Garen Build Guide by NicknameMy

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League of Legends Build Guide Author NicknameMy

Garen, Spin to Win is possible!

NicknameMy Last updated on August 11, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 15

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 15

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Addition to Builds on Top

Key Stats on Garen:
>400 Movement Speed
if possible 40% CDR
>225 AD
~50% Crit Chance
Crit Dmg( Infinity Edge)
>2,5k HP
150+ Resists

The first build features 3vs3. You can find that section at the bottom of the guide.
In my 2. build i can get all what i want without Frozen Mallet or Warmog's Armor. As defence-Items i have Sunfire Cape + Force of Nature and at my offensive section i have Infinity Edge, Youmuu's Ghostblade and The Brutalizer. And cause of my runes and masteries, I have a movement speed advantage, so i don't need Boots of Swiftness, i build Ionian Boots of Lucidity for 40% cdr. And Garen has very long cooldowns, so this helps him most.

This build is mainly featured in this guide.
The 3. build utilizes into more HP through Atma's Impaler, some people prefer this, i only combine their Force of Nature + Warmog's Armor; combine this with your passive and laugh about Dr. Mundo^^.
(If you love Frozen Mallet more, you can get it instead of Warmog's Armor.

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Hello, this is my first guide on mobafire. I want to introduce to you Garen, a champ which nearly died in the Cassiopeia-patch, but who now only needs more skill to play. I will show you, how you will dominate all with him again, like in the old days of Sunfire-Stacking.

BTW: While you read the guide, listen to that song:


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Story of Garen, the might of DEMACIA!!!

Throughout Valoran, the resolve of Demacia's military is alternately celebrated or despised, but always respected. Their ''zero tolerance'' moral code is strictly upheld by civilians and soldiers alike. In combat, this means Demacian troops may not make excuses, flee, or surrender under any circumstance. These principles are espoused to their forces by unrivaled demagogues who lead by example. Garen, the valiant warrior who bears the title ''the Might of Demacia'', is the paradigm to which these leaders are compared. Thousands of great heroes have risen and fallen on the bloody battlefields between Demacia and its preeminent rival, Noxus. It was beneath their mighty banners of war that Garen first met steel with Katarina, the Sinister Blade. The infantrymen who beheld this event (and survived) commented that it seemed as though the two were locked in a mortal waltz against a symphony of clashing blades.

Garen, the pride of the Demacian military and leader of the Dauntless Vanguard, returned from this battle breathless for the first time in his career, though some speculate that this was due to reasons other than exhaustion. The plausibility of these rumors was bolstered when, in every instance thereafter, Garen seized the opportunity to encounter the Sinister Blade again. A paragon of Demacian ethic, Garen never entertained such allegations, for he knew others couldn't understand. Even simply the pursuit of a worthy opponent on the battlefield is, to a true warrior, the reason to rise each morning. The promise of one, particularly so beautifully and diametrically opposed, is the validation of his existence.

''The most effective way to kill an opponent is to slice through the man next to him.'' - Garen, on front line strategy

