Leona, The Radiant Dawn
A purist tank and true threat guide.
Table of contents:
4. Summoner Spells
7. Ability Order
9. Final Words
11. Dominion Guide
First of all, this is a guide intended for those who wish to use and maybe abuse the undying yet very potent Leona that has just come out after weeks of waiting. Allow me to be clear that this guide is specific to using the fullest tank possible from Leona, while remaining a threat to the enemy team. As of July 15, 2011 when I have created this guide for her, she is in a position where while she possesses a great deal amount of survival and team-fight capabilities, her damage and cool-downs are a bit long, and some of this guide is subject to change later on through edits or any new patches. Bear with me as I decisively go everything you need to know about Leona from her kit, to what you should run runes and masteries wise, and proper reasoning behind why she should in a duo lane.
Patch 126.96.36.199 had slight buffs for Leona, nothing truly substantial in playing her pure tank except that in team-fights, Q is on a much shorter CD and you could throw an extra one out there during a fight, which is good. She is more active than she was before, you will be more of a threat due to this. Mana issues with E are bearable now too early on, thank you Riot for making Leona shine even more!
Patch 188.8.131.52 (Riven) has a few changes to tenacity, mainly the fact that every tenacity now has 35% and not just the boots! This probably was a necessary change to the amount of CC currently in this game, but this does indirectly make Merc treads less viable on certain champions. I am here to tell you that right now Merc Treads are still very much a good item on Leona compared to items like Elesia's Miracle or Moonflair spellblade, since the passive MR from Mercs synergizes well with the basic builds for tanks, like Leona. Continue to build Mercs when you run Leona with this guide, you will be fine.
Patch 184.108.40.206 (Fizz/Masteries) has a new set of Masteries! OH JOY Defensive Tree gained a LOT of perks, even the possibility of a Jungle Leona (I will have to look it up later). For the sake of the new patch, ill amend my Masteries to something related to the old ones, plus some extras...
Shield of Daybreak (Q) – Leona charges her shield with the power of the sun causing her next melee attack to deal additional damage and briefly stun the target.
Eclipse (W) – Leona raises her shield granting her additional Armor and Magic Resistance for 3 seconds. When the effect ends she deals area of effect damage and increases the duration of the defensive bonuses by 3 seconds if she damages an enemy.
Zenith Blade (E) – Leona throws a blade of sunlight that deals damage to all enemies in a line. Leona teleports to the last enemy champion hit by this attack. Additionally, the last champion hit by Zenith Blade will pause for a very brief moment while Leona teleports to their location, a small yet critical snare!
Solar Flare (R) – After a brief delay, Leona calls down a beam of solar energy dealing damage and slowing enemies. Enemies in the center of the beam are stunned instead of slowed.
Sunlight (Passive) – Leona’s abilities mark the target with sunlight. Allied champions that damage marked targets deal additional damage and consume the mark.
So I imagine after going through these abilities you could imagine how to play Leona effectively. In any typical skirmish 1v1, you charge up her Eclipse (W) for maybe a second, then hit the enemy with Zenith Blade (E) and make sure you land your Shield of Daybreak (Q). What is nice about her E is that during the projectile shot you can actually hit your Q if you KNOW you are gonna hit with that E, so you immediately go into the stun once it hits. And then the W pops and deals damage, while you get an extra 3 seconds of resistance to get away and laugh at their pitiful damage. Her Solar Flare (R) has a rather large range for an ultimate, and the delay is very small between when you click the location and when it lands. It is also her highest AP ratio ability on her, but even so, there is a reason she is a full tank. That is the typical baseline way to play Leona. However, to become better at her, you must have control of a team-fight, and know what the highest threat is, and if you are stuck on guard duty or being the 'female singed'. The best Leona can be a threat, by simultaneously zoning out the strongest carry, protecting her teammates, and disrupting the enemy!
Leona as of right now needs only 3 things:
- Tank (Health, Armor, Magic Resistance)
- Cool-down Reduction
- Gold per 10
Toss any prospect of her doing good burst, unlike other tanks in the game, she trades her damage away for protection, in fact she is the lowest damaging tank currently right now. In a sort of way, she is intended to either disable or prevent her allies from taking any damage, while at the same time, increasing the damage they can do to enemies. That is her role in this game, with her low AP ratios and slightly lesser damage, but very versatile abilities, having her runes be tank based is a huge plus.
