Garen Build Guide by NicknameMy

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League of Legends Build Guide Author NicknameMy

Garen, Spin to win is possible revamped

NicknameMy Last updated on March 30, 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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Thanks to Searz for the awesome guide format! You can find it here.

Mouse-over any items or abilities to see their tooltip.


(for any abbreviations you don't understand)

I now rewrite my old Garen Guide. After his last mayor changes, I archived it, because it was very outdated. This is the new way of Garen, Spin to Win.


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Why Tanky DPS Garen over AD Garen or Tank Garen?

Lets see what the types bring the the table:

Tank Garen:

  • Ultra High Survivability
  • Ultra High power to stay in the fight, never focused at all
  • Ignores CC
  • No DMG at all lategame
  • No Nuking power
  • Most time only kill stealing the real carry

AD Garen:

  • Survivability???
  • Can't stay in fight for full Judgment duration
  • 1 CC and you are dead and useless
  • High dmg lategame
  • Good nuking power, but hard to pull off
  • Profits best from kills, even if stolen

Tanky DPS Garen:

  • High Survivability
  • Can stay in the fight for full Judgment duration, can deal even some more hits but is killable
  • Again, pretty much ignore CC
  • Good dmg lategame
  • Can nuke a carry in a full rotation pretty hard
  • Kills work good on him, they aren't wasted

So, as you can see, Tank Garen is a big fat ball that can't be punished but will never be punished, making him with his low cc useless.

AD Garen deals great amount of dmg but is like squishy Master Yi. You are instadead if s.b. cc's and focus you...

Tanky DPS Garen works great, because he combines the damage of AD and the survival of the tank . He will tear through the enemy team.

Quotes from Wintermond to this question:

Wintermond wrote:
Wintermond (3:57): Tank garen is useless
Wintermond (3:57): doesnt deal damage
Wintermond (3:57): cant tan
Wintermond (3:57): because no aggro
Wintermond (3:57): ad garen geos down too fast
Wintermond (3:58): and tanky dps can tank and deal tons of dmg


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+ Best Earlygame Champ in League of Legends
+ "Don't check the brush"
+ Destroys the so OP Singed
+ Can play like an assasin lategame
+ tanky dps
+ Silence
+ No more Killsteals and you can kill anybody very quickly
+ ...


- Can be kited
- CC can stop you
- Falls off a bit lategame
- C'mon Lux...

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Brutalizer is back!

After I have used triple Doran's Blade for some time, I am now back with The Brutalizer. This is because 3 Doran's Blade take up too much item slots and are not very usefull later in the game. I also found out, that Youmuu's Ghostblade is still a pretty nice item on Garen, normally he should enough armorpen with it + runes and masteries. So, back to the basics.^^

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Still, damage is best for Garen, so skill the damage. But his dmg got very much increased by the mastery buff. You have now more sustain, your Demacian Justice deals even more damage and the overall kit is better. Definitly a huge buff for Garen.

After the change to the crit mastery, I decided to no longer get it and get cdr and magicpen instead. This improves the new feature of the build to build around cdr.

Another hint: Use 3 points in Resistance against a magic dmg opponent and 3 points in Hardiness against a physical dmg opponent.

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Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Mark of Armor Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration


Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation
After some calculating with the help of Searz, I came to the conclution that armorpen marks are still better than AD Marks. They are even better at lvl 1 of Judgment or Decisive Strike. They also scale way better into lategame. Because of that, run armorpen marks.

Greater Seal of Resilience
Armor, nothing much to say, nothing better in the game.

Greater Glyph of Shielding
Magicresist/lvl, so you don't get nuked up. This runes makes you tanky lategame. You can also use flat if you want, you should use flat vs magic dmg enemies.

Greater Quintessence of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation
If you use The Brutalizer/ Youmuu's Ghostblade, you definitly need armorpen. Otherwise you deal not enough dmg.

