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How to Counter: Galio

By Eph2.8-9 - 17th December 2011 - 20:56 PM

Champion selection is a crucial factor in ranked games, whether solo/duo queue or premade 5v5. It not only provides a chance to synergize your team's champions and counterpick the opposing team, but allows you to begin with psychological pressure from the start. For the first installment of "How to Counter", we'll cover Galio, a team-dependent champion with both lots of counters and lots of champions he counters.

Countering Galio in lane

In lane, Galio is best countered by early-game AD burst champions with innate sustain, particularly those with instant gap-closers due to Galio's Resolute Smite. Champions who can shrug off his harass, then get to him and deal a lot of damage will do well against Galio. Champions that also have an on-next-hit stun can easily disrupt his ultimate, while spammable true damage will bypass the tremendous defensive steroid of Bulwark.

AD bruisers with high early-game burst, a haste or dash, and innate sustain like Renekton, Lee Sin, Irelia, Xin Zhao, Gangplank, Tryndamere, Blitzcrank and Garen will all give Galio headaches, particularly solo top where they can use the brush for concealment. Wukong and Pantheon can be successful as well, as their high early-game physical burst makes up for a lack of sustain. Out of those, Renekton, Blitzcrank, Wukong, and Garen have reliable on-hit CC they can use to disrupt Galio's ultimate.

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The next best counters are self-sustaining mages like Gragas, Nidalee, Karma, Cho'Gath, or Morgana. These champions can recover health and farm from range with impunity along with damage reduction of some kind (Drunken Rage, Black Shield) or just superior healing (Primal Surge, Heavenly Wave). Gragas in particular can use his ult to severely disrupt Galio's Idol of Durand in teamfights. Maokai might be a possibility, but since it would be hard for him to stop Galio from farming after a certain point and he doesn't scale as well or disrupt Galio in teamfights, he's not as great of a choice. Just be aware that it is unlikely these champions can shut down Galio's farming after a certain point.

In mid, some of those options might be less reliable without brush. Barring a champion that can soak harass and burst, your next best options are a champion that can match his ranged harass. Xerath, Lux or Caitlyn comes to mind for high-range champions. Be aware that on any squishy champion without sustain, starting with boots or lots of movement speed boosts from runes and masteries will be almost essential. Galio's Resolute Smite travels rather slowly, but it has a decent area of effect, does plenty of damage due to his free AP, and is on a short cooldown. Dodging Resolute Smite is half the battle to winning a lane against Galio.

Galio players tend to push with impunity, so a strong jungle ganker that can soak some damage like Lee Sin or Rammus also tends to be effective in shutting down his laning phase. Since Galio's base stats tend not to be as impressive while his scaling with both farm and levels is tremendous, forcing teamfights earlier is to your advantage. If teamfights don't start until Galio has Chalice, Mercury Treads, Aegis of the Legion, and Banshee's Veil, or a Rod of Ages, Mercury Treads, and a Needlessly Large Rod, Galio will bring lots of utility/survivability or damage to the teamfight depending on build.

Countering Galio in teamfights

On-hit CCs are your friend. For example, Udyr can keep Bear Stance up indefinitely and force Galio to think long and hard about using Idol of Durand.

Bear Baiting
Smart Galio players will wait for Udyr to hit them in Bear Stance and then activate Idol of Durand, or wait for Udyr to switch stances since Bear is not good for sustained damage.

Blitzcrank is also one of the hardest Galio counters in a teamfight, as Galio's Idol of Durand can be disrupted if Blitzcrank is in the radius (Power Fist) or outside (Static Field, Rocket Grab). Similar statements apply to Leona and Alistar, but neither of those champions would fare well in a solo lane against Galio. As she is against most AoE channel-dependent champions, Janna also proves effective if she can ult Galio to reset a teamfight after he blows Idol of Durand--a Quicksilver Sash can be very useful for that. Wukong's ultimate is also incredibly annoying for Galio, as its prolonged duration means Galio cannot reliably ult while Wukong has it active unless it has already struck Galio. Other options include Twisted Fate, Rammus, Garen, and Renekton.

Once tank Galio has blown his ultimate, ignore him unless he's very close to death. He's hard to chase, hard to kill, and doesn't bring that much CC or damage. If he's already blown Bulwark as well, definitely ignore him. Whether or not AP Galio should be ignored depends on how much AP he has and how easy he is to kill. Bulwark's availability is also key, since it heals Galio on a 0.9 AP ratio with full procs.

If you're fighting a Galio, do not rely on Banshee's Veil passive to protect you from Idol of Durand. Out of all the tanks, Galio has one of the easiest times removing its shield. A Quicksilver Sash is a far better option if you want to escape Idol of Durand. Mercury Treads are also a great option, allowing ranged champions and champions with blink/dash moves to escape the damage portion of Idol of Durand.


  • Galio is counterpicked by AD burst champs with mobility and sustain
  • If those are not available, choose a mage with high sustain or a very long-ranged champion
  • On-next-hit CCs or Janna/Gragas are effective at countering Galio in teamfights
  • After disrupting Idol of Durand, ignore Tank/Support Galio. Kill AP Galio if he has enough AP to pose a threat with his other spells and/or if Bulwark is down
Look out for future installments in the How to Counter series!