Garen Build Guide by GarenLink

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author GarenLink

Garen- Spin to... you know the rest

GarenLink Last updated on April 11, 2013
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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: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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Update History

2/28/13 - Guide Created
2/28/13 - Added Maw of Malmortius and to Other Viable Items
3/1/13 - Changed Abilities due to Patch 3.03 changes
3/1/13 - Added Yorick to Lane Matchups
3/4/13 - Added Locket of the Iron Solari to Other Viable Items

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2.28.13 - Guide Created
3.2.13 - Top Ten Garen Guides (THANKS TO ALL SUPPORTERS)
4.11.13 - Top Five Garen Guides (NO WAY!!!)

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Hey everyone,
I am GarenLink and this is gonna be my first guide.
I am not too good with design, so I am just going to focus on what you need to do.
I have been playing League for about a year now and my first and favorite champion is, of course, Garen.
I stopped playing him for a bit, until the re-work and now he is my go-to champ.
In this guide, I will tell you how I play Garen.
This is not the only way, but I really like it. :)

Before I start, a big thank you to Palthios and his Spin to Crit guide, which really helped me in my early days of LoL

Hey guys,
I know I haven't updated in a while, school has been pretty rough. I am going to update a bit this weekend. I have a long weekend in a couple weeks. I'll try to give the guide a good edit then.
Thanks for understanding,

Here's the champion spotlight:

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Pros / Cons


Great Early Game
Good Sustain
Great Farming Capabilities
Great Damage Reduction from Courage late game
Spin to Win OP


Many Counters
Low Movement Speed
Kited Easily
Weak Finisher Ultimate compared to Noxian Guillotine or Feast

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I take these runes:
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
These are pretty standard. It gives you a nice +15 AD with the Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage. Great for you early game dominance.

Greater Seal of Armor
Also pretty standard. Gives you +13 armor. Good for top lane where most AD bruisers go.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
When those AP carries start getting their items they hurt. Having scaling MR is good for late game when they start melting people.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
As said before, this gives you good amount of AD with your marks.

Runes are, of course, personal. If these don't fit you, many people on Garen like these.

Other Runes

Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
These are great for early game and pair nicely with your The Black Cleaver. This gives you about +11.5 armor penetration (if you take nine), which is pretty nice. You can mix and match these with the Greater Mark of Attack Damage or just get all armor pen.

Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Meh. Health is nice. I think you get plenty from your items. Gives you around +175 HP at Level 18.
I prefer my Greater Seal of Armor.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
If you are going against an AP in top who has decent early harass ( Akali, Singed, Rumble) you may want to pick these up. Gives you about +12 MR early which can help if you are getting harassed a lot.

Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
Same as the Greater Mark of Armor Penetration. I prefer AD, but the choice is up to you.

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I prefer 9-21-0 Masteries, taking the following.

Offensive Tree

Summoner's Wrath Great for when your Ignite is down --> More AD!

Sorcery CDR... OF COURSE! I take 3 points here. Much better spent here than in Fury

Deadliness Meh. It's more AD. More important for getting farther down the tree.

Weapon Expertise 8% Armor Pen!!! A great pickup with those 9 points you have left over.

Defensive Tree

Durability More health! A nice +108 bonus at Level 18,

Hardiness I put 3 points into this if I a against an AD top. Good amount of Armor early.

Resistance I put 3 here and 1 in Hardiness if I am against an AP. Good MR early.

Unyielding I put two here. It doesn't seem like much, but it may be the difference between a kill and a death in a fight.

Block Same as unyielding. Honestly, along with late game Courage, this makes you pretty dam tanky.

Veteran's Scars Cool looking icon. Check. Awesome Early HP. Check. I don't see anything bad about v scars. +30 HP is a big difference early game.

Safeguard Think how many times you have died barely after a tower dive. Nuff said.

Tenacious CC Reduction is great on Garen. Along with the Courage active and the Decisive Strike slow reduction, you pretty much go where you please.

Juggernaut More health please!

