Garen Build Guide by lol.incomplete.hw

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 lol.incomplete.hw

Garen Don't Give a F**K

lol.incomplete.hw Last updated on October 25, 2012
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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

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hey everyone. I know not many people actually care about the introduction, so I am not going to spend much time on it. For each section, I will have a tl;dr (too long; did not read) section highlighted in bright green as the last paragraph for those of us who do not care for explanations.

tl;dr- Garen is a great solo top-laner, his passive enables him to have great lane sustain, and with the runes/mastery pages below, he will have great early game damage and harass to help prevent your lane opponent from obtaining cs (creep score) and perhaps more importantly, saving top tower.

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Just an awesome work of art by ~rObinjonsson posted on

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Pros and Cons of [[Garen]]


[*]Great sustain in lane due to passive
[*]Does not rely on mana
[*]Great early damage output
[*]Scales well into late game
[*]Effectively holds top
[*]Great skill set
[*]B.A. ultimate that scales on your opponent's missing health
[*]Some really Awesome Skins!

[*]Cooldowns can be hefty
[*]Melee range AA (autoattacks)
[*]Can be difficult to last hit with the first few games
[*]Players avoid you like the plague when they are low health so you have to chase for the kill
[*]People will call you a "Kill Stealer" (might be true...)
[*]Most of the time, you will be focused in teamfights because people are scared of you, especially if you are fed
Does not have any team utility spells

Special thanks to SmokedCarpenter who enabled me to learn about the bbcoding here by re-posting jhoijhoi's guide.

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A quick bit about rune pages. If you are a summoner below lvl 20, do not purchase any runes. After lvl 20, tier 3 runes will be made available to you. Only buy tier 3 runes imo (in my opinion). The others are simply not worth the IP that you would spend.

For Garen, I suggest various Marks and Quints. The reason I do this is because imo, there are many ways to play a champ such as Garen and still benefit yourself and your team. I suggest either straight AD marks or otherwise AmrPen marks. The choice is yours. Personally, I play with AmrPen marks. As far as seals are concerned, most of the time you will face an AD champion top lane. There are exceptions, such as Vladimir, AP Teemo, the occasional Nidalee and various other champions. I almost always use the flat armor seals as outlined above. For the glyphs, it is important to get MR for later engagements. I usually use the scaling MR glyphs but again, it is up to you. Just make sure you get MR glyphs. For quints, it is really up to the player. It seems more and more popular within the LOL community to have the utility of 3 movement quints. However, straight AD quints and AmrPen quints are also excellent choices for Garen. Play around and see what you like. Even if you buy some and dont like them on Garen, at least they will be viable on other rune pages...

tl;dr- Look at the thumbnails above. They explain my desired choices. The rest is up to you. I find straight AD and AmrPen marks, armor seals, scaling MR glyphs and AmrPen quints work best for me.

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I run Garen on a 9-21-0 setup. The reason I do this is because the main objective for the solo top laner is to "hold" top lane. It is a terrible idea to push the lane as fast as possible because your opponent can farm free of danger for the remainder of the game. Do not under 99% of circumstances take top lane before the 15 min. mark (imo). Your job is to hold top lane and farm as much as possible. Later, when team fights begin, your job is to distract the main damage dealers from attacking your carries and to focus you.

This is why I utilize the defense mastery tree. I emphasize health regen, damage reduction,cdr (cooldown reduction), and health/lvl. In the offensive mastery, I take points in AD and as, along with the 10% armor penetration slot.

tl;dr- 9-21-0 mastery page emphasizing health, cdr, and armor pen. Look at the tree above for details

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Items are perhaps the most debated topic in the League of Legend community. With that being said, I will take the longest time to explain my reasoning behind my preferred build. Also, I will explain what I consider Garen's core build, his either-or build, optional build and the situational build. Most of what I say under the item section is my personal opinion and based on what I have experienced in 150+ games as Garen.

My Garen build focuses on gaining ground on your top lane opponent early game so you can annihilate in team fights mid-late game. Garen is one of the best 1v1 champs in the game imo, second only to Jax. Garen is best utilized as a solo top Bruiser capable of taking a lot of damage, intercepting cc from enemy champs while still dishing out mild damage. I made this build around this assumption. If you play Garen differently than I described above, this build may not be viable for you.

So with that being said, let us examine Garen a bit more in-depth.

My basic strategy with Garen is to prevent top lane from losing a turret before your team can consistently win team fights. With this in mind I prioritize Garen around 3 fundamental concepts:

[*]Early game damage output with mild damage output as the game progresses
[*]Being able to survive prolonged engagements and acquire focus from the enemy team to protect your teams carries
[*]Being able to push a lane after a teamfight in order to pressure the enemy into prioritizing that lane, possibly enabling a 4v5 teamfight

With that being said, Your first items with Garen should be Boots of Speed and three Health Potion. The only other considerations should be either of the dorans items. Boots enable Garen to avoid early harassment easier and enable him to last hit much more effectively. There is nothing more annoying than trying to get to a minion and being unable to due to lack of movement speed. Think about it, if you miss say 3 minions every minute, you miss ~60 gold per minute. In ten minutes, that is a free Doran's Blade or Doran's Shield and a ward or two. Imo, boots and pots are definitely the way to go.

