Gnar General Guide by Mr Krause
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Solo lane top/mid
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
So you've decided to try the cute little monster? Though he looks so small, his strength will surprise you.
So why should you read this guide?
This is the only in-depth guide about everything you'll need to know to start playing Gnar.
A little about :
Gnar fits into many teamcomps. He is a very mobile champion, deals quite a large sum of damage, and can be a very nice cc bruiser when in Mega Gnar Form. Gnar is great in a team fighting comp, kite comp, and a split push comp. Being able to be flexible with a champion is very important as it allows you to pick him in many games without being a liability to the team. Gnar is equipped with natural movement speed, a jump that can be used as a double jump not only on enemies but also friendly units. That being said, he is well prepared for a gank most of the time and should be a very safe champion during the lane phase in both solo lanes. Whether or not he is better suited for mid or top is another argument. I think he has benefits and disadvantages to playing in both the lanes and ultimately depends on the players preference of lane. Remember just because Riot wants it to be a top laner doesn't mean he has to be.
A little about me
Credits to Demonata at Lolpro for most of this guide.
Pros / Cons
[*] High damage
[*] Possibility to make epic plays
[*] Fun to play and cute as hell
[*] His spells all scales differently
[*] Can be caught unprepared
[*] Hard to master mechanics
Quinn is just a better version of Gnar early game. She can out trade you 100% of the time. Gnar does really well with extended team fights so champion with bursty type damage is not going to be Gnars favorite lane opponent. This is strictly a counter in lane, I strongly believe Gnar provides far more to a team mid to late game and scales infinitely better then a Quinn. Just avoid confrontations with any bursty champion in lane unless they are a level 6 spiker. As in if they cant really do anything pre-6 then you don't have to be defensive, ie akali, and diana.
Irelia does well against against Gnar because she can jump on him anytime she really wants and cc him. Once Gnar is incapacitated then Irelia can really have her way with him. She does a lot of damage in that short period of time while being very fast. She also reduces the cc that mega Gnar provides during his shot at her. ( starting to see a trend? )
Talon is a very scary champion as he provides a ton of burst damage in a very short period of time, allowing almost 0 way to react as Gnar. If he gets caught in small Gnar form there is almost no chance that he will survive without having to have gone a tankier build route. I will stop listing champions that are counters to Gnar because they have a trend, any champion that can cc him and do a ton of damage in small amounts of time are what Gnar struggles against. Against these champions just play the lane safe and know you will have more of an impact mid to late game then your lane counter part.
Any champion that can initiate is great for Gnar, as this allows him a way in safely and buys him enough time to go through his big Gnar animations to start the CC train going. If they get a lot of cc in tight areas, lets say in the jungle, Gnar can easily follow up with his ultimate and deal massive damage while sunning multiple foes, now that is a follow up.
If you are top Gnar, Oriana is a great champion to combo ultimates. Her ultimate when you jump in will clump them all together and set you up for a perfect ultimate. This is a combo I would love to see happen in the LCS as it probably won't succeed well in soloQ because of obvious reasons... lets face it, its going to be hard in soloQ to pull that off.
I put Janna here to symbolize all champions that can peel and kite well as she is well known for suiting that role. The reason is this will allow you to do two different things very well. It can allow you to split push when you know your team has a way to disengage, and if you choose to team fight its great or kiting and picking off weak engaging bruisers.
When playing a game, you have to take a moment and think about the strengths and weaknesses both teams have. Gnar is able to fill many roles on a team which makes him very versatile. This is a very good thing to have on a champion. He can fill a split pushing role, a hyper carry ranged / bruiser role, probably even a straight tank if played correct, very good in kite compositions, and can even peel well. There are even more smaller niches he fits in comps for which I won't go into too much detail. Having the ability to take a moment pre-game during loading screen and think about what sort of style you should play will go a long way.
When to choose how to play Gnar
Before you decide how you will go about your mid game and late game rotations, you should always consider your team's strengths/weaknesses and also the opponents. If the opponents have heavy engage with AOE while your team has focused disengage ie. Janna, then a good thing to ask would be, can I split push effectively? AOE comps are much less effective if their damage is not hitting maximum amount of people. These champions tend to be much less mobile on top of that. If the enemy team has bruisers but no real hard engage you can group up with the team and just kite them in little Gnar form, for however long you can. Then once they are beaten down, big Gnar form should be up in time to jump in and mess them up.
How you play ultimately depends on the match-up you are facing. If its a champion that has burst and just naturally does way more then Gnar can put out early game, then you should probably focus on being more passive during this stage in the game. If you take many trades that tend to go in the favor of your opponent you will be pushed out of the lane. This is something you want to avoid because of how well Gnar scales into the mid - late game. I would say Gnar is weakest in 1v1's early game unless given a "free lane" these are champions that extremely lack in 1v1 potential in early stages of the game. For example, the OLD Nidalee, you know, the one that throws a spear from a brush and then you die because its invisible. She was often considered a free lane because of how little kill potential she had without cougar form. Champions in general that lack early game damage is when you want to focus on trades as Gnar. Just be careful to not use your jump aggressively unless you are 100% sure where the enemy jungler is.
