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Well, I've played Guan Yu a while, played around with hundreds of different builds, and I think that all-around, these ones are the most useful for me. Good luck if you choose to use them, and feel free to leave constructive criticism. I update this guide often, hoping to eventually come close to perfecting it.
I've provided a well-thought build to take information from, but each build has its own possible substitutions; just figure out what you need most based on your situation. This guide is by no means perfect.
When using Reinforced Boots, always finish them off before getting something else. With other boots, it's better to leave them at level 2 for a while, but with the Reinforced Boots, you have the passive CC reduction which is so important.
Meditation - Great for Guan Yu on account of how much mana he uses. This ability could easily mean the difference between getting a heal off and dashing away from a battle, and dying horribly at the hands of a ganker. Alternatively, it could be the difference between that last enemy slipping into his tower giggling, and you dashing in there, guan dao in a flurry. I recommend all my builds to have Med, because the extra MP5, plus the 75% mana heal, will ensure that you never have a mana problem again.
In early laning, a Guan Yu with this build, if not every build, will want to go left or right, try to get a buddy to help out, and kill minions.
Try not to push your lane too much because Guan Yu is weak early-game, but don't just let the enemy farm, either. It's important that you get your gold and XP as well, and the enemy not out-farm you.
Once you've got all that covered, I recommend going through this checklist when fighting:
1. Heal a friendly god whenever possible if they are hurt and any one of your skills is on cooldown, especially your ultimate. If your ultimate is on cooldown, heal them even if they're at full health.
2. Make use of strafing to dodge enemy attacks; it's actually fairly easy to avoid ultimates like Ra's and Ao Kuang's by doing this.
3. Dash through gods with Warrior's Will if an ability is on cooldown whenever possible, unless it puts you into extreme danger. Dashing five feet into a tower and walking back out is basically safe, especially with Guan Yu's passive. The dash is also great for getting the hell out of the way of something dangerous, like Anubis and his blasted ultimate.
4. When using Tactician's Advantage, pay close attention to the way they move to get as many hits on them as possible. Once they are stunned, a burst from Taolu Assault and a quick dash from Warrior's Will should either kill them, or make them retreat. If not, heal yourself (and preferably your friendly as well), and wait for the cooldown on Taolu Assault, which will have been shortened by your dash (and your heal, if applicable).
5. If all else fails and you're getting whooped, retreat to a tower. Recall if you need to; it's better than dying.
I've heard Guan Yu can mid well, and I've done well with him in jousts, so I decided to tag my joust builds as joust/mid, in case you wanna try something different. Good luck.
-Has a fairly even damage:survivability ratio
-Great at teamwork
-Can lower cooldowns speedily, making ultimate available much sooner than normal, and making CDR% items unnecessary
-Having a buddy is a win-win; can constantly heal buddy while lowering own cooldowns
-Weak in damage early on if getting Reinforced Boots first
-Mana problems early on if not using Meditation
- Divine Ruin or Brawler's Beat Stick cause you not to heal worth ****, pardon my French
Everything about Guan Yu screams "teamwork", and he's simply not much of a threat by himself early-game. However, Guan Yu's efficiency increases tenfold when he has an ally with him.
Be next to as many friendlies as possible for maximum efficiency. Guan Yu's heal is extremely useful, and can make offensive pushes do much, much better. Likewise, the second hit of his ultimate silences the enemy, which is incredible when fighting any character that uses abilities often, or abilities that work over time (such as another Guan Yu's Taolu Assault, or Thor's Berserker Barrage.)
Guan Yu can be a great initiator with his ultimate, as well.
All in all, Guan Yu is an extremely valuable part of a team, but by no means a solo character.
He can be incredible when played right.
Good luck with this build, if you have any constructive criticism, or if I forgot something, please leave a comment and I'll respond, and maybe modify things.
If you decide to use this guide and do well, I'd love to hear about it! I'll feel a sense of satisfaction knowing I helped someone out. If you happen to use this guide on a stream or in a video, be sure to drop my name so people know what's up!
"Know the enemy and know yourself, and you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles." - Sun Tzu
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