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Unless engaging with your ultimate, it is suggested that you always start with your 3. The protections shredded will make your mail do near true damage to most gods without much magical def (which if they're laning with you I can't imagine why they would build until much later).
The general rule of thumb combo is...
Step 1. Channel your 3, cancel it if necessary (getting close to a tower or they try to dash away)
Step 2. Dash with your 2 and end up either directly infront of them or within basic attack proximity. If the enemy attempted to dash out of your 3 you need to be quick about dashing to catch up. If you don't make it, just skip to step 4.
Step 3. Hit them with 3-4 basics (never do the last one unless you're bodyblocking them. The slow will wear off by then and it will almost always miss)
Step 4. Put some distance between you both and heal yourself. Wait for your cooldowns before engaging again.
IF YOU ARE ENGAGING WITH YOUR ULTIMATE THE SAME RULES APPLY BUT ULTIMATE GOES FIRST TYPICALLY SPEAKING.
In order to ensure you land more hits with your ult, try to encircle targets that are attempting to juke you. Don't forget you can cancel your ultimate, and it is suggested you do this if they are about to successfully juke you (any time you have to make a complete circle to turn around and follow them you've been juked).
Sprint improves Guan's movement speed while mounted, so imagine catching up to a Thanatos with a maxed 2 running towards a low health target. Yeah, it's that fast.
For a brief second after activating meditation from mana too low to cast any abilities, they will still be highlighted in red and unusable. So be cautious with your timing if it's used to save yourself.
Guan's 1 and 2 both also reduce the cooldown of his ultimate, so cooldown is not that necessary to his kit, inclusion would only significantly impact heal times.
You're knockback immune during your 3, so yes, you can beat Tyr in lane quite easily.
*If the enemy team's solo pick is ambiguous, start off with Bluestone and Boots, then build mail right afterwards if it's a physical god, and go into the magical build if it's magical.
Versus Physical Gods
-Since you're starting off rushing mail, it is very likely that you wouldn't be able to clear nearly as quick as the other god because A. your wave clear is a channeled ability, and B. no power. You will likely have to hug the tower a little until you can finish your mail, but don't worry, once you have that finished you'll be able to easily make up on lost pressure. Just try to keep them from poking your tower too much.
Versus Magical Gods
-Oftentimes magical gods will have strong wave clear. This isn't a subject of too much concern however as your bluestone will make early clears much more level. Try to be wary of any potential pokes they may have and heal yourself and wave AFTER their clear move (since it won't full clear early on). Most of the time you will clear quicker than them so be sure to poke at them with autos or your 3 if it cools down soon enough to not delay the next wave clear.
Typically, you can actually clear a wave with your Ultimate even early on if you can catch your opponent so don't be too afraid to make the dive once minions clash. The opponent will likely forget about clearing your minions to focus on you thus adding some extra damage to your first engage. Just don't do this too often or they'll start expecting it. Once or twice is enough.
Once you hit this point is when as the build suggests you should start piling defense to compensate for the other sources of damage you will be receiving. It is vital that you do not run out of mana, so you should use your abilities sparingly as Guan can run himself dry pretty quickly. Meditation might be a strong pick up at this point if you have a slot to spare. It will help you burst heal your teammates in a pinch, and will provide you with a burst of mana to bait the enemy team into a poorly timed engage assuming they were watching your mana bar.
While still maintaining strong presence in team fights with his ultimate, Guan Yu at this point may find himself struggling against skilled enemy ADC's due to Brawler's Beatstick and the fact that they apply significant amounts of damage without stacking your passive enough for a strong recovery. Stay defensive and only engage with other teammates around, but get aggressive when you see an opportunity. Typically you can burst a squishy mage down to about 1/4 hp with your Ult+3+2 and the assist from mail. A few autos after that point can often times seal the deal, just be sure to watch your wards and beat it as soon as you think you may be in danger. Guan has a strong supporting role moving further on, and the 30 protections shredded plus mystical mail plus an extra 20 physical shredded from void shield makes Guan a very potent mobile debuff.
