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Garen Build Guide by inhibitus

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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author inhibitus

Garen - Dunk Scrubs and Acquire ELO (#Atlas) [S5 UPDATED]

inhibitus Last updated on August 17, 2015
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Garen

Ability Sequence

1
8
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
4
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
2
3
5
7
9
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Havoc
 
 

Offense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Legendary Guardian
 
 

Defense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bandit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wanderer
 
 

Utility: 0


Guide Top

Introduction




My stream will be up soon!: http://twitch.tv/inhibitus


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/inhibitus123




Let me introduce myself. My name is Inhibitus and this is my first guide on Mobafire! I have been playing League of Legends since Season 1 , was ranked Diamond 3 in Season 3 and I'm currently ranked Diamond 5. (Garen was my 4th most played champion).




In this guide, I will go over many tips, tricks, and how-to's, to help you learn how to carry ranked games as Garen.


I have played Garen primarily during Season 3, I picked him up because I was looking for a high-damage top laner that could carry a game while still being able to soak up tons of damage. Garen has much to bring to the table and synergizes well in solo queue, where teamfights are fairly disorderly. You can easily get in, kill a carry, and stay to watch the ensuing 5v4..

In this new Season, the way to play Garen pretty much is the same. With the advent of some new items, there's more things you can build.


CONTINUE READING IF YOU WANT TO BECOME ATLAS AND CARRY THE TEAM!!!


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Garen Gameplay and Commentary

Hi all! I recently created a recording of my Garen gameplay and commentated on it. I explained in-depth the reasons for building tanky, as well as certain strategies. I also explained why I did what I did during the game, it took me quite a while to get the video to work so I would appreciate any feedback, reps, or upvotes. Thank you!



Garen Gameplay/Commentary: Video Link



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UPDATE: GAREN IN COMPETITIVE GAMEPLAY

WESTRICE: Garen vs. LMQ - NA CHALLENGER SERIES



That's right guys. Garen being played competitively, in a Challenger Series game by Westrice, against team LMQ. He's laning against LMQ Ackerman, who USED TO BE KNOWN AS RYL GODLIKE (he changed his name after swapping to LMQ- Yes, the same RYL Godlike who just took second place at the S3 World Championship.) If you watch the game, you can see Westrice doing the Garen combo and killing squishies; Also check out his build order as its basically the same as mine!


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Why build tank items and little to no damage?

Like the title says, you may be wondering why my build is focused on tank items and little to no damage. The answer is really simple. Most of the people on this site recommend stacking AD items first before even building a single tank item, and, although this is not "wrong", it is simply not competitively viable. How would you get Infinity Edge as your first item, when it costs almost 4,000 gold? You would have to be 6-0 at 10 minutes. By the time you have enough gold to even purchase those AD items like IE, your lane phase is probably over and you would already be team-fighting. Building AD first on Garen means that you sacrifice tankiness, so you would have a very hard time team-fighting, because Garen is an up-front melee champ that needs to get in the enemy's faces.



But if I don't build AD, how will I be able to snow-ball my lane, kill people early on, and carry the game?


Garen's base damage is insane early to mid game. With only masteries and runes, and no AD items, you can easily destroy any carry with your full combo. You can easily pick up kills on your enemy laner without purchasing any attack damage, and even get kills when they gank you. His extremely strong damage won't fall off until level 18 or so, after people start stacking armor, and your carries should be strong enough to fill where you fall off.

Your goal is to kill carries with your combo. You can already do that very effectively without purchasing attack damage. So why would you waste your gold building attack damage when you could build as a tank and become infinitely more useful to your team?


This is why I choose tankiness over damage. Because Garen already has enough built-in damage to destroy carries.





You should usually be only purchasing a single damage item, but if you get fed enough or your team already has a tank, you can buy more AD items. Your build should vary game-to-game based on the situation, so my primary core build is just an example of what I buy most games.


