All Guides Leona Guides An Illuminating Guide To Leona Mid [Updating for 7.5]
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Leona Statistics for Soullfire

Author's performance with Leona compared to the ranked average.

Value
Average
Games Played
21
5
Win %
33
46
Kills
6.8
2.0
Assists
14.2
12.2
Deaths
7.1
5.8
KA:D Ratio
2.9
2.4
Gold Earned
12.3K
8.4K
Creep Score
110.7
50.0
Average
  • Author Champion Statistics
  • Guide Details

Summoner Spells Back to Top

Flash/ Ignite is pretty standard for AP mid champions. Both spells work well on Leona.

4.png
Flash can be very effective, apart from its obvious uses, flash stunning people with a Q on Leona often catches your opponents off guard.
14.png
Ignite is really good for finishing off opponents and picking up kills. Plus you'll always be in range to use it, no worries there.
There aren't really any other summoner spells that you should be using on AP Leona. Optionally you could use teleport or possibly exhaust if you end up top lane or if you mid vs something weak against exhaust, though often ignite will still be the best option for sheer killing power.

New Runes Back to Top

Masteries Back to Top

When it comes down to masteries I felt that ferocity would be the best way to go with a splash into cunning for greater offensive capabilities. As such I go with pretty standard 18/12/0 mastery page geared offensively for an AP champion.


Sorcery - Leona deals most of her damage with her abilities, as such increased ability damage seemed like the way to go.
Double Edged Sword - As a melee champion Leona gets a 3% boost to damage output while only suffering from a 1.5% increase to damage taken. When playing AP Leona you often function best as an assassin that can jump in to the back line on squishy targets and eliminate them quickly from fights, this mastery helps you do that. If you find you prefer to play Leona aggressively then this is the mastery for you. If you prefer to play more passively in lane Feast may be for you as it is geared to help you with the early game laning phase. Most mid lane champions are ranged and will try and take advantage of you in the early levels, healing from killing minions helps you stay in lane and not fall behind.
Natural Talent - Gives you some ability power over the course of the game. Ability Power increases your damage. the attack damage is not a total loss either, as you will definitely be auto-attacking enemies.
Oppressor - As a crowd control goddess, Leona will benefit greatly from the increased damage this provides. Bounty hunter would also be a reasonable choice here if you favour early game roams to the bottom lane to pick up kills, but I run Oppressor for more reliability.
Peircing Thoughts - Magic penetration straight up increases the damage you deal. Pretty much a must take for AP champions.
Deathfire Touch - Basically the only bottom tier ferocity mastery that an AP champion would want to use. With the AP you build you will deal more damage over time to your enemies.

After Filling out the Ferocity tree the choice of which other mastery tree to put points into depends on how you like to play.


If you prefer a more passive laning phase and to take more of a tanky, damage dealing, supportive role in the mid and late game team fights, the Resolve tree offers some good masteries for you.


Unyielding - Generally reduces damage from enemy units, this will help reduce the harass you take in lane and help you stay alive in mid-late game.
Explorer - I like this mastery point since it helps you move around the map and make plays with your team mates. Leona generally becomes a support style mid laner like lulu. Her kit allows her to synergize well when grouped with her team mates by providing crowd control and adding damage with her passive.
Veteran Scars - Some % total health which helps you out a bit in the early game and gets better as the game progresses.
Insight - Having more frequent access to the use of summoner spells is incredibly powerful. In a 1v1 situation in lane in the early game you'll generally need Ignite to secure kills, having it ready 15% sooner can give you an edge over an opponent that doesn't use this mastery. The same can be said about Flash.

If you prefer to play a more aggressive laning phase and embrace your role as the teams AP carry/assassin in the mid and late game team fights, then putting your remaining points in the cunning tree is the right choice for you.


Wanderer - Gives you some extra mobility to move around the map. Useful for getting back to lane quicker, but more importantly for roaming to help team mates secure kills in other lanes.
Assassin - Since you are playing in a solo lane and you have chosen to play aggressively, this will help you deal a bit more damage when skirmishing with your lane opponent.
Merciless - This will help you deal a reasonable amount of extra damage to champions that you and your team mates are killing, which is pretty useful when you're playing on the offensive.
Dangerous Game - This can mean the difference between trading kills and coming out ahead in a one on one fight. Really useful for beating out a lane opponent in a duel.

Abilities Back to Top

E
Q
W
W
W
R
W
E
W
E
R
E
E
Q
Q
R
Q
Q
Passive
Q
2
14
15
17
18
W
3
4
5
7
9
E
1
8
10
12
13
R
6
11
16

There is some option here, this is the way I personally skill up during any given match though you may wish to make some changes.


leonapassive.png
Sunlight - This is the place where haters gonna hate. You will be told your passive is useless in a solo lane, this is mostly true. It does not provide any benefit to you in a 1v1 scenario. It does benefit your team when you gank lanes and when your jungler ganks for you. The damage it provides is not bad and will certainly help your team mates out.

leonashieldofdaybreak.png
Shield of Daybreak - I tend to max this last despite the reduced cooldown and increased damage. In the lane you usually will not have fights that last long enough for you to use this twice even if it was max rank for the lowest possible cooldown so it is useless to max it first. Having the reduced cooldown can really help in the mid-late game stage when team fights are happening so that you can keep opponents disabled for as long as possible. I grab a rank at level 2 so that I can use the E-Q combo if I need to. If you find team fights breaking out relatively early on in the game, it is reasonable to max this second for the increase in team fight utility.

leonasolarbarrier.png
Eclipse - This is your most powerful ability. It has the best scaling damage in addition to damage reduction making it a very powerful tool, you do not want to trade shots with an opponent without this. This is also your best tool for farming creep waves since it can easily damage all of the enemy minions. This should be maxed by level 9. With the added scaling on the armor and magic resist parts of this ability, having a tanky-AP build seems like the best way to go.

