This thread was not made to discuss Leona viability on top lane. It was, althought, to discuss and share opinions about how to make her as most viable as possible on top. If you have tried and you got your own thoughts about it, or you're just curious about it, please share! :)
We all know she has no natural sustain and that we would be throwing her passive away until team fights or ganks. We also know that following the current meta she's more suitable on bot, but that denies her the awesome tank she can be. I was reading two threads about her on Champion Feedback that made me remind my (even more) newbie days when I was able to defeat other newbies with solo top Leona. These are the two threads, if you're interested:
Those memories made me try her again. It is hard to persuade people to let you solo top Leona now, lots of dodges, sadfaces, but eventually you find people that are cool with that. Obviously I'm not trying this in ranked matches.
So I made this thread to discuss and share opinions about how to play her on top, which summoner spells and items you should get, in other words, what is the strategy to make her as most viable at top as possible.
For a tank role, Leona lacks Health. Without any runes, masteries or items, she can't even reach 2000 Health at level 18. She has a medium Health per level increase, and a decent base Health points.
She has a high base Armor, but lacks Armor increase per level, which results in a mediocre level 18 Armor, comparing to others tanks (not considering masteries, runes and items again).
She has no MR increase per level, but that is ok, since several tanks also don't have it. She is in equal level here.
As you may know, Leona's ability to tank is on her W, Eclipse, giving her Armor and MR. That kind of compensates her low Health over the levels, making her able to tank with low Armor/MR items. She still needs Health items although.
She also needs CDR to actually have a threatening presence in team fights, because of her passive.
Lack of sustain
There are a couple items that can help her with that and still build into something useful for her. IMO, Philosopher's Stone and Catalyst the Protector are the most useful, depending on who you're laning against.
Philosopher's Stone is great, with the gp10 passive, but I think that building it into Shurelya's is not really optimum for a true tank, unless it's late game. It can also be built into Eleisa's Miracle, which would be great for early sustain, but you have to give up the gp10 passive.
Catalyst the Protector is a great item if you can trade well enough with your lane enemy, and it can be built into Banshee's Veil, which is great against anti-initiation abilities, gives you Health and decent MR.
Getting the Expanded Mind/Meditation masteries in Utility with an early Regrowth Pendant or Health Regen Quints also allows you to have enough sustain in lane early game. Regrowth Pendant can be later built into Warmog's, which is a lot of Health, which is really good for Leona, but IMO, it doesn't help her in any other need she has, like farming.
Hard on early levels, but pretty easy after Eclipse is fully leveled. Even easier when Zenith Blade is leveled at least 2 or 3 times. Her early Mana Regen also doesn't help her farming/trading much, so I do get Expanded Mind/Meditation masteries to solve both of those problems.
Heart of Gold is an obligatory item IMO (unlike Philo), building into Randuin's Omen later. HoG compansates any possible missed farm, what actually happens a lot with me ):
Since Leona's AD increase per level doesn't help her last hitting and most of the time she won't get an AD item, I find Sunfire Cape a great item to not only solve that, but also to give her some nice Health and Armor. IDK if it was just me, but even following the last-hitting-under-turret rule on Melee minions, without any AD item, it was not possible to last hit them around level 10 or so.
Also, Leona's lack of AS may cost her some minions kills. I don't think going for early AS is actually good for Leona, but it would help farming. If I had to go for an AS item, I think I would get Zeke's Herald, also giving her some poor sustain with LS due her low AD, some Health, but the main reason would be the CDR. The aura is also good since Leona is a team fight champion. Wit's End is another choice, but I really don't see why to build AS in a champion that is not AD based.
I have some hard time here, but mostly because of my 1v1 playstyle, which is usually trying to be safe >:
W, E and Q to allow Eclipse to deal damage to them, while you still have 3 seconds of buffed Armor/MR to go back to safety or partially deny any attempt to trade. It's a bursty harass, as you may know, and it makes me tempted to get Sorcery/Arcane Knowledge masteries on Offensive to be even more bursty. It works on early levels, but the damage fall behind without an AP build.
In one of those threads I linked before, there is actually a guy who built Sheen on Leona and Ionian Boots of Lucidity. I don't remember exactly what for, but they both would really help on early harass, IMO. But it's kind of a dead end, unless you're doing an AP build so you can build it into Lich Bane, or an offtank build, building it into a TriForce. But I really prefer my true tank Leona.
I usually get Shield of Daybreak on first level to cancel any crazy attempt my enemy may try. Then I get Eclipse to the max. Then I max Zenith Blade, leveling Solar Flare whenever I can. That's what most of people do I suppose, so no surprises here. But let me know if you do something different :)
I'm running 0/21/9. Early MR or Armor, depending on who I am fighting against. Health per level, +30 Health, CDR per level, and every damage reduction I can get (Indomitable, Evasion and obviously Honor Guard). Expanded Mind/Meditation like I've said before, and two points in Swiftness because MS is always good. Getting Health Regen with Vigor is ok, but I think it's kind of unnecessary.
IMO, 9/21/0 is also cool, it would allow you less harass early, although each harass would in fact be more efficient.
I'm currently running Health per level yellows, MR per level blues, flat Armor reds, and gp10 Quints. Blues should be flat if I'm fighting an AP caster, but I still have only two runes pages. I really think the Health per level yellows are needed there. I think Quints should be Health Regen per level, helping her sustain a lot, but I don't own them yet.
My Leona also known as TL;DR
Because of Eclipse, I don't think she needs to stack extreme high Armor and MR values, but she should stack Health. The build I find the most cost-efficient, while helping her lack of sustain, farming, low base Health, and increasing a bit her threat in team fights is: Mercury's Treads, Sunfire Cape, Banshee's Veil and Randuin's Omen. All that costs 9600g, with a HoG helping you get there.
