Why Leona is off to a blistering start at Worlds 2021
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The 2021 League of Legends World Championship feels like a Leona meta that we’re all just living for. While champions like Amumu and Miss Fortune have enjoyed their time in play-ins so far, no other champion boasts a win rate like Leona.

Since the Worlds 2021 play-in stage began, Leona has won 11 out of 12 games played, making her the “winningest” champion in the tournament. In fact, she just recorded her first loss today, after PEACE defeated RED Canids. Moreover, Leona also featured in the fastest games of the play-ins until now.

Why Leona is so strong at Worlds 2021

Leona support is one that has thrived in recent metas. But her success in Worlds 2021 has a lot to do with her compatibility with Miss Fortune and the map pressure advantage she brings.

“I think the reason why Leona is so strong is that Leona puts a lot of pressure on the opponent’s bot laner in the laning phase and force them to use Cleanse,” LNG’s Wang “Light” Guang-Yu said. “Leona is a very strong pick in the current meta.”

Cloud9’s bot laner Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen also mentioned that Leona and other engage crowd control supports are best for Miss Fortune. His team is still undefeated in the play-in stage, holding the highest number of Leona picks in play-ins. The Miss Fortune/Leona botlane combination also remains undefeated in five games played.

What teams are picking Leona

So far, in the Worlds 2021 play-in stage, teams in Group A have picked Leona, with LNG and Hanwha Life Esports leading the way on most picks. Aside from the regular pairing with the Miss Fortune, Leona has also flourished alongside the Ezreal three times already. The constant Aphelios ban leaves him paired with the support champion only once, which is the same for Xayah and Kai’Sa.

Meanwhile, in Group B, there seems to be less focus on Leona with C9 having three out of their pick counts. After C9 demolished DFM with the Miss Fortune and Leona combination, DFM repeated it on Unicorns of Love. They unleashed the same dominant effect they had suffered earlier.

From both groups, stronger teams seem to be prioritizing Leona far more than their opponents. Also, Leona’s success has come more from the red side than the blue side, with only five wins on the latter.

Possible counters for the champion at Worlds 2021

With nearly a 100% win rate in Worlds 2021, Leona is proving difficult to play against. Even though PEACE were able to defeat RED Canids with the Lucian and Braum bot lane, that iteration failed against HLE earlier on. So, can Leona be stopped or is she overpowered?

There are a couple of answers to the champion, including Thresh, Alistar, Tahm Kench, Sion, Janna and even Maokai. Both Thresh and Alistar have already failed to stop Leona from taking over the rift, though. While we may see more teams rotate between Braum, Alistar Amumu, Nami and Rakan as answers to Leona, they may not be enough to stop the ongoing Leona wave.

Jimoh Rashidat is a freelance esports writer with over two years of experience. She covers FIFA, League of Legends and general gaming content.