leonazenithblade.png
Zenith Blade - I take a rank at level 1 so that I can tag jungle monsters for my jungler, dealing some damage and marking them with Sunlight. This skill is used as a gap closer so you can get right on top of your opponent, best used in combination with a Q right after travelling, activating W shortly before or during your travel time. I usually max this second, as it scales with AP better than Shield of Daybreak as well as hitting multiple targets which helps in fights and for clearing creep waves. Sometimes, as noted earlier, you may want to postpone maxing this for shield of daybreak instead.

leonasolarflare.png
Solar Flare - Like most champions you should rank this up whenever possible at 6, 11, and maxing at 16. Not only does this ability have the most flat damage out of all your abilities but it also has the best scaling at 80% of your AP. This ultimate is very powerful in team fights since it can CC entire teams. Since it has such a low cooldown at rank 3 you'll be able to get it down to about 40 seconds with proper cooldown reduction. It is fairly common to get a second ultimate off in the same team fight because of this, since you should be using it to initiate, or at the very least near the beginning of the fight.

Items Back to Top

Starting Items

    Pretty basic starting build, boots provide decent mobility and health potions keep you in lane longer.
    For the early laning phase you'll always want this trinket.
    I usually start with these against most harassment heavy opponents.
    Good against harassment heavy opponents that you expect to beat in lane.

Core Items

    You'll want these early against an AP lane opponent, I'll generally finish them after my first AP item.
    These are your core AP damage items.

Situational Items

    Best against physical damage heavy teams.
    If they build a lot of Magic Resistance (usually if your team has a lot of magic damage).
    I'll only build these against an all AD team, or a heavy AD team with a lot of auto attacking champions.
    I'll build some of these as my defensive items against AP heavy teams.
    If you find you need more health.

Starting Items

1001_32.png2003_32.pngBoots & Health potions - Boots and health pots are pretty standard. I feel this is one of the best possible starts, with Doran's Shield also being strong, either way it's good to start with at least one health potion regardless of what other item you get.

1082.pngThe Dark Seal - Having used this item, I find I quite like it with 2 health potions in most matchups. It provides some scaling for you if you get ahead along with solid base stats even without the stacks. Being harassed in lane is helped by the additional health potion healing you get. All in all, this is a really solid starting item pick.

1054_32.pngDoran's Shield - Definitely a good choice to start with one of these and a Health Potion in most matchups as ranged champions will usually try and harass you with auto attacks. The health and health regen it provides will give you better staying power in lane than other possible starting items. Generally you will sell this off in the mid to late game.

3340_32.pngWarding Totem - I feel this is the better totem for playing in the mid lane since it allows you to ward one side of the lane to which you can stick to avoid ganks.


Boot Choices

3111_32.pngMercury Treads - You'll want these early, you rely on being able to harass more than you take, these definitely help. I always get these built early against AP mid champions.

3047_32.pngNinja Tabi - When matched up against an AD mid champion like Yasuo, Talon, or Zed these boots become an option for you. They work best against champions like Yasuo who like to auto-attack you a bit, but they still offer armor to protect against AD caster type champions. If they enemy team has one or less AP champions I will generally buy these over Mercury Treads.


Core Items

3165.pngMorellonomicon - This item gives you a whole lot of things that you want which is why I always build it. Mana regeneration, a good chunk of ability power and most importantly 20% cooldown reduction. The relatively low cost of this item compared to other ability power heavy items makes it an amazing item to get really early in the game and keep right up until the end. The added bonus of grievous wounds helps out a lot when you're trying to burst down an enemy on a team with healers.

3157_32.pngZhonya's Hourglass - I almost always build this item. It has good AP, good Armor and a really nice utility effect which can give you valuable time in fights for cooldown refreshes. Additionally, with the prevalence of melee champions in the current meta, in mid, top and jungle, I often find that most of the damage I receive is physical damage making this armor quite effective.

3089_32.pngRabadon's Deathcap - Pretty much staple for any AP champion. Often times I don't end up getting one before the end of the game, but it should always be included in a full build. I usually build this as my last or second last item.


Offensive Items

3057_32.pngSheen - Sheen is a solid item and has some versatility with its build path, building into either Lich Bane if you want to go more damage focused, Iceborn Gauntlet for a tankier build, or Trinity Force for something with a few more stats. You'll frequently be up in melee range to hit people with auto attacks so you'll be getting the procs off quite frequently. During an extended fight it should help you get a fair bit of extra damage out and Leona excels in extended fights.

3001_32.pngAbyssal Scepter - Not too great to buy early game since the passive scales better with the more damage you deal now, otherwise still a solid item that I usually build. AP gives you damage and MR prevents damage, the increased magic damage dealt to nearby enemy champions is great for later in the game.

3135_32.pngVoid Staff - Once again I rarely build this item, often the opponents neglect building substantial Magic Resistance against me so this never really becomes a necessity.

3151_32.pngLiandry's Torment - Not too bad an item, you often get increased damage from this since you have a lot of cc, it provides good AP, Magic Penetration, and is good against teams which have lots of health.

3116_32.pngRylai's Crystal Scepter - One of the better items for AP Leona, it provides a good amount of AP combined with much appreciated health and even more CC to add to your already stacked arsenal. The cooldown reduction added to this item definitely makes it a better buy for Leona, I recommend it as a third or fourth item.

