Garen Build Guide by xDarkxHorizonx

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 xDarkxHorizonx

Garen: All Up In My Kool-Aid

xDarkxHorizonx Last updated on July 31, 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: 9

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

Utility: 0

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Whoot! Introduction! Haha, all right, well, first things first, this is my first guide/build. I'd love some feedback, but only positive, please! This build is for the Champion Garen. I play as Garen a lot, and I've only ever seen him built as this tanky "I soak up damage but can't deal it out" sort of character. Yes, of course Garen is going to be somewhat tanky. But is that all he has to be? Of course not! Doesn't everyone like to feel naughty and defiant at some point? Yeah, admit it, we all do. So let's get down to business.

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[*] [*] As any good Summoner knows, it all starts pre-game. Now, a lot of my friends like to think that none of the Runes and Masteries help out, but trust me when I say "Screw those guys." They're wrong, and besides, who doesn't want to have every possible advantage over his/her opponent? Grabbing some high-tiered runes before a game can be a savior. Now, you want to pick your runes according to what kind of champ you play, and which type (Mark, Glyph, Seal, Quintessence) of rune will have the best boost for that particular stat. I like to use flat runes rather than per level runes, due to the boost in the laning phase of the match.

  • Greater Mark of Desolation - The reason I would use these instead of flat damage marks is because it seems like every champ starts out with a lower physical resistance. And cancelling out even a bit of that early game armor, can give you an edge.
  • Greater Seal of Fortitude - Maybe it's just me, but I think this one to be fairly obvious. The health boost can be quite a savior early game.
  • Greater Glyph of Focus - Since Garen is mana-free the cooldowns of these Glyphs are pretty friggin' legit. One of the most helpful parts of my runes in my opinion.
  • Greater Quintessence of Resiliance - For the sake of staying durable while you're slaying your foes. The boost in armor early-game is a must.
  • Alternate - Greater Quintessence of Vigor - A great stack to your passive. Pretty much makes you a lane beast.
    Yes, I know I say "early-game" a lot. But the earlier you get the edge, the better.

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Masteries, the passives that could be. <3 I go with a standard 21-9-0 setup. Setting them up offensively to boost up your powa! The upgraded exhaust is a MUST HAVE. If not for yourself, grab it to assist your team. Garen makes for a great offensive DPS champ, especially with his Judgement skill. And his Judgement skill gains additional power from his critical chance. So having the Deadliness mastery is a great booster. And any boost in attack power to help you take down those champs is a must have. Pick up a couple points in the Defensive Mastery Tree in the interest of remaining durable.

I know Garen benefits from those Defensive Masteries, so, in alternate, getting a 9-21-0 Mastery set up would be great. I just personally choose the 21-9-0

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My items are usually set up fairly offensively, with some boosts for armor. I'm not going to say ANY items are necessities... Okay, that's not true. I will, but most are just suggestions.

  • Regrowth Pendant - Waiting and saving that measly 10g to buy this item to stack on Garen's passive gives him amazing laning power. And it's helped me a lot, I recommend this as a starting item.
  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity - Maybe it's just me, but having a little bit of that added cooldown reduction will help you spam Judgement, tear down enemies.
  • Mercury Treads - Movement speed is great, but if you get slowed/stunned/feared or other such debuffs. The Tenacity boost in this item is a very good addition to your character.
  • Boots of Swiftness - I can't say that I use these as much as the other boots, but they are a great item for Garen, if you like to be able to run away, or more importantly, catch up and finish your kills.
  • The Brutalizer - As well as the obvious cooldown reduction, the added 25 attack damage is never a bad thing. And upgrading it into the Youmuu's Ghostblade is always a good idea if you buy this item.
  • B.F. Sword - I only buy this on my way to an Infinity Edge, just to have an attack damage boost while I rack up the gold necessary for the Infinity Edge.
  • Infinity Edge - the attack damage boost is the obvious kicker for this item, but the added Critical Chance will boost the amount of damage your Judgement skill does. Happy days.
  • Frozen Mallet - If I get this item, it's in the interest of durability and the passive buff of the item. Slowing your enemies down with regular attacks is never bad. It can be a great item for assistance of your team, or finishing your own kills.
  • Atma's Impaler - Just like Frozen Mallet, I get this for durability. Though the Frozen Mallet gives you some damage, the damage boost this gives you can be a hella great investment.
  • Thornmail/Force of Nature - Obviously for the armor/magic resist. Get the one you need depending on what champs the enemy team is comprised of.
  • Zeal/Phantom Dancer - I pick up Zeal and Phantom dancer for the attack speed boost, and the Critical Chance boost for my Judgement skill. Getting Zeal on your way to Phantom Dancer is a great way to tide over your needs.
  • Youmuu's Ghostblade - Upgrading your Brutalizer is a great investment, and the active ability of this item is invaluable.
  • Alternative - Warmog's Armor - Giving you more health, regen, and making the Atma's Impaler even more worth it. This is a great thing to get in place of the Phantom Dancer.
Selling your early game items can be a great way to get that little bit of extra gold. If you don't need an item at the moment, get rid of it.

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Skill Sequence

A lot of people I see playing Garen get Decisive Strike first, which isn't a bad thing. But since Judgement is your main source of damage, you'll want to level it up first, and max it as soon as possible. Grabbing a point in Demacian Justice whenever you can, just like all other champs. Get an early level in Courage just so you have that damage reduction active. I max out Decisive Strike second, and mostly use it to boost my speed to maintain optimal Judgement range. It's a good way to keep up with those speedy champs, even if only for a short time.
(The tree might be wrong, so, by reading this, you'll be able to determine which abilities to buy at which level, I'll make sure the tree is correct later.)

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Summoner Spells

I won't do a complete list for these, because I only use two spells, ALWAYS. You can use whatever you want. I just recommend Ignite and Exhaust. If you followed my pre-game build, you'll definitely want to grab Exhuast. It's speed reduction, and damage reduction can be invaluable when finishing enemy champs. Ignite I use for those moments where the enemy champ has only a sliver of health left, and he's getting away. It's helped me a lot. I've seen a lot of people use Flash and Ghost, but to be honest, I've never had to use them.

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I hope this helps you at least somewhat, of course, it is my first build so it will definitely be flawed. I'd love some positive feedback, and if you HAVE to be a jerk about it. Make sure you tell me what you think I did wrong. Here's my best. Good luck on the Field's Of Justice.
P.S. A heartfelt and enormous thank you to my friend Void Phaser for helping me with my builds, and my over League of Legends gameplay.