Leona Impressions

Valkyrie Leona

Leona’s mid-week release has been messing with my schedule a bit, but I’ve still been able to sneak in a few games with her here and there, enough at least to give you an impression post. Leona has all the skills necessary to be a powerful force in the game, there’s just one problem – she doesn’t have a lane.

The current metagame is focused around leveling an AP carry and either a high burst ranged carry (Corki, basically) or a bruiser in the mid and top lanes and allowing the pure ranged carry to farm bottom with a support. The support sustains the carry for a big farm so that the team can scale in to late game. Unfortunately, Leona isn’t very good in a solo lane. She doesn’t farm creeps well, she doesn’t harass well without another player with her, and she sure as shit can’t jungle. For competitive play, that leaves her one place to go – bottom lane – which means the carry is left without a healer, hoping to snag a few kills in the early game thanks to Leona’s crowd control. There’s one giant problem with that strategy, though.

Have you ever noticed how low the kill counts are in competitive matches? Competitive matches are about safety for the majority of the game – players ward, every team brings support, every team packs Clairvoyance – with a focus on objectives and the occasional teamfight. That’s not really where Leona shines. Leona is about having an aggressive lane and teamfighting often, using her low-cooldown CC skills to pick apart the enemy team. In a metagame that is essentially a farm-off, she doesn’t have a place.

That said, I’m hoping the metagame can make a shift some time in the near future, because Leona is a lot of fun when I can actually use her abilities. Leona is a tank in the purest sense of the word. She has a boatload of CC but fairly weak damage, especially compared to champions like Jarvan. Riot got so many things right about her kit I’m wondering if we’re about to see a very significant shift in the game’s design. She doesn’t do crazy damage, she doesn’t even do any kind of resistance debuff. She doesn’t push well, though she can occasionally set up a push with a tower dive. She doesn’t farm well. She’s only there to lock down targets so that the rest of her team can put together some kills.

I would love to see the game-extending support metagame die in favor of an action-creating CC/Carry lane on the bottom. I think Leona has the kind of kit to make that possible, but until the passive support game gets nerfed, I don’t think we’ll see Leona in a ton of games.


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