3146_32.pngHextech Gunblade - This is a fairly powerful item, especially since it's active damage scales from AP now. The active slow can help you catch up to a target to land Shield of Daybreak on or help keep a target in range while Zenith Blade comes off cooldown. I have built this on Leona before and found it to be pretty effective. I feel it is best acquired if your team is ahead, otherwise some of the options which provide durability, like Rylai's and Iceborn Gauntlets, would be better choices. With the introduction of Hextech Protobelt-01 I feel like this item gets out classed by it a bit on Leona. This item can be a better choice for an all-in type of build though.

3100_32.pngLich Bane - One possible build option for your sheen. I'm personally not a fan of it, less so now that the magic resistance has been removed, but if you intend to build Leona as an AP assassin it gives a better burst damage boost than Iceborn Gauntlets do, so I would recommend it for that. In a tankier build it could be picked up as a sheen upgrade if the enemy team lacks physical damage, otherwise I prefer the Iceborn Gauntlets.

3285_32.pngLuden's Echo - I rather like this item. It can give you a good boost if you get ahead in lane. It gives you a good amount of AP and I like the movement speed. The proc effect adds some damage for you in small skirmishes as well as late game team fights. The only thing I don't like about this item is that it doesn't give you any defensive stats, since I play Leona mid as an AP bruiser champion I prefer items that get me damage and defense. That said I feel like it is good if you are ahead and going for a full AP build.

3115.pngNashor's Tooth - I'd recommend this item to someone who likes playing Leona really aggressively. It gives a good amount of AP and a lot of cooldown reduction. If you opt for a more glass-cannon style build you can take this over the Iceborn Gauntlet to make up for the lost cooldown reduction. The on-hit magic damage is quite nice as well. I feel like the attack speed is kind of wasted since Leona already has an auto-attack reset built into her kit the additional attack speed wouldn't come into play until after that has been used. There is also the potential to use this item in a bruiser Leona build. The attack speed and on-hit damage go well together but to function effectively they kind of require you to stay alive on a target for an extended period of time. If you find you are getting into small skirmishes and not team fighting as 5 for most of your game this would be a good item to get.

3078_32.pngTrinity Force - This is an item I've played around with before but never really looked at it much after the addition of Iceborn Gauntlets, since they fit really well into the mid Leona playstyle, but I feel it is worth mentioning. It gives you pretty much a bit of everything, AP, mana and health are really obviously useful but that it also includes a sheen passive is nice too. The movement speed is a good bit of utility that helps when chasing down or initiating fights, while the attack speed and crit aren't the most desirable stats they are certainly not useless. I would tend to upgrade my early sheen into this or Lich Bane rather than Iceborn Gauntlets against teams that lack physical damage.

3152.pngHextech Protbelt-01 - Great Leona item, almost always buy this first. Gives you AP, health and cooldown reduction, pretty much all the stats you could ask for as well as a damage dealing, gap closing active ability which is great for a front line mage. After using this item I'd personally recommend it regardless of how you like to build, tanky or full AP. I find it can be good to use the active after your initial E-Q combo if the enemy tries to get away. You can also use it to start an engage and get in range for your other skills.


Defensive Items

3024_32.pngGlacial Shroud - Not the most urgent item to get so long as your jungler cares to give you blue buffs. Generally serves as a mid-late game item that builds with Sheen into Iceborn Gauntlets. The cooldown reduction is very nice.

3025_32.pngIceborn Gauntlet - Solid late game item, no urgency on upgrading into this as the damage it provides is lower than other options. Pretty good on Leona since you'll be up in melee range often.

3110.pngFrozen Heart - My newest preferred upgrade for a Glacial Shroud. Against any team that has 3 physical damage dealers this is pretty much a must buy. It makes you very durable to the enemy team after you 1 combo their AP carry. The cooldown reduction and extra mana are fantastic for Leona.

3102_32.pngBanshee's Veil - I don't tend to use this since it lacks any sort of damage but if the matchup makes the shield effective and the magic resist well used then you can pick it up if you are looking to build into more of a tanky role for your team.

3065.pngSpirit Visage - This tends to be the magic resist item that I'll build when an Abyssal Scepter and Mercury Treads are unable to provide sufficient magic resist. It provides a good health boost along with 10% cooldown reduction which helps since you aren't going to be building a Frozen Heart if you're building this. I almost always prefer this over Banshee's Veil if I need the extra magic resistance.

3026_32.pngGuardian Angel - A solid defensive item that I sometimes build. It is a little bit lacking on the Magic Resistance side but it provides good Armor and one of the strongest abilities in game.

3174_32.pngAthene's Unholy Grail - This can sometimes be a good choice against magic damage heavy teams, on top of merc treads and an abyssal this should provide you with a good amount of magic resistance as well as damage, the mana effect is generally negligible as you usually don't suffer mana issues, but it will ensure you don't run oom mid fight, perhaps if you started the fight low on mana. Against an AP heavy enemy team this is a good alternative to Morellonomicon.

3027_32.pngRod of Ages - An item entirely overlooked by me in my original making of this guide (thanks to N0oh for mentioning it). This item has received a fair number of buffs over the course of season 5 which puts it in a pretty good place right now. It is a fairly solid item which provides AP, mana and health, all of which are stats you want. For it's cost it gives good stats and it scales as the game progresses. As is common with RoA you'll want to buy it as your first item or not at all. RoA doesn't really get you anything special like cooldown reduction, but at 10 stacks it has a really good amount of AP with the added bonus of survivability from the health. RoA is definitely a good item to build on Leona. The biggest downside is the lack of cooldown reduction, as such, you'll want to build a Morellonomicon as quickly as possible after finishing RoA. 


Sample 6 Item Builds


3111_64.png3116_64.png3157.png3089.png3152.png3001.png
This would be a pretty standard end game build for me in a typical game against a well rounded enemy team. Possibly would swap the Rylai's Crystal Scepter out for another cooldown reduction item depending on which runes I'm running. If I'm running health per level runes it is likely I'll take something with cooldown reduction instead. Use your judgement with regards to how badly you need the health.

