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Breaking Dawn Leona, and the rest of Daybreak

Rather than focusing on a specific deck, Yasuo specialist Jasensational shows in this article how to solve a different side of the Stun equation: Leona, and her Daybreak package.

Hey guys, Jasensational here. 

I’ve done it. I’ve cracked the Daybreak archetype. And it's good. Really good. I would personally rank it as one of the strongest Midrange packages right now.

Not only do I think it is really strong, it’s also really fun. The deceptively simple curve to the Daybreak archetype branches out into some incredibly combo-y turns six and seven to stun-lock your opponent and push lethal damage in one swing.

So today, I am dedicating an entire article into breaking down Leona, the Daybreak archetype, and everything else in between. I won’t be covering a specific deck per say, but I’ll cover everything you need to know to start off on your own.

Let’s go.


The Core of the Daybreak Package

Regions
Mount Targon
23 cards
Rarities
12 600
champion
3
epic
0
rare
8
common
12
eternal
standard
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
5
2
5
3
2
4
6
5
0
6
0
7+
Champions
3
5
Leona
3
Leona
Followers
16
1
Solari Soldier
3
Solari Soldier
2
Solari Shieldbearer
2
Solari Shieldbearer
2
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Priestess
3
Solari Priestess
4
Solari Sunforger
2
Solari Sunforger
5
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
3
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
Spells
4
1
Heavens Aligned
2
Heavens Aligned
3
Morning Light
2
Morning Light
Open deck in builder

Let’s start with the core of the Daybreak Package. These are the essential cards that I think are required to make the archetype work.

Solari Soldier Solari Shieldbearer

These two cheap units make up our early plays. It’s important to level up Leona as fast as possible in this deck, so we want to be able to activate Daybreaks on turns one and two when we can. Even into the midgame, when we have leveled up LeonaLeona, these cards provide cheap ways to activate additional Daybreaks and convert them into stuns.

Three Solari SoldierSolari Soldiers and two Solari ShieldbearerSolari Shieldbearers is where I would start. They’re the best blockers into any aggro matchup, but are low impact in the late game. Can consider a third Shieldbearer if aggro is of concern.

Solari Sunhawk

This is probably our most important Daybreak card, and enables our board-wide stuns to close out the game. Early on, it helps us stay alive by acting as a development punisher (and as a Daybreak of course to advance our game plan).

With a leveled LeonaLeona on board, Sunhawk will activate two stuns in one action, allowing you to lock your opponent’s board out of blocking. Having Solari SunhawkSolari Sunhawks on board also vastly increases the impact of our Morning LightMorning Light which we’ll talk about in a bit.

This is an easy 3x in the deck. Would not advise going lower.

Solari Priestess

This is our value card. It’s the only three-mana Daybreak card, which gives us access to additional value to fill out our turns. Having three Solari PriestessSolari Priestesses fills in our curve nicely and keeps our hands going if we do not draw Rahvun, Daylight's Spear 

Falling CometFalling Comet is one of the only options for hard removal, The TravelerThe Traveler gives us a turn-four play, and Written in StarsWritten in Stars critically allows us to look for LeonaLeona. Prioritize these three invokes depending on your hand and situation.

Solari Sunforger

This card is a little more situational. I would only play Solari SunforgerSolari Sunforger if the deck you are building has access to strike spells such as Single CombatSingle Combat to maximize the ability to gain life out of it. Otherwise it can get denied with stuns or Noxian FervorNoxian Fervors.

With three LeonaLeonas as our main four-drop and three Priestesses to also generate us high cost units, I only include two Sunforgers as they can clog our hands.

The absolute unit and engine to this deck.

Rahvun, Daylight's Spear allows us to Daybreak multiple times in one turn, giving us both the additional stat boosts from cards like Solari SoldierSolari Soldier, but most importantly allowing us to proc LeonaLeona’s ability to stun on Daybreak activation. If we can chain multiple Daybreaks in a single turn, we can remove most of our opponent’s units from blocking.

I’d run five of these guys if I could, but I’ll have to settle for three..

Heavens Aligned

This is a card that, when I first built out my Daybreak decks, I heavily undervalued. But as I experimented more with the archetype, I found it to be everything the deck needs.

It acts as a one-mana Daybreak activation (remember: Daybreak = Stun) that uses spell mana, allowing us to bank mana and combo harder on attack turns. With Rahvun, Daylight's Spear on board, we can activate both the Daybreak and Nightfall effects of the card, essentially acting as a one-mana draw two.

BUT IT GETS EVEN BETTER.

Not only does Nightfalling the card with Rahvun still count it as a Daybreak, but it ALSO GENERATES ANOTHER Daybreak card which continues the chain of stuns.

Now, we won’t always have the luxury of playing Heavens AlignedHeavens Aligned with Rahvun on the board. Sometimes, it can come in handy as a quick stun combined with LeonaLeona, but I will generally Nightfall the card on turn four to look for either Rahvun, Daylight's Spear or Morning LightMorning Light to play on turn five.