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Summoner spells


Everyone use flash. You need flash to hold with others up. Also, you can initiate with flash. Just flash onto the ap-carry, hit him with Decisive Strike, then Judgment, then Demacian Justice. If you time it right, the ap-carry is dead. And even more people are damaged because of your Judgment.

With the extra movement speed, you can catch people and also initiate. But I would say, all what ghost can do, can Flash do better.

To keep eneemy's in your Judgment. Also lowers armor and magicresist, so you can hurt your enemy's more for an easy kill. And a great counter to ad-carries.

Perfect kill savior if you fail your ult. Can also give you kills pre 6. But Exhaust is better, because you deal more dmg with it.

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Skilling sequence

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


  • Easy harass with Decisive Strike at lvl 1. You can cost a Singed 3/4 of his hp or more until he get his posion trail.
  • Courage is now a one-point-wonder. It gives you all, what you want, at lvl 1.
  • Judgment will deal the most damage at lvl 9, later in the game, Decisive Strike will give you more utility. And finally, the extra damage reduction of Courage makes you unkillable. Your Ult is the best finisher in the game and should be leveled every time, so you can easier kill them.

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Your kit (abilities) and how to use it


This is the ability which gives Garen so much lane staying power. You will beat many solo top laner only because of that.

Tips and tricks:
  • Stay in the brush and let yourself heal. That way you can stay in the lane forever. Also, if the enemy thinks, he can beat you, because you went low into the brush, crush him. But don't miss any last hits by doing that. This could also cause problems.

  • Your passive in combaniton with Force of Nature let you regenerate your hp very fast.

Decisive Strike

One of the best single target earlygame damage spell of the game. Also, it has a usefull silence on it.

Tips and tricks:
  • Hit your lane opponent as often as possible with it. It deals massive damage and can easily outlane him. At lvl 1, you could beat down 3/4 of the HP of the opponent with it.

  • Hit this spell everytime before you start spinning. This way, your enemy can't activate spells to getaway. Also, with Frozen Mallet, he gets slowed.


Courage gives you free magic resist and armor. But you have to last hit creeps for it. Just farm yourself into godmode. Also the damage reduction is usefull if you initiate or exspect heavy damage onto you.

Tips and tricks:
  • If you towerdive somebody, this shield will keep you alive.

  • Farm the Armor and Magicresist as fast as possible. You will need it in the lane.


SPIN TO WIN! A spell, which deals heavy aoe dmg and can crit. Best used against more then one enemy or for an ambush.

Tips and tricks:
  • Judgment can crit. Your judgment crits on your crit chance and crit damage. If judgment crits, you see a sword over the enemy. Then, the bonus Damage(from the AD-ratio), will get multiplied with your crit damage.

    This is why Infinity Edge is very usefull.

  • Because of this spell, everyone will fear to facecheck brushes^^.

Demacian Justice

Just the best Finisher in the game. Learn to use it and you dominate. It is pretty hard to master, because you have to know, when it can kill the enemy.

Tips and tricks:
  • Don't kill steal with this spell. If it is 100% unneccesary to use it, save it for s.b. else.

  • This spell deals magic damage. Try to hit people with low magicresist, otherwise, it could fail.

Main combo:

Decisive Strike-> Judgment-> Courage-> Demacian Justice(only if you can finish your enemy.

This combo is best used out of brushes.

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At this Garen, I have only 1 build, because this works best. Also, the defence items are a must, because they provide other usefull stats, which Garen needs, even if there is no type of that damage.

Recommended build sequence:

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Starting items

+ 3
Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion
The movement speed advantage at lvl 1 is a must for Garen. With it, you can hit Decisive Strike very easy. With this start item, you dominate your lane.


+ 1
Regrowth Pendant + 1 Health Potion
If you expect heavy harass and you think you can't hold your lane(or fight against 2). This in combination with Perseverance will give you enough lane sustain to stay in the lane forever. Also, it builds later into Force of Nature.

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Core items

Frozen Mallet
That ******* slow. It is so incredible strong in combination with Decisive Strike. Also, this item gives you enough hp combined with the resists of Courage to have high effective hp.

