We all know Gnar as the tank top laner that shines in late game teamfights. But a few daring high-elo players have perfected the art of AP Gnar, a speedy on-hit playstyle that dominates the solo queue ladder.

And I’m here to give you all the information regarding the item build, the runes, and all the strategies that make AP Gnar a success.

So without any further ado, let’s dive deep into how AP Gnar works in League of Legends.

How Does AP Gnar Actually Work?

Abilities that Scale with AP

AP Gnar's W

The first question players usually ask when they hear of AP Gnar is which of his abilities actually scale with ability power. And if there are any, are the AP ratios even decent?

In fact, two of Gnar’s spells scale with AP. First, his W in mini Gnar, Hyper, makes it so Gnar’s auto-attacks apply stacks on his target.

And upon detonating the third stack, Gnar deals bonus magic damage that scales with the target’s maximum HP and 100% of his AP.

The beautiful thing here is that Gnar’s W in mini form doesn’t actually have a cooldown. In other words, if you keep auto-attacking your target you’ll also keep applying stacks and detonating them to deal unbelievable damage.

And that’s why attack speed is key.

On the other hand, Gnar’s ultimate, GNAR!, has an insanely high base physical damage but also a 100% AP ratio or a 150% AP ratio if Gnar smashes the target against a wall.

This is your big cooldown that can single-handedly win teamfights and assassinate squishy enemies.

Attack Speed Equals More Damage

AP Gnar Damage

Since Gnar’s W works the way I explained above, the genius move here is to build more attack speed and more on-hit magic effects. And despite this being an AP build, Gnar’s basic attacks are what we focus on.

So, with items such as Nashor’s Tooth and Wit’s End, we get lots of extra attack speed and bonus on-hit magic damage. They synergize with Gnar’s W passive and let us shred the health bars of our enemies in just a few seconds.

Because of these items, the playstyle of AP Gnar is similar to that of an ADC. Your main form is mini Gnar and you’re constantly looking to auto-attack from range.

You want to utilize your W passive as much as possible and kite enemies around with your E.

And when things get heated, it’s time for mega Gnar!

Read Also: AP Gangplank Build Guide

The Strength of Mega Gnar

AP Mega Gnar

If you read the guide this far, you might be asking yourself “What about mega Gnar?”. After all, mega Gnar is the better form of this champion.

Let me assure you, the base stats and damage numbers of mega Gnar are high enough to keep you relevant without even the need to build AD/tank items. 

When you’re in mega Gnar, your W no longer provides stacks and in its active form deals physical damage instead of magic damage. But the AD ratio is also 100% so the damage is always decent.

On top of this, with mega Gnar you actually get to use your ultimate, the most important ability with this AP build. Gnar’s R is what usually decides a fight.

And if you use it well (to knock enemies into a wall) the amount of damage you’ll do is honestly incredible. 

In the late game, Gnar’s ultimate can do over 1000 damage with only a few AP items in his inventory.

Read Also: AP Pantheon Build Guide

AP Gnar Build – Runes

AP Gnar rune page
  • Hail of Blades
  • Cheap Shot
  • Eyeball Collection
  • Ultimate Hunter
  • Legend: Alacrity
  • Coup de Grace

Your primary keystone for AP Gnar should be Hail of Blades. This is an underused rune in LoL but it definitely fits AP Gnar’s playstyle.

What Hail of Blades does is that it gives you bonus attack speed for the first 3 auto-attacks you do. In other words, each time you enter combat with an enemy champion, you’ll quickly burst them down with the passive of Gnar’s W. 

Cheap Shot is a useful rune for Gnar because he has lots of crowd control effects. The rune allows you to do extra damage to immobilized targets, so it’s an increase in damage overall.

With Eyeball Collection, you’ll be able to passively increase your AP during the early game. Each champion takedown will give you a stack and each stack grants a bonus AP. In total, this rune can give you 30 bonus AP.

Cooldown reduction is a critical stat for AP Gnar. Well, Ultimate Hunter is a rune that adds a bunch of ability haste as you keep scaling for the mid and late game. And allows you to be more efficient later on.

Legend: Alacrity is a must-have rune here because of the extra attack speed it gives. Like the rest of the Legend runes, Alacrity can be stacked through champion takedowns, slaying monsters, and even farming minions.

But the bonus attack speed it gives is permanent and not temporary.

Finally, Coup de Grace allows you to deal more damage to low-health enemy champions. And it’s great for securing kills throughout the game.

Keep in mind that you can also go for a Precision rune page for AP Gnar. You take Lethal Tempo as a keystone and have even more attack speed.

Read Also: Full AP Fiora Builde Guide

AP Gnar Build – Items

AP Gnar item build
  • Berserker’s Greaves
  • Everfrost
  • Nashor’s Tooth
  • Wit’s End
  • Guinsoo’s Rageblade
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap

I’d say that building Berserker’s Greaves early on is the most important thing you can do on AP Gnar. And because you’re maxing out your W, attack speed is much more needed for proccing the third stack over and over instead of simply more AP.

Your mythic item on AP Gnar should almost always be Everfrost. Despite the fact that it gives mana and Gnar doesn’t use one, it also grants cooldown reduction and bonus health.

However, the main reason we go for Everfrost is the active effect. The item allows you to freeze or slow enemies in front of you which allows you to damage with auto-attacks even more.

On top of this, you can easily fling enemies into a wall with Gnar’s ulti when they’re frozen, so always go for Everfrost.

Nashor’s Tooth is a core item for AP Gnar because of all the reasons I mentioned above. It perfectly synergizes with the passive portion of his W and allows you to abuse it for greater effects.

The same thing can be said for Wit’s End, an item that also grants more on-hit magic damage and attack speed.

It also provides you with extra magic resist which is super useful if you’re up against AP top laners or you’re playing AP Gnar in the mid lane.

The next item I like to take is Guinsoo’s Rageblade. It’s most commonly used on AD carries but it has a really useful passive effect.

The item allows every third auto-attack you do to apply your on-hit effects twice. So you can probably guess how powerful this is on AP Gnar.

And lastly, I go for Rabadon’s Deathcap simply because it’s the most powerful ability power item in the game. As I already mentioned, Gnar’s AP ratios are 100% so having more AP is always a good thing.

Read Also: AP Rengar Build Guide

Situational and Optional Items

Since AP Gnar is such an off-meta mid lane pick, there are lots of optional items you can go for.

For mythics, you can even go for Night Harvester for a bigger burst and Riftmaker for more sustain and self-healing.

Runaan’s Hurricane is another attack speed item that will convert your basic attacks into AoE attacks.

And for defensive items, Zhonya’s Hourglass, Banshee’s Veil, and Death’s Dance are all useful purchases.

Ability Order and Summoner’s Spells

As you can probably guess, the first ability we max out here is Gnar’s W. This is followed by his Q and then his E.

Here’s the entire maxing order for AP Gnar:


As for Summoner’s Spells, the best combination is Flash + Ghost. You can sometimes swap Ghost for Ignite or Teleport, depending on the enemy you’re up against.

Read Also: AP Shen Build Guide


Even though AP Gnar has been a playstyle for some years now, the guy that popularized it is HappyChimeNoises with his YouTube video of the best AP Gnar player from South Korea.

The AP Gnar main managed to climb to master using the build I showcased above, so it’s definitely a powerful build to play. And I hope you find similar success with it!

Last Update: March 2, 2024