Vanguard Versatility: Playing Leona in Every Lane
Fri 27th Oct 2017 - 10:28am
Leona is a well-established Support champion with a lot of hard CC. But why not bring her kit to Top, Mid, or Jungle? She can be built for all three lanes. If you're looking for something fun to try in a normal game, look no further.
Playing her outside of the Support role requires some kind of Sheen item, which works well with her Q. With a carry Leona build, max Q first. With a tanky or AP build, max W first. For each role, Courage of the Colossus works great as a Keystone Mastery. She can also run Thunderlord's as a Mid laner. Overall, she needs to be played more passively early on when alone. Each role below has matchups, item builds, and a small description of what to expect.
Leona Top is a good pick when your team is already tanky and you need to provide mixed damage. It works best when picked into minimal kill pressure. Farming Minions is her biggest issue (similar to Nautilus), along with the fact that she will not have a passive to use, unless your Jungler is ganking. Leona Top does not employ a split-push style of play. She works best when others are around. If she gets ahead Top, she will stay ahead for the most part. If behind, however, it will be difficult to caught up. For this reason, you will want to build differently for both situations. You also will not want to push the lane with her, especially without vision. She can be easy to gank and has no escape if her CC is used up.
Summoner Spells: Flash and Teleport (Do NOT take Ignite Top)
Start: Doran's Shield, Health Pot
Carry Build: Trinity Force -> Ghost Blade
If Behind Build: CDR Tank Route ---- Gauntlet -> Spirit Visage (or other tanky item)
Boots: Lucidity Boots
Works well into: Tanks with low kill pressure (i.e. Nautilus, Maokai, Malphite)
Has trouble with: High kill pressure Champions (i.e. Irelia, Camille, Fiora)
If you are having significant issues farming Minions Top, Sunfire Cape will be a good item to build for help.
All of Leona's abilities scale off AP, meaning she can take the Mid lane role of handing out magic damage. When she hits level 2, have your Jungler gank for an easy kill, provided you land your CC. Any squishy Mid laner she goes up against will not be able to stop her plus your Jungler at level 2. This is a must gank and will put the enemy Mid laner behind from the start. Surprisingly, she can burst through any typical Mid laner when she hits level 6 with an AP build. Landing her ultimate will allow you to solo almost any Mid laner or ADC with a right timed W blast. You will want to play around the enemy Mid laner's cooldowns. After the enemy Mid laner has used their abilities creates a perfect time to close the gap and give some damage.
Her biggest problem in the Mid lane will trying to farm Minions without getting poked down, similar to her issues as a Support. Maxing her W will help with this by providing Magic Resistance. It also scales the most off AP. As stated before, you will not want to push the lane with her, especially without vision. She can be easy to gank and has no escape if her CC is used up.
Summoner Spells: Flash and Ignite/Teleport
Start: Dorian's Ring, Health Pots
Build: Rod of Ages -> Lich Bane -> Liandry's Torment or Nashor's Tooth
Boots: Magic Pen
Works well into: Lux, Syndra, Zed, Talon
Has trouble with:
Yasou: Wind Wall blocks Leona's E. If you play around his Wind Wall, you can lock him down.
Vel'Koz: He can poke from a father distance than others.
Orianna: Similar reasons as Vel'Koz
Display of the threat level of Mid lane Champions to Leona
For Jungle Leona, start Q and max Q for damage. If behind, max W for tankiness. What makes Leona Jungle work is the fact that she has a "dash" ability (E) that works in a similar manner as a Lee Sin Q, to bring her to the targeted enemy Champion when ganking if it lands. The best part about her E is the fact that it goes through Minions, making it far easier to land than, for example, a Sejuani Q when ganking with a Minion wave present. She then still has hard CC at her disposal to help lock down the enemy Champion.
Leona Jungle needs to be played as a gank heavy role vs a powerfarm style. She does not clear her Jungle camps quickly, and she will have issues early on with Raptors and Krugs. Her moderately long cooldowns and a large portion of damage being unused from her passive is a hurdle. This is, however, made up for by her ability to gank in the early levels and later become a second "Support" to protect and peel for your team's carries. She also will not be able to solo a Dragon or Rift Herald, but can tank the damage for a carry.
Summoner Spells: Flash and Smite
Start: Hunter's Talisman, Health Pots/Refillable Potion
Build: Cinderhulk -> Trinity Force
Boots: Lucidity Boots
Works well into: Junglers with little counter-jungle pressure (Amumu)
Has trouble with: Kha'Zix, Lee Sin, Nocturne, Shaco
The most important thing to remember with Leona in any role is that you are not there to out-damage anyone. Her playstyle is all-or-nothing, meaning you need to choose your time to go in wisely. Shorter fights work better for Leona over extended skirmishes. Because of this, try to create 2v1 situations as you will not be able to burst through anyone unless you have built AP heavy. You can provide a moderate amount of damage, but the ability to lock-down a target, peel for an ADC, and be a tank will be the biggest benefits to your team. Passively farming and waiting for the right moment will lead to kills.
Hope you enjoyed and have fun on the Rift!
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