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Pros/Cons


Guide Top

Runes , Masteries, & Summoner Spells





Runes

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
3



  • Greater Mark of Attack Damage: This is the best red rune for Garen. With the extra Attack Damage, last hitting will be easier. Furthermore, this gives alot of power to your early/mid game, which is where Garen shines. It also allows you to win trades with your lane opponent, because your abilities have good AD scaling.
  • Greater Seal of Armor: This is the best Yellow rune for Garen, it is standard on almost all top/mid champions. It is simply too good. Having these runes means that you will take less damage from enemy AD autoattacks, as well as physical damage pokes. Most of the time, their top lane, jungler, and obviously, ADC, will be dealing primarily physical damage. Therefore, having these runes means that you will be better off against 3 out of the 5 enemy players. These runes are simply a must-have, and there is really no better option.
  • Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: These are the best blues for Garen. Early magic resist usually isn't necessary, because you will probably be laning vs. an AD-based champion, and their jungler is most likely AD-based as well. These runes scale very well into late-game/mid-game, and give you the MR you need to defend from the AP mid and the support.
  • Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: Now, for the quintessences, this is purely up to your choice. MS Quints makes it harder to kite you, and gives you more mobility, and also makes escaping ganks *slightly easier*. They are also very good against ranged champions, and help you close gaps. I do NOT use them most of the time, but if you like to, they work great.



Other Viable Rune Options:

  • Greater Mark of Armor Penetration: These runes are also pretty good for Garen. It allows you to pierce through armor, and, by calculations, allow you to deal equal (usually more) damage to your lane opponent as if you had flat AD. The only reason I do not take these, is because of the fact that having armor pen makes it harder to CS. However, this is solely up to your preference - if you feel that you can CS easily and like playing aggressive, and trading alot, then these are the reds for you.
  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: These are also very good runes for Garen. I don't usually take them when going top, because you don't really need early magic resist vs AD champions, but if you are going mid or if you are playing against a strong AP champion (such as Elise/Kayle), always take these. You absolutely need them for their early magic damage pokes or you will not be able to stay in lane.
  • Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: This is what I usually take on Garen. These will allow you to do more damage, but, due to your lack of Movement speed quints, it will be slightly harder to close gaps. It is personal preference - use what you think is best.
  • Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration: Again, these are similar to Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage. You can use these for increased damage if you prefer them over having flat AD or having MS.


Masteries
1/5
4/1
3/5
1/1
2/5
2/1
1/1
3/5
1/1
3/1
3/5
1/1
1/1
1/1
2/
1/

  • Double-Edged Sword : We take this mastery because it enhances damage by quite a bit, at the cost of taking more damage. It is obviously worth it, because you do 2% more and receive only 1% more. You're going to be tanky as hell anyways, so this mastery will help alot with your damage.
  • Sorcery : We are obviously going to use this mastery, because it gives Cooldown Reduction, and Garen does all his damage via skills.
  • Brute Force : Another obvious choice. Garen does AD damage, so more AD will always help.
  • Martial Mastery : Obviously, we want more AD!

  • Block : This mastery blocks AA damage, obviously something we want to have in order to have a slight advantage in trades.
  • Enchanted Armor : This increases Bonus Armor/MR by a percentage, this is basically a mini version of Courage.
  • Unyielding : More damage reduction to make trades and teamfights easier.
  • Veteran Scars : Flat HP helps alot early-game, because having more HP means you will have more room to trade, and also more room to regenerate, and more HP regeneration. Because Garen's passive, Perseverance regenerates % HP, having more means that you have more regen.
  • Juggernaut : 3% Max HP increase is just wonderful for Garen. As I said before, more HP= more HP regen, and more HP will also make you more tanky for teamfights.
  • Hardiness : Flat Armor, obviously good. You will probably be laning against AD champions so this will make trading easier.
  • Resistance : Magic Resist, helps against AP champions. Obviously take this because you will be fighting against mages and supports during teamfights.
  • Swiftness : This reduces effectiveness of slows by 10%. Although your Decisive Strike removes slows, this mastery will help a lot if you get slowed while spinning, or if you get slowed after you have activated Decisive Strike.
  • Reinforced Armor : Reduces Critical damage, obviously good against AD Carries.
  • Evasive : Reduces AOE Magic Damage, obviously good against mages.
  • Tenacious : Gives even more armor and magic resist to help you become even tankier.
  • Legendary Guardian : Amazing, must-have mastery that reduces CC by 15%. Will stack multiplicatively with Courage and Mercury's Treads. This just turns you into the unstoppable carry-killer that runs through the enemy team and destroys the ADC or APC.


As you can see so far, our masteries and runes are focused on being really tanky. Garen is essentially an AD-bruiser Tank. He does enough base damage to easily kill any carries so there is no reason to have runes or masteries focused on damage - we need tankiness so that we can absorb damage while being a threat to carries.