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Garen Patch History

  • V1.0.0.123:
    • Decisive Strike: movement speed boost duration increased to 4 seconds from 3.
    • Judgment: cooldown reduced to 13/12/11/10/9 from 14/13/12/11/10.
    • Courage: maximum armor and magic resistance increased to 25 at all ranks from 5/10/15/20/25.
  • V1.0.0.120:
    • Perseverance
      • Fixed a bug where Perseverance could sometimes activate immediately after taking damage
      • Now marks Garen as being in combat even if the damage is shielded
      • Now shows the particle on Garen even if at 100% health
  • V1.0.0.114:
    • Base movement speed increased to 320 from 315.
    • Courage: damage reduction increased to 20/24/28/32/36% from 10/15/20/25/30%.
  • V1.0.0.112:
    • Decisive Strike:
      • Attack damage scaling increased to 150% from 120%.
      • Movement speed boost increased to 3 seconds from 2.
      • Total duration available to proc the silence and hit reduced to 6 seconds from 7.
    • Judgment: cooldown reduced to 14/13/12/11/10 from 15/14/13/12/11 seconds.
  • V1.0.0.109:
    • Judgment: bonus attack damage scaling increased to 120% from 100% per second.
  • V1.0.0.108:
    • Judgment: base damage increased to 60/100/140/180/220 per second from 60/90/120/150/180.
  • V1.0.0.107:
    • Decisive Strike:
      • Base damage reduced to 30/45/60/75/90 from 40/60/80/100/120.
      • Attack damage scaling increased to 120% from 100%.
    • Judgment:
      • Base damage per tick changed to 60/90/120/150/180 from 30/70/110/150/190.
      • Now scales off bonus attack damage rather than 70% of all attack damage.
      • Now ticks once per second instead of once every half second.
  • V1.0.0.105:
    • Reduced Garen's selection size.
  • V1.0.0.103:
    • Judgment can no longer damage invisible minions or objects like wards.
  • V1.0.0.102:
    • Base movement speed reduced to 315 from 320.
    • Courage:
      • Active damage reduction changed to 10/15/20/25/30% from 30% at all ranks.
      • Active duration modified to 3 seconds at all ranks from 2/2.5/3/3.5/4.
  • V1.0.0.101:
  • V1.0.0.100:
    • Courage: maximum armor and magic resistance reduced to 5/10/15/20/25 from 7/14/21/28/35.
  • V1.0.0.99:
    • Judgment now reduces the duration of new slows by 50% rather than granting immunity to slowing effects. Judgment will still completely clear any existing slows when activated.
  • V1.0.0.98:
  • V1.0.0.97:
  • V1.0.0.96:
    • Fixed a bug with Decisive Strike that would cause the icon cooldown to display improperly.
  • V1.0.0.94:
    • Fixed a bug where Garen will sometimes appear with a different skin after reconnecting.
  • V1.0.0.85:
  • V1.0.0.83: Added.
    • Decisive Strike:
      • Garen gains a movement speed boost upon activating this ability, and his next melee attack deals increased damage and silences his opponent.
    • Courage:
      • Garen permanently increases his armor and magic resistance every time he kills a minion, and he can activate this ability to take reduced damage from all sources for a few seconds.
    • Judgment:
      • Garen spins his sword rapidly around his body and moves with it, dealing large amounts of physical damage to all enemies within its radius.
    • Demacian Justice (Ultimate) -
      • Garen executes Demacian Justice upon an opponent, dealing a large amount of damage with bonus damage for health that an opponent is missing.
    • Perseverance (Innate):
      • Garen gains a large health regeneration boost when he stays out of combat for a few seconds.

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Pros / Cons


+Massive Damage
+Big Survival
+Ult which can finish everybody off
+epic earlygame domince

-loose effectivity latgame(c'mon riot, buff ad-ratios...)
-ranged champ with much cc can destroy earlygame( Lux, etc..)
-needs a bit of training to master ult

I think Garen is a very viable champ, but he can be counterpicked. So he should be chosen last in a ranked game.

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As you can see my masteries, you see a very strange 15/0/15 split. This is, because Garen needs the movement speed mastery cause once again, movement speed is a very important stat. Also, i grab Archaic Knowledege, because it boost the dmg of your ult. Attack speed is not important for Garen, cause he spins most the time. The rest should be an obvious choise.

I also tested a 12/0/18 mastery. And it is way better, because Brute Force is a waste. More CDR helps!

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Runes are not fully necessary, but they help you very much. I take the following:

Greater Mark of Desolation
Nobrainer, gives so much more dmg to all of your spells(not your ult, of course).
Greater Seal of Vitality
I get these because of my personal preference. You could also pick Dodge or Armor, but i like these most, cause i get already much resists from Courage and my items.

Other viable Choices:

CDR! Very good for Garen. Garen's skills don't cost anything, so only his cooldowns cage him. If you get somehow sometime 40% cdr, the enemies will cry to you^^. But if you don't plan on buying much magicresist items, I would strongly suggest to get magicresist Glyphs.

