Gwen is a melee champion that excels at dueling. The champion is excellent in protracted fights and side-laning in general. These are all hallmarks of a bruiser champion. Bruisers are generally physical damage dealing, high survivability champions. However, Gwen is not a physical damage dealer.
This is a magic damage-dealing bruiser champion. This is a pretty rare type of role in and of itself as far as bruisers are concerned. Gwen’s major damage sources are the auto attacks and Snip-Snip. The ultimate is gives a ton of burst damage. All of these are empowered further by ability power.
Gwen is also exceptionally good in team fights thanks to the zone control she provides her team. Hallowed Mist not only makes you immune but it also gives your team space to maneuver. Furthermore, the champion has the ability to win team fights single-handedly thanks to the high AOE damage.
To truly be effective on a champion, you need to understand the different nuances of their build paths. Gwen is a champion with a very streamlined and standard build path that you follow in most cases. This is simply because some items perform significantly better than others. The rune pages are where you can get side-tracked in the many different options.
The rune page is an essential part of a champion’s build. You can tell what type of build the player is going to make just by seeing their choice of rune page. This is because the keystone of the rune page enhances a specific style of play. You can not take different keystones for the same build paths.
The keystone is essentially the deciding factor of which rune page to take on a champion. This is because the keystone is the most fundamental part of a rune page. It helps you play your champion to its fullest potential.
As mentioned above, the rune pages offer numerous choices to Gwen. To cover all of these alternative pages, the primary and secondary rune pages will be discussed in-depth, separately from each other.
As far as the primary rune page is concerned you really have only one realistic option. For the secondary page, however, you have much more to choose from.
Precision is your primary rune page. The “Conqueror” keystone synchronizes really well with Gwen’s kit. “Lethal Tempo” is also seen every now and then but it is extremely rare and not as effective as Conqueror.
“Presence of Mind” is the second rune you take from the page. You have to constantly use Snip Snip and Skip N Slash to play Gwen to its maximum power. This leads to a lot of mana consumption and you end up running low on mana. Presence of Mind deals with this issue effortlessly.
You also take the “Legend: Alacrity” rune as attack speed is highly beneficial for Gwen. The more attack speed you have the higher your DPS is. Moreover, Skip N Slash’s cooldown is also reduced by attacks you hit on enemies.
Lastly, “Last Stand” is taken to round off the rune page. This rune increases your damage as you get lower on health. Needless to say, it can be extremely useful not only in one-on-one situations but even more so in teamfights. The already high burst damage is amplified to even higher levels.
The most obvious choice for the secondary rune page is the Resolve page. First of all you take either the “Bone Plating” or the “Second Wind”. Bone Plating is more effective in melee matchups while Second Wind deals with the poke from ranged enemies. “Unflinching” is taken to finish the page.
The second option for the secondary page is the Inspiration page. The combination of “Biscuit Delivery” and “Magical Footwear” is far and wide the most popular choice of runes. The only other option commonly chosen by Gwen players is to go for “Cosmic Insight” instead of either of these runes.
Sorcery is another rune page that you can go for with “Transcendence” and “Gathering Storm”. Ability haste is instrumental for Gwen’s gameplay. You can spam your abilities more frequently the more haste you have. Gathering Storm just harmonizes really well with the champion’s innate scaling qualities.
Last but not least, is the Domination rune page as your secondary. In this rune page, you go for either the “Taste of Blood” or “Sudden Impact” with “Ultimate Hunter. Taste of Blood gives sustain for the lane while Sudden Impact gives magic penetration wherever you dash. Gwen dashes very frequently due to the constant usage of Skip N Slash.
Starting and Early Game Items
“Doran’s Ring” is your starting in all lanes where the additional ability power will be helpful. This can be either in the form of trading or getting preferable all-ins. “Doran’s Shield” is the more stable starting item that works in basically all situations. The Ring is primarily an offensive item to get an early advantage.
As far as early game items go, you can get early boots to help deal with the lane matchup. “Plated Steelcaps” is always effective in helping to deal with physical damage dealers. “Mercury Treads” do the same job against enemies that do magic damage.
According to the situation, there are some other early-game items that you can go for. “Oblivion Orb” is one of these items that helps reduce enemy healing. This is highly useful against bruiser champions since a lot of the bruisers do have self-healing capabilities that can make it hard to get good trades and kill threat on enemies.
Having said that, it can not be understated how useful an early game item the “Leeching Leer” is. You get health, ability power as well as sustain all in one item. To make it even better, the item comes naturally in Gwen’s build as part of her core item. Rushing towards the Leeching Leer is a sure-fire game plan.
The build path for Gwen is more or less set in stone. There is extremely little room for improvement upon the tried and tested items that are already being made on this champion. The only mythic item that compliments this champion’s kit and abilities is the “Riftmaker”.
“Nashor’s Tooth” is also a core item of the build. In some cases, you can even make the Nashor’s before Riftmaker. However, generally speaking, it is just better to go for Riftmaker as it is a better all-around item for laning and trading. Nashor’s Tooth is better off as the second item to give you the ability to go toe to toe in extended fights against most if not all bruisers.
The third item is the most flexible point of your build, as it usually is in most champion’s build paths. This item is made to cater to the game situation. The available options are “Cosmic Drive”, “Zhonya’s Hourglass”, “Rabadon’s Deathcap”, ”Void Staff” and in case you need the anti-heal “Morellonomicon”.
“Shadowflame” is also right up there with the rest of the item options. Essentially, for the last three items, the choice depends on the situation present in the game and what item you need. Deathcap, Cosmic Drive, Hourglass, Void Staff, and Shadowflame are the options out of which you need to choose your last three items.
There are an infinite number of top lane carry champs that you can choose to play. The problem is that most of those champions that are viable to play at top do physical damage. A champion that is both playable against the bruisers and can carry games, all the while doing magic damage is priceless.
That is why Gwen is such an important champion currently in the game. There are very few magic damage top laners that can boast of the same level of solidity in lane and impact on the game.