Garen Build Guide by FatMastaKurb
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.
A long time ago i played Garen a lot. Then one day I stopped all of a sudden. I tried to think of what would have made me stop playing him all of a sudden, so I decided to play him. Once I started playing him I almost immediately remembered why I had stopped, GAREN IS ****ING OP that its almost not fun. In that game I ended up going 29/3/12. I have now been playing him a lot recently and now I'm writing a guide.
Runes and masteries
Runes can be anything you want them to be, kinda. Same with your masteries. You can't go wrong with AD, Crit, movespeed and cooldown, just as long as you don't get anything that involves mana, ap or magic penetration you should be fine. I would advise against attack speed because you shouldn't be doing much sustained auto attacking.
Masteries you can't go wrong with anything in the attack or defense trees. I would advise 21/9/0 or 21/0/9 because you are naturally tanky, you really just need the extra attack stuffs.
The skills that kill
Your passive is amazing for sustain. It is a freaking health pot. It gains health at about the same speed and even looks like a health pot when it is active. This does not mean that you shouldn't get health pots, it just means that you regain health really really really fast.
Also referred to as the flippy strike by some. This is the skill that makes garen especially annoying. First point at lvl 3 and max by lvl 13. Or you can take your first point at 1 and max first. This skill does a lot of damage and has a nice silence. It is great for standing in a bush then striking when they walk in, preventing them form doing too much damage since they are silenced.
First point at lvl 2 and max it last. This skill is awesome and extremely underrated. It gives you a passive that increases your armor and mr up to a point with each minion you slay. The active is great because it reduces incoming damage by a percent, not increased armor or health like most other shields. At lvl 5 this will decrease all the damage that is dealt to you by a whole third.
Spin to win. First point at 1 and max at 9 or first point at 3 and max at 13. This skill has many uses, the main one being tons and tons of damage. This skill can kind of crit, and do massive damage to many targets at the same time. The other use for this skill, which is very rarely used, is to catch up while chasing. It cleanses any slow that is on you, then deceases the length of any new slows that happen while you are spinning by half. So if you are chasing and pop your q then you get slowed just spin until you catch up then cancel you spin and strike.
That giant ****ing sword. Scales with how much health the enemy is missing. This skill should always be a kill, if you didn't kill the person you targeted that means your doing it wrong. A good indicator of if you are going to kill them or not is if they are at about a third of health left. If they are at a third it will kill every time.
Your basic combo should go as follows, strike spin ult. This allows you to strike for a ton of damage and silence. The silence lasts for about the same amount of time as your spin, so you wont have to worry about getting cc'd while you spin. After you finish your spin look at their health, if you think you can kill them with your ult then do it, if not back off and wait until you can do it again. Use your shield as you see fit.
I prefer to go solo top. Not much to say here. Just sit back and last hit the minions. Stay in the bushes so that if they decide to come at you, you can just [decisive strike] then [judgment] for crazy damage. If you are feeling saucy you can harass them with your basic combo and eventually kill them with your ult.
There are many many many viable ways to build garen, but I personally go for the extremely healthy off-tank.
There really are no core items, the ones seen above are the ones i prefer, so i will just list off the plausible options that you can use.
Contrary to what i have said about there being an infinite number of options for items on garen, there is really only one choice for boots, boots of swiftness. These are the only boots that you should ever get on garen because most of the time you will be charging at or running away from champions and you need speed to catch up or make your escape. You may think that Boots of Mobility would be better, but since you are likely to take damage going in or out of battle you won't have the full move speed when you need it most.
I like to put these two together because there is really no point in getting one if your not getting the other, mainly because they work so well together. With a filled out Warmog's Armor your Atma's Impaler will give you about 25 ad, which is not all that much, but then you add your base health, then the health you are getting from your other items and you have your self 70 ad coming from you atmas, which is almost as much as the ad from an Infinity Edge.
This is great if your up against a lot of cc, but you probably already knew that. This helps a lot for when you are running into a team fight with your Decisive Strike so that you don't get stopped and your move speed buff doesn't run out.
Another option for a first item. The shield makes for great early sustainability, due to the extra health regen plus your passive. I like to take this when I solo a 2v1 lane.
