Build Guide by Kirluu

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Kirluu

DPS Garen - Mr. Silence 'N' Slash

Kirluu Last updated on June 7, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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What and Why?

Hey guys.

Now first of all, I don't want any downvotes on this untill you've tried out the build. Seriously: It works. Also, no downvoting because of things you see in the build before you have at least seen the reasoning behind it.

This is a DPS version of Garen, who is however otherwise mostly seen as a tank or at least an off-tank. In order to not be squishy I have after all also added a little bit of bulk and fat, however I focus on damage output for the most part.

Basically, this build is really something that can make you feel overpowered. The early game is hilarious - almost no matter who you face, you will cut them down in no time - especially once you have gotten hold of both Judgment and Decisive Strike - It makes a mean burst combo.
To put it completely clear, this build is all about the early game and mid game. If you get a good or just a decent early game, you can get a good mid game. If you get a good mid game you can get a decent late game. However, in a way, when using this build you generally want the battle to end soon. This is actually very easily accomplished from just getting fed. As soon as they see how much damage you actually deal, they'll have their fingers automatically spell out: "/surrender".

Please read on if you feel encouraged to do so =)

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--> 29/05/2011 - Created Guide.
--> 29/05/2011 - Created Math Reasoning for the Runes section.

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These Masteries are pretty standardly set for a physical DPS'er.

Firstly I spec full into the Offense Tree:
Critical Chance, Improved Exhaust, Attack Speed, CD Reduction, flat AD(Which is essential for this build), Critical Damage and finally overall damage.

I choose to put the last 9 in the Utility Tree:
Firstly the Improved Ghost, which give you some nice bonuses, and then the increased Health regen. (The mana regen doesn't apply to Garen - Too awesome) Now, in this case, this is just what I usually spec, and I do realize that a lot of people prefer the reduced time spent dead, and it is also a perfectly fine choice - I simply choose this above the other because of being able to stand around in the bush, taking advantage of my Passive, where this Mastery setup helps out a bit as well.
Next, I spec the Experience bonus just because the other one to choose from is really just useless(mana). As the final thing to spec, I choose the Greed Mastery, simply because you can't get enough gold. It's a small bonus, but hey: It makes it a tad easier to sometimes wait in the spawn for that last amount of gold you're missing for your B.F. Sword ;)

I want to note that it is also viable, if you prefer so, to choose to, instead of the Utility Tree, spec in the Defense Tree:
In this case I would suggest to still get the Improved Ghost Mastery from the Utility Tree, and then from the Defense Tree, I'd say that getting those 6 extra points in each defense is a very fair investment. For the last 2 points, there isn't really anything else to take, other than the Dodge Mastery, which I suppose would be a little bit of a waste.

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Greater Mark of Strength
Now, I can guess that a load of you might just be wondering why in the world anyone would get AD Runes, as many like to prefer Armor Penetration. My reply to ArP contra flat AD is as follows: In the case of having skills based on attack damage, with high ratios I think AD runes are completely worth it. These Marks really, really help you get very strong in the first few levels, which, as mentioned, is a key part of this build.

Greater Seal of Alacrity
Really these are quite good to have with you along with the Alacrity Mastery. They help a lot with landing the last few hits on champions that are trying to take you down while your cooldowns are up. Also, if an enemy happens to escape with just one basic hit worth of HP, you'll land the hit a little bit faster, in the case they are using Ghost or something of the alike to get away quickly.

Greater Glyphs of Focus
The cooldown reduction from these Glyphs do a really good job, allowing you to make faster decisions, and even while it might not be something you notice while playing it does indeed help you out a lot. It also helps you be able to harass or just scare off your opponents more often. As well as in the case of you just having slain one of your opponents on the lane, being able to go to the bush, and come back a little bit quicker than else.

Greater Quintessence of Strength
These are here for the same reason as the marks; to give you that amazingly, sometimes OP-looking Attack Damage at the first few levels. The Attack Damage that will surely blow your enemies' minds away. These work so well just because of the extremely lovable AD ratios on Garen's two spells: Judgment and Decisive Strike. Greater Quintessences of Desolation are also viable, even though it removes some of your burst early on, however penetrating 10 Armor can be useful as well.

Math Reasoning:

I've done some math, and here's the deal:
About changing the AD Quints for ArP Runes against a target of 30 Armor at level one with the damage from Judgment as an example:

DPS with AD Quints: 73,8 DPS w/ Judgment
DPS with ArP Quints: 71,25 DPS w/ Judgment

Keep in mind that this example is against a foe with 30 Armor. If you face enemies with less Armor than this at level 1, the difference in AD and ArP Quints' damage increases even more.
As you will want to focus the most squishy opponent you see at lvl 1, this is pretty solid evidence that AD Quints overgo ArP ones.