Morning Light

This is it. The culmination of your game plan and the finisher to our combo.

So why is this card so good?

For starters, it's a board-wide buff, giving +2/+2 to all of our units, which is almost on par with a card like For Demacia!For Demacia! and Yordles in Arms Yordles in Arms .

But its strongest aspect is the ability to activate ALL of your Daybreaks on board, so long as Morning LightMorning Light itself is played as a Daybreak.

With LeonaLeona on board, this will give you two stuns. For every additional Solari SunhawkSolari Sunhawk we get another stun, making three or four stuns in one action very possible. If we can set up the board correctly before we play Morning LightMorning Light, we have very powerful ways of ending games.

Because this card generally requires a pretty heavy set up, I only include two copies in my deck. We also have the ability to generate additional copies through Rahvun or Heavens AlignedHeavens Aligned if needed.

Leona

Of course, we can’t forget the star of the show, LeonaLeona.

With her recent buff in the last patch – which gave her Overwhelm on her level two – she is able to punch through blockers or give us that extra few points of damage we need to close out a game. 

But even better than that, she comes down with a stun, a well-statted body, and a stun engine that will punish your opponent for developing into their turn.

LeonaLeona is the second half of the Rahvun engine, as she gives us the majority of our stuns.


The Overall Gameplan

Our game Plan for the first few turns is quite simple. Curve out, and activate as many Daybreak’s as possible so that we can level-up LeonaLeona quickly.

It’s not necessary to gain value out of our early units, as it is more important to get the Daybreaks going. The only potential exceptions are our stuns like Solari SunhawkSolari Sunhawk and LeonaLeona that can be used on defensive turns to stall the game until we assemble our combo. If we have other plays to make, we should take them.

Once LeonaLeona is leveled, we should look to transition into a value/stall game plan until we can stick both LeonaLeona and Rahvun, Daylight's Spear on board.

From there, we want to hoard as many Daybreak cards in our hand and save them for a swing turn. Morning LightMorning Light and Heavens AlignedHeavens Aligned are key cards for a swing turn, but any cheap Daybreak card will do. 

Morning Light Heavens Aligned

The part that is a little bit unintuitive is how many of our Daybreak units we are willing to trade off.

Since we know that our Daybreak units can get huge upswings when we play Morning LightMorning Light later, we want to preserve our core cards. If we can help it, do not trade off Solari SunhawkSolari Sunhawk or put LeonaLeona or Rahvun, Daylight's Spear into harm's way. It is better to take a few extra points of damage and then catch the opponent off guard in a one turn kill swing after stunning the opponent’s board.

Here’s a quick sneak peek (turn 6 by the way):


How can we build Leona?

So the Daybreak archetype is only half of a deck. What region does LeonaLeona pair well with and how can we best utilize her mechanics?

Let’s explore two decks that I have made, starting with…

Leona Galio

Regions
Demacia
16 cards
Mount Targon
24 cards
Rarities
24 200
champion
6
epic
0
rare
14
common
20
eternal
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
14
2
7
3
2
4
9
5
0
6
3
7+
Champions
6
5
Leona
3
Leona
7
Galio
3
Galio
Followers
19
1
Solari Soldier
3
Solari Soldier
2
Petricite Broadwing
3
Petricite Broadwing
2
Solari Shieldbearer
2
Solari Shieldbearer
2
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Priestess
3
Solari Priestess
4
Solari Sunforger
2
Solari Sunforger
5
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
3
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
Spells
15
1
Heavens Aligned
2
Heavens Aligned
2
Pale Cascade
1
Pale Cascade
2
Sharpsight
2
Sharpsight
2
Single Combat
3
Single Combat
3
Morning Light
2
Morning Light
3
Shield of Durand
2
Shield of Durand
5
Concerted Strike
2
Concerted Strike
5
Golden Aegis
1
Golden Aegis
Open deck in builder

This first brew explores pairing the Daybreak package with Demacia and GalioGalio. The idea here is that Demacia gives us access to Single CombatSingle Combat and Concerted StrikeConcerted Strike, which synergizes with our Solari ShieldbearerSolari Shieldbearer and Solari SunforgerSolari Sunforger.

This allows us to utilize its +0/4 buff on Daybreak to value-trade a unit or gain additional heal from the Sunforger.

But where the deck really synergizes well is with GalioGalio. As the Daybreak style of gameplay already wants us to hold back our key units until our swing turn, we can easily flip GalioGalio on turn seven, or as early as turn six with Written in StarsWritten in Stars

Galio Golden Aegis

With a flipped GalioGalio, we can attack twice on the same turn while stunning units with our Daybreak cards, or turn things around on defensive turns and make it very awkward for our opponent to attack into us. There is also a cheeky one-of Golden AegisGolden Aegis to combo with Morning LightMorning Light on turn six.

