time and nuke early game. This was my experience with her, very strong early game and then I build her tank late game. The early kills she can get helped my team a lot (with me even getting 10+ kills with her even though I built as a tank and played for that purpose) lol And her attacks do that light thing to enemy champs which make your teammates hit harder, and her stun is good for initiating and if they focus you because you're wrecking them.. well they just focused on the tank and honestly should be one of your weaker players even though she's pretty beastly.

I'm not gonna say I'm anywhere near a pro on her seeing as I only used her for a week lol But I won almost every game I played with her and this was my experience and playstyle. Sorry if it was confusing I can't remember all the skill names and terminology. heh If you have any more questions let me know I'll try and help.
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Valkoun
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Yeah, that's mostly how I initiated once i skilled E, I started with W at 1st then Q then E. Maybe I hesitate to withdraw and hang out too long but more than once it seems like I just got Alpha'd.

Thanks for the input, keep it coming I'd love to hear from more.
UltimateHavok
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When I played I would get Q at lvl 1, then E at 2 and W at 3, then focus on leveling W, then E, then Q. and R every time available of course. Worked well for me.
My name is Havok.
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Check out my Katarina guide!
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theBMB
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I've found that while Leona's early game is a little lackluster, there are ways to workaround it. Namely, lots of health and or health regen. Put your first point into your shield and max it first, the armor buff really improves your sustainability, especially if you have a lot of health. The first thing you want to get after a HoG or P stone is either a Chain Vest or a Negatron Cloak depending on the enemy team comp.

As a tank, Leona's dependent on the competency of her team. If your team knows what to do when you charge at the enemy, then you'll likely win. If they just sit back and wait for you to die, and then come in, then you lose, it's that simple. Also, while Leona can be somewhat aggressive mid game, her early game is very different from Garen's. She doesn't have much harass, so you really do have to be careful. Last hit when you can, focus on getting your Gp10 item really quickly.

As for her abilities, I want to shatter the conception of "comboing" with her. While there is a definite flow to her abilities, you shouldn't be blowing all of your abilities at once. If you do, there is a solid 20 second period where you're basically useless. Leona's abilities should be used as necessary. She has 3 moves that can either delay or stun your opponent, and if you pace them apart, you can keep an enemy locked down for a lot longer than if you were to just blow all your moves at once.
This is how I played Leona and it worked pretty well for me. Haven't played her in a while though, so I don't know if her meta has changed significantly in the past few weeks.
UltimateHavok
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Hmm. If her early game seemed a bit lackluster for you maybe there was a reason for that, like in playstyle? For me her early game was amazing and I could be quite aggressive with her, usually getting first blood or an assist for it. (Yes, I know tanks should be letting the carries get the kills but I sometimes forget this in the moment. haha)

I understand what you're saying about Leona's combo leaving you defensless for a bit, but here's my experience with using it:
- Leona's early game combo is POWERFUL, and when you pop shield before you initiate with E->Q it gives you added defense while you jump in which goes far early game.
- As long as you have a competent lane partner, you should be able to coordinate on who to focus and if they overextend even a little too much that's a free kill. Your stun combo + an attack from your partner and if it comes down to it a few AAs should get the kill.
- When you initiate and stun, that leaves only one of them open to fight back for a couple seconds, and in quite a few instances if I were not to get the kill it would do enough damage to scare my target and make them run back, at least at first.
- Also, Leona's E can hit multiple targets so I would try to shoot it through both but make sure my focus is the last one hit. Her W is AoE so when you initiate and stun one's partner the other will most likely try to attack you, taking damage from this as well.
- If you are your lane partner are packing exhaust or ignite, it makes this even easier to get a kill early game.
- I find that most people don't realize you're vulnerable after you unleash your full combo. They're too worried about how much burst you just let out on them and escaping. Also hopefully your lane partner is there to help focus them.
- If your opponents do decide to stay and fight even after you let out your burst (which happens, sure) depending on how much health they have I will just AA our focus who is almost dead anyways, or AA once and run back so your light goes on your focus and when your lane partner hits them it deal extra damage. Usually one of them dies here, at least in my experience.
- If it gets messy however, I always bring flash with Leona just because it's such an OP skill when used right. Great for escape, chasing and initiation. LOVE IT! haha Try not to overextend but instead let them do it before you unleash combo. That way if it goes wrong you can flash and run to turret or if they try to escape it's harder for them to run to theirs.

