The first time you play Leona as an off-meta mid laner or an off-meta top laner in League of Legends, you realize the full potential of this champion. Unlike the support build, AP Leona offers one-shot potential and a lot of magic damage for all of your enemies.
If you choose to try out AP Leona, you’ll be surprised at how much damage this champion actually has. Simply put, all of her abilities are categorized as magic damage and even have decent AP ratios.
Moreover, building AP Leona is really great if you want to carry games by yourself and not depend on others to do it for you. The champion is equipped with the right tools for winning 1v1 duels and setting up 5v5 team fights, so she can always be a beneficial pick for your team.
In this guide, I’ll focus on explaining why AP Leona works well and how you should utilize this build. I’ll also talk specifics when it comes to runes and items so you can get the perfect idea of playing AP Leona in LoL.
That said, let’s begin!
Is AP Leona Actually Good?
The AP build takes advantage of Leona’s magic damage abilities and AP ratios across all of her abilities. With a couple of ability power items, Leona can really one-shot an enemy champion with her full combo – Q > E > R > W. And things like Electrocute only increase her burst.
What’s really amazing about Leona is the fact that she stays extremely tanky even with a full set of ability power items. This, of course, is due to her scaling numbers as a support. But let Leona gain levels in a solo lane and you’ll see how powerful she gets on her own.
One of the things that keep Leona tanky even as an AP bruiser is her W – Eclipse. This is a spell that can reduce up to 50% of all incoming damage for 3 seconds and buff you with bonus armor and magic resist. And just imagine how effective this can be at countering champions like Zed, for example!
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’re an unkillable tank with a full AP build. And if you’re looking for that kind of a playstyle, I really want you to check my AD Leona bruiser build guide. However, the AP Leona build has a lot more damage to offer!
Depending on the actual items, AP Leona can have a couple of different playstyles. Almost all AP mythics work well with Leona, but my personal recommendation is Hextech Rocketbelt.
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How Do You Play AP Leona? (Gameplay Explained)
If you have no idea of how the general gameplay goes when you’re building Leona AP, let me give you a few insights.
First of all, don’t be afraid to trade with your opponent if you’re in a solo lane, especially when you reach level 3. And I mean this sincerely.
For example, let’s say that you’re a level 3 Leona versus Zed in the mid lane. Landing your E > Q > AA combo will trigger Electrocute and do a bunch of damage in the process. Once Zed is free you can activate your W and gain a huge health advantage.
In other words, trades like this one can help you increase your KDA throughout the game.
Next, always be on the lookout for ganks on other lanes.
Since Leona is the goddess of crowd control in League of Legends, it’s really easy for her to set up ganks for her team. This is especially true after level 6 when she unlocks her ultimate ability – Solar Flare. And with enough AP, Solar Flare guarantees you champions takedowns.
Also, you should always go for the squishy targets and avoid focusing on tanks in team fights.
This goes without saying, but it should really be a rule for AP Leona. Even though her magic damage is good, it’s still not as high as someone like Syndra. So, it’s difficult for Leona to really one-shot tanks like Ornn. Instead, you should always try to burst down the enemy ADC or mid laner.
There are more tips that I could give you, but these are the general things to look out for when you first try out AP Leona. Now, let’s talk about runes and items!
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AP Leona Build – Runes
- Cheap Shot
- Eyeball Collection
- Ultimate Hunter
- Presence of Mind
- Coup de Grace
Electrocute is the best keystone in League of Legends when it comes to bursting down an enemy champion. It works fantastically well for Leona too, so I recommend you to always play with it.
Since Leona has many different ways of triggering Electrocute, this rune brings a lot of value to her. For example, E > Q > AA is the easiest way to activate this keystone and deal more damage as early as level 2. Later on, even Hextech Rocketbelt can help you do this faster.
Once triggered, Electrocute deals bonus adaptive damage that scales with levels and bonus AP. And, of course, this means magic damage for Leona.
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Cheap Shot is a rune designed for champions like Leona. It’s a huge damage booster throughout the game because it only has 4 seconds cooldown.
What Cheap Shot does is that it allows you to deal bonus true damage to enemies that are in crowd control. And since Leona can CC a target with her E, Q, and R, she gets an insanely high benefit from this rune!
So, make sure you have Cheap Shot selected when you play AP Leona!
Eyeball Collection isn’t the most impressive rune in LoL but it does help you out.
Simply put, this rune increases your ability power as you’re collecting champion takedowns. You can get a maximum of 10 stacks that actually unlock the rune. And when it’s completely unlocked, Eyeball Collection grants a total of 30 bonus AP.
Even though Leona’s basic abilities are decent when it comes to dealing AP damage, her ultimate has the highest AP ratio of all. And because of that, it’s the hardest-hitting spell in her kit!
So, Ultimate Hunter lets you lower the cooldown of your ultimate ability so you can have available way more often. This will let you slay more enemy champions and win more team fights overall.
