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Welcome to my guide for my favorite warrior, Guan Yu - The Saint of War. Guan Yu is a character that I enjoyed from the beginning of the game and is my second favorite character behind Fenrir. Guan Yu was often played in the Support role in Season 1, but I have always played him mainly in the Solo role and feel more comfortable in said role, and have tried many different builds, actives and strategies that I would wish to share with others in the community.
Guan Yu is a supportive warrior, with a focus on reducing enemy protections so that his higher damaging teammates dish out more then they normally could as well as providing heavy slows and an AoE heal that scales with Guan Yu's damage intake and output.
In this chapter I will be going over Guan Yu's abilities, their effects and how to use them effectively.
This is Guan Yu's passive, and while it is somewhat lackluster is does play a important role in his kit. Essentially, whenever Guan Yu takes damage at all, or deals damage to an enemy god, no matter the damage value will gain one stack of Painless up to a maximum of 20 stacks, what this does is makes his healing ability Conviction scale up to 2x its base healing. If you are tanky enough, you can actually just farm up conviction stats off of minion creeps and heal yourself that way if need be.
This is one of Guan Yu's supportive abilities. This ability is an AoE heal that deals Guan and any allies that happen to be within range, and if Guan happens to heal and ally, the cooldowns for all of his abilities including this heal are lowered by 2 seconds. This ability has decent base stats and scales through his passive Painless as mentioned earlier. In lane, I commonly use this ability to heal up after taking minion damage or poke. One of my favorite ways to use it however is to carefully engage my laning opponent after clearing at least the archer minions, and bail once my Painloess passive is full, if I estimate how much damage I can get away with I can dip into a fight, deal damage and then bail out to heal up all the damage I just took, it takes a lot of mana however, so make sure you have some to spare when doing this.
This ability is a short range dash that heals damage and gives off a decent slow that will often allow Guan Yu to get off at least one auto while the victim is slowed. This is Guan Yu's only form of non-channeled damage however, and damage-wise it leaves much to be desired. It's scaling is rather low at 50% as well. The one thing that makes this ability good however is its cooldown mechanic, which is that whenever you hit an enemy god with this ability the cooldowns of all your abilities including this one is reduced by 2 seconds.
Talou Assault is Guan Yu's waveclear and main damaging ability. This ability does a hefty amount of base damage and is channeled for 3 seconds. During these 3 seconds, the enemy is hit 10 times. While this ability may scale poorly, at a sad 20%, it maintains its usefulness throughout the entire game by also acting as a supportive ability. This ability removes protections from all those hit by it and gives them to Guan Yu, up to 30 both physical and magical protections. In turn, this means that Guan Yu, his allies, and even minions will all deal more damage to affected enemies due to their lowered protections, as well as making Guan Yu even more bulky then he was before.
This is Guan Yu's ultimate and let me say, this ability hits like a truck. Guan Yu mounts his horse gaining movement speed and AoE attacks that already have very high base damage and 20% physical power scaling, but with every successive hit, enemies take 20% more damage from this ability, up to 6 hits. Not only that, but it stuns at the final hit for 1.5 seconds at all ranks and slows any enemies hit by Guan Yu as he uses this ability is slowed by 25%. Not to mention that with your built in cooldown reduction, this amazing ability will be up very often. Teamfights beware, Guan Yu and the Red Hare have arrived.
Guan Yu doesn't have many combos, but you typically want to use Talou Assault first so you can use Conviction and Warrior's Will afterwards to decrease its cooldown. A nice way to get off some AoE damage in a teamfight is use your 3 and hit as many enemies as you can with at least one tick, preferably more but its not likely they gathered up in a line for you. Follow up with Cavalry Charge to ensure they get a massive amount of damage loaded onto them with it.
In the current meta, the solo laner goes with the jungler to clear the speed buff and mana buff, The jungler gets the speed buff, you get the mana buff. Afterwards, the jungler leaves to go do mid camps with your mid laner. You stay in solo lane and begin farming up for the mid and late game, depending on who your fighting, either stay back and try to passive farm or be aggressive, or in a even scenario swap back and forth from both.
You typically want to be at the frontline of your minions and try to gather as much of the wave in Talou Assault as much as possible to ensure you have good clear. You do have a powerful early game, so make sure to abuse it against your laning opponent.
If you are worried about ganks from their jungler, remember to consider warding around the entraces/exits of solo lane and your blue buff so that you know when the jungler or any else to happens to rotate near you is coming.
Guan Yu has many possible opponents that are mechanically or statistically too much for him to deal with, and some he overpowers in lane. I will be going over both.
Bad Match ups for Guan Yu
Ullr is a tough one for Guan Yu, since Ullr can cancel Guan Yu's main form of damage and waveclear without sacrificing his own. He also is very capable of just running away from Guan Yu all together during axe stance.
LOL WHATS TALOU ASSAULT?
Hades can safely clear lane using his movement ability because if Guan Yu were to engage he could simply silence Talou Assault and walk away, not to mention his early game healing greatly outdoes Guan Yu's.
Kumbhakarna can just Mesmerize or ult you out of Talou Assault while you are clearing wave and then let his minions hit you like a pinata after he clears your wave.
Just like Kumbhakarna, Apollo can simply Mesmerize you out of Talou Assault as well as make your debuff futile since he gains physical protections after casting Mesmerize. Not to mention he can escape you in 3 different ways.
Good Match ups for Guan Yu
While this still isn't the best matchup for Guan since Tyr can usually outheal his damage if he levels cleave first, Guan can't really die to Tyr since Talou Assault will make Tyr's Fearless unable to knock him up. So this matchup usually either ends in a stalemate or with Guan wiping the floor with Tyr.
Talou Assault and it is difficult for him to escape your Cavalry Charge.