I always try and harass with my partner a bit before making sure our skills are off CD and then going in. Usually I harass with E->Q and run back while they are stunned, and I like when my partner is ranged or has some sort of ranged attack to keep on pressure without getting too close. As the tank, I try to keep focus on Leona and if they try to jump on you as you're running away I pop W and let my added armor soak up damage while they stay close enough to take the damage from my shield bursting and run back to my lane partner who keeps pressure on them.

Leona's full combo takes 14 seconds to get off CD, but that's because of her W. Her Q and E start off at 12 and 13 respectively and get lower with each level. Use E->Q to harass and W if they try to chase you down.
If they both just decide to jump you, stun one with Q and run back if you don't think you can handle it. Pop shield if you feel like you need to.

Really, it all comes down to playstyle and who you're laning with and against. Each game will have different factors that should effect what you do and how you play. I, personally, am an aggressive player. This is why I prefer carries and hard-hitting champs, and this is also why I go for kills as a tank and have carried teams with Amumu and Shen, and somehow got 15+ kills with Soraka one time.. lmao You shouldn't do that though, save the kills and getting fed for the real carries. xD

Figure out what works for you and what best fits your playstyle and helps your team the most. Read some of the higher rated MOBAFire guides on Leona and get some tips from them to try out.

Anyways, the above post is basically why I like Leona's combo and advocate using it as long as you understand how and use your judgement before leaping in there like a wild person.
My name is Havok.
And yes, your mother loves me.

Check out my Katarina guide!
+rep me because I am awesome.


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theBMB
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What I meant by saying her early game is lackluster is that her survivability is a little lacking for a tank. If she takes too much damage while her shield is down, she might need to recall a earlier than most other tanks do. Other than that she's fine, plays like any other solid tank.

And to elaborate my point on "comboing" the main idea is that if you can initiate without using your E, then you should do so. There will be many times when you and your teammate may not be able to take down a foe with your initial burst and they begin to run away. This is when you'll want to use you E. You'll be halfway through your cooldowns on your other abilities (more if you have CDR), so in all likelihood you'll be able to hit them with another q. If you do initiate with E, then Q (and for all of this, just assume that the shield is up and about to pop), then there will be a solid 10 sec period to allow the opponent to get away (assuming your ally is a little lacking in CC). Although that's great if you have exhaust, the gap closer will allow you to get exhaust on them to secure the kill. I like taking ghost and exhaust. Ghost is particularly great because it allows you to initiate without using E, saving it for the right moment.
UltimateHavok
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Hm, I do agree with you that using Q instead of E->Q is good, and that's what I mean by harassing. Go in and pop W then Q them to stun, let your partner get off a skill and then let shield go off. Retreat, and the next time you let off full combo with your partners help to focus it should be a killing blow unless they healed or use flash to get away. Sometimes I save Q just in case they try to flash away, then I follow flash and stun then kill. I prefer flash to ghost because it offers more suprise, where I can flash out of a bush and over minions to get off E->Q and stun when they dont expect it to happen. E hits harder than Q so I prefer to max this out after W and before Q for better damage early game. W hits the hardest and gives the added defense to help out when initiating because Leona does lack just a bit early game tankiness compared to other tanks. Just gotta make sure you can hit with E since it is a skill shot, because if you want it to work properly you need to pop shield before you use E so that it wont detonate too late. The 3 seconds it takes can be enough for them to get far enough away so that it wont hit. Really my playstyle changes every match, but sticks to the same guidelines. Harass until level 3 and then when full combo is up I will usually try to find an opportunity to unleash it along with my partners help to get first blood.
And referring to you saying that people will run away after your initial combo, it is true but often times they won't recall just yet. People don't like to leave the lane and miss out on exp, and if they do fine they get underleveled if you keep sending 'em back. Another reason I like flash, you combo 'em out and they run back but don't recall, staying in the back waiting for health regen or a health pot to get them back up. They stay far enough away from the bushes so they know you can't skillshot em and stun. This is when I would pop shield, flash out, skillshot and stun them for fb if they are low enough. Only do this when they are low enough to ensure kill. As long as they are not too far back or you are too low for their teammate to kill you, but I find with my teammate there he can distract the other enough not to go out and try to all-out kill me, or else he might die too. Then say I have exhaust as well, I can run past their teammate who is tryin to kill me thinking I over-extended, baiting them farther from their turret and closer to my lane partner. They don't always follow, but sometimes they do. Then I pop exhaust and we have at them, by the time exhaust is over my combo should be up or almost there allowing me to finish the kill if not already done so.
My name is Havok.
And yes, your mother loves me.

Check out my Katarina guide!
+rep me because I am awesome.


Thanks to jhoijhoi!

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