Garen Build Guide by shanedude13
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.
If you are looking for a champion that can take massive damage, and also deal it in seconds; Garen is the champion for you.
Tired of baddies in your solo queue ruining your game? Always have to carry? Want a quick win? With Garen, it's simple. A fed Garen is a force to be dealt with. But even when not fed, Garen has one of the most unbeatable early games possible.
With this build, you will most likely faceroll every normal solo queue (hopefully).
Pros / Cons
Superior damage over time
While Garen is amazing, he does have one solid Con.
Easily out-ranged (he's not ranged)
greater mark of desolation for Reds/Marks. This will increase your damage against people with armor, as well as increase your damage altogether (he's AD).
Greater Seal of Armor for Yellows/Seals. This will make you an even better laner against those nasty AD carries. (reduces all damage done by AD)
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist for Blues/Glyphs. This will make you better against those AP carries, or just AP in general. Yet again, towards making you able to take more harassment.
greater quintessence of desolation for Quintessences. This will increase all of your damage. When used with the marks above... you do insane damage.
Other acceptable runes
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction for extra cooldown reduction, but it is safer to go with the magic resist per level.
Greater Quintessence of Health for health, but hey, I prefer more damage, shouldn't you? You'll have enough health with this build anyway.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed for extra speed, but you really don't need it.
21/9/0 is the general setup for Garen. But, you can use a cooldown based one, if you prefer it.
Look at the Garen guide on the right, it shows you the masteries for cooldown reduction, if you really want to be able to spellspam over having massive damage. Some people prefer this.
Why do I only have 5 incomplete items on display? Well, that's the core. That's what you will generally want to have every game, be it 3v3, or 5v5. After the core you should build for what you truly need. Time to elaborate...
Starting Items-- Either Doran's Shield or Doran's Blade or Boots of Speed and two health potions. You will want Doran's Shield if you're expected to be facing heavy harassment from your enemies, Doran's Blade for a general start, or Boots of Speed if you think all you truly need is speed. It's all based on preference/your enemies in your lane, really.
After-- You will want a Doran's Blade if you've been having trouble staying in lane, or just go for your boots if you think you don't need more lane staying power. For boots, pick Mercury's Treads usually as it is the best. Pick Boots of Swiftness if you are absolutely facerolling (hopefully you are!), but generally you will want Mercury's Treads to save you from slows, stuns, and magic. Next go for The Brutalizer whenever available, it is your main item, increasing your damage output, and cooldown reduction. Next go for a Giant's Belt to increase your feeble health, by now people will have more health than you (in most cases) so you will want it.
Next is all based on the enemy team, or how good you are doing. Get a Chain Vest if they have a fed AD carry, or if the majority of their team is AD. Get a Negatron Cloak if you've been getting blasted down by their AP champions, or if they have more AP than AD.
I'm not going to tell you what to build because there's no way to know what the enemy team is or what you will need. That is for you to decide. Here's a list of great items on Garen.
Atma's Impaler Critical chance to go along with your judgement, and armor. The passive is amazing.
Sunfire Cape Arguably the best item on Garen vs. AD champions. Increases your damage with your judgement considering it does damage around you, and gives armor and health. Very nice.
Randuin's Omen Great, great item. Just be sure that if you're going to get it, to include a Heart of Gold into your core build, to make use of the gold boost. The slow active takes care of any AD carries' attack speeds, as well as slows them from getting away. One of my favorite items.
Thornmail The BEST item for straight armor. The best defense against those AD champions.
Magic resist items--
Force of Nature Magic resist, and health regen to go with your passive, not to mention the movement speed. A great item versus an AP team.
Other acceptable items--
Frozen Mallet A lot of health, and a slow for those pesky champions who manage to escape you. Works great with Atma's Impaler's passive.
Infinity Edge Facerolling? This is your icing on the cake, if you only need damage, critical chance helps massively as well, since your judgement gains bonus from critical chance.
Guardian Angel 9 times out of 10 you will be your team's carry, because solo queue is unforgiving and loves to give you bad teammates. If the enemies are focusing you, and you are needed for your team's success, get this.
Last Whisper Enemy team have some badass armor tanks? Well, they won't be badass versus you when you have this. Shred their armor.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity Need cooldowns only, and you're facerolling, and don't need speed? Get this so you can spam judgement and Decisive Strike more often.
Youmuu's Ghostblade Gives critical chance, increased attack speed, cooldown reduction, and movement. This is a great well rounded item for Garen. Build The Brutalizer into this later on.
Hexdrinker for those AP champs that try to burst you down, but generally build this early, if needed at all.
Items to generally not get--
Warmog's Armor Health and nothing else, no armor, no magic resist. Health alone won't save you.
Phantom Dancer Yes, the critical chance does work greatly, but it offers no attack damage, and you don't need attack speed. You're better off getting an Infinity Edge!
Spirit Visage Yes, it would work with his passive, but considering the nerfs it has had, it's not as good of a choice as it once was.
Banshee's Veil As good of an item this is, arguably one of the best items in the game; mana is completely wasted on garen. But if you DIRELY need the passive, get it. It can drastically improve your game.
Simple. Start off with Decisive Strike to silence your enemies, as you will probably be waiting in your true element before the game start... The bush. It is better to start with the silence over judgement, in my opinion.
And then at level 4 get Courage to make use of it.
From there, max Demacian Justice over judgement, and judgement over Decisive Strike, and Decisive Strike over Courage.
General summoner spells-- Ignite and Flash.
Stand in bush, activate Decisive Strike run/flash to enemy, silence them, judgement on them, and then ignite them for good measure. Getting away after that? No problem. Use Demacian Justice. That is your general faceroll combo.
Other spells viable--
Ghost Not needed, since you move fast with being able to spam Decisive Strike around the map, but you can get it if you really want it over flash. But why would you?
Exhaust Should be left to the other members of your team, but if nobody has it, you will want to grab it.
Generally you will want to lane with someone with a stun, or someone who can support you, at bottom lane. You are not a solo top champion, you are a duo lane champ.
Good laning champions are champions such as...
Taric stun, heal
There are many more, but in my opinion, Taric, and Sion are the best laning champs with Garen.
You don't farm minions, my friend. You farm champions.
But, no, seriously, you should be using your auto attacks and spells on minions when an enemy champ is not nearby to hurt.
All in all, Garen is one of the more fun offtanks/tanky dps to play, in my opinion. He is strong in the sense that he is hard to shut down in lane, especially with a solid laning partner. He can take damage, and deal it.
It is up to you to decide how you will build and play Garen, this is just a guide to help.
Good luck to you summoner, and may you faceroll many solo queues.