3111_64.png3285.png3157.png3089.png3165.png3110.png
Definitely take the Frozen Heart and Zhonya's Hourglass against AD heavy teams. Against an AD heavy team I'll almost always take Luden's Echo over Rylai's Crystal Scepter if I am confident in my ability to make the enemy AP carry disappear.

Matchups Back to Top

Click on a champion below to see the author's notes on that particular matchup.

  • Ahri
    Hard
  • Anivia
    Medium
  • Annie
    Easy
  • Cassiopeia
    Medium
  • Cho'Gath
    Medium
  • Diana
    Easy
  • Fizz
    Medium
  • Heimerdinger
    Medium
  • Katarina
    Easy
  • LeBlanc
    Medium
  • Lissandra
    Easy
  • Lulu
    Hard
  • Lux
    Medium
  • Malzahar
    Medium
  • Morgana
    Hard
  • Nidalee
    Medium
  • Orianna
    Medium
  • Ryze
    Easy
  • Swain
    Hard
  • Syndra
    Medium
  • Talon
    Easy
  • Tristana
    Medium
  • Twisted Fate
    Easy
  • Veigar
    Medium
  • Yasuo
    Easy
  • Zed
    Medium
  • Ziggs
    Medium
  • Zyra
    Hard

VS

Ahri

Hard

Ahri can be a little difficult due to her mobility and many damaging spells, true damage is also a problem. It can also be hard to kill her after she reaches level 6 since your burst cannot usually 100%-0% her so she can just ult away after your stun wears off. Damage trading with her can be difficult to win which just adds to the difficulty of this matchup.

The best bet against an Ahri is to kill her before she reaches level 6. If you can coordinate well with your jungler to get yourself ahead in this lane you'll be much better suited to dealing with her as the game progresses.

VS

Anivia

Medium

Lacking mobility, Anivia is a fairly easy matchup for Leona, though she can push the lane against you pretty hard with blue buff. Can get Annoying.

VS

Annie

Easy

Not too much of a problem.

VS

Cassiopeia

Medium

Cassiopeia can be really irritating, she has the ability to harass you constantly. More than you can fight back. In the early game stages you can find the opportunity to catch her when she is low on mana, you'll be able to hurt her a lot if she can't retaliate. She isn't very mobile or durable so it is easy to engage on her and blow her up if you get ahead or if your jungler is ganking for you. Boots are helpful in this matchup to avoid getting hit by her abilities. I highly recommend getting 3111.png Mercury Treads as soon as possible.

VS

Cho'Gath

Medium

He's Cho'gath, not too much of an issue, but you shouldn't really expect to kill him. Definitely one of the more annoying mid laners to lane against. His tankiness makes him difficult to burst down like most other mid laners and he possesses a good amount of CC to peel you and your jungler off of him.

In this matchup I'd recommend just farming as best you can and playing it relatively safe. If you find him over extended and low on mana you could try and go for a kill on him but you'll likely need your junglers help if you want any chance of taking him down.

VS

Diana

Easy

Diana is actually a pretty easy matchup for Leona. I mean, moonlight is just dimmer sunlight, right? In all seriousness Diana is a melee champion and Leona has favourable matchups against melee champions due to her large amount of CC. As long as you play the lane smart and avoid her ranged harassment you should be able to keep up in this lane. Look for an opportunity to engage and trade damage if she uses her abilities on a minion wave. She lacks any solid way to escape a fight so having a well timed jungle gank can make her an easy kill.

VS

Fizz

Medium

Really depends on the Fizz player. I have absolutely stomped on some (because I lock them down so they can't jump away) others have put up a reasonable fight. The most important part about this matchup is comboing your skills with the proper timings to keep him from moving. If you allow Fizz to have even the smallest amount of time to move between stuns he'll be able to avoid a chunk of your damage with Playful/Trickster. If the fizz player happens to use Playful/Trickster to clear minions or something it does have a reasonable cooldown which gives you a solid window to engage on him.

VS

Heimerdinger

Medium

Turrets make this a difficult matchup since you can't really dive in and damage trade him. You have to be good at farming under your tower because he will push the lane. Fortunately his pushing along with his low mobility make him a very easy target to gank. If you get reasonably ahead with a couple of good early game jungle ganks you can usually fight him and win.

VS

Katarina

Easy

Katarina is exceptionally susceptible to stuns. The best way to play in this lane post 6 is to save Shield of Daybreak's cooldown for when Katarina ults you unless using it would secure you a kill. The only real trick Katarina can use against you is using Shunpo to get out of range of Eclipse before the damage explosion which can be countered with a strategically used stun or by prepping Eclipse before you Zenith Blade in, the only downside being that you'd be broadcasting your intent to engage.

All in all this is not a very difficult matchup. At higher levels of play you should be aware that an enemy Katarina will almost certainly try and leave lane to gank other lanes. Having proper warding can help you counter her roams and keep her shut down.

VS

LeBlanc

Medium

Her burst can hurt early, I advise fast Merc Treads and Abyssal Scepter. Due to her mobility she can be a difficult target to engage on since Solar Flare has a cast time and Zenith Blade has travel time. She is rather squishy so if you do manage to get on her and lock her down you should be able to fight her. Her wave clear before she has her ultimate is rather lacking and if she uses her ultimate to wave clear you have a good window of time during which you could engage a favourable fight. 

VS

Lissandra

Easy

Her Iceshard harass is irritating when she has blue buff, otherwise she'll likely end up oom and you won't be too low on hp. I advise building Mercury Treads in this matchup with an early Abyssal Scepter if you need more magic resistance. Athene's Unholy Grail is another possible option for early magic resistance. After she gets level 6 it can be harder to land all of your damage since she can ult herself. Try and get level 6 before her and force a fight. Getting ahead before level 6 helps this matchup a fair bit. All things considered this is not that difficult of a matchup.