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Summoner Spells

Well, pretty basic Summoner Spells I suppose, however perhaps the reason they're so common is because they're just that effective? :')

Recommended by me:

This is one spell that really is awesome for our little Damage Dealer of Demacia. It simply is excellent at locking enemy Physical DPS'ers down with the damage reduction, however the slow is what's the most deadly part of it. While storming at the enemy, you can use Exhaust to catch up, and then bring doom upon them with Judgment. It can also be used to slow an enemy who is chasing you, in order for you to get away. I do however recommend using it mostly for offensive purposes.

This spell is kind of in the same genre as Exhaust, since they can both be used for both catching an opponent and for fleeing. If you see someone about to escape and if they have a bounty on their head(killing spree) and you really just don't want them to get away, Ghost can be used in combination with Decisive Strike to achieve SUPER-SPEED :'D It really gets you high speed, when also wearing your Boots of Swiftness. If I am not mistaken I believe this should bring you to a nice 578 movement speed for the duration that the speedboost from Decisive Strike is active.

Alternative Choices:

Flash might just be a decent spell for Garen as it lies in the same category as Exhaust and Ghost: Catch or Flee. However, when it comes to it, I, again, find that Ghost and Exhaust are way more useful. Flashing into a fight to get a kill is just gonna get you killed and focused down right away anyway.

Ignite is a fairly decent spell, however, to put it completely bluntly, you should leave Ignite for someone else. Your purpose is to track down and kill. Getting a kill means you do the actual last hit anyway. I find that Exhaust and Ghost are simply a lot more usefull on Garen.

This spell is also a decent choice, if you feel like wanting to be able to be more of an all map presence. If using this spell I'd like to, however, strongly suggest that your teammates in the other end of the map place a ward that you can teleport to, to make a really unexpected gank at some point. This can be really good, but always remember when it is a good idea to leave your lane and when it isn't. If you're being pushed and you're on lane with someone who can't defend the push, you should refrain from leaving the lane this way overall, as it will just have a negative effect in the end.
This spell is also good to give you a quick Recall-Teleport refreshment, quickly throwing you back into action.

Never Ever:

Sure, go ahead, if you feel like jungling, lol. Actually: Just don't do it.

You don't use mana, do you? If you do, there's something I've misunderstood...

Leave it for the supports. You're a damage dealer, and you don't have any skillshots, so there's no use to run around with this.

Hell no. Leave this one for... Umm... Just don't ever use it, lol.

Just don't... Doesn't really benefit you any. If you already died once, running back at full speed, won't hinder you from dying again anyway.

Leave it for the tanks. You want to kill. If you defend, it's to improve your minion farm.

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Skilling Sequence

E > Q > E > Q > E > R > E > Q > E > Q > R > Q > W > W > W > R > W > W

R > E > Q > W

This Skilling Sequence, as you can see, focuses on leveling Judgment as the first priority, until of course you have the chance of leveling your Ultimate; Demacian Justice. In between leveling Judgment I show here that you want to level your Q; Decisive Strike. The reason that I recommend completely skipping Courage, is the simple reason that the bonuses you get from each level when leveling Judgment and Decisive Strike are simply too important compared to what you get from Courage, which don't don't actually need, since you are a DPS, and not a Tank.

An alternative to the above Skilling Sequence is one where you bring in Courage early, and then leave it for the end to level it to max level. Choose this path if you for some reason can't bear that you only have 3 skills to operate with:

E > Q > E > W > E > R > E > Q > E > Q > R > Q > Q > W > W > R > W > W

This way you get Courage already in level 4, and can use it to reduce damage in the middle of a fight. If you choose to level this so early, remember to use it just before jumping someone, to reduce any incoming damage, as your opponent's laning partner will be likely to attack you. The reason I recommend the first Skilling Sequence in front of this one, is because the increased Speed Boost from Decisive Strike is really usefull to have just before gaining your ultimate. Especially since Courage doesn't have that great a use for you until Mid to Late Game.

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Item Purchase

Doran's Blade
This is a really strong early game item for DPS Garen. It gives you everything you need. It gives you a slight bit of survivability with the 100 HP, and it, most importantly, gives you that extra 10 Attack Damage which will really help your damage output and with all the Runes and the 3 extra AD from your Masteries, you should hit a nice bonus AD of 28 in level 1, leaving you with 89 AD at level 1, which is really, really good.

Boots of Speed
These are just really easy to buy early, if you get the first blood, or even if it isn't going to well. It has the obvious double effect of making it easier to catch the enemies, but also makes you be able to get away from a dangerous early encounter quickly.

