As a recent champion release in League of Legends, Gwen — the Hallowed Seamstress — is not entirely figured out, and testing is still underway.
However, as many seek to play the new champion and emulate highlight plays from pros trying their hand at the champion, we have compiled the following guide to help you get the most out of Gwen as possible.
The following is a byproduct of two weeks of testing, one week of which occurred on the live environment, and is subject to change as new trends emerge.
Runes, Build and Skill Sequence
Gwen is not much of a mystery when it comes to her itemization.
When it comes to the Mythic item choice, the only variation that we have found is to replace the Riftmaker with a Hextech Rocketbelt. However, in the majority of games we would strongly recommend Riftmaker for the mix of raw damage output and health sustainability, which allows us to keep split-pushing even after an unfavorable trade. Gwen players don't necessarily need the extra mobility of the Rocketbelt to play her well.
To get you a fast Victory screen, we will bet on a combination of three items alongside the Mythic item: alongside it comes Nashor's Tooth as the second core item, as it enhances her Passive and allows us to increase the damage per hit. The basics are one of the champion's best tools. We close this core trio with Zhonya's Hourglass to increase our physical damage resistance and for the Stasis effect. All this, spiced up with defensive boots to taste or, if you're feeling very confident, Ionian Boots of Lucidity as an offensive option.
Among the must-have items, there are two to go for ASAP: Riftmaker and Nashor's Tooth. However, from our third item onward, although we always recommend not delaying the Zhonya purchase, there are several viable alternatives listed according to our preferences:
- Demonic Embrace: Perfect against tanks as it introduces health percentage based damage. You can disregard this item if there are no beefy front line targets on your way forward.
- Morellonomicon: This situational choice will deal with enemy healing and health sustainability if the latter is prevalent. It can be a deciding factor in duels, because if they can't fully restore their health against a Riftmaker-empowered Gwen, Gwen has the upper hand.
- Void Staff: Exceptional item that we always build as the third or fourth option if we do not need Morellonomicon and Demonic Embrace.
- Cosmic Drive: A great option due to the ability haste boost, and many professional players would agree. You must keep this option in mind, especially if you ave a lead.
- Lich Bane: Gives a fair amount of damage as its passive procs frequently on Gwen, but it's usually not worth it unless you are looking to melt enemy turrets.
- Rabadon's Deathcap: Ever the amazing AP item, it may be a good option in the late game if you are looking for a fifth or sixth (final) item. However, its heavy focus on damage leaves Gwen deprived of other stats that players may want to pick.
Gwen's runes do not allow much discussion, but there is room for a couple of variations within the Precision-Domination combination.
Conqueror seems mandatory and we will combine it with Triumph, Legend: Alacrity and Coup de Grace. However, a variant to the primary keystone exists, with Fleet Footwork providing some mobility and survivability against tough matchups, particularly against champions more frequently seen in the mid lane. There is also another variant within the precision tree: Cut Down allows you to melt through tanks if they are the most problematic part of the enemy team composition (e.g.: Cho'Gath and Ornn).
The Domination secondary tree has two clear-cut options that stand above of the pack: Sudden Impact and Ravenous Hunter.
How to play Gwen?
If you are looking to win every League of Legends game in the first few minutes of the game, then we have bad news: Gwen is probably not for you. The new champion is, at least for now, one of the worst during the earlier stages of the game. However, it has evasive and defensive tools, making the first levels pass quickly. Once we reach our two-item power spike, if we manage to come out ahead after ambushes, we can do some serious damage.
You will probably choke during the first few games, but don't despair. Gwen's late game is worth it, and if she survives and plays safely in the first few minutes, a somewhat calm escalation will occur, allowing us to tear through opponents with a thousand cuts. The best way to play the laning phase requires tons of patience.
- Level 1 - Q (Snip Snip!): Gwen's main move, ideal for trading and clearing waves. It doesn't have that much damage in the early game and you should load it up with auto attacks.
- Level 2 - E (Skip 'n Slash): Your primary mobility and gap closing tool. Although it provides a good offensive boost, don't go crazy in the early levels. Once Nashor's Tooth is completed, this ability is beastly.
- Level 3 - W (Hallowed Mist): A defensive option that helps you dodge all abilities thrown from outside the area, perfect for fighting champions without worrying about those outside the circle, and for the sake of avoiding initiations.
- Level 6 - R (Needlework): Perfect to start trades, but it requires being in combat for extended periods of time to fully shine. Use it without fear, but remember that if its three activations cannot be used, it is better to turn around than to die for and extra activation.
Mid and late game
Simply put, Gwen is like Fiora if Fiora was an AP champion. She's not necessarily terrible at team fights with few ways to play her right, but much like Fiora at her best, she is intended for a more tactical League of Legends play based on split push. Most of her damage scales based on the opponent's life, and that in skirmishers is always a sign of one-on-one duels.
If you do have to fight in a group, make the most of Skip 'n Slash resets and try to hit as many enemies as possible with Needlework while shielding yourself with the Hallowed Mist. Remember that this last ability, if you keep your distance, makes you invulnerable to all spells. You can stare at a hail of bullets from the middle of the storm while having a laugh at the expense of the enemy Miss Fortune.
Favorable counters and confrontations
Gwen has just arrived, lending this area to be heavily theoretical. If we are mistaken, please leave feedback in the comments section to help us address the issue.
Gwen beats...: Tanks. She has a tailor-made kit to kill them and any champions that rely on stacking health points. Therefore, you can also take her against Illaoi or Kled.
Gwen is countered by... : At the moment, almost everything else. Think above all of characters that meet two characteristics: high mobility and ways of cutting distance. You want to stay within the W when you use it. This is why Pantheon is so good against her: he can nullify her.
Tips and tricks
- Really, don't get ahead of yourself: you have to buy two items or have a lot of gold and level advantage to be able to win before your time arrives. Sorry, but we have to insist.
- Use the E (Skip 'n Slash) to close the gap to the opponent and get charges off a perfectly applied Q with the Passive - Thousand Cuts in effect while the cooldown of the first ability returns. Thus, you can have an extra dash to use offensively or defensively while waving the scissors.
- In addition, Q - Snip Snip! provides 100 units of extra range and allows Gwen to trade away from the range of most melee opponents.
- R - Needlework has three activations, so it should be used at the beginning of exchanges. It can be used again after each attack with any skill or basic to any target. If your target escapes with Flash, hit a minion and try to finish him off.
- W - Hallowed Mist protects Gwen from ranged attacks. Keep this in mind when abilities are thrown at you from outside the perimeter so you can protect yourself.