VS

Lulu

Hard

This matchup is really annoying, her range will allow her to harass you a lot in the early game. It is hard for her to kill you if you play it right, but it is difficult to kill her even with jungler help. Wild Growth will almost always prevent you from killing Lulu after she reaches level 6 which makes this a really hard lane to win alone. Even with jungler support Lulu's shield on Help, Pix! along with the slow on Glitter Lance and the speed boost on Whimsy all make her a very slippery target to catch and kill.


I recommend avoid direct one on one fights with Lulu. If you do try and kill her I advise doing so with assistance from your jungler. Otherwise I would advise looking for opportunities to roam and gank other lanes, you'll likely have more success killing Lulu's team mates than her. In the late game Lulu ends up taking a more supportive role for her team, so by shutting down her team mates early and denying her the chance to kill you, you increase you chances of winning as the game progresses.

VS

Lux

Medium

Her long range can be a problem since she can harass you effectively at a long range. She is very immobile which will make it easy for you to engage on her and burst her down. All of her skills are also skill shots so you should be able to avoid a good amount of damage by juking around the lane. To facilitate this I would recommend early Mercury Treads to help reducing the duration of her CC effects and allow you to avoid being hit by her skills more easily. It is relevant to note that if you are going to get hit by Light Binding you can still land a Zenith Blade before it hits you and you will be pulled to Lux while being snared. This will allow you to still fight her even if she gets the first shot on you.

VS

Malzahar

Medium

Just watch out for his DoT and you'll be alright. Malzahar pushes the lane pretty hard so being able to farm under your tower is helpful for this matchup. If you want to fight him you should be the one to initiate the fight. If he starts the fight on you and gets his skills off you'll be pretty much unable to retaliate due to the suppression from his ult. Because of his lane pushing having your jungler gank him should be pretty easy since he lacks escape skills. If he responds to your jungle gank by ulting your jungler make sure you CC him as quickly as possible to interrupt it. If your jungler has no way to interrupt his ult you should be careful as if he focuses on you first and manages to get his ult off you could die.

VS

Morgana

Hard

Spellshield and ult make this a challenging matchup. Never ever fight Morgana 1v1. She messes up your day when you play Leona support against her and she'll do the same in the mid lane.

The best thing you can do against Morgana is not play Leona. If it's too late for that and you've already picked Leona, perhaps in blind pick, my advice is to roam as much as possible while warding to watch for Morgana counter roaming you. If she manages to follow you when you roam she can really mess up your roaming. Try and push the lane out as best as you can and keep up good vision.

VS

Nidalee

Medium

This matchup is not too bad of a matchup, as long as you can chain your cc effectively her mobility is of lesser concern though it can still be difficult to catch her with a Zenith Blade. Her need to enter melee range to deal most of her damage can be beneficial for you, though she does have the ability to harass you at a range which makes the matchup more difficult. All in all, not too bad of a matchup.

VS

Orianna

Medium

She has strong auto attack harassment. Her skills also allow her to harass you from a good range. She has a bit of mobility, CC, and survivability which makes her a well rounded opponent that doesn't really excel at any of those things but it makes her harder to fight and kill than a typical immobile mid lane mage. As with other skill shot matchups like Lux I recommend early boots to help avoid getting hit by her spells as often. Try and fight her right after she uses a skill or two, it should help give you an upper hand.

VS

Ryze

Easy

This matchup is generally pretty easy, the early game can be a little rough if they try and harass you a lot. Once you get lvl 6 it is fairly easy to kill him after harassing him down a bit. Using your EWQ combo to harass you will be able to trade damage favourably.

VS

Swain

Hard

Swain is one of the tankier mid laners you'll go up against, not tanky in the same way as Cho'gath but in the way that once he gets his ult he'll be able to stay alive through your burst damage and win most equal 1v1 fights. His ability to harass you at a distance also makes this a difficult matchup since you can't really all-in him easily. I'd advise having your jungelr gank him to get kills on him as long as your jungler can deal good amounts of damage. If you have a tank jungler I'd recommend not trying to kill him as he'll likely be able to stay alive long enough to trade 1 for 1 at least. 


My best advice is to avoid fighting him outright and focus on opportunities to roam and gank other lanes, especially bot.

VS

Syndra

Medium

This matchup isn't too bad, Syndra lacks mobility so it is easy to engage her when you want to. In the early game she will likely try and harass you a lot, just move around as best you can to avoid being hit while still farming up. A good jungle gank can swing this lane pretty easily in your favour. If you reach 6 before her, or at level 5 it can be a good idea to fight her. If she uses abilities to push waves or kill minions you can use those opportunities to harass her.

VS

Talon

Easy

This is a fairly easy matchup if you play it right. Like Yasuo and Zed he has to fight you in melee range which makes it easy to retaliate. The early levels can be a bit annoying since it will be difficult for you to do much harass to him and he will likely try and harass you with Rake. After about level 4 or 5 you will be able to effectively fight. It can be beneficial to fight him before he gets his ult. His silence is pretty short so if he does manage to catch you off-guard with it you can usually retaliate effectively. It can be even better if you are able to predict an impending Cutthroat and prepare a Shield of Daybreak and Eclipse.

VS

Tristana

Medium

As anticipated the early levels can be difficult due to her long range auto attacks being able to easily and safely harass you. I would recommend a Doran's Shield start then building into some Magic Resistance if she is AP which most mid Tristana's are. If you can land all of your spells without giving her a chance to ult you away at lvl 6 it is a good time to fight, like with most AP mids she is still quite squishy and dies easily to jungle ganks.

