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Guan Yu is a Chinese god in the Warrior Class, and one of the permanently free characters in Smite. Like others in the Warrior class, his primary role is as a Solo. Also like other Warriors, he is known for high sustainability and abilities that excel in team fights.
Guan Yu was my introduction to the Warrior class. I actually struggled with him at first, coming from only playing as Hunters and Assassins prior to him. However, after countless hours with both him and fellow Warrior Bellona, the Warrior class ended up becoming my main class for years. He has a bit of a learning curve, but getting the right build will help a lot.
I will show you several builds, including what I call my General Build, my favorite and go-to build across all game modes and roles with Guan Yu. There will also be builds for specific roles and game modes since some builds simply don’t translate well.
In terms of stats, Guan Yu is very typical of the Warrior class, with the exception that he has naturally high mana regeneration. However, like other Warriors, he has low mana, and could really use additional mana in his builds.
He also stands out from other Warriors in having the ability to heal teammates and having built-in cooldown reduction into several of his abilities, including his heal. Items that improve cooldown reduction and healing synergize with Guan Yu well by further emphasizing his strengths.
His passive ability, Painless, builds stacks every time he takes or deals damage. At max stacks, his abilities gain extra effects, but the stacks reset if he doesn’t take or deal damage for 5 seconds. His first active ability, Conviction, heals both him and his surrounding allies. Healing allies also reduces the cooldown of the ability. Painless increases the healing of this ability when at full stacks as well.
His second active ability, Warrior’s Will, is a dash that slows any enemies hit as well as reduces the cooldown of all abilities if an enemy god is hit. The dash is also immune to most crowd control effects. Painless increases how much the ability slows enemies.
His third active ability, Taolu Assault, is line attack that does a small amount of damage ever .3 seconds. Each hit steals protections from the enemy and temporarily gives them to Guan Yu instead. Painless increases how many protections are stolen from enemies.
His ultimate ability, Cavalry Charge, has Guan Yu mounting his horse, becoming immune to crowd control, and swinging his blade in a large area, inflicting slowing any enemy hit. Each hit also increases the damage by 20%, and when the ability ends, Guan Yu dismounts his horse and swings his blade one last time, stunning enemies that are hit.
Guan Yu’s heal, Conviction, is largely his focal point, as it offers both sustain for himself and is a great assist for teammates. This means Caduceus Shield, which offers both physical and magical protections, a small amount of power and health, and most importantly, provides an aura that increases healing by 20%.
On top of that being great for Guan Yu’s Conviction, it also provides increased life steal for those that build it, meaning your presence with it will help out the Carry quite a bit. Another important thing about Guan Yu is how his abilities have built-in cooldown reduction that can be stacked with cooldown reduction items, so cooldown reduction is often a good idea to keep his abilities in constant use.
My General Build is great in that it highlights Guan Yu’s personal advantages and is good for most roles that Guan Yu would be used. It started as a Solo Build for Conquest, but works for all game modes and has a lot of flexibility.
Start by buying Bluestone Pendent, which offers health and mana regeneration as well as additional ability damage that’s great for wave clear, Cursed Ankh which reduces enemy healing and life steal and can be great for team fights, and the Breastplate as we’ll be upgrading it.
Once you can, upgrade the Breastplate into Breastplate of Valor. This item offers physical protections, mana, mana regeneration, and cooldown reduction. This item will help you be able to use your abilities more often, as well as offer a good amount of physical protection. It’s a super useful first item in the Solo Lane and it became a go to item for me outside of it as well. You can further upgrade it to Breastplate of Determination for extra protections as well.
Next, we’ll get Caduceus Shield because it is simply fantastic for Guan Yu. With protections, power, and extra healing, it’s almost a perfect item for him.
From there, we’ll get Blackthorn Hammer. Now, this item is pretty replaceable in this build with other items that increase health, like the Shield of Regrowth or Gauntlet of Thebes. I prefer the Blackthorn Hammer for it’s physical power as we’ll be building a lot of other defensive items already. It also offers cooldown reduction or mana regeneration based on how much mana you have left, and that means more frequent abilities.
