Hello everyone! Hyjacked here with something a bit different from my normal articles.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, a new champion has hit the PBE for testing. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a new champion; Braum came out in May, and Vel’Koz before him in February. After three months of waiting, we’ve got a new face coming to the Rift – And boy, is it a cute one.
His name is Gnar, and he’s damned adorable. Just look at that face. Of course, that’s not the only face that you’ll see on him, as his kit is built around an interestingly designed transform mechanic.
Let’s take a look at what exactly Bruce Banner’s spirit yordle can do. Please keep in mind, as always, that this is PBE content and therefore a work in progress. A lot of his numbers are still in flux, so don’t freak out about anything yet.
|HEALTH||495 (+65)||ATTACK DAMAGE||48 (+3)|
|HEALTH REGEN.||2.5 (+0)||ATTACK SPEED||0.625 (
|MAGIC RES.||30 (+0)|
|RANGE||150 (Melee)||MOV. SPEED||325|
Gnar’s stats are pretty good overall. His HP and Armour are both pretty high at level 1, although they don’t scale too well. His HP regen is low, and the rest of his stats are about average. However, these stats change based on which form Gnar is in, which I’ll get to soon.
Gnar is a mana-less champion, using Fury instead. His Fury bar fills up at a constant rate whenever he’s in combat. It also gets boosted whenever he hits a unit with a basic attack or with his Q, Boomerang Throw, although hitting minions only gives 25% of normal Fury gain. The specific numbers on this are still in flux, but the amount of Fury gained (both passively and by attacking) scales upwards until a cap at Level 11. When Gnar’s Fury bar fills all the way, he transforms.
“Gnar generates Rage while in combat and whenever he attacks. At max Fury his next ability will cause him to transform, modifying his abilities and stats for 15 seconds.“
Gnar gains different bonuses based on his current form:
- Movement Speed: 10 – 35
- Attack Range: 244 + (6 x Gnar’s Level)
- Attack Speed: (5 x Gnar’s Level)%
- Health: 30 + (40 x Gnar’s Level)
- Armour / Magic Resist: (2 x Gnar’s Level)
- Health Regen per 5: (3 x Gnar’s Level)
- Base Attack Damage: 4 + (2 x Gnar’s Level)
Gnar’s passive is quite mechanically interesting. For other transforming champions, the transformation comes on their Ultimate. Gnar’s transformation, however, breaks the trend.
He’s unlike Jayce, Nidalee, and Elise, in that he can’t freely switch between his two forms based on what’s best for him at the time. He’s also unlike Shyvana and Quinn in that his transformation isn’t an Ultimate. Instead, he’s something halfway in between.
Gnar transforms after his rage bar is filled up. You’ll have four seconds before he goes Mega unless you use one of his abilities, in which case you’ll transform immediately. Gnar’s two different forms have very clear strengths and weaknesses:
- His mini-form is much faster, has higher attack speed, and attacks at long-range. Mini Gnar is fast, elusive, and very good at kiting, due to his kit. However, he’s much squishier and has less burst damage than Mega Gnar.
- Mega Gnar, on the other hand, is extremely slow and cumbersome due to his low movement speed, but much tankier. His HP and HP per level actually outstrip any other champion in the game, and he gets lots of free resistances as well. His attack speed is down, but his AD is up, which gives him a lot of burst damage.
The cool thing about Gnar’s transformation is that it’s difficult to do deliberately. If you want to transform into Mega Gnar, you have to attack and be in combat for a long time before it will proc. If you want to transform back into Mini Gnar, then you have to just wait out the 15 seconds.
Mini Gnar Q: Boomerang Throw
20/17.5/15/12.5/10 sec Cooldown
“Throws a boomerang that deals 10/45/80/115/150 (+1.0 Total AD) physical damage and slows movement speed by 15/20/25/30/35% for 2 seconds before returning towards Gnar. Enemies hit beyond the first take 50% damage. If Gnar catches his Boomerang, the cooldown is reduced by 60%.”
Mini Gnar’s Q is a pretty straightforward skillshot-slow. Its 1.0 AD ratio is pretty impressive, although it does less damage to successive enemies. The attack has a pretty long range of 1125, which makes it a great poke-harass tool.
However, the boomerang slows down when it hits an enemy. It won’t bounce right off the first thing you hit with it, but it’ll slow down and head back towards you in a similar fashion to Draven’s ult. I’m guessing that this is intended and just not in the tooltip, since it prevents Gnar from harassing through the minion wave.
It’s still a great tool for long-range harass, and since Gnar is a mana-less champion, you can pretty much spam it with impunity as long as you can catch it coming back.
Mega Gnar Q: Boulder Toss
“Throws a boulder that stops when it hits an enemy, slowing all nearby enemies and dealing 10/50/90/130/170 (+ 1.15 Total AD) physical damage. If Gnar picks up his boulder, the cooldown is reduced by 60%.”
Mega Gnar’s Q mirrors its mini-counterpart, but with a few distinct differences. It does a lot more damage, but it stops when it hits an enemy or a minion. The cooldown reduction is applied by walking over to where the boulder landed and picking it up like Olaf’s axe.
