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Garen Build Guide by Lucorian5

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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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author Lucorian5

Garen - The Original Beyblade

Lucorian5 Last updated on September 7, 2013
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Ability Sequence

2
8
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
4
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pickpocket
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nimble
 
 

Utility: 0


Guide Top

Riot Games Champion Spotlight


Its extremely old, and Garen has had some pretty big changes to his abilities and such since its making; but still worth watching as it will give you a basic outline of how to play Garen.


Guide Top

Introduction


NOTE: This is in need of updating quite badly, I will do my best to add some new stuff when I can!


Hello and welcome to my Garen guide! In this guide I will share with you what I definitaly think is the best way to play and build Garen, I made this guide mainly because I see so many people playing Garen so wrong, and it really bugs me; most people do this by building him as a tank, buying items such as Sunfire Cape and Warmog's Armor, which in my opinion is a sad waste of his potential. Garen is capable of some MASSIVE physical damage and can spin the enemy team to shreds easily, while still being tanky enough to not die very easily; he is quite underestimated, and this guide will show you exactly how to unlock his true potential!


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Pros / Cons

Pros
  • Doesn't Use Mana, this is a HUGE advantage in the laning phase; as you can spam abilities as soon as they are ready
  • Perseverance offers infinite lane sustain, as well as not having to worry nearly as much about taking damage, as you can simply fall back and regenerate all lost health
  • Great escapes, even if heavily slowed
  • One of the easiest champions in the game to use, and not very hard to master either
  • Consistently strong throughout the whole game if built correctly

Cons

  • Ultimate has a long cooldown
  • Susceptible to stuns and traps, as all his escapes rely on using abilities or summoner spells
  • Will get no respect from raging enemies you have killed, as Garen is quite easy to use, and they will often bring that up when your destroying them


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Runes

Runes

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3

Standard AD Champion runes, gives Garen significant early game damage and some early toughness; you can swap out the AD Marks and Quints with Armor Penetration, but either works fine.


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Masteries

Masteries
1/5
3/5
4/1
4/1
1/1
1/5
3/1
3/1
1/
1/5
3/1
4/1
1/1

Standard AD 21-9-0 Mastery set up, I take some defensive masteries for significant early game health and armor, and I get the entire physical damage side of the Offense tree. This is the mastery format most melee AD champions use, Garen is no exception.


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Items



Core Items

Your three most important items. After the new Season 3 changes, The Black Cleaver is an ideal item for Garen, offering some very welcome cooldown reduction, enemy armor reduction, and attack damage. Infinity Edge and Guardian Angel, despite a slight nerf to Infinity Edge, should be build as normal and are here for the same reaasons they always were. The damage, critical strike chance, and passive on Infinity Edge are hugely helpful to your offense, while Guardian Angel is just an all-around great defensive item with an amazing life-saving passive.

Boots
OR OR

My favourite boots on Garen by far are the Boots of Swiftness, however with the new rework of his abilities, his Courage shield can be really taken advantage of with the extra defense from either Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads. So if your willing to sacrifice speed (which does really help use the full effect of Judgment) for a stronger shield, then take Ninja Tabi against a more AD heavy team, and Mercury's Treads against a more AP heavy team.

Second Defensive Item

Although it isn't one of your three Core Items, I would still consider it something of a must buy on Garen for sure. The Guardian Angel will give you some good armor and magic resistance, but you are still lacking health. A Frozen Mallet will give you all the health you need, plus the slow which is very handy when paired with Judgment, and also the small amount of attack damage is obviously welcome.


Final Item
OR

An excellent final item to complete your build with is Atma's Impaler. Scales brilliantly with Frozen Mallet to give you a large amount of attack damage from its passive. The 45 armor will help you to be even tougher in the late game, and the critical strike chance is a welcome bonus also. However, if the other team is very armor heavy, and even the carries have a Guardian Angel or Zhonya's Hourglass, then taking a Last Whisper will greatly improve your damage against them.


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Alternate Situational Item Options

- An all around decent item, some nice protection as well as the passive that will help your team immensely, you may decide you like this over Guardian Angel, in which case get aegis instead, or you can take it along with Guardian Angel if you decide you want to be more tanky than damaging.