Legendary Armor Goes great with the Courage passive!

Honor Guard 3% DMG REDUCTION! Pretty legit. That means if you are in a 5v5 and take, um... 3000 damage. You will take 30 less damage. Really adds up later on.

Of course, masteries are personal too. If you are more offensive-minded you can just take Veteran's Scars in defense and take all AD masteries in offense.

Utility is a flat-out waste on Garen. No mana pool. So please don't go near that tree.


Why not take Perseverance you might ask? So, if I hypothetically put 3 points into this I get +6 HP regen, right? WRONG! Read it again. "Based on missing health" You would only get the +6 regen, if you were really low. That's pretty garbage. I'll stick to my passive.

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Next, let's discuss the item sequence

Starting Items

This is generally what I start with. The early armor is great if you are against an AD champion and the 5 pots give you great sustain.

A nice aggressive start. The extra AD packs quite a punch. This helps you rush The Brutalizer The pots are great for sustain.

sight ward One heck of a ton of sustain. If someone is countering you, this is good. If they have a jungler with good ganks ( Xin Zhao or Vi) the sight ward comes in handy.

Early Game

CDR and Armor Pen are great on Garen. The AD on this is nice, but more importantly, it builds into The Black Cleaver.

MOAR HP!! HP gives you more regen from Perseverance and just makes you more tanky. This will build into your Warmog's Armor

Core Items

LEAGUE OF WARMOGS This is easily the best tank item in the game right now. Use your early Giant's Belt to get this. Combine with your passive, your HP regen becomesinsane.

This change makes Garen viable in Season 3. Other than Cyclone, Judgment benefits the most from this change. You can literally cut an entire team's armor by 25% in a team fight with this and Judgment. SPIN TO WIN

Late Game

Health. Armor. Ridiculous Passive when combined with Judgment. Nothing not to like here.

I like this item a lot more after the changes. Warden's Mail is a great early pick up if you are struggling against an AD in lane. The active gives you great CC and you can keep your enemies in your spin.

A lot of people do not like this anymore, but I still love it. The armor and MR together gives you a nice defensive boost via the passive on Courage. And, of course, everyone has to kill you twice now! Just die, wait for your cooldowns and run back into the fight!

Other Viable Items

Well, if your support and jungler do not get it, someone has to. Otherwise, leave this to your team.

If you are getting shut down by hard CC, then you might have to get this. Thankfully, you can get some AD out of this now because of the B. F. Sword addition.

This is a great item against an AP laner with some burst. Get an early Hexdrinker and get Maw if you really need the shield.

A nice team fight pick up. The shield really helps out in 5v5s. You also get some armor, health, and CDR! Along with The Black Cleaver and Sorcery , you get 23% CDR. A Decisive Strike every 6 seconds is great!
If you need some extra punch late game, this is your item. Judgment crits too, so it is "doubly" good!

This is good for sticking to a target. I personally like the active on Randuin's Omen much better, but some people still like Frozen Mallet. Up to you.

So you got a ton of HP and want to do something with it? Get Atma's Impaler and watch your AD spike. This could easily go in the actual build, but I rarely get this far in the game. You own too much.

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So, now we go to summoner spells.

Main Choice

Flash is the best summoner in the game, hands down. Use this to dive a tower and then Flash out. Flash + someone low. This is the "everything" spell.

Gives you a nice edge in early lane fights. Great late game for the annoying Dr. Mundo, Swain, or Warwick. Good for finishing that lucky idiot that gets away with 12 HP.

Other Viable Options

If you want some global presence, this is the way to go. It lets you split push well and help out your team.

If you don't have Flash yet, this is your spell. Good for getting away with the slow removal from Decisive Strike and great for chasing people down.

and These are good if you are new. They help you win 1v1s. Heal/Barrier baiting is very fun to watch.
(Heal/Barrier baiting is waiting by your tower when low, allowing the enemy to chase you under tower, and then popping your Heal or Barrier and watching them die)

It's decent for helping you in early fights. This is mostly for shutting down the ADC that rips you apart late game. I would only pick it up if your support does not.

