Garen Build Guide by Tayln21
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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.
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.
The very first introduction
I'd like to take a second to talk about Garen, he's a very versatile character. However the guides I have read and looked though have made him either highly tanky or highly damaging. I'd like to present one that leaves him in the middle.
Welcome to The pride of Demacia- I hope this helps you in your learning to play Garen.
What is so great? What's not? (Pros/cons)
+ Naturally good survivability
+ Amazing farmer mid-late game
+ Very simple to play
+ Resistant to slows if timed correctly
+ No mana to worry about!
- Not enough damage nor health early game
- Weak farmer at start
- Stuns and focuses shut him down quickly
- No real range for abilities
- Might be accused of playing an 'easy' champ
What have you chosen to master? (Masteries)
Summoner's Wrath :'Why this with ignite? Garen doesn't need AP.' True, but I put one point here for the option of using Ghost and/or Exhaust, both good options for Garen.
Brute Force : Attack Damage, Garen is only AD, put three points here for maximum benefit from it.
Alacrity : You're building a partly AD/partly tanky Garen, attack speed simply helps that, I put for points here for the full effect.
Weapon Expertise : Why have attack damage and speed without the armor pen?
Resistance : Even with the runes, you're much lower in MR than Armor, the three points here help just a bit more.
Hardiness : Buuuut you still want that beasting armor. Less damage taken= Good thing. Three points here.
Durability : Health is always a good thing on Garen. The longer you can stay in team fights, the better, plus you'll just regen it all. Four points here.
Indomitable : A very nice choice in masteries, it lowers all damage by two. Put both points here.
Veteran's Scars : Again, health is always good on Garen.
Evasion : Again, less damage=better, however it's not too handy, put only two points into this skill.
Enlightenment : It's really nice for it's cool down, however put only two points, it's not too important.
Honor Guard : How nice is this? Maxed out, you're taking 1.5% less damage, it may not sound like a lot but it adds up.
Juggernaut : Worth the one point, your health is increased by 3% and all CCs on you are reduced by 10%, what isn't to like?
- greater mark of Desolation: We're picking armor pen runes due to the fact you want Garen to have enough damage output, we're not letting armor stand in the way of that!
- Greater Seal of Armor: Garen wants to survive, why have such a nice passive if you can't stay alive to use it?
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: The explanation is kind of the same as the seals of Resilience, Garen should have a good amount of MR.
- Greater Quintessence of Health: Health again, the more health, the better.
- Greater Seal of Attack Speed: This Garen will have a good bit of attack damage and armor pen, go for these if you're confident in your ability to stay alive.
- Greater Seal of Critical Chance: Same as the last choice, go for these if you are confident in your ability, the crit chance is pretty helpful with the damage you're putting out.
- Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction: The cool downs could be pretty high, this could be useful if you like using your abilities lots, however you're doing without MR.
- greater quintessence of Vigor: The +2.7 health regen every 5 seconds is a nice boost to his already decent regen. However, you'll be starting with a Regrowth Pendant so it is an iffy choice.
- greater quintessence of Vitality: the +48 health at level 18 is a pretty good boost even though you're sacrificing early game health. Go with this if you want to last longer late game.
Your personal spells (Summoner Spells)
Flash: Great escape method for when Garen's speed simply isn't enough
Ignite: Sometimes you can over estimate the damage that Garen's ult will deal or the enimy is just slightly out of your range and are pretty much dead. This is where ignite kicks in.
Ghost: Garen loves speed. This could be good to catch up to your enemies or escape them!
Exhaust: This is also a great escape and ganking tool. Not only does it slow your target but reduces all damage they do for 2.5 seconds.
Heal: Sometimes, 7 seconds is too long to wait for Perseverance to kick in or you can't get out of combat. Heal can sometimes be that step between a death and an escape.
Cleanse: Garen has no problems getting out of slows but when he gets stunned, he can get shut down, Clease helps with that.
The abilities at hand (Abilities)
Perseverence: Not a bad passive, upon not taking damage for 7 seconds, Garen starts to regen 0.5%of his health every second. This really adds up when you have a lot of health or crossing the map to your allies.
(Q) Decisive Strike: This is a nice movement boost for Garen that allows his next attack in six seconds to silence his opponent and deal bonus damage. Due to the recent update, this now also removes slows.
You're going to want to max out Decisive Strike after Judgment and before Courage.
