Garen Build Guide by Die with Honor
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.
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.
Threats to Garen with this build
|Jax||This is what I would consider Jax's hard counter. His counterstrike doesn't dodge your Decisive strike, and you will always outtrade in minions because of Judgement.|
Garen: The Former Might of Demacia.
Garen is one of the most iconic League of Legends champions for a good reason, he looks baller and his kit is very unique. He has one purpose: charge the battlefield and slaughter anyone who dares oppose him. There is an issue that crushes his viability in League's current state.
Champions are being created with more viability than their predecessors, which kills Garen's ability to run right at them and kill them.
This is bad for Garen. He has been outdated for a while, and so we must compensate for that. Your biggest weakness as garen is your inability to stop kiting, and you will sometimes run at someone for a long time looking for a kill with no results. This is where the playstyle change comes in.
What does Garen do well vs What he sucks at
If you were to determine what the standard "Fighter" was in LoL, Garen would be the definition. He has tankiness built into his kit in 2 forms, his passive and his 2nd skill, Courage.
Perseverance: Garen will regenerate lost health over time so long as he avoids taking damage. As the game progresses he will regenerate more quickly as well as regenerating despite taking certain forms of damage.
This is one of the most gimmicky things about Garen. In lane you have to constantly damage him or he gets free regen based on percentage health. This is good as it not only encourages tankiness, but also punishes poor laners. If given a lead this will assist you in keeping and further pushing that lead, as well as helping in the late game during extended sieges, where you can regen poke damage at a ridiculous rate.
Decisive Strike: A modified auto attack that will silence the target for a moderate duration, coupled with the removal of all slows and a movement speed boost.
Garen's job is to charge into battle, and this is his charge. You remove slows on cast, which is good and bad, as it's tricky to optimally use in some situations. The argument of whether to use it for initiation or to counter a slow is what separates good Garens from Great Garens. This is a very visible sign to your enemies to run like hell, and makes your intentions clear. Should this connect the silence is deadly enough to almost always lead to a favorable trade or a kill.
As far as initiation, one of the most common uses for it that I find is coupling this spell with Flash. What this does is not only deter your opponent's ability to react to your engage but also guarantees the silence lands where it needs to. Flashing onto a marksman or a mage will ensure they have to wait the full silence to use their spells or escapes, making a kill very feasable. It also prevents kiting for a time at the expense of your slow removal, so it's still not 100% optimal sometimes. This is also a good way to set up a gank for a CC jungler like Panth or Vi, as the opponent won't be able to flash until it's too late.
Courage: Garen's bonus MR and Armor are boosted by 20% passively. In addition you can activate the ability to reduce all damage by 30% and give 30% cc reduction.
Garen doesn't stop for anything, and he shrugs off damage. This is part of his role on the front line. This also makes buying merc treads an option, as 30% CC reduc is good enough if used well that you can instead roll with Swiftness boots, making you harder to kite. It also makes all tank items extremely valuable, as the HP will boost your passive's strength while the armor/mr will boost Courage's passive's strength. Garen can become tanky extremely quickly with fewer tank items than other tanks.
Jugement: Spin while moving, dealing AoE damage that can crit.
This is what makes Garen iconic. The Spin. The benefits of the spin are numerous, but it has rules to it. Firstly, it does reduced damage to minions and monsters, which makes Garen jungle "balanced" and also prevents you from pushing waves so hard the enemy can't react. Secondly, you move slower when spinning through units, so be wary of your speed in comparison both while spinning and while not so you can judge when the time to spin is right. Thirdly it can crit, which makes troll builds like IE/Shiv/ghostblade hilarious. While this is your main damage ability you shouldn't try to build around it, the base damage is already incredibly high and to do his job Garen doesn't need to build a ton of damage items. Some builds even build full tank, but that's dumb so we're not gonna do that.
Demacian Justice: Summon a screen shattering light sword of doom from space to smite your foe, dealing high damage with execute damage for missing % HP.