Summoner Spells:



Flash: Obviously, we take Flash. This spell is simply too good, it provides an instant gap-closer or a quick get-away. This spell is the key to getting fed in lane. When your opponent is 3/4th HP or lower, you can Flash right on top of them, use Decisive Strike into Judgment, then use Demacian Justice. Coupled with Ignite, this will usually kill any champion. The utility of this spell is just too good.

Ignite: Ignite is the best choice for the second summoner spell. If you are able to flash onto them and combo them, ignite will ensure the kill. It does a lot of damage and reduces healing, and helps your burst damage quite a bit. It also lets you grab kills that are out of range, and stop enemy champs from getting away with a sliver of health. It is just a overall strong spell that gives kill potential.

Teleport: Teleport is also a great summoner spell to use. Although Ignite is preferred in most cases, Teleport can be used well against champions that counter Garen or are simply too tanky/strong for Garen to kill. For instance, teleport would be good against Elise, Kayle, Kennen, or Renekton. Teleport lets you go B and come back with full health and items without sacrificing CS or XP.



Other Summoner Spells:



Exhaust: This spell is decent, but really not necessary or needed. This spell really shouldn't be used at all because Ignite or Teleport are simply better options. There is no point to exhaust a champion that you are trying to kill because they should be silenced, so they won't be able to retaliate anyway. Also, your support should have exhaust to shut-down any carries, and it is slightly harder to kill people without Ignite.


Ghost: This spell is decent, but again, the goal of having Ghost is to gap-close or escape. Flash does what ghost does, but better, because Flash is instant and guarantees the gap-close or the escape. Ghost is really only beneficial in that it lasts a really long time, but you will never really make an amazing play by running straight up to someone and silencing them - you need the fast and unexpected nature of Flash.



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Champion Abilities



Perseverance: This is Garen's amazing passive, it gives 0.4% per second regeneration of your maximum health if you don't take any damage for 9 seconds, minions excluded. This means, if the enemy champion is not poking you, or if you stay under tower, you will regenerate your health almost as if you have a health potion. The biggest thing to note about this passive is that you will regenerate more HP per second if your have more health.

Decisive Strike: This is Garen's primary gap-closer. It gives a massive speed-boost and makes your next auto-attack deal more damage and silence. This skill also resets your autoattack, so press Q after you auto-attack for maximized damage. This ability is fantastic for escaping ganks or for chasing enemies, and it can also hurt towers alot. In most cases, you will use it in conjunction with Flash to "assassinate" a champ. (more on this later)

Courage: This ability is one of the best defensive skills in the game. It gives passive bonus Armor and MR, as well as having an amazing active. It will reduce all incoming CC and damage by a whopping 30%. Activate this ability any time you go to trade with your lane opponent so that you will win, and also activate this while tanking the enemy's main burst damage. {ex. Karthus Requiem , Syndra Unleashed Power , Ezreal Trueshot Barrage , etc.}

Judgment:The trademark Garen ability, also known as the Spin to Win. This ability does amazing AOE Damage-per-second to all champions caught within it, and lets you move through units, but slows you if you do so. This skill can also critically strike. This ability will usually be maxed first and will be your primary damage skill. This ability can also farm entire waves and is good for split-pushing.

Demacian Justice: Garen's awesome ultimate. This is probably my favorite skill, period. This skill is good at all stages of the game, simply because it also scales off of enemy missing HP. You generally want to activate this skill when the enemy champion is 1/3rd HP or lower, to ensure the kill. It does magic damage. This skill is fantastic for killing tanks because of its scaling, you can kill a Nasus or a Rammus at 1/3rd HP or lower. All in all one of the best execution ultimates in the game. This ability has a very short channel time, but is not interruptable. If you cast this skill, and the enemy flashes or gets away, the ultimate will still hit them despite the distance.