Vamana is incapable of knocking Guan Yu out of Talou Assault as well as Guan's Talou Assault lowering the power that Vamana receives from his passive Sleeping Giant.
Boots are needed on every god in the game, so to not pick them up would be rather silly. As for Guan Yu, the Warrior Tabi variant is the best for strong early game damage, but Reinforced Greaves would help against a heavy CC opposition.
Cool Down Reduction is an amazing stat for Guan Yu, for a large portion of his playstyle is spamming abilities. When you heal an ally with Conviction you reduce the cooldown of all your abilities by 2 seconds, and the same is true when you dash through an enemy with your Warrior's Will. This in turn means you can use Cavalry Charge and Talou Assault more often, as well as the previously mentions abilities. This means you can heal your allies and deal more damage far more often, combining this with Cool Down Reduction is a very potent combo and makes Guan Yu's team-fight presence very powerful.
Transcendence is a stacking item that gives you mana per stack and converts your total mana into physical power. Guan Yu may not scale very well outside of Cavalry Charge but he does love mana, and he loves eating as much of it as he can. Guan Yu has severe mana problems that transcendence nearly completely fixes, without this, the second your blue buff runs out you need to be extremely conservative of your mana usage. Doesn't necessarily raise your damage output by as much as some other items due to Talou Assaults pitiful 20% scaling, but its very rare that you wont have enough mana to put out damage.
Brawlers Beatstick is amazing to put it simply. While the passive is certainly handy, especially against heal-based teams, the stats on it make it even better. 40 Power and 20 Penetration is nothing to laugh at, and with this Guan Yu pretty much has 50 flat penetration while casting his Talou Assault due to its built in protection debuff. Talou Assault already turned the defensive stats of squishies into a joke, but now they will practically be nothing more than mere paper.
Hydra's Lament is one of my favorite on Guan Yu. While this choice may seem odd, I assure you it is very powerful on Guan Yu. If you get max cooldown reduction, you will be able to proc the effects of Hydra's every single time it is off cooldown. Essentially giving Guan Yu 25% more scaling on all of his abilities. However, this is easier said then done, so if you are having difficulty getting an auto off at the end of your abilities, I would suggest you stay away from this item.
Runeforged Hammer is a very cost efficent and decent item. I usually pick this up either late game when I have enough physical defense to have this give me a lot of power, or in the early game where it makes me extremely bulky. This item in general is just great on solo laners, while it may not have the early game capabilities of Mystical Mail I prefer this item due to its amount of late game power and high amounts of health. Also, while its not exactly that good during the protection stealing of Talou Assault, with this item you will gain 5 physical power while the buff is active.
I personally believe Hide of The Urchin is one of the best items in the game hands down. It gives you great amounts of both physical and magical protections, and with stacks it becomes ever more power, and lets not forget an extra 250 health and mana makes it even better. I typically build this in the mid to late game where teamfights become chaotic and both types of damage is being thrown at me. That way I can stack it easier and it benefits me a lot more.
Mail of Renewal is great on a teamfight god such as Guan Yu. Due to his teamfight potential he will get a lot of use out of this, because having healing for every kill or assist he receives on top of his already high survival capabilities makes him a very helpful ally or very powerful enemy whenever a teamfight arises.
In my opinion, Void Shield is one of the most underrated items in the game. A physical protection debuff aura is incredibly powerful, and combined with Talou Assault your enemy is now missing 45 physical protections.
This item grants you a massive amount of magical protections, as well as massive passive sustain through its passive and added Mp5 and Hp5. With this item, you'll be able to stay in the fight even longer then you already could.
Normally, I would put this item in the defensive category, but since for Guan Yu it heavily amplifies his damage output I decided to give it its very own part. Mystical Mail is an offensive aura item that grants a large amount of physical protections and health, and emits a magical damage aura for a low 40 damage. This ability is often picked up by solo laners to amplify early game boxing potential, clear and survivability. Guan however, can pick this up to help him scale better in the late game. Since his Talou Assault also steals magical protections, he is capable of lowering the magical protections of an enemy so they take more damage from Mystical Mail as well as Guan Yu's main damage. This in turn means that Guan Yu benefits extremely well from this item due to him being able to amplify its already powerful offensive capabilities. While this item is amazing on Guan Yu, I don't feel its a core item since its very expensive, delays your build and it doesn't help with Guan Yu's mana problems which are a big hassle in the early game and don't improve much by late.
I usually pick up Winged Blade if the enemy team has a lot of slows, such as Ah Puch or Chaac. This item also allows you to be faster then someone while channeling Talou Assault and even faster during Cavalry Charge so with this item it is easier to get off the damage from both.
If the enemy team is heavy on auto attackers and crit chance, I would pick up this item. Your Talou Assault's protection shred will make the passive deal even more damage to your enemies and 80 physical protections is nothing to laugh at.
Items to avoid
Literally anything that has to do with auto attacks besides the occasional Critical Chance items. Like seriously, I've tried auto attack Guan. It is horrible, don't do it man, just don't.
Don't get me wrong here, Titan's Bane is an amazing item on every physical ability based god, with Guan Yu being the only exception. Sure, if the enemy team is incredibly tanky, then go ahead and get this, but otherwise you are hurting yourself. Guan's protection reduction from Talou Assault applies before Titan's Bane, so your main damaging ability reduces its effectiveness by quite a lot, so a flat penetration items such as Brawlers Beat Stick or The Crusher serves to be just as if not more useful in most scenarios.
This item may seem like a good idea since it will protect Talou Assault from being interrupted, but the problem is that due to its recent nerf, the effect is not worth the price. There may be some very specific scenarios in which this item will help you, bur for the most part it has simply been nerfed too far into the ground to make effective use of.
I hope you learned something out of this, enjoyed my guide and have a nice day.
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