VS

Twisted Fate

Easy

Not too much of an issue, do you best to avoid his Wild Cards and watch for when he uses Pick A Card and engage on him while it is on cooldown. He should be easy to engage on due to his lack of mobility. The only thing you should watch out for is his use of Destiny. He'll likely try ganking other lanes as soon as he gets lvl 6. Having wards on either side of the mid lane will help you see when he is looking for an ult opportunity and which lane he is ulting into. Be sure to warn you allies if you see Twisted Fate leaving lane to active his ult.

VS

Veigar

Medium

His burst can be difficult to deal with but his low mobility and squishyness makes him an easy target for ganks and 1v1 damage trading. Try and damage trade him after he uses skills on minions. If you get ahead in this lane it becomes much easier. Even though you don't build too much AP early game his ult will still deal a good amount of damage, and with the amplification from DFG he could kill you easily.

VS

Yasuo

Easy

Early levels are annoying due to his resourceless, low cooldown harass but after 6 the lane gets easier. I advise itemizing Zhonya's Hourglass or Iceborn Gauntlets or both in this matchup as your first item. With a little bit of armor it becomes easy to win trades when he tries to fight you.

VS

Zed

Medium

I feel that zed is a reasonable opponent, he suffers as other melee champion do against Leona's CC effects. His early harass is an issue. Building an early Zhonya's Hourglass against Zed is a good idea as it can allow you to mitigate damage with armor as well as avoiding being damaged by Zed's ult.

VS

Ziggs

Medium

You will be harassed a lot in this matchup, fortunately as with most mages it is very easy to land a Zenith Blade onto ziggs and lock him down. It is even possible to damage trade with ziggs and come out ahead, blue buff helps you do this. Be sure to pay attention to when he roams out of lane to toss a bomb at top or bot lane, notify your team mates when he goes missing so that they can be alert. Allowing him to pick up kills from other lanes can mean a lost lane for you.

VS

Zyra

Hard

Low mobility but makes up for it in CC and her plants can hurt. Similar to Heimerdinger it can be difficult to go all-in on Zyra because of the additional damage you'll end up taking from her plants even while she is stunned. She is fairly squishy but she has the CC to peel you off of her and kite you if you can't kill her with a single ability rotation.

My best advice is to wait until she gets low on mana or uses some of her skills to clear minions. If you can harass her health down a bit before committing to the all-in that is the best option. If she isn't at full health you should be able to burst her down if you get the jump on her.

Abilities and Combos Back to Top

The Combo:

Every Leona player should know this, it is really straight forward and highly intuitive, but for clarity's sake I'll include it here.
When you play Leona, be it as Support, Mid, Top, or Jungle, you usually want to execute your skills in the following order.
acd37ae8ad1e3e6203997a0f377d.jpgStart with a Zenith Blade directed towards your foe, it is a good idea to try and be unpredictable with regards to when you use this. Some people like activating Eclipse before using Zenith Blade, I highly recommend NOT doing that. For 2 reasons; firstly it warns your opponent of your intentions, and second, which follows from the first, if you miss your Zenith Blade, which happens sometimes when you don't warn your opponents too, you are wasting mana and another cooldown which gives your opponent a prime opportunity to strike back.
3d21ba74cb1db2fe6d6a4fac647f.jpgAfter landing a successful Zenith Blade onto your opponent you want to activate Eclipse, this is best done immediately after Zenith Blade strikes your target, this allows the timer to tick down while you travel towards your opponent in addition to the time your opponent will spend stunned. By doing this you'll practically guarantee a successful hit with Eclipses damage.
f2fb3418a08cbbd4cf4e20049ef2.jpgThe third skill you will want to activate is Shield of Daybreak. As with Eclipse, you'll want to activate this while travelling towards your target with Zenith Blade. This will ensure that your target will not be able to make any moves between the time Zenith Blade strikes and your stun ends. After Zenith Blade carries you to your target your follow-up auto attack, which should occur immediately upon arrival, will proc Shield of Daybreak, stunning your opponent so they cannot flee your eclipse damage.

This combination of three skills is the standard method of engaging an enemy or group of enemies. Prior to level 6 this will be your damage output. If you only intend to harass your opponent you will run away after Eclipse procs it's damage.

37f22ba85b7d73cf0d78c96c14fc.jpgOnce you are level 6 and have Solar Flare, you can add it to the end of the regular combo. Because Solar Flare has a reasonable cast time it is best to use it immediately after landing Shield of Daybreak. This will ensure that there is nothing your opponent can do to avoid being hit directly in the center of your Solar Flare, this will stun them for an additional 1.5 seconds giving you more than enough time to land Eclipse and and Ignite if you intend to kill your target, which you should if you commit to using Solar Flare.

Exceptions:

Having described a standard full rotation combo there are some important exceptions to point out regarding the order of your ability use. 
leonazenithblade.png+leonashieldofdaybreak.pngWhen you find yourself in a situation where you are flanking an enemy or ganking another lane from the side it can often be extremely beneficial to simply walk up to the enemy and hit them with Shield of Daybreak rather then beginning with a Zenith Blade. If you can successfully reach the enemy without using Zenith Blade it allows you to save the Zenith Blade cooldown to follow the enemy if they burn Flash or some other teleport/dash skill in an attempt to get away. Often enemies will burn their Flash or distance creating ability right away if they see you walking towards them with Shield of Daybreak ready to go, once they use that ability you should immediately follow up with Zenith Blade.


Auto Attack Reset:

You can reset the timing on your auto attack by using Shield of Daybreak. To do so you'll want to wait until you've hit the target with an auto attack, then immediately active Shield of Daybreak and you'll hit them again with an accelerated basic attack which applies the effects of Shield of Daybreak.