Tips and Tricks for Abilities:

  • You can activate Decisive Strike before or during Judgment so that you get the movement speed buff while you are spinning, and stick to targets easier. Because Decisive Strike's buff lasts for 4.5 seconds, you will be able to silence the enemy right after you finish your Judgment, which lasts only 3 seconds.
  • As stated before, activating Decisive Strike will reset your Autoattack. This means that you should autoattack, activate Decisive Strike and autoattack again, for maximum damage. Also, if there are two minions that are low health, you can autoattack one, then activate Decisive Strike and attack the other, so you do not miss CS.
  • Generally, your combo is Flash --> Ignite --> Decisive Strike --> Judgment --> Demacian Justice. This will be able to kill almost any champion in the game, early to mid-game. This combo is a secure kill if the enemy has below 75% HP, so you should be very aggressive when your combo is up. If you feel comfortable with the autoattack reset mentioned earlier, you can sneak in an autoattack in your combo.
  • Activate your Decisive Strike after the enemy uses Exhaust or other slowing abilities, so that you take advantage of the slow-removal power of Decisive Strike.
  • Activate Courage whenever the enemy team is using their biggest burst damage (usually their ultimates). This will allow you to take significantly reduced damage.
  • Try not to spam your Judgment in lane, because it will hit minions and push your lane, making you more susceptible to ganks. You should only activate Judgment if you are sure that you can hit the enemy champion for the full duration of it. However, during early mid-game (levels 6-11), you can spam Judgment to push your lane, so that you can gank other lanes.


Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Prioritize maxing your skills in this order:


---> ---> --->


We will almost always max Judgment first, simply because it is Garen's main damage source, and ranking it up increases damage significantly. We don't max Decisive Strike first because maxing it from level 1 to level 5 only gives an additional 100 damage. Although putting points in Decisive Strike does give a longer duration of movement speed, as well as a stronger silence, its damage is simply inferior to Judgment. We max Demacian Justice whenever possible, because it is our ultimate. And lastly, we max Courage last, because it gives no damage and is a utility defense spell that is effective late in the game, during teamfights.


Guide Top

Items



Always buy ONE of these items:


You should buy one of these items sometime during early or mid game while still laning. If you get a kill or two early-on, buy one of these damage items, so that you hurt more and you'll be able to snowball into your late-game tank form. If you're not able to get a kill, or you're laning versus a harder opponent, buy this after you get a tank item or two.

You'll be buying The Brutalizer most of the time as its the best early item for Garen in most cases. It gives a lot of perfect stats for Garen and is also upgraded to a The Black Cleaver later, which, like I've said, is a godly item for Garen.

You can also buy another damage item INSTEAD of The Brutalizer; for instance, if you plan to get a Ravenous Hydra as your sole damage item, then try to get Tiamat. Ravenous Hydra will also grant some amazing AOE damage.

You will buy Avarice Blade early on if you plan to get an Atma's Impaler, as it will allow you to get more gold. I don't recommend this most of the time, because Avarice Blade increases critical strike, but doesn't increase any base damages or scalings.

In a lane against a magical opponent, you might try getting Hexdrinker, later upgrading to a Maw of Malmortius as your sole damage item. This will give you a nice shield which helps quite a bit against magical opponents.

Lastly, you can also try getting an early Pickaxe or B. F. Sword , which helps with your scaling; this can later be turned into an Infinity Edge. I would only recommend this if you pick up a lot of kills early on and you get really fed.



Starting Items:


Always take this trinket, it is a free ward. You should use this to ward the river area, or the tri-bush area, so that you don't get ganked. Upgrade to Greater Vision Totem or Greater Stealth Totem sometime during mid-late game.

x4

Boots of Speed + 4x Health Potions is a good starting item set for Garen. With this, you will have a lot of sustain, as well as movement speed, meaning you can stick to your targets easier, and escape ganks. Because you have alot of potions, you should try to trade aggressively more, because you can heal up with passive + potions. Take these if you are against a match-up that isn't difficult for you.

This is the standard Garen start. I take this start at least 75% of the time. Combined with masteries, this will make you very tanky. The item also gives HP regen, which will help your passive. You should take this against champions that are ranged, or champions that have a lot of auto-attack poke. You can trade easily, but leave some time between trades to allow yourself to regenerate.

x5

You should take this against champions like Renekton, Darius, or Riven - champs that rely on AD-scaled abilities to deal damage. Because you have more armor, they will hurt a lot less. Since you have so many potions, trade often and aggressively, eating a potion any time you fall to half health. Your Courage coupled with your Cloth Armor will ensure you win trades, which means they will be forced to leave lane before you do.


x3

You can wait a few seconds to buy the 3rd potion. Take these items ONLY IF YOU ARE AGAINST A VERY STRONG AP CHAMPION like Kayle, Elise, Vladimir, Kennen, etc. Try to activate Courage when they poke you to reduce damage even further. You will only win these lanes if your jungler ganks, or if you pick up kills while your combo is up (remember: Flash -> Ignite -> Decisive Strike -> Judgment -> Demacian Justice).






