Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Gnar, the Missing Link is the newest League of Legends champion to be released on August 14th. Gnar is like two champions in one since his passive allows him to transform into a bigger, more beastly version of himself. Since Gnar was released, players have been divided on whether or not he is OP. Some believe his kit doesn’t have enough damage while others believe his two forms, lack of a mana bar, and total of seven abilities allows him to effectively fill multiple roles simultaneously.
As mentioned above, Gnar’s passive ultimately enables him to transform. Gnar’s base form is called “Mini Gnar” while his transformed monster state is called “Mega Gnar.” Gnar does not have mana which is always helpful in terms of being able to spam abilities. Instead of a mana meter, Gnar generates rage every time he deals damage to an enemy with either a basic attack or an ability. He also gains rage anytime an enemy champion damages him. Once Gnar has accumulated 100 rage, he will transform into Mega Gnar.
Gnar is usually just a cute little yordle zipping around the battlefield like Teemo. In his base form, Gnar’s Rage Gene passive grants him bonus movement speed, attack speed, and attack range. He is normally a quick, ranged attack champion in his base form (though his range isn’t quite as long as other carries). Once he transforms, he loses these bonuses and becomes a lot bigger and slower but also gains armor, magic resist, attack damage, health regeneration, and a hefty amount of additional hit points 30 + (40 x Gnar’s level). At level 18, that mean s he gains +750 HP from transforming. So basically he can shift between a tank and a ranged ADC.
Gnar’s Q in his base form is Boomerang Throw. The ability works very similarly to Sivir’s Boomerang Blade except it can only hit each enemy once instead of being able to hit them both on the initial throw as well as the backswing. In addition to dealing physical damage, Boomerang Throw also slows enemies it hits for two seconds. This allows Gnar to open with a Q to slow enemies in order to gank them or close in to initiate a fight. It can also be used to help you escape when being chased or to slow someone down that you’re chasing. If you line up with the boomerang and catch it on its way back, the cooldown for the ability is reduced by 60%. Keep in mind Gnar doesn’t use mana so reducing the cooldown of Boomerang Throw is very important since you can just keep spamming it without worry. Don’t just throw it and forget it. Make sure you catch it on the way back!
While in his transformed state, Boomerang Throw turns into Boulder Toss where he picks up a boulder and throws it which deals physical damage a single enemy champion and slows all enemies in an area of effect around the target. If you then pick up the rock, the cooldown is reduced by 60%. Since Boomerang Throw / Boulder Toss is Gnar’s main damage dealing ability, you’ll want to take a point in this ability first and max it out as soon as possible.
Gnar’s next ability is called Hyper. As Mini Gnar, every third consecutive basic attack on the same target vastly increases Gnar’s movement speed and also deals bonus magic damage based on his AP and a percentage of his target’s maximum HP. This can be a major damage dealer for Gnar since at its highest level, Hyper can deal 14% of the target’s max HP. You really want to buy some items that will increase Gnar’s attack speed to try to maximize the potential of landing three-plus attacks quickly. The recurring movement speed bonuses from Hyper helps Gnar kite and chase enemies attempting to flee.
As Mega Gnar, Hyper turns into Wallop. When casting Wallop, Gnar slams the ground in front of him, dealing physical damage and stunning enemies. This ability is very useful in team fights as Mega Gnar. Learn Hyper/Wallop as your second ability and then max it after maxing Boomerang Throw.
Gnar’s E is Hop. This ability is what gives Mini Gnar a lot of his mobility. Gnar can jump a short distance (range 475) and when he lands his attack speed is increased greatly for three seconds (+20% to +60% depending on ability level). Also, if Gnar hops onto another unit’s head, he does his best impression of Mario by bouncing off it thus increasing the total range of his jump and dealing physical damage as well as stunning the unit if the unit is an enemy. What’s strange is the damage Gnar deals from hopping on an opponent’s head scales with his own HP. Normally this isn’t going to be a lot so you’ll absolutely want to pick up some health items. This ability is a good gap closer but can sometimes be a double edged sword and has to be used wisely. Jumping at an enemy blindly might get you too far behind enemy lines and could lead to you getting killed. Hop is also obviously useful in getting yourself out of tight spots by jumping away.
After Gnar transforms, Hop turns into Crunch. It’s still a leaping ability but considering how huge Gnar becomes, it’s no longer a nimble little hop. It’s a crushing leap. Landing shatters the ground around him and any enemies near his landing spot get damaged. Those he lands on also get slowed. Hop / Crunch is very useful but you should still learn it last since Boomerang Throw and Hyper are both more important pieces of Gnar’s kit in terms of damage.
Gnar’s ultimate ability is “Gnar!” As Mini Gnar, it’s just a passive ability that increases the movement speed bonus you receive after every third basic attack from Hyper. When transformed into Mega Gnar, it becomes more like a regular ultimate ability. Gnar knocks all nearby enemies in a specific direction dealing physical damage and slowing their movement speed. If they hit a wall, the damage they receive is increased by +50% and they aren’t just slowed, they get stunned instead. This can be a very strong ability in team fights.
Building items that increase Gnar’s attack speed is a must. If you want to be able to deal any damage to people, you need to hit them with Hyper’s bonus magic damage from landing three attacks. Blade of the Ruined King and Trinity Force are the two main items you want to build in pretty much any game. Items that increase Gnar’s hit points are also useful because not only do they help add to his sustainability but it also increases the damage from Hop. A couple health-giving items to consider are Warmog’s Armor, Spirit Visage, and Randuin’s Omen.
Gnar can perform well in any lane. He can go bot as an ADC, he can go mid, and perhaps most popularly, he can play top lane solo. The bonus damage from Hyper makes farming minions very easy for Gnar. Hitting caster minions three times will pretty much kill them right away even from full HP.
Make sure you keep an eye on your rage meter at all times so you don’t accidentally transform when you don’t want to. One of the hardest parts of playing Gnar is being able to master when you transform. Gnar is a lot slower in his Mega Gnar form so that is something to keep in mind. If you’re chasing someone down as Mini Gnar and then transform when you don’t want to, they’ll probably get away. It’s very easy for skilled enemies to kite Mega Gnar which could ultimately result in you getting killed because of the transformation.
That being said, definitely play more aggressively as your rage meter gets full. Even if your health starts to get low, transforming gives you a lot of bonus HP which can come as a surprise to opponents who think you look like an easy kill. You want to be as close to an enemy as possible when you transform so you can unload on them with abilities. A good strategy is to get your rage meter full then Hop on an opponent’s head right as you’re about to transform. Once you’re Mega Gnar, spam all your abilities on them right away for good burst damage, slowing, and potentially stunning your enemies. Keep in mind that Mega Gnar only lasts for fifteen seconds so you have a very limited amount of time to get your business done.
So what’s the verdict on Gnar? Is he OP or not? The answer to that really depends on your skill level. Gnar is a hard champion to master and if you don’t know what you’re doing with him, he’s going to completely suck. If you do know what you’re doing, however, Gnar can be very powerful. If you like playing as Teemo, you’ll surely enjoy playing as Gnar. He has good poke with his Boomerang Throw and the bonus magic damage from Hyper can melt your health bar faster than you might expect. Becoming a tank and wrecking people as Mega Gnar is a lot of fun. Gnar is a good champion but doesn’t really fall into the truly OP range. One thing that is for sure, if you’re facing a Gnar, avoid dealing with Mega Gnar at all costs!