- I wouldn't normally recommend this, but if your up against an auto-attack heavy champion in your lane (ie. Tryndamere, Xin Zhao, or Master Yi) who ends up getting heavily fed, then I would suggest taking this instead of Guardian Angel, as it will really help in an otherwise hopeless 1v1 fight with them.


- This item is actually really good on Garen, and it ALMOST makes the starting lineup; but the high cost is what makes this item not fit with this build. You want to be spending most of your gold on damage items, and so I would only recommend this item if your having one of those insanely good games, in which case I would buy it instead of Guardian Angel, but the two of them together is probably going to be too expensive to work.


Guide Top

3v3 Build Explanation




With the exciting new Twisted Treeling map re-haul. I thought it appropriate to add a 3v3 specific build into this guide. I strongly disliked the old 3v3 mode and map, and almost never played it. But the new map caught my interest, and I tried it, deciding I quite liked it. I'm still definitaly a 5v5 person, but I now have a second mode I can occasionally play, which is always good. However, there are a few things you need to change in your item build; your runes, masteries, and skill sequence stays the same, but the items need a bit of an adjustment:



1. You now have enough starting gold to buy boots AND a Doran's Blade, take full advantage of this and take both off the start.

2. With Season 3, it is again a good idea to include The Black Cleaver in your 3v3 build, the new version of which is very similar to the now-extinct Lord Van Damm's Pillager. An item that will be sorely missed, but can be mostly made up for with the new The Black Cleaver.

3. Same boots, Ninja Tabi and Mercury's Treads still CAN work, but in 3v3 you want to be as mobile as possible due to the faster paced games; and so Boots of Swiftness is a strong suggestion from me.


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Ability Explanation



Skills

(Passive): If Garen has not taken damage from monsters, towers, or champions in the last 10 seconds, Garen regenerates 0.5% of his maximum health per second

This one of THE BEST passives in the game in my opinion, this and the fact that you don't use mana of any sort means you have literally infinite lane sustain, which is really helpful for a solo top champion. This passive completely counters champions made to poke and harass, as when you take damage, you simply fall back and quickly regenerate all lost health.

Hotkey: Q Garen gains a burst of movement speed, breaking free of all slows affecting him and his next attack damages a vital area of his foe, dealing bonus damage and silencing them.

This ability is really strong as it gives you some nice damage, a silence, and is your main escape tool. I have survived countless near-death experiences with ridiculously low amounts of health by using this to remove slows, paired with your Courage shield, it will save your life on many occasions. The damage is also quite large, and the silence can hugely shut down burst champions like Katarina or Ezreal, as you can interrupt their combos and severely hinder their damage. This can also be used to stop some ultimates, like Nether Grasp and Requiem.

Hotkey: W Garen passively increases his Armor and Magic Resist. He may also activate this ability to grant himself a shield that reduces incoming damage and crowd control effects for a short duration.

This is your only defensive ability, and it is quite good. This ability can help you walk into a group of enemies without dying; its also great for escaping with very low health and is just generally useful for all things defensive.

Hotkey: E Garen performs a dance of death with his sword, dealing damage around him for the duration.

This is your main ability, and it is one of the most fun abilities in the game to use. With a high Attack Damge build, the damage will become extremely large at full rank, a ways into your build, it should deal well over 1000 damage in total. This ability is great for whittling down enemies for a huge portion of their health, and then finishing them with Demacian Justice. Its what makes Garen so awesome and fun to play.

Hotkey: R (Ultimate) Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to deal a finishing blow to an enemy champion that deals damage based upon how much Health his target has missing.

This is a great ultimate. It is an extremely useful way to take out enemy tanks, as it does more damage depending on how much health the target is missing. Therefore it is incredibly lethal to a champion like Cho'Gath or Volibear once you get them to fairly low health with your other abilities. Generally you want to whittle your target down with Decisive Strike and Judgment and then follow up with this for a kill.


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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

You will find that this is the almost unanimous sequence for all Garen guides; and for good reason. Judgment is your main damage tool by far next to your ultimate, and maxing it as soon as possible will make you extremely strong at the early levels, especially level 9 when you get it to full rank. It also carries well into the late game, because your damage items will scale it for some insane damage.