B. F. Sword
Basically, you're enemies should have found out about your frighteningly high Attack Damage by now, however when you get this item so early they'll regret ever having booted up their PC to play this particular game of LoL.
Just to make a note of it: I do not recommend finished your boots before getting B.F. Sword as you want this extra high amount of AD as soon as possible. Note that if you aren't getting too many kills, you should focus on minion farm to be able to afford this lovely item.
Also note, that if you get this fairly early, it'll allow you to use Judgment to kill the enemy ranged minions as long as you are in contact with them all the time when using it.

Boots of Swiftness
This is when you're gonna blow their minds. The speed from these, along with the B.F. Swords are going to print the two letter "O" and "P" into the faces of your enemies. It really will make them hate their lives. I am not exaggerating - It really is, as long as you kill from the start, what's going to be happening in their minds.

The Bloodthirster
As soon as you have this guy with you is when you will start being able you really minion farm, which you will also want to do to build up your AD through the AD you get from farming with this item. This is also one of the items that, if you get it early enough will make the enemies say to eachother "Who the hell fed this guy?!", even if they can't blame them for being taken down by Mr. Silence 'N' Slash DPS Garen.

Giant's Belt
Time to get some bulk. Well, at least some "fat" to make you be able to soak up just a bit more damage. This will bring some good synergy to your character after investing in all that Attack Damage and Speed.

Warmog's Armor
Well. We like fat. :) Finishing this will make people really confused as you'll start off taking them down, but yet being rather squishy. This will make the enemy hate the world for making it possible to create Tanky DPS.

Chain Vest
Yay! More tanky stuff. Well, don't worry. This is the last part of tankiness we'll bring into this. This extra amount of Armor will make it extra easy to tower dive just that little bit to get the kill you're after. There's really nothing better than tower diving with no mercy, and walking away again unscathed.

Atma's Impaler
This is what we needed that Chain Vest for. Effectively, this item will grant us just around 60 extra Attack Damage, when at level 18 with the Warmog's Armor already purchased. You might just think: Heey, that ain't all that much, but you need to remember the Critical Chance and Armor that we get with us as well.
Why not Sunfire Cape?
The main reason that I choose to go with Warmog's Armor and Atma's Impaler instead of simply purchasing a Sunfire Cape, is that the Sunfire Cape has the sad effect of drawing towers' attention when you're trying to push. Since you'll have quite a lot of AD and in the end also a bit of Attack Speed to push really well, you don't want to have to tank tower because of enemies walking around you while you're trying to push a tower. Besides, The Warmog's and Atma's give a higher amount of stats as well as a bit of Crit Chance.

Phantom Dancer
Time for that Attack Speed that I promised you. At this point you're about as tanky as you need to be - at least considering the fact that you are a DPS, and not a tank.
Attack Speed is however, of course, not the only awesomeness of getting this item. While it does indeed at some extra DPS to your Auto-Attacks, it also, almost just as importantly, grants you improved Movement Speed, to make you even more speedy. This speed increase obviously also adds onto your other speed inceases. After getting this item, popping Decisive Strike and Ghost will make you abnormally fast, and basically only a very high distance, or a Flash towards a tower will save your enemies from your grasp.
Naturally, this improved speed will also help you get out of some of the stickier situations.
Finally you get a nice amount of Critical Strike Chance, which will work well with out next and final investment.

Infinity Edge
Now for the icing on the top of the cake. You should get the B.F. Sword as the first item for this, simply because anything else would be stupid. (You gain a lot more from B.F. Sword than you do from any of the other sub-items for Infinity Edge)
Once you have this item, you've hit a nice Critical Chance of 83 % as well as a Critical Damage of 260 % due to this item as well as the Critical Strike Damage Mastery.
This is about when you want to actually refrain from using the skill Judgment too much when hunting, simply because the critical hits will deal a lot more DPS than Judgment will do at this point. The skill can still be used to get squishies down quickly, but really, since you are also partly living from Life Steal from The Bloodthirster you want to rely more on your Auto-Attacks at this point in the game.

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Tips for playing DPS Garen

----> Before entering a match, mark out that you are playing as a DPS Garen, and NOT a Tank. This way your teammates at least know. Telling them in the middle of the game, or after Champion Selection is just going to lead to flaming.

