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Guan Yu - Tactical Master

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5 Votes

Smite God: Guan Yu

Build Guide Discussion (2) More Guides
Team-player Guan Yu (main build)
Team-player Guan Yu (main build) Alternate Purchase Orders

Purchase Order

Main Build (Tanky DPS)

Build Item Reinforced Greaves (Deleted) Reinforced Greaves (Deleted)
Build Item Reinforced Greaves (Deleted) Reinforced Greaves (Deleted)
Build Item Mana Potion Mana Potion
Build Item Reinforced Greaves (Deleted) Reinforced Greaves (Deleted)
Build Item Warlock's Staff Warlock's Staff
Build Item Gem of Isolation Gem of Isolation
Build Item Mystical Mail Mystical Mail
Build Item Void Stone Void Stone
Build Item Rod of Tahuti Rod of Tahuti

Useful abilities/items

Build Item Meditation Cloak Meditation Cloak
Build Item Intensify Defenses Intensify Defenses
Build Item Purification Beads (Old) Purification Beads (Old)
Build Item Aegis Amulet (Old) Aegis Amulet (Old)
Build Item Heavenly Agility Heavenly Agility
Build Item Creeping Curse Creeping Curse
Build Item Ward Ward

Guan Yu's Skill Order



1 X
2 15 16 18 19
Warrior's Will

Warrior's Will

2 A
1 8 11 12 14
Taolu Assault

Taolu Assault

3 B
3 4 6 7 10
Cavalry Charge

Cavalry Charge

4 Y
5 9 13 17 20


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.

Purchase Order 1 breakdown:

1. Reinforced Boots level 2 - This should almost be a given; if you wanna build a tankier Guan Yu, these are essential. Resistance, health regen, and CC reduction. All-around great for Guan Yu, keeps you alive. Finish these off before getting the next item for the CC reduction.
Boots of the Magi are also a very viable option for more damage early-game, but leave them at level 2 until you finish your next item.

2. 5 Mana potions or Meditation

3. Warlock's Sash - It's good the get the Sash early game to get it up to full stacks faster. The Sash will give you health, mana, AND magical power, stacking, so it's a great item for Guan Yu. This item has the most stats on it of any item in the game, as far as I can tell. Nearly any magic user will get this item.

4. Gem of Isolation - This item is an essential for almost any Guan Yu build. It gives you health, mana, magical power, AND an extra slow. This'll make it so that your Taolu Assault slows the enemy, making it nearly impossible for them to simply run out of it. This will result in more damage, more defense-sapping, more kills! Not only that, but they STAY slowed for 2 seconds after you stop hitting them. That means that if you hit them for the whole 4 seconds, you slow them for SIX WHOLE SECONDS. I personally don't see why anyone would not want this item on Guan Yu.

5. Mystical Mark - This'll give you some physical protection and health to keep you alive, as well as some extra AoE damage, which will go well with your slows, as well as helping you farm minions to get your other items faster.

6. Void Stone - This'll give you magical protection and power, as well as a penetration aura, allowing you survivability as well as quite a bit of damage. One of my favorite items.

7. Rod of Tahuti - By this point, you've got a whole bunch of MP, and if the game is still going on by the time you can get this item, then buying it will pretty much seal the deal. If you can manage to get the Rod, you're almost unstoppable. It gives a HUGE amount of magical power, plus some mana regen to boot. A great item, but for Guan Yu, not something one would get first. As far as I'm concerned, an endgame item for most gods.

Purchase Order 2 breakdown:

1. Reinforced Boots level 2

2. 5 Mana Potions or Meditation

3. Breastplate of Valor/ Void Stone - The Breastplate is a really great tanking item, as well as giving you CDR, which is very useful for spamming heals. It's also the main source of mana for this build. Take it first if there are some aggravating physicals in your lane. If there are mages, the Void Stone would be a better choice to get first, as you wouldn't yet need the physical protection.

4. Breastplate of Valor/ Void Stone - Whichever you didn't get first.

5. Gem of Isolation

6. Sovereignty/ Stone of Gaia - Sovereignty is probably the tankiest item in the game. Gives a boatload of physical protection, as well as a ridiculous amount of health. Not only that, but buffs your allies' physical protection as well. Highly recommended for fighting physicals. If you're mostly having problems with mages, though, grab the Stone first. It'll give you a whole bunch of magical protection, plus mana regen, health regen, AND percentage health regen. Synergizes well with Sovereignty, because more health = more regeneration.

7. Sovereignty/ Stone of Gaia - Whichever you didn't get first.

Purchase Order 3 breakdown:

1. Reinforced Boots level 2 - It's also viable to replace these with Boots of the Magi and get a Rod of Will instead of a Magi's Blessing depending on your opponent.