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Summoner Spells


I take these two spells on pretty much every champion that I play. In my opinion they are the two best spells in the game by far. HOWEVER, with Garen it may also be a good idea to trade Flash for Ghost. It will give you some huge movement speed when paired with your Decisive Strike, while also enabling you to travel through units. Ignite in my opinion is non-negotiable, it gets me around 1-3 kills a game that I couldn't have otherwise had.
Other Options

- The only spell other than the above two and Ghost I would truly recommend for Garen, it is a great way to hit an enemy with the full force of Judgment and is just very useful for escaping or preventing an enemy from escaping.

- Decent spell for a solo top champion, it can save your turrets all across the map or tip the scales of team fights far away from you; you should have at least one person n your team with it, but it doesn't need to be you.


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Lane Opponents A-G


Garen is a very tough solo top lane opponent, and for the most part your enemy should be more worried about you then you them. However, it is always good to be prepared, and this section will help you do so. This section will provide a short summary of who you might face in top lane, as well as a more in-depth comparison with the more difficult opponents.



Akali
Difficulty: 3/10

Pre level six she has absolutely no chance, as Akali is countered by tougher champions. However, after level six you do need to be wary of her ultimate, as she can still burst you down fairly effectively. Other than that, your sustain is better than hers and your early game is miles stronger than her's. Unless your against an extremely skilled Akali while your new to Garen, this is a lane you should win without too much
trouble.




Amumu
Difficulty: 2/10

Rarely seen as a solo top, but still comes up from time to time; Amumu is really a jungler and if you find yourself against him in solo top, you should crush him with ease. His stun is a skillshot that will hit minions, so near useless in a solo lane except to very skilled people, your damage far exceeds his and he is quite mana hungry; meaning he will get behind in farm unless he has Teleport. Just be wary of ganks from his jungler, as he can use his ultimate and stun to secure a kill on you if your not careful.





Caitlyn
Difficulty: 2/10

Another champion who is not often seen solo top, but occasionally will. If you are up against a Caitlyn solo top, its your lucky day. She is a squishy carry who is built to harass. Meaning Garen is her worst nightmare; you can kill her almost instantly in a fight, and any harassing she manages to do with her Piltover Peacemaker skillshot can be simply healed back with Perseverance.



Cho'Gath
Difficulty: 6/10

This guy can potentially be a tough challenge, but the majority of the time he will just be moderately difficult. The main thing to remember is to always dodge his Rupture, and also keep an eye out for their jungler, as Cho'Gath can lock you down for a kill with his knock up and silence if your not careful. He is quite tanky throughout mostly the whole game, but this can be used against him. Once you get him low on HP with your other abilities, use your Demacian Justice for an easy kill, as it does bonus damage for how many HP points the target is missing.



Darius
Difficulty: 9/10

I'm going to start by outright saying that this laning phase could suck, however you do still have a chance to win. He is quite similar to you in a lot of ways. You both are melee AD champions who rely on ability combos for damage. At level 1, it starts out quite heavily in his favour, his Decimate at rank one will be stronger than your one rank in Judgment. And watch out for his passive, as it is deceptive in how much damage it can do, like with Singed's Poison Trail, you don't realize how much damage you've taken until its too late. His ultimate is straight up better than yours, so after level six you need to start playing a lot more passively, and call for frequent ganks from your jungler for help. The tide should turn a little at level 9, as a fully ranked Judgment will be better than a fully ranked Decimate, especially because he has to get you on the outside for max effect. The number one thing is DO NOT FEED HIM!! unless you want to spend the whole game getting penta-killed by his 1000+ damage Noxian Guillotine that he will destroy your entire team with. So finally, lets take an in depth look of your strengths and weaknesses against Darius:

Passives
VS

Two very strong passives, yours offers great lane sustain and therefore a prominent advantage over your opponent; on the other hand, Hemorrhage will HUGELY increase the damage of Darius' ultimate, and will cause very dangerous bleeding damage in the early stages of the game by itself. Overall, although Perseverance is good in many ways, Hemorrhage's ability to get Darius kills on enemies that have escaped him with very low health makes it slightly better in the end.

