Gnar’s joining the free champion rotation this week! The little Yordle can be quite the unruly beast, so we’re arming you guys with the right tools to tame him. Check out this collection of in-depth guidance from players, pros, and the community to find what works best for you:
Cwieker: a short and sweet guide with tips for building tanky or going more damage-based
Demonata: a massive guide with the usual rune/item path breakdown as well as in-depth strategies for each phase of the game
Summoner School: a community-run subreddit chock-full of Gnar discussions, tips, tricks, and builds
For up-to-date info on how the pros are building Gnar, head over here
If you’re already pretty familiar with Gnar and want to try something new, check out some tips from Game Designer/Beard Wizard Scarizard!
1. Gnar's unique and his sometimes-unpredictable form-swapping requires a different way of thinking. You won't build him or play him the same as other champions, and that's okay. Reviewing your assumptions and adapting is a huge part of League—playing and building Gnar is no different.
(1a. If you're here to play Gnar as a Jungler, Support, or Marksman, go do that now. I'll wait. Okay, are you back? Good. Now let's talk about how I like to play Gnar in top lane.)
2. IMO, leave Teleport at home. It can be a worthwhile pickup on champions that a) have bad lane matchups they want to survive in order to become strong late (like Nasus or Jax) or b) can consistently contribute to teamfights (like Malphite or Maokai). But as a lane bully, you'll want Ignite to get the snowball rolling. (Side note: Teleport channels for 3.5 seconds and Mega Gnar lasts 15 seconds maximum—that's over 20% of your Mega Gnar time spent Teleporting!)
3. Let's go over Gnar's primary stats: attack damage, attack speed, cooldown reduction, health, and movement speed. These, over nearly anything else, increase your effectiveness in a fight, so you should seek to get items that can give you as many of these stats as possible. For instance, I'm a big fan of Trinity Force (+AD, +AS%, +HP, and +MS%) and Youmouu's Ghostblade (+AD, +CDR, +AS%, and +MS%) as his core damage items, sometimes even going for Frozen Mallet (+AD and +HP) and Zephyr (+literally-every-stat-you’d-want).
Yes, I seriously recommended you build Frozen Mallet on a champion in 2014. Don't try it if you don't want to—I'll just be over here swimming in LP.
4. Why’re attack speed and cooldown reduction so important? Because Gnar only gains rage three ways: basic attacking opponents, hitting enemies with abilities, and taking damage. Because of this, getting high amounts of CDR/AS allows you to control Gnar's temper, ensuring that even when alone or 1v1 you’re only a Ghostblade-active-and-a-few-basic-attacks away from hulking out and making big plays.
5. So what NOT to build? We want to stay away from items that only have a strong use in one form versus another. For instance, Randuin's Omen, Thornmail, and Sunfire Cape are common defensive buys. However, for a champion that only wants to be in his opponent’s range when he's slamming them into terrain and smashing in their face, the melee-ranged effects of these items are less effective because Gnar will spend most of his time in Mini form. Make your own calls, because these items can work in the right situation, but I find myself getting items like Guardian Angel and Banshee's Veil because they’re always useful or just getting more HP (like Warmog’s and Frozen Mallet) and relying on Mega Gnar's defensive bonuses.
Lastly, we'll talk about how to fight.
6. When laning, remember to keep a few minions behind you so you can Hop away in case of a poor trade or an aggressive jungle gank. Gnar's potency as a lane bully (similar to champions like Quinn, Rumble, and Lulu) opens him up to a lot of jungle aggression. Plan ahead to avoid ganks so you can stay dominant.
7. Communicate with your team about when you're going to be Mega or not. If you're about to transform and your team isn't ready, letting them know can be a huge help. Ideally, you want to be around 50% Rage or higher when a fight breaks out. This'll make sure you can go Mega relatively soon, but also gives you a cushion to soften up frontlines with Hyper procs and choose how you enter fights with an explosive Hop-into-Crunch.
8. GNAR! Real talk, this ultimate is insane. Thresh's Flay and Vayne's Condemn had a massive Area-of-Effect baby and it also happens to do a billion damage. That said, when you start using it, it's likely you're going to miss it a few times and that's okay. Even if you can't get the wall-stun, sometimes knocking them away and into your team can be super valuable. Make sure your team can follow up!
Got some Gnar tips, tricks, and builds we didn’t cover? Share ‘em in the comments below.
Good luck out there in the wild!
Banner art by: Fireflufferz