You should be able to get Purification Beads at this point, which make you briefly immune to crowd control. Because of Guan Yu’s tanky nature, you’ll often be bearing the brunt of the enemies abilities, and that can be a big issue when they all team up and single you out. With this and Guan Yu’s dash, Warrior’s Will, you should be able to escape these scenarios.
Next, we’ll get Genji’s Guard to catch up a bit in our magical protections, especially since mages will often be controlling the game around this point in the match. It gives a bit of health, mana regen, and cooldown reduction. It also gives additional cooldown reduction when hit by enemy abilities that do magical damage.
After that, you have room to build whatever you may want, but I typically go with Gladiator’s Shield as it synergizes well with Guan Yu and is fairly offensive. It gives you power, physical protections, health, and cooldown reduction. Its passive effect also makes your abilities do extra damage based on the amount of protections you have, which is quite a bit at this point.
Finally, we can upgrade Bluestone Pendent into Bluestone Brooch
In terms of abilities, they don’t matter too much outside of Conquest, but I recommend upgrading Taolu Assualt the most in most scenarios. It’s Guan Yu’s main way of dealing damage both to enemy gods and minion waves. You can also focus on Conviction if you’re playing a more supportive role, but you might fall far behind in damage potential if you’re not careful.
Guan Yu is a great pick as a supportive role in Joust. He doesn’t have as much crowd control as a Guardian would, but his sustain power, strong heal, and ability to remove enemy protections makes up for it.
To start, if you’re the only tank, build Sentinel’s Gift, which gives protections, health, and mana regeneration, as well as gold, heath, and mana for assist on jungle or minion kills. Since you will be by far the weakest in terms of wave clear, this is often just free gold and increased sustain for you.
In a scenario where there’s also a Guardian, you need to be more offensive and go with Warding Sigil. This starter item gives you power, protections, health, and further protections when hit by enemy abilities. You’ll also want Cloak of Meditation to increase sustain, and the Glowing Emerald to upgrade later.
From there, you want to upgrade the Glowing Emerald into Gauntlet of Thebes, which gives you health and health regeneration. Assists on minions or enemy gods give you stacks that provide protections, and at full stacks even provides a protection aura for your teammates.
Next, we’ll build Caduceus Shield for more protections and increased healing.
Then, assuming the enemy team is using a Hunter or an Assassin, we’ll build Hide of the Nemean Lion. The Hide of the Nemean Lion gives physical protections, mana, and mana regeneration, as well as building up to three stacks that prevent half of a single basic attack.
You need 80 protections being built from items for each stack, so you won’t get its full potential right away. If that doesn’t sound worth it, or is simply too complicated, you can also opt for Witchblade. It provides significantly less protection and nothing in terms of mana, but it gives you a slight movement speed buff, cooldown reduction, a small amount of health, and has an aura that lowers enemy attack speed. If, for whatever reason, they’re not using a Hunter or Assassin, go for Genji’s Guard like in the General Build.
Around this point is a good time to get Purification Beads.
After that, we’ll get Shogun’s Kusari, which gives magical protections, health, mana regenerations, and cooldown reduction. It also provides an aura that increases attack speed, and this can be a lot of help for your teammates in taking down the towers.
For your final item, it depends on how aggressive you want to be. For a more offensive approach, you can build Jotunn’s Vigor, which will give you physical power, mana, penetration, and cooldown reduction, as well as life steal if your health drops too low. However, I typically go for a more defensive approach and build Mantle of Discord, which gives further protections and cooldown reduction, and has a passive that can stun enemies if you take too much damage.
For abilities, you probably want to focus Conviction as you’re going to be playing a pretty supportive role. Taolu Assault will also be important for removing enemy protections.
This Solo Build was actually the starting point for my General Build, but it’s more specific to the unique play of the Solo lane.
To start, build Bluestone Pendent and Breastplate like the General Build, but be sure to get the Teleport Fragment relic. Since Solo Lane is the shortest lane, the tide can change very quickly, so you don’t want to be gone long. Teleport Fragment will allow you to get items without sacrificing your first tower. Get health potions with the leftover gold as well.
From there, if the opponent does physical damage, upgrade Breastplate to Breastplate of Valor like the General Build. If they do magical damage, get Genji’s Guard instead.