Edge:


Abilities (Q/W/E)
+ + VS + +

Garen and Darius both largely rely on their abilities for their damage, and so their three core abilities are very important. This I would say is one of the areas where Garen has a very slight advantage, although not until the mid game. Once into this stage, a Decisive Strike + Judgment combo will generally outdamage a Decimate + Crippling Strike combo if both champions have relatively equal gold, especially when you take into account the fact that Darius has to hit the target in the outside of the circle for the maximum effect from Decimate.
Edge:

Ultimates
VS

Two ultimates that a lot of people would consider OP. However, this is a rather easy decision; although Demacian Justice is amazing for securing kills on low health tanks due to its passive, it just can't compete with true damage and an instant cooldown refresh.
Edge:

Farming

Both Darius and Garen have various ways to effectively get a lot of last hits on minions and monsters. Using Judgment in the middle of a large group of minions will earn you a lot of gold, while a well timed Decimate will also produce a large amount of gold. In the end, both champions are quite adept at this, neither having an advantage in this category.

Edge: EVEN

Utility

The final category, and the only one where Garen completely destroys Darius. The biggest weakness on Darius is the fact that he has no real escapes; while Garen has a speed boost from Decisive Strike and a damage-absorbing potentially life saving shield from Courage. Also, Darius may not be mana hungry at all, but the fact that Garen doesn't need ANY mana means he gets an advantage there also.
Edge:




Diana
Difficulty: 5.5/10

Will be seen in the jungle more than solo top, but a solo top Diana is nothing unusual. This lane won't be a pushover, but it is a lane you should eventually win. Her main attack, Crescent Strike is a delayed arching skillshot that is fairly easy to dodge if your paying attention. Consistently dodging this is the best way to shut down Diana in lane. She can be hard to escape from, so avoid any crazy turret dives early. If she does reel you in with Moonfall, just immediately use Decisive Strike to remove the slow and escape.



Dr. Mundo
Difficulty: 4.5/10

If left unchecked, he can become a problem, however if you play relatively smart he won't give you much trouble at all. 100% of his ability to harass you comes from his Infected Cleaver which is a skillshot that hits minions, meaning if you stay behind your minions at all times, it becomes completely useless. Play fairly aggresively, harassing with a Decisive Strike + Judgment combo whenever you can. And once you've whittled him down, get your jungler to come in and help you finish him, or just do it yourself if possible.



Fiora
Difficulty: 7/10

Fiora can be very difficult to lane against. She has very high attack damage and is quite hard to escape from; however she is very squishy early game and you must take advantage of this. If you feed her early, you will lose the lane. Whatever you do, DO NOT get caught up in her ultimate Blade Waltz, you will be instantly dead if your low on hp; or even if your not that low. Harass her like crazy and frequently retreat to bushes to regenerate health. You are also a tough opponent for her, so if you play right, you can still kill her without too much trouble and win the lane.



Gangplank
Difficulty: 5/10

Gangplank has some good harass, and a very annoying healing ability that can keep him in lane and save his life. However, he is more annoying then actually strong, just use your passive to heal back all the harassment he does with Parrrley, and try to bait him into taking you 1v1, as you should be able to kill him in a straight up fight. A Decisive Strike silence followed by Judgment should get him very low and force him to retreat, or get you a kill if he was missing HP to start with.



Garen
Difficulty: 10/10

I don't know about you guys, but for me, playing against yourself is the WORST thing in League of Legends, one of the things I love about ranked is that there can only be one of each champion. But anyways, if your against another Garen it could potentially be very easy, or if they're around equal to you in skill level, it will be very hard. All of your advantages are forfeit because they can do everything you can do, but in the end it all comes down to who is better and who knows Garen the best. I put this as a 10/10 difficulty because I just hate playing another version of me, but like I said, if you are good with Garen, and they aren't, it could be quite easy.