Atma's Impaler
A perfect item for Garen. Your Armor will get into a perfect spot to defend yourself against nearlly every physical damage. And you get AD for HP. Because you bought Frozen Mallet, this works great.

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Preferred items

Ionian Boots of Lucidity
A great earlygame item. Like Youmuu's Ghostblade, it moved up because the purpose of the build changed. It is now more cdr based. You can still sell this boots lategame if you need different ones in certain situations, but for early-mid you can't get anything better.

Force of Nature
You don't only get that item to have magicresist. This item offers way more stats. First, you get epic more hp regen. This in combination with Perseverance let you heal yourself up like Dr. Mundo, so you can rejoin a fight. Also, it has movement speed on it. Maybe movement speed is a bit overrated, but you still need that amount. You want to be faster than your enemy's while Decisive Strike is active. If you have Force of Nature, you can get to that Phantom Dancer people.

Youmuu's Ghostblade
This item worked himself into the main build. First, it was ****ted on, then it was semi-viable and now it is mainstream. Why? Well, totally underestimation... This item gives you crit which scales with Infinity Edge and Atma's Impaler, armorpen which scales with your runes and masteries for your Judgment and cdr for spamming your spells all the time. This item is nearly made for Garen. Only one part is mostly useless, the active part. You maybe use it between your Judgment's.

Infinity Edge
The DMG item! It will boost your damage very much lategame, so you deal enough damage lategame. Also, it works well with Judgment. Even a B. F. Sword alone can be enough. Also, the crit chancce at Atma's Impaler and Youmuu's Ghostblade helps, too.

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Other viable items

Ninja Tabi
Ninja Tabi's are great, if the enemy team doesn't have enough cc, but 3 or more physical damage champions.

Boots of Swiftness
Well, I add this one, because I think, they can be viable, too. If the enemy team can constantly kite you where Mercury's Treads don't help, you should grab these boots. This way, you maybe reach the enemy. But, other than that, they aren't really viable.

Quicksilver Sash
A situational choise if the enemy runs a heavy surpress combo which aims for you. Other than that, Force of Nature is way more important and better.

Mercury's Treads
This boots are just the best boots in the game. They are like Flash a good choice on any champ. Get them instead of cdr lategame if enemy cc is a terror for you.

Warmog's Armor
For all, which hate Frozen Mallet. This is actually also viable, if your team has SOOO MUUUCH CC that you don't need the slow at all. But you will loose Phage and some of your lane domination with that.

Last Whisper
After the recent change back to Youmuu's Ghostblade, this item is now situational choise. You should still get if the enemy carries start to get serious armor (2 armor items at least). Other than that, I don't see any use of it anymore.

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Laning phase

Garen's home is the solo top lane. He just needs the farm of the solo lane and is a good tanky dps. He fills that role perfect.

As I already mentioned in the ability section, you should try to harass your opponent all the time with Decisive Strike. I have an example for that:

See that? I just beatdown Singed! He doesn't deal enough dmg at lvl 1, so I just jump everytime with Decisive Strike onto him.

At lvl 5, Singed lost halve his hp, then I hit 6 and, well, then it is easy. Garen is one of the best tower diver in the game, and his ult finish off everyone.

That happens to any champ, which has to stay in melee range to deal damage.

Otherwise, hard counters to Garen at top lane are ranged champs. If he doesn't get in their range, he is useless. Aahe is the hardest counter to him. Also Heavy CC are a big problem. A Lux will ust laugh at you. Be ware of that champs. If they have something like Ashe top lane, get s.b. like Lee Sin or Yorick top, because they can beat Ashe with ease. If they have a heavy cc champ top, get Irelia there, she is very resistant to cc.

That means, pick Garen, if you know, that the enemy has a top laner, which relies, to be near you and can't dash out of your range. He destroys them.

