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The new Guan Yu - now with more horse!

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Smite God: Guan Yu

Build Guide Discussion (2) More Guides
Main Build
Main Build Eye of Retaliation

Purchase Order


Build Item Runic Shield Runic Shield
Build Item Ninja Tabi Ninja Tabi
Build Item Void Shield Void Shield
Build Item Deathbringer Deathbringer
Build Item Rage Rage

Purchase Order

Build Item Voidblade Voidblade
Build Item Tabi Tabi
Build Item Meditation Cloak Meditation Cloak
Build Item Creeping Curse Creeping Curse
Build Item Tabi Tabi
Build Item Ninja Tabi Ninja Tabi
Build Item Voidblade Voidblade
Build Item Void Shield Void Shield
Build Item Round Shield Round Shield
Build Item Round Shield Round Shield
Build Item Runic Shield Runic Shield
Build Item Deathbringer Deathbringer
Build Item Deathbringer Deathbringer
Build Item Deathbringer Deathbringer
Build Item Rage Rage
Build Item Rage Rage
Build Item Rage Rage

Guan Yu's Skill Order



1 X
2 4 6 7 10
Warrior's Will

Warrior's Will

2 A
3 8 11 12 14
Taolu Assault

Taolu Assault

3 B
1 15 16 18 19
Cavalry Charge

Cavalry Charge

4 Y
5 9 13 17 20


Guan Yu recently got revamped, with a heavy emphasis on physical power as opposed to magical power. Note this is not a Conquest guide; I rarely play Conquest. I have however tried this build in Arena, 3v3 Joust, and 5v5 Assault and have found it to be quite effective.

Who is Guan Yu?

The new Guan Yu is a bit of an oddity in the Smite world. He relies heavily on his abilities, but they are not the main source of his damage - instead, he focuses on basic attacks for his damage, and his abilities hinder his enemies and buff himself up. He is phenomenal in team fights, but doesn't like being focused. He plays a lot like a beefy assassin. He is an extremely strong duelist. His Taolu Assault can debuff any enemies while buffing himself, while his Conviction keeps him alive. Warrior's Will lets him stick to whoever he's killing, or can be saved as an escape. Cavalry Charge can be used to disrupt teamfights and do a good chunk of AoE (Area of Effect) damage or mopping up stragglers, and also can be saved for an escape.


Painless (Passive)

A good Guan Yu player will be aware of Painless but not play around it. All this means is don't use Conviction as soon as you start taking damage in a teamfight - instead, wait until you are at half or 1/3 health so it heals you (and your teammates) more. If you feel like you must "build it up," melee minions are a good choice to let yourself get hit by. Each attack they hit you with will add a stack, up to twenty.

Conviction (Skill 1)

Conviction goes hand-in-hand with Painless. This is where your sustain comes from, but be wary: it costs a LOT of mana, and you will quickly find yourself going OOM (Out Of Mana) if you spam it. I usually max it first to make it as mana-efficient as possible.

Warrior's Will (Skill 2)

A simple dash skill, but it has a deceptively high Physical Power ratio. This is an option to max first depending on how the match is going - it's a great finisher, and people won't be expecting the burst this skill can put out at low levels. Typically, however, it should be used for its utility as a gap closer, slow, and to re-position yourself - you can actually run straight through an opponent, ending up behind them, which is hard to react to. It can also be used to dodge their attempts to put some distance between you and them; I've used Warrior's Will to get behind an opponent many times, turned around and seen them blow their crowd control right where I was a moment ago.
Tip: if they are running away, and suddenly turn around, that's when you want to use this.

Taolu Assault (Skill 3)

This skill is Guan Yu's bread and butter, but it's also his one-point-wonder. I used to max this skill first without question, but it just doesn't do that much damage, even at high ranks, not compared with your basic attacks. Instead, as with Warrior's Will, it's better used for its utility - it will debuff your opponent (so your basic attacks do more damage) as well as buffing yourself for a few seconds. It also makes you immune to knockback. This combination makes it the skill you almost always want to open with. A lot of times, a squishy enemy will blow their knockback as soon as you get close ( Poseidon's Tidal Surge immediately comes to mind); if you open with Taolu Assault, they are now minus one escape tool.
Tip: This is a great skill for clearing minion waves, as it is Guan Yu's only reliable source of AoE damage.

