The long-awaited remake of the stone sentinel is finally here, and it’s a lot more drastic than many would have assumed. In this remake, Galio has shifted from bulky caster to a tanky brawler that makes old Galio look more like a pidgeon than a stone gargoyle. It’s an ambitious remake, one that basically transforms Galio into an entirely new champion, but in this version, he brings forth a whole lot more intensity.
Let’s see how this stone colossus plays on Summoners’ Rift, and learn his competitive potential, possible build paths and play-styles as well.
Passive: Colossal Smash
Galio’s old passive simply converted 50 percent of his magic resist into his ability power. Now this time, it quite literally packs more punch. His new passive, aptly named “Colossal Smash,” beefs up his melee potency, giving his next basic attack a smash that deals bonus magic damage in an area. If Galio hits any of his spells while the passive is on cooldown, the duration is reduced by four seconds for each spell hit, so getting off a full rotation of Galio’s will guarantee you to hit the enemy with at least two Colossal Smashes. Though this passive currently scales 1:1 with attack damage, you’re not going to be building many AD items, which means the passive also scales with his magic resist. This magic resist translating to damage is one of two small features that remain of Galio’s old identity, but is just the start of Galio’s new kit and it’s very easy to see Riot’s direction, taking him away from poky caster and turning him into an up-close-and-personal kind of golem.
Q: Winds of War
This ability is Galio’s main damage output and one of my favourite skill shots in the game. Galio fires out two arching gusts of wind that dealing magic damage whoever they hit. When the wind gusts converge, they form into a small vortex of spinning air that deals additional magic damage, which scales with the enemies’ maximum percent HP. This ability isn’t so flashy in the visual department, but man, does it do a deceptive amount of damage. Opponent unlucky or foolish enough to stand in the vortex take much more damage than they will expect, and, like Diana’s Q, it doesn’t have a fixed distance, so it can be aimed closer or further away from Galio depending on what you want to hit. As well as being perfect for wave clear, it also currently makes Galio a potent jungler, aiding him with an unsuspectedly quick clear time.
W: Shield of Durand
After not taking damage for 12 seconds, Galio gains a magic damage-absorbing shield that scales with his level. But that’s just scratching the surface of the Shield of Durand, as it can be activated to start a charge, gaining damage reduction and slowing himself by 30 percent. On a second cast, Galio taunts nearby enemy champions for 0.5 to 1.5 seconds and refreshes the damage reduction for four seconds. Additionally, the taunt duration and radius of the spell increases with the charge, but the power of this ability doesn’t stop there. It also scales with his magic resistance and armour. Let this sink in for a moment: This means a full tank Galio build whilst maxing W is nigh impossible to kill if he manages to get ahead.
Essentially, Galio’s new W is his old ultimate on steroids. It may have had the damage aspect taken away, but this rendition of the spell can still result in the same flash five-man taunt plays you know and love, all whilst able to be cast 10 times the amount, making Galio one of the hardest champions in the game to kill. Shield of Durand’s channel can also not be stopped by crowd control, however; Galio will still be affected, meaning if he is stunned whilst channelling Shield of Durand, he will stand in place as the spell continues.
E: Justice Punch
The awesomely-named Justice Punch is Galio’s new E and gap closer. It’s his simplest spell, lunging him in a straight line, dealing magic damage to enemies and knocking them into the air. The ability stops when he hits an enemy champion and can’t pass through terrain, so don’t think you’re going to be using it for escapes. This ability also flows really nicely with his kit, and a well-timed E > Q > Passive combo is a perfect way to start a fight. It’s basically League of Legends’s version of the falcon punch.
R: Hero’s Entrance
This ability is as cool as it sounds. Galio designates an allied champion’s current position and launches through the air, smashing everything around him when he lands, dealing magic damage and knocking all enemies into the air. This is what I like to call an “all or nothing ultimate,” because once it’s cast, there is no stopping Galio. This spell is similar to Pantheon’s ultimate only in the fact he launches through the air, but the similarities end there. Galio can’t shift his landing location, even if the friendly allied champion has moved, so you’re landing where your ally was regardless of their current position.
