Welcome to your quintessential guide on Garen, The Might of Demacia. As a top lane Tank/Fighter, he is a formidable champion to pick Top Lane if you are looking to climb the ranked ladder and have fun while doing it. A couple of side notes real quick, use this guide along with my YouTube video on playing Garen to supplement your learning of this champion, and also remember that this is only to provide information about this champion. It will be up to you as the player to learn how to play this correctly. So lets get started.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiQRRqG0DGI - Season 7 Guide (Current)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyfNAHexvc0 - Season 6 Guide (Old)
First thing is first, your build.
- Your job is to get on top of the enemy team, you will have enough tank from other items, so you'll need the movement speed and slow resist from Boots of Swiftness.
- Sunfire Cape is your primary armor source. Then Dead Man's Plate if the situation calls for it.
- Magic Resist
- Spirit Visage Every game. Cool down, health, MR, and boosted health regen. Maw of Malmortius For AD CDR and MR after your core.
- The Black Cleaver and Maw of Malmortius. AD MR HP and CDR are all nessassary on Garen in virtually every situation.
- These items are situational and are used if the game calls for something other then a Deadman's Plate.
- Randuin's Omen if your against a heavy crit ADC.
- Guardian Angel if team fights are going even late game.
- Thornmail if you need return damage against AD heavy teams.
- Against AD Top
- Rush Bami's Cinder, followed by Boots of Swiftness, then The Black Cleaver followed by Sunfire Cape.
- Against AP TOP
- Rush Bami's Cinder, Followed by Boots of Swiftness, then Spirit Visage. Sit on Bami's Cinder and build The Black Cleaver. Then finish Sunfire Cape.
- The ladder 2 scenario's are for the laning phase. Finish your 4th and 5th items from the build I provided, then for your 6th item determine what the situation is, then build one of the situational items I recommended.
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
I want to explain Runes and skip the mastery, as that is self explanatory in the note I left for it. For Garen its 9 flat armor seals for early game durability, 9 Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs for dealing with late game mages. 9 Flat AD Marks and 3 Flat AD Quintessences for damage. You can run Armor reds, HP per level yellows as well but that's up to you.
I'll be as straight forward as possible. Start Decisive Strike for last hitting minions, speed Boost, and Gap closing early. Then Max Judgment by Lvl. 9, Then Max Decisive Strike, Followed by Maxing Courage by Lvl. 18, and as always, Ult Demacian Justice at Lvls. 6, 11, and 16. ALWAYS MAX Judgment FIRST, THIS IS YOUR PRIMARY DAMAGE SPELL. Any questions, follow the Leveling Chart. Also, your Courage passive is retroactive so do not take it level 1. What I mean is, if you wait until level 3 to get it, the minions you have already farmed will automatically count towards your Courage passive before taking a point into it.
Decisive Strike -> Judgment: Hit your Decisive Strike for silence, Judgment for spin to win.
Courage -> Decisive Strike -> Judgment: Same as above, but adds your shield for Damage Absorb.
Demacian Justice: Lvl. 1 Ult. - Use when enemy is at 300 Health or Lower. Lvl. 2-Health Bar is at a quarter Health or lower. Lvl. 3 Health Bar is One Third health or lower. If you are focusing on the villain, the mark will trigger an animation and the trigger means your ult has enough damage to kill them.
Judgment -> Courage -> Decisive Strike: Ok, so this is Garen's "advanced" combo. LOL. When you start your Judgment, you can travel through units, but you lose movement speed. By hitting Courage then Decisive Strike, or just Decisive Strike, you regain your movement speed and then some, allowing you to finish with Decisive Strike, allowing for 1 or 2 additional auto attacks, and a secured Demacian Justice cast if the champion is low enough. Remember, do not hit Judgment a second time unless you want to stop your spin early.
Pros / Cons
- Heavy Tank and Bully in lane for teamfights mid and late game.
- Good tower diver and split pusher
- Courage absorbs 30% damage from all sources, regardless of damage type. (Except True Damage)
- Demacian Justice Provides a secured attempt at a kill. (Cannot be canceled or put on cool down by any source. Can be blocked (ie enemy Banshee's Veil)
- Perseverance gives 10% maximum health regen per 5 seconds at lvl. 16 when not in combat with a 4 second cooldown
- Judgment now has an Armor shred component which, when paired with The Black Cleaver, will potentially shred 55% of enemies total armor when hit with 4 ticks of Garen's Judgment and 6 instances of physical damage from Garen.
- Countered by ranged champions early and mid game
- Can still be kited and peeled if enemy knows how to play against you
- 4 AP or higher teams make building early and mid game hard due to sustain and squishyness
You are Primarily a
. So it is your job to dive, engage, and take damage.
- How to engage: If Flash is up and you are ready to go, do Decisive Strike -> Flash -> Courage/ Judgment -> then when applicable -> Demacian Justice. Otherwise, just charge in with Decisive Strike and follow ability combos. If the team decides to dive on you first, start Courage/ Judgment, then Decisive Strike for speed burst and your Judgment will end with your Decisive Strike immediately on the Champion of your choice on the enemy team.
When you Flash in, focus the primary threat, usually the ADC or Mid lane carry (Assassin or Mage). When you hit your Q on them, they will be silenced, allowing your team to move in and follow up on the threats as you as a team see them. If a tank or support is the villain, you still need to focus on the primary threat even if they are not the villain. An exception to this would be Soraka, kill her so she cant heal anyone.
As a Garen main with over 300k mastery, I can honestly say I have had a fun and successful time with this build thus far. Now remember, it is up to you as a player to learn the skills necessary to execute with this champion successfully. This is only meant to supplement your growth as player, and is not your Holy Grail for climbing the ranked ladder. But regardless I hope you've learned a lot, and see success on the rift. Good Luck to you and thanks for stopping by summoner. See you on the rift!