If you got Breastplate of Valor, get Gladiator’s Shield next. However, if you got Genji’s Guard, skip to the item after this and get Gladiator’s Shield last. Caduceus Shield is next after that. We get it later in this build because it’s strength is in team fights, and you won’t see too many of them early on in Conquest.
Around this point, you also want to make sure you get Purification Beads.
Now, get either Genji’s Guard or Breastplate of Valor. Whichever one you don’t already have at this point.
Finally, get Hide of the Nemean Lion, or more likely, Spectral Armor if the enemy Carry is building for critical hits. This is just a little bit of extra defense to deal with the Carry, which is typically the strongest enemy in the endgame. However, if the Carry is dealing magical damage, get Mantle of Discord instead.
You’ll also want to upgrade Bluestone Pendent to Bluestone Brooch of course.
For abilities, you want to get Taolu Assault first, as it’s your main wave clear ability. I typically then get Warrior’s Will next, as it helps with wave clear. Obviously get Conviction after that. I then get Taolu Assault again, and then of course Calvary Charge as soon as possible. From there on I mainly level up Taolu Assault and then Conviction, and Calvary Charge whenever possible.
Guan Yu is one of the most popular Warriors in the Support role, and for good reason. His heal is ridiculously strong, and his ability to shred protections greatly helps the Carry take out the enemy Support.
To start, we’ll get Benevolence, which offers health, both health and mana regeneration. It also builds stacks when you get assists that can heal both you and your Carry, as well as giving you a small amount of gold. We’ll also get Heavenly Wings, which temporarily increases movement speed for you and nearby teammates. This is good both for escaping and for securing kills. We’ll then get the Glowing Emerald like in the Joust Build. Grab some multi potions with the leftover gold as well.
From there, we’ll upgrade the Glowing Emerald into Gauntlet of Thebes like the Joust Build.
We’ll also get Caduceus Shield after that as well.
This build differs from the Joust build in that from there we’ll build either Breastplate of Valor, or Spectral Armor if the enemy Carry is building for critical hits. We need them for the mana on top of their physical protections.
You’ll want to get Purification Beads around this point.
Now you could get Shogun’s Kusari next, but if the enemy Support is using heals as they often do, go for Pestilence instead. Pestilence gives magical protection and has an aura that reduces enemy healing.
Here you can upgrade Benevolence into Compassion. This redirects some damage that friendly gods receive to you, and since you have high protections, greatly mitigates it for your team.
Finally, get Hide of the Nemean Lion, or Mantle of Discord if the Carry does magical damage.
For abilities, a focus on Conviction is probably the best idea.
Warrior Meta Build
This is the build you will see across nearly all Warriors in the Solo lane right now. Now, this build is lacking Caduceus Shield, my favorite item for Guan Yu, so I don’t really use it often with him. I also did a minor tweak in placing Blackthorn Hammer over Runeforged Hammer, because while Runeforged Hammer might be slightly more popular right now, it’s very close and Blackthorn is much better for Guan Yu. You could place Caduceus Shield towards the end of the build and still have a pretty meta build, but this is more of a mindless copy and paste for all Warriors type of build, and not all Warriors have heals.
We’ll start just like the Solo Build, getting Bluestone Pendant, Teleport fragment, healing potions, and Breastplate. We’ll upgrade the Breastplate into the Breastplate of Valor just like the Solo Build as well. However, from there, we’ll add Blackthorn Hammer rather than Gladiator’s Shield. Both fill the same sort of role of having a mix of defensive and offensive characteristics.
Then we get Genji’s Gaurd like normal. Swap Genji’s Gaurd and Breastplate of Valor around if the opponent in Solo lane deals magical damage.
Be sure to get Purification Beads. We won’t be getting Caduceus Shield for this build, but this is good time to get it if you want it. Instead, we’ll get Hide of the Nemean Lion.
Finally, we’ll get Mantle of Discord and upgrade Bluestone Pendent into Bluestone Brooch.
Fun Movement Speed Build
This build probably isn’t the most competitive build, but it’s a lot of fun, and it works suprisingly well in casual game modes. There’s an interesting item called Shield of Regrowth, which among other things, increases movement speed after healing yourself.
I was playing around and trying to figure out how to make this item really worth using on Guan Yu, and created this build. It could be used in Support or even Jungle roles. It’d probably be pretty weak in Solo though.