Cavalry Charge (Ultimate)

This skill got changed the most by the rework. As soon as you hit the button, Guan Yu will hop on a horse, becoming immune to CC (Crowd Control) and gaining a bit of move speed. You'll want to hold down the basic attack button for the 4-second duration; he will swing his guandao in huge arcs, doing damage in a large area centered on him. Take note: each swing will progressively do more damage when hitting the same target, so you'll want to keep at least one opponent in range at all times! Typically what will happen is the enemy team will scatter; pick a squishy and stay on top of him. The dismount will stun, allowing you to Taolu Assault into Warrior's Will into basic attacks for the kill. If you can keep multiple enemies in range, great! If not, don't worry too much about it; getting that extra damage to focus a squishy is more important. You CAN initiate with Cavalry Charge, but it's usually not a good idea; even though you're immune to CC, you're not immune to damage, and it's perfectly likely for you to get bursted down before you complete the ultimate.
Tip: You can hold the back button (Default S) to slow your charge; handy to stay in range of a fleeing target without zooming right past them.

Item Build

This build has a couple drawbacks. The first: it's EXPENSIVE. The second, and partly a corollary to the first: it's slow. It will take a little while for Guan Yu to really get going. About the time you start building your Rage you will be able to burst down a squishy with no problems, but matches are sometimes half over by that point.

Let's talk specific items.

shield or Voidblade?

I typically start with one of these two items, but which to choose first? Depends on the enemy team composition. Is their physical early game strong? Do they have Fenrir, Xbalanque, Thor, or Odin? Consider a Voidblade. The majority of the time, however, their magical early game is going to be much stronger than their physical early game - Anubis, He Bo, Zeus, and Poseidon come to mind. Go with shield in this case.


This is an extremely expensive opening item, but it gives you a great deal of tankiness that you absolutely need in a world dominated by mages like Poseidon, Zeus, and He Bo. It does give you a little bit of attack power, but you want it mostly for the defensive values.


This is a somewhat more reasonable opening item than the shield, allowing you to get tier 1 boots as well.

Ninja Tabi

Most people opt for Warrior Tabi, but Guan Yu is pretty reliant on his cooldowns, especially Warrior's Will and Conviction. Max these before your shield.

Runic Shield

I like this better than Shield of Regrowth, but on maps where sustain is more important (Conquest) you might opt for the HP5 on Shield of Regrowth. If you need help deciding, ask yourself: Are you getting harassed and poked down? Get Shield of Regrowth. Are you getting bursted down from full to dead? Get Runic Shield.

focused voidblade or Voidblade?

I prefer focused voidblade to aid in my job of melting squishies. If you're playing with a team of heavy physical damage attackers ( Apollo, Odin, Neith, etc), consider Voidblade.


Your DPS (Damage Per Second) will take a pretty substantial boost when you start building this, but you're still not where you really want to be. Start being more aggressive, but don't think you're going to get a triple kill every teamfight.


Once you finish this, you're exactly where you want to be - beefy but with a huge damage output. Charge into the back lines and melt that obnoxious squishy - you won't get the kill every time, but you'll at least force them to flee the teamfight, enabling your allies to mop up. You might get some hate from your teammates for even daring to build this on someone that's not named Apollo; ignore them and continue your 12-2 rampage.

ankh of the bearAnkh of the Bear

I still haven't figured out whether or not I like this item. Typically games are over before I have a chance to build it, but in the games where I have built it, I haven't noticed a huge change. On paper it sounds pretty good - physical protection to add to your Voidblade, attack power based on that protection, all of which you need.

ankh of the bear or Ankh of the Golem?

ankh of the bear, every time. A character that can heal himself wants resistances over health to get more effective health.

Jotunn's Wrath

Most games will not get to the stage where you will actually be buying this; really, it's just more icing on the cake. CDR (CoolDown Reduction) is always good on Guan Yu, and it'll give you a bit more oomph on your basic attacks and attack abilities.

Situational items

Stone of Gaia

If you're getting melted by the enemy team's mages and your Runic Shield isn't enough, consider one of these. Always buy one if they have a team of 4-5 mages. Make it your third priority after 1. Ninja Tabi, 2. focused voidblade/ Runic Shield.