Other viable Choice:

Movement Speed! Best Stat which Garen can have. If you play with a Janna in your team, you will be incredible fast at lvl 1. This makes sure, that you can spin to win everybode running from you.

Other viable Choice:

Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Combined with the Marks and masteries they give you 31 Armorpen at start and 46 with The Brutalizer. This can be also an interesting choise, if you get items like Force of Nature with movement speed.

AD is also good on Garen. These Quints give you very much earlygame dmg. Cause you have very high ad-ratio.

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Summoner Spells

Now, to the summoner's choise, the summoner spells. As you can see, i prefer Ghost and Ignite. More explanation next:

MUST HAVE!!! If you didn't skipped before you know why. Movement Speed is the biggest thing that Garen needs. And Ghost is for me the most powerfull summoner spell to me. If you don't get Ghost, you could force a queue dodge...

I really love this Spell on Garen. It has a great syngerie with your ult and can shut down healers quickly. Dr. Mundo will also die to you now^^.

More viable summoner spells:

Also very viable on Garen. Exhaust let you spin in their face all day, some preference this over Ignite. But i prefer Ignite, cause you never know if your ult fails for 10 hp...

As Garen, you will be hit by very much cc. Everyone wants to stop you spin in their faces. This makes Cleanse very viable, if the enemy has much cc.

This spell can make the enemy a surprised end. You can flash into the enemy team, press W and E and then kill them all. Works best in combination with champs such like Amumu. But this is most time only a dream.

Some of the other summoner spells you can pick, bust most of them are waste on Garen and the above are way better. If you want to force a queue dodge, pick Revive and Clarity.

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Everybode should know Garens Skills, but i show you them now in detail.

One of the best passives ingame. It gives you infinity lane staying power, if you can avoid to be hit. Brushes are perfect to use this. But don't relay to much on it. If you go only out to lose 3/4 hp and sit then in the bush one hour, you gonna make me cry...
Nice spell. The Movement Speed boost is perfect for chasing/initiating or getting zone control with bushes(later more). Also, the silence can shut down ult's like Karthus Requiem, Nunu's Absolute Zero or Katarina's Death Lotus. It can also shut down enemy mage carries like Annie, so they cannot nuke your carry.
Also a very nice spell. The damage reducion makes it perfect for tower diving or spin to win in the whole enemy team. Also, the extra magic resist and armor can save your ***. Also, you can build less defence items but also be effective.
SPIN TO WIN!!! Yeah, you heard right. This is our main spell. This makes enemies fear you earlygame and hurt them hard lategame(i wish they buff the ad-ratios...). Also, this makes you a giant threat in bushes. This gives you also epic zonecontrol with your spell combination. Has also great syngery with Sunfire Cape
They will fall! This is, what you have to know about this spell. Best finishing spell ingame. Can also kill running people which you don't get otherwise. Unbeatable in the combination with Ignite. But never ever kill steal with it. Only noob- Garen do that. It needs also much training to know, if the ult can kill the target. But after some games, you should got it.

Crit Calculation: Judgment can crit

If you have 200 ad, you get 240 Bonus Dmg on Judgment. If Judgment now crits, your bonus dmg is multiplicated with the crit dmg. So without any other crit dmg item or mastery you deal 480 bonus Dmg. This can be increased by Infinity Edges passive, so it is a good item.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
As you can see, i skill Judgment first. I see many Garen, who starts with Decisive Strike, but this is an epic fail. Garen's spin is his biggest Damage-Output earlygame and the biggest threat to the enemies. Also, this spell can win you First Blood with ease. You have no real Zone control until you have Judgment.
Also it is funny to start spin and write /t^^.

After you maxed Judgment, it is your choise, which you level next. I think both Decisive Strike and Courage have his advantages, so i level them equal.

V1.0.0.123 update:

Now lvl up Decisive Strike before Courage. Now Courage is a one point wonder.

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From Nothing to all, some say. Here are the Items!


or +3x

As Garen, i like to start with Doran's Blade, cause it gives you all what you need. Attack damage and hp, let you spin to win earlygame. Otherwise, Boots of Speed and the 3 Health Potion's give you more lane staying power and more movement speed, which let you be a movement speed beast at lvl 1. I would say Doran's Blade for beginners and Boots of Speed for experienced players.