Also, where the mini-Q is almost instant, the mega-Q has a bit of a windup to it, adding to Mega Gnar’s already big mobility problems. However, t’s a good burst tool for mega Gnar, since it scales so well.
“Every 3rd attack or spell on the same target deals an additional 25/30/35/40/45 (+1.0 AP) + 6/8/10/12/14% of the target’s max health as magic damage and grants Gnar 30% movement speed that decays over 3 seconds (Max 70/125/175/225/275 damage vs monsters). Gnar gains Hyper’s speed bonus whenever he turns from Big to Small.”
Mini Gnar’s W is a passive ability that feels somewhat similar to Vayne’s silver bolts. Basically, every third autoattack or spell on any one target will do extra percent-health magic damage and give Gnar a substantial movement speed buff.
This is a great wave-clearing tool since stacks of Hyper can be applied to multiple enemies at once (unlike Silver Bolts). The movement speed gained from Hyper is fantastic for kiting if you orb-walk away from your opponent while chucking in autos and boomerangs to gain the speed buff.
12/11/10/9/8 sec Cooldown
“Stuns enemies in an area for 1.25 seconds, dealing
25/50/75/100/125 25/45/65/85/105 ( + 1.0 Total AD ) physical damage.”
Wallop is pretty straightforward; you stun everyone in a rectangle in front of you, dealing hefty physical damage in the process. It fits with the rest of Mega Gnar’s high-CC, high-burst kit.
It’s range looks to be something around 500 units, give or take. I can see this move having some pretty scary teamfight applications if you can manage to get in close enough to land it.
18/16.5/15/13.5/12 sec Cooldown
“Leaps to a location, gaining 20/30/40/50/60% attack speed for 3 seconds. If Gnar lands on a unit, he will bounce off it, traveling further. Deals 20/60/100/140/180 (+ 6% of Gnar’s Max Health) physical damage and slows briefly if the unit landed on was an enemy.”
Hop is a really fun ability to use. It’s a ground-targeted leap with a range of 475 that grants attack speed on use. If Gnar lands on any unit, friendly or unfriendly, he bounces off their head and gets a second hop. If he lands on an enemy, he’ll do some physical damage and slow them.
Hop is pretty great as a chase tool or as an escape tool, particularly in the top lane. If you want to go all-in on your opponent, hopping off the minion wave gets you some extra distance, and if you’re getting ganked, hopping off your minions is an easy way to flee.
“Leaps to a location and deals 20/60/100/140/180 (+ 6% of Gnar’s Max Health) physical damage to all nearby enemies on landing. Enemies Gnar lands directly on top of are slowed briefly.”
Crunch and Hop have the same range, the damage, and of course share a cooldown (as do all of Gnar’s other spells). There’s no attack speed buff, though, and Mega Gnar is much too big for the extra bounce. It does slow on impact, however, which makes it a pretty good move to lead into the rest of Mega Gnar’s combo.
Hop / Crunch behaves uniquely in that it’s the only ability in Gnar’s kit where you can use both parts at the same time. With a full bar, Q, W, and R all transform you into Mega Gnar immediately on use, but if you use Hop, you don’t transform until you land. This way, you get the attack speed and the extra bounce (if you land on something) from mini-gnar’s hop, but also the slow from Crunch.
120/100/80 sec Cooldown
475 range radius
Small Gnar – Passive: Increases Hyper’s Momement Speed bonus to 45/60/75%
Big Gnar: Knocks all nearby enemies in the specified direction, dealing 200/300/400 (
+.3 +.2 bonus AD) physical damage and slowing them by 45% for 1.25/1.5/1.75 1.25/1.5/1.75 seconds. Any enemy that hits a wall takes 150% damage and is stunned instead of slowed.
Gnar’s ultimate is usable only in mega-form. It confers a passive buff to mini-Gnar’s W, increasing the movement speed gained when Hyper procs, which scales upward as you put points in the ultimate.
The mega-form cast is a dangerous teamfight disruption tool. The damage on it is about average for damage-dealing ultimates, but it doesn’t scale very well. What it does do is cause mayhem in the enemy team, knocking everyone in a 500-unit radius in the direction you click, slowing them or stunning them if you knock them into a wall.
It feels great to use and can help to swing a teamfight if you can hit multiple enemies with it. Gnar’s kit is well-designed and works with itself in some good ways. Let’s take a look at some potential playstyle patterns.
Gnar is intended for top lane, and he does it pretty well. As mini Gnar, he can harass at length with his boomerang and auto-attacks, ducking in and out of danger with the speed he gets from W procs. Against melee targets, his range will be useful for keeping out of attack range. He gets out-ranged by other ranged top laners like Vladimir, but he’s still faster than them.
Hop is probably best kept off cooldown for escapes and for all-ins. If Gnar gets ganked, he can escape fairly easily, as long as there are some minions nearby that he can utilize jumping off from to the safety of his tower.
