@Riot: Why would I ever play Garen... when I can play Riven?

  • NOTE: This is just my opinion -- feel free to refute it if you want. I'm interested to see what other people have to say about my analysis.

    Right now in the forums there's a lot of hubbub going on about the changes to Garen's abilities.

    Most people compare Garen to Darius, but I think a more apt example is actually Riven since they're both manaless and normally played top bruiser style.

    Now I really don't see why I'd ever use Garen at all when he's essentially outclassed by Riven in every way. Riven has a somewhat higher skill curve, but you are rewarded far more for learning how to play her.

    She has much more mobility, two different forms of CC, tonnes of damage, a low cooldown dash shield that scales with her main stat, AD, and an execution ult that

    A) gives her a lot of bonus AD, and makes ALL HER OTHER SKILLS + HER AUTO ATTACK BETTER FOR 15 Seconds.

    B) Physical Ult with actual scaling from stats she actually viably builds (AD and Arm. Pen vs Garen and... wut?)

    C) a conal AoE execute on a cooldown that at level 1 is shorter than Garen's level 3 new, 'shortened' cooldown. Riven's LV 1 Ult = 75 Seconds, Garen's LV 3 Ult = 80 Seconds. At Level 3, Riven's Ult CD is 45 seconds. Even with max CDR, Garen's new Ult cooldown at level 3 is 48 Seconds.

    You might say, OH! But Garen's W gives him damage reduction and a tenacity bonus!

    But no one needs to worry about focusing him down at all. He offers no real threat late game and can be ignored in favour of taking down the carries. Other tanks have CC-based initiation or some sort of insane survivability (Mundo, Alistar, Nautilus, Malphite) which means that they can't really be ignored.

    Riven comes equipped with a short stun and a knock up which synergizes with her passive, and is harder to kite than Garen.

    What does Garen realistically, usefully offer that is better than Riven in any way? If, for example, he is facing a Riven top, she will harass him to oblivion now with his nerfed passive that was already hard to keep up in the first place. He is tanky, but doesn't do anything with that tankiness. His Ult has no real scaling and has a long cooldown even after being 'shortened.'

    I'm not trying to complain, just putting these two champs back to back seems to reveal some... interesting issues in my opinion. I'm hoping that a Red can come in and offer their insight on this matter.
  • I've mentioned this in passing in other threads but I'll simply say that, yes, I agree that Riven's ultimate cooldown has no business being that short and that melee kitability is a problem most characters should face and itemize against.

    I've said in numerous other threads how I'm displeased with Riven's current state and would like to change her early game dominance. There was even a Garen thread in which I specifically said what my thoughts were on manaless fighters in which I directly said manaless fighters shouldn't have low CD ults early on and that it was a core problem on Riven that her's was.

    However - understand what I do - I don't do live balance. I'm working on itemization and content development. If I think something is overpowered - that doesn't mean that I get to jump in and change it - it's not the discretionary call of one person.

    The counterplay and gameplay of top-lane is something that's on my radar - However, it's not something a single champion change can fix. You cannot keep making stuff "fit" in the current top-lane because what exists in the current top-lane is almost all poison. When you do so, bad things happen. The current power level of Darius is almost directly caused by how strong all the top-laners are and how snowbally that lane has become.
  • Quote:
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> Thanx for the response Xyphereous. I didn't think Riot had the heart to admit that they derped with Riven. </td></tr></table>
    Actually now that I think about it - this is simply cyclical. Riven's power level is also a direct cause of how ridiculous top lane was at the time and what you had to be to be viable in it. She had to be able to compete with pre-nerfed Irelia in terms of damage and sustain and so her early game had to basically overpower a ridiculous amount of passive sustain.

    Essentially, it illustrates the point quite clear - top lane early game is pretty swingy right now - It's probably one of the worst lanes to balance a character into. :x
  • Quote:
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> As for the Garen changes, are you planning on adding at least a second to his Q for the movement speed buff? I've played Garen in the PBE and I feel like he's in a good spot but he could use a small buff on the duration of his Q. Right now, he's just so easily kited especially against most common top lane champions than can blink/dive/jump away. </td></tr></table>
    I know that at max Q rank, he gets 4.5 seconds of movement speed compared to his live's iteration of 4 - I know it isn't much overall - However, his Q cooldown is flattened to 8 instead of 12 - so you should be able to Q much more on response in a lot of cases.

    In short, we're looking at how the lowered early CD might open up new opportunities for him in lane.
  • Quote:
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> So what you're saying is..................better nerf Irelia...sooner? :x </td></tr></table>
    Hahaha. I mean, if top lane had been in a better spot sooner - a lot of the characters released to be dedicated top laners would've have had to be so powerful to match - as it stands, the isolation and swinginess of top lane really make it a difficult job to make character archetypes that fit in it without creating monsters.
  • Quote:
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> that should be on his w and vice versa his cc reduction should be on his q, because he wants to have it up as soon as he engages. </td></tr></table>
    Putting the slow cleanse on Garen's longest cooldown ability might not be the best course of action - the ability that has 3 times the cooldown of his other abilities, might lead to Garen being kited.

    I've said repeatedly that this is the change I'm most worried about and that I want to track the most heavily.

    Honestly, if the slow cleanse doesn't work on his 'Q' - shifting it back onto his 'E' is the better call here. Moving his slow break onto a 24 second ability from an 8 or 9 second cooldown ability is asking for Garen to be kited repeatedly without recourse.

    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> Xypherous, im really confused when you say that top lane is all poison, and that its so snowbally. What makes it that? Why is it that way? </td></tr></table>
    There's a couple of reasons - some of which are definitely on our radar.