This goes back to ultimately knowing what your team needs and abusing the weaknesses of the enemy team composition. If the time calls for split pushing then do that, if you need to group up and kite the enemy team then stutter step the league points out of your keyboard. This type of decision making comes just by playing the game. Once you have failed enough times you will eventually start making these type of calls correctly, or at least... less wrong :O?
Gnar is naturally a great split pusher. Mana-less champions tend to snowball the hardest, and Gnar is no exception. Gnar is very mobile and scales really well into the mid / late game, this is the perfect mixture of talents that makes this champion such a deadly spit pusher. The reason why speed is important when split-pushing is because not only can you move around the map quicker to dodge your foes if they come to defend, but also be able to get to the enemy turret fast and give the enemy team less time to react. A smart tactic when split pushing is having a lot of vision while you split push, if your team is, for example, pushing mid and you notice one of there less mobile champions are coming top to stop your split push, you can really screw the enemy team. You can do this when the enemy that came top ( or bot it doesn't matter ) is committed at least three fourths of the way to come defend against you, you can start running down ( or up ) to your team. This means you will get to your team far faster then the guy who came to defend against your split push. There for you will have a chance to 5v4 for a good 15-20 seconds, or siege and take an objective. The little moves like this may seem a bit underwhelming but can be ultimately impossible to deal with as the enemy team giving the circumstances.
Positioning in teamfights
In team fights Gnar is very position reliant. Lets just say the for the purpose of this hypothetical fight scene you start off in little Gnar form. You want to position like an very glass cannon marksman. Not even one that has a dash... pretend you are an.... Ashe, ya the easiest pray, you want to dance around the out side of the fight and make sure you cannot get locked down. If you get cc'd while in mini Gnar form its pretty much game over. The transition from little Gnar to big Gnar is very big, you are not kiting and stutter stepping while watching your positioning, you completely have to make a 180 with your play style. Granted you must read the situation, is the team fight going well? Then double jump into a transforming beast and dive right in to start rekt'ing. If the enemy team is winning the fight pretty handily you must judge if you jumping in is really going to help the situation and not just hand them another free kill. Once you jump in or even if you just transform your mobility is dramatically decreased, so before you transform you must ask yourself, will I 1) turn the tides of the fight with my AOE damage and beast mode, or 2) get into a situation where I wont be able to take anyone with me and I cannot escape since I got slightly to close. I would strongly advise against starting team fights for your team unless you can get a 5 man stun, in which that should be a no brainer, granted you have follow up. I really cannot explain how every team fight can go down, I honestly don't think anything I just said can really be utilized since every team fight is different. You just have to play them by ear honestly, you will eventually start playing team fights better once you know the limitations of your champion. So the more you keep playing Gnar the more team fights you will experience and be punished for making mistakes. Then next time you wont make that mistake etc...
Tips & Tricks
There are a couple things that are good about Gnars jump. The first is the fact that you can use your Q in the middle of a jump as little Gnar. The other is the fact that when your rage bar is all the way full, and I mean red not yellow, it gives you I believe 4 seconds before you automatically transform. In this time you are allowed to cast a spell that will transform you and use the big Gnars form of that spell. For example if I am in red and I use my boomerang, It will first transform me then throw a big rock instead. However this is not the case with Gnars jump, with the jump it will still cast the little Gnars version of the jump and transform you mid air. However this means you can still achieve the double jump, so using this you can effectively double the distance you can go when transforming into big Gnar form. This is very big in favor of Gnar as it allows him so much more stick, initiation, and a way to get to the back line. Also in some situations escape if you are stuck about to transform but trying to run away. Before playing him in real games I again urge you to play a custom game really fast with no one in it to see what walls you can jump over and which ones you cant. Even test which you can jump over 2 walls using the double jump on jungle minions.
General combos and mechanics
In little Gnar form you must get use to stutter stepping like a real marskman. It is very important if you are being chased and still want damage output. Also allows you to get that vital movement speed boost after the 3rd proc of your W which can mean life or death.
In big Gnar form there are a few combinations that are vital to know and execute. The reason these are important is because they all have big wind up animations which can make you miss your whole kit. Luckily every single ability in big Gnar form have some sort of crowd control. This allows you to land the rest of his skills even with the animation locking/windup. One really nice combo is if you are able to stun a couple people with your ulti then follow that up with your other stun from your W. The first stun will give enough time for the next stun to land. This is really good as it provides more time for your team to position and follow up. Once you land one skill in mega Gnar form you can pretty much land the rest if you play it right. He can chain his cc rather nicely and has a great impact in fights.
One very important mechanic I will probably never be able to effectively use but could be really troll to the enemy is with your boomerang. The fact the the boomerang has an increased range when its coming back ( almost double ) if it misses you is really funny in my opinion. Let me paint a picture, you punish someone so hard in lane they get away with a sliver of health. You know they run behind their turret a good few yards thinking they are safe. They are in the shop menu because they just saw your jungler bot lane, and know its safe to back. However you shoot your boomerang backwards towards the lane minions and when its coming back you dodge it... boom easy kill. I doubt this will ever happen but its something to keep in mind :). The worst that can happen is you stall their back which can actually be really good for you.