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Lane Opponents H-N

Irelia
Difficulty: 6.5/10

Truth be told, I don't have a ton of experience in solo top versus Irelia, as come to think of it its been a LONG time since I have seen one. However I do know she is generally pretty tough. Her Hiten Style gives her huge sustain that can match yours, and she can also deal true damage to you. I would recommend being smart, make a few aggresive moves early to see how smart she is and to try and see how good she is with Irelia. If you find she is quite good, then just hang back, farm, and wait for an oppurtunity to present itself. When it does just hit her with your regular combo, and hopefully pick up a kill.



Jarvan IV
Difficulty: 2.5/10

This is quite an easy lane for Garen. Jarvan is tough, but he dishes out little to no damage, and therefore you will crush him in a fight. Be aggresive, hit him as soon as your cooldowns are up, and finish him whenever you possibly can. Your ultimate will devastate him once he gets low to your other abilities due to its passive and him being a tank, in short, you REALLY should win this lane with at least a few kills on him.



Jax
Difficulty: 6.5/10

Jax is hated by a lot of people, and for good reason. He is very easy to use and for the most part, he is quite OP. However, I have found that for whatever reason, he is really not that difficult for Garen, I rarely lose my lane to a Jax, but if your not careful and give him a couple early kills on you, then you're done for. If he gets far ahead of you, he will make your life miserable; jumping on you and killing you in seconds. So do NOT let this happen. Harass him hard, try to keep him from getting last hits, and watch out for his stun. Do these things, and you will beat him and show that cocky lamp-wielding bastard who's boss.



Jayce
Difficulty: 4/10

Jayce really isn't hard to deal with. He can do some solid damage with his Gate + Q combo, but it will hit minions and so you can get away from it easily. He isn't very tanky at all, so your abilities will get him quite low quite fast if you land them fully. Make sure you silence him before using Judgment or he will use his acceleration gate to escape you. Other than that just play your normal game and you should emerge victorious in your lane.



Kha'Zix
Difficulty: 5/10

Not an overly difficult opponent, capable of some nice damage; but he is very mana hungry early game and you should be able to significantly out-farm him if he has to keep going back to base for mana. Play aggresively so he can't farm, and also try to make him use abilities to escape or defend himself, as this will cause him to run out of mana faster and have to retreat to base.



Lee Sin
Difficulty 8.5/10

I really hate this guy. He is hands down one of the toughest opponents in the game, whether he is against you solo top or roaming the jungle, he is a thorn in the opposing teams side, a large thorn. He is capable of dishing out some pretty good punishment, can absorb a ridiculous amount of damage without dying, and he renders all forms of stealth utterly uselss with his Tempest / Cripple. When against a Lee Sin solo top, you have to be careful, play passively unless your very confident that you are better than he is. Call for freqeunt ganks from your jungler and just do your best to deny him as much gold as possible. Always wait for just the right time to strike, and when you do, make sure you finish him.
Passives:
VS

In this category, it is relatively close; however, the massive sustain Garen gets from his Perseverance is slightly more valuable overall than the brief attack speed bonus from Flurry.
Edge:


Abilities
+ + VS + +

Both champions have a nice set of abilities that offer advantages in both defense and offense, but in the end; its that devastating Decisive Strike + Judgment combo that is going to be biggest turning point in a fight.
Edge:


Ultimates: VS

Two strong ultimates from two strong champions. Dragon's Rage gives good damage and an AoE disable, while Demacian Justice can do some SERIOUS damage, especially when the passive is enabled. But, Dragon's Rage's damage goes toe to toe with that of Demacian Justice, while boasting a shorter cooldown and it can potentially hit more than one target.
Edge:


Farming

The ability to farm is quite important, especially to a solo lane champion. In this category, it is for the most part Garen who has the advantage; judment, when used at the correct time, can get multiple last hits on a large group of minions, while Decisive Strike is also helpful for timing last hits on singe targets.
Edge:

Utility

The final category, and it is probably the biggest toss up between Garen and Lee Sin. It is a major strong point for both of them, as neither use mana; Garen has a SLIGHT advantage, due to him using no mana to Lee Sin needing energy. But overall, Lee Sin's shield, two dashes, and amazing ability to roam the map gives him the edge here.
Edge:



Malphite
Difficulty: 4.5/10

Malphite isn't typically too much trouble in top lane. He dishes out little to no damage, and depends on his ability to absorb HUGE amounts of damage for his team. But this doesn't kick in until the mid game, meeaning he is near-useless in the early game; use this to your advantage by playing aggresively and denying him as much gold as possible. The only thing you need to be aware of is the fact that his Seismic Shard steals movement speed, which can be very annoying when your chasing him down with Decisive Strike.