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Enemies at solo top:

Note: I actually work on this section

/ / AP-carries

Danger: 1/10

Sometimes, you will meet foolish people at solo top, which think they could beat a Garen with a mage. Well, it is kinda easy to beat them. You are waaay faster than them even if they get Boots of Speed. And now, just outharass them with Decisive Strike. You deal more damage than them with their 1. spell most time, so you can easily beat them. If they getting low, Exhaust+ Decisive Strike+ Judgment to kill them at lvl 2. Actually, very easy to handle.

Garen counters mages, you know?


Danger: 2/10

The only thing, which makes her more of a threat than ap-carries is her sustain, which was nerfed, and her Twilight Shroud, which you actually can counter with your Judgment. The Mark of the Assassin actually doesn't hurt very much and if you catch her once with silence, she is near to dead. Like against AP-carries, start with same items and you will get an easy win. But if you sometimes struggle a bit, just get an early Negatron Cloak.


Danger: 5/10

Actually, this match up has most time no real winner. It is a farm fest. Every initation of Garen with Judgment gets countered with Feral Scream, but any initation with Rupture gets countered by Judgment. If you can hit him, do it, but because both of you have high sustain, it isn't worth it. Just farm.
I would prefer starting with Boots of Speed against him. This way, you can avoid his Rupture and maybe zone him so he can't regain his HP by killing minions.

Dr. Mundo

Danger: 8/10

This guy is pretty hard for Garen. He has great passive sustain, like Garen, after lvl 6 he is unkillable because of Sadism and you can't initate at him because of Infected Cleaver. Also, Burning Agony counters your silence. Lucky, that he is actually underplayed top. If you meet him, start with Boots of Speed and dodge his Infected Cleaver, this way, he could kill himself. I would also pick Ignite against him, because it counters his ultimate so you maybe can kill him with Demacian Justice after some situations.^^


Danger: 9/10

This guy is actually a great counter to Garen. He will taunt you away from carries to deny your spin. He will crush you in the laning phase with Righteous Gust and Resolute Smite to either harass you or get away from you. But, there is hope. If you can hit Decisive Strike, you will outdamage him. Galio most time stacks mres to get more AP so maybe he forgot about armor. Then, if you hit your combo on him, you can crush him. But doing that, is really hard. And a good Galio will get early armor against you.
Another thing to note: Your Decisive Strike will stop his ult if he taunts you while it is active. So you are one of the few guys which can stop that. And very effectively. Still, most time, it costs you your assasination.


Danger: 9/10

Pretty much the same as Galio. He can easily kite and escape you. Remove Scurvy makes your silence useless and most time you can't damage him. Also, he gets an early Wriggle's Lantern, which also denies the rest of your damage potential. But he got a hard nerf so he can't spam Parrrley all the time. It is now easier to handle, but still hard to do.


Danger: ?/10

Yeah, fighting against yourself. This actually gets a ? because it totally depends onto your skill and the skill of the enemy Garen. Just get your combo off before he can and you should win. Or who gets his ult earlier off. This has most time a random end.

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At Teamfights, Garen can be the initiator, but he is also an anti-ap carry. Because of his silence, he just makes ap-carrys useless. Just Flash at the ap-carry, silence and slow him( Frozen Mallet), then spin and he should run away.

You don't need to kill him, he only has to run away, so he is useles for the team.

At the point, the silence ends, activate Courage. The ap-carry maybe tries to burst you then, that way, he does nearly no dmg.

In the time, you sucessfully got rid of their ap-carry, your team should destroy with the other off-tank the rest of the enemy team. Of course, slow enemey's with Frozen Mallet, if they want to escape-


If the enemy ap-carry is underfed and useless, go for the enemy ad-carry. It is useless to burst s.b. up, which deals no dmg. Destroy the real danger.

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My Ranked games solo queue


There you can read all about my ranked games. I also post here the lolreplay and match statistics of games with Garen:

Another scores:

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Closing statements

That is the end of my revamped Garen Guide, Spin to win is possible. I hope you like my changes and win with the new Garen.

See ya ingame!

BTW: Sorry for bad english^^. I wait for lugi ;).