Core Items / Primary Build:


Choose either Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads as your boots. You will take Mercury's Treads whenever the enemy team has a lot of crowd-control, or a lot of magic damage, and take Tabi whenever there are a lot of AD champions. These two boots are the best choices 95% of the time. If you somehow become extremely fed and begin to dominate the game, you can consider buying Boots of Swiftness to help you roam and gank other lanes. Ionian Boots of Lucidity are really not necessary, because your build should already be giving you near maximum cooldown reduction.
Sunfire Cape was literally made for Garen. It gives HP, Armor, and has a passive that syncs well with Garen's Judgment. It provides a secondary source of magic damage while making you tanky, and hurts everything around you, and, in conjunction with Judgment, you will be dealing upwards of 200 DPS to everything you touch. All in all, very useful for Garen.

Spirit Visage is currently one of the strongest Magic Resist items in the game, this item is an obvious choice for Garen. It will help absorb damage against mages, all while giving you more health, amplifying Perseverance significantly, and giving you Cooldown Reduction so you can spam more abilities. You will need this item almost every game unless 4 or more of the enemy team is AD-based.

The Black Cleaver is usually bought after Spirit Visage and Sunfire Cape. It is very strong with Garen, because your spin will reduce apply stacks and reduce enemy armor significantly. Cleaver gives AD , Cooldown Reduction, and Health - all beneficial for Garen. THIS ITEM IS SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER FOR GAREN THAN Last Whisper AS YOUR SOLE DAMAGE ITEM. This item REDUCES armor, whereas other items simply "IGNORE" armor. This means that, if you spin amongst the enemy team, they will all lose a lot of visible armor stats, allowing your team's ADs to do a ton more damage. Again, because our build is focused on tanking, this should be your ONLY attack damage item, simply because it is too good on Garen.

Randuin's Omen is another very strong item for Garen. You can sometimes buy this item BEFORE Sunfire Cape if the enemy team has a lot of auto-attack based champions, such as Vayne, Tryndamere, Aatrox, etc. This item's passive and active makes you a nightmare for DPS champions to handle, and, by staying alive, you will be a much stronger asset to your team against them.

Warmog's Armor is usually the 5th or 6th choice. It only gives health and health regeneration, so we do not rush this item early to mid game, because the other tank items give enough health to suffice. This item will round out your build and provide a lot of health for you to tank harder, and gives a ton of regeneration.





Other Item Choices:

Ravenous Hydra is a very odd item on Garen. I have built this a few times after getting my Tank items. Let me just say, this item gives you quite a bit of damage and it's active is another AOE damage similar to Judgment, not to mention that it can reset your auto-attack just like your Decisive Strike. Testing this item a few times, it seems like it is pretty strong on Garen. I would recommend building this item in place of The Black Cleaver if they aren't really stacking armor, because this item is only a little bit more expensive than The Black Cleaver.

Maw of Malmortius is a suitable replacement for The Black Cleaver as your damage item if the enemy team has two or more AP champions. Again, you should buy this item 4th. Maw is expensive, but it is very good because its passive shield basically blocks the damage of two or more abilities.

Banshee's Veil is another viable choice for Garen, if the enemy team has 2+ AP champions. You can purchase this item right after Maw of Malmortius so that the enemy APs will have a hard time against you. You can also take this item if the enemy has a lot of AP-ranged poke, such as Nidalee Javelin Toss, Xerath Arcanopulse, Lux Lucent Singularity, Gragas Barrel Roll, etc.

Thornmail is a decent Armor item that you should buy if the enemy team is almost purely AD-based. This item should replace your Spirit Visage. It is only strong late-game, when the enemy has a lot of AD. Because it only gives armor, and no other stats, it should be purchased as a 4th-6th item. Its passive will help a lot against DPS champions.