This is one of the most useful runes in League of Legends, so make sure to pick up!
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Presence of Mind
Presence of Mind is the ideal rune for mana management for all champions that don’t build mana items. I mentioned already that you’ll be building Hextech Rocketbelt on AP Leona, so Presence of Mind is really needed.
With this rune, you’ll get increased mana regeneration when you hit an enemy with an ability. Also, a bit of your mana will be restored each time you contribute to a champion takedown.
So, Presence of Mind will solve all of your mana problems.
Coup de Grace
And the last rune you’ll need to pick up is Coup de Grace.
This rune allows you to deal a bit more damage to enemies below 40% HP. We choose in order to secure more champion takedowns overall and improve our burst.
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AP Leona Build – Items
- Sorcerer’s Shoes
- Hextech Rocketbelt
- Lich Bane
- Demonic Embrace
- Cosmic Drive
- Rabadon’s Deathcap
Since Leona’s damage is all magic, magic penetration is a valuable stat for her.
Sorcerer’s Shoes offer enough magic penetration for the early game, so you want to buy them as soon as possible. They’ll increase your damage, especially when you get them before your enemies build magic resist.
Speaking of magic penetration, Hextech Rocketbelt is the next item on this list. Besides AP, health, and ability haste, this mythic item also grants flat magic penetration and even a bonus per each legendary item you get next.
Additionally, Hextech Rockebelt is an active item that lets you dash forward and deal damage to all enemies in front of you. This damage is magic too, but isn’t really impressive. However, it contributes to your Electdcute keystone and can help you secure more kills overall.
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It’s impossible to play Leona and not use her auto-attacks, especially with an offensive AP build. And that’s where Lich Bane comes in.
With Lich Bane, you empower your auto-attack to deal bonus magic damage after you use an ability. This synergizes incredibly well with Leona’s Q and even Leona’s E.
So, you don’t need to do anything special in order to get a full value out of Lich Bane when playing AP Leona!
Demonic Embrace is an incredibly powerful AP item in League of Legends, especially when you play against tanky opponents.
What it does is that it makes your abilities burn your targets with additional magic damage that scales with maximum HP. In other words, the tankier your target is the more damage Demonic Embrace does.
This item can be really helpful if you play AP Leona in the top lane and you need to counter tanks such as Maokai or Ornn.
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Cosmic Drive is a super useful item for many melee AP champions, including Leona.
This item works similarly to the Electrocute rune but instead of additional damage, Cosmic Drive grants you a burst of movement speed. It’s also activated with 3 separate attacks which means that you can always activate it together with Electrocute.
And it’s perfect for chasing down enemies or repositioning in team fights!
And when it comes to increasing your damage output as an AP champion, the best way to do so is with Rabadon’s Deathcap.
Rabadon’s Deathcap gives you 120 bonus AP and increases all of your ability power by 35%. So, you end up having double AP and much more damage for the late game!
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Situational and Optional Items for AP Leona
There are tons of AP items that work incredibly well with Leona. So, here are a few of them.
Everfrost is one of my favorite items for AP Leona because it allows you to torture your opponents with crowd control. Similarly, Liandry’s Anguish synergizes with Demonic Embrace and can increase your damage.
Horizon Focus can help you one-shot enemies and I really recommend it when you’re playing squishy opponents. And Void Staff will give you all the magic penetration you need.
Lastly, Morellonomicon will help you counter healing champions in League of Legends.
Skill Order, Summoner’s Spells, and Combos
It can be puzzling to figure out which ability to max out first when you stop playing Leona as a support.
So, I recommend you to always max out E first since it deals the most amount of damage. Second, you’ll need to go for W because it does decent damage and helps you stay tanky. And the last one is Q because although it’s a useful spell, it doesn’t scale too well with AP.
Here’s what your ability leveling should look like on AP Leona.
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As for Summoner’s Spells, here are my recommended combinations.
- Flash + Ignite – for putting pressure in your lane and 1v1 fights.
- Flash + Teleport – perfect for playing AP Leona in the top lane.
- Flash + Exhaust – effective at countering bursty champions and assassins.
There are tons of different combos you can do on Leona when you play her aggressively. So, here are the main ones to focus on.
- E > Q > AA
- E > Q > R > AA
- R > E > Q > AA
- Hextech Rocketbelt > E > Q > AA
- Hextech Rocketbelt > E > Q > R > AA
- Flash > E > Q > R > AA
Please remember that you should always activate your W according to the situation. But if you’re trying to burst down an enemy champion and one-shot them, make sure to activate Eclipse before or in between these combos for maximum damage possible!
If you read until the end, that means that you’re a true AP Leona enthusiast, just like myself. This champion is an incredibly fun one to play in all roles in League of Legends, even as an off-meta jungler!
I hope my guide taught you the strengths of AP Leona and how you should build her for the best results. Check out some of my other guides if you want similar fun playstyles!
Good luck and have fun!
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