What have they done to him?

So I spoke to Garen recently and asked him why he wasn’t posting on the Daily SPUF as of late. Turns out, his balance changes came through and he’s absolutely loving them. He’s gone crazy. He’s… I don’t know. He’s someone else. What have they done to him? What have they done to my poor Garen?

No, seriously though, it’s pretty bad. Garen used to have an average win rate. As did fellow so-called juggernaut champion Skarner. Fellow updated champion Fiora had an average win rate, which dropped after they reworked her then shot through the roof after they kinda over-buffed her.

Stats taken from op.gg
Stats taken from op.gg

You can see from the image above (stats taken from Korean LoL servers – i.e. the best players on the planet) that Garen is simply doing far too well. Malzahar is there too, thus proving my claims from a previous article. Malzahar is one of those secretly OP champions that everyone ignores because few people pick him, but since his popularity is picking up, he might be looking at nerfs.

Anyway, back to Garen. Basically, what happened is quite simple. Garen used to have a strong early game, getting weaker the longer the game lasts, until he’s nothing more than a wall of flesh that spins around and scratches you a bit. But that’s been changed, to the point where, well, most of the game is a strong point for him. The biggest issue though is when Garen gets to level 6.

Now, before I continue, I’d like to say that previously, Garen thought that he’d would be weak. But that was on the first iteration of Garen’s changes on the PBE (Riot’s testing server). Since then, they’ve… tweaked the numbers quite a bit… Now that Garen has played around a bit, you can tell something’s off.

At level 6, unless you’re insane or playing Udyr or Jayce or something like that, you get your ultimate ability. Garen’s ultimate was basically a short range, single-target nuke that does tons of damage depending on health. His ultimate is still kinda the same, but now it comes with a second passive ability. This passive, which I call Villainry, marks one person on the enemy team as a villain. This enemy is chosen as the person with the most kills in the last five minutes. Whenever Garen attacks the villain, they also receive an extra 1% of their maximum health as true damage.

Let’s read that again.

1% of their maximum health as true damage. To whoever essentially currently has the most kills (within the last 5 minutes). Not whoever last killed an ally, like it was previously.

The wording here is the important thing. The person on the enemy team with the most kills is generally the person who’s dealing all the damage and carrying that team. If suddenly you have the ability to do a ton of bonus unblockable damage on top of the damage that you’re already doing, that enemy carrying their team can no longer effectively fight because Garen will TEAR THEM TO PIECES. What’s worse is that this 1% of maximum health as true damage works the same on everyone, whether you’re an already vulnerable squishy champion or a heavily built tank. We’re looking at a tank who can really hurt other tanks.

Thing is, maximum health damage and true damage on their own are okay in small amounts. Vel’Koz gets away with his true damage bonus because he has to land two or three full attacks within 7 seconds and is easy to kill if he fucks up, but also because the true damage bonus is static and not too great. Kog’Maw gets away with his maximum health damage because he can only activate it briefly and early on it’s very weak – Kog’Maw needs to drag out games to reach his full potential, not to mention that it can be reduced by armour. But maximum health true damage is dangerous because nothing can block it.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Garen’s new passive will change. Instead, Riot will nerf his other abilities – particularly Decisive Strike, Garen’s Q ability and my favourite of the four, since that’s easier to do. I miss old Garen though.

As for why Skarner’s win rate is so high? I’m not sure, I’m not very well versed in the champion to be able to tell you.


Also known as Doctor Retvik Von Schreibtviel, Medic writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Medic has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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