Youmuu's Ghostblade is actually not that bad on Garen, the auto-attacks kind of give you something to do when your abilities are on cooldown. I still think The Black Cleaver is better due to its synergy and burst with Garen, though. But, Youmuu's Ghostblade is not a bad choice either. You can get it as a 2nd damage item.
Atma's Impaler used to be a very popular item. It isn't that good any more because it was nerfed multiple times to its current state. It provides armor, critical strike, and gives an AD boost based on your health. You should ONLY BUY THIS ITEM AFTER YOU HAVE PURCHASED A LOT OF HEALTH. This way, you can maximize the gold efficiency of this item. I almost never buy this item, simply because only one AD item is needed for Garen, and The Black Cleaver is just too awesome. You can buy this item to replace cleaver if you are facing an AD-focused team, because this item gives armor whereas Cleaver does not.
Righteous Glory is a pretty legit item, I am still debating whether I should put this item in the regular build path. Its like the dream item for tanks who want to initiate. Combine it with Randuin's Omen for some totally legit CC. It gives a MS buff when you charge at enemies and slows them when you arrive, after a period of time. Very good item to consider.

Frozen Mallet is really not a very good item for Garen. You have almost no need for the slowing component, and the item only gives health and not much damage. Frozen Mallet is not gold efficient for its stats. Don't buy this item, as there are simply better choices of items that either provide more tankiness, more damage, or are more gold efficient.

Last Whisper is actually a good item for Garen that does not see much use. It is a cheaper, albeit significantly weaker alternative to The Black Cleaver, for reasons stated previously. You can buy this item if you are more concerned with your own damage and not your teams' damage, so really only buy this over The Black Cleaver if you are the only one fed on your team.

Guardian Angel is, and always will be, a great item to buy as your 5th-6th item on any champion. However, I don't put it in the core build, because, as a heavy tank, you shouldn't be dying anyway. Buying a Guardian Angel tends to make people not want to attack you at all, simply because you have that revive passive. But, you WANT people to hit you, because you can easily soak up a ton of damage for your team. However, if you do find yourself dying late-game then you can pick this item up.

Rabadon's Deathcap is a very powerful item for Garen, and will turn him into a the top-lane terror AP Garen. I am not responsible for any reports, account bans, rage-quitting teammates, or any other horrendous experiences you may face when purchasing this item. Only purchase if you are already at least 20-0.



Itemization Tips & Tricks

  • Your items on first back should always include a Stealth Ward or two, just so you don't get ganked. You can also ward enemy objectives (such as blue buff, or red buff, depending on what side you are on). Warding objectives will allow you to indirectly predict whether the jungler will gank your lane, and will help your allies significantly.
  • Buy items as you deem necessary to your situation. For instance, if you were against an Aatrox top, you should probably purchase Warden's Mail and Ninja Tabi as your first two items. Furthermore, if you were dominating your lane, you would obviously prioritize rushing a The Black Cleaver over tankiness, so that you can snowball more.
  • The Brutalizer, a component of Cleaver, is a very strong item to purchase early on if you are winning your lane.
  • Buying a lot of Health Potions will help you out significantly in sustaining against a difficult match-up.


Guide Top

Laning and Teamfighting : Game Flow

Lane Phase

Laning is all about out-farming your opponent, picking up kills, and avoiding enemy ganks. You obviously need to be last-hitting the minions - hitting them only when their health is so low that you kill them with one hit. This is so your lane does not push out. Last hitting isn't difficult, but it is one of the most important game mechanics, so you need to practice it. Because none of Garen's skill have any cost, you can use them to farm minions. For instance, if two minions were next to each other, and both are within last-hit health range, and both are being attacked by your minions, you could quickly activate Judgment to pick up both minions.

You will prioritize farming minions, but obviously, you need to poke the other laner to get any kills. Another important part of laning is trading. This is when you and your opponent hit each other with a skill or two and back off. Garen's innate damage makes his trades very strong, and, with Courage, you will probably never lose a trade. If an enemy comes close to you (Ex: if they come close to take a minion), immediately auto-attack into Decisive Strike, then back off. If they stay to fight you, then activate Judgment and Courage. You should have done significantly more damage to them than they have to you. Use bushes to your advantage as an area to hide or to come out of, this will allow you to get poked less if you are facing a hard match-up. Also, put some extra points in Decisive Strike instead of Judgment if you find you are in a hard match-up. This way, your combo will be able to silence longer, and give you a better chance of killing them with an all-in.