An appropriate rune set-up would be:
- Avarice Quints x 3
- Flat Fortitude Marks x 9
- Flat Resilience Seals x 9
- Flat Warding Glyphs x 9
Gold Quints are a must on any low farming tank or support champion, Leona is not the only champion who should run these quints. Health marks help her early game survival, and the armor and MR seals and glyphs respectively grant her an amazing 40+ resistances without any items, if you run the masteries as well.
4. Summoner Spells:
Exhaust, Ghost, Teleport, Fortify, Heal.
I typically run Exhaust and Ghost on Leona, while I do not get the improved Exhaust spell in the offensive tree in my masteries, Exhaust helps make sure your carries can either secure a kill, or deny an AD/AP carry damage while you can focus on stunning/taking another carry out of the fight. Ghost is a really nice spell for Leona since it has a shorter CD than flash and lasts longer, great chasing spell when you can just E when close enough to catch up instantly.
1/1 Summoner's Wrath
1/1 Veteran's Scars
3/3 Honor Guard
1/3 Good Hands
3/3 Expanded Mind
2/3 Strength of Spirit
3/3 Harden Skin
4/4 Veteran Scars
Do not bother with the Offense tree, Defense and Utility have all the Masteries you need to survive and stay in lane or in a teamfight.
Reasoning: Within the Defensive Tree are very many of the viable spells Leona can run successfully as well as enough masteries to increase her health, armor, MR, even dodge, which while being a very low chance in game, nevertheless quite useful. The 9 points in Utility provide a boost to her Ghost, her health and mana regen, experience and additional gold for laning with.
Alright so here is the deal on the new masteries. Personally, I prefer to run Exhaust and Ghost, hence the point into Summoner's Wrath, now about the decisions I made in the defensive and utility trees:
When I looked at the Defensive Tree, I saw a LOT of potential, I am pretty sure with the bladed armor Leona could Jungle decently finally, like so many of her competition can, however for terms of laning, I would rather not go down that route. Instead, taking typical Hardiness/Resistance masteries is fine, more Hardiness since your typical enemies in bot lane is an AD carry/Support, it is unusual to run into an AP carry unless you do more normals, but that is what your Eclipse is for.
Durability over Vigor, for Veteran's Scars which is quite strong in the defensive tree. Evasion was changed to reducing AoE damage spells, compensation for the 4 MR I did not pick up in the Resistance Mastery.
At this point I was stuck between Initiator and Enlightenment, then I saw that the final point in Juggernaut reduced disables or CC by 10%, a pseudo tenacity bonus, so rather than grab Merc Treads with my build, I can grab Ionian Boots for the CDR, meaning the Enlightenment is not needed as much, Leona is a slow gal, and needs to move in to fight!
Honor Guard is nice, and the biggest bonus I found in the Defense tree aside from Juggernaut was Mercenary! EXTRA GOLD ON MY ASSISTS?! Oh you better believe you want to get this mastery.
The Utility Tree contained some 'Quality of life' masteries like mana and mana regen, that I picked up for Leona's Early game mana issues, they are now almost non-existent.
Regrowth Pendant -> Philosopher's Stone
Boots - > Mercury's Trends / Ionian Boots (Preference choice)
Ruby Crystal -> Kindlegem
Early game you need to rush the philosopher's stone and boots, depending on how well your lane did, you should be able to at least get the philosopher's and a first level boots on your first trip back. Once you have reached your core, your options will spread out some more, meaning that what you build next depends on what the enemy team make-up is.
For a heavy AP team:
Negatron Cloak -> Force of Nature
Giant's Belt -> Sunfire Cape
Quicksilver Sash (Special Case)
Typically, get the Negatron Cloak and Giant's belt FIRST, full on rushing Force of Nature still means you have low max health for those really potent AP burst champions. I mentioned Quicksilver sash under the AP section because very many of the AP champions in this game have a stun or some sort of CC that is intended for them to use on whoever they want to gank, let alone be it you, or someone else. Quicksilver Sash also can get rid of certain 'ultimates' from some champions, making it useful. However, Leona does have a defensive ability so stacking too much MR might not be worth it due to diminishing returns.
For heavy AD or balanced team:
Giant's Belt -> Sunfire Cape
Heart of Gold -> Randuins Omen / Glacial Shroud -> Frozen Heart
Negatron Cloak -> Force of Nature
This is the typical path in almost all games, the big thing about this path is that it is very flexible and determines solely on how far you think the game will go on (short games mean you should not get a heart of gold and consider maybe rush the sunfire) and just how many auto-attack based opponents there are (Frozen heart cripples them). It is purely your judgement as a player who wants to tank well to know how to build every game, and what order. Essentially most of your games you will get a Giant's Belt after finishing the core, putting you at nearly 2k health but by now your W should be maxed to make you especially tanky mid-game. From here, you can build accordingly.