    1. GP/10 items - specifically HoG / Philosopher's Stone

    This makes an early advantage become a solid mid/late advantage.

    2. The relative worth of a kill and early experience denial in a solo lane

    Top lane has the weird case of - not only is it hard for most characters to farm in top lane - but if you happen to lose the lane - pushing the wave will cause a huge amount of net experience loss. Because it's a relatively unsafe lane, this tends to mean that early losses tend to cascade out much more than the other lanes.

    3. Relative isolation early game - fewer turnarounds from champion assistance.

    You just don't have as many people helping you out - because there's less reason for people to enter that zone *to* help you out.

    4. The 'expected' power level of the characters who already do well there.

    This is more of a champion-specific thing but basically, let's take.. I don't know. Yorick. If Yorick is the expected power level for top lane, almost every other champion has to be that powerful to match - because Yorick should be a "fair fight" if he's a top-laner and I'm a top-laner.

    This leads inevitably to a whole ton of characters whose only strength is early game because they've thrown away their late game to compensate which exacerbates a lot of the above issues. When you have a ton of characters fighting for 'I'm good early game and I pay for it with weaker late games' you create more and more swinginess in this lane.
  • Quote:
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> and please please think of removing that 20% slow. its already enough, that opponents will be able to dash/flash/trollpool/jump/etc. out of range after 1.5 seconds, before he even did a lot of damage with judgement now. </td></tr></table>
    The 20% slow is only a minion-only thing, not a champion thing - although we should probably clarify the tooltip, now that I think about it.

    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> i can see the argument with his cooldown, but please envision the situation of a normal engage. </td></tr></table>
    I know the situation. However, we started tests with 'W' as the slow break initially. It led to Garen being kited worse due to the lower uptime.
  • Quote:
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;">
    When you talk about the power creep situation, what do you think is the best way to deal with this? Personally, I do not see the rationale in giving Garen a sword for what is essentially a gunfight in top lane, if you get that analogy. The power creep has already happened, and it would take far more time to bring every champion back down into whatever the team has currently decided to do to Garen. Instead, buffing Garen up to viability in this top lane scenario seems more feasible. That's just me though. </td></tr></table>
    Oh you. Stop being sly.

    No - top lane cannot remain like this. You cannot keep piling on poison on top of poison for short term guaranteed viability. If the power creep has already happened and top-lane is poison - you *cannot* keep justifying releasing more poison into top-lane to argue that 'hey, that's what the game is like.'

    Top-lane cannot be an endless spree of characters who are geared around stomping out the opposing character early game and leaving it at that - That's not sustainable - nor is it actual gameplay.
  • Quote:
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;"> Here is another thing you could clarify. How does Garen's judgment crit scales? There is no explanation right now on how it works mathematically. </td></tr></table>
    Garen's judgment crit scales the same way it's always crit scaled since release.

    You get critical strike off the ratio, not the base at whatever critical multiplier Judgment had before.
  • Quote:
    <table cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" width="100%"> <tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset; padding:10px;">
    The other issue revolves around the sacrifice of his early game for a better late game. Are the big nerfs to his early game worth it to make his late game... mediocre? As well, as a result of his heavily nerfed early game, his late game is now much harder to get to in one piece. In my first post I believe I talk about this -- as a Garen in late game, you don't really do anything significant for the role that's been prescribed to you compared to other tanks if you build that way. You have a nice tenacity boost, but you're easily kited, if you build tanky you do little damage, and you have little CC to make much of a difference. If you go glass cannon, then you're going to get blown up. </td></tr></table>
    Well, a couple things on that note:

    When you say "big nerfs to his early game" - it's actually a relative mixed bag - For example, let's look at the kit -

    Passive -
    Negatives: Longer startup time.
    Positives: No longer breaks on minion damage.

    4 less damage at level 1.
    1 second less of silence.
    Only 1.5 seconds from 4 seconds.

    8 second cooldown at all ranks
    Tracks the target when they're fleeing.
    35% movement speed from 15%
    10 more damage per rank.

    So - Yes, it's kind of nerfed but it's also kind of good - I mean, the uptime early game went from 12 to 8.

    Let's take 'W' - which is probably the clearer example of early nerfs


    2 second duration down from 3
    No longer gets 25 free armor and magic resistance at 50 CS.

    Immediately gain 20% armor and magic resistance on the first point, making pointing it more flexible.
    30% DR from 20% DR.
    24 second cooldown from 30 second cooldown.

    So yes - this was much more a nerf, assuming you're winning the lane - however, they are still significant upsides.


    No longer scales as well from stacking a bunch of flat damage.

    Only requires 2.5 seconds to do the full damage.
    Higher base damage at every level.

    So, with a flat AD build, you're doing less damage - but with a flat Pen build, you're doing more damage - you might have to switch up your runes/build paths.


    20 second increased CD.

    Yeah, okay - this is a nerf.

    So.. I'm unconvinced that these are "big" nerfs overall to his early game but we'll see and adjust numbers accordingly if they do turn out to be - In the grand scheme of things, it's probably somewhat of a nerf to his early game - just due to the increased counterplay that opponents have against him (E/Q/Passive) which will make stomping much harder.

    At the same time - his late game gains are:

    Judgment has 90 total more base damage.
    Q has 30 more total base damage.
    Q critically strikes
    Judgment gets essentially doubled the previous benefit from critical strike.
    20 second lower ult CD
    20% Armor/Magic Resistance over 25 flat (Breakeven at 125 - GA/Merc Threads will get you there)
    6 seconds of 30% DR shield / Tenacity.

    Now - I'm heavily concerned about how the slow break will function overall in the new kit, so we're going to track that but I think he's gotten a lot of end-game boosts to help him deal with situations.