Yet another option for a starter. This is for the super aggressive early laner. I don't recommend it, but some people prefer it.
Force of nature is a great tank item that i recommend for almost all tanks. It works especially well with garen's since it almost doubles his passive health regeneration and gives a hefty amount of magic resist.
Frozen Mallet is an excellent pick and an item that i strongly recommend. It is great because your Decisive Strike will proc the slow so that they will have a harder time getting away from your Judgment which makes for optimal damage from your basic combo.
Guardian angel is an amazing item that works will with any champion. It gives some nice tankiness and the revive is completely OP. I have found that it works especially will on garen, since you are going to be taking a ton of damage from aoe spells while you are spinning in the middle of the other team, which leads to a ton of damage dealt, but also a ton of damage taken. If you are decently fed you will be able to get almost the entire other team down a great deal of heath, with the exception of the enemy tank, if you get off a good Judgment right in the middle of the enemy team. You will probably also die and your team will probably be able to kill at least a few of the enemy champs. Then when you are revived you just help clean up.
Damage and crit chance, what more can you possibly ask for. I am not completely sure if the crit that procs on garen's [judgment] is effected by the passive on the infinity edge, if you do know if it does or not please tell me.
Tanks are completely broken in League and can sometimes carry. It's pretty common to have a tank carry a team, i have done it many times before and you probably have too. Last whisper is the item to counter the tank carry. It gives a fat amount of armor pen which can demolish even the tankiest of tank-carrys.
The phantom dancer is a great ad carry item. Its got everything all ad carries need, crit chance, attack speed and move speed. With garen you would mainly be getting it for the crit and move speed, both of which are staples in the making of a good garen build.
The Quicksilver sash is one of my favorite items, but is also one of the most unused items. For those of you who don't know what it does, it is pretty much just a Banshee's Veil minus the spell shield, the health and the mana. What makes it better than a banshee's veil in my opinion is that it has an active that lets you clear all of the debuffs on your champion. If you get hit by a slow, a stun, a silence, a suppression, mord's ult, then run over one of teemo's mushrooms your veil is only going to block one of those, where as if you were to pop your quicksilver you would remove all of them, including mord's ult and teemo's poison. Heck, it will even remove the sight that twisted fate has on you when he ults. The only problem with this is that you have to use the active. If you forget to use it, then it's pretty much useless.
Randuin's is an awesome tank item, seeing as how it slows attackspeed of enemies, gives health, armor and health regen. You also the increased gold gain from Heart of Gold while you are in the process of building it. The best reason to get it is for the aoe slow from its active ability, making it harder for enemies to escape your spin of death.
The only reason this is on the list is because the passive of the spirit visage procs on garen's passive, giving you super mega health regeneration. It also gives a bit of cooldown reduction which is nice, but there are far better items for this.
One of my favorite tank items in the game. It gives a ton of health and armor and a nice little aoe 35 damage per second, which adds to the damage of your spin. Just a little nostalgia time here, remember the days when sunfire damage stacked and garen could take out any champion he pleased with a spin. Those were the days.
Sword of the occult is awesome. 5 ad per stack, 2 stacks per kill, 1 per assist. This is great because garen gets a lot of kills and assists. I have found that it is fairly easy to get to 20 stacks and then it is very easy to maintain, because even if you die in a team fight, you probably got everyone with your spin and some of those enemies will probably die after you and then while your still dead your back up to 16 - 18 stacks.
This isn't all that great for garen, mainly because you aren't auto attacking for most of your damage. The passive on black cleaver shreds armor with each auto attack, and since most of your damage is coming from your abilities you won't be taking away too much armor.
The single most ad you are going to get from a single item, except for maybe an atma's if you have more than 5000 health, plus a ton of life steal, which makes for great sustain, kinda. It is great for when you feel that you aren't doing as much damage as you need to, or if you don't think that you will be able to fill out your sword of the occult.
It is everything you need all wrapped up into a single item. You got your crit, damage, cooldown reduction, armor pen and move speed all wrapped up into a single item, also The Brutalizer is awesome in the early game.