1. Back:

or or

All these 3 Boots are viable on Garen. I like Boots of Swiftness most, because i want to be fast with Garen, but if the enemy is cc heavy, i will pick Mercury's Treads. Ionian Boots of Lucidity are only for games, in which you want to get maxed cooldown reduction and you think, you don't need the extra speed from Boots of Swiftness. Again, maxed cdr- Garen is a big threat.

I think, here ends the core now, cause the next items are situational.


, ,( , )

This is the defensive section of Garen. Use the items which works best against the enemy team. Balanced? Sunfire Cape+ Force of Nature Mages? Force of Nature+ Banshee's Veil. Normal Damage? Sunfire Cape+ Randuin's Omen. I think, this is not very hard to understand, so i move on.

Other viable choises:

, , , ,
If you think you can get a majority of kills earlygame, Leviathan will make the enemies cry. Combined with Item's like Aegis of the Legion or Guardian Angel, which give high resists, you will be nearly unkillable with 20 Stacks. If you get it, i would recommon to also get Atma's Impaler, cause this will boost your Damage most. If you want an Aura for you team, you can also get Aegis of the Legion+ Guardian Angel
Quicksilver Sash can help against heavy cc.
Warmog's Armor if you want to build the 4. build, because hp+atma's is a great combo. This item has most hp.

Bad choises:

This item maybe seem to be good, but it cost too much. Also, Frozen Mallet's slow only procs on auto-attacks, but with Garen, you most time spin. Frozen Mallet is a good item for your ranged carry or champs like Olaf, but definitly not for you. If you want to have a slow, get Lizard Buff, but this should be in the hands of the ranged ad-carry.


+ +

Why Youmuu's Ghostblade some say? Well, it gives you armor penetration, attack damage, cooldown reduction, crit chance and an active which gives you movement speed. More questions?

Also Youmuu's stacks with The Brutalizer. It is very cheap and gives all what you need, so why not?

Infinity Edge is your main dmg item, It gives you the biggest dmg on your Judgment, it maybe costs much, but it is definitly worth it.

Other viable choises:

, , ( )
Get Atma's Impaler everytime you get a high hp item like Leviathan.
Last Whisper, if the enemy is very tank heavy and stacks very much armor. Get this instead of Youmuu's Ghostblade, because their armorpenetration doesn't work well together.
Trinity Force is really bad luxury, cause it gives so much wasted stats, but it also gives you very very much movement speed! and a proc on your Decisive Strike. Only Sheen would be also enough, but if the game goes on longer^^

Bad Items:

Any items, which relies on attack speed. Garen is no Autoattaker, he spins more. This makes Lifesteal, Attack speed and Item's which procs on every attack useless. Of course, if the item gives you heavy ad or movement speed, it could be understandable.

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When to choose Garen?

Garen is a very good pick. But he can only get his full potential, if he lanes with a support at bot lane, which have good cc ( Janna, Taric, Morgana, Sona, etc...). If you make this, top solo lane is for the AP-carry, the jungle is for the tank and mid goes the ranged AD carry. So fit him in the right place and you are unstoppable. But never ever pick him, if you see at the enemy team heavy cc. This is the worst nightmare for Garen, because it destroys his best part, his earlygame. Cleanse and Quicksilver Sash are a must, if you face something like that.


/ , , / , ,

Vladimir is an epic solo laner for top, Annie is the biggest aoe dmg AP-carry. Corki can handle very good mid and is best AD-carry, Nunu is the best jungler, with Amumu. Janna is best support and then we have Garen.

This team composition deals very much aoe dmg, so you should focus on that. Vladimir increases this dmg very much. But Annie deals for that AOE dmg. But you can switch something of the team around, as you can see.

