Build Guide by Dr.Acula
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.
Welcome to the easiest way to play Garen...ever.
This build will show you how to be one of the most over powered tanks in the game by effectively using Garen.
First of all, why go Garen at all?
Garen is a beast as I am sure you have all seen from about lvl 10 on where most games you play has someone as Garen running around. First off his Q is a great silence that also gives him a short speed boost making it easier to get away or initiate. His spin does really good damage and removes slows off of you, and courage can be activated to reduce incoming damage(as well as giving you a bit of extra armor and damage for getting some killing blows.) The best and most commonly misused spell that Garen has is his ult which does a huge amount of damage increasing for every hit point the target has missing.
Heal: Okay, so why go heal? well as a tank you need all the health you can get. With your spirit visage, and improved heal, you will have a very low cool down heal at your disposal that will give you a pretty big chunk of health back, as well as giving you the ability to heal your team members. Heal isn't very good on many heros, but for tank Garen it helps a lot and pretty often.
Ghost: As a rule of thumb, one of your summoner spells should always be an escape mechanic of some sort. With Garen a lot of his usefulness comes from being able to constantly bust out new moves as opposed to most other tanks who stop being useful as soon as they use their one or two moves. By using ghost you have a lot of versatility as far as getting in and out of combat quickly, initiating, chasing, escaping, rescuing some moron, those sorts of things.
This set up uses a very defensive mastery tree because you will obviously be tanking for the team and taking a lot of punishment. With increased dodge, our dodge runes, and nimbleness, this gives garen a pretty good chance to dodge even without ninja tabi(which you will probably never get, swiftness or merc treds all the way. BUT if they have 5 physical damage dealers for their team, feel free to get a ninja tabi, other wise you know what to get) as well as give you a nice speed boost. The 8 points in offense are more for your farming and damage dealing benefits(garens spin has a chance to "crit.") Also with a few points in offense you get more cool down reduction which is amazing on any hero, but especially Garen. The 1 point into ghost is just to make it even more op (and trust me you will be using ghost a lot especially to tower dive)
Armor penetration reds- This makes you deal significantly more damage especially early game. There are 2 benefits to this. 1. You farm faster because your spin will start killing the enemy creeps way faster and more often, and 2. The more damage you deal as a tank, the more incentive there is for the enemy team to actually do damage to you and try to take you out, which is what you want to try to get the enemy team to do (the whole point of having a tank on the team is to mitigate damage done to everyone else. if you do no damage and have tons of health and resistance, you will very rarely find yourself being attacked, and instead have to try to pry off enemies from your squishies...something that is going to be hard to do as Garen since you dont have a taunt or stun.)
Dodge yellows: this allows you to get more speed boosts from nimbleness as well as the obvious benefit to your health in fights when you are dodging an attack (all damage is mitigated, duh) You can use all the movement speed you can get with Garen.
Cooldown reduction blues: If you like flat cooldown reduction as opposed to having it spread out over leveling, by all means have fun with that. I prefer having it spread out over the levels because the end result is more and its not like you aren't going to get to lvl 18 eventually. Plus with more total cooldown reduction you are more useful late game.
Flat Health quints: Pretty much any character you play should have flat health quints, with very few exceptions. It gives you about 90 extra health at the start of the game, along with your extra health from your mastery and Dorans shield, you should have a noticeably high early game health pool(also your passive gives you back a % of your health, so if you have more health, you get healed for more...even more so because you are getting spirit visage. See how the early game is already coming together?)
Okay, you should really be able to farm all this very quickly since early game you will be farming super easy with spin as well as bringing in a few champion kills. These items early game will ensure a start to a good middle game. Boots of swiftness will allow you to run around to where you are most needed, as well as give you enough speed to keep up with anyone while you are spinning so you get kills that way as well. Spirit visage is your corner stone to your tanking and is incredibly good early game and is really good on Garen in general. Magic resist for enemy casters, some health, cooldown reduction, and increased healing effects for your passive, regen from dorans, your heal summoner spell, and any healing effects that your team might have(such as sona, taric, sion, soraka) as well as increased regen from your force of nature later on in the game.