- Try to basic attack then use Decisive Strike followed by another basic attack. The ability cuts attacks short so you still do damage without the wait.
- Try to silence the enemy support or mage, often times the bonus damage from Decisive Strike is enough to cause them to retreat.
- Decisive Strike is not only a great tool in fights but the bonus speed makes it a great get away, it also removes slows!
(W) Courage: This has been recently updated and now instead of getting a small amount of armor and MR for each minion kill, up to 25, Garen gains a 20% increase in his MR and armor passively. When activated, Garen gets a shield that reduces incoming damage and CC by 30%
You're going to want to max out Courage last due to it's nice simple affect even at level one.
- Using Courage against an enemy ult can make the difference between surviving and waiting to respawn.
- Combining Courage and Decisive Strike can make for a great get-away.
(E) Judgment: This is what everyone calls Garen's "spin to win." This does lots of damage every second and also removes all slows and reduces new CC placed on him while spinning.
You're going to want to max out Judgment first due to it's great effect and damage.
- Judgment is a great 'in and out' ability, run in with your Decisive Strike and do as much damage as possible while they're getting away with Judgement
- There's a really nice escape combo using all of Garen's basic abilities. Try to cast all three while getting chased, the damage you deal from Judgment might make them think twice about chasing.
- Judgment is great for farming, doing lots of damage in those three seconds.
(R) Demacian Justice: This is really a great Ult, you deal 175/300/525 magic damage plus 1 damage for ever 3.5/3/2.5 health the enemy is missing. You pretty much have them done the moment they have 600 health at level 18. *This does NOT scale off AP..*
You're going to want to max out Demacian Justice whenever possible at level 6, 11, and 16.
- Demacian Justice has a very short range, use Decisive Strike to catch up to enemies.
- Demacian Justice is not just for you to get the kill but as well as your allies, even a miss on your kill can turn into an assist for you!
- You kind of want to wait until they are at 1/4 or 1/5 life to launch Demacian Justice if you want the kill for sure.
So you're spending gold eh? (Items)
: While boots of Swiftness could be changed out with other boots, you want to get to the battle quick. The three movement speed makes you fast enough to reach fights while also giving you time to regen in between areas on the map.
: This is a must for anyone who is going to get even off tank, right off the bat you get about 900 health as well as 30 health regen, giving a huge boost to not only Garen's passive but allowing you to last longer in fights by getting assists, minion kills, and kills.
: This is a great choice if you're going high health and damage, it not only gives you a higher crit chance, but you're also dealing 2% bonus damage of your max health. Do the math, if you have 1000 health, you're dealing 20 bonus damage.
: Again, we're going for a bulky Garen who can still do some massive damage, the 700 health not only directly benefit the damage you do with Atma's Impaler but also the passive Perseverance, allowing you to regen more, faster.
: This is a really nice bonus to your crit strike. Not only can you do them more often, but you deal 50% more damage with them, that's not even including the normal 80 attack damage you're gaining from the item itself.
: I personally enjoy tossing a GA in because of the extra armor and MR. As well if the enemy team manages to get you down, most likely you are in the middle of them or a bit in front of them, in which you will be in the middle when they move. Guardian Angel may not keep you alive, however once you start spinning again, you're sure to grab a kill or another assist. However, you can always op for....
- : Lately I've gotten some feedback saying that FoN is really good item on Garen if he's not dieing and the enemy team has a strong AP carry. GA and Force of Nature are interchangeable. It's really up to you how you want to build Garen.
You're in a lane and you have a team. (Laning/Team fights)
Garen should be top lane, but by chance he ends up as a 'support' bot lane, he should not be getting the minion kills at all, he should however be a type of damage support. When enemies get too close to the carry he is laning with, Garen should come out, help a bit, then return to his bush to regain health. Playing as Garen is a waiting game, more often than not.
Garen should be starting the teamfights! He is usually one of the tankier champions on your team and can do a lot of damage right off the bat, allowing for his team to get easy kills and assists. However, this can cause Garen to be shut down extremely fast if he gets focused.
Final words to a mighty Demacian
Garen is a very simple and fun champion to play, however his timing is crucial. If you have any comments or questions about my guide, please don't hesitate to ask!
Please up-vote if you like this guide, down-vote if you feel it's truly needed. If you down-vote, I would love an explanation to why and perhaps I can fix the mistake.
Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.