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As you already know, Garen is very dominant in earlygame. So we have to abuse with. First with this Video:
So, you know now what zone control is. Garen has an epic zone control earlygame, if he uses the brushes. The Decisive Strike+ Judgment combo gives him a far range out of the brushes, where he can be active. This can be used to outzone your opponents. The enemies will fear to go for lasthits, cause they know, you are in the bush and come out their and cost them 1/2 hp. This maybe cost you some last hits, but if you lane with a carry, you can abuse this. But I would prefer to lane with a support, so Garen can be an earlygame-carry.

Also, you have to last hit. Don't spin in the minions and push the lane like hell!!! Only last hit. This will be the key to success. If you want to play a champ to learn lasthitting, play Annie. She gives great rewards for lasthits and a bad game for no last hitting.

If you have a lanemate with epic cc, like Sion, Taric, etc., you can go for easy kills from the brushes. The stun will hold them in place and your Judgement will cost them their live. This is why garen is so dangerous. If you get courage and you thing, the enemy will fire back where you try to harass, pop it. You will loose now a very few amount of hp, but the enemies very much. Standart combo:

->->->->(if enemy is killable) ->

Otherwise said:

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Midgame/Ganks/First Team fights

In the Midgame, that starts normally after most champs are lvl 6, it is time to gank. Garen is a very well ganker since he is very fast now and can deal serious dmg, cause his Judgment is nearly maxed. Just do the same like before with the enemies. Now, if you want, you can push your lane with Judgment, cause you can get very often minion kills now and bring the enemy tower down. If the tower falls, you have free hand to gank. Also, Decisive Strike procs on towerss, so you can "harass" the tower with it. In Mid Game Team fights, you are the boss. Spin all enemies down if you can. Now you deal the most damage and are the biggest threat, because you nearly finished or already finished your tank items. Let them fear you, then you are strong at latgame.

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Lategame/Team Fights/Baron

In the Lategame, you will loose on power, so you need your offensive items. But you will never do again so much damage like in mid or earlygame. From now on, you are more tank then damage dealer, the enemies could focus you, because of your damage mid game. Most time, you will be ignored. But if you ignore them, let them pay with your Demacian Justice and your Judgment. You won't be ignored if you use them well. And that could save your main carry his life.

Your Main-Target in team fights is the enemy Carry. With his Ultimate and his spin, he can easily shutdown the enemy carry. If you feel, you cannot get through the enemy lines with Ghost, Flash could also help with that. In the WCG-Finals, a Garen from EPIK focused the enemy ashe and never let her carry the team. This way, they won.

In this Game, a Garen is in the Team of Epik. Watch what he does. Baron is not the best friend of garen, cause you will deal not very much damage to minions. You could only tank him, but this will cost you some of your hp. At Baron-Fights, you are not very powerfull...

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At 3vs3, all is different. Garen is a boss on 3vs3, cause their is fewer dmg and not much cc. First of all, Garen can lane top on 3vs3, cause he is the ad carry their. He can destroy the game of Tryndamere or Jax, the most epic champs in 3vs3. You only need 1 defence-item on 3vs3, Frozen Mallet. Yeah. In 3vs3, it is incredible. Cause of the lack on cc, you also have to get some, Frozen Mallet is best to do this. Then you can go purely dps, with the other items. Spin to Win^^. If the enemy is somehow cc-heavy, Quicksilver Sash can help.

The last item is really situational.

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Guide Changelog

2011-08-11 Another Rework, only the 3 most important builds at top. Also some more colors^^.
2011-07-17 Reworked the Guide to be more attractive.
2011-07-09 Changed Atmog's build a bit for more earlygame dmg at equal survival.
2011-06-23 Added Patchlog
2011-05-31 Added another alternative build, if you want to be more a dmg dealer earlygame. Also, added some maths on Sunfire Cape
2011-05-21 Added another alternative build, something new about Warmog's Armor and a new Song!
2011-04-30 Added an alternative build for very good games at the Top.(klick on the Garen-Picture to reveal it), Added 3vs3 section
2011-04-29 Finished most of the Guide
2011-04-28 Posted the Guide, everytime making some changes

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This is the end of my guide, i hope you liked it and you can play now Garen perfectly. Show me, if you have positive results. And not only donvote, say me, why you downvote.