Not Viable

You are not a support.

You don't have mana.

If you really need the CC removal, get Mercurial Scimitar

You are not a jungler.

Ain't nobody got time for dying in the first place!
(In all seriousness, getting another spell will keep you from dying anyway)

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And your abilities!

If Garen has not been struck by damage or enemy abilities for the last 10 seconds, Garen regenerates 0.4% of his maximum Health each second. Minion damage does not stop Perseverance.

Your great HP Regen passive! This in-built sustain can keep you in lane for a long time, and after the re-work minion damage doesn't stop it. This is why building some HP is so great on Garen.

Decisive Strike
Garen breaks free from all slows affecting him and gains 35% Movement Speed for 1.5/2.25/3/3.75/4.5 seconds. His next basic attack deals 30/55/80/105/130 (+1.4) physical damage and silences his target for 1.5/1.75/2/2.25/2.5 seconds.

The movement speed is great for chasing, escaping, and getting back to lane. The silence keep people from getting away from your follow-up Judgment. The silence is also great for cancelling abilities such as Stand United, Death Lotus, etc. I max this second after Judgment.

Passive: Garen's bonus Armor and Magic Resist are increased by 20%.

Active: Garen gains a defensive shield for 2/3/4/5/6 seconds, reducing incoming damage by 30% and granting 30% Crowd Control Reduction.

The active gives you nice stat boost in armor and MR. The shield is fantastic late game. 30% damage reduction is insane. The CC Reduction, along with Tenacious , makes you near unstoppable. I max this last. After the 3.03 patch, the armor and MR bonus was changed to bonus, which makes you lose about 4-14 Armor and MR depending on champion level. Kinda sucks, but the nerf bat can definitely hits harder.

Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, dealing 20/45/70/95/120 plus 70/80/90/100/110% of his attack (+0.7/0.8/0.9/1.0/1.1) as physical damage to nearby enemies every second. Garen can move through units while spinning but moves 20% slower when travelling directly through units.

Easily the most famous ability in the game. Spin to Win! Not only does it have ridiculous AD ratios and hurt a ton, it crits too! Of course, max it first.

Demacian Justice
Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, dealing 175/350/525 magic damage plus 1 damage for every 3.5/3/2.5 Health the target is missing.

A very nice finisher ult. When you drop a giant sword on a low health target out of nowhere, it scares the heck out of them. It is pretty hilarious. I can't stress enough the importance of this as a finisher. Using it early in a fight will be useless. I take it at levels 6, 11, and 16.

A note about Demacian Justice
This note is to you, Riot. Y U NO MAKE GAREN ULTIMATE TRUE DAMAGE!!! As you read in the Pros/Cons, Noxian Guillotine and Feast own Garen in terms of their ultimates. *sigh* Anyway, let's move on.

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Early Game

So, you got your items and your heading to your lane. Protect the entrance to your jungle closest to the top lane. This is the tri-bush if you are on the purple side and the entrance to the ancient golem on the blue side. Help your jungler out if he/she needs a leash and head up to the top lane!

Take a point in Decisive Strike and starting farming. It is very important you learn how to last hit creeps. Last hits will always be your main source of gold in LoL and you need to learn how to do it.

Here is a nice guide for it: /league-of-legends/ability/decisive-strike-255 Donkey Kong. As soon as your opponent comes to farm, rush at him with Decisive Strike and follow up with Judgment. They will be force away, allowing you to farm freely. Make sure you do not push too far, as it will result in you getting ganked and your own jungler not being able no gank your lane.

Once you hit level 6, you should be able to pick up an easy kill. Rush in with Decisive Strike, turn on Judgment and Courage. Ignite your opponent and wait until he is low to finish him with Demacian Justice. Once he is dead, trash talk and all chat and farm freely.

Mid Game

You now have a few items, kills, and a good amount of farm. Try to finish off the top tower and starting roaming. Try and gank mid a couple times if your mid laner is having trouble. BUT DON'T FORGET YOUR LANE. Keep track of where your lane opponent is, in which direction the lane is pushing, etc.