After those core items, get a sun fire or two for health/armor and faster farming. If casters are owning you, get one sunfire then force of nature, if casters aren't bothering you, I would probably go with 2 sunfires. Anything after the first sunfire should be completely based off of what enemies you are facing. (for example, magic resist for heavy caster teams, Randiun's omen or thornmail for strong physical teams, you get the idea.) Also don't forget to replace Doran's and even Spirit Visage later on in the game when your inventory is full.
Okay, so now you know what items and runes you need to get, but now comes the harder part, how to play and not suck. Everyone starts off bad, but don't worry, I will teach you what you need to know.
Early game: As soon as the map loads you want to grab your dorans shield and your lone health pot (you usually wont even need this so if you are confident in your ability with Garen, don't waste the extra gold) and head to a lane. Having a slow or stun in your lane will give you more kills early game because of your high damage output. Your basic strategy will be to use the brush as cover and use spin every time it comes off cooldown to maximize damage done to the enemy players as well as farming the creeps (obviously don't be stupid about it though, running around trying to spin on a good ranged player is obviously a huge waste of time and will just make you take more damage) If you are getting hit pop your W, remember it doesn't cost you anything to use your spells so you might as well use it often. To attack enemy players, you are usually going to go in an area where they wont be able to see you, wait till they are close, then use Q, attack them so they are silenced, then start spinning and chase after them. since they will be silenced what are they going to do but run? Also don't get too cocky and over extend for a stupid reason(but also don't feel like you cant take a few risks, tower diving is okay on garen as long as its well calculated and only done as often as your health and shield permit you.) Feel free to back off of a champion that has gotten too far and re-initiate again in a little bit when all your cooldowns are done.
Mid game: Up to this point you should have been more serious about farming gold than worry about anything else. With your core items and a sunfire under your belt, you should be ready to take on the world. Unless you have been feeding all game, you should be a force to be reckoned with at this point, even if you didn't get a lot of champion kills in the early phase. You will be super fast, take very little damage, have a lot of health and armor, tons of survivability, and since it isn't very far into the game, you will notice that you pump out some good damage as well. Start pushing unprotected lanes in, gank enemy champions, and start working on things that will benefit the entire team (downing dragon, towers, guarding lanes so that people can buy, etc.)
Late game: By this time you shouldn't even be concerned about "farming" anymore. Now is the time to group up with your team and start doing something useful. Gank, push, Baron if its a good idea (you have to judge that), and end the game. Farming till 40 minutes into the game is generally not the best plan especially when you are the tank. Get your **** and crew together and go be somebody.
This is an area I am going to dedicate in all my builds that I may or may not write in the future to give you guys some protips.
1.) Using the brush is awesome on any champion, but especially with Garen because you can use the invisibility to open with a silence (leaving the enemy vulnerable) then using spin as they will predictably run away, and then ult to finish the job if they are low enough(keep in mind this will go down in about 2-3 seconds)
2.) Use Courage when the tower starts attacking you to mitigate a lot of the damage, especially useful when you are tower diving to ult someone who thinks they are safe by their tower(pop ghost and courage and teach them that there is no protection from DEMACIAAAAAAAAAA)
3.) If for whatever reason you don't want to be spinning anymore, for the love of god turn it off. Dont sit there spinning next to the enemy tower for example when you arent hitting someone. Be productive.
4.) I put space between this tip and the last one because this is the most important. How aggravated do you get when people ks you? Well as they say in that ****py spiderman movie, with great power comes great responsibility, and Garen has the ultimate ksing power. His ult functions pretty much the same way as Execute works in WoW, so last hitting someone with it isn't hard, the hard part is not using it when you can (and instinctively really want to) but don't need it. Use your ult for people that are getting away, or tanks that have huge health pools that are getting kinda low, or when you just 1v1 owned someone, not when 3 of your teammates are all owning the same exausted Katarina. This will make team fights go much more smoothly, increase the likelihood of your team winning the battle, as well as making it more likely for your team to want to work with you. Lets face it, we all hate ksers especially if they are playing Garen.
So there you have it, Garen made even easier.
This was my first guide and I made it at 1am while being extremely tired so if there are little mistakes I apologize. If there are any questions or concerns feel free to comment and look forward to a few more guides coming out by me to teach you the easiest way to learn some of my favorite champions.