Fantastic item, but usually your tank/support will be getting it. Combines well with ankh of the bear if you're finding the enemy's physical carries a little too overwhelming.


Another fantastic item. If you don't like ankh of the bear, go ahead and try this - as I've said before, Guan Yu wants resistances instead of flat health in order to make his heals more effective; Bloodforge synergizes nicely with that ideal.

eye of retaliationEye of Retaliation

I haven't tried this yet, but I'd like to - it's a very interesting concept, and Guan Yu is very good at staying alive at low health. You would need to combine it with other lifesteal/healing items, such as Bloodforge, meditation, and Restoration Shard. If you'd like to try this, I would say build it after your focused voidblade, Ninja Tabi, and Deathbringer are completed.

Active Items

Active items are an extremely important part of Smite. You can usually tell the more experienced players from the newbies by whether or not they even buy active items, much less buy any beyond meditation and sprint.

Purification Beads

Purification Beads are one of the most important active items in the game. Does the enemy team have an Ares? BUY Purification Beads. BUY THEM. Most good Ares players will buy a blink, teleport into the middle of your team, and grab all five of you with his No Escape. When combined with Ao Kuang's spirit's tempest, Zeus' Lightning Storm, or any number of other high damage-dealing ultimates, this usually results in a team wipe. Beads is the first step to countering that. On top of that, the final level of Purification Beads will reduce your cooldowns by 5 seconds - which means double Conviction and Warrior's Will.


Guan Yu is an extremely mana-hungry champion, especially in the early game. Late game, this can serve as a fake-out when the enemy team focuses you, when combined with Conviction. Definitely consider opening with it, especially if you land Guan Yu in Assault.

Creeping Curse

Fantastic active for teamfights. Weakening Curse hard counters Hel. Also serves as a pretty good counter to enemy Guan Yus! Make sure to get one of these if they have a lot of healing on their team, or the regular Enfeebling Curse if they have a lot of basic-attackers.

Fist of the Gods

This is a lot of fun, especially when combined with the dismount stun on Cavalry Charge. Having trouble with runners getting away with low health? Fist of the Gods might be your answer. Creeping Curse is typically a better item, but this is viable against certain champions that need to be stunlocked to prevent escapes, such as Loki, Thor, Neith or Apollo.


Nice to have if you find you get focused a lot. Also interesting theorycrafting to combine with eye of retaliation, Bloodforge, and meditation.


Another good thing to have if you find you're getting focused a lot.

Girdle of Inner Power

Need more burst damage? This is the item for you.


Have any suggestions for the guide? Feel free to leave them in the comments! Currently I am a level 20 player; I've only been playing for a month or so, so if any more experienced players try this build and find tweaks that work a bit better, feel free to criticize. I would love to hear from people who have tried the Eye of Retaliation build!

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ShaoTheGreat (5) | October 21, 2014 5:47am
I just started playing Guan so this build may have been viable a year ago, but it absolutely sucks now. Guan doesn't scale much off of his physical power and he's not an autoattacker. I play Guan full tank with CDR boots and Jotunn's and usually lead my team in player damage and 50% of the time, kills. Building Runic Shield first is awful since minions and towers do physical damage. I tried starting with Runic Shield and was actually killed by minions. Terrible. I always build Mystical Mail first regardless of enemy team composition. The DoT combines well with his #3 and it allows early kill secures against enemies who think that they're safe behind their tower line. I love chasing people into their tower and getting a double kill, then dashing out and healing. It allows early kills so I don't need Midas boots or any other **** items.

A very good support/tower dive build:

Mystical Mail > Ninja Tabi > Jotunn's Wrath (or Breastplate of Valor if facing tough phys gods) > Stone of Gaia > Shifter's Shield > Brawler's Beatstick

A build that does massive AA damage and also helps Guan with much needed mana:

Transcendence > Mystical Mail > Ninja Tabi > Jotunn's/Breatplate > Shifter's Shield > Brawler's Beatstick / Stone of Gaia
ERRUM | October 1, 2013 12:41am
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League of Legends Build Guide Author jggun
The new Guan Yu - now with more horse!
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