Master Yi
Difficulty: 4/10

Master Yi is of moderate difficulty at best. He is hard to escape from because of his ultimate: Highlander, and if he is fed he can become a problem. But Master Yi is a very old champion, and you just really don't see him much anymore, except at lower levels; and you almost never see any who are actually good. In short, you should win this lane.



Mordekaiser
Difficulty: 8/10

Mordekaiser can be a VERY difficult solo top lane opponent. Hes got it all, hes tanky, he can harass, he has great sustain, and he dishes out good damage. His only real weakness is his lack of escapes, so call for lots of ganks from your jungler to help you. Take full advantage of Perseverance, falling back to regen every time he hits you with his Siphon of Destruction. But THE MOST annoying thing about him? His shield. Its very easy to keep charged up, and can absorb basically your entire combo early on. Thankfully you have no mana, so you can keep spamming your abilities on him, try your best to keep him from charging his shield up by harassing him constantly; this will be a tough lane, so don't be too aggresive, and just do your best to keep him from taking your turret.



Nasus
Difficulty: 5.5/10

Nasus is very tanky throughout the whole game, has a fairly large damage output, and has decent sustain. He's not terribly difficult for Garen, but he isn't necessarily that easy either. The main thing is to do your best to stop him from farming up his Siphoning Strike; as that can become ridiculously devastating in the late game if he is allowed to stack it up.



Nidalee
Difficulty: 6/10


Nidalee is a strong solo top champion, and can be somewhat difficult to play against. The main thing to remember above all else is to NEVER let her Javelin Toss / Takedown hit you as it can potentially take half your health down. Just harass as much as possible and play fairly aggresive and you should do pretty well.


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Lane Opponents O-Z

Olaf
Difficulty: 9/10

A fellow veteran of the Fields of Justice, and a very tough one at that. Olaf and Garen is a very exciting solo top match up; both very strong champions, and both are very difficult for each other. This lane is going to all come down to who has more skill and it could really go either way. The first thing is, dodge his Undertow as much as possible, if he keeps spamming it and you keep dodging it, he will run out of mana quite quickly without hurting you at all, putting you at an advantage. The other thing is to MAKE SURE you activate Courage after you go in for a Decisive Strike + Judgment, because if you don't he will slow you with Undertow as soon as the silence is up and punish you with his other abilities. Make sure to spam your combo like crazy to take full advantage of the fact that you don't use mana, and above all, be VERY careful not to attack him if your both low on HP, as Olaf thrives off of near death experiences.

Passives
VS

Two really good passives. But I have to say, as a fairly good Olaf player myself, that his ability to 1v2 and survive attacks when your retreating with very low hp is unmatched in the game due to Berserker Rage. And so I have to give a very slight nod to Olaf in this category.
Edge:


Abilities
+ + VS + +

Again, two incredibly strong ability combos from both champions. Garen's silence, huge DPS, and shield can get him tons of kills while escaping safely. While Olaf's slow, lifesteal, and CRAZY damage from his abilities can devastate the enemy team. In the end, I again have to give a slight edge to Olaf, as the true damage from Reckless Swing, enhanced AD and Lifesteal from Vicious Strikes, and the nice damage and slow from Undertow is just too much.
Edge:

Ultimates
VS

In this category, Garen has a definite advantage, as although Olaf's ultimate is very handy, Garen can achieve a similar result by using Decisive Strike and Courage. The damage and finishing power of Demacian Justice makes it more useful than Ragnarok in most cases.
Edge:

Farming

This is a very important category for a solo top laner, as it is a lane that will be almost completely determined by who has more last hits, especially in more competitive games. Judgment is a very impressive farming tool, once leveled you can sit in the middle of a large group of minions and just spin them all down. Olaf unfortunately has no real way of hitting multiple targets at once other than Undertow, which isn't an efficient farming tool.
Edge:

Utility

Olaf is fairly mana hungry early game, and doesn't have too many escaping mechanisms short of a skill shot slow and his ultimate. Garen does not use mana and can escape a lot of tricky situations with a simple activation of Demacian Justice and Courage. A fairly easy decision here.
Edge:



Pantheon
Difficulty: 5/10

Pantheon is one of the strongest champions in the game at level 1. A mostly unknown fact is that Pantheon has the fastest starting movement speed in the game next to Master Yi at 330. His Spear Shot has a low cooldown and good damage. However, most people don't play him properly and max his Spear Shot first; causing for a MASSIVE damage drop-off that happens quite quickly. He is also very mana hungry, especially early on. So use this to your advantage by spamming your abilities constantly. Overall, this isn't an overly difficult lane, just be wary of his Aegis of Zeonia + Heartseeker Strike combo, if he gets you low enough with it he will crit. shot kill you with Spear Shot afterwards.



Renekton
Difficulty: 6/10

Despite being extremely underplayed, and although he has been HARD nerfed in the past couple years, Renekton is still a very viable solo top option in ranked or normal. And he is a fairly difficult opponent in lane, lots of utility do to using fury instead of mana, and he is capable of some really nice damage early on. I wouldn't recommend engaging him until you have at least a couple points in Judgment (so level 4 or 5), because before that Renekton probably does more damage. His ultimate, Dominus, can actually be used to your advantage due to Demacian Justice's passive, try to use this a little after he activates it and is low on hp to your other abilities.



Rengar
Difficulty: 6.5/10

I rated this match-up a 6.5 because although it could be quite hard, it could also be very easy. Rengar is a very tough opponent, and a frequent ban in ranked games; however I have definitaly found a lot of Rengar players to be quite...terrible. Not sure why this is, and its changed some since he was released, but I've played with and against a ton of Rengar's who just hard feed the other team. Anyhow, just stay away from his bush so he can't jump on you with Unseen Predator and always save Demacian Justice to get out of his Bola Strike when your retreating with low health. Other than that just use your regular combos as often as possible and try to make laning miserable for him.



Riven
Difficulty: 7.5/10

This could be a tough lane. Riven is a very strong solo top champion who can dish out tons of punishment while absorbing quite a bit in return. Try to get away from her to interrupt her Broken Wings combo as much as possible, and be wary of diving her due to her stun and shield. I would suggest prodding her a little early on to see how good she is, and then basing your strategy on how she reacts.



Rumble
Difficulty: 5/10

Not too hard, but not too easy either. Only attack when he is low on his heat from his Junkyard Titan passive, and try your very best to get out of Flamespitter's target area in order to not take any damage from it. Remember he has a shield that will also grant him movement speed briefly which can help him escape quite well, so remember to always silence him when going in for the kill.



Singed
Difficulty: 4/10

He can fling you backwards, which is annoying; but other than that Singed is really quite easy. The majority of his damage comes from his Poison Trail, and that is very easy to avoid. Just be careful not to chase him down when your both low on HP, because its damage is deceptive and you won't generally realize how much damage you have taken until its too late. Just remember to always Decisive Strike out of his Mega Adhesive slow and try to silence him before he can activate Poison Trail if possible.



Sion
Difficulty: 5.5/10


Sion can be pretty tough, he has the potential to gain a ton of attack damage and health without items due to his Enrage ability. He has a stun that isn't a skill shot, so be careful of that, and try not to get hit with the explosion of Death's Caress.



Talon
Difficulty: 3/10

Talon is better played in mid lane shutting down an AP carry. So if you find yourself against him solo top, it should be VERY easy for you. Talon relies on killing champions with one burst of his combo, which is why any somewhat tanky champions counter him pretty well. He is also pretty squishy, and mana hungry also. You have an endless list of advantages over him, so you should be able to win this lane and kill him a couple times.



Teemo
Difficulty: 4.5/10

Normally one of the most infuriating champions to lane against; he's fast, has a blinding ability, and Noxious Trap is one of the most annoying ultimates in the game. However, he is very squishy, and so he isnt overly difficult for Garen. Just stay away from bushes once he hits level six, and try to harass him as much as possible.