You should continue to trade and farm until you get your Demacian Justice. This is the point where your damage becomes significantly stronger. If your abilities and summoner spells are up, you can very easily pick up a kill with a combo ( Flash -> Ignite -> Decisive Strike -> Judgment -> Demacian Justice). This combo will kill almost any champion if they start at below 75% HP. If your flash or ignite is down, you should still be able to kill anyone that is 50% HP or lower. This combo will be your primary method of picking up kills.

If an enemy jungler does gank you, look at the situation, and choose whether to run or fight the 1v2. Garen's burst combo is extremely potent and you can easily kill one champion and escape. If their jungler and their top laner are both low-damage opponents (such as Nasus , Maokai, Amumu, Malphite, etc.) , and either one of them is lower than your combo's threshold damage, then, by all means, combo-kill one of them and run away.



Mid-Game


By now, you should have a kill or few, and you should be farming well. Ideally, you should be farming about as much as the minute counter - 100 farm at 10 minutes, 200 farm at 20 minutes, etc - again, this is the ideal farm, as if almost no farm was missed. Do not worry if you can't farm that well - practice is the only way to become more efficient. Anyways, now that you have a Sunfire Cape and maybe a few other items, it is time to roam. You can push your lane now, use your Judgment to clear waves very quickly. Pushing your lane means that your enemy laner will be stuck at their tower, trying to farm. You should make use of your freedom by ganking mid, or by warding the jungle and ganking the enemy jungler. This will help you establish team dominance.

You should also group up with your team to take objectives like Dragon , but only group up if your lane is pushed out, so you don't miss too much farm. Again, continue focusing on farming, killing your laner with your combo, shoving your lane out, and ganking your allies lanes. Also, if you get more fed, try to prioritize finishing The Black Cleaver to significantly amplify your damage. Purchase 3-4 Stealth Wards and place them in key areas to further help your team. (More on warding locations later)



Teamfight Phase - Late Game

By now, your team should start to group and take towers, and teamfights should be common. You need to be at the forefront of your team, tanking damage. You should look for opportunities to decimate their ADC or APC with your combo. An example of a good time to go in: You're grouped with your team, the enemy team is also grouped. Their AP carry moves to the front of their team in order to throw a poke, and slightly over-extends. You should try to capitalize on their mistake by starting the engage on that AP caster. Make sure not to over-commit to the fight. If your team is not following up, you should back off. If you are sure that you can kill the carry and that your team will back you up, engage all-out with your combo.

If you arrive at a teamfight while it is already happening, always prioritize killing the most fed carry. Most of the time, this will be their ADC or APC. They will be squishy because they should be itemizing in mostly damage. If you are able to shut down the enemy team's highest damage source, your team will almost surely win the teamfight. Due to your tankiness, the enemy team will oftentimes have multiple characters to try to "peel" you off of the carry, and, even if you don't kill the carry, the enemy team will have devoted their time and abilities to you, so your team can also win the teamfight.

After a successful teamfight, help take towers and objectives. Garen can kill towers with Decisive Strike, as the bonus damage procs on the tower. Help tank Baron Nashor if your team decides to do it. All in all, as the tank/bruiser of your team, you should be the one at the front of the fight, absorbing and tanking damage, all the while trying to kill carries. You should win the game after a few successful teamfights.



Split-pushing

Garen's split-pushing capability lies in the power of his Decisive Strike. When you have sufficient cooldown reduction, you can split-push efficiently by using Decisive Strike on towers, and Judgment to quickly clear waves. Split-pushing is where, during mid to late game, you separate from your teammates and push a lane by yourself. You should not do this unless you have a decent amount of cooldown reduction, because cooldown reduction will let you spam Decisive Strike more, and allow you to escape easier. If you happen to be farming your lane, and your teammates are fighting on the other side of the map, you should try to split-push and take a tower, since you cannot aid your teammates in the fight.

Another possible situation where you can split-push is when your teammates are all extremely far behind, and you are really fed. In this case, you can either choose to group with them and attempt to carry them in teamfights, or you can just split-push. If you choose to split-push, you should continue pushing until the enemy team sends a few people to deal with you - in that case, attempt to escape with Decisive Strike or try to kill at least one (if you are fed, maybe all) of them, and tell your team to push another lane or take an objective while they are occupied with you. In this way, you can force the enemy team to focus efforts on you, and give your teammates time to farm back up, take objectives, take towers, etc. You should group with them after they have caught up a bit.