Laning Phase/Early Game Back to Top

Last Hitting, Harassing, & Responding to Harassment

During the laning phase you will want to play passively until level 3 since you do not have Eclipse yet. After getting level 3 you should harass your opponent when it is opportune. Otherwise you will want to focus on farming the lane. 

Leona has a very strong basic attack which is also very responsive, this should make it fairly simple to last hit. Leona is a melee champion which means that many ranged champions will try and take advantage of you coming in to melee minions, in response you should smack them square in the face with a combo to make them think twice about moving into your Zenith Blade range. In the early 2 levels you wont be able to do this effectively, but that's what health potions are for. 

Recalling

I recommend picking up a couple of health potions on every trip back to base as well as a pink ward or two since Leona is not the best at escaping ganks because she lacks any escape skills and long range CC (ult is the obvious exception), though Zenith Blading those smart junglers that come at you from behind is always nice. The best time to recall is after pushing out a minion wave. If you have just killed your lane opponent and have information on the location of all enemy players, specifically the jungler, which could mean just having proper ward coverage, you should always kill off all enemy minions as quickly as possible if you plan on recalling.


Pushing Out Minion Waves & What To Do Next

Once you get Eclipse ranked up it becomes much easier to push the lane out as 2 Eclipses can easily clear a minion wave. Leona's pushing power is better than some champions but worse than others, if you find yourself able to push out well it is always a good idea to lend some support to top or bot lane should they be in a position for you to do so. Another option is to step into either jungle and clear the wraith camp, with a sheen this should be fairly quick. 


When You're Pushed Under Your Tower

If you find yourself being pushed up under your tower, the best thing to do is to continue to last hit as best as possible, pushing out if you can, should you find the enemy mid laner too close to your side of the map a jungle gank should solve the problem easily. Leona should always look to make plays with the jungler. In the mid lane, Leona can jump onto an enemy champion pretty easily and keep them from going anywhere for quite some time, making it easy for your jungler to jump in and join the engagement. Leona with ult up and a jungler in the side bush should be able to take down the opposing mid laner quickly with ease.

Mid-Late Game (Your Role in a Teamfight!) Back to Top

As Mid Leona your goal in fights is to take down those enemy carries. 

Zenith Blade can easily get you into the back lines where the enemy AD Carry and AP Carry like to hide. Once in there you'll want to use Shield of Daybreak and Solar Flare to lock down your opponent while you take them down with Eclipse and Ignite. Even if you find you don't quite have the damage to take them down in a single combo, Leona is good at zoning these high priority champions out of the fight, pushing them back allows your team the extra leeway to focus on the rest of their team. 

A more passive approach to team fighting.

If you want to play Leona a little bit more passively, which may be the best option depending on the game you can wait for the enemy team to engage fights and work on protecting your team by focusing Solar Flare on aggressive targets while still using Zenith Blade to put you in a position to bully the enemy carries. Leona also excels at dipping in and out of fights. Initially you can jump into a fight and dish out your combo damage, them dip back out to your team or a bush for cover while your cooldowns refresh. If you have an extremely AP focused build without a lot of durability, your ability to weave in and out of a fight at appropriate times will determine how well you perform in a fight. Zenith Blade allows you to easily rejoin any fight you have left with a new full set of cooldowns ready to burn. 

With the way I build Leona I don't have as much upfront damage as the typical AP carry, but I have much more survivability and a large team fight presence which allows me to be just as threatening. 

Initiating Fights

I feel it is worth noting that Leona is more than capable of initiating fights even when built with a focus on AP, so if your team lacks initiation that is a role you can fill successfully. If you are fulfilling the role of initiator you're going to want to make sure you communicate your intentions to your team so that they can follow up alongside you. The easiest way to do this is by telling your team when you start looking for an opportunity to engage. This way you're all ready to go when that opportunity presents itself. Many team fights (and games!) are won as a result of a good initiation. Having your entire team on the same page is an integral part of a good initiation, so the best advice I can give you for properly fulfilling the initiator role is to coordinate with your team!

Peeling for Your Other Carries

This sort of goes along with the more passive approach to team fighting I described above. My guide focuses on playing Leona as an AP carry so you might think that peeling for your carries is not your job, you're not support after all. However, there are certain scenarios where peeling for your ADC or carry jungler is the right thing to do.

You'll usually want to play a peeling role in team fights when you or your team is behind. Naturally you're going to try and win your lane but realistically that doesn't always happen. If you find yourself behind on items, diving into the enemy team can often result in you being blown up without doing much of anything to anyone. If you find this to be the case, the best thing you can do is hang back and help the other members of your team deal damage from a safer distance. 

You'll find this works best when you're behind, but you have a ranged carry on your team that is ahead of the enemies.

Late Game Farming

Once you've reached the late game and have a good amount of AP, you'll be able to farm out an entire minion wave with just one use of Eclipse and a well aligned Zenith Blade that hits all the minions. Cannon minions will take a bit more to take down, but you should be able to clear out waves quite quickly in the mid-late game. The only downside to Leona's late game wave clear is that you have to walk into the minion wave to clear it. If the enemy team is sieging your tower you'll want to let someone else on your team clear the minion wave out from a distance or you'll risk being harassed and possibly killed.

Jungle Synergies Back to Top

General Info

Leona synergizes well with carry junglers, those types of junglers that can build offensively and carry a game if they get fed. She also works well with any champion that has a skill shot due to her ability to lock a target in place for a few seconds. That time of immobility provides a large window in which Leona's team mates can land skill shots on a target.