2. 5 Mana Potions or Meditation

3. Void Stone

4. Gem of Isolation

5. Magi's Blessing - Great item versus mages, gives a bunch of health and mana, a good amount of magical protection, plus makes you totally ignore an ability once a minute. It can ensure you don't get obliterated by a one-shot ult, but at the same time, someone with sustained damage like Ao Kuang can get rid of the aura pretty fast. Depending on who you're fighting, Stone of Gaia may be a better choice. Or, if you decided to use Boots of the Magi, perhaps a Rod of Will to help out with that CC, while also giving some mana regen.

6. Chronos' Pendant - Gives a good amount of magical power and CDR, as well as a ton of mana regen. Useful for any mage, especially a mid. Gives massive sustain.

7. Rod of Tahuti

Purchase Order 4 breakdown:

1. Reinforced Boots level 2

2. 5 Mana Potions or Meditation

3. Warlock's Sash

4. Hide of the Nemean Lion - This item will play hell with your foe, giving you extra resistance to their attacks, more health, and reflection of their damage. The best part is that the damage that's reflected is not based on how much you take. Therefore, if you resist 20% of their 100 damage and take 80 damage, you would think 20 damage would reflect... however, the amount they take is calculated BEFORE resistance, so the enemy would take 25 damage. Might not seem like much, but later game, it will be.

5. Gem of Isolation

6. Sovereignty

7. Rod of Tahuti

Useful Abilities:
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, guandao in a flurry. I recommend all my builds to have Med, because the extra MP5 while it's on cooldown will ensure that you never have a mana problem again.

Intensify Defenses - Great ability in my opinion, makes sure you can hold on to your towers a bit longer and prevent your enemies from tower-diving you. If you have the extra gold, go ahead and get it, it could come in handy.
Reveal - Could thwart ganks, possibly a useful investment.
Purification Beads - Very useful if your enemy has some powerful CC like Ares, Hades, or Anubis.
Aegis Amulet - I never liked this ability because it allows your enemy to figure out how to kill you while you're stunned, but if you're trapped by Anubis and he uses his ult, or Ares uses his ult, it's a good thing to have, especially with the extra defense boost.
Heavenly Agility - Great for helping out in team battles, and the passive while it's on cooldown is nice to have too. Not real important, but not a bad choice.
Creeping Curse - Same reason as Heavenly Agility, except better if your enemy are fast runners; assassins, for instance.

Any of these builds could have Boots of the Magi substituted if you want more damage early-game, at the cost of survivability.


Fortified Defense - "Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack." - Sun Tzu

Guan Yu's passive skill gives him +20 to both resistances whenever he's near a tower, phoenix, or minotaur, on either team. This makes it very hard for enemies to tower-dive you, and makes it easier for you to tower-dive enemies, especially early-game.

Tranquil Gift - "In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory." - Sun Tzu

At early levels, Guan Yu's heal doesn't heal a spectacular amount, but it can mean the difference between defeat and victory. Use it on friendlies whenever possible. Since this ability's power is based on magical power, it's necessary to have a lot.

Warrior's Will - "You may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if you make for the enemy's weak points; you may retire and be safe from pursuit if your movements are more rapid than those of the enemy." - Sun Tzu

Guan Yu's dash can be a great finishing move on a retreating enemy, and it can also be an effective means of retreating yourself. Not only that, but hitting an enemy god with it lowers your cooldowns by two seconds.

Taolu Assault - "The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep." - Sun Tzu

Guan Yu's bread-and-butter damage attack, Taolu Assault can be an extremely effective move. First of all, it saps your enemy's resistances and gives resistance to you, making sure that you take little damage while channeling the move. Second of all, with the Gem of Isolation, it effectively removes their ability to flee, allowing you to finish them off much more easily.

Tactician's Advantage - "Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." - Sun Tzu

In my opinion, this is one of the best ultimates in the game. It's quick, nearly unavoidable, confusing, and powerful. Every hit slows and does quite a bit of damage, hitting an enemy twice slows them and then silences them, while doing extra damage the second hit, and hitting en enemy three times will consecutively slow, silence, and then stun them, doing increasing damage each hit.

Levels 1-3:

1 - Warrior's Will
2 - Tranquil Gift
3 - Taolu Assault

Priorities after level 3:

1. Tactician's Advantage
2. Taolu Assault
3. Warrior's Will
4. Tranquil Gift

Basic Strategy

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.

Pros / Cons

-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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Sort Comments By
Uncle Jimbo (1) | September 18, 2012 3:33pm
He's certainly a fun character, even if Hi-Rez decides they need to nerf him 5 times in a row...
Cakeys | September 18, 2012 7:52am
This kinda made me wanna play Guan Yu
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Uncle Jimbo
Guan Yu - Tactical Master
5 Votes
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