Finish Shurelya's Reverie, and then...
'Choice' or your last item, Really up to you, I prefer either Frozen mallet (Your E will make you auto THAT champion once, slowing them), or Triforce (destroy towers). You can figure it out on what your team needs.
List of good 'Choice Items':
Frozen Mallet, Triforce, Rylai's, Aegis of the Legion, Banshee's Veil, Guardian Angel, Soul Shroud, Abyssal Specter (VERY SITUATIONAL).
'Please note that if you want to build AP on Leona, all but one of her abilities has an AP ratio greater than 0.5 (Her Ultimate), meaning that her 3 main abilities carry less than half of the AP you want to stack on her to damage. This is why I do not suggest going too much AP on her and propose a full-tank guide, though if her abilities are changed from buffs or nerfs I will update this guide as necessary.'
Essentially, you should be looking at something like these:
Shurelya's, Merc's Trends, Sunfire Cape, Force of Nature, Frozen Heart, Frozen Mallet.
Shurelya's, Merc's Trends, Sunfire Cape, Force of Nature, Randuin's Omen, Triforce
New Masteries Patch:
Shurelya's, Ionian Boots, Sunfire Cape, Force of Nature, Triforce, Rylais
This build provides a good health pool, plenty of CDR (may not be 40% but very high), high resistances that get even higher with your W, and a big presence in a team-fight (nothing like a champion who can chase you and slow you in more ways than one).
This build has a slightly less health and CDR, nor a Perma slow on hit, however it trades for an AoE on use slow that stacks with your W to slow attack speed and movement speed longer around Leona, along with more single target damage. Your Q will actually hurt quite a bit, this build however is slightly more expensive.
Since the Masteries Patch, I found that tenacity in the defensive tree makes Leona almost non-dependent on Merc's Treads. My typical build for all games is pretty much Build 3 as of now, the reason I 'italicized' Rylai's is that the item is a 'Choice' Item, meaning if you need to cater to your team's needs, you can sub out Rylai's for something else like a Frozen Heart or Randuin's.
The biggest thing about both these builds is, as you notice, the emphasis on Shurelya's, mercs/ionian, Sunfire Cape, and Force of Nature.
I find the greatest success for my Leona when I utilize these four items. Honestly, if you are at the point where you have built these four items, you are well prepared for any engagement, and should look to build some sort of utility and CDR for the late-game teamfights you will be in.
7. Ability Order (Priority):
(this means that you continue to level the first ability mentioned to maximum before going to the next one on the list, unless the prioritized ability cannot be leveled at that point)
W, Q, E, W, W, R -> These are your first 6 levels, afterwards max your W then your Q and lastly E.
Why this is important, my reasoning:
Most people would have you rush your Stun first, however even if you max it fast the CD of the stun or her Q is not substantial enough to make a difference in lane, whereas your W which provides much higher damage (on single and many targets) and a safe defensive steroid to ensure that you do not take any sort of punishment setting up your lane partner for free harass on a target.
In other words, leveling up your Q to reduce its CD is nice and useful in team-fights, however early on the majority of any fighting between teams is on a 1 to 3 players each side, minus the cases where dragon is being fought over and it could turn into a 4v4 (mid, jungle, bot lane coming to dragon both sides). A great majority of the time however, level 1 Q is sufficient for your laning early on. When your W is maxed out, around that time there should be some roaming perhaps due to towers being destroyed and the game reaching its halfway point, that is the time where your Q is getting leveled up, and finally late-game you are looking to expand your damage and increase your chasing/closing capabilities with E.
Divided into Laning, Everything after laning, a trade secret or two from me, and some laning comrades that will make you successful in lane, and later on.
Laning (Lane till you managed to win or lose that tower, typically the first 8 levels):
The majority of Leona's play-style in the lane is as follows:
- You let your ally get all the last hits, if you do not think they can get that minion, then feel free. You should be aiming at 1-2 minions every wave at a maximum, your lane partner needs to get the others. The gold per 10 runes, masteries and items ensure you do not go gold starved.
- You can gank at level 2 once you get W then your Q, it depends solely on who is your lane partner. Champions like Lux and Blitzcrank are your best champions for this.
- Be aware of your health when you dive, know that you are the lowest damage tank and that you probably can't do that 250 damage burst on that low Vayne very easily at their turret. In fact I would not suggest diving unless you are really 'pro' about it (hint, have a partner).