Ward Locations




Warding - Notes, Tips, and Tricks

  • In the map above, dark green circles are generally good areas to put wards in, based on whatever situation your team is in. You obviously don't have to keep all of those areas warded, but, it is just for reference as to some good locations for wards.
  • Blue circles are good places to put wards during laning phase, but, these areas are optional. Ward the enemy buff (either red buff or blue buff depending which side of the map you're on) if you intend to gank the enemy jungler or if you want to let your team know where their jungler is. You can keep the river bush warded, but you really don't need to. Lastly, you can ward the farthest bush in the top lane, so that you can see if the enemy jungler is coming in for a lane-gank.
  • Red circles are areas that you should have warded almost permanently during lane phase. Wards at these two locations will allow you to be aware of almost any possible gank, regardless of which side of the map you're on. If you can't afford 2 wards, it's alright to just keep one of these areas warded (ward tri-bush if you're on Blue side, ward Baron if you're on Purple side).
  • You should buy a Vision Ward very early on in the game (first back if possible), as it only costs 100 gold and lasts forever as long as it isn't spotted while still granting permanent vision. A great place to place this ward is your tri-bush, the bush that is between Red and Baron, or the single river bush near Baron.


Guide Top

Lane Matchups



Here is a general guide to different lane matchups for Garen. Remember, these are just tips and pointers about how to play against certain champions- it is up to you to make the right choices to win lane.

Below, click the champion name to be directed straight to its section.




Table of Contents: Lane Match-ups




















Aatrox



Cho'Gath



Darius



Elise



Fiora



Irelia



Jarvan IV



Jax



Jayce



Kayle



















Kennen



Lee Sin



Lissandra



Malphite



Nasus



Nidalee



Olaf



Renekton



Rengar



Riven



















Rumble



Shen



Shyvana



Singed



Teemo



Tryndamere



Vladimir



Wukong



Yorick



Zed





Aatrox


Cho'Gath


Darius


Elise


Fiora


Irelia


Jarvan IV


Jax


Jayce


Kayle


Kennen


Lee Sin


Lissandra


Malphite


Nasus


Nidalee


Olaf


Renekton


Rengar


Riven


Rumble


Shen


Shyvana


Singed


Teemo


Tryndamere


Vladimir


Wukong


Yorick


Zed




Summary of Lane Match-ups / Tips + Tricks

  • Build items based on what champion you're laning against, if a magic-based champion is hurting you a lot, then get Spectre's Cowl, if a DPS champion is laning against you, buy Warden's Mail, if an AD poke champion is poking you too hard, buy Chain Vest.
  • Against match-ups where the enemy champion does all the damage with melee-based poking, or abilities that require them to get within melee range, you should play as normal. These are fairly easy match-ups because Garen's Judgment does a ton of damage and makes it really hard for them to trade with you.
  • Against ranged or AP match-ups, use the bushes as a source of defense where they can't poke you without coming in and facing your wrath. Also call for ganks and try to play defensively until you are sure that you can combo-kill them. Put extra points into Decisive Strike for the added mobility and the extra silence duration, so that combo-killing is easier.
  • Don't let the enemy champion poke you too much, if you find you're losing a lot of HP to pokes, then let yourself regenerate health with Perseverance. It is alright to lose some CS if the match-up is really hard for you, just don't die.


Guide Top

Summary/Credits

So there you have it, general strategy for how to do well and how to play Garen! Hope you guys enjoyed it. I originally wrote this guide as a pure wall of text, but reformatted it all the way through in order to provide more information and better overall polish. This guide took me at least 8 or more hours in total, so I would highly appreciate a +1 or a Rep. I check for comments at least once a day, so I will respond to any questions you may have.

Thanks.


Once again,
My stream: http://twitch.tv/inhibitus
Facebook: http://facebook.com/jeffzhaospage


Credits:



xDanielWang - Created the Pro/Con Graphic! Also wrote the highest-rated guide on Mobafire, about Ahri: AHRI GUIDE
My friend Morkuro, for edits and deletion of unnecessary content.

JhoiJhoi- he wrote an amazing guide on how to write guides, this can be found here: Making a Guide

Gate Orc Taleus - for editing and reviewing my grammar and spelling.