The Killstealer's dream. A targeted execute that is impossible to ignore, graphically or audibly. This is how Garen can so easily snowball a lead and gib carries. The whole goal of this is to quickly execute key members of the enemy team so you can easily win teamfights, or to effectively win duels against opponents. This ability has two drawbacks however. The cooldown is ridiculous at all ranks, especially rank 1. You have to use it when it matters, and sometimes you might need it when it's on cooldown, making playing around Garen easier. Secondly LoS is a huge issue for this spell. An opponent can flash out during the channel's completion and make you miss completely, or brush juke during the channel which will interrupt the cast. This is a huge issue that should have been fixed in any of the last 4 seasons but it hasn't, and we must cope with it. Just bring a ward or 2 and you should be fine.
Don't use this to steal kills from carries or use it to finish an opponent with 1 hp. Garen isn't a douche, and you shouldn't be either.
What's with that build? Trinity Force? Really?
The build is used to compensate for Garen's inability to resist kiting. The items you build will make you a bigger threat by not only making you stronger but also making it harder to mechanically deal with you.
Ghostblade as a 1st item provides TONS OF DAMAGE while also making you harder to kite.
Phage early has a special purpose, something I like to call "speed spinning."
Phage grants movespeed at a chance on hit OR when a unit is killed. This means if you spin through minions and one of them dies you will compensate yourself for the loss of MS from spinning through minions. This makes you harder to kite.
As for the other Trinity Force components, sheen works well with Decisive strike, making it hurt like hell and zeal not only gives MS but also gives a higher crit chance on your Judgement. TONS OF DAMAGE.
Sunfire is a good rush against anything AD, and is good to build when you're behind. It's got decent stats for a good price and Courage's passive will make you a bit tankier than other tanks would be at that stage.
Randuin's is bar none the best tank item in the game. It has the best value for tank stats and gives you a slow based on combined Armor and MR, both of which get boosted from Courage's passive. It also makes it hard for marksmen to kite you. It's a no brainer.
Banshee's is god tier against teams with single target CC. It can cause panic to someone like Blitz who has to consciously decide whether to waste a hook on you or let you run into his backline to go for your carries. It's got insane power.
I already explained boots of switfness. Your speed is important, and with MS quints these boots are value.
I love Garen, he was my 1st champ I ever played, bought, owned a skin for, etc. We go way back. Unfortunately hes not even close to top tier for ranked. If you are determined to use him however, spend lots of time learning matchups because if you fall behind you will probably lose. Garen is mostly about gaining an early lead with kills on your lane opponent and then grouping for teamfights. He splitpushes well but is better suited crushing carries in teamfights.
Don't run TP on Garen. Don't do it. Ignite will better serve your lane, which is the base of your entire game plan.
Don't run ghost, people will still kite you. It's much harder to kite flash since it is instant. It would also be redundant, as the majority of this guide is built around reducing your kitability already. Just run flash.
Ward the enemy jungle. The easiest ways to not get wrecked in lane are to know when you can 1v1 and when you can't. Getting crushed by the enemy jungler takes your lead and throws it away, potentially making more than your lane lose. You can also cheese the enemy by shoving lane and proxying or even taking the enemy buffs. Roaming is also a decent option, especially with a mid like Syndra who can set up a gank.
Know when to group. If your lane is the only one winning you need to figure out a way to give that lead to your team. GAREN DOES NOT SOLO CARRY, HE LEADS THE CHARGE. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. Your team is your life and if you fail your team you fail yourself.
Try not to peel, Garen has no hard CC and peeling is hard without it. Instead try to kill as many carries as you can. Using flash and Decisive strike together makes kills easy, and you should be able to kill a silenced carry even without a huge lead.
Finally, don't think you can't win if you're behind. Garen's scaling has been improved over the years and he's not as bad as he used to be in the lategame. He's no Ryze, but he can do the job if played well.
Why should I play Garen at all?
Honestly, he sucks right now compared to his former glory. He will no doubt be reworked in the next year or so, and Riot will make things better (hopefully).
All this being said, I love Garen. He's my favorite champ and always will be. I couldn't reach diamond playing Garen, I had to resort to other picks, but every now and then I'll bust him out and remember why I fell in love with him back in early S1.
LoL at its core is about fun. Garen is my definition of fun. Play who you love to play, and remember not to feed, rather you should Die with Honor.
Im sorry that joke was lame.
As for my Credentials, I've played something like a billion Garen games since I started playing, not many of them ranked (only 79), and I am a S4 Diamond 3-4 solo lane/jungler who owns every Garen skin (Garude Sandstorm is the best skin.)