Having Leona in the mid lane will synergize well with any jungler regardless of whether they have skill shots or are defined as a carry jungler or not. This is a result of the amount of CC Leona has in combination with her sub-par early game lane pushing power. You'll find that against certain champions you'll be pushed back in your lane most of the time which makes your lane an ideal target for ganks from your jungler. One of the easiest ways to be successful playing Leona mid is to have a jungler that excels at ganking rather than farming and that is readily willing to gank your lane for you.

Sunlight

Probably the most obvious reason that mid Leona synergizes well with her jungler is due to her passive, Sunlight. Sunlight causes targets hit by Leona's spell to take additional magic damage when struck by allied champion damage. When your jungler ganks your lane for you they will be dealing extra damage to the enemy champion that you're hitting, allowing the two of you to kill them even faster.

Champion Synergies

104.pngGraves - Leona's ability to hold a target in place for a few seconds is advantageous for Graves. Not only will it help him hit the target with his skill shot based damage from Collateral Damage and End of the Line, it will also help keep the target in the secondary damage zone of End of the Line so that they'll be hit by the brunt of the damage without the need for the skill colliding with a structure or terrain. Having Leona's CC to lock up a target also helps Graves get closer to the target safely so that he can deal the most possible damage with his basic attacks.

76.pngNidalee - As with Graves, Leona's CC helps Nidalee land her Javelin Toss. Helping Nidalee land a successful Javelin Toss can mean the difference between a successful gank and a failed gank. Nidalee gains a few perks from landing her Javelin Toss. The increased Pounce range will help her get into melee range of the target quicker which will in turn allow her to make use of the Hunted mark to deal empowered damage with Takedown. Nidalee also lacks any form of CC herself, with the help of Leona's CC it is much easier for Nidalee to get onto and stick to targets.

107.pngRengar - Having an allied Rengar jungling works really well for Leona. He offers large amounts of burst damage that can take down squishy targets easily, something you want to do too. Most mid laners, with exception to perhaps Cho'gath are really squishy which makes them die really easily to a coordinated gank from a Rengar. Having Leona's skill set for initiating the fight works really well for Rengar as it will allow him some time to get onto the enemy target prior to level 6 and similarly it will prevent a target from escaping from the warning that appears when Rengar is ulting nearby. Once Rengar enters the fray he'll be able to offer further CC with his Bola Strike. I have had lots of success when duo queuing with a jungler playing Rengar, so if you happen to have a Rengar on your team, Leona will make a strong mid lane pick.

Changes Back to Top

Feb-19-2014 - fixed up some old information on Liandry's Torment, I now feel it is stronger than before with the removal of decreased damage from AoE abilities. Re-evaluated the Xerath matchup after the rework. Xerath's long range is not as big a deal as it previously was, and with the decreased mobility he gets from charging his Q it is easier to engage on him. Updated information on Zed matchup, having finally played it.

Feb-23-2014 - Added description for Tristana matchup after finally getting to play one.
Feb-25-2014 - Added Yasuo and Lissandra matchup.
Mar-23-2014 - Added Ryze matchup.
Mar-29-2014 - Added Viktor matchup.
Apr-08-2014 - Updated Brand matchup, changed some item descriptions to suit my current preferences, notably Zhonya's Hourglass.
Apr-15-2014 - Added Lulu matchup.
Jun-01-2014 - Added Aatrox matchup and Other Stuff section.
Jun-07-2014 - Added Talon matchup.
Jun-29-2014 - Added Nidalee matchup.
Jul-31-2014 - Added Ninja Tabi as a possible build path for boots along with an item description.
Aug-1-2014 - Edited Kassadin matchup.
Aug-3-2014 - Edited Ziggs matchup.
Aug-18-2014 - Edited Ahri matchup.
Sep-1-2014 - Added Syndra matchup.
Sep-11-2014 - Edited Malzahar matchup. Added Doran's Shield as a starting item along with some commentary on why it is good.
Dec-14-2014 - Added more details to the Heimerdinger matchup.
Jan-10-2015 - Added more details to the Veigar matchup.
Jan-30-2015 - Altered the entry for Deathfire Grasp due to it's removal from the game. Left previous comments on it as legacy information. Also made some readability improvements.
Feb-04-2015 - Added some more details to the Cassiopeia matchup.
Feb-11-2015 - Added Shaco matchup.
May-20-2015 - Added Luden's Echo to the items list.
Dec-10-2015 - Added Nashor's Tooth to the items list as per comment request. Updated Mastery section to reflect pre-season Mastery changes. Guide remains somewhat out of date, my apologies, I will look into fixing it soon.
Dec-19-2015 - Added The Dark Seal to the items section. Added Frozen Heart to the items section. Updated some information regarding item choices. Added a sample full build against AD heavy teams. Added some explanation to enemy-team-based item builds. Simplified starter, core, and situational item sections, added descriptions to all item groups.
Dec-21-2015 - Formatting changes, added some details to playstyle and runes sections.
Jan-10-2016 - Added more information regarding mastery choices, offering 2 different mastery builds depending on preferred playstyle. Also added some more rune options with descriptions to fit various playstyles.
Mar-19-2016 - Formatting changes in the items section for readability. Added description for Morellonomicon. Broke out laning phase and mid-late game playstyle into their own sections. Added information to the mid-late game section about different mid-late game playstyles. Formatting changes and added information to the laning phase section. Added Jungle Synergies section. Edited champion matchups.
Mar-22-2016 - Filled out Jungle Synergies section with more general information and more information about specific champion synergies. Added note about auto attack reset on Shield of Daybreak. Added more details to some champion matchups. Added Spirit Visage to Items.
Mar-23-2016 - Filled out more champion matchups. Updated Rod of Ages description (definitely a more recommended item now).
Mar-27-2017 - Beginning to update things for season 7. Not too many changes to old info. Added Hextech Protobelt to items list.

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