If, for some reason, the game is not over yet, next item should be something with CDR. Shurelya's, Zeke's Herald and even maybe Soul Shorud. A single Kindlegem there already helps a lot. Zeke's Herald is my favorite between those three because it increases damage output, and not only yours. Abyssal Scepter also follow this same rule, increasing yours and your team damage output, increasing Sunfire Cape effectiveness, and gives you more MR if needed, but no CDR there.
An item that I regret not being able to fit on solo top Leona is Force of Nature, because of that 8% MS. It may work if you get Philo and stack Health Regen early for sustain and then get Shurelya's to compensate the Health lost when trading Banshee's for FoN. This way is probably better against heavy AP teams.
Whoever ever tried this amazing champion on top, please let me know your thoughts about it and your ways to play her. Sorry for any grammar or syntax mistake, english is not my first language (and let me know about them).
Thank you :)
Against your Leona:
Buy Merc's and completely ignore her and the little bit of cc that is left.
Focus on the teammates to make her passive completely useless.
That is my experience when I play her ... even with 40% cdr my cc is not on par with Alis cc for example.
I think getting Sheen is actually a pretty good idea with your Leona build. It'll help a ton with early damage, and even a tank needs to do damage or they'll get ignored. Triforce also gives more HP, some movespeed, and the Phage proc - all nice things to have.
A huge chunk of damage that leona is able to provide, is wasted when solo. All her abilities are scaled down to compensate for her strong passive, so then taking away her passive wouldn't be smart, right?
Getting killed in 1v1 vs leona is just poor play. All leona will be able to do by herself to a solo top is harass. Maybe she can get lucky to lane against someone stupid enough to try and tower dive her, put I wouldn't count on that as a viable strategy. Leona can survive, and survive quite well against a solo top, so if the only strategy would be to simply deny kills to top solo(and not expect any yourself), and hopefully have a high burst damage jungler to successfully gank, I guess that works.
Leona's fun, I like her alot, but solo laning is the worst idea to have to do with her(it's only a slightly better idea than rammus solo top), and i've been forced to do it a few times. It would be alot better if minions could also proc her passive, but that might be OP in the right hands early game.
Especially in this scenario, level eclipse first and foremost, and only put 1 into Q until you're forced not to.
Learn right where Eclispe's range is, and hit them with it's explosion at the end of it's range all while running away from them. You're going to have to use it as your sole damage against them, and only pop Q when to retreat from them, because Leona is too mana intensive to use your full combo unless that kill is secured or you're going to be screwed sitting on top of them because you used E to get there(or got spammy with it to last hit, use you W as your last hitter, autoattacking just once on different minions to get a group of them all about the same health before you launch your shield to last hit them all). E is not your friend solo top, you'll get into more trouble than good with it, manawise especially.
Philo is a must, and I really like to get both Sunfire and Abyssal as "Core" items. The nature of her gameplay, using E to dash to an opponent means you benefit greatly from abyssal and between a strong Eclispe & passive and having Sunfire always on, you are a constant beacon of damage, enemy champs will generally want to stay away from. I'm really not into merc treds on Leona because she is gonna get CC'd on purpose when you're sitting on top of an enemy, and you'd better have that W on anyway and expect to be there for a while. Ninja Tabi, or if I'm able to Sorc Boots. Leona's ap scaling is silly, so sorc boots are a MUCH better investment. I know it gives up armor or mr, but offensively, it's great.
BV is GREAT to have, but Abyssal is simply too good with Leona to not get. Getting BV as a 5th or 6th item is a good place to slot it.
Randuin's a so-so if you ask me. I'd rather build hp, or a thornmail as #6 item if armor is the need, because that again makes no one want to hit leona, and being mentally avoided is really the best resistance to have in the game. I'm a big fan of Zeke's as a late game support item. Shen is super nice to have, but I'll only ever get as my 6th item, because I focus on the "pure tank w a little support" leona as well.
Leona top shouldn't be played to "kill" it should be played to "stall and farm"
leona can farm pretty well with her W. (i put one point in W first, Q second, and W or E 3rd or 4th depending on how close gank is)
if leona can succesfully farm her lane, she's practically a free ganking lane at level 6.
her ultimate will lock in place, and be procced by jungle, followed by her E possibly allowing another proc as you activate your W, quickly hit with your Q and by then your jungle should have had their way with them.
leona top feeds junglers. a bad jungle means you're just going to have to survive.
also against good ranged harass, farming is really really hard and can shut you down. (even the best leona can't do much without gold)
my starting build for top, is boots and 3 pots. built into ninja tabi/merc treads (depending on team) followed by aegis of the legion. this will ensure longevity against any foe
from there you build to counter enemy teams.
lots of attack speed? build frozen heart.
magic damage a problem? force of nature, banshees veil, or abyssal scepter are all good choices. not having problems surviving? sunfire cape is amazing on leona and only adds to her tankiness
teamfights breaking out alot? randuins omen is an amazing teamfighting tool.
sadly leona solo is easily out harassed. if you can come away from the early game with money. she'll be a beast when she has her team with her
Ever try a more damage oriented Leona? As you say, she doesn't really need too much in the way of tanking items, so on the very rare occasion I've solo'd top with her, I have gone Wriggles, Sheen, Trinity, Atmogs. Sometimes I do the atmog before finishing the trinity, depending on the game.
No, you don't do amazing damage because that is not her job. But if you're getting the farm to build items, imo it makes more sense to consider some offensive options. The only thing you don't get by doing this is CDR, but you can use CDR boots and/or fit a Shurelya's in there.
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