Now the dragon becomes the main objective of the mid game. Try and push out your lane and then proceed down to the dragon. Organize this with your team. Hopefully, all five of your team can defeat the dragon quickly.

Try and push with your team and pick up kills if you catch an enemy out of position.

Late Game

Now comes the late game. You should be approaching your full build by now. Get some sight wards on Baron Nashor if your team can not ward it. The most important part of late game is the teamfight.

Goals in the Teamfight
Pop Courage and Decisive Strike and try and get to their ADC or APC (whoever is doing more damage) Silence them and use Judgment. Use the active of Randuin's Omen and try and finish the carry with Ignite and Demacian Justice. If you can't finish the carry, make sure you put them far out of the fight.

Your other priority is to protect your own carries. If the other team is blowing up your carries, your first goal in a team fight should be to silence the pursuers of your carries. Use Judgment and the Randuin's Omen active to get them off your carries.

When you win a teamfight and have enough people alive, do Baron. If you have any sight ward, use them at the places that the enemy may try to steal baron from (i.e. In the brush behind the Purple Team Ancient Lizard)

Once you get Baron, push in for the win!

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Lane Matchups


Difficulty: Easy
Harass Darius early with you Decisive Strike and Judgment combo.
Zone him out... hard. Once he take a couple of combos to the face, he will keep his distance. Just pop Decisive Strike and watch him run. He will probably try to Decimate you from afar. Try and dodge them. If you can't, pop Courage and heal up with Perseverance. He will burn through his mana quick.

At level 6, he becomes a problem.
For God's sake, do not 1v1 Darius at level 6, right away. Ask for a gank from your jungler, and take him down with your Q->E-> Ignite-> R combo.


Difficulty: EasyA squishy, AP, melee champion. Not the smartest choice against Garen. Abuse her at level 2 with your combo. She honestly can't touch you. Do not get greedy and dive her pre-6. She can lifesteal, spell vamp, and use Twilight Shroud.

Speaking of Twilight Shroud, if she jumps into it for whatever reason, just spin along the edges of the circle. Most Akalis will stay at the edge to make an escape, but you can just put some serious hurt on her if she does that.

Once she hits 6, she still really isn't a problem. If she Shadow Dances to you, silence her with Decisive Strike and use Judgment. Garen destroys Akali. This should be an easy lane win.


Difficulty: Medium
The Brolaf.
This lane match up can definitely go either way. His Reckless Swing hurts and he has good range with Undertow. Don't try and trade with him 1v1. His E just does too much true damage. Instead, farm up.

The best thing you can do is ask for a gank pre-6. Once Olaf gets Ragnarok, he is pretty much ungankable. Use your combo and try and kill him. BE CAREFUL. Berserker Rage gives Olaf a ton of attack speed. Along with Vicious Strikes, he can lifesteal if you dive him. I am not saying do not dive just... care.


Difficulty: Hard
Words can not express how much I despise Yorick. He (other than Teemo) is your ultimate counter. His omens prevent Perseverance from triggering and he can zone you hard.

The only thing you can do is sit at tower and farm it up. If you have a strong jungler in terms of ganks, as for 2-3 before Yorick hits 6.

Not much else to say. Try and get out of the laning phase quick. If you get Yorick to back, a push to get his tower with your jungler is pretty good. Good luck getting him to back, his sustain through Omen of Famine is ridiculous. Plenty of ganks and a good push is your best option.

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After the re-work on Garen's abilities and the Season 3 changes, Garen is viable again in ranked play. Perseverance gives him great sustain, while Decisive Strike and Judgment can deal tons of damage. Garen does suffer from many counters, and an ultimate ( Demacian Justice) that needs a rework (*ahem* RIOT *ahem*).
His solid early game and armor shred late game makes Garen a true Demacian General.
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I would love some ideas to make my guide better!
Thanks Guys!
(Additions to come soon!)