Tryndamere
Difficulty: 5/10

He can be a pain, and his Undying Rage is complete and utter garbage, but in the end you should be able to beat him. Just be prepared to lose out on a couple kills that you should have had because of that complete BS ultimate he has. His sustain is equal to yours, as he doesn't use mana and has a form of healing. If things get slightly tough, just grab a Thornmail pretty early on and you should counter him pretty well afterwards.



Urgot
Difficulty: 4/10

Urgot has a shield, which is always annoying, but his only advantage over you is the fact that he is ranged and you are melee. He has some decent harass, but his mobility is terrible and thats where you should destroy him. He won't be able to escape your Judgment without burning a Flash or Ghost, so if you know its on cooldown, take advantage of it and attack him as soon as you get the chance.



Volibear
Difficulty: 6/10

Volibear is one of the more annoying tanks to play against due to the incredibly annoying ability to fling you behind him. His passive Chosen of the Storm can be frustrating also, as it can potentially save his life and thwart a would-be kill for you. He is going to be tough to bring down, so if your having trouble, get him to push the lane up a bit and then call for your jungler to help you kill him. His damage isn't TOO extreme, and you should win most tradeoffs, but do not underestimate him.



Warwick
Difficulty: 4.5/10

Warwick is probably more suited for and better played in the jungle; however, he can still be a prominent force in solo top...just not against Garen. Your ability combo is much better than his, so you should destroy him in a damange tradeoff, the only thing he has that will get you would be his Infinite Duress, so be slightly wary after level six. I would recommend buying wards, as he can lock you up for a kill from a ganking jungler with his ultimate pretty effectively.



Wukong
Difficulty: 6.5/10

Wukong is a very strong solo top lane champion, and is a formidable opponent no matter who you are playing. You have some advantages over him, as he is somewhat mana hungry early on, meaning you can use your abilities a lot more than he can. He also has some difficulty against tankier champions; however, be VERY careful you don't waste your silence on his Decoy, or else he will use the opening to bring out his own combo, which can be quite devastating. He also stole your signature move, with one improvement, it will knock you up in the air. If you try to spin him down with Judgment and he uses his ultimate Cyclone at the same time, he will beat you in damage and knock you up in the air, potentially securing a kill on you. So make sure you know when he has it availabe so as to not make this mistake.



Xin Zhao
Difficulty: 7/10

A potentially VERY difficult opponent in solo top, Xin Zhao does extreme physical damage all throughout the game. Be very passive early on, not attacking unless a golden oppurtunity presents itself; his Three Talon Strike will devastate you early on, and outdamage your Judgment quite heavily at early levels. He also has nice sustain due to Battle Cry's passive. Make sure he is silenced when you go in for an attack, and do not waste your Courage shield, as it could be your only hope of survival if you attack at the wrong time. Just try to get as many last hits as possible and DO NOT feed him or he will carry the entire game.



Yorick
Difficulty: 6/10

Certainly one of the more annoying champions to face in lane. When it comes down to it, your better than he is, however this doesn't stop him from being annoying as hell with the near-infinite harass his ghouls grant him. Omen of Death is an incredibly annoying ultimate, because you can't tower dive him and escape safely as he will just kill you after he dies using this. If you keep pressuring him with your combo, you should eventually kill him with your superiour damage, so try to play aggresively and avoid taking damage from his ghouls as much as possible. His weakness is his lack of mobility, so call for ganks when possible to finish him off, a good gank will be hard for him to escape from, so keep that in mind.


Guide Top

Summary


In short, Garen is just a really fun champion to play, and he is VERY strong if you build him as a heavy physical damage offtank as I have. This guide took a long time to make, the Lane Matchups sections took me around four weeks, although I was a little distracted by the subsequent releases of Halo 4 and Assassin's Creed III :P. So thank you for reading my guide, I only ask that you don't downvote because you disagree with ONE small thing, such as one single item or the difficulty of an enemy. If you truly wish to downvote, please provide a legitimate reason and possibly a suggestion. I truly hope this helps you with your Garen play and/or answered any questions you had about him!