Galio Build Guide by Turboblazer
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.
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.
Greetings fellow Summoners! This is my first guide, but I'm confident I can write an in-depth guide for my go-to tank.
I've played Galio since his release, adapting to the many changes he's gone through. He's one of my most played champion and I can confidently say my best. Hopefully the strategies and tools I've learned will work for you.
Pros / Cons
Decent Support Capabilities
Incredibly Strong Shield
Versatile Lane Options
Somewhat Fragile Early
Fairly Item Dependent
Minor Mana Issues
Marks: Greater Marks of Insight
Galio is entirely AP Damage, so these are the only primary marks that make since. The reason I recommend these over some secondary defensive marks is because Galio has great damage and since magic pen isn't in the build until Abby Scepter, it helps your early game harass.
Seals: Greater Seals of Resilience
Compounded with building Philo and Merc Treads first, Galio is fairly fragile early game to heavy physical hitters. This is aimed to cover that weakness until the Warden's Mail is complete. There is practically no alternative, though health is a viable option. It should be noted that you do not want dodge. It potentially weakens your ultimate's damage.
Glyphs: Greater Glyphs of Warding
These are the obvious choice. The only other choice may be CDR, but they are still inferior. The reason for flat over per level revolves around that this will give you more early AP and resistance. Per level may be better, but the amount of resistances you will have by the end render the extra MR by the end not worth it compared to the early game advantage.
Quintessences: Greater Quintessences of Fortitude
Always nice, health quints just give that extra health to make you comfortable in lane and possibly save your ***. I choose health quints over over more MR because my build has little health and plenty of MR and having health gives a more stable early game. More MR baseline would increase early game damage to frightening levels, but may cause a worse late game. It's a fairly open option, though.
The tank masteries as of the update, especially for Galio who can really utilize the movement speed increase and the cooldown reduction. My logic is follows:
Health is over health regen since this build starts with a regrowth pendant/philo. Evasion's 1/2/3% damage reduction from AoE's is pretty minor since Galio will be very tank anyways and AoE will probably not be what kills you.
Mercenary's value is up for debate and be worth the pick up. Personally I don't see a shortage of funds, but I will be investigating it and seeing how it feels in exchange for the 1.5% damage reduction. Obviously, the effectiveness of this talent depends completely on the amount of assists you actually get (and by extension the effectiveness of your team), while most other talents are always equally effective.
The other points are pretty lousy, realistically. I chose the mana talents in Utility because of Galio's rather steep mana problems early on and the mastery pick because Flash is still great on Galio for a quick initiation. Teleport is still great (especially for solo top) but also for possible utilization for promote for better pushing or clairvoyance for duo bot lane.
Flash: Galio has weak engage, especially considering how late Righteous Gust is leveled up. While not up for every ultimate opportunity, Flash + Idol of Durand (should) always net at least a kill early and mid game, and multiple kills late game if you're team has a chance.
Teleport: With good ward coverage this can get you in location for ganks extremely well and help you take full surprise with a Flash/Idol combo. If you are solo top I heavily recommend this, as it lowers lane down time, which can be a problem due to Galio's early mana issues.
Ghost: Similar in application to flash, though markedly more obvious and harder to engage with. Still, it works and can do the job.
Clairvoyance: Galio isn't too dependent on a second summoner spell, so CV can be taken on him if no one else has it. Ideally you should have a more pure support take this, though.
Promote: Galio is a decent pusher early-mid game and paired bottom lane with the carry, this can really help get the tower down early. Picking this over Clairvoyance bottom is very difficult to permit, but can prove it's worth. Ideally this could be taken when combined with a team with decent vision (Ashe, Orianna, Lux, etc).
Cleanse: The nature of Galio's ultimate makes this a pretty solid choice. The reduced CC effect, though, doesn't matter too much since the interruption is all the opponent wants. Works in the situation where the opponent doesn't have much CC and dropping one of the few CC's they have will make your ultimate that much more unlikely to be broken.
Clarity: Galio does have some significant mana problems, but the early philo and masteries are enough to remedy that if you play right.
Exhaust: Once again, since Galio isn't super dependent on a second summoner spell, this can be taken as a clutch counter to a problematic champion on the other team or for security in Normals when no team mate has it.
Ignite: See Exhaust.
Any other spells not mentioned aren't worth noting.
Link has all the minutia that may be concerned. Important to read to really understand the nuances that can occur, but not necessary.
Galio on LoL official Website
Passive: Runic Skin
Converts 50% of your Magic Resist into Ability Power. The obvious implication is that you maintain a decent amount of damage for simply building tank. The folly many Galio's fall into, though, is forgetting they are still the tank and need to be able to handle any threat. Don't let this bait you into building pure MR.
Q: Resolute Smite (7 second Cooldown)
Circular skill shot with a decent missile speed and a decent slow. This is your primary bread and butter because it has better scaling, more applications, and is easier to farm with. It is harder to harass with, but is superior to Righteous Gust once mastered. It also has a shorter cooldown.
Best used to farm, harass and chase.
W: Bulwark (13 Second Cooldown)
Often underated, this is one of the best shields of it's kind in the game, especially with Galio's kit. It lasts 4 seconds, and at max rank it gives 90 MR (thus 45 AP) and Armor. It can be placed on other players as well, helping Galio's supportive nature. On top of all that, every hit taken heals Galio. This is second priority because of how applicable it is and it's minimal sustain.
Used to protect/save allies, damage steroid, sustain in lane, before your ultimate.
E: Righteous Gust (12 Second Cooldown)
A linear skillshot with a noticeable speed increase at later ranks. This ability often feels odd because when best utilizied it places Galio at the back of his team. The last place he wants to be. It's third priority do to it's inferior scaling and longer cooldown. This does hurt Galio's engage, but this can be supplemented by Flash and better positioning.
Best used for engage, escape, and chasing.
R: Idol of Durand (170/150/130 Second Cooldown)
The reason you probably want to play Galio. A decent sized AoE taunt with 50% damage reduction and a pseudo-Thornmail damage reflection at the end that lasts 2 seconds. A very long time for CC, especially an AoE that moves the enemy character.
The biggest notes on this is that it works beautifully for smaller AoE abilities (Annie's Tibbers, Malz's Null Zone, Morgana's Tormented Soil, etc.) as well as local AoE's (Fiddlestick's Crowstorm, Morgana's Soul Shackle, Xin Zhao's Crescent Sweep, etc.) The list of abilities that benefit grows longer with each champion released, and this is overall a superpowerful ability that, when used properly, will put any team fight into your favor.
Best used for securing early ganks and initiating team fights.
Blue Buff: Galio actually does very well with Blue, relieving all mana issues and giving his ultimate a cooldown around 100 seconds. The usefulness goes down towards late game.
HOWEVER, you should still not pursue blue buff or take it from your mage. Only take it if it is offered to you or you can steal theirs.
Always remember that Galio is part support and that shielding your allies with Bulwark is perfectly okay, especially after your ultimate is down. Speeding up a dying ally's escape or slowing down an enemies is your job after your ultimate. Galio's damage is most significant in small skirmishes and in lane, but in team fights it is often wiser to assist your team mates.
Here we go.
As with any tank, the item build for Galio varies heavily depending on the enemy team. I list the ideal grabs for most situations with some description as to why.
Merc Treds: They give Galio's best stat and reduce CC the most. CC reduction is important because stuns, taunts, etc will break Idol of Durand. In order to taunt effectively Galio must take all the CC before using his ultimate, so these are superior to any other boot/ Tenacity item.
Philo Stone -> Shurelya's Revelry: Galio has little sustain when in a solo lane, and still little in duo lane as well as mana issues. Philo rectifies this almost entirely while also giving GP5.
The High Armor Item
Generally you will only need one of these.
Randuin's Omen: This is the superior choice for many reasons. Your ultimate brings everyone into position for Randuin's unique active and has CDR, a commodity in most Galio builds that still have a decent defence.
Thornmail: I only recommend this if the team has two heavy auto-attack champions or to punish high armor shred enemies, since you loose some significant bonuses by not having Randuin's. Still, if the enemy team's carry is doing exceedingly well, Thornmail along side a well placed ultimate will help shred them to pieces.
Frozen Heart: A low priority pick, but can be used as a clutch pick up versus AS dependent champions (Vayne, Kog'maw, etc.) where Randuin's may not foot the bill. Also relieves all mana problems along side Shurelya's and gives CDR.
Sunfire Cape: Synergizes with Idol of Durand and Abby Scepter, but lacks as much armor and utility as other options. The health makes it a good choice versus melee bruisers with true damage (Irelia, Olaf, etc.) or, to a lesser extent, with armor shred (Wukong, Trundle, etc.).
Guardian Angel: Only really recommend if you had a poor early game and find your self dying because of your engage in a team fight. It's likely that your ultimate still did it's job and your team was able to clean up, granting you a save revive. If your team isn't cleaning up, though, it'll just bring you back to die again. GA is primarily used on tanky sustain characters (Warwick, Mordekaiser, etc) because they can regen health from 40%. Galio can't, so this item looses a lot of appeal. Still, potentially worth grabbing in this niche situation.
High MR Choices
Force of Nature: The strongest pick. Has the most MR of any single item, gives move-speed to help counter Galio's weak engage when flash is down and gives a egregious amount of regen from the unique passive.
Banshee's Veil: I only recommend this for a niche pick against combo dependent champions (Leblanc, Brand, Anivia, etc.). It does give mana which, like frozen heart, is very nice as well as health.
Quick Silver Sash: Always underrated, I decline this item in favor of the others. It's mostly a niche pick up for carries, and unless the enemy team has TONS of CC you should be able to bear through most of it. Still, if the enemy DOES have TONS of CC, it's worth a look.
This is the "Core Build" for Galio. With this you should have roughly 170 MR and Armor. Combined with Bulwark, you will have extremely high damage mitigation. The last two slots are completely dependent on what your team needs.
Spirit Visage: A fairly cheap pick to get late, this can really be insert anytime after warden's mail, assuming you have extra gold. It puts you in a good spot combined with its synergetic partner Force of Nature and Merc Treads. It increases the healing from Bulwark and will push up your CDR all that much more, close (if not to) the cap, as well as give a bit more health. This largest draw back is that it makes Abby Scepter much less attractive since most it's MR will be so greatly diminished.
Abyssal Scepter: Works well with Idol of Durand and if you have any good AoE Spells (eg. Tibbers) then it can destroy the enemy team quickly. Also packs a lot of Ability power thanks to being the only MR+AP item.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Gives a significant amount of health(this builds largest shortcoming). This item is fairly weak if you picked up Randuin's, though and should be used in conjunction with Thornmail or to help make a pseudo-Randuin's with Frozen Heart.
Rabadon's Death Cap: Almost uniquely a 6th slot item, it will take the tanky gargoyle into a complete damage monster. Sadly, it is somewhat unlikely that you will reach this item in the build. The obvious cons are that is gives absolutely not defensive stats. Fortunately, if you can get this item you probably all ready have victory locked in.
Warmog's Armor: This item completely cures every health problem you will ever have. However, it is extremely pricey. The only situation where you'll probably be getting this is if you alone are doing good on your team. Still it can work.
Other notable picks: Soul Shroud, Aegis of the Legion, Will of the Ancients.
Why not Chalice of Harmony? While Chalice does give MR and arguably helps more early game, it hurts late game. It does not give GP5 and thus in a pure mathematical since is worse for late game. With most item builds Galio will have more than enough MR that the little added by Chalice is moot (especially compounded with his shield). Shurelya's gives health and CDR as well, which are two stats in lower priority in my builds and help a lot. This doesn't mention the use effect which has great synergy with Galio's abilities.. I only recommend this item for first time Galio players who aren't yet skilled enough to weed out wasted ability uses.
A great benefit for Galio is he can function superbly in any lane.
Top Lane: Squishier top lane opponents will take a significant beating for being near their creeps while bulkier opponents won't be able to deal enough damage to be noticeable. Galio has great farming abilities and harass, making all but the highest sustain champions easy to deal with. Kills aren't a high priority and are unlikely without a great gank.
Mid Lane: In this situation Galio will have a chance to shine, though it may be difficult. Most likely dueling with a mage, Galio can forgo early Philo for early Merc treads. This gives magic resist and damage, and may be necessary since Galio is some what fragile to constant abuse of more common mages.
Bot Lane: With Galio's noticeable early game damage to squishies and a powerful ultimate, bottom lane works superbly, netting some early kills. Galio works as an aggressive support who harasses the enemy and avoids last hitting. The assists/kills achieved and philo support together negate the need for farm.
Mid and Late Game
Mid Game: Galio's potent farming really shines mid game, and if possible can clear lanes when the carry is occupied with other lanes. Anytime your ultimate is up you should be looking for an opportunity to gank an enemy. Good execution will net you an assist or a kill.
Late Game: All your work is put to the test. You'll either be tanky enough that you can focus damage items like Abby Scepter and Rabadon's or in need of a bit more tankiness. At this time the cooldown on your ultimate is most noticable, but once you reach level 16 it'll be manageable, especially combined with the CDR you'be accumulated.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment with any advice or tips from your experience with Galio. Please note, though, that I've played Galio for a long time and may not adapt your advice.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9/13/11 - Added info in "Item" for Guardian Angel
11/28/11 - Update on Mastery changes, more changes forthcoming (most likely)