For a starter item get War Flag, unless you plan on playing Jungle, in which case get Bumba’s Dagger. War Flag gives you protections, health, and mana regeneration. It also has a really interesting passive effect that gives you and surrounding allies movement and attack speed buffs when you get an assist.
Once you do this three times, when you use an ability against an enemy god, it restores health and mana to surrounding teammates as well as giving you a small amount of gold. Bumba’s Dagger gives you power and a small amount of health and mana, but it also increases your damage against jungle monsters and restores health and mana after killing jungle monsters.
You’ll also want to get Heavenly Wings for temporary increased movement speed, and the Enchanted Buckler to upgrade.
We will upgrade the Enchanted Buckler into Caduceus Shield as soon as possible. The downside of this is that a smart enemy team will be guaranteed to build anti-heal items once they see your build. However, the item is simply just a great item, providing both power and protections, so it’s fine.
Next, we’ll get Shield of Regrowth. This item gives you health, mana and health regeneration, and cooldown reduction. It also has that weird passive effect that increases movement speed when you heal yourself. After that, get Witchblade, which I described in the Joust Build. This is where we get into focusing on movement speed.
Next, we’ll get Winged Blade. This item is similar to Witchblade, but it gives you magical protections and crowd control reduction instead of physical protections and cooldown reduction. Also, rather than an attack speed debuff aura, it makes you immune to slows, and actually increases you movement speed when hit with a slow effect instead.
You’ll want to get Purification Beads at this point. From there, you can either get Hastened Katana or Toxic Blade. Hastened Katana gives you power, attack speed, and movement speed, as well has will give you haste on hitting an enemy with a basic attack.
Haste makes you immune to basic attack movement penalty, which can be very useful for chasing enemies down. If the enemy is using a lot of heals, you might want to go with Toxic Blade instead as it has an anti-heal passive effect, making your basic attacks reduce the healing of any enemies hit with your basic attacks. It also offers health, flat penetration, significantly more attack speed than Hastened Katana, and movement speed.
Finally, get Serrated Edge. It gives you power, life steal, percentage-based penetration, and movement speed, as well as increased power and life steal for every ability on cooldown. This item is just a fun one to really put the build over the top while going with the movement speed theme, as well as making it easier to take out tanks with the percentage-based penetration. The life steal is really just a fun little bonus but can help you sustain in team fights.
For abilities, I like to get Conviction and run around healing people. If you’re playing as Jungler, you would want to focus on Taolu Assault for killing Jungle monsters instead.
Question: Should I build Sovereignty or Heartward Amulet for Support?
Answer: Ultimately, it’s up to you. They are good for many Support builds, providing protection auras. Builds are just suggestions and are completely flexible, as you never know what the opponent will build. I choose not to build these items on Guan Yu for two related reasons: his aggressive abilities and his synergy with cooldown reduction. The Support and Joust Builds still provide plenty of auras for the team.
Question: Why build Guan Yu defensively, even when not playing support?
Answer: Guan Yu’s abilities favor him being directly in the action for extended periods of time. He takes a while to do significant damage, but with his heal and building defensively, it also takes a while to do significant damage to him. If you make your build too offensive, an enemy Mage or Hunter will simply take you out from a distance and you won’t be able to do much about it.
Question: Is Guan Yu still a viable pick?
Answer: Yes, but he’s not nearly as popular in Conquest as he once was. He’s also one of the oldest characters in the game, and longtime players have grown pretty bored of him. Also, his main ability to do damage with, Taolu Assault, is easily interrupted and he can really struggle early against the more popular picks in the Solo Lane because of it.
He is one of the best team fighters in the game though, so you have room to fall slightly behind with him in the early game. He’s still one of the most popular Warrior Supports, and he is currently quite popular and performing really well in Joust. With his excellent team fighting abilities, he also excels in Slash, Arena, and Assault modes.
Guan Yu Build Ideas: Conclusion
There’s so many options and items for builds and it can be overwhelming, especially for a character in what I consider the most nuanced class, Warrior. The right build can really win you the match, and these builds should help you do that, or at the very least give ideas for your own game-winning variations. Play around with what works for you and what doesn’t and perfect your playstyle as Guan Yu.