This ability is tricky to land, but is incredibly satisfying when done so. It’s a perfect tool to escape top lane if you’re being tower-dived and your allied jungler is on your side of the map, and it’s even better when used to counter gank the enemy jungler or top laner.
Riot’s announcement for Galio’s remake says that the “Abyssal Scepter is still Galio’s bread-and-butter item.” But I disagree. Stacking Ability Power and Magic Resistance on Galio is still an option, but you waste much of his disruptive tank potential and run into the issue of Attack Damage-dealing champions who will surely tear you to shreds if you have very little to no armour.
Another reason you’re going to want to be building tanky is because of his Shield of Duran, which absurdly scales with his Magic Resistance and Armour. A similar build to Poppy or Nautilus is the perfect way to maximise the potential of this ability, giving you 40-percent cooldown reduction with items like Iceborn Gauntlet and Spirit Visage. This will reduce your Shield of Duran down to a minimum eight-second cooldown, and with your additional Armour and Magic Resistance, you’ll be sitting somewhere around the 55-percent damage reduction mark. Stack this with the aptly-named Courage of the Colossus, and yep, Galio with a full tank build becomes virtually unconquerable.
Now, of course, these numbers may very well be adjusted before his release, but I still see Galio joining the likes of Poppy, Nautilus and Moakai in the top lane (or potentially jungle) as tanky backline protectors. I don’t like using the word “un-killable” in League, but it’s hard to ignore the true tanky potential of Galio, especially if he gets ahead.
Galio has three forms of hard crowd control, putting him in an elite class with only a few other League champions. I feel this alone nearly puts Galio in a competitive tier of champion, as utility and crowd control are some of the most important factors in building a competitive team composition. Galio has both these things and spades more, but he isn’t without his weaknesses. Once Galio picks a fight and engages, it’s very hard for the stone-winged colossus to escape. His Justice Punch is generally easy to dodge if you’ve got strong mechanics, and his ultimate, if executed poorly, can go from a heroic entrance to more of a crash landing. He’s also not optimal at sieging and damaging turrets, but he does have an excellent way to stop counter engages when his team is sieging, especially so at the inhibitor turrets. As long as Galio’s ultimate is up, the enemy team can’t collapse or engage on your team directly, as Galio can simply quell and squash any enemy rash enough to dive onto your backline.
Abyss esports top laner Zachary “Pacman” Bayne gave me his thoughts on how Galio will integrate into professional play.
“His competitive viability will depend on his final numbers and how his top lane matchups play out at the highest level,” he said. “He will likely be strong in lane matchups against AP champions (Rumble, Nautilus, Maokai) thanks to his self-refreshing magic shield. Looking at his numbers and stats currently on PBE I do believe he will see play in professional leagues.”
Pacman also foresees Galio’s ultimate being used for more than just saving allies and highlights his strength even if he does manage to lose his lane:
“His ult will be used to enhance the engage of other champions. I can see Rengar engaging with Galio ult being an extremely potent combination. Any champion who loves to dive in at the start of a fight will make good use of the damage reduction and CC of Galio’s ultimate… He will be weak to AD split pushers such as Fiora or Kennen, but will still have a strong impact in teamfights regardless of how his lane goes.”
This ability to deter engages, perform spectacular saves, disrupt enemy backlines and become a literal indestructible stone wall for your team makes Galio, in my eyes, an instantly powerful addition to the large roster of champions in League of Legends. It absolutely wouldn’t surprise me to see him receive immediate attention from pro players and solo que warriors in every region. I’m eager to see if he stays in his current state as he is now come patch 7.6, and I’m even more excited at the prospect of how pro players will utilise his wide-reaching repertoire.