Below I will list a few gods you may find in the solo that Guan will typically have some difficulty dealing with (this is assuming that the other player knows what they're doing of course).
Hades always was a strong solo pick, and in season 3 he is absolutely not any weaker. Laning will be difficult as he can shut down your only efficient wave clear with just a swipe of his hand (2) and counter your ult with his ult. The main key here is that Hades is known for safe wave clear vs melee, and Guan being a melee character does you no justice. You should start your 3 near the archers and push up slowly from there. Try to keep Hades afraid of using his escape for clear and force him to bump his silence for a less risky clear. Use your 3 to run him down with his silence gone and ult him when he attempts to escape. Believe it or not this matchup is decently fair, so skill, smart plays, and a responsive jungler will rule the day here.
A very difficult character to lane against in general with a very efficient heal and access to knockbacks/knockups. Oh wait, knockback? When the wave comes, just start channeling your 3 from front to back along the minion line. If Tyr attempts to knock you into his wave, or knock you aside, fear not. You'll take just one hit and he'll pass right through you. Once you're finished or almost finished with the wave, just heal up your minions if any are remaining and harass him. Make sure he only has one dash avaliable before engaging with your ultimate otherwise you might not be able to land enough damage on him.
Sobek is probably the bane of any healing solo laner's existence. Decent self heal with efficient anti-heal, a grab, a knockback/knockup, and a very potentially crippling ult. If Sobek attempts to engage on you, make sure that your dash is readily avaliable as it's the only way you can efficiently escape him. If he uses sprint or curse prior like he should be, just burn your ult and get out of there. You'll be trading roughly equal damage on each other if you don't escape, except he has slightly more health and defense than you, so in the battle of attrition you would lose there. Most of the time you will outclear him, and his only method of clearing efficiently is to burn both his 2 and 3. Try to time your heal between this combo to make sure your wave survives.
While it may not seem this way at first, you will find that Aphrodite's ultimate will make chasing her down in lane with your ult so much more difficult than it has to be. Her stun will disrupt your 3, and her heal also functions as a potent wave clear tool. Ideally you would want to let her push up on you slightly so that you have enough room to chase her down. This matchup is entirely dependent on how well you respond to her zoning and sustain.
Since her release, Amaterasu has been incredibly potent with the mitigation from her 2 (in addition to an absurd damage burst) and her ult which strongly resembles that of Retro Guan Yu's Tactician's Advantage. Is Guan mad about it? Oh yes, very. Since Amaterasu's wave clear is dependent on the timer on her 2, you need to push your wave faster than her. While it is true that she can stop your 3 with her dash, remember that outside of her ultimate this is her only escape tool as well. If she cancels your 3 with her dash, feel free to ult her and grab the easy kill or get an Ult for Ult trade (which will almost always be in your favor). Pushing her back is not too difficult since you will often times force them to choose between half of their health or a clean lane, and it's okay to laugh at them if they choose the clean lane. Just kill them next wave. If she decides to be the aggressive one and initiates with her ultimate knowing that your 2 is too short a dash to escape, wait until right before the third hit of her ultimate to use yours. She will likely attempt to escape range with her dash, but by activating your ult slightly delayed, you will have enough time to catch up to her and land the stun.
Of all the assassins that could end up in the solo lane, Bakasura is probably going to be your worst nightmare. Getting trapped in his ult will more often than not mean death, and his heal allows him to grab the biggest minion and start antagonizing your archers. His leap is good enough to escape both your 3 and 2 in most cases, and makes landing enough hits on your ult nightmarish. For this matchup, play very aggressive, and if you ever see him activate butcher blades, dash away. Keep the wave close to your tower for emergency escapes, and if he chooses to ult you, use yours immediately then after escaping his ult's cripple range, double back and make sure to land your stun. If his leap might still be up, just use basic attacks while waiting for him to burn it. If he does, dash after him with your 2 and start channeling your 3. He will not be able to escape it, and the damage sustained from your mail should be equal to hitting him with another ability by now. Make sure you always have enough mana for all four of your moves, and if your mana is limited, save it for your 3 and 1 exclusively. Your 2 won't be necessary if you play smart and know when to hug your tower.
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