Cards like SharpsightSharpsight and Shield of DurandShield of Durand also give us great tools to protect LeonaLeona and Rahvun, Daylight's Spear as their survival is critical to our gameplan.

The second deck I have for you pairs LeonaLeona with Ionia.

Introducing…


Yasuo Leona

Regions
Ionia
17 cards
Mount Targon
23 cards
Rarities
25 500
champion
6
epic
1
rare
15
common
18
eternal
Mana cost
0
0
5
1
12
2
5
3
9
4
6
5
2
6
1
7+
Champions
6
4
Yasuo
3
Yasuo
5
Leona
3
Leona
Followers
18
1
Solari Soldier
3
Solari Soldier
2
Greenglade Lookout
2
Greenglade Lookout
2
Solari Shieldbearer
2
Solari Shieldbearer
2
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Sunhawk
3
Solari Priestess
2
Solari Priestess
5
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
3
Rahvun, Daylight's Spear
6
Scattered Pod
2
Scattered Pod
9
Minah Swiftfoot
1
Minah Swiftfoot
Spells
16
1
Heavens Aligned
2
Heavens Aligned
2
Pale Cascade
2
Pale Cascade
2
Twin Disciplines
3
Twin Disciplines
3
Hush
1
Hush
3
Morning Light
2
Morning Light
4
Concussive Palm
3
Concussive Palm
4
Deny
2
Deny
4
Homecoming
1
Homecoming
Open deck in builder

Ionia gives us access to a very vital card, DenyDeny.

Since we can stun many of the opponent blockers out of the way, we are usually incentivized into developing into our attack turns – which makes us vulnerable to Slow-speed punishers like The RuinationThe Ruination or other board clears.

Being able to DenyDeny hard, single-target removal spells is also important to protect our key pieces, which stat buffs cannot do.

And if we need a bit of protection, we have the most efficient defensive spell to help out: Twin DisciplinesTwin Disciplines.

We’re also able to run Scattered PodScattered Pod which can help tutor Morning LightMorning Light as the only slow speed card in our deck, giving the combo an extra layer of consistency.

Deny Scattered Pod

In longer, drawn out, value oriented matchups, YasuoYasuo is actually able to shine as a great finisher tool. Once YasuoYasuo is leveled up, suddenly your stuns become very efficient removal tools, allowing you to deal five damage to a unit every time they are stunned. This quickly allows you to snowball board advantage, even on defensive turns, giving you room to threaten very powerful open attacks as well, something Daybreak usually lacks.

Otherwise, Ionia is able to amplify our general stall gameplan with cards like HomecomingHomecoming and Concussive PalmConcussive Palm, that can give us fast speed punishers when our opponent attacks to play around LeonaLeona’s stun.


Strengths and Weaknesses

If we compare the similarities between Demacia (from Galio Leona) and Ionia (from Yasuo Leona), we can see that both regions have two aspects that supplement LeonaLeona’s game plan:

  • Protection cards, and
  • A secondary win condition.

Whether it be the Demacian combat tricks followed by GalioGalio or YasuoYasuo with DenyDeny as back up, both Demacia and Ionia offer the tools that Daybreak needs to succeed. 

In general, LeonaLeona and the Daybreak package excel into board-centric decks – the less interaction, the better. Our units are well-statted and are able to block, and we have plenty of stuns to stall attacks against decks that go tall. The same holds true on our attack turn. We can completely stun out our opponent’s board while attacking with a six-wide board of our own. 

Decks that LeonaLeona is generally good into are PantheonPantheon, ThreshThresh NasusNasus, ApheliosAphelios, JayceJayce LuxLux, UdyrUdyr decks and more. 

However, given the general one, two, three curve nature of the deck, there is an opening for aggro/burn decks to take advantage by swarming us in early turns. Decks like Spiders or Pirates can sneak under us and set up strong open attacks to play around Daybreak stuns. As Targon lacks Fast-speed responses, we’re dependent on our paired region to try to fill the weakness. Depending on how you build the deck, you can supplement your early game from other regions as needed.

The Ruination Ravenous Flock

Finally, if we are not in regions with Ionia/Counterspells, we will suffer into Shadow Isles Control decks and other Noxus Tempo decks. A few VengeanceVengeances and The RuinationThe Ruinations can remove our board, or Ravenous FlockRavenous Flock can efficiently take down our midrange units. If we lose Rahvun, Daylight's Spear, it can be hard to refill our hand with enough value to close the game.

Play threats sparingly, take advantage of turns where the opponent develops units, and consider what the second region pairing brings against control heavy decks.


Wrapping Up

This concludes my writeup of LeonaLeona and her Daybreak archetype. She’s a super interesting champion, and I hope this article gives you some motivation and guidance to take Leona in your own unique direction as well! Try her out, you might surprise yourself.

Let me know if you have any questions! You can find me here:

Discord: Jasinsane #0246

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jasensational

Youtube: youtube.com/c/Jasensational



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