Everything that comes after Laning:
- What you are expected to do at this point? Sadly, Leona makes a poor solo ganker, however her passive and ability kit can open up many ganks with a good partner. 95% of the time you should be either defending a pushed turret, roaming with a partner to gank after your laning is done, and/or taking towers.
- What you should you keep in mind? Do not try soloing any dragons or barons, have other people take the blue buff, red buff is nice but if you have some other tanky AD carry like gangplank they can use it a whole lot more than you can.
- Every teamfight is a different beast for you, you are the judge of how you wanna let the fight go down. Having the opposing team initiate may not be the best decision, but Leona can stop and reverse that initiation with both her R and her combos. I have defended base turrets many a time against great initiations on my teammates due to a correctly placed Solar Flare and a well timed Exhaust. Leona can literally do 3 different tanking things at once, and subdue the threat from a team (That is why I run exhaust, extra form of CC).
Trade secret from someone with a good record with Leona:
- The biggest reasoning behind why I get exhaust is not so much for my team to get a gank with it, but to help me control any of the enemy initiators like Xin Zhao or Gangplank going into my team. In any teamfight, it is leona's job to cause as much havoc as possible, meaning that even for a few moments, I can exhaust the tanky DPS, stun/lock the AP carry, and stun/heavy slow everyone else as SOON as I go in. All of this plus my shield goes off on a good 50%+ on the enemy to apply my passive, and my team can go in as well and destroy them. If they do not kill you immediately (which they will not, you are the pure tank leona) you can continue to lock down and focus the highest threat damage and apply your sunfire cape damage constantly throughout the whole fight.
- The other summoner spells should not be taken out of the equation however, a well timed heal saves lifes, fortify is beyond a saving grace for towers, and teleport is a good overall spell. ALL these spells can be interchanged with the masteries I use, allowing for nearly identical masteries between all the spells.
Your best lane comrades:
Lux: Double proccing passives early on is nothing short than an extra bar you just shaved off an enemy you are focusing. Coupled with snares and slows, Lux is an ideal lane mate for leona if you want to get Lux fed quickly early on to carry into mid-game.
Blitzcrank: Another high potential carry capacity partner, like alistar and blitz, leona can subdue the grabbed foe at the turret, and just before they start moving again, E them to keep them around a moment longer. Blitz and Leona might both share some of the kills, giving your allies two partially fed tanks.
Renekton: A good renekton will be able to keep himself alive and look for an ideal time to proc his fully charged stun on an enemy leona has set up for him. Also, since leona herself does not need to clear whole waves at once for farm, with her gold items and runes, Renekton can farm as much as he pleases.
Pantheon: Ever wanted to land the full duration of Pantheon's Heartseeker easily? Do the childhood friends really synergize well together? The answer should be yes to both, and luckily Leona is a great lane-mate since both have good short duration stuns and can chase down foes rather easily. Do the Garen thing and chill in the bush for your prey, and bam, the squishy goes down fast.
Taric: Two great laners that help their partners, why not put them together to help each other out? Taric and Leona go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly, or Tuna if you like that instead. While it may be difficult for either of them to gank the bot lane 2v2 wise, when your jungler comes you can feed him quite well, or at the very least, make sure that your lane does not feed the other side, since Taric and Leona together is essentially unkillable with their ridiculous CC and healing capabilities. After some testing, a good taric and leona lane provides a rather intense amount of burst damage after the first few levels with Taric leveling stun and running AP early on. Taric and Leona make a GREAT combo in the lane, and roaming.
Gangplank: You do not see too many Laning Gangplanks these days with the latest spin on his abilities and jungling power due to his passive, however one cannot deny that the nice thing about gangplank is the high amount of harass from Parrrley after putting sunlight on targets, mmm burst. Also remember to feed your pirate CS!
Ryze: Quite similar to Lux or any caster with a kind of CC in a way, Ryze makes an excellent laning partner due to the fact that unlike other casters, Ryze can go quite tanky while retaining his strong substained damage. As soon as Leona hits level 3, and if she lands her E to Q combo Ryze can come in and put the hurt down with his snare / Overload. It is not a gentle harass by any means, and if they attempt to go for Ryze after Leona and Ryze should have the means to kill the wounded foe and get away safely, through various forms of CC.
Corki: Gatling Gun Procs EVERY SINGLE PASSIVE EVER. Not to mention the burst and substained damage put Corki as probably the top AD Ranged to bring to bot lane!