--> Don't wait around in bushes too much. It'll ruin your farm.
--> Be active on farming, however without pushing too much - Only use Judgment on minions when you are being pushed back. (After getting an early B. F. Sword you should be able to take down the ranged enemy minions with one Judgment)
--> Whenever you see a chance for it, slip into the bush to try running out and silencing the enemy whereafter you spin after them untill you are forced to go back by tower, by CC or until you automatically stop spinning.
--> Always hit the enemy with Decisive Strike before popping Judgment. Not landing the Decisive Strike first removes the awesome burst that Decisive Strike and Judgment combined give you.
--> Don't play Hero of all things just because you're on a killing spree. Especially after getting The Bloodthirster try to avoid dying. Note that after getting Warmog's Armor you are allowed to act a bit more recklessly, while Atma's Impaler will lower the tower damage you take by just a bit.
--> PUSH. You don't want the game to drag out for too long. You become weaker and weaker for every step you take into Late Game. You want to have a positive score, stay away from dying, and Push when you have the chance. With your speed you should be able to go from lane to lane fairly quickly.

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Laning Phase

It's important to mark out right here, that the early game of this build is by far the most important. If you do not perform well, and at least get a few kills, you won't be doing much good later in the game. You want to keep strong through the entire progress of the game.

Lane Decision:
Firstly, make sure, that if the enemy has a jungler, you should avoid the top lane, as that's where the solo laner will usually be placed. You do not want to face a solo laner. It simply won't bring you any kills, unless you choose to gank mid every other minute.
If the enemy does not have a jungler, you don't need to care where you are headed - either side lane is fine.


You will want to start off with the Doran's Blade, giving you some HP(100), as well as increasing your attack damage even further than it already is. With all Runes and Masteries equipped correctly as well as having the Doran's Blade with you, you should have a bonus of 28 Attack Damage. This should give you a starting AD of 89, which as you can probably tell, is quite a lot.
This high amount of AD is what's going to help you hopefully get first blood.

Head off to your lane, hopefully WITH your lane partner (First Blood in the bushes can be hard to accomplish by yourself, and if your laning partner isn't with you, don't go to the bush at all), head to your own bush, and await for the enemy to enter your bush. If they don't, don't worry, be happy, you can get it later. However if the do show up, you want to pop Judgment as soon as they're within range, and then just hunt them right into their own bush. If two people enter, focus the most squishy-looking one.
After your Judgment wears off, use Exhaust on the most squishy opponent and focus them down to death with your teammate helping you out in whichever way the can. DPS'ers will DPS, supporters will support, etc.

If you didn't run into your enemy in the bushes and they took a more defensive stance from the start, simply wait around, making sure you get Experience, until you get to lvl 2. Also don't push until you have this. Then go to the bush, and await for a chance to jump at the most chance-opening one, and use Exhaust and Ghost if needed.

After attempting a gank, wait for your cooldowns, and all through the laning phase make sure to last hit as much as possible, which should by the way be fairly easy with the extra 28 Attack Damage you gain from the start. Make sure not to push too hard though, wait for your cooldowns when they are up, and look for any opportunities to rush into the bush, and attack them from there.

Always keep in mind that getting minion last hits is very essential for your purse.(Money)
Do not just wait around in the bush to leap towards the enemy. Be active on last-hitting, without pushing over the middle of the lane, and also make sure not to actually be pushed. If you feel pushed back, use Judgment to counter-push. Then wait for the cooldown to have another chance at attacking.

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Teamfights and Late Game

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to remember that you are not a Tank, but a Physical DPS. Do not act like a tank.
That means: Don't initiate, aside from catching enemies off-guard who are spacing out or something. Don't just jump at their carry as the first thing in a teamfight.

When someone from your team has initiated choose your victim by judging by both distance and killableness(New word of the day?) If their carry is very far away, but the most killable, do not choose their carry. If they have some sort of AP-user, then they are usually fairly easy to bring down, aside from people like Ryze, Kennen etc. who like to bring Armor with them.

Note that Late Game is important to not drag out for too long. While it is a sad fact, you want the game to end fairly quickly. Once you have Phantom Dancer You will be able to push very efficiently - DO IT. If there is a lane with an additional tower, or if your team magically enough hasn't taken down any towers yet - get to work. If you are losing while in Late Game, unless you have a well farmed / fed carry to lead your team through, you might very well have lost the game, since DPS Garen gets weaker and weaker for every step we take into the game.

As a final note: When you step into very Late Game and have aqquired Phantom Dancer your AA's now deal more damage than your spinning will do. This is basically mostly because of the critting that you'll be doing by now. However when enemies are grouped together, use Judgment and follow whoever is taking most damage, whereafter you want to crit them to death.

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Closing Statements

Thanks for reading along! ;)

I hope you can see what I did with this build. Try not to judge it on the whole needing to finish the game fairly quickly. It isn't all that bad.
I also hope that you will have as much fun and succes as I have had with it so far ^^

See you another time!


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Thanks to Searz for the nice guide format! You can find it here.