For your first recall, you should have at least 1315 so you can buy a Phage. With 225 health, 18 attack damage and a 25% chance slow for 2 seconds, you will be able to dish out additional damage and start slowing your opponent. The reason I rush Phage is because of the damage, the chance slow, the extra health and because of Garen's passive. Because his health regen scales off of his MAXIMUM health, the more health Garen has, the faster he will regenerate health in lane. This is vital to Garen's success in the laning phase. If you make your opponent back more times than you have to, you will have a better chance at outfarming and outscaling your opponent into mid game. If need be, you can also pick up a Doran's Blade for extra sustain in lane.

The next time you back, make sure you have enough gold for upgraded boots such as Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads. I prefer Merc Treads unless I am being heavily harassed by a top AD character. Additionally, make sure you can afford a B. F. Sword when you back the second time around. If you must back, prioritize damage first. In other words, have at least 2.5 gold when you back the second time. Try not to leave lane unless you have to help your jungler, mid or an early team fight. Garen is best when farmed.

Your goal for mid game (20-40 minutes in) should be to have Garen's core build. The way I play Garen necessitates a Frozen Mallet, Infinity Edge and advanced boots. After that, most of the time I build to suit the game and the needs of the team. However, a majority of the time, I will proceed to stack health and armor, such as Randuin's Omen and Atma's Impaler. However, if I need more pure health, I will build Warmog's Armor. If I need magic resist, I will build force of nature. If I notice I need more dps, I will build a Sunfire Cape or The Black Cleaver or Wit's End for the on hit effect. Essentially, build the core Garen first, then fill two slots with situational/optional items that advance your needs in-game and finish it off with a Guardian Angel. The extra mr and armor will add to your resistances and the passive is to die for... literally.

tl;dr- Build boots and health pots first, then first back for Phage or boots. Second back for B. F. Sword and boots if you have not got them already, then third back for Infinity Edge and Giant's Belt if possible. Next back finish Frozen Mallet. After that, build health, armor, magic resist or damage depending on in-game situation. Finish off with a Guardian Angel or Last Whisper if you are not being focused.

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Let us now talk about farming. I will be perfectly honest with you, I am a terrible farmer. I cannot get above 200 cs to save my life, regardless of my champion. With that being said, I am sure most of you can do better and therefore make this build even better! Good for you. I wish I could say the same for myself. However, as far as farming under turret is considered, let the turret hit a melee minion twice, then aa (auto-attack) the minion for the last hit. For caster minions, aa them once before the turret does, then finish them off with another aa. As far as last hitting when not under turret, do not be afraid to use your abilities to last hit siege minions which are worth more gold. However, try not to spam your abilities, especially your "e" because this will push your lane and your opponent will be able to farm out of harms way.

tl;dr- Essentially only last hit minions and try not to spam abilities to push your lane. Prioritize aa for last hitting with Garen and remember the "secret" to farming under turret. For melee minions, 2 turret, 1 aa. For caster minions, 1 aa, 1turret, 1 aa. If you did not already know this, your farm will increase drastically and I am glad I could help you with this.

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Garen has many ways to initiate fights and to get out of them as well. If you are looking to harass your opponent, always initiate with your q ability Decisive Strike. The extra movement speed, damage and silence is a great gap closer and allows Garen to go untouched for 2.5 seconds. During this time, you can continue to harass your opponent with your e ability. Your e Judgment is your primary damage spell. It is also important to remember that Garen suffers a 20% movement speed de-buff when passing through minions while his e is active. After this initiate burst, Garen needs to wait for these two cooldowns to reset in order to do a lot of damage. During this time, after your q-e combo, you can choose to activate your w in order to negate counter-harassment will you return to a safe position.

Your basic combo will be q then e then w.

If you are going for the kill, initiate with your q, follow with your e and finish with your ultimate.


Garen specializes in removing an opponent from the fight. Use this ability to your advantage.

Also, never use your ult until you exhausted all of your other resources and damaging spells on the target.

Try to target high priority targets such as carries. However, do not get killed trying to kill a carry. I never like trading 1 for 1 on kills, so try to avoid that unless they need to be "shut-down".

tl;dr basic combo is q then e. max combo is q then e then q once more if you can followed by ignite if you took it and then your ult for the secure kill.

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Thank you all for reading my first guide and please give constructive feedback. I am not code savvy so I cannot do a lot of the flashy stuff that others can. Also, if you disagree with my style, please give reasons and maybe I can learn from you. Hopefully within a few weeks I can upload some matches using this build and let me know what you all think. Feedback is always welcome.

Upvote if you like and downvote if you want to as well. If you upvote, please tell me what you like and what you want to see more of. If you downvote, tell me what you do not like and provide constructive criticism on how I can improve this and future guides.

Thank you and enjoy playing Garen.

tl;dr Garen does not give a F**K so go in there, get kills, save top lane and die for your carries if you have to. Have a blast and enjoy yourself!

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Change Log

[*] 25/10/2012- made coding changes and improved aesthetics of guide itself
[*] 25/10/2012- revised cdr mastery in offense section to alacrity to enable armor penetration option after Glaceon15 noticed error
[*] 25/10/2012- added artwork by rObinjonsson from