Graves: Similar situation to Corki, a bit more tanky than the 'corkster', and that smoke-screen utility is amazing...(secretly too strong, lag-screen is funny!)
More to be added later on...
Champions to watch out for:
Irelia: Perhaps your most hated foe as Leona, you do not want a fed irelia to happen on the other team, since she just about negates all CC on her, with her passive stacking with tenacity. The best thing you can do against her is to exhaust her if you have it, and zone out the rest of the other team while your team blows up irelia as fast as possible. As Leona you should be able to take the 1v4 till your allies show up after cleaning up irelia. If you do not have exhaust, make sure to relay to your team to blow up irelia ASAP, and proceed to suppress the rest of the enemy team in teamfights, any mean necessary.
Jax: Another tanky DPS to be worried about, a good jax you cannot and should not do anything but pop your Q and exhaust on during a teamfight, if he intends to chase a low teammate, E him and slow him down! The worst thing you can do is auto-attack jax, like any other tank you should just leave him to your carries and throw the occasional stun/snare and that is it! My preference? When jax leaps to your team, stun him, and go E their AP/AD carry nearby and do some damage, and maybe toss an exhaust out.
Olaf: Immunity to CC is quite painful, pray your carries can kite him, but if he focuses you then that might not be too good either, true damage is a no-no for any tank. Try to blow him up fast before his ult.
Wukong: Without Oracles, a good wukong can sneak past you if you are unprepared straight to your carries before you can apply the important Exhaust to minimize his damage! Be very careful!
Hopefully less to come...
9. Final Words:
Leona can cripple the strongest enemy carry, stun and slow the others and take minimal damage all within a short time frame. While she carries some relatively high cool-downs for her disruptions, she is top-tier in terms of survival and initiation. Do not judge her on low damage, or her low kills. If you go 1-4-24, you did a good job as Leona, and should work towards surviving more fights.
A tank is judged not by their damage or kills, but on whether they can successfully be a threat to the enemy by means of disruption and denial.
Happy tanking folks.
Edit 1: Appended a reasoning behind my masteries, added a list of good 'Choice' items which is subject to change, and an additional few 'secrets' I know to help guarentee successful fighting.
Edit 2: Added a best lane comrades to help give an ideal bottom lane to all leona players and their friends.
Edit 3: Added my reasoning for Leona's Ability order, and the first 6 levels are offered freely in case the ability priority order is unclear.
Edit 4: Cleaned up my guide, in order to make it more readable, even listing a Table of Contents.
Edit 5: Updates to the best laning partners section, Taric and Leona bot lane is GREAT.
Edit 6: More information on my runes, build, etc.
Edit 7: Added a 'Champions to be aware of' section, also woot 10k views! Thank you everyone for your support!
Edit 8: Added a Dominion Section for when it hits the shelves! Will see you all on Dominion Map as your Leona!
Edit 9: Riven update 220.127.116.11 changes to tenacity
Edit 10: DOMINION pseudo-guide created! More info as I progress with Leona in Dominion!
11. Dominion Guide
Leona's Role: Defender, before Attacker.
- Overall Description: Your main tactics in Dominion include defending the hardest to defend points (Windmill, any points closest to enemy spawn, points the enemy absolutely needs) and covering allies near you or pushing alongside you.
- Spells: Garrison / Exhaust, I am already in the works for predicting how the newest spells can be useful for different champions doing different roles, in this case Garrison is an AMAZING spell to have while defending a point by yourself against 1-3 attackers, and the exhaust makes the defense more manageable as long as you keep them from capping the point and stopping the turret damage.
Best case scenario: You manage to not only defend against multiple attackers, but through clever use of your exhaust and garrison kill them all, making all their efforts a waste and your allies revel in your awesome skills and tactics.
Worst case: You again spend your spells, only managed to weaken and deter the enemy for as long as possible before they overran you, while you served as a good delay for your 4 other teammates to tackle the other points that are not very guarded, since the enemy spent resources and time killing you.
Your strengths: Excellent tower guard, good skirmish CC, above average survival
Your weaknesses: Not a great first couple of minutes, since you need to obtain your items and damage from other foes is gonna be much higher since their items are gonna come around a LOT faster than in SR, also Leona is sort of a slow gal, movement wise.
Odyn's Veil (Passive magic damage reduction on a percentage, and a chargeable AoE? Yes please)
Hextech Sweeper (Cheaper replacement of Shurelya's on Dominion, all your magic damage gives VISION, and a stealth-seeing CV active, neat!)
I seem to have a lot of success as a defender with Leona, bear in mind this is the Dominion Beta, so things could change.