Garen Build Guide by Kmacc
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.
I like to play Garen as a Bruiser or tanky dps type of champion rather than a 'tank'. I feel that Garen does not fit the role of a tank since he has no peeling power, but can disrupt/bully the opposing AD or AP carry while being decently tanky similarly to Jax.
I run 1 movespeed quint because you really need movementspeed on Garen since your closing power is really you running at your opponent with Q active. I don't use more than one though because I have the movement speed mastery in Utility which is the same thing as having +2 movement quints.
The rest of my quints + reds are armor pen just because all of your damage outside of your ultimate is physical and they help your strong early game be even stronger which leads to a good mid game which can lead to a good endgame.
I like Dodge yellows just because I like dodge, any other yellows I recommend Flat health yellows or flat armor yellows for again a strong early game.
I use flat CDR glyphs because with my masteries combined with them i have ~15% CDR add in some cheap CDR like brutalizer and your triforce all of a sudden becomes scary.
I use 11/0/19 to maximize CDR on my abilities, you can move the point in archaic knowledge if you wish. I like archaic knowledge just because it effects your ult (I think not confirmed).
If you move it get another point in Sunder.
Before you go down rating me for 'OMG TRINITY FORCE NOOB', try it out. It gives you even better burst combined with movespeed and HP. With max CDR garens Q and E are about 4.5-4.8 seconds. Saying garen's cooldowns are too long to use them when you are able to destroy their carry if not stunned or taunted off in 2 seconds then hey, go right ahead and say I'm bad. Triforce basically allows you to Q for ~600 dmg upfront, then when you activate your W right after E (the E will usually be within the cooldown for the triforce proc) once you are done spinning you get another ~300 dmg auto attack followed by another Q or just ult to kill them.
The boots I grab are completely relaint on the enemy team comp, if they have more than 1 hard stun i will grab mercury treads, if not and just slows or suppression will get lucidity for the CDR for more triforce procs while I'm face rolling their carry out of the teamfight.
My core is heart of gold, triforce, boots, brutalizer and sunfire cape. The rest of the items are of the mindset of getting maximum cooldown reduction while being tanky, sticking to their carry, and dealing enough damage to disrupt their carry or just outright kill it every fight. Everything past this point are luxury and are what you need more of. Need MR? Force of nature, need mroe sped to stick on their carry? youmuu's. Need more damage or armor? atmas.
I run ghost flash just because these summoners allow me to stick on their carry in teamfights. That brand got his deathcap but no survivability? no problem flash on him with your Q and spin on his ***, if he flashes away you will have the movespeed to chase with ghost and ult him for the kill. Or you just took him out of the fight and you an focus down any other squishies near you with the same combo.
Pros / Cons
Very high burst
Insane movement speed with Q active (I have outrun master yi with his ultimate up)
High threat presence
Can be kited once Q and youmuu's wear off
Easy to focus due to being melee
Stun's ruin your day
Garen can duo lane or solo lane quite well since his passive gives him decent sustain as a solo top. I find he is much better as a duo lane with heroes like Taric or Janna. You can be very aggressive early on with those early and net some early kills.
Once you are level 4 (and are 1v1 top) you can quite easily do your combo to bully opponents off of their creeps then turn around and last hit as many minions as possible without getting too harassed. Once you have your phage and sheen or zeal or triforce your combo's burst is VERY scary so abuse that terror your opponent will feel and bully them out of lane. Make them lose farm while you get more farmed or force their jungler to come gank you. If you have triforce unless they have red or exhaust you can run from most if not all gank attempts without even being touched by their jungler (unless its someone like Nocturne). Just generally play aggressive if you can come out ahead of your exchanges.
If you are bot with a support, you have to gauge how aggressive you can really be. Since you are a melee champion you have a light disadvantage vs certain support + AD comps. If you have Janna or Taric just play defensively, and last hit until you are both level 4 then let your support know you are going to start getting aggressive and start pressuring that AD carry hard. The goal is to blow their summoners so that your jungle can come and gank for a possible free double kill.
You are not a tank, nor are you an initiator, NEVER GO IN FIRST. Let your initiator start the fight then flash onto their AP or AD carry (whichever is easiest to hit/does more damage) and just kill them. You can take their carry out on your own if allowed to do so, so do it. Flash in a team fight is not for your escape its to keep their carry from doing ANY damage and to give your team a big edge in every fight or force them to have to use their CC to peel you so that your carries can be safe and do their work.
To close this all up I just want to say thanks for reading my guide for how I play Garen. And remember to just go kill those squishies!
Also if there is anything else people would like or any questions please ask them.