Garen Build Guide by CommX

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

League of Legends Build Guide Author CommX

Bringing Justice - Garen's Cheat Sheet

CommX Last updated on March 6, 2013
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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Welcome to my guide for the AD Bruiser character Garen - The Might of Demacia.

All of my guides are written as cheat sheets, meaning they are short, concise, and focus on general tips and rationales. This is not an in-depth guide and is geared toward an already experience player who wants to quickly learn about a champion they may not be too familiar with.

This guide includes builds and strategies for this champion and assumes you are familiar with the basics concepts of the game.

My build focuses on early tankiness, while improving damage output in Late-Game to become an Anti-Carry Tank.

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Champion Spotlight

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Pros & Cons


Strong Farmer
Very Fast
Strong Harrass
Ultimate Kills Anyone Under 25% HP
Passive Regenerates Large Amounts of HP
Can Break Slows


Lack of CC
Lacks True Escape
Easily Poked
Passive Can Be Denied
Falls Off Late-Game
Ultimate Difficult to Master

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This Mastery build is considered a standard 9/21/0 page for a physical tank.

With Garen, I like to augment HP as much as possible and take Tenacious with Unyielding / Block to stack with my Doran's Shield starting item to reduce his poke vulnerability.

If you use Exhaust or Ignite you'll want to get Summoner's Wrath and if not put that point into Fury .

My overall plan with my mastery page is to reduce the incoming poke damage which is our biggest vulnerability. In my opinion, a few extra points of AD are not worth as much as these defensive augmentations.

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Attack Damage

  • Provide DPS advantage, particularly early.
  • Improve farming efficiency.
  • Large increase to poke damage.
  • Available as Marks, Quintessences.

Armor Penetration

  • Shreds starting armor, improving early game damage.
  • Useful vs. enemies who build armor or use armor runes.
  • Most useful late-game rune you can have.
  • Available as Marks, Quintessences.



  • Reduces enemy poke damage.
  • Reduces enemy AD-Based Jungler damage.
  • Allows you to stay in lane longer.
  • Flat runes recommended over per level since most useful early-game.
  • Available as Marks, Quintessences, Glyphs, and Seals.

Magic Resistance

  • Reduces enemy APC damage in team fights.
  • Reduces enemy AP-Based Jungler damage.
  • Recommended over flat runes because more useful late-game.
  • Available as Marks, Quintessences, Glyphs, and Seals.


  • Increases ability to stay in lane.
  • Increases survivability.
  • Large Level 1 advantage.
  • Available as Marks, Quintessences, Glyphs, and Seals.


Movement Speed

  • Increases ability to avoid poke damage.
  • Allows for faster response time.
  • Increases escape chance.
  • Available as Quintessences.

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Summoner Spells



  • Versatile Spell, can be used for offense or defense.
  • Best when conserved for an escape.
  • Can be used to move between terrain obstacles.
  • Does NOT cancel incoming projectiles.


  • True damage-over-time provides large damage boost.
  • Reduces incoming heals for duration, counters Heal.
  • Best if applied before enemy decides to escape.
  • Grants very strong Early-Game DPS advantage.



  • Allows for quickly returning to lane if you need to RTB.
  • Allows for fast back-door tower/inhibitor destruction.
  • Can be used on to wards.
  • Can be used to gank other lanes, particularly useful if used on brush wards for surprise element.


  • Increases lane endurance.
  • Can be used to bait enemies into a losing fight.
  • Increases escape chance if conserved for that purpose.


  • Massive reduction to enemy damage output.
  • Also reduces enemy movement speed, allowing easier chase or escape.
  • Can be used to bait enemies into a losing fight.
  • Highly useful in Late-Game.

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  • When this passive is active, your champion glows green.
  • This passive is more effective with higher HP, low Early-Game effectiveness.
  • Can provide early sustain negating the necessity of buying Health Potions.
  • This effect will be interrupted if you receive damage from champions or towers.
  • Minions do not interrupt this ability.
  • Use brush or positioning to prevent enemy champions from poking you so this ability will not interupt.

Decisive Strike

  • Initiation and escape ability.
  • Hits very hard early.
  • Makes sound and sword will glow when activated, which warns the enemy.
  • Best if used to initiate before activating Judgment.
  • Breaks all slows but has no effect on future slows after cast.
  • Silence can be used to cancel channels or stop enemies from using combos.
  • Silence can ensure your Judgment is used to full effect.


  • Best if conserved until you are being focused.
  • Useful to hinder burst damage, particularly if ganked.
  • Passive only scales off bonus armor/magic resistance, so less effective early.
  • Cast when diving carries in teamfights to maximize survival chance.


  • Primary DPS ability.
  • AoE damage ability.
  • Ignores minion collision, however penalizes movement speed for doing so.
  • Provides very large damage output level 5-9.
  • Can be used to farm entire minion waves at once.
  • Less effective vs. non champions.
  • Can critically strike.

Demacian Justice

  • Only targets champions.
  • High damage will kill most champions below 25% health.
  • Damage scales with lower enemy health.
  • Only use against low health champions as a finisher.
  • High CD, conserve use to only when kill assured.
  • Single use, attempt to use highest value target (i.e. ADC/APC)
  • Combo with Q-E-Ignite will kill most champions below 40% HP.

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  • Provides HP, HP Regen, Armor, and Damage Reduction from champions.
  • Syncs with defense tree masteries to significantly reduce poke damage.
  • HP Regen syncs with passive to keep you in the lane.

Early Game


  • Frozen Mallet builds out of Phage and increases passive chance to 100%, also provides massive HP boost.
  • The Black Cleaver gives Cooldown Reduction, HP, AD, but most importantly, armor penetration. Garen is countered by armor, this item will help alleviate that problem.
  • Enchantment: Homeguard allows you to return from healing much faster and can make defending your base or catching over-extended enemies easier.

Late Game

  • Mercury's Treads, at some point before Late-Game, you should sell Ninja Tabi for this unless the enemy is a very high AD-Comp.
  • Atma's Impaler will prove AD, bonus crit chance, and armor for a low cost. The AD bonus scales with HP which is why we get the item later.
  • Guardian Angel will give you increased armor/magic resistance which will beef your general tankiness and stack with Courage. The passive revive, combined with high HP, will make you a very large threat to enemy carries as well.
  • Infinity Edge should replace your Sunfire Cape in the very Late-Game.


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Counters to Garen

  • Weak vs. Ranged poke/harrass.
  • Weak vs. escape.
  • Depends on passive to regenerate which can be denied by poke.
  • Depends on sustained damage from Judgment to harrass, escape mechanisms can counter this.

Counters for Garen

  • Strong vs. melee champions.
  • Strong vs. short range casters.
  • High damage burst skills wreck low HP champions.
  • Decisive Strike removes slow, making him strong vs soft-cc.

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Closing Comments / Change Log

Any comments, suggestions, or mistakes I made that you find I will appreciate reading and thanks for taking the time to read my guide!

Version 1.0 posted.