If you want to stay at range, it’s possible to prevent from transforming by sticking to last-hitting so you don’t build up too much rage. Once your Fury bar is nearly full, make sure you’re prepared to transform. Remember that mini Gnar and mega Gnar share cooldowns on their abilities, so using abilities when you’re about to fill up your bar could leave you without cooldowns once you transform.
Gnar has a great all-in combo. If you use his E when your Fury bar is full, you’ll leave the ground as mini Gnar and land as mega Gnar. This makes it easy to go in on someone by hopping off the minion wave, landing on your opponent and slowing them. From there, it’s pretty easy to follow up with a W-Q and ult, if you have it. Since Gnar gains a lot of tankiness by transforming, you should have no trouble surving until your 15 seconds have elapsed.
Gnar is a pretty good initiator due to the huge amount of CC he gets while transformed. All of his abilities are AoE and have some sort of CC attached to them. If his Fury meter isn’t full when a teamfight breaks out, he needs to adopt a more marksman-like style of play, keeping his distance while auto-attacking and throwing boomerangs.
As a jungle main, I always feel the need to try out the jungling capabilities of new champions. I love Gnar’s design and playstyle, so I desperately want to make him work, and my verdict so far is: maybe?
His first clear is a bit rocky, but no worse than some other junglers. You’ll get through quicker taking W at level one and following up with Q at level 2. Once he picks up Madred’s Razors, his clear speed increases fairly sharply due to his great scaling from attack speed in mini form.
His ganks are okay; he’s got a bit of a slow on his Q and E in mini form, as long as you can hit them. The best ganks happen if you can transform as you’re ganking, but that can be tricky to time correctly, which is the main obstacle to his jungling.
It’s not impossible, though, as usually clearing camps will bring you close to transforming but not quite get you there. His jungle seems pretty decent at the moment, but I wouldn’t expect to see it in LCS any time soon.
From what I can tell from PBE testing, Gnar has a pretty variable build path. The fact that he has two forms makes him compatible with all kinds of builds – But there are a few items that I’d go so far as to recommend on him.
BoRK is great on Gnar due to mini Gnar’s wonderful scaling with attack speed. The synergy with BoRK works both ways; the increased attack speed from BoRK gives him more W procs, and the passive attack speed he gets from mini form gives him more BoRK damage. The sustain is great too, as mini Gnar is pretty squishy and the active allows Mega Gnar to stick to targets once the he’s on top of them.
Almost everything about Triforce is great on Gnar. The AD and attack speed complement his strengths; the movement speed makes him harder to catch in mini-form and pulls up the slack in mega-form; the AP gets a one-to-one ratio on his W; the Rage passive goes great with his orb-walking playstyle AND the spellblade passive scales really since mega form gives you a buff to base AD.
The only thing wasted on this item is the mana, but the rest of the stats make up for it by far.
This item has seen a lot of recent popularity on melee and ranged characters alike, and Gnar is both of those things. Ghostblade is a good pick if the enemy team is building lots of armour and you need to get through it and the movement speed buff is useful in both forms.
Sunfire Cape is a great item on anyone who wants to defend against physical damage and Gnar is no exception. Since he gets HP and resistances for free when in mega form, you can build to either based on the game at hand.
However, keep in mind that his E’s damage does scale off total HP, so building health helps out your damage. That on top of the AoE burn damage makes sunfire well worth its relatively low cost.
I’m not an artist, but I wanted to comment a bit on Gnar’s design, because I think it’s fantastic. His kit in both forms feels right where it should be. His mini-form is a little yordle running around with a fluffy squirrel tail, and so the kit feels fast and elusive like a tiny squirrel-creature should.
The mega-form makes a stark contrast, setting you as this huge, lumbering beast. He again feels like he looks; slow but incredibly powerful and capable of swatting away entire teams with the back of his hand.
The animations on his abilities all feel responsive. I especially love how they’ve used the arrowed lines introduced by Yasuo’s ultimate to trace the path of a returning boomerang to make it clear where you need to be to catch it. The feedback on his transformation is great, too. When you get within a few rage points of transforming, your screen takes on a red tint and Gnar himself starts to change physically.
Also, I should take this opportunity to mention his release skin. Dino Gnar is already in the works and delivers on the adorable-terrifying theme that the champion exemplifies.
Also, did I mention that because he’s millenia old, he can’t speak in our future languages? He uses an adorable sort of yordle caveman-speak. He even has custom taunts for different champions where he imitates their catchphrases (as a Nocturne main, I love this so much).
Okay, we get it. You like Gnar.
Yes! I love Gnar, and you should too. I’m excited for his release. He’s fun to play, is fantastically designed and has a great champion feel plus and he’s the first yordle to be released since Lulu in 2012, which makes me feel old.
I’m hoping that we’ll get him sometime shortly after patch 4.14 hits live. He’s testing pretty well on the PBE from what I can gather, I haven’t heard of any terrible bugs or awful unbalance so far. Look forward to seeing him on the Rift soon! Maybe he’ll even get played at Worlds!
As always, thanks to [email protected] for keeping us all so well updated on PBE goings on. If you guys liked this article, let me know and I’ll